Hi, David, thanks for joining us today.
David Amerland 0:02
It’s a pleasure to be here.
If you could choose any person from history to hang out with, who would it be and why?
David Amerland 0:12
There’s so many possibilities there. How about Alexander the Great?
Oh, that’s a good one.
David Amerland 0:18
He was some unique in both perspective and time and timing, I think. And he faced some singular challenges for his age, and he was able to overcome them. So I think that kind of perspective teaches you a lot of foundational principles, which I think are still applicable today in many ways.
So on that note, what initially prompted you to write the sniper mind?
David Amerland 0:42
Well, the short version of that is that I wrote an article for Forbes, which got over half a million views and thousands of comments. So that kicked it off, really. But initially, I was resistant to it. I didn’t think about the subject was there. The subject matter. So my editor said, you know, what do you look into it? So I did, I went back and looked at the research and looked at what the army was doing in terms of leadership and decision making principles from the battlefield situations. And it just opened up, there’s a lot of neuroscience around it, there’s a lot of applicability and crossover into business and sports, and pretty much any kind, even, practical, everyday life. So it just, it became deeper and deeper and sort of a lost myself about three years.
I can imagine. So in your opinion, based on that, how can an entrepreneur develop a winning mindset?
David Amerland 1:42
Okay, that’s an excellent question. I think the we should start with what exactly is a winning mindset and it’s not really focused on winning, that’s a byproduct of our actions. But those actions are guided by specific principles which are driven by a sense of identity, which then finds a direction and a sense of purpose. And here usually use a quote to sort of as an example. And it’s a popular quote, it says that if you have no direction, every road looks the same. And I think when it comes to prioritizing what we do and why this is really, really important, if we don’t know where we’re heading, then there’s simply no way to prioritize amongst all the different pressures that come our way, we haven’t really got a good measure of weighing the decision making process to see whether the decision decision is good or bad. Because we’re not sure where we’re going and where, where it’s where it where it’s going to take us as a result. So we need that sense of direction which comes from identity which requires principles which leads to focus. So there’s your mindset, and from there, you become decisive and usually because you can focus and you know what you want, you end up winning in a in a sort of more conventional sense of the word.
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more actually. So you have a background in SEO?
David Amerland 3:06
What are the elements of quality content for SEO in 2020?
David Amerland 3:13
That’s an excellent question. And really, we should ask, why do we need content in the first instance. And we need content in order to connect with our audience. And we need content in order to communicate with our audience. And here we say, well connect how and communicate what? Well, we need to connect for having a shared space and a shared understanding of principles that drive us sort of concerns that we have, and the overlap between what the business does and what its customers wanted to do. And we need that in order to establish the trust, which is necessary for any kind of relational exchange to take place, which means that you know, a customer is willing to give you money for some kind of product or service. And then we say, Well, how is the content Designed to communicate anything? Well, content beyond the sort of hard characteristics of something, which it’s designed to do to sort of Express is also there to showcase a little bit of your identity, a little bit of your character, a little bit of who you are. And all those elements really come back to the original question about identity and focus and direction, which funnily enough, now you need in business in order to have that unique selling proposition, which is who you are, in order to surface in search against hundreds and hundreds of thousands, perhaps, competitors. So this is how this thing all these things come together
based on tech, and where everything is going in the future. How do you feel artificial intelligence can play into creating better SEO opportunities?
David Amerland 4:54
Scott this is an excellent question. And as a matter of fact, it’s happening as we speak now. And what is artificial intelligence doing in search? Well, essentially, and what when we talk about artificial intelligence, we’re talking about machine learning algorithms, which are exceedingly good at pattern recognition. So what they are doing is they’re, they’re picking up sort of patterns, which are very difficult to spot in any other kind of using any other any other any other kind of programmatic environment. And the turn search into a much more nuanced proposition. What that means in practical terms, it means that essentially, what we all want to do in such a standout, and the only way you can do it is by applying what we call data density. And not many businesses employ this at the moment because it takes a lot of effort and takes a lot of time. But data density means that you inform everything, everything you do, by who you are in terms of identity. What’s your unique style, what’s your unique message And you do it in a granular, persistent and pervasive way. And if you do that, then artificial intelligence picks up the parties understands, let’s say, who’s better than somebody else? If they’re both doing the same thing. The other stands who is more real compared to somebody who’s just pretending to do something. And it serves one website, one business above another in that respect.
