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Money Blogging | Mediavine Summer of Live

Money Blogging | Mediavine Summer of Live

[MUSIC PLAYING] Hey, everybody. Welcome. It is Thursday. It is the Mediavine
Summer of Live. I apologize for being
a little bit late. We had some technical
difficulties. But we are here, and we are– [LAUGHS] It might have been Chris Peach. He called himself out. I was going to leave it
vague and let you guys make your own determinations. But he claimed responsibility. So without further ado, I have
two wonderful guests with me today. I have Deacon Hayes
of Well Kept Wallet, and Chris Peach of Money Peach. Deacon, you want to go ahead
and introduce yourself? Tell us a little
bit about your brand and your journey to becoming
a financial blogger. Sure. So, yeah. We started the
site back in 2010. Or I should say, I guess,
I started the site. It was just me. And it was a way to tell people
how my wife and I paid off debt. We paid off 52
grand in 18 months. And I know Peach has a
similar story he’ll share. But that was just an amazing
thing for us, to say, hey, how do we share this
message with other people. Right? So we wanted to really focus
on how to save money, make money, and pay off debt. And so back in 2010, it
was really just a blog, just to help people. And then just started learning
about growing traffic, SEO, Pinterest– all these different things
to drive traffic to the site. And so in 2013, quit
my full-time job to work for myself, and
loved it ever since. Nice. And Mr. Peach, will you
do us the same honor? Yeah, so I got started
way after Deacon. In 2015 I got started. And a very similar story. My wife and I went
completely broke. Lost everything, as far as our
money and our bank accounts. We didn’t have any
money left over in our bank accounts–
overdrafted. And I didn’t even
know what a blog was, but I remember doing
some research on Google on how to get out of debt. And along the way, going through
this process, I found Deacon. And actually, Deacon and
I became good friends. And he’s the one that first
told me about this thing called the blog. And it’s like, this
is interesting! And then he told me,
he’s like, you know you can make money blogging. And I had no idea that
this was even a reality. I’m still a full time
firefighter to this day. But it’s been an
interesting process of going from completely
broke, to paying off a bunch of debt, to now helping
people do the same online, and being able to generate a
pretty nice income as well. So it’s been a cool journey. So that’s really
interesting, and like the way I got introduced to
influencer marketing in the blogging world,
was my boss said, I want an influencer program. So I started googling. How did you guys
learn about blogging? I know Deacon, you
brought in Chris, but how did all that progress? And what sources and resources
did you find along the way? Yeah, so I’ll start. So for me, I actually
hosted mine on WordPress. So it was like, or whatever, was my website. And so it was really just,
that was that first deal. And then there’s
Tumblr, and BlogSpot, and all this different stuff. But I’m a huge fan of
learning from other people, and so I looked for people
that were big players in the personal finance space. And so at that time, PT Money,
Budgets Are Sexy, [INAUDIBLE],, that other J Money. But there were some people– Mr. Money Mustache–
that were really making waves, and teaching
people about money. And so I learned about the
blogging aspect from them. And then learned
about Neil Patel, and Rand Fishkin from Moz, as
far as getting SEO traffic. And so really just
kind of looking for, who are those key players in
the niche that I want to be in? And then figuring out,
what are they doing well? And then emulate that. Not copy, but in
my own way, emulate what is successful
with their brands. And so, that’s
how I got into it. Mr. Peach? So for me, in the
very beginning, ironically I found
Deacon on Facebook. But I didn’t know who he was. It was an article that
was in Business Insider. So I had shared it
on my Facebook page, and a mutual friend that we
didn’t know knew each other, said hey, you know
this guy you just shared on your Facebook page? He actually lives in
Phoenix, and you guys are only about five
miles from each other. So we end up getting coffee. And this was the first time ever
hearing about the word “blog.” To me, honestly, I thought
blogging was recipes that women posted online. And that’s where it ended. I had no idea there was a
whole blogging world out there. And so we just had
a cup of coffee, shared with me what he did. And I remember he told
me, he’s like, it’s not hard to get started on a blog. And he gave me like five tasks. And I went home, and I
did all five that day. And I told him, hey, I
did everything you said. And he was like,
oh my gosh, I can’t believe you actually did that. And then I started
searching, and I’d say that the thing
that I did the most was listen to podcasts. And so the first podcast I found
in the digital online space was Pat Flynn’s
Smart Passive Income. That’s probably
the very first one and then he had Amy
Porterfield on the phone on his podcast, who
talked about Facebook. And then John Lee
Dumas was another one. And so those are my three that
I basically learned a little bit from in the very beginning. And then there was
a couple other ones on email marketing and stuff. But in the very
beginning, it was just I listen to
podcasts all day long. If I was at the gym,
if I was at work. If I was doing something
where I could put headphones on and listen, I was
listening to podcasts. Nice. That’s awesome. One of the greatest
things I’ve seen about the financial
blogging industry is how much you guys
rely on each other, and are such a community. And I know that
exists in other forms, but it’s very
interesting to see, and really interesting to
see in person at FinCon. I mean, it’s like you guys are
at summer camp and hanging out. It’s so cool. [LAUGHTER] It is! I was I was blown away. I had my first FinCon
last year, and you guys are nuts in all the best ways. So we’ll come back to
FinCon in a second, but I wanted to ask you guys– so in the world of blogging,
