#003: The Eagle Ford Shale and the Energy Digital Revolution with R.T. Dukes

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When I worked at Drillinginfo, anything we published about the Eagle Ford Shale was gold, Jerry! Gold!

If that trend holds, this should be the most listened to episode in the history of The Oil & Gas Digital Marketing Podcast!

If you can suspend your judgement and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, that’s a pretty monumental accomplishment.

Seeing the Future of the Eagle Ford

OK, so this is only our 3rd episode. But that is inconsequential when your guest is the one and only R.T. Dukes of EagleFordShale.com.

R.T. had enough foresight as an analyst to see the developments in the Eagle Ford Shale, buy the domain, and start what turned into a healthy oilfield niche site business long before anyone was really talking about the play.

Plus, if you search his name in Google images, several pictures of the General Lee show up – this renders all of your arguments invalid.

On top of all this, he’s a crazy smart cat with a great Texas accent. He’s so smart, he even makes me sound kind of smart! Sadly, he does fail in making me sound anymore Texan. However, I’m certain I can eat at least 3 more pounds of brisket than him, so that’s got to be worth something.

Regardless, I love this episode for all kinds of reasons and I hope you do too.

Enjoy!

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Transcript

(Podcast) #003: The Eagle Ford Shale and the Energy Digital Revolution

James Hahn II: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to The Oil & Gas Digital Marketing Podcast! I am your host, James Hahn II and this is the podcast for marketers in oil and gas, and B2B marketers across the globe.

And here we are, number 3. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. We got 3 leaf clovers. I don’t know how else, other kinds of 3’s I can throw in. But, I do think that, hopefully, you’ve been enjoying the podcast so far. And today, Mr. R.T. Dukes is going to deliver.

And I actually forgot to ask Mr. R.T. Dukes for a bio. So why don’t we just start off … I’m going to copy my man Mitch Joel over at Six Pixels of Separation, and I’ll say, R.T. Dukes — who are you, and what do you do?

R.T. Dukes: Hey, good morning, James. Hello to everybody. Thanks for having me.

I manage EagleFordShale.com. So, basically an oilfield industry magazine-style news site covering regional development in the Eagle Ford. Got into it a few years ago before we even realized how big the Eagle Ford was really going to be.

We’ve kind of risen with the tide, expanded and grown to about 4 to 5,000 readers per day over the last few years. I handle our research efforts and manage the content we publish on the site. As well as working with our advertisers to make sure they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck.

James Hahn II: 4 or 5,000 a day?

R.T. Dukes: That’s right. It works out to be about 50,000 unique visitors per month on the Eagle Ford site.

James Hahn II: Alright, well I gotta catch up to you still on that front. Let me ask you my traditional first question, since we had to start with Mitch Joel-style question. But I appreciate that intro. How did you get into the oil business … or I should say oil bidness?

R.T. Dukes: I grew up in a small town in East Texas. Carthage, Texas. It’s historically a natural gas producing area. It’s probably been a top five natural gas producing county in the State of Teas for 60 years. So, there’s been natural gas production for around 80 or 90 years, I believe in the county. Grew up around the oil business, or what was really the natural gas business. But even there people call it the oil business.

Went to college at Texas A&M. Again, an energy industry-focused university. I was an accounting and finance major. Did a public accounting internship. And while most people said, “I’m not sure I want to do this.” I said, “No, I actually don’t want to do this.”

But I had worked on all energy clients in my internship. And so, Kaneb Terminals, which was eventually acquired by Velero. And Hunt Petroleum who was eventually acquired by XTO actually had most of the Bakken assets, or some of the Bakken assets that XTO eventually acquired. XTO eventually acquired by ExxonMobil, and then a couple other smaller service-types.

So, I’ve seen the energy industry from an accounting and finance perspective there and said, “Yeah, I think I like it.” You know, it’s kind of hometown roots and I also enjoyed that work.

