How to: Using Curated Content (And Current Events) to Explode Traffic to a New Community

linking strategy seoIf I had to list my passions over the last few decades in no particular order, they’d be:

  1.  The Philadelphia Eagles football team  (particularly the Buddy Ryan era)
  2. The early Real World seasons on MTV  (particularly the season with Puck)
  3. Curated content for quickly, easily and ethically growing traffic by borrowing quality content that already exists, citing it, parenthetically improving or adding to it, and then linking to it liberally thereafter.

Years ago, as some of you who are still following me from way back then (Hi Mom!) will remember, I had a series of content challenges predicated on the idea that:

“Google likes sites that like other sites Google likes”.

This was my attempt at a nursery rhyme after one bottle of wine, and one bong hit too many.  The good news is, while I’ve given up on the bong (and most of the wine) the fundamental principle still applies.

The underlying idea?  That Google likes sites that LINK to existing sites (and articles) that Google already considers authoritative for that phrase or keyword or concept…..and will “pass” some of that authority to you – if you are clipping, snipping, culling and CURATING content they already like, and LINKING to those sites, and those specific pieces of content, shortly thereafter.  (the idea that good neighborhoods attract good niche neighbors – and if you are willing to send YOUR visitors to other authority sites, you must be a Mr. Rogers in the making)

But understand this, too:

There is a right way to curate content…and many wrong ways.

Your job is to embrace the right way – and ignore the wrong ones – because not only will they be a giant disappointing waste of time, they can literally set your site back many months (if not years) in the eyes of the search engines as well.  (note:  I’m the furthest thing from an SEO expert these days, but the truth today, is the same as it was way back when I sort of was……which is, say YES to quality content, and NO to contrived content… that contriving keywords, or contriving content to “game” people, or machines, or both)

So last week, as a few of you know, I interviewed a friend, and a content curation genius, who has built several 7 figure businesses on the back of content curation in the last 2 or 3 years alone – using a very powerful proprietary tool he created for growing his own communities.  He has forgotten more about curating content using technology than I’ll ever know……but, on that call I said – “I can still revive a dusty, dormant, doormat of a site using content curation, and my own “map” without any special tools, tricks or tech….using the Google likes sites that like other sites that Google likes “hack”.

(for those of you who didn’t hear it – he is developing a new curation tool that I’m hoping to test on our agency “done for you content curation” offer, which I hope to have posted this week – and borrows a bit from my 12 types of content that are ideal for curation specifically)

Of those 12 – on this “challenge”, I just used one.  CURRENT EVENT, content.  Essentially, and anyone reading this can do the same thing on your own site, I posted a series of articles, using very specific keyword phrases that are very relevant in this weeks news cycle (no….NOT politics!) and added parenthetical comments, unique angles and opinions on each one, none more than 200 words.  (the curated excerpts were about 400)

And just about Day 5 of this challenge……out of left field, we are well north of 1000 keyword specific searches, on Google – all first page results, on a very expensive keyword phrase, all on the back of content written by other people, and excerpted (and “improved”) by me.

(when I say improved – I just mean, improved in the spirit of adding something to something else, not that what I added was better…..although between you and I, it was)

The things to look for in this simple graphic is the nice bump in traffic, from ORGANIC searches (this was not a social media trick) – with the vast majority of searches going to 1 specific article, from Google.

(also 58 Facebook visits, which is nice too….insofar as people are sharing MY site, for articles written by other people, that I am merely clipping, snipping, culling, collecting and curating…….for 10 minutes or so a day)

Also notice the large amount of outgoing links – many of these were too 1 particular article I’m “clipping” from – but many of these clicks are also going to a high EPC affiliate banner ad in the post, which pays a significant commission per sale.  So while I don’t have any early figures on conversion yet, that will be worth paying attention to as well, as if my traffic is similar to others, it should convert into real dollars there as well.

For those of you looking to build something using curation as as content creation model?

We’ll have 3 different types of “done for you” curated services up in the next few days, with one dedicated person running that – there will be a maximum of 3 new client spots available – and a few really innovative surprises thrown in as well.  (hint……if you heard the interview, you’ll probably guess what that is 😉

Email me for more if interested – i’m picky these days with who I’m working with…….but if this sounds like a fit for you, let me know.






