CC 050: Strategic Writing: How To Write Articles That Get Traffic, Subscribers & Sales With Tim Soulo

I'm excited to announce that this is the 50th episode of The Content Champion Podcast. So to celebrate this milestone, I'm discussing strategic writing that attracts more traffic, subscribers and sales with special guest Tim Soulo.

Strategic Writing With Tim Soulo

Listen To Tim's Show

Former professional DJ and master marketer, Tim Soulo is the hugely engaging writer behind BloggerJet and the talented Head of Marketing at Ahrefs. So there's no better authority than Tim to discuss how to write content that really moves the needle on every level.

Tim Soulo

And believe me folks, Tim shares so much in this show that you really won't want to miss a minute.

For over half an hour, we chat about Tim's backstory, his premise that all content needs to pull its weight on a strategic business level - and we then go on to outline all the proven tactics to create content that gets you more eyeballs on the page, more email subscribers, and (what we all want) - more sales.

Tim is a knowledgeable and entertaining speaker, and was very generous with his time for this episode, so I hope you enjoy learning from his experience as much as I did.

[Podcast] How To Write Articles That Get Traffic, Subscribers & Sales With Tim Soulo #contentmarketing

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Show Notes

In this fascinating 40-minute show we cover a lot of ground, including:

  • How Tim moved from being a club DJ to a professional marketer
  • Why every article you write should make a visible impact on your business
  • The traffic-getting checklist:
  • Finding a proven article idea
  • Improving upon that idea
  • Making your article visual
  • Using copywriting techniques
  • Featuring influencers
  • Optimising for Google
  • The email subscriber-getting checklist:
  • Using a content upgrade
  • Convincing your readers to take your content upgrade
  • The sales-getting checklist:
  • Identifying the problem
  • Selling the solution
  • How to engage with Tim's content and products online
  • Plus! The PS Question! Tim shares a superb content marketing strategy you won't want to miss...

Resources Mentioned In This Show

The Story of The Show: Strategic Writing: How To Write Articles That Get Traffic, Subscribers & Sales With Tim Soulo

Hi, guys. Welcome to the Content Champion Podcast. Thanks, as always, for listening. I'm delighted to say that this is the 50th episode. To celebrate this milestone, we've got a very special guest for you - award-winning blogger at, and head of marketing at Ahrefs, former professional DJ Tim Soulo is a content marketing and social media marketing master.

Creator of the TweetDis and Content Upgrades PRO WordPress plugins, he's also a massively engaging writer. What better person, then, to discuss today's subject, how to write strategically to get more traffic, subscribers and sales with your articles.

Thanks for coming on, Tim.

Thanks for having me, Loz. That was a great introduction. You have such a great radio voice. I'm jealous.

Oh, thank you. Before we dig down into the subject of today's show, we'd love to hear all about you, and your backstory as well, please?

I will try to make it really short, because I think people want to get to the actual meat of the podcast. I guess the most interesting part of my backstory is that I come from a small town in Ukraine. Before entering the world of online marketing, I used to be a professional DJ. This is when I launched my first site, a blog about electronic music.

After a few months, I realized that publishing blog posts didn't bring me any traffic. It was practically nonexistent. This is how I started to learn SEO, and got my first job as junior SEO specialist, shortly after launching that blog. This was 2010, and six years fast forward, and I'm working as a head of marketing at Ahrefs, and I'm absolutely enjoying it here.

Every Article Should Make An Impact

It's a fantastic success story. I advise everybody to go to bloggerjet. I've just read everything on there. I was also listening to one of your mixes yesterday. I love house music. I've got a stand up desk, so I was dancing away, while I was doing my copy yesterday, to one of your mixes. OK, as you say, let's get into the meat of the podcast.

You start off this whole premise, let's frame it like this, you say, "Every article you write should have a visual impact on your business." In what way, and why is this so important?.

Like I said, I worked with quite a few companies, over the past six years, and I was practically in charge of their blogs. I have to confess that I didn't have much experience back in the days. I was pretty much doing the stuff that I saw everyone around me was doing. I saw the competitors publishing two, three posts per week on different topics, and that's what we did too. I saw our competitors writing list posts, how-to posts, infographics, and all that stuff, so we did that too. Basically, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. You know that picture in the web, where a dog sits in front of a computer with a silly face? If you google for "I have no idea what I'm doing," and check images, you'll see the dog. That was me at the time.

