“You are in two businesses,” Joe Pulizzi says.
“You’re in the ‘whatever business you’re in’ business, and you’re in the media business.”
Greg Ng lives, breathes, sleeps, and eats this dichotomy.
But mostly, he eats.
Ng is the founder and sole proprietor of Freezer Burns, a video blog devoted exclusively to reviewing frozen foods found in supermarkets in the United States.
In 2008 Ng had recently moved to North Carolina to start a new job as an online marketer, and was waiting in line with five coworkers to use the single microwave in the company kitchen.
He said to himself, “Why do you think this person chooses this? Why did this person choose this other one? It would be interesting if there was a review site for frozen food.”
Ng was inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk, whose video blog about wine, Wine Library TV, helped increase revenue at his family-owned wine shop tenfold, catapulted him to a ten book publishing contract, and helped secure a national radio show on SiriusXM.
Vaynerchuk delivered a stirring, much circulated keynote speech at the Web 2.0 Summit in 2008 that became a touchpoint for an entire collective of new information entrepreneurs like Ng. Subsequently outlined in his book, Crush It!, Vaynerchuk inspired Ng and others to follow their passion and take advantage of their evening hours to add structure to their enthusiasm.
“Gary talked about getting rid of excuses, and that 7pm to 2am is plenty of time to do damage,” Ng says. “The same night I saw his speech, I shot my first episode, and I haven’t looked back since.”
That’s a bit of an understatement, as Freezer Burns celebrated episode 582 recently, and new iterations of the very short (three to four minute) show are generating as many as 250,000 views each, across thirty different video networks.
Ng sells advertisements on his video and blog, and major consumer packaged goods companies pay him to honestly review their new offerings.
“I don’t do paid endorsements… and I try to be as objective as possible,” Ng says. “At the same time, there are companies who have new products, or new product lines, or new brands that want to get some exposure. So I charge for a guaranteed review within thirty days, with the disclaimer that I may like it, or I may not like it.”
This forthrightness is one of Ng’s success secrets, as his core audience of college students and lower-income Americans don’t want to waste money on a poor choice within a category with a bewildering array of ever-changing options.
He’s not afraid to pan an item that deserves it, and his compilation of “The 5 Worst Tasting Frozen Foods” is featured on the home page of the blog, which also includes the complete archive of every review he’s done.
Every page on Ng’s site is found by Google, visited by prospects, and shared in social media, creating an information annuity that generates ongoing benefits. In most cases, these increased page counts are derived through the type of aggressive blogging that Ng and I prescribe.
To pay real dividends, blogging and question answering has to be a significant, robust effort. More and more companies are embracing blogging as a way to communicate with customers and prospects.
37 percent of B2B companies surveyed by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs in 2012 were using blogging as a marketing tactic. But how many of those blogs are crafted with the obsessive commitment to question answering you’ll find on Freezer Burns?
Being comprehensive makes a difference. The more questions you answer, the more useful you become, which breeds visibility and loyalty. In the same study, HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 or more times per month get five times more traffic than companies that don’t.
Success won’t come overnight, but it will come.
Ng says his first fifty episodes of Freezer Burns averaged 200 to 300 views within the first week of airing. Now, however, new shows generate one hundred thousand or more right away, and even his first shows have slowly accumulated many, many views over time. By being a Youtility, Ng and Freezer Burns answered a need in the community and continue to provide valuable information to their subscribers.
So how can you translate this to your business or blog?
Your goal with Youtility is to create marketing that is so useful people would pay you for it. You, of course, won’t be charging them for your marketing but you want to provide so much value that they will want to buy your product or services.
Greg Ng did it with Freezer Burns and so can you.
Excerpted from the New York Times best seller Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype by Jay Baer. See YoutilityBook.com for other resources.