Demian Farnworth of Copyblogger Media Shares His Blogging Secrets in this Power Lunch Video Interview with Matthew
Demian Farnworth Reveals His Writing Process and Blogging Strategies
Check out this video interview: Matthew sits down with Demian Farnworth of Copyblogger Media to discuss his tips and strategies to successful blogging.
What questions do you WISH I had asked Demian? If you could ask Demian anything about blogging, what would it be? Let me know in the comments and I’ll make sure he gets your questions.
Matthew Loomis: Hi everyone, this is Matthew Loomis with buildyourownblog.net, and I have the privilege to sit here today with a friend of mine who happens to be one of the best bloggers in the universe, and he knows a lot about blogging, he knows a lot about copyrighting, he knows a lot about online business writing and he can really teach us a lot about how to be a better blogger. Tell us first of all, the buildyourownblog audience a little bit about yourself and your background, your experience and what you’re all about.
Demian Farnworth: I am a trained poet, I found that I wasn’t very good at poetry, but I was pretty good at writing essays, and so, I graduated and look for a job and realize I couldn’t found a job making money as a poet, so, I was actually…. So a sort of a series of circumstances kind of found myself in a marketing job and I thought that I would totally turn my nose up to it, but I ended up actually loving it and that started… I just fell in love with it and just through myself whole hog into copywriting, into marketing, to advertising, to psychology which is a lot of behind of what we are doing as Advertisers and as Writers. That’s how I get into the business and I’ve been in the business almost 15 years, 2 years ago, I started working for Copy Blogger Media, before that I worked for myself Freelance, but I’ve always known this and I love it and I enjoy talking about it to people about it like you.
Matthew Loomis: That’s great! Talk to us a little bit more about Copy Blogger.
Demian Farnworth: So Copy Blogger is a blog that was started by Brian Clarke in 2006, it was just 2 posts per day, so this is encouragement to everybody out there that we all start at the bottom, we all start in the dark and have insecurities like that, so Brain you know, he had some experience in the Legal field and he has experience in the Real Estate field on creating content and building audiences and selling those audiences in a product so that people would actually buy, so he took all that he learned and launch Copy Blogger, it started gaining attraction and getting attention and eventually at some point he had a pretty sizable audience at that point, he and Tony Clarke is one of our partners. They started talking, let’s find out from our audience what they need to succeed in the business world, so they came up with this idea and call “teaching sells”, it’s basically an education program and they ask the audience if we build this, would you buy it, and it was some yes.
Matthew Loomis: So, you also have a personal blog The Copybot, can you tell us a little bit about the Copybot?
Demian Farnworth: I absolutely can, so I started the The Copybot when I started working for myself in 2011, April 2011, I quit my job and went to work Freelance as a Copywriter, and so I knew I needed a website, web presence and so that’s what the Copybot was formed into action an idea from my daughter and so, I just started publishing content. For a while it was on weekly basis and as I build up and audience, I got leads, I was doing some guest posting for Copy Blogger, I was doing some guest posting from other places and business came in and that the blog itself grew up. At first it was completely just sort of directed to writing well as a blogger, then I take a turn to write things that came more personal, sort of experience as a freelancer, that went about 2 years in experience as a Freelancer so that has been the personal appeal and also a lot of the philosophy and theory behind just writing and general blogging, doing this of being a writer; being a professional writer and what’s behind that and how that works.
Matthew Loomis: By the way, I do highly recommend that you check out Copyblogger.com as well as, thecopybot.com, just both websites are great places to find information and how to advice, and tips and tricks on you know, running a successful blog and making money online, so check out those 2 websites when you get a chance.
Demian Farnworth: Thank you Matt
Matthew Loomis: What advice would you give to someone, you know, let’s say, someone is now listening to this video, you know, and they are wanting to start a blog, but they’re being held back, maybe doubt or fear are holding them back, what would you say to somebody like that?