Okay, yeah,that definitely makes sense. So in your opinion, do you think semantic search is kind of on its way out? Or?
David Amerland 6:37
essentially, I mean, semantic search? What does it mean really means that everything is related to everything else and the value of something is relational to the value of something else. So for instance, let’s let’s take our discussion right here. If I was selling cars, and you are famous cheesemaker, and we’re having this discussion, we probably end up having a very similar discussion. That we’re having now. But it wouldn’t have as much value. Because, you know, my expertise would be cars and yours will be cheesemaking. So semantic search looks not just the content itself, but also the relational connection between the elements of the content takes place. So if your expertise is SEO, for instance, or marketing or business, which it is, then that discussion which we’re having exactly the same content requires a higher value, because it is deemed to be within the element of your expertise. So you are already made field that which elevates the value of the content. So that’s what it is. So when we apply an element of artificial intelligence to that, then semantic search, you know, becomes ramped up, so it becomes even better.
Oh, yeah, I can definitely get behind that. So with Google killing the cookie, where do you see digital marketing going now?
David Amerland 8:02
Well, funnily enough, it’s going towards the hardest area I could probably go towards, which is finding ways to surface the human connection between us. We’ve been talking about humanizing businesses for a long, long time now. And we’re also been talking about making people into brands. And suddenly these two come together. And what we mean by that is that businesses need to have that connection with our audience, which is the inter subjective space where objective reality and subjective beliefs join in. And the connection is really made. So when we think of a brand, for instance, that brand stands for a promise and a promise stands for something which relates in our mind to who we are, and we tried to be in terms of our identity in the world, and only sounds really complex, but we do it without thinking about it because we’re people. So businesses have to act almost like individuals and individuals have to if they’re trying to promote themselves, Academics like a business or a brand in terms of consistency or message and sort of, perhaps formality of approach at times. Not so fun. But the grace is a question really, because digital marketing now has to sort of tackle this, we have to move away from the sort of the tools which we use, which is still needed, but we still focus exclusively on them. Like they are going to provide a solution and they’re not going to
I have a question from an SEO, or SMM perspective. What do you feel is the number one, SEO or social media marketing mistake to avoid in 2020?
David Amerland 9:41
Okay, One is a classic one. People still tend to focus exclusively on links thinking that the more links they can get, the better they will be served in terms of search and this is no longer the case. The second thing is that tend to think that if They produce a lot of content, then they’re going to be on a winning curve. And again, this is not the case, because everybody’s producing a lot of content. So really, what you need to do is produce the content which defines you, your brand, your business, your approach your values, and whether you bringing out, you know, three videos a week, and, you know, six articles and two podcasts, or maybe just one video really doesn’t matter if it resonates. So you can bring a lot of content and you won’t get noticed because it just sinks in mediocrity. And then maybe you can bring out one great piece of video or a podcast or write a great article. And then people will share it, talk about it talk about you, they recognize the brand. And that becomes a winning proposition. And that is really what they should be focusing on.
Oh, yeah, that makes perfect sense, more relevancy to the brand and the customer journey.
David Amerland 10:55
So on that note, What do you feel the best seo strategy to grow smarter in 2020 would be?
David Amerland 11:03
Well, okay, there are so many really, but
I think the smartest thing we can do right now, and the hardest is find ways to understand searcher intent. And that is really, really tricky because it requires for us to understand the customer journey to understand the customer needs to understand the customer pain points, and then also understand how we approach the solutions that we propose to give. And then that means we have to have a clearly defined identity have to have a very clearly defined motivation. And the values again come into this because they become part of the shared conversation, which leads to the connection. And all this tends to build trust when it happens correctly, which then makes the connection go to the next stage, which is usually some kind of transactional sort of value.
