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A Blog Isn’t a Blog, It’s a Business

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/a-blog-isnt-a-blog-its-a-business/

I wrote my very first blog post on July 24, 2005. That blog post is no longer live because it was terrible.

The post was called, “Winning the Search Engine Marketing War.”

It was 412 words long, contained no images, no external links, and it didn’t provide much value because it didn’t teach you anything.

But you know what, back in 2005, the blog post was pretty darn good.

See, I wasn’t competing with a lot of blogs back then. Currently, there are well over 440 million blogs and back in 2011, that number was 173 million. And in 2005, the web was still so small that there were only 64 million websites (with only a small portion of them being blogs).

In other words, my first blog post was pretty darn good because something is better than nothing. People were just happy to get some information, even though it wasn’t great.

But over the years, blogging has changed. What it used to be in 2005, isn’t what it is today.

What blogging used to be

A blog used to just be a blog.

It was a place where you would share your personal experiences with the world. From photos of the places you traveled to and blogging about the food you ate to even sharing personal information about your family life…

In 2005, social networks weren’t popular. Facebook launched in 2004, but it wasn’t what it is now. And sites like MySpace focused heavily on music.

As social networks evolved, people realized it was easier to share personal stories on Facebook and Instagram than it was to write a whole blog post.

Over 250 million people share what they are doing in their personal life each day just on Instagram. All you have to do is talk (or look) into your phone for just a few seconds. It’s really that simple.

And that’s why more of you use social networks on a daily basis than a blog.

Just think of it this way… if you wanted to update your friends on your life, is it easier for you to just upload some pictures to Facebook or is it easier for you to write a blog post?

Of course, it’s easier to just upload some photos to Facebook. It’s why Facebook is so popular.

For that reason, people started to focus their attention on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat over blogging.

So why do people continually create more blogs?

There are many reasons why blogs have grown in popularity. As I mentioned above, there are well over 400 million blogs today.

The biggest reason why blogs have grown in popularity is that you are an end user and continue consuming the content that blogs put out.

Just in the United States alone, 42.23% of people from the ages of 18 to 49 read blogs.

And because people want to read blogs, Google has no choice but to rank them. The average page that is listed on page one of Google has 1,890 words:

There are many reasons you may want to create a blog, but from someone who blogs on a weekly basis and has been for 13 years, here are the main reasons to have a blog:

You control your own destiny – social networks have restricted how many of your friends actually see your content. With a blog, you have more control over your destiny. You can collect emails to get people back to your site, you can build a push notification subscriber list, you can rank your content on Google… overall, it’s just easier to get a consistent stream of traffic from a blog than it is from a social profile because you aren’t relying on 1 traffic source. This is more important than ever because the top referring sites on the web are starting to send less traffic out to other sites.
Paid ads are expensive – Google generate 6 billion dollars in ad revenue in 2005 and that number shot up to 95 billion in 2017. With ad costs continually rising, you have no choice as a business but to find other traffic channels. A blog is an obvious question as Google loves ranking text-based content. Just look at Wikipedia, they rank for everything and generate 5.4 billion visits a month.
Marketing has moved to an omnichannel approach – there are currently 1,766,926,408 websites on the web. In 2005 that number was only 64,780,617. That’s a 2,627% increase. That means you as a business have more competition online, which gives consumers more choices. Why should someone choose you over the competition? Well, branding plays a huge part, if you can get a consumer to see or hear about your brand 7 times they are much more likely to be a customer. A blog creates another additional touchpoint.

A blog isn’t a blog, it’s a business

As more sites have come online, SEO has become more competitive. Yes, more people are using Google, but they are searching for the same popular terms.

With Ubersuggest, we have a database of 646,777,704 keywords.

And out of those keywords, only 15,301,405 keywords generate a search volume of an excess of 10,000 searches per month.

As more people come online, it doesn’t mean that they search for brand new keywords. It just means that the popular terms get even more popular.

That’s why it is harder to get people to come to your site over the competition because you are competing with more companies to get those eyeballs.

See, as SEO has become more competitive, you have no choice but to treat it as a business. It takes time and money to produce content. It takes time and money to promote your content. And then once you have those visitors, it takes more time and money to convert those visitors into paying customers.

In other words, because it is so competitive, you won’t do that well unless you put in tons of time or money (or ideally both).

Just look at Quick Sprout, the marketing blog I don’t put much money into it. Even though it’s older than NeilPatel.com, it generates a lot less traffic.

NeilPatel.com blog generates 693% more traffic because I put over 6 figures into the blog each month (mainly in developing free tools and creating audio and video content), and I treat it like a business.

Conclusion

Look, I am not trying to persuade you into building a blog. But I believe most companies should have a blog. And if you don’t have one, just follow this guide to get up and running.

A blog is the only way you are going to rank well on Google and generate traffic without directly paying for it by using Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.

But if you want to do well, you can’t treat your blog like a “blog”… you have to treat it like a business. If you don’t, then you won’t do well.

Here are the 3 important steps you need to take if you want to do well:

Focus on writing amazing content consistently – it’s not about writing one or two amazing posts… you have to be consistently awesome. The market is so competitive, you can’t write 400-word blog posts as I did in 2005. Sure, if you are in a new niche with no competition, by all means, write 400-word posts, but the chances are you are going to eventually have some competition. And if you don’t have the time, you should just hire a writer to help you out.
Promote your content – after you have content, you’ll have to promote it. Promotion isn’t easy but I’ve broken it down into 4 steps for you. Just follow them and you’ll do well.
Focus on monetization last – most bloggers who get this far face one big problem… as their traffic increases their revenue typically stays flat. Just because you have more visitors, it doesn’t guarantee an increase in revenue. Towards the end of this blog post, I teach you how to convert those visitors into leads and customers. Follow them.
Don’t forget about voice – I know I said you only have to follow 3 steps, but if you’ve followed all of them successfully, you’ll need to start thinking about voice. 40% of adults use voice search daily, so don’t take it for granted. Follow this guide to ensure that you capture the voice search market share before your competition.

What do you think about blogging? Are you going to start taking it seriously?

The post A Blog Isn’t a Blog, It’s a Business appeared first on Neil Patel.

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3 Simple Steps to Creating A “Pillar Blog Post” That Generates Organic Traffic for Years to Come

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/create-a-pillar-blog-post/

You know content is important… right?

I hope so.

After all, back in 2014, when DigitalMarketer was a young company that nobody had ever heard of, it was content that helped cement our authority and launch us into the international brand we are today.

And do you know how many pieces of content it took to begin that dramatic transformation?

10.

That’s what it took to launch the DM brand.

Just 10 amazing pieces of content.

And if you don’t believe me, check out this recent post from Ryan:

Now when we say all you need is 10 pieces of content, these aren’t just any old blog posts you can put together in 45 minutes. These are big, meaty, strategically positioned pieces of content that we call “pillar posts.”

And in this article I’m going to show you how to create your own pillar content so you, too, can build your authority, your brand, and your business through better content marketing.

When you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a simple 3-step system you can follow to create a pillar blog post that continues to bring new website traffic and leads to your website—and pre-sells them on the value of your product or service—for years to come.

But before we get started, there’s one question you need to ask yourself.

Are You a Publisher?

Many people have the mistaken belief that in order to succeed with content marketing, they have to post a new piece of content every single day.

Luckily, that’s not true. At least… not for most of us.

Most companies out there do NOT need to create a ton of new content on a hyper-regular basis. The only exception is publishing companies.

Publishers are companies whose business model is “publishing.” These companies make their money by serving ads on their content. And in order to maximize their revenue, they also have to maximize the amount of content they produce each day.

Classic examples include The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

That said, this post isn’t for publishers.

Now if you’re a publisher, volume is the name of the game… which means you DO need to publish a lot of content. Because that’s how you make your revenue.

Gizmodo, for instance, publishes 6-8 pieces of content per day. theCHIVE produces 40 a day!

That said, this post isn’t for publishers.

Because the strategy I’m about to teach you doesn’t really apply to companies like Gizmodo or The New York Times. If you are a publisher, you may find our “Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas” helpful.

But if you’re a company that sells a product or service—whether it’s a physical product, a service, a SaaS product, whatever—then this process of creating pillar blog posts WILL work for you.

At this point you might be wondering…

What the Heck is a Pillar Blog Post, Anyway?

Think of a pillar blog post like the columns in the ancient Greek temples. The pillar is what holds up the building. It supports the weight.

A pillar post does the same thing. It’s the foundation that supports the rest of your content marketing.

Pillar posts are big, meaty posts. They’re useful, actionable, well-written, and engaging. They’re filled with relevant images and audio/video files to support the points you’re making in the text.

As a result, pillar posts have something that 99% of other blog posts don’t have: longevity.

The average blog post gets a spike of traffic when it’s first posted… then it quickly dies down. After 48 hours, most blog posts are basically dead. They never again bring in more than a trickle of traffic.

Pillar posts, on the other hand, provide long-lasting ROI. They’ll continue generating new visitors to your website day after day, week after week, even year after year.

Some of our pillar posts at DigitalMarketer are still generating massive organic traffic, even 5 years after they were initially published, like our “101 Best Email Subject Lines.”

Finally, the last thing that separates a pillar post is that they pre-sell your product or service.

It’s not enough to simply publish a blog post that’s somewhat relevant to your product or service. Your content should actively pre-sell your audience on the value of whatever it is you offer by providing them with the education they need to fully understand why your product or service is so incredibly valuable.

It might sound complicated, but I promise it’s really not. In fact the whole process can be boiled down into 3 simple steps…

Step 1: Choose Your Topic

The first and most important step is to simply decide what you’re going to talk about.

Don’t rush this step. In order for this process to work, you need to spend a little time here and really come up with a topic that is going to resonate with your audience.

A pillar post is designed to help pre-sell your product or service to the reader.

Remember, I said that a pillar post is designed to help pre-sell your product or service to the reader. Well, in order for that to happen you need to really think about your audience, what their problem is, what they want, and what kind of content would be most helpful to them.

Here are the 3 questions you should ask yourself about your ideal customer to help come up with great topics for your content. Trust me—the topic for your pillar post is hiding in those answers.

1) What does your prospect need to believe in order to buy the product or service you’re selling?

For example, if you’re selling a marathon training course, maybe your prospect needs to believe that they can run a marathon—even if they work full-time and can only train on nights and weekends.

Or maybe they need to believe that they can run a marathon, even if they’re over 40 or 50 or even if they’re currently overweight.

Because if your prospect doesn’t believe they can run a marathon because of their job, weight, age, etc., then they aren’t going to buy your marathon training course.

So it’s your job to educate them and answer their most common objections with a post like:

“How to Run a Marathon, Even if You Work 40 Hours a Week”

Here’s another example of an article that does a good job of this. It’s called, “5 Reasons why Small Businesses Should use A CRM”:

Clearly this company has identified some of the beliefs that their customers have (particularly the small business owners) need to be overcome. Then they turned that into a blog post that helps to overcome those common objections.

2) What do your prospects research before they buy your product or service?

So our marathon company that we mentioned earlier needs to figure out the kind of things that marathon runners research before they run a marathon, and thus, buy your product.

Are they searching for marathon training tips?

Best marathon shoes?

Marathon motivation?

Here’s another example from REI. They’ve put together a checklist of mountain biking equipment:

This is a great post for new mountain bikers who are researching what kind of gear they need to get started. And, of course, the list has plenty of hyperlinks to products you can buy right on the REI website.

3) What conversations are going on in the mind of your customer before they buy your product or service?

Now you have to really dig deep into the minds of your customers.

When people are thinking about running a marathon, what kinds of things are they thinking about?

Maybe they’re wondering if marathons are good for you or not.

Maybe they’re wondering if running long-distance will hurt their knees, or cause muscle wasting, or 100 other similar questions.

Here’s a great example from Glassdoor. Clearly they’ve identified some of the doubts that tend to run through people’s minds right before an interview:

Here’s another from Charles Schwab. It’s a timely topic for parents (like myself) who are just starting to think about paying for their kid’s college and so on.

Become the Answer to These Questions

These questions are super important because they help you to identify all the hot-button topics that are on your customers’ minds during the buying process.

And once you know the questions your prospects are asking, you can start being the answer to those questions. This will be the foundation for your pillar blog post.

Once you know the questions your prospects are asking, you can start being the answer to those questions.

Are you having trouble figuring out what kinds of questions your prospects have? If so, here’s a little hint.

Get out there and ask them!

Check out forums dedicated to your niche. Attend a local meetup. Or just see if you can interview some of your company’s previous customers to find out what sort of things they researched and thought about before they purchased your product.

HINT: Think About the Way Your Audience Self-Identifies

People often go through a process where they suddenly decide to self-identify a certain way.

As as guitar player. A chef. A photographer. Someone who’s fit. Etc.

For instance, maybe you have been mountain biking off and on for a while. But one day, you find yourself biking more and more often, and you realize you really enjoy it. And then you stop thinking of yourself as a guy who goes mountain biking… and start thinking of yourself as an actual mountain biker.

And just like that, the way you identify yourself in your mind has changed.

People do this all the time, and when they do, it’s a great thing for savvy marketers who know how to take advantage of it.

Why?

Because anytime a person decides to self-identify as something, they have a tendency to buy a lot of stuff.

When you start to think of yourself as a mountain biker, you’re going to want to own all the things that mountain bikers generally have—like a hardcore mountain bike, protective gear, mountain biking shoes, and so on.

Those possessions are a way of reinforcing your new self-image.

And the trick, when you’re coming up with a topic for your pillar blog post, is to figure out what is going to speak to that person who has just now started to self-identify as a customer who uses the same type of product or service that you provide.

Now this isn’t necessarily an exact science. There’s always a little guesswork involved. Which is why 1 blog topic idea isn’t enough. Instead, I recommend coming up with a list of at least 10.

Create a List of 10 Content Ideas

When you find the perfect topic for a blog post—I mean that 1 blog post topic that absolutely hits your target prospect right where they live and makes them hungry to read more—that 1 piece of content might be all you need to connect with your audience and launch your content marketing success.

That’s what you’re looking for: that 1 idea that will truly resonate with your audience.

And if you take a closer look at Ryan’s post, he says the same thing:

For DigitalMarketer, it was a post called “Customer Value Optimization: How to Build an Unstoppable Business.”

The bad news is that you probably won’t pick the perfect topic right off the bat (ask me how I know). It will probably take a few tries until you hit on a content topic that really works for you.

So, start with a list of at least 10 great content topic ideas.

Then follow the rest of this process for each of those 10 ideas, one at a time, until you hit that home-run.

(NOTE: Struggling to create shareable content quickly? Get the Perfect Blog Post Template. You can use to it create viral blog posts fast, without ever having to “write” a single line of text. Check it out here.)

Step 2: Pick a Type of Post

Now that you know what your content is going to be about, the next step is to choose how you’re going to present it.

And there are 2 post types that I recommend you start with here. These aren’t the only way to format a pillar blog post, certainly, but in most cases these are the 2 best formats to use if you’re writing a pillar post.

And the 2 perfect pillar post types are…

1) The “How To” Post: Describe how to execute a process, and use images, video, or audio to enrich the post

This type of article teaches the reader how to do something—whether it’s how to lose weight, how to change a flat tire, or even how to create a pillar blog post. (Woah, meta.)

If you choose to write a how-to post, make sure to go into detail on every step so that the process you’re explaining is super clear to the reader.

The awesome thing about how-to articles is that they have the natural side-effect of positioning you as an authority in your niche.

As a company that offers training programs, DigitalMarketer would want their prospects to view them as an authority in the digital marketing niche. So creating how-to posts is a natural fit for them, which is why DigitalMarketer writes a lot of them.

An example would be DM’s pillar post on customer value optimization:

This post goes into great detail in explaining how to nurture leads into customers and then how to maximize the value of those customers using a marketing funnel that runs largely on autopilot.

2) The Listicle: Create a list of books, tools, resources, or literally anything else your audience will find useful

The other type of post I recommend is a listicle. This is a big old honkin’ list of things that will be useful for your reader. It’s a good choice when there are many different ways to accomplish whatever it is your reader is trying to do.

It’s also a great choice for a lot of B2C companies who want to give their customers new ideas about different ways to use their product. For example, here’s a listicle post from an essential oil company showing people all the different ways they can use essential oils:

If Those 2 Post Types Don’t Fit…

Chances are pretty good that your pillar post idea will work best as a how-to article or a listicle. So try those 2 post types first.

But if those don’t seem to fit, then check out our blog post called The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas. And appropriately enough, this is actually a listicle that contains over 50 (and counting) types of blog posts you can use to deliver your content online.

Then, the last thing you’ll need to do is…

Step 3: Find Your Angle

At this point you have your topic, and you know what format you’re going to present it in. So now you just need to start writing… right?

Wrong.

I can almost guarantee that your post is going to need some kind of angle. Some way of presenting your topic that grabs your reader’s attention and makes them want to click and read that post.

Because here’s the thing. Just about every topic under the sun has been covered before. So it’s not enough to simply write about your topic in a straightforward way.

Instead you first have to find a way to differentiate your post by adding an angle to it. Something that makes it more interesting, more attention-grabbing. Something that makes it stand out from the pack.

Don’t Skip This Step!

Choosing an angle for your post is the step that most people skip.

And that’s a shame because there are a lot of really great posts out there—super helpful posts written about topics people are interested in—that never got the traction they deserved…

All because the creator didn’t write the post in a way that made it stand out from the competition and grab people’s attention.

Here are the 5 main post angles that I recommend for your pillar post:

1) Benefit: A direct angle that speaks to the reader’s self-interest

In this angle, you present your topic as something that will benefit the reader. And everything about that post—from the title to the way you lay out and write the text itself—needs to focus on that benefit.