Demian Farnworth: The question you have to answer first is, will I have the passion, will I have the desire to sustain those long term because successful blogging. Where I’m at now with Copybot where Brian is with the Copy Blogger, anybody that you know who is out there like Matt is with his buildyourownblog, anybody that you know is out there has to overcome that for as 2 years almost as it said, now it’s has been kind of reduce sometimes to 6 months to a year. There will be a period of time where you’ll be working and you’ll be talking to the dark, you’ll be talking to nobody except to your family.
Matthew Loomis: To your cat.
Demian Farnworth: To your cat, right your cat, so you have to realize that, that’s going to happen and so do you have the interest… I think the mistake that a lot of people make and this what I kind of learn from my own, in experiences like this, they’ll choose a topic because they think that’s what they need to write about for something to fulfill, that will only sustain you a short period of time, if you’re not personally interested in it, I would not do it, I would at least make it a short term project. Pick a subject matter that you care about and you don’t have to be really good at it, but you just want to be able to want to get better at it. So pick a topic that you like and that you can sustain, so that would be the first advice to give. Set your thoughts aside, set your cares aside, because we all feel it, we all start at the bottom and we all have those doubts that we think nobody is going to listen and it’s those people who punch through, no matter the circumstances and keep driving, keep working and who are patient because it will take a long time to see any kind of successes and get anytime of traction, so I just be patient and be persistent, you don’t give up and be passionate about what to do too.
Matthew Loomis: If someone who has never blogged before asked you what should I blog about, or should I go about choosing 1 solid niche, what would you say?
Demian Farnworth: I think it’s a good question, what do write about? Write about something that you care about, whatever every that topic is, which you know that you can defend, you’ll have the energy to defend, you have the concern to defend it, and that’s the topic that you should choose, that’s the topic you should go to. I do think though, for personal blogs, what’s most important is your voice, is your personality that’s come through there, because a lot time I’ve see, people who aren’t that great of a writer, they got a great voice and they passion for the talking; they take off, they carry you along and who cares if they don’t have grammar structure, but what they say and how they say it is what really kind of matter, so if you have that going. Which goes back to my point, choose a topic that you’re interested and focus on that, but then again, as I know this myself, with your own particular blog, you know, just experiment, you know if you go and pick a topic and you’re talking about something and you get tired of it, just change gears, do something in order to get out and you might be surprise your audience would might actually love it, you know.
Matthew Loomis: I know that you advocate that all bloggers should own their platform, in other words, you don’t advocate or recommend that they choose a free platform like blogger, or some cookie cutter outfit like that and you definitely I know God forbid don’t recommend using social media channel like google+ as a blog, can you explain why you don’t recommend somebody doing that and actually explain why you should own the real estate that you have online, like your blog.
Demian Farnworth: The goal is of course to build that audience that you can actually figure out and sell them product after that, but the other thing is, you know, the stuff that you write is, you know, from just driving traffic, getting organic traffic for your blog post and so your eBooks can actually sell, you know, lots of bloggers who blog, have gotten book deals out of that, those are all media assets that you’re building. If you do that on a free site, or if you do that life on Face book, you don’t own that, lot of these sites now give you ability to download information so you still can get it back, but all that time you invest in to building real estate that is attracting SEO, you can’t do that on social media site right, they are earning money from you, your free work, for the work that you do. They are earning money from your content and you’re not, so in other words you’re being used. If you’re interested in actually building a business, you’re crazy to try start up something that is free and go ahead and bit the bullet and get the hosting, get the website, get the design. Especially as a professional, if you want it go anywhere, we always talk about this in business, content and the design make decision based on the design of site, if they come to you and it looks like it’s free, they are not going to trust it nearly as well, but if it looks like it’s paid, that someone put some time in to it, they are going pause and take stock of what’s going on.
Matthew Loomis: Of course you like WordPress, why do you like WordPress so much?
Demian Farnworth: I like that because it’s free.
Matthew Loomis: Take us through your writing process, from the blank screen to hitting publish, what’s your process look like.
