The #1 thing holding my blog growth back

Today’s post is NOT SEO-optimized, focused on a specific blogging tactic for growth, or really optimized for marketing AT ALL. Here’s what it is: an honest frustration I struggle with CONSTANTLY in blogging, and what you can expect out of Do You Even Blog over the next few months.

This post is also available in podcast format on \\ iTunes \\ Stitcher \\ Google Play \\ Overcast \\ Spotify

Yeah. I dunno if this post will perform on Pinterest…

Here’s what I hate about marketing:

It’s effective.

Let me share what I mean with a quick story:


A few months back, I was planning the January “launch” (i.e. doors open) for Blogger U.

Here’s what I wanted:

  • No less than 10 new students, whose lives I could actually change over the next 24-36 months
  • To make money

So preparing for the launch, I did what any good meta-blogger would do: I researched the competition.

Elite Blog Academy. 10k Subs. Billionaire Blog Club. Bread and Butter Blogging…and others.

What did I find?

I DIDN’T want to market my course like those others ones.

For one, I’m a contrarian and rebellious by nature, and for two…I didn’t feel comfortable with their marketing.

Their EFFECTIVE marketing.

If you’ve been a part of these course launches, you KNOW what I’m talking about…they play the numbers game, and it works.

  • Folks who usually send 2-5 emails a month start sending 10 emails a week…
  • As do their affiliates…
  • They use a standard launch formula

(tell a story, present a problem, aggravate problem, present solution with emotion, back it up with logic through testimonials, then use psychology to push sales (time sensitive, price increases, etc, etc.))

These. tactics. work…..but I don’t like performing them.

So what to do?


This also applies to producing blog content.

A few weeks back I got REALLY burnt out on trying to

  • produce blog content,
  • maintain the podcast,
  • keep producing YouTube videos…
  • (and let’s not forget building out Blogger U content, creating lead magnets, answering emails, engaging on social, and holy hell life)….


But then I figured something out.

It’s easy to say ‘no’ to distractions the SECOND time. All I had to figure out was how to LET myself say ‘no’ to begin with.

So I stopped producing YouTube videos.

I stopped trying to write 3k blog posts TO ACCOMPANY podcast episodes I’d already spent hours producing. I gave myself strict parameters on what I would be focusing on every single day…

…and it worked! Burnout conquered (for now), and I’ve found greater focus to get things done.

There’s just one huge problem:

For content: I suffer from a mismatch in what I WANT to focus on, vs what I NEED to focus on.

It’s a case of rabbit vs turtle:

there’s no right answer…
  • Rabbit = faster, more predictable growth (and possibly more overall revenues for the Blogger U launch in July)…i.e. what I NEED to do (maybe)
  • Turtle = slower, less predictable growth (less overall revenues from Blogger U)…i.e. what I WANT to do (maybe)

The question is…which one will win the long game?

I have a finite amount of time to spend producing blog content, & I’m struggling with WHAT TYPE of content to produce. Content that will help me grow better, or the content that I uber-passionate to put out?

Here’s a breakdown:

Rabbit content for me = SEO and Pinterest optimized content

Remember the beginning of this article? This type of marketing is EFFECTIVE.

And what’s worse, I’m good at it. I KNOW I’m good at it because I’ve done it in the past, and I do it for clients.

But I haven’t really done it for DYEB.

Check out my backlink profile compared to the organic keywords.

do you even blog backlinks
Note the backlinks vs keywords

Backlink outreach I’ve done? Zero.

Here’s a few of my “competitors” (I hate that term)

wtf – they have 4k backlinks, but only over 133 domains? Still, higher KWs.
lower rank, similar authority, WAY more KWs
lower rank, lower authority, CRUSHING me on organic content and KWs

They’re blowing me out of the water with KWs.

(FYI I’m NOT saying that Rabbit content is bad content per se, or that my competitors’ content is bad. Not at all. What I AM saying is that I haven’t produced optimized content just for traffic.)

The point is…

I’m certain I could reverse-engineer more blog traffic by producing Pinterest and SEO optimized blog content…driving faster blog growth…but I’m not sure I want to.

Do I want growth? Of course.

Gimme the $100k/mo revenues, like, TOMORROW.