I began looking for more consulting-related, finance-related jobs and ended up landing with Wood Mackenzie. An upstream research and consulting company. I joined, I was the 30-something-th employee in the United States for them. I was there for about 5 years. I helped build-out the lower-48 coverage, play-level coverage all while — this is 7, 8 years ago — so, all while these shale plays …

The Barnett had just turned to horizontal drilling. It had been around for several years, but horizontal drilling was now for sure the way to go. You were starting to see some other plays begin to pop-up. The Bakken, it was working in Montana. They had just stepped over in North Dakota and EOG was seeing success in the Parshall Field. The beginning of the boom. It was a natural gas industry at the time.

All that to say, research and consulting roles in oil and gas was where I sharpened my teeth, and I’m just an entrepreneur by heart. I stepped out in a business to do some investing in oil and gas producing interests and have done that over the last few years. But that’s been less and less of our time, and we turned … We had some domain names and we saw these shale plays rising and really just saw a gap, from my perspective in the research world.

You have your really expensive researchers from the Wood Mackenzies, the IHS’, the Drillinginfos, and then you get Houston Chronicle-type news. The difference is you pay a lot of money for professionals, and you pay a Sunday newspaper fee you get what some journalist thinks about the oil and gas industry. And there wasn’t much in between.

And so we said, “Let’s try this and see if this works as well as. We’re doing this research on our own accord. Let’s see if we can publish a little bit and make that a business as well.” So, that’s how I got into the oil business and then also a little bit more into how I got to where I am today.

James Hahn II: That’s kind of incredible, though, because you’re talking about Wood Mackenzie nowadays. You said you were the 30th employee, but today they’re kind of like Wal-Mart or whatever. They’re everywhere, right? Everyone knows them.

R.T. Dukes: Yeah, I haven’t asked what the headcount was. I was somewhere around the 400th employee in the entire company, and the 30-some-odd in the Western Hemisphere. And I think in Houston alone they’re up around 300 and there’s something like 4 or 500 in the US alone. Company-wide I believe they’re up over 1,000 now. So, tripled in size since I started and from a Western Hemisphere — North America — which is near and dear to our hearts-perspective, they’re probably 10 to 15 times bigger than they were when I first started.

James Hahn II: That’s incredible. And so, you have really watched the … You have watched this happen from an interesting perspective. From an analyst’s perspective watching things unfold over the past decade, like you said. You just kind of said it in passing, “Oh, back then the Barnett just started going horizontal.” That’s kind of like saying, “Well, yeah, back then they invented the wheel.”

R.T. Dukes: Yeah, the shift in the industry has been amazing, to say the least … The technological changes … Basically, when I came out of college what I was learning and then what I was watching were two different things.

You’re learning from what’s happened in the past. But then you say, “Well, wait a second. We’re trying to do a projection for what a Barnett’s going to produce. But there are no wells in history to look at and get an idea for what these new wells are going to do.

It was great because it forced you out of a comfort zone. It forced you into executive meetings in boardrooms to discuss with a lot of these drilling companies what’s really going on. Which was great experience and a lot of fun from my perspective.

I’m a people person, so I enjoyed getting out and meeting people and getting to discuss what’s going on in the industry. So it was a great opportunity for me and a great way to start a career.

James Hahn II: And you were in Houston back then?

R.T. Dukes: That’s right. I was in Houston, Wood Mackenzie’s office. They had just opened an office in Houston around 2 … Actually, they had 1 or 2 people here for several years, but in earnest opened an office in 2004 and I joined in the beginning of 2006.

James Hahn II: So once you started seeing things going horizontal over in the Barnett, what was your thought process?

R.T. Dukes: From my perspective, I was probably the right age to not be too jaded by history. The industry had tried to drill a horizontal well in lots of places for several years. In the early 90’s there was a big horizontal drilling boom and commodity prices fell, and it just didn’t make sense.

But, from my perspective, I went, “Wait a second. It’s got to be cheaper to drill one additional lateral foot of a horizontal well than to drill a whole other vertical well.” And that’s kind of simplifying it. But, from my perspective I went, “This just makes sense. Why would you drill a vertical well every 20-acres when you can drill 5 horizontal wells across the entire lease unit?”