Demian Farnworth: It really just starts off with knowing research, say I’m given a assignment from Brain or someone else like that to write about a particular topic, and I’ll sit down and I’ll do 2, 3 days of research depending on my comfort level with the concept and the availability of the certain research, I’m spending more than 2, 3 days to strict researching on it. On my white board, I create this massive outline and I kind of start sculpting it into a story. So I’ll have categories of information, how to notes fit together and you might have 6 columns, each column represents 1 article out of a series say and so, then once I have that figured out and I know the kind of story that I’m going to tell, because I look at each blog posts and each series as its own story, it’s always going to tell narrative, I’m always pushing, like, it’s got to make sense. From 1 thought seamlessly flows into the next and so there’s always this seamless kind of flow with the content, so.
Matthew Loomis: Which is really important right?
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, and it takes time, you can’t force it, you just have to be patient, again, I talk about being a good blogger all it is being patient, and say ok “this is not working right now, I need to not rush it” long as you can work without a deadline, if you don’t have a deadline pushing up against you and you have more time, then take that time to figure out how to work this through. So once I have this dense outline, I take my laptop, I set it down in front of me and I’ll just start typing, whatever the first item is up there I’ll start typing that.
Matthew Loomis: Before you go on, why do you use a white board versus just typing out an outline on your computer?
Demian Farnworth: I like the physical practice, the physical activity of taping and drawing and writing and stuff like that. I’m a textile learner, and so naturally in some ways I like to write a lot of things out too, so you know just use my hands, if I wasn’t a writer, I would probably be.
Matthew Loomis: I could see you being a sculptor.
Demian Farnworth: So you write it out and you sit down and you start typing out the first line, and you start working through that and like we always talked about, the first post is going to be crap, it’s not going to be worth anything, but got to get started and once you get started, like your mind will take over and you know, bring all those ideas and thoughts together and you have the outline there to help you, to help guide you; you can consider them the guard rails to help guide you along, but also these guard rails are can and should be destroyed, if you take the fear off the path and go for it. I sit down and I write.
Matthew Loomis: Good analogy
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, if I get to a point to where I get the first draft down, I’m going to set that aside and I might set it aside for an hour or I might set it aside for a week, something like that, depending on how much time I have.
Matthew Loomis: So writers shouldn’t feel pressured to write the whole thing in one day or one hour, is that what you are saying?
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, I wouldn’t, it’s a process, I know that some people like, if you have a blogging schedule that’s daily, because you have to write something pretty much daily, this is something that Seth Godin talks about, he’ll have stuff weeks back that he’s been writing, he’s always thinking forward and this is what you need to do and as I think to myself, If I have a daily writing schedule; daily posting, publishing schedule that I need to have plenty of ideas into queue and be working on things on any given time and that has kind of my process, it’s probably your process too, I’m always working, always have different projects; juggling different projects, so when I’m finish, you know, writing this rough draft here, I can go over to this project where I’m at the revision stage, or I might spend couple hours revising that and then from there I go to another project where I’m just polishing it; I’m polishing the close up because everything else is finish but I just need to finish off the close and then the conclusion and stuff so..
Matthew Loomis: Ok Demian so your blog post is ready to be shared, ok, it’s done, how do you promote it what do you do after the blog post is finished?
Demian Farnworth: It starts with social media, sharing it, we build up audiences on Twitter, Google +, Facebook and Facebook has a big audience out there, so once you publish something and share it to an audience out there; then of course you also; that’s probably for most of us, that’s probably not enough to gain any traction and attention for that, so we have to look for the influencers; like the big people in our field who with one single tweet will send a tone of traffic to your site so, so start developing natural relationship with them, reach out to get to know them. One way you can do that, is when you create content for your site is linking out to other bloggers within your content, so you know, when they see that link, when that link is sited, they see that link on their site and think “oh, who is this” and they look over and they’ll check out your article, and you’ll be introduced to that person and they might end up commenting on it if they think it’s good, then from there you can build that relationship.
Matthew Loomis: Sorry, did you say tag somebody or what?
