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How To Tell Data-Driven Stories: Crafting Compelling Narratives from Original Research

How To Tell Data-Driven Stories: Crafting Compelling Narratives from Original Research written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Michele Lin. Michele is the founder of Mantis Research, where she helps marketers conduct and publish compelling original research. With her expertise in leveraging data to drive impactful narratives, Michelle shares valuable insights on how to craft compelling stories from original research.

Key Takeaways

Learn all about the the transformative power of original research in content marketing, with an emphasis on its role in establishing credibility and trust. I and Michele highlight the process of crafting data-driven stories, from defining research objectives to repurposing findings across various channels for maximum impact. By leveraging original research, marketers can optimize search engine visibility, attract backlinks, and position themselves as authoritative voices in their industries, driving deeper engagement and meaningful impact through their content.


Questions I ask Michele Linn:

[01:49] What is original research?

[03:11] How do you transform survey and data into a compelling story?

[04:35] Do you believe that sharing data builds thought leadership?

[06:00] Tell us about using data to validate a story

[07:28] How do you probe for data-manipulators?

[09:16] How do you draw conclusions from graphs, charts and data altogether?

[13:15] Is there a benchmark number of responses that can make a given data valid?

[15:06] Do interacting industries bring new thought to data collection?

[16:47] What are some of the great social media platforms for sharing data?

[20:04] What are your thoughts on search engines and how they view data?

[21:12] Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you and find out more about the work you’re doing?



More About Michele Linn:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.


Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:16): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

(01:02): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Michelle Lin. She’s the founder of Mantis Research where she helps marketers conduct and publish compelling original research. Prior to Mantis, Michelle was the head of editorial at the Content Marketing Institute where she led the company’s editorial strategy. She’d often been cited as a content marketing influencer and was named as one of Folio’s Top Women in media. So Michelle, welcome to the show.

Michele (01:35): Thanks so much for having me, John.

John (01:37): So you mentioned it in your bio, but also part of my interest was you had written about this idea of using original research in content production. So this may sound silly, but let’s start with what is original research?

Michele (01:52): That is not a silly question at all. I feel like there’s a lot of people here research, and it means a lot of different things to people. So when I talk about original research, I’m talking about that type of research that you take and you publish out for thought leadership, content marketing and so forth. So it’s very different. I have some people contact me and they want to learn more about their audience and so forth. That’s very valuable. But if it’s not published, it doesn’t really fit in the context of our conversation here.

John (02:22): So maybe give me an example of some that you’ve worked with that would be pretty concrete, that type of business, and here’s the research they did and then we can get into how they used it.

Michele (02:31): Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a lot of different original research that you can do. You can do anecdotal, you can do first party interviews, you can do first party data analysis. The kind that I do specifically is survey-based research. So for instance, like you mentioned, I used to work for CMI for many years, content Marketing Institute, and one of the things that we did there every single year is we conducted a survey of marketers to understand if and how they were using content marketing. So we took everything that we learned, we asked questions that we were asked and we’re wondering about. We took all of those insights and then we published those out to help other marketers do their jobs better with content marketing.

John (03:11): So surveys and data are lovely. How do you turn them into a compelling story, particularly one that maybe age your cause of getting more customers?

Michele (03:21): So I think it’s a really interesting question. I think a lot of people, I think some people want to do research as a way to prove the value of what they are selling. I’m personally not a fan of that so much. I look at as more I look at original research as a way to show your customers that you know them that will hopefully generate like and trust with you. So I always tell people think about what are those unanswered questions in the industry that you can answer with data? Or I tell people, what are those things that you see and how can you help people do their jobs better? How can we ask questions to uncover those or how can we uncover what their pain points are so you can help them? So I look at it as a way to be relentlessly helpful to your audience. And when you do that, it’s not always a direct correlation to sales. Although I have had many people tell me that they do get direct correlations to revenue and sales and so forth, but for many, it’s just a great way to do thought leadership.

John (04:18): Many years ago, PR was about getting media mentions, and we used to do some of this kind of original research just because a lot of people would be writing a story about something and they wanted research to validate their story. And so it was a really good way to get quoted. Do you find that sharing this kind of research is a way to also build your thought leadership, your mentions out there in the world?

Michele (04:46): Yeah, I mean, I have this graphic that I often share. I talk about the value of original research. So yeah, it helps people get mentioned. It helps people get interviews for podcasts. It helps people. They base speaking presentations off of their research. It helps with leads, it helps with sales, it helps sales have better conversations. They have something new and interesting to reach out about so it doesn’t feel so salesy. And I think it even helps marketers just find joy. So many marketers get excited to do something new and meaningful and different, and I love just seeing people get energized about the work that they do. And then too, we’re talking about today when you do a study, well, you can take it and you can repurpose it. So every single client that I work with, one of their goals is always we want to create this editorial engine based on this Swiss one research study. So it works on so many different levels.

John (05:37): One more question related to that and then we can maybe start breaking down. How are the ways that you would repurpose this, but what about creating industry benchmarks as a way as somewhat of a lead generator? I see a lot of people do that to say you’re spending X on ads, for example, but in the industry, this is what’s going on and here’s why you’re spending too much or not spending enough or talk a little bit about using data to validate a story.

Michele (06:07): Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I think there’s a lot of value, like you said, in using data to validate what people believe or using data. Like you said, if you could find that benchmark, which you can get via survey data or you can get via first party data analysis depending on what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to analyze the behavior, sometimes first party data analysis is better. But anyway, if you find that benchmark and you can validate what someone believes to be true or they want to validate where they actually need to be, and then you can give them other data to help them get there, I think that’s a really powerful thing to do. I once worked with this client and we had this whole model and we knew there was four stages. I can’t remember what they were, but from beginner to advanced, and we wouldn’t call them those four things, but you could see the beginners do this, the next stage, they do this and so on. So no matter where you were, there was very concrete data-driven evidence. If you’re here do X, Y, Z things to get better. So I think that validation and those ideas of what to do, those insights are really helpful.

John (07:10): Well, and in some cases, just even telling somebody, Hey, your peers do this and you’re not doing it, is also a way to get somebody’s attention perhaps as well. So if you’re listening and you are a true data scientist, cover your ears right now for what I’m going to say. There’s a lot of people that can make data say anything they want it to say to support and validate any case they’re trying to make. How do you sometimes look for like, let’s probe for this because that’ll give us the greatest opportunity to make something to tell a great story, or they’re kind of proven things that you should be looking for to what you might even do research on.

Michele (07:49): Yes, absolutely. And to your point, John, I think people are smart and I think if your research neatly points or neatly proves, Hey, by the way, this proves that you actually need to buy X, Y, Z product or work with us, people see right through that. And I don’t think that research is very credible, which goes back to really trying to be relentlessly helpful. So what I always tell clients to do is to think about things like, for instance, what are some things that you think people in your industry aren’t doing but should be? What are those missed opportunities? How can we poke at that or how can we find disconnects? So for instance, I once did a survey with marketing profs and we asked a question to understand what would you like your B marketing? Which elements does your B2B marketing training have and what would you like it to have? We found these huge gaps in disconnects. People wanted examples and frameworks and so forth. So it’s not a big fan of surveying for pain or to survey to, you need to do this, but really figure out, like I said, gaps, disconnects, missed opportunities and so forth. And then coincidentally, those are also great jumping off places to then share your thoughts and really use that for repurposing and so forth. So does that

John (09:02): Help? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Definitely the gaps. I think you might develop products and surfaces based out of that kind research, let alone this kind of editorial approach. But let’s turn to the editorial part. A bunch of graphs and charts are lovely, but how do you make then say, what’s our angle? What’s our story?

Michele (09:24): So I start that thinking process at the beginning during the planning and the strategy phase. And as we’re thinking, I always think about what topic can we talk about? What topic can we really dig into that says something new that’s relevant to our audience and that aligns with our brand. And so once you have that topic nailed down, it then comes to, okay, well what are those headlines you want? What are those I call ’em big picture questions that you want to answer? What are those big broad stories you want to tell? We always figured that out at the starting place, like figuring out how can you be most helpful and then taking those questions and then answering them with the survey data so that by the time you get to the data analysis, you’re then answering those questions and your themes and your stories are much more likely to rise to the surface because you’ve done the thinking work from the beginning.

John (10:17): So I mean, are you suggesting we have a hypothesis story almost and then hopefully the data validates that? Or are we going to just go with the story that the data tells us?

Michele (10:29): I think you can certainly can have an hypothesis. Sometimes the data shows it to be correct, sometimes it doesn’t. But I think if you thinking to yourself again, what are those questions that my audience has or what are those things that I want my audience to think differently about? How can we structure questions to poke at those particular things and answer those questions? So it’s almost figuring out what big broad questions you want answered knowing that the data’s going to be what the data’s going to be. Oftentimes it’s not that surprising, but sometimes we hear things that aren’t expected what we expected. So a hypothesis is great, but I wouldn’t lean too heavily on that. I would lean more onto what would be relentlessly helpful to answer for our audience,

John (11:15): Your website, your domain, I mean, that’s real estate that you want to own. If you’re an influencer, online creator, blogger, or really anyone who cares about their personal brand, then you need a unique domain. And now you can get your name, do bio, right, John Jantz, do bio, right, create a bio page to house all your various interests. It’s short, simple, easy to remember. Put all your links in one place instead of a laundry list of locations you want to send people in a profile, you can reserve your own link for around three bucks right now at pork tape marketing 24, that’s right around $3 right now. Pork tape marketing 24. Do you have an example of how you’ve taken maybe numbers and charts and really created or Yeah, an example would be helpful, but if nothing else, just your approach too. The most impact comes if you can make the data tell a really great story and use even storytelling techniques. So do you have an approach to getting there or even a great example where you’ve used data to really enhance some storytelling?

