Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Listen on Spotify
Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Michael Bungay Stanier, founder of Box of Crayons and author of The Coaching Habit. Box of Crayons coaches leaders on how to change their habits and manage teams more efficiently.

Tune in to hear Michael share how his business model used to be “if it has a pulse and a wallet he was interested”, how they stay in the $3-5 million dollar profit margin range, and how good coaching can positively impact your business!

Michael Bungay Stanier Box of Crayons

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

Resources From This Interview:

Leave Some Feedback:

Connect with Eric Siu:

The Importance of that One Key Takeaway

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to teach at USC. I was teaching an entrepreneurship class and I spoke for about an hour and a half. It was good. But did they leave the class with a takeaway?

And then I went to an Entrepreneurs’ Organization event the other day where I got to hear this entrepreneur speak about how he’s been through a lot of different things. He talked about how he’s had crazy experiences (like completing five Ironman events)—basically his life story.

Entrepreneurs' Organization

While he was speaking, I was sitting there thinking, “Okay, what am I going to get out of this? What is the big takeaway? How am I going to pick out what’s really important in this overflow of information I’m receiving?”

Take podcasts, for example. I listen to them at 2X speed. Podcasts are sometimes 1-2 hours long and I don’t need all that content. I just want one idea to take away.

And that’s what everything comes down to: that one thing, that one key takeaway.

Related Content: 10 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Stay Productive All Day Long

There’s Only So Much Time in the Day

Of course there is a trade off to this kind of hyper-efficiency: I don’t retain as much information and my comprehension is probably a bit diminished.

But if you can change the way you think about your daily activities and measure what you’re doing in terms of depth rather than breadth, then being able to fully and deeply take away just one thing means you are good to go.

That’s what I think about every time I do my Marketing School and Growth Everywhere podcasts. If I can just give you one thing to do, one idea you’re inspired by, one key takeaway—I know I’ve succeeded.

Related Content: How to Use the 2-Day Rule to Build Habits and Increase Productivity

A Book Recommendation

There’s a book related to this concept called The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. It’s about productivity and how to prioritize and be really efficient with your time, and it applies to your entire life.

The One Thing

For instance, whether I go to a networking event or a conference, I just want to meet one person. Instead of trying to “spray and pray” by handing cards out to a bunch of people, I want to just meet one great person. That’s it.

In the long run, going deep with any kind of relationship pays off. It’s a lot more rewarding and fulfilling. One key takeaway, one thing—that’s all you need to eventually taste true success.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

The Key to Overcoming Writer’s Block (And Creator’s Block)

Have you ever had one of those days when that blank piece of paper or screen in front of you was dauntingly staring you down but you were just unable to write? That’s a classic case of writer’s block. I had writer’s block myself just this morning. I was sitting here trying to write my book and I just had nothing to add.

This doesn’t just apply to writing—it happens when you create any kind of content. You could even call it “Creator’s Block.” I struggle at times to come up with fresh, creative ideas for the multitude of things we do every week—one daily podcast for Marketing School, one weekly podcast for Growth Everywhere, new content every week for the Single Grain blog, repurposing material, doing guest posts—it’s a lot of content.

So how do we go about producing at that level consistently? And how do we make sure that we don’t give in to writer’s block?

Write by the Seat of Your Pants

The most important thing that I do when I’m creating content, and especially when I’m having trouble, is to just start writing. I know that may not sound like the most groundbreaking advice but you have to just start writing, even if you’re simply rambling. Starting is ultimately the hardest part, but it becomes much easier once you’re actually in flow.

Every time I actually get into the flow of writing, I feel good and think, “I should be doing this more.” The hardest part is actually getting yourself to start that process. That’s why I find myself putting these things off.

All too often, the things that should be done are the things you put off most. There’s a resistance against doing things you know you should be doing. A common example for many people would be going to the gym.

Learn More: Best Way to Ideate Blog Post Content

Fight the Resistance

There’s actually a term called “The Resistance,” coined by writer Steven Pressfield and explained by Seth Godin. Godin talks about our “lizard brain,” which fuels our fear and resistance of things that are painful. But these are things we should be doing, such as going to the gym or creating content.

The secret to fighting the resistance is to not give yourself the time to prepare. Get those things done first every day, and it makes your life a lot easier. Make the hardest stuff your priority.

