“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
For anyone who spends time on internet marketing forums, or who follows some of the top internet marketing gurus, one common thing that is often brought up is the benefits that come from having a mentor.
A mentor is someone who has already traveled down the path you are walking and who can give you sound advice on how to best deal with obstacles that get in your way. A good mentor acts as a guide that will help you limit your mistakes and open your mind to new avenues and possibilities you wouldn’t have been able to see on your own.
Unfortunately, mentors are not widely available as the only people worthy of being mentors are few and far between. The path to great success in any field is difficult to travel and, as such, only a handful ever make it to the top.
Thus, the supply for a really great mentor is low, despite the fact that the demand—the number of people who want a successful mentor—is incredibly high.
Fortunately, you do not have to have a one-on-one mentorship with a truly successful person in order to learn from them and use their experience to help make your journey less difficult.
In fact, I have never had a one-on-one mentorship with a marketing expert or online guru, but that has not stopped me from building a couple of successful websites. However, it would be foolish of me to pretend like I have accomplished what I have all on my own…
In reality, I have had mentors to help me along the way…
It’s just that rather than having a one-on-one mentorship to help me, I have had multiple mentorships with gurus who regularly post amazing content on their websites.
Through these indirect mentorships, I have picked up a ton of useful information in regards to building websites, generating traffic, building my brands on social media, marketing, and improving the overall experience for my audience and readers.
I have learned from quite a few experts in internet marketing, but there are a few whose content and services have been more instrumental to my success.
What follows is a list of three internet marketing experts and gurus who I owe a lot of credit to for the success I have found thus far…
1. Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income
I’ve been following Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income for a little over 5 years now. In fact, Pat was probably the first internet marketing expert whose content I started reading on a regular basis.
Back then, Pat had a feature where anyone could email him the URL of their website, and he would check it out and respond with some quick tips on how you could improve your website.
At that time, I had a Blogger blog with a couple of articles that I thought were decent, so I emailed Pat my blog’s URL to see what he thought. He quickly responded and told me that I needed to move my blog from Blogger to my own domain, because on a free service like Blogger, I didn’t own the content and, as such, it could be taken down on a moment’s notice without my consent.
And—if I’m remembering his email correctly—he also said that a blog on a blogger subdomain wouldn’t warrant as much trust as would a domain that I owned. Or in other words, blogspot.yourdomain.com seems less legit than a site on yourdomain.com.
This email quickly helped me realize that there was a technical side of building profitable websites and that if I were to ignore those technical aspects, the chances that my content would be read would be lessened.
Perhaps the biggest thing I have taken from Pat’s content is to be transparent. Each month he produces an income report that goes over exactly how he makes money off of his business endeavors. He doesn’t keep anything from his audience.
He’s also very engaging with his readers and he always seems to be expanding his skills, or pursuing other opportunities, in order to grow his brand. And, all of those are characteristics that I try to emulate.
Where You Can Find Pat Flynn
As mentioned above, Pat Flynn runs SmartPassiveIncome.com and posts the majority of his content there. He runs an incredibly successful podcast on business that can be listened to directly on his site, or downloaded on iTunes.
And, he hosts a daily ‘Ask Pat’ session, where he answers one question from his audience per day.
Not to mention, Pat has also published a few best-sellers, including Let Go, and, just recently launched, Will it Fly.
How to Find Pat
Some of Pat’s Top Content
- Pat’s Monthly Income Reports
- The Only 100 Words You Should Read Today
- How to Start A Podcast
- Let Go (on Amazon)
- Will it Fly (on Amazon)
2. Neil Patel of Quick Sprout and NeilPatel.com
In early 2013 my new website was doing well enough to where I could quit my job to work on it full-time. At about that time, I also moved in with my soon-to-be wife and took on a higher monthly rent payment and a lot more bills.
Shortly after moving in, my website really started to tank. I went from making ~$4,000 per month to about $1,000 per month.
The joy of finally becoming my own boss quickly turned into fear as I switched into panic mode. I took this as a wake-up call, though, and a sign that my website was not delivering the experience that it could or should be.
So, I went back to the drawing board and started looking for ways to improve my website to get it back on track.
During this time, I stumbled onto Neil Patel’s blog, QuickSprout.com, where he writes about SEO, traffic generation, social media, and other topics that are beneficial to businesses and marketers looking to increase their online presence.
Some of the first content of his that I read went over a few important things that I wasn’t doing at that time. They were:
- Inner-link your existing content
- Site speed is a key factor in Google’s ranking
- Long content ranks better
(The great thing about these tactics—along with the majority of the tactics Neil shares—is that they are not complex strategies and are often not too difficult to implement.)
I immediately went to work on putting these strategies into use. First, I went through a lot of my old posts and placed links in them to other relevant posts on my site.
Surprisingly, this simple tactic—called inner-linking—had a pretty quick turnaround and within a month, I noticed a decent little jump in traffic.
As I was still struggling with the lower income, I couldn’t really afford to do a full site redesign to improve my page speed and load times, so I installed a caching plugin (W3 Total Cache) and made a couple of design changes on my own, in order to help boost the site’s speed.
That also had a noticeable effect, and not long after my site had returned to making ~$3,000 per month.
Then, taking Neil’s study that longer content ranks better, I set out to create some really monstrous guides. I looked at the competition for a keyword I wanted to rank for and I noticed that one website had a guide that was ~10,000 words long.