It makes sense from a logical standpoint. So, not having that history of seeing what didn’t work, the technical difficulties that were around. You didn’t have rotary steerables. Some of the technology just wasn’t there 20 years ago that you have today that’s everyday technology.

James Hahn II: Can you talk to me, then, about overcoming those early technological adoptions? Because that seems to be a theme in the podcast we’ve got going here is talking about the oil and gas industry’s adoption of new technology.

But, when it comes to drilling it seems to be, obviously, a much faster curve. But, how did y’all overcome that? Or, I guess y’all didn’t do it because you’re not an operator. But how did you watch it be overcome?

R.T. Dukes: It’s interesting. The industry generally is … It depends on the pressure. It reacts better under pressure. If there’s not pressure, in terms of low commodity prices or the need to do something different, the status quo — and I don’t think we’re the only industry where you see that. But, generally you see a status quo and you go, “Hey, this works. We know we’re going to get 20% rate-of-return or 30%, why rock the boat?” Or 10%.

You know, we used to talk about 10% rates-of-return.

James Hahn II: That’s the thing!

R.T. Dukes: Now we’re talking about 20, 30, 100% rates-of-return. That’s changed. And so, the industry goes, “Hey, it’s predictable. Don’t rock the boat. Why would we try more water than before? Why would we try more sand? We know what we’re going to get and we like that.”

And that’s an engineering mindset. The industry’s largely run by engineers. But, they’re also pretty smart engineers. So when it comes to drilling, they go, “Wait, that drill bit has a faster rate of penetration? That’s got to be good. We can use that drill bit. We can drill the hole well. We can drill the hole lateral with that long drill bit. That’s got to be good.”

So, we’ve adapted to things like that pretty quick. And it just builds on itself. It becomes exponential because early one it’s just 1 or 2 hits. And then it’s, “Oh wait a second, these walking rigs. We should be drilling from pads. We should be doing all of these different things. We should … Up in the Bakken, we’ll set 8 tanks on a pad to start out, and then we’ll move 2 tanks to another pad.”

So, the operational issues and the technology needed to get around them is developed because you have more people with experience doing it. So you get more ideas.

I guess my answer would be the industry adapts and changes pretty quickly. But a lot of the great changes are made under pressure. The horizontal drilling in the Barnett Shale, for example. You’ve probably read a lot about that.

It was Michell Energy that was really just looking for, “How do we replace our reserves? How do we meet these gas contracts? How do we meet these supply agreements? And how do we supply these over time? Where’s it going to come from?” And it really pushed them to continue testing the Barnett for really what was almost 20 years.

You look at that and you go, “That was slow.” But then you have the Barnett, and then you have the Bakken, and then you had the Haynesville, and then you had the Marcellus. And you look at those curves … There used to be these starts, and you still see them.

“How fast did this play get to 1 BCF/day?” or “How fast did this play get to 2 BCF/day?” They all get there faster and faster because they’re all benefitting from what was learned before.

It’s fun to watch. It’s a quickly-changing industry from that perspective. I’m not on the ground with the technology, but I see the high-level things that have changed. Horizontal drilling was one of them you mentioned. And it really kind of … Once it began to work, everybody went, “This is the way to do it.” And it spread really quickly.

James Hahn II: And it’s funny too because you just mentioned it with … Well, you started off by talking about how you became jaded. Or, I’m sorry, you weren’t jaded.

But now the industry seems to be jaded in the other direction where, we kind of laughed about it, where 10% is just not acceptable. People cannot get along with 10% anymore. It’s gotta be much higher rate-of-return for us to get really excited about it.

R.T. Dukes: Oh yeah, and something not to forget is perspective here. We need high returns in these oil plays to make up for the low returns we got in the natural gas plays over the last several years.

James Hahn II: That’s a good point.

R.T. Dukes: The industry’s basically flipped in terms of what it was targeting. You had around, these are broad numbers or approximate numbers, 1400-1500 rigs targeting natural gas. And you had 3 or 400 targeting oil. That was in 2008.