But I do. not. enjoy. producing. rabbit. content…AND in the first 10 months of DYEB, I’ve positioned myself as being “that different honest and transparent” digital marketer.

I get loads of positive feedback from my quirky, different, opinionated, idealistic, non-optimized content (like the manifesto: I believe in Blogging)

But the truth is, I haven’t been as effective in my marketing efforts.

Growth is slow-going, and while part of that may certainly be a lack of talent…at least some part of that is an unwillingness to market effectively.

It’s not an excuse, it’s the truth.

(A truth my good friend John from ESI Money would scoff at me for…and he’d be correct in doing so.)

Turtle content for me: Content that adds value, but in non-traditional ways, and is unlikely to result in gaining new followers quickly.

I don’t WANT to give a sh*$ about SEO. Or reverse-engineering what I know will drive more Pinterest traffic.

I want to preach about what blogging should look like, and why I think digital marketing skills are SO INSANELY important to learn, regardless of career path.

(P.S. Huge thanks to Bobby for letting my publish that on his site lol)

I want to share cool blogging tools, software, gear, and resources from other, bigger bloggers.


Because I LOVE writing these things, and I LOVE sharing cool things I’ve found and learned…and while sometimes this type of content results in growth…it’s still not “quick” growth marketing.

So here’s the solution I’ve come up with:

After thinking about this for about 3 straight days, I think I’ve come up with a solution.

I’m going to use rabbit content FOR turtle content.


Here’s what that means:

  1. I’m going to produce some content that is CLEARLY not in my preferred style (ok maybe with a bit of Pete-flair and snakiness), in an honest attempt to drive traffic, gain email subs, and make more affiliate revenues.
  2. I’m going to document that process in full and share lessons learned (through wins and failures)…for you, in a “turtle” format.

Hopefully this will accomplish 3 things:

  1. For experienced and loyal DYEB tribe members (that you?)…you’ll likely get MORE value out of the case-study, lessons-learned turtle content.
  2. For new visitors and potential DYEB tribe members…they’ll hopefully get enough value from the rabbit pieces to stick around and discover the turtle pieces (which I believe is what sets me apart in the blogosphere)
  3. For me, I’ll hopefully experience more growth by producing the rabbit content I NEED, and also feel comfortable producing un-optimized turtle content that adds value in different ways.

That make sense?

This will allow me to produce optimized content for growth, resulting in new followers, while not “offending” or “turning off” dedicated true fans who enjoy my non-optimized content.

I’m BANKING on you understanding that. There might be some DYEB content coming out with semi-clickbait headlines…and listicles.

Oh yes, there will be listicles.

More specifically, here’s what I want to try out.

4 huge strategies, that are going to take a LONG time, (maybe a year or more), but will provide stellar content to fight blog mediocrity across TONS of different aspects.

1 – “Candy pieces” for Pinterest, on DYEB

Straight up, these are blog posts written for one specific purpose: Drive massive Pinterest traffic.

The posts themselves might have a bit of personality injected, because that’ll happen naturally when I write…but they’re not going to be homerun articles you’ll bookmark and spread via word of mouth.

2 – “The single best post on XYZ” for Google, on DYEB

Content written specifically to drive organic search traffic, these pieces will be long and optimized for SEO. Again, they’ll be value-adds for any click-throughs from Google, but probably not stuff YOU will fall in love with and share via word of mouth.

3 – “Launchy Mc-Launch Launch” formula implementation for Blogger U

I’m going to take a TAD more formulaic approach to opening the doors for Blogger U in July and December.

(But goodness, only a TAD, as one of my HUGE goals in life is proving there ARE alternative methods to launching paid blogging products)

I’m planning to create a whole new segment of my email list, where I’ll share a behind-the-scenes look at the launchy-mc-launch launch results 😉

(To be fair, my friend Scrivs did a bit of this when he opened up BBC last month, and I’m stealing a bit of that idea. He’s also coming on the podcast soon)

4 – I’m starting a new blog in an unrelated niche

Yes, you read that correctly.

Yes, I’ve struggled with FOCUS and chasing shiny objects in the past…but this is not that.

Well, at least not ALL that. I do get bored easily and this will satisfy that a bit…but here’s the thing…

It will ALSO provide insanely useful content for DYEB.