Prioritize your health and help yourself. Prioritize content creation because it helps other people. Think about what you’re truly doing and be deliberate about your actions. I sometimes find myself scrolling through my Twitter feed in the morning, saving stuff to my Pocket so I can read it later. But, honestly, 95% of the stuff I save I don’t end up reading. I’m just killing time.

Think to yourself, “What am I spending my time truly doing? Is it what I really need to be doing?” Don’t confuse mindless consumption with productivity or progress.

Learn More: How to Use the 2-Day Rule to Build Habits and Increase Productivity

Just Do It

When you face writer’s block or creator’s block or whatever block, push against it. Just start writing. It might suck initially, but you have to power through it in order to reach the next stage. Ultimately it lies in your hands to be deliberate and intentional.

Good luck!

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Why You Should Never React Emotionally to Your Employees

Ever been in a situation where you say exactly the wrong thing before you even realize what happened? When you just react before thinking? I know I still do this a lot, and it’s something I’m still working on.

As a business owner, team leader, or any kind of manager—your reactions matter a lot more than if you were an employee, because your reactions show who you really are as a leader.

How to Rein In Your Emotions

For example, just yesterday I threw my second happy hour in downtown L.A., and at one point I was chatting with a guy about podcasts, and we started to talk about how I’m co-hosting a podcast with Neil Patel called Marketing School. All of a sudden, this guy says, “Yeah, it seems like everyone just wants to listen to Neil.”

Marketing School

Now, I’d like to think that I don’t have a big ego. I don’t usually mention what I’m up to, even if I am seeing a lot of success with one thing or another. But this guy almost completely disregarded me to my face with drinks that I had paid for at an event that I was throwing. Here’s the thing—I don’t think he intended to do that, but the damage was done, regardless.

There were four guys in that conversation, and although I managed to keep my cool it was really awkward. The two other guys in the looked like they wanted to be elsewhere as soon as possible.

But I let my irritation pass though me, because I’ve learned that I can control my reactions. I can’t control what he said—he already said it—but I can control how I react. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But the old me, from five or six years ago, would have said, “Who the hell do you think you are? Like, this is my event, bud. What are you thinking saying this to me?” I probably would have kicked him out and never talked to him again.

Instead, I just continued the conversation and let it be. I don’t think that guy even realized that what he said was actually offensive.

My point in bringing this up is that if I reacted poorly in that situation—let’s say I started yelling at him and actually kicked him out—think about how poorly that reflects on me. This was my event, and everyone would have seen me blow up. There’s a bunch of great people around me, and everyone’s having a good time. I don’t want to be that guy who overreacts to a situation.

Why You Should Never React Emotionally to Your Employees

While this example might be obvious (for example you probably wouldn’t have blown up in that situation either), the same holds true when you’re a team leader at a company. If somebody is yelling at you—let’s say an employee is having a really bad day and is distraught or emotional— it’s not your job to fight back and say, “Hey, I’m the boss.”

It’s not your job to yell at them or try to put them in their place. Ultimately, it’s your goal as a leader to serve your employees.

Especially coming from an Asian background, I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve seen where this is not how things are done at all. Most leaders are super privileged and employees understand they have to tread carefully.

Fortunately, I think leaders and managers are starting to better understand the concept of servant leadership. It’s your job to serve your managers and it’s their job to serve your employees. It’s the business owner’s job to create a great working environment. Ultimately, it’s all yours and if anything fails, it’s all your fault.

This all ties back into how you react to certain situations. People who can’t control their emotions and go off the rails all the time may make great products or even make tons of money—but they aren’t good leaders.

What Happens When You Do React Emotionally

True story: I had a long day on Monday and I ordered a Chipotle bowl using my phone. I ordered about an hour in advance, at 5 p.m. The food was supposed to be ready by 6 p.m. When I got there, around 6:10, it still wasn’t ready. They’re like, “Oh, okay, we’ll go get started on the order right now.” That’s never happened to me before at Chipotle, and I overreacted.

I was like, “Hey…this was supposed to be done at 6 p.m.” The cashier replied, “Well, what do you want me to do? I just came back from break.” To be fair, I wasn’t that upset until she said that. Her reaction pissed me off. I said something like, “You’re responsible for it, blah, blah, blah.” I didn’t yell or anything, but I still overreacted. Before I knew it I had lost control of my emotions.

In the grand scheme of things, I had to wait an extra 5 minutes. I didn’t need to react like that, and it reflected poorly on me.

