Greg: Welcome to this edition of the Greg Fly Podcast, my excuse for talking with people I find interesting about subjects that I’m curious about. I’m Greg Fleischaker, your host. Today, once again, I’m lucky enough to have Mike Mueller on the phone. We spoke earlier, primarily about blogging and WordPress, and I ran a little short on time, so I wanted to bring Mike back and talk about podcasting and social media. I know that we’re going to have plenty to talk about again. Mike, how are you?
Mike: I’m doing great, thanks.
Greg: All right, so we left off you were talking about WordPress. It sounds like it’s your favorite solution for probably a smaller business. We’re not talking monster sized business but real estate agents, small businesses. Some of the things I think you like about WordPress is it’s so flexible in that, for instance, this podcast episode. I can easily grab, put up on a couple of my WordPress sites. I can share the player with you. You could put the player on your WordPress site. It’s just a very flexible platform. Right?
Mike: Right, and everybody can do it. You’re wrong about it being for large businesses, because things like the New York Times runs on WordPress
Greg: Does it really?
Mike: Oh, there are some major, major sites out there that are WordPress based.
Greg: See, this is why I have you on. Okay, so it’s not just for small, it can be any size. It’s not a scalability issue where someone says I have a big business, I can’t possibly use WordPress, that’s not the issue?
Mike: Not at all. Really what comes into the scalability part is your hosting. That said, I think WordPress is phenomenal because it puts the power of the Internet, you can be something on the Internet, without knowing a whole lot of code, without even having to get into it. You could just very simply, start a WordPress site and throw a theme at it and it looks pretty good.
Greg: That is definitely the route that I took. Absolutely. Can I make a confession to you? I’m going to anyway. You spoke last time we were talking about… just a post a week. Just stick with it, blog on a continuous basis. Once or twice in the past I’d have gotten, I’m not quite sure where I wanted to go with my real estate career or I wanted to stay home with the kids and I didn’t want to deal with my blog for a while. I erased my whole site, I did not keep my posts at all which is horrible right. Now my kids are getting older and I’m getting back into it and I’m like, “You know what would come in handy? The hundreds of posts that I wrote that I didn’t keep.” It’s mind numbing that I didn’t think about keeping it. Lecture to anyone who’s listening, don’t do like I did. That was dreadful and I’m kicking myself for all of the articles I wrote and the SEO possibilities and the depth of this site that I would’ve had if had I just been smart about it.
Mike: Oh yeah. Yeah, well you know the other thing that sometimes happens is people don’t back up their sites and they get a virus or something happens, the host melts, or whatever and they lose everything. Technically, officially, that’s happened to me once.
Greg: I like how you say technically. Like it wasn’t real, it’s just technical.
Mike: Yeah, it really did. Yeah, it did happen to me.
Greg: Okay so to talk about podcasting more specifically, I think I’m correct, you’re a fan of podcasting. You’ve done several, you used to host one or two yourself. Right?
Mike: Yeah and we still do. We have a show that we started in 2008. Actually I joined shortly after it started, and we have up to, we were the number one social media show on Walk Talk Radio. That was our podcasting host and it’s called Social Media Edge. We do it every Tuesdays and we just have a ball with it, it’s fabulous.
Greg: Who’s involved in that? You’re saying “we”. How big a group is …
Mike: Oh, well now we were up to, I think we had five of us at the same time and then we bring on guests or what have you. Now we’re down to, we have kind of slummed it down and we’re kind of going lean to mean and so it’s the two of us. It’s Ken Cook and he’s the one who started the show, and then myself, and then we bring on guests. We’ve had some pretty big name guests. It’s hard to schedule guests, that’s the hardest thing I find with a podcast, especially the way that we do it, which is live
Hopefully we’re going to talk about different versions of podcasting, because we do a live show. We click the button, it goes live, and if somebody hiccups or does something wrong, it’s live, it just happened.
Greg: Well you just gave yourself a good segue. Why don’t we talk about the different styles of podcasting?