Michele (12:35): Yeah, absolutely. So in that example I mentioned with marketing profs, they were studying how B2B marketing teams were approaching training. And so one of the things that we did is we dug, we decided we want to understand what is the culture of training in the organization. We had a four C model. I’m trying to remember all of the Cs. What is the personal commitment to actually training? What is the composition of training look like? Does it include the examples and so forth? So it’s really nice sometimes just to base your story around some kind of model or some kind of framework. I think it makes it really easy to tell that story at the end if you kind of ask questions around that particular model.

John (13:15): One more sort of technical question. Is 10 responses valid enough? Do we need 200? I mean is mean obviously people that do this kind of true research for a living would say you need X and there’s a margin of error and all that kind of good stuff. But I mean, a lot of ways we’re almost just looking for themes and things, right? So talk a little bit about the validity part, I guess.

Michele (13:39): Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s something people ask all the time. I’m also a very big proponent of not doing survey-based research if it’s not going to work for your case. And one of those reasons, like you said, if you thought you could only reach 10 people, don’t do survey-based research instead, interview those 10 people, get into more nuance, pull out those themes that way. That’s very valid and useful. I tell people in general, if you’re doing a niche B2B audience survey, at least 125 people at the bare minimum, anytime you can survey more than that is even better. Because one of the great values of doing research is that you can start to compare segments. What are those who are more effective doing differently, or what do different industries do and so forth. And obviously if you have a smaller sample size, you’re not able to slice and dice the data. And because those segments all become so very small, so long answer is more is always better. At least 1 25 for B two, B two 50 is even better. And then for consumer based studies, I mean typically I would say 1000 people is a good benchmark.

John (14:45): So one of the types of surveys I guess I’ve had the most fun with is when you have both sides of a market. So the sellers of something and the buyers of something and to find out how off they are. So a great one might be home buyers and real estate agents, how their opinions about what the market wants or what they want are so vastly different. I think there’s a lot of opportunities, and I think there’s a lot of industries that have that kind of approach they could bring in, don’t they?

Michele (15:12): Without question. So I’ve done a lot of those studies and I actually am fielding a couple of studies right now that we’re looking at two different audiences and we can find stories within that audience. But our bigger story is going to be to show the gap and the differences between those two audiences that work together. There’s slightly more complicated because you need to survey two audiences, but they are so interesting and the stories you can tell I feel are exponentially more interesting, exponentially more. So that’s a great way to do it, John. Yeah,

John (15:40): So we recently did surveyed fractional CMOs and buyers of fractional CMO services, and one of the things that just immediately jumped out was we asked them what was the most important in, we asked the fractional CMO, what did you think was the most important aspect of why they were hiring you? And then we asked the business owner, and the business owner was very interested in, they have deep experience in our industry. And the fractional CMO was like, no, that’s almost bottom of the list. Like a vast, it’s this multiple industries that we work with, and really we can dive into what it means necessarily. But I think it showed a real disconnect between the two as far as what they thought was valuable. And those kinds of things to me are also great in messaging for just even our sales materials and things because it’s like that’s an objection almost that we have to bat down in our initial messaging.

Michele (16:39): Yes, that’s a great example. And they’re great conversation starters on social media. Why do you think this is?

John (16:46): Yeah, so let’s talk about channels and format and how do we get the most out of this stuff editorially, I know you come up with a whole plan for week one, week two, week three kind of thing. So talk a little bit about the basic plan and the channels.

Michele (17:02): So what I like to do, and I’m just going to back up for one quick second because one thing I think is helpful. I think so many people here reuse research and they don’t even know what that means. So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to talk about that really quickly, then I think that that flows into really well into how to use those things. But when I talk about repurposing research, I look at it, I have a model called the five R is of repurposing research, but the first R is all around reuse. So just taking that chart and putting it on social media or in your blog post, it’s very easy, but there’s nothing that you really change. The next one is repackaged. So taking that and taking your key findings and turning those into a webinar or something like that where you really make it fit the actual channel.

(17:41): The third thing, and these last I think are far more interesting, the third way to repurpose research is to reflect on it in public, just like we just talked about. Have a conversation, share your thoughts, get other ideas and perspectives. It makes the data really meaningful. It’s my favorite way to use research. I think it brings joy to people, but you could also take your research and you could use to reveal solutions. So what are those missed opportunities and then pain points and how would you solve them? And then the last way is to reimagine it. So what is all of those different segments that you can compare? How can you look at data that you haven’t already published and then take that to the market to give people a different insight? So I think it’s just helpful to help people think it’s not just taking charts and placing them in different things. It’s really taking that one study and trying to think what are all of the stories that I can tell from it holistically, and how can I tell them in a way that’s going to be really meaningful to my audience?

John (18:38): And obviously every channel’s got a different format that the data seems to work better in, or the story seems to work better in, right. LinkedIn and YouTube are completely different in how you would package the content, right?

Michele (18:50): Absolutely. Like you said, YouTube and LinkedIn are very different. And I have this, I’ve worked through this, but you can use LinkedIn in 10 different ways to actually share your research. So there’s a lot of different ways, no matter what channel you’re on, you can think about using your research in a lot of different ways.

John (19:08): One we haven’t really touched on because I think when you talk about repurposing content, people immediately jump to a blog post or LinkedIn posts, but what about presenting it live? You talk about speaking and webinars and maybe even doing pure round tables. Could you see those as channels for doing this as well?

Michele (19:27): I 1000% see those as channels for this. I think especially webinars. And the other thing I think about too is what is the goal with your research? If your goal is to get leads, do stuff like webinars. I talk to so many clients and their webinar is their best lead generating thing that they’re actually doing. But if your goal is brand awareness, speak at those events or be on other people’s podcasts. So really try to think of what are your goals and what are the channels to help you get there? And that’s how I would prioritize all of the opportunity that you have in front of you.

John (20:01): Okay. One last question on the content itself and using it, do you have an opinion on how search engines view this type of data and research and backing as opposed to theory and opinion?

Michele (20:15): So I will say I feel like I had a better sense of it a couple years ago, and my searches has changed so significantly, so I’m not going to say I have the end all be all answer. That said, that’s a really great question. You’re posing that said, I know so many people who are doing research and you look in tools like consumer or tools that track links, their research is their best source of getting back links because if you’re answering those unanswered questions, then people link to you as the source. So I don’t know if that’s changed recently, but I know historically research has been wonderful if you’re trying to get back links, build your domain authority and so forth.

John (20:53): Yeah, I mean, I have hundreds of speakers that go out there and they make presentations and they always have somebody’s research or somebody’s statistic to validate their point, and they probably just went and did a search and grabbed it. So I’m certain that a lot of, well, I know for a fact backlinks are coming that way. Well, Michelle, I appreciate

Michele (21:09): A hundred percent. It works well.

John (21:10): Taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, is there someplace you’d invite people to connect with you and find out more about the work you’re doing?

Michele (21:17): Yeah, I would recommend connecting me with me on LinkedIn at Michelle Lynn. I’m also in the process of updating my website, so it’s a little, but you’re welcome to visit my website too, mantis

John (21:28): Awesome. Again, I appreciate you taking a moment. I think, well, I see you in Boston in the fall at B2B or at Marketing profs.

Michele (21:35): I don’t have plans yet, but I’m still kind of getting my whole schedule together. Okay.

John (21:39): I think you’ve spoken there before, have you not?

Michele (21:42): I have. Yeah. It’s a great event for anyone who’s thinking about going go without hesitation. That’s fantastic.

John (21:47): It is. It’s a lot of fun. Alright, take care. And hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

The Art of Posing Quality Questions

The Art of Posing Quality Questions written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Jeff Wetzler. Jeff Wetzler, co-CEO of Transcend, is on a mission to transform learning opportunities by blending leadership experiences from business and education. With a quarter-century quest under his belt, he’s pioneered innovative approaches to leadership. His latest endeavor revolves around tapping into the hidden wisdom of those around us, exploring unexpected breakthroughs in leadership and life. In this conversation, Jeff unpacks the ASK approach, a framework designed to elevate organizational communication for deeper insights.

Key Takeaways

Jeff Wetzler, co-CEO of Transcend, introduces the ASK approach, a framework aimed at elevating organizational communication for deeper insights. By fostering curiosity, creating safe spaces, posing quality questions, listening actively, and reflecting on learnings, individuals can unlock the power of curiosity for enhanced collaboration and growth.


Questions I ask Jeff Wetzler:

[01:48] What is a co-CEO and how does it work?

[02:43] How did growing up as an outsider shape your perspective on curiosity ?

[11:19] If the ASK approach involves a level of vulnerability how do we get people to adopt it?

[14:46] How do we develop consistency in practicing it?

[17:13] Could this self developmental approach be introduced into organizational culture?