And today you look back and … I guess 2008 is 6 years ago. I guess I’m aging myself there … It seems like it was just yesterday. But now we’re at 14 – 1,500 rigs targeting oil and just 3 or 400 rigs targeting gas. So it’s just completely … The money has followed the returns.

There would be a lot of guys that if they had made 10% in their natural gas investments over the last 5 or 6 years, they’d be really happy. They’ve had to run after high returns in oil plays to try and make up for some of the investments they made in these gas plays that didn’t turn out quite like they expected.

James Hahn II: That’s a really great point. So, then talk to me about EagleFordShale.com. Because you said that y’all got started with this back when you didn’t even realize how big the play was going to be. Who’s involved in EagleFordShale? How did it get started? Tell me more.

R.T. Dukes: Yeah, it’s my partner and I, Kenny DuBose owns the company. I joined up with him and we began looking at the Eagle Ford and said, “Here’s one. This play’s going to be big. It’s right in our backyard. We’re learning a lot about it anyway. Let’s see if we can put something out there and see if it draws any interest from a publication perspective.”

We began to put a little bit out. And I had, coming from WoodMac, something I would, at the time … And this is something every analyst runs into …

At the time, you had pipeline commitments of around 4 to 500,000 barrels/day. And you had a proposed pipeline — pipelines that were going to be constructed built around 4 to 500,000 barrels/day.

And everyone’s forecast for the play was 100 – 200,000 barrels/day. And I went, “Something’s not right here. This is one of those examples where things are moving faster than you can really see.”

But you see little tidbits that go, “Hey, this is bigger than what it’s showing itself to be right now.” And that was one of the things, “This play is going to be a big play.”

At the time, the US is only producing around 5 million barrels of oil a day. So we look and think, “This thing is going to be 10% of US oil production? That’s huge … This is going to be a really big play.” It’s largely a rural area. It’s not like there are a whole lot of oilfield workers.

Historically, there is an oilfield industry in the area. Anybody in Alice, Texas, the Giddings Field, those areas. Those are places the oil industry has been for a long time. But not at this size.

So we say, “It’s in our backyard. Let’s target it. Let’s see if we can publish some stuff on it. Let’s keep people up to date on what’s going on and see if we can turn that into something.”

James Hahn II: What kind of content do y’all publish? How is it distributed? Where do you get it from? Give me an idea about that.

R.T. Dukes: I said, “OK, I’m a research analyst. What would I be interested in?” And, at a regional level thinking about, “There are mineral owners. There are business owners. There are corporate executives. There are analysts, like I was, that should all be interested in this information. If it means an economic boom for the whole region, the guy that owns the gas station’s going to be interested.”

And so, we started thinking about it from that perspective. But took a largely corporate business approach in terms of covering the companies. “What is Chesapeake doing? What is EOG doing? What are the major deals? Did Penn-Virginia just buy some acreage? That means that it’s probably going to get developed faster now. What are the business opportunities?”

Catering’s a big business in South Texas. Hotels are popping up all over the place. You’ve got man camps because people need places to live. And now moving into residential development and commercial development. A lot of that stuff wasn’t happening a few years ago. The banks just were hesitant to finance projects like that.

It’s evolved to some extent. But really, just taking a perspective of, “What would an oil and gas professional be interested in?” And shooting right through the general public audience to get to them.

That was really our target. We wanted an oilfield audience, but if we get every business owner in South Texas along the way, hey that’s great. We took that perspective.

James Hahn II: So, y’all write your content so that it’s consumable to the average consumer, I guess you could say. But also professional enough to where people would respect it if they were in the industry.

R.T. Dukes: Exactly. A lot of what we do is take an industry announcement and say, “Why is this important?” EOG today announced their net resource estimate in the Eagle Ford is up to over 3 billion barrels. Mind you, that was less than a billion barrels two years ago.

James Hahn II: Wow.

R.T. Dukes: So, 3 billion barrels, “What does that mean? What is 3 billion barrels?” You know, people with large numbers, they can’t even conceptualize what is 3 billion barrels.

