SEO Essentials for Every Entrepreneur
In this episode of Startup Hustle, Matt Watson welcomes Dave Snyder to the podcast. The guest and CEO of CopyPress is here to share insights on SEO and its value in our personal & professional lives. The duo also discusses effective content strategies to help your brand rank on Google.
Covered In This Episode
Welcome to the age of search engine optimization! Every business has to rank on Google or get behind its competition. Or is that the case when it comes to SEO?
Listen to what Matt and Dave have to say about SEO content marketing. During this episode, get to know CopyPress and the concept behind the business. And learn content marketing tips that will help you create high-quality content, which leads to traffic and great conversion rates.
- Dave Snyder’s background and his CopyPress journey (02:48)
- Tips for creating high-quality content (05:21)
- High traffic vs. high conversion rate (11:55)
- On becoming experts in the SEO space (14:18)
- Gaining traffic vs. getting clients; the effects of quality content (17:30)
- Hub and Spoke content marketing strategy (23:20)
- Different ways to handle content per industry (25:31)
- Discussion points on localized SEO (27:20)
- The idea behind CopyPress (31:06)
- Creating content in-house vs. working with an agency or a freelancer (36:33)
- How much does it cost to create high-quality content? (41:01)
I feel like, in this day and age, there’s a universal truth. If people have a problem, they go to Google and they search for it. If you have the best answer to whatever the question is, you’re going to rank well. It doesn’t really matter who your competition is and how often people search for the word.– Matt Watson
You don’t have to be the wisest person in the world. You just have to be really good at searching for information. And you can find and figure out how to do anything literally in minutes.– Matt Watson
If this isn’t your wheelhouse, go out and find somebody in your niche that can help you. I think the main thing is getting it started and then starting from a place of, hey, what are we trying to achieve? I think you’ll be safe if you go that route.– Dave Snyder
The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.
And we’re back for another episode of the Startup Hustle. This is Matt Watson, your host today, and our guest is Dave Snyder with CopyPress today. We’re going to be talking about SEO and all the key things you should know as an entrepreneur if you have your own business. What you should know about SEO and how it can help your business. For those of you who have listened to a lot of episodes, you may know that I have a big love for that topic. Content marketing was huge for my last business. It drove all of our inbound lead generation. So it’s a fun topic today. I’m excited. Before we get started, I do want to mention that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Wix. Yes, our friends over at Wix know a thing or two about turning a scrappy startup team into a global organization that serves millions of people. And they want to share what they’ve learned with Startup Hustle listeners in their new podcast series called Ready for Takeoff by Wix. So when you tune in to Ready for Takeoff by Wix, you get to hear from Wix founders and company leaders. They share super short lessons to help you build better programs and teams faster. That’s a topic I can really get behind. Subscribe and follow Ready for Takeoff by Wix wherever you listen to podcasts. So, Dave, how are you doing? Welcome to the show.
Doing good. It’s less hot in Tampa than it’s been the last month, so I’m surviving for sure.
Woo, I’m in Kansas City, and it is hot, baby. It’s hot. Summertime is here early.
It felt like 116 here last week with humidity in the 90s.
Holy moly, hundred and sixteen. I was in Las Vegas once, and I felt like I was running from shade to shade.
Yeah, the desert heat gets me too. We have an office in Arizona. I’ve been there in August twice, and it’s like living in a sauna.
Yeah, well, I’m super excited to talk about SEO today and content marketing and all of those things. Um, you know, I see here that you are the CEO of CopyPress. So I would love to learn a little more about your background and CopyPress and what you guys do.
Yeah, so CopyPress is a content production company, right? I don’t try to sexy it up with anything; it isn’t. In our space, two groups of companies. There’s like your platforms where you go, and you hire freelancers. Then you have the agency model CopyPress kind of sits in the middle, where we don’t just link people with writers. We handle the full production service, right? So we do editing, QA, production, and research.
Is all of it. Yeah, right? So we handle the whole piece, but we don’t really bill on an agency model. Our sweet spots really are about scaling content, so we work with a lot of agencies. We have lots of customers, just projects that are really hard to manage with my background in SEO. Before I owned CopyPress, I owned a couple of agencies, and really CopyPress was birthed out of that. Because I mean, the backbone of SEO is always content, right? Like not much has changed in the last fifteen years from an SEO perspective. In the core components of SEO, obviously, the minutia changes because Google is constantly changing. And before Google, Yahoo!, whatever your search engine was. But the core components of content and links have been making SEO what it is for the last fifteen years.
You can play all the games and all the black hat tricks and try to game the system and do all that, but at the end of the day, if you publish really good, high-quality content, it’s just good, high-quality content, right.
