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Martin: Hello. This is Martin, and today’s event is Everything the Google+ Needs to About Clear Voice. And to take us through, we have the cofounder and chief executive of Clear Voice, Joe Griffin. Hello Joe. He is there.

Joe: Hello.

Martin: Very good indeed. And joined by the one and onlines David Amerland and Mark Traphagen. I pluralized it. I did. And maybe somebody else to come, maybe somebody else to come as well. Just to let everyone know, here is the plan. We are going to have a quick chat. Then, we have got a presentation from Joe on what Clear Voice is, what it does and why you may well be very interested to give you are a writer or you are blogger.

And if you are interested in Google authorship, then it is right up your street. And this presentation, –, 20 to 25 minutes. Then, we are going to have a chat and bring in comments which are on the comments thread.

So if you have got questions, then ask them at the end and we will bring them in. So let’s begin. Joe, do you want to give a quick overview of who you are, what Clear Voice, your background and that kind of thing?

Joe: Yeah, definitely. So Joe Griffin, I am the cofounder and co-CEO of Clear Voice and also the co-founder and co-CEO and iAcquire, digital marketing agency. And my background has just been in search since about ‘98. It is pretty much all I have done, search and social and obviously content marketing now as things have evolved. But really excited to be here today and talk to you guys about Clear Voice and what that means for writers and for publishers and even for small and medium and large businesses. Yeah.

Martin: It is great. So Mark is going to leave us in a little bit, so we are going to have a quick conversation. Mark, what are your thoughts? You have been following Clear Voice, what are your thoughts around this?

Mark: Yeah, I think that the topic of author authority has definitely sprung. Certainly Google Authorship put that in the forefront of many people’s minds. It is a much talked about topic. I started a community here on Google+ called Google Authorship and Author Rank that now has over 28,000 members and daily active discussions going on there.

So it is obviously a topic on a lot of people’s minds, and it is a topic we know that the search engines are interested in as we come into the World Semantic Search that David will be talking about that Google wants to and other search engines want to be able to identify who people are and then in this particular context, what content they produce and what effect does that have.

Because it just makes sense that somebody while there can be a one hit wonder out there, but typically somebody who produces really good, really useful content one time will probably be doing that again and again and may actually be an authority and somebody to be trusted in that area. That would be valuable for the search engines to know. It is valuable for people to know.

So tools like Clear Voice that can help us get a handle on that and begin to see for ourselves and for other people that we might be interested in, how authoritative are they in their areas? What do people think about them? These are things that are important in the real world. They are going to be increasingly important in the world of search in the years to come. I have a very vital interest in this and what Clear Voice is doing.

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Martin: That’s great. Thanks, Mark. Let me come across to Joe just before we come to David. Joe, having heard that, I mean people are on Google+ about these areas as Mark says. – into one or two sentence summary of what Clear Voice is.

Joe: So Clear Voice is actually in its second phase of a four phase plan. And I always talk about kind of what is it today and what is it going to be in the future, and if you think about it in the future, what is it? It is a content marketing platform that’s built for writers, publishers and brands. And this first phase of it is really designed for writers and publishers, and it is designed to attract that audience to the website to come in, claim their profile, take ownership of their profile and essentially their portfolio, which we will show.

And then, also give them the opportunity to just raise their hand and say I am someone who is interested in freelance writing projects so we can start to really understand who all the writers are out there that are interested in working with companies and having an opportunity for freelance work.

So we want to create a large scale transparent index of what we call the author graph, which is essentially everybody that is producing content on any semi-well known website. Let’s call it the top 200,000 digital publishers, so if you are creating content on the top 200,000 digital publishers, we want to know who you are, how much content you create, what type of content you create, how well that content performs in social media and take all those things and attach them to your public profile.

And there are some things that you can do to make that a lot easier for us, and that’s also beneficial for you because we are going to put out what might be the best portfolio that you have of all your works with an accumulation of your works, an aggregation of all of your social mentions across those works, all the publishers that you write for and it really becomes a strong tool kit that you have to make your personal brand more attractive for working with businesses.

Martin: Beautiful. And this is a free thing for writers and bloggers, so everybody watching realize that this is very much for you and there is a service for publishers. So that’s great. Thanks, Joe. Let’s come across to David, who is going to be talking semantics I think.