So, we target the oilfield audience with, “Look at this. EOG is saying 40 acres downspacing is going to work. They believe that they have 1,600 additional locations in the Eagle Ford and they could potentially drill on top of the several thousand they already have.” That gets your oilfield professional audience.

And then you go, “Look at these numbers guys. We’ve qualified this. 3 billion barrels of oil. This is on the scale of a Prudhoe Bay or something like this for one company.” … Prudhoe Bay is about 2 or 3 times that size. But, to conceptualize it. Make it where an ordinary guy can understand it, write it in that way.

Just like I said a minute ago, “What is 500,000 barrels a day?” Well, that’s 10% of US production 5 years ago. It’s also a little less than 1% of worldwide production.

So, people can begin thinking, “OK, this is big. But how does this compare on the scale? What is the scale?” And provide those, and add some tidbits and insights. A lot of times it’s just defining things. “What are NGL’s?” The common person, even in the oil industry doesn’t understand exactly what NGL’s are and what they’re used for.

We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from that perspective that says, “We appreciate how you write and don’t just assume we know everything.” We’ve gotten that from oil professionals as well. There are very few people that are in touch with all the areas of the oil business. It’s so dynamic.

So, we try to write in a way that the average person can consume it. But the true professional gets some value and insight from it as well.

James Hahn II: Are you publishing once a day, multiple times a day? How often to y’all publish?

R.T. Dukes: We have targeted once a day. I’ll tell you there have been times where it would have been easy to do more than once a day. And I tell people that want more updates, “Go follow us on Twitter.”

It’s been good. There have been times where we could have done more, but it’s been good. And the fact that we can focus on the major news and really say, “This is the one thing.”

There are all of these things, and you mentioned it earlier I think before we even started the call. There are all these niche sites. Everybody’s a publisher on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, and they’re sharing things all the time.

We say, “OK, what’s the meat in all of that? What’s the most important thing today? And if you want to know everything about the Eagle Ford, go follow us on Twitter. If you want to know about the most important thing affecting that region today, go read our daily article.”

James Hahn II: And I see the big red button at the top, “Subscribe Now.” Which, I’ve been subscribed to the site for a while, so certainly encourage the listeners to go ahead and do that at EagleFordShale.com.

Once they subscribe … I’m going down the wrong road … Let me just cut to the chase here, what is the monetization model? Is it ads? Is that pretty much it? Because I see the sidebar, the main bar, you’re getting in front of people’s email inboxes. Tell me about that.

R.T. Dukes: It is. It’s evolved over time, but largely it’s an advertising-based model. We’ve tried to do other things. And we’ve discussed this in the past, James. 3 years ago I was talking to oilfield service companies and operators and anyone growing a business in South Texas.

My discussion was more of why they should be doing online advertising. I’d say, “Are you doing any online advertising?” They’d say, “No.” And I’d say, “Who’s your client? Every one of your clients has a cell phone or a laptop, and they’re on it most of the day. People don’t sit around all day looking at magazines and opening their mail. So, even if you don’t advertise with us, you should be doing something online. You should have some presence online, even if it’s just having a good website of your own. And if you don’t have the time for that, spend some money on advertising somewhere.”

That conversation has flipped over the last few years to a conversation more of, “We are doing advertising. We maybe want to supplement it with some advertising on your site.” That’s been an evolution over the lat 3 years. There’s still a long way to go, to be honest. There’s still a lot of the conversations, and still big portions of the industry that haven’t caught on to the idea of reaching people through online or digital media.

It’s been an advertising-based model from the beginning. Yourself and some other marketing-types, they might say, “Well, what about affiliate agreements? What other ways to monetize the site?” And we’ve tried just about everything.

We haven’t sold research or anything on the site. That would be something that we could have done. We haven’t done that. We’ve said we just want to draw in a larger audience.

We’ve tried affiliate deals, and the reality is most people in the oil and gas industry from the most basic level on up haven’t done affiliate agreements and they don’t know how to account for them and pay them correctly, and don’t even know how they would work.

A lot of people understand a sales guy and, “This guy’s gonna go out and do sales for me and I can pay him some bonus structure or some percentage of ship to sales for bringing in new business.” But they don’t understand that, “I can go to a website and say, ‘We’ll pay you so much. But we’ll also incentivize you to really be a brand hero for us. Someone that goes out and really sells the brand.’”