Yeah, hundred percent. Yeah, I mean you look at companies like NerdWallet or DotDash, the Spruce, and the Balance, which came out of dot com. I mean, you’re talking about decades worth of editorial content that continues to win. Why? Because it’s just good editorial content. You’ve been going into Google for the last decade and seeing Wikipedia. Why? Because it’s content that people keep clicking on reading, right? There’s not exactly a secret sauce there. Creating quality content is really, I think, the key cornerstone of it for a long time. We used to play games with volume, right? Like how much content can you put out there? Panda kind of killed that, and to an extent, all those things still work in some way. It’s like how long you can get away with them is the new thing. It’s like the best investment somebody can make online. I think of the potential of getting as much return on investment as possible out of a marketing effort. I just don’t know if there’s anything that equates to creating really, really solid content.
Well, so my last company was called Stackify, and you know we struggled with how to reach our audience, which was other software developers. Ultimately, we realized that SEO was, by far, one of the best. I feel like, in this day and age, there’s a universal truth. If people have a problem, they go to Google and they search for it. If you have the best answer to whatever the question is, you’re going to rank well. It doesn’t really matter who your competition is and how often people search for the word. At the end of the day, if you have the best answer to the question, it’ll inevitably float to the top eventually, is what it seems like to me. Link building and all these other things help, but super high-quality content that answers the question better than anybody else seems to be the number one thing.
I mean, specifically in B2B spaces or, I mean, I’m guessing that company wasn’t necessarily B2B, but it was, right? So like B2B spaces Information-rich content is the core.
It was B2B.
There are a lot of ways to slice up that content, too. Because if you think about it beyond answering the question for a Google searcher, your salespeople are probably getting the same questions as well, right? So you can utilize that content in a lot of different formats. The people that have it hard are the B2C, specifically e-commerce people. People might have questions about products, but at the end of the day. Google wants to make as much money off those results as possible, right? They don’t really want to show you if you search for the best mattress. They want to show you a lot of ads and Google shopping results. But I mean B2B. The reality has been the same for a long time. I think the content in SEO is one of the best marketing efforts because, again, you can use that buffalo in a lot of different ways throughout your organization. Get a ton of ah ROI back. And the one thing Google can never replace is content Google doesn’t create content, right? They thrive off stealing content like they can replace the e-commerce sites by putting Google shopping in, but you know Google a searcher has expectations when they go to Google I’m going to get an answer for my thing, so content has to be there. Again like, you know you’re talking about a future-proof model as long as people continue to use Google or a search engine, and I don’t see that going away. Ever. It’s a part of our DNA. Now you know what I mean. There would have to be some type of seismic shift in how we work with information. Which I guess could happen. We’re getting stupider, and maybe TikTok will replace it at some point, right.
I don’t know about you, but my wife hates me sometimes because she asks me a question. I just give her this kind of look, and I’m like, have you googled this yet? Like why are you asking me this shit? I don’t know the answer. But if you had googled it, you would already know the answer before you even asked me the question.
My wife works as a surrogate google for my mother-in-law, and it drives me crazy like she’ll call her and be like way. What’s this, and I’m like it’s wild to watch like the steps happen where my wife has to Google for your mother-in-law. It’s inherently a part of how we live now.
Think about like our grandparents, right? They were wise, and they knew all these things, and they were experts at all these things. Now, it’s like that’s almost not important anymore. It’s like how good are you at finding answers to problems on the internet? Like you don’t even need to know the answers. You don’t have to be the wisest person in the world. You just have to be really good at searching for information. And you can find and figure out how to do anything literally in minutes.
There are positives and negatives to that? Like as an example, I mean, maybe it was the last election in the 2016 election. Before my wife got off Facebook, I had to go through stuff with her and be like all right? Where did you get this information from? Let’s look at where this came from and do some disinformation stuff because it is easy to find anything you want for any concept you want, but it’s like, how do you weed through that information, right? Yeah, exactly like.
You have to get a filter too. Is this stuff? How factual is it, right?
Why this article exists and who got paid to make it is always a good question to ask when you’re going through the internet.
So people who are listening to that are like, “You know what? I’ve always wanted to write a blog. I’ve always wanted to do SEO.” What kind of tips do you have for them besides just doing it? What tips do you have for them?