That’s the irony in these two stories, right? In a higher-stakes situation, I managed to react the right way. But in a really low-stakes situation, my stress spiked and I lost control. To be honest—even though I was in the right—I was just disappointed in myself.

Reacting Emotionally Never Helps

The key takeaway from both stories is that you can’t really control what other people do or say to you. But the one thing you can control (and this has to do with Stoicism) is your reaction. At any given time, you can control your reaction. If you think about all the times that you’ve been angry or yelled or thrown things—every single time you did those things it never, ever helped.

I grew up watching people argue all the time. Guess what? It never solves anything. This is why couple’s therapy exists. When you overreact and your emotions get the better of you, you’ve basically lost already.

Even if you’re 100% right, it doesn’t matter because once you start to disrespect or yell at someone, the damage is done. This is why you should never fight fire with fire. If you react to someone emotionally, then it’s already game over.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Ever heard of the two-day rule? No? Well, then it’s your lucky day. The two-day rule is something I’ve adopted to increase productivity and boost my follow through. Basically, if I miss a daily habit, I’ll do my best not to miss it two days in a row.

How to Follow the Two-Day Rule

There’s an app I love to use called Habit List. I use it record the habits that I want to make sure I’m doing on a daily basis. I can basically put an X in the checkbox for a habit or I can skip it for that day.

All my habits are listed there and when I start to hit each of my habits for a couple days in a row, Habit List starts a chain. Your goal is to not break the chain for as long as possible. It’s a simple kind of gamification, but it motivates me a ton.

When Seinfeld was training to be a comedian, he had a calendar where he would mark an X next to each day when he completed a habit, like telling new jokes. He would just keep marking it, and his goal was to not break the chain.

That’s why I implemented the two-day rule. At the end of the day, we’re only human. If we can’t do something every single day—that’s okay. But we don’t want to slack off too much, either, because that’s how you break a habit.

For example, let’s say your target everyday habit is going to the gym. If you go out on Friday and get wasted, chances are you broke your chain and you’re unable to go to the gym on Saturday. Well, that’s fine. If you’re following the two-day rule, then you just have to go on Sunday. The chain is not broken.

It seems so inconsequentially arbitrary—but psychologically it makes a world of difference. Once you get used to hitting your habits, you will do everything in your power not to miss two days in a row and break the chain.

Related Content: Hooked Author Nir Eyal On Mastering the Art of Habit-Forming Products

How I Apply the Two-Day Rule to My Own Life

A lot of people have asked me how I can keep my habits so consistent. For example, I do Marketing School every single day with Neil, and I also do Growth Everywhere once a week. I’ve missed only a handful of weeks in the last three years at this point.

The reason I’m able to so consistently hit my daily and weekly goals is because I use apps like Habit List to keep myself accountable and to motivate myself to be productive. I decided to give myself a one-day grace period, max, and the two-day rule hasn’t been too hard to follow. Now, if I had held myself to a strict no-skip rule, it would have been a lot harder to make any of my habits stick because I would have gotten discouraged.

That’s the weird thing about new habits and goals. Most people will either aim for 100% perfection or they’ll let a new and promising habit completely drop off their radar. But it doesn’t have to be so black and white. Perfection is not worth it in the long run because even if you can’t commit to every single day, these habits are going to build up long-term success regardless.

Related Content: The Best Way to Be as Productive as Possible Every Day

Whether it’s going to the gym or waking up earlier or writing in the morning or doing these Facebook Lives, for example, celebrating these small wins every day adds up in the long run. It’s what’s going to get you ahead of your competition and it’s going to be what helps you hit your goals every single time.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

The Power of Mastermind Groups

I started throwing founders’ dinners a couple years ago and they’re extremely powerful. Just yesterday, I attended a YEC dinner and there were 30 or so entrepreneurs in one room. We ate really great food in Marina Del Rey, we got to talk with like-minded people, seeing what they’re up to, and seeing how we can help out.

When you’re in a group full of entrepreneurs, whether that’s Young Entrepreneur’s Council or Entrepreneurs’ Organization or another group, you don’t hear much about politics, religion, gossip, or anything that people may normally use to small talk their way through a dinner. Everyone’s just so busy trying to get something done. As a result, these dinners are all about helping each other out and creating lasting relationships.

It’s not even about networking as much as it is about cultivating long-term friendships that can last a lifetime. There are a lot of people in my YEC group who I think are going to be lifelong friends of mine.