Because this angle is pretty straightforward, it needs to make a big, bold promise. It needs to tell the reader what they’ll gain or learn.

Here’s an example of a “benefit” angle…

…which promises to show the reader how to be a good leader.

2) New: Use this angle when you are revealing something novel or previously unknown to the reader

People love things that are new and exciting.

New developments, new technology, new announcements—if there’s anything about your topic that you can portray as being new and exciting… something people haven’t seen before… then this is probably the angle you’ll want to use.

The great thing about this angle is that it will appeal to people who are already well-read in your niche.

Take this example from our friends at Social Media Examiner:

If someone has already read 100 articles on how to monetize blogs, they probably won’t want to read a blog that looks like it covers the same thing they’ve already read 100 times.

But you just might grab their attention when you mention “New Research” in your headline, promising them something NEW that they’ve never read before.

3) Threat: A form of the “benefit” angle, this post speaks to the avoidance of pain

This is basically the inverse of Angle #1. Only this time, instead of focusing on how taking action can benefit the reader… you’re focusing on the ways in which NOT taking action could harm them.

Here’s an example of a post with a “threat” angle:

4) Piggyback: Leverages the authority or popularity of someone or something outside of your company

A piggyback is when you leverage something else that’s well-known to lend extra interest and credibility to your topic.

Here’s an example from Inc.com that piggybacks off of the authority, credibility, and success of Richard Branson:

Richard Branson didn’t write this article. But the author can take advantage of his popularity by writing a post that talks about some of the principles that Richard Branson has talked about or written about in some of his books.

5) Curiosity: Piques interest without providing direct information

The last angle, curiosity, is when you write a post that makes people curious to read more.

You’re not necessarily promising a benefit, or something new, or piggybacking on something else… you’re just piquing the reader’s interest as a way to draw as many people into your content as possible.

Here’s a great example of a “curiosity” post:

This was a super shocking headline, but it made perfect sense for this post because most people (including myself) didn’t know that James Chartrand is actually a woman.

Note: You have to be a little careful with curiosity angles. Don’t try to get too cute or too clever with your angles until you know what you’re doing. Otherwise you’ll end up writing a post headline that doesn’t really speak to anyone.

You Can Combine These Angles Together

Now that you know the 5 most common angles for pillar posts, keep in mind you can also Frankenstein these things together to create an even more enticing post angle.

For example, you might combine a benefit angle with a new angle to create a post like:

“Research Shows This New Face Cream Reduces Wrinkles by 90%…”

Or you could combine a threat angle with a piggyback angle to make this post:

“Warren Buffet Warns Investors: Do NOT Invest in the Stock Market Unless You Do This First!”

3 Tips to Help Extend the Lifespan of Your Post

Remember, the goal of this process is to create a post that will live for a long time, bringing you more and more organic traffic even months or years after you publish it.

If you follow the 3-step process I outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to achieving that goal.

But just to make sure you’re armed with all the content firepower available, I’m also sharing these 3 tips to help make sure your posts live a long and healthy life.

1) Update Them Regularly

If you want your posts to continue bringing in traffic year after year, you need to update them and add to them on a regular basis. (Once a year is a good goal.)

This does a couple things.

First, it lets Google know that your post is still up-to-date, still relevant. Google rewards pages that are updated more often with better organic rankings, so this is a way to let them know your post hasn’t fallen behind the times.

“Hoping” isn’t a strategy.

It also makes the post itself more relevant, interesting, and useful for the end reader. Because no matter what topic you’re writing about, there’s bound to be some new information on that topic every year.

And by keeping your post up-to-date, you’re making sure that it continues to be the go-to resource for people who are researching that topic.

2) Create Something 10x Better Than Anything Else Out There

Before you write your post, it’s a good idea to find some of the other pieces of content out there on the topic. Read through that content and see what your competitors have already done.

Then do 10x better than that.

If you aren’t willing to go way above and beyond what’s already out there, then this process isn’t worth your time.

If you want people to choose your blog post over someone else’s (especially a blog post that’s already out there and getting organic traffic), then you have to give them a good reason to do so—and you have to make sure that your content is the best, most helpful resource out there on your topic.

3) Buy Some Website Traffic

Once you publish your blog post, don’t be afraid to pay to send some web traffic to it.

There’s a lot of competition out there for people’s attention, and you can’t always just publish content and hope that people will notice it.

“Hoping” isn’t a strategy.

Instead, it’s your job to make sure that people notice you. And one way you can do that is by spending some money to get your content in front of the right kind of people.

How Many Pillar Posts Do You Need?

The last thing I’m going to talk about in this post is: how many times should you go through this process?

In step #1, I recommended coming up with 10 pillar post topics.

And that’s a good number to start with. When I first started at DM, that’s what I did: I started by creating 10 awesome pieces of content.

And that was enough.

Those 10 blog posts were enough to grab the attention of our market and really launch us into the brand we are today.

So come up with 10 post topic ideas. Then complete the rest of this process for each of those ideas, 1 at a time, until you have 10 amazing pieces of content.

But don’t stop there!

Once you’re finished with your first 10 pieces of content, do it again. And again.

And again.

And watch your audience, your brand, and your business grow to new heights.

(NOTE: Struggling to create shareable content quickly? Get the Perfect Blog Post Template. You can use to it create viral blog posts fast, without ever having to “write” a single line of text. Check it out here.)

The post 3 Simple Steps to Creating A “Pillar Blog Post” That Generates Organic Traffic for Years to Come appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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6 Tips for Building Your Marketing Career

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/building-your-marketing-career/

You’ve read the books. You’ve watched the videos.

You’re convinced that you belong in marketing.

Now, all you have to do is put that resume out there and wait, right?

Unfortunately, that won’t cut it anymore. Getting into marketing is easy. But how do you make it big?

That’s a different ballgame with its own set of rules.

And when you look at the projected growth rates for the marketing field – an increase of up to 10% by 2026 – you can’t afford to not get savvy with those rules.

That growth might be good news for the economy, but it can create challenges for the beginner marketer.

Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to get the edge on your competition.

Here’s a peek into my rulebook for crushing it in marketing. Use these strategies to boost your marketing career and leave the competition behind.

1. Improve your communication

Whether it’s social monitoring tools, voice search, or multi-channel marketing automation, technology regularly changes the way we reach our audiences.

But it’s a lot to keep up with.

71% of marketing executives use six or more types of marketing technology in their day-to-day lives.

Trying to master one, let alone six, can be daunting and downright impossible for new marketers.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution:

Go back to the basics and then dominate them.

No matter what new technology rolls out tomorrow, your basic communication skills are always in demand.

For proof, take a look at the top skills employers want when hiring fresh graduates for entry-level positions:

Over 80% of employers want to see written communication skills, and under 70% want verbal skills.

Comparatively, less than 60% of survey respondents highlighted technical skills as a top attribute. Less than 50% are looking for computer-specific skills.

That’s all great news for new marketers.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or you’re making a career transition, you can develop communication skills on your own time.

And you can do it without spending any money or with only a small financial investment.

These skills will make you a better marketer. After all, what is marketing if not applied communication? And, it will make you a more employable in any industry.

It’s a win-win, right?

But how do you develop your fundamental communication skills?

It’s going to sound a little cheesy, but the answer that shows up in professional manuals is the same:

To become a better communicator, communicate more. And, specifically, write more.

As you practice your writing, let me give you a few resources to help you fine-tune your writing skills.

First of all, you should check out My Copyblogger.

Besides their regularly-updated blog, Copyblogger offers e-training courses, webinars, and resources through their My Copyblogger membership.

Signing up gives you access to exclusive e-books that help you develop your written communication and marketing skills.

Look at this top-level preview of their e-book releases for members:

With all of the e-books they offer, both long and short, Copyblogger is a killer resource for any marketer wanting to improve their writing.

Next, Grammarly is a must-have tool.

Grammarly is part proofreader and part personal writing assistant.

It offers more help than just catching typos. It uses contextual analysis to understand what you’re trying to say, and then it helps you say it better.

It also tracks your progress and shows how your skills stack up against other Grammarly users so you can see the trends.

In turn, that makes it easier to figure out what you need to focus on improving.

It also tracks your total word count, and it will show you advanced errors if you’re a premium user.

Being able to track your progress isn’t merely a marketing gimmick, either. Monitoring your own progress can help you stay motivated, set realistic goals, and improve your quality.

Grammarly is probably the best all-in-one tool that you can use. But there are a couple of others worth mentioning.

The web version of Hemingway Editor is a free resource for improving your writing. It tracks passive voice, adverbs, and readability – all of which impact how your audience perceives your writing.

Count Wordsworth is also a free analysis tool helps you polish your word flow. It tracks sentence length, syllables, and pauses.

Here’s the bottom line time:

If you want to get ahead of the technology rat race, then you need to get out of it. Focus on sharpening your foundational skills like writing to help your resume stand the test of time.

2. Specialize and socialize

Thanks to significant job growth, opportunities in marketing are expanding. But so is the competition.

And competing with other marketing hopefuls means that you’re going up against a field chock-full of communication experts.

It’s a lot to stack up against on paper. If you want to separate yourself from the pack, you have to specialize your toolkit.

In a 2017 study, the top-three skills that employers desired in new marketers were digital advertising, content creation, and content strategy.

Creating content and flaunting your curation skills can go a long way toward establishing yourself as a digital marketing guru. And here’s the best part:

You can get started free.

In fact, you can even convince other marketers to spread your reputation for you. How?

Create content for other people.

Specifically, create blog posts for major publications. It’s a great way to associate yourself with industry authorities and get your name out there.

But even more importantly, it also gives you the skill that 53% of marketers list as their company’s top priority.

This is probably why so many big-time marketers are such prolific bloggers. Take a look at this sample of the blogosphere.

The Ahrefs blog is full of data-rich (and often original) research, making it a great place to dive into the details of marketing’s technical side.

This also helps establish the Ahrefs team as subject domain experts. Tim Soulo, for example, is a prolific writer for their blog.

Tim doesn’t post to Ahrefs every day. But when he does, I know that he writes reliable blogs with research-heavy information about SEO.

He regularly introduces new ways of looking at data and marketing with rich technical details and an easy-to-read style.

And that alone is reason enough for you to follow him.

But his blog posts do more than get Ahrefs out there. They cement him as a quality writer and marketer.

Something he corroborates even further with his work at BloggerJet.

Do you want another real-life example of a professional making blogs (even other people’s blogs) work for them?

Look no further than Ann Handley.

Part marketing legend and part writing genius, Hadley uses her expert skills to keep her name at the top of the marketing influencer list.

Ann’s work is both witty and relatable. Her blog reframes complicated marketing concepts into easy and digestible posts. I never come away from her work without laughing and learning.

I guess you could say I’m an “annarchist.” If you want to hone your content skills, you should become one, too.

But it’s not just her razor-sharp sense of humor that keeps readers coming back for more. She’s consistent, she’s authoritative, and she doesn’t hoard her talent.

In addition to her work with MarketingProfs, she also guests posts for Entrepreneur and for Huffington Post.

If someone influential enough to author two Wall Street Journal best-sellers still guests posts for other organizations, shouldn’t you consider doing the same?

So, how do you get started with guest blogging?

Although there are a lot of avenues for publishing content as a guest, one of the easiest – and one of my favorite – ways to get started is through Medium.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLyzKdc5Lso?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Ultimately, no matter how you choose to hone your communication skills, adding authoritative pieces to your name won’t just help you sound like a better marketer.

It’ll make you look like one, too. And that brings me to the next topic:

Your portfolio.

3. Grow your portfolio

Your skills can’t grow without the opportunity to sharpen them.

But you won’t get many opportunities until you demonstrate that you already have some of the skills that you need to improve.

Because you aren’t able to secure opportunities, your skills deteriorate and don’t develop. You miss out on even more future opportunities because no one will give you one to start with.

This starts a self-defeating cycle.

In a 2017 survey, 64.5% of employers indicated they preferred hiring candidates with relevant work experience. This was even true in the case of college graduates.

So, whether you get into the marketing field through school or Internet hustle, you need experience in order to get more experience.

That’s frustrating, right?

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to break the cycle and make you look pretty impressive, too.

You can volunteer. Specifically, volunteer with a nonprofit.

This will help expand your network and gain professional portfolio pieces.

It also helps signal your values to future employers and commitment to social causes like education and animal welfare.

You might even meet other marketers in the process. Radish Labs, a creative agency specializing in nonprofits, regularly promotes creative volunteerism.

Are you looking for ways to volunteer and beef up your portfolio but can’t find any local opportunities? VolunteerMatch is a great directory with plenty of remote opportunities.

With ample opportunities to grow your portfolio and get some serious Good Samaritan street cred, what are you waiting for?

Get out there and start making a difference for others to see a difference in your career.

4. Jumpstart your network

In some industries, it’s more about who you know than what you do. But in digital marketing, it’s about both.

And if you’re an inexperienced marketer, that can create a significant obstacle to launching your career.

It’s almost a chicken before the egg problem. How do you meet the right people if you don’t already know the right people to set up introductions?

After all, according to SilkRoad’s 2017 Sources of Hire report, employee referrals still lead the way as the top avenue for new job hires.

It’s the same kind of defeating cycle as the “experience without experience” conundrum I described in the above section.

You can’t grow your network because you need a network first to look reputable and gain people’s trust.

Fortunately, the solution to ending this cycle is just as simple:

Log out and look to the offline world to bolster your online network.

Are you needing to meet people in the industry? Attend local meetings and conventions and then make your connection online.

Here’s the great news:

Two of the biggest marketing conventions – INBOUND and the Growth Marketing Conference – are still on the horizon for 2018.

Hubspot backs INBOUND.

INBOUND

It includes all things marketing and selling in three strategy-packed days.

If you don’t want to commit to the sessions or their price tag, INBOUND also offers “community passes” for networking events. It’s a great option for new marketers with tight budgets.

The Growth Marketing Conference is also well worth your time.

Some of the biggest names in marketing attend the conference. It’s a two-day event full of networking events, tactical sessions, and innovative workshops.

Like INBOUND, this conference offers several tiers of participation, including access to networking and training sessions at a fraction of the full price.

Of course, one of the big downfalls of this approach is that the larger conventions tend to happen in larger cities.

But don’t worry.

Even if you can’t fit a major convention into your schedule, there are still a few other options for expanding your network.

You can host or join a local event through a service like Meetup.

This not only cuts out your travel costs but it also helps you build a local network and find – or organize – events on your own schedule.

Lastly, even if you can’t find any offline networking opportunities, there are some online options for building your credibility and network.

One solution is LinkedIn groups. Take a look at the four most popular groups below:

That’s pretty promising, right?

With three million connections possible, you should be able to find like-minded connections in no time and start growing your network.

5. Go big with data

If you want to beat the rat race, get ahead of it. And there’s no better way to get ahead than to develop some of the most in-demand skills on the job market.

And in 2018, that means you need to go big with data.

Statistics and analytics help marketers understand their audiences in a quantifiable way.

But that’s not all they can do.

Data-driven marketing techniques also help professionals make better decisions and acquire new customers.

They have the receipts to show for it, too.

Between 2016 and 2017, data-driven marketing expenditures and revenues rose to their highest ever, according to a DMA study.

But despite this significant growth, the marketing world is still experiencing a major talent shortage.

The datasets keep expanding, but the talent pool and preparedness of organization are on the decline.

Check out this later 2018 survey about marketers’ confidence in the ability of their organizations to handle data for marketing:

So what does this mean for your career? I can tell you in one word:

Opportunity.

With data becoming critical for marketers and business leaders across the board, there’s never been a better time to learn how to analyze data.

And thanks to the advent of several e-learning platforms, it’s never been easier, either. Here are a few of the places where you can dig into data and earn your analytic credentials from home.

Coursera offers university-grade education at an elementary school price point. Usually, courses run between four to six weeks.

Many of their courses provide free videos, and the selection for marketing analytics is huge.

And best of all, all of their classes are fully online, and they reward certificates upon completion.

In addition to career credentials, the forum can jumpstart your network and help develop your portfolio with peers.

Are you looking for a less academic option, or do you need to set your own schedule? If so, try Lynda.com.

LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com in 2015. Now, it’s a powerful resource for learning the ins and outs of marketing, SEO, content, design, and much more.

Unlike Coursera, the lecture series on Lynda.com consists of videos and guided exercises, so you can learn entirely at your own pace.

And, while you won’t have a forum to interact with other course learners, many of the videos include guided exercise files to help you practice your skills.

Plus, thanks to the integration with LinkedIn, you can automatically display your learning paths on your profile.

Check out a preview of some of the courses they offer for data analytics in marketing.

Lynda.com has classes that range from beginner to advanced levels. It has everything you need to hone your data skills from start to finish.

Another option is DistilledU.

Some of the largest names in business like Adobe, eBay, and Capital One use DistilledU. It’s an at-your-own-pace, interactive training option for SEO marketers who want to learn more about the field.

They also offer classes for marketers of all levels. They have classes that can teach you the fundamentals of SEO.

And they have highly advanced classes, too.

This makes it a fantastic resource for marketers of any experience level.

DistilledU offers annual and monthly memberships. So, whether you want to master marketing or just get a crash course in analytics, there’s a module to fit your schedule and budget.

Similar to Lynda.com, Skillshare provides e-learning for everything from design to data science to advanced marketing.

Here are some of their course offerings that are currently popular.

Instructors provide class projects to supplement video lectures with hands-on learning, making this ideal for those of you who prefer interactive education.

In summary, no matter what platform you choose, adding data analytics to your skill set is a great way to make yourself more attractive to future employers and outshine the competition.

6. Build your branding

Finally, if you want to step outside of your competition’s shadow, you have to build your branding and build it well.