[18:00] How do you better help people come out of their shell using the ASK approach?

[20:35] Where can people connect with you and learn more about your work?


More About Jeff Wetzler:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.


Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

John (01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Jeff Wetzler. He has been on a quarter century quest to transform learning opportunities, blending unique set of leadership experiences in the fields of business and education. He’s pursued this quest as a management consultant to the world’s top corporations most recently as CO CEO of Transcend, a nationally recognized innovation organization. And we’re going to talk about his most recent book today. Ask Tap into the hidden wisdom of people around you for unexpected breakthroughs in leadership and life. So Jeff, welcome to the show.

Jeff (01:44): Thanks, John. Great to be with you.

John (01:45): So I have a personal question totally unrelated to the book. How does the CO CEO work?

Jeff (01:51): A lot of people don’t believe that it can work. My co CEO and I, Alan Samoa actually had a chance to lead together and work together in a prior organization before we founded Transcend Together. So I don’t necessarily recommend it if you haven’t tried it out in a different way at first, but because we had worked together and we knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we knew that we complimented each other, we said, let’s give it a shot. And it has really lasted. We founded Transcend in 2015. It’s lasted us since then. As we look ahead, we’re actually moving into a stage. We’re going to shift into a solo CEO model after almost a decade as the organization has grown so much. But we really feel like the model served us really well up until now.

John (02:36): I suppose clear responsibilities, expectations probably really key to that

Jeff (02:39): A hundred percent. And good communication.

John (02:42): So one of the things you mentioned early on in the book that your own childhood or your growing up as an out or feeling like an outsider as one of the few Jewish kids, I’m assuming in a neighborhood kind of shaped a little bit of your perspective on this. I’d love to hear a little bit about that component.

Jeff (03:00): As I grew up, I didn’t always feel safe just saying everything I thought and felt. I had some signals that both explicitly and implicitly said to me, you know what? You may not be as safe as you wish you were here. And it just different people handled that differently. What it did for me is that I just kind of kept my mouth shut. And so instead of announcing my opinion, I would ask questions and instead of blurting things out, I would keep a lot of thoughts and stories in my own mind and head. And at some point it occurred to me, if I’ve got all this rich set of ideas and experiences going on inside of me, I’m probably not the only one. Chances are other people are too. And how much more interesting could things be if I could talk about it and if they could talk about it as well. I was always wishing someone would say, Hey Jeff, what do you think about this? And it led me to realize there’s probably others who feel the same way.

John (03:48): So I’m tempted to ask you to unpack the ASK approach. So you have kind of a baseline of where we are, but I’ve got a hundred other questions. But maybe let’s do the high level. What are the components of the ASK approach?

Jeff (04:02): Yeah, so the ASK approach is five practices that when put together, give us the greatest possible chance of really learning what person in front of us or the people around us truly think, feel, and know. Because far too often people don’t often tell us what they actually think and feel, whether that might be feedback they have for us or ideas for where we could take the business or critiques of our direction, any number of things, they stay too silent. We can talk about that as well. So the ask approach basically helps to solve that problem. And you want me to just run through each of the five real quickly? Yeah. Okay. So number one is what I call choose curiosity. And choosing curiosity is basically centering one single question in our mind whenever we’re interacting with someone. And that question is, what can I learn from this person?

(04:51): So it’s breaking out of the certainty that we so often find ourselves in where we might think to ourselves, I know what’s going on, I’m right there wrong any number of things, and it says there’s something I can learn from anyone. And when I’m here in this interaction, what can I learn from this person? There’s more to it than that, but I’ll leave it at that as a starting point. Now, number two is called make it Safe. And what it reflects is that even if I am super curious to learn from you, if you don’t feel safe telling me your truth, I’m not going to learn from you. And this is particularly important and I’ve learned this the hard way across lines of power when there’s power differences, but also other kinds of differences as well, when other people may not feel like it’s safe to really speak their truth. And so if we want to learn from them,

John (05:31): I’m going to say what I think you want to hear, right?

Jeff (05:34): Yeah. Or I’m going to keep my mouth shut. And so making it safe, it’s really about how do we create connection with the other person in ways that build trust? How do we open up ourselves so that they don’t have to guess at what is our agenda for asking them questions and also open up about things that might feel vulnerable for us to share too. And then what I call radiate resilience. How do we demonstrate to them that we’re not going to crumble based on what they have to say? We’re not going to flip out based on what they have to say. We’re not going to hold them responsible for the reactions. And so if we can create connection, open up radiate resilience, we go so far in terms of making it safe for the other person. Do you want to say you want to jump in?

John (06:11): All I’m thinking is I’m hearing you go through these. My first thought was a coworker. You want to learn something from that you think they could, which is great, but I’m also immediately jumping to somebody you think that you just are diametrically opposed opinion wise too. Totally. You think about the political divide right now that there are people that think, I can’t even talk to you because I don’t get you at all. And I’m kind of going through these going, well, maybe that would actually facilitate a good conversation.

Jeff (06:40): Yeah. I mean, the book ends by basically saying, I think the ask approach could be part of what we need to heal some of the polarization and divides that we have in our society. And I tell a story of how I got into an Uber with someone who I thought was basically diametrically opposed to me on a bunch of political issues. And by the end of the Uber ride, I realized we had so much more in common than I realized.

John (06:57): That’s amazing.

Jeff (06:58): Yeah. You

John (06:59): Want to go to number three? We’re on number three, right?

Jeff (07:01): Okay. Number three is pose quality questions. And so this is really the heart of the ask approach. Once we’re curious, once we’ve made it safe, how do we know what are the questions that are going to actually get to the heart of the matter? I kind of think of it this way that I imagine a surgeon would think about all their tools, their scalpels and all kinds of different things that they would have. I need this tool if I want to get to this. Well, questions are the same way, and most of us have one or two questions that we have as our go-to questions, but there’s a whole taxonomy of questions out there. There can be questions if you want to really understand what’s the root of someone’s perspective. You can ask questions if you want to understand where do they see the holes In my view, you can ask questions if you want to invite their ideas to make things better. And so this is all about choosing the right question based on the thing that you want to learn that’s posing quality questions.

John (07:46): So do we have a little index card box full of these questions that we need to tap into?

Jeff (07:51): Exactly. Exactly. And that’s basically what the chapter lays out. And then summarize it at the end is what are the most important questions, depending on what you’re trying to learn, but once you ask the question, it all comes down to how well you listened. It’s not enough just to put the question out there. And so the fourth one is listening to learned. And most of us think we’re good listeners. It turns out we’re missing so much. There’s a big difference between thinking we’re listening and actually hearing what someone has to say and also what they’re not selling us as well. For the book, I interviewed award-winning journalists who are professional listeners, and I remember one of them, Jenny Anderson saying to me after every interview, she records the interview and then she goes back and listens to it 2, 3, 4, 5 times. And every single time she listens to it, she hears something she hadn’t picked up the previous time.

(08:34): And I think to myself, if a professional listener misses things on the first time, second time, how much are we missing when we don’t record our stuff? And so this practice is all about broadening the range of information we’re listening for. And I talk about it’s not enough to listen just for the content of what someone’s saying, but also the emotion that they’re conveying and the actions that they’re taking in the conversation as well. So triple the channels that you’re listening through. And then the last one is called reflect and reconnect. And this is my favorite because I am a junkie for learning and reflecting is really how we take all the experiences that we have and we squeeze the learning out of it. That’s where we get the insight. And so reflecting is about what I call sifting it and turning it. Sifting it is first to say from everything that I heard, what’s valuable and what can I let go of?

(09:16): And then turning it is basically going through three processes where I turn it first to say, what did I learn from this person that would affect the story I have about them or about the situation or about myself? The second turn is what did I learn that would lead me to take certain steps? What can I do about it? And the third turn is, how can I grow more deeply? Does this speak to some of my deeper assumptions or values or ways of being in the world that either confirms them or challenges them or enriches them, et cetera? Those are the three reflective turns, but it’s not enough to just do those and walk away. This is why I call it reflect and reconnect. The reconnection part is so important. That’s going back to the person and saying, here’s what I learned from you. Here’s what I took away from our interaction, and here’s what I’m going to do about it and thank you. And that says to the other person, A, you didn’t waste your time. B, it gives them a chance to actually nuance what you took away. Maybe there’s something else they would want you to take away. And C, it really keeps the door open for future sharing as well. They know this is someone who really values what I have to say.

John (10:14): Your website, your domain. I mean, that’s real estate that you want to own. If you’re an influencer, online creator, blogger, or really anyone who cares about their personal brand, then you need a unique domain. And now you can get your name, do bio, right John, right? Create a bio page to house all your various interests. It’s short, simple, easy to remember. Put all your links in one place instead of a laundry list of locations you want to send people in a profile, you can reserve your link for around three bucks right now at pork tape marketing 24, that’s right around $3 right now, pork tape marketing 24.

Jeff (11:05): So those are the five practices of the ask approach in a nutshell.

John (11:09): Awesome outlines, let’s break some of this down. Great. First off, as I hear you talking about this, you even acknowledge this takes hard work, this takes brave, this takes being vulnerable. None of that sounds like a sales pitch. So how do you get people past that to say, Hey, I want to adopt this?

