SFR 152: My Content Machine – Stephen Larsen

SFR 152: My Content Machine

Jun 29th, 2018 anchorwave

The way I put out content has evolved heavily over the past two years. Here’s an intro to the roles I had to fill with brilliant people to push my messages further…

It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur, if you’re just starting out, or if you’re an expert with a team – if you’re not putting out great content – you’re sabotaging the growth of your business. And that sucks, right?

If you went to Funnel Hacking Live and saw Peng Joon’s presentation – you might think that you need a gigantic team to create content successfully, but that’s not true.

During the last few years, I’ve gone from not wanting to publish at all – to bootstrapping every piece of content I created – to having an Epic Content Machine (costing twenty-six grand a month) blasting out to multiple platforms each week.

Close up clockwork mechanism or a machine inside.

It’s been a crazy journey and I’ve learned so much along the way…

In this blog post, it’s my mission is to show you that creating content is easier than you think. So, stay with me and I’ll to show you how to do it.

THE RELUCTANT PUBLISHER

At this point, you might be thinking, “Hey Stephen, It’s alright for you, but I don’t have twenty-six grand to spend on a content machine!” That may well be true … but I’m not going to let you off the hook that easily.

Stephen Larsen no excuses

If you want to be rich don’t allow yourself the luxury of excuses -Robert Kiyosaki

When I first started publishing, I was the only person in my content team. Even worse, I was the least likely person to start publishing…

I was totally sold on everything Russell said, except for one thing – I NEVER wanted to publish any content – EVER!

I didn’t want to podcast. I didn’t want to write blogs. I didn’t want to get my face out there. I was happy to build funnels. I was happy to do the work and push past my comfort zone in so many ways – but I was NOT going to be one of those people with their face all over social media.

Quite frankly, I’d rather ride a motorbike dressed as a giant chicken than become one of those podcasters!

Stephen Larsen on a motorcycle wearing a chicken outfit

Well, “What’s up everyone, how you doing?” I’m podcasting!

As I write this, my two shows have crossed over 160,000 downloads between them.

Secret MLM Hacks Radio with Steve Larsen

So what changed my mind?

CONTENT DOMINATION

A week after attending Funnel Hacking Live, I’m working next to Russell Brunson at ClickFunnels, when I start to notice an interesting trend – Russell was always creating content.

A lot of the time we didn’t do anything unless there was a camera around.

I’d watch Russell going, “What’s up guys, this is Russell Brunson!” on camera… then on his podcast… then over on the blog…

Eventually, it hit me that there must be something to this publishing lark.

One day at 4:00 a.m, Russell voxed me; “Dude, I’ve got this sick idea – swing down to the office as soon as you can. I’m really pumped about this. I’m gonna make you famous. Dude, we’re gonna start a reality TV show, man!” And that’s how we started ‘Funnel Hacker TV’.

ClickFunnels had content EVERYWHERE.

Can you consume all of the content that ClickFunnels puts out? No! Nobody can – but that’s not the point. The fact is, that;

Whoever controls content controls beliefs and ideas. Whoever controls content controls the industry.

If no one hears you speak, then no one knows you exist. That’s why this whole content thing is so powerful. If no one knows your message, you don’t exist – and that, my friend, has a direct impact on your wallet – I speak from experience…

Man with no money. Businessman holding empty wallet

BOOTSTRAPPING CONTENT

After about 6 months of working at ClickFunnels, I decided that I needed to get a handle on my fear of publishing.

I realized how grateful I was for the content from the gurus who had helped me on my journey. Even when I didn’t have much money I was able to consume amazing free content and move forward.

I recognized that if I wanted to get to the next level, then I had to get some skin in the game.

I saw that the major entrepreneurs always had a content team. They were never the only one doing the content. But at the time, I didn’t even have the money for a good mic…

I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m not gonna be able to afford something like that… and how do you even put a team like that together.”

However, I knew that as an entrepreneur, resourceful is one of the major traits that predicts success.

It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you – Tony Robbins

So I’d wake up at 5:00 a.m and go into work early. I’d take Russell’s microphone, unplug it from his computer and plug it into mine. Then I’d record the episode.

Stephen Larsen podcast

I use Adobe Audition to edit the sound because it came free with the Creative Suite I used at CF.

I didn’t know which settings to use. So I went to YouTube and googled ‘podcast sound editing’. I had no idea what all those letters on the sound editing stuff meant. I just took them and pasted them in… and it’s one of the reasons that my podcast sounds so good today.

So for a while, I was the producer, and the recorder, the attractive character, and the content creator.

I used Libsyn.com – and for five bucks a month – I was able to push my content out on multiple platforms.

I knew that a lot of people want to read, but I didn’t want to write a blog.

So I’d rip the audio and get it transcribed at Rev.com. Then I took that transcription and put into WordPress, and pressed go. Boom! A blog post for every episode.

To make my intro I hacked all the top rated podcasts in the business category on iTunes – then added my own character and message to the patterns that I saw.