That means that, besides developing your writing skills, you need to establish a distinct visual identity.

Without one, your brand can easily get lost in the fray, especially if you’re using stock images.

Getting lost means that your audience is ignoring you. And if your audience is ignoring you, you’ll never see your marketing career reach the next level.

But getting a grip on core marketing concepts and strategies is hard enough. How are you supposed to develop branding and make yourself stand out?

And what makes a brand’s visual style distinct?

No matter what channels you’re using, consistency is key.

Take a look at Content Marketing Institute’s homepage:

Now, take a peek at their YouTube channel:

By keeping the typeface and colors consistent, they establish an easy mental link for their followers. Users know that if they see that shade of orange, they’re looking at something from Content Marketing Institute.

Here’s another example. Look at MarketingProfs’ homepage.

Now, here’s their YouTube channel.

Again, you can see consistent colors and styles of images.

This is what it boils down to:

If your social media accounts don’t share branding, you’re making it harder for people to identify you as a marketer.

If you think branding is difficult, then think again. You can start your branding by creating a logo in about five minutes.

But if you want to take it a step further and you don’t have an army of in-house designers behind you, then you can turn to freelance boards for help.

Fiverr, Upwork, and 99designs are three of the most popular platforms for finding great visuals that fit any budget.

On Fiverr, freelancers (which they call “sellers”) provide service packages with their unique skills.

One of the upsides to using Fiverr is that they offer scalable bundles. These bundles will let you get as little or much design work as you need for a predictable price.

And because buyers reach out to sellers first, you won’t receive pitches that you aren’t interested in.

But that’s also the downside.

If you’re short on time, you can’t wait for offers and let the designers come to you. That means that this may not be the best option for marketers with a tight schedule.

Upwork (formerly oDesk) is another major freelancer board with a significant design community.

After setting up a business account, you have the option of posting a job and letting the pitches come to you. You can also invite some of Upwork’s top talent to apply.

Unlike Fiverr, you typically pay by the hour or project. Freelancers submit their proposals along with their price estimations.

Upwork is ideal for both big and small budgets. It’s a great option to test the visual branding waters without making major commitments.

Lastly, 99designs is a freelancing platform that specializes in branding and product design.

They provide matching services where they fit you with a graphic designer who meets your design needs. There’s also a contest option where the community competes to win your project.

The higher price of 99designs may not be ideal for your first project. But for those ready to commit, all design contests come with a 100% money-back guarantee.

No matter where you get your designs from, consistent branding colors are key for integrating older and newer designs seamlessly.

One easy way to do that is by using Adobe’s color system.

Here’s how.

Head to Adobe Color CC.

Click on “sign in” in the top-right corner. You want to be able to save your palette to share, so it’s important to get this step out of the way first.

Follow the link for “Get an Adobe ID.”

Fill out the sign-up form and click the blue “sign up” button to go back to the Adobe Color CC homepage.

Once there, begin picking colors by manipulating the color wheel. Here’s the default suggestion for my orange.

To play with the auto-generated palettes, use the left-hand menu to navigate. If you want to build a custom palette, you’ll need to select the last option.

Once you have a color palette you like, click the blue save button.

It will then prompt you to name your theme.

Click “save” and head over to “My Themes” using the top navigation menu.

You should now find your palette waiting in your library.

Hover over your palette to see your saving and sharing options.

Hit the download button to share your palette with future designers.

Since Adobe is the king of design suites – 90% of creative professionals use Photoshop – anyone you work with can open the palette directly in their choice program.

You can even use the same palette to customize resume templates and give your credentials the same eye candy from start to finish.

By the way, don’t forget to check out Adobe Color CC’s “Explore” option for inspiration before you go.

Ultimately, whether you use multiple freelancers or none at all, using the same color palette throughout will give your brand consistency no matter who is at the design wheel.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4PbCulOhOA?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Conclusion

The field of marketing is expanding rapidly, and experts expect it to keep growing.

That means that you have plenty of opportunities. However, that also means that you have plenty of competition.

So, how can you stand out?

For starters, don’t get too caught up in new technology. Keeping on top of marketing technology trends as a newcomer to the industry is expensive and time-consuming.

Instead, focus on dominating your fundamental communication skills.

Next, you can separate yourself from the competition by specializing and socializing.

Create content for other industry blogs or use publications on Medium to give your name authority.

Portfolio pieces are a killer way to make your resume shine, even if they’re unpaid gigs.

Volunteer your marketing skills with a nonprofit to polish your sample pieces. Plus you’ll make a difference in the world and your career.

Networking is still a vital part of landing a job. More new hires come through employee referrals than through job boards.

Building an online network can be tricky. One way to expand your network rapidly is to look to the offline world and attend industry conventions.

Candidates with data skills are some of the most in-demand hires in any industry, marketing including. Build your analytics skills on your own time to elevate your career potential.

Branding doesn’t stop at written content. Having a distinct and consistent visual identity is key.

Even if you don’t have designers on tap, you can find great (and cheap) freelancers through platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99 Designs.

Establishing a color palette keeps your branding consistent no matter who is behind the design wheel.

Adobe Color CC is a fast, easy, and free way to set up a color palette that the vast majority of creative professionals can use later.

A marketing career can be challenging to start, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Follow these six strategies to give your career a boost and stay at the top of the trendline.

What strategies have you used to separate your skills from the marketing pack?

The post 6 Tips for Building Your Marketing Career appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Top 5 Insights from Every Speaker of Digital Elite Camp 2018

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/digital-elite-camp-2018/

Elite Camp 2018 (10th anniversary!) brough together 180 marketing and optimization people all over Europe. It was 3 days in a secluded beach resort with the best speakers and parties.

Here are 5 (or so) thoughts from every speaker from this year’s lineup.

Peep Laja: Repeatable Patterns in CRO

We cannot predict what will work. Our intuition is terrible at it.
You can’t copy market leaders or competitors to get ahead.
Can we skip conversion research if we know the repeatable patterns? No.
Basic things like “less unnecessary forms fields” are best practices, it’s a stretch to call them repetable patterns
The only repeatable pattern in CRO is doing the hard work of conversion research – it gets results every single time.

Hana Abaza: Thriving on Change, Driving Growth and Lessons Learned at Shopify

Positioning: Is it really the product you have to differentiate or is it the experience?
Your customers are ready for the future of commerce. Are you?
Marketers are often talking about unicorns, ice-creams and rainbows. But actually there is no basis to positioning. Use plain language. No jargon. No ice-cream, unicorns, rainbows.
 Balance short and long term impact. Low hanging fruit seems tempting, but can lead you astray.
It’s not about more leads, but better leads.

Chris Out: How to Build a Top 1% Growth Team 3 times faster than your Competition?

The growth system is broken: product, marketing and sales are siloed. That’s a problem.
Growth hacking is not only top of the funnel. You need high tempo testing and experimentation throughout the whole customer journey.
A high impact teams needs top skills. Rockboost process of building up a skill set:

Personal T-shape plans.
What do your clients need?
List all the hard and soft skills.
Learning plan per person
Plan dedicated learning time into your day!
Monthly check-ins.

Look at your growth team score and ask yourself: are you working in a multi-disciplinary team where you focus on high tempo testing on the entire customer journey for bottom line and valuation impact?
Use CXL Institute to train your team members on growth

Ed Fry: Data-driven Growth – Lies, Lawyers & Outsized Results

Where is your customer journey captured? Go a little bit further, it is not always in Google Analytics. What does your team need to access that data? How to get access to the right data? It’s in website analytics and emails, but that is just a small piece of it.
What are the decision making moments in your growth process? Can you create rules for them? There is automation & there are processes, but for growth you also need rules.

Pricing is a rule.
Sales compensation is a rule.
Content modelling is a rule. (Booking.com: user reviews, location..)
Content modelling for a blog: use different elements
Design = rules.
Development = rules.
Content = rules.
Segments as rules: “Who to talk to”
Templates as rules: “What to say” and “What to say” internally
Workflows as rules: “When and where to say it”. Control the complexity in your workflows.

 Unify all user data in one place.

Alexa Hubley: The Agile Marketing Playbook

Create your agile process:

Map (start at the end)
Sketch (remix & improve)
Decide (Rumble, storyboard)
Prototype – test

Active campaigning works. If you want more product adoption, market to your user base. 
Solve at the micro level.
Show, don’t tell.

André Morys: Understanding Disruptive Growth – Why Most Optimizers Fail to Produce Great Results and How to Change it

Understand the real challenge. It is not statistics, tools, errors on websites.
It’s all about customer experience. We have to help companies provide a better experience. Make a connection between A/B testing and your boss/strategy. It’s not about technology, but customer centricity + agility, data drivenness.
You are not optimising websites but helping your boss and client get over ignorance and see the real problem. Connect what you are doing to their strategic challenge.
Prioritise impact over speed. Go for “High Impact Testing” – those tests need a triple amount of effort of an average A/B test, but are worth it. Challenge your prioritisation. Select tests that make a real impact.
Have a workshop with the management to agree on how to report real ROI in a way they understand and care about.

Karl Gilis: Why You Fail at Digital Marketing

Hope is not a strategy. You have to know the basics – why something works or doesn’t.
Offline marketing is about getting attention. Online marketing is about paying attention.
Video backgrounds are the new sliders.
Zoom in into the problems. Don’t make it about you. Make it about them.
If you don’t care about words, you are a decorator, not a designer.

Craig Sullivan: Tools and Techniques for Optimising Cross-device Experiences

If customers cannot read the content, because it is too small, then it’s a marketing whiffle.
We all have product defects, we just don’t know where they are and how much they cost us. But until you have tested it, they are just bad assumptions.
Why don’t we hear about these bugs? Even if nobody complains, it does not mean everything is working fine. Everyone needs a process for finding the defects. Customers will not call.
Most important thing in the checklist: audit of Google Analytics. Otherwise you might have bullshit data, bullshit boards, bullshit dashboards, bullshit executive boards.
Data-driven is a tricky concept. Information does not tell you what to do. You are the lens that needs to figure that out.

Annika Oorn: Optimizing High Converting Websites

Aggregate data is crap as it hides the gold inside the segments
Optimisation is more than just running tests. Find bugs. Get started and move on to automated solutions.
What if you don’t have heaps of traffic?

You can still do personalisation
Look at broad segments
Learn from segments – dig deep
Cross-sell/up-sell
Use micro-conversions
Increase motivation
Qualitative research
First impression tests, user testing before going live (UsabilityHub etc)
Lower the statistical significance

Focus on upsells, cross-sells and personalization when the conversion rate is already very high

Andy Carvell: Driving Impact on Mobile

Apple App Store and Google Play store have a lot of competition. You would probably find 6-7 functionally identical apps for every idea.
Mobilegrowthstack.com – A framework for strategic mobile growth.

Acquisition
Engagement & Retention
Monetization

Analytics & Insights
Tech

Push notifications. Pretty saturated. In-App messages. Definitely not saturated. Segmented targeted interaction with your user.
Use of in-app messaging to rapidly test segmented onboarding. Impact = Reach x Relevance x Frequency.
Optimise relevance – you can improve it with personalisation. Leverage the demographics, behavior. If the relevance is high enough, people are happy to get the notifications.

Jonathan Epstein: From Darwin to Digital Marketing: Can Evolutionary AI Create More Effective Customer Journeys?

In nature, natural selection has optimal designs. Each species is uniquely optimised for the niche it is in. Modelling evolution this way helps to bring the model to other areas.
Evolutionary principles

Fitness – The fittest web page, the fittest radio antenna, training system..
Combination – if you have 2 better than average design, then you climb a performance hill
Mutation – like in nature, we are looking all the angles of possible ideas.

Evolutionary Optimization: parallel designing – combine two good designs and get a better one. Each generation requires less traffic than a single A/B test. In 15 generations of 40 designs each. This approach allows you to test much more things. They run 6-8 generations to get highest increase of conversion over time.
 Combination of evolution and deep learning. Neural networks connect inputs  (variables: customer profile, device, day of week, time of day) and outputs (what are they going to see).

Lukas Vermeer: Democratizing online controlled experiments at Booking.com

The question with data always is: How did this data come about?
Evidence-based customer-centric product development. You need to have theories about your customer behavior and ask what this test wants to achieve?
Failure is learning. 9/10 tests fail.
Take the biggest small step so you can challenge your riskiest assumptions quickly.
Customer-centric evidence on what they care about. With this approach you will learn what matters to your customers.

Momoko Price: Data-driven copywriting for brand-spanking new products

Worst advice you get for converting copywriting – tweaking random words on pages.
Longstanding conversion-copywriting myth is that conversion copywriting is AB testing, copywriting formula. Actual four steps:

Research the customer mindset
Map out the sales narrative
Leverage cognitive biases – framing, anchoring etc- how humans make decisions
Measure the impact

Good copywriting = Exercising empathy. Listen. Listen at scale.
When you feel it in your gut, you know it must be right. No – that’s confirmation bias.
Great technique for copywriting – online review mining. Instead of writing your message from scratch, steal it directly from your prospects. Go to a review site and steal from there – Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Amazon

Ivan Bager: Storytelling with data

Storytelling is good for idea pitches, one-off analysis, board meetings, sales efforts, persuasion of stakeholders.
When narrative is coupled with data, it helps to explain to your audience what’s happening in the data and why a particular insight is important.
When visuals and graphs are applied to data, they can enlighten the audience to insights that they wouldn’t otherwise.
Connect the narrative to your story by linking it to events and conclusions in the data. Visuals doesn’t have to be graphs, use images of the people involved.
Analyse your audience member’s frame of mind to help them better “hear” you. Structure your story effectively. Instill customer empathy into your audience to increase your story’s memorability.

Robin Langfield Newnham: Optimising for Voice AI in the Post-Website Era

Post-website era: No app. No browser. No search. Voice-only shopping. Voice shopping estimated to hit 40 million dollars by 2022 in the UK and US.
 Use keywordtool.io to identify long-tail questions with voice intent. Look for long-term keywords.
Use SEMRUSH or Ahreds to identify which keywords contain a featured snippet result page.
Create in-depth, mobile-friendly guides that succinctly answer each question.
Use ‘organization’ schema.org markup to gain a knowledge box snippet. Allows Google Home to pull answers about your brand.

Els Aerts: Without Research There Is Nothing

User research is part of every project, may it be information architecture project, conversion optimisation project. You have to do the research for your product/service, website, because it always “depends”.
How much research should you do? Just enough.
Qualitative research: Why? How? In-depth input needed. Interviews. Moderated user testing. Surveys with open questions. Unstructured data. Small.
80% of companies say they are customer-centric. Only 8% of customers agree.
Focus group is not a user test.

Conclusion

It’s a real fun event + you’ll learn a ton.

Elite Camp 2019 dates: June 13-15. Mark your calendars now.

The post Top 5 Insights from Every Speaker of Digital Elite Camp 2018 appeared first on CXL.

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Conversational Selling: The 5 Critical Questions That Will Help You Generate Sales Leads From The Traffic You’re Already Getting

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/generate-sales-leads/

I want to start this post with a quick question:

What is the highest-converting sales medium of all time?

I’ll give you a second to think about it.

(Cue the “Jeopardy” music…)

OK, time’s up!

The answer…is face-to-face selling.

And that makes sense, right?

After all, a real human salesperson—especially a GOOD one—has all kinds of advantages over mass medium channels like email, TV, and print.

For example, when face-to-face with a prospect, a real salesperson can see your reactions in real time. Ask you questions. Address your objections as soon as you raise them.

And, perhaps most importantly, they can create a sense of connection with you and make you feel like you’re talking to someone who truly cares.

I call that conversational selling, and it’s quite simply the single most effective way to sell a product or service in history.

Engineer more high-converting sales conversations from the traffic and leads you’re already getting.

So why do I bring this up?

(Especially on a blog that’s dedicated to digital marketing?)

I’m glad you asked.

Because the truth is, the way we sell products and services online is changing.

One-to-many marketing methods (things like banner ads and email blasts) are becoming less and less effective every day. At the same time, 1-to-1 marketing methods (things like Messenger marketing) are becoming more and more common—and more effective.

And by using some of these tools, we can actually start to leverage the high-converting power of conversational selling

ONLINE!

And in this post, I’m going to help you do just that by showing you how to engineer more high-converting sales conversations from the traffic and leads you’re already getting.

But before we dive into that, there’s something you need to know first.

How Do People Converse Online? (AKA What Tools Should You Use?)

OK, so we’ve established that conversational selling is the highest-converting sales medium of all time.

In the past, conversational selling meant either face-to-face selling or selling over the phone. But we’re not talking about face-to-face or phone conversations here.

Instead, you’re going to learn how to leverage conversational selling in digital marketing.

But how do you do that?

Today there are 3 big tools you can use to leverage conversational selling online:

Email
On-page chat
Messenger chat

Later on, in this post, I’ll go over some of the specific tools I recommend for #2 and #3. But for now, I just want to talk about these tools in general.

And in order for this whole conversational selling thing to work, you can’t do what most people do—which is to use these 3 conversation channels interchangeably.

These are different tools and they have to be used in different ways to really generate sales with high-converting messages.

So, let’s dive into how you do that.

How to Start a Conversation Online (Strategically)

The first step in any conversation is—obviously—to start the conversation in the first place.

This is something you should spend some time thinking about. Because there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this, and the way you begin a conversation can have a big impact on that conversation’s outcome.

So, with that in mind, there are the 3 different ways to open your online conversations in a strategic way that tends to lead to more sales.

Conversation Starter 1: Page to Chat

When I say “page to chat,” I’m referring to those little chat windows that you see pop up in the lower-right corner of websites. Here’s an example:

Unfortunately, these chat boxes don’t really have much of a sales effect for the majority of companies who use them. And you want to know why?

