In this episode, I talk to a real risk-taker, Harry Dry. He’s done his research, knows his channels, and he’s even grabbed the attention of Kanye West.
He also runs Marketing Examples, a company who, surprisingly enough, provides a selection of real-world marketing examples. He has a gift for repurposing content depending on the channel and in today’s podcast, he takes you through the process step-by-step.
listen to this episode
- Why most marketing content strategies don’t work
- How to recognise an article that’s been written by someone who doesn’t care
- Using a Twitter thread to promote an article
- Building connections on LinkedIn and marketing yourself on Reddit
- Researching your channels well and and understanding the nuances of each
- Why consistency is the key to building trust
- The reason that direction is more important than speed
- Writing your emails as though they were for your mum and dad
- Marketing Examples
- Kanye Story
- Top Dawg Entertainment
- Dave Gerhardt on EHM
- Barametrics Growth Manifesto
- Matthew Kobach’s Twitter
- Sales for Founders
- Exploding Topics
- Dude with Sign
- Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy
- Indie Hackers (C.S. Allen’s comments)
- 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries
- Growth Design
Louis: We’re going to start the intro. One, two, three. Bonjour, bonjour and welcome to another episode of Everyone Hates Marketers.com, the no fluff, actionable marketing podcast for marketers, marketing consultants, founders and tech people who are just sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I’m your host, Louis Grenier. In today’s episode you learn how to repurpose your content effectively on every channel. So like Reddit, Twitter, et cetera. You’ll also learn how to get a ton of traction out of this very exercise.
My guest today runs marketingexamples.com, which is a selection of real world marketing examples as you guessed it. So he’s written about, for example, how to write a landing page title or, more recently, the marketing genius of the American rapper, Lil Nas X, which went, as the cool kids say, fucking viral everywhere. That’s a testament to his strategy to repurpose content depending on the channel, which is very clever. My guest actually left his job to focus on this project full-time. He’s a risk taker. He’s someone who managed to get the attention of Kanye West, for example, and he wrote about it on this website called the kanyestory.com. Have a look at it. Very interesting. Very interesting marketing case study.
Louis: Anyway, Harry Dry, very happy to have you on board.
Harry: Yeah. Louis, that’s such a lovely intro. Thank you. I feel like Tyson Fury walking out into the Staple Center as you said that, marching out. I’ve never had someone, I don’t know, give me such a glowing introduction. Appreciate it and very generous.
Louis: So I’m going to keep going then for a bit because I discovered marketingexamples.com a while back and I discovered as a testament to your way of marketing yourself as well. The way you manage to distill real world marketing examples and to extract insight of them using things that you wouldn’t know really are marketing but actually are marketing and the way you write as well, the way you build your site, everything is a testament to your skills as a marketer. As I said before we started the intro, I think you know marketing more than most CMOs and VPs of marketing out there because you get it, which is difficult to get. So that’s why I’m happy to talk to you and I hope it’s not too much to take as a compliment. Now you have to live up to it.
Louis: So anyway, one thing that you believe in, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but one thing that you believe in is that most marketers content strategy don’t really work, right? Why is that? Tell me more.
Harry: I think that the majority of companies, their content strategy is pretty much just write a blog and possibly do a little bit of keyword research, but possibly not and it’s just for the sake of the blog. They churn it out, and then they probably just pop it on Twitter, pop it on their Facebook page and that’s that. Maybe send it round an email list. I think that’s kind of the par, and I think that that’s not really enough these days. People don’t want to just click on a link on Twitter. People use Twitter to scroll through Twitter. People use LinkedIn to scroll through LinkedIn. They don’t just want to jump around articles.
I also don’t think there’s much heart in much of the writing articles or much of the articles either. I think that you can kind of tell when you’re reading something that it’s just wrote by… this sounds quite critical, but I honestly think it’s true. You can just tell that it’s written by someone who’s doing it for a job, and they just churned it out and it was a Google Docs which had some edits and that’s all it is. Yeah, I think that’s why. People don’t care that much about it I don’t think unless you’re a really good company.
Louis: How do you recognize an article or a blog post that is written by someone who doesn’t care versus someone who does care?
Harry: Yeah, great question, and [inaudible 00:03:54] 100%. I think that’s a massive deal and I’ll tell you the company which smashes it, it’s Ahrefs. So what happens is that they have people who write their… They’re an SEO company for anyone who hasn’t heard of them. They write really great articles about how to rank on Google and it supplements their product. You can tell that the people who write the articles care because they share them themselves and Ahrefs is growing like a team of superstar writers. There’s Tim Soulo, who’s the guy who runs it, and he is now like a person in himself, and Tim will share every article himself.
Then they’ve got the other writers who I think… I can’t remember their names, but they’ve built up personalities on LinkedIn and on Twitter and because Ahrefs gives their employees, the writers, skin in the game, that’s the key word really. Ahref’s writers have skin in the game, and they’ll go through hell and high water to get the articles writ, and I think, for example, on my website, Marketing Examples, I think that 50% of the people sharing the articles are sharing them because I, Harry Dry, have written them and they’re supporting me and behind me. The rest of the 50% is kind of organic. People share stuff because it’s not the song, it’s the fact that Kanye West has written the song. That’s why people listen to it. If you have real people pushing stuff organically, that’s how it shares a lot of the time.
Louis: So the name is important, and, yeah, I would double down on saying Ahref do things really well in term of content. So their authors, they don’t do shitty research just looking on Google for 10 minutes about an article. You can see that they talk to experts. You can see that they care about the topic. You can see it’s them writing it themself with their own personality, their own words. This is like the way you see the difference. It has this little thing that makes it different from these 500 word blog posts that you can see everywhere.
Louis: The other thing that you started to… Sorry. Go ahead, man.
Harry: I just want to say, just on that point just to top it off, it reminds me of the rap station Top Dawg Entertainment. Kendrick Lamar’s on the label, SZA’s on the label and they just help each other out. They’re like one big family and they’re all growing at the same time. When SZA releases an album, Kendrick Lamar will plug the album on his Twitter page, on his channels and that’s how Ahrefs works. They’re pulling each other up. It’s really remarkable, and I think that if you have your employees empowered like that, that’s where you have huge results.
