What you and I are finding as we carry on in this series is our ability to piece together insights and advices from previous guests and their niches as our knowledge extends into these different branches. My guest today, Doug Cunnington helps us expand our knowledge base in Amazon affiliate marketing, a combination of other subjects we have explored already. And in all credit to my guest, this is about a fraction of his scope.
Doug Cunnington is a recovering IT Project Manager and spends his time thinking and talking about Internet Marketing, SEO, Financial Independence, and doing cool things outdoors. After 10 years in a corporate gig that ended in a layoff, he went out on his own to learn affiliate marketing and SEO. Doug has been featured all over the web, including CNBC, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Empire Flippers, Hubspot, and more. He’s been to all 50 States, enjoys homebrewing beer, and drinking it.
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Doug Cunnington: [00:00:00] I'll give a little bit of a hack that can be helpful. If you can interview experts, so they kind of fill it up for you. As you do this more and more your site will have more authority, potentially they will link on social media. So that's a really nice way to not only network, but get some of that expertise and just have it rub off on you and your site.
Hopefully over time, you'll learn more and you'll become one of those authorities in the industry as well.
Joseph: [00:00:34] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of the kind of insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable, so let's go.
What you and I are finding as we carry on in this series is our ability to piece together insights and advices from previous guests and their niches as our knowledge extends into these different branches. My guest today, Doug Cunnington helps us expand our knowledge base in Amazon affiliate marketing, a combination of other subjects we have explored already.
And in all credit to my guest, this is about a fraction of his scope.
Doug Cunnington. It is great to have you here on Ecomonics. How are you doing today? How are you feeling?
Doug Cunnington: [00:01:26] Um, great Joseph pleasure to be here. I'm excited to get into the details.
Joseph: [00:01:31] It's a pleasure to have you here too. And I think getting into the details is a, uh, insightful way of putting it because your expertise, it draws from two other threads that we've talked about previously on it.
Um, but we will let you to, uh, explain that to us. Cause I'm certain that you can do it better than I can. So opening question, tell us what you do and what you're up to.
Doug Cunnington: [00:01:52] So I'm Doug Cunnington. I blog over at niche site project, and I have a YouTube channel and a podcast and talk about affiliate marketing, SEO, and a little bit of productivity as well.
And I didn't start in marketing or entrepreneurship or anything like that. I started as a corporate worker bee. I was a management consultant. I did project management and then kind of dabbled on the side. Like a lot of people do, especially in the corporate area, you get a little bored and I got laid off in 2015, and at that point I sort of drove in into this area of entrepreneurship and I've been doing my own thing here, working full-time for myself for the last several years.
Joseph: [00:02:36] Um, okay, well, so while we're just going through some of the backstory, I do have a small curiosity about it was the layoff of the result of some broader reaching issue with the economy at the time, or was it just like a company related issue?
Doug Cunnington: [00:02:49] It was, it was a company related issue, um, and probably closely related to me was a Doug issue at that point in time. And I'll explain. So I worked my way up into sort of middle management. So I was a consulting manager and I had a team of people working for me. And I was also listening to a lot of Tim Ferriss and entrepreneurs. So I was thinking, oh, I could test out these ideas.
I have quite a lot of autonomy on my own team. So why don't I see how this works? If I do things differently than we have the last 5 or 10 or 15 years. Um, and I stopped asking for permission. A lot of times you would ask your boss, they would have to check with their two bosses and usually you couldn't even do a very small experiment.
So I started doing this on my own and I was kind of a squeaky wheel. Some things did work. Some things worked pretty well, but I was on the front end of layoffs. So they actually were laying off a lot of team, a lot of the team, but I was one of the first people. So side story on that, my wife and I moved out of the state who were sort of slow traveling and working remotely.
I mean, we took advantage of that fact. So when, when I moved, I was also not located in one of the hub cities. So another reason to lay me off.
Joseph: [00:04:16] And it speaks to a pretty far reaching theme that I've observed on this show, which is e-commerce is a much more freeform industry. And it speaks more to people who really have their own internal systems rather than depend on the system of a company or infrastructure. And, and I have the, the, uh, the, the luxury of being in like a transitional phase where I'm like getting away from structure more into like a, a mix of the two, you know, I had to get my own autonomy. So, you know, thumbs up as far as where I'm at right now, now that it has to remind the audience every time, just every third time.
But it seems like that indiv independent, that entrepreneurial spirit was a pretty powerful and quite potent to the point where you were almost like training in that environment. So I can see like a, kind of a cool takeaway there, which is having somewhat of means to start practicing the muscle memory of independent while within that structure until eventually, you know, it, uh, it phased you out and you were a little bit more ready to hit the ground running at that point.
Doug Cunnington: [00:05:13] Yes. Couple things. And what you mentioned, Joseph one in the bigger environments, there's so much waste in the, I mean, I was part of the waste. That was middle-management right. You could cut a lot of those people out and it's not going to impact things pretty much interchangeable parts that could have thrown any other person in there.
And the, the other portion is I was on a pretty big team and I did have enough seniority where I could step up for certain things. So I, I literally thought, well, I want to improve my presentation skills because maybe one day I want to have a YouTube channel and a podcast. So I was volunteering to put together presentations, which normally would be pretty boring.
That's kind of the, you know, this is the crappy jobs. No one wants to put together this slide deck, but I thought, how can I learn something while I'm volunteering for this and make it useful for me, not just in the corporate environment, in this company, externally. So I was putting together more interesting slides and presentations that looked more like what we would see on YouTube versus a sterile, very boring corporate presentation.
So I thought, how can I take advantage of the fact that I can do these things? And there's a lot of people that can help me out. They'll give me feedback on this presentation. And I was doing presentations in front of, was virtually, it was a few years ago, so it was more impressive, but it was, uh, you know, virtually for 50 or 70 people, which it would be really hard for me to put that together on my own outside of the company.
Joseph: [00:06:50] And w uh, one other thought that came to my mind as you're describing this too, is that why. No, not everybody has that kind of like ability to even attempt something within their, their, their structure. I do want to point out in fairness is that, you know, uh, exiting one structured system does mean that a reliance on a larger one, such as having both saved the internet, we're having a country to live in having a city to live in.