I think that finance blogging is considered by many
to be really different, both in the way that you
guys go about your craft, and in the way that you’re
perceived by outside people. So why do you think that is? Do you think that is? And tell me why you
think that is a thing. Do you care if go first Deacon? Go for it. I care. [LAUGHTER] So I think– No, just go. I think there are just
so many different niches inside the world of
personal finance. So it’s not just like a blanket
a topic, like every blogger is going to talk about finance. There are super small
niches within there. So there is you know
minimalist type blogs that people are
talking about how to cut back, and tiny
houses, and stuff like that. There is the retire early blogs. There is the investing blogs. There’s the student loan blogs. We have a friend that
runs the College Investor. Very niche specific. So the cool thing
about personal finance is if you want to be a
personal finance blogger, you have a whole bunch of
different avenues you can go. And I think we’ve all
heard this before, when we go to these conferences
they all say, the riches are in the niches. And that’s true. I mean, you could
talk to everybody, or you could talk to the
people that you know the best. So if you’re somebody that’s
incredible at investing, maybe that’s the
only route you go, is you talk about all the
different ways you can invest. There’s tons of them. If you’re a real
estate guy, there’s so many real estate
ways you can go. So I think that’s what
makes it unique as compared to a lot of different
other types of industries. And Deacon? Yeah, and I would
say another thing is it’s not as
interesting sometimes. It’s not like Hollywood
gossip or it’s not a mom blog, where you can
have some really interesting stories. I think that we make
it interesting, right? Yeah. We talk about the struggles. We have that success
stories on our site. We had a woman that had cancer,
and she paid off her debt while getting chemotherapy. That’s just unreal. So you find the
interesting things in life that could inspire other
people for a topic that could be boring, to talk
about just dollars and cents. So I think that’s the
cool thing about it, is trying to figure out whether
someone did retire earlier, paid off a ton of debt,
or whatever it is. Highlighting that, and
finding the details that make it exciting and
interesting to read and engage people. Yeah, I think that it’s really
interesting to see the way that you guys do that. And I want to talk
more about that. How do you infuse that personal
touch and that interest in there to make people as
passionate as you obviously are about personal
finance, because of your own backgrounds? And then also this interesting
thing about financial bloggers and anonymity, and how do
you inject your personality while retaining that? Yeah, so I will say I’ve
never been anonymous. I’ve always used my name. But I do know people that have
used a pen name, you know? Mm-hmm. And so I thought about
it because at one point I was posting income reports. I know that’s a big thing in
the personal finance space. People want to share their
income reports as a way to inspire other people. But then at some point,
you feel kind of exposed. If I’m making a lot
of money, do I really want everybody in the
world to know [INAUDIBLE].. Though I know some people
that chose to be anonymous, and have that veil. And it does give this more– I don’t want to say
authentic, but you can be more open about stuff. For me, I’m a little bit
more closed off on that stuff now when it comes
to the website. Because I think the
average reader– for Well Kept Wallet, my brand’s
a little bit different than Peach’s– they don’t
necessarily know who I am. The site is more of a
personal finance website. And so, for me, that
does give me a little bit if a cover of if you were
to say, I don’t know– [AUDIO OUT] OK, I think Deacon has
frozen a little bit. Chris, can you jump in there? Yeah. So as far as the
being anonymous thing, I’ve always put my face on
the front of my website. My name is Peach, and
it’s called Money Peach, so it was never
my idea to not be front-and-center of the site. So I don’t do any income
reports or anything like that, so I don’t
have to go down that route or worry about that. But one of the things I
did do in the beginning that was a mistake is I really
did not tell anybody out there that I was a firefighter. And so, for the longest
time, I thought to myself, well, man, I’m a
personal finance blogger talking about how to
save money, get out of debt. People are probably
looking for somebody from the banking
world, who’s going to listen to this firefighter? And I remember I had a
mentor, and he says, Chris, there’s only one you. There’s only one Chris Peach
who is a firefighter blogging about money. Use that to your advantage. Everybody knows a firefighter. Everybody knows
a police officer. You can position
yourself as the guy down the street who went
through the same problems that somebody else might be
going through, but you got out, and you found out
a way to do it. And you don’t speak
in financial terms. And I don’t wear a tie to
work, I wear a tank top. And we talked about this
before we hit “record.” It was a choice. This is part of my
brand, is I don’t want to lump myself into the– not there’s nothing wrong with
that– but how I’m different is I feel like
using my profession and my voice as the
everyday money guy, that was all intentional
from the very beginning. I love that and I
think that, yeah, always speaking from a
place of authenticity is what’s going to enable
you to keep growing, and keep doing what you want to do. If you’re coming
at it from trying to be something
you’re not, I don’t know how you’re going to
make that sustainable. It’s tough. Yeah, I’m sure that that’s true. Uh oh, we lost Deacon. Maybe he’ll come
back in a second. So I wanted to
talk to you about, what is the finance blogger
strategy for content creation? And what’s important
to your audience? And it seems different, again,
to DIY, food, parenting, decor, things like that. So if you could talk
about that for a second, how you go about that process. So it’s definitely
evolved over time. So in the very beginning,