David: Possibly. Actually I was quite thrilled to see it for a number of reasons, but the primary one is that writers who produce content for a living, writers who write for a living, traditionally have been really bad at actually gaining recognition on the web primarily because they develop blind spot.

They focus on their writing, and they think everything else is just marketing that they don’t want to do because their writing needs to speak for itself. And we end up frequently with great writers either not being recognized or remaining in the shadows and remaining relatively obscure. We do live, as Joe said, in a transparent web right now and it is becoming increasingly so.

So having a tool like this for writers is actually brilliant because it allows them to establish their expectations of authority in incredibly competitive field. I think that’s actually brilliant because then we can start seeing who produces what content, how that content resonates, which is great for writers per se but it is also great for content creators and those who might possibly want to engage them and engage the services. I think it is a brilliant tool to actually have at our disposal at the moment.

Martin: Great. Thank you, David. And we are joined by Eric Enge. Eric?

Eric:  Hello everybody and hello Joe, how are you?

Joe: Hey, Eric. Good. How are you doing?

Eric: Good thanks to you too.

Joe: I know you don’t have a lot of time so thanks for swinging by for a few.

Eric: Yeah, I literally have a couple minutes so it should be good. Martin told me I needed to do something and whenever Martin tells me I need to do something, I just do it.

Martin: That’s good. We are just chatting. We are talking. We are going to go into a presentation in a couple of minutes, Eric. Joe is going to take us through but we are talking about Clear Voice and the benefits to writers, getting the profile and having it set up so that people can find. I mean what are your thoughts generally on authorship. Mark has given his thoughts. Because you may not have seen the start of the show, so I am giving you an easy one.

Eric: Yeah. So look, I think people establishing their authority online is a really important thing. It is integral to every content marketing plan that we put together at Stone Temple Consulting is who is the expert going to be.

We call them subject matter experts or SMEs. Who is the expert going to be? What are they going to write about? Where are they going to write it? And all that, and what’s the plan for building them as up an authority online? And that’s kind of integral to every content marketing client engagement we have. It is like literally discussed in the proposal, at the proposal level. So we are really big on that.

The question, as you know, Mark and I both of the opinion that the notion of authoring doesn’t really exist but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a ton of other value to. There is a ton of other value to the whole process of establishing your authority as an author online.

Martin: Great stuff. Thank you very much, Eric. And joined by Ronnie Bincer. Look at this. It is all happening today. And Ronnie, meet Joe. Joe meet Ronnie. Ronnie is the Hangout helper, and Ronnie produces a tremendous amount of content to help people with Google Hangouts.

He is one of the people on the senior team as are Mark and David. Eric, you are an honorary one today. And we are talking, Ronnie, about authorship but we are going to go into the presentation now. So if you want to hang around for a bit and we will have some questions towards the end. Joe, should we come back to you?

Mark and Eric are now going to be zipping out, so thanks for you two coming in. There is no rush. You have got at least four minutes, but I am going to come up to Joe and Joe is going to show his screen. And we are going to run through the presentation for everybody.

Eric: All right. Nice to meet you, Joe.

Martin: Thanks, Eric. Catch you soon.

Joe: Good to meet you.

Eric: Later David. See you Ronnie.

David: Bye bye take care.

Martin: Nice little social on a Wednesday. So Joe, you are on the main screen so even though you may not see it, I am speaking. So go for it. In your hands.

Joe: Okay. Great. So I think starting with kind of the where is Clear Voice today and we will talk a little bit about where it is going, but today if nothing else, it is a search engine for digital signatures. And when we think about and Eric mentioned just the value of understanding who is producing content.

And there is so much value in that for any customer or any publisher that wants to work with writers to produce content because they really need to understand what are the credentials of this individual, does this individual have a track record of producing content that is shared in social media, do they have what I would call not only social proof but publisher proof. In other words, have high quality publishers allowed them to produce content for that publisher or multi publishers allowed that type of interaction?

So when we think about understanding who are all the content producers out there and what kind of content are they producing, where are they producing content, how often are they producing content and what is the social metrics around that content.

We really have to turn to digital signatures as the primary mechanism that we have to really be able to identify a person. And when you look at Google+ as an example, I think it is the best example out there. And if you look at the definition of Google+ in Wikipedia, it says that Google+ is a social network and identity service. And I think that’s one of the most important things that we have got all keep in mind of what is the point of Google+.