Louis: Yeah, that’s a very good way to put it, right. You support each other and everyone has skin in the game and everyone support each other inside the company. This is tough to get, right? The other thing I wanted to say is you mentioned briefly that on Twitter, people don’t want to go through each tweet and click on the blog post and go somewhere else. People scroll through on Twitter, very much like they scroll through on LinkedIn, very much like they scroll through on Facebook. They do that for entertainment, right? I mean they do that because they’re bored, because they want to kill time, because of habit. So when, as a company nowadays, when you just post your blog post on Twitter and expect people to click on it, it’s very unlikely to happen less and less, you know?
You figure out this. You figured that out from the very start. The channels that you use, you know that. So therefore, you use different formats to promote your own stuff, but we’ll talk about that in the next few minutes. So before we move on to that, so there is no passion as you said. You recognize poor content strategy, poor content because there is no passion behind it. They don’t really care about it. You don’t recognize anyone behind the article. It doesn’t seem to resonate with you. Any other reason why content strategy [crosstalk 00:07:38] content strategy don’t work?
Harry: Yeah, why does it work? Just to clarify-
Louis: Why it doesn’t.
Harry: Well firstly, the quality of the article isn’t good enough. So this is something which it’s a cliché and it’s so easy to say on a podcast you’re not writing good enough articles, but reality is that there’s a hell of a lot of stuff produced each day by companies and if you’re not in the top sort of one, two percent, three percent, four percent, why would I share your article? Let’s say I read five articles, 10 articles each day. I share something on my Twitter page probably once a month and I’m only going to share something that’s outstanding. So the reason is because it’s not particularly great.
There’s different ways around it. With my own site, my focus is on I want to write the best stuff out there, but, as well, there’s companies that do just as well but they’re SEO. They rely a lot on organic traffic. So they’re then more pump out long form content, rank well, be useful, but not necessarily useful enough to be shared, but it doesn’t really matter because Google loves their content. So there’s more than one way to skin a cat, but I think if you’re not writing something which is good enough to be shared and… Either, sorry either. If you’re not writing something that’s good enough to be shared either there’s no sort of SEO play, then what’s the point? I really think that.
Louis: Yeah. I think in the future what we’re going to see more and more is search engines want to merge, like what you’re saying, with what they are doing right now, which is they want to find out if an article is interesting enough to be shareable and they want to rely less and less on those on page SEO tactics and ways to rank easily if you have a lot of budget to put behind articles. So my prediction anyway is that in the future the frontier between the barrier, the gap between those two things is going to be blurred more and more and we’re going to see entertaining content, useful content, everything’s going to have to be very, very good to either rank or be shared anyway.
So what you’re doing now, to me, anyway is what I see content marketing to go in the next few years because Google will recognize that and will be able to rank for articles that are entertaining as well as useful, as well as helpful, as well as whatever. Okay. So now I think people are interested to know how you do stuff because just to clarify again what you do with marketingexamples.com, you write an article on the site itself, right? So you can read the full article on the site. You extract value from real world examples like the American rapper, for people who don’t know, Lil Nas X, who’s very well known for specific category of the population. You extract examples from companies like no name, and so you have that in the article. But then, you take the time to promote it the right way, meaning on Twitter you have a thread. Full on thread that is very easy to read. You don’t just post it on Twitter like just the link. On Reddit, you go to the right of Reddit and you post it a different way so that it gets traction there.
So what this episode is about is trying to get into your head in term of how do you think about repurposing for every channel? How do you, from an article on your site, turn it into something that people will actually give a shit depending on the channel they’re on? So let’s go step by step, right? Let’s try to get back to your psyche. What do you start with? What is step one?
Harry: Let’s go through this step by step. I’ve never done this before. Step by step one would be I’ve got to write an article first. So we have an article or actually, okay, let’s go step one. So I’ve wrote an article. Now this is funny because, let’s say, it’s Wednesday, and I know that the article is 80% there. I’ve just got to send it to my brother and he checks it out once. So then I’m thinking before even we get to publishing the article, can I pull out any quick tips from this article just to share on the social media platforms. What I’ve realized quickly is that, let’s say I share an article on Twitter, and it does okay, that’s good. But if I pull out a quick tip and isolate that by itself and then share that on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook groups, et cetera, we’ll get into that in a sec, then I can just get to the… It’s literally like two for one.
So let’s say an article gets, I don’t know, 50 retweets. The quick tip by itself can also get 50 retweets. So the first step is before the article’s written, I would always look for an opportunity to pull something out. You said you wanted tangible. Well, a real example of this is I wrote an article called, Seven Practical Ways to, I think, write better copy or something like that. I think one of the tips was people… Actually, one sec. Let me just get the exact tip. Copywriting. I didn’t think this would take so long.
Louis: Don’t worry about it.
Harry: Okay. So apologies, listeners, if this hasn’t been edited out. One of the tips was talk less about your product and more about the value your product brings, and I said, “People don’t want a better toothbrush, they want a brighter smile.” I had an image of two bits of landing page copy, one which said, “Introducing the new and improved Colgate,” which is a bad example because it’s about the product. People don’t really care much about Colgate. They care about their smiles. So the other image is, “Smile like you’ve never smiled before,” and it’s a picture of a mother and a daughter smiling and people like the smile, they don’t like the toothbrush. So that was the isolated tip.
So before I published this article, I had sent that tip round onto different platforms. So on Twitter to start with I think I just would post the tip on Twitter just like that. But then on Facebook, I don’t really have a Facebook presence, and I’m sure a lot of companies listening will be in a similar situation where maybe they don’t have a Twitter presence, they don’t have a Facebook presence. So with this tip on Facebook, what I did was there’s probably about 20 or 30 pretty good groups you can share content in on Facebook like SaaS Hacker, I think is one of them. There’s a bunch of copywriting ones. There’s loads of blog posts you can search for these Facebook groups on, but they’re quite hard on self-promotion. So I’ve got this great tip, but I can’t share the tip and then be like, “Oh by the way, check out Marketing Examples,” because it’s not really allowed.