Because they don’t do a good job of starting the right kind of conversation.

And to illustrate why that’s the case, I want you to go through a little exercise with me.

Pretend you walk into a department store and start browsing around in the clothing section.

And after a few minutes, a salesperson approaches you and says:

“Hi there, can I help you?”

We’ve all heard that question in a situation like this before. So, how do you usually respond?

Well, if you’re like most people then your response to that question will be:

“I’m just looking.”

Now, notice what happened there.

The salesperson asked you a question—they tried to start a conversation.

But the question they asked you was way too open-ended. There was no easy way for you to respond, so rather than make the effort to come up with a thoughtful response on the spot, you did what 99% of other people do: you politely refused their help.

Conversation attempt…denied.

And there’s an important lesson here for digital marketers.

If you don’t believe me, take another look at this chat window, and pay attention to the question they’re asking:

It’s the same basic question! “How can we help you today?”

Ask a binary question that leads the conversation in the right direction.

And I guarantee you it gets the same answer from the vast majority of people. That is to say…no answer at all.

People ignore this question on your website, just like they do in person.

Why? Because, once again, it’s too open-ended. It isn’t focused. There’s no quick and easy way for them to answer.

So, what should you do instead?

Rather than asking a difficult, open-ended question that could lead anywhere…

A smarter approach is to ask a binary question that leads the conversation in the right direction.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

See how much easier that question is to answer? There’s really no thought involved. It’s super-quick and super-easy.

It also leads the conversation in the right direction!

Rather than bringing up an unrelated subject, the question leads very naturally to a conversation about agency/consultant marketing.

It’s just a better way to open a sales conversation.

So, that’s my first tip to help you open better sales conversations. Start by asking a binary question.

Now let’s move on to Tip #2, which is going to help cut down on the number of conversations with unqualified prospects.

And the way you do that is to throttle your conversations to filter out unqualified prospects.

When it comes to conversational selling, particularly with on-page chat boxes, more is not necessarily better.

See, most companies put their online chat widget everywhere: on every single page, including the homepage, for every single visitor.

That will lead to way too many conversations with way too many unqualified prospects.

Instead, I recommend throttling your page-to-chat conversations. Be more strategic about when and where you choose to display your on-page chat widget so that you’re starting higher-quality conversations with better-qualified leads.

And here are 4 ways you can do that:

Avoid the Homepage

Your homepage gets way too much general traffic.

When people come to your homepage, they aren’t ready to have a sales conversation. Instead, they’re just getting oriented to your site and trying to figure out where to go next. So, skip the homepage.

Trigger Chat on the Third Visit 

People often aren’t ready to buy right away.

They need some time to learn more about your company and your product or service. So, don’t try to rush things—wait until they come back after a few visits and are ready to take the next step.

Trigger Chat on Bottom-of-Funnel Content Only

Separate your content into top-of-funnel (TOFU), middle-of-funnel (MOFU), and bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) content.

People viewing your TOFU content aren’t yet ready to buy; they’re still getting acquainted with your product or service.

Instead, trigger your chat boxes on BOFU content that indicates the visitor is close to making a buying decision.

Examples of BOFU content includes individual product sales pages, trial or demo pages, pricing pages, and so on.

Another benefit of targeting bottom-of-funnel content is that the content can inform the conversation. For instance, if our visitors here at DigitalMarketer are visiting BOFU content about Facebook advertising, we might open a different conversation than we would with someone visiting BOFU content about Google Analytics. 

Trigger Chat on Pricing & “Thank You” Pages 

Another way of targeting BOFU content is to trigger chat on the pages that people tend to visit just before and after converting.

Throttle your conversations to filter out unqualified prospects.

Anyone visiting your pricing page is clearly considering a purchase. And anyone who visits a “thank you” page has just signed up for something, such as your mailing list—which means they’re often open to a conversation about making a bigger commitment with your company.

So, to recap, page-to-chat is a great way to open sales conversations with the traffic that’s already coming to your website. And 2 tips you can follow to start better conversations with those people are:

Start by asking a binary question that leads the conversation in the right direction.
Throttle your conversations to filter out unqualified prospects.

(NOTE: Before you can start selling to your audience, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Conversation Starter 2: Email to Chat

OK, now we’re going to jump to a new medium: email.

And to many of you, it might not seem like email is really a conversational marketing channel. After all, isn’t email the same channel you use to blast out promos and deliver automated campaigns that never really involve any back-and-forth?

Well, yes. It is. But email can also be a really powerful way of opening sales conversations…if you’re strategic about it.

Here’s a 3-step process you can use to generate high-quality sales conversations through email:

Step 1: Use High-Intent Gated Content

It might sound obvious, but the first step to using email to generate sales conversations…

…is to attract the right email subscribers in the first place.

And to do that, I recommend using high-intent gated content. In other words, you ideally want the content attracting people to your email list to inform the conversation. To give you an idea about what that person is interested in.

So, at DigitalMarketer, we would NOT want to use gated content like: “How to be a better marketer.”

That’s way too general. It doesn’t tell us anything about what that person wants, except that they want to be a better at marketing. Very vague and nonspecific.

Here’s a much better example of high-intent gated content that has worked very well for us in the past:

See how much more specific that is?

We know that the only reason someone would register for this is if they want to build an in-house marketing team.

So, the content itself is attracting the right kind of people for the sales conversation we ultimately want to have. And the content informs that conversation, so we know exactly what to talk about when we email them.

Step 2: Send Emails That Ask For Replies (Not Clicks) 

Most emails ask for a click. They want you to click through to a blog post, to a registration page, to a sales page.

But remember that email isn’t just a one-way communication channel! We can also send emails that ask for a REPLY.

(Shocker.)

And if you want to use email to start a sales conversation, that’s exactly what you need to do.

Here’s an example of a few emails that do that, including my all-time favorite, “the magic 9-word email”:

That 9-word email, in case you can’t read it, is:

“Are you still looking to grow your marketing team?”

And you can use this formula for just about anything. The formula is: “Are you still looking to,” and then add the desired end result you know the person is after.

“Are you still looking to grow your marketing team?”
“Are you still looking to lose 10 pounds before that wedding?”
“Are you still looking to drive a golf ball 10 yards farther with every swing?”

The frame of “Are you still…” is a great way to open a conversation because it tells the person on the other side that you know exactly what it is that they want. (And you know this because of Step #1—because you used specific, high-intent gated content.)

And if you do both of those things, you’ll begin to open the right kind of conversations with people via email. And the final step is to…

Step 3: Actually Respond! 

Now that the conversation is rolling, all you have to do is keep it going!

It sounds like a simple thing, but it’s actually becoming rare these days. Because so much email is purely automated, you’ll stand out from the pack by simply being a human being and responding to people.

Your prospects notice that. And they appreciate it.

You can also use these conversations to increase sales and even to sell different products!

For example, here’s an email we received back from a prospect. In this email, the person wasn’t a great fit for the service we were originally marketing…

But because we started a conversation and listened to them, we were able to sign them up for a different service instead—one that made more sense for them.

Tip: you can use email to open conversations in other channels, too.

Here’s another example of an email we sent asking for a reply. And in this email, we gave people 3 ways to respond:

Reply to this email
Give us a call
Click a link to chat with us on Messenger

I was surprised at the results of this email.

The highest percentage of people (about 50%) chose to chat with us on Messenger. About 35-40% responded to the email, and 10-15% gave us a call.

So, remember that you don’t have to view these channels in isolation. Use them together and give people the freedom to contact you in the way that’s most comfortable for them.

Conversation Starter 3: Ad to Chat

The third and final way to open a conversation online is through an ad.

The first 2 conversation starters (page-to-chat and email-to-chat) were mostly about starting conversations with the traffic you’re already getting. The people who are already on your website, already subscribed to your email list.

But once you reach the point where you’ve maximized your sales conversations from the traffic you’re already getting, you’ll probably want to go out and start new conversations with even more highly qualified prospects.

And a great way to do this is with Facebook ads.

Facebook has 2 ad units that allow you to jump immediately into a conversation—the person doesn’t even have to visit your website at all.

And those 2 ad units are:

Lead Ads

Lead ads give you a really easy way to build your subscriber list and start conversations with people through email.

This is a really low-friction way to start more email conversations at scale.

To succeed with Lead Ads, you’ll want to offer some type of high-intent gated content (see Conversation Starter #2 above).

And when people click on the button in the ad, they’ll be prompted to enter their information:

Once they click “Submit,” they’ll be added to your email list and the conversation can begin. I recommend going back and following the strategy laid out for Conversation Starter #2.

This is a really low-friction way to start more email conversations at scale.

Facebook Messenger Ads 

The other way to start a conversation straight from a Facebook ad is to use Facebook Messenger ads.

Facebook Messenger is one of the newest marketing channels, and it’s growing really fast.

And with these new ads, now you can create Facebook ads that lead to an immediate Messenger conversation:

In most cases, you won’t want this to trigger a live conversation right away. Instead, you’ll start by letting people interact with your chatbot first.

I’ll go into more detail on how we do this in just a minute.

The 5 Critical Questions that Lead to High-Converting Conversations

If you follow my advice above, then you’re going to succeed in starting a lot more conversations.

If you ask these 5 questions, it generally tends to result in a sale.

So…now what?

The next step is to keep the conversation going.

Now you don’t want to chat about just anything here; you want to lead the conversation in the direction of a sale. But at the same time, you want to make sure you do this in a way that feels natural, not forced, and helps build a relationship with the prospect.

At DigitalMarketer, we instruct our salespeople to do that by asking the following 5 critical questions. If you ask these 5 questions, it generally tends to result in a sale.

When used correctly, these questions will help you to have a “warm handoff”—an easy transition from conversational marketing to conversational selling.

Question 1: “Are you [insert market/avatar]?”

Most often, this question is asked by marketing as part of the conversation opener.

It’s a good way to start because it makes sure you’re talking to the right person. Someone who’s a good fit for your product or service.

You can also use this to subtly qualify your prospects. If you want to make sure you’re talking to a decision-maker in a business, your question might be:

“Are you a marketing manager looking for a better way to train your team?”

Question 2: “Tell me more about yourself/your business.”

That’s great! Tell me more. Do you specialize? What do you do?

In this question, you’re just digging a little deeper. Showing some genuine interest.

There’s no ulterior motive. You aren’t taking notes to segment these people for some kind of automated follow-up.

You’re just taking a minute to learn a little more about them and have a normal human conversation.

Question 3: “What brought you here today? What are your goals? What are you hoping to accomplish?”

Now we’re starting to steer the conversation toward your desired end, the sale. And the best way to do that is to ask what they’re hoping to achieve today.

Keep in mind, a lot of people won’t necessarily have a great answer ready for this question. So, if that’s the case, here’s what I recommend.

Take the biggest 3 benefits that your company can provide to your customers, and list those benefits out. Then ask the person which of those benefits they’re most interested in.

This gives them an easier way to answer this question and keep the conversation moving forward.

For example, when speaking to an agency prospect we might say:

“Here at DigitalMarketer we’re really good at helping agencies to (1) attract more clients, (2) scale and systematize their business, and (3) increase their retention and recurring revenue. Between those 3 things, is there 1 that really fits in with your goals?”

Question 4: “What do you know about [your product/company name]?”

Asking someone what they know about you is a great question that continues to help move the conversation forward. It’s also a way you can discover hidden objections so you can overcome them.

So, for example, if they say something positive like, “I’ve heard great things about your product…” Then you can transition pretty seamlessly into the sale.

But if they say something negative, that’s OK too! Because the fact that they’re there, having that conversation with you, suggests that they’re still open to being sold.

And now you have the opportunity to respond to that objection. If they mention that they’ve heard bad things about your customer service, you could reply with: “Yeah, we’ve had our growing pains in the past. Luckily, we’ve got that all sorted out now, and we’re in a great position to help you get more clients…”

When you’re asking this question, look for opportunities to refer back to those 3 big benefits from Question #3.

And once your prospect indicates that they want to achieve one of the big benefits that your product/service/company can provide—once you know what they want—the last thing you need to do is ask:

Question 5: “Do you want some help with that?”

This is the highest-converting close I’ve ever used.

It’s super simple. Really non-intimidating.

This is the highest-converting close I’ve ever used.

And if you’ve followed along with Questions 1-4 already, then making the sale at this point should be pretty easy!

They want a benefit. You know what that benefit is. You also know that your product or service can provide that benefit.

So, at this point it just makes sense.

And if their answer is “Yes,” then you’ve made the sale!

3 Conversational Selling Tips

Now that we’ve covered the process of how to engineer high-converting sales conversations, here are a few more tips to help make this process even more effective.

Tip 1: Try Out These Recommended Tools

Earlier in this post, I told you the 3 channels through which you can use conversational selling online:

Email
On-page chat
Messenger chat

For Channel #1, email, there are a ton of options and I’m sure you’re already familiar with them. MailChimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, InfusionSoft, etc. Take your pick.

For Channel #2, on-page chat, some of the tools you might want to check out are: 

HubSpot Sales Live Chat. Hubspot does a great job with all their sales tools. And if you use other HubSpot tools, like their database, then you can do some nifty things—like having your chat box appear only to people who are not already customers.
Drift. Drift calls itself “the world’s first and only conversational marketing and sales platform.” I don’t think you can call it the ONLY one anymore, but they were certainly one of the first (if not THE first) company to promote chat for selling.
Intercom. This is another popular option. Intercom was originally envisioned more for answering questions and providing support, but you can also use it for conversational selling using some of the techniques you learned above.

And for Channel #3, Messenger chat, there’s really only 1 tool I recommend:

ManyChat. Unlike the 3 tools above, which are strictly widgets that you add to your website, ManyChat integrates directly with Facebook Messenger. It supports both live chat and chatbots, so you have a lot of power and flexibility when setting up the conversational selling system explained in this post.

One great thing about ManyChat is that you can get started for free. So, there’s really no risk to giving this a try.

Tip 2: Check Out The Hubspot Academy

I originally presented this material on conversational selling in partnership with HubSpot.

And if you’re looking for more training to help improve your ability to drive new leads and sales with an inbound strategy, I’d recommend checking out HubSpot Academy.

They put out some great training that is sure to help you grow your business and/or take the next step forward in your career.

Tip 3: Leverage Chatbots

Lastly, I want to talk about chatbots for a minute.

You may be wondering if bots have a place in conversational selling, and if so, where they fit into the big picture.

And the short answer is that YES, chatbots can absolutely play a critical role in conversational selling online. But they can’t do everything.

In order to do this right, a human will need to take over the conversation eventually.

What you want to do is use your bot for filtering, not for closing the sale.

Then after your bot has filtered out all the unqualified leads and started a conversation with the good leads, it’s time to let a human take over.

So, if you look back at the 5 questions above:

“Are you [insert market/avatar]?”
“Tell me more about yourself/your business.”
“What brought you here today?”
“What do you know about us?”
“Would you like some help with that?”

Question #4 is where your bot needs to hand over that conversation to a human.

Here’s a quick example of what this might look like in practice. This is how one of our bots opens a conversation—you’ll notice that this is Question #1:

After we get their answer, the bot moves on to Question #2—asking more about their business:

Then we can use the bot to get a general idea of what this person is looking for, by stating the big 3 benefits we can provide:

Now after the person answers that question, it’s time to transition this conversation to a human salesperson. This lead is potentially ready to buy.

Here’s an example of one way you can do that:

And there you have it: a simple example of humans and chatbots, working in harmony to open—and close—more sales conversations.

Remember: All Selling Is H2H

I want to wrap up this post by saying:

The future belongs to the companies who are willing to invest in real, one-on-one, human-to-human (H2H) interactions.

Remember that while we talk about selling with terms like B2B and B2C…all selling is really H2H. Human-to-human.

NOT the companies who automate every single step of the customer journey so they never have to talk to another customer again.

Remember that while we talk about selling with terms like B2B and B2C…all selling is really H2H. Human-to-human.

It’s a person on the other end you’re talking to. Not a lead, or a number, or a blip on your analytics dashboard. It’s a person.

And people are relational beings! We like to feel connected with each other. Understood by one another.

And when you treat your prospects like real people, they appreciate that. They feel it. And they enjoy it much, much more than the experience of being crammed down a one-size-fits-all marketing funnel.

So, keep that in mind when you’re thinking about how you’re going to market and sell your product or service in the future. And just remember that it’s never bad advice to be willing to invest in real human interactions.

(NOTE: Before you can start selling to your audience, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post Conversational Selling: The 5 Critical Questions That Will Help You Generate Sales Leads From The Traffic You’re Already Getting appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Why Your Company, Culture, Story, and Impact Are Your Best Marketing Tools

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/company-culture/

Have you ever heard of National Novel Writing Month?

Every November, thousands of writers from around the world commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in just one month.

And in 2017, a record number of people (384,126 total) participated. And this year, they expect over 400,000.

It’s even produced some bestsellers along the way.

While to some this might sound like self-inflicted torture, it’s actually an awesome exercise that encourages participation in the art of storytelling.

And that makes it something that businesses can learn from.

Storytelling and the elements that surround it are some of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal.

The culture you create and the stories you tell can help you make an impact on your audience.

And when you get all of those elements right, you can create an unstoppable brand that will be profitable for years to come.

In this article, I want to show you why all of this is true.

But first, I want to explain why your product, your business, and heartless marketing won’t cut it with your audience.

Why you, your product, and your marketing aren’t enough

What is the first thing you usually think of when you consider a startup or small business?

In my case, I tend to think of the product or service. After all, it’s the “what” of your business.

But the “what” isn’t enough.

To be fair, there’s no denying that what you intend to sell is vital. It’s the very thing that will make you money and keep your business going.

So in a way, it is everything.

