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For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, we have Vincent D’Eletto, founder of WordAgents, a premium content creation agency. Vincent reveals his top tips and tricks for creating high quality SEO content that ranks well on search engines. Watch now for some deep insights.
I think AI is cool as shit. I think we’re living in the future here. But I don’t think that humans are going to be supplanted by AI writers any time soon, at least not within the next five years.
Pleasure, Matt. Thanks for having me, buddy.
Checked out. I was there, but I was somewhere else in my head. That’s probably a good description.
Back in high school, I thought English and History were my favorites, but today it probably should have been Math. I’m a math guy at my core, I just wasn’t into it back then.
Focused more and just stuck with the fundamentals. I’m a guy that always tries to rush ahead, and I think that was half the problem in school, I was a little bit too bored. Once you get that off track, then everything gets messed up. So, I would have liked to focus more and really just take my time at the pace that they were taking us through. Through schooling.
Absolutely not. My teachers weren’t the young, forward-looking types. They were all at the end of their careers.
Yes, it was completely by accident. I had a good friend that was making bank with PPC arbitrage. He was doing that between 2005 and 2010. He and his buddies are making millions driving traffic to those old ringtone offers you would have on MySpace and Facebook, and I wanted to get into that. But, to do that as a solo entrepreneur or to buy data, you’re spending 20 to 30 grand, daring in a new campaign, and as a newbie, I was still a young guy then. I didn’t have that budget, but I found the marketing forums, which opened up the world to me. All these marketing forums are specifically Wickedfire.com
Wickedfire.com. That was my stomping ground back in the day. It’s not around anymore. It was like a solopreneur hanging out to learn PPC and SEO. Whatever one was around at that time back in 2010. But, I learned about SEO, I learned about SEO arbitrage and affiliate marketing, really just generating organic traffic, sending it to a magazine topical relevant site and making money off affiliate offers. So, I wanted to do that, I was trying to do that, and I ended up freelance writing to fund that up.
Organically, I realized that all of these guys that are into SEO need a massive amount of content. So, I kind of grew both tracks at the same time. I was building out a portfolio of affiliate sites.
Which I did really well with. I had a really big exit in 2016, and then content writing just grew organically since 2010. I believe we incorporated Word Agents in 2014 and it’s really just grown. It’s grown for over a decade, slow and steady.
I was in a Slack group with a bunch of buddies from those forums, and it was kind of like my core friend group. And we would always share tactics and things, and to be honest, I came up with a list of names. Word Agents was on the list. And as a group, we kind of whittled down which brand name really intuitively described what the brand was about as clearly as possible. And Word Agents was by and far the most popular selection out of the list of 10-15 ideas that I came up with, and we’re a bunch of agents that sell words.
I get more clear than that.
I’m going through the trademarking process. But when I got the dot com, I bought as many TLDs as possible, and I still do every year.
It’s a grind. Just be ready for the grind of your life. It just comes down to fundamental systems, making sure that you have your crossties, and your dot your eyes with business fundamentals. That defines roles and responsibilities for all members of the team. Standard job descriptions, workflows for every job description, and standard operating procedures.
Then expanding to like KPIs for every role. So, you get to know the pieces, which are the roles in your system, and once you have that defined right, you can start filling it in with actual people to fill those roles. Then you’re just fixing problems as they pop up and tweaking your processes and systems.
Yes, I have read that a good number of times. It’s great.
I suffer from an illness that is reinventing the wheel when it doesn’t need to be reinvented. So, for the first five years of the business, it was more of a lifestyle business rather than the productized service that is today.
And I was just very organically coming up with the ideas of roles and workflows and operating procedures just based on my own deep thinking. Then, later on, I got into reading business books and realized that there are frameworks for these things, and I don’t have to drive myself so crazy trying to develop them from scratch. I use the frameworks to fill in the blanks as far as my knowledge gaps went. But yeah, from the get-go, we had the writers, we had our team leaders, we had our editors and our marketing people. So, even if they weren’t as defined as they were today, in my head, I kind of had those divisions in place.
The main thing is how much free cash I have in my pocket, and that sounds like a bad thing at first, but it’s not because you’re trading that for equity. In a lifestyle business, you don’t have as much overhead, you don’t have as many staff systems and things like that. So, you can enjoy a much bigger profit distribution every quarter. But when you want to scale, you want to get to the enterprise level. You have to hold that money is cash flow for all the different things that a business needs to stay on. So, you give up cash flow personally but you actually trade it for ultimate equity in the business. So, you get it back when you exit down the line.
