Content Strategy

Why Paid Content is Better than Paid Links


Many business people do not have the patience to optimize their sites holistically. They just want to pay and get results like in the good old days when you could trick Google easily and get loads of traffic and sales from your “organic rankings” there.

Website owners would love to buy so called “paid links” and that’s it.


  • Changing their site
  • crafting content
  • developing a strategy

would be too much. There is another almost as easy route where you can pay and forget. It’s paying for content. You just have to do it the right way. It’s better than risky paid links for sure.

Paid Links

Until 2007 so called “paid links” weren’t officially banned by Google. You could simply buy text link ads as they were referred to and improve your Google rankings while in some cases getting direct traffic too.

Text link ads competed directly with Google Adsense and were affecting Google algorithm too much so that the search giant cracked down on them. It took many years though until the practice of buying links lost its appeal due to the risks involved. Some people still pay for links.

Google penalized many link buyers and sellers in their search results whenever they got spotted.

How Much Do Paid Links Cost?


I have been helping webmasters buy links until 2007, as long as it wasn’t officially outside of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. So I still know how it worked (or didn’t) without getting busted by Google:

Paid links were rather a workaround than really search engine optimization.

You basically fooled yourself and Google into believing that your site was more popular by artificially inflating it’s link popularity. Once the artificial authority was gone the site tanked on Google significantly. Nonetheless many business owners were attracted to that easy to grasp model.

A link would be rented on a monthly basis usually but you needed to pay several months (often in advance) at least in order to make SEO sense. So you ended up paying a monthly retainer and forgetting. Services buying and selling links sprung up everywhere so that you could just select several links from a list and then just pay your monthly rates.

A common price would be $50 a month for a mediocre but not bad link.

It wouldn’t be too obvious for Google to spot and you would of course get several or even dozens of them. So let’s say you would just invest in 10 PageRank 5 links for $50 each. That would be a monthly cost of $500 and yearly cost of $6000. Depending on your business size that already a lot or it doesn’t sound like much. Now let’s consider what you could buy with that money instead and how many links you could earn from it.


Paid Content On Your Site


Does your site have a place where you can publish content actually? This might sound like silly question but believe me, most sites don’t have it. E-commerce sites just display products and some additional info on the company, shipping or contact information.

Business sites often just proclaim how great they are by using a high number of sleek sounding buzzwords.

They may add landing pages with “funnel vision” solely geared towards making someone subscribe or buy. Some sites have a content reservation, that is the blog where they cramp all content whether it matters to a blog audience or not. So there is no proper place to provide high quality paid content onsite.

When you publish content to a sales focused site it actually disappears as nobody will notice it.

When you do it right by building an audience either on social media or even better subscribers via mail you can really achieve a high impact with onsite content.

For $6000 you could let a whole team of content creators provide a:

  • white paper
  • study, and
  • infographic

for you. In case you have someone to disseminate the exceptional content piece to you might get more than the 10 paid link quickly and effortlessly.

When you split the budget 50/50 so that the content creation takes half of the effort and the other one is about content promotion you can get even better results

despite having a less sophisticated content piece. Then your content promoters would reach out to blogger already known for their interest in that topic. Influencers who mentioned your brand in the past would be contacted as well. They could spawn a network effect of many shares that ultimately lead to links on plenty websites.


Paid Content on Third Party Sites

Did you know? Guest blogging is not the only way to place your content on third party sites. Guest blogging for SEO has been flagged by Google as low quality and suspicious. It has been overused as a one time drop in and never return tactic to get as many links as possible from numerous sites.

What happens when you consider the content to be more important than just a vehicle to get a self-inserted link in it? You could become a regular columnist at an authoritative publication.

With a budget of $6000 a year you could make a writer contribute bi-weekly on your behalf to a publication for a year or maybe two publications monthly.

Of course it depends on how influential the writer is but you get the point. By writing 12 articles in a year you can expect to get at least the 10 links and more. You get direct traffic through such links in contrast to paid links nobody will see in most cases.