Are we talking about business owners? I think the first thing is to start with KPS. I see this all the time when we’ll talk to somebody in an org, even a big company, and they’ll be like, “All right? We’ve been tasked with starting a blog or starting content marketing as a concept.” it’s like “Cool. But why? Why are you doing this?” Then the KPI conversation starts there. Traffic as a KPI, I think, is garbage in most cases, right? I always tell young marketers, “You’re not getting paid to drive traffic. You’re getting paid to make somebody money.” So let’s get to the next KPI, right? Is it sales, is it more leads in a funnel, is it downloads of an ebook, right? The reality for most business owners. You have more than one conversion point, so you should have multiple KPIs. Most likely, you know what I mean, and I really think if you start with a KPI structured focus, other things start to become a lot clearer for you because it’s hard? You could start just pumping out content today and driving traffic. You’ll invariably end up back at the same problem of cool. I’ve got traffic now what, right? So addressing those problems early will just keep you from wasting money. What are we trying to do? How is this content supposed to convert? What are we gonna do once it converts? Is it leads? Do you have an email set up? There are a lot of questions that have to be asked.
So from my experience at Stackify, we wrote a lot of content that was kind of top of the funnel. It was like driving awareness, and it reached our audience, but they weren’t necessarily like maybe they’re asking questions or just like trying to find educational things. But they weren’t like, I need to solve this problem today, and I’m willing to pay money today to solve the problem, right? They weren’t at the bottom of the funnel looking to buy something today. They were searching for information, but the strategy worked great for us now. We only converted one percent of those people. Our conversion rate was terrible. Inevitably like you said, you know you can also write content that gets almost no traffic. It’s like three people a month searching for this, but all 3 of them are customers, and all 3 of them buy. That’s part of the struggle you get into. Are you trying to write content that’s like the very top of the funnel, or you’re writing content that’s more down the funnel that has super high conversion, but the volume of it may be almost none?
I think it’s where you got when you’re planning that out. You got to look at it like it’s fine to have parts of your strategy that are just traffic generators. But where’s everything going to head from there? Our biggest client. We took from the portion of the site we work on that went from none visitors a month to now doing over 22000000 visitors a month, and they kept throwing money at this because they’re a huge company as a replacement for TV commercials because the brand like they were showing up for every search in the space. Your KPIs can be really contingent on where you are as an organization. If you’re an organization that’s buying super bowl ads and you’re spending that kind of marketing dollars just getting traffic and awareness totally has value. Suppose you’re more of a startup phase where every dollar needs to be attributed. So maybe you’re looking at Mid Funnel to the bottom of the funnel stuff to spend more of the money on. As you grow, you can start to escalate that curve and say, “Okay, like, let’s add more and more traffic to this and try to fill the funnel and fill it down into the niches.”
For some companies and some industries, the brand that you can build through the content marketing you do and really the product marketing that they do. It can also be really invaluable. There have been times I’ve been searching for different solutions like technology products, and I’ve searched like 50 different things, and this one company always shows up very clearly like my perception of them becomes like, “Man, they are the experts in this space doesn’t matter what I search for they show up know something about this. You know, and maybe I don’t even buy their product, but I learn a lot from them, and my perception of them changes. Maybe I will end up buying their product.” There’s some weird tangible value. You can get to it by just sort of owning Google and or owning the thought leadership of a topic.
Hundred percent. You see this in the fitness space a lot of YouTube fitness YouTubers. You create the awareness about what you’re talking about, and then invariably, they end up working in the supplement business and whatnot. I’ll buy whatever you want to sell me, and I’ll trust that’s the thing. I think there’s value in that as well. It’s why a good content marketing strategy for a company doesn’t just live on its website. We worked with a travel brand called HitMonk. They were a pretty big company y combinator backed, and then it went like most VC companies went kaput, right? But we built up their traffic to about 6 million a month when we were going, and a lot of it was based on this strategy of working with travel bloggers to write on the HitMonk site. We gave them bylines which nobody was doing at the time, and we also had them write about HitMonk on their blogs. Now, this is when Hitmonk wasn’t a known brand, so what did it do? It created brand awareness from everybody that had followed these travel bloggers and trusted what they were saying. Now they’re working with Hitmonk, and then it made the brand grow from there. I think you know again that when you’re creating a content marketing strategy, part of it needs to be. There’s a lot of value in creating your own platform on your own site. I hate when I see people Create. We just started working with other Brand fanatics. They had a blog that was off of their fanatics site, and they just brought it back to the site, but it’s like you see this sometimes where companies will create a completely different platform for their publishing. Now you get to have a home base, I think, but I think at the same time. There’s a lot of value in going into the market and spreading your thought leadership around, too, right using other people’s platforms to leverage yourself.
So let’s dig into that for a minute. One of the really popular places where people host their blog outside their own website like Medium, and for some industries, it’s super common. That company you were mentioning was using something like Medium or what they were using.
They had put their own blog on their own domain and hosted it somewhere, and it’s probably you know how it is these huge companies. There’s probably some tech thing where they couldn’t get tech teams like at it to a subdomain. I think you see the medium thing again from a strategic standpoint.