When I was in lifestyle mode, the data tracking just wasn’t there as much as it is today. But I was going the route of taking monthly retainers and clients were just working through that for different article orders that they had for us. And that was working well, but the productized model is so much better for scaling just because it’s more of like, here’s what we do, take it or leave it. And through client feedback, they tell us, well, I wish I would have this feature in this package. Well, that’s how we iterate, but much more slowly and not trying to be everything for everyone.
Pulling it back, you know, as a productized because we have these defined packages, we’re able to build admin dashboards, KPI dashboards and get granular with our data and let the data direct us as far as where we should be going as a business.
I think it depends on who you’re serving. I think at the enterprise level, you know, the traditional agency is probably still the better option because of the types of demands that the enterprise has. But if you’re serving a solopreneur or small business-type market. I think productized is way much better. The size of that lower-level market is much larger. So to run your company and scale, you do need the productized to serve the broader market. And to be honest, at that level, not everybody is as sophisticated as they need to be to make custom requests. A lot of times they just want that productized offering because it takes the thinking off of their laps.
See for me, like we wanted to stay away from anything performance-based, so that’s why I didn’t expand out to like a true agency by adding links and strategies like this. With content, it’s kind of a defensive industry where people are always going to need written words and, you know, that the AI conversation is happening. But I think there’s always going to be a human and human element to the written word, and whether or not, you know, content writing stays a big part of the marketing mix. People are always going to need writers for one reason or another, and that was a big reason why I went into content specifically, rather than doing a full-service agency or even bringing in link building or PR into the mix.
I will give myself a pat on the back for that because I saw the need 2-3 years before it hit. But unfortunately, I didn’t have the business management skills to take advantage of that lead.
Fine Frameworks, frameworks exist. As a small business owner in every department, finance, management, and marketing, there are already frameworks that exist. We use a variation of EOS. Gerber books are great and another one, Burn Harnish, I believe scaling up and the Rockefeller method, all these management frameworks have made a nine-day difference in how we operate quite frankly, and the bottom line is improved because of it.
Instead of just looking at the next problem in front of me to fix, which is really what many new business owners do. You know, what’s next regardless of what should be next? You know, you take this framework, and you just fill in the framework, and all those problems kind of resolve themselves.
I wouldn’t say that I was born and immediately had a passion to be a content writer. I’ve been good at it, I was always good at English. I have always been able to engage with who I perceived the reader to be. I was on my community college newspaper and I was always on the front page there and things like that. But would I like to write review articles and informative articles about topics that I don’t have any connection with? Probably not my forte. I’m much more and really into the business owner type of lifestyle now.
That’s a nail on the head. I like to unravel business which I think is a good way to put it. But yeah, between 2014 and 18 was really that period of me figuring all that out. And then, around 2019, I met up, and I brought a partner on board Tommy John. He’s a career marketer, and we decided to pivot a little bit and grow the product service route then the rest is history. It was a really good choice for us. And we’ve seen our hockey stick grow ever since then.
Back then, it was just forums and Facebook groups that just fell into my lap. People would just say, Hey, does anybody know a writer? I would say here I am, and then it was more or less all those guys recommending me and my small service at the time. These days we have a proper marketing funnel with front-end offers, and back-end offers over email segmentations. It’s getting advanced, and it’s getting well. So, we’re at the point in our business where marketing has become product development. You know, we need to open up more ancillary services around content writing to scale to where we want to scale.
Well, people always knew me as an agency. Then you had a team, even though the brand wasn’t there yet. But it was difficult for both sides to go from, you know, people being able to email me or text me at a moment’s notice. Again, it’s like getting traction in the industry, I would be available 24 seven to my client.
Because a lot of them were around the world, too. And, you know, to make the pivot to the product I service, I had to no longer interface with clients as much. We brought on our customer success manager and, just like training the legacy client base, that this is the new way of doing things. We did lose some clients because they weren’t on board with our model, and that was tough. But ultimately turning over the client base to one that understood that the new model was the right way to go.
Exactly and I do miss those relationships. I miss, you know, growing down with the clients and talking shop. But, you know, there was a time and place for that in my career. And now we’re on to the next part of it.