That actually makes sense to me. I’d like to take a moment to loop back to the mindset, neuro aspect.
David Amerland 12:10
I don’t really have a definitive question. They’re just, I like to dig a little deeper into to Neuro and mindset, especially based on your book the sniper mind.
David Amerland 12:25
And that’s right. Okay, so let’s um, let’s take a step back and see the sort of much broader picture. And at the, at the very heart of my book, which became the sort of the, the launch pad for my writing it is that the Army Today, the modern army, is facing the same kind of pressures that we face in business today. Obviously, we don’t have to do to deal with life and death decisions. But we work in the same world that they work in, and that world is usually defined by the acronym vocab, which stands for volatility, unpredictability, complexity, and on big UT. And that means that pretty much every decision we make, has to happen under relative Lee high pressure. And we’re never sure it’s the right one, we have to make the best decision possible. Nobody has limitless time or limitless resources to get in all the information, check everything, because by the time you do that the situation has changed because it’s so fluid. And then you know, you have to start from the beginning. And obviously, when you’re fighting a war or battle, you don’t have the luxury to sort of restart the game you have to either win or lose and, you know, it’s it’s pretty drastic. So the army has actually developed an approach where it allows its sort of leaders to be able to focus on situation, take everything to account, cut out distractions, use their values, to prioritize things correctly, and then through their own creation of identity and perception reach A decision that gives them a competitive advantage. And if we take that same mental approach, same mindset now, and we put it into a business environment, we find it works just as well. And usually what happens in business will have to, you know, we’re going to work for instance, we take any kind of ordinary day, and we’ll have to deal with all sorts of things would suffer attention destructors we find it hard to prioritize because we think everything is equally important and we can’t cut things out and clearly everything can be and when it comes to decision making, we’re usually quite tired and we’re not sure. And we either put things off, or we make user their own decision because the knee jerk on because we’ve run out of time. And then we pay for it. You know, we find that we made sort of the wrong purchasing decisions or we sort of chose a direction in marketing that wouldn’t work. And then we go back into the drawing board, etc. And every time we do thought we lose energy and money and motivation. And it just, it just sort of takes us into a spiral. How could we actually now work better. And usually, these are the four things that are that are required here. The first one is focus, we need to cut our distractions. So we need to be able to identify what are the tasks which are really important, in which are the tasks which are not so important, but can absorb a lot of energy and attention. So cut out the unnecessary things and focus on the things that are absolutely necessary to take us to the next level. The next level, of course, requires prioritization. And for that, we need to have a direction we need we need to have a sense of purpose. We thought either of those things, we come back to the quote of all roads with the same but once we have direction and purpose, then we’re able to prioritize correctly. And then suddenly, a decision making begins to become a lot easier. Because in order to have prioritization in order to have focus in order to know what’s important to us, and Why, then we begin to understand who we are, which means that our perception of ourselves, our perception of our environment, and how we fit into it becomes better tuned and better defined. And that actually gives us a competitive advantage because we feel we’re gaining with every step. And what usually happens when we feel we’re gaining and motivation begins to become better and it increases, and then we sort of get on a winning sort of winning streak, what will make one good decision after another? And that essentially, is the winning mindset that we all want to achieve.
So in that regard, are there any mental techniques that you personally use or or teach?