So what I do is I put the tip by itself, and then just below the tip on the same image, which everything gets shared with an image, I’ll then have the website address and the Twitter @. Like @goodmarketing.hq, which is the Twitter page. So then I sent this tip round on probably, I don’t know, 20 Facebook groups. The quick tips in themselves are like a huge deal because it’s the easiest, it’s so consumable. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s like feeding marshmallows to a baby. Everyone loves a quick tip. If you’ve got a quick tip, we’re all in. Then I think I took this tip to Indie Hackers and shared it there, and then I took this tip to my LinkedIn page and shared it there.
So this is just like day one really. Let’s say, Wednesday we’re at right now, before the article’s even published, I’ve already got a load of reaction from this tip. Then, as I said on Facebook, people then come to my website through there, and then I think this tip particularly did pretty well on Twitter. So that’s like the initial part of the strategy is can you pull anything out, which is going to… Ahrefs do this all the time. You’ll see they’ll have an article and then they’ll just pull out a little creamy bit which they can just put on Twitter and it lives by itself.
So that’s how I start. Then, let’s say, I published the article now. The first thing I do always is, let me just think through the process, is I’ll do the thread straightaway. So every single article-
Harry: Sorry, go ahead.
Louis: No, no, let me go back to step one because I want to deconstruct it a bit. So you force yourself inside the article. Not only do you extract the tip before it’s ready to be published, but it’s kind of your way I think to also write articles that are very actionable because if you can’t extract any tips out of it, then it’s not going to work out very well, right? So that’s a good way to put it. You would then create an image with the great tip and you know that you basically make sure that each channel you personalized these three channel. Knowing that Facebook group, for example, you can’t really self-promote. It’s going to be flagged as spam. So you get away with it by creating an image mentioning just your brand, mentioning your Twitter handle.
Harry: Yeah. Just off what you said, my goal is just to be the best on every single channel and forget about Marketing Examples because if you add value, that will come. So a good example of this is Slack. I posted some of these tips on Slack and people were like you can’t put your… I think someone might have said you’re not allowed to promote here. Well, it’s fair enough. It’s your channel, no problem. So then what I did in the other groups is I would just put the tip up with literally no reference to my own company, which sounds incredibly counterintuitive, and what would happen, honestly, countless times is people would… People also are quite surprised and it’s quite striking when someone puts together such a nicely designed tip and then doesn’t even self-promote at all.
So then they’d say like oh yeah, where’d you get this from, and then that invites me to be like, oh yes, maybe link them to the Twitter aspect of the tip or say, I’ve got this website, check it out. I guess above all, what you should try and do as a marketer is just add value to people’s lives. Again, it is a cliché, but it’s the truth. Don’t force anything down no one’s throat. It’s like the worst thing you can do.
Louis: Yeah, it is a cliché but I think the way you describe it turns the cliché into something very actionable which is giving value. This is an actual example. So you give, you give, you give before you expect anything in return, and you personalize your approach through every channel. So yeah, you would actually design the image very well a design on Slack, but you won’t even mention the name of the site. I think for Facebook groups you could get away with the same strategy. You just share the team very well designed image, but there is no mention to your brand. People will probably comment and say where is that from, right? Then people will visit and they will feel more compelled to visit because they don’t feel tricked into visiting something.
Harry: Yes. That’s-
Louis: You gave first and the reciprocity effect brings them back.
Harry: Big time. [crosstalk 00:18:24] Let me give you an example of this where, let’s say, you discover something yourself like a song. That’s your own song now and you love that song. If you’ve got a wedding song, that’s going to be a song you found it out with your partner or whatever yourself. That’s what, Louis, you’re describing it’s like. It’s like that feeling of self discovery. Whereas, if you find a product for an ad, it’s only a minor thing, but in the back of your head you’re always kind of thinking, yeah, they got me here for an ad there. That’s that kind of company. I have absolutely nothing against ads. I think they’re brilliant and they’re great in the right hands, but it’s signaling in a sense. If you don’t even link your own website your kind of signaling that you’re so good that I don’t even have to share my website. You’ll find it probably. It’s a real thing.
Dave, I can’t pronounce his surname too well, but Dave [Gerherd 00:19:13], the CFO of Privy, whatever his surname is. Sorry for bungling it, but he does this all the time. His LinkedIn feed is just like post after post after post after post, literally never ever asks for anything from anyone. Then once in a blue moon he does, and then everyone flocks to praise him because he never asks for attention. He just gives this value.
Louis: Yeah, Dave Gerhardt, I had him on the podcast twice, and I agree with you. This is very counterintuitive for people who have never really thought about it this way. If you’re listening to this right now, this is counterintuitive because we are being told in school and business school and marketing courses to fucking promote our stuff everywhere we can and just be everywhere and whatnot, but this is kind of the opposite. You are being just helpful and you don’t expect anything in return and that’s when the best thing happen. For this podcast, for example, I don’t really ask for anyone to do anything. I just fucking publish one episode a week. There’s no ad on my podcast. There’s no ad anywhere. I just publish good content and it’s been three years now.
Louis: The relationships I’ve built, the trust and credibility I’ve built through it has been immense for my career and for myself and all of that, but because I’m not asking for anything in return, and I know it’s a long game. So I think we agree on the same thing which is why I was happy to have you on the show for this. So anyway. You extract the little tips. You personalize them depending on the channel and you make sure that you don’t really give a shit about the brand. You just promote it. What is step two?
Harry: Yeah. Can I quickly just add to [crosstalk 00:20:46] what… Well can I add just one more really quick thing in before we go to step two because I keep thinking of stuff. Basically, this is just a random example which came into my head, and it’s off what we’re saying. I wrote a comment once. Someone said I want to get better at sales and marketing. I think it was on Indie Hackers or Reddit or something like that, and I felt like, all right, I’ve got a website which can help them, but how do I get through? So what I wrote was, “Hey, I was in your shoes this time last year. Started reading a lot on the subject. Here’s some of the best stuff I’ve found. I said Growth Design, comic book style product tips. Baremetrics Growth Manifesto, Mathew Kobach’s Twitter, Ahrefs’ YouTube channel and the Sales for Founders’ podcasts. I think it was a couple of months ago, and I wrote this.
