45. Jeff Rose, Good Financial Cents Content Creation And Blogging For Attorneys

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Jeff Rose built his multi-media personal finance business from the ground up. After dropping out of college and spending 9 years in the Army National Guard, Jeff got his Certified Financial Planner qualification and start his side hustle – a blog called Good Financial Cents. Today, Jeff’s a self-made millionaire, with his blog taking center stage. So what’s the secret to great content?

The days of carbon content attorney websites are over! Today, we dive into the world of attorney content creation – from websites and SEO, to guest blogging and video.

Whats in This Episode:
Who is Jeff Rose?
How Jeff Rose turned blogging about finance into a multimedia goldmine
When it’s time to quit your day job and go all in on your side hustle
The best ways to get guest blogging spots
How to make your attorney web content stand our from the crowd
Short snippets vs longform articles? Jeff gives us his take
Easy ways to increase client trust via simple video content

Transcript

Chris Dreyer

Do you remember the first job you had that just kind of sucked? It’s a strange phenomenon, but a lot of the world’s most successful business people got their start working less than glamorous jobs. Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, sold vacuums door to door, Michael Dell was a dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant, and even Amazon’s Jeff Bezos flip burgers at McDonald’s. Today’s guest – finance guru and self-made millionaire Jeff Rose – is no different. Jeff was a college dropout who ended up working data entry for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week and he hated it!

Jeff Rose

I’m like, what? What am I doing with my life? This is horrible! And, uh, that led a journey of recognizing I needed to do something for myself, take charge of my life and ended up joining the Army National Huard and paying for all my school, majored in finance, end up getting an internship at a local investment firm. And, uh, the rest is history, as they say.

Chris Dreyer

Today, we hear how Jeff Rose turned blogging about finance into a multimedia goldmine, when it’s time to quit your day job and go all-in on your side hustle, and which SEO and content hacks will turn your carbon-copy attorney blog into a total lead magnet. That’s coming up on The Rankings Podcast, the show where founders, entrepreneurs, and elite personal injury attorneys share their inspiring stories about what they did to get to the top and what keeps them there. I’m Chris Dreyer stay with us. Jeff Rose is the kind of person who forges his own path. He started off as a certified financial planner with a part-time blog called Good Financial Cents. The nine years he spent in the Army National Guard inspired the title of his best-selling book, The Soldier of Finance: Take Charge Of Your Money And Invest In Your Future. Now he’s a self-made millionaire and an entrepreneur who coaches entrepreneurs, his business blogs, and wealth hacker YouTube channel inspire and educate the masses. So how do you learn to get so good with money? Well, according to Jeff, he certainly didn’t get his finance skills from his family.

Jeff Rose

My mom, my dad, they divorced when I was very young. They both, independent of each other, filed for bankruptcy twice, which is really, really, really impressive. Not once, but twice! And not together, like, independent of each other. So, like, these were the financial lessons that were passed down to me. Uh, so as far as like business entrepreneurship, really what the military gave me was this determination, you know, just to not quit. One story that I don’t tell a lot of people – in basic training, I ended up getting a stress fracture in my leg. I had to go into a full legged cast. And for those that aren’t in the military, you realize the one place that you don’t want to get hurt is basic training because you’re already like scum, you know, like you’re not even a private, you know, you’re just, you’re nothing to these drill sergeants. And then when you are a broken nothing, it’s like, you’re just dead to them. But, uh, I can remember that in a full legged cast on crutches, I would do as many, like we were going to a firing ranges and any exercises that I could do while still in my cast like I was doing it. My drill Sergeant didn’t tell me to do that. I just did it. And I can remember the captain or company commander coming up to me and saying, he was like, “Hey, you know, I’m going to have to restart you – which basically is you go back to the beginning – but he’s like, “I really respect and admire your willingness to do whatever you can do”. And ultimately what ended up happening is I ended up graduating me, even though I didn’t technically complete the final three weeks. And it was just because of that. And I don’t know where I got that from, but it was just a, I don’t want to quit. Like, you’re not gonna tell me that I can’t do it. And that’s kinda been my determination with my career, starting the blog, YouTube. I really love the challenge when somebody tells me I can’t do it. Like I just personally love that challenge. Like, all right, we’ll see. Double dog, Jeremy, let’s do this.

Chris Dreyer

There aren’t really many big names in the world of personal finance bloggers, but Jeff has absolutely dominated his niche audience. When Jeff began writing, he started small, but as his ambition grew, so did his audience.