David Amerland 16:42
Hmm. Well, I, when I was writing the book, he uses massive in terms of the deadline was really tight, because my publisher got excited. And the research was incredibly difficult and I had to sort of catch up with things which were new to me. So the learning curve was really steep. And there were days when I actually doubted my ability to finish it. And I’m borrowed techniques straight out of my subjects because I interviewed about 100 snipers, some of them retired and some of them serving. And I’ve got a lot of tips of how they manage stress and how they manage to maintain their focus under incredibly difficult conditions, things which you and I can’t even conceive. So this is what they do. They basically tell themselves that right now, they can do this. That’s why they’re there. So you have to have this kind of self belief in your own ability. Then when things get to not disengage, momentarily, don’t get caught up into a spiral of fatigue where you feel your own abilities will begin to degrade and your job is beginning to become really difficult. And then you get it in this negative monologue in your head that you’re not going to succeed. So disengage. Breathe in, breathe out about three four times, look around, refresh your mind, taking the smell Taking the sounds and what snipers do is the look around and touch the ground and the taste there. You think, Well, it sounds like some sort of nutty thing, which wouldn’t work. And yet when you do it under pressure, it completely revitalizes your mind. And from a neuroscientific perspective. Now, we know that when you do that, what really happens? It engages the sensory centers of the brain, which associate all those elements with the real world. And a whole lot of neural chemicals are released, which allow the brain to replenish its energy. And that allows you to focus again, under pressure, having taken like, a break a couple of minutes.
Okay, Thanks, David. That was actually very insightful. If you had the opportunity to share some words of wisdom to a struggling entrepreneur, what would one of those be?
David Amerland 18:52
Well, there’ll be a couple things I would say. I mean, obviously, the first thing is, be confident in who you are. You know what you’re doing. And you know that it’s going to be difficult. And since you know it’s going to be difficult difficulties shouldn’t actually faze you. Usually what happens is, is we over estimate our own ability, and we underestimate the difficulties. So the first bump on the road, then begin to have self doubt and self doubt, subside resources. And the motivation begins to waver. And then we need somebody to help us and if you haven’t got that kind of mentor behind us will usually know trip and fall and sometimes we don’t get up, which is sad. So really, believe in yourself, believe in what you’re doing, which is why you’re doing in the first instance. And I know everybody says, Well, you know, I’m doing it for the money because I needed Well, we all need money to survive. There’s no question about that. But beyond the money, there has to be something deeper and deeper thing you need to focus on to keep you going. Now, the other thing I would say is define your purpose. Find out really what you want to achieve. Sure you want to set up a business and our business will become amazing. But even if you’re selling I don’t know much is you’re still providing people with a livelihood, you’re still providing a service, you’re still making people happy in a certain respect because you’re fulfilling a need. And it’s these things which actually keep us going when the going gets tough. Otherwise, all we focus on the technicalities of business, and they’re not enough and our motivation will go and will stop trying. And the mistakes which will make them will be small, will keep accumulating until they become really big and the business will go wrong. So focus on the things which are really important. Now, this is again the direction and which comes from a sense of purpose. So that’s what I that’s what I would say, and I know a lot of interpreters in the beginning. Don’t focus on this because it seems like a luxury. And a lot of them think well, I’ll do that one and become you know, a global power with lots of money in the Lord’s workforce. By then it’s too late and it may never happen because You didn’t start off. Right.
Exactly. And that falls right in line with my own personal motto. Fall down seven times get up eight.
David Amerland 21:09
Yes, yes, exactly. And, and again, that’s that’s, you know, perfect sniper mindset. You know, they don’t take any kind of adversity as this is it this is the final thing. They expect things to be tough, they expect things to be really difficult. And their motto is adapt, overcome. Because whatever it is, you’ll have to adapt to it. And if you adapted successfully, you will overcome it because you are the dynamic element here, difficulties once you face them, don’t become harder. This is the level of difficulty you beat up and then you go on to the next one. So adapt overcome is a good motto to keep in mind.
So David, are you working on anything new?
David Amerland 21:51
Yeah, I’m actually working on a couple of books right now a couple of book proposals rather from my publisher, and they’re both very viable. It’s just a question of which one he?
They will he will present it to the board
and then that’s my
editor, and then they will decide which one to go with.
That sounds ambitious. Can I ask how our listeners can find you?
David Amerland 22:16
Um, yeah, they can find me on Twitter at David and Moreland or you can find me on my website, David amazon.com, where you can find me on LinkedIn. And I usually post a lot of content on all of these platforms.
perfect. David, thanks again for chatting with us and sharing your insights today.
David Amerland 22:33
Thank you very much for having me and thank you for the questions that really helped me focus my mind