Jeff Bullas is a blogger, author, strategist and speaker who helps companies and executives optimise their online presence with digital and social media marketing.
From selling beds to blogging to millions
However, it wasn’t always that way; Jeff’s beginnings were very humble indeed – a former bedding retailer, he was broke and unemployed when he started his blogging journey five and a half years ago. But passion and persistence, coupled with a desire to learn and iterate along the way, has seen Jeff build an impressive global online platform that continues to provide him with unexpected opportunities on a regular basis.
In this interview on the REPUTATION REVOLUTION podcast, Jeff discusses how he has built his global personal brand using blogging and social media. It’s a great yarn!
So how did a former bedding retailer end up writing a blog that attracts a readership in its millions, building his brand on a global basis and thus sparking a wave of opportunities that otherwise would have been closed to him?
There was no ‘magic dust’ involved, Jeff just started (literally). When he began blogging five and a half years ago, did he know what he was doing? No, he was just following his curiosity and was keen to “start having conversations about social media … because it fascinated me”. No grandiose expectations, he was just interested in following his passion.
Sure, he knew the world was starting to change. Best-selling books by Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Work Week) and David Meerman Scott (The New Rules of Marketing and PR) lit the fire, while social media (particularly Facebook, which Jeff saw as the intersection of humanity and technology) really resonated with him.
But while starting a blog was quite a simple, sustained effort was required to ensure success.
At time of writing, Jeff had amassed 1200 articles on his blog, equating to in excess of a million words. For years he got up at 4:30 am to write and/or edit his blog with the goal of getting a post published every day by 8 am. The man is nothing if not relentless!
This attitude is something I see among many successful bloggers. “Done is better than perfect”, says Jeff. In other words, ensure your articles are good but don’t sweat it if they’re not perfect, otherwise you’ll never publish anything!
Given the size of his global platform, Jeff (below) is now in a position to invite people to guest post on his blog (and of course, they say yes because it helps them reach a massive new audience).
Some of the things we cover in this wide-ranging interview include:
- Jeff’s blog posts are roughly 1000-1500 words long. Long form content is “very attractive to Google” he says as it creates a lot of inbound links; when you become a resource, there’s much more demand for your content to be embedded in other people’s blog posts because they’re using you as a point of reference, and that’s when the magic starts happening.
- Visuals are very important in blogging (as such, his posts each feature multiple images). Jeff employs a virtual assistant to help with the loading of blog posts including the visuals, although he still takes a hands-on approach with editing and optimising article headings for SEO purposes.
- Two things you need to work on as a blogger: One is the content, the other is distribution. With Jeff, the latter is email, social media and optimising for search “which gives me search distribution”. Email and search are not given the credence they deserve, says Jeff. (53% of his traffic currently comes from search engines, but that’s a long term game he says, so this is where the persistence and consistency comes into it with long-form content).
- Opportunities from blogging have included local and international speaking gigs (including Italy, Kuwait, Turkey, New Zealand, Finland); being invited to be on the board of a New Zealand tech startup – a crowd-sourced content platform called Shuttlerock, which recently signed up Lady Gaga as a client).
- The importance of having an underlying mission or purpose (Jeff’s is helping people to succeed in business and life in a digital world).
- Why telling stories are a powerful way to get your message across (however this also necessitates a willingness to be vulnerable – “you need to touch people’s hearts and minds, that’s where the art of storytelling becomes very powerful” – says Jeff).
Who does Jeff keep an eye on in the online marketing and digital space?
What tools does Jeff use on a day to day basis?
- Social Oomph (“Saves me a hundred hours a month”)
- Snagit (screen capture tool for blog post visuals)
- Big Stock Photo (images for blog posts).
- Tweepi (a Twitter management tool).
And a final word from the man himself?
“It continues to surprise me the power of great content and building your own platform and your own distribution to position yourself globally,” Jeff says.
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