Content Crafters is an interview series where we de-construct the tools, tips, and tactics that top bloggers use to get so much work done. you’ll walk away in mere minutes with actionable takeaways you can try out right away. Let’s dive in!
Adam Enfroy runs AdamEnfroy.com, a site that teaches bloggers how to scale like a startup in 2019. He also offers SEO Consulting to help large SaaS brands scale their link acquisition and SEO.
Previously, he had been running full funnel paid acquisition campaigns at BigCommerce and was responsible for 8-figure budget, global campaigns across all business units.
While there, he began side hustle blogging, and impressively, went from zero to monetizing his blog and pulling in $10,000 in 90 days. He’s now writing for an audience of about 100,000 readers.
In this interview, we’ll cover many of these themes, including affiliate marketing for bloggers, scaling a side business while working full time, and what’s working and what isn’t in content marketing today. You’ll learn a ton
How did you get into content marketing? What’s your origin story?
I originally got into content marketing while working as the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. I realized that rather than paying huge affiliate payouts or trying to drive sales with affiliates on page 3 of Google, I could just write content on high Domain Authority sites and get it to rank on page 1.
Having balanced a thriving side hustle while working full time at BigCommerce, do you have any learnings or advice on others trying to build out a side hustle?
Scale, scale, scale.
If you’re building an online side hustle while working full-time, you can easily put in 100+ hour weeks – I know I did for 7 months. Remember that time effectiveness is the key to growing quickly. Just like startups use growth hacks to scale their online presence, side hustlers need to do the same thing.
Take bloggers for example.
With only so many hours in the day while working full-time, does it make more sense to write every piece of content yourself? Or outsource certain components of your blog and develop systems to scale? I know my answer.
Most of the time spent on my blog was in two primary areas (and almost none of it included writing). These were:
- Obtaining ghostwritten content to post on my site.
- Pitching guest posts (then outsourcing the writing) to scale backlinks.
By focusing primarily on just two main areas, I scaled both the amount of content on my site and the number of links pointing to the content.
Finally, once my content began to rank, I added to my content and used semantic keyword tools to perfect each post. Then I joined affiliate programs and added the affiliate links into my content.
Ultimately, when building a side hustle, you need to make the most of each minute away from work. I admittedly didn’t have a life for 6 months. However, with this process, my blog’s income doubled my full-time salary within 6 months and I was time to take on my blog full-time.
What tactics or actions do you believe had the biggest leverage for your early (and fast) success starting and monetizing your blog?
Guest blogging for sure.
When you start a new blog, Google doesn’t care about you.
You can write the greatest piece of content, but if you have no Domain Authority or links to your site, it will be extremely difficult to rank. After writing my first five blog posts, I shifted nearly 100% of my attention to getting backlinks to my blog from guest posts.
I emailed and pitched high DA sites, got topics approved, and then outsourced the content creation for relatively cheap.
Early on, this system led to contributing 20+ guest posts within a month.
What are some of the biggest mistakes bloggers make with regards to affiliate marketing? Why doesn’t it seem to work out for so many bloggers?
First of all, I was lucky enough to meet a ton of smart people in my career and lucky enough to get jobs in SEO, paid acquisition, and affiliate management.
As an Affiliate Manager turned Affiliate Marketer, I see a lot of new bloggers make the same mistakes.
First, a lot of bloggers want to make quick passive income with affiliate marketing.
The problem is that they put the cart before the horse and want to add a bunch of affiliate links to their blog before getting traffic. Or worse, they want to put up a quick website with some developer on Fiverr and throw paid ads to their affiliate pages without understanding the math. Affiliate marketing is both a numbers game and a long term SEO strategy.
For example, if you have a blog post with affiliate links that you want to monetize, it can take thousands of visits to that page to make real money. Let’s say you get 1,000 organic visitors to that page. Next, 20% of visitors click one of your affiliate links on the page. Finally, 10% convert to a lead and then 10% of leads convert to a sale. That may be two affiliate sales if you’re lucky. And if you’re promoting a $100 product with a 7% commission rate, all of your hard work to get 1,000 visitors just resulted in you making $14.
To succeed as an affiliate blogger, you need to understand not just SEO but also conversion rates, commission rates, cookie durations, and even how to negotiate with affiliate managers for higher commissions. I created a digital resource on my site called Affiliate Advantage to help with these tactics. They helped my blog’s early affiliate revenue:
- $3,000+ in affiliate revenue by month 5
- $5,000+ by month 6
- $11,000+ by month 7
Is there anything particular to your background, personality or skill set that you believe makes you a great content marketer?
While hard digital marketing skills are important, I think that the most important skill for a great content marketer is mastering how well your personality shines through in your emails.
While meeting other content marketers in person is super valuable, over 90% of my content marketing success came via email. If you can master the pitch and your personality hits other marketers’ inboxes, you’re golden.
Most outreach is pretty bad (Image Source)
On the other hand, some of the worst content marketers I’ve come across send poor, generic email outreaches or ask for guest posts or backlinks without providing any value in return. Content marketing is all about trading value for value.
When I first wanted to work with influencers in the space, I often sent 5-10 backlinks to their blogs before my initial email outreach.
In the end, great content marketers provide so much value that others literally feel bad if they don’t help you.
What’s an irritating trend in content marketing that you wish could go away?
What bothers me right now is that a lot of marketing content is written with the same generic, non-tactical advice from influencers that got their start 5-10 years ago.
Once influencers “make it big” they tend to play it safe and start appealing to the largest possible audience with generic advice. While it’s great that they succeeded, many of them started back in the early 2000s – the same rules don’t apply anymore.
With over 95% of new bloggers failing, these tactics shouldn’t be taught to new bloggers.
Typical blogging advice includes things like picking your niche, writing about your passions, maintaining a consistent schedule, staying motivated, getting backlinks, and promoting your site via social media. While this advice seems to help on the surface, it doesn’t dive deep enough.
The #1 reason I started my blog was to teach new bloggers the step-by-step, tactical process to grow from zero in 2019. And hint, most of it has nothing to do with writing.
If you weren’t doing content marketing, what would you be doing?
I’m lucky enough to be doing what I want to be doing because of content marketing. Right now, I’m answering these questions from Barcelona and will be moving to France, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand all within the next four months.
One of my heroes is Anthony Bourdain.
He had the innate gift to come up with the perfect words to describe the human experience, a brutal honesty, and the ability to connect with almost everyone he met. Since I’ve automated most of my blog’s processes, I now spend most of my time doing what I want to do – traveling the world and shooting unique videos of my experiences.
You can follow my Instagram where I just started posting some crazy travel videos with a drone and 360 camera equipment.
What is one final tip to improve my writing?
Avoid perfectionism and just hit publish.
I probably spent 20+ hours on my first blog post. Now I spent over 10x less that. Plus, there is plenty of software now like Grammarly that helps tremendously to understand your writing’s readability, use of passive voice, writing habits, etc. Use these tools, improve your writing style, and just hit publish.
Finally, as cliche as it sounds, make sure you love writing and keep at it. As I just started writing about 8 months ago, I’m nowhere near where I want to be. However, I’m excited to keep learning and improving my writing over time.