Mike: Yeah. Tell me what you’re doing with this one, because you and I arranged a time and I’m talking to you. We called in and I’m talking to you recording it. Then what happens?
Greg: On my end I will do minimal editing. Just try to make sure that the sound is decent and any long pauses I’ll cut. Put a little intro in and an outro and try to keep it around 15 minutes. I will get it transcribed and then I will host, upload the MP3, I use Libsyn, so I’ll host it there. Then I’ll put it on my WordPress site. I have a couple, so I’ll probably put this on louisvillerealestate.fm and I’ll put the full transcript on there as well. I’ll go back through the transcript and make sure it’s nice and clean and then link out to friends and family, whoever I feel like linking out to and that’s about it.
With this one, this is kind of a loose one, I don’t have a schedule so I never promise or I’m not promising that I come out every Monday or Tuesday. I do another one for my real estate brokerage for Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty and we publish every Tuesday, Thursday morning at 7:00, weekly, so two a week. That is on schedule and, like you said, getting people lined up is tough.
Mike: It’s tough.
Greg: I’m in an office setting there, so I can walk around the corner and talk to agents like, “Hey I’d love to have you”, and there’s someone who helps me schedule it, but it’s the same kind of process. I’ll record that, we do that in the conference room. That’s actually face to face. A couple microphones, but the same kind of thing, minimal edit, transcript, post it on the Web site. Try to get local people that have some level of expertise in something. It doesn’t have to be real-estate but something interesting that people would find a good listen.
Mike: That’s fabulous. It’s not taking up a whole lot of your time as well.
Greg: No. No, it’s not onerous. Probably a couple hours total per episode. That’s probably a lot. An hour and a half to two hours, something like that.
Mike: Right, in some of the other versions, and I listen to and I have subscribed to a lot of different podcasts, as I’m sitting here working I’ll put it on maybe in the background and just listen or I’m a bicyclist and I could do it that way. A lot of podcasts go over to iTunes, so the delivery method is phenomenal because I could just bring up all the things I subscribed to and listen to anything. It gives me just a wonderful wealth of information, as well, just on the side.
Greg: Absolutely …
Mike: I like that.
Greg: I’m a dog walker so every morning I go out and my walk takes about a half hour to forty five minutes so I grab the right length show off iTunes, like you said. Yeah it’s great. What kind of mood are you in in the morning? I want to talk politics. All right, here you go, download it, go.
Mike: Yep, exactly.
Greg: What are some of the, I’m not even sure I really even understand the live concept of the podcast. I mean, it’s still available the same way, right?
Mike: Well what blog talk radio does, and it’s blogtalkradio.com, and anybody can go and get an account. They give you a free 30 minute show, and you can do an intro, you could do an outro, you can do all of that kind of stuff. It automatically goes over to iTunes and that kind of thing. The beautiful thing of it is, and it is live, so you just push the record button or you schedule the start and it starts. If somebody is not called in, sorry the show just started and we’re going to miss you.
Greg: That’s right ,you got to kill some time.
Mike: Exactly. The other thing that we’ve had and we’ve been doing it there since the early days, and we’ve had lots of technical trouble as well, where it just something doesn’t work or it drops calls or what have you. It isn’t a perfect system at all. We just call it Technical Trouble Tuesdays. It is our way of getting stuff out, and getting the message out, and it works for us, and it works really nicely. We can embed it, as well.
Greg: Right, okay. You use it basically the same way but it’s put together a little bit differently?
Mike: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Greg: Okay.Mike: Yeah and we don’t edit, we just push the button and it goes. It’s probably the simplest thing, well I’m going to say the simplest thing if somebody’s looking at getting into this, would be to just turn on record, whatever computer you’re using, you can go out and get a program like Audacity, which will give you a little bit more sound editing ability, just click record and start recording. Then you can upload that directly. We talked about WordPress, you could upload it directly into the media manager of WordPress and it has a player built right in there. That would probably be the simplest way that you could get into podcasting.