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Not only is it designed to integrate many or all of Google’s products, but it is also designed to be that kind of integral identity service that Google has an understanding of about who are you and what is your activity on the Internet. Really making your identity know when you produce content is really mission critical. So only using your Google authorship mark-up but also making sure you are using Twitter, the Twitter metacards as well that you are making sure that you are using your Twitter handle in the authorship mark-up as well.

And I think we will see other types of mark-ups come out. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see something from LinkedIn. They have taken steps to really become a publishers themselves. They are a huge advocate of publishing, and I think if they take that next step, we will see LinkedIn really go author at some point.

So those digital signatures are things that we look for when we crawl the web, and I can kind of skip a little bit here. So this is just a screenshot of our homepage, but if you notice kind of in the middle, there are some statistics there. And I just want to talk about kind of what we are doing and how we see this.

So the way we look at this is that any publisher that has even a small amount of kind of notoriety or awareness is one that we want to know about and we want to track that publisher. And we are looking at things like how many subscribers does the publisher have, is that publisher readily findable through other links and/or what is their domain authority.

So do they have a certain amount of authority or do they have a certain amount of traffic? So we have got a lot of those types of very high level statistics across really every website, and as we find new websites, we look at those things. If a publisher meets some kind of barrier to entry and I would say that’s a low barrier to entry, then we are going to want to monitor that site.

Currently we are looking at 140,000 digital publishers, and so starting with some of the biggest publishers like Huffington Post and InGadget down to smaller publishers. We are analysing those sites, and within 15 minutes of the time that any of those publishers puts out a new piece of content, we index that content, we extrapolate who wrote that content and we also take a look at what was that content about.

So we do a topic analysis on that content. And what that allows us to do is really produce, kind of reverse engineer that to produce what we call the author graph and if you look at the statistics, you will see inside of our author graph today we have produced now 162,000 profiles of authors that we found by analysing these close to 46 million posts across these 140,000 sites.

And we are analysing about a half a million to a million new posts today now every time they produce content. So we are really I think doing a better and better job every day of finding who all the authors are and then being able to link all their content to them and ultimately put that towards their public works. And we will take a look at an example of that. I will also note that I wish every piece of content was digitally signed.

Unfortunately, only about 30 to 35% of all content today that we are finding is digitally signed. Now that’s great because that’s up from probably 10% 18 months ago, so the good news is that more people are signing their works. Not only are more publishers and people signing their works, but we are finding that the percentage of the time that they sign their works are more frequent as well.

Once someone starts to adopt authorship, we find that they more rapidly adopt that across every post. And we find that those that are adopting authorship are using it about 85% of the time, so that’s great. There are still a lot of big publishers out there. I won’t name names.

That aren’t using authorship. We are definitely looking into a little bit of a marketing campaign to raise awareness about that and contact them directly and do some things to try to get them using authorship because it is important that we as an Internet society take those steps. Before I go on to some of these next steps, Martin, I don’t know if anybody else wanted to chime in before I continue.

Martin: I know that Ronnie can only stay for a second, so I don’t know if you wanted to make any comments on authorship. I know you have got to head off.

Ronnie: I did want to ask a quick question, Joe. There are certain ones of us that do a lot of work on say Hangouts, hangouts on air. And we create video, and this isn’t necessarily text that shows up on a website. And also a fair amount of people that have taken to actually somewhat blogging right on Google+ and they are not necessarily doing it on a website, are your tools going to address that type of situation? Or is it more the traditional website scenario that you are trying to track?

Joe: So we currently are and will be expanding our reach into Google+. So all public content in Google+, we will be expanding that reach and we will be recognizing those works as well. We will be viewing the Google+ network as basically a really important publisher.

So the Google+ publisher will have high scores in our system, and not only will we find that content and list it on your profile but it will count towards your score. And we can talk about the score too and what the value of that is, but it is definitely something that we want to be recognizing.

In terms of the video, any time the video is hosted on a page which has your authorship mark-up or mentions your authorship name in the right places, we will be able to see that video. Of course, we can’t crawl the text of that but we always encourage all publishers, even Google+, to transcribe those videos so that we can actually read that text because we want to understand what those topics are about so that we can associate people to topics.

Ronnie: Brilliant.

Martin: Excellent. Thank you Ronnie Bincer. Excellent. Okay, Joe.