After all the paid links are hidden in the archives somewhere because when you buy them the content or page you add them has already been published often long ago. The editorial links you get as a regular contributor stay forever. So you only pay once for each piece of content.


Paid Content for Free


You don’t actually have to pay for paid content. In many cases, it suffices when a person gets “paid”, or compensated, to craft a paid content piece by having other people use this high quality content piece for free on their site. Yes, infographics also an example of such free paid content.

One win to win situation happens when a business pays a professional to craft high quality content and then offers it for free using a non-restrictive Creative Commons license.

This way the content not only spreads around faster, just think CC images from Flickr. I use them myself too for years and I often find images that have been used multiple times not only on blogs but also on major publications.

With Creative Commons you retain legal ownership and get credits from publishers while “making the content travel”.

Images given away using a CC license can spread forever. Of course ideally you don’t let people credit Flickr but your won site.

Imagine how many images you can buy for $6000. Now estimate how many links per image you would get. Let’s say you hire a professional photographer who makes 10 images for you for 6000$. Now assuming that the photographer creates high quality photos you can rest assured that you get at least one link per image. Most likely the photographer will link to them from a portfolio site already so you need just another nine.


*Creative Commons image by Rocky Lubbers

** Creative Commons image by Dave Heuts

*** Creative Commons image by Kristina Alexanderson

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content


The Quick Guide to Looking Like a Brand

Sometimes you have to fake your brand a little.

Brands are not built in a day. It can take months of thorough research and testing to develop just a compelling brand promise. And that’s only a start of the whole process.

On the other hand, you don’t launch a business in a vacuum. There are already other companies trying to attract a similar audience. And, you may have no time to wait for the branding process to conclude.

Faking your brand might sometimes seem like the only option.

Perhaps your audience won’t accept anything short of a brand. Your competitors had got them used to it and that’s what they expect.  Or you just lack confidence in an incomplete brand and fear it might reduce your chances on the market, regardless of your audience. You may want to present yourself the same way your competitors do.

But, a common mistake many new companies  make is just trying to mimic big brands. Getting your website to look like a brand however takes more than having a logo on the page. It takes an in-depth understanding of what a brand is and which of its elements customers expect to find on your website.

So to begin at the beginning,

What is a Brand?

Even though the official definition by the American Marketing Association states otherwise, there is more to brand than a logo and few other graphic elements.

MJ Lanning, defines brans as a “whole set of experiences, including value for money that an organisation brings to customers”. Stephen Brown, a renowned professor of marketing described a brand as “a collection of all mental states we associate with it.” Whereas another academic, Lisa Woods defined brand as “a primary point of differentiation between competitive offerings”.

It is clear from the definitions above that a brand is more than just graphics but also includes various experience a customer has with your company or a product. This might involve your brand promise, USP, customer service, manuals, the tone of voice, the way you handle customer queries, your marketing message, words you use and many more.

Brand Elements on a Website

Brands are complex. They includes a multitude of elements, many of which which are hard to define. When your only aim however is to make your website look like a brand, these are the elements you should consider including in your design:

1. Logo 

First of all, you should include a logo or a symbol that represents your brand as this is what most customers will expect to see. You don’t need a complex symbol but you should at least have some graphic representation of the brand you are building.

Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone content use a very simple, typography based logo that quickly communicates the name of the brand.

2. Unique Selling Proposition

No business, website or any other corporate entity can exist without a differentiating factor. We are living in times of vast access to information. Today’s customers, regardless of whether they are just news readers or people looking to purchase very specific products, will research many vendors before they settle on one. This works the same for people trying to find their new favourite blog or news site and online shoppers. Therefore, you need to inform your visitors what makes your brand unique on the market.

There is a plethora of information about developing a USP for a business online. Check out this and this article to get started.


Everlane state their USP on their home page, clearly revealing the values they stand for and their differentiating factors.

