In this video, I detail out the exact process, tools, and methods that we used at SmokyMountains.com to build our brand from zero visitors to well over one million visitors in the first year!
The proven process outlined in these videos will work for property managers, listing sites, and businesses of all types.
Welcome, I’m looking forward to presenting this at VRMA, and I wanted to go ahead and make a recording of this for our brand followers that aren’t going to be able to be there or anybody that attended my presentation that wants to go back and review some of the stuff I talked through. So here we go.
Going to be speaking today on how to build a book direct brand. Zero to One million. How do we create one million visitors to our brand in a given year? That’s going to be the topic. Now, building a brand like this is not unlike climbing a humongous mountain. When you go to climb something like Mount Everest, this is a 29,000 foot plus mountain peak that can be measured in flight levels or miles high. It’s the world’s highest mountain. It’s so tall, about 26,000 feet, it’s actually dubbed as the death zone. And if you climb that high on the mountain, even if you don’t make the peak, you’re exponentially increasing your chances of a death. So when you go to climb a mountain like this it’s going to require a lot of planning, it’s going to require expenses, it’s going to require a dedication, and building a brand is similar to that.
On average, when you climb Mount Everest, you’re going to spend $100 thousand on your training, your equipment, your climbing permits from the governments there, a Sherpa or guide that’s going to help increase your chances of successfully climbing the peak and not dying, and your travel on getting there. Once you get to the summit of Mount Everest, in the middle of summer, the average temperature is negative two degrees. This is a mountain peak that reaches as low as of a temperature as negative 100 degrees of timing is going to be very important.
The time required to climb this mountain, on average, is a stunning two months. Why? Because there’re acclimation periods. As you’re going up the mountain, you’re going to have three to four weeks of just acclimating to the higher altitudes, to the lack of oxygen in the environment. Due to these cold temperatures at the peak, precise schedule is going to be required, and you’re going to have to start in a very narrow window. The whole process is going to take somewhere between 34 and about 55 days to complete.
This isn’t something to take lightly. It’s not something we can do without planning. And building an online brand is kind of like that. So as we climb Mount Everest, it’s kind of depressing, but only 31% of the people that attempt will actually make the summit. And just an incredible 1.5% of all people that attempt this will die. There hasn’t been a fatality-free year since 1977. That’s how dangerous this is. The last few thousand feet are the death zone and bodies are littered across the death zone because it’s too difficult to recover them. In fact, green boots right here, that’s who this picture is of. He died attempting to summit, and he’s now on navigation charts of turning when you reach his body. So this is a pretty big undertaking to climb Mount Everest and it’s a big undertaking to build your own brand. So why would we even want to do this? What’s the point of putting ourselves through something like this?
Right now, each of our brands needs bookings. Think of bookings like an apple. We are currently going to the grocery store to buy apples. The grocery store sets the price on the apples. They set the terms on the apples. Apples may be out of stock sometimes or apples may be unavailable sometimes. They decide all of that. Building your own brand is similar to having an orchard. When you have an orchard, you get to decide when you pick your apples. You get to decide how many apples. You aren’t at the whim of a management team somewhere else. You aren’t at the mercy of these other people because you own the orchard, but owning an orchard takes a lot of work.
Right now these brands probably control your future to some extent. Their bad decisions will hurt you, whether that’s a traveler fee or an SEO penalty or an increase in the cost of a commission. They’re in control. They are setting the price of the apple. Unless you build a brand, you are deciding to let them, and their bad decisions control your future. So we’re going to go ahead and cover the five steps to reach the mountaintop.
We’re going to need to do keyword research. We’re going to need to do content ideation, content production, content promotion, and finally 10X content, which ties all of these ideas back together. So let’s go ahead and dig in.
Keyword research is the first step of our journey. It’s the travel planning phase of climbing Mount Everest. We’re booking our flights, and we’re going ahead and getting our equipment lists together and all of those necessary things. And I hear some of you groaning as I say the words, “Keyword research,” because this is what you think of, a crazy mathematical formula, which by the way is a real one. One that is actually used in keyword research. So you see a formula like this, or you’ve seen complicated SEO tools, and you think, “Hey, I can’t do this,” but the fact of the matter is everyone in this room can do keyword research. It’s as simple as going to Google and stopping your typing.
