Two Founders Share How Startups Can Reach a Massive Audience

Ever wonder how to get your content in front of as many potential customers as possible?

In this video, Larry Kim, Founder and CTO of Wordstream joins Robert J. Moore, Co-Founder and CEO of RJMetrics, to show you how you can use content marketing and PPC to reach a massive audience.

You'll Learn:

  • How to create content that gets press coverage and thousands of shares
  • How to combine PPC & SEO to create a search solution that fits into your content strategy
  • Why your promotion strategy is part of, not an afterthought to, content creation Data that might change your entire online strategy

Transcript

Bob: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our webinar today. Two founders share how startups can reach a massive audience. My name is Bob Moore. I'm the CEO and Co-founder of RJMetrics. I couldn't be more excited to share all the information that we've got today with such a large and interesting group of folks. I'm joined today by Larry Kim, who you'll meet in a moment. Larry's the founder and CTO of an awesome company called WordStream.

Today, we've been brought together because we have a few things in common. Larry and I are both founders of businesses that operate primarily online. And we're both people that have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about ways to build massive audiences using PR, SEO or PPC. We've both been using these tactics since day one of our businesses. And they're as effective today as they were then. So what we're going to do is open up our box of secrets and share some of those with you. What you're going to learn today includes things like how to build content that gets really great press coverage and thousands of shares. We're going to talk about how to combine PPC and SEO together to create a total search solution that really fits into your content strategy. We're also going to talk about how promotion strategy is part of not an afterthought to content creation and the critical role that promotion plays in making your content really have the reach that you needed to in order to see the effects that Larry and I have seen over the years.

Just a couple of housekeeping details before we dive in. I'm going to be leading a Q&A session at the end of the presentation. We've got a hashtag for today's event which is promotingyourstartup. So we'd love to see you tweeting out with that hashtag. Send your questions through that hashtag. We'll be keeping track of that. We'll leave a good amount of time for that at the end to cover those. We are recording the show today so keep an eye on your inbox after the event. Within 24 hours or so, we'll be sending the recording and any links to things that we mentioned throughout the course of the presentation today. And of course, what would a webinar be without free cupcakes? Stick around for the end, we'll be announcing someone from the crowd who was in attendance today will be receiving some cupcakes for their office. We'll announce that at the end of the presentation.

With that said, just a couple of quick moments of background so that you can understand the companies that Larry and I have built. RJMetrics, first and foremost, is the complete analytics platform for online businesses. We solve a problem that most, if not all, online companies have, which is that their data gets scattered across the internet in all kinds of various silos, back-end databases, third party APIs, files spread across the different systems. We solve the challenge of reuniting that data together in one centralized data warehouse. Then we provide awesome tools that you can put right on top of that warehouse to do analysis and collaborate around data for your business. So if you feel like you are living in a world of data chaos, as many of us do from time to time, definitely head over to RJMetrics.com and check it out. You can learn more about what we do and how we can solve that problem for you.

With that said, I want to hand the mic over to Larry, who's going to introduce himself and tell us a little bit more about what WordStream is. Awesome business. Larry?

Larry: Thanks Bob. Thanks for having me today. It's great to be here. My name is Larry. I'm the founder of WordStream. I started the business maybe seven years ago. Basically what we do is we're a pay-per-click management, a pay-per-click marketing advertising software management solution for small and medium sized businesses. Basically the offer that we have for you today here is a 15- It's a free instant PPC audit of your AdWords account. It takes just a minute or so to complete. Basically what we'll do is we'll analyze the performance metrics of your AdWords account, such as your click through rates and your customer clicks and all the quality scores and conversion rates and give you some benchmarks as to how those metrics compare to other similar companies in your industry, in your country, with similar budget sizes.

Overall, it's great to be here. Other than being the founder of WordStream, I spent a lot of time doing content marketing actually. It's not an exaggeration to say that WordStream would not exist had it not been for our content marketing efforts. I'm happy to share some of these tips and tricks with you guys today.

Bob: Great. Larry, I'll let you kick it off here. We're going to talk a little bit about how to reach a massive audience. So let's jump right in.

Larry: Sure. I guess the number one piece of advice I have here is the mistake that every startup makes when they're just getting started out because of course, they're so excited to talk about themselves and they want to tell everybody about what it is they do. But you need to resist that urge to talk about yourself because that's not how it works. People would actually much prefer that you talk about stuff they're interested in first. Think about your relationships in the office or personally. It's nice to take an interest in others first before blabbing on about yourself, you know what I mean? So the same holds true in content audience. If you really want to reach a massive audience, you've got to think about what are the things that the people who are in your target market already care about and try to reach them through interesting content that would appeal to those interests as opposed to talking about yourself.