No idea

Our content marketing team seemed busy publishing all that content, but that didn't move a needle even a bit. If we looked at the revenue of the startups of the companies that I worked for, it didn't reflect there. I guess the only reason why I didn't get fired at the time, was because there was no one at the company to know something more that I knew. This is how I started to think about the content, the articles that have direct input. I think that if your content doesn't move the needle, then you don't deserve to get paid for it. This is how we see it, and this is where this whole premise comes from.

Finding A Proven Article Idea

Let's have a look at a checklist for writing articles that drive traffic, subscribers and sales. Let's look at the traffic side of things in six simple steps. I'll outline the steps quickly. We'll go through each one, have a chat about them. There's find a proven idea, improve that idea, make your article visual, use copywriting techniques, feature influences, and then optimize for Google. Let's start with find a proven idea. How do we go about this, Tim?

Actually, I want to have a little introduction here. Earlier today, I was answering someone's question on Quora, and the guy, or the girl, stated that she had launched her blog a month ago, and she was wondering how to get traffic to it. I want to focus on the phrase "get traffic." I can't express how much I hate this phrase. Get traffic, it sounds like you just published a dozen of really awful articles, and now you want to force people to read them. This is not how it works. If you struggle to get traffic, that means that your content doesn't deserve to be seen. That actually sounds like a nice quote, "If you struggle to get traffic, that means that your content doesn't deserve to be seen."

If your content is exceptional, you don't have to worry about getting traffic. Your readers will spread the word about it for you. Think about it, if the article is really good, someone will definitely post it on Reddit, and other people will definitely upload it. Why are people writing articles about "How to Get Traffic From Reddit?" There's no such thing as "how to get traffic from Reddit." You have to write content that would appeal to people who hang out on Reddit. This is why on each social network, on each site where people upload this stuff, you're not allowed to post your own stuff. So people ask their friends, can you please submit this article for me, and I will upload it, and I will ask others to upload it. That's not how it works. You should write in the kind of stuff that will naturally get there, and get to the top of Reddit, same with Pinterest, same with Facebook, and will all other networks.

One other trend I see that content marketers are obsessed about, outreach. For example, talking about myself, each week I get about a dozen outreach emails from different people. Just if they send me something interesting, of course not. Ninety-nine percent of these emails are simply articles that aren't worth any attention. I got so tired of this outreach, that I literally wrote an article at Ahrefs' blog with the title, "I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email, and I Don't Feel Sorry." I don't know if you saw that article or not?

Improving On An Article Idea

Yeah, sure...

If you have a blog full of lame content, if it's awful, there's no way you can get traffic to your blog. If someone is looking for ways to get traffic, it's not how it works. Content comes first. I am a firm believer in that. Let's start with the first item in the checklist, which was find a proven idea. Today, everyone goes crazy about this Skyscraper Technique. A side note, this is when you find a piece of great content, that already worked well on social media, attracted tons of backlinks, and then you try to make something better. This is a great strategy. I've seen that it worked for quite a few people, but I've also seen that it doesn't work for just as many. Quite often, the strategy doesn't make any sense.

Here's an example. Recently, at Ahrefs' blog, we have published an article with 100 SEO tips. How would you Skyscraper that article? You will create a list of 150 tips? In that case, a lot of these tips won't make any sense. We already tried to push out all the nonsense tips out from that list. You can expand on each of these 100 tips, but why would you do that? For every tip in our article, we reference a separate article that covers this tip specifically. Why would you want to put all that content in a single article? Create better design, add more visuals maybe, but for readers, that won't add too much value. My point is that Skyscraper Technique doesn't work on everything. It's just one of the strategies. Talking about finding great ideas for article, the answer is actually very simple. I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint a lot of people, because the key to finding great ideas for articles is experience.

Take me for example, I've been in SEO and marketing for more than six years. I've read thousands of blog posts, dozens of books. I've talked to many people about this. I've spent years to apply different things that I've learned, and see what sticks. If someone just started his career a year ago, there is no way that this person will be able to come out with the kinds of ideas that I can come up with. He will simply lack the experience for that. I'm sorry if that doesn't sound motivating, but that's what it is. If you want to come up with great ideas, you have to get experience. You have to read lots of stuff. You have to try to apply lots of the stuff, to see if it's real, or if these tips are just someone's fantasy.