I said I got so into it that I set up my own site, Marketing Examples, where I share real world marketing examples. “Sorry to plug my own thing, but generally think it will help you. All free. Finally, I’ll add no amount of reading is a substitute for executing. To borrow a quote from [inaudible 00:21:46], the map is not the training.” This is an example of I did self-promote here. I put my own website in, but I didn’t just say to this person oh, check out my site. I gave him five links of things before that of what to check out. Then only then have I really got the right to self-promote once you’ve showed that you’re not brainwashing, you’re not just trying to plug your own stuff all the time. I think it worked well. Hopefully he ended up checking out all the links and maybe my own thing as well.
Sorry for that little diversion.
Louis: I can’t believe you didn’t mention Everyone Hates Marketers.
Harry: Uh-oh. I think it was before I knew the podcast. I’ll edit for you.
Harry: Giving me the death stare. On [inaudible 00:22:31] cast right now. All right, step two-
Louis: All right, so step two.
Harry: Step two, all right where are we at? Oh yeah, I’m now publishing the article. So the first thing I’ll do when I publish the article is I’ll do a thread first. That’s the very first thing. So let’s say the article is 400 words. My articles are pretty short, so it works quite well, but I’ll just take that into a Twitter thread. One small point, but I think something which I genuinely think matters is I will always adjust the images for Twitter. So Twitter dimensions are like 1 by 1.77 in terms of width to height. Yeah. Whichever dimensions around it as I can’t remember, but you know on Twitter if you’ve got a really good image and you can’t see it because the dimensions are all wrong? I just think people don’t normally click on image. So I’ll always change my images just so they’re always right for Twitter.
Anyway, I’ll do the thread on Twitter first thing. That’s done. Then I’ll link that article always at the bottom. So hopefully people read the thread. Then at the end of the thread I’ll always add a little line like, “If you like this, here’s the website.” Honestly, I think a lot of my Twitter audience don’t even know that there is a website. They just read the threads and they think that’s where the articles are written. After I’ve done the thread, my next step is the first thing I do here is I take the thread and embed on the article’s page straightaway. So let’s say, the example we’re talking about is this copywriting thread. I’ve wrote the thread and then for the page on my website, which is that article, it’s like the same thing, I’ll then add on the thread at the bottom of the article. It will say, “If you like the article, and you’re feeling generous, would you mind liking the thread on Twitter? It really does help.”
What I do here is this creating a path from my website to my Twitter. I think a lot of the “conventional,” in inverted commas, marketing wisdom is, oh, keep people on your website, keep people on your website, but I just think that’s old advice, and the Twitters drag people to my website. So in doing that, anyone who then goes to my website and sees the article would then, hopefully if they’re feeling lucky, if they’re in a good mood, drop a like on the thread. Then that can grow and grow and accumulate likes and then gets shared around Twitter.
So that’s step two, I guess. Step three is like straight afterwards. I’m always in panic mode when this is going on because the thread on Twitter, I try not to check it. I try and post it and then just leave it and hope that it does well, but I never really manage that. So then I send a email off straightaway. So then the whole value proposition really of Marketing Examples is email list. It’s a really big thing, and if you have the content strategy or if you have a blog or content marketing and whatnot, you need to collect email subscribers. It’s huge, otherwise, no one else is going to come back to your website. I think I said this is such a big deal for me.
So pre-up all these little tips here. The first thing to do is make sure your site converts email subscribers well. I think going from one percent conversion to five percent conversion on email subscribers is a 100 times easier than taking a site from 20000 traffic a day to 100000 traffic a day. You can literally go from one percent conversion to five percent conversion on collecting email subscribers. Or even like 0.2% to 1%. It’s the same five times increase. You can make that change in literally two days just by explaining your newsletter clearly what it does. Maybe add in a popup, maybe not, asking like a human being for people to subscribe, being really clear about what they’re getting. So make sure you get that right.
Anyway, I have got my email list. So then I’ll send the article to my email list. Now again here, this is a thing where the number one principle of this whole podcast is just to give value on the platform you’re on. So on my email list, I don’t try and link people to my website to read the articles. When you get an email, you don’t click on links that often. The click rate is like five percent or probably less than that. So I just have the whole article on the email. Then at the end of the email, to include this cycle, there’s also the Twitter link again. There’s also the link to the website. So the Twitter is a really big deal getting these threads populated and pushed around.
I only do this for the best articles because I don’t want to saturate this technique, but if I put a lot of effort into an article, I’ll always have a little line at the end of the email saying, “If you enjoyed the article and you’re feeling good, would you mind dropping a like on Twitter. It really does make a difference.” And it really does make a difference. I can pretty much stand here saying I guarantee you that… I had one article about, I think the one Louis’s mentioned a couple of times, Lil Nas the rapper which ended up with over 7000 likes. Without that little line in the email which got it moving, it wouldn’t have snowballed originally.
I think just off that point, I have momentum on Twitter. So I double down on what works for me, which is Twitter. But let’s say you have a massive LinkedIn following. In that case, don’t mention Twitter on your email. Just push people to LinkedIn. Say, “If you like this, would you mind dropping a like on LinkedIn?” So yeah. Don’t be obsessed with one platform. Just whatever platform is the best platform for you. Now that’s step three. Now I’m going to shut up because I’m sure Louis has got some stuff to say, perhaps, about [inaudible 00:27:55].
Louis: Yes. Thanks for that, and, by the way, there’s a bit of delay between the two of us. This is why we keep interrupting each other. If you’re listening to this, don’t worry. It’s not that we don’t like each other. It’s just that there’s a bit of delay. So coming back to step two, creating a thread on Twitter. I think that’s a good example of, as you said, it might not work for you, it might work for others. But you’re not gaming the platform. You understand the platform for what it is. It’s an entertainment platform. People check Twitter to get entertained, informed, or whatever. Posting just a link is not going to work.