There’s also no denying that marketing as a whole serves some very important functions.

If your product is good and your marketing is sound, all of the purposes in this graphic should play out just fine.

But simply having a product and a marketing strategy isn’t enough.

Just Google the phrase “when marketing isn’t enough,” and you’ll find some of the following ideas:

Why your blog isn’t enough
Why social media marketing isn’t enough
Why being a marketer isn’t enough

And the list goes on and on.

That means that businesses with good products and sound marketing tactics are running into issues they didn’t expect.

And that’s because having a market, a product, and an effective pricing system are only parts of a whole system.

To complete the picture, you also need to know which channels work.

And that creates a bigger issue.

No matter where you promote your content, the channel always defines the rules.

Facebook decides how it portrays your images, it and doesn’t give you much organic reach anymore.

Ranking on Google is an uphill battle that may take years to win.

And every other social media platform, search engine, and marketplace is the same.

They all, to some degree, dictate how you interact with their platforms and thus your audience.

This is an issue across the dozens of channels at your disposal.

The platform you choose will always limit your marketing in some way.

And then you have to take another step back and look at your competition within the channel you’ve chosen.

Competition in any industry will always be huge.

If you want a prime example of this, just look at the 2018 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic.

There are 6,829 companies that all have viable products in just one industry.

They’re all using the same channels to promote their products.

They all face the same limitations.

And all of them are seeking to win new customers each year.

With all this competition, simply creating a better product and creating a marketing campaign is no guarantee that you will stand out.

So that leads to a few questions.

What do you do to stand out in a world where everyone struggles for airtime? That problem will never go away.

And, more importantly, how do you equip yourself with marketing strategies and tools that are proven and effective?

The answer is to focus on your brand’s story, your company culture, and on how you can make an impact on your audience.

I want to show you how each of these tools can help you stand out and sell more.

To start with, let’s address why storytelling is important and look at some ways you can improve your brand’s story.

Your audience wants a story

If you’ve studied marketing for very long, you’ve probably run into a few posts about storytelling.

That’s because storytelling in your content is a more powerful tool than you might think.

Plus, it’s what makes your marketing effective in the long run.

But why does storytelling work?

To answer that, you have to dig a bit into the psychology behind it.

In a fascinating study from a few years ago, a team from Berkley linked effective storytelling to greater levels of empathy in the audience.

Here’s a video of their experiments and what they found:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1a7tiA1Qzo?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

In their tests, they discovered that the story they shared triggered higher amounts of two different substances in the brain.

The first substance, cortisol, allowed their subjects to focus their attention to a much greater degree.

From there, heightened levels of oxytocin brought out greater levels of empathy with the storyteller.

And as a result of these two increased substances, the test subjects were much more willing to donate to be a part of a cause.

In short, they were able to change human behavior by affecting their subject’s brain chemistry with storytelling.

And when you look into some of the subsequent studies on storytelling, the results shouldn’t surprise you.

A staggering 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story.

That means that most of the people you’re trying to reach will be more interested in your marketing if you present an engaging story.

It’s a clear sign that people value stories over just about everything else.

But with so many people consuming so much content each day, creating a narrative that is both relatable and actionable presents a challenge.

You need to know what kind of story to tell in order to wield this tool effectively.

When you look at what consumers look for in a brand’s story, more than half say that a brand’s values are just as important as their product.

On top of that, 60% of your audience wants to know what you stand for anyway.

So your objective should be to create a story that will resonate with your audience first.

Then, when you’ve found your story, you can adapt it to the platform that displays it best.

When you accomplish that, some great things can start happening with your marketing.

In this report, focusing on storytelling gave the brand a 92% lift in site visits and increased their purchase rate by three to five times their previous amount.

By simply incorporating storytelling into their marketing efforts, they were able to find new customers and keep old customers returning.

And every brand can do this.

Just consider what Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi has to say:

“Today’s availability of technology means that any business in any industry can develop an audience through consistent storytelling.”

The whole picture of your business is caught up in storytelling.

The product you sell, the channels you use, and even the market you sell in play a role in how you present your story.

And with the right approach, you can accomplish this for yourself.

Consider some of the steps in this storytelling formula:

You want to provide relevant and high-quality information that speaks to your audience and that you derive from hard analytics. This is a proven way to share your story effectively.

This goes against the common idea that you know what’s best for your business.

In this case, your audience knows better.

So start by giving your audience the content that they want.

Then, make sure that you’re following best practices for your content that will encourage visitors to engage with your story.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDuL4N1Gi5g?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

That includes elements like using first and second person, creating killer headlines, and writing shorter paragraphs.

If you create skimmable content that still tells your story and conveys a lot of value, your audience will love you for it.

And then, if you want to go deeper, consider a storytelling model like the always-popular hero’s journey.

By putting your brand in the shoes of the hero, you can create a story that people will want to read.

You’ll share your inspiration, struggles, and the lessons you’ve learned that make your brand unique.

Even if you don’t create a story with all of the elements, you can still craft a message that is engaging and share-worthy.

Just look at how subtly Patagonia using this style of brand storytelling in this video collaboration with the Crested Butte Patrol:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDuL4N1Gi5g?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

They make themselves the hero of this story in a way that makes the brand relatable, trustworthy, and quality-oriented.

When you watch a story like this, there’s a good chance that Patagonia will cross your mind the next time you need to buy a ski jacket.

And they’ve been very successful with these stories.

Their YouTube channel has hundreds of videos and millions of views.

Remember that by focusing on storytelling that connects with your audience, you empower every other tool in your marketing toolbox.

Story is the battery that powers everything else.

Without it, your brand will be boring and lifeless no matter what you do.

Your culture creates your customer experience

When you talk about conversion rate optimization and customer retention, you can’t ignore customer experience.

Everyone knows that good company culture can increase productivity and ultimately make your business more profitable.

But more importantly, you should know that how your customers experience your brand is what ultimately decides if they do business with you.

Consider how some of the various elements of customer experience play a role in your marketing.

Bad experiences cost you money and can spread like a California wildfire.

But a good experience can have just as strong of an effect in a positive way.

How you and your team interact with a potential customer ultimately dictates whether that experience will be positive or negative.

And if you start to nail your customer experience, you’ll start to see real growth in your business.

73% of companies with above-average customer experiences perform better financially.

Despite that fact, customer experience in many companies is still in its infancy.

So if you want to create a positive customer experience, you have to go to the root of the issue.

And customer experience begins and ends with company culture.

Just think about customer experience in the big picture.

When someone comes to you to buy a product, he or she will likely touch every aspect of your business.

Your website is likely to be the first point of contact. But, in many cases, your visitor will talk to your sales department when they want to buy.

And when they need to troubleshoot, your support team will get a call.

Then, if they stick around long enough, they may even talk to upper-level management about improvements they’d like to see in your product.

All of those are touches that give a direct window into your company culture.

If you have a poor culture, they will take notice.

But if you have a great culture with happy employees, they’ll also notice that.

When your employees are happy, your business will be in a better position to grow.

And when you’re in that position, your storytelling and other marketing efforts will feel more genuine and open more opportunities.

That’s when the power of culture really starts to come alive in a brand.

So how do you build a good company culture?

According to a Gallup poll, culture starts with leadership.

That means that culture has to start from the top.

It depends on how you handle client issues or other high-pressure situations.

And it also depends on how well you implement and uphold values, which circles back to brand storytelling once again.

In essence, it requires you to treat your employees like internal customers.

By using your team as a stepping-off point, you can establish a framework that emphasizes and advances customer-centric thinking across the board.

And when you focus on building and sharing a company culture that elevates your customers, your marketing will ultimately build your customer experience.

For example, Zappos promotes their culture by encouraging their employees to be genuine with every interaction they have.

And it works. You can see that from this instance when an employee stayed on a call with a happy customer for 10 hours and 43 minutes.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1a7tiA1Qzo?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Many companies would have reprimanded this employee or even fired him.

But for Zappos, this is the price of good customer service and a healthy company culture.

And other companies have replicated this approach.

Robert Richman, a former Zappos employee, was able to build Zappos Insights into a company that helps more than 25,000 students each year by focusing on emulating and sharing the original Zappos culture.

And other brands have started taking note of these changes, too.

Look at how vocal Johnson & Johnson were when they extended parental leave:

Efforts like this are what create the culture that ultimately influences the experience of your customers.

When you can create a customer experience that aligns with your culture and storytelling, you have the makings of a successful brand.

But if you start letting culture slip, you’re undermining the very elements that make your marketing effective in the first place.

People care about your culture.

It’s where who you claim to be meets who you really are.

Make it good, and you’ll never struggle to win business.

Impact is what you build on

Let’s be honest:

Impact is a vague word when referring to a business.

It could mean anything from how you affect the environment to how many jobs you provide.

It’s vague, and vague is rarely helpful.

So before we dive in, I want to clarify what I mean by impact.

In the case of marketing, impact should mean the deep, meaningful relationships you have with your customers.

In other words, impact dictates how involved you are in the daily life of your average customer.

This is important because meaningful relationships and authenticity are what lead to sales and customer retention.

91% of consumers are willing to interact more with a truly authentic brand.

That’s what impact looks like.

In a sense, impact is the culmination of your storytelling and company culture as they play out in your actual interaction with a customer.

And if you wonder if this effort is worth it, consider the final statistic from the above image:

62% of consumers will consider buying again from an impactful brand.

That type of customer retention is huge, and retention ultimately means more money from less effort.

So what does this mean for your business?

It means that you need to build your organization around positive messages, positive experiences, and customer-centric values.

But I want to take this idea a step further.

You shouldn’t leave impact to chance, even if it does rely on various elements working together.

It’s easy to get lost in the complexity of this issue when you have a business to run.

That’s where a tool like a customer relationship manager (a CRM) can help you.

A good CRM will act as a digital notepad that helps you track how well you’re following through with each potential customer.

You can use the information you gather in a CRM to help you improve personalization and create more impactful relationships.

One potential CRM system you can consider is the ever-popular Salesforce platform.

Salesforce is very versatile and can work with just about any business model.

If you need to, you can use it to track leads and attribute sales:

But you can also use this system to give you insight into your overall customer relationship, too.

For example, the shoe brand TOMS uses the Salesforce CRM to stay connected with their customers in an impactful way.

Here’s what Digital Technologies VP Hilda Fontana had to say:

“We turned to Salesforce because we want to build even stronger and longer lasting relationships with customers. We aren’t measuring ourselves by the traditional service metrics of call volume or resolution times, we care about customer happiness, satisfaction, and long-term relationships.”

It’s a different approach, but they found a way to measure and track their goals by implementing a CRM system.

It displays a company attitude that emphasizes the effectiveness of their customer relationships. It’s an approach that’s worth trying.

Focusing on impact deepens your marketing. It makes your brand more sincere and profitable.

And you’ll ultimately have a brand that’s able to leverage powerful marketing tools that your audience will want to engage with.

Conclusion

It’s easy to look at marketing elements like story, culture, and impact and call them “soft” metrics.

How do you measure a story?

And what does impact look like for your brand?

But therein lies the ultimate power of each of these different tools.

They can truly make your brand unique in a way that your product never will.

You will always have a competitor that can match your product or even beat it.

And you will always struggle to control your marketing channels against a never-ending tide of updates and changes.

But you don’t have to change your story.

You don’t have to rewrite your culture every time Google updates its algorithms.

And your impact will always be what you make it.

So start by crafting a brand story that will truly resonate with your audience.

Emulate the hero’s journey or create your own path in a way that resonates with your audience.

From there, make sure that your culture is healthy and thriving.

A happy employee will create a happy customer, which is where your marketing will truly start to grow.

And take time to consider how meaningful your customer relationships are.

If customers love you, they’ll be willing to come back time and time again.

Utilizing a tool like a CRM can help you track and measure the effectiveness of your marketing and keep you in alignment with your goals.

And when you add all of these elements together, your marketing will be stronger than ever.

How has your company story, culture, or impact influenced your marketing?

act Are Your Best Marketing Tools

NeilPatel.com

Have you ever heard of National Novel Writing Month?

Every November, thousands of writers from around the world commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in just one month.

And in 2016, a record number of people (384,126 total) participated. And this year, they expect over 400,000.

It’s even produced some bestsellers along the way.

While to some this might sound like self-inflicted torture, it’s actually an awesome exercise that encourages participation in the art of storytelling.

And that makes it something that businesses can learn from.

Storytelling and the elements that surround it are some of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal.

The culture you create and the stories you tell can help you make an impact on your audience.

And when you get all of those elements right, you can create an unstoppable brand that will be profitable for years to come.

In this article, I want to show you why all of this is true.

But first, I want to explain why your product, your business, and heartless marketing won’t cut it with your audience.

Why you, your product, and your marketing aren’t enough

What is the first thing you usually think of when you consider a startup or small business?

In my case, I tend to think of the product or service. After all, it’s the “what” of your business.

But the “what” isn’t enough.

To be fair, there’s no denying that what you intend to sell is vital. It’s the very thing that will make you money and keep your business going.

So in a way, it is everything.

There’s also no denying that marketing as a whole serves some very important functions.

If your product is good and your marketing is sound, all of the purposes in this graphic should play out just fine.

But simply having a product and a marketing strategy isn’t enough.

Just Google the phrase “when marketing isn’t enough,” and you’ll find some of the following ideas:

Why your blog isn’t enough
Why social media marketing isn’t enough
Why being a marketer isn’t enough

And the list goes on and on.

That means that businesses with good products and sound marketing tactics are running into issues they didn’t expect.

And that’s because having a market, a product, and an effective pricing system are only parts of a whole system.

To complete the picture, you also need to know which channels work.

And that creates a bigger issue.

No matter where you promote your content, the channel always defines the rules.

Facebook decides how it portrays your images, it and doesn’t give you much organic reach anymore.

Ranking on Google is an uphill battle that may take years to win.

And every other social media platform, search engine, and marketplace is the same.

They all, to some degree, dictate how you interact with their platforms and thus your audience.

This is an issue across the dozens of channels at your disposal.

The platform you choose will always limit your marketing in some way.

And then you have to take another step back and look at your competition within the channel you’ve chosen.

Competition in any industry will always be huge.

If you want a prime example of this, just look at the 2018 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic.

There are 6,829 companies that all have viable products in just one industry.

They’re all using the same channels to promote their products.

They all face the same limitations.

And all of them are seeking to win new customers each year.

With all this competition, simply creating a better product and creating a marketing campaign is no guarantee that you will stand out.

So that leads to a few questions.

What do you do to stand out in a world where everyone struggles for airtime? That problem will never go away.

And, more importantly, how do you equip yourself with marketing strategies and tools that are proven and effective?

The answer is to focus on your brand’s story, your company culture, and on how you can make an impact on your audience.

I want to show you how each of these tools can help you stand out and sell more.

To start with, let’s address why storytelling is important and look at some ways you can improve your brand’s story.

Your audience wants a story

If you’ve studied marketing for very long, you’ve probably run into a few posts about storytelling.

That’s because storytelling in your content is a more powerful tool than you might think.

Plus, it’s what makes your marketing effective in the long run.

But why does storytelling work?

To answer that, you have to dig a bit into the psychology behind it.

In a fascinating study from a few years ago, a team from Berkley linked effective storytelling to greater levels of empathy in the audience.

Here’s a video of their experiments and what they found:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1a7tiA1Qzo?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

In their tests, they discovered that the story they shared triggered higher amounts of two different substances in the brain.

The first substance, cortisol, allowed their subjects to focus their attention to a much greater degree.

From there, heightened levels of oxytocin brought out greater levels of empathy with the storyteller.

And as a result of these two increased substances, the test subjects were much more willing to donate to be a part of a cause.

In short, they were able to change human behavior by affecting their subject’s brain chemistry with storytelling.

And when you look into some of the subsequent studies on storytelling, the results shouldn’t surprise you.

A staggering 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story.

That means that most of the people you’re trying to reach will be more interested in your marketing if you present an engaging story.

It’s a clear sign that people value stories over just about everything else.

But with so many people consuming so much content each day, creating a narrative that is both relatable and actionable presents a challenge.

You need to know what kind of story to tell in order to wield this tool effectively.

When you look at what consumers look for in a brand’s story, more than half say that a brand’s values are just as important as their product.

On top of that, 60% of your audience wants to know what you stand for anyway.

So your objective should be to create a story that will resonate with your audience first.

Then, when you’ve found your story, you can adapt it to the platform that displays it best.

When you accomplish that, some great things can start happening with your marketing.

In this report, focusing on storytelling gave the brand a 92% lift in site visits and increased their purchase rate by three to five times their previous amount.

By simply incorporating storytelling into their marketing efforts, they were able to find new customers and keep old customers returning.

And every brand can do this.

Just consider what Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi has to say:

“Today’s availability of technology means that any business in any industry can develop an audience through consistent storytelling.”

The whole picture of your business is caught up in storytelling.

The product you sell, the channels you use, and even the market you sell in play a role in how you present your story.

And with the right approach, you can accomplish this for yourself.

Consider some of the steps in this storytelling formula:

You want to provide relevant and high-quality information that speaks to your audience and that you derive from hard analytics. This is a proven way to share your story effectively.

This goes against the common idea that you know what’s best for your business.

In this case, your audience knows better.

So start by giving your audience the content that they want.

Then, make sure that you’re following best practices for your content that will encourage visitors to engage with your story.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDuL4N1Gi5g?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

That includes elements like using first and second person, creating killer headlines, and writing shorter paragraphs.

If you create skimmable content that still tells your story and conveys a lot of value, your audience will love you for it.

And then, if you want to go deeper, consider a storytelling model like the always-popular hero’s journey.

By putting your brand in the shoes of the hero, you can create a story that people will want to read.