From the beginning of the business, Google has understood the need for context between words. In fact, way back in April of 2003, Google made their first huge acquisition where they bought Applied Semantics for $102 million. This was a lot of money to Google back then, and since then they’ve continued to invest in understanding the semantic relationships between words and how words relate to each other. Their very business depends on this because their AdWords product is where the vast majority of their money comes from. So all you have to do is stop typing, and you will have access to all of the research of this multi-billion dollar company.
For example, if we stopped typing, we see Gatlinburg restaurants, Gatlinburg resorts, RV Parks, Ripley’s and roller coasters. These are keyword ideas that we can turn into content ideas and content for our site that will drive visits and help make us independent of these booking sites.
The next tool does require a little more work. You’re going to have to scroll all the way to the bottom. Once we reached the bottom, we’re going to see Gatlinburg restaurants with a view, or these other words that are related to Gatlinburg restaurants. So we’re tapping the semantic knowledge of a huge multi-billion global company that has a better understanding of this than any other company in the world. We’d be fools not to utilize their data since they’re making it available to us free. All we have to do is go to Google to start our keyword research.
The next tool is Keywords Everywhere. You’ll see we’re doing the exact same process, but now there’s some data next to the keywords. This is how many people search these terms each month. This is what the demand is. The demand side of the Google search engine and Google is providing this data to us through a third party tool called Keywords Everywhere, which is just a free Chrome plugin that any of us can get and install in under five minutes. What’s cool is once we have that installed, we can export to CSV or to a spreadsheet, all of these other related keywords that people also searched for along with the volumes of those keywords and really start to put together a good solid keyword list. Even if we don’t have expert level SEO tools at our disposal.
Next, we’re going to get to the Answer The Public. This is a visual search engine. You just put in a term, click, get questions and out of that is going to spit out this just beautiful image of how all of these terms relate to each other. For example, on that one simple search that I just performed, it is showing us all the common questions, the prepositional phrases, the comparisons, all about that one term smokey mountains. And then we can click any of these to drill in further.
So from here, we are going to dig into some of the SEO tools. But don’t let me lose you here. These tools are simple to use. I’m going to walk you through it. I’m not going to just a throw a tool’s name out there and expect you to know how to use it. Instead, it’s going to be a step-by-step tutorial with images of exactly how you can utilize this tool for your brand. So in SEMrush, we’re going to drop a competitor’s domain in and click search. And from there we’re going to see, how many keywords this domain ranks for. How much traffic they’re getting, the backlinks into them, are they paying for search? If so, how much are they spending? What do their ads look like? So don’t get overwhelmed by all of this data though.
Instead, for now, we’re going to dig into this view full report section. And so that’s going to take us to a page that shows us 38,000 keywords that this domain ranks for. Obviously. 38,000 keywords would be too much for any one person to go through and comb through. So we want to use some of the advanced filters. We can filter by the keyword type, or the number of words, the position, how difficult it is to rank for, how much traffic this keyword is driving for this brand. In this case, we took the 38,000 keywords and we applied a few filters to it saying, “Hey, we only want keywords that are driving a thousand visits a month to this brand. We want keywords that are a difficulty score of 60 or less.” Because we know that we can go after those keywords and successfully rank for those.
We’ll talk more about that in a minute, and we only want ones that they are currently ranking for and spot 15 or higher. So we took the nearly 40,000 keywords and we’ve whittled that down to 26. That’s a very manageable list. We may actually need to expand that a little further as we’re doing keyword research, but instead of having to go through tens of thousands of rows of data, we have this manageable list. We then eliminate the monetizable money type keywords like Gatlinburg condos or vacation rental type keywords, and now we’re looking at content ideas. Pigeon Forge restaurants, Tennessee fishing licenses, the Escape King, best places to eat, things like that, that we can create really useful content for our guests.
So now we’re going to go to ahrefs keyword explorer. This one’s a little bit different. What we’re going to do here is we’re going to enter a topic or a keyword instead of a domain and we’re going to hit search. Once we do that, we’re going to land on this page that has all kinds of information. How many people are searching this? What percentage of the clicks are going to each position in the search results? How many clicks are going to any of the search results? What’s the parent topic?
And all of this information keyword difficulty is one of them, which is pretty cool. We’re going to talk more about that in a few minutes as well, but keyword difficulties, basically, how realistic is it that if we create an exceptional piece of content that we’ll even rank for it? Because it doesn’t matter if a keyword has a million searches a month. If we create a piece of content for where we’re going to spot 150 on Google and nobody ever finds us. We’d rather find that intersection of the correct volume, and correct difficulty that can drive the perfect number of visitors. And we’ll go over that formula here in a bit.