Bob: Makes a ton of sense. At RJ, we've crystallized this thinking around a term that we call the reciprocity index. You can calculate a reciprocity index for any relationship that you have in your life. It's really this ratio of how much value you are delivering to somebody divided by the amount of value that you're receiving back from them. The way that we like to think about reciprocity index, an easy category of people to calculate that for, is your customers. The value that you are delivering is the quality of your product or whatever it is you're giving them for the money they pay you. And the value that you receive is the money that they pay you. You want to make sure that you're always in a position where there is reciprocity index is at one or greater because if it's not, then you're going to lose your customer and they're going to churn.

Where Larry and I are going to talk about today is less about your customer base and more about people you want to bring into your customer base. These are people that are prospects. These are people that in some cases are probably strangers that you've never met before. When you get into a situation where you need to calculate the reciprocity index between you and a stranger, the part about the value that you deliver becomes a bit more difficult because they're not a captive customer. They're not someone that can consume your product very readily necessarily, and yet you're looking to receive that value out of them. You want their time. You want their attention. Content marketing is really the answer to how you can build a healthy reciprocity index with people that you've never even met before or who might be placing a high value on your time and really consider you a stranger. Larry, can you maybe chat just a little bit about this strategy of how to reach an audience and how you guys think about that?

Larry: Awesome. Thanks, Bob. This diagram here, it breaks down essentially how to do this content marketing stuff. Essentially, once you've earned someone's trust and you've built up that reciprocity index that Bob was just talking about, people will be more open to hearing about your business and services. Basically because you've already delivered them value, what you've done was created a bias in their minds. They're going to be more likely to be open to hearing messages from you about your businesses and services than had you just straight up cold called them out of the blue and tried to get them to buy whatever it is you're selling.

Essentially, what you're trying to do is through the power of content marketing, earned and paid advertising and marketing, you're basically building up your own audience which is usually names in your database. Where we're going to be spending most of our time today is on those two top level categories; paid and earned. Those are the channels where you're going to reach thousands or even millions of people and deliver tons of initial value to get the ball rolling.

One question that people always ask me and probably Bob, I'm guessing, has to do with content. "Will all this blog hits, mad hits to my blog, will that convert to sales and customers?" I think that's a really fair question. I believe, obviously, both Bob and myself built our companies largely with thought leadership and content marketing. There's tremendous gains and enormous benefits in terms of awareness, links to your site, press coverage by doing this type of interesting content marketing. It does convert to sales and leads but not directly, and not immediately either. We could actually talk hours about how to convert mid-funnel content into leads and paying customers. That's actually not going to be the topic today. We're actually going to be focusing mostly on the top of the funnel using earned and paid SEO, PPC, social, PR to get people to the top of the funnel. Bob, back to you. Do you want to talk about PR and social a little bit?

Bob: Yeah, that sounds great. I think you raised a great point about the funnel. We're talking a lot today about the top of the funnel, and I think the main message that I hope everyone can take away from myself and Larry is that, if the question is can you actually convert these people into customers, the answer is yes. There are a lot of different tactics for doing that and probably a whole webinars worth. But I think the thing that we've developed a lot of confidence around is that bringing eyeballs to your brand and your assets is something that's absolutely trickles down into real customers. I'll show a funnel diagram a little later about how some of the economics of that actually end up working out.

I want to dive in first by talking a little bit about PR. This is an area that is extremely close to my heart. The very first big hits that RJMetrics had from a content perspective were done using PR tactics. When you think about that reciprocity index, you think about people you might reach with PR, it's people that are consuming media that's typically not even placed on your website. This couldn't be more in the strangers category. When you're just competing for the short attention span of a stranger that might be out there reading news on the internet, it's important to remember that your competitors are not the other SaaS companies that are in your vertical or the other people that are doing specifically what you're doing. Your competition for that is this stuff, these cats that are wearing adorable Halloween costumes over on BuzzFeed. It's tough. This is some content that is very, very good. In a lot of cases, scientifically engineered to attract the attention and the clicks of people that are out there surfing the web.

I know you're thinking not all the people reading TMZ are necessarily my target customers but what you really need to accept is the fact that some of them are. Miraculously, the folks that, even if you have a very sophisticated buyer, even if you have people that are customers that are only PhDs or only people who are in engineering roles, that doesn't mean that they don't consume media on the internet that is a little more targeted at mass audiences. They're a part of that mass audiences as well. What you really want to make sure you're doing is taking advantage of all the channels through which they are consuming content and PR is the lever that you can use to actually do that. The way to win in this area is really all about going big or going home and trying to find ways that you can be a part of a bigger story. Even if your business, as Larry was saying before, is not something that you necessarily think will grab headlines in and of itself. But that doesn't mean you can't be part of a bigger story. I've got some great examples here of things we've done at RJMetrics to leverage the trending topic.