Learn More: The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group

How to Set Up a Professional Event or Dinner

There are a lot of creative ways you can go about getting the people you really want to talk to and learn from all in one room. The company that helped set up the YEC dinner in Marina Del Rey is called Place Holders. They’ll go out there to the location and set up your meals and everything. I think they’ll get the space booked for you, too.

Other times, the YEC guys will book an Airbnb or something similar. You do have to make sure that it’s a really nice spot. We had a rooftop, a fireplace, and a really long dinner table. There was even a pool.

Often, the hosts will use the space for several days to make their money back. For example, they might invite a bunch of YEC entrepreneurs together for a free dinner. But they actually booked the place for three days, and they’re going to run paid courses or workshops on the other two days.

On the other hand, you could take the more homey route and just invite people to your home. I know YEC people who will cater the food or even just cook the food themselves. They might invite 20 to 30 people to their home for dinner.

Personally, I prefer to keep things intimate because I find that once you have more than eight people, it starts to become a little disorganized. I want to get people to actually know each other better. That’s not saying that more people can’t work; it’s just harder for people to get to know one another on a personal level.

The Best Way to Get People to Interact

I saw something interesting yesterday at the YEC event. We were nearly 75% of the way through, when the hosts suddenly said, “Everyone that’s an extrovert in the room, raise your hand!” And a bunch of people raised their hands. Then they said, “Okay, extroverts move around.”

The extroverts moved around, changed seats, and naturally started to build new relationships that way. Even if you talk to somebody for less than five minutes, you’re able to help that person out. In return, they’ll think of ways to help you out, too. The key is to help without expectations.

The Power of Masterminds

I’ve talked about masterminds in the past. You should always have a checklist of how you want to set things up, because there are always logistics that you need to plan and prepare for when you get a bunch of people into one room.

Also, masterminds aren’t just limited to business owners. Let’s say you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, for example. You can still find other people who are aspiring entrepreneurs and set something up where you cook together and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. For the dinners that I throw, I’ll gladly pay for it myself because, quite frankly, people probably aren’t going to pay to eat my food!

The trade off for me is I’ll throw it near my place, which makes everything much easier for me. Even so, these dinners can typically run anywhere from $500-$800 each time I throw them. You might be thinking, ‘That’s a huge expense.’ It is definitely a big expense, but if you throw these mastermind dinners, connect people, and have no expectations, things are going to come back around to you in the end.

When it comes down to it, the foundation of all meaningful business transactions and referrals is trust and respect. According to Harvard psychologists, people work with you because they like you and respect you. Goodwill always repays goodwill.

I believe in this so firmly that I’ve been running Growth Everywhere for three years and haven’t even tried to monetize it. Neil and I are running Marketing School for free for the same reason. We know that by providing free value and spreading goodwill, we’ll earn back the money we’ve spent tenfold down the road without having to gimmick or hard sell anyone.

Learn More: How To Run Masterminds That Actually Bring Business Benefits (Templates & Agendas Included)

Entrepreneurship Can Be a Lonely Game

Here’s the funny thing about being an entrepreneur. You may get into it because of some idea you have about unshackling yourself from the 9-to-5 lifestyle and living the life you want or pursuing your dreams. But ultimately you’ll find that you’re probably a workaholic. Most entrepreneurs are just working all the time with their heads down. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely game.

So to be able to just get together for one night once a month with a group of like-minded people is really powerful. That’s why you join these groups. That’s why I go to conferences and throw events and monthly happy hours, too. If you’re based in the LA area, feel free to reach out to me, find my contact information, tweet at me, whatever. I’ll invite you.

When I map out kind of what I’m going to spend on these events, it’s probably going to be around $25,000 per year. But at the end of the day, I know as long as it feels right, as long as you’re getting good feedback from people, you’re doing the right thing. It will pay off in unexpected ways in the long run.

Sneak Peek: Marketing Reality TV?

Before we finish, I wanted to let you guys know that I’m thinking of doing a 12-episode miniseries where I go into companies and try to figure out what their marketing issues are in real time. We figure out what their growth issues are, find out what their business model is, and then help these companies grow. Our goal is to determine what kind of marketing engine would help that business grow most.

We’re looking at companies that have a great product and that are interested in growing. I’m just trying to gauge the interest level right now, so I’m surveying my email lists. If you are interested, just leave a comment. If we get enough interest in this, I’ll go ahead and spend the resources to make it happen.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Sometimes you may find yourself doing so many things in one day that you actually lose track of what’s important and what isn’t.