For now, we’re going to go ahead and click the 35,000 related keywords to the parent topic. Once we do that, it’s really, really cool, and we can dig into those. So here we’re going to look at the Site Explorer side of ahrefs next though. So we can put in a domain similar to what we were doing on SEMrush a moment ago. Click the organic keywords and from there we can filter down by keyword difficulty and traffic and stuff similar to what we were doing on SEMrush.
Here, I’ve just gone through, and I’ve highlighted red, the monetizable terms that we probably don’t want to initially target with our content strategy and instead we’ve highlighted it in green the ones that we do want to. So for example, Cades Cove, it’s easy to rank for. It has 43,000 searches a month, it’s driving 6,000 visits a month for this competitor that we’re researching. That’s the kind of content that we’re looking to uncover. The keyword that we’re looking to uncover that can drive real results for your brand without that much work.
So a pro tip here, we can do this on our own brand. If we go in, and we put your own brand into the Site Explorer and we click organic keywords and then we sort by volume, which is going to be the best keywords or by traffic, which is going to be the best keywords for your brand. Then you can take the average keyword difficulty score of the top 10. That’s a good keyword, difficulty score to go ahead and target out of the gates. These are the keywords that you write for today in the top 10 and this is the difficulty of those. It is a logical conclusion that the average difficulty of those is what we should target now, not something that’s way more difficult than that because we won’t produce results if we try to go after too difficult of keywords.
Another pro tip, the low hanging fruit. When you go and look at the organic keywords, put a filter in of 11 through 20, 11 through 30. These are keywords that you’re on the second or third page of Google for, sorting by volume, these are the biggest opportunities. So for example, …
Sorting by volume, these are the biggest opportunities. So for example, for our brand Dollywood, we’re ranking right there at the top of the second page. If we can just do a few tweaks to that content, or build a few links to that content, we’ll push it up onto the first page for that term that’s driving 232,000 searches a month. So you’re going to find this low hanging fruit. And these are pieces of content that can be tweaked slightly to achieve big results with not that much work.
Next up we’re going to go through the MOZ Keyword Explorer. The MOZ Keyword Explorer allows you to put in a term like Dollywood, and you search it and once you’ve done that you have the information similar to the Ah ref’s Keyword Explorer, where it tells you the monthly volume, how many people are clicking on the results and some suggestions. The priority one there on the right hand side, that’s actually the exact same formula that I showed you at the beginning that had your eyes rolling back in your heads. It’s all worked for you, the math is done, and it’s going to help prioritize the keywords that you should target based on the intersection of difficulty and results.
So, we’re going to dial in on the keyword suggestions, and see all the suggestions. We’re going to add these terms that are closely related to Dollywood, and we’re going to put them into a keyword list about Dollywood. Then we’re going to be able to segment and organize on the basis of how important a keyword is to us. So, for example, if we want to dial in on the priority we could look and see there’s 69 keywords that are in that 41 through 60 range on priority. Or, 23 that are in that high 61 to 80, and we can go after this higher priority ones first. Or perhaps, we’re new at this and we want to target lower difficulty to start with. We can go over to the difficulty column and click that graph on the 61, and go after the keywords that are easier to go after to start with, so we start seeing results faster. So, that’s the MOZ Keyword Explorer. With all of this, we’re going to just be using spreadsheets, and taking notes, and we’re going to come up with this list to 100 to 150 keywords that seem like they would driver results for our brand. They’re in the right difficulty range, they have volume behind them, they’re things we can write about, or we can produce content for.
Once we’ve done that, we’re going to do what’s called a KOB analysis. KOB stands for keyword opposition to benefit. It’s the idea that all keywords are not created equal. Some have greater search volumes, some have lower search volumes. We want to find the ones with the higher search volume that are easier to rank for, or to improve the ranking for. So, for example, we see it here, as we run this exercise on our own brand, if we can increase our position for this keyword, it would drive 32,000 of revenue each month. And this is the idea here, we’re going to go into this spreadsheet and actually predict real revenue for you and your brands. It’s not that complicated. All you have to do is go to the first link and make a copy of the spreadsheet. You don’t have to create this spreadsheet from scratch, I have that ready for you. And there’s a video tutorial at the second link that will make sure that you are ready to do this, and that you have the knowledge you need to do this.