Joe: All right, moving back. So really the next step of this we talked about is we have got 160,000 authors and let’s essentially create those portfolios. So Clear Voice becomes this place on the Internet that has maybe the most public profiles of authors of anywhere else currently on the web, and that’s something that we really aspire to have because not only do we want to be the largest index of authors but also the most transparent.

And we really want to make these portfolios something that look good, feel food. We want these to be something that writers whether you are a blogger or if you are like a paid writer for a brand or if you are a paid writer for a publisher or anything in between, we want these to be kind of a portfolio of your works that you feel good about sharing with your colleagues, with your clients, with publishers.

This should be something hopefully helps people get more work, more freelance work or more full-time work. So that you can direct people to these portfolios and say here are my professional works. The reality is we don’t know about every piece of content on the Internet, and we still know about I would say a shallow piece of content. Every time we find a new publisher, we will go and take a look at their last 10,000 posts.

So we do go pretty far back in the history and that’s going to be all history for a lot of sites. Maybe not for Huffington Post, but for a lot of sites. So we don’t know everything in terms of all the works, and of course any works that you have out there that aren’t digitally signed, we don’t know for sure that that is you.

If a piece of content and maybe this is an example of Martin here, if Martin in the past had a piece of content that was maybe placed on a publisher that did not allow him to use his authorship mark-up or maybe just did not properly integrate it, we may not for sure that piece of content was written by Martin Shervington even it says it was.

That’s not quite enough for us. But what we are allowing people to do is come in, claim your profile and backfill your history. So you can provide us with all your old content and we will go index it within about 15 minutes and come back and tell you if it is signed or not.

All of your signed content that we find will get listed as part of your signed content portfolio, which is what this is. It will potentially increase your score as well. And then, all your unverified content where we are going to go ahead and agree and believe you that you wrote it. We will also list that on your portfolio. It will note that it is unverified. In other words, we can’t technically prove that it is you but we are going to believe it is you.

And we are taking some steps in the future to be a little bit smarter about some of that unverified content. Think about how a Google or a Twitter might do this same process and some of the steps that they would might take as well to say hey, we are only 95% sure that this individual wrote this piece of content but we are going to go ahead and give that person credit. So we are taking some of those steps as well. So that’s a little bit of an overview of the portfolio, and you will also notice that there are two cool things about that.

One, it gives you a little bit of a checklist of all of your unsigned content out there. As you add that, when we tell you it is not verified, you then might take steps to see if those publishers can update that content for you. That’s always a difficult task but it is certainly something that you can attempt. And it is also gives you a little bit more ammo to make sure in the future that when you are trying to get those works signed.

And it also becomes this place where you can see all your social shares. I think there’s a lot of value there, too. And we can see one of the pieces of content that Martin wrote. I think this was on the Social Media Examiner kind of in the middle here. That had 5,000 shares in social media, and that’s very compelling. And it says a lot about not only the publisher that he produced that content for.

In that case, this is a great publisher that really does get a lot of social shares. It can also be telling of certain types of content that perform better. And it is also something that you can look at across maybe one publisher and see what content performs better on a certain publisher and see it across all publishers. It looks like we may have a question.

Martin: We are all good. We are saying good bye to Ronnie. Keep going. You are great.

Joe: Bye Ronnie. So that’s the portfolio. We talked about it just being a beautiful way to showcase your work. So another thing about Clear Voice I think that people of how they can view this is it is also a networking tool. There are some really great influence or marketing tools out there. I am a big fan of Follower Want, which Moz acquired and it is part of the Moz family now.

And Follower Want is a great tool that lets you do key word searches across people’s Twitter bios and lets you find influential people on Twitter that you can network with. And I think Clear Voice has a similar value proposition. It goes a little beyond maybe just Twitter because it looks at Google+.

And it really looks as publishers as a whole, and here is a screenshot, an example of where we typed in content marketing in the topic search of Clear Voice. And we can see these are the people that are coming up, and these are the people that write about content marketing.

So if you keep in mind the fact that every time we index a piece of content, we look and see what’s the content about and we extract the top 20 or 25 topics on that piece of content. Now, Michael Brenner, who is at the top of this screenshot, a couple thing you will notice about him is one he has got a little green check by his name.

That means he has come in and claimed his profile, so that means he is an active member of Clear Voice. We can also see that he has produced 307 pieces of content on five different websites and 67,000 shares. He has got a very high score. But what’s cool is that because we know what all his content is about, we can then aggregate all the content he has written and say when Michael Brenner writes content, this is the type of content he writes.