So there are other larger, more far reaching systems and it gets to a point where everybody has to depend on one. And when we're in other, otherwise you move to one of those war torn countries, or what is walking around with AK 47. So that's a little bit too much freedom even for a guy like me.
Doug Cunnington: [00:07:27] Right.
Joseph: [00:07:27] So it's interesting to hear that, you know, it's been like 90 recordings so far, and even, even a story like that, I anticipate it might come up again. But I think it's, uh, it's fascinating to hear just from like the knowledge that I've acquired, I'm understanding this, this transition, uh, unfolding as you're describing it, but let's get to what, uh, w what we're doing now, these days.
So, as I mentioned before is, you know, we've talked to people into different camps, and you're somewhat of a combination of these two camps. So we've talked to some people who are Amazon experts, and we've talked to people who are experts in affiliate marketing, uh, all of which I am happy to refer you to afterwards.
But what I noticed, what stuck out was your, uh, proclivity for Amazon affiliate marketing. So, one thing I want to make sure is before I pigeon you a hole is like the Amazon affiliate guy. What percentage, or what degree would you say that makes up the, uh, the brunt of your work?
Doug Cunnington: [00:08:18] So I'll speak historically.
Things are always shifting, you know, so historically. Like 50% of the work and revenue. So part of my business is about selling courses in the make money online. I'm sure a lot of people, it's a weird industry, right. We create courses on the things that we're doing. And, you know, I, I tried to bring my professional background into it.
I have a PMP, project management professional certification. So I tried to bring that professionalism into the industry and, you know, be sort of the cream of the crop and try to put those systems and processes, frameworks, and a lot of the corporate skills that I developed over the years into kind of the wild west of like making money online.
So I forget the original question, but I think I answered at least part of it.
Joseph: [00:09:15] Yeah. Because, well, he's saying that, uh, the, the core of your work is the Southern courses online and that's what I've seen from different website. Um, so, but I still want to ask you about your experience with the Amazon affiliate marketing.
So, um, on a, as like, right now, like 50% of what you do, 20%, 25%.
Doug Cunnington: [00:09:33] It's probably more like 20%. And I outsource a great deal of that. So a lot of my focus right now is more on creating content and podcasts in YouTube after you or me personally, I won't speak for other people, but after you work on something for a little while, um, sometimes it gets a little boring.
So I have spent seven, eight years creating Amazon affiliate sites and other affiliate marketing type sites. And it's not as exciting as it was when I first got started. And I'm finding for me personally, I'm more interested in some other topics. So I'm exploring those while still starting new sites occasionally, so that I remain current and understand the, you know, the Google aspect of it, working with Amazon, pulling into others affiliate programs too. So I think that's a big piece of the puzzle that people should consider it as well. Don't just work with Amazon. You should try to work with many different companies to diversify and sort of spread the risk. If there are changes to the Amazon associate program, for example, so overall about 20% and I've started a couple of new sites in the last year.
So that keeps me current. I know some of my peers, maybe they started two sites one 15 years ago and one, eight years ago. So it's really hard to extract what they're doing for a brand new site. Sometimes it just doesn't transfer to a brand new site anymore.
Joseph: [00:11:07] Sure. I mean, and cause a lot of it has to do with the content and content is written at a certain time with a certain mindset, the overton window moves, the cultural zeitgeist moves. Just the referential material that people might put in their content can change. You know, the memes that you'd seen, however, is the names you'd see back then alone, it's a small thing, but even something specific like that, it can have a great deal of difference.
Okay. So it was, it was important to clear that up. Um, now I will say in, in, you know, in the interest of being as prepared as I could be, a lot of what I wanted to ask about was in the Amazon filling side, but we are going to get all your other expertise as well. So one of the things that we had, uh, we agreed on this as we were got into the recording, uh, which is the importance of affiliate marketing.
And I've hammered this to my audience in the past when we have experts on this site. Um, but what we want to do is also, uh, specifically talk about why this is so important, even for somebody who's drop shipping such as myself. To our audience, you know, I know that a lot of us are drop shippers. This is a drop shipping country.
But while the question of is drop shipping, dead has been asked. And even the question has been beaten to death. We still want to get people away from that mindset and into the mindset of you're running a business and you have to take this seriously, but you also have to look within yourself and understand what is it that you really want to convey and what work do you want to do?
And what difference do you want to make? And a lot of that can be conveyed in the content. So starting question is somewhat mindset. I'm also getting maybe into some of the tools and some of the reasons is that we can use as well. So a, what is if possible. The maybe the advantage of starting with Amazon or even, I guess really?
How do I do it? Am I just focusing on products available on Amazon, the relationship between what I could do and what Amazon has to offer? I'm not clear on whatsoever. So I think that's a good place to start.
Doug Cunnington: [00:12:56] So upfront. One of the reasons why I encourage people to work with Amazon, even if they think, Hey, these commission rates are quite low.
The fact is so many people order from Amazon. The amount of friction is super low. Probably all of us have like the Amazon app on our phone. Most of us do, and our credit card info is in there. It's so easy for me to order something and potentially have it this afternoon or at the latest two days. So friction's low and it converts really well.
Even if the commission rates are much lower than some other companies or dramatically lower than drop shipping or sourcing the products. In whatever capacity that is so Amazon, it just converts better. So it should be a piece of the puzzle. Even if your long-term vision is to have your own products, white labeled.
If you're going to have a drop shipping situation, maybe you have great relationships with some of the big manufacturers that have well-known brand names and you can work with them in the future. Maybe digital products. See, right. I love digital products, software and courses because the margins are so high that the commission rates could be, you know, 50% kind of.
Kind of is like a regular, um, commission rate that you would see. So Amazon's good. It's a good place to start with. It should probably still be a piece of the puzzle that you have, even if it's not going to be your main focus.
Joseph: [00:14:34] So with say, let's just say, I read a blog post in specific, and I, if I were talking about a product, what anything I can see is having to decide if this is going to a back link to Amazon, or if it could potentially back link to another website.
Um, is there a conflict of interest there where I would have to select who I want a bank link to know? So just so that different companies aren't kind of at each other's throats.
Doug Cunnington: [00:14:57] Sure. So one thing with Amazon, and I know whether it's the FBA side or the associate's side, they have very strict operating agreements that you agree to.