Google News, Google Alerts, these are your keyword safety nets. We’re doing this whole process that takes six to eight hours and it’s a lengthy process. It’s a process we need to do. But, at the end of the day we can’t do it every single day, and so the keyword safety nets will fire off an email to you when there’s a new topic popping up on your destination, or Google News will let you stay on top of everything that’s happening on a day by day basis on your own destination. I wasn’t doing keyword research when I got this email about the lightning bugs. However, when I got it, I realized this was a big deal. So, we created a piece of content that drove hundreds of thousands of visitors and real revenue for our brand. So, go ahead, and set these up.
So, we’ve finished that first step, the keyword research. And now, we’re onto content ideation, which is similar to getting on the jet, and flying over to Nepal. You’re invested at this point, it’s actually part of your journey. As we’re on that plane, it’s similar to the content ideation step. Content ideation is more of a human element. We have the keyword, now we need an idea map to that keyword, so then later we can produce the content. Twitter search, great tool, so get over on Twitter search, and you’re going to start seeing the different pieces of content that are doing well. That people are interacting with, and these will get your wheels turning for how you can make parallel, or related pieces of content that are even better that tie into the keywords we’ve already found. If you get stuck looking at your own destinations start to look at other destinations. If you live in Destin, look at Panama City, look at Myrtle Beach, look at other parallel destinations, and don’t just limit the ideas just to one.
Pinterest search, tons of ideas on here. You can put in any vacation rental destination and get just a incredible amount of ideas for you and your brand. Quora is going to work better on the higher volume visit areas, so areas like the Smoky Mountains. But, these are real people that have real questions that ask these questions. So, “What’s the best agenda when visiting the Smoky Mountains?” Or, “Why is the most visited National Park?” These questions will help you produce better content. Buzzsumo is a little bit more of an SEO, or content marketing tool. They have a free plan, that’s what you see up there now. The free plan let’s you search five or ten times a day, but it is somewhat limited. It’s a good place to start. You put in the topic you’re looking to analyze and you can sort by your choice or engagements, or links, or their evergreen score. You can pick the publisher type, is this big brands like Huffington Post, or just little brands like our brands? And the time frame, and you go ahead and search that and again, it’s going to show you the types of content that do extremely well.
So this is the content ideation phase, and now, we’re going to go on to content production. This is similar to the first climb. We’re headed up to Mount Everest. We’re on our way. And this is where we unfortunately, start to lose people sometimes. So, right away, just trying to figure out how to write 150 pieces of content, 200 pieces of content, you may find that you have writer’s block, you need some ideas. Here’s some to get you started. These top ten, will really get your creative juices flowing. If you’re still stumped, go to this link. This is a great post with 150 content ideas, and explanations of why that type of content will work well potentially, with your audience. Think about current events, and resources, and videos, and photography, interactives. These content ideas will fuel your brand’s growth.
Content success happens at the intersection of money, time, and talent, where all of those three collide, is where you’re going to have your best successes. But, I would go as far to say, unless you have two of those, it’s not going to be good content. It’s going to be poor content. It’s not going to work for you, or your brand. So, we often times find that we can’t do this all ourselves. We have a brand to run, we’re property managers too. We have all these different demands on our time, owners, month end, guests. So sometimes, we may need help with content production. For help, we have Text Broker and Writer Access, they can help us with the written content. These are freelance platforms where you can recruit writers to interact with you and then write your brand. Writers Access is my preference between these two, I’ve used both of them extensively. Writer’s Access allows you to give brand guidelines, and voice, and then have a team of writers that you work with on a regular basis that then goes through your own editor. So great platform.
Upwork there in the bottom left corner, allows you to hire photo editors, infographic designers, authors as well, but pretty much any freelancing you can imagine works on Upwork. So, we definitely recommend that, as well. CopyPress, and GuestHook, they’re full service content agencies. They can ideate content ideas. They can even do keyword research for you, and then produce the content. The difference between these two, CopyPress is wide in their approach. They’re right for all kinds of brands, including travel brands, and GuestHook is niche related. They dial in, and they focus specifically on the vacation rental section of the market.