Well, I think AI is cool. You know, I think we’re living in the future here. But as far as AI writers, I don’t think that humans are going to be supplanted by A.I. writers any time soon, at least not within the next five years, Word agents certainly leverage A.I. in the form of Grammarly for proofreading with some of these content creators like Surfer SEO and Outranking. But we’re not touching A.I. writers yet because, you know, the helpful content update just came out. Many people assume that had to do a lot with A.I writing. We don’t know if Google can detect A.I. writing or not, so we’re cautious for that reason. But ultimately, I see A.I. writers becoming something that assists human writers in creating their writing more efficiently, and I think we have to suss out if Google can detect AI writing or not because that’s going to determine how that plays out.
He’s the CEO of Search bloom? Right?
Just the hoops, you have to jump through currently to get a usable product out of it. It’s just not worth the effort, in my opinion. You have to create this whole workflow of steps to get a usable product out of it. And then again, if a large portion of it A.I written, is Google devaluing that? Because it is AI written. I know those people like Matt Diggity, and others who are doing ongoing case studies to see if AI content will rank on its own and in certain cases It is. But again, it is not a ticking time bomb.
When it comes to protecting my client’s businesses through their content, we have to be a little bit more cautious.
Once we get confirmation that it is viable and we can do so in a fair way for our clients, we’ll look to integrate. It may just be us offering an AI content, back end offer where we offer a lower priced service, where we will generate these articles and polish it up with a human.
Believe it or not, the market size for low-end content and right now I’ll say, you know, AI-generated content is low-end in the same way like content from a content mail or, you know, the third-world writer might be low in content, but the market for that is gigantic. You know, people buy that stuff, and if you can achieve profit through quantity. You know, there’s good business there.
For the back, I would even call it sea-level content, we don’t currently touch that at Word agents. But we added, you know, and look at other services like marketplaces that get away with charging $0.02 a word to the client for content. What are they paying their writers? You gotta ask yourself through speaking with other business owners. How are they creating business owners that are charging that price point? They don’t say much, but they say that the market is big and the demand hasn’t decreased enough, so they just keep it rolling as long as people are buying.
I know the Vipered Show Glenn Alsaw. He did a report I think it’s on his details website that kind of just talked about the value of some of the bigger businesses in the industry and it was surprising, as a lot of businesses are generating about 5 to 10 million in revenue. But then you have these outliers, up around 40-50 million in revenue. So, that kind of speaks to market cap. But yeah, I don’t know if I have the exact data for that.
I kind of view it as unlimited. It’s like the market has grown so much that it’s segmented at this point and we’re just digging deeper into our buyer avatar and becoming more defining. In the past, I would say we would straddle between content mills and like enterprise level, like news credit or skyward-type agencies. But there are so many more markets in between those two, and we’re finding our feet more and more every day.
Lots of opportunities.
Sure, that’s a great question. We did a blog post about that. But in copywriting, the goals are different. Copywriting is for persuasiveness to get the audience to take a specific action, and content writing can be in many things. You could be building a knowledge base. You could be building a how-to article. You could be making a product recommendation. So, it’s more informing rather than persuading. I would say that’s the biggest difference. And skill sets are completely different. A content writer’s skill set is more research data oriented, whereas a copywriter’s skill set is more touching base with emotion.
I took a shot at copywriting for our landing pages, and I did okay that I converted while I was profitable. At this point, we have copywriters on staff, and they’re separate from our production writing team for our clients. And that’s their career, they do copywriting landing pages, and sales pages. And, you know, I don’t try to compete with them. I yeah, I know. That’s what they do.
Visionary is the word. I think it’s a bit of a corny title, but if you’re following the EOS framework, that’s the title for the CEO. And you know, that’s very much to see it as I said, even though the title is a little funny.
That’s a good point. You know, at the top of the funnel, that’s really where Word agent sets, where all the awareness content or even investigation or commercial investigation. So we’re doing a lot of the how-to informational type articles or reviews, providing a selection of options within a category. And then, when you get to the bottom of the funnel where you want to convert on that sales page, that’s where your copywriter comes in.
When we talk about the sophistication of the client, you know, that’s something that the small business market could benefit from. Just the traditional marketing funnel. It’s like, you create your sales page, but if people aren’t converting on that, you’ve got to back up a few stops. You have to educate them, and you have to bring them to the topic in general and then illuminate their problem. That’s what they’re experiencing within the topic, bringing them down that funnel. And I think that’ll really try to light on business for a lot of people.