Jeff Rose

Right now I reside, uh, just South of Nashville. But prior to that, I mean, for all of my career, I was in Southern Illinois, the middle of nowhere. And I shared that because it’s pretty significant because most people think, ‘Oh, well, you are well known in the media. So you must be in some big market’. It’s like, no, no. Like the town I lived in was like 8,500, you know, there’s like, I think it had like one stoplight in the town. There was a university next to us, but it wasn’t, you know, it was SIU Carbondale. Some may know that, many probably don’t. So like that, that was the market that I was dealing with. But you know, the, the funny thing I learned was that the internet is pretty big, but before I really got into like the internet, it was like, I really did focus on like the local market. So there was like a local ABC affiliate that I contacted and just said, Hey, listen, I go, I’ve got some information I can share. And I would just go to like US news or Yahoo finance, and just find any of those headlines, like five tips to prepare for tax season or five ways to save money for a summer vacation. And I would just pitch them three or four headlines. And then I started going in on the morning news, but that was one of my first breaks. You know, started getting, uh, local, local media and that also gave me some credibility. Cause I, I would always bring in my SD card or no, I’m sorry. It was my thumb drive. And they would actually give me the raw file that I could upload to YouTube or Facebook, you know, however I wanted to promote it. So that’s how it started. And then starting the blog, and that was after I left a prior firm that I started with because they sold out, and I read this article and I think it was Financial Advisor Magazine talking about how, if you want to stand out from all the competition, start a blog. I’m like, okay, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to start a blog. But the only thing was at the time I had no idea what it was.

Chris Dreyer

It seems like in the early 2000s, everyone had a blog! While the others might’ve stuck around for a few years before shutting up shop, Jeff dug in harder. Jeff honed his writing skills with his local ABC affiliates and he still hadn’t figured out how to get enough eyes on his articles online. How could he make sure that people actually found his blog? This being The Rankings podcasts, I think you know where this is going.

Jeff Rose

I remember like before the blog launched, I remember going to Google and typing in my name and you couldn’t even find me, like, I wasn’t like in the top 10 results. So it was simply setting up the LinkedIn profile, that was one, you know, setting up the different Facebook pages, business pages, or like eventually, Oh, okay. You searched for Jeff Rose here I am. But then so thinking it through even more, it’s like, okay, if somebody as a financial planner in my area and they don’t know my name, then what are they going to type in? So that began a mission of ranking organically for Financial Planner Illinois. But then there was a forum of other personal finance bloggers, and I just kind of shared in there, Hey, here’s what I’m trying to do and I had several bloggers kind of chime in and give me some ideas of what I should do, but essentially it was just writing for other blogs, other websites, and then linking back to a page on my site that was targeted for that keyword. And the funny thing I have to share in that same form, I got contacted by this – I’m using air quotes here – SEO expert. So he’s like, “Hey, I saw that you’re trying to rank for a Financial Planner Illinois and man, just not to burst your bubble, but like, it will never happen. Like it just basically you’re wasting your time.” He was nice about it. But once again, it was that okay, double dog dare me that I can’t do it. Which – whether that was the right mindset or not – but nonetheless, uh, within, I think it was less than three months I was ranking for Financial Planner Illinois. So that began that process of understanding search engines and keywords, and trying to think of the mindset of what are people typing in to Google. So that’s when it went from Financial Planner Illinois to targeting key phrases that I thought would be potential questions that client or sorry, prospects for type in, but also answering questions that my existing clients had. And that’s when it just became so easy for content ideas. You know, I remember the beginning, so many people asking me like, ‘Wow, how do you, how do you have so many ideas? Like, aren’t you scared you’re going to run out?’. I’m like you think about all those questions that your clients ask you on a day-to-day basis and I’m sure there are 50 that you get asked all the freaking time. And one of my favorite things to do was if they would ask me a question I would then, you know, send them an email like, Oh, here is the blog posts that I wrote that answers that question. That definitely gave this whole different perspective. Like really being the expert, even though like, we all know we’re the expert, but now in their eyes, we were really the expert because we had published an article on the internet about that topic.

Chris Dreyer

One of the most challenging aspects that attorneys have is not necessarily creating content on their site – creating their service pages, their blogs and answering those questions. But the challenge that they’re having is the backlink component, the guest posting component. I know that once you start your rank, you can attract links naturally. So you mentioned that you were posting on other sites was is it as simple as this going to those sites and asking?