So, if you need a photographer, Instagram is your friend. Instagram is where 100 photographers have already interviewed with your company, and you just don’t know it yet. So, you get over there, and you see all of these beautiful photos. And as you see these beautiful photos and you think through it, you decide, “Hey, I want to hire somebody that shot this photo. It looks like a great photo, I’d love to have hundreds of photos like that associated with my brand.” In essence, you know the quality of their work already, so you reach out to them, and you say, “Hey, let’s discuss doing a freelance project together.” The beauty here is you can do this ten times, you can find somebody who fits your budget, and also fits your content requirements. The quality of work is high enough.
So, video content is a little trickier, depending on your tolerance for either budget, or time invested in this, will dictate which direction you go. So, if you’re tight on budget, you may want to find an intern from a nearby college, with a recommendation from a professor that’s looking to get started in this. The work quality will probably be pretty decent, unless you’re up against a lot of other video content in your market. That may be good enough to get things rolling. If you’re looking for agencies that can create this video content for you, you can use a site called Videopixie. It’s similar to the freelancing sites we were talking about a moment ago, but this is for actual video agencies. You’ll put up a few details about the project, how many minutes it needs to run, some examples, some other work that you were really, really impressed with, as well as just an overview of what you’re wanting. How many crews? And do you want drones? And do you want 4K cameras? That kind of thing.
Then you’ll start to get bids back in, and the bids will look like this. They will give you examples of different projects they’ve already worked on. Then they’ll tell you, “Sure, we have these FFA licensed drone operators. We have cinematic cameras. We can definitely do what you’re asking, and here’s our bid.” And they’re competing against other content agencies, other video agencies. So that, helps you get a little better price. For example, this one was $4500. That was for 3 different crews to go into the Smoky Mountains for four nights camping, get star scapes, and time lapses, that type of thing. Projects don’t have to be this expensive, they start at $500 on Videopixie.
If that’s still too expensive, then another really good option is Craigslist. As weird as that may sound, you can go on Craigslist and you can find people, even going back, a pretty good ways back date wise. You can find people that are videographers. When you find these videographers, you then approach them, you give them all the same exact test project. This isn’t actually about getting content for your brand, it’s about testing out five photographers. So, you give it to five different photographers or videographers, and you give them all the same budget, the same exact instructions for the job. And then, you measure, can they meet deadlines, what’s the quality of the deliverable, how easy were they to work with, and how much time did it take to manage this process? From that, you can then decide on who you liked best, so that 5 to $750 that you spend on that first project, is really more about matching you with a really good video freelancer that then can create content at a fraction of the cost of agencies. So, that’s another really good option.
So, we’ve done all this. We’ve created all of this beautiful content. We have videos, we have photos, the written content, we’re trying to find those content unicorns that are just going to drive millions of visits for the brand. As we’re looking for unicorns in the field, we find this. There’s donkeys all over the place, these donkeys that are just really disappointing to us. See, by definition, a unicorn is rare. Unicorns aren’t everywhere, and this is important to understand. Because, when you understand this, you realize that you can’t create five pieces of content and expect to have had this huge wind that’s driving real results for your brand. This is something that requires a dedication and a level of tenacity where you’re creating content piece after content piece, and it’s a culture, more than it is a one time thing.
So, in fact at this point, even though we have thousands of pages of content, 10 pages still drive all of our brand’s traffic. So, if you give up too soon, you’ll never find these ten pages for your brand. The last step of the climb up to the top of Mount Everest, is content …
… climb up to the top of Mount Everest is content promotion. This is that final climb, up into the death zone, where it’s really difficult, and so this where people are most likely to give up.
So this is PR, and link building, and I hear you, “Why do links even matter?” Well, links matter because they’re kind of like a vote. We’re all going to be going to the ballot here in the next week or two, and links are like votes, except that they’re different than the votes in a political election because there can be negative votes and positive votes, and there’s some votes that are worth more, and some that are worth less.
A good rule of thumb here is we’re after editorial links. We’re after those links from a Huffington Post author, or a New York Times author. The links that you can’t go on Fiverr and buy. You can’t read some guide and figure out how to do it this afternoon yourself, and go leave comment spam and have a link to your site. If you can buy the link, or you can do it yourself with minimal training, that link will hurt your site, not help it, so keep that in mind.
Moz, one of the biggest SEO software companies in this space, has a beginner’s guide to link building, and in that guide, they talk about how links are such an important ranking factor. In fact, the links into your domain or your whole brand, and the links into the specific page that’s trying to rank, are the two most important factors. Those are the ones that are going to push the needle and get things done for you. So this is not something that we can just take lightly or ignore.