3. Tagline / Slogan

Not every business has a tagline and it may seem that not every one has to have it. But lacking it is missing on a huge branding opportunity. A tagline or a slogan offer a great way for a business that’s not yet well known to communicate their unique selling proposition. You don’t have to use a slogan all the time if you’re not comfortable with it. Consider adding it beside your logo at least until your brand will become more known. Until then, it might be the only way for visitors to know what your brand stands for.

Make it bloom

Make It Bloom are very bold with their tagline (“Expect Awesome”) and, it works!

4. Tone of Voice

Lastly, what you communicate with your readers is as equally important in building your brand as how you do it. When writing copy for your website, from general, static pages to your most up to date content – blog posts, you should at minimum consider what’s the average reading level of your readers. Unless you write for a highly specialised audience, you should aim for an average reading level (grade 6-7).

You should also try to convey the emotional state you want your readers to achieve. If you want them to be excited, happy, sad, anxious, make sure that this feeling comes across through your copy. Lastly, use jargon only if you are sure they will understand it. If you use too much of it, you’ll run into a risk ofturning your readers off as they won’t understand your meaning. However, if you’re building a technical website, using jargon may be one of the required elements that your more advanced readers will expect.


Coloud use a vibrant tone of voice that clearly shows what audience they speak to.


It takes a lot of time and work to build a solid brand. Sometimes though you need your website to start communicating brand values straight away. Your audience might expect nothing short of that or you lack confidence to launch a website without a proper brand behind it. Regardless of the reasons, the way out is to fake your brand a little by including some common elements every visitor will expect to see there.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content


Are You Content Marketing Like An Expert?: May Content Marketing Roundup

Last month, we focused on adaptability as a content marketing strategy, because that was particularly relevant for the recent changes we’ve seen in Content Marketing.

For this month’s Content Marketing roundup, we focused on “Expert” level content marketing, because after all, one of the most effective ways to significantly improve any kind of business strategy is to take a close look at established experts who have been highly successful and learn from their knowledge and experiences. We chose the following selection of articles because they provide a mix of valuable expert research and actionable steps for content success, and also because they contain advanced content creation and promotion tips that can bring your company’s content marketing to Expert level.

Table of Contents:

  1. Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us by Henley Wing on OkDork
  2. 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content by Aaron Agius on KISSmetrics
  3. Blog Title Generator on IMPACT
  4. How 12 Successful Founders Get Inside Their Customer’s Head by Chase Reeves on Fizzle
  5. What Every Marketing Department Needs to Know About Google+ by Martin Shervington on Convince and Covert
  6. 3 Tactics & 4 Tools to Lift Your Conversion Rate by Marie Dean on The Daily Egg
  7. Are You Really a Writer … Or Just a Copyist? By Raubi Perilli on Copyblogger
  8. 8 Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them by Courtney Seiter on The Buffer Blog
  9. How to Conduct a Basic (But Effective) SEO Audit in Under 30 Minutes by Art Enke
  10. How To Get Your Content Linked To From Top-Tier Websites by Matthew Barby on Search Engine Land
  11. What Keeps Brilliant Visual Content From Being Shared by Buddy Scalera on Content Marketing Institute
  12. 9 Irresistible Incentives That’ll Grow Your Email List Like Crazy by Stef Gonzaga on Boost Blog Traffic

Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us

by Henley Wing on OkDork

This article is an incredibly in-depth and thoroughly researched piece on exactly what the title suggests and it lays out the key takeaways of that research in such a thoughtful and effective manner that we had to share this with you. From details like ideal length, number of images, time and means of publishing, and many others, this article covers very specific details about what characteristics are ideal for highly successful viral content.

Who Can This Help: This article can help established content publishers and brands who are interested in, or already actively pursuing, ways to create powerful viral content on their blog or website.

From the Post:

The best day overall to publish content for social shares is Tuesday

The day of the week you publish your content on can have a big effect on how much it is shared. Take a look at the chart below, showing the number total shares by day of week for all the content we analysed: Best-Day-to-Publish-Social-Content-is-Tuesday.png

17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content

by Aaron Agius on KISSmetrics

For some, promoting a new piece of content usually entails the basics: publish on the blog, tweet followers a couple of times. The problem with this “basic” method of content promotion is that, since it’s so simple, you can only expect limited results. This article gives you an expert look into how to maximize your content promotion so that your new content gets in front of more readers and brings more value to your brand in the long run.

