BWE09: Problogger, Copyblogger, and Chris Brogan Hang Out In Their Underwear

Blake WaddillFavs, Marketing

John Chow was nice enough to record the Internet Marketing for Smart People seminar at the World Blog Expo 09 and post it for us. The video is just under an hour long, so I decided to write a paraphrased transcript for anyone who wants the information from the video and don’t have time to wait for it to download and watch it.

The Story of the Third Tribe

Starting out, Brian Clark from Copyblogger said that when he started blogging, he learned marketing from anyone and everyone.  He might not always agree with what they marketed or how they marketed, but he was able to take something from everyone he interacted with.

Seth Godin sort of mentored Brian for a while which I thought was cool since Seth is one of my marketing heroes.  Apparently, Seth didn’t agree with everything Brian was writing and asked him, “what team are you on?”

Brian said, I’m not on either team.  This started the whole Third Tribe deal at Copyblogger… being pissed off at Seth Godin!

RSS Didn’t Kill E-mail

The next topic was about how RSS was supposed to kill e-mail marketing.

6 min Chris Brogan – He decided to try something different with his e-mail newsletter.. It isn’t dead.  E-mail marketing is really alive and well.  Chris, Brian, and Darren all have an e-mail newsletter.

7 min Darren Rowse – The e-mail newsletter is way bigger than RSS.  The people from newsletter buy far more and click far more.  The #1 thing Problogger encourages people to do is sign-up for their newsletter.  The newsletter strongly reinforces the brand.

8:40 Brian Clark – Before blogs, e-mail was the content delivery method.  Outside of certain tech niches, RSS is largely unknown.  E-mail is still prime.  E-mail inbox is way more valuable than a RSS reader.

10:20 Chris – E-mail is a big trust thing.  Just because you have someone’s e-mail address doesn’t mean they want to be part of your newsletter.

When Your Blog Becomes Our Community

11:10 Sonia – The thing that makes it happen: relationships.  It used to be, “your,” now it has turned into “our.”

12:00 Darren – Talking about his Photography blog, the more you can get your readers interacting, you start to see yourself as a matchmaker.  Build relationships with your readers is good, but also be a matchmaker for your readers.  Give them places to connect.

13:45 Chris – Community is a privilege, not a right.  You’re goal is to get people to call it “our” community.  The famous quote turned tweet about selling: “You can pull all the apples off the tree by pulling the tree out of the ground, or you can keep tending the tree and plugging the apples for seasons to come.”

14:30 Brian – The one sell mentality is the kiss of death in marketing. You want to expand the market within each customer you have.

The other valuable relationship in the internet marketing world are with other people in your market.  Strong relationships works far better than going solo. (Used partnerships between the 3 of them as an example)

Brian, Darren, and Chris Hang Out In Their Underwear! (The Value Of A Small Community)

16:05 Apparently, they hang out together in their underwear… LOL  (This is taken Way out of context)

17:10 Sonia – You don’t have to have a giant blog to have a community.  That is one of the best parts of relationships.  It is simpler (not necessarily easier) to maintain relationships in a smaller community.

17:39 Chris – Sometimes having a big blog is like a battleship, it’s not always the best way to get things done.  Smaller blogs that can be more focused and can connect better.

Monetizing Your Blog

19:35 Brian – The environment has changed a ton regarding using blogs to sell.  Copyblogger takes no 3rd party advertising.  They don’t have enough traffic to make money advertising.  Copyblogger will do $3 million in sales this year.

(Do you still think the valuation from my top 5 make money sites is that far off now?  I know the valuation tool I used is a little bogus, but don’t underestimate the value of a well branded blog and involved community)

How do they come up with stuff to sell?  They listen to the audience.  This is when Teaching Sells came along.  It’s a very strong program.  The next year they developed Thesis (This is not an affiliate link, even though it should be! The Southpark Brian Clark rocks.).  All you have to do is pay attention and care, and you can find out what other people want.

22:45 Darren – The two things he sells came as a response to readers (forum, and 31 days for blogging).  Not everything will work with every site.

