28 Mar The Makings of a Badass Writer with Nicolas Cole
Who’s Nicolas Cole?
He’s the founder of Digital Press and the writer who cracked the code.
The code that drives traffic, followers, and clients.
He’s doing it across his Quora, Medium, and Instagram profile.
He’s also written over 400+ articles for Inc.
And he’s created an ecosystem.
An ecosystem that will drive traffic for many years.
As I got to know Cole, I studied his art form to see just what keeps him going.
Few have caught on to his strategy that’s grown his presence by over 50,000 followers in the last six months. Making it one of the most unique ways to grow an online presence of loyal followers.
Here’s his step-by-step strategy for the first time with some BAMF sauce:
Step 1: Dominate Quora
I published this lengthy guide on Sumo about getting started on Quora. If you’re well versed in Quora’s platform, and you’re looking to drive traffic to your website and other social profiles from the platform, then listen up. You need to pick a niche.
Once you know your niche, answer as many questions as you can within that niche. The idea here is not to care about the ratio when it comes to the number of followers vs. answers when picking the perfect question to go after. You want to own the content in that niche.
For two reasons:
- It will take writing many answers before you’re good at it.
- Once you’ve written hundreds of answers, you’ll have answered most of the best questions.
If you want to drive traffic, you should plan on writing, at least, five hundred answers. Period.
After you go through the initial stockpile of questions, you want to get someone to ask SEO-optimized questions. Hundreds of them. Make sure you answer all questions using quality pictures. Feel free to use the pictures more than one time. I’d recommend having a set of thirty pictures to interchange among.
As you can see, Nicolas Cole has conquered Quora with over 900 answers and 52,000 followers.
There are two parts that helped Cole rack up over 50 million views on Quora while driving traffic:
- His ability to tell stories about his life with the right Quora questions (I wrote a guide on storytelling copy here)
- His skill to promote his other work without overselling it
Here’s an example post from Cole. Notice how he includes an Instagram worthy shot, then subtly drops the link below to follow him there. That’s what you call promoting without overselling.
Just like magic – he has more followers.
He has the Instagram call to action on many of his answers, after all, he has over 900 of them. The part that people don’t see is that these posts will continue to drive traffic to his Instagram since they’re SEO optimized. Now he has a permanent source of traffic for growing his Instagram profile’s presence.
When you get to the end of Cole’s pieces, he often has a subtle call to action he drops after the piece gets traction. Here’s an example:
Cole sends people to a landing page where they can opt-in for his email course. This allows him to segment, then remarket to his most interested audience.
Step 2: Dominate Medium
Cole doubles down on this method using Medium. He takes the same approach with his content to drive more traffic and followers. The content he posts on Medium is similar to Quora as well. This makes the transition rather easy.
The secret sauce, though? That’s getting featured in top Medium publications. Here’s a list of the top ones. This list changes every year, so there are a lot of publications missing like the one in the picture below, ART + marketing.
Why Medium publications?
They’ll push you out to thousands of more viewers.
Cole uses publications to ramp up his viewership on Medium. This way, when his follower base is large enough, he can solely rely on it when publishing content.
How do you write for one of these publications?
It’s not as easy as it used to be. That means you need to contact the owners and editors of these publications via LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Another way to do it is to ask existing writers to refer you (note: please don’t ask me).
Cole uses an Instagram worthy picture for his Medium articles similar to Quora.
Notice how he drops a subtle link below the picture to drive traffic back to his profile.
And wallah – it’s magic.
…Except the part that requires a lot of writing.
Step 3: Dominate Instagram
Cole has his Instagram point directly back to his website. I like a lot of what he does on Instagram in regards to pictures. He doesn’t try to be someone he’s not. There’s nothing fake about it.
Also, these pictures fit perfectly with the topics of the articles he writes about.
Take a look at the engagement rate in the picture below. It hovers around ten percent of his total profile followers. That’s a positive sign. As anything over 8% shows a healthy profile.