And so we can extrapolate that to say these are the topics he writes about, so this is a really compelling way to find influencers that write about certain types of topics that you can then network with. And there is not currently the ability inside of Clear Voice to contact him. We will put those tools together in the coming months, and so you will be able to do some of that directly. But we are also giving you everything that you need to know about any of these individuals.

We give you all the tools and the ability to see what kind of content they produce and of course where they are producing it. We talked about that. And just also his social handles. Here is his Twitter handle. Here is his Google+ handle. So we are going to make it easier for you to do some of that networking on your hand. People should look at this as a great way to build relationships. Any questions on that, Martin?

Martin: We are all good. Keep going, Joe. I will interrupt if we have got questions.

Joe: All right. Perfect. Clear Voice is also a marketplace. And this is the third phase of Clear Voice. I talked about we are in phase two. And this phase rolls out approximately October 15th. We are really excited about it.

As people every day come in and claim their profile, many of those individuals also say we are interested in being freelancers. And one of the things that we like about Clear Voice is we are really focused on people that are actively producing content using their name, so we are really focused on I would say really a subject matter expert community.

And it can be novices and it can be experts and everything in between, but we are certainly looking for people that are really engaged online. And so if those people that are coming in claiming their profiles are also joining our marketplace, and so around October 15th or maybe the end of October we are going to open that up. So when you come to Clear Voice, you will be able to actually see people in the searches and we will highlight those people so that they are really easy to see.

You can actually see that there are certain people that are available for freelance work, and you can also get an account as a publisher or a brand and search Clear Voice through a marketplace search similar to what you see on the front end but just specific to the marketplace and find people that are willing to produce content and work with you. And so that’s something we are excited about as well.

We expect that based on our current run rate and trajectory and we have got some marketing dollars that are going to be opening up here in Q4, we will have more than 10,000 profile claims in the next year and assignment desk signups. So we expect to have 1,000s of freelancers that are willing to do work in the system, but of course they will all have portfolios and you can see their works as well. So we are excited about that.

Martin: One quick question on that, Joe. In terms of people signing up, so if you are watching this now and you sign up, it is free. And it is a case of claiming your username as well, isn’t it? I am Martin Sherv. That’s generally where people are going to find me. So this is the most dumb question but I just want to make sure. But if I didn’t claim it, somebody else could claim it. So the point is if people, they want to be involved and want to choose their username, it’s a good time to go and get it.

Joe: There are two sides of that. One is that we are going to make it so that no one else can claim you. If you look at this example, in order to claim this person’s Google+ profile at Clear Voice, he has got to authenticate with his Google+. So we are going to match that. So the fortunate thing is no one can steal his name, but what you said really gets into more of kind of your vanity URL.

So we are allowing and this is in the next phrase, iteration, coming out. We are doing iterations now every two to four weeks, so they are coming out quickly. The ability for people to claim that vanity URL so that you can get your username. So I would definitely recommend claiming your profile and getting ready for that because you are going to want to jump on that before someone takes an alias or name that you might use.

Martin: Great. Thank you, Joe.

Joe: Moving on a little bit and we are getting close to wrap up here too, but the next phase of this is that assignment desk and that marketplace we talked about coming in mid to late October. We have one now, so it is beta currently. Anybody who has got interest, come into Clear Voice now and raise your hand and sign up. Let us know you are interested. We are bringing people into beta. We have clients today that are hiring people. This is an example of an individual, and I blurred out the names and places.

This is a person that is currently working on some projects. We are working with this person to get their content that they have got out there signed so they can get a score a Clear Voice. Otherwise, they won’t have a score. But it is an active system and we have got the ability now to find writers in the marketplace, manage assignments, manage content. We built a really content kind of creation process in the backend, so it is a very real thing that’s coming soon. So again if you are interested, I would definitely get involved. The other side of that, the last side of this is that Clear Voice is also a platform. So when I say it is a platform, that means it is a content workflow management system.

So for publishers and for brands that are creating content every day or maybe every other day or folks that are creating content on a regular basis, one of the things that we find is that there is a lot of really great enterprise level tools out there that are made for big brands that allow you as a publisher or a brand to onboard your writing team, onboard your freelancers and editors, have an editorial calendar, be able to manage your content production process.

