In mid-June 2011, Tia Dobi reached out to Get Busy Media via our contact form, asking if we would be interested in interviewing her client, Michael Stelzner, Founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com and author of Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition.
Steve and I practically jumped out of our seats…”We are huge fans of Social Media Examiner here at Get Busy, and we would love to have an interview with Mike” was our excitable and enthusiastic response. Our fledgling digital marketing small business blog had fallen into the lap of an influencer and this influencer wanted to speak to us! We were beyond thrilled. Just a week later, I had difficulty containing myself in the moments leading up to the phone call with Michael. I took a deep breath and dialed his number.
When Michael and I spoke 13 months ago, Social Media Examiner was still growing rapidly. Founded in October 2009, the blog was an immediate success. Just two weeks after the site launched, Technorati rated Mike’s blog as one of the world’s top 100 small business blogs (as of July, 2012 it’s now #4 on that list). Last June, Social Media Examiner was home to over 85,000 subscribers. Within its first 12 months, SME had acquired more than 40,000 email subscribers and earned more than $1 million.
Today Social Media Examiner has grown to over 160,000 subscribers and continues to thrive as an online social media magazine geared towards small businesses and marketers.
Now over a year removed from that interview with Michael, my colleagues and I here at Get Busy Media have had ample time to reflect on the enormously positive impact Michael has had on our blog. Michael has undoubtedly served as our first and most important “fire-starter” (to steal one of his own terms he uses frequently!).
Gained instant credibility in our field and amongst our readers
Prior to speaking with Michael, we never had the opportunity, nor did we actively seek out time, to interview an expert in his/her respective field. Frankly, in our early days, we did not understand the value of interviews and understand how valuable this type of content is for our readers. This all changed after our conversation with Michael. Another reason why we didn’t interview experts was our lack of experience and clout. Traffic was relatively modest at this point and all we had in terms of interviews at this time were conversations with students and recent graduates.
Since interviewing Michael, we have spoken with the following experts:
• Jason Falls, Founder of SocialMediaExplorer.com and author of No Bullshit Social Media
• Mari Smith, Relationship marketing expert and author of The New Relationship Marketing
• Teri Scheinzeit, 2011 Stevie Award Winner, Mentor/Coach of the Year
• Ann Handley, CMO of Marketing Profs and co-author of Content Rules
Michael Helped to Shape our Content Strategy
Not only did Michael’s generosity help to propel our website to new heights, but it was the advice he dispensed during the interview that resonated with us.
He told us towards the end of the interview, “You know you should do more of these types of interviews.”
Speaking with Michael at that time was a revelation. Last June, we were just three months old and still ironing out what types of content we would publish to the blog, along with times of week and time of day. In short, we were dealing with several issues that plague young blogs and can often lead to their “death.” Michael imparted valuable pieces of advice to us, which in the last 14 months, have turned out to be the bedrock of our blog’s success.
The Proof is in the Data
Since my conversation with Michael on June 28th, 2011, Get Busy Media has garnered over 100K unique visits and over 125K pageviews. More telling of the quality content that now populates our site is the average time spent on page since June 29, 2011: 2 minutes, 40 seconds. This represents nearly a 30% jump in time spent on our site than in the four months prior to our interview with Michael.
Content is King (Sorry for beating a dead horse!)
Google Analytics may be the best arrow in a small business owner’s quiver these days. Embedding that piece of code in the Header of our site was the best thing we could have done. We have found that the best content truly does get consumed month after month after month, regardless of when that piece of content was published.
We have a post that was published over 14 months ago, Small Business Stats for Small Business Week 2011, that averages 47 unique visits a day. This post regularly exceeds 100 uniques in a day and most recently exceeded this threshold in mid-June, right before Small Business week (see chart below of daily traffic).
Now that’s evergreen content – a topic that Michael and I discussed extensively just a month after this post was published. Little did we know that this post would become our ultimate piece of evergreen content, driving over 19,000 unique visits and over 23,000 pageviews (and counting!), with an average time on page exceeding 5 minutes.
Michael Served (and Continues to Serve) as an Inspiration
Every day I am reminded of Michael’s success with Social Media Examiner. I am one of 160,000 subscribers to SME and receive their daily newsletters (yes, they put out that much content!). They even publish a weekly wrap up on Saturdays! Back in June, 2011, Michael planted the seed in me that Get Busy Media could work, that we could build a blog, reach a critical mass and make a difference in small business owners’ lives.
Every day I see Michael interviewing another expert for SME or see his most recent Social Media Success Summit update, which are online conferences that feature some of the best and brightest in social media. These are things that drive me every day to continue to grow Get Busy Media into a go-to resource center for small business owners and marketers.
All of us have grown up with the absolutely correct assumption that you need role models, advisors and guardians to push you when you become complacent and help you up when you’ve been knocked down. Michael arrived at Get Busy Media when we were still a toddler, stumbling around, trying to find direction in our young existence. He took our hand, walked a few steps with us and sent us in the right direction. Thank you, Michael for having such a profound impact on Get Busy Media and for providing us such valuable direction at a time when we desperately needed assistance.
With this being said, Get Busy Media is nowhere near close to accomplishing its goals. We are only a year and a half into this ride and look forward to what the coming days, weeks, months and years will bring to us. One thing is for certain though: our conversation with Michael Stelzner could not have come at a better time in our development.