when you’re starting a blog– and I don’t know how deep you
want to go into SEO and stuff like that– but our domain
authority was next to nothing. Meaning we were brand new. Google didn’t really
recognize us as anything yet. So it wasn’t like we were
going to come out and rank for anything that we wrote for. Meaning, we were never going
to be found through Google Search or anything like that. And so therefore,
we could pretty much write whatever we
wanted, because whatever we wrote wasn’t going to be
found unless we pushed that out through email and
through social media. Because like I said,
the Google machine was not paying attention
to us early on. That takes time. I think everybody in
the blogging world understands that. So in the beginning,
it was writing articles that I was passionate about. And I did 100% of the writing
in the very beginning. I was doing up to
three articles a week. And I feel like when you’re
passionate about something, when you love talking
about something nonstop to your friends, you
can write about it all day long. And so it was never a chore
to me to come up with content. But what I did do is I
created a spreadsheet. So Monday, Wednesday, Friday
was our posting schedule in the beginning. And I just started writing
down idea after idea. And sometimes they
would overlap, so that would become one post. But I remember, early on,
creating a six-month content of different things
we could write about, and they were all different. Now, fast forward to
today– three years later– our domain authority has
gone up a little bit. We could start being found
on the first page of Google. So now we start looking at,
what do we want to write about? But also, what can we be
found as far as search? And we played that
balancing act of, OK, I’m really passionate about this. Right now there’s just no way
for us to be found in that, so we’ll put that on hold. We want our blogs to grow. Sure. I think everybody on
here wants traffic. So we’ve got to be more
intentional about when we are writing content,
we want to make sure that there’s a
possibility that we can make the first
page of Google, and that’s where we start. That is good. Deacon is back. Hold on. I’m bringing him back. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that that’s
a struggle that– Hey, Deacon. Welcome back. Can you hear me OK? Uh-huh, we can hear you. Awesome. So I had just asked Chris
about content creation for financial
bloggers, and how that might be different from others. And it sounded a lot like what I
think all bloggers can struggle with, which is, I want
to write about what I want to write about, and
balancing that with what– as Chris called– the Google
machine wants, and will help you rank. So talk to me about
content creation for you, and how that might have
changed in the course of your blogging career. Yeah, when I started, it
was very similar to the, I just want to write about
whatever makes sense. But then I realized
that if nobody finds it, what good is it? So then I started
researching, what are people actually
searching for Google? And then writing
content around that. And then also
looking at Pinterest and seeing like what
stuff’s getting engagement on Pinterest, and then
writing content like that. And then there’s other things
I’ve tried, like Google Trends, where you can see
what’s trending. There’s all sorts of things. Doing trending articles. I have what’s it called? Google Now, or
something like that, on my phone, where basically
it will bring articles about interesting things. So I saw this
article about, you’re not going to have sign
for credit cards anymore. I’m like, that’s interesting! No one is googling that, but
it’s something interesting. So we wrote an article on that. So really just figuring out,
what is stuff that’s trending? And then also, what are
people actually searching for? So that way you can
start to make content that people are actually
going to see and read. Very good point. And how often are you posting? Chris, I know you mentioned
three times a week in the beginning. Are you staying
on that schedule? How do you determine that? And how did you pick your days? So in the beginning, I just
used the firefighter method. I’m like, I think
Monday, Wednesday, Friday would be a good time to post. [LAUGHTER] So that was my method
at the beginning. Right now we post
three times a week– Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And with me still
working a full time job, and having kids at
home, and stuff, that’s about as much as I
can handle at the moment. We’ll obviously want to
scale that, and improve that to maybe five days a week. But right now, we’re
Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So for us, we have been
doing one day a week. So every day of the week. We’re actually going
to scale back though, because I have become a believer
of quality over quantity. And so we were publishing
a lot, and so we’re going to go probably back
to three days a week, similar to Peach. But really focus
on the quality– making sure that
we’re including things that maybe other sites
aren’t including. Like for instance,
we’re going to have charts to compare different
services within the article. We have custom
graphics sometimes, that are very pinable. So really focusing on the
quality over quantity. And we’re not too concerned on
the days that it’s published. I know that that’s been a
concern for some people, if you have a following. Because for us, our
content is more long-term. So it’s not just the people
are going to read it today, it’s the people that
are going to read it every day, whether it’s coming
from the different social media channels or search engines. So it’s more about
just establishing a system that works
for your team, and then being
consistent of that. So speaking of
that, we actually– I know you guys know– but a
lot of our staff are bloggers and have their own
personal websites that they’re running well. They’re working with you guys,
which I think is an advantage. But one of our bloggers
and our staff members asked about wanting to expand
into a staff team– going from being a one-woman
show to moving in the way that you’ve moved. And how does that happen? What advice would