Why does it exist? I think Medium, as an example, is a great place for thought leadership if you have a person who you’re trying to develop as an individual thought leader and not necessarily branded like, “Hey, this is the content for the whole company’s brand. Think that’s what falls down. Because stuff like Substack now, I mean, it’s really great for getting information out, and it’s a pretty interesting place. We’re seeing the releasing content and how people are utilizing alternative places to release content. It has to be strategic, like how it all fits together. What’s the puzzle?
Have you seen people have success using Medium and stuff like that?
Yeah, I think it’s thought leadership stuff that what you’re talking about is like consulting type of businesses where your thought leadership is the product you’re selling, and it all kind of leads back to a website where that’s a hub for that. Where I think you’re going to see most of your value again. The same thing with substack Patreon and some of these things where you’ve got tentacles out there, and it’s pulling it back, but the business kind of revolves around one person.
In my last company Stackify, your goal when we created content was great. What I call Evergreen content, and I’m gonna write this blog post, and I expect to get traffic from it forever like I’m not writing this blog post. So I can tweet about this, and seven people read it, then you might as well just throw it away because to me, that is sort of a waste of time, and it can be great for email newsletter newsletters or product marketing and some other things. But from an SEO perspective, you’ve got to build content that’s going to drive traffic over a very long period of time, and that’s what I always called evergreen content. What do you call that evergreen content? So to me, I think that the key is trying to create articles that have staying power. It’s not just like, oh, we have a quota. We have to write a blog every week. And just throw some shit out there. It’s got to be something that this strategy is going to rank on Google, and we’re going to get traffic from this thing three years from now. Still.
Within that context, we talked about what the First thing people should start with is KPI. The next thing I always do from the KPI perspective. These people will say we want to start a blog. A blog for me is always. That’s a place you would write about, like the culture of the company Or non-evergreen topics, something that’s timely and newsworthy. When I work with a B2B company specifically, I’ll take their evergreen stuff and break it into what I call a knowledge base. So It’s a completely different thing that’s not blog related because blogs are timely. You put a new piece up, and it pushes the last piece down on the hierarchy, and the categorizations are all done through tagging, where I can have a lot more control over the knowledge base. I can curate what’s showing up on different category pages. I can curate more of what’s linking internally to each other. I can kill the timestamps out of there as well, and that’s where I’m putting my life. I’m optimizing that for rich snippets in Google. When you ask the question, I want to be the answer. That’s there at the top. Not even just clicking through, I want to have the answer, and then I want to get click-through.
Where again, the blog’s more of the branding listicle type of content that’s there to get you to talk about the highest amount of traffic funnel. That’s probably coming through the blog where you can write and rank for just random stuff that’s driving traffic, then get them, and then.
Squeeze them into that knowledge base. Now, these are answers that more of the middle of the pack may be towards the top, and then it’s easier to squeeze those people into like an ebook download or a webinar sign up or a newsletter sign up. For me, the meat and potatoes of the work we do today are really around that evergreen content like, you know, answering questions and creating the 10 x best piece of content on the web for a topic that invariably will rank if you do create that.
I want to talk more about that. But before we do, I want to remind everybody that our friends are over at Wix. Yes, the website and business-building platform know a thing or two about turning a scrappy startup team into a global organization serving millions of people. And they want to share what they’ve learned with you and a new micro podcast series called Ready for Takeoff by Wix, where the company’s founders and leaders share super short lessons designed to help you build better products and teams faster. So subscribe and follow. Ready for Takeoff by Wix right now on Apple Podcast Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Where I’ve seen some of the greatest success of what you just talked about are some people who have done what I would describe as the ultimate guide to x, like whatever it is, and it’s almost like its own little micro site almost where they may have like 10, 20 different web pages that are each different like subtopics of this thing that are all part of this overarching topic like so for example at our company full scale. We could do it.
The ultimate guide to offshore software development and you’ve got oh this best practice for how to do this, Where to hire software Developers. What are the rates? How does it compare by country or whatever? Do you get all these different sub-things? And but you package it all together with this overarching strategy, and I’m building the ultimate guide to whatever, right? and you cover every little subtopic, and then you package it all up and kind of its own little site is not just like random blog part blog articles that were just spewed out. You kind of package it together.