That’s why I use a task prioritization chart that I take a look at every quarter or so. I want to keep track of what I’m actually working on every single day to see what I need to cut out, what I need to delegate, and where only I can make an impact.

My Task Prioritization Chart

Personally, I divide all of my tasks by expected ROI.

Task prioritization chart

For example, I have a category for $10 per hour tasks, another for $100 per hour tasks, another for $1,000 per hour tasks, and finally one for $10,000 per hour tasks. These categorizations tell me how much I would have to pay someone else to get a specific task done right.

So if you find yourself doing $10 tasks when you’re running a six- or seven-figure business, you probably need to rethink your priorities. On the flip side, you probably don’t want to be delegating the $10,000 per hour tasks out to anyone—that’s where you could be making the biggest impact yourself.

Related Content: The Power of Blocking Out Your Time for Business Growth

Things like cold calling, talking to unqualified prospects, doing expense reports, or scheduling social media probably shouldn’t be done by you. I know you see guys like Gary Vaynerchuk engaging on social media all the time, but that makes sense for Gary because he has branded himself as a social influencer.

Gary Vaynerchuk

When to Delegate and When to Do It Yourself

Think about the tasks that you do every single day. Whether you’re using a calendar or Evernote, look at what you’re doing every single day and then look at the last couple weeks. I have a daily to-do list and I’ll look back at last month or last quarter and realize, “Wow, I shouldn’t be working on this.”

As time goes on and your company grows, it’s your job to take more things off your plate and delegate it to other people. This is why companies hire other people. Your managers get stacked up with work, too. They need to hire people as well.

Hiring is one of the most important things you can do because you’re focusing on assigning each person in your company to their proper task category in order to maximize the ROI of human effort.

Learn More: Ultimate Guide to Building a World Class Team

Let’s look at $100 an hour tasks, like talking to qualified prospects, doing social media, managing pay-per-click campaigns, doing customer follow ups, and so on. Customer follow ups, for example, are super important, so you probably don’t want to categorize it as a $10 an hour task and delegate it out to someone who doesn’t do it right. You could, but your business might suffer as a result.

Now let’s look at $1,000 per hour tasks, like building your marketing or sales funnel. If you want to have a marketing automation sequence that is perfectly optimized, that’s a big undertaking and a big time commitment. But you know it’s worth it for you because it’s going to pay dividends down the road.

This is a task that you could do yourself if your company is smaller. Not only can you probably not afford to hire someone to do this, you definitely do not want to hire a $10 per hour or $100 per hour person to do a $1,000 per hour job.

Focus on the $10,000 per Hour Tasks

Finally, there are the $10,000 an hour tasks. If you’re making seven figures per year, these are the tasks that you and your partners, if you have any, should absolutely be focusing on.

Related Content: The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: How to Juggle Multiple Projects and Have a Life, Too

A lot of these high-priority tasks are things that sometimes only you can do. For me, it could be throwing an event or a dinner, or interviewing people on my Growth Everywhere podcast.

Growth Everywhere YouTube channel

Same thing with Marketing School—it has to be me personally doing this each time with Neil. Public speaking or podcasting requires me to actually be there in person to make the biggest impact.

But what I can probably start to offload are the live webinars that I do. Maybe somebody else can take that on. Maybe that becomes a $100 per hour task.

Planning, Prioritizing and Delegating

Once you’ve identified the $1,000 or $10,000 per hour tasks that you should be doing yourself, you want to make a game plan for how you’re going to tackle those tasks both on a daily basis and over time. If you need to have somebody else do that for you, like a project manager, then you’re basically out of control. You may no longer see the bigger picture.

On the other hand, the tasks that you’ve identified as able to be delegated, whether it’s a web development project or a new marketing campaign, you should absolutely not take on yourself, even if it is tempting. You need to find the right talent, give very specific instructions, and then take a big step back.

So try this out if you haven’t before. Create a task prioritization chart or matrix with $10, $100, $1,000, and $10,000 per hour categories. Prioritize your tasks and then share the document with your team as well so they know where you’re at and they know what you should be working on.

Remember, if you ever start to slip back into $10 per hour tasks such as project management and things like that, you need to get them off your plate immediately.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

How Do You Get into the Game of Podcasting?