So technically, you have to be very careful and I'm not a lawyer. So someone should read the Amazon associate operating agreement and then you'll be at least aware of what's there, there can be a conflict of interest you might get in trouble if you link in a certain way. However, in my experience, and anecdotally, generally Amazon doesn't mind, or generally in force, if you link to other affiliate programs and one of my friends over at a genius link, um, there a smart affiliate link company and they have a piece of functionality is choice pages, and essentially you would click a single link. You go over to this choice page on genius link and you're presented with different affiliate links. So you can pick and find the best price or the best terms for the shipping or whatever you want to find the whole point being when the visitor has a choice and they can find the best deal that's usually going to convert better just in general. And it turns out most of the time, not always Amazon, most of the time has the best price. So it will, can convert a little bit better. So all that to say, redefined print. Usually if you give a visitor a choice, they will convert because they're more secure knowing they've picked the either best price or the breasts package, or whatever's most important to them.
Joseph: [00:16:50] So what stuck out to me too, was genius link bear in mind that like, when I'm doing prep, I get some time to look into it, but I don't get too much time. So I don't, I didn't get to see too much of like some of the tools and some of the resources available, but just the idea, just hearing genius link and you summarizing it very quickly does change a lot of, not just the motivation to write the material.
Actually it does significantly change the motivation to write the material because now I have other, um, uh, areas that I can, uh, send it to. And like you said, give the customer the choice to maybe they don't want to support an Amazon. They think they got the reasons maybe they want to support somebody else.
Maybe I want to at least give other, uh, you know, other independent stores. Uh, I shot as well, maybe work out an agreement with them as well as say, you know, one way or another I'm going to get the sale. Right. But if you guys are willing to make an arrangement with me, we might be able to motivate people to head into that link rather than a, what I would say is respectfully defaults to Amazon.
I think Amazon is, is a fantastic, uh, institution at this point as a, it's a fantastic default, but you know, I'm now tactically to their competition. So, you know, we all have to weigh the cost benefits of that. Um, so along those same lines, uh, are there any other resources or tools you want to just rifle off real quick, that all on the same lines of genius link, other stuff we can look into.
Doug Cunnington: [00:18:05] Sure. And, and in no particular order, I do a lot of keyword research and we're probably going to talk about that pretty soon. I really don't care like which tool people use. I know some folks are big proponents for certain companies and they shun the rest on. I don't really care much. So I'll throw a few out.
One is KW finder. It's a pretty good one for sort of pure keyword research. H refs is fantastic for more technical SEO and backlink analysis. Some Russia's very good too. And there's a browser extension called keywords everywhere. It's very inexpensive. It's quite usable all across sites that I visit, including YouTube, Amazon, um, Google search console.
It's, it's a versatile tool and relatively inexpensive. As far as I'm trying to think if there's any other tools, none come to mind right now, I'm kind of a minimalist. I don't like to have a lot of extra stuff or learn new new tools.
Joseph: [00:19:12] Right. Yeah. I get that, that, that alone, that there's, there's plenty of there to work with.
And one thing that my audience understands too, is that, you know, we get as much as we can get at an hour, but they have all the time in the world to sink their teeth into all of these. So, uh, I, I can definitely see a genius link in my future. So that's for sure. So there's a couple of other things that I wanted to, to, to talk about.
And I also just want to understand how I'm, uh, I want to frame the remainder of this episode because, you know, when you said that it's funny, cause it's almost like this is the 80 20 rule where it's like, you know, we're 20% of what you do is 80% of what we're going to talk about today. So I just thought that was funny, but I also want to make sure that I'm making time for what your, your current interests are.
So I'm thinking around like the last 15, 20 minutes, we'll, we'll get to that. So, and you also have to forgive me. I don't, um, uh, have. Uh, prep quite for that as much as I have this other stuff, but I still want to hear about it.
Doug Cunnington: [00:20:05] Yeah, no, I was going to say, we could spend, we could talk mostly about what you had down.
I it's a, it's a newer thing, so we can.
Joseph: [00:20:14] Well, we'll, we'll one way or another we'll wrap up with it. Cause I think it'd be cool to hear about what you're up to these days and it's important for people to understand. It's funny. Cause like when I talk to people in drop shipping, a lot of them, you know, they're happy with what they're doing.
They made their money and they start to see. But different routes and they want to take their business elsewhere. So it is also interesting to hear somebody in the affiliate side is also like, well, you know what, now I kind of want to do this thing. It's a consistent through line happens in drop shipping, happens in affiliate, happens in all of this. So, I'm cool with it.
So with that out of the way, so the things we've got to talk about, we're going to have to talk about the keywords and some of the terminology that people need to understand about this. So let's, let's just dive into that. So two terms stuck out to me, um, there's keyword golden ratio, and then there's long tail keyword and while just the definition is a helpful, I think it's also important for us to understand the significance of this and how it relates it to like an overall grander strategy. So if you want to maybe start with like, what are the, what's the strategy up to that point? When it fits into the strategy, how it transitions into end game, all of that I'm wide open.
Happy to hear.
Doug Cunnington: [00:21:30] Okay. You'll have to pull me back in when I go on a tangent here, Joseph, but okay.
Joseph: [00:21:34] This is very pro tangent territory. Um, I'm a big, big fan of tangents.
Doug Cunnington: [00:21:38] When we're approaching our affiliate site or even a drop ship or any e-commerce site, any site where you want to get organic traffic from Google, you can use these ideas and techniques.
There's a book called the long tail by Chris Anderson. That goes pretty deep into this long tail idea. We're going to use it based on keyword research. So in the simplest definition, a long tail keyword has a low number of searches per month. So that's kind of the main metric people use with keyword research.
So as a small number of searches, the good part is they're often very specific number one, and then there's a whole lot of them because follow the graph, and this is a mathematical term. So as you follow the graph, the long tail goes out for a very long way. So some terms may only get 10 or 15 searches per month.
They're often very specific though. So maybe it's best DSLR camera for vlogging and travel, something very specific and people don't search for it all the time because it's so narrow. So that that's kind of the idea with long tail keywords. They're a great way to get traffic to a new site. And perhaps if you have an e-commerce shop, some of your products are very tailored towards a specific user or a specific application.