Just 1 Thing

What is the smallest thing you can teach, preach, share, or offer up in the service of helping make people better?   In my view, one of the biggest challenges we face as creatives and makers, is the urge to overwhelm.  The tendency to think that the only way we can truly offer value is to data dump all of our niche knowledge, experience or expertise in a magnum opus no one really wants to watch, read or consume.  (i’ve learned a lot about my own audience’s patience for long winded content simply by watching the analytics on some of my own videos, pdf’s and ebooks……the longer they are, the less likely people will make it to the end)

Which is nice, because it means you can create 40 minute audios for sale, and only record 10 minutes worth of content.  You can leave the last 30 minutes blank, with only a faint whiff of the Steve Harvey show playing on TV in the background while you shower and do 9 pushups.

The theme for this month is – think small, but scale.  Think small but series.  Fierce focus.  Tiny wins.  And lots of progress.

Alternatives to Udemy? 8 Ways You Can Teach Courses, Sell Content & Control Your Community (Without giving in to the man)

Everyone knows giving up your content, courses and community to the MAN, is a bad idea.

For the purpose of this really bad argument, in this post….UDEMY is going to be our metaphor for “the MAN.”

Please note: I have no experience with Udemy, so it’s possible they are really nice, good and decent human beings.

But I doubt it.

Because the man never is.

Which is why, in this article, we are going to look at 8 other platforms you can use to sell your content, while controlling what you create and build BUZZ for your own brand, blog and business to boot….without those ugly UDEMY sticky fingers caressing the inside of your pockets for their creepy cut of your creativity.

In all seriousness, while not having much experience with UDEMY myself, tons of folks in various private forums I participate in do and have, (most notably the private FB forum for the Teachable instructor community) and bad experiences abound. It’s also important to point out that other than leveraging the inherent eyeballs you inherit from a large captive community like UDEMY, there really is no reason, in 2017, to be using that sort of platform to sell your courses….as you can do the same thing, with very few tech challenges (content protection, payment processing, student onboarding, etc) with pretty much most of the tools and tech below.

This short clip is part of a longer video I recorded, and covers the 2 LEAST usual suspects for course creation – (which is certainly NOT a course delivery platform, but has some new features which make this very appealing to me) and EVENTBRITE, which I’ve never thought of for course delivery, yet…..there are a few really popular ones that do, most notably TinyHabits.Com, which makes it interesting to me.

The other platforms are:

Sensei (a woo commerce extension for LMS)

And the two mentioned above. (mightynetworks and eventbrite)

If you are a solopreneur (I can’t ever spell that word and i’m not going to even try to correct it this time) – I recommend above the rest, as they have the best combination of features, design, great UI and UX, built in email automation tools that are superior to their direct analogs (teachable/thinkific) and their customer service is top notch. (Spencer at is super accessible, and in the emails we’ve exchanged over the last 8 or 9 months or so – a really likeable human – which is important, too)

Any questions? Feel free to ask – you can check out a short video I did of last week as well here.

A Beautiful Dance on Broken Glass. 6 Productivity Hacks for Authors, Artists & Aspiring Entrepreneurs

  1. Create the smallest thing that offers value. 1 exercise. 1 technique. 1 recipe. 1 checklist. Some of the very best advice I’ve gotten could fit on a single notecard. Create that notecard.
  2. Think small. But scale. (or series) You can use each thing you make or create, as part of a bigger thing. Each thing should be able to stand on it’s own, and have value. But just because you are focusing on small stuff, doesn’t mean you can’t believe in building something big.
  3. Ask empowering questions. Of yourself…and your idea. What would this look like if it was fun? What would this look like it it was easy? What would this look like it it was simple? Avoid the urge to overwhelm, to be too clever by 1/2 and don’t overcomplicate with feature creep. (it ends badly)
  4. Make people better. Pop pains, heal hurts, and offer inspiration. I love the Ram Dass quote, “we’re all just walking each other home” How can I show up in the world, as a maker or creative, in a way that embodies that message and helps people how to live…..just a little bit better, by dint of my experience and expertise?
  5. The pursuit of perfection is the enemy of achievement. Minimum viable, maximum viable. Just get your inspired ideas into the world, and see where they land.
  6. The glass is already broken. All any of us have, is right now. You never know what the future holds. You could wake up tomorrow and the Celebrity Apprentice could be running the free world.  Puck from the “Real World”  could be the next director of the FBI and I don’t think any of us would be surprised.  So be grateful for the gift of right now — and as things are, in your life — at this very moment. The glass has always been broken, and the dance has always been on borrowed time. Make the most of it.