you give someone that is looking to
scale in that way? Yeah, so I’d say the
first thing that I did is identify the tasks
that I don’t want to do right. There’s a lot of things
like editing posts, scheduling posts,
creating Pinterest images, things I’m just not good at. And so once you identify
those things, then finding the people that
can fill that void. Like, OK, I can’t
do Pinterest images, so I need to find a graphic
designer who’s reliable and who creates good graphics. So for me, I hired someone
from a local college that got their degree
in graphic design, and so they’re more
focused on that. For the scheduling
side of things, I found a VA–
virtual assistant. So there’s sites like Upwork. I found mine within the FinCon
community, which is awesome. So if you have that
for whether it’s recipes, or health and
fitness, or mom blogs, if you have a
network of people– asking them who they use
for their virtual assistant. That’s how I found mine,
and she’s been awesome. And so really just trying
to tap into those two different sources,
and say OK, here is a place where I can get
local college people that are good at graphic design. Here’s a place where
I can find someone to do the virtual
assistance type work. And then, as far as
freelance writers– because that’s a huge
thing for blogs, right? I reached out to
a friend that had a course on how to make
money as a freelance writer. And I said, hey, can you post
this in your Facebook group about I need writers? This is what I’m willing to pay. This is the criteria. And she posted it and
I got tons of writers. So Facebook groups are
also a great resource. That is excellent advice and
a great way to outsource. And colleges are teeming
with people to work with. Chris, so you’re writing
three times a week. Are you the sole
author for the blog? So for the longest time I was. And I see Destiny ask the
question about starting off. In the beginning I did. I wrote three articles a week. I would say they were anywhere
from 1,500 to 2,000 words. And it was a lot to do
in the very beginning. But like I said, I was
so passionate about it that it never felt like
work, even though I was staying up till 2:00 in the
morning writing these articles. I loved doing it. But that’s not sustainable. So we ended up looking at,
OK, we still want to post, we still want to be relevant. So the hardest thing
in the very beginning was finding writers
that fit your brand. Because that’s kind of
the hardest thing to do, is when you’re so used
to writing for so long, and then you’re going allow
somebody else to write on your blog. And so, that was one of
the biggest challenges I had personally. Because I use my voice in my
writing, and now somebody else was going to be writing
and using their voice. And I was like, oh. But we said well,
we’ll test it out. We can always take that copy
down if we don’t like it. And it worked really well. So to Destiny’s question,
we do have three writers that we assign. And so they’re writing
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. But one of the
things that Deacon didn’t mention that
we both use, is we use a program called Asana. I don’t know if you guys
are familiar with Asana. It’s kind of like Trello. But I don’t use Trello. So I don’t know. But I use Asana. I know Deacon uses Asana. And going back to
the FinCon community, there’s a guy there named Matt
that actually put together this $27 course on
how to use Asana. And it’s called
Asana for bloggers. And I went through
that, and I was like, this is life changing. So it’s a free tool,
and it’s all online where you can assign
different writers. We have a thing where we
assign somebody a Monday task, a Tuesday task,
a Wednesday task. They finish it. When they check it off, it
goes to the project manager. And then she schedules it. It goes to the image makers. So it’s all automated. It’s behind the scenes. And it allows you– if you want to scale– it
really allows you to scale, because everything
is lined up in order. We are actually working on
Asana in the marketing team. Yeah. My colleague just
posted about it. And I need to take your
friend from FinCon’s course, so that I can stop
using my spreadsheets and my note pad on my computer. Not that I– It’s a game changer. Yeah? OK. All right, I will
take your word for it. So let’s shift
gears a little bit. What is relevant and impacting
financial publishers right now? What are your
current pain points? What are current events,
current issues for you guys? So do you want me– Yeah, go ahead Deacon. You go. OK. I was going to say because
this was a recent thing. And I know for some
people GDPR was a deal where you’ve got
the people in Europe making legislation that basically
affects how we have websites, and how we track information,
and things like that. And so there was this
rush to figure out, OK, how important is it? What do we need to do? So at the end of the day, we
just updated our opt-in forms to tell people. We have an updated disclaimer. We have updated
push notifications that get sent to people,
and we have email. So for people in
Europe, they get this custom notification
that tells them what we do [INAUDIBLE]. So there are some people– I know one guy in
particular that blocks all traffic from Europe. Because he’s like, I don’t
want to deal with this. So that’s another way to do it. You figure out what
percentage of traffic you get from those countries,
and then just block them. Mine was just update
the company [INAUDIBLE].. Yeah. GDPR was a four-letter
word at Mediavine. We got through it. It was just– it was a thing. It was a situation. Mr. Peach, how about you? Anything that is
particularly timely for you in the finance
blogging world? I’d say the biggest
pain for us is we got to be careful what
we choose to write about. Because sometimes– I’ll
give an good example– we might write a post where it’s
like, The Top Bank Promotions Right Now. And it’s like, yes,
we can rank for this. This is going to be great. We’re up with this
wonderful article together. And then these bank promotions
change like, every five days they’re changing it out. And so having to go back
over and over again, and edit and update,