When we're thinking about keyword golden ratio terms, which is a method that I created. It's a data-driven way to find keywords that are basically underserved on the internet. It's really a subset of long tail keywords. So I have a few videos where I actually go through a demo. I'll explain it quickly, and then we can unpack it a little bit more.
So there's an advanced Google search command called entitled, and you can use it and put in a keyword phrase. So best DSLR for blogging, for example, and then you'll get some number of results at all. It'll tell you, you know, I'm going to make it up, it'll say 50 results. So that means there are 50 pages on the internet in Google's database that use all of those words in the title.
If a webmaster uses all the words in the title, there's a good chance their trying to target that specific keyword. So what we're looking for is a ratio where you take the all entitle results and you divide it by the number of searches per month. And you ended up with some ratio. We're looking for keyword, keyword, golden ratio terms where the ratio of under 0.25.
And that'll give you very low competition. If you reverse the math, you'll end up with 62.5. Now the key thing is you want to make sure the maximum search volume is 250. So max search volume two 50. So anything under that is going to be okay. So essentially you're looking for low competition keywords that have very few results on the internet.
Joseph: [00:25:03] So when you say 250 search results, that means, uh, no more than 250 websites or even web pages. Um, if I'm understanding that right where one website can have several pages that are all competing for somebody as attention, almost like. Uh, like, uh, like a bunch of NASCAR's who are all part of one group, they're all competing for first place, but they're also kind of working alongside each other to, uh, make it more difficult for anybody individually.
Is that, is that also true?
Doug Cunnington: [00:25:31] So I may have, although I used to watch NASCAR when I was younger, um, I think I may have got lost in the analogy. I think you said it reversed. So the number where we have the all entitle results, and then we divide that by the number of searches per month. So for example, if there were 10 all entitle results, and then we had a hundred searches per month, that ratio is 0.10, which is under 0.25, of course.
So that would be a favorable one. Go after and target, there's a good chance you would be able to rank very quickly. You know, we're talking a few days if you publish that piece of content.
Joseph: [00:26:14] Okay. Yeah. You know, I was, I was a little, uh, unclear there just because it was a, it was a results-based and not necessarily like each individual, uh, website based.
So it could, it could, it could potentially be, it could be one website has all 250 results.
Doug Cunnington: [00:26:27] True. However, it would be not, it would not be effective if a website did that because it would cannibalize their own keywords generally. And this a good example is like, it's fairly hard to explain, but if you watch the demo video, it's much more clear.
Joseph: [00:26:47] Yeah, well, again, uh, it certainly, we can introduce the concepts here and it's yeah. Like the gears are so maternity to me. Uh, I'm not gonna pretend like I all of a sudden, like, okay, now it's like a totally clear, usually this is the kind of thing that happens. Like if I forget to take my melatonin and I'm just like, you know, awake at night, 12:36.
Oh, oh, okay. I got it. Where's my phones. Oh, it's in my, somebody said my drawer. Okay. So the other thing that stuck out to me, this might be a little bit more of like a broader point to make about the, the psychology and the intent versus the specificity. Cause you're saying if somebody types in, I'm looking for a deal.
DSLR camera for, for blogging and travel. This goes far beyond someone's casual passing idea of like, oh, well the best camera's 2021. This is about somebody who has done a lot of research, maybe already they know more or less what they're looking for. So there are much warmer to the result at this point.
And so when they see the results, they th it's more crafted and it's more curated for what it is they're expecting to find. So they've done more of the work prior to it, rather than someone who just kind of like off the top of their head being like, oh, what a good camera is? What can I shoot in 1080p, right.
Doug Cunnington: [00:27:58] Yeah. Yeah. I think you have nailed that point. Exactly. Uh, in, in that example was obviously very high purchase intent. Someone searching for something so specific that did homework ahead of time. You can also use it for informational keywords. So how to unclog a toilet on the second floor and a hundred year old house, you know, some kind of weird thing.
And it works for that as well. So again, any content site, and I've actually heard from some audience members who work at agencies and they do this for like local professionals. So maybe it's a plumber in a specific location, stuff like that. So it really applies across the board. And now that I'm talking about it, I know some companies do offer like content packages and research just based on keyword, golden ratio and using it for clients.
Joseph: [00:29:02] So with the, um, uh, with the primer on those, uh, established, uh, I could spend the rest of this, just try to continue to clarify it, but I don't think that's a good use of either of our time. So there's some other things that I want to ask about as well. One of them is also about the authority. So now we're getting more into the content itself.
My, um, to my, to my audience, there, there, there's a specific challenge in here that while we might not be able to address right away, I want to express it because I think it's important to keep in mind is that when people are running stores and they're attempting, they're winning products, and there's a testing phase, some products, they make it some products, not so much, whether it's the fault of the product fault of the season, fault of the seller who cares.
So there is some, I think difficulty there in being motivated to write material and write content for, for a long-term gain. So in what I would think is important to keep in mind here and what I said earlier is focused on the brand and always work on the brand. The brand continues to build and strength and that strength well, then give more, um, right.
And it's to the product. So you don't necessarily need to depend on the product all the time. You can also over time build familiarity and build authority. So that's a challenge. And I'm wondering if you've had any, uh, experience firsthand maybe with people that you've talked to or worked with, or even with something that maybe you have enough to, I don't know if you've attempted dropshipping yourself at any point, have you?
Doug Cunnington: [00:30:25] No, no, I always resisted, even though it was right there in front of me and I just continued to refine my affiliate marketing area. So.
Joseph: [00:30:36] It, it it's, it's all good. I, uh, I occasionally think back to when I could have gotten my hands on some Bitcoin early on, and that was not easy to, to make peace with. So, you know, we've all, we've all had different variations of that that said, so what would, so, so in your, in your experience, have you seen anything along these lines where if somebody.
I'm motivated to continue to generating content. What can they do to keep, basically keep the lights on and how important it can this material actually change the game for them to the point where the content that they're writing. Like you may have mentioned earlier in contrast to Facebook ads, how this content can end up putting the, putting the website over and giving it a fair shake at success.
Doug Cunnington: [00:31:16] Sure. And is your question more in the context of like, why it's important to publish content and rank on Google?
Joseph: [00:31:23] That's a good way of summarizing it. Yeah.