You’ll share your inspiration, struggles, and the lessons you’ve learned that make your brand unique.

Even if you don’t create a story with all of the elements, you can still craft a message that is engaging and share-worthy.

Just look at how subtly Patagonia using this style of brand storytelling in this video collaboration with the Crested Butte Patrol:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOZsdviLOFc?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

They make themselves the hero of this story in a way that makes the brand relatable, trustworthy, and quality-oriented.

When you watch a story like this, there’s a good chance that Patagonia will cross your mind the next time you need to buy a ski jacket.

And they’ve been very successful with these stories.

Their YouTube channel has hundreds of videos and millions of views.

Remember that by focusing on storytelling that connects with your audience, you empower every other tool in your marketing toolbox.

Story is the battery that powers everything else.

Without it, your brand will be boring and lifeless no matter what you do.

Your culture creates your customer experience

When you talk about conversion rate optimization and customer retention, you can’t ignore customer experience.

Everyone knows that good company culture can increase productivity and ultimately make your business more profitable.

But more importantly, you should know that how your customers experience your brand is what ultimately decides if they do business with you.

Consider how some of the various elements of customer experience play a role in your marketing.

Bad experiences cost you money and can spread like a California wildfire.

But a good experience can have just as strong of an effect in a positive way.

How you and your team interact with a potential customer ultimately dictates whether that experience will be positive or negative.

And if you start to nail your customer experience, you’ll start to see real growth in your business.

73% of companies with above-average customer experiences perform better financially.

Despite that fact, customer experience in many companies is still in its infancy.

So if you want to create a positive customer experience, you have to go to the root of the issue.

And customer experience begins and ends with company culture.

Just think about customer experience in the big picture.

When someone comes to you to buy a product, he or she will likely touch every aspect of your business.

Your website is likely to be the first point of contact. But, in many cases, your visitor will talk to your sales department when they want to buy.

And when they need to troubleshoot, your support team will get a call.

Then, if they stick around long enough, they may even talk to upper-level management about improvements they’d like to see in your product.

All of those are touches that give a direct window into your company culture.

If you have a poor culture, they will take notice.

But if you have a great culture with happy employees, they’ll also notice that.

When your employees are happy, your business will be in a better position to grow.

And when you’re in that position, your storytelling and other marketing efforts will feel more genuine and open more opportunities.

That’s when the power of culture really starts to come alive in a brand.

So how do you build a good company culture?

According to a Gallup poll, culture starts with leadership.

That means that culture has to start from the top.

It depends on how you handle client issues or other high-pressure situations.

And it also depends on how well you implement and uphold values, which circles back to brand storytelling once again.

In essence, it requires you to treat your employees like internal customers.

By using your team as a stepping-off point, you can establish a framework that emphasizes and advances customer-centric thinking across the board.

And when you focus on building and sharing a company culture that elevates your customers, your marketing will ultimately build your customer experience.

For example, Zappos promotes their culture by encouraging their employees to be genuine with every interaction they have.

And it works. You can see that from this instance when an employee stayed on a call with a happy customer for 10 hours and 43 minutes.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PloPddCWAjE?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Many companies would have reprimanded this employee or even fired him.

But for Zappos, this is the price of good customer service and a healthy company culture.

And other companies have replicated this approach.

Robert Richman, a former Zappos employee, was able to build Zappos Insights into a company that helps more than 25,000 students each year by focusing on emulating and sharing the original Zappos culture.

And other brands have started taking note of these changes, too.

Look at how vocal Johnson & Johnson were when they extended parental leave:

Efforts like this are what create the culture that ultimately influences the experience of your customers.

When you can create a customer experience that aligns with your culture and storytelling, you have the makings of a successful brand.

But if you start letting culture slip, you’re undermining the very elements that make your marketing effective in the first place.

People care about your culture.

It’s where who you claim to be meets who you really are.

Make it good, and you’ll never struggle to win business.

Impact is what you build on

Let’s be honest:

Impact is a vague word when referring to a business.

It could mean anything from how you affect the environment to how many jobs you provide.

It’s vague, and vague is rarely helpful.

So before we dive in, I want to clarify what I mean by impact.

In the case of marketing, impact should mean the deep, meaningful relationships you have with your customers.

In other words, impact dictates how involved you are in the daily life of your average customer.

This is important because meaningful relationships and authenticity are what lead to sales and customer retention.

91% of consumers are willing to interact more with a truly authentic brand.

That’s what impact looks like.

In a sense, impact is the culmination of your storytelling and company culture as they play out in your actual interaction with a customer.

And if you wonder if this effort is worth it, consider the final statistic from the above image:

62% of consumers will consider buying again from an impactful brand.

That type of customer retention is huge, and retention ultimately means more money from less effort.

So what does this mean for your business?

It means that you need to build your organization around positive messages, positive experiences, and customer-centric values.

But I want to take this idea a step further.

You shouldn’t leave impact to chance, even if it does rely on various elements working together.

It’s easy to get lost in the complexity of this issue when you have a business to run.

That’s where a tool like a customer relationship manager (a CRM) can help you.

A good CRM will act as a digital notepad that helps you track how well you’re following through with each potential customer.

You can use the information you gather in a CRM to help you improve personalization and create more impactful relationships.

One potential CRM system you can consider is the ever-popular Salesforce platform.

Salesforce is very versatile and can work with just about any business model.

If you need to, you can use it to track leads and attribute sales:

But you can also use this system to give you insight into your overall customer relationship, too.

For example, the shoe brand TOMS uses the Salesforce CRM to stay connected with their customers in an impactful way.

Here’s what Digital Technologies VP Hilda Fontana had to say:

“We turned to Salesforce because we want to build even stronger and longer lasting relationships with customers. We aren’t measuring ourselves by the traditional service metrics of call volume or resolution times, we care about customer happiness, satisfaction, and long-term relationships.”

It’s a different approach, but they found a way to measure and track their goals by implementing a CRM system.

It displays a company attitude that emphasizes the effectiveness of their customer relationships. It’s an approach that’s worth trying.

Focusing on impact deepens your marketing. It makes your brand more sincere and profitable.

And you’ll ultimately have a brand that’s able to leverage powerful marketing tools that your audience will want to engage with.

Conclusion

It’s easy to look at marketing elements like story, culture, and impact and call them “soft” metrics.

How do you measure a story?

And what does impact look like for your brand?

But therein lies the ultimate power of each of these different tools.

They can truly make your brand unique in a way that your product never will.

You will always have a competitor that can match your product or even beat it.

And you will always struggle to control your marketing channels against a never-ending tide of updates and changes.

But you don’t have to change your story.

You don’t have to rewrite your culture every time Google updates its algorithms.

And your impact will always be what you make it.

So start by crafting a brand story that will truly resonate with your audience.

Emulate the hero’s journey or create your own path in a way that resonates with your audience.

From there, make sure that your culture is healthy and thriving.

A happy employee will create a happy customer, which is where your marketing will truly start to grow.

And take time to consider how meaningful your customer relationships are.

If customers love you, they’ll be willing to come back time and time again.

Utilizing a tool like a CRM can help you track and measure the effectiveness of your marketing and keep you in alignment with your goals.

And when you add all of these elements together, your marketing will be stronger than ever.

How has your company story, culture, or impact influenced your marketing?

The post Why Your Company, Culture, Story, and Impact Are Your Best Marketing Tools appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

How to Master the Art of Writing Great Blog Posts [My Writing Routine]

sourced from: https://trafficgenerationcafe.com/write-great-blog-post/

How does she do it?… 

How does that Ana Hoffman manage to publish so much [good/great] content all around the web?

Never in a million years would I have imagined my name used next to “writes so much“, “great content“, “everywhere“…

Why?

I’ve always strongly disliked writing. It never came easy – always a struggle…

Want proof?

I was on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude from high school, but got a ‘B’ on my final test in creative writing (my teacher felt too sorry for me to give me a ‘C’.)

Then I almost dropped out in my first year of college because all we did was writing essays and I hated it.

Yes, I am a lousy writer.

How does someone like me become a blogger? Good question…

Some years back, I set my heart on starting an online business. Shortly thereafter, I was told I needed to write content to promote my business. Yes, I needed to start a blog.

Ahhhh, the irony…

And my distaste for writing? It had to be dealt with, one way or another.

More on that later.

But first… a few pearls of wisdom.

Finding the Writer in You

What makes a good writer ‘good‘? Or a great piece of writing ‘great‘?

There are as many answers as there are writers and readers.

To me, a good piece of writing resonates with both the reader AND the writer.

It has to touch them BOTH.

Then and only then, the writer will write well and the reader won’t stop reading.

How do you master that kind of writing?

No, I don’t have a ‘10 Steps to Become a Good Writer‘ checklist for you.

Trust me, that’s a good thing. The last thing you want to do is to adopt another writer’s voice or style!

I can however tell you what I’ve learned on my journey to writing better blog posts.

1. Follow your natural style

There’s a reader for every style of writing.

Find your writing style first, then find the readers whom it resonates with.

My first few blog posts were so bad that I quietly deleted them a while ago in fear they’d come back to haunt me.

You know why they were so bad?

I wrote what I THOUGHT my readers wanted to read. Turned out I thought WRONG (surprise, surprise!… ?) and I lost the few readers I had to begin with.

The a-ha moment came out of pure frustration…

Write how you speak.

Simple.

Friction-free.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?…

My best writing advice? Write how you speak.Click To Tweet

My brain thinks in bullet points. It wouldn’t know what fluff is if it hit it on the head. (hmm… what would it look like if my brain had a head?… 😃😅)

Me thinks in bullet points – me writes in bullet points. And short sentences. And paragraphs?… what’s a paragraph?…

That was definitely a step in the right direction and my Readers agreed!

Good example of my bullet-point writing:

202 Bite-Sized Tips To Insanely Increase Your Blog Traffic

2. Personality is the key

You don’t have to

be a stand-up comedian,
be a master story-teller,
curse,
write with “I don’t give a …” attitude

…to be memorable.

You don’t have to be sweet and cuddly and agree with everybody either.

Find strengths within yourself and focus on what you’ve got.

For instance, I’ve got my ‘dry Russian humor’ on my side.

Some like it, some don’t. But they get it anyway. That’s who I am.

3. You are not writing a novel

Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ is a brilliant piece of writing. Brilliant. A must-read.

And I bet it would be read a lot more if it wasn’t 1,296 pages long. Or 587,287 words, give or take a few.

It’s not unusual for blog posts to top 10,000 words these days. Those posts are MASSIVE. They get a lot of shares. Links. Traffic.

And that’s great! It’s good to write a post like that every once in a while to bait all of the above.

However, let me ask you: when was the last time you truly read one of those impressively long posts? Let alone put into action what it taught?…

A while ago I wrote The UN-Massive Guide to Getting Massive Traffic based on Neil Patel’s Massive Guide to Getting Massive Traffic.

Still stand by everything I said there.

Respect your Reader. Respect their time.

How long should a blog post be? Say what you NEED to. The rest is FLUFF. Click To Tweet
How I Write Blog Posts – My Step-by-Step Process

Writing a great blog post takes a great deal of time. That’s a given.

It usually takes me hours upon hours to write a post worth publishing.

With that in mind, it’s VITAL to establish an efficient writing process.

Here is mine.

Feel free to copy the entire thing or tweak it to your own preferences.

1. Every great post starts with a great idea

Read. Listen. Observe.

That’s how you get the best blog post ideas.

I’ve made it a habit to read daily; as a result, I have 20-30 blog post ideas to work with at any given moment.

As your blog readership grows and comments start coming in, you’ll start getting even more post ideas.

Someone might ask a question. Someone might say “I wonder…” or “what if“.

If you aren’t getting enough comments to get you inspired yet, here’s a tip on how to use comments on popular blogs (it’s #5).

Additional resources:

202 Bite-Sized Tips To Insanely Increase Your Blog Traffic
150+ Blog Ideas That Will Absolutely Kill Writers’ Block – Devin Joubert at coschedule.com
5 Unique Ways to Find Blog Post Ideas For Even the Most Painfully Boring Industries – Joe Davies at Moz.com

How to keep track of your blog post ideas

There are many ways to keep track of your ideas (Evernote, Trello, etc), but I’ve found that creating WordPress post drafts is the most sure way not to lose track of them.

Every time I think “this would make a great post“, I create a draft with a working title and a brief description.

I use Drafts Dropdown plugin to help me access my drafts quickly and easily from anywhere at Traffic Generation Café.

Just click on “Drafts” from the admin menu and you are there.

2.  Start with the post outline

No, I don’t start with a blog post title. To me, that’s putting the cart before the horse.

A blog post outline is your train of thought on the topic.

My outlines most often look like a bunch of headings and bullet points.

There’s another benefit of starting off with an outline: use it to repurpose your blog post into a SlideShare presentation, video, podcast, etc.

Intimidated? Don’t be – it’s a lot easier than you think.

My best hacks on repurposing your blog posts into various content formats:

How to Turn Blog Posts into Videos in 5 Minutes
Slideshare Traffic Case Study: From 0 to 243,000 Views in 30 Days
Be Everywhere: How to Convert a Blog Post into PDF in Under 60 Seconds

By the way, it’s a good idea to save your post outline separately before it becomes a full blog post.

You can later copy/paste it into a PowerPoint presentation, add more excerpts from the post (optional), then publish it on SlideShare and YouTube (explained in the posts mentioned above.)

3. Format your post as you go

I’ve found this to be a great time-saver. You already have plenty of ‘do it later‘ tasks; why add this one to the mix, right?

So add your headings, bullet-point lists, bold, italic, and underlined formatting as you write your post.

Better yet, learn keyboard shortcuts to turn the tasks into a few extra keyboard strokes. Easy peasy.

👆pin me, please👆

Want to write better blog posts faster? Use WP keyboard shortcuts! Click To Tweet
Advanced styling tip (and a huge time hack)

If you are good with coding, you can add custom formats right to your WP post editor.

If you are not, do what I did – find someone who can.

4. Add links as you go

Adding internal links (links from one page on your domain to another page on your domain) and external links (links from your domain to a different domain) is extremely important for the benefit of

your readers (to provide additional relevant information),
you (to increase the time readers spend on your site and the chances they follow your calls to action),
SEO.

I tend to add links as I go, just like with post formatting.

The keyboard shortcut for adding a link is CTRL+K (Windows) or ⌘+K (Mac).

How to get rid of inline links in WordPress [TIME HACK]

WordPress has recently introduced a feature that’s driving many bloggers NUTS (me including) – inline links.

Inline links feature forces you to make 4 clicks to add a link to your post instead of 1-2, like it used to. They look like this:

Good news is you can (and should!) change that – by installing Advanced WPLink plugin (Hat tip to MaAnna Stephenson and her Tips Tuesday series for introducing me to this great time-saver.)

Not only will this plugin allow you to add links the way you used to, but also give you a handy option to quickly add target=”_blank” (to force your in-post links open in a new tab/window – I highly recommend doing that!) and/or rel=”nofollow” to links that need it (affiliate links, sponsored links, guest post links, etc.)

Learn more about nofollow links:

What are NoFollow Links in SEO (And Why You Should Care) – Ashley Faulkes at madlemmings.com

How to make it easier to add internal links [TIME HACK]

For that, I’ve created a Google Drive master spreadsheet of all my posts.

I use that spreadsheet in many other ways as well and highly recommend you create your own.

Here’s a link to my blog post list; feel free to use it as a template for yours.

Needless to say, remember to update your master blog post list as you publish new posts.

5. Add introduction and conclusion

Not my favorite part of the process…

My inclination is to open every post with ‘Read it, then do it‘ and close it with ‘Read it, now go do it‘,… buuuuut I probably shouldn’t.

Great stories do create certain level of built-in virality, true.

However, if you are not a story-teller, don’t sweat it; a sentence or two at the beginning and the end will do.

That’s what I tend to do anyway.

I’ve also been testing creating ‘blog post trailers‘ – video introductions to my blog posts.

To give you an example of a blog post trailer, take a look at 5 Brilliant Ways to Go Blog-to-Video with Content Samurai. Not only you’ll see my video post intro in action, but will also learn how I make them.

Making blog post trailers does take more time, but it also allows you to drive traffic from sites like YouTube, SlideShare, use them in your social media posts, etc.

Win-win!

6. Add featured image

Adding visual content to EVERY blog post is a must.

You can write the most brilliant post, but truth is few will read it if it looks boring.

I am often asked where I get my blog post images. You can learn more about it here:

Free Blog Post Images: Where to Find Them, How to Use Them
How To Create a Blog Post Image That Gets Noticed And Drives Traffic

I edit found images with SnagIt or, even better, in PowerPoint – and I’ll tell you why.

Creating blog post images in PowerPoint makes it easier to repurpose them as a SlideShare presentation, then a YouTube video.

Learn more about how you can do it too:

How to Turn Blog Posts into Videos in 5 Minutes
Slideshare Traffic Case Study: From 0 to 243,000 Views in 30 Days

7.  Brainstorm blog post titles

Most copywriters recommend you START with a post title.

I think it’s a great suggestion, but it’s never worked for me.

My brain has a mind of its own. It might start with one idea for a blog post and end up taking it in a completely different direction.

Thus starting with a blog post title is not an option for me.

By the way… did you notice I said ‘titleS‘ in the heading?

No, it wasn’t a typo.

You absolutely need to write more than one title for every blog post!

Preferably, more than two… or even three..

Did you know UpWorthy team writes 25 headlines for each of their articles? Then they A/B test the top two to find their best performing headline.

Best way to keep track of your blog post title ideas

Peter’s Post Notes WordPress plugin.

This plugin adds a panel to the sidebar of your WordPress post editor where you can add notes relating to the post.

That way all your ideas stay in one place.

Simple and useful.