So a thread, for people who are not used to this term, is a series of tweets that are all linked to each other. You start with the number one and then you read number two, number three, and they’re all linked to each other. Then at the bottom, as you mentioned, you have the link to your article so they can visit the thing. What I like about this method is you’re using loops, right? So you connect each point to each other. So you have the Twitter thread that links to website. You go to the website, it links back to the Twitter thread. Your email list later links to Twitter and it creates this focal point where all the energy is spent on one platform to drive it further.
You know the channels very well it seems. So if you had to do it on LinkedIn instead, so changing Twitter from LinkedIn, how would you approach it differently? Obviously you cannot create a thread on LinkedIn. So how would you approach it differently so it matched LinkedIn?
Harry: I actually love that question because for a long time I never touched LinkedIn, and then I realized just that how much I was missing out on because I got told by a few people about how much engagement there was on LinkedIn. So five seconds before I get to Lou’s answer, the first thing… Actually, this is part of the answer I think. The first thing I did on LinkedIn was I thought I need to get connections. Now how do I get connections? Well, I’m in a fortunate position where a lot of people subscribe to my newsletter. So what about if I add a line to the welcome email saying, “Oh, by the way, we’d love to connect on LinkedIn and hear what you’re up to.”
So that’s the first step before taking anything onto LinkedIn. You need to build your LinkedIn. You need to get people connecting with you and, ideally, people who like what you do, people who are going to like and share your posts. So firstly, just work on building out 500 connections and also reply and talk to people like real people as well. That’s not what LinkedIn’s too good for. On LinkedIn, there’s a couple of ways of doing things. So you can either do a post, which you can only add one image to and a link if you want to or you can write an article. Now, articles are essentially like publishing an article on LinkedIn, if you’re familiar with the platform.
From what I’ve realized is that article is, in inverted commas, “the best way” because you can write the article with all your images and format it correctly, but people don’t seem to like to click on LinkedIn articles. People just like to stick to posts. So what I would do is I would write the article out again. Well actually, there’s two ways I would say of doing it. So, if you have a very long article, it’s going to be a pretty tough ask to write the whole article in the post on LinkedIn because you’re only allowed one image. You’re not really allowed any formatting. You can’t bold things, italic things. You can really do bullet points that well. So if you have a short article, I’d say write the whole thing in a post. If you have a longer article, I would say pull out the best stuff in the article and turn that into like a quick tip-esque thing. Then share that on LinkedIn.
That’s what I did. So recently, literally today, a real life example of this. I wrote an article about no name, their branding. I want to share it on LinkedIn, but I had this exact problem that this is a very image focused article and I only have one image on LinkedIn. So I can’t really share this as a post that effectively. So what I ended up writing, I’m just loading up the exact thing now, I pulled out the conclusion of the article, which was “Limitation and consistency is how brands are built. Rolex will never sell a watch for less than $5000. Doubletree has given out free cookies for four decades. Subway has sold just one type of sandwich for five decades. This is an excerpt from an article I wrote about the genius of no name’s branding,” and then I linked the article.
So I think the point of this, in essence, is that the first four lines and the three bullet points are the teaser, and that’s enough by itself, perhaps, to grab people’s attention. Also, people will then like the tip and then they’ll also like the article. So you’re kind of getting two streams of likes. But I’m also a work in progress. I wouldn’t say I’ve figured out LinkedIn yet. I’m not sure if this was the best way of doing it. It’s just what I felt like. What do you think Louis?
Louis: Yep. What I think is you naturally think of two things when I ask you this question. First, you think of the channel limitations. So straightaway you inform yourself on the channel. So you know that LinkedIn articles are not being seen that much. So you don’t really want to do that. You know LinkedIn posts, however, are being seen a lot through the feed, and it seems like if you read a bit about LinkedIn algorithm, you understand this very quickly. So you think of the channel. Then you look at the intersection of the channel and how people contribute this content. Straightaway, you go into this mode of, okay, how can I give value straightaway based on those limitations. You ended up having to choose that as a way to test it, but again, as you said, you’re going to experiment and test new stuff.
So I think, in a way, this is the essence of what you do very well. First of all, you research your stuff. Your articles are very good. So that’s not a given, but that’s your given. That’s your rule of thumb, like your rule of life, should I say. But then, you check the limitation of your channel, you make sure that it fits into how people actually behave and digital psychology, and then finally you just test, test, test until you find out something that works. Would that be a good summary?
Harry: Yeah. I actually think that was so much… yeah, that’s perfect. I never phrased it like that before, but intuitively that’s exactly what I do. I think the thing, to people something out specifically from Louis said was the testing phase. I make everything up as I go along. So when I first posted on Reddit, I was linking my articles. I was writing two paragraphs and then I would link my article, and I quickly realized that on Reddit, that doesn’t work. You have to offer a hell of a lot more otherwise people would just down vote you and say self-promotion, self-promotion, self-promotion. So yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I had no idea of any of this stuff before I started doing it, and then you just learn a little bit over time I think.
Louis: So let’s give actually another example to practice this methodology. Reddit is a very tricky place for marketers to try to promote their stuff, as you said. It’s really about giving, giving, giving more than any other platform out there. So tell us about how you handled Reddit from the start.
Harry: [inaudible 00:34:58]
Louis: Hello? Can you hear me?
Harry: Yeah. I’m hoping have we still got everything?
Louis: Yeah, don’t worry, man.
Harry: My connection just dropped out. I was worried that it all went [crosstalk 00:35:37] dropped.
Louis: Re-ask you the question. So we’ve talked about Twitter. We’ve talked about LinkedIn, but we’ve also talked about your methodology behind it which is the most important thing. So now let’s give another example like Reddit, which is very, very difficult for marketers to crack because it’s not about promotion, as you mentioned. So, how did you learn to handle Reddit? How did you learn to get traction on Reddit?