Now, I hear you, you’re like, “This is not helpful information, David. I don’t know how to build a link,” but we’re going to go through this, step-by-step, right now. So you’re going to start with an idea, so we had that content idea of a fall foliage map, for example. So we went, and we search fall leaf map on Google, we queried that. We found the best assets that were ranking today, and we thought to ourself, we can create something way better than this, and we did. So that’s what we’re trying to rank now. That’s what we’re trying to get the journalists to cover. That’s the PR and the link focus.
So we take the link of that asset that’s not as good as our asset, that’s currently ranking, and we go ahead and search it. We see how many referring domains it has into it using the Ahrefs tool, and right here, we see Huffington Post, and about.com, and Marriott, and all of these other great brands are linking into this, and we think to ourself, “I’d like a link from Huffington Post.”
There’s other tools we can use for this exact same process, like the Moz Link Explorer. You put the same link in, and you hit search, and there’s the Huffington Post article. You can click that link and go into it. And sure enough, Huffington Post is sending visitors to this page. I’d like Huffington Post to send visitors to me, to help elevate my domain’s authority, so all of my pages, not just this one page, will be more likely to rank, for the money terms and the content terms.
So the next thing I do is I look and see, who is it that covered this story, and it’s Chris McGonigal here. But I hear you, “We don’t have his email. How do we figure out how to contact this guy?” We’re going to use a tool called Hunter.io, and Hunter.io is an email lookup tool, and it’s really easy to use. You just basically go over to their site, and once you’re on their site, you type in the brand that you’re looking to interact with the journalists. You go ahead, and you put in the name. Once you do that, you hit search, and it’s going to tell you. Here’s his email address. We have 96% confidence that this is correct. So we take this, and we can export into a CSV, we can save it, we can manually add it to a spreadsheet, that type of thing.
Now, if that’s too much work, they have a Chrome plugin. This is what I personally use. It allows you to save these email addresses, with the click of one button, to your different lead lists, and then they’re available to you in CSV format for mail merge type sends, which we’ll cover in a moment.
So this is a good time to mention, when we have a journalist’s phone number or email address, that works at Huffington Post, or New York Times, or some of these top tier publications, we don’t want to abuse that. Oftentimes, you’re only going to get one chance. One chance to interact with this journalist and make a positive impression on them. It’s not a piece of content about five reasons to book a cabin with smokymountains.com. It’s not a me-centered piece of content. This is a piece of content that people are talking about at the bar, that you can image somebody would cover on a top tier news site. That’s what we’re wanting to pitch.
So you’ll be exponentially more likely to actually gain the coverage if you use one of these hooks. So our leaf map is using both the news hook, and the resource hook. It’s going to help people plan vacations and understand when fall is going to happen, but it’s also newsworthy because fall and the changing of the seasons is a news topic each year. But these hooks will make you more likely to succeed as you reach out to the journalists.
We’re going to use a tool called Yesware to manage our email interactions with journalists. In Yesware, we’re going to have the ability to schedule emails, and track emails, and use email templates, and automatically follow up with the people that we’re reaching out to. So right away, we want to create a template, and the template is going to be used as we reach out to the journalists. This one right here, you can feel free to copy some of the elements from it. This one generated thousands of news stories for our brand, and it works. Feel free to just go through it and see, okay, what are the elements that would apply to our brand?
So you set these up, and now you’re able to go into your email client and click track, so we can see how many times they open it, when they’re opening it. We can send it on a certain date. So if we’re working at 2:00 in the morning on a Saturday morning, we can schedule that to go to him on Monday at 11:00 AM. Go ahead and put in reminders and select the different templates. This is just super, super cool because then, it sends to them and it allows us to manage the whole process.
So the result of all of this is results, right? Wrong. It’s rejection. When we send 100 emails to journalists, we’re going to get somewhere between one and three links if we have a newsworthy piece of content. So don’t send five emails, expecting to have great results. It’s going to take many, many more than that.
Right away, when people hear it’s going to take 100 emails or more to build some links, they right away ask, “How can we scale this, David?” We’re going to use a Twitter data analytics tool call Followerwonk. This understands what people tweet about, what’s in their profiles, and we want to find a topic that is narrow enough in its focus that people will be really interested in what we’re trying to do, but there’s still a big user base associated with it.