Who Can This Help: This article can help content marketers and publishers who have not yet explored other means of content promotion other than their own blog or immediate social media network. It demonstrates that, without a whole lot of additional effort, you can routinely get your newest content in front of more readers, which in turn builds traffic and brand recognition to your business.

From the Post:

Create 20+ Snippets for Mega Sharing on Social Media Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.08.04 PM
SEMrush pulled out a statistic for their snippet in this tweet.

A piece of content should produce 20+ snippets that you can share on social media. A snippet can be any of the following:

  • Variations of the title
  • Short statements from the content
  • Short quotes from the content
  • Statistics from the content
  • And much more

Go into your content and pull out at least 20 snippets. Then share the snippets on social media over the next several weeks or even months. If the content does well, continue using the snippets.”


Blog Title Generator


Ever get stuck on what to call your next blog post? This is a dilemma every copywriter, blogger, and content marketer is bound to run into. This nifty little tool on IMPACT allows you to explore possible blog titles by starting with a general topic, narrowing it down and tweaking it as you go. It even allows you to save topic ideas that you like to your “notebook”.

Who This Can Help:

As mentioned, this tool would be perfect for any copywriter, blogger, and content marketer whose goal is to create and publish valuable content on their blog or website on a consistent basis. It makes the topic ideation process much more interesting than simply using a blank Word doc or spreadsheet, that’s for sure! 

From the Post: (N/A)

How 12 Successful Founders Get Inside Their Customer’s Head

by Chase Reeves on Fizzle

This article caught our eye for being an incredibly candid, informative look at how 12 successful founders answered a few telling questions:

  • What steps do they take to figure out what could be successful?
  • How do they get out of their own heads and into the hearts and minds of their audience?
  • What are the tools, data and analytics they use to make decisions?

The piece includes the actual audio clip of each expert interview, along with notes on what was discussed.

Who Can This Help:

This interview can help both content marketers and budding web entrepreneurs alike, because the range of answers from these established company founders provides real, tangible insight into what has worked for them in a general business sense and also when it comes to running a business online.

From the Post:

John Lee Dumas — “EntrepreneurOnFire: Awarded Best in iTunes 2013 IGNITE!” San Diego, CA.

  • He learned a lot early on from Derek Halpern’s idea to respond to everyone who signs up on your email list with a question: “what are you struggling with right now?”
  • “I get thousands of emails a month but I find value in responding to most of them because I get insights about my audience.”
  • He emailed every person who signed up for his email list asking 1. how did you find us, and 2. what do you struggle with?
  • Based on the responses to those emails he came up with the ideas and content for the products he’s developed. He heard directly what they struggled with.
  • Vocaroo, press a button, record an mp3 and attach it to any email you’re sending. He liked doing this because it showed the recipient it’s actually him responding, not an assistant.”

What Every Marketing Department Needs to Know About Google+

by Martin Shervington on Convince and Covert

There are countless marketing strategy articles out there that are focused on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest Marketing, but what many marketers seem to forget is that Google+ remains to be a force to be reckoned with in the social media space and isn’t going away anytime soon (if Google has any say in the matter). Particularly for those who want their SEO and social media to be able to synergize and support one another, this article makes a great case for including Google+ in your overall content marketing plan.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any content marketer who is actively promoting content on social media, and who has not yet given Google+ a fair shot. The article cites a handful of cold hard facts about the advantages Google+ has over any other social media platform that, as a marketer, you just can’t ignore.

From the Post:

Social SEO

Do you value your Search results for your web content? Of course you do! If you are not on Google+, don’t you think you could be missing out?

The world of social has collided with the world of SEO, and the result is the ability for the Google+ community you form around your brand to amplify your content into Google Search.