Harry: Again, that’s a really good question. So I started self-promoting on Reddit when I had this Kanye dating website because Kanye has a massive sub. I think he’s got the biggest following of any musician on Reddit is the Kanye West subreddit. So I knew this would be a big deal and try and work it out how do you promote on Reddit, and what I’ve realized is, well on the Kanye’s site, the Kanye subreddit, because it’s kind of weird to self-promote Kanye stuff, because you can’t really… I’m in a very unique position where I was self-promoting a Kanye West dating site. No one else has really got self-promoting Kanye West stuff. So I actually just linked my dating site as a link and it ended up getting a lot of traction because Kanye West dating site, Kanye West subreddit, it’s like a match made in heaven.
Also got a lot of comments telling me I was a complete moron and there would be 99% guys which wasn’t actually too dissimilar from the truth, in the end. So that was my initial perception of Reddit was like, ah, it’s a really good place. Then I started promoting some of my articles in a similar way as I touched on, where it was like here’s an article I’ve got, and it just gets you absolutely nowhere. I guess the crux of this is Reddit is very contextual to the subreddits you’re on. So the Kanye subreddit, self-promotion was kind of cool. No one had a problem with it. People loved it. You go onto Reddit Entrepreneur or Reddit Marketing and you try and self-promote and you will get just down voted off the forum straightaway.
Actually, I wrote an article about this. Someone, for once I won’t use me as the example. This guy called Josh Howarth has a website called Trends, which I think got turned into Exploding Topics, but they got bought by I can’t remember his name, but it got bought by someone and he wants to promote the website trends. So what he did was he wrote a post on Reddit Entrepreneur which was 57 Exploding Trends, and then asked for some feedback. This how the post goes. I’ll just read you the start. “Hi everyone, with the hope to provide value first and ask for help second, here are 57 Google search trends that are exploding but potentially less well-known,” and he lists them. 57 exploding trends, patient portal, ax throwing, matched betting, onboarding, fanny pack, inductive charging, bell bottom trouser style.
Then at the end of it he says, “I’ve just released the first version of a web app that surfaces trends.” The post is really long. Like 57 of those. “I’ve just released the first version of a web app that surfaces trends like these,” and he lists the app and then he says, “If this is valuable, we’d love… Your critical opinion on this would be great. Do you think it’s valuable and what could I do better?” And the post ends up getting about 500 up votes and he got a lot of traffic. Just, if you break down what he did really well, so what a worse marketer would do is they’d just say, “I’ve made a website which lists trends, check it out,” blah, blah, blah. That gets you nowhere.
What Josh did was he took his website, he took the most interesting parts of it to Reddit, produced it in a really lovely list format which adds a hell of a lot of value to people’s lives. Then, at the end, he didn’t necessarily say, by the way, check out my website. He said, look, is this valuable, question. Firstly, question, crucially. Then he says would love to know how can I make it better. So he’s not just saying check out my site. He’s also saying, look, anyone give me feedback, and people are really happy to give feedback much more than check out a website.
So I’m sure he got a hell of a lot of traffic. People just like and then they reply saying, “Yeah, it’s a cool website.” Then, also, you end up getting a lot of valuable feedback, but also, you get so many more people through to your website in the first place if you’re phrasing it as a question. It’s exactly the same in cold emails. If you’re asking a cold email with a question and making it about advice, you’ll get a reply. If you’re just saying, “Check out my cold email,” you’re not going to get a reply. So there’s exactly how to self-promote on Reddit I think from Josh. I copy this style to the tee.
So for my own blogs, if you have blogs, I would literally write out the whole blog on Reddit. The pictures I will link. I’ll write see image and then hyperlink it so people can go to the image. As well, I’m careful to not hyperlink them to my own websites because that’s still a no-no on images. So I’ll just hyperlink them to an Imgur link of the image, and then at the end of the article I’ll say, “Look, if you enjoyed the article and you want to learn more about marketing, I’ve got website marketing examples.” It works well.
I think one thing people are a little bit worried about on Reddit is duplicate content. People say, “Oh, you can’t share the same content on your blog and Reddit. Google will flag you,” and I have heard that. I have definitely heard that, but at the same time, I use the same titles often on Reddit and my own site and I’ve never had a problem. If you type in any Marketing Examples title, Google just seems to know. I think before I do post on Reddit I am a little bit careful. So I have a sitemap on Marketing Examples, and I also go to Google Search Console and put in the link of my article just so Google has it indexed. So if you don’t index your article before you post on Reddit, there is a chance that Google thinks that you’ve stolen the article from Reddit. But as long as I think Google indexes your own article first, it kind of knows. Also, you’re linking back to your own site. So Google also sees that link and…
So basically, long story short, I wouldn’t worry about duplicate content. The other thing on Reddit which I know this is Everyone Hates Marketers podcast, so I’ll be interested to see what Louis says about this, but I genuinely believe on Reddit that you post one article one day, 1000 up votes. Same article another day, it doesn’t get any traction and you have 10 up votes. So your title is incredibly important. That just goes for saying as a marketing principle everywhere. Your landing page title’s incredibly important. Every title’s important but what I like to do is I like to get a couple of up votes somehow on the article.
So at the moment, it’s often just messaging a friend and being like, look, I posted on Reddit. This is a little bit frowned upon for sure, especially on this podcast of all podcasts to say this on, and I don’t think you need to do it at all, but I do think that maybe one or two votes help, and that’s just me being totally honest with you. I think if you have a couple to start with, you’re in a good place.
Louis: Yeah. Yeah, no it helps and I don’t think it’s growth hacking or anything stupid like that. But again, the way you describe it is a good example of how you think of the platform first. So platform, Reddit, it’s based on subreddits that are very, very, very precise on their interests. So each subreddit could be very niche. So you need to learn that. You need to also to learn the fact that on Reddit, people fucking hate promotion of any kind and they can smell it from a mile away. So even the title of your piece needs to be less markety and way more explanatory, right?
Harry: Yes. Yeah.
Louis: So it’s not about five tips to write better copy. It will be more like, hey, I’ve put together a list of five tips to write better copy. Harry’s clapping, but again, this is an example of… I don’t want to go into too much tactics because, let’s say, maybe in five years’ time Reddit doesn’t exist and you’re listening to this episode and it doesn’t make any sense, but the principles behind it remain the same. So you need to really research the channel so well that you understand its rules, you know.