And that’s something that is difficult if you are working on Google Docs and emails and everybody is trying to collaborate in these different environment, but if you could bring that together into a workflow collaboration tool, it can really streamline that process and make it 33%, 50% more efficient.

And that’s great because it makes that process faster. It keeps track of those things, and you also want to be able to manage your payments. If you have got in-house people or you might work with 10 different freelancers on the outside, you need a system to be able to manage those payments and manage the editing process. So we are coming in with something that we feel matches those tools but is going to be a lot more cost effective for publishers and for brands.

And there is a missing gap there. So we are bringing that together as well. So Clear Voice is going to be a one stop shop where publishers, brands and writers can come to interact, to create content, to better manage that workflow system and showcase their works. That’s the really the vision of Clear Voice. I kind of call it a content solution. That’s a typo there. But that’s a content solution we are working on, and that’s really the future of Clear Voice. And that’s really the wrap up of the presentation.

Martin: Awesome, Joe. Really, really good. I have used one site for finding freelancers. I have used it 10 years or so. What I see you doing is matching a need and a niche with people and a management system so that people are going to be able to utilize this. I can see. I haven’t gone through the presentation.

I have seen the presentation before, but having watched it again with slightly different eyes, this is going to be great. And for people watching, we have got a lot of people watching right now. It is like this is going to make a big difference so that brands can find writers and manage the process. It is going to be great. It is already there. Just people have got to claim the profile, get all the ducks in a row. Once the ducks are in a row, then it is going to roll. David, what are your thoughts?

David: I have got a question which might be a little bit contentious, so Joe, I apologize if I am putting you on the spot on this one.

Joe: No problem.

David: But here is what it is. Content is really important these days, and writers are critical to this. And I love the fact that you are bringing writers and publishers together or writers and perhaps project originators.

What I am not quite sure about is whether this is going to turn into another of those bidding marketplaces where the normal nature of business tries to drive down the cost per item of content produced, which then squeezes out the real value that could be gotten from the platform and a little bit degrades the fact that suddenly you can have a quality profile created semantically. And I am just not quite sure how you are going to address this, and I know it is not going to be easy. I appreciate this.

Joe: I think that’s a great question. That is actually one of the best questions you can ask because it leads me into a more important conversation, and it has a lot to do with what is the vision of Clear Voice and what are we trying to build. And I think the first thing I want to say is that we are actually try to create a new and improved economy for writers.

Because what you said is actually right is that there are many marketplaces out there, and it is the nature of business and it is what has also led to a collapse of the traditional newsrooms in these major publications. And we have seen in the last 10 years over a third of the people employed in the big newsrooms of these big publishers, they have been let go. They have lost their jobs. And they have started to work for new places like the Huffington Post and Buzz Feed. There are new publishers that have emerged.

A lot of people saw that New York Times document that was leaked, the innovation report. And they talked about the value of the individual and that they lost that value. Somewhere along the way they started thinking about thinking that it was really about the New York Times, but it really never was. They were the voice and the conduit, but it was always about the people. And they lost that.

And I think that’s what we are trying to bring back. We want to bring the power back to the content producers. So we see that very differently. And I will just go out on a limb and say right now that one of the things I see in a lot of the marketplaces is that quality writers sometimes they are getting beat down to $20 dollars for an article.

And that’s an absurd price point. I hate to put numbers out there, but I think that even the lower tiers of writers in terms of maybe their experience and backgrounds but certainly people that have a profile and can show off their works and they are attractive. I mean the prices are going to be three or four or five times that just to start. So we expect that subject matter experts need to get paid for their time and their work and we cannot commoditize that.

I mean that is the opposite of what we stand for. We are trying to have anti-commoditization by saying let’s focus on beefing up your profiles, showing off your works, adding more value to you as an individual. You shouldn’t be getting paid eight dollars an hour if you are a subject matter expert. You should be getting paid $50 dollars an hour, $100 dollars an hour, $200 dollars an hour. So we have really got to change the perception there, and that’s one of the main reasons we built Clear Voice.

We think that there are a lot of amazing writers out there and what they need to do is show off who they are and their works, get reengaged. We want to be that conduit, and sometimes you are going to find writers that may have this glorious history in traditional media but they don’t have a good digital footprint. So if we can help them to jumpstart that digital footprint again, they can use Clear Voice as a platform, as a kind of rolling ball to get reengaged and re-establish their value to that community of publishers and brands.