and change things out. That’s something that
I learned the hard way. And it took me like
five times to learn it. Because I kept doing the same
thing, and I go, oh, my gosh. They took that program down,
and we just wrote about it. One of the mistakes
I made is we put a number– it was like, 52
Ways To Do This, in our url. Well, then that one
company no longer existed. So I’m like, great. Now we have 51. Yeah so. That kind of stuff. In the personal finance,
banks and stuff, they’re moving they’re changing,
different offers are happening. So that really puts us
in a bind sometimes. Yeah. It’s got to be hard to
balance the current thing and wanting to be
on the cutting edge, in an industry that thrives
on evergreen content. I’m not quite sure how. And you don’t want to change
that url or any 401 redirects. So that’s interesting. How did you deal with the
52 situation turning to 51? We found another one. We just had to scour. You just found another. You made another 52. That make sense. That’s good. Yeah. So I just got a
question actually from our director of influencer
marketing, and she asked– So you know that this is The
Year of Video at Mediavine. How are you are you taking
advantage of the popularity of video? And how does that work
in the finance niche? I’ll start with that. So I was really
bummed when YouTube updated their
minimum requirements to make money with YouTube. And so, I had less
than 1,000 subscribers. So they basically shut it off. So now, if we create video we
didn’t make any money with it. And so we know at Mediavine,
you guys you actually a much higher– I don’t know if
we call it a RPM, but it’s a much higher
payout than YouTube. CPM. Yes, CPM. We’ve been playing
around with that. And so we can embed
it on the website and see how it does compared
to how YouTube used to do. We know that is
significantly higher. So that’s one way. But the other thing is,
we’ve kind of scaled back on doing YouTube
videos, because we need 4,000 hours worth of time. And so I’ve got
dozens of videos, and we have only 2,400
hours watch time. So I’m like, we’d have to
continue to make more and more. So really we’re
just, once again, more about quality over
quantity– only creating videos to complement posts. So really what we’re doing is,
if we have a post about 80 ways to make money, we might make a
video about 21 interesting ways to make money and embed
it within the post. So that’s what we’re
doing with that today. Mr. Peach? I would say for me this is
where I lack big time, is video. It just seems like for me–
and I think a lot of bloggers feel this way– there’s
1,001 different things that we should be doing. And for the longest time,
I was spending that whole saying where I was an
inch deep and a mile wide, and I was just
dabbling in everything. And so one of the hardest things
for me was to start saying, OK, “yes” to certain things,
but saying “no” to more things. And I would absolutely love
to be doing much more video, putting video in every post. And that’s something
that I want to do. But at the end of
the day, there’s just not enough
hours in the day. So we’ll have to bridge that
gap as it becomes more relevant. And I see that video is
definitely the future. I mean Instagram
is using now video. I’ve gone to a couple
of Facebook places where they’re talking
about video, video, video. And so I understand that. But the biggest pain
point right now, for me is, where do I find
time to add one more thing? Yeah, absolutely. And I think that
conferences are super good at making you realize all
the things you’re not doing. It can be a little painful just
to sit in there, and be like, I’m so inspired! Oh God! I’m not doing anything right! And balancing those feelings. You might not be doing video,
but you are doing podcasting. And I wanted to talk
to you guys about that, as well as the other
ways in which you’ve diversified beyond your blog– eCourses, speaking, printables. Tell me what you guys are
doing in your dabbles, and what has been
successful for you. So, yeah. One thing for me is the podcast. I have been doing it since 2013. And now, once again,
it’s made to compliment the current material
on the website. Originally, it was
a standalone thing. But now, if I interview
someone, it’s with the intent that we have a piece of
content on the website that we can embed this podcast
into, where it complements it. Because for me, I’m
an auditory learner. So I don’t really
read blog posts. I own a blog, but I
don’t read blog posts. I listen to stuff,
or I watch videos. So for me, the podcast was
a natural progression of, OK, if I want to
reach people that are auditory learners
in the blogpost, this is the way to do it. Awesome. Deacon, how about you? I’m sorry! Chris. Go for it. No problem. Hey, I’ll take Deacon’s name. So I have a podcast. So when we started our
podcast we tested things. We tried a thing
called Money Peach TV. And then we were doing the TV,
and we were scraping the audio and running the podcast. And it was all about
personal finance. But over time, we started
talking about the same thing over and over again. And I started bringing
on people to help me– as far as guests– and I noticed there was an
uptick whenever we brought out somebody that talked about
making money or generating income instead of
cutting back, I noticed there was a big
uptick in listenership. So we scraped the TV idea,
because it was too expensive and you have to do
your hair every day. And right behind me is
this podcast studio. So it’s this little
carpeted box. And so we’d do our
podcast in there. And we’d do it a lot
on entrepreneurship. But a lot of the people
that we’d bring on are bloggers, or podcasters,
or YouTubers who found a niche. They’re generating income. And they come on and they teach
people what they’re doing. Share their ideas. And then another way we decided
to monetize off our blog was, early on, when we
started off as a beginner, you’re not going to
have a ton of traffic. And so that means
you’re not going to have a lot of revenue
coming in from places like advertisements, Mediavine,
affiliates, stuff like that. Just not going to happen. And so I realized
that I needed a bridge this gap before we started
hitting thousands of visitors a month. And so I created
