How To Out-Hustle Your Bigger Competitors (without link-building)

Today, I want to share a story with you from my buddy, Ryan McLean.  You may have heard of Ryan since he was featured as a Success Story at Niche Pursuits back in July of 2013. His story in July was about his success in the audiobook niche but today he talks about the lucrative, ultra-competitive real estate niche.  

Ryan uses several project management ideas to reach success – Proof of Concept (early sales), Schedule Constraints (family and professional obligations), Human Resource Management (finding and hiring qualified writers), and Monitoring and Controlling (pivoting to create evergreen content and identify gaps in the market). This is really a David and Goliath type story and I really thank Ryan for sharing.  Be sure to check out how to get in touch with Ryan at the end of the post.

How To Out-Hustle Your Bigger Competitors (without link-building)

This is an article about my 3-year long quest to out-hustle some major competitors and generate a sizeable online income for myself. My blog is Positive Property Australia and it is a great case study to show you that the little guy can win a good piece of the market.

The Idea

3 years ago I decided to test out an idea where I would find positive cash flow properties and sell people a membership where I listed these properties so they could find them easily.

Although the idea proved financially viable (I have 8 sign ups at $100/month in the first week) it was going to be way too difficult to execute seeing as my time was taken up with a full time job and a brand new baby.

If I had time and money I probably could have scaled this idea with Google Adwords and more aggressive marketing tactics. But I had neither the time nor the money to take this risk.

Taking A Slower Route

So I converted the sales page into a blog, thinking that I could build traffic and an email list over time and then eventually I could launch bigger so I could quit full time work and just work on the internet.

For the next 3 years, while working full time, I created articles about the property market in Australia.

Let me continue telling my story, but I will add subtitles as to the major lessons I have learned along the way.

Tip #1: Create Long Form Content That REALLY Adds Value

I look at all the other really estate blogs and websites out there and realised that my biggest competition was the websites of the established property magazines in Australia.

These magazines had teams of writes and were probably earning in excess of $1,000,000/year from the magazine and website presence.

How can someone working full time in another job out hustle a company with $1,000,000 revenue per year?

My answer: Be better

I noticed that these websites were creating a lot of short articles (around 400-500 words) that were ok, but didn’t fully answer the readers questions.

So I decided to create long form content that really added value. I would write articles with a MINIMUM word count of 1,000 words and sometimes even up to 3,000 or 4,000 words long!

The result – even though I posted less often and had less incoming links I would find my content ranking for a huge list of long tail keywords.

Because I wrote SO MUCH in my articles I would rank for really long terms like “benefits of negative gearing and positive cash flow properties”. Stuff none of my competitors were targeting.

Tip #2: Evergreen content

The next thing I noticed about my competitors was that they would write loads of content about what is happening in the market right now.

Things like interest rate changes, market fluctuations, auction clearance rates etc. But they would hardly write anything that actually taught people about investing in property.

Because I knew I had very little time to focus on my site I decided early on to write evergreen content. Content that would stand the test of time.

So I avoided topics that would age quickly and instead focused on creating ‘how to’ or educational articles that would still be valuable in a few years time.

The result – I still generate good traffic and revenue from articles I wrote over 3 years ago.

Tip #3: Other Types of Content

All of my competitors were creating blog posts, but very few of them were creating videos and/or podcasts. So I decided to supplement my blog with podcasts and videos.

The videos were terrible and I was extremely awkward and the podcasts I recorded simply using my iPhone. I didn’t have any professional equipment at all but it didn’t matter because no one else was doing it.

The result – One blog post might be 100 visits, but the video would also get 100 views and sometimes the podcast episode would get over 500 downloads. So I really extended my reach

Tip #4: Outsource Correctly

Outsourcing was really hard for my website. I wanted to pour every single dollar I made back into the site because I had some spare money but hardly any spare time.

I hired some cheap writers, and lo and behold they wrote crap unusable content. When you are in something as specific as the Australian real estate market you need to know your stuff.

So I hired more expensive writers (talking $25-$50/article) hoping that even though I couldn’t afford to get much content made that it would be high quality. But I realised very quickly that even though they were good writers, they just didn’t know the Australian market well enough to write about property.

I thought I couldn’t outsource but then I discovered transcriptions services like For $1/minute you could get videos or audios transcribed for you.

This means I could get a 1,000 word article made for about $5 when they transcribed a video I had made.

So all of a sudden I could create a single video and it could be turned into a podcast and a blog post fairly simply.

I then used this same technique to begin to build up my website on public speaking.

Tip #5 – Be In It For The Long Run

A lot of people want to see results within a couple of weeks or a couple of months. But if you structure your niche sites correctly they could make you money for years to come, even if they take a year to kick off.

My property blog took years before it started making any sort of decent income.

I also had a niche site I created with just 5 articles. For 12 months it sat there and did nothing and then in 3 months it jumped in the search rankings and started making me $100/month.

That site took me about a day’s worth of work to make, and in the first year it made almost nothing. But it has now made over $450 profit in it’s lifetime.

$450 for 1 day’s work is a pretty good pay rate. That’s about $55/hour.

So don’t give up on your sites after a couple of months, of if you do give up on them at least keep them and see if they make their money back in the long term

You CAN Out Hustle Your Competition

No matter what market you go into you can out hustle your competition if you put in the effort.

Be in place where they aren’t (eg. Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, Video, Podcasting) and do what they do better than them.

This was a guest post written by Ryan McLean. He runs a variety of educational niche sites and works full time online. You can learn more about him over at his personal blog. He loves to answer emails (he responded to me within the hour) and help people out.

5 comments… add one
  • Thanks Doug for the opportunity to write this guest post. I know this website is in it’s early days but if there are any questions I will be happy to answer them.

  • Hi Ryan,

    Great story! Impressive you mange to break into that competitive niche and succeed!


  • Inspiring guest-feature – no doubt!
    Thanks for sharing the valuable tips.

  • mg1

    Ryan, you’re a great inspiration for those of us just starting out.

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