Easiest way to test your blog post title contenders

ThriveThemes Headline Optimizer is a simple, easy to use WordPress plugin that allows you to test your headlines, like the most successful sites do, on your very own website.

It literally is as simple as

write as many headlines as you can think of;
start your test and Thrive Headline Optimizer takes care of the rest.

Here’s an example of Headline Optimizer at work in 7 Simple Tips to Create Traffic-Driving Mobile Friendly Emails post:

As you can see, it doesn’t take a genius to do this – even a small one-word tweak could make a big difference!

8. Add call to action

Each post you write should have a purpose.

What action would you like your readers to take after reading your post?

subscribe to your email list?
buy your product/service?
click on affiliate links?
share the post on social media?

Should you have only ONE call to action per post?

Let me tell you something – it’s impossible to have ONE call to action in any given blog post.

Blogs are meant to be interactive with features like:

comment section
social media sharing buttons
related posts
sidebar with even more elements to click on…

That’s the very nature of blogging. A blog post is not a landing page.

However, there still should be one MAIN call to action per post.

To get your creative CTA juices flowing, read:

25 Call to Action Examples You Can Swipe Right Now! – Sarah Arrow at sarkemedia.com

9. Edit and proofread

Here’s my proofreading routine:

Always take a break before proofreading the post – at least an hour or, even better, a day.
Read the post in ‘Preview’ mode – check what it will look like when published and correct any formatting mishaps.
Read aloud. If it doesn’t sound right, it needs to be reworded.

And, most importantly…

Edit ruthlessly.

10. Check SEO

This is the last thing I do: cross my t’s and dot my i’s for the on-page SEO elements and write a post snippet for the search engines.

I use Yoast SEO plugin for that.

If you are not exactly on the first-name basis with SEO, I recommend you download this free guide:

Learn step-by-step how to do SEO for your pages and posts in 15 minutes – Ashley Faulkes at madlemmings.com

Marketing Takeaway

Read it? Good.

Now go do it. 😉 👍

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” ~ Anne LamottClick To Tweet

The only thing that makes a writer lousy is resisting change.

Writing great blog posts is a matter of practice, listening to feedback from your readers and peers, and adjusting your writing style accordingly.

From Ana with

The post How to Master the Art of Writing Great Blog Posts [My Writing Routine] appeared first on TrafficGenerationCafe.com.

Content Repurposing 0

Content Repurposing: Getting the Most Bang for Your Content Buck

sourced from: https://trafficgenerationcafe.com/repurposing-content-recontent/

QUICK LINKS

What is content repurposing?
Why bother with content repurposing [recontent]?
How will recontent benefit your business?
Recontent Ecosystem in action
How to make recontent work for you

Mechanical engineer Richard James invented Slinky by accident.

In 1943, he was working to create springs to keep sensitive ship equipment steady at sea.

He happened to knock some samples off a shelf and watched in amazement as they gracefully “walked” down instead of falling.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vil0dIUMrPo?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0]

In its first 60 years, Slinky has sold over 300 million units.

Its sweeping success could be attributed to the fact that Slinky has been repurposed in many ways other than a toy in the playroom:

During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers used Slinkys as mobile radio antennas.
In 1959, composer John Cage created an avant garde work called “Sounds of Venice” that incorporated the sound of an amplified Slinky.
NASA used the springy toy for zero-gravity psychics experiments in space.
High school teachers and college professors used Slinkys to simulate the properties of waves.

Not bad for a precompressed helical spring!

Your content has to be repurposed

Your content is your Slinky that’s begging to get off the shelf and be repurposed.

It has so many possibilities… so many ways to reach your customers where they are – RIGHT NOW – and bring them back to your site in the form of traffic and sales!

Yet… all it does is rot in your archives because you believe it was created for one purpose only.

😢 😥 😭

On the other hand, I repurpose everything. I mean it.

So much so that I’ve repurposed my head as a walking billboard for Traffic Generation Café…

Why on earth?…

Because I KNOW the power of repurposing content.

And I am on a mission 🥁⚔️🛡 to show you how YOU too can take your archived content and spring it into action… by repurposing it.

What is content repurposing?

CONTENT REPURPOSING is a multi-channel marketing strategy that puts your business message in every format and on every platform your potential customers are looking for it.

YOUR content

YOUR target audience

EVERYWHERE they search for it

If…

Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.

~ Seth Godin

Then…

Repurposed content is the new reality of content marketing.

~ Ana Hoffman

Not everyone agrees though.

Why content repurposing gets thumbs down from Chris Brogan

Here’s what Chris Brogan told me he thought of content repurposing:

I’m not into content repurposing. When I see it, it tells me that the person has very few ideas.

It means they’re struggling to be creative and have enough varied and unique perspective to bring information to the world on a regular basis. Which means, to me, at least, that they’re not the right person to follow.

I’d rather follow people who go to sleep still STUFFED with ideas, and who are dying to share their take the next day and every day. Those are who I follow.

~ Chris Brogan

(❤️ you anyway, Chris! 😉)

Responding to my raised eyebrows 🤔, Chris clarified:

I see people copy/paste, change a dozen words and call it good.

I’ll sum up what Chris is saying this way: people who repurpose content lack creativity and imagination.

I beg to differ.

I say folks who think that aren’t clear on what content repurposing is.

They see content repurposing as content reusing, recycling, syndication (which, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with – that too should have a place in your content marketing plan.)

Instead, I want you to think of content repurposing as content reinventing, reimagining.

Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman put it this way in the fifth “rule” of Content Rules:

…repurposing suggests something that might happen as an afterthought – like you might reuse an old Cool Whip container to store leftovers – whereas we’re talking about something far more intentional, as something that happens in the first phase of your content plan development.

Rather than repurposing, try reimagining.

Well said indeed.

BEST. #ContentRepurposing. Advice. Ever. Thanks, @AnnHandley! Click To Tweet

 

Repurposed content redefined

Since there’s so much confusion about the word ‘repurposing’, I propose we start with a clean slate.

Repurposed content is currently referred to in many different ways:

reformatted content
reformed content
relocated content
restructured content
regenerated content
reworked content
reimagined content
reinvented content
recycled content
reused content

(Truth is it makes NO difference what you call it… as long as you know exactly how to use it to benefit your business… BUT it does help to be on the same page.)

Let’s repurpose the phrase ‘content repurposing’ into

 RECONTENT = REPURPOSED CONTENT

Recontent is NOT about reusing an old piece of content again and again.

It’s content reimagined and reinvented.

Recontent has to be every bit as good, creative, compelling as the content it’s based on.

‘Repurposed content without pizzazz is out.’ ~ Ana HoffmanClick To Tweet

 

As a prospect discovers your recontent across various platforms and channels, she forms an impression of you and your brand.

That overall impression is what, in the end, will determine whether you get the sale.

Amy Porterfield on content repurposing

Think of it this way. If you bought an expensive pair of shoes would you show them off once and then hide them away in your closet, never to be seen again? No way! Same goes for your best content. Show it off multiple times, in multiple places, in multiple ways. It’s just too good to take it for a spin once!

~ Amy Porterfield
AmyPorterfield.com

👠 👠”Show off your best content multiple times, in multiple places, in multiple ways,” says @AmyPorterfield.Click To Tweet
Brian Fanzo on content repurposing

I believe content isn’t king. GREAT content is king and brands must focus more on creating great content and getting it in front of the right audience.

I “Up-Cycle” my content, which means I take one great piece of content and transform it into different types of content for each platform.

For example: record my podcast on Facebook Live, upload audio to iTunes, create a blog post, take 4 best quotes from the episode and create graphics for Pinterest, take 4 clips from a months worth of episodes and create a 2-minute video to use as a Twitter video.

It takes 30 minutes to record the video and it turns into 6-7 pieces of content.

~ Brian Fanzo
Isocialfanz.com

🛑 Stop creating content for content sake! says @iSocialFanz. What then?Click To Tweet
Why bother with content repurposing /recontent/?

So why would you, a busy business owner, want to take on an entirely ‘new’ content marketing strategy as opposed to sticking with what you already know and do – continuously churning out new content?

Below is a conversation I had with Ralph Moorhouse, my Traffic Hacks email list Subscriber who owns a site dedicated to vacation rentals in France.

Ralph: I feel your pain – constantly trying to write blog posts to support my vacation rental business – other things always get in the way.

Ana: Why do you keep writing content for the site? Who’s reading it?

Ralph: Basically I haven’t a clue – just hope [misguided it seems] that I will start getting traffic [bookings] through website.

Unfortunately, Ralph’s story is a way-too-common cautionary tale of the content that never could.

Here’s how it goes…

You, the business owner, create content.

You have great hopes for it – traffic, leads, sales…

Yet nothing happens… the content just sits there… on your website… right where you put it.

What’s the problem? Location, location, location!

How’s your content going to fetch you traffic and sales if all it does is… yep, just sit there! 🐶

Now, imagine your website is a cute little chocolaterie off the beaten path.

Sure people would go nuts about your chocolate… IF they knew your shop existed!

So what do you do? Can’t just twiddle your thumbs waiting for customers to miraculously show up at your doorstep, right?

Yet that’s exactly what you do with the content on your blog.

How about this:

you hit the busy city streets (third-party platforms)
…with samples of your incredible chocolate (repurposed content – REcontent)
…and business cards with your store name and address (your call to action).

Do you think THAT will fetch you customers and sales?

You betcha!

And this, my dear online business owner, is exactly why you MUST repurpose your existing and future content.

Michael Stelzner on content repurposing

I think businesses that invest a lot in creating valuable content but don’t think of creative ways to slice and dice it in different mediums are doing themselves a disservice. There’s wisdom is taking what works and reapplying it to different formats.

~ Michael Stelzner
SocialMediaExaminer.com

😲🤔 Are you doing your business a disservice? You might be, says @Mike_Stelzner. Click To Tweet
Jay Baer on content repurposing

The content you make is not THE thing, it’s just the FIRST version of that thing.

~ Jay Baer
ConvinceAndConvert.com

#ContentRepurposing in a nutshell. @JayBaer lives it. You should too.Click To Tweet
Ted Rubin on content repurposing

If your content is good, you should be able to ride it until the wheels fall off. Re-sharing and reposting the good stuff is a critical distribution tactic that can help you get the best mileage and is a key to unlocking the content puzzle.

By sharing quality content multiple times on multiple channels, you expand the reach of your marketing efforts and make it that much more likely to build a loyal following. In addition, repurposing and syndicating good content will be a powerful tool that builds on your most successful ideas.

Syndicate, Syndicate, Syndicate, Repurpose, Re-use, Re-think, and Syndicate some more. I syndicate everywhere I can. So I post on TedRubin.com (or whoever I am being paid to write for, then TedRubin.com), then LinkedIn, then Medium, HuffPost, and TheSocialCMO. Usually from each around 2 weeks apart… then socialize via all my social platforms, including FB, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, each time I post.

Stay on track by developing a strategy and processes for sharing good content over and over, and you’ll establish better thought leadership and keep your brand, and content, top-of-mind.

~ Ted Rubin
TedRubin.com

Download the FREE bonus PDF and discover how to repurpose your content to reach your customers where they are – right now! – and bring them back to your site as traffic and leads.

Click to download >>
Blog early, blog often

Let’s look at content repurposing from another point of view – cold hard stats.

Did you know?…

In a survey of over 1,200 people, when asked “What is an effective way for a company to attract your business?“, 53% of respondents said providing free content about a topic of interest. (Frac.tl, 2017)
A study by Frac.tl and Moz concluded that inbound marketing tactics like content marketing can earn your brand nearly 200% more views than traditional advertising. (Frac.tl, 2015)
Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic and about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)
Companies that published 11+ blog posts per month got almost 3X more traffic and about 4X more leads than companies that published 0-1 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)
42% B2B marketers publish new content daily or multiple times per week. (B2B Content Marketing Report, 2015)

Whoa!

Do YOU create nearly as much content to compete with those numbers?…

Mike Allton on content repurposing

Some of the most recent studies in content marketing suggest that it may take a business 50 or more pieces of content before they will begin to see exponential improvement in traffic, leads and sales. Therefore, businesses that blog once a week can expect to wait a year to really begin to see dramatic improvements.

A year. Who wants to wait that long?!

It’s the savvy business owner who sees that repurposing their content into a variety of ways and channels can significantly amplify and accelerate that process!

~ Mike Allton
TheSocialMediaHat.com

Some time ago, I experimented with blogging every day for 30 days – to see if my traffic would go up. And it surely did!

Of course, the quality of my content went down, but no surprise there.

The surprising part was the quality of the increased traffic. My page views, engagement, lead quality went down significantly to correspond with the quality of my content.

Lesson learned? Less is more.

Blog early, blog well

Fast forward to 2017, and ‘less is more’ is more of a case.

In the B2B Content Marketing Report 2017,

70% B2B marketers from companies of all sizes are creating more content from the previous year,

BUT…

76% prioritize delivering content quality over content quantity.

Content Quality remains the bedrock of success, according to the hot-off-the-press Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors: 2017 edition. (Search Engine Land, 2017)

Sounds like more and more marketers are realizing that…

Creating ridiculously good content is hard, which is why you have to squeeze every drop of juice out of whatever content you create.

~ Ann Handley
AnnHandley.com

Blog less, promote more

Creating great content is great, BUT… not nearly enough to drive traffic and engagement on its own.

BuzzSumo says 50% of content gets 8 or fewer shares and 75% gets zero links. 😱😰

I am sure that comes as no surprise to you. You know exactly how hard it is to drive views/traffic to your content!

Truth is…

(source)

Promotion might be more important than content creation, says Mark Schaefer. Now what?Click To Tweet

 

Ian Cleary on content repurposing

I believe that to stand out in the crowded world of content marketing, you need to deliver more strategic content that takes more time to deliver but delivers you better results.

When you do invest the time in this content, you need to maximize the value you get from it and that’s where repurposing comes in.

Spend more time on bigger pieces of content and then work out how you can distribute this content in as many relevant places and in as many different ways as you can. Create a presentation about it, create social media updates that you share for months about it, create graphics about it.

It’s NOT about producing lots of lower quality content. Produce higher quality strategic content and repurpose.

~ Ian Cleary
RazorSocial.com

Content promotion trumps content creation.

Blog less, promote better

Promoting great content is great, BUT… it’s smart to make it more promotable first.

How?

I’ll give you a hint…

Vision trumps other senses:

In the brain, neurons devoted to visual processing take up about 30% of the cortex, compared with 8% for touch and just 3% for hearing. (Discover Magazine)
MIT neuroscientists say we can process an image in as little as 13 milliseconds (MIT, 2014)
Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%. (Brain Rules)
Colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (Xerox, 2014)
Eye-tracking studies show readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page. (Nielsen Norman Group)
People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations. (Research)
Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the amount of shares of articles with fewer images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)
Facebook updates with images had an amazing 2.3x more engagement than those without. (Buzzsumo, 2015)
52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (Syndacast, 2015)
Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. (Traffic Generation Café, 2016)

Including visuals in your content makes it more

findable,
readable,
enjoyable,
promotable,
lead-generatable,
convert-able,
revenue-bringable.

Recontent is the answer to all of the above.

After all, ‘reimagining‘ = ‘telling the story in images‘ = ‘visual storytelling‘, remember?

Bottom line…

How to turn failing content marketing into a success? Write less, repurpose more!Click To Tweet

 

…and avoid this extremely sad statistic:

On average, 75% of ideas are turned into a content asset, published once, and never reused or repurposed again. (Kapost)

How will recontent benefit your business?

You might be thinking,

“Content repurposing sounds great… for content marketers!

That’s not me. I’m just a small business owner with too little time and too much to do as is.”

Oh, so you are NOT a content marketer?

But you ARE creating content hoping it’ll help you to break through to your target audience?…

And you do understand the way to your customer’s wallet is through content marketing?…

As Jon Morrow said:

FACE IT: you ARE a content marketer.

Without content marketing, your business is next to doomed.

And without content repurposing, your content marketing is next to doomed.

Neal Schaffer on content repurposing

Content repurposing is to content marketing what marketing automation is to email marketing.

~ Neal Schaffer
NealSchaffer.com

Imagine a smartphone without a data plan… I know! 😭 #ContentRepurposing (#recontent) defined by @NealSchaffer.Click To Tweet

 

Now that we’ve determined you need to continue reading this post, let’s take a look at the benefits of recontent.

Content repurposing increases your chances to be heard

‘The rule of 7’, first defined by the marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant, says that your prospects need to come across your message at least 7 times before they really notice it and take action.

It’s based on a psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect, which states people tend to develop a preference for things simply because they are familiar with them.

In other words, your target prospect needs to see your content multiple times to become familiar with you => develop trust for you and your brand => enter your conversion/sales funnel.

Repetition increases the chance that you get heard.

Repetition also increases … the authority and believability of what you have to say. Listeners go from awareness of the message to understanding to trust.

Saying it twice may in fact be twice as good as saying it once.

~ Seth Godin

How are you going to expose the prospect to your content on a repetitive and consistent basis?

By creating even more content?… that quickly drowns in your blog archives?

Joel Comm on content repurposing

You put a lot of work into your content. Why not make sure your audience can see it wherever they want? I like to do live videos, edit them in iMovie and repurpose them to YouTube, Facebook, my blog and iTunes.

~ Joel Comm
JoelComm.com

🤔👍 Shouldn’t your audience see your content wherever they want? @JoelComm says yes!Click To Tweet
Sam Hurley on content repurposing

Recycle your content! Else it gets old, stale — and you’ve wasted all your time and money using a multi-use product just once! #ContentCrimes

~ Sam Hurley
Optim-Eyez.co.uk

Content repurposing increases your website traffic

Content repurposing is the most effortless way to improve your search engine rankings.