So for us, with the fall leaf map, instead of going with something generic like fall, we went with something much more focused, big data. We searched that. We found 17,000 profiles that were related to that. We downloaded those 17,000 profiles into a CSV that looked like this, and it had all of the information on these people. Everything we needed, other than their email address.
So next, what we do is we take that CSV, we go over to Anymail finder. In Anymail finder, we just upload the new file. Then we’re going to map the data fields to each other and let it process, which will take a couple of hours. But at the conclusion of that, we’re going to have the Anymail finder deliverable, which is basically a spreadsheet with their brand and their email address.
From here, we can go back to Yesware, we can upload this list, up to 200 people at a time. We can then apply the templates and pull in information, like their company name, or their first name. We can send that out, and then we can have automatic stages that follow up with these people if we haven’t heard back from them.
This works. Yeah, it does. We have this map that looked like this, so it was prettier than what was currently ranking. We went ahead and we promoted it, using the exact methodology I just showed you, and that map today gets 2 million annual visitors. It also gets about 500 news stories every single year. It takes a little bit of work, but it’s a process that you can follow, that you can repeat for each of your brands. So this is the amount of domains that are linking into us. Remember, links were that number one and that number two factor, and here it is, more and more links every single year, bigger and bigger success every single year.
After you do this, you’re going to feel like LeBron James. Now, the year he won the title, not the year he lost. But you’re going to feel so good. It’s going to be incredible, and your company is going to benefit in huge ways.
So we’ve kind of talked through the whole climb up to the top of Mount Everest, but I feel like we need to cover 10X content here, which we’ve referenced in the presentation, and we’ve been showing you, actually, an example of it, with the leaf map. That’s an example my brand did, but 10X content is bigger than my brand. It’s this idea that content, if you’re going after a competitive term, needs to be way better than anything that ranks today. This is Rand Fishkin, the founder of Mos, and that link will take you to a video where he discusses this for about 10 minutes. It’s really fascinating to just hear his thoughts on what it takes to rank a term, for a competitive term.
I wanted to go through some examples of it. The first one is how family income and education correlate to each other. So you land on this page, and when you get there, the gray dotted line is not there. That’s the reality line. You draw your guess, hit a button, and then it shows you reality. So you can really kind of test your own beliefs on how these interrelate. It’s an interactive format that’s really, really well done. That’s a piece of 10X content.
Nomad List. This is a just incredible resource that looks at all the available digital nomad cities in the entire world, lets you click into any of these and see the scores in dozen of areas, what neighborhood you should live in, where are the coworking spaces, how can we get there, what’s cost of living look like, how’s the internet speed, everything you can imagine. One destination would be a piece of 10X content, but having this for literally the entire world is absolutely phenomenal.
iFixit is a good example of 10X piece of content that all of us can do. It’s not 10X because of the one tutorial on how to unfreeze your iPhone. It’s 10X because of the total of all of the content. They have every possible tutorial on an iPhone, and then every possible tutorial on all these other devices, and vehicles, and everything else. It’s the totality of the content that makes it 10X. For example, one really good hiking review probably isn’t a 10X piece of content for our brand. But having 150 of those hiking reviews, that’s where it becomes 10X.
The Upshot, it shows you the difference between renting and buying, based on the interest rates, based on how long you’re planning on staying in a given property and the amount you’re looking to spend. It will give you a real number on what all of the costs are associated with it, and what is the price that you should rent at, or buy at.
FiveThirtyEight, pretty much every piece of content they’ve ever put out is a 10X piece of content, including their flight analysis tool. It lets you look at the … basically the misery of flying on one airline versus another, which airlines are the worst, which are the best. For example, here on this route, your best option might be Alaska Airlines and your worst option might be Spirit.
So we’ve talked through this. We’ve talked about the perseverance. You aren’t going to uncover a content unicorn on your first five or 10 pieces of content, most likely. You aren’t going to uncover a Huffington Post link when you send one email out. It takes tenacity. It takes going after this and staying at it. But the good thing is, we have an action plan that each of us can go and implement for our brands. We’re going to do keyword research. We’re going to follow that up with content ideation, content production, and then finally, we’re going to promote the content and we’re going to make sure we have some 10X pieces of content.
Went through a ton of tools today. Here they are, in the order of the presentation. I’ll see each of you at the summit, look forward to answering any questions you might have, and thank you for joining us today.