It’s a classic hub and spoke strategy. And like, hey, you got this main hub content, the ultimate guide to whatever, but there’s obviously topics that spoke off of that topic in order to have the most. The complete idea of the hub, you gotta have those spokes attached to it, and there was something that happened with Panda where you know back in the day we used to be like all right, all your information needs to be on one website, but something happened with Panda where Google started to like not like that as much, and there’s an example of that. So about dot com was huge pre Panda, right? You had a bunch of experts writing about dot com, but eventually, they saw that their traffic dropped because of the Panda algorithm change. So what they did was they broke http://about.com into a bunch of sub-properties to balance the spruce. All those dot-dash properties, what was originally http://about.com. Now when they did that, they didn’t just break the balance into one property. They broke it into the balance of the small business. The balance careers dot com and so what, and they’ve crushed the spaces they have gone into, and what it’s I think it’s laid out is that. Google really likes it sometimes when you help clarify and classify a domain on One topic, right? When you can say where they used to love these huge authoritative sites think Wikipedia. Now They’re more like. You know what, we’re going to reward you a little bit. I’m not saying this is like a ranking factor. Nobody should just go out and start doing this, but I think there’s something to be said for hey, this microsite is just chock full of content on this one topic and concept. Because of that, they’re authoritative, and they’re not diluting that authority by writing about a bunch of nonsense. I think that CopyPress itself is going down that path. We want to create a lot of microsites that are content in industry kinds of websites. How do you do content marketing for the travel space right? How do you do content marketing for the finance space? Really blows those topics out because, realistically, every industry is different in how they handle content, and we can write that on the CopyPress site, both from a lead generation standpoint and just a general like. Information standpoint, It’s gonna be so nice if you’re in the travel space. I’m on this website, and it’s just all the content on it speaking to me, you know, and I mean, I don’t have to dig through a bunch of material that doesn’t matter.
I’m working for a company that’s in a home services business, and I want to talk about localized content for a minute. So of the challenges, they have in the home services industry, say plumbers or HVAC or any of these kinds of companies, it’s all hyper-local. They may only do business in a few zip codes or one suburb and one city. Obviously not nationwide usually unless it serves pro or something like that. But usually, they’re smaller companies that are hyper-focused on locality and love to hear what kind of tips you have for companies that are heavily location-based. For example, our customers that we deal with home services. They don’t really want content that gets nationwide traffic because they can’t service the customers anyways, and then it skews all of their KPIs, as we talked about earlier. It doesn’t help them to get 1000000 visitors a month and their website about how to fix a water heater because they can’t service any of them unless they live in Tampa, Florida. So what kind of experience do you have with that challenge with location-based things?
Yeah, we actually do a ton of localized content. One of the biggest agency partners we work with specializes in localized SEO. So we’ve run all their content packages for them and what we see is like. The service business is a good one where you’ve got your services pages. Maybe you have some location pages. You know, like there could be an HVAC guy in Tampa as an example, who’s serving Tampa Clearwater St Pete, right? One thing you gotta do before you go into your content marketing strategy as that kind of business owner is to make sure you’ve localized and put content on your services pages and your locations pages. A lot of that content is going to go a long way. Just putting an address on the contact us page isn’t good enough. Let people know, hey, we’re between the Zoo and Busch Gardens on Heims Boulevard. You’re talking about localized terms that people are going to be utilizing. Your service pages shouldn’t be generic again. I don’t want to rank for just fixing my boiler. I want to rank specifically for ‘fix my AC in Tampa.’ So infuse locality into those services pages. When you’re creating your blog content and your linking content, this is where you can get creative. You should be almost thinking about yourself as a local newspaper. So hey, we’re gonna talk about the topics that we know, How to summer proof your AC and Tampa and how to get ready for gas Barilla like all of these topics that might have an Ac-ben but let’s also just cover the local farmers market and do some interviews with people that are over at the local’s farmers market. Things like the food truck rally were here this weekend. Let’s go out and cover that as well and talk about the right stuff that you could share on your Facebook page as well if you’re a local person. Hey, we went and sponsored the local, you know, soccer optimist club or whatever put that on the blog.
People might think that’s cheesy, but now when Google’s come to that website, they see there is no. You’re an expert on this location plus HVAC, right? You’re writing deeply about your location. So now you can also do the knowledge-based strategy where you’re writing about how to clean your ducts out and add some local flavor on it but link back from those initial articles back, and you get a nice mix of locality, or you’re not going to rank for nationwide terms because the issue is when somebody searches. You know service my ac that they could search service my AC or service my AC Tampa google’s most likely or google is going to deliver them the localized version of that result no matter what right? So even though they don’t want to rank for service. My nationwide, they do want to rank for service may see just the Tampa folks. So I think that’s where going heavy local on your content strategy like local newspaper person hat on and then mix in that knowledge-based stuff that’s the winning strategy. Maybe people don’t give a damn. They’re not coming back to your blog to read that all the time, but you’ve sent out really good signals for Google, and again I think you can use that content in your social media mix as well. That stuff plays really well on the local level, like, “Hey, we’re involved in the community, look at what we’re doing.”