Here’s why.

Every time you publish a piece of recontent, you get at least one backlink to your site.

The more recontent you publish, the more backlinks you get.

Some of those links might be more valuable than others, but don’t obsess over it.

Focus on creating a strong CTA (call to action) in every piece of recontent and bring prospects back to your site – that’s your priority #1.

SEO value of backlinks is a by-product of driving actual traffic.

Since you publish it on sites with high domain authority, your recontent is likely to rank on search engines for the topics (keywords) you optimize it for.

For instance, SlideShare gets over 75% of its overall traffic from search engines; thus, your SlideShare presentations are very likely to see some of that traffic.

That’s why it’s so incredibly important to make your recontent findable (search engine optimized) as well as readable (reader optimized).

When your recontent ranks on search engines, it sends indirect search engine traffic back to your site, as in

Google => recontent => strong CTA => primary site

The more you recontent, the more ‘visible’ you become.

Your potential audience sees you everywhere they go.

Whether they come to your website right away or not, they now perceive you as a niche expert.

And when they DO need what you offer, you just might be the first one they come to.

That’s the TRUE power of recontent: being recognized as THE one with a solution to a problem.

The by-product of growing your brand and niche expertise through recontent are

mentions on other sites
backlinks
referral traffic
higher domain authority of your primary site
higher overall search engine rankings

Stick with repurposing your content and you’ll see ALL of the above as a result. I guarantee it.

Eric Enge on content repurposing

Content marketing is an incredibly powerful tools for businesses to gain substantial exposure. However, it only works if you invest the time to create high quality content, and that can be quite expensive to produce each piece. For example, imagine you spend 10 hours creating one fantastic piece of content, and it gets some great results. Sounds great, right? But wait, who has the 10 hours these days, and how many times per month can you find 10 spare hours to create the next great article?

Content repurposing is about getting more value from each great piece of content you create. Imagine you still spend 10 hours to create the first piece of content, just as outlined above. What if you could take pieces of that content and break it out into many different incremental pieces, each at much lower cost? Here are some examples:

Extract 10 to 20 social shares from the post, and share them over time on social media
Record a related YouTube video using all the same concepts from the article
Reach out to third party sites and pitch them on guest posts which cover the same topic area. Don’t send them the exact piece of content, but rewrite it to fit their audience (note this will take some time, but a lot less than 10 hours)
See if you can get interviewed by people on topics closely related to your post
Take the original content, put a little more time into it with some key additional ideas and offer that as a PDF download which you use to capture email addresses

These are just some ideas, all of which leverage the original content you created, and they can all help multiply the total return off the initial piece of content!

Lastly, from an SEO perspective, content repurposing helps create a lot of additional exposure for your content, and this can lead to more links and traffic back to your site.

~ Eric Enge
StoneTemple.com

Content repurposing helps reach a much wider audience

A research by the child development theorist Linda Kreger Silverman suggests that:

about 30% of the population strongly uses visual thinking,
another 45% uses both visual thinking and thinking in the form of words,
and 25% thinks exclusively in words.

So… if your primary form of communicating with your audience is words – blog posts, for instance – you are only reaching about 25% of them effectively.

The rest needs you to show it to them.

Content repurposing allows you to appeal to multiple audiences with various content preferences.

Henley Wing on content repurposing

Repurposing is important because it opens up different entry points for potential readers/customers to discover you.

It’s like using an original pick-up line that works like crazy attracting women in a bar.

Why not reuse that pick-up line in a different setting? Chances are very few, if anyone would’ve heard it the first time.

~ Henley Wing
BuzzSumo.com

Content repurposing breaks through multi-screen reality

Your target audience is constantly plugged in, using multiple devices and services at a time.

83% of consumers globally are constantly plugged in, using, on average, 2.23 devices at the same time. (Adobe, 2016)

On the other hand,

47% of global device users admit feeling distracted by multiscreening. (Adobe, 2016)

Duh!…

What’s a content marketer to do?

Repurpose your content into videos, SlideShare presentations, and images.

Your prospects might not want to read an in-depth blog post on their mobile devices, but they might watch a 2-3 minute recap of the post. Or flip through a slide deck. Or listen to the audio version of the post.

With limited time (15 minutes or less), 57% people opt for videos over text and 63% for shorter stories over long articles. (Adobe, 2016)

In other words, it’s a great disservice to your business to fail to optimize your content for this multiscreen reality.

So… recontent, recontent, recontent!

Rich Brooks on content repurposing

Content repurposing is a multiplier. It’s the triple word score on Scrabble, except you’re not limited by triples.

Once you’ve developed a piece of valuable content–valuable to your audience–it’s about taking the same content and using it in multiple places to reach a wider audience with a minimum of additional work.

A video becomes a blog post. And that becomes an infographic. And that becomes a slide deck, which begets a series of tweets and status updates. And then you can create an “evil twin” post and submit it for a guest blogging opportunity, or do some podcast outreach to become a guest one someone else’s show.

The possibilities are limitless.

~ Rich Brooks
TakeFlyte.com

Rebekah Radice on content repurposing

Content repurposing isn’t a new idea, but it certainly is an underutilized one. When you repurpose, you take one piece of content and turn it into many. And the beauty behind this tactic? You get more mileage out of your content, a higher impact, and all at a lower cost. In other words – more bang for your marketing dollar.

And there’s so many ways to repurpose your top content. You can turn it into a Slideshare of 3-5 tips, a Youtube video, infographic, podcast, webinar – the sky’s the limit. Tap into your creativity and test what works, drive traffic, and increase your social media engagement.

~ Rebekah Radice
RebekahRadice.com

❤️ what @RebekahRadice said about #contentrepurposing – get more bang for YOUR content buck!Click To Tweet
Content repurposing saves time

I know, I know… content repurposing sounds great! AND extremely time consuming…

But what’s the alternative?

Creating even more content that rots in your blog archives?

 

‘When something isn’t working, ‘trying harder’ won’t help.’ ~ Ana HoffmanClick To Tweet

 

That’s how I got into content repurposing to begin with.

I needed to find a better way to get my existing content in front of more people. To give my content more shelf life.

My recontent journey started with SlideShare.

Often referred to as the ‘Sleeping Giant of Content Marketing’, SlideShare is the largest presentation and document hosting platform in the world. It’s owned by LinkedIn and now Microsoft and has about 70 million active users.

So…. as a complete newbie to SlideShare, here are my very first recontent results:

30 days.
9 presentations.
Over 243K views.
Several first-page Google rankings.
1,400 clicks to Traffic Generation Café and my Facebook fan page.
Over 400 new Facebook fans.
SlideShare became my second largest referral traffic source.

243,000 views!!!

Imagine trying to do that on YouTube… 🤔

Learn more about my SlideShare success and how you can do the same for your business:

SlideShare Traffic Case Study • From 0 to 243,000 Views in 30 Days

How did I find the time to do all of that?

I stopped creating new content.

Instead, I promoted my existing content by repurposing the heck out of it.

As a result,

I spent less time creating more content (9 presentations vs my typical 3-4 blog posts in 30 days)
I leveraged high-trafficked platforms where my target audience spent time
I drove a LOT more traffic and conversions than I ever had via traditional blog post promotion on social media.

Less effort and a LOT better results, in other words.

So if you are overwhelmed, overworked, and discouraged by your current content marketing efforts, you can’t afford NOT to repurpose your content.

The less time you have, the more you should repurpose your content.Click To Tweet
What does it look like to reimagine your content?

Did you know Thomas Edison was by far not the first one to invent the light bulb?

In fact, some historians claim there were over 20 inventors of incandescent bulbs prior to Edison’s version.

So why is Edison the one popularly known for the invention of the light bulb?

Edison was the first one to recognize that the bulb itself was nothing without a system of electricity to make it truly useful.

So not only did Edison create his version of the bulb, but also developed an entire industry of power generation and supply to go with it!

Tim Brown, Founder of IDEO, wrote in Harvard Business Review:

Edison’s genius lay in his ability to conceive of a fully developed marketplace, not simply a discrete device. He was able to envision how people would want to use what he made, and he engineered toward that insight.

What is the ‘marketplace’ for your content? How would people want to take it in?

Would they want to read an in-depth blog post? Or prefer to watch a video on a mobile device? Or listen to an audio on the way to work?

It’s not enough to create a useful piece of content.

You need to build a recontent ecosystem around it to get it into the hands of the right people at the right time in the right format.

Recontent Ecosystem in action

Think of your content as a set of legos that could be shaped into endless forms – your Recontent Ecosystem.

What does it look like?

The recontent ecosystem above works best for

content creators with a stockpile of existing content
people who write as their preferred content creation method

SIDE NOTE

Your starting point will depend on what your primary way to create content is.

If you are a vlogger, start with Step 5.

If you are a podcaster, start by… recording your podcasts as videos! It always amazes me how many podcasters don’t even think of doing this, yet it should be a no-brainer. Same amount of effort – double the content.

Going back to bloggers: your recontent starts with a blog post.

RECONTENT STEP 1

Scout your blog archives for a post:

that’s evergreen (update it if necessary)
solves a problem for your target prospect
has a relevant call to action (remember: recontent is not about website traffic per se, but converting that traffic into customers!)

More worthy reads on creating best calls to action:

How To Write A Call To Action In A Template With 6 Examples –  Julie Neidlinger at Coschedule.com
8 Call-to-Action Tips Getting Real Results for Marketers Right Now – Darcy Coulter LeadPages.net

RECONTENT STEP 2

Believe it or not, this is one of the most challenging parts – turning a full-sized blog post into a bite-sized outline.

Takes a bit of practice going from some 2,000 words to 300-400 (that’s about how long your outline should be), but soon becomes second nature.

Here’s the BEST editing advice I’ve ever read:

RECONTENT STEP 3

Next, your outline will become a slide deck (a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, in the other words.)

Why?

Because a presentation is, essentially, a collection of images.

And how can you repurpose images? The sky’s the limit!

I’ll show you how to turn your outline into a slide deck in under 60 seconds in this bonus PDF.

Click to download >>
RECONTENT STEP 4

Once you have a presentation, turning it into a video is a cinch.

Simply record yourself reading through the slides with any screencasting software.

I cover recontent steps 3 through 5 in a bit more detail in this post:

How to Turn Blog Post into Video in 5 Min

RECONTENT STEP 5

There are several simple ways to separate the audio from your newly created video.

Here’s the easiest one: once your video is published on YouTube, go to ListenToYouTube.com, enter your YouTube video URL, and press Go.

This free service will quickly strip your video voice-over and turn it into an MP3 ready to be distributed to various audio sites, like SoundCloud.

Here’s a helpful video tutorial by Ileane Smith:

Turn Your Live Streams Into Your Podcast

RECONTENT STEP 6

Your slides ARE images.

Some of them are transitional images that only make sense within the context of the presentation.

But many of them could be used as standalone images to be shared on social media, added to blog posts, articles, etc.

Just make sure those images:

contain a completed thought
have your branding
(optional) include your call-to-action URL

RECONTENT STEP 7

Creating an infographic doesn’t have to be intimidating.

It could be as simple as stacking a few slides together – as long as the end result contains a complete thought.

Like I did in this post:

7 Simple Hacks to Create Traffic-Driving Mobile Friendly Emails

RECONTENT STEP 8

This one is easy-peasy and EXTREMELY valuable – sharing images as social media updates certainly beats spitting out links in terms of engagement and clicks.

Don’t just share an update once though. Rinse and repeat.

Learn more about why you should share your social media updates more than once (or twice!):

How To Promote Your Blog With Social Media – Garrett Moon at Coschedule.com
Tweet And Repeat: The Power Of Sharing And Sharing Again – Mark Traphagen at MarketingLand.com
The Art of Aggressive Social Sharing – Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick at hbr.org

RECONTENT STEPS 9 & 10

In these steps, you are going to use and reuse everything you’ve created thus far: slide deck(s), video(s), images.

Embed them in your posts and in articles you publish elsewhere – guest posts, LinkedIn Pulse articles, Medium publications, and so forth.

Needless to say, everything you see in this post was created according to the recontent ecosystem chart above with one exception: since I wasn’t repurposing an existing blog post, I started with an outline, then created a SlideShare presentation based on that, THEN wrote the actual blog post.

outline
👇
SlideShare presentation
👇
blog post
👇
presentation images added to the post
👇
images added to Click to Tweet CTAs
👇
YouTube video (also used as native video uploads to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
👇
all of the above continuously used in social media updates
👇
all of the above embedded in various articles [LinkedIn, Medium, etc.]

More examples of recontent at Traffic Generation Café

7 Simple Tips to Create Traffic-Driving Mobile Friendly Emails

blog post
👇
infographic
👇
SlideShare presentation (using infographic images)
👇
infographic and presentation images added to the post
👇
images added to Click to Tweet CTAs
👇
YouTube video (also used as native video uploads to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
👇
all of the above continuously used in social media updates
👇
all of the above embedded in various articles [LinkedIn, Medium, etc.]

5 Brilliant Ways to Go Blog-to-Video with Content Samurai [Review, Tutorial, Discount]

blog post
👇
SlideShare presentation
👇
blog post video trailer* [short YouTube video]
👇
full video tutorial [YouTube video]
👇
all of the above continuously used in social media updates
👇
all of the above embedded in various articles [LinkedIn, Medium, etc.]

So you see, each piece of recontent was created to amplify the original as well as serve as a standalone piece of your recontent ecosystem.

How to make recontent work for you

Repurposing your existing and future content is no longer an option – it’s a must.

I hope you understand it by now.

And if not… oh, well. It’s like Jay Baer says,

“That’s okay. More opportunities for the rest of us.”

…AND your competitors.

🙄 😲 😱

The only thing that might stand in your way is… the lack of skills.

That’s why you should download “How to Repurpose Your Blog Content for Maximum Impact” PDF now and learn how to put recontent to work for your business – and be ahead of the pack… for a change!

You should definitely download this FREE PDF and discover how to repurpose your content to reach your customers where they are – right now! – and bring them back to your site as traffic and leads.

Click to download >>
Content Repurposing: Marketing Takeaway

No more rotting in blog archives.

Your content is now working for you 24/7 on high-trafficked sites where your potential customers are RIGHT NOW, branding you as an expert in your niche, and bringing those potential customers back to your site in the form of traffic.

The ultimate circle of content life! Or recontent ecosystem, I should say…

WHY do you create content? Who is reading it?

Thanks to recontent, EVERYONE.

 

Off to repurpose… something,

From Ana with

The post Content Repurposing: Getting the Most Bang for Your Content Buck appeared first on TrafficGenerationCafe.com.

YouTube TV in Canada? 0

YouTube TV in Canada?

http://www.dsamedia.ca/youtube-tv-in-canada/

Everyone in our industry who is interested in television as a medium, and how people consume it, has anticipated this launch for some time now.  It was well publicized in the press throughout the first half of last year that YouTube TV was coming to the US.  So it should not have been a big surprise to many that Google selected ‘America’s pastime’ to promote the launch of their latest offering to the masses in the fall classic.  So, during the 2017 World Series, YouTube TV officially launched as the official sponsor of the World Series on FOX, promoting cable free TV, starting with a subscription price of $35/month.

In the US, YouTube TV promotes itself as ‘Cable free’ alternative to consumers, which is ideal for the cord-cutting generation who consume television via the internet on their smart TV, mobile device and tablet.  This trend will be embraced by the 35+ early adopter age group as well as other demographics segments, over time.

When we spoke to Google recently, we inquired about what the subscriber receives for $35/month?  Surprisingly, the offering is quite robust, with a strong stable of conventional and cable (specialty channels in Canada) offerings.  Google also mentioned there is a premium ‘a la carte’ layer offering similar to what Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Telus and Videotron sell to their customers in Canada.  For example: HBO, Special Sports Packages and TMN.

In order to be successful in the US, Google worked closely with the major broadcasters to develop revenue sharing models that would benefit the network broadcast affiliates, Google and ultimately their subscribers.  Why the affiliates? In the US, network affiliates control the majority of the available network programming time.  In Canada, it’s the exact opposite, as the networks control the majority of the inventory, parceling out fewer minutes for the local market stations to sell.

Google’s first big win in the US was signing a deal with Disney, one of the biggest content providers in the US, with holdings that include ABC, A&E, ABC Spark and ESPN.  When Disney signed on, it opened the door for Google to sign up the remaining major networks with their content offerings.  To date, they still have not negotiated a deal with Turner Broadcasting whose major holdings include: CNN, Headline News, Peachtree (TBS), TNT and TCM.  From their perspective, this will happen in time.

To date, Google has signed on 80 markets inclusive of the big three in the US (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), and are close to expanding the total to 114 with the signing of 34 new markets.  From their perspective, the launch has been a success thus far.

When will YouTube TV be available in Canada?  Google isn’t sure yet.  They are in the process of facilitating discussions with the major broadcast owner groups in Canada.  The biggest difference and challenge for Google in Canada will be the broadcast owner groups with the best integrated offerings.  There are three, including Bell Media, Corus Media and Rogers Media. All three owners have significant content offerings and all three are cable owners.

The other significant roadblock in Canada supports that all three owner groups own national networks.  As we stated above, in the US, they are doing individual market deals working with the local market network affiliates.Therefore in Canada, Google suggests that the business model has to be the right fit for the Canadian broadcasters owners, and they will not do a deal until the model is right.

As media practitioners, YouTube TV is something that we will pay attention to and look for updates to share with our peers and clients.  The success Google has realized thus far for the YouTube TV brand in the US supports the idea that the offering is something the corporate world and consumers want.

Stay tuned!

Carey Lewis, EVP, Director of Strategic Planning

The post YouTube TV in Canada? appeared first on DSA Media.

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