26 November 2014

Gold blog writing for fun and profit

Below is a confidential email that has been forwarded to me from an anonymous whistleblower. It seems times are tough out there in gold blog land.
From: John Winklebottom [mailto:john.winklebottom@goldblogadvisors.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 25 November 2014 9:00 AM
To: [redacted to protect name of whistleblower]
Subject: Surviving these tough times
I have been receiving a lot of emails from you my customers of the Gold Blog Advisors "Pumping for Profits"(tm) system. I hear your pain. There is no doubt that this prolonged gold bear market and recent break of $1180 has finally caused a lot of your readers to actually question your content.
Apparently for one guru things got so bad with negative feedback and public questioning on his site that he had to shut down comments completely. Now that is an extreme measure and not one I would recommend as public commenting and forums are a great way for those who have bought into your particularly shtick to help groom newbies to accept your pronouncements and sign up. Academic studies have shown that "theories and facts contradicting existing beliefs are conveniently misinterpreted, treated as insignificant" and belief perseverance is ubiquitous, but only if the newbie has first taken on the theory! Removing the ability of newbies to interact will work against them assimilating your ideas and keep them open to other contradictory ideas, which will reduce signup conversion rates. But desperate times can justify desperate measures.
However I would like to emphasise that this is just a temporary problem. Yes you will lose subscribers/readers as market reality bumps up against your shtick but remember in this game you have a fair bit of turnover anyway so it has always been about the newbie funnel and continual conversions. OK right now the flow of new newbies into your sales funnel is low but they will return once the price recovers and these newbies will not know about, or bother to check, any of your past failed predictions or theories. You just need to hold on for the good times to return, which they will.
Now I can hear you saying "yeah that's great but what do I do right now to retain readers and increase conversions on the few newbie suckers that come my way". I think this is a good time to get back to the basics, so lets go over some key strategies that I have advised you on in the past.
First up is Content. Now you all have memes you specialise in but I think you have to be a bit more careful these days to not be too far from reality - don't overestimate the stupidity of your readers. Reconsider your meme rotation list and drop those that are far too bullish in tone or rework them down a bit. I think these memes are particularly worth focusing on at this time:
  • China - you really can't go wrong with anything on China and how much gold they are buying, the punters love it.
  • Paper-physical disconnect - this one should still work even though coin premiums are low, just pick some silly price on eBay to contrast to spot or spin it that there are physical deals being done under the counter at much higher prices. Selective highlighting of online stores being out of stock can also support this meme.
  • Blame it on manipulation - this is a great standby if you were silly enough to not make a generalised claim about price and got too time or figure specific.
Keep in mind the great advice in The Tipping Point on the psychology of rumours when you are constructing any new memes:
  • Level It - leave details essential for understanding true meaning out
  • Sharpen It - make remaining details more specific
  • Assimilate It - fit it to readers' frames of reference, they will condense or fill in gaps to give themselves a simpler, more significant configuration
With your memes also remember that academics have shown that it is better to be confident than correct as "pundits get a better audience through confidence and the excitement it generates". Also lets not forget the great work of Stephan Lewandowsky on misinformation:
"People love sensational stories. They like to pass on tales that make the listener very happy, disgusted or afraid: anything that provokes a strong emotional response. Neutral stories, which are probably more likely to be true, but much more boring, therefore get short shrift."
While unique content or spin is key to getting readers, with such little news flow it is OK to pick up memes from other bloggers and rewrite/respin - the echo chamber effect helps us all but just don't get too plagiaristic.
The rewrite/respin point leads on to the next key which is Headline. We have all seen cases where a repost/respin got more clicks than the original article due to a superior headline. A good headline is also crucial to cut through - there is so much content out there that your potential readers are unlikely to look any further than your article's headline, so it has to work. Remember to keep it below 65 words otherwise you'll get cut off in search results, with Twitter you have a bit more room to move.
There are a lot of websites with advice on how to write the ultimate headline, see here for a good example, but these are not precious metals specific. To help you out I have looked at the work of The Master, taking 2,773 headlines from King World News and removed the words "gold" and "silver" (which obviously dominate) as well as the names of interviewees. Below is the resulting word cloud (click to see larger image).

Wordle: King World New Headlines

If you work from this list I don't think you can go wrong, it certainly works for KWN.
Before I close, just some administration. Gold Blog Advisors renewal notices for 2015 will be sent out shortly. In the past few years many of you did not go with my Variable option, where you pay based on number of subscribers to your site, and instead picked the higher priced Fixed option. I suspect many of you thought that you would save because you were only paying me a fixed flat fee while your subscriber numbers were going to go up as gold price shot to da moon, but if you had chosen the Variable option you would be paying a lot less now. I think that those who went with the Fixed option fell into the trap of believing your own bullshit that the market would turn around and so would your subscriber numbers. Believing your own bullshit is very dangerous in this business, not just financially but also mentally. I do not need to mention those gold blogosphere names we all know who have fallen into this rabbit hole. Keep this in mind when filling out your subscriptions for next year.
OK. So there you have it, keep your chin up and remember what I always say: Keep Your Content Confident and Crazy.


  1. Bron, whatever your're smoking this past month or so...

    I want sommathat! You're getting better n better with every outing.

    Just hope it wasn't all due to Jake! I'd hate to have to put up with that again, even for the pleasure of your offerings!

  2. Ah yes, KWN, my Daily Telegraph of the gold world. Still, whatever with Eric's headers, he marches out an impressive who's who of commentary.

  3. PS: Mr Ellis has added to his blog at goldmarketmacro.wordpress.com

  4. Is this a real email? I don't really get who Old Wrinklebottom is writing to, somebody who resells subscriptions at a profit or something else.