a digital course based on a lot of the things
we talked about in the blog. And then we started
selling the course as well. So that really helped
out in the beginning while we built our traffic. Good, yeah. We’re always all about that
multiple revenue streams here, and not just one. So I’m going to ask
a Mediavine question. How has Mediavine changed the
game for you guys, If it has? And what advice
would you give people that are considering
potentially joining Mediavine? Yeah, I’d say for
me, it was huge. Because AdSense was
what I used at the time. And I’m looking at the RPMs
or CPMs, and they’re very low. So you had to get
a lot of traffic to really make a decent living. And so switching
over to Mediavine was huge, because I think we
were like, four or five times what we were with AdSense. That was a big deal to where
OK, now we can actually monetize the content– especially content that
doesn’t have an affiliate. So we do write stuff that
we think is good content, but it doesn’t have
an affiliate intent. So we needed a way
to monetize that. Mediavine definitely
helped us fill that void. For me it was a
complete game changer. And I don’t want to mention
any other names out there, as far as– you go to FinCon, there’s four
or five different advertising companies that are
competitors to Mediavine. And so, I was with
one of them, and they were like, oh, we’re going
to get you $9 to $10 CPMs. And against AdSense
that’s huge, right? Yeah. Because AdSense you’re
like at $3 or $4. So for those who are brand
new, CPM is cost per 1,000. So 1,000 visitors, what could
you expect cost per 1,000, or what would you make
per 1,000 visitors? And so then Mediavine comes
along, and I remember early on, we were like in the mid 20s. And I’m like, something must
be wrong with their software. How can they pay us in the mid– it was just mind blowing. I remember telling Deacon,
this doesn’t even make sense. How are they so much
higher than everybody else? And then on another
aspect of it, once you’ve signed on with a
lot of these other companies– if you sign up with
AdSense, you’re never going to talk to anybody. You’re a number. But if you sign on with some
of these other companies, it’s a difficult time to
get in touch with somebody. And I remember I referred
somebody to Mediavine, and they must have
mentioned my name. And you guys sent me
a bottle of alcohol. Which, thank you,
that was awesome. But I was like, who does this? This is amazing! Not only do they
have higher CPMs, now I’m getting this
bottle of liquor. One time you sent candy. And I was like, this
is so crazy to me, that there’s a company
out there that pays well and they treat you well, too. Which was pretty weird
in the blogging world. Well, we do what we can. And booze and candy,
we found, are never amiss when we mail
them to people. So I’m going to talk about how–
you guys mentioned that you– Chris, you discovered
some resources through a Facebook group. And also, I wanted to talk
about expanding your reach, and how you do the traditional
and nontraditional media sources and syndication
beyond your blog. I’m sorry. You cut out a little bit. What were you saying? Whoops. OK, I said expanding your
reach through traditional and nontraditional media sources. So going outside
your blog potentially getting an interview somewhere,
or syndicating your blog post to different sources. Yeah. So I’m a big fan of that. And so one of the things that
I started do early on is, going back as I was writing
all of my own articles, I was writing nonstop. And I was also reaching
out to other bloggers. I wanted to be a guest
poster, which I think, if you’re starting out,
you have to be doing that. And what happens is your name
starts getting out there. And if you write good
content you can share that. It’s almost like a portfolio. Like, hey, I’ve written
for other people. I want to write
for you for free. And so early on, I remember,
we wrote for Geico. That was kind of
a big deal for us. I mean, like I was brand
new and Geico posted us, not only on their online
stuff, but in their print that they sent out in the mail. And then a company called Grow– they’re the Acorns’ Money app. We wrote for them. And we wrote a couple
articles for them, and then they
said, well, what do you think about doing a
syndication partnership, where we borrow one of
your articles a month, you borrow one of ours
and we share them. And so in the beginning,
that’s a win-win. I don’t know how
Deacon feels about it. But for me, that was a win. Because I had a low
domain authority, I was still brand new. And for my name and a link to my
site to appear on a bigger site became a big deal. And then, lo and behold,
they had a relationship with Business Insider, and
Forbes, and Entrepreneur, and all of a sudden, this
article that I wrote on my blog two years ago, ends up
on Business Insider. And so that would’ve
never happened without that networking
and syndication. Mr. Hayes? Yeah, ah, that sounds so formal. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, so for me, I don’t
really do any syndication, but I did do a lot of writing
for other publications. So at some point, you
start with just one. So I think it was
Clark Howard, which is big in the personal
finance space. So finding a site
that you’re like, hey, I really would
love to write for this, and figure out what
their criteria is. And then it kind of
snowballed from there. So I was a writer for the
US News and World Report, a writer for Investopedia. So bigger publications within
the personal finance niche. And then I realized I
hate writing, so I’m like, I don’t want to do this anymore. But it’s one of those
things where it really depends on your skill set. So for me, I was willing
to put in the effort up front, because
I knew that being able to get that exposure,
to get that out there, it was huge. I did a lot of work up front,
so now I don’t have to. But it definitely did pay off. Interesting. We are big advocates
of syndication, and getting good
link love, and being a responsible blog citizen. So I think that’s a big thing. Talk a little bit about
conferencing for you guys, and obviously, we have
to talk about FinCon, because we already have