Last year, for example, the ice bucket challenge was an awesome campaign that really took over social for several weeks and RJMetrics is a very data-centric company. We were able to very quickly and inexpensively use some resources through Amazon Mechanical Turk to actually profile a large sample of those ALS ice bucket challenge videos and get some interesting and exclusive data on, for example, the gender breakdown of people doing the videos. How many people actually mentioned ALS or mentioned that they had made a donation and understanding other interesting tidbits about the virality of the spread of this thing. What we were able to do is tell a story and say new things about a trending topic that just have not really been said before. As a result of that, we were able to inject ourselves into this story that journalists, on the web and off the web, were desperate to say new things about. People cared a lot about it. There was only a certain universe of things that you could tell, a certain universe of facts that were available.

We were able to, through our own brand, stand by some new data that we discovered that really, honestly didn't even involve using our product at all, but put us into the ecosystem of talking about things that are important to our potential customers, which is data. People who geek out about this stuff, from a data perspective, are also pretty likely to be potential buyers for us. We got all kinds of residual attention that came out of that including mentions on Forbes and MediaPost and FastCompany. There were many, many places that picked it up. That's the kind of thing that gets a lot of those main stream eyeballs that you'd ordinarily be competing with BuzzFeed for. It was a huge win for us last year. Larry, maybe you can chat a little bit about a bigger story that you became a part of.

Larry: Sure, Bob. Nothing in the world is more powerful in PR than the power of a global trending topic. Actually, a couple of years ago, Facebook had their initial public offering, selling of billions of dollars of shares on open market. That was a really big deal. Everyone in the world was talking about this is going to be the biggest IPO in the history of financial markets in the world. Everyone's on Facebook for hours every day and even your mom and everyone is talking about Facebook and 'should I buy shares?' It was a pretty big story. WordStream, we're an internet marketing company. We wanted to become a part of that bigger story. It was such a big story that newspapers and websites were dedicating substantial amount of coverage to covering every possible angle for this particular story. I sat down with my team and tried to come up with how could we insert ourselves as part of this global trending story?

Basically, our idea was to come up with a way where we would have credibility. It would have to be an angle related to online advertising because that is what we do. Our idea was to compare effectiveness of Facebook ads versus Google display network ads, those image ads that follow you around on the internet when you're on CNN.com or something like that, those image ads. Basically, what we've found, we measured the reach and the ad targeting options and the performance of Facebook ads versus the Google display ads. What we've found was they're both pretty good but the Google display network was actually beating Facebook in a lot of areas. That was very unusual because it was counter to the narrative that people were talking about like they were saying how great Facebook was and then here's this online company saying, "Wait a second, they're really not that great in a couple of areas."

What happened was actually pretty remarkable. It exceeded my expectations considerably. This particular study' which I illustrated in an infographic form, received 10,000 press pickups. What I mean by that is every single journal in the world, like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, every single one of them ended up writing about this particular story. It hit the news wires, like AP, AFP, Reuters, and USA Today. Those sites are syndicated and they got translated into every language in the world. Whenever there was questions about the Facebook evaluations and is it really worth $100 billion or something, they would cite this study as Larry Kim from WordStream says that these ads don't even work.

That was a pretty big win. We got about a million links out of this thing, 10 million page views to the site. Can you imagine how much that would cost? Basically, the limit here is your imagination. There's so many other online advertising companies but yet no one came up with the idea to pursue this angle. Anyone could have done it. It wasn't rocket science. Anyone could do an evaluation of Google display network versus Facebook ads but just no one published it. The limit is your imagination there. It was just one blog post and it just really took off. Any thoughts? Or do you want to talk about your unexpected opportunities here?

Bob: Sure, happy to. That is such an awesome story. Every time I hear that story, Larry, I get inspired to go out and check trending topics and see what trendjacking we can do in the next couple of weeks. It's incredible looking at the outside world and identifying the cases where you might be able to become part of this story. Another thing that we've tried to do at RJ, every opportunity we have is, think about when we are telling our own story, and when something might be interesting to the broader world. Usually, most of the things day-to-day at our business, you need to be realistic about the fact that as exciting as it is to be an entrepreneur, as exciting and taxing as it can be to run and start a new business and deal with all those challenges, most of the things are not going to be very interesting to a very broad audience.

There are certain things from time to time that might pop up that you should have your spidey senses tingling on. If it is a story that you might tell out for a night of drinks with your friends and get everybody around the table laughing or engaged or very interested, you should think about what that would look like to a group of 10,000 people or the rest of the world. This came up for us last year. We redesigned our logo. We changed it to a shape called the dodecahedron, which is a 12-sided, three dimensional object. One of the interesting side effects to having a three dimensional object as your logo is that when you display it on screens or business cards or anything else, you need to make a projection of it, a two dimensional projection that then becomes a flattening out version. We had done that.