We’re seeing the popularity of podcasts grow every year and I think it will just continue to get bigger and bigger. People are listening to more podcasts more often, and talking about their favorites, too. But how do you get into the game of podcasting?

The good news is that we’re still in the early stages. Just as blogging blew up over time, podcasting is seeing the same kind of growth. It’s growing at around 17-20% year over year, but it’s nowhere near saturation.

Two Case Studies: Growth Everywhere and Marketing School

For those of you who don’t know, I have two podcasts at the moment. One’s called Growth Everywhere and gets about 120,000 downloads per month.

Growth Everywhere podcast

The other is Marketing School and we’re about to break 600,000 downloads per month. We started Marketing School in August 2016, so we have a little experience under our belts when it comes to the world of podcasting.

Marketing School

One thing you have to keep in mind when it comes to podcasting is consistency. Just like with blogging, you have to establish a schedule that your audience can get used to.

So if you’re doing a weekly show on Mondays, keep it on Mondays at the same time so people know when to tune in. It’s almost like watching a TV show. You want to have it at the same time.

As you continue to build up your library over time, don’t be afraid to repost content or old episodes as long as they’re relevant, because not everyone’s going to see your new episodes the first time you post them. It’s the same idea with an email nurture sequence.

Related Content: 9 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Blog Content

You want to have your best content available to everyone, because not everyone will see it when you want them to. Granted, someone in your audience might have seen everything you have and therefore might not be happy that you’re repurposing stuff, but for the most part people haven’t seen all your episodes, and if they’re a loyal listener, they’d probably be happy to revisit them.

For my interview podcast, Growth Everywhere, we repurpose a lot of content because it just makes sense. A lot of these stories are evergreen, and we’re just trying to get them out there so people can get new ideas. Great stories don’t change. Each episode has at least one takeaway that can really help someone grow their business.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you must have great, compulsively clickable titles. Before we do each podcast, Neil and I look through the titles. People give us ideas, and we’ll redo the titles to make them better because we know good headlines are going to get people to click.

For Growth Everywhere, I like to include a statistic in my title. I’ll also bounce ideas around with my editor. Finally, we make sure that we email our podcast guest so they can help push it, too. Hopefully they get their team to help promote it, share it on social channels, etc.

How to Leverage Your Podcast

Let’s say I were to interview someone like Tim Ferriss. He’s got a really big audience, so hopefully he would tweet the episode. Maybe he’d even push it to his email list.

When I interview venture capitalists, for example, it’s fantastic because their lists are really big. People get to learn more about Growth Everywhere, and if they hit the Growth Everywhere page, guess what? I’m going to re-target them, and hopefully get them into the funnel.

Learn More: Why Retargeting Is Absolutely Essential For Any Marketing Funnel

Speaking of marketing funnels, email is incredibly important. You want to make sure that you’re emailing your list. We use a blog RSS feed, which pushes automatically on Sundays for new Marketing School episodes, and on Mondays it pushes new Growth Everywhere episodes. So we have that automated, and it helps tremendously.

Paid ads are really helpful, too. Russell Brunson has a site called Marketing In Your Car with a free MP3 plus shipping offer. Basically, he’s giving away this MP3 player with all his podcast episodes on there, and it’s been hugely successful in generating subscribers. He gets people into his funnel that will come back and buy actual products. He’s very profitable on the front end on that funnel, and it’s working really, really well for him.

I bring up Russell because, as with any type of marketing, it’s good to see what other people are doing, and see whether you can make it work for yourself.

Another thing you could consider is a giveaway. Let’s say I reach out to my favorite SaaS companies and say, “Hey, I’m looking to give something away to my audience. If someone wants to get in on this giveaway, they need to leave a rating and review on social, show that they did it, and subscribe to our email list or follow us on Instagram…”

You could play around with the giveaway requirements, but just choose one goal. I’d recommend choosing one for each giveaway that you do.

For a lot of these SaaS companies, the cost of giving away a piece of software is almost negligible, especially when they’re getting a ton of exposure in return. So for them to get that kind of publicity, it’s definitely worth giving away a product. Then you’ve set yourself up for a cross-promotional relationship.

Learn More: How We Built the Growth Everywhere Podcast to 109,000 Listens per Month

The Importance of Cross Promotion

Ok, let’s say I get Tim Ferriss on my podcast. Maybe he gets me on his. Being able to cross promote and build relationships with other people, as well as build or engage social communities and create hype, is very important. If you’re doing a marketing podcast like mine, you can go to Inbound, you can go to GrowthHackers. You can even find Slack groups. There are a lot of different ways that can be effective.