LAUNCHiT! Quick Start for Brand Builders, Local Marketers & Online Agencies

Over the last few days, I’ve managed to close down 1 course (and refund 5 students) – sign 1 (the first!) author to our publishing platform – hire 2  more contractors (bringing us up to 4) – and most of all, re-think,  re-calibrate and refine much of my own thinking about how (and where) I want to spend my time going forward.

(and how to align my energy and effort to address what my existing, everyday audience wants and needs, vs what I’ve been trying to sell)

So while I (personally) dive more deeply into the writing, creativity and publishing piece of my own journey, in the spirit of building something meaningful in the “mindfulness’ , self publishing & enlightened entrepreneurial space, we (as a team) are going to be offering a whole suite of services to folks who want to fast track building their own online agencies, web consultancies and online marketing services.


Because my blog audience is like 80% comprised of “how do I build a directory/sell services/launch a this/that/otherthing” TODAY, right now……with THESE/those/which tools/templates – and “how can I work with  you to do XY or Z TODAY”-  I’m talking about writing books…and they are like – uh…not so much.

My compromise solution, which I knew going in was tragically flawed – was trying to come up with a “course” that covered all the bases – and of course, if you watched the end of Boys in the Hood, you know how that story ends.  (spoiler alert: Ice cube gets capped)

So here is what we’re doing instead.

We’re rolling out a whole series of low cost, LAUNCHiT! style services for aspiring online agencies, directory builders, authority site entrepreneurs, and folks who want to build online communities….but are stuck trying to pick the right tools, templates, tech or techniques to get off the ground.  I have 2 dedicated people who will not only help you launch your directory – but these are the exact people I’ve used to grow several of mine.

Then I’ll get on the phone with clients and do what I do best – which is brainstorm,  mastermind and map out marketing strategies that are specific to the goals, objectives and use cases that are ideal for each client.

We’re going to roll a bunch of these out in a store over the course of this week – and we’ll have different programs for folks who want to build a CURATION content site, vs a directory site, vs a social community style site, etc.

In addition, we’re going to really push out some great offers for folks who want to publish books, blogs, content, coaching and courses in your own PASSION or purpose based business – doing what you love, and getting paid well to make people better around your own expertise.  THIS is what I love do most – where my own energies are aligned – and what inspires me to get up and do everyday as well.

So check out our first LAUNCHiT! offer here – we’ll be changing prices based on response and resource availability – so if it’s a fit for your needs – let me know via email here!


Thanks for Not Being a Dick

“Thank You For Not Being a Dick”

she said, her eyes bleary from the buzz.

We laughed.

So did the cashier.

It was a big improvement from where we were a moment ago.

thank you for your patience.

she said.

Ordinarily, i would have smiled and shrugged.

But today, I wasn’t feeling patient.

Or passive.

“Patience, is actually on the opposite side of the spectrum of what I’m feeling right now. “

I said, looking her straight in the eye.

She put her phone down, but just a little.

But she continued hunting for the change in her bottomless pocketbook, the speakerphone stranger squawking away, while we all waited for someone to bring over the carton of cigarettes she should have bought at the counter, to accompany the 14 other odds and ends she splayed across the 5 items or less counter.

Thank you for pretending to be patient, she said with an edge.

The cashier looked my way. And chuckled nervously.

Better! and more true, too!

I said.

And i’m working on my public patience face.

We all giggled

Thank you for not being a dick

She said.

Bingo! That ought to go on on a t shirt!

I said.

I would buy one!

Now we all laughed hard.


Strangers, but like old friends from different generations, recounting a secret story from years ago.

She gathered her stuff and ambled into the night, the warm glow of the laugh lingering in line, for the rest of us to remember.

She forgot her chocolate!