Jeff Rose

I did have the, I didn’t realize how powerful was at the time, you know, having the CFP designation, you know, being a certified financial planner, because most of the personal finance bloggers back then, they weren’t certified. They weren’t even financial advisors. They were just average normal people that had a nine to five job that enjoyed writing about personal finance. So the fact that a CFP wanted to guest write on their blog, that was a pretty big deal. Now, as more people are into blogging like that, that it will open the door, but doesn’t always mean that you’re gonna get a yes. And what I would say is. It really is no different trying… to guest write on another site is no different than trying to do business or get a referral from somebody offline. You know, so if you are trying to network with somebody and you don’t know them, you’ve never met them. I mean, you’ve got to take some time, you know, before COVID may be a meeting for coffee or lunch, or you meet them at a some sort of social function, you get to know them and exchange business cards. So there is a relationship there. That typically has to happen before you get any sort of referral, any sort of value that you would get from that person or vice versa. So, you know, in the online world, like you, can’t just cold reach out to somebody that you don’t even know. You’ve never had a conversation with and say, “Hey, you don’t know me, but I want to write on your site and get a backlink”, you know? And I still, I see people do that all the time. I get requests all the time and it’s just like spam, spam, spam, because I don’t know. I’m not going to have you publish on my site. I mean, occasionally I’ll have like a really, really, really good pitch where it’s just one of those headlines that’s just super sexy. And it’s like, Oh, that’s a great headline and I don’t have that content on my site, I would be very interested to see, and then I give them very strict guidelines to follow on what will allow. But I mean, that is like one out of a hundred. So it’s like, all right. We’re where can you go online to network with other content creators, other bloggers, and start just connecting with them and provide value and show that you have the expertise to speak about whatever you want to talk about. And then if you do that, typically people will contact you. Or, if they don’t, say, “Hey, I saw your site, I checked it out. You got a lot of good stuff that you don’t have, anything that talks about…”, whatever. Maybe your specialty is practice, like “I’d love to write an article to kind of shares something that would be very helpful, you know, for your readers.”

Chris Dreyer

I think that’s a tremendous piece of advice from, the relationship building on all accounts. And one of the things that’s interesting is most of the attorneys listening, they only practice in one state. So they get out of state referrals that they’re passing to other attorneys so that many of them already have relationships with firms that don’t technically compete because they’re in another state or in a different metro. So my advice would be, those would be some of the first people that I would talk to instead of trying to just…maybe contact someone in your local area that’s a true competitor. And I think that there may be a rising tide type of thing where, hey, you know, if he gets more out-of-state referrals, this individual is going to be happy. And it’s just kind of a win-win. You have kind of transitioned – you’ve been so consistent, you’ve learned these tactics for SEO, podcasting, your YouTube and you’ve transitioned now into more of a, of an influencer, an entrepreneur that coaches entrepreneurs, you know. What was that transition like?

Jeff Rose

It definitely was not like an overnight thing because having a brick and mortar business, you know, so I was a financial planner for 16 years and, you know, grew it from the ground up. And so that was like my identity, you know. Started the blog on the side as a marketing tool and ended up becoming a nice side income to becoming a full-time income. And even when the online business was making double what the financial practice revenue was doing, it was still hard to let it go. The first thing that I started doing was I would schedule a day out of the office. So I stopped going to the office on Tuesdays to focus purely on the online business. And then I set a goal for myself where I didn’t want to be in the office more than eight hours a week – and this is actually before we made the move to Nashville – and when I started doing that, that is really when I saw it take off. And then making the move and even just being plugged in once again. Living in a small town, which I love small-town life, but the reality was that there weren’t any other online business owners in that area that I could connect with that had a business that was a scale, you know, that I was doing.

Chris Dreyer

SEO can work wonders on making your website and blog rank on Google. But if your content isn’t up to scratch those leads just won’t convert. According to Jeff average, personal injury attorney websites are a dime a dozen – they follow a similar message, they even look pretty similar. With that in mind, I asked Jeff to give us his market-leading advice on how to make your blog and website stand out from the crowd.