Harry: Yeah. And [crosstalk 00:43:30]-
Louis: Once you know that… No, no. Go ahead.
Harry: I’m so bad at interrupting today. I’m just kind of so excited that… I don’t know. I’m sorry for that little interruption. What I was going to say was there’s an example here. Some guy writes on Reddit, “Hello wonderful Reddit family.” That’s his first line, and the post gets down voted off the forum straightaway and the reason why, off what Louis said, was just he does not understand Reddit. On Reddit, none of that bullshit works. It’s like no one likes anyone. Everyone loves everyone but no one likes anyone on Reddit. So don’t ever do that.
Also, then he links his article. I’m just looking at a post on Reddit right now on the entrepreneur forum, and he links his article with a bunch of emojis attached to it. Couple of smiling emojis. Never use emojis on Reddit and this is just things like, as Louis said, it’s not about tactics but it’s about understanding platforms is a huge deal. On Instagram it’s the same thing. There’s a bunch of these little nuances and intricacies to a platform which you have to grasp.
Louis: Yeah. So spending time, being a user of Reddit or a user of whatever channel you want to use is a good thing. Looking at popular posts and looking at patterns, I like to do that on Reddit. That’s how I’ve learned how to use the platform. I’ve got a few very popular posts on Reddit. One of the biggest one I got was when I published a second [inaudible 00:44:45]… So I published a summary of the second in episode, but it was a long article. I just posted it as is on Reddit. Removed the images, as you mentioned, all of that. You got on the subreddit entrepreneur on the subreddit startups, it got top voted for the last six months or something like that. So it got a lot of traction. I did that once because I don’t have time to do it, and I should spend more time doing it.
But anyway, the point was I’ve learned how to do it by looking at popular posts. I realized that the headlines wasn’t were on shitty marketing headlines. They were very long, very descriptive. I’ve realized that, as you said, you have to replace images with a link to Imgur, which is the service that Reddit uses. But again, those principles work for any platform. Spend time on it, research the hell out of it into what makes it popular, be a user yourself and then give value. I think anyway, the thread here is whatever the platform, if you give before you expect to get, it’s going to work out, right? So don’t just post a shitty little summary with a link. Just post the entire post, and so what if people get value out of it without clicking to your website. People might visit your profile, people might message you and say, “Hey, can I get more information about what you’re doing?” This is how you build relationship, right? This is how you build trust one by one.
Have I forgotten anything?
Harry: No, that was absolutely bang on. I think, just to add, that you can’t force it. People check out your site because they want to, not because you want them to. It’s like you’re trying to get through to a human lying on a bed with a phone in their hands. Just because you say please look at this, it doesn’t work like that. That’s it.
Louis: Doesn’t work like that. So maybe let’s give one last example to deconstruct before we move on to the last three questions I want to ask you. You mentioned Instagram, right, which is quite popular right now in 2020. But again, if you’re listening to this episode in five years’ in 2025, maybe for some reason Instagram is not there anymore, but the principles remain. So what’s your process on Instagram? What seems to work here that doesn’t work somewhere else?
Harry: So it’s a great question. I’m in an interesting position here because all the channels we’ve talked about so far I use them a lot. With Instagram, I actually made my own account on Instagram about a week ago, and it currently has zero posts on it and about 10 followers, something like that. So I’m no guru on Instagram. Back in the Kanye West days, when I had that dating app, I had Instagram accounts, and I never really managed to work it out genuinely. I think I always struggled on Instagram.
The trick, I had account called Yeezy Dating on Instagram, and the dating site originally got quite a lot of media attention. So the Instagram account had like 9000 followers at its peak. I was just copying what everyone else was doing. So I would just post pictures of Kanye West and hashtag them, and it was a pretty clueless… there was no strategy. So I think in Instagram, if anything, I’m an example of what not to do. When I had the Instagram account, I was clueless like a headless chicken. I think what works on Instagram, I really am no expert here, but a couple of… I’m far below average on Instagram. A couple of accounts I’ve seen which work really well is have you seen that man holding a sign one? Dude with sign, I’m not sure if you’ve seen it.
Harry: So what I think on Instagram is, I think it’s Dude with Sign Instagram has grown massively. Because I know nothing about Instagram, I just [inaudible 00:48:22] in slightly. It’s Dude with Sign on Instagram, it’s got 5.3 million and every single post is just a guy holding a sign with a message. So I’m just on his account now and one says… It’s Valentine’s Day when this was posted, and he went, “Make a holiday for single people.” Pretty good joke. It’s just a guy holding a sign in public. Always the same guy wearing sunglasses, and I think of what people like generally on any of these channels is consistency. So every single post this guy posts is the same. It’s a guy holding a sign. People can dig into it and the title of the account is Dude with Sign. So you know what you’re getting.
It’s the same thing everywhere. There’s an account on Twitter called Naval Ravikant Bot, and why does it work? Because what you see is what you get. You know exactly what this account’s going to post. It’s going to post quotes from Naval Ravikant. Marketing Examples is Marketing Examples on Twitter. I post the same thing every single time. So I guess consistency and single to noise ratio is a big deal. So if you’ve got Instagram, you’re trying to grow an account, don’t post pictures about… Actually, Instagram might be a good thing to post about your cat or your dog. I really don’t know, but on Twitter keep it consistent and people don’t want to know about, I don’t know, your company’s birthday party.
Louis: Yeah. No one gives a shit. This is another point we forgot to make but consistency is absolutely critical, right? Consistency I mean for this podcast I publish every Tuesday every week for the last three years. Consistency is key to build trust. This is one of like behavioral psychology example, right? The more consistent you are, the more people expect what they’re going to expect and seeing it again and again, people love that. Our brain doesn’t like new stuff to process. It takes too much energy. They like the known, the thing that they can see over and over again. This is why brands that do it very well absolutely nail it everywhere they go.