He said,

Pointing to the empty space in the door, where she no longer was.

Can you catch her?

he asked?

In the parking lot?

She walks and lives around the corner.

I will try

I said.

i’m walking home, too.

As i went out into the bright light, that night, looking for a foe — who had become a friend, as i meandered about the streets aimlessly, first looking, and then forgetting for who and why — I remembered something about myself, that had I had long forgotten.

Strangely, serendipitously, a strangers gift sticking with me still — eating chocolate, aimlessly, being free, and being me, anything, once again, felt possible.

Short Moments Many Times: The Transformative Power of Micro Commitments

There is a great mindfulness meditation instruction I heard once that I can’t quite source……but I’ve carried it with me everyday since.

“Short moments, many times.”

Ironically, for the first year or so that I tried to incorporate this into my life, I actually thought the “koan” or instruction was “SHARP moments, many times :-)”

So I tried to bring lots of fierce focus into my awareness, and use my attention to cut through distractions like a knife – sharply, for as long as possible, and as frequently as possible, too.

Learning that I misheard the word SHORT and substituted SHARP, was actually a relief 🙂

Going big is great.  And I need to have something big to build, to really buy in.  (although this is probably a bug in my thinking, not a feature)

But it’s the small moments –   the little victories of purpose and passion – patience and persistence – which make the benefits feel worthy of the practice.

I love this little gem of an article from Medium.

Read it, if you want to get excited about building something big, by starting small.

Mini commitments are really such a great way of anchoring a habit, getting a goal and building something exciting, by laying one simple, single brick at a time.

There is a great little course on this, too……called tiny habits – also well worth signing up for (it’s free).

I will tell you a quick funny story about syncronicity and how things show up in your life when you need to read them most.  (often, the things we teach, are the things we most need to learn)

Actually, there are a few business and creativity things I was going to say here about what I’m working on now, (and some of the things I’ve tabled over the last few days to keep the “force” strong in focus and output this month) – but instead, I’ll give you this:

There is a great meditation practice called METTA.  (it’s often called loving kindness in the West)

It sounds goofy – but’s it’s life changing, brain changing, body changing, behavior changing stuff.

But it takes a while to do the practice, and it can take a bit to work yourself up to the really feel good flow states that it promises.

Often, I don’t have the time.

But the general idea is super simple.  Just connect to the feeling of loving people.  Starting with yourself.  Than someone you already love like a sibling or a close friend. (not a romantic partner).  Then someone you hardly know.  Then someone you can’t stand.  And eventually, feel that same sense of intense care and connection and compassion for ALL living beings.

So in the interest of time,  I’ve started doing this really simple hack

Instead of sitting down and doing this formal practice – I simply look at people and wish them happiness, intentionally, before I even say a word.

I’ll see someone as i’m walking out of my place in the morning….and make eye contact (without looking scary, I hope) and just say to myself – while smiling (without looking scary, I hope) “may you be happy.  may you be healthy.  may you be loved” .


I’ll try to picture them smiling and laughing and having a great time in some other time and place, too.

That helps the whole mental gig for me.

And it works!

You can’t be an asshole to the person at the store, 2 seconds after you intentionally wished them intense happiness without wanting anything in return.

It’s like a guilty pleasure – because even if they don’t reciprocate (pro tip:  which is always) – you feel good about you – and good about them – and good about everything……no meditation cushion – or 30 minute practice required.

Short moments, many times.

And think long.

Want to grow your online fans/followers/readers/subscribers and community using this approach?

Check out the excellent article on Medium, from the founder of “100 naked words” following the short excerpt below.

Three little tips to change your life

There is so much great advice out there that I hope my tips here don’t take anything away from them. These three lessons are what I learned from coming out the other side of writing every day for an entire year.

1. Make it laughably small — you won’t be laughing soon

This tip is the most important. I wanted to change but I was sick of giving up all the time. So I asked myself:

What was the one thing I could do where it was virtually impossible for me to fail?

It was writing, specifically writing a tiny amount. I’m a prolific writer, but life gets busy. So I thought, “what if I wrote a sentence a day? Nope, too easy.” That was laughable, but I wanted to make it a tiny bit more challenging. That’s how I settled on 100 words a day.