As it turns out, unbeknownst to us, during the design process, to people that were in the UK in particular, this two dimensional projection, looked a lot like a pair of underpants. When we went live with the new logo, we got quite a few Twitter followers and buy a lot of Twitter ads, we started getting a ton of responses on Twitter saying, "Hey, why is your new logo a pair of wide fronts?" I guess wide fronts are a type of underpants, like Jockey style underpants, that are particularly popular in the UK. We had this moment in time, you get that panic mode which is 'Okay, we're officially that company that has an underpants logo. What do we do in response to that?' There was an obvious change to make, a minor design tweet to the logo solved the problem of people seeing underpants when they saw our logo.

Then the question was, do we brush this thing under the rug or have we tapped into something interesting from a case study perspective here. It is very remarkable that if you run a focus group of that new logo in the United States, 0.0% of people see underpants. But if you run it in the United Kingdom, there's a much, more meaningful percentage, a big chunk of folks, I think it was close to 10% of them saw underpants when they saw that logo. To us, that really speaks to the power of internationalization in your focus grouping, in your market testing and why that's relevant for businesses that are even at the startup stage today that operate online because it's such a flat world and a global economy that we all play in.

So we made a blog post about it. And in a very short amount of time, patched it together and the response to it was really remarkable. It went to number one on Hacker News and stayed there for the better part of the entire day, more than 30,000 page views on day one. I was very fortunate to be offered a recurring column on the New York Times Small Business Blog, as a result of this post. And I've been able to use that as a platform that has become kind of a force multiplier of a lot of our content since then. We've gotten speaking gigs out of this and generally, it's just created a lot of really positive brand vibes. You don't want to be known as the company that has an underpants logo but if you're known as the company that has a culture of transparency and that openly talks about the challenges they face in building a business, as long as your stories about the challenges that you've faced are interesting and a little entertaining, you can make sure that you're tapping into those opportunistic moments in a way that actually generates more customers.

As it turns out, the people that were really interested in this subject matter where people that were in the startup and entrepreneurship universe and that's precisely the population we sell to. So not only were these a lot of eyeballs coming to our website, this is high quality traffic that was actually converting into leads at a meaningful rate. Really an incredible outcome there. I think if you look at this story or Larry's or even the smaller example with the ice bucket challenge from last year, the pattern remains the same, which is you kind of find something that's going to be appealing to a mass audience and in most cases, that's going to be something that's a trending topic and just find a way to make yourself part of a bigger story.

I challenge everybody out there. I guarantee that the fact that we happen to be a data-driven company, for example, that's not something that was a requirement for us to do that ice bucket challenge story, or even the underpants story. What we did was we saw opportunities and we jumped on them. We swung the bat. While you don't always make contact, I think that there is a lot of low hanging fruit here. This is really a tactic that's not so over used that you need to worry about it being saturated market. I think that there's a lot of ripe opportunity right in front of us. That is a really fundamental part of our contact strategy here at RJ. We're really happy to share it. I want to hand it over to Larry to give us a little bit of insight in the mistakes that people might make when writing this big win content. Larry?

Larry: Cool. Thanks, Bob. I'm glad you mentioned the idea that you got a column spot that you got in the New York Times as a result of doing content marketing. Because there's this really interesting thing that happens if you do content marketing very, very well. Initially, when you're kind of a nobody or you're just getting started, you're not on anyone's radar screen, you're basically trying to get the attention of these influential journalists and people. But the more and more you do it, the more times they pick up your stories, you're like a source for these reporters and publishers. If you build a relationship with these people, it'll actually switch to the point that they become interested in what you have to say and eventually they'll always offer you some kind of a column spot, if you build a relationship far enough. Then you've made it. You switched from having to do these jumping up and down PR stunts trying to get the attention of others to where you actually have keys to the WordPress system of like Inc. Magazine or Business Insider and you can just hit publish on any topic you wish. It's a nice little thing that happens if you do it well for a long enough time.

I want to talk a little bit about big contents. All these three examples weren't small little blogs posts that get like 100 views, they were big efforts. Big is of course relative because for me, it's hard for you to know how big it can be until you experience it. That becomes you new definition of big. Basically the big mistake that people make when writing big content has to do with failing to think about the promotional angle when coming up with a topic ideation. Basically there's a very simple rule here but you need to think about, even before you write a single word or shoot a second of video for the piece that you're hoping to create, you need to be able to answer the question 'who cares?' Who is going to care about what you have to say? Is it the press because you has some new insights that's important for the readers? Will it be other partner vendors? Will it be influential people in the space because it contains interesting data that they would like to share? If you cannot answer the question, 'who cares' about this, you absolutely should not be writing the piece of content. It's going to be a waste of time.

Here are the two big rules for big win content. If you can't figure out ahead of time who's going to be fully invested in promoting your content and why, don't even bother writing it. Secondly, this notion of content marketing success. The success or failure is determined largely during the planning phase, even before you've written a single word. If you were to look at my content marketing work flow these days, you'd find that I spend about 80% of my time on the topic research and coming up with the different angles and maybe 20% of the time actually writing it up. By the time I start typing out a story, there's a tremendous amount of research that goes into having selected topics that I believe will do many times better than the average piece. Any thoughts on that, Bob? Anything to add there?