Next, I went to premiumbeat.com and downloaded a cool song I liked. I had a voiceover guy from Fiverr record the intro and then I just put ’em together. That’s how I made the original Sales Funnel Radio intro.

Guys I freakin’ bootstrapped. That’s the whole point. There’s no reason to let lack of money stop you from publishing.

You just need to get resourceful and find a way.

When I shot videos, I’d rent a camera from the library and then I go and use the editing software in the library too.

QUESTIONS INVITE REVELATION

If you ask the right questions you’ll always get an answer. So instead of asking “Why can’t I do this?” Ask, “How can I do this?” and you’ll always find a way.

Woman with question mark on blackboard

Your brain will answer the question you ask – If you ask, “Why am I broke?” You’ll get the answer. So instead try asking, “How can I make more money?”

Knowing that “the obstacle is the way” is one of the major secrets to your success as an entrepreneur. Don’t try to avoid obstacles – lean into them instead and find a way.

Just ask the right questions and you’ll find the answer on the other side.

MY FIRST TEAM MEMBER

Around Episode 40, I got my first team member – my sister. I showed her exactly what I’d been doing – so after I had the episode transcribed, I would hand everything over to her. She’d add it to WordPress and do some cool SEO optimization with some plugins – and that’s how it stayed until recently.

At Funnel Hacking Live I realized that my content machine was good … However, I decided that I could do a lot more. I’d worked my butt off and I wanted to try to blow up some of these platforms a little bit better.

When I saw Peng Joon talk about his content production I realized that, with a few tweaks, I was already close to what he was doing.

So over the last few months, that’s what I’ve been focusing getting my Content Machine up and running.

It’s part of the reason why some of my other business has slowed down just a little bit – because my focus has been on this content machine. Setting up systems and getting my processes in place… It’s been epic.

NATIVE CONTENT

People Looking up at Social Media Icons

It’s important to know is that each platform has a context and a type of content that’s native (a type of content that users enjoy connecting with and expect to see) to it:

  • Facebook users like to be entertained
  • Podcast listeners are usually on the go
  • Blog readers like instructional posts with structured information
  • YouTube users like to be distracted, entertained, or are searching for “how to video” – generally, it’s more instructional than Facebook’s

So that became the challenge; “How do I just do a podcast and then repurpose the content for the different platform’s context?” And my Epic Content Machine was born. Now for the exciting bit! Keep reading and I’ll share how I set up my content machine with you below:

MY CONTENT MACHINE

We use Google Drive and Trello to manage the process:

  1. I record a video podcast and add to a team google drive folder
  2. I rip the audio and upload it to rev.com for transcription
  3. My amazing audio guy adds the correct intro and outro, adds the settings and goes through to match the volume loudness throughout. Next, he uploads the final version to our team folder and assigns it to the next person in Trello
  4. Then the next Rockstar comes in and figures out some ninja SEO to compete on YouTube. She creates some cool 15-second clips for future use on Instagram. Next, she creates a thumbnail video and a whole bunch of other stuff – She’s Amazing. Finally, she adds them to our asset folder and tags the next person in Trello
  5. My incredible blog writer grabs the transcription from Rev writes an awesome blog post and adds it to the shared folder
  6. The next person to get tagged is the fantastic WordPress Rockstar. She posts the blog to WP and makes it look visually amazing. She then passes the Trello card to the next person
  7. The next Rockstar launches everything on Libsyn. He does all the cool checks so that it can blast out to tons of platforms at one time, then – you guessed it – He assigns the Trello card to the next person
  8. The final Rockstar puts the content on Instagram and in Facebook groups. He does a Twitter blast and a Chatbot blast

That’s the whole team and the whole process.

Rockstar symbol with sign of the horns gesture. Vector template with scratched texture.

CONTENT DOMINATION

What’s cool is that deadline for the episode is the exact same time on every platform. So give or take a few seconds, everyone publishes at the exact same time

All this content is hitting the internet on different platforms at the same time. Boom!

The same content repurposed to suit the intent and context of each individual platform – because of this, there’s a lag time in the preparation.

After I record, there’s usually about a week and a half, or two weeks, while everyone’s doing their role.

Anyways, it’s freakin’ awesome. It’s super cool. That’s my content machine.

BUILDING YOUR CONTENT MACHINE

If you’re just starting, don’t go out and try to build your content machine like mine from the get-go.

Eventually, you’ll get there… But be gentle with yourself until you can invest twenty grand on a team just for content’s sake. You can build up gradually like I did.

Vector industrial illustration background of the factory for pro

In Episode 60 and Episode 61 of this podcast go through in depth on how I put my actual content together for the podcast.

These episodes dive more deeply through some of my tech setup, and the systems that I use.

If you are trying to build your own content machine, whether it’s blog, or podcast, or video, whatever – then check them out

In this episode, I wanted to show the updated version of what I’ve been doing recently so you can learn some cool tactics – while avoiding the pitfalls along the way.

Until next time – Go Crush It!

Hey, you want me to speak at your next event or Mastermind? Let me know what I can share that would be most valuable by going to stevejlarsen.com and book my time now.

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