Demian Farnworth: No, like you add links in your article, you can…
Matthew Loomis: Link to them in the article.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, link to them in your article and they see that link, you to the post; article that they wrote, and so, they will see that and come over and maybe comment, whatever, but it’s in how you start, you start relationships and you can elevate that through email, you can do favors for them, whatever, but get people paying attention to you, you have influence and if you’re doing good work they are going to start sharing your work and that can get attention to your work, and lot of people they will do like outreach programs where they build a circle of influences they know, you could get a 100 people in a similar industry to know that once they publish they’ll email us and say “hey would you mind promoting this new content” they don’t do that for every single blog post, but just stuff that they think is really kind of good and so once they publish it, they will then promote it. Also too, there’s guest posting too, you can write for another site that has a much larger audience than you and they allow you to link back to your content, you can get opportunity to promote that content then. One of my favorite ways to get people to, to get like thought leaders interesting in the content, is by writing something that challenges something they said, for example; I wrote an article in which Seth Godin responded to, it was something like, “21 ways you can be a superstar being blogger” and he said I break like 12 of these rules, that so and so said, on his blog post he responded back to that and did the same thing with Mike Elgin with “8 reasons why you’re insane to make your blog Google+” and I did the same thing with Brian Clarke that’s how I got on Brian’s radar, but you know, our relationship got closer after that, once I challenged him and then he responded and he shared it and, he saw it for what it was, he said he call me filthy bastard for doing it but he said.. Of course I got his attention and he did exactly what I wanted to do, so I careless what he calls me, it doesn’t matter right?
Matthew Loomis: What is your favorite social media platform for promoting your blog post and why is this/that your favorite and you know is there any social media that you would recommend maybe we don’t use?
Demian Farnworth: The 2 that I use the most are Google+ and Twitter; twitter is really good to just driving traffic, it’s got 270,000,000 monthly active users, I’ve got a pretty vibrant audience and people use it as sort of a RSS feeds, so if you have blog post; for the last 3 weeks I’ve been experimenting, I’ve been sharing more of my old content on twitter, like somewhere between 5 or 6 posts a day and I’ve nearly doubled my traffic from just doing that alone, these are old posts.
Matthew Loomis: Now, really quickly, do you use Buffer or Hootsuit for that?
Demian Farnworth: I use Oktopost, it’s actually Oktopost, but they do have an octopus out so never mind, so I do use that. I schedule it and post is up, so twitter for that and google+, I like that for because it is a decent platform to ride on, it’s great for images it’s great for sharing images and anything you say against Facebook is guaranteed to do really, really well on there, so I was thinking of platforms that I wouldn’t recommend that would probably; I just don’t use Facebook, I’ve seen plenty of people that have been very successful on it, so you have to find out where your audience is and then use it. I would never say, don’t use it, I’m always a particular, unless of course is a new one. I’m not one to jump out and try to figure out a new social media network, that’s not what I get paid to do, it’s not what I really enjoy doing.
Matthew Loomis: let’s wrap this up with looking forward into the future, the future of blogging, content marketing, online business writing, because that all ties in owning your blog right?
Demian Farnworth: Right
Matthew Loomis: So what are some trends that you see coming in the future, what are some things that you see happening for the blogger down the road that you’re excited about, or we should be paying attention to?
Demian Farnworth: Great question! I think the most important thing is for really what’s really coming down the road is the idea of a remote worker, we are already there, both you and I are remote workers in a sense, where people will start working from home, more and more.
Matthew Loomis: Anything else, anything else we should be paying attention to?
Demian Farnworth: No, I think that’s it
Matthew Loomis: Yeah, ok, great
Demian Farnworth: Alright
Matthew Loomis: Well this has been an excellent lunch with Demian today, Demian Farnworth with Copy Blogger Media, check out his personal site as well, thecopybot.com, Demian thanks for coming and sharing with your buildyourownblog audience all about blogging so.
Demian Farnworth: Thank you everyone.
Matthew Loomis: We’ll see you later, bye.