Bob: I think that's a segue into some of the stuff we're going to be talking about next. One of the things that I think you guys do particularly well that I'm really excited to hear more about is, we've talked a lot about PR. We've talked a lot about the virality of these pieces than how things have a life of their own once they're live. There's also tactics where you can kind of do a little more of maybe kick start the growth of these things. I think you and WordStream have had a lot of success in using PPC to actually promote content in a very smart way and curious if you could go into a little bit about how you do that to kick start the engine on some of this stuff.

Larry: Sure. PPC marketing, or pay-per-click marketing, it can do two things to your content. Content marketing, it's a little bit like gravity. It just needs a little push to get the ball rolling. You know what I mean? A little energy to catalyze an effort that get people to notice. Or it could also be used to amplify the success of an already successful piece. Let's talk about the ways that you can do this.

First of all, it doesn't work for everyone. PPC, for the purpose of content promotion, doesn't work on every piece. It only works on your top pieces. If it's like all those other rules about you absolutely cannot be talking about yourself. You have to be inserting yourself into the conversation of something big. All those other rules still apply. What PPC is going to do here is it's going to accelerate or catalyze those organic efforts in a big way. I call those unicorns because in terms of they're rare and beautiful creatures. I'm talking about amplifying or promoting the top one to five percent of your content. Not every single story, just the best.

A couple tips here. The first has to do with the understanding how the different ad networks work and how you get charged. You're actually paying for this stuff, in terms of clicks or the retweets and all this stuff. The goal here is to spend wisely as opposed to huge amounts like $50,000 budgets. The main tip here is to focus on something called quality scores. All of the ad networks; Facebook, Twitter, Google Display Network and Google search ads, all of these ad platforms have this notion of a quality score. Basically what that means is the price that you pay for the clicks that you end up buying, it's variable. It has a lot to do with how engaging and the quality and interest level of the ads or the promoted content that you're promoting.

In a nutshell, the higher the engagement rate or the higher the quality, the more prominently the ad platforms are going to try displaying your ads. In search, those ads will show up more prominently on the page, at the top of the page on display networks and social media. You'll end up with higher impression shares. They'll more aggressively try to serve those ad format promoted posts that people seem to be very interested in as opposed to showing stuff that people aren't interested in. You also get a huge discount. What we're finding is, again, on all the different ad networks, Facebook, Twitter, Google Display Network, Google search, you get a huge discounts in terms of the cost per click. You could be like 1/100 of the cost of a high engagement post versus promoting a low engagement post. So that's what I'm saying here, you absolutely have to focus on the quality score of these posts and the way that you do this is you focus on your unicorns, which are sort of the top performing ads and the top performing content in your portfolio. This is just saying you want to figure out stuff that's getting six times the expected engagement rates and promote that kind of stuff.

If the whole idea on paid search and paid advertising, pay-per-click marketing is to create ads that people would like to click on, one way to do this is to tap into customer emotions and so if you think about your target audience, in terms of potential buyers for your product or service, think about the emotions of trust and fear and joy and anger and disgust. What are the things that that delight or annoy that particular customer and then try to exploit those in either the ad copy or the promoted post copy.

And here's one example of a unicorn search ad where the industry has to do with a marriage counselor basically. The enemy and the fear here is the husband and the mistress and so this is an example of an ad that would get six times the average click through rate and thus, you would pay 400% less on the cost per click and you would have a much higher impression share in terms of being shown more aggressively by the ad servers. The same thing works on Facebook and Twitter in terms of tapping into people's emotions. Another way to really get people clicking is to leverage this notion of a fear missing out. You could make things seem like there's a limited quantity that's going to end or like a sale is going to end very soon. This is a very powerful emotion in terms of getting people to act on certain things. I guess the main takeaway here is this notion of quality score being super important for anything related to running ads on pay-per-click to accelerate or promote your content marketing efforts. Any thoughts or questions, Bob?

Bob: No, this is great. I'm curious to continue finding out a little more about the publishing and promotion of this stuff and who it is that you're actually targeting.

Larry: Of course. All right, so I think that an easy way to do this would be just to give an example of something that I did just a few months ago. Typical use case for PPC marketing on social media is promoting of content from say, your blog or white papers or whatever. So this is one that I published in September. It was on a Friday afternoon at five in the evening. I noticed that when I signed up for a Gmail account, it was no longer asking me to also mandatorily sign up for a Google+ account so I thought that was kind of a big deal because for the last couple years, they had been kind of forcing me to do that. So I just banged out a 400 word post saying like, "Guys, I don't have to sign up for Google+ anymore when I sign up for Gmail." I called Google and I got a quote from one of the reps saying, "Yes, it's true. We just made this change and we think it's great for our users" and blah, blah, blah.