(Funny note: At 23:28 notice Chris cracking up at how Darren says “niche”!)

24:10 Chris – He sells a bunch of different things in a variety of different ways.  He sells consulting to big companies.  They sell projects and books.  The method he used was get to know everyone for 11 years, don’t ask for anything.. Then write a book, ask for something, and hit the NYT best seller list.  Just asked once ever, nicely.  It is funny how many people are afraid of selling.

26:15 Sonia – People have the wrong idea about selling.  You should be giving more than you get.  It is about exchange and relationships.  It is okay to ask!  When you can’t ask, there is a problem with the relationship.

27:34 Brian – Another misconception is that selling requires tricking people into buying something they don’t want.  The idea is to find out what people want and get it to them at a great price.  It’s not about ripping people off.  Social media will get the word out if your ripping people off.

Question and Answer with Copyblogger, Problogger, and The Trust Agent (Chris Brogan)

29:00 Q: “How will Google Side Wiki change the game?”

A: Chris – “I think it’s retarded”

29:56 Q: What do you think of the recent FTC rulings?

A: Brian – Used to be a lawyer.  He’s been expecting the FTC disclosure rules for a long time – see post in 2006.  The fact that the FTC addressed blogs is actually validating to the value of blogs. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  All these guys disclose normally anyway.

The testimonials and typical results is a little more tricky.  The issue isn’t how much money you’ll make, but whether or not he can teach you.  The testimonials are more about “it’s a good program,” not “I made money.”  We aren’t trying to trick you.  There isn’t a magic potion, it is hard work.  Honesty is a great selling point.  People are sick of deception.

34:10 Darren also pointed out sometimes sales increase when he mentions it is an affiliate link on his photography site because it is a community.

35:00 Q: “How do you determine what price you sell things for?”

A: Chris – Never ask your marketplace what they should pay.  They will always say cheap.  Look around for a similar product.

A: Brian – Pricing is an interesting thing.  Position yourself in a way that is so unique that you don’t have competition.  How we perceive value often has a lot to do with how much we pay for something. Price in a way that it is an investment that will make encourage them to use it.  The weird thing is the higher you charge, the higher the perceived value. In reality, the people who are going to buy, are going to buy, and lowering the price won’t change people’s mind about buying it.

Strangely, some people are happier paying more because they end up using what they learn and see it as a greater investment. It isn’t about the money, but about if they accomplish what they set out to do.  Brian usually starts at one price point and then goes higher.  Attract your initial buyers with a good deal.

A: Sonia – The one thing that your community can give you bad signals on is price.

41:00 Q:  “how do you approach your content?”

A: Chris – Schedules posts 2 or 3 at a time. The content on the blog is what he hopes everyone gets.  The content in his e-mail newsletter is what the people he loves most gets.

A: Darren – it’s about rhyme.  Just post on a regular schedule however often it is.

A: Brian – We like to use the term content marketing.  Social media is the best way to build something out of nothing as long as it is built on content.

A: Sonia – Study the old copywriters.  Notice how they structure the stories and what they write.  Number one agenda is make reader’s life better.  Second agenda is does it set the stage for a product later?

46:50 Q: Do you believe in other forms of marketing (PPC, PR, Paper Ads, etc) aside from Social media and content marketing (blogging)?

A: Chris – Basically, yes, he believes in it, but it has a different target audience.  There is definitely a need for it depending on the product and audience.

A: Brian – Addressing the PR aspect of marketing. The social media is now the marketing.  The internet is a direct marketing environment.

51:40 A: Chris – it’s not that we don’t like advertising, it’s that we don’t like dumb advertising.


The first half of this video, mostly seemed to revolve around how content marketing grew into what it is today.  I think the part about how to monetize your blog is very insightful.

I loved the Q and A because the questions were relevant to blogging right now.  I think the answers give us a great picture of how some of the most successful people in the content marketing world think about blogging and what they do to be successful.

Hopefully my title made Copyblogger proud. :-)