So tell me a little more about CopyPress and what kind gave you the idea to start the company, and what that journey was like.
I owned two agencies before CopyPress. We merged into my first agency, which was successful. We had like ten employees but doing pretty well merged into a bigger one that immediately had financial trouble and problems. CopyPress was a product we created within that agency. There were a couple of tech products we created and because of the financial trouble actually were able to get some investors to invest in CopyPress. We pulled CopyPress out of the main entity, and eventually, I sold my shares in the said agency just to take on CopyPress myself. That agency went bankrupt about six months after I got my shares swapped out. Yeah, a hundred percent, man, and it worked out.
So was CopyPress kind of an accidental business that kind of came out of the agency?
Those are the best kind. Yeah.
At the time, I didn’t think it was, you know because what was really interesting was that the guys that invested in this business actually started a couple of other companies with them, and we thought the moneymakers were going to be the other things. CopyPress was just kind of the thing that was left. We were really ahead of the market because we really focused on quality. What would people call expensive content in 2011 when we started out. That was when people were still doing penny-a-word content, and it was like the main thing it took six years for the market to come around where people were like, “You have to pay to get good content,” realizing that Google was moving towards that model as well. During that part of the process, a lot of hardships and hard times. Being ahead of a market like that and then so we just spent that time refining our processes and workflows technology to get to the point where we are now, where we feel some of the biggest content projects I know of online. I don’t think there are a lot of companies that can do what we do like. We’re talking about scaling 2k-3k articles a month that all have similar voice and tone, and formatting. I mean, it’s just a boring concept. But it’s like a difficult job in production manufacturing even though these are digital goods.
So you’re talking 2 to 3 articles, and that’s for 1 of your customers. That’s just for one customer, right.
Yes. Our biggest customer is about 2000-3000 articles a month. But even our largest agency customers probably ordered 500 articles a month across localized businesses. We don’t just create the writing. We do editing and QA, so there’s a lot of workflow management that has to go into place, you know.
Well, that’s the thing about content creation and SEO. So you know, at Stackify, when we did this and even today for the Full Scale blog, we publish new articles just about every day. It seems simple. But when you really get into creating the assembly line of it and really taking it to the next level, there are a lot of steps. You gotta create all the different content and plan it all out, but then you’ve got to actually write the content and then have somebody else do grammar review and topic review. You have to know whether they covered the topic the right way, and you got to create images for it, and you got to optimize it for SEO, and then you gotta schedule it and like they’re just all this shit you got to do to do it the right way at a high level is the point.
Yes, when I talk to people every day about it and we try to take over everything for our customers, and it’s like a lot of times when I get on a call with people, they do not realize the investment from their time that has to go into the content side.
To do it the right way.
Yes, you got to create a style guide. Most people have never even thought about that but like how’s your writer going to know what to say and what not to say? Are you guys a funny brand? Do you write? Do you use contractions like there are a lot of questions that need to be answered that need to go into that style guide creation? You can’t just take what they write and put it Up. You got a QA which means fact-checking and all other kinds of stuff, right? As you said, you now have to format the content.
Optimize it for SEO.
Create the editorial, and then you have to have the preliminary strategy in place on the SEO side. Before it’s even optimized, what topics are we going to generate? Even the QA piece, if you’re going to go with freelance writers, that can be a real nightmare, man. You have to go and train those writers on how to write for us. Now they found another job that pays them more. You got to train another writer to come and do that. I think people really underestimate the amount of effort because there’s so much content online. They’re just like we’ll just do content, but there’s a crazy amount of effort that goes into it, and then to do it really well, It’s a whole nother level of effort. Even at that level of effort, level of spend, I think specifically in the B2B space, the ROI is immense comparatively.
So do you recommend and separate CopyPress for a minute, forget about it for a second, do you recommend people to try and create their own blog posts, or do you recommend that they work with an agency or a freelancer? For people that are trying to do this, what would you recommend that they do?
Great question. So I’m a big believer in just doing what you’re best at, right? It’s like when I started at my own first agency. The first thing we got was a bookkeeper and a lawyer. Why? Because I don’t know anything about law and I don’t know anything about taxes.
I don’t want to do that shit.
