I was reading a book with my two year old daughter last night called “1-2-3 WITH THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.” and my cousin, who gifted the book to us, wrote on the cover:
Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers.
And it really stuck with me. It’s a quote from Harry Truman and a quote that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I was reintroduced to it last night. Beyond the fact that my cousin gifted us a hilarious yet educational book with an inspiring quote in the cover — that message is something that I hope to instill in my little ones for years to come.
Most recently, I’ve been geeking out and studying three key themes in books: (1) Investing, (2) Longevity and (3) Science Fiction. I’m intrigued by all of these topics and use my reading to kinda escape the non stop information and obsession that I have with marketing and SaaS. But in this journey into reading about things that have nothing to do with storytelling, marketing, SEO and growth — I still learn things that are closely applicable to my world of B2B marketing.
Whether it’s the similarities between Investing and Marketing or the parallels between many science fiction books and today’s media landscape — there’s lessons to always be found.
100 baggers are stocks that return $100 for every $1 invested.
That means a $10,000 investment turns into $1,000,000.
Not bad eh?
Here’s where I think there are similarities to be had with marketing:
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Alright back to the essay…
Every successful marketing engine is built on the back of content.
The act of creating content is not something that happens with luck or without clear intent. Brands that view content as an investment are brands that have the opportunity to create a long term competitive advantage against incumbents and even those who originally were seen as leaders within their respective niche.
One of the best examples of this is the recently IPO’d Airbnb and their content efforts. I recently wrote an essay surrounding the content excellence being accomplished by this team and their commitment to capturing value when people are searching for ‘places to stay in [city]’. The approach that they’ve taken is one that a lot of companies can learn from and not just from a scaleable landing page & template perspective.
A lesson can be learned here when you look closer at the traffic volume across all their various ‘stay’ landing pages. That is, they’ve developed an entire category within their site map that is focused around pages capturing traffic from people with a search intent query focused on “staying” somewhere or finding a “stay” in a certain location.
Look at this chart tracking the volume across their content portfolio:
There’s something very interesting here.
A handful of landing pages (between 15-20) focused on San Diego, Chicago, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, etc… Are generating nearly 30-40% of all site traffic for this section of their site.
This is the marketing equivalent of finding a 100 bagger.
According to our data, the San Diego landing page generates 532,128 visits a month. The average landing page under their ‘stay’ domain generates less than 50,000 a year. But the cost to create and maintain this San Diego landing page was the exact same as the cost to create a landing page for Indianapolis, Lake Sinclair and Banff. The difference?
This landing page is performing tremendously better than others even though the investment was the same. This isn’t because the page is created differently or the landing page is structured differently. It’s because the market and the demand for this asset are aligned in a way that delivers value for Airbnb.
Don’t get me wrong.
The other assets aren’t exactly flops. 50,000 visits a year is a great number by most measures of SEO success. But what’s interesting here is that by diversifying their investment and creating multiple assets they unlocked a content multi-bagger (one asset generating millions in revenue).
This is what we all dream of…
It’s what gets that VP of sales off of the VP of SEOs back for good. It’s what gets the CMO a permanent seat at the table. And it’s what gets an agency their contract renewed year after year.
But the same way that certain things need to happen to identify a “100 bagger” in stocks — you need to remember a few things to identify a “100 bagger” in marketing. I plan to dive deeper into this and welcome your thoughts but here’s my initial take after being behind a handful of 100 baggers over the last few years what goes into these types of assets:
The earlier you are to publishing content on a subject and taking ownership of that phrase — the better your chances of ‘owning’ that keyword long term. If you go to Google and type in “What is Inbound Marketing” you’re going to see a post from Hubspot. That’s there because they were the first to own that phrase. Similarly, if you goto Google and type in “What’s a CRM?” you’re going to find a piece from Salesforce. Because they kinda created the category. You want to be early in identifying assets worth creating when there’s not already hundreds competing for traffic.
The only way for a stock to become a 100 bagger is through consistent growth. The same is to be said around the power of unlocking a content asset that is also a 100 bagger. You need the demand for that asset to increase over time rather than decrease. For example, I believe that in the coming years there’s going to be an increased demand for people looking up terms like “non-fungible tokens”, “plant based beef jerky” and “digital health care” — if you’re able to capitalize on these trends by ranking for the terms early; you could unlock a content 100 bagger.
You need to know that the content you’re creating aligns with the needs of the market. If someone is going to Google to look for a certain thing – the thing you’ve created needs to align with their wants. For example, if you create a landing page that is trying to sell me a “CRM” when I’m asking Google “what is a CRM” there’s a gap in our fit. You want to ensure that the asset you’re creating is aligned with what the searcher wants BUT also that it can drive returns. The Airbnb page is a 100 bagger because it aligns perfectly with their ability to convert.
This is a big one. It’s a bit about luck. If I was creating content back in 2005 about content, cryptocurrency, investing, etc instead of playing Madden with my friends — life would be different. But timing plays a big part in all of this. I have one asset that I wrote probably 8 or 9 years ago that still generates 100-200 visits a day and has a 5-10% conversion rate. It’s paid very well. But if I attempted to replicate that success today — it would be an uphill battle as there’s new competitors in the market and the ‘demand’ for that keyword has peaked.
Keep in mind:
100 Baggers aren’t just an SEO play either.
A 100 bagger can happen from a social media standpoint just the same.
One viral tweet can change your life.
And guess what…
A 100 bagger can also happen through Digital PR.
One viral blog post can change your career.
The truth is… Across the board, 100 baggers are somewhat unpredictable.
They’re kinda like the ‘viral hit’ that no one saw coming but when you see it — you know exactly why it worked. I believe there’s elements and similarities across the different types of assets that get 100x results and will continue to study them, learn from them and share my insights as I go.
The same way that my cousin’s message in my toddler’s book reminded me of the importance of reading — I’m hopeful this email and those to come remind you of the importance of curiosity.
Stay curious my friends.