Doug Cunnington: [00:31:24] Okay. So yeah, and I mean, ads are a great example or social media. Maybe let's use that example since I generally hate social media except to just, you know, I w I'm like anyone, I look dumb pictures on Instagram or whatever.
Tiktok. That'll suck you in, but I try not to, I try to eliminate for sure. The issue with, especially those two platforms. It's so fleeting, at least from what I can see. So it's a bit of a treadmill and to some extent, I mean, YouTube can be this way, depending on the kind of content that you're creating.
So it might have some relevancy for a couple of days, or maybe on YouTube. It's a few weeks, um, on Tiktok, maybe it's a few days until maybe the algorithm makes something go viral, but on your blog, Maybe to some extent on YouTube, you could take advantage of the organic search that's happening and that that's really the punchline.
People are searching for these pieces of information, whether it's product and purchase driven, or it's a, how to informational article, where people are trying to solve some problem or learn about some process. You can get traffic or views on and on for many years. And sure you may have to go back and update it.
If it's product driven, you may have to update the products. Maybe it's a, well, so let's use the example of cameras. New cameras come out every year, so you need to go and update it. Technology changes. You would need to update those, but in a lot of ways, I mean, you can have fairly evergreen content that will bring in traffic on a regular basis.
Now you could try to sell stuff. You could try to build the audience to build a brand like you were talking about Joseph. You can try to build an email list. So when I started blogging over a niche site project in parallel with my affiliate marketing, once I had some small amount of success, I wanted to follow along with, in the footsteps of the people that I learned from like Pat Flynn, from smart passive income. Spencer Haws, niche pursuits, for example. And I started a blog I wanted to document what I was doing there. And I started in email list and develop the brand, kind of like what you're talking about as a personal brand. And I have people that have followed me for several years and, you know, I've heard from them and emailed them and interacted with them in different capacities for multiple years.
And it's a great approach. And some of, some of those people found me through just organic search, either on Google or on YouTube, which again, you can use YouTube as more of an organic channel versus a social media channel kind of straddles both sides. But when you look at running ads. Obviously, you gotta keep, you gotta keep paying money ongoing to run those ads.
Joseph: [00:34:30] And, and not only that, but those ads are not even like directly related to then converting people into purchases. A lot of the first wave of ads are just research, trying to hone it down and trying to get something. And then there's, there's Al there's so many tensions, uh, in relation to that, because you also have the tension of what, if this product is seasonal, then the product ends up not being relevant for another, you know, six to eight months.
If there's any other impermanence to the product, then you do have, you'd have a limited window. Um, people can run out of money. So there there's, there's a lot of factors there. So I guess one thing that's worth asking too is let's just say I wasn't running a store and I just wanted to, uh, talk about video games, which frankly I might do.
Cause I'm really passionate about that. Um, real, real quick. I'm going to, I'm going to take a shot in the dark, actually. That was a lie. It's not a shot in the dark. I know this is when, uh, WordPress was probably the websites to set it up on. And, uh, have there been any alternatives that have shown up or is it WordPress is really like the way to go these days?
Doug Cunnington: [00:35:29] WordPress is pretty standard. I think it's a good ecosystem. Overall. I have looked a little bit at some of the sort of flats. Um, CMS is like flat file. CMS is I can't even remember the names of them, but from a loading perspective and just simplicity perspective, they're a lot more straightforward, but they don't have the full sort of ecosystem has WordPress.
So yeah, WordPress is kind of the standard. I have had a couple folks that have consulted with who do have Shopify stores and they have a blog there and, you know, it's keyword research and SEO. So it all works the same for their blog and they make that work perfectly well for themselves.
Joseph: [00:36:16] So I, I also wanted to go back to one of the points you had made earlier, just about the impermanence of social media.
Um, and I have YouTube, I have always had this major, uh, uh, gray bone to pick with YouTube. I was trying to like grind gears. And other than that, I've always had a major issue with YouTube, which is so somebody sets up a channel, but 90%, 95% of the people who use YouTube or use a channel, what they're really doing is they're doing a show and they're not really doing like a channel with a bunch of different shows to the, and YouTube doesn't let you divided by shows. The closest thing is a playlist and the playlist is more like highlights of different episodes of a show. So in a lot of cases, when people want to set up another show, they ended up setting up another channel. So semantics has always been like a big problem with me on YouTube, but you also made a point too, about the impermanence of even YouTube videos, you know, with Tiktok you expect it. Snapchat, you expect it.
Um, uh, Instagram stories, well, Instagram, the images they, they stay. Um, so there's a little bit of a permanent quality to that, but the stories they come and go, right. And I guess that does affect the, uh, the, the creation of video content. So to tie into another question that I want to ask is, are you using video content to funnel people to somewhere else or is the video content where you want their customers or audience, uh, fans, or however you still wish to label them?
Do you want them to end up on youtube?
Doug Cunnington: [00:37:43] I want him on my email list. So yeah, I went to. YouTube. I love, I watch YouTube all the time and it's just filled with distractions. You know, you've got suggested videos over here. I paid for like the YouTube premium. So I don't see ads. Thank goodness. But yeah, you have just constant distractions and I'm, I mean, I'm a YouTube consumer.
So if I'm bored for about, I don't know, four seconds, I'm looking for something else to get to, even if I love the creator. So I am aware that even people that came to watch my video, many of them are only going to watch a fraction of the, I mean, a very small portion, less than half. So yeah, it's, it's a tough, it's a tough, very competitive platform, but yeah, I want them off and I want them on my email list because.
Then I can sort of point them towards very best, most helpful content. And then hopefully build some trust in there a little bit less distracted.
Joseph: [00:38:45] Yeah. Yeah. I watched one Pokemon clip just because I just felt like reminiscing about watching Pokemon back when I was a kid and my, my YouTube algorithm, I have been under assault ever since I am constantly, don't recommend this channel dork I'm in this channel.
I swear to you, they are automating with bots, these random channels that just pop up and play a time-waster clips like that. Like there's like fam they won't even do like, there'll be family, guy clips, but they're not even doing the, the, the setup for the joke. They just go right to the cutaway without context or anything like that.
And I'm just constantly fighting that. So yeah. I know how that feels. It's it adds up. It's just little things that really add up over time.