We haven’t found those people yet. It’s getting there, it’s getting closer. But in terms of today, it’s been largely a display advertising model.

James Hahn II: And for anybody that’s listening that isn’t familiar with affiliate marketing and affiliate programs, you can go to — shameless plug — triberocket.com/marketing-tools, and pretty much every link that you click on on that page sends you to a site that if you click through and purchase, then I will get a little change in the cup to keep the lights on. Not that I’m killing it over there just yet.

But I would say there’s probably just not a big enough market of people like myself and other bloggers out there that would really even make something like that attractive yet.

R.T. Dukes: Yeah, maybe you’re the perfect affiliate for us, James. We should help you get business and you should pay us something!

No, but that’s how it should work. There should be dozens of … There should be a company that’s saying, “We’re looking to get contracts for competing wells. We’ve got a bunch of horsepower idol, if you can help us put that to work.” Then someone like us could go out and write content about it. Go bring in an audience, and potentially bring in a lead that lands the multiple millions of dollars worth of work. But that idea and that thought-process really hasn’t hit our industry yet.

James Hahn II: And that’s why I was really looking forward to getting you on the call. On the show, I should say, was that you have been doing a lot of that education for quite a while.

Tell me a little bit about not only the struggles, but just where you see things headed. Am I barking up the wrong tree here with TribeRocket.com, or are we at an inflection point where things are headed in the right direction with the industry?

R.T. Dukes: I think we’re closer to the inflection point than we are away from it. No, I don’t think you’re barking up the wrong tree. James, I haven’t done a competitive analysis for you, but there aren’t many guys like yourself and there is a big need. I think it’s the right time for Tribe Rocket, from my perspective.

Like I said, the industry has changed a lot over the last few years, and it’s been interesting to watch. And that’s only going to speed up. The reality is for every person out of college that gets hired, the industry is closer to understanding this digital world better.

People over 50 have a limited knowledge and a limited adoption rate of technology. And so they’ve come in slower. They’ve come to Facebook slower. They’ve come to Twitter slower. They’ve come to Google slower. They’ve come to all of these things that can be great business tools a lot slower. So, that’s why you’ve had this time delay.

But it also benefits from as younger people people come in, they’re beating the drum, “Hey, I’m a sales guy. I should be using these different digital avenues and not just … I can reach someone through a Google ad … I can reach thousands of people a month through a Google ad. But I can only make however many dozens of phone calls a day. So, why don’t we do both and see which one brings in the most leads?”

It’s slowly changing … I shouldn’t say slow. A few years, we’ve seen a big change. I expect that will just speed up. There are lots of events this year that are putting a focus on, “You should be using digital marketing in your public relations efforts.”

When these big operators start effectively using these different media channels, that’s when you’ll really see the change. You’ll see a sea change. Because they’re the ones with the money. They’re the ones hiring all these contractors.

And when all the contractors see all these operators doing it because it works, they’ll all do it, and the whole industry will be there. Overnight. Once the major players really step up and start affectively handling their digital marketing and social media efforts.

James Hahn II: That’s always the first place that people go to is the PR angle. I think one of the big education opportunities that I like to push is the fact that, if you’re a service company, if you’re a small independent operator, if you’re a mid-size operator … Each one of these companies can have a different play when it comes to digital.

If you’re that small independent operator, you need more money. Well, why not build a community around your brand that drives that investment?

If you’re a service company that sells, I don’t know, drill bits. Or some unique form of service out there in the Eagle Ford or the Bakken or so forth … Why not keyword target all of those different opportunities so that people are finding you in Google and coming straight to your website?

If you’re a mid-size operator going into a new territory and you need to educate the public, then why not start a blog that can educate the public on the benefits that you’re going to bring to their community?

I think that once people understand that. That it’s more than just PR, that’s when things will really start to take off.

R.T. Dukes: That’s been the sea change is that there’s so much information out there that a public relations effort really has to be an educational effort. It has to have some value.