Jeff (11:28): Well, one of the things we didn’t spend as much time on before we got into the ask approach is, what’s the problem it’s trying to solve? Because the problem it’s trying to solve is also very costly. The problem it’s trying to solve is that when we have a customer who walks away but doesn’t tell us the real reason why, how painful is that? When we have a strategy that fails in ways that could have been predicted by the people around us, by our employees, by our colleagues, when we have an investor who passes on investing us because we didn’t actually understand what their true concern is when we have a friend who goes more distant from us because we didn’t realize the ways that we were impacting them, all of those things are really big costs that we pay. And it’s so prevalent that people around us aren’t really telling us the totality of what they’re thinking and feeling. And on the flip side, if we can tap into that, we can make better decisions together with other people, we can get far better ideas to innovate. We save a ton of time. Our relationships are so much more satisfying and fulfilling. That’s the payoff of doing this work. And it’s not like this work has to take hours and hours. It doesn’t take that long to say, here’s my idea. What might I be missing? That’s a very quick little thing that you can do. So anyways, how does that land with you in terms of

John (12:34): Yeah, I’m finding myself thinking particularly like in a sales environment, the objective may actually ultimately be, the end goal may actually be the same, but using this approach rather than me trying to sell to you, I’m actually trying to learn from you. And that probably feels a lot better to the person being sold to, even if the end result is we’re trying to get to this sale.

Jeff (12:59): Totally. It feels better. And it also, I think, reveals information that will make you make it easier to know what’s the objection I need to overcome that they have or what do they really value that I can speak to? And by the way, I might also learn that my product is not the right product for them, in which case, maybe today’s not the day to make the sale, but the trust that we have together over time is that much better.

John (13:20): Over many years of selling, as all entrepreneurs do, I’ve discovered that a lot of times I’m selling ’em on the benefit that doesn’t address what they want. I’m telling them, this is going to make you more money, and really what they want is more time. Exactly my fault for not addressing that. And so then they walk away.

Jeff (13:37): And incidentally, they also, when you ask them questions, and there’s really interesting research in the realm of dating when someone is dating someone else and asks the other person questions on the date, the person who’s doing the question asking is literally rated as more attractive. And so when you’re having a sales conversation or any other kind of conversation, if you’re asking questions, it draws people closer to you too.

John (13:56): Well, and you actually, I think in the intro of the book, you talk about how this approach actually benefits both people. That’s right. You’re maybe getting some information, but that person either feels a lot better or feels a lot more heard, right?

Jeff (14:09): A hundred percent. This is not just a one way extractive, I’m just going to kind of get what I need from you. This is truly a mutual benefit. And when somebody else has something that they’re thinking and feeling but are not saying to you and you can help them get it out, you’re enabling them to be more, enabling them to actually come closer to you. And chances are that it’s going to feel good for them, but also it’s going to get you to a better place together.

John (14:31): I’m guessing that this takes practice because you can make it feel like you’re being interviewed, and that’s probably not what we’re talking about. Or I don’t want to go, okay, Jeff, now I’m going to make you feel safe. Right? I mean, so how do we go about practicing this? How do we consistently apply these without them feeling kind of clunky?

Jeff (14:52): Yeah. There’s a chapter on this in the book called Make It Your Superpower, and it talks about a few things. One is you got to go from what I call conscious competence, which is like I’m unconsciously trying to practice this to unconscious competence, which means it just comes natural. It’s fluid. And the way to do that is just this very simple cycle of practice and feedback. Try it out in safe environments, try it out in small scale ways and tell people that you’re trying it out, especially if you can start with people that you feel safe to and say, Hey, I’m going to just try asking some different kind of questions. How did that land with you? As you do that, you’ll start to get the benefits of this. It’ll start to feel more natural, just whether that just like a golf swing or a tennis swing or any other kind of thing that you’re learning, but that practice and feedback cycle, then you start to take it out in slightly more high stakes context, slightly more risky kinds of things. And over time, you level up to be able to do it in more and more places.

John (15:40): Yeah, I mean, a lot of things in life, if we just took one of these and maybe ask some better questions. I mean, we’d be ahead, right? We wouldn’t have to master all of this, right?

Jeff (15:49): Yeah, exactly.

John (15:50): So you mentioned high leverage or high, can’t remember what you said. High something stakes, but higher stakes. Stakes, yeah. Is there a different way to address this when you know it’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation?

Jeff (16:03): I would say when it’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation, step one called choose curiosity. You got to invest even more in that because for me, in an uncomfortable conversation, my blood pressure can go up, my shoulders can go up, and I can be thinking to myself, how do I get out of here? Or how do I get this done? Or how do I convince them? Those are the places where I’m most likely to overlook the curiosity that I need, which is how does this other person see the situation? How might I be impacting the other person? How might I be contributing to the issue that we’re trying to solve together here? And so using that curiosity, I talk in the book about curiosity as a team sport, you don’t have to do this alone. You can actually say to a friend or a colleague, I’m about to go into a pretty high stakes conversation here, help me get more curious. Can you help me put myself in the other person’s shoes and just think, what might I be missing in this conversation? I can’t know it for sure because I’m not in their shoes, but I can be more curious about that. So that would be the one thing. And then the second thing that I would say to lean in heavily on is make it safe. Because if you’re feeling its high stakes, the other person might also be feeling its high stakes as well. And so I would go heavier on those two strategies.

John (17:09): Obviously this is a practice self-development, a great tool to master. Do you believe this is a practice that could actually be brought into the culture of an organization?

Jeff (17:19): I do. And there’s a chapter in the book called Make It Your Organization Superpower as well, and there’s a few important things there. One is leaders set the tone of cultures. And so one of the most powerful ways to get this infused in an organization is for people at the top to model this and practice this and say it out loud. I talk about in the chapter how valuable it is for the CEO of the organization to think about themselves as the learner in chief. And that doesn’t just have to be the formal CEO, that could be the president, that could even be the team leader, but to really be modeling this, but there’s other things to do, including even what we hire for in our organizations. In my first job out of college, after I went through this very rigorous hiring process, at the very end, they sat me down and they gave me a whole boatload of critical feedback, and I thought to myself, clearly, I’m not going to get the job.

(18:10): Why are they bothering to tell me all this critical feedback? It turned out they told me the critical feedback. They wanted to see if I was curious about it. They wanted to see is Jeff going to get defensive or is he going to say, huh, that’s interesting. Tell me more. And so it’s a way that you can screen for curiosity as well. In our own organization, we also have this practice that we call the two by two, where every quarter everybody sits down with whoever they work closely with and says, here’s two things I think I’m doing well, here’s two things I think I could do better. Here’s two things you are doing well, you could do better. And then we exchange it. And that’s just a practice that gets each other asking questions, it normalizes it, it clears out the closet, nothing fester. So there’s that kind of thing as well.

John (18:45): One last question before I let you go. Today, I’m all over curiosity. I’ve made the person feel safe. I’m radiating resiliency, but they just don’t like to talk. I mean, there are human beings that don’t want to be asked their opinion. How do you word deal with that? I don’t know. We call ’em introvert, whatever you want to call ’em. How do you deal with that person that just really isn’t comfortable in sharing?

Jeff (19:07): So you can’t force it on anyone, and you got to respect the limits. And sometimes it’s actually honestly in respecting the limits that they get more comfortable to open up. You’ve

John (19:16): Made it safer

Jeff (19:17): In making it say, if I’m constantly saying, come on real, I know you got something else, they’re going to shut down. But if I say to them, look, I’d love to hear anything you have to say and wherever you want to stop, that’s okay. Too often that comes more, but I’d go back to the create connection part of Make it Safe. And what’s interesting, when I interviewed some iconic CEOs for the book, they talked a lot about the time and place of connection. And so Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic said, if I want to really talk to someone who I think is going to be hesitant, I’m never going to have them come to my office and sit across the CEO desk from me. We’re going to be taking a walk, we’re going to be sitting on a couch, et cetera. I see it with my own kids too. If I want to hear from my daughter how her day was at school, it’s never going to happen right after school. When she gets home, it’s going to happen 11:00 PM at night when she’s done talking to her friends and done with her homework and wants to stay up a little later, and then it all comes out. And so I would encourage you to just be thinking about the time and place of connection as well.

John (20:12): Yeah, my kids, it was always when I’d have to take ’em somewhere. Right,

Jeff (20:16): Exactly.

John (20:16): We’d get in the car and start driving, and all of a sudden it’s like, okay, this is a safe space. It’s

Jeff (20:21): Amazing how many people have said that. And there’s something about not sitting face to face with them, but sitting side by side that’s a little less intense, a little less confronting, and all of a sudden the guard comes down.

John (20:30): Yeah. Awesome. Well, Jeff, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is there’s some place you’d invite people to find out about your work and certainly find more about Ask.

Jeff (20:41): Yes. So the book Ask is available anywhere books are sold. The website is www dot Ask dot, and people can also follow me on LinkedIn, Jeff Wetzler, or Ask Approach at Instagram.

John (20:52): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you taking a moment and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Gain Freedom With The Hands Off CEO Blueprint

Gain Freedom With The Hands Off CEO Blueprint written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Mandi Ellefson.