You have to go to conferences, talk to people, exchange your experience, and then you will come up with great ideas. You will just realize that you have something in your head that you want to write about, and it's pretty unique. This is what I offer instead of the Skyscraper Technique.

What strikes me about what you've just said, Tim, it's really fascinating, is that, with all the changes to the Google algorithm over the years, with content marketing coming to the fore, with all the changes that we've had with social media, it seems that almost Google, the internet, whatever, has found a way of replicating offline success in the way it treats content online.

What I mean by that is, gone are the days where you could just build a load of links, and game the Google algorithms. Gone are the days, it seems as well, because of the innate ability of Google to see true expertise coming through content, when you can fake your expertise. We can't have loads of people who don't really have in-depth experience of a particular niche, writing content that's sort of skimming along the surface. What you have to reflect, in that brand authority, in building up your online business, is the skills and experiences that you say that you have, as a person running that business. That is where the content should come from.

Yes, absolutely. For six years, I was nowhere. Did you know about me six years ago?

I'd probably heard about you a good year ago.

This is what everyone will go through. There's no shortcut. You have to do stuff. You have to gain experience, and then you will gain the traction. There's no shortcut. There's no strategy that will magically push you to the top. I don't know a single person, who just appear out of nowhere, with a single article that he wrote. This just doesn't happen.

Adding Visuals To Articles

This is a process. You get better. Let's say you do all the relevant research, which as a copywriter I would do for a client. I would spend ages and ages researching into their specific area. Once you've done all that research, you can start to get some sort of structure formatted for the subject you want to write about. Then that research informs that structure, and you can build out the article from there, into a big resource, that's informed both by your research and your expertise.

But then there are other things that go into that, as you say, that make your article more engaging and more shareable and everything else. We're going to look at some of those. Should we move on to making these articles more appealing? What can we do? Let's say you've got a great idea, you've done all your research, you've got your expertise into it. How can we use visuals, and copywriting techniques, and everything else to move the needle on them?

Visuals, this is the great way to make your article more appealing, and to make more people actually want to read it. As you may know, the numerous researches have showed that many people, before reading the article, they will quickly skim through. They will see how long it is, how much time it will take them. If there's something in particular that catches their eye, so that it will make them want to read it. This, of course, would be a visual. If your article is just 4,000 words of text, I doubt that anyone will read that. That's the reason why print magazines and newspapers are full of pictures and visuals. Other than that, there are a lot of things that you just can't explain with words. Here is a great example, that I actually used in my article, how to tie a tie.

Would you explain it to your friend over the phone? I would love to hear that actually, if you can do this, no way to explain. It would be better to be a video, explaining how you tie it, and showing it right on the camera. The question is where do you take these images for your article? I'm afraid there's no step-by-step straightforward process. The visual itself, and again it should be born out of your experience, out of your head. You just have to be creative, and use your imagination. Once you're writing about something, we should think if this concept, if the thing that you're writing about can be somehow illustrated, somehow visualized. You may read articles by other bloggers, and take mental notes of what stuff they visualize, and how. Maybe they use comic strips, maybe they use infographics, or just hand drawing. I don't know.

This is experience, you try your best to come up with a visual, and you get better with time. One thing I want to note is, the more you copy others, the faster you get your experience, and get better at this. Watch other bloggers, what they illustrate, how they do it, and try to do something the same for your own articles. If you're not a Photoshop guy, for example, I'm not a Photoshop guy, you might want to hire a freelancer. These days, it's not a problem. At Upwork, or even at Fiverr, you can get visuals for as low as $5. In my article, I used quite a few cool visuals that I spent only $5.

Copywriting Techniques

The next thing that you mentioned is copywriting techniques. Copywriting, it could easily be a topic for a separate podcast, I'm sure.

In all honesty, I can't call myself a good copywriter. I'm not even a native speaker, as you can probably tell. Let me cover two of my personal favorite copywriting tricks, that I'm using all the time. The first one is controversy. I'm a big fan of controversy. Take this post that I talked about earlier, the headline said, "I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email, and I Don't Feel Sorry." I actually used that same subject in the email newsletter, that we sent to our list at Ahrefs, and many people replied, saying that this headline literally made them cringe. That it was the best attention grabbing headline that they ever seen. Of course, a few dudes said that I was, and I don't know if I can use this word in your podcast. But yeah, they were pretty unhappy.