So I included that quote from the Google rep and basically the problem is, it's not a great time to publish content. You're not supposed to publish content right at the end of the day, at the end of the week. But what I was able to do was then use the power of PPC marketing to promote that piece of content that I was sharing on Twitter, in this case, to a select group of influencers. In Twitter, you're basically marketing primarily to people as opposed to searches on Google, you're targeting people with certain demographics or likes or interests. But you can also use the power of something called tailored audiences to target updates to specific individuals and you can upload a list of say phone numbers or emails or Twitter handles or all of the above and you can make it so that your ads show up or your promoted posts show up in front of specific people.

So I had earlier last year created a list of the 1,660 most influential people in my industry, so people who write influential blogs, the Wall Street Journal reporters, all the people covering the ad sector and who are active in social media. I had a custom audience created. It was basically just a list of names and I was able to spend $50 to promote that post to make sure that it shows up on their timelines because as you know Twitter can be and Facebook, they can all be pretty busy. So I did that and within two hours, I saw that one of my contacts at Marketing Land had written up the story. It's like Google+ is no longer a requirement for creating a Google account and it's kind of hard to see but it says with the change brought to our attention by Larry Kim of the WordStream blog and confirmed by Google, new users are given a choice. Basically I'm getting a nice citation in terms of they're mentioning my brand, they're linking to my site and it makes me look credible. I thought that was really great because I was only spending a few cents there.

But what was really cool was what happened over the next couple hours. So by Saturday, because remember, there's 1,600 people on my little custom list there, I saw that other people that were on my list had written about the story. There was VentureBeat, Gizmodo, The Register, Engadget. And by Monday, by the time people got into the office on Monday, it was covered in about 500 other publications from like CNet, Lifehacker, Fast Company, etc., too many to list out but basically all of them. So I guess the key takeaway here is in order for content to go viral, it's like the people who you're promoting the content to matters. So it costs the same amount more or less. If you're targeting to Johnny or Sally or whatever, it's similar so it might as well be very intentional in terms of who you're targeting. Also, making sure the stuff that you're promoting, it's not every update, every social media update but rather the stuff that you think is going to have super, super high engagement and you can measure this because you can download what are the analytics behind each Facebook update and figure out which ones are the most engaging. So promote the winners. Just remember, there's a couple different ways you can specify who your audience is and they more or less work the same in Facebook and Twitter and even LinkedIn for that matter.

But a couple ideas here. One has to do with keyword targeting. If you're trying to target on Twitter, keyword targeting basically it's a little different from keyword targeting on Google search. On Google search, you're targeting people who are entering search queries in the search box. On Twitter, you're targeting people who mentioned certain words recently in their status updates. I have a couple different examples of how things would be different in Google AdWords versus Twitter. In Google AdWords, keyword searching, it's almost like some kind of a caveman English, like they search really funny and it doesn't even sound like real English, like infant clothes boy or something like that. That would never work on Twitter or Facebook. You'd have to target a more conversational phrase like Julian's first birthday or the words first birthday or starting my business, small business loan, etc. That's kind of this notion of keyword targeting, very powerful.

Just kind of wrapping it up here, some of the ideas. Using pay-per-click marketing for PR, it's a different game from SEO because you're going for quality not quantity because you have to pay for these clicks, right, so you want to make sure that the ones you do pay for are the right audience and that you're promoting your best stuff because of this notion of quality score. The higher the engagement, the less you'll pay and conversely, the lower the engagement, the more you'll pay. So you only want to target your very, very best stuff. You want to leverage emotions, kind of [inaudible 00:41:11] emotions to make sure that people click on these things and that will further drive up the quality scores. Again, targeting specific people and just using all the power of audience segmentation and demographic targeting to really hone in on your audience. Even if you have boring blog content, you could make that boring blog content interesting if you cast it in front of a narrow and specific audience that to whom that boring piece of content would be interesting for. So with that, I'm going to just pass things back to Bob. Any thoughts or questions on this stuff?

Bob: I think this is extremely insightful. I love the nuance between Google and Twitter around just the phrasing of the ads and I do think that there's a lot of value in using this PPC as a force multiplier for getting lift on these things. Creating those custom Twitter segments in particular, I think is something that we'll probably spend a little bit of energy even doing here at RJMetrics over the next couple of launches we do because I think that's a super valuable tactic. That's some great stuff.

Larry: It can work on Facebook as well.

Bob: Oh great.

Larry: They're called custom audiences.

Bob: Fantastic. So as we kind of near our last few sections here, want to be careful about the time so we've got a little time for Q&A. I'm going to touch just briefly on some topics related to SEO and this is really an area that I think is worth talking about because we spent a lot of energy so far on the head of that curve, finding these big splash stories that can reach very large audiences or attract a lot of eyeballs in a short time period and maybe have a little bit of long tail effect on them but ultimately end up kind of being about that big bulk splash you make initially.