Through her company “Hands-Off CEO”, she rescues agency owners from the daily grind, transforming million-dollar agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. With her expertise, she’s boosted hundreds of agencies to millions in revenue, attracting premium clients willing to pay 50-600% fees. As a former business exit advisor, she crafts exit strategies, adding up to five figures to clients’ net profit monthly so they can focus on growth. She shares her wisdom as a published author of

“The Hands-Off CEO: Triple Your Fees and Profitably Scale an Exceptional Consulting Agency that Grows Without You” and host of the Hands-Off CEO Podcast, helping consulting agencies triple fees and scale without less reliance on the CEO.


Key Takeaways

Mandi Ellefson, founder of Hands-off CEO, shares her journey from overwhelming debt to multimillionaire status by transforming consulting agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. She stresses the importance of building systems that allow businesses to thrive without the constant presence of the CEO. Mandi distinguishes between growth and scale, highlighting the need to create capacity and systems for consistent results. She advocates for productizing services based on outcomes and emphasizes the mindset shift required to embrace delegation and empower teams.


Questions I ask Mandi Ellefson:

[01:45] Tell us about the frustration you encountered earlier in your career, not being able to have a company run without you?

[04:47] How does the Scale to Freedom framework differ from other types of processes?

[08:20] Is a mindset shift a necessary step in undertaking this process?

[09:00] How do you balance working with a passion for the project and embracing the need to scale?

[09:13] Why are service businesses hard to scale?

[16:21] How do you help people differentiate between growth and scale?

[22:16] Where can people connect with you and obviously find a copy of the hands-off CEO?


More About Mandi Ellefson:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.


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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Mandi Ellefson , and he went from a hundred thousand dollars in debt to multimillionaire status by revolutionizing consulting agencies through her company Hands-off, CEO e. She rescues agency owners from the Daily Grind, transforming million dollar agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. She’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, the Hands-Off, CEO, triple Your Fees and Profitably Scale, an exceptional consulting agency that Grows Without You. So Mandy, welcome to the show.

Mandi (01:41): Thank you so much for having me again, John,

John (01:44): Since you put it in your bio. Let’s talk about the frustration perhaps that you felt in having a previous business that didn’t run without you necessarily to leading you to creating what you do for your life’s work now.

Mandi (01:59): Yeah. So can we tell about that experience? You’re saying that led?

John (02:02): Yeah. We want to hear frustration and embarrassment that every entrepreneur goes through.

Mandi (02:07): Yes, yes. There was definitely plenty of that and what it looked like as I was nine months pregnant and I had a 4-year-old daughter. My husband lives in a demanding graduate medical program. I had moved across the country. So you’re painting a picture of I had. It was a pretty challenging situation, right? Yeah,

John (02:23): Yeah,

Mandi (02:24): Yeah. And my business at the time, I was trying to close up shop for me to have maternity leave because it was not set up in a way where it could run without me at all. And that was a frustration just because I had managed another company before this. I was the manager and I was able to get this company to run without me as the manager. So I was pretty frustrated that I couldn’t do this within my own company. And weeks before I was about to give birth to my second daughter, all the stress of trying to make all these things work on my timeframe, it was so stressful and my health was breaking down. So I literally had my arms not being able, I couldn’t move them more than just a small amount, and I had to go and get some treatments. Thankfully, I was able to heal my arms from this, but this was not a good time.

(03:16): Just weeks before giving birth to my second daughter, and we could have used that income in our life. That was one time we really could have used it. And again, anyway, I had to shut the business down. But what that led me to look at what is actually stopping me from having this. So then I went out and I started talking to other entrepreneurs after I had my maternity leave, after I took that time and I took some time to slowly start back up to just, I wanted to make sure I got it right this time. So I started interviewing other people and I knew that if I could solve the problem for someone else, I could solve it for myself. So I just started helping other people because I knew I could break down the system and figure it out. I could reverse my engineer back into it because I’m pretty good at that.

(03:59): So I knew I’d be able to figure that out. And before I knew it, I started a consulting company. I didn’t mean to, but I started a consulting company because people asked me they wanted to pay me, help them with this, and I started seeing the patterns and the trends for what it takes to be able to take a service business, especially service businesses are very difficult to scale and remove yourself from. So I started seeing the patterns and I helped other people be able to solve this before I was actually able to solve it for myself.

John (04:26): So a lot of books consulting around this idea of scaling, making a business run without you really all come down to systems and process and operations. And I think you dive a little deeper than maybe there’s even, I’ve had Gino Wickman on the show, but EOS and Traction. How would you say that your system, which you call scale to freedom, is that right framework? How would you say that you go beyond the typical systems and processes?

Mandi (04:56): Right. So EOS and other frameworks, they’re great. They’re really effective and they can help you bring your company to a level of order. But here’s the thing is I talk to CEOs almost on a weekly basis who have implemented all of that and still have a company that’s not profitable. They may even say it’s profitable. Oh yeah, well, you know what, we’re profitable. But what they don’t tell you is that they’re not taking anywhere near a market rate salary for what they would get paid somewhere else. So they’re actually losing money every year if you look at it that way. So the thing is, those frameworks, it helps you organize a working and functional business model, but it’s not a business model and it’s not a profit model, and it’s not your pricing model, and it’s not the structure for what agreements you create with your team, with your clients. It’s not going to give you the positioning in the market. It’s not going to tell you who your profits fleet spot client is, who’s going to pay you the most. It’s going to contain those things, but garbage in, garbage out. So you to get that right first if you want to have a sustainable company.

John (06:01): You mentioned something in the very beginning that you were able to manage this company to run without you, but when you, maybe it was your own business, the CEO, and I’m curious, there’s if there’s something like instructive in that idea, right? It’s like as the CEO, you’re very married to what it’s doing, you’re emotionally attached maybe, and in some cases it’s hard to step back and give yourself the distance that it requires to properly delegate and let your people do the work that they’re there to do. Do you think there’s something, I guess I’m really talking about mindset probably. Is mindset a key role to even start embracing this idea?

Mandi (06:39): Absolutely. And there’s two different aspects of it, and I’m glad you brought it up because there is a system and then there’s a mindset. And here’s the thing is you can build the system all day long, but unless you have a corresponding mindset, then the system is useless and you won’t be able to actually use it and you won’t be able to let go. So that’s one of the things that I’ve observed too with our clients is that they might get to a point where they have the whole system in place and they’re like, I know I’m supposed to be working on sales right now. I can’t quite let go of this. And I’ve even had one of our clients called the hands-off, CEO, Twitch, he named it that. And I asked him, Philip, do you have the system in place? Do you feel comfortable? They have everything that they need to be able to do this? He’s like, yep, I do. And then he’s like, okay, I realize it’s just a mindset. So at that point we knew that it wasn’t the system, it was the mindset. And now it’s just looking at what are you committed to and your vision being bigger than whatever it is that you really want to be doing that gives you that significance.

John (07:43): And I think I run across a lot of business owners that need to, their business is growing, they need to let go of certain things. And a lot of times it’s just they know that. I mean, I don’t think anybody has to tell them that they’re holding that back, but it’s what maybe they feel valuable or they feel, or let’s face it, sometimes it’s the work they like doing, right? Web designers a great example. I mean, they love to do the work. They try to grow a business and scale business. It makes no sense at all for them to actually be now doing the design, but that’s where they are passionate. I mean, how do you get around? Or on one hand you can’t scale. On the other hand, this is what you’re passionate about. How do you get around that kind of dichotomy?

Mandi (08:25): I think the first thing is just to recognize what actually do you want? And there’s nothing wrong with you going and doing the web design work if that’s the kind of company you want, but that’s more like a freelancer company that’s not going to give you the wealth. It’s not going to give you the freedom and it’s not going to give you some of the things that you would get from a business. But it’s a very simple business. And if you really are passionate about being a web designer and you don’t want to learn the skills of managing teams and being a leader and getting all of the other things right for a business, then that might be a good thing for them. But on the other hand, if I may add to that, John becoming more hands off, what that allows you to do is pick and choose the kind of projects you want to work on. You get to have autonomy over where your time is spent

John (09:10): As long as everything’s not on fire. So you mentioned that service businesses are particularly hard to scale. Why is that? I mean, I think some of the obvious, if I’m selling a $29 product, a lot of people can do that. A lot of people can produce it, do the work. But what is it unique about service businesses that you think make them feel harder to scale?

Mandi (09:30): Well, the origin of it is first and then the structure of it second. So the origin of it is that you were good at something and you start off going out and selling this service because you’re good at it, and then you have enough people that are coming to ask you for this service. You start hiring freelancers and then maybe employees. And then after a while you’re like, well, there’s so many people, I’m going to hire a manager. So some companies just grow organically like that, and they didn’t really set out to build that big of a company. So that’s one aspect of it that makes it challenging to scale that you kind of, so what that means is that the value proposition of the business oftentimes is the skillset of the owner. So the clients are coming for the skillset of the owner, and anything less than that, they’re feeling like they’re getting the short end of the stick. And they’re also looking at it from the perspective of, okay, great, well now I get a blended hourly rate with their junior level person and I’m paying for a senior level person. So that’s one thing. And then on the flip side, well, I guess it creates a scenario where there’s not the profit margins within the business to actually properly remove the ceo. That’s actually the number one thing that keeps the CEO stuck in the day-to-day is because there is not the profit in order to remove yourself from it.