If you need some ideas about getting people to interview, check out this podcast episode that Neil and I did called How to Find Relevant Guests for Your Podcast.

We’re hoping to get our podcast to two million total downloads per month for Marketing School. And for Growth Everywhere, hopefully we can hit 250,000 per month by the end of this year.

If you want to learn even more about how to start a podcast, check out this blog post.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Best Way to Ideate Blog Post Content

When I first started learning how to do internet marketing, keywords were all that mattered. Google Keyword Planner and a host of other keyword research tools, like SEMrush, helped marketers see which keywords were driving volume. Then we’d take what we learned and layer it on with a tool like Übersuggest, or come up with more permutations or more keyword phrases.


But the thing about looking at historical keyword data is that it’s the same as looking at past revenue. It’s a lagging indicator, not a leading indicator.

That means it explains how something happened only in retrospect. But it doesn’t necessarily help you predict what will work in the future.

As a marketer, you want to be ahead of the trend. For example, let’s talk about virtual reality marketing, which might really blow up in five years or so. I think we all know that that’s a trend that’s coming up, but there isn’t a lot of interest in it right now because the technology hasn’t fully penetrated yet. The timing is not correct. But in order to ride that wave when it crests, you have to be prepared.

And that’s why I spend a bunch of time on Google Trends.

Google Trends

Why Google Trends Is Invaluable

Google Trends’ most obvious feature is their top charts, where you can see what’s going on in real time. This is what people are talking about right now. This is what people are interested in.

Google Trends Top Rising Definitions 2016

For example, if you look up the book Newsjacking, you can come up with ideas just by looking at these trends. Or maybe people have been talking about Conor McGregor recently. How can we spin that in a way that fits in with a client’s marketing?

By doing that, you can be at the top of SERPs when people search for Conor McGregor or newsjacking or whatever the topic is. Whoever gets to it first is going to win when it comes to trends.

Another example: Pinterest recently released their Pinterest Search Ads. Let’s search for “Pinterest Search Ads” in Google Trends. We can see that it is currently a trend right now and it’s spiking.

Google Trends Pinterest search ads

How do you take advantage of this? I like to scroll to the bottom of the results page in Google Trends to see related searches. If there aren’t many related searches, then this is a really fresh topic.

Google Trends related topics

One of the easiest wins when you jump on a trend is to write a long-form piece of content about it. Most of the early coverage will be short-form news posts. For example, maybe you newsjack Pinterest’s announcement with a “Complete Guide to Pinterest Search E-book.”

Maybe we’ll jump on Snapchat Ads instead. They’ve been out for a while, and you can see they spiked for a little bit when the announcement first came out.

Snapchat ads Google Trends

But it’s about to get even bigger because they’re about to IPO and open up their platform to third parties for bidding. As a marketer, maybe that’s a topic you want to jump on.

Learn More: The Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat

There’s also YouTube, which is adding the ability to target people based on their search history. So it’s like search retargeting, but through YouTube. They’re obviously trying to compete with Facebook.

Look for Trends, Ride the Wave

There are a lot of different ways to think about this, but whatever you end up doing, start by looking at trends.

What should you not do? Write on topics without any regard to trends. For example, if you search for “SEO,” you can see that this topic has been played out. It’s the same thing over and over. If you want to own the top results, you need to be on top of trends that people are just discovering.

If it’s actually good content, readers will start linking to it and it eventually becomes a flywheel of high-quality links because it’s the top result. That’s the benefit of riding the wave before it breaks. You’re going to get more traffic over time than anyone else and you’ll be known as an authority in your space. That’s the power of using Google Trends.

And Google Trends is totally free! You’re using a free tool like this to spot things before they become really big and jump on them because people care about these new and exciting topics.

When it comes to content marketing, so much content out there is redundant over time. Many topics are basically just echo chambers of writers copying each other.

You have to figure out how to stand out. Whether it’s doing live videos every day (like my Facebook Lives) or daily podcasts (like Marketing School), think about what you can do to stand out.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Content Expansion - Why I'm Writing a Book

Every morning, I write or rewrite or edit 500 words. Right now we’re past the first draft and we’re in the process of reaching out for endorsement deals for the book. I’m also trying to get forewords from influencers to help promote it.