The SEO tactics that I'm going to talk about here today result from a challenge that we have experienced at RJMetrics from day one which is related to this. So we are a business intelligence software company and interestingly if you go Google the words business intelligence, the density of ads is so great that it actually makes it such that the entire front page of the first page search above the fold when you search for business intelligence doesn't contain a single organic result. Really, this is a result of there being a lot of business that have been able to invest large amounts of capital into attracting people that are deliberately searching for business intelligence, so much so that Google's recommended price per click just for that search term is over $65 and the reason for that is because the people that are bidding for that are people like Oracle who have $24 billion of cash sitting on their balance sheet and for whom a converted new customer may be worth hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

What that does in terms of leaving folks in the startup ecosystem trying to vie for attention in the universe of something like business intelligence is it kind of leaves us in a tough spot because trying to generate organic content, sometimes gets us a little drowned out by the ads. But trying to compete on ads also is just financially prohibitive so the question is, what do you do in order to stand out and in order to compete. The success that we've been able to find in SEO has been around a focus on intent. So certainly people searching for business intelligence are pretty likely to be looking for business intelligence software but we've kind of taken it to the next step and thought about what is the pain that someone is feeling or the problem that someone is truly trying to solve when business intelligence would actually be a great solution. For us, this is things like when people are trying to calculate a nuance version of their churn rates or understand customer lifetime value or conduct a cohort analysis or something like that.

Just using churn rate as an example, we have been able to generate content on our blogs, we've done webinars, we've done white papers and most noteworthy, we've done microsites that are related specifically to the term that we think is most relevant to people that might benefit from using our software that's not the cut and dry just name of the category of software we fall into. So we were able to find a domain that was unregistered which was churn-rate.com, put up some pretty basic content which was inspired by some blog posts we had done in the past and very, very rapidly, without that many inbound links, we were the third result on the search for churn rate and that has even been climbing in certain sets of results since then. What's crazy about this is that the quantity of clicks that that generates is really, really meaningful and it really just shot off like a rocket ship here.

On a monthly basis, we now get north of 5,000 page views for churn rate. Those pages convert really well into people filling out a form to learn more about RJMetrics or to keep in touch with our content, kind of taking people from that universe of being a stranger to being an engaged prospect or a known person in your ecosystem. And this is something that, even if you look at the competitive ads for churn rate, would have cost $11 per click but now we're getting 5,000 of these clicks every single month and we're getting them really for the cost of generating a domain name. That, in and of itself, is interesting and valuable but I talking earlier about getting to this funnel that I wanted to get to. What's really remarkable is, you can think about it this way, in terms of how much value you're really generating with results like this which is, if you're getting 5,000 page views per month, we're talking about 60,000 views per year. We, on these pages, have a conversion rate that's actually a little better than the one I show here but just conservatively speaking, if 1 out of 1000 people who end up on that site end up converting into a sales qualified lead, that's what SQL stands for here, you end up in a spot where you've got 60 SQLs. We convert those at about 20% so 11 paying clients or so.

If you're in a business selling a product that costs, say $1,000 a month, we're talking about over $100,000 a year of new annual recurring revenue generated just as a result of this asset. Markets that exist like the one that exists today don't always exist and sometimes they go away but the universe we live in now is such that if you're in a recurring revenue business that's growing at 100% a year, it's not uncommon to see a valuation multiple that can be as high as 15x or so on your annual recurring revenue. What that means is that at the end of the day because of this microsite, you've then generated two million dollars of equity value and you're continuing to generate that much more equity value on an annual basis as a result of one day's worth of work here. This is a combination of being opportunistic about terms that are available, opportunistic about the valuation markets we exist in and really understanding your customers and their intent. When you put all that together, you end up in a spot where you are able to really generate a lot of value from a minimal amount of labor and this is all stuff that could be implemented by a one person company that has a clever eye toward really doing SEO in an intelligent way. Larry, maybe you can tie this up to your unicorn analogy a bit as well. It seems like that would make a lot of sense.

Larry: Sure. Bob, what we're finding is that like WordStream for example, I have a blog. I've been blogging for about six years. It's got 1600 articles on the site by now, a couple hundred a year. Fifty articles on that site, so less than 4% of the articles, generate half the traffic, 70% of the social shares, 80% of the inbound links are from 50 articles. The other 1500 is contributing very little so basically that just goes to show the power of trying to do fewer, bigger stories as opposed to throwing everything against the wall here.

Bob: Great, makes a ton of sense. As we're getting a little tight on time, I'm going to jump ahead here just to chatting a bit about measuring success and actually quantifying whether or not things are going well when it comes to all of these efforts that are going on. Just to kind of provide a little bit of insight into the ways we're thinking about whether or not we're doing a good job in this universe. At RJMetrics, we've got PR goals and we actually use our own product just to set up some instrumentation around whether or not we are getting the number of mentions and the number of page views coming in from PR sources on a regular basis that match up with our goals. What we've been able to do is just use our own product to get everybody that's on our content team on the same page in terms of whether or not we're living up to expectations and whether a big win is really something that translates into a big win. But it's more than just these top line data points. Understanding if we are steadily growing that owned audience so this is a chart here of just the list adds and losses over time.