Starting a new blog, I’ll be armed with a TON of real-world examples of launching and growing a blog….perfect “turtle” content to be used on DYEB.

I truly think it’s going to provide really useful content for bloggers at every level.

Good news bad news:

  • Good news = I’ve already begun strategizing, and already have the entire site set-up 😉
  • Bad news = The name and domain needs to remain anonymous for a while.

It’s needs to be a “grow an audience from scratch” thing, so the first 100k visitors need to NOT be existing DYEB fans.

(Also, I’m super pumped about creating another income stream, especially a semi-passive one, which this is intended to be)

I’m excited about things to come.

What about you? And want to follow along?

If you’re up for a comment, I’d love for you to commiserate with me on the whole “some types of marketing might be super effective but it’s not what I want.” thing.

And if you’re a great marketer who doesn’t feel that way, feel free to shame me in the comments.

I’ve gotten plenty of that too 😉

Also, if you consider yourself a DYEB fan, are you ok with me producing ‘rabbit’ blog posts suited JUST for marketing, as long as I continue to provide you valuable stuff on the back-end?

I’d love to keep you around. You mean something to me.

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33 Responses

  1. I’m slightly confused by one part of your post, probably read it wrong. Do you feel that you cannot do SEO optimized content with providing great content that is beneficial to the reader?

    1. Not at all.

      I don’t LIKE trying to produce SEO optimized content, because it’s not the type and format content that BEST serves my existing audience.

    1. Ha TOTALLY ok. There’s absolutely no way to avoid getting overwhelmed with all this stuff, and it pretty much never goes away >_< Just a process of filtering it after a while. and thank you!

  2. Pete, you’re the best. I LOVE this tactic and I’m excited to follow along.

    I feel the same way with ads. Sometimes I fall for those click baity headlines on Pinterest for the bloggers that have made $X in two months wondering what I’m doing wrong. When I click on their site they have 57 things pop up, slide in, ads practically between every other word it’s so bad. My immediate reaction is “how do people even read this for more than 10 seconds for this person to drive traffic!?”I don’t get it but I can’t swallow that pill just to make a quick buck.

    Cheers to quality and I’m hoping once again the tortoise beats the hare in the race!

  3. Great post but here is my honest truth for where I am at.
    I absolutely think your podcasts are solid gold and why I am here right now today reading this blog post (well of course I clicked through from your newsletter)
    I don’t have time to read all the blogs that I enjoy in a day and because I walk and hike so much it is easy for me to crush at least one podcast a day. That’s where my DYEB podcast marathon has been occurring.
    You are a machine and I look forward to any knew content you put out so good luck.

    1. Oh 100% Chris. The podcast won’t change a bit, as it’s what I do.

      (Honest to God, if I had 10 billion in the bank, the ONE THING I’d continue to do with DYEB is interview other bloggers. Then pay loads of other people to do all the production/editing of course 😉

      DYEB podcast is here to stay my friend!

  4. I’d love to learn how to create Rabbit content. The turtle content is useless if nobody’s reading it. Please teach us how to create a post to drive traffic from SEO and Pinterest so we can write the turtle content people will read.

    1. Will 1,000% do.

      Doing THAT is essentially what I really really want to produce! (i.e. that’ll be my turtle content) 🙂 🙂

      Now I’ll actually have real examples and evidence to use. Well, assuming I know what the F I’m talking about and produce wins to share.

  5. Keep it rolling Pete, as a fellow blogger who is interested in blogging, marketing, etc. I feel the pain and the struggle.

    16 months in and I still haven’t broke 10k page views, my pinterest game sucks, and I’m also one to despise sending 100 emails in a month…. but all at the same time, those are things that are working for others.

    Looking forward to seeing your progress 🙂

  6. Listicles? Are those like icicles or testicles? I’m hoping it’s not the latter. Then again I’ve read that 15% of internet traffic is XXX related…

  7. It’s so great to see you (someone I see as a blogging pro) bemoaning the rabbit and turtle content issue.
    I’m a brand new blogger (this week) and finally realised (when it was written in black and white for me by another blogger) that the majority of content is rabbit stuff and not turtle stuff. I had no idea! That makes me sound a bit innocent but I only researched blogging for a month before I dived in – oops.