Greg: It really is amazing that every year that goes by all this stuff, the blogging, WordPress, podcasting, just gets, it seems, easier and easier and more and more features. For people who are curious and enjoy that, it’s just the opportunities and the options are just growing and growing. It’s a lot of fun.
Mike: Yeah. Last session we talked a little bit about WordPress and SEO and that kind of thing and one of the things I really like with podcasting is it will increase, once of the tings, it will increase time on site. If somebody lands on your page and they click on the podcast and they start playing it, they’re going to be there a whole lot more than the 4.2 seconds that’s the average for people landing on your site.
Greg: That’s important, right? User experience shows up now in search engine optimization in a way that it didn’t used to. If someone is on your site for two minutes or three minutes as an average that’s much better signal to the search engines than the four seconds you’re talking about.
Mike: Yeah, because Google is watching. If they put up a link when somebody does a search and they say well here’s the top 20 results or what have you, whatever’s on the first page, and you click on that, Google’s tracking you and Google’s going to say “Well, we gave them this link, how long did they stay there?” If they bounce away very quickly, that’s going to drop your SEO for that particular page. If they in turn stay for a very long time, Google’s going to say ” Wow, hey, that’s a pretty good thing. We did right.”
Greg: They liked what they saw, so we served up the right results there.
Mike: Exactly. Yeah.
Greg: Let’s say someone is blogging and they’re using WordPress and they’re podcasting and they’re posting their podcasts on their WordPress blog. It seems like the next step is publicizing that and social media would be the logical next step? That’s how I think it is. Is that how you …
Greg: Okay.Mike: That goes with anything blogging wise. Part of your commitment to blogging, the first step is to do it and to actually write the content. The next step is you’ve got to push that content out. A number of different ways, social media is the obvious choice so send it over to, you want to share that over into your different circles, whether that’s Facebook. Your profile on Facebook is great. You could put it on pages and, of course, this is a whole nother episode but we can talk about Facebook pages and the change that has happened over the last little bit. They just don’t have the reach that they used to. You put it in groups in Facebook. Same thing with Twitter, you can shoot that out to Twitter and get the eyeballs and go after those. You’ve got to get people to come back to your site to listen to that podcast. Newsletters, newsletters are fabulous as well.
Greg: You have a hilarious series, I guess, on your Web site about newsletters and people that sign you up without your asking.
Mike: Yeah, I actually not on my site. I found the best way that I can do these things when I get a little upset at things, I go over to Tumblr and the way I cope anyway is I go over to Tumblr and I start a blog. I started a blog called Newsletters I Never Signed Up For.
Greg: There we go.
Mike: People send me all sorts of things because, like you said earlier, my contact information’s everywhere. You can Google me and my site has my email address and all that kind of stuff. People, they sign me up for the newsletters, and I never signed up for that, sorry. I take a screen capture of it, put it up on Tumblr and say “Never signed up for this one either.”
Greg: That is bad form, right, to sign people up for newsletters they did not sign up for?
Mike: Technically, it’s illegal.
Greg: I just want to be clear about it. I forgot where I was going to go with this. On social media I was curious, what’s the line you walk between automated tools and personal engagement? I feel that’s where a lot of people get scared of social media or they fall down like, “I don’t want to promote myself too much, but I don’t want to be at my computer all day either pumping out my links.”
Mike: I’m going to say automation is a horrible thing. I say that because people want to take the easy route out. Though there are things that you can put into your Web site that will automatically pump it out to your Facebook. Actually, WordPress has a fabulous plug in, actually Jetpack has a fabulous plug in module within it that is publicized and you can hook up your Facebook page and your Twitter account and all of that kind of stuff and it will automatically go out. The problem is it doesn’t go out, each one of those is a different audience, especially for me, each one of those is a very different audience. If I automated that, it wouldn’t be sending the right message to each one of those audiences, which you would have to do …
Greg: Each one? You mean each channel?