I always feel like people are best served to do what they’re best at or even at my house. Like, why am I willing to pay a guy to come to mow my lawn because I make more money in that hour doing what I do best, and he can do what he does best, and so I think that’s kind of how it breaks down to me. Suppose you’re an entrepreneur who has a writing background and a content background. Of course, you should start with yourself. You probably have a clear idea of what you want to do, right? But if you’re not, it’s always best to get other people involved in it. If not, you’re going to exacerbate yourself, and there’s a finite amount of time. I really think that’s what it comes down to if you’re doing an assessment of “What’s my time worth?” At our company right now, I handle a lot of the sales myself. Anything I don’t spend on sales, I need to think back to how many sales I could have closed or gotten closer with. If I do that I think I think that’s an important period from an entrepreneurial standpoint. I think starting out building it outside of your structure and not hiring full-time is probably a smart place to go. That doesn’t mean it’s working with a company like CopyPress. That means you can go on Upwork and find somebody to help you just write blog posts to start. But I think before you like. Marrying somebody as a full-time employee, you should have a general idea. This is what I want to invest in for next year.
It’s not usually a full-time job for most companies anyway, right? If they’re just trying to publish like a couple of blog posts a week or whatever, they don’t need a full-time person to do it.
Again you have to figure out what the strategy is, and I think you need somebody to help you work through that. That’s how I would approach it.
So for those who are thinking, “Hey Dave can we use CopyPress?” Who is your target Customer at CopyPress? Is it somebody that wants to write a hundred articles or a month? What is your target customer?
We like to work with enterprises, and then we work with agencies and our target customers, spending a minimum of 5,000 a month. So the way I always break it down is like if you’re that company looking to hire somebody full time, we’re probably a better option because we can not just do the writing, but we can do everything for you. We also don’t charge like retainers and agency nonsense. Everything’s unit-based.
Okay, very cool.
There are a lot of great companies out there. There are Scripts who do really cool work where I think you can pay on a one-off basis to get access to some really good creatives. Upwork obviously is a good platform. Another great idea going back to that thing I talked about with HitMonk is in your industry. Go find somebody creating great content like a blog or in your niche and see if you can create a relationship with them to come and do your count. They’ve got it figured out already.
That’s what I did at Stackify. I would see who was ranking well and the authors, and sometimes they’d be from different tech blogs or whatever, and I track some of them down, and I’m like, “Hey, we’ll give you X amount of dollars to write an article for us.”
Or even go farther and be like, “Hey, a guy who runs this tech blog, I’m going to, you know, pay you monthly. I want you to build my editorial calendar.” They’ve already built out the content strategy for their blog, so they can now take it and place it on top of yours. There’s somebody out there who knows your niche really well. That’s the disadvantage for a company like CopyPress is maybe we haven’t worked in that niche before, we’re not going to be the experts that other people are, but you can definitely find a hungry high, quality content creator that is interested in partnering with your brand that will come on and, I think that’s an interesting strategy for sure.
So for those who are thinking about, “Okay, that’d be great. I could hire a freelancer to help do this to set people’s expectations. What do you think they should expect to pay for a high-quality article? And I know that’s loaded because what we paid at Stackify was double what other people did because it was super long and super high tech.
It’s definitely going to come down to the topic, right? I think just for the writing part of it for sure 5 to 10 cents a word for just the writing. Then you got to figure out, well, do I want to send it out to an editing company for QA stuff. You know, I mean, I think all in you’re probably if you account for your time as well. ¢25 a word. So a thousand-word article is gonna be 250$, right? People really don’t look at the cost analysis when they’re doing stuff. They’ll be like, well, I paid a text broker ¢ two a word which they still offer content at that rate, and so that’s what I paid. It’s like no man. You paid them ¢2 and you got the article back. You revised it. You sent it back. They did it again. You then QA it, then you decide all, right? I’m just gonna write half of it myself, format it, and put what you haven’t taken into account the 7 hours you spent on it and what your billable hour is now you’re way past that 250. I see that so often that people just discount the cost analysis on what the content’s actually costing.
Yeah, you can spend so many hours proofreading content. It’s crazy.
Yes, and if you don’t, it will end up in the trash, right? I think I know what I get on almost all my calls now. It used to be ten years ago, I would bring up prices like this, and people would be like, that’s a lot. I don’t hear that anymore. I think the market understands. I want good content. Do you know what I mean?
So at Stackify, we used a company that helped do this kind of editorial and created this content, and they were niche to like IT-related topics, but they would charge 800 to a thousand dollars for an article. But those articles a lot of times are also 2000 words, and they were super technical, and there, you know, like how to do this thing with this programming language with Aws and whatever, and I mean you had to have industry knowledge.
From what we know, they probably have a multi-layered system too, where you actually have a thought leader or subject matter expert because how many engineers are you gonna find that can also write really well? It’s gonna be minimal.