Harry, thanks for going through this kind of breaking down your methods. If we talk in six months’ time, your method is going to change, right? This is the beauty of it is like we’re not trying to teach you if you’re on Reddit do this now, if you’re on Instagram do this now. We’re trying to teach you research the hell out of every channel, make sure that you give value but don’t expect to get anything in return first. I mean if you have those principle in mind and stay consistent, you should be able to nail every channel, but you need to spend time on it, right? I mean this is your full-time project, right? Harry, this is you spend-
Louis: Like eight hours, 10 hours a day on it or thinking about it, right?
Harry: I do. I do, yeah. I think-
Louis: Sorry to cut you, but you can’t just… this takes time, right? If you want to do it well, every channel just takes time. Sorry, Harry. Go ahead.
Harry: No. I totally agree. I think, what’s the quote? Like direction is more important than speed. So I will make sure that with any tip I put out, now that I’ve got a little bit of a following, a small little foothold… In the early days, speed is huge. You’ve got to scramble around and find which direction works, but when you have direction right, it’s just about, as Louis said, consistency in that direction. If I put out two bad articles in a row, my email subscriber rate will drop from 45% to 25% and probably never recover. So yeah, as Louis says as well, it’s a lot of work. I’d happily spend a week, week and a half on an article, a few days on one tweet. That sounds odd, and when I say a few days on one tweet, it’s not necessarily a text tweet. Often there’s an image supporting it like a little diagram, and that’s how you separate yourself. Or at least that’s how I’ve separated myself.
Actually, well I got the idea from two designers; Steve Schoger and Adam Wathan who have done UX/UI design tweets. They were just so good that you couldn’t ignore how good these tweets were. They were little design tips on Twitter with images always. The images were just so well executed that you couldn’t touch it. You’ve got to separate yourself somehow and that’s I guess how I try to at the moment.
So yeah. Learn the quirks of your channel, be a user in it, learn from the best posts or the best what gets traction/what doesn’t, stay consistent, find your direction. Experiment, be willing to fail because it’s not going to work the first time, and spend a lot of time on it. So don’t pick 10 channel all of a sudden. If you’ve never done Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, just pick one and go for it. That would be my advice before I ask you the last three questions, Harry. What do you think marketers should learn today that will help them in the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years?
I think it’s a little bit similar to what you were just saying, but don’t stress about specific tactics because all the stuff I know or all the stuff you figure out about Reddit is irrelevant because in 20 years… Well, it’s not irrelevant, but in 10 years’ time the game’s changed. I used to work with someone who was a master of posting comments on Quora. It was like a little hack back in the day where you could post comments on Quora, and I think he even had a bot going. It had some sort of system where like, I have no idea how it works because it’s a little hack which essentially got outdated, but you could link your sites on Quora comments and up vote them, and it, apparently, it brought in lovely, crazy traffic.
But it doesn’t work anymore because Quora’s changed the algorithms and everything will change. Yeah, Twitter’s going to change. It’s going to do a big update. Probably in five years’ time it won’t look the same as it does now and then all this stuff I’m talking about about threads will be redundant. So focus on the basics. If I was to give one piece of advice, I would just say figure out… It’s all about empathy. I think marketing’s a lot about empathy. Communicate like the way you talk to your friends and focus a lot on how to write I think as well in a nice way. What a lot of people do is they just write stuff which is just so obviously written by a marketer or these emails which are just rotten to the core. Your emails should be written like you’re just messaging your mom or your dad or your brother and sister.
So I would say copywriting, maybe next 10 years, that’s where it all stems from. Running ads and stuff, that can be taught, but if you can’t communicate in a way that people get… So I would say, yeah, focus on communication because that’s never going to change. If you can get a message across on the landing page, because the landing page won’t be a landing page. Back in the day, if you can get a message across on a newspaper headline, it’s about principles. Honestly, spend a lot of time writing titles. That’s the final thing I’m going to say. This is how focusing is, spend a hell of a lot of time writing titles and then making sure that they work and people get them.
Louis: Besides Marketingexamples.com, what are the top three resources you recommend our listeners today? So it could be anything from books, podcasts, conferences, whatever.
Harry: Damn, that’s a good question. I listen to the episode so I knew this was coming, but I didn’t know what to pick. I’ll start off with there’s a site out there called Growth Design, which is pretty good. You can’t argue with it. Basically, it distills… I’m explaining this so badly but it’s like UI/UX tips about how to create infrastructures. God, I’m messing this up, but Growth Design’s a good website to look at and they do a free comic book principles. It’s really different and it’s really fresh and it reminds me a bit of my own site because… well, actually they put a hell of a lot into their work and there’s no SEO on it at all. It’s literally just comic books. It’s cool. Growth.Design.
Two other ones. Well, interesting. At the moment, I’ve been reading the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries. It’s an old book which I think, as like Louis touched on, has a lot of the old stuff in which you want to figure out. I saw Dave, the chap we mentioned today, I think he posted some really ancient book. Maybe like Ogilvy on Advertising he was reading, and for me that’s where the value’s at. I would use little YouTube channels and blogs and whatnot for today’s tips, but as we’ve said, they will change. So dig into the old stuff because it’s been around. It’s lindy.
Finally, I would say go onto Indie Hacker’s forum, click on Courtland Allen, C. S. Allen and just read his comments to people he writes. He’s not even really a marketer, but I think he really understands the principles incredibly well and just read his comments. That’s the final one I’ve got for you.
Louis: Nice one. Never been mentioned before. I mean Indie Hackers has been, but not reading specifically the comments of the founder. So, Harry, thanks so much for going through all of this with me, all of those questions in a very energetic, passionate manner. I wasn’t expecting any less of you. Where can listeners connect with you and learn more from you?
Harry: No, I think you’ve done a great job talking about my site. I don’t want to [inaudible 00:57:35] anymore. You’ve mentioned it. It’s been a pleasure to be on. It really has been. I think I had a whale of a time. That’s all I’ve got to say. Thank you very much for the chat. I really enjoyed it.
Louis: You’re very welcome man. So marketingexamples.com is where to go. Harry, once again, thank you.