This is kind of like a visual representation of that reciprocity index. Everybody who is on the negative side of each one of those lines is somebody who we've lost from lists that had an unsubscribe, something of that nature and everybody above it is a new add. What we want to make sure we're doing is we maintain a very, very healthy ratio. It's not a good thing if the bars on the bottom are the same size as the bars on the top. You want to make sure that your new adds are clobbering on a proportional basis the number of folks that are falling off on the bottom half there and it also even helps to do things like look at those populations on a cohort analysis basis. So the people you're losing, are they people that you just added or are they people that you've had for years and suddenly some piece of content decided to have that reciprocity shift for them. These are all things you can look at in the data that can be extremely, extremely valuable.

So where this really comes out is just with a couple of takeaways. If you want to make this stuff work for your startup, really just hitting the gas with this PRable content that you know you can set goals around and that you can message around to a bigger, broader audience and that you plan ahead to make sure you know what your strategy is for that stuff. Using paid to boost performance is a great tactic we learned about today and then using SEO to kind of clobber the rest of that long tail and make sure that you're maintaining momentum not just with it after hit in terms of PR but actually having a strategy that's going to be self-sustaining and building over time just by virtue of the kind of longevity of the content.

So we want to do a little bit of Q&A here with the few minutes we've got left. I think we've got time for just one or two questions. One thing we will be doing is keeping an eye on that promotingyourstartup hashtag. We are going to have a follow-up email related to the webinar today so we'll include the video, the slides and any of the information that we didn't get to here. Also, I will be keeping an eye on that hashtag and trying to spend some time on Twitter this afternoon getting to some questions that we might not cover here. So I want to just pull one question from the group that caught my eye that I'm really curious about that we didn't quite cover today but I think you might have some really valuable insights on which is, a few people have noticed that you are really big on LinkedIn right now and it seems like your profile and visibility has really been shooting through the roof. People are curious about what it is about the tactics you're using that are creating that success and what your philosophy is around your strategy for using LinkedIn as a social channel which is one we haven't really had a chance to talk about yet today.

Larry: It's hugely important for certain industries, like if you're B2B. LinkedIn is big on these who viewed your profile and all this stuff and they've kind of gamified it to make it very competitive. So my thing actually generates about 10,000 profile views per day so that's quite a lot of views.

Bob: Wow! That's incredible.

Larry: So how the heck did I do that? It's kind of a combination of a bunch of things like I link to that profile from a lot of places, so like my Twitter profile page gets 100,000 views per month and so the link on the Twitter thing is linked to my LinkedIn profile, for example. You can do that kind of thing. You can make it show up organically for search results by pushing links to it and that kind of thing. Adding a bunch of all your company experiences and being . . . There's a lot of SEO and stuff that I'm doing to show up in search results. But yeah, I think that it's been very helpful. Like I was at a networking function the other day and a guy came up to me and said, "I have no idea who you are. We've never met before but you're the guy that's at the top of my LinkedIn profile." Oh, LinkedIn blogging is also very important. I publish a lot of content that if people wanted to see who's published that, they go to the page. I would definitely recommend doing it. Why not? How about you?

Bob: So it seems like it's a great example of using, like you were talking about with that New York Times example before, you've got these other factors that are working in your favor. You've got attention going to other assets that you have, really leveraging those things to take some of that good karma from those channels and funnel it into things like LinkedIn when appropriate. Would you say that that's kind of, at least in that case where LinkedIn's become a little more prominent of a promotion channel for folks like you more recently, that's kind of been the key to making it work?

Larry: Absolutely, yeah.

Bob: Makes a ton of sense. We are right up on the end of our time here so unfortunately we don't have enough time for any more questions but we will be keeping an eye on those questions at that hashtag so make sure you keep them coming. We'll do our best to engage with folks out there that want to know some more.

One other order of business that we definitely need to cover here is the cupcake winner. The moment you have all been waiting for and the winner is Serena C. Serena C, we will be in touch with you to let you know how to claim those cupcakes. Congratulations on that win and with that said, I really want to extend my sincere thanks to Larry Kim so spending so much time with us today, sharing so many great insights. This has really been a blast. I think the crowd would agree that we should do this again sometime because it seems like we're really just scratching the surface but got some really great info out today. Thank you so much Larry.

Larry: Thanks, Bob, and to your team for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Bob: Outstanding. Well, thanks everyone in the audience today and stay tuned to your email for the follow up with a bunch more info. Until then, we will see you next time on the next RJMetrics webinar. Thanks everybody.