John (10:52): Yeah, you got to make enough money to hire somebody else to do the work or to delegate the work, right? Your website, your domain, I mean, that’s real estate that you want to own. If you’re an influencer, online creator, blogger, or really anyone who cares about their personal brand, then you need a unique domain. And now you can get your, right, John, right? Create a bio page to house all your various interests. It’s short, simple, easy to remember. Put all your links in one place instead of a laundry list of locations you want to send people in a profile, you can reserve your link for around three bucks right now at pork tape marketing 24. That’s right around $3 right now. Pork tape marketing 24, know one of the first things I outsourced when I started my business payroll and hr.

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Mandi (12:58): And then the root cause of that is the pricing structure for how you’re operating. And then the root cause of not having enough, not high enough price point to deliver the service well is that there’s not enough value. There’s not enough perceived value from the client and the prospect who’s buying the services. And there’s the root cause of that too.

John (13:19): Well, and one of the things, I work with a lot of agencies and consultants as well, and what we discover a lot of times is that people feel like, well, what I’m selling is my big brain and they have to have me to do that. Well, obviously that doesn’t scale, right? So where do you fall on? I mean, one of the things we teach people all the time is you’ve got to create a repeatable system that you can actually teach to other people and it doesn’t rely on your big brain. So where do you fall on service businesses productizing?

Mandi (13:47): I’m a big fan of productizing with a caveat. Oftentimes the way the productizing is done is saying, okay, well here’s the problem. We have the CEO is too involved in the day-to-day service, so we’re going to solve that problem by it is a knee, knee-jerk reaction of, well, we’ll remove the CEO out of it. And by doing that, they’re like, well, what is left? Well, we’ll systematize that. And that’s what productization usually looks like.

(14:13): Instead, the way I look at productization, and I would call it a service product perhaps, and you’re looking at how do you elevate the service based upon outcomes? And instead of reverse engineering it to remove the CEO, you reverse engineer it from what does it take for us to deliver this outcome? What does it take to deliver? And at first, that might mean the CEO is more involved to make sure that that you’re actually building out a system that delivers the output that the client actually cares about because the client doesn’t care about deliverables that are brought to the market as efficiently as possible and as profitably for you. They don’t care about profit, they care about the results, and that’s why they’re paying you.

John (14:54): Great add on to that point. And you could charge a whole lot if you understand the results that they’re after and you can deliver those, then they don’t care. It’s not how many hours did I buy right now? It’s like, no, I bought a result. And I think that’s a healthy way for people to think about pricing, isn’t it?

Mandi (15:10): A hundred percent. But to your point, you have to know what that problem is that you’re solving and for who it is. And a lot of times they have, I hear from people all the time that, and agency owners especially who are saying, you know what? Well, we can’t make any kind of claim. It depends so much. It depends on so many factors that are outside of our control. It’s like, well, there’s one factor that you can control and you can control who it is that you’re choosing to work with, who it is that you’re choosing to target, and what problems that you’re willing to solve, especially what minimum, what’s the minimum problem you’re going to solve? And I would recommend for agency owners to not look at solving problems anything lower than a million dollar problem because anything lower than that, you’re not going to be able to have the kind of impact where you can charge high enough price points to make it make sense, and maybe you maybe step up to that point.

John (16:04): Yeah, great point. People will pay a lot more to solve a bigger problem, right?

Mandi (16:08): A hundred percent.

John (16:10): Yeah. So a couple terms that we’ve mentioned today maybe, and I know get batted around and confused I think all the time. Where do you come down? If I were to ask you directly, what’s the difference between growth and scale? Where do you come down on trying to help people understand that difference?

Mandi (16:27): Yeah. Well, growth is where you are generating more growth with about the same resources, right? Scale is when you’re able to generate more growth without the same corresponding increase in resources. Does that sound too technical?

John (16:45): I think theoretically, theoretically it needs more

Mandi (16:48): Less, I’m sorry, we’re talking over each other, John.

John (16:50): No, I said theoretically I get it. But for the business owner, what are the different sort of mindsets around, I mean growth for growth sake, scaling the scaling have a different purpose. Let’s put it that.

Mandi (17:04): Well, here’s the thing is that scaling has become a really flashy word, and there’s a good reason for that too because that’s what people are buying. So that’s why the marketing is full of scale. And I don’t blame people for using those terms because marketers are going to use what’s going to sell. Most of the time what we’re looking at when people are say using the word scale, they’re actually meaning growth because growth is getting to a point. Scaling is a whole different level, and it does require a different mindset because a lot of times where I see the scaling stage happen is in the early seven figures, and this is where I think it would be fair to say that there’s different stages of scaling. Talk about that in my book by the different stages of scaling up. But there’s one particularly that happens in the early figures and it happens about between 900001.1 million and over about a three year period of time, I’ve seen this over and over again where their income goes up and down and it’s because they’re hitting a new threshold and scale and they’ve grown to a point where they can’t grow anymore without taking the next level.

(18:07): And that usually is putting in place a manager that is changing from being the owner operator to being able to build out a management structure in place. Maybe I went more into the answer than you were asking for, but

John (18:19): No, I mean, I think to simplify what that example you just gave a lot of times what it means is you’re going to have to take, you’re going to have to spend for capacity that you don’t currently have the ability to fill. But that’s the only way to grow to that next level is to build that capacity. But that comes at a cost.

Mandi (18:39): Well, that’s a great way of putting it to build out that capacity. And then on the flip side there is you have capacity that needs to be filled too. And there’s this stair stepping thing where you’re at capacity and you have to build out more capacity. So you hire these people now you’re like, okay, wow, we’ve got this big payroll, we’ve got to be able to make some more sales. But is a pretty challenging situation to be in. And I will tell you, I have in my own company, we’ve been here before, so I get what this feels like too. Then you have to really be employing some of the things that you teach in your duct tape marketing strategies about being able to keep that consistent lead flow so that you can actually fill the capacity too. Yep, absolutely. That takes an investment, right?

John (19:21): Sometimes you got to build it before they come, right? So you talk, there’s a term you use in the book entrapment cycle that I certainly see when growth is happening. Certainly see the entrapment cycle show up. So you want to unpack that one for us.

Mandi (19:38): Definitely. And I think it actually is a perfect tie into what we were just talking about is that cycle that goes up and down. Well, the income going up and down and where there’s a plateau of revenue, and it can also be a plateau more specifically of profit because you can see the revenue grow and then the profit stays stagnant. But anyway, the cycle itself, the entrapment cycle, what happens is sales growth happens and then you get busy, you get pulled in. So even if you have a nice team in place, you get pulled into it and then you’re like, all right, well we’re under capacity, we’re over capacity. We need to be able to hire some people. So you go through, you’re saying, okay, are we going to choose quality or are we going to choose profit when we’re looking at staff members? And you’ve got to be profitable.

(20:22): So you choose the level of person that you can afford for your level of growth, which oftentimes is not enough. So you end up having to get in there and have a lot more time and energy to either clean up their work or be kind of babysitting them. And then what happens is, meanwhile, as you’re going and doing that, working in the business, then you’re like, oh crap, our sales are down. We need to go make more sales. And then you go back in and then the only problems is you’ve got your sales cycle. So your sales cycle could be 90 days, could be 120 days, whatever that is. You wait for that to catch up and then you make sales happen again, and then the cycle happens all over again.

John (21:00): Yeah, you left out one variable there. You’re working more than ever probably. Right? I see growth is happening and so now you’re working more than ever. And that’s, to me, true wealth is like all of those things. Right?

Mandi (21:16): That’s a really good point too, John. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about describing that as an additional variable within that cycle, but what we do see happen is that it ends up that entrapment cycle makes your model into a time for money model, even if you have other team members. Because what happens is the business, it’s actually so dependent upon the CEO’s actual time involvement in it that the only way that you can actually grow is to have the CEO EO grow and more and more of their hours. That means that, and that right there it is a description between growth versus scale where you can scale income while actually the CEO EO works less and less hours, which I know, which is something that you guys have successfully done in your company, which goes to show your, because I know you guys have done really well.

John (22:06): Yeah, I do nothing. I do absolutely nothing anymore. It’s amazing. I love it’s talent. Well, Mandy, it was great having you stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. You want invite, is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you and obviously find a copy of the hands-off CEO o?

Mandi (22:23): Yes. You can go to hands off you can go there and you can download a book summary. And also there’s a scalability checklist there that shares the stages to exit the day-to-Day and the business. And that is actually something that I found people have really loved, including our clients. They love being able to know, alright, what should I do first? And there’s a checklist. You can print it up, put it on your wall, and it’s in the book. I guess you can’t see that, but it also gives you a place you can buy the copy if you’d like.

John (22:55): Awesome. So we’ll have links in the show notes, and if you’re watching this on YouTube, you will see Mandy just held up the book there, so get a copy. Again, appreciate you stopping by. Hopefully we’ll run into you soon. One of these days out there on the road.

How to Balance AI Magic with Human Expertise

How to Balance AI Magic with Human Expertise written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Jeff Coyle, the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for MarketMuse. Jeff is a data-driven search engine marketing executive with 20+ years of experience in the search industry.