Mike: Yeah, each channel. My Facebook page, for instance, or one of my Facebook pages, but my primary Facebook page is for business only. My personal profile is, I do a little bit of business there and it’s a fabulous way to connect with me but we’re going to have fun. I’m going to be a little more tongue in cheek. Twitter, of course, has to be short but it should be to the point and I’m going to use hashtags so people searching hashtags are going to find my content, which is a wonderful thing. Instagram, LinkedIn is very business as far as that goes. Like Instagram my Instagram channel, if you ever follow me on Instagram, you’re doing the wrong thing because 99.99% of my Instagram is absolutely no business. It’s me riding mountain bikes and crashing and that’s it.
Greg: I’m on the fence about Instagram. I’ll be honest, I haven’t decided if I’m going to jump in and really go for it. Right now I just use it as a family, keeping track of my kids and my wife and cousins and brothers and sisters. I kind of like it at that number instead of 500, but I know I’m missing out as well. It’s a Catch-22 I feel like.
Mike: Here’s the thing for me and I found this out very early with Twitter and with almost every social media network, you’ve got to run lists. Lists are, especially with Twitter, I’ve got 15 different lists. I can’t pay attention to, I don’t know how many I’ve got. I’m looking right now, 14,000 people follow me on Twitter or I follow them on Twitter. There’s no way I could pay attention to any more than like a hundred or so.
I’ve got to just pull that list, just a short little list, and say “Here’s the hundred most important people to me or to my business.” Then I have a list for mountain bikers, I got a list for motorcycle buddies. If I’m in the mood for mountain biking or in the mood for something else, I can go over to that list and just see that list.
Greg: As each list are you saying each list is about a hundred people or across your lists?
Mike: Each list is less than a hundred people. You bet.
Greg: Okay. Then what are you using to work with your lists? Do you have a separate piece of software or is that inside Twitter on the desktop?
Mike: You can do it inside Twitter, and it is a little bit hard, but you can create lists. It’s no problem at all on Twitter, it’s just looking at those lists. Going way back I used to use Seesmic, now I use Hootsuite to just take those lists and put them in one single stream, so I can look at …
Greg: Can you say that again?
Mike: … across the board. Hootsuite. H-O-O-T, suite.
Greg: I like the way you said it. I thought you were putting a little hoot in the front of it, so I just enjoyed that.
Mike: Yeah, Hootsuite.
Greg: Hootsuite. Yeah, absolutely.
Mike: I have a list for every one of my little passions and that’s fine. I also have, and this is I think especially when it comes to business, I have a list, and this goes in Facebook as well, a list of the most important people to my business and those are people who refer business to me, on a regular basis. I just want to be on top of their life and that’s the first thing I check in to and that’s who I want to comment on and that’s who I want to build my relationships with are the people who are going to build my business.
Greg: If we come back to real estate, a Realtor can have a similar list of past clients or friends, people as you said that they want to stay in touch with and see what is going on and not miss the big life update or whatever is going and miss out on a potential …
Mike: Right. Yeah. You can still, going back to your thing, is you can still follow as many people as you want, you just make sure that people go on a list.
Greg: Okay. All right, so if your total Twitter list is totally out of control, it might take some time to get it back to where it should be, build your list, but an effort worth taking.
Greg: All right, so let’s touch on Facebook before we wrap this up. Do you have a view on Facebook Ads? We had talked about before pushing traffic directly to your podcasts or your blog posts. Would Facebook Ads be a good resource to use? Are you a fan of that?
Mike: Oh yeah, absolutely. Here’s the thing with, I’m a big fan of Facebook advertising because that’s the only way that you can really effectively use your page these days. I’m not talking about pushing the boost button, I’m not a fan of that. What I am a fan of is putting the content on your Web site or whatever that is that you own and then running a targeted Facebook ad campaign. That could be a number of different avenues, that’s a big wide area and having those people come over directly to your Web site. I don’t care about page likes anymore, it’s go to my Web site.