They had a subject matter expert they probably interviewed, figured out stuff, and brought it back to a copywriter. Your old magazine type of writing stuff that’s going to cost money. So now you gotta pay the subject matter expert, and a writer still needs to have the good tech knowledge to be able to take what they’re getting and put it down. That’s why these systems at scale are definitely difficult to build. But once they’re locked in, I think there’s really good value to be had in them. You’re selling tech products and a thousand-dollar article that brings you in a thousand visitors a month once it hits its peak, 12000 visitors a year. That’s great ROI. In the tech space, you’re not buying paid traffic at that rate.
Right. That was the game for us. I think over 3 or 4 years of time, we had written like 800 blog posts or something like that, and we were doing about 10M website visitors a year, which was a lot. I mean, most software developers on this planet have probably been to our blog even if they didn’t know it just because they searched for different random computer programming-related topics, and that ended up on Stackify.com. It worked really well for us, so it drove all of our business. We talked about what you do with that traffic, right? Some people were ready to try our product, and they’d sign up and try the product, but we also had a free tool, so we built a free tool that we gave away. That was a huge success for us. That was the next step, like, “Hey, you got free content. We have a free tool!” and then you know a certain percentage of people that would download the free tool would inevitably buy the product right. So it’s just creating that sales funnel and trying to figure it out. But it works for most industries; you just have to figure it out.
I think so. Even going back to the eCommerce side, I think there’s information like I don’t see enough eCommerce people messing around with the concept of buyer’s guides and like how stuff fits. Why are the different styles that are important right now, you know and then leading people into buying things? Even in that context like e-commerce, you get them in with the informational content around Buyers Guide. You give them a discount code, and you get them now to sign up for their rewards. It really layers into any industry. It doesn’t matter what it is.
Especially in e-commerce, I always struggle with user experience. I mean, you go to Lulu Lemon’s website, and I’m trying to buy leggings for my wife, and I could buy this one, and what the hell is the difference like it doesn’t even tell you. There’s no guides or any of that, or you know there are all kinds of that.
It doesn’t make sense to me like what hasn’t still hasn’t happened is a true replication of what we used to get from an in-store experience. I think some companies have tried that in varying methodologies. Your example is a perfect one if I’m buying something for my wife. I don’t know what any of the sizing means. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I need someone to educate me. You’re not gonna do that on a product page. I think there’s still a space where they haven’t figured out because eCom is probably more than anybody is used to. Can we grab they’re willing to pay for traffic where they can grab the consumer as they’re ready to buy? Where B2B, we’re always used to somebody being in the funnel for a while, so we’re fine with a conversion that might not convert to a final sale for a month. If you’re sitting there with a C level of an e-comm, and you’re telling them, “Hey, we’re gonna put up the track. We’re gonna put up content on the site, and it might take a month to convert two months to six months.” You know what? They’re just not used to that buying cycle.
Well, I think this has been very educational for everybody listening today, and once again, I want to remind everybody that today’s episode of Startup Hustle was sponsored by Wix. Are you an entrepreneur or founder trying to figure out how to successfully navigate the rocket ship that is hypergrowth? If you want to take control over your company’s online presence internally and externally, well, our friends over at Wix Enterprise can help. Wix Enterprise is a platform that provides businesses with an all-in-one solution for all types of growth and business needs to create high-performance performing websites for your business, all of which are backed by enterprise-grade security. As well as expert support to help you manage and skill online head over to https://wix.com for more information. Well, Dave, I really appreciate having you on the show today. Um, as I said earlier, I love content marketing and SEO. It was huge for my previous business. Um. Love to hear any final thoughts or suggestions you have for those listening that are thinking about me, and I really want to do this SEO thing. I really want to do this content thing. I just don’t know how to get started or what to do.
Yeah, I mean, I think my biggest advice is to get started now. In some way, you know, SEO and content marketing take a while to start yielding. So, you know, kicking the can down the road means you’re really kicking the can down the road six to twelve months every single time you kick it down. So like, just get started with something that you can manage today. Hey, I’m going to refresh the content that we currently have. I’m going to, you know, like I said, go find some help. If this isn’t your wheelhouse, go out and find somebody in your niche that can help you. I think the main thing is getting it started and then starting from a place of, hey, what are we trying to achieve? I think you’ll be safe if you go that route.
And if somebody is listening and thinks that CopyPress could be part of that solution. How should they learn more?
Yeah, I mean, you can email me at DSnyder@copypress.com. Or you just go to https://copypress.com and fill out the form there. I’m also on Twitter, @DaveSnyder. I’m there sometimes because the world’s hell; I try to stay away from Twitter.
It is the world’s town hall, as they say, full of misinformation. Bots are telling me all about the Russian war. It’s all out there now. It’s crazy, but for some things, Twitter’s fun.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don’t need it in my life. So stay away from that.
All right. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. Thank you, sir.
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