Jeff Rose

Yeah. You know, I think one of the, the easy things that you can do, and I see this with financial advisors all the time, and I’m sure if I scan all the different attorney websites, but when you go to a website of a service professional. If you can, like copy and paste everything that you have on your website and put it on another website and just swap out the pictures, like, how are you really different? You know, how are you trying to stand out? And that was one of the things that I, I really focused on in the beginning. You don’t see as much on the new site design, just because I’m not the, the adviser that I was, you know, trying to get recruited clients, but I was very open about a lot of the financial mistakes that I made. Like I had a blog post where I talk about losing like $5,000 on a penny stock, uh, $8,000 on a failed business venture, you know. It’s just some of the bad business and financial decisions along the way. Because people relate with people and especially if you are vulnerable and willing to share, you know, some of the mistakes that you’ve made, it just shows that you’re real, you know, that you’re not a politician. Like, you know, you’ve not ever done anything wrong and, uh, why they should vote for you, but even in, not maybe don’t want to do all of that, but at least share some of who you are and your personality. Like it’s like the classic more, more than the advisor space, but you know, all the different licenses they have, like series seven and 65 and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like nobody knows what that even means! You know, like stop wasting people’s time. And then there’s like this little two-line paragraph that says in their spare time, they, they enjoy spending time with their family playing golf and their pet dog or something. There should be more emphasis on that last paragraph. Who are you, where did you come from? What did you struggle with? What have you learned in that struggle that motivates you and what you do today and how that motivates you to help other people? And the reason why you are a personal injury attorney, what is it about your upbringing or your life trials and tribulations that make you do what you do right now. I mean, when people understand the passion behind it, it’s like, oh yeah, like they can rally around that. They can get excited. They can relate to you and understand where you’re coming from. And that’s, that’s one of the simpler ways. And that’s what I did like on my about page. And then, so think of that in text form- and then how do you then add that in video form where it’s a simple introductory video that’s not reading a teleprompter, but it’s something where you’re just telling a story. And I really want to like, emphasize, like, it doesn’t have to be this high-quality B roll, where they’re capturing like your conference room and all your attorney books, whatever, whatever that is, you know, it’s like, just be you. And that’s what I love about Facebook Live and just any live platform now, because it just shows that it doesn’t always have to be high quality. Decent lighting, decent audio, and you’re good to go. I remember in the beginning I had this, the simple video, non HD, and it was in my home office, horrible lighting. It was at night, so it was like yellow. I was wearing a polo and shorts. You can see the shorts. And it was like, “Hey, I’m Jeff Rose. Welcome to my blog. Good Financial Cents, blah, blah, blah”. It was like 45 seconds. But I remember like so many people to come and just say, Oh, you know, like the fact that I could hear your voice, it feels like I already met you, like, I already know you. Ding, ding, ding, ding. Like you didn’t have to go that whole process of like, well, is this guy a scumbag? You know, are they going to rip me off? Like, I don’t know. I don’t know about this guy. But I mean, when people knew, like I was a veteran and my parents filed for bankruptcy and I love In-N-Out Burger and I used to do CrossFit before I got older and just all the things about me and them, you could hear my voice, could hear my accent and everything that went along with it, man. Like we just went through so many obstacles and barriers of having to earn their trust just because of what I had done online with the blog and all the video content.

Chris Dreyer

I think that’s incredible, Jeff, and I immediately was thinking, when you’re talking of, we had a previous guest, Michael Gibson, he advertises a bit differently. You know, most people are, are trying to be real aggressive with the sledgehammer type of ads, I’m sure you’ve seen those guys on the trucks, and Gibson’s like really emphasize his family. And it talks about family and people can relate to him because he’s with his family, like, Oh, he’s a dad, he’s a husband and he’s kind of, he’s just like me. And I think it’s like an instant type of rapport.

Jeff Rose

The way I look at it right now, especially the time of this recording, you have all the political ads coming up. And for me, it’s like, I relate to the ad. So it’s just like, I’m hearing a story about somebody, just something they went through, and it kind of plays back into. Anytime you’re watching the Olympics it’s like not so much the event that people get excited about, it’s that backstory of what that athlete went through to get to where they are today. It’s like, oh yeah, like now you’re rooting for them because you understand who they are and everything they went through to get to that moment. I mean, that’s the same thing. Like when you said family, at least for me, like, I’ve got four kids, you know, we’re a family of six, like, oh, you know who this guy is, but like, I like him because it’s so much more relatable, you know? So there’s that aspect and there’s also, going back to the whole political ad campaign, you can do that strategy and bashing your competition, or you can share information of a, “Hey, I just want to share this with you because you know, with personal injury, like there’s a lot of stigma that goes along with it, and here’s some things to watch out for before you start working with somebody and you can do”. So I’m not like bashing somebody but just saying, Hey, this is what my clients have come in and shared with me some of my personal experience. Like that’s the stuff that people relate to. They understand they get it. You know, it’s like, if you can do that, especially when you have like the story component to it, it’s huge.

Chris Dreyer

Just so many actual takeaways here. What’s clear is that in order to stand out, you need to make your content truly unique to you and your firm. If you tell your story in your own words, readers will identify with you and you’ll already be creating an environment of trust. So let’s see which over to personal a little bit. And in your spare time, when you’re not running a blog, with your wife, you’re not hustling, you’re not creating this amazing content. What are you doing to, to kind of, to kind of kick back and take time off and recharge?