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That’s the game we want to play. And I also say that the only reason we built Clear Voice is that we understand that brands want to become publishers now, too. That’s a good thing for every writer out there because the economic fact is that publications like the Huffington Post and Forbes, which they have got great stuff, they are never going to pay that kind of model because their whole model is that they spend more of their money marketing their content which is why the Huffington Post is the biggest publisher out there today.

And they are substantially bigger than the New York Times. They spend so much money marketing their content, and that’s great for the Huffington Post but it is not great for the writers. I love the Huffington Post. I think writers should have a presence there. It is great for your portfolio, but you know who is going to pay a lot more money are the brands.

The brands are going to pay a lot more money for content. They are able to monetize content in a way that is much richer than what those publishers can do is because the brands can get people to actually buy their products and services over time. They can take new people that come to their site, and they can have strategies that view those new people that are coming to their site as top of the funnel purchase opportunities.

We target them with retargeting banners and cookie them and take them into their ecosystem and really get them to become customers, so they can make a lot more money. So brands as publishers is something that’s good for everybody. That’s why we want to attract as many brands as we can to Clear Voice, attract as many customers and bridge that gap and marry those two parties.

Joe Griffin 4

There are certainly different kind of mechanics when working with a brand, but it is worth I think the time of the writer. So I mean that’s a great question. I would say we are the anti-commodity. That’s what we stand for, and that’s what we want to see.

David: I think that’s brilliant because you are right. It is a time for a change because the traditional model has not really worked very well either for those who acquire content because it is relatively poor in terms of quality and certainly for those who produce it, the writers, because again they are hard pressed and have to take on a lot of projects and they are lowly paid. So they just churn them out and the quality suffers. So I think this is quite a nice change to see.

Joe: That’s right.

Martin: I think it is fantastic. Great question, David. The content, what you just said Joe, you have got me thinking. There is a model which I think is kind of missing around the utilization of the remarketing. You use the content as a way of bringing people to the site, engaging them and then build the relationship over and over and over using that method.

And I think that’s something – that we are starting to move into, but it is missing for a lot of people because they go hold on a second, if they don’t read the article, then what are you left with? It is like they just don’t leave. Then, they didn’t fill the form in. That’s it. It is like no, you have got to change how you are looking at these. We have got to look at all the tools, and suddenly the value of the writing isn’t on how many visitors do I get in a day.

It is on the relationship that you are building and eventually it has a metric attached to it at the end, which is the customer lifetime value. And then, the acquisition cost and then the cost of the content and you end up with a model. People like ad words because you can go this, this, this equals. I mean I have been doing since 2002, 2003, and this is where I think that you are starting to bring people’s minds. So I really appreciate what you are saying, Joe. It is great.

Joe: You have nailed it on the head. That’s exactly right.

Martin: Super. We are around about 40 minutes in. There is a question here from Andrew Bat, who I am going to tell off because he still hasn’t got his profile picture on the thing that he has posted on Google+. He was how I got introduced to Clear Voice when I was Social Media Marketing World.

So Andrew Bat has got a question. He is actually making a content because he works with Clear Voice, and we talked about this before. How will agencies and brands start to interact with this? What is going to be the process that they use?

Joe: So agencies and brands will be able to connect with writers when we launch that assignment desk and platform, which is the content workflow tools. And that’s going to be towards the end of September and the first version and then it rolls out again at the end of October, so I would just set the expectation that at the end of October we expect brands to be coming in. And we have got just as an agency we have a lot of clients that are chomping at the bit.

We have got close to 100 marquee customers right now that are really interested, that want to join the platform and they want to start hiring writers. So we have got a great base we are going to bring to the table. Clear Voice is going to start an aggressive marketing campaign in Q4 once we launch that platform and then we are going to bring people directly in through Clear Voice. So we are going to bring that audience to the table.

That’s why we want those writers to come in and raise their hand now so we know that they are available to the brands that we are going to bring to the table, but I would also note too that another answer to that question is that when we talk about what are brands looking for and this gets back to that education process that Martin you talked about it of this is not PBC. This is not bottom of the funnel traffic. We are not bringing in readers that are going to go buy a product. We are bringing in readers that are going to interact with the brand.