    And Yes, I hate the multiple sales funnel emails with their big count down clocks on them. I learnt a lot from the free element of EBA but ye gods did I get hit with emails from anyone and everyone. Most were helpful as I was so new but 20 emails+ a day is a bit much!

    So, in a round about way what I am saying is more than happy to see rabbit and turtle content. It will be helpful to me to learn from you with this stuff.

    And I don’t do podcasts at the moment as don’t have much of a commute/working out time so blog posts pretty please as well as podcasts!

    1. You got it Tuppenny 😉

      And a month? Thats actually pretty good! I just dove in not knowing WHAT the heck i was getting into.

      Thanks for coming here! Dont let me let you down 😉

  8. It’s a good idea to start a new blog in another niche. The issue that might come up is that you won’t be able to network to grow the blog. I’m doing to same thing. I won’t be able to network to build it and it’s just for extra income. Looking forward to the turtle content!

  9. Do it man! Excited to see what’s to come. Still being fairly new to blogging I have very little idea how to create rabbit vs. turtle content. I just go out there and write currently lol, and always want to learn new approaches.

  10. Sounds like a good plan Pete! I’ll be listening for updates to see how it all goes 🙂 Especially combining rabbit and turtle content. If you keep adding your own flair to your posts like you said, I’m sure they’ll still be entertaining and informative. Best of luck!

  11. Pete, whether you produce rabbit content or turtle content, I’d still read your blog posts and occasionally listen to your podcasts when I can. You provide great, down to earth content that is instructional, informational, plus, you give us homework. Which, post school, I think harkens us back to our adolescent years and some bloggers yearn for that nostalgia of simpler (homework) times.

    Keep accountability-ing.


    P.S. Pareto 80/20 principle, if you spend like 80 percent of your time doing what you enjoy, turtle-yness, and 20 percent of the time doing this rabbit content for growth and money, not too shabby of a way to go about it?

  12. Oooh, I like that, 80/20ing your approach to depth in blog content (which is what the whole rabbit/turtle question is).
    Just remember that when you do write some rabbits, even though their topic and keywords may be SEO optimized, and their title Pinterest-worthy, they can still have quality inside. I don’t mind clicking on clickbait articles, if what I find inside is actually worth my time. What I HATE BEYOND ANYTHING is clicking on clickbait, only to find that I’ve been duped into reading something someone obviously spent >10 seconds writing, with the sole purpose of getting rich from their ad revenues. Even though I will tease you at least a little for every article that starts with “10 reasons to build…”

    1. I’m totally with you, and it stinks that Pinterest is FULL of that.

      And look at you commenting on my blog!

  13. I’ll always be a fan, Pete! And I think that everything you do provides value!

    More people definitely need to discover your blog and podcast so do what you need to do to spread the word. I definitely recommend them both whenever I can. 🙂

    1. Awww thanks Monica. I appreciate your support, and I’m doin it. Letting loose for the sake of growth for a while 😉

  14. Pete,
    You’ve already reeled me in. I enjoy your posts, your snarkiness, and the podcast. You blog what you want to blog cause I’m not going anywhere.

  15. I struggle with the whole rabbit vs. turtle thing too, especially as a brand-new blogger. My site isn’t monetized or SEO-optimized AT ALL; it will be eventually, but I greatly prefer just telling stories over writing material specifically to drive traffic. I know it’s a necessity to a point, I just hate doing it.

  16. This is my dilemma; rabbit vs turtle.
    Deep inside I’m inclined towards the turtle and non – conventional approach.
    It aligns with my core values of helping new moms.
    Eventually, my blog will be rewarded and I’ll be more content with myself.
    Thanks for so eloquently describing what I struggled identifying so far!

    Best of luck!

    1. I think everybody probably feels this–and I’d also imagine there’s a nice balance somewhere in the middle most of us should take 🙂

  17. Yesssss. The marketing is so effective that it makes me want to buy their expensive courses which will tell me how to make money like they do…but the one thing that keeps me from buying those courses is that I don’t want to make money that way! I so resist playing that marketing game, even though I see how effective it is. This has been a struggle for me in general to balance effective strategies for growth with the more honest, “this is me, stay and buy if you want to” approach.

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