The idea of just publishing a press release that talks about how great you are, that’s not going to get near as much play … That’s not going to get shared on social media as much as something that teaches people something. Just plain and simple. Or it has something insightful, a catch to it. That’s the difference.

Then also on the blog side, you use the word blogging or writing … Go publish … If you’re in an area where it’s not highly competitive, go publish some content around answering questions that your customers ask. You’ll find that you can rank organically and that people will find you and you’ll generate leads from an inbound perspective, instead of staying on the phone all day on the sales-outbound perspective.

And the thing to really consider there is, “Do we have the time, the knowledge, and the resources to dedicate to that?” In some respects, it needs to be quality. It needs to be good enough that somebody that reads it goes, “I ought to act and call these guys and see if they can answer an additional — a more detailed question I have about this.” That’s where you get the good leads.

And if you can’t compete on that basis, you just go out and you advertise online. Go find the places where your customers are. If it’s drill bits, is there some drill bit forum where you can go advertise? Are you trying to go into the Eagle Ford Shale, you can come to our website.

Is it something else more specific? Can you do a keyword advertisement in Google? That’s really where it has to evolve in terms of, “Do we go out and share our knowledge and expertise on our website to bring in customers? Or do we go out and advertise? Or do we do both? Or is that the best combination … Some combination of both?”

James Hahn II: I think you used a term earlier that really hits at this, which is “media channel.” And getting people in the industry to understand that this is a media channel. That there’s this difference between paid, owned, and earned media.

Paid media would be what they put on your site. Owned media would be what they put on their own site to draw in, like you said, that inbound traffic. And then earned would be, obviously, what the papers, Houston Chronicle and so forth, is going to write about them.

But really seeing digital as a media channel that is a huge opportunity to drive interest around your brand based on whatever business objective you have.

R.T. Dukes: That’s right. And I think the handicap in our industry is that most people understand owned from the perspective of press releases and writing content … At least from an operator perspective, they see that they put out their quarterly earnings report and it gets traffic.

They know a little know a little bit about paid. They largely are still involved in traditional paid advertising, like magazines, newspapers, etc. Not as much digital, and we’re doing very little in terms of earned media.

Which, if you follow Coca-Cola, they’re putting a lot of investment in earned media. This whole idea of relative truth and people believe what their friends tell them. And believe what … Establish their beliefs off of their experience. That’s where earned media becomes really important.

It’s, “What do my friends say about ExxonMobil?” Not, “What does ExxonMobil advertise in the Super Bowl about ExxonMobil?” And I think in the industry that’s probably where we have the biggest hurdle, or the biggest area to gain ground is in the earned media area.

James Hahn II: Absolutely. I really couldn’t agree more. And I’m looking down at my clock here and seeing that we’ve been talking for 35 minutes now. I want to be respectful of your time, also the listener’s time. This has been a fascinating conversation.

R.T. Dukes, thank you so much for being with us. If you wanted to send anyone to a website and tell them what to do, where would that be and what would they do?

R.T. Dukes: Hey, go to EagleFordShale.com and grow your business in the biggest oilfield development in the world, basically. So, come visit us! That’s what I would say. Shameless plug.

James Hahn II: Shameless! Hey, let’s be shameless here at the end.

Alright ladies and gentlemen, you have been listening to, once again, The Oil & Gas Digital Marketing Podcast. I am your host James Hahn II of TribeRocket.com. You can check me out over there.

You can download our free eBook, which is The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Oil & Gas Operators Make — And How to Avoid Them. And if you do download our eBook, you get free access to the 90 minute digital marketing audit where we will get on the phone with you, walk through your website, whatever current digital program you have going on right now, and give you as much free advice as we can in 90 minutes.

Thanks again to R.T. Dukes. Thank you, all of you listeners for tuning in.

And folks, we will talk to y’all next week!

The post #003: The Eagle Ford Shale and the Energy Digital Revolution with R.T. Dukes appeared first on Tribe Rocket Inc..

74 episodes available. A new episode about every 45 days averaging 35 mins duration .