been talking about FinCon. It’s been brought up. Are there other conferences
that you would recommend? And tell our
listeners and watchers a little bit about FinCon, and
how to get the most out of it. I’m a huge fan of FinCon,
and I’m a huge fan of conferences in general. And the reason why
is it’s not what you learn from the conference
that lasts and helps you build your business. It’s who you meet there. You’re not going to meet these
people, and network with them, and build those relationships
completely online. Yes you are to an extent, but
just like anything in life, and you get in front of
somebody face-to-face it’s way different. And so I remember
in 2015, the FinCon. That was the first conference. I had been a blogger for
three months, I think. And the first
conference I went to was in Charlotte, which is,
for me, that’s a huge flight. I’m not making anybody on
my blog, I’m brand new, and I’m flying
across the country. And I know nobody
except for Deacon. I don’t know anybody. But that was a
complete game changer. I can say this with
100% confidence. If I didn’t take that
trip to Charlotte, there is no way my
business would be even close to where it is today. And so FinCon for me is
something that– like, this year I’m going to miss
it, but I have good reason. I don’t miss it. You have to go. If you’re a financial blogger or
in the financial space at all, that’s one you have to go to. But then there’s so many
conferences out there. And I’ve gone to
a couple of them. Yeah, they weren’t the
greatest conference. But the people you
meet there are huge. We’ve have people
on our team that have come from conferences. And so, if you’re going to
spend your money on anything, I’d say spend a
little bit of money and go to these conferences. Because yes, the
ticket is expensive, but it’s not what
you’re going to learn, it’s who you’re going to meet. Yeah I’d agree with that. I went to Traffic and Conversion
in San Diego this year, and I was not enthralled
with the speakers. Except Damond John was
there from Shark Tank, which was kind of cool,
and he did a decent job. But it was just the
people that I met there. And you have those
conversations around a dinner table, or a bar, or whatever. And you get an insight into
what’s working well for them. Bat ideas back and forth. How can we collaborate together. So there’s all sorts of that
type of stuff that happens. FinCon though, by
far, is my favorite. So whether you’re a
financial blogger or not, being able to find
a conference where– they actually have
these T-shirts, like, “I found my people.” You go there and, like, these
people speak my language. They know about
compounding interest, and debt amortization,
and yada, yada, yada. Normal nerd speak. And so it was one of those
things where you feel like, hey, I belong. But you also get to
figure out like how can we impact more people. How can we do this together. Not as competition,
but as collaboration. Yeah, like I said. Last year was my first FinCon. And it was quite an experience. And we’re super excited to
go back again this year. And we’re sponsoring
[INAUDIBLE],, and we’re looking
forward to meeting even more personal
finance bloggers and people in the space. It’s a very different,
and very exciting– high energy I guess
would probably be the adjective that I would use. You guys are animals. No question about it. OK. So readers who haven’t been
following you for years may find it overwhelming to
come to a personal finance site. Like me. I find it overwhelming. And how do you communicate
to your readers how to get started? How do you get people on a
path where they’re are not just– because I
know, personally, I can get to a place
where I just go, I don’t know what this means. And I’m going to
go eat ice cream instead of read this blog. So that is such a good question. And I wish you would have
asked me this in 2015 or 2016. Because I was information
overload in the beginning. It made sense to me, but I
had every little category everywhere on the site,
and it was overwhelming. And what I learned– there’s a book out there
that I would highly recommend people read. It’s called StoryBrand
by Donald Miller. Donald Miller? Yeah, Donald Miller. And so one of the questions
he asked in the book is, if somebody
goes to your site, within the first
three to five seconds they should be able to determine
right away what you do. And in the book he
gives a lot of examples so you can actually go see it. So for me, you go to my site,
and it was like scrolling this, and videos going this way,
and things are moving. And took me, as the owner of
the site, about 20 seconds to figure out what I did. [LAUGHTER] So I would say simplify
it as much as possible, and make it really simple. So if you go to our
site, at the very top, before you can even scroll
down, it basically says, hi, I’m Chris Peach. Here’s what I do. And it says, grab the budget
or go to the workshop. So two options, or
you can close out. And then if you want to scroll
and learn more, you can. But when somebody arrives at
the site, especially on mobile, make sure they check
it on your phone. They should have one
of two options max. And it should tell
me like, what you do. So before it was
just a picture of me. And when you went on mobile,
it was a picture of me. I could be a gardener, I
could be a cook, I could be– No one knows. And so now we try
to use language that’s not in your
face, but, oh, this guy helps me with budgets. Like, I get it. Deacon? Yeah, well, first
off I want to say, I think I’m going to buy Peach
a T-shirt with a giant dollar sign that he can wear in that
picture, so it’s super clear. [LAUGHTER] Because he would wear it well. What about a bubble? Like, a big thought bubble? I’m thinking about finance! I might do that. And you should check
it out, because you’re going to get credit
for it if I do that. Yay! Yeah, so similar to Peach, like,
mine was more category-based, so we had 40 different
categories on site. And so I just figured, OK,
let’s narrow down to three. And that’s it. And so we have Save Money,
Make Money, Pay Off Debt. And so that makes
it so much clearer, that if somebody
comes to the website, they’re going to look at what