Doug Cunnington: [00:39:21] Yeah.
Joseph: [00:39:22] I want to tell a quick story, cause I think you might find this interesting. So, um, because I I'm, I'm part of a, uh, of a gaming community. Uh, I'm always. You know, the oldest person in the room sometimes by a margin, far more significant than I'm comfortable to admit.
Uh, but yeah, I made some friends like earlier twenties where I was, were more like mid twenties and I got to this one conversation, um, with one of them about how, like, I don't like creating content that is going to dissipate or lose its value over time. And she disagreed, she actually preferred the idea that content isn't permanent because well, life changes on a day-to-day basis.
So the content should reflect that. And, and I, and I, and there was a lot of fair arguments there. I mean, especially about how, like the significance of seeing a story in this moment is the only time it was going to be significant anyways. So, so there are, so are some fair, uh, observations about, I think for a lot of younger generations too, I guess there's this concern that whatever they do can be stuck on the internet for life.
Uh, as somebody who's made some mistakes in the unit when I was young and those mistakes are still around to this day, I can't clear them out. So I know how that feels. So I also will say, I do see the appeal. Being able to freely express themselves in their material and not worry about it being captured and put on onto the internet for the remainder of their life, which, uh, which I was just some fair points that I wanted to, to, to raise in the interest of impermanence.
Doug Cunnington: [00:40:44] I agree a hundred percent. I mean, I did really dumb stuff. Not even really that long ago, even though I'm much older than the people you're talking about. So I think there's value for sure in that. And my approach, especially in the last couple of years has been more. Uh, to do that with the people around me in the live situation.
Yeah. So I've been trying to go on hikes on Thursdays with, um, some folks locally here and no one brings out their phone. Like we, we just all sort of, we haven't talked about it, but sort of a self-selection process. So I try to do more of that live in person and be in the moment, not sharing it with, I mean, sure.
A lot of people have a lot of contacts and a lot of things I want to share with folks on online or social media with their phone. And that's great. I, I don't, I, you know what, I probably do judge them, but I don't, I don't judge you in a harsh way. I think it's okay. I am judging everyone all the time.
Joseph: [00:41:50] It's all good.
Doug Cunnington: [00:41:51] Yeah, but, uh, yeah.
Joseph: [00:41:52] I think as long as we judge ourselves more than we judge others, it's fine. Yeah.
Doug Cunnington: [00:41:56] Yeah. I mean, and I'm so hard on myself too, so yeah. I'm judging everyone, including myself all the time. So yeah. Yeah. Valid point, especially, I was going to say, you know, there's so much fleeting on social media, unless it's something bad and then people can seem to dig it up from, you know, 15 years ago or whenever, um, all this started being recorded a lot more permanently.
Joseph: [00:42:20] Yeah. I'll tell you, I'll tell you one other story. Cause I just think it's a, it's a, it's a funny story to tell. So back when we used to have parties, I grasshopper gets into the guy's house and uh, and I think, okay, I know how to cash this. So I put a Tupperware container up against the wall where the grasshopper is, and I slowly slide the Tupperware container towards the end.
So that way it'll intersect with the lid, catch the grasshopper go outside. Bob's your uncle. Well, it doesn't somebody have to pull out their phone and wa and like videotape the whole thing as if I'm the expert on grasshopper catching. And I've done this a hundred times. I'm like, Hey, are you recording?
This is like, yeah. I'm like, why? I just want to live my life.
Doug Cunnington: [00:42:57] Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I catch myself all the time where it's like, we're at a beautiful place. I'm going to take a picture. And then I'm like, you know, what am I actually going to do anything with it? Maybe I should just leave it in my pocket. And then, you know, we can just enjoy it all right here right now.
Joseph: [00:43:15] So that's an important takeaway for people and especially our younger guys spend a lot of time on their phones. Go find nature, even if it's just a patch of grass outside the apartment, whatever it takes. Go go find some nature.
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All right. So one other thing that I really want to make sure I got to see, see this whole tangent thing, we're both going to go off on it. I was not going to be the guy to pull you out of it. All right. Yeah, by establishing authority. This one, I think is really important, especially for people who are just like starting their blog out and they don't really have any advantages.
So what exactly is the determining factor for authority? Is it just like writing? Well, is it the credentials? Is it, is it the audience size? So like in my position right now, I haven't posted anything on my blog because it doesn't exist, but let's just say I put a post out. I I'd like to think that it's not going to take a hundred posts before it has any resonance, so we know what am I looking forward to and what can I use to start, uh, you know, boosting myself.
I assume we're tying in the KGR and long-tail keyword into this side of it. So how do we deploy what we talked about earlier?
Doug Cunnington: [00:44:45] So there's little pieces in all the things that you, you mentioned. So writing, well, not having grammar mistakes as much as you can. I mean, I still have a kind of a bad writer, so I still have grammar mistakes, but I try to do my best.
And I use tools that help out in that area. If you have some credentials, right. I have a PMP, so I can write about productivity and systems and have some authority in that capacity, which is great as far as sort of. No, I'll give a little bit of a hack that can be helpful. If you can interview experts in the industry, whatever it is, you usually there's some people that are qualified they've been around longer.
If you can, if it happens to be an industry, for example, that doesn't have a whole lot of press or maybe a lot of podcasts or something like that, people are pretty excited to talk about it. So if you can interview whatever your medium, whatever you're most comfortable doing, it could be audio video like we're doing right now.
It can be a written email. If you are a little more conservative and you don't want to put your face out there, maybe you don't like speaking, you can send out a questionnaire. I actually did one of these just the other day. And. Interview experts. So they kind of fulfill that for you. So you're not the one with credentials, but you're interviewing folks that are, and as you do this more and more, your site will have more authority, potentially they will link on social media, um, which hopefully will have some longer shelf life than just a couple of days.
They might link from their website or mention it on whatever platform they have. So that's a really nice way to not only network, but get some of that expertise and just have it rub off on you and your site. Hopefully over time, you know, you you'll learn more and you'll become one of those authorities in the industry as well.
And I've seen this done on, you know, relatively brand new sites, people that were not necessarily qualified, or maybe you didn't really know much about that particular topic area, but. We're interested and they kept interviewing people. And over time they built up, you know, a lot of content, but also expertise for themselves.