I want to talk about why I decided to write the book in the first place, and the route that I’m taking. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, so I’ll continue to give updates on this over time.

It all started when I did a podcast interview with the founder of Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi.

Joe Pulizzi Content Marketing Institute

At the very end of the interview, I always talk to people about tangential stuff. Joe happened to say at the end that publishing a book is a game changer. Once you do that, it changes everything.

It got me thinking about the progression of my professional life. I have Single Grain, a growing and profitable business. I also have two podcasts now (Growth Everywhere and Marketing School), and I’ve spoken at different events.

What’s next? Write a book.

How I’m Writing My Book

It’s been over a year since I started writing Level Up, and the process began with me taking a bunch of Post-Its and throwing all my topic ideas together. I figured out what I wanted to write about in each chapter, and then I just started talking into my phone every morning and recording my thoughts with Rev, and that was how I got the ball rolling.

At the same time, I started listening to this podcast by Copyblogger on how to publish a book, which was really helpful. What I’ve found is that most successful books go through more than five drafts. That led me to decide whether I should self-publish and get it out quicker, or try and wait for a big publisher.

Related Content: How to Repurpose Content (And Write Your First Book!)

E-book or Publisher Route?

Neil happened to be releasing his first book, Hustle, and I asked him, “Hey, can you introduce me to the guy that helped you with your book?” And that guy’s actually helping me with my book now, and we’ve decided to take the publisher route.Hustle Neil Patel

Having a physical hardcover book is powerful. People tend to treat it more seriously and respectfully compared to an e-book. It’s something that you can hold in your hand, and having it backed by a big publisher is serious validation, so I’ve decided to go down that route. 

How Do You Pitch Your Book to Publishers?

The first step to approaching a publisher is to put together a book proposal, which is basically an outline of your book, and why it’s unique. It includes a marketing plan as well. You need to show potential publishers that you have a plan for marketing your book on your own before they’ll help you. This is where you include details like how big your e-mail list is and how big your website is.

Publishers want to know what firepower you can put behind the book to help push it, because they’re interested in selling as many copies as possible.

What Level Up Is All About

The concept of Level Up is that gamers actually learn a lot of the skills needed to become an entrepreneur by playing games. In other words, playing games can actually help you level up to playing the game of life and business. At the end of the day, you can gamify just about everything, and in fact the most successful people do gamify their lives.

The ultimate game, I think, is eventually “beating” the game of business and moving on to philanthropy. One of my favorite books, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t, is about Chuck Feeney, the main founder of Duty Free Shopping, who’s given away nearly his entire fortune of $7.5 billion during his lifetime. 

The Billionaire Who Wasn't Conor O'Clery

He indirectly inspired Warren Buffett, and in turn Bill Gates, to try and do the same thing with their Giving Pledge.

The Giving Pledge

So the premise of Level Up is, how do you go from gamer to entrepreneur? And how do you then play the game of business really well, to the point where you build up your wealth enough to move on to the game of philanthropy?

I’m hoping that because there are so many gamers out there, this book will inspire some people.

Related Content: How to Create Quality Blog Posts that Convert Customers

Current Progress: Still in progress

Right now, we’re done with the first draft which is about 60,000 words. It’s still a really rough draft, but the process has been really enjoyable. Very excited to see what happens with it. For now, my goal is to reach out for endorsement deals and forewords.

Fun fact: I got Mark Cuban to respond the other day. Unfortunately, he’s not going to be a part of it, but at least he responded. We’re trying to get endorsements from studios and producers like Electronic Arts and Sony, too.

Ultimately, if I were a parent and my kids were playing a lot of games, I’d want to give them this book. My parents used to think gaming was a waste of time, and to an extent it can be. If you overdo anything, it ultimately is unproductive, and can become harmful. But if you do it in moderation, you can learn a lot.

When I look back at my gaming history, I would say I probably did overdo it, but it’s the same thing with a lot of entrepreneurs, right? We’re all obsessives, and it’s partially why we succeed.

On Being an Author

If you haven’t read it before, definitely check out Seth Godin’s 19-point checklist Advice for Authors. One of the key points? If you’re writing a book, don’t expect to make a lot of money. It’s just good to get it out there for your personal brand, and if it takes off? Cherry on top.

If you create a lot of content already, I highly recommend that you think about writing a book, because you probably have a lot of the content published anyway. I think it’s going to be really rewarding.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Free 1st Chapter Of Leveling Up

Submit your email below for free instant access