I decided that I would write two guides discussing the same thing that would trump that guide and so thoroughly cover the topic at hand, that they would become the top guides on the subject. They both ended up approaching 20,000 words in length each.
And, at the same time, I also set out to re-design my website and make it even faster…
So, I buckled down, paid to move my site to a dedicated server (StudioPress hosting), got a more SEO-friendly website design (Genesis framework), and put my blog on a Content Delivery Network (CloudFlare).
The results were incredible. Within a couple of months of implementing the new design—which significantly sped up my site—and lengthening my main two guides, my site’s traffic exploded, I jumped to the top of page one on Google for some really big keywords, and I went from making ~$4,000 per month, to ~$20,000 per month within a year’s time.
If it wasn’t for Neil Patel’s content, I’m not sure that I could have made such a drastic change in such a short amount of time. While I did know that I needed to improve my website to get it back on track, it was Neil’s guides that gave me the specific tactics to implement in order to see such results.
And, perhaps that’s the best part of Neil’s content. Aside from being helpful and informative, Neil lays out actionable plans that anyone can implement and from my experience, those plans work, too.
Where You Can Find Neil Patel
Neil runs two blogs, QuickSprout.com and NeilPatel.com, and has been featured on various other top marketing and business websites. He also does consulting work for some high-profile companies.
On QuickSprout.com, he has a section called Quick Sprout University, which has a ton of helpful videos for beginning online entrepreneurs and experts alike. And, he also has a ton of truly monstrous and thoroughly written guides on topics such as SEO, online marketing, link building, content marketing, etc.
How to Find Neil
Some of Neil’s Top Content
- The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing
- The Advanced Guide to SEO
- The Advanced Guide to Link Building
- The Step-by-Step Guide on Improving Your Google Rankings
- 10 Advanced SEO Techniques That’ll Double Your Search Traffic
3. Brian Dean of Backlinko
Brian Dean seemed to have burst on the scene out of nowhere a few years ago and he very quickly established himself as being the “king of backlinks.”
I’m not sure if that title does him justice, though…
In reality, what Brian is really good at is promoting his content… and because of his ability to promote content, the backlinks come naturally to him. In fact, I would go so far to say that Brian is so good at content promotion, that he seems to get more out of the content he produces than anyone else.
While some content marketers pump out great content on a regular basis and promote it well, Brian pumps out amazing content a lot less often and then promotes it like a mad man.
In any case, a few of Brian’s guides have been instrumental in helping me acquire some big backlinks for my various niche sites—which, in turn, have helped propel my sites to greater rankings and bigger success.
He was also the first person that I read that recommended using HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which I use daily and which has helped me score some big links as well.
Some of the best tactics that I have picked up from Backlinko and implemented with good results are:
- Conducting effective email outreach campaigns
- Finding insanely valuable .EDU backlinks
- Using Brian’s skyscraper technique.
In my opinion, though, if you can take just one thing away from Brian’s content, it should be implementing his Skyscraper technique.
This technique calls for you to look at the top-ranking page in Google for a certain keyword term and then to set out to write something bigger, better, and more influential than the content on that page.
The idea is that, in doing so, you will have an amazing piece of content that your audience will love as well as content that will also be easy to promote (because it’s so good).
And, if done correctly, you can go to the websites that are linking to the content that is currently ranking #1 and you can pitch them on your newer, longer, more thorough, and ultimately better content in the hopes that they will link to you as well.
As I mentioned before, one of the biggest increases I saw on my top-earning niche site came when I set out to produce a bigger and better guide than a competitor was offering. And, after implementing this strategy, my content not only jumped over that competitor, but it also shot all the way up into the top 2-3 spots for a very competitive keyword.
So, I can personally attest to Brian’s skyscraper technique. And, I believe that if you do nothing but write bigger, better, and more shareable content than your competitors, and you promote it well, you will definitely find yourself rising in the rankings and thus, making more money.
Where You Can Find Brian Dean
As mentioned above, Brian Dean runs Backlinko.com and the majority of his content can be found there. He also has a regular newsletter that gives you access to content that isn’t available on his main site.
And, he offers a free ebook, titled How to Get 25,000 Visitors Per Month, that you can get when you sign up for his newsletter.
How to Find Brian
Some of Brian’s Top Content
- 17 Untapped Backlink Sources
- Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List
- Keyword Research: The Definitive Guide
- How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days (Skyscraper Technique)
- SEO Strategy Case Study: From #6 to #1 in One week
Who Are the Mentors That Have Indirectly Influenced You?
This article is not meant to be an end-all, be-all list of internet marketers you should live by. In reality, there are a lot of amazing internet marketers and online gurus out there who are just as worthy of being followed as Pat Flynn, Neil Patel, and Brian Dean are.
These guys just happen to be three of the experts who have helped propel my businesses forward the most.
And, while I have not had a direct mentorship with any of them, by reading their content and putting to use the tactics and strategies they offer up for free, I have essentially been able to benefit from their knowledge.
So, that just goes to show that you can get a mentorship with someone successful, regardless of whether or not you have the money to pay them.
Do you have a mentor that has helped take you and your business to another level? If so, I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments! It’s always great to find other experts to learn from!
This post is a part of my goal to publish 50 different posts in 100 days. This is post #4 in the series. I’m using The Freedom Journal to track my goal and help me stay focused. To read more about my goal and how I plan to achieve it, click here.