That happens when you do something controversial. Here's another example. About a year ago, I published an expert roundup on bloggerjet, my personal blog. I emailed about 100 bloggers, asking them for their best Twitter marketing tips, then I published this from that, with the following headline: "50 Respected Bloggers Gave Me Wrong Advice on Twitter Marketing." It was really fun to watch the reaction to that headline on Twitter. I'm not sure if I can teach someone to be controversial. I'm not even sure if that's a skill, or a trait of a character. But I know that it works incredibly well, in terms of attracting more eyeballs to your content. One more example from my own portfolio of controversial headlines is this one, "29 Brilliant Posts Which You Have to Read Before I Call You an Internet Marketer."

That worked incredibly well, and actually I welcome the listeners of this podcast to steal this headline, and to apply it to their own industry. It can be easily refurbished into any topic. This was the first copywriting strategy that I wanted to share. The second one is actually a very easy one, write in simple sentences. For me that is actually the only option, because I simply lack the language skills to make my sentences big and complicated, and full of sophisticated words. This way, people, in comments to my articles, say that my content is easy to read and understand. That's not because I'm a good copywriter, that's because I have no choice, but to write in simple sentences. Now you know my secrets. It turns out that my poor knowledge is my advantage.

Formatting Articles

It's interesting when you look at yourself, and you wonder how other people are looking at you. Until we talked about doing this podcast, and you mentioned that English wasn't your first language, I didn't know from your writing. That's a compliment in itself. They're all great tips. There's loads to think about. I'm also going to drop in a mention, with the visuals that you talked about. You can also break things up with Tweetables, like your TweetDisc plugin, and you can use things like Thrive Themes to make the text look really amazing, which is what I do with my show notes.

I would actually call that formatting. This is something you do extra to the visuals. I've seen many times when people, like Neil Patel, create a totally unique design for their articles, this works incredibly well. Where you not only put some visuals into your article, or use some fancy formatting, with Thrive Theme plugins and stuff, but when you actually design the whole page from scratch, and it looks unique. That catches attention like nothing else.

Influencer Outreach

It's a great way of doing it. You can actually get ahead by really good formatting. Let's look at these influences that you feature within the content, so that you can reach out to them afterwards. We know that these approaches can be wrong. We know they can be spammy, so can you give us some tips here, please?

I'm not a fan of reaching out to people after the article is published. Let's share the backstory of how we connected with you. I'm writing a blog post about guest blogging, and I was reaching out to hundreds of bloggers and marketers, asking to share some of their data with me. Til this date, I have emailed over 500 people, and I didn't write even a single line of that article yet. For me, outreach comes first, because now, once I protest all the answers, and the article goes live, I know that there are at least 500 people who are looking forward to see what I will come up with. It won't be an expert roundup of course. Here's how it works. Outreach comes first, here's how I do this. First of all, you need to come up with some theory. I'm not sure if I can call it idea, I'd rather call it a theory.

My theory, with that article, was that guest articles don't generate any traffic to your blog, referral traffic. At least I didn't feel that my own guest articles were sending any new visitors my way. I decided to ask other bloggers their opinions, and ask for their numbers. I reached out to 500 people, and actually many of them, including you, have provided the data. Thanks for that, by the way. Now I need to process all that, and come up with cool takeaways, and share them with the world. As you can see, that's not a Skyscraper approach. There are tons of articles about guest blogging, good and bad, and I'm not Skyscraping any of them. I have something unique to say. I don't need to piggyback from ideas of other people. That's what I was trying to explain earlier.

This approach, outreach first, you can even call it validating your idea. If you have something interesting to say, if you're about to write an article, and you're hoping to reach out to some influencers about it, why don't you reach out upfront, and ask them what they think about it? Do they think that you should write it? If they say that, "Yes, this is a cool idea, this is a cool research, this is a cool experiment, please do this, and let me know how it goes for you," then you should go all in, and make it happen. If they say, "Nah, sorry, I've seen dozen articles about this already," then you probably shouldn't be writing it. What if you lack the experience, like I was previously talking, and if you don't have any cool ideas to validate, and to send outreach emails to big people in your field? Why don't you just email them, and say that you can write about any idea of theirs, if they share this idea with you?