Then it is the brand’s job to figure out how do we bring them in back again and again and introduce them to our product in a way that we can monetize and get an ROI out of. And if you look at paid search, I don’t know what the average cost per click is these days but it is probably seven or eight dollars for any kind of meaningful keyword. Of course, some are $50 dollars and some are a dollar. But on average, it is $7, $8 bucks for meaningful keywords.

That’s bottom of the funnel traffic. It converts. Sometimes there is an ROI. Sometimes there is not. But when you create a publication as a brand, you are actually producing content that is evergreen, that is going to perform well in organic search because these brands have great domain authority. It is going to perform well in social media because they have got big social media followings.

And the reason why they want to align themselves with subject matter experts is that they understand something which we loosely call content engagement. They understand subject matter experts understand how to create content that people want to read, and I think this gets back to David’s question as well which was that commodization of content. People started creating content just to create content frankly because they knew that they needed it for organic search.

That’s the number one reason they did it. They wanted more traffic and organic search, more pages indexed, but the fact is people come in, look at that content for 10 seconds and leave. Content engagement, if you have good content engagement, someone that comes to a blog post or any article you have, they should stay at least 45 seconds on that page. That means they are reading it. If you are not averaging 45 seconds or greater, you don’t have content engagement.

You have thin, shallow content that’s not good. So subject matter experts put real content that is good that people read. That means that eyeballs are staying on those brand pages longer. They are interacting with that brand longer. They are seeing the logos. They are seeing the offerings of the brand. That’s engagement. There’s value there that the brand can measure because they can understand this is someone that we should retarget.

They really did interact with us. So smart brands who are becoming publishers have more sophisticated content strategies then they ever did, they understand content engagement and they do value things like time on the page, more social followings, which they can track, and more shares. And also I would say subject matter experts tend to have better social followings as well, and of course they promote their own stuff.

They are going to mention they are working for a brand. It is not an ad. If a brand wants to pay you to do that, they can. They will mark it as an ad, but just editorially and generally people will mention their work. So that’s good for the brand too and that’s going to help them tap into those social followings. So there’s a lot of benefits there for the brands.

Martin: It is great because the tribe will follow to where the content is if there is quality content.

Joe: Exactly. That’s right.

Martin: That’s great. I think we will start to wrap up. David, last thoughts, sir.

David: We are really in the grip of semantic webs. Semantic technologies create constant transparency and empowerment for the individual, and I think this is a fantastic initiative, long overdue. I am really, really excited to see how it develops because I know there is going to be a little bit of resistance in terms of the initial uptake of brands to deal at the value level of the monetary transaction.

But it is clearly just a challenge to be solved rather than a de facto thing that’s going to happen, so we know that they eventually will see the value of what they are getting and that will be a win win for everybody. We are going to see great equality across the web. I think it is brilliant.

Martin: Super. Thank you David. Joe, what does everybody need to do? Let everybody know.

Joe:  I think the best thing is go to, check it out, play with it, understand what its strengths and weaknesses are. It is a new tool. We just launched it July 1st. It has only been out not even two months. It is in beta. It is an awesome tool.

There are a lot of things we are going to be adding to it. I think we know a lot of where its limitations are and we have got those things in the hopper, but it still has value today, a tremendous amount. I would encourage people to check it out, type in some key words. There are different ways you can search. You can search by topics. You can search by authors. You can also search a website.

So if you can go today to and click on the site tab, once the search results come up, we actually tell you all the writers that write for a publication, which is tremendously valuable. And again, whether you are networking, whether you want to write for a publication, there are a lot of uses for that. So I just encourage people to go there, check it out, play with it, find your profile if you have got one. Definitely claim it. Backfill your history so that you have got a really portfolio you can use in any of your professional experiences that you have got coming up.

Joe Griffin 5

And if you don’t have a portfolio, we have got a simple form there. Just fill it and say hey, I want a profile. Give us some information about yourself. We will create one for you and get back to you. Right now we are handling all those requests manually so we can just have a good experience, but we will automate those processes. But yeah, check it out and we are looking for feedback.

Let us know what you think and we are also looking for more partners too, people to be mavens, help us spread the word. We think this is something that has a lot of altruism behind it. We are excited about it, and we really want it to reach the market.

Martin: Superb. Thank you, Joe. Thanks to David and thanks to Mark, Eric and Ronnie who popped in as well, and thanks everyone for watching. That was Clear and Joe Griffin. Take care. See you soon. Bye.

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