Joseph: [00:47:15] As you, as you're describing, there's a lot of this even relates to what I do right now.
Right. Because as I started the interview series, I was fresh off the, off the e-commerce boat. I knew next to nothing. So it does help over time to be able to accumulate that knowledge. And one of them be a part of it. So I think it's a fair point to say that if you're interviewing people and you're interested in the needs, You should also build your own expertise while you're at it too, so that you can expand on your knowledge and be able to, well, you know, be more of an authority at that point.
Yeah. I also got to say too, I guess I'm, uh, I'm, I'm happy to hear it, but I was surprised at how effective this can be. Just cause I think there is some disparity between the people whose time we could, uh, get even for a brief questionnaire versus the relative newness of a blog. So I don't know if there's like a limitation to like, if I was doing a business podcast, I dunno if I'm going to get Dave Ramsey on my first try, but it is.
So is it a matter of like coming up with, um, something that's very minimal that takes very little of their time, but it can still have a lot of value for them. Um, uh, how, you know, what, what what's in it for them. How ambitious can I be in that first wave of interviews that I reach out to?
Doug Cunnington: [00:48:27] I think it's good to sort of start at a level just a little bit ahead of you and slowly work your way up as you meet more people than you potentially can get introductions to other folks, which if you get a warm introduction, that's much better.
I have had some of those go a little bit sour where people introduce me to does the notes thinking why, why did I even talk to this person? I w I wouldn't have, if it didn't come through a warm introduction, but that's really helpful. Sometimes you have to do cold outreach. And in that case, it's really helpful to just put links to your best material.
So if you haven't done those interviews before, and you don't have names to drop, which essentially that, I mean, that's what you're doing, but it's social proof. And if some bigger blogger has already worked with me and I can say, Hey, well, they worked with me then some of their peers might work with me too, or someone just above them.
So very slowly you can kind of level your way up and it's surprisingly effective. It's not necessarily fast. And some people that might be more charismatic than me. I mean, they may be able to jump some levels pretty fast, but I'm a nerdy engineer guy who doesn't really like to talk to people that much.
So, um, I'm not as charismatic as some other folks.
Joseph: [00:49:58] Yeah. I mean, but even that can backfire, you know, if somebody's, uh, the reach extends our grasp a little bit too much, then they end up coming across. Uh, ill informed. So I, I can see that backfiring, although to the credit of the charismatic types, they probably won't care.
They'll just like, well, all right. Sounds good with that because I'll just go onto the next one.
Doug Cunnington: [00:50:16] Yeah. Yeah. So I think, yeah, I think you can try to go and can jump too far and maybe what will happen is you just won't get a response back or you might get something a little rude, but most of the time you'll probably just get ignored.
Joseph: [00:50:30] Fair enough. Uh, this was, this was another thing that I had seen a little bit about. Um, and I have to say this actually found kind of a relief, which has to do with the frequency of posting. So I, in my mind, I would, I would thought that, and this isn't exactly a bad idea, but, um, consistency in writing posts is, uh, extremely important to almost to the point of you have to, and you don't, and that's not necessarily true, is it?
You could it again, it helps to continue to put out content. That content has a place on the net and people are continuing to search for it. So the searches continue to, um, uh, come in on a month to month basis, but the content is there and given the relevancy of it either, it still takes where it doesn't.
Um, so that are actually found really well, frankly, comforting and relieving. So what would you say is, uh, in your experience and maybe this depends on the niche, but the relation to, of like quality versus quantity and how do we make sure that each article really has like the ideal quality, uh, re regardless of how often they do it.
Doug Cunnington: [00:51:32] Always a tough balance. And just to reiterate what you were mentioning before, it used to be really important to publish sort of on a regular basis. And I think Google favored that from an algorithmic perspective, and I think that's long gone. There was also a time where people read blogs a little bit more regularly. They came back each Monday or Wednesday.
When you publish to see what you were up to. Now, some people still do that. And I follow a few of those blogs too. And those are more personal blogs. Well, we've been talking about was mostly about. Search traffic and organic search traffic. And in that case, it doesn't really, I mean, no one cares to come and read your post.
As soon as it's published, they're trying to solve a problem, whether it's how to unclog that toilet on the third floor or pick their cameras. So they're trying to solve a problem and they don't want to wait for you to publish it. In fact, they won't even know it's not there. So from that perspective, as soon as you could publish it the better, so just publish it as quickly as possible.
Then your question was really around quantity versus quality. And you run into this on the YouTube side too. So really you want to publish this high quality as possible, as much as you can. So find a balance for you. And usually it's resource limited based on. The capital that you have to invest to hire writers or how much time you have to actually write it yourself.
So you have to figure it out. And just, if I was forced into an answer, I would say, if you can get the quality to about, uh, you know, a seven out of 10, 7, 8 out of 10, that's pretty good. And I think you can move forward with that. Perfection is non-existent. You can always tweak it. You can always improve it.
And just remember you could always go back in the future. So I'm a fan of getting the 70% good enough out there, and you can come back and tweak it in a few weeks, and you're better off getting published content out there as soon as possible. And then tweaking in the future.
Joseph: [00:53:52] Especially if you get any feedback from commenters or something needs to be corrected in that regard.
Doug Cunnington: [00:53:56] Absolutely.
Joseph: [00:53:58] Yeah. And, and I think it's also, uh, uh, keen here too, to consider, I guess, the format. Cause as you're saying, people are looking to solve problems. So, you know, five steps to unclogging the toilet on the second floor, uh, top 10 alternatives to toilets or whatever the case is, it's it? I think the format too, because the problem with competing with video with video is a video has a higher dopamine release ratio for admitted spent.
So, uh, the list format is probably the, the best format out of all of them, just from my limited experience, because there's anticipation, there's reveals and of course, you know, it gets better and better and better. And then you, you delay the, the one, the last one, but like honorable mentions and a word from our sponsor.
Have you heard of rain, shadow legends, and then you get to like number one. So it works on videos. It would work on texts as well. I, I. Awesome. Well, all right, well, we're, we're, we're, we're, we're getting close to wrapping up here. And this was the, this was the question about your, uh, your, your more, um, uh, contemporary line of work.