As we know, ideas are worth nothing, while they just stay ideas. For example, my own Evernote is full of really cool ideas, that I will never have time for. If someone will email me and say, "Hey, Tim, I've heard you have a lot of great ideas to research and write about, please share one of them with me. I will do all the research. I will write the article, and then I will credit the original idea to you, that it comes from you originally," I would gladly give this guy some of my ideas, and see him do all of the heavy lifting, and then include me in the article, just for telling him the idea. In fact, that was just an idea of its own. Why don't someone email 100 famous marketers, and ask them this question? Ask them to share some idea, some experiment that they don't have time for, but he can do for them?

Then this person can write a post about how he reached out to 100 marketers, asking them for ideas they don't have time for, and how it turned out for him. Were they greedy? Were they open and gave him a ton of ideas? How it went. Sounds like a nice article, what do you think?

On-Page SEO

We're back with Tim Soulo. This is fascinating, because I've also been reading that the most highly engaged pieces of content, with their audiences, are ones that are based on unique research. Where you go in and you're providing something new, you're going to get that traction, in terms of everything we're talking about, the eyeballs on the page, the engagement, and then getting people on your list, and selling your products and services. This also is such a great idea, because it includes that outreach, but out the front. So outreach first, proprietary research, and then you're going on the back end, and going to them and saying, "Actually, what I found out here, it's quite amazing." You've got a content asset there, all in one go.

Exactly. If you have no ideas of what to write about, just ask them to guide you. Many people will give you some interesting experiments that they don't have time for, and you can do it for them. Why not?

It's brilliant stuff. Let's keep rolling on. The last part of this checklist about the traffic driving, if we can still call it that part of the equation, optimizing for Google. Let's give a quick run down of what we need to do on the page, in case there are small business owners out there, who have just started this, so they don't know what to include.

I have the video series at YouTube called "Oversimplified SEO," where I try to keep things really simple for two reasons. I can't speak complex English, and because I'm recording these videos with thoughts of these small business owners, that don't have many experience in SEO. What I would like to say about the homepage SEO, it's very simple these days. If you want to rank for a specific keyword, just put it in your title, in the headline. Then make sure that the actual article is about this keyword. That's pretty much it. You already said, earlier in the podcast, that Google is getting smarter and smarter, and it can figure out your expertise. It can figure out your topic, and it can pretty much tell if your article is relevant to the keyword, or if it's not.

For example, if you google for "guest blogging," and then if you google for "guest posting," you will see pretty much the same articles on the front page of Google. Google can figure out that guest blogging and guest posting is pretty much same thing, and you don't even have to use both of these keywords, in your title and headline, to have your article rank for both of them. I wouldn't bother about homepage optimization that much. I would make sure that your article answers the question that a person is typing into Google. This is your homepage optimization, let Google do the rest. Make sure that your article is great, and that people will link to that article, because, as you may already know, the links is what brings an article to the top of Google. At least for now, til Google can figure out if this article is really the best resource, it relies on links.

If a lot of people link to your article, then it moves up. If no one links to it, no matter how great the article is, it won't go up. First, answer the question that the person is typing into Google, second, make sure that the article is great and other people will link to it. That's it.

Using Content Upgrades & Convincing Readers To Take Them

A quick aside here, I was also reading that about 15% of Google's searches that it comes up with, when a keyword term is put into the search engine, are now being done, on an experimental basis, with artificial intelligence. The algorithm is, in real time, updating itself, and learning that relevance that you were talking about. Ultimately, I guess it will all be done like that, which is simultaneously terrifying and quite amazing. That's the traffic getting section of writing these articles. Next up, let's dive into how we get email subscribers with our content. There are a couple of steps here, using content upgrades, and convincing readers to take them. How do we do this, Tim?

I'm glad that you're bringing the topic of content upgrades, because I like to think of myself as the biggest ambassador of this list building strategy. My personal opinion is that content upgrades is the single best thing that ever happened to email marketing. Did you ever see a pop up or an email form that would convert 60% of visitors into email subscribers? Did you?

That's a big no for me.