He is focused on helping content marketers, search engine marketers, agencies, and e-commerce managers build topical authority, improve content quality and turn semantic research into actionable insights. Prior to starting MarketMuse in 2015, Jeff was a marketing consultant in Atlanta and led the Traffic, Search and Engagement team for seven years at TechTarget, a leader in B2B technology publishing and lead generation. We discuss the intricate balance between leveraging AI technology and harnessing human expertise to create authentic content in today’s digital landscape.


Key Takeaways

Jeff Coyle emphasizes the importance of blending AI capabilities with human expertise to create authentic content. While AI tools offer efficiency, they continue to lack the ‘personal touch’ and nuanced understanding that human expertise provides. By infusing personal anecdotes, brand tone, and subject matter expertise into AI-generated content, businesses can craft compelling narratives that resonate with their audience. Striking the right balance between AI magic and human creativity is crucial for achieving authenticity and differentiation in content creation. Ultimately, by leveraging both AI technology and human expertise, businesses can unlock new levels of creativity, efficiency, and effectiveness in their content strategies.


Questions I ask Jeff Coyle:

[01:54] Can you set the record straight on the discourse of the inauthenticity of AI?

[03:49] What are the differences between some of the more robust technologies and the pedestrian types such as Chat GPT?

[07:44] Does feeding language models lead to more authentic outputs?

[10:36] Talk about how tools like Market Muse are perfecting AI as a tool

[14:58] How do you overcome the shortcomings of AI as an unideal substitute for expertise when using search engines?

[23:07] Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you?


More About Jeff Coyle:



Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.


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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Jeff Coyle. He is the co-founder and chief strategy Officer for Market Muse. He’s a data-driven search engine marketing executive with 20 plus years of experience in the search industries focused on helping content marketers, search engine marketers, agencies, and e-commerce managers, build topical authority, improve content quality, and turn semantic research into actionable insights. So Jeff, welcome back to the show.

Jeff (01:37): Hey, thanks John. It’s good to be here.

John (01:39): So when you proposed this topic of AI and authenticity, I jumped on it immediately because certainly that’s one of the biggest complaints. I mean, you hear people out there saying, oh, well never use AI because that’s inauthentic. So why don’t you just globally set the table for how you’re approaching that topic?

Jeff (02:00): Yeah, I think the easiest way to think about it is the AI that you may have access to isn’t equal to all of AI as a concept. And so the way I think about it is setting the table is just because the thing you have access to on your phone doesn’t do it, doesn’t mean it can’t be done a, and doesn’t mean that you are using that type of technology to inject all of the things that would represent you and your authenticity or your brand’s authenticity or your company’s authenticity. So not to say it’s user error because there’s a lot of problems with technology that exists and it is accelerating so fast. However, what I’ve heard, there are large waves of folks who are almost like discrediting an entire science based on their experience, and that is always something to take notice of. And I build content strategy, content plans, content briefs, content, state content with authentic examples, authentic items, and I think that the last piece of this, I think worth talking about is content execution, content marketing, building content doesn’t only reference the generation of text or the draft. It’s all the steps that lead up to it and it’s everything that happens after it. And those things can be built and customized made to be authentic throughout that process as long as you have an understanding of what it is and what it isn’t.

John (03:40): Okay. You said about 10 things there. I know. Let’s break up a little.

Jeff (03:43): I tried to set a table, it’s a buffet.

John (03:48): So let’s back up a little bit there. What are the differences between some of the more robust technologies, if we want to call that, and maybe the more pedestrian sort of, let’s start with chat GPT, just because so many people know that. And I’m guessing when you said that thing you had on your phone, you were talking about that

Jeff (04:05): It could be that it could be Siri, it could be, I mean, Alexa, the first time you had an Amazon Echo, you asked it a question, it probably didn’t get it right. Probably gotten better over time,

John (04:15): Right? Yeah, yeah. I listened to obscure bands. Apparently it can’t ever get that right.

Jeff (04:20): Oh, I know I did. It never does. Right?

John (04:23): So what are the differences between the more robust technologies, if we’re going to call it that, and then something that you referenced that you might have access to?

Jeff (04:33): Sure, sure, sure. So when you’re thinking about a chat GBT or a claw or Bing chat or the chat you have on a search engine, those are just your access account to query a, you’re hitting a large language model with prompt and you’re getting a response. And so the most basic prompt and response large language model, but there are complex AI to use for predicting algorithmically predicting stock picks or algorithmically predicting churn risk. You can build models that will do things that are very relevant to your business that have nothing to do with large language models. Another example is you hear quite commonly you’ll hear that. So from contrast that if I ask my phone, what stocks should I pick tomorrow? And it tells me, Hey, go pick Microsoft and Google, and I’m like, Hey, that doesn’t pick stocks, right? AI can’t do that. It can just not this.

(05:41): Another example would be complex math problems. So you ask Chad GBT to do some sort of complex college math, they won’t do it. However, there’s an entire Google team, the Minerva team who is working on college math level mathematics and doing very passive job of it. So it is the simple access to an attune for the masses large language model will get you the most predictive response to whatever, however it interpreted what you sent. So it’s trying to, and then there’s some error built in. So it’s basically saying that the capital of North Dakota is, well, 99.99999% of the time. The right answer to that question is Bismarck. It’s going to follow up with that.

(06:33): If it’s giving more of a holistic predictive step through is trying to pick words, maybe put some creativity in it, even with chat GPTs technology that GPT for now that everybody’s using, you can go in the backend and you can tweak what they call temperature, make it more or less creative. But in your experience on your phone, you don’t have that. You get one input, one output with not a lot of configuration. So you’re getting a front end on a very complex technology that even its own, even the thing you’re using can be configured in dozens and dozens of different ways to be more creative, less creative. You hear people make fun of its use of the word delves on everything, and its use of the word crucial. It’s because there are particular settings in the backend that are yielding that outcome. You can tweak all of that. It can be as customized as you might want just from the base model. So they’re giving an attribution to the user interface and the default settings of the software, not the science. And that’s really the differentiator.

John (07:44): So you mentioned a couple times the language model. I mean, essentially what you’re saying is that’s what it’s been taught. That’s what it’s been fed. And so that’s that model a lot of people are finding that they can actually teach, they can feed everything that John Jan has written in the last 15 years and build a model around that. Are you going to get closer to, if I want to be in my authentic voice, is that going to give it a much closer model by feeding it or teaching it that?

Jeff (08:14): Oh, absolutely it does. And it’s already, I mean, that’s one way that you can start to get, so what you can do is you can take something that’s been trained or an ensemble of language models and then also stack on your stuff, everything that you want. You can do just your stuff, but that could have challenges. So you can work with collections of those items. You can even do complex comparisons. So there’s a thing called an AI agent. So you might’ve heard they’re doing custom GPTs with chat GPT and that software. However, you’ve been able to build agents that do a lot of different things. So you can actually chain together various steps in a process to take and reference each of your works. Let’s just say you found out that it would be more precise to reference them individually or just step through each one in a particular pattern versus just considering you as the training model for the LLM, so that you can do different types of approaches to solve specific goals and instruction sets. But I mean, it’s not limited to that. You can get into a situation and say, only include a reference to this book by John. This is the source of truth. Everything you do must reference this book, and you should consider this to be the tome of all knowledge. So there can be specific instruction sets, and these are not tremendously complex. These are things that a business user can learn how to do, not just an AI developer or somebody in product management, engineering and data science for 20 years like me or anything.

John (10:06): So one of the things that I think a chat GPT was, so it’s both plus and minus. The plus was it’s so easy to use, you just go type something, right? The minus was you got a lot better result if you knew what you were doing, if you knew how to query deeper, if you needed that, how to ask for tone and all those kinds of things. What are, I’ll use market uses as an example. What are some of the use cases that you are building that actual steps or templates if you will? I don’t know if we’re going to call ’em that. Talk a little bit about how tools like Market Muser are actually taking the power of AI, but actually building it into use cases.

Jeff (10:45): So some of the most exciting, I mean I’m building right now, the engineering team and the data science team at market use is building by far its most amazing things we’ve ever built. I mean, we have, the content briefs that we are building now are by far the best content briefs that exist in the market, which is exciting. They’re not out yet. I’m pushing really hard. But what we’re able to do is really special. And it’s when you already have your own data and you already have your own innovations and insights, you can use artificial intelligence to work with those things very magically. There is a technology called, you might hear RAG or Rag Retrieval augmented Generation Vector databases, which if you imagine a concept in 3D space and these imagine clusters of information in 3D space, you can work with those types of technologies, what used to cost millions of dollars worth of research and innovation for thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars to get usable things that you can work with.

(11:55): And so what we’re working with now is we’ve always had this beautiful content inventorying product where we can look at your entire site, we can look at your competitor site and understand and prioritize. We’ve always been able to build out a great basic topic model, how to cover a topic comprehensively to sound like an expert, but we’re able to use all of our preexisting innovations in novel ways to get amazing solutions. Like, Hey, what article should I write today? And have that actually come from a place of knowledge, not just what you would get if you wrote, Hey, what should I write today to chat DBT,

John (12:33): Your website, your domain? I mean, that’s real estate that you want to own. If you’re an influencer, online creator, blogger, or really anyone who cares about their personal brand, then you need a unique domain. And now you can get your, right, John, right? Create a bio page to house all your various interests. It’s short, simple, easy to remember. Put all your links in one place instead of a laundry list of locations you want to send people in a profile, you can reserve your own link for around three bucks right now at pork tape marketing 24, that’s right around $3 right now, pork tape marketing 24.