Cause you talked about your, your PMP certification and a lot of what you bring from the corporate world into what you see here. And so my question is what are you not seeing in the industry? It seems to be a very slap dash industry and a lot of ways. So I guess it may come down to a lot of structure, but, um, what are some of the practices and strategies and ideas tips really anywhere you want to go with it that you've brought with you from the corporate world that is really anybody here listening to this should keep in mind when they set up their, their store or their blog or whatever.
Doug Cunnington: [00:55:34] People are getting a lot better at this as the affiliate and e-commerce in general, all these industries are maturing. So the biggest thing that I have seen, especially with new folks is recreating the wheel each time they do a thing. So it could be content. It could be hiring virtual assistants on Upwork for specific tasks.
And one of the big things that I've done in people, I give all this stuff away, freely, all my templates and systems. So the project management piece really comes into play because there's a piece of project management that covers continuous improvement and reusing things that you have already figured out and solved in the past.
So one of the early coaching students I had, they were doing really well and they were trying to figure out how to scale their business and do more publishing, do more of everything. And one thing that they were redoing every time is they're rewriting their Upwork job posting. For every person they were going to hire because it was a little bit different, but it turned out probably 75% of it was the same and they just needed to tweak a couple of things.
So just using and reusing templates, super helpful, and just being a little bit more organized. So you're not repeating work. So anytime you're repeating something or do a process again and again, you should definitely try to develop a system around it and over time tried to improve it. The one great way to improve it is.
I would hire a VA's to write content and then publish content on my blog. So they would like drafted WordPress and all those details. I put together what I thought were really good instructions, but I knew it wasn't quite right. So I would always ask any person that I hired to leave comments. And if they had questions, if anything was unclear, I would go back and improve it and patch those holes.
So over time, you end up with a much better document with input from dozens of people. And then you end up with something where you don't have questions anymore. Everything's covered in there and you kind of misinterpretation is fixed and it's much better. So standard operating procedures, SOP templates, anything you can use there is, is going to pay off big in the long run.
Joseph: [00:58:09] I mean, it reminds me of when I was, you've been doing, uh, when I was, I was a virtual assistant prior to this job sales and service and all of that, and yeah, you're right. I, I was, I would answer the same question over and over again. And I was like, why I am typing this out at the same time, every time. So I ended up with a Google document of like my most common answers copy and paste them in, read it over your gel, just to make sure if I need to adjust anything, I'll adjust it.
And then, and then off it goes, but I did, I will say it too. Like back when I was applying for jobs on Upwork prior to getting this one, I did feel like I, because I, you know, I'm trying to like secure work. I personally felt like I got more out of writing it, uh, unique each time. Um, but then again, it's like the cover letter, the cover letter, I think, is always specific to the business, whereas I wouldn't want to rewrite my resume every time over and over again, that would be a waste of time.
Doug Cunnington: [00:59:01] Yeah. And I think definitely different when you're applying and me personally, I don't even want the cover letter because a lot of times it's just the generic one. I just ask a few questions that forces someone to actually reply back to me. So I could tell if they phone that in or if they're a quality applicant.
Joseph: [00:59:21] Well, um, with that, I think we're, we're almost, uh, good to wrap up here. Um, if there's anything else you want to let us know about these, um, about the, the courses. So you could, you still, you said they're completely free and the templates you offer. I just want to, uh, what, anything else that we can expect from them that we haven't talked about before?
I would like to know a little bit more about. And frankly probably could, could give credit to myself, honestly.
Doug Cunnington: [00:59:42] Sure. So the, the court, I have courses, those are paid, so I charge a lot for the courses, but the templates and a lot of the other freebies and systems that I have, um, those are freely available.
Um, you, you could link up to my blog and you can just sign up for the email list. You know, I'm trying to build an email list so you can see my funnel and you can see what I'm doing to help nurture the relationship. You can subscribe whenever you're ready, but, um, you can get all the templates there. I have a few courses.
Um, mostly it's on the affiliate marketing area, but I have one on productivity. I have one on haro link building, um, help a reporter out. Are you familiar with that one, Joseph?
Joseph: [01:00:25] No, I haven't heard of that.
Doug Cunnington: [01:00:26] So it's a pretty cool, uh, kind of platform. So reporters out there potentially from big news outlets will be writing a story and they need a resource to site basically.
So they may have a quote from you and it, you know, you're talking about video games cause you have a blog in that topic area and they'll say, um, we'll, they'll quote you directly. And then they'll link to your homepage, which is a great way to build authority. Number one, you get a link from like a news site and it helps you with google ranking. Cause you're getting those back links. So I have a course on HARO link-building and a one called multi profit site, which is about creating an Amazon affiliate site.
Joseph: [01:01:12] Okay, excellent. Um, so, so with that, I think it's a, it's a good time to get you on add to you, but if there's anything else you want to let us know about, check out your YouTube content, stuff like that.
And then also if there's any other you know, parting advice or little words of wisdom or preferred proverb or anything you'd like along those lines, feel free to share it with us. And then, uh, we'll, we'll wrap this up.
Doug Cunnington: [01:01:33] Sure. I'd love it. If people checked out my podcast or YouTube channel, you can pick your poison, whichever one you like to check out.
So my podcast is called the Doug show, and then I'm actually launching a new one in the personal finance and financial independence space with my friend, Carl Jensen, who blogs over at 1500 days. So that's a brand new one. It should be coming out really soon or it'll be live by the time you check it out.
And we talk about, you know, financial independence, potentially retiring early, Carl's retired and I'm continuing to, uh, you know, work on my stuff. And yeah, the YouTube channel was out there and talk a lot about affiliate marketing semester. SEO. I do live streams every week, so I just kind of answer questions and talk about things that are on my mind.
Joseph: [01:02:21] Excellent. All right. Well, uh, this has been a great talk. I definitely a lot of, um, a lot of pieces, uh, uh, that you've provided that continue to help me continue to put the puzzle together. So yeah, with that, uh, really well. Uh, Doug, thank you so much for your time. This has been fantastic.
Doug Cunnington: [01:02:36] My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Joseph: [01:02:38] Excellent. To our audience. I think you all know what to do, and if this is your first time listening to us orient, you would just email email@example.com. We'll we'll get you all sorted out. And with that, take care and we'll check in soon.
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