Big no for me too. I know for sure, I have real examples of articles with content upgrades, that convert 60% of readers into email subscribers. In case the listeners are not familiar with this crazy effective strategy, let me explain how it works with a real example. If you go to Google and search for "Literary agents who represent Christian authors," you will find an article on the blog of Michael Hyatt. Once you open that article, you will see that it's very short, and basically Michael says that, people often ask him about recommending an agent, so he basically created a list of literary agents specifically for Christian authors. Here's the catch, to get that list from Michael, you have to give him your email address. This is a perfect example of a content upgrade.

You write an article about some problem that people are facing. You tell them that you have a solution, but you will only send it to them, if they give you their email address. This works wonders. I tweeted to Michael, asking what was the conversion rate of this particular article. He tweeted back and the number was 59.2%. That's the actual number of how many people convert into email subscribers. I've never experienced anything like this with any other email list building strategies. If that doesn't blow your mind, I don't know what else will. Here's something important, content upgrades are insanely effective, but I see too many people doing it all wrong. They write an article, and they just say, "Hey, want the pdf version of that article, give me your email, and I will send it to you." Why would I want to download a pdf version of an article that I've just read?

Even if I want to save an article for future reference, I have Evernote for that. I can bookmark this article. There's already too many ways to save your article, but why would I want to give you my email for this pdf? Once people try this, try giving the pdf of their article as a content upgrade, they don't see high conversion rate, and then they get discouraged with that content upgrade strategy, and they just stop using it. I want to stress something, the very core of the content upgrade strategy is to hide something valuable, something people will naturally want to get after reading your article. For example, if you read articles on my blog, I have one about outreach. In this article about outreach, I said that there are two words that you should avoid in your outreach emails at all costs.

I didn't share this words in the actual article. I asked people to give me their email address, if they wanted to learn what are these words. According to my statistics, this content upgrade converted at about 10%. It's not, of course, 59.2%, like Michael Hyatt, but still, it's five times better than any other pop up, or sidebar, or whatever I have used on my personal blog in years. The trick of content upgrades, is to write a great article, then cut out some value out of it, and offer this value as a bonus, in exchange for an email address. This works incredibly well.

Identifying A Problem & Selling The Solution

That's a great strategy, isn't it. You know, I have been guilty of that first one, where I offered a pdf. I've had one pdf of a step-by-step guide that has done really well, though, just to buck the trend of that. But you are right, most of the time, when you do that, it's the lazy way of doing it, and it doesn't work as well.

When I've done individual, specific upgrades, I have had them go up into the 40s and 50 percents, which is just nuts. It's even worth going back through another tip, all your high-traffic posts from the past, that don't have these upgrades on them, and think about ... Normally your traffic comes from maybe 20% of your total content base on your blog. Go back and have a look at some of these, and say, what could I add, in terms of value here, like you say, as a content upgrade? Put one on there. You're going to get dozens and dozens more email subscribers.

What we're talking about here really is, there's content all over the place. You can get information on anything you want to, probably for free, anywhere. It's the people who are using that content in a clever way to power their businesses forward, they're the ones making hay while the sun shines. All these techniques we're talking about are really ingenious, as a way to leverage the power of your content, to get more subscribers, get more eyeballs on the page.

I guess we're coming now to the third overall outcome that we want, which is selling more stuff with our great content. This is the one that everybody wants to know more about. There's a couple of steps that you've proposed for this. We've gone into them with the email subscribers, it's identify a problem, and sell the solution. How do you personally go about doing this, Tim?

The topic of selling is a huge topic. I would love to share all the teachings that I shared in the article, but can I just ask you to put a link to that article in the show notes, so that people could go to the selling part, and read all my tips?


I'll share something a little bit different, because I absolutely love sales people. I know that a lot of people say, oh, this sleazy salesman, and all that stuff, but I love salespeople. I love when people try to use sales tricks on me, when these tricks are smart. When I go to some shop, and they say that a person is using smart sales tricks on me, I will buy stuff, even though I know what exactly he is doing to me. I will just buy stuff to encourage him, that he is doing it right. Of course, I'm not talking about buying TV, or something big. I'm talking about the small things, like a pen, or a T-shirt, or some groceries. I will always encourage a good salesman.