We’re in the process of doing our content on wordagents.com. Our blog is our awareness content, we’re bringing people’s awareness, and we’re bringing them to our content upgrades, which are like free downloads to get them into our list, then our emails, warm them up and nurture them a little bit and then they become customers at that point. People don’t realize that from first exposure. It could take 30 to 60 days before they start shelling money out, and you’re got to nurture the entire time.
And we do client meetings to our resume. We’ve always done that. But a good portion of our conversions just come from the digital funnel that we’ve built. And when it comes down to, like you said, making friends, a lot of people just don’t have the patience for that. But it’s just so valuable, even if you know that process of creating report doesn’t lead to a client, you know, in other ways in life, you know, that connection you just made with somebody might pan out in another positive way in your life. Exactly down the line.
Yeah, but we have little digital touchpoints like that. Thank you for every email follow-up. We call them win-back campaigns, So we do plenty of back campaigns every once in a while just to remind people of the relationship or if we happen to mess up in one way or another, give them a reason to come back and show them that, we’ll make sure you’re a happy guy.
Digital marketing exploded. I was fortunate because we were already a remote business, so we already knew that lifestyle, and it just didn’t slow down. It only increased through the pandemic. Now, I will say with, you know, the upcoming recession or the recession that we’re already in. I’m seeing more fear than I did in COVID or whether or not that stands out to a decrease in revenue. We’ll see. But again, it’s just business as usual.
Helpful content update. You know, I think that was targeted at something else than what the masses believe. The way Google throttles SEOs and keeps SEOs at bay from the kind of like completely dominating all the search results is by changing its focus between domain authority and topical relevance every couple of years. They call it different things, but ultimately that’s what they’re doing. For a portion of time, the ranking sites, mainly because of the authority and the size of their site. And now, the helpful content update shifted it back to looking at sites based on their topical relevance. You know, sites like Nerdwallet, big publishers who have insane domain ratings, started leveraging their domain authority to start ranking for things out of their topic ecosystem. So, they had a section of affiliate articles recommending coffee makers and strollers, and they ranked number one for those topics, or they were before the helpful content update simply because of their domain authority. And they’re making an extra revenue stream through affiliate marketing, even though it’s completely unrelated to the topic on the website. So, I have a sense of how helpful content updates came out. They nixed that entire section of their website, and other big publishers doing the same strategy also deleted those sections. And really, what we’re doing going back to until Google decides otherwise is that websites should be hyper-targeted to the website’s main topic. Okay. And I think that will be, you know, a driver of ranking success over the next couple of years. If you’re focused on the main topic of your website and all the articles and awareness blog posts that you generate or at least tangentially attached to that main topic. That’s the route you want to go. I don’t see these multi-topic websites having a good couple of years until the focus shifts back to the topic are domain writing.
The only way you could find these reviews was in their footer. They had, like I think it said, shopping. And if you click on the link and shop, it opens up this whole other section of the website, which was kind of like articles competing with like The New York Times, The Wire, where they do all these.
But it’s just not topically related to personal finance. So, you know, why should they fit into those rankings?
Right. So, the other thing is, people are really worried about this AI writer stuff, you know, it’s exploded over the past 12 months. So, you gotta imagine how many new Web pages were created with robot content. So, I don’t know if how many of those sites have tanked. I’m still waiting for reports to come out, and that will again speak to the validity of writers in the short term. But that could be another thing that the update was going after.
I’ve focused on business building and operational refinements over the past 12 to 18 months. So, I can talk a lot about hiring, hiring funnels, operational systems, and things like that. So, anything that picks their interest, I can definitely, to your ear, are related to Fantastic operational type stuff.
If you want, I would love to bring on my new CEO, David. He comes from a much bigger agency. I think we were adopted or like big marketing budgets out of the $50,00,000 budget for his department from the company.
50, for one year that you were responsible for managing. So, coming from where he was and into our business, he brought some more advanced operational frameworks that really impressed me. I don’t know if you ever have two people on at once but that would be a really good conversation.
Sure. First and foremost, you can reach us at wordagents.com. That’s our website if you want to reach me. My email is email@example.com. It may take me a little bit to get back to you, but I’ll get back to all emails, and we have a social presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with the handle Word Agents.
Yes, sir. Vin-D-Eletto. You’ll be able to find me.
Yeah, Matt, this is great. Thank you.
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