Digital marketing is a broad topic. What made you get into the digital marketing industry?
I got into it from promoting my chess events on Facebook. From there, I was constantly marketing myself and looking to increase my social following. After a while, I realized that the internet is actually one of the easiest ways to reach a lot of people these days and is extremely cost-effective. Around this time, I also launched my first internet venture (myCampusHacks.com), and I was the on the marketing team. This led me into internet entrepreneurship and also resulted in the launching of my career in digital marketing. Soon after, I joined the team of a local signs and banners company in Memphis, Tennessee as a Digital Marketing Specialist.
Tell us about your most successful blog or website you’ve grown.
That would be myCampusHacks.com. I started this project with my business partner right around the time I was graduating college. The idea of the website came to me from my own problems I was having as a college student. I realized there are a lot of information, hacks, tips, shortcuts, and loopholes which are available to a student on a college campus. While individually, a student may not have any access to all this information, it is certainly possible to know of these things if everyone on the college campus shared them with you in the form of little tidbits of information (sort of like Tweets) we refer to as “Hacks” on our website. We launched the website in August of 2014, and in just a month, we had over 200 registered users. We are currently in the process of re-launching a commercial version of this website to the students at the University of Memphis.
What’s the best way to monetize a blog?
It really depends on what sort of business you have. The idea of a blog is to create lots of really really good content that is so good that people can’t help but share it. You want your information on the blog to be some of the best info people can find anywhere on the net on that given topic. People should be able to read your blog and learn something new and/or have their questions answered. They should be able to go home and implement step by step whatever they read in your blog. To do this, I would recommend going to a site like buzzsumo.com and looking to see what the best pieces of content are within your industry or particular topic. Then, simply create content that is better than the best or content that is more thorough. Monetization happens when you get a lot of traffic. If you don’t have a business, you can use Google AdSense and get paid for clicks on your ads. You can even become a network marketer or an affiliate marketer and sell affiliate products through your blog.
If you have a business or an eCommerce site, the blog should be a way to draw your customers (visitors) right to the front gate of your online real estate (your website), and then focus on conversion strategies. This means creating really good calls to action, sales funnels, opt in pages, while analyzing the users’ behavior throughout the entire sales process.
Where do you see the future of digital marketing industry heading, and how will you adapt to the changes?
Videos, webinars, and infographics are the next big thing. While I do think blogging is here to stay and will continue to be the mainstream content marketing channel for a long time to come, I also think video marketing, inforgraphics, and webinars are becoming increasingly popular. You will see more and more businesses hop on this train as they realize that it is becoming increasingly difficult to market via social media (i.e. Facebook’s algorithm changes which limit post reach). I think businesses will soon realize that their own domain is the only channel over which they have complete control. No one can take that away from you or change algorithms to affect it (other than search engines which can manipulate traffic). I mean, WordPress is open source and so you can do whatever you want with it. So, the only thing you have to worry about is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). So, if you want a permanent way to make sure you draw visitors to your site, I would say it would have to be via blogging, infographics, videos, and webinars that most businesses will be able to generate leads in the next couple of years. That is just what we plan to do at our company, Total Concept.
If you could leave our readers with one last piece of business advice, what would it be?
Don’t quit your regular job and jump into business all of a sudden. Seriously, it’s one of the biggest mistakes aspiring entrepreneurs sometimes make. If you have a daytime job, keep it, but start your business (your side hustle) afterhours. In other words, work on your business idea after you get home. See, when you quit our job cold turkey and jump on a business venture, you no longer have steady income coming in, and at that point, your business is all you have to feed yourself. It becomes a make it or break it type of situation. The best thing an entrepreneur can have is a steady source of income which provides his or her basic needs and even allows some money to be spent on the startup. Don’t start your business on a loan either. Start something on the side, and when your side hustle becomes bigger than your main hustle, that’s when you can quit your job and work full-time on your business. Until then, stick with whatever pays your bills.