There are tons of great sales tricks, and I'm still figuring out many of them. I want to tell you a nice story from my childhood. One day, when I was a kid, I was sitting at home, doing my homework, and I heard someone knock at the door. I opened the door, and saw that two nice guys were standing there with bags full of stuff. They said that there was some kind of new electronics shop opening in our town, and they were promoting it by visiting people in their homes, and offering them goods with a huge discount. They offered me a cassette player. Can you imagine a kid holding a new shiny cassette player? They literally gave it to me, a new shiny cassette player, and I was holding it in my hands. Then, they started asking me questions. What kind of music did I listen to? How many cassettes do I have? Am I going to bring this player with me to school? Do my classmates have these players?

A lot of questions, and I was excited, and I was answering all their questions, up until the last one, because they asked for money. Like I said, I was just a kid, and I was home alone. Of course, I wasn't allowed to spend the money that belonged to my parents, and they didn't have enough money to buy this player. This is what I told them, and they turned around, said good-bye, and went away. I give you my word, if I had enough pocket money to buy that player that day, I would immediately buy it. This is how excited I got from talking to them. I didn't really realize what happened there, and why I wanted to buy that player so much, up until I read the simple sales advice in some book. I don't remember the name of the book, actually. It sounded like this, make your customers see themselves using your product. Paint the picture in their head.

See what I'm talking about here? These guys gave me this player, and they were asking me all sorts of questions, as if I already owned this player. I could literally see myself going to school and showing my shiny new player to my classmates. I could feel how exciting this feels. I thought about listening to my favorite music on my way from school. This is very powerful. This is why car salesmen allow you to drive the car that you're going to buy. This is because you imagine yourself already owning it. This works great, if your product is awesome. It's something that people naturally need and want. If these guys wanted to sell me an iron, that wouldn't work, of course, because I hate ironing since my childhood until these days. Out of all the pieces of sales advice, I would suggest this, make your customers see themselves using your products.

Paint the picture in their head. You can show them how you use it. You can show them what kind of results they can get. You can walk them through, take them by the hand, and walk them through all the steps. This is very powerful. This is what closes the sale.

It's an amazing piece of advice. Back in the day, when I left college, I used to work in telesales, as one of my first jobs. The senior guy, the most successful salesman, who's always top of the board, I saw him pick up the phone, and do exactly that to someone over the course of an hour. On the phone, about the length of time we've been on this podcast. He painted a picture for them of them using, then buying the product, as we all sat round listening.

He finished the call by closing them, and it was absolutely amazing. That was content. That was the power of a very basic script that he had, that he knew off by heart, that was countering their objections, that was, as you say, painting that picture, and talking them into the head space, where they didn't even feel like they were being sold to. It is an art form. I guess that's what we've got to do with our copy as well.

Yeah, true...

Engaging With Tim Online

Just before the P.S. Question, this has been a fascinating conversation. Can you tell us where we can find you on line, please, and remind us where we can access all your content and your products, please, Tim?

We already mentioned my blog, I just recently released a free email course of five lessons on growing the blog. The stuff that took me six years to figure out, and I'm sharing it absolutely free. If people will type in, they will get to the landing page with my course. I strongly recommend everyone to take it, and I will gladly answer all the questions that they will have while taking the lessons.

The PS Question

This is what I call the P.S. Question. Can you share one more advanced content marketing tactic we can use right after this episode, please?

Instead of writing a new article, go find some of your old articles, that rank on top of Google, and make them more powerful. You can make them more powerful in two ways. The first, I already explained, by hiding some value under the content upgrade. It worked for Michael Hyatt. It worked to the point of 59.2% conversion rate for him. It can work for you too. The second is rewrite it from scratch. Throw in some fresh content, some fresh ideas. Make sure to change the publish date to the current year, current month, and current date. I can guarantee that after you update some of your old articles, that already rank well, they will move up to a higher position in Google.

That's great advice. This has been a fantastic conversation. I've learned a lot. I'm going to go download your course, the 100K, All that remains to say is, thanks very much for your time today, on the 50th episode. I wish you every success with everything you do in future.

Thanks for having me. This was a great time.


What a great way to mark the 50th show - Tim's advice was superb, and I wholeheartedly recommend you go and download his free 100K course.

As always, if you've got any questions about this episode, let me know in the comments below. Many thanks...

2 thoughts on “CC 050: Strategic Writing: How To Write Articles That Get Traffic, Subscribers & Sales With Tim Soulo”

  1. Thanks Loz for sharing such a great conversation. New to your blog but going to follow you from now. Like the way you publish content. DO you use Thrive Content Builder for this?

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