category makes sense for them, and click on it. And then they can scroll
through the articles and find the one that’s most
relevant to them right now. And so that was our
approach, instead of having all these
different categories where people can be confused
and say, where do I begin. Well, I have debt. I’m going to click on that one. Or, you know what? I need to save some money. Or I need to make extra money. Really make it easy
for people to find what they’re looking for. Absolutely. And we all know, they click away
or they hit the back button, and they’re gone. You’ve lost them. OK, so affiliate marketing. Let’s talk a little
bit about this, because this is something
that I am passionate about. I started an affiliate
program for my previous job. And I think it’s
something that can be really tough for a lot of
the other blogging niches. I know it plays a huge
role in financial blogging. Can you talk a
little bit about how it plays a role on your site. And do you have any tips? How do you get readers to
buy something you recommend? I’m going to let Deacon
start, because I’ve actually learned a ton from Deacon. He’s like the godfather of
personal finance affiliate marketing for me. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, well. Get out of here. Stop. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, so really it
was figuring out– I actually took a course
from a friend of mine. It’s called Making Sense
of Affiliate Marketing. And so it was one of
those things, like, I want to find out from
someone that does really well. She makes six figures a month
from affiliate marketing. So like, eh, she probably
knows what she’s talking about. And so one of the things
that she recommended was finding 10 brands
that really match up with your audience. And so I thought, well,
who are the top 10 brands when it comes to
paying off and making money, et cetera? And then, well, let’s write
content around those brands. So if it’s like, How To
Make Money With Your Home. And then, Airbnb is
going to be the affiliate that we talk about in there. How To Make Money
With Your Car– Lyft, Uber, Uber East, those
are going to be affiliates. So really, it kind of
helps you direction to how we create content. And it’s a win-win. So we get commission
for referring people, Airbnb gets revenue, and people
that are signing up as a host get revenue. So there’s this
magical synergy that happens with affiliate
marketing, where we’re connecting the
end user with the brand, and we’re getting paid for
it, and everybody wins. So that’s worked out really
well for us on Well Kept Wallet. Chris, can you add
something in there? Yeah, one of the
things that I’ve– I mean I’m going to steal
this from you, Deacon, because you taught me this. But one of the things
that we learned is that when you are
promoting a product or service is two things. Talk about it naturally. And I’m sure you guys have heard
podcasts where, this show has been brought to you by– and you know right away
it’s an affiliate link, or it’s a commercial. But then you might have somebody
who that just naturally flows, and starts talking about a
product or service they use. And so we changed it from
where it was a pop-up box that said “I love this product”,
to, if it fit in the article, and we could just organically
or natively put that in there so it made sense
to the reader, we got a lot higher
click-through rate. Another thing, too, is pay
attention to your numbers. Your numbers are huge. So I know Deacon and
I were big on EPC– earnings per click. And so how we calculate that
is, OK, at the end of the month I’ll look at, what did we
make with this affiliate? And how many clicks were
their earnings per click? Real simple. And then so we’ll
look at some posts, and if we have four or
five affiliates on there, but they’re in the
numbered order, then we’ll put the
highest EPC at the top, because that’s probably going
to get seen more than one at the bottom. And that will help you
generate revenue right there, by just making small tweaks, is
just looking at your numbers. So EPCs, I think that
even early-on bloggers should know what EPCs are,
and how to manage those. Those are excellent tips. We are unfortunately
starting to run out of time, and I hate that, because
you guys have been amazing, and you are giving
wonderful advice. I’m going to come back to
you with a final question. And I think that’s
going to be, if you could tell all our audience
and the world one thing about what it is that you
do, what would that be? And I will be back
in just a moment. So, guys, thank you so
much for joining us today. I wanted to let you
know that next week we are talking with Aimee
Shugarman of Shugary Sweets, and Courtney O’Dell of Sweet
C’s about unlocking RPMs. Getting that RPM as high as you
can, maximizing your content, viewability, all
those great things that are going to get more
dollars in your pocket, as we move into an incredible
Q4 here at Mediavine. Now to Mr. Hayes. We’ll start with you. Will you please go ahead
and let us know one thing? Yeah. Well, we help people make
money, save money, pay off debt. And so go to Well Kept
Wallet to find out more on how to do that. Excellent. Mr. Peach? We just take the confusion
out of personal finance. So we make it so the everyday
normal person, like me, can understand it. And I’ll do one more thing. If you could send any one
to one piece of content, one post on your site,
one podcast episode, where would you send
them to start out? So for me I’d say
Passive Income Ideas. So if you Google
“passive income ideas”, we should come up number one. And then go to that
post, and figure out how to start making
passive income today. Excellent. Chris? For me, if you just go to
a Money Peach, and type in “budget” anywhere
on our site– Our site revolves
around our budget, which is our lead magnet. And it’s the tool that thousands
and thousands of people are using. So that would be a good start. Fantastic. Guys, I’ve had a
great time with you. Thank you so much
for stopping by. Thank you for having us. Thank you for having us. Jinx. All right, guys. [LAUGHTER] Have a great day. Bye, everyone!

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