Jeff Rose

Yeah, it’s a lot of fun because I can remember back in the day when I was working my practice full time and doing the blog I’m I was blogging every night, every weekend. I mean, it was, it was insane. I’m proud to say, like, I don’t work on the weekends. I don’t work in the evenings, you know, less, there’s just something I have to do, but which is very, very seldom. So having four young kids, I mean, right now my oldest son just finished his first year playing golf. And that really excites me because it’s given me an excuse to get back into golf. And I coach my sons in basketball. I’ve helped out baseball right now. We’re kind of like in-between seasons and in between sports, but yeah, just any lot, like kid-related activity and especially with COVID, it’s kind of changed the landscape a little bit. But we’ve just found different things to keep us active, whether it’s playing basketball outside, my neighbors just installed a pickleball net so they’ve been playing pickleball in the cul-de-sac and that’s been fun.

Chris Dreyer

Uh, so we’re going to close up with a new segment – we’re calling it our three for three. It’s a quickfire round. So you can kind of shoot from the gut and being an SEO guy, I got to start with, what is your top search engine optimization tip?

Jeff Rose

Top search engine optimization tip. Ooh, that’s a good one. You know, I, I know in the beginning I got really, really, really blinded with the idea that, oh, I have to write content all the time. Like I had to publish three, four, five articles a week, and you will burn out really, really quick doing that way. So what I started focusing on and still to this day was instead of like writing these short little crappy pieces was I would write a much longer, more in-depth article. You know, whatever the topic was. I would try to answer every question that go along with that. And by doing that, when somebody finds that when they see, oh, this covers everything that I was looking for. Other content creators and other site owners are more likely to link to an article like that than something that’s like, you know, 500 words or less. So don’t waste time writing shorter articles. I mean, every once in a while, if it’s like more of a thought leadership like you just want to share something that I kind of get an idea out, it’s not purely to rank for SEO, sure. But if you’re actually trying to target something very specific, then more in-depth, just anything that you can answer and make it easy to read. That would be my top tip.

Chris Dreyer

That is a great tip. I 100% agree. So next, next in the quickfire. So which entrepreneur do you admire the most?

Jeff Rose

Ooh, man, you know, to this day, I. I still admire, uh, Michael Hyatt, who just happens to live in the Franklin area. And Michael Hyatt, you know, he was the CEO of Thompson Nielsen publishing. I think he’s got like four or five girls. And when you look on social media, it’s like, Oh, it seems like. They have a good family like they all have family dinners together and they’re there supporting each other. And then I had a chance to, uh, partake in a, uh, inner circle mastermind he had several years ago and I got to witness him firsthand and then up going to a marriage retreat with him and his wife and, you know, got to learn even more about him and to see that like, yeah, He is the real deal, you know, it’s not just all on social media and, you know, is it all perfect? Like, is there still like struggles? Like yeah, there is, but he’s there he’s president and yeah when I’m his age like I want to be as close to my kids as he is to his right now.

Chris Dreyer

That’s incredible. And then final question here. What is the next thing on your bucket list?

Jeff Rose

We, my family and I, we did like a two week RV trip to the Grand Canyon and back. And we’d never done anything like that before. And it, at the time, there was definitely some struggles, it was a disgustingly dirty RV that we rented from Cruise America – for those who aren’t familiar, if you ever see, like, those RVs that say 1800-RENT-RV, like with the infographic of the dog on the door, like that’s what we rented. But man, like we have some of our best memories from that experience. So wanting to like level up and take it to the next level, actually, it was, I gotta credit, my middle son for giving me this idea, because I wanted to rent the RV again. And I also, like, I wanted to take my family to Australia or New Zealand, just something like that, something completely on the other side of the world. And he said, well, why don’t we just rent an RV in Australia? I’m like, yeah, yes. I love it. You probably can’t see it. But like, over my left shoulder there’s a vision board. And there’s actually on that vision board, is that RV with a, a picture of Australia, maybe it’s a kangaroo. So that’s, there’s a reminder, like, that’s one of the things that we will do as a family. Not like we may do, like, no, we will do just whenever God says it’s a good time.

Chris Dreyer

Here’s hoping 2021 will bring us all some well-deserved travel opportunities. And Jeff – we’ll be waiting to see those pics on Instagram! You’ve been listening to The Rankings Podcast, I’m Chris Dreyer. A huge thanks to today’s guest, Jeff Rose, for joining us. You can find all of the links from today’s conversation in the show notes. And we want to hear from you, what are you doing to make your web content truly unique? Drop us a review and share your thoughts. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you next time.

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