Jeff (13:24): So if you think about that, it starts you on the path of having a content strategist, artificial intelligence product, which we are in effect building. We also have done the same with thousands and thousands of examples of developmental editing, which is a process of giving feedback on pages after you’ve consumed them. And we can do that from a place of expertise versus if you just ask, Hey, how should I improve this piece? You’re going to get random stuff. But when you get it from a place of an understanding of what’s going to work for organic search, what’s going to work from editorial processes, pretty cool stuff happens. I was just working on a page example and I was trying to mess with my own system and gave it something to optimize the page for that it wasn’t really about. And it coached me through how to actually make the page about something that it’s not.

(14:17): So I was like, oh, wow, this is pretty wild. And very much through the lens of expertise. And so those are the things we’re working on is how to prioritize, what to do analysis, clustering quality analysis in a very unique way. What should I prioritize? And then executing with amazing briefs. So what did I not say? Actually generating content. I firmly believe that’s the thing that these technologies do the worst. And if you can coach yourself almost there and then take it all over the finish line with your expertise built in magic, things happen. Very magic things

John (14:52): Happen. So you mentioned expertise at least four times in that answer, and it was right to my next question. Search engines are theoretically now looking for expertise, looking for actual experience when you’re writing about a topic that you can demonstrate, no, we do this or I’ve done this. I mean, that’s certainly one of the things that can be a potential shortcoming in ai. So how do you overcome that? Because again, you were clearly thinking about it because you’ve mentioned it numerous times.

Jeff (15:25): Well, I’ve been doing it for a very long time. I’ve been saying authority, a topical authority for now, sadly more than a decade, trying to get people on the horse to be thinking about quality for a long time. But now it’s true what you said. Certain queries, certain research paths require expertise. They should have always required expertise, but in reality, could it be assessed? And so what I’m being a push for is ensuring that you have a human in the loop at various stages and you understand the types of things that if you were to inject them in the process would exhibit expertise. So it’s things like brand style, tone and voice. It’s things like actually the personal anecdote that needs to be in there. It’s things like when I own a micro brewery, when I’m writing an article that it’s featuring these types of beers, make sure the one I make is in that listicle that I make, because that’s going to make it unique and illustrate expertise as well.

(16:30): If there’s a technique that I want to feature, if there’s a area of expertise, if there’s a visit to a particular country and I need to include that to represent that I’ve actually been there, those are things you can inject early in the process and keep the flow logical. So it doesn’t just seem taxonomy in like a dreaded post publish edit, which doesn’t. And those are the ones that are getting killed right now is these post publish, edit, I call them postage stamp content. They have 90% generated, and then they’ll put a personal anecdote at the bottom. You don’t even know whether it’s real or not, and the price of not being authentic, people are feeling it for the first time right now, and they didn’t go there early enough. So a lot of their pages, exhibit, exhibit, that’s actually authenticity or actually inauthentic information. And that’s where you get into a big,

John (17:26): Yeah, because before chat, GPT, let’s face it, for five, eight years, there were a whole bunch of content forms out there producing chat, GPT, like content, weren’t they?

Jeff (17:35): I’ll call it that. However, the sharps were winning, the sharps were winning, and those sharps, many of them, the really sharp folks are still winning. But yes, there was a lot of content that was, I’ll call it powder room makeup on the pig. And you are seeing that for many reasons, those sites tremendously viable right now where you had great infrastructure built. Those still are whether they were using generative AI or not. And in the end, if the content is producing information gain or when someone reads it, they’re getting value. And then it has to be part of an infrastructure that makes sense. So for example, if I put out the most amazing article ever written, it’s medically reviewed by 20 veterinarians, and it tells the story that the guide to owning a Boston Terrier, if my site doesn’t support the fact that I am the source of content for that particular dog breed, it doesn’t make sense. If my site’s about ginger ale, it doesn’t make sense that I publish that piece. So there’s pieces of the puzzle that can’t only be looked at the page level or the paragraph level, and it all tells the story of, Hey, you will pay the price if any part of your site is inauthentic. Yeah,

John (18:53): Yeah. Wait, there’s sites about Ginger A that’s awesome.

Jeff (18:55): I’m sure there is. They’re the two things I’m looking at is my dog and my ginger ale right now. So

John (19:02): I’m sure you get asked, imagine you’re talking to a group of agencies or agency owners of content folks at agencies. What’s the future for that aspect of that business?

Jeff (19:14): All the time? This is the question, right? Is what can I bring? And I think what happened was, I mean, you saw a huge fallout of low quality content providers. They’re in the process of all going away or they’re pivoting to focus on where could they go? They could go with, oh, we have to get really good at AI using it basically on your behalf, or We have to get really good at what differentiates us. So it is we will extract great information out of your expert’s head, or we will actually go find experts and tell that story. What’s the key there? The ones that are still, I wouldn’t call them thriving, but they’re surviving asterisk right now from a content delivery are ones that have experts in the loop at some level, or they have really great processes around building out extraction of information.

(20:07): I mean, what, I had a presentation that this was over a year ago called The Rise of the subject matter expert predicting. This is predicting this conversation, right? I changed that this year to be the subject matter expert has risen because they are the most important person in the room, and that is where the book’s going. It’s going to be finding passionate people who can tell a unique story that can be woven into content that’s assisted by AI has always been the magic. Now it’s going to be the only magic that works with very few exceptions, especially when topics require experience. And you’re also going to see maybe in cases where it’s really hard to differentiate. So there’s a lot of duplicative content. People are going to have to get creative and differentiate, and that’s going to be a race to the top, frankly. And so if you’ve gotten away with lots of generic content and it’s still working now, I wouldn’t feel comfortable.

(21:12): I would still want to go back and say, what are we bringing to this that’s special? Is it unique imagery? Is it personal experience? I’m not saying write a 2,500 word blog on top of all your recipes, but other industries have already gone through this, and that’s one of them. They’ve already gone through this folks. There’s only so many simple chocolate chip cookie recipes. They already had to go through this and figure out how to differentiate. And then do they differentiate with their brand? Do they differentiate with their clout to differentiate with exciting imagery video? Those are going to be the challenges that folks that haven’t historically had to deal with that are going to have to deal with if they’re still prospering with generic content.

John (21:54): Yeah, it’s kind of like in the old days, black hat SEO stuff would work, and that’s why people kept doing it, but then one day it didn’t. No

Jeff (22:03): One day. It’s the Pixar story spine, but they don’t like to finish it, right? It’s like then one day, and then we said, oh, shuck. No, it’s true. It’s all repeat, spin, cycle repeat. And these are enterprise SEO brands, large brands, large publishers away with black hat techniques. Oh, yeah. I mean, give me three beers and I’ll tell you each one and exactly walk you through the processes that they will, but they are doing, let’s count ’em down. But you aren’t able to do that. And if you are doing it, it is still a risk. It is still a risk to do some of these things. And we see that with the gains and losses. Every step you take has to be, you want to get more predictive and less speculative. And if you’re relying on tactics that are troublesome, they have a shelf life, you just have to do it with those eyes open.

John (22:58): Yeah. Yeah. Well, Jennifer, appreciate you coming and spending a few minutes on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast to talk about this interesting and evolving topic. Is there someplace where you’d invite people to connect with you, find out more about Market Muse?

Jeff (23:11): Oh yeah, sure. So you can email me, market Online. We have reverse trials so you can get free access to our paid solution, lifetime free access to some of these other solutions. Give me a call if you want to talk about more of the site level strategy, recommendations, engines, those types of things that we’re working on building. I’ve got tons of webinars, everything. I love this stuff. LinkedIn on the Twitter x Jeffrey Coil, and yeah, what I would just recommend, if you’re playing with this stuff by yourself, there’s a lot of communities trying to figure out best ways to do it. Just make sure you’re bringing your expertise with you at every step of the process and your outcomes are going to get better and better every day, whether it’s your brand dial tone format, or you’re actually bringing in your personal anecdotes and ensuring that they make it into that final product. You can get away with just some basics like that and really making this work for you. And always have a human in the loop. Don’t publish right out of the machine yet. There aren’t any examples of that working that I think don’t have a shelf life. I’ll leave it there.

John (24:23): I know that I’ve written at least 4,000 blog posts in my career, and I’ve never wrapped one up by saying in conclusion, which every single chat GPT article seems to do.

Jeff (24:35): Yeah, there are a lot of, they also, some of them say, continue

John (24:41): Or I’m out of soap. Yeah, exactly. Right.

Jeff (24:45): But the reality is being able to look at one of those thousands of blog posts through the lens of a developmental editor, guess what? I can guarantee you it’ll be 4,000 great experiences, and that’s the kind of stuff that I’m doing because you are the expert and getting through those blind spots and seeing what’s magical and what you could do next. There isn’t anything out there that’s doing that out of the box, but it’s not to say that it can’t be done. I think that’s for everybody listening. If you have a great use case, get it into the community with your people you trust, and they may have path to somebody who can do this stuff with ai, because I know some smart folks who get this stuff done on the basis.

John (25:30): Awesome. Again, appreciate you taking a moment to stop by. Hopefully we’ll run into you on these days out there on the road.