Greg: Yeah, so let’s back up, because Facebook has changed so much over the years. I think you built a Facebook business page for me years ago and that’s really where the big push was for a while and it’s kind of moved. Now you’re saying, do you need a business page, so to speak, just to have an account and then you push everything towards your blog? Is that where we are?
Mike: Well, my blog has lead capture and typically no matter what your Web site should have is lead capture that’s the number one thing. My flow as far as that goes, I’ll write a blog post or something I want to share and I’m going to put it, if it’s business related, I’m going to put it on my Facebook page first. Then I will share it over to my profile from there, so I will actually get people noticing in Facebook, in my profile, noticing that I shared from Mike Mueller Web Design is my Facebook page. That could be Greg Sells Sunny Acres Facebook page type of thing. That way I’m also driving a little bit of traffic to my Facebook page because they’re not necessarily dead, they just don’t have the reach that they used to.
No matter what, I want people to go back to my Web site. Facebook pages are still vital because, yeah, you are going to run the ad through that or you’re going to run an ad campaign, but it’s going to include that Facebook page, not your profile.
Greg: Right. Okay. Then you run it back to where the content is so that you own it, you control it and you’re not at the mercy of a huge multinational company.
Mike: Yeah, the destination should always be your web site. Since we’re talking about this, it should never be the homepage, it should always be a targeted landing page that speaks directly to that ad.
Greg: Okay, so why don’t you, if it’s all right with you, spend one or two more minutes talking about that. Why not the homepage? Then, I guess I’ll let you go and we’ll do this again some other time.
Mike: Sure. Targeted landing pages or sometimes called squeeze pages, what you don’t want is you don’t want, if you’re running an ad and the ad is let’s say for sellers, how much is my home worth kind of thing and you run them to the homepage. Now they landed on your home … First they clicked on the ad, now they run on your homepage and they’ve got to look around and find the button that you have, the call to action that says “find out how much your home is worth”. Then they click on that and then they find out that this big old long form or something like that and that’s all that it is. Of course you’re going to get a bounce. You just wasted that click. The better way of doing this is to send them to, and this is called a squeeze page in the industry or it’s a landing page.
Basically what a landing page does is it removes all the distractions, removes the header, removes the menu bar, sidebar, the footer anything else that they could possibly click on and it should speak directly to that ad. The landing page is going to say ” Hey if you’re wondering how much your home is worth or AVM things out there that will tell you instantly but they’re always wrong, here’s what I’m going to do for you” and it is your unique leading selling proposition. You’re starting out right with that. Here’s what I’m going to do for you, I’m going to give you this comprehensive report. It could have a video, it could have anything that’s going to endear me to you, and it’s also going to give them value. It’s going to tell them what they’re going to get. Then it might have a form, which is still a big leap of faith but, it’ll have a form.
That’s a call to action, is fill out the form and then that’s it or you can close the browser and walk away.
Greg: That’s always an option.
Mike: Well that’s a squeeze page.
Greg: I bet you will tell me that WordPress is well suited to building squeeze pages.
Mike: It certainly is. Yep.
Greg: Then I’m hoping you’ll tell me that Mike Mueller is well suited to building squeeze pages on WordPress.
Mike: I do.
Greg: All right, so why don’t you just run through a couple of things that you do do and then tell people how to get a hold of you if they’re interested in having you do those for them.
Mike: Sure. To build a landing page on your WordPress site, first of all, calls for what’s called a custom template. Basically what that does it that removes those things that I said, the header, the menu bar, that kind of thing, and leaves basically a blank canvas. Building a custom template that gets into PHP a little bit of coding, and the good news is some things will actually come with that as a template that you can actually choose from. Others will not and you actually have to add that. I can do that. If you need help with anything like that, give me a call or give me an email or just hit my website. Areweconnected.com is my site or you can always call me, 925-456- 4567.
Greg: Beautiful and I’ll make sure to link that up here. Mike, thank you so much for time and thanks for talking to me. I hope we can do this again.
Mike: Great. Thanks.