The only concern I have is that the growth is dramatic as seen in the picture below taken from Social Blade.
The growth has happened at the same time Cole has doubled down on Medium and Quora as traffic drivers to Instagram. With that said, because the growth has been so fast, it might mean there are also other factors at play. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cole is involved in an exclusive group where people like and comment on each other’s posts to drive more engagement.
Step 4: Drive Traffic Back to Your Website
All this traffic means little if it’s not driving back to your website. Using SimilarWeb, we see that Cole gets a large percentage of his traffic from Instagram to his personal website.
Moreover, we see that the top referring site is Medium as per Artplusmarketing.com being a part of Medium as well.
Cole’s personal website is averaging more than 30,000 visits/month.
That’s impressive – to say the least.
To understand the impact of Cole’s writing on his website, we take a look at where most of his traffic is coming from, backlinks and search. Take a look below:
This means Cole’s writing is driving most of his traffic.
Step 5: Add BAMF Retargeting
We do have a couple of recommendations for Cole to up his marketing game. The first step is including retargeting to website visitors as well as the current list of people who opted-in with their emails.
We’ve found that retargeting ads on a low budget often work best when running ads on both desktop and mobile. The reason is people are more likely to read an entire article on a desktop, but skim the same articles on mobile. Advertising to both accompanies each user’s tastes.
If you have a strong Instagram channel, then it’s important to focus on retargeting there. You already have strong social validation and the ad inventory on Instagram is relatively high compared to Facebook. This means you can often achieve a lower cost per click and cost of acquisition on Instagram.
We recommend running four types of retargeting ads:
1. Segmenting Facebook ad:
This ad is meant to generate high-level awareness from viewers while convincing them of three things: credibility, likability, and relatability.
The perfect ad on a low budget? You speaking at a conference.
Ideally, you want to test five to ten of these videos, then use the one people engage with the longest. The best part about this video is you can now retarget people based on their view time.
2. Credibility Facebook ad:
While you’re running the ad above, it doesn’t hurt to layer on more credibility to this audience as well. For Cole, he can run one of the many articles he’s published in Inc. In the example below, I run a featured article in Forbes as an ad to my website visitor, LinkedIn connection, and Facebook friend audience.
3. Opt-in Facebook ad:
I run this ad to people who’ve viewed my credibility ad on Forbes as well as my video. To keep marketing to the audience who clicks through on this ad, make sure to send that audience to one of your website blog posts recapping the entire article. Then have a note above the article with a hyperlink to the original Forbes (or other credible publication) article, saying, “Originally Featured on Forbes.” This way you don’t lose credibility while segmenting this audience.
For retargeting the audience who’ve viewed your video ad, know that Facebook automatically saves those audiences. This makes it easy to send ads to people who viewed your video based on a certain length of time (e.g. ten seconds).
4. High-value offer Facebook ad:
For the people who’ve opted-in to your eBook or another low-barrier offer, send them a high-value offer. This offer should be to jump on a free trial of your software, book a call with you, or purchase a course. In the example below, we’re sending our audience straight to our website to book a consultation with us.
This high-value offer ad has a relevancy score of a 10/10 because we’ve done so much segmentation. Notice how we also manage to include more credibility into our high-value offer with the picture of Larry King – that’s gold.
For Cole, he already has a head start. Here are two rows of Instagram pictures he’s posted.
Now that’s prime ad content for establishing credibility. I’d recommend running all these pictures of ads even the one of the book. The reason is – it’s a constant reminder to people that Cole has a significant amount of credibility, especially to the people who are not as active on Medium and Quora.
Turn Your Success into a Process, Then a Company
Cole is one of the few game changers helping companies thrive on Quora, Medium, and top-tier publications. He’s turned his success with content marketing into a process. This process has turned into the company, Digital Press. From badass writer to badass businessman, Cole is taking the content world by storm.