Social Site and Search2 What Every Marketing Department Needs to Know About Google+

This social-search-site mechanism enables your content to live long and prosper in Search. Google is an ecosystem, and whilst other social networks are of great value, you will only see more people join the Google+ party and engage on the content they love.

If you start building your communities now, you will be able to send the signals to Search that your content it loved, appreciated, and valued. The community on Google+ gives you Search results. It is that simple.”

3 Tactics & 4 Tools to Lift Your Conversion Rate

by Marie Dean on The Daily Egg

Depending on your business model, your conversion goal can be any one of a variety of things: a newsletter signup, an eBook download, a completed registration form or RFP, a product(s) purchase, etc. And regardless of which of these is your end goal, it’s likely that you’re constantly looking for ways to get customers closer and more directly on the path to completing your desired conversion. This article is a great, straightforward guide of how to turn visitors into more conversions based on research and relevant technical analysis.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any business or brand that has a specific conversion goal on their website, as it gives a list of useful tactics and tools to boost your existing goal completion rate.

From the Post:

Tactic: Make Sure Your Social Proof is 100 Proof Potent

Did you know that laugh tracks increase laughter in comedy shows?

Or that adding dishes to a “Most Popular” section has increased sales of those dishes by 15-30%?

It’s because social proof is at work.

One of the most notable social proof experiments was conducted in 1969 by Milgram, Bickman & Berkowitz in the streets of New York.

They proved that when a group of 4 or more people stood on the sidewalk and looked up at the sky, 80% of people passing by will do the same.


Social proof has a way of tipping those who are somewhat ambivalent over to the other side—the side where other people are partaking in products and services.

As humans we don’t want to make mistakes when making a decision.

And this is how adding social proof to your website will increase conversions. Now for some tools that get it done…”

Are You Really a Writer … Or Just a Copyist?

By Raubi Perilli on Copyblogger

You might already have a good idea of what this article is all about by the title, but to be clear, this article is a candid piece regarding the surge of “copyists” in the online world today, and the dearth of real writers. It’s not to say that any person who writes and is frequently published online doesn’t deserve the title of “writer”, but when it comes to content marketing and content quality, there is a real difference between what the writing industry is willing to call a professional writer and one who is simply a copyist. Copyblogger just tells it like it is.

Who Can This Help:
Regardless of if you are a writer yourself, any content marketer, business owner, or web entrepreneur who comes into contact with online writers on a consistent basis would benefit from reading this article.

From the Post:

Ditching the copyist mentality

It’s pretty easy to tell if you are a copyist.

  • You are not passionate about writing. If you were offered a new job in another industry, you would leave writing behind without a second thought.
  • You accept all types of work-from-home jobs. The work-from-home aspect of writing is what draws you to the industry, and you also work in other kinds of work-from-home jobs.
  • You don’t read for pleasure. You don’t regularly read books, magazines, or newspapers, and you don’t have any favorite blogs.
  • Your finish line is a word count. When you receive a 500-word writing assignment, you write exactly 500 words.
  • You are not proud of your writing. The thought of sharing your writing with loved ones never crosses your mind.
  • You don’t write in your free time. You think writing is work, and if no one is paying for it, there is no reason to do it.
  • You think your writing is good enough. You don’t spend any time working on improving your craft. You don’t seek out constructive feedback and you don’t make revisions.

If you identified with one or more of these statements, it is quite possible that you are chasing the wrong career. Maybe you aren’t a writer after all.

But don’t be discouraged if you identified yourself as a copyist if you truly want to be a writer.

It’s not impossible for copyists to become writers — it just means you need to change your mindset and embrace the role of author or commercial freelance writer.”

8 Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them

by Courtney Seiter on The Buffer Blog

This article is a well-researched, informative guide on how to write captivating headlines, which is something that any marketer could benefit from. Rather than listing off a very general list of headline writing tips, this article actually gives you scientifically proven advice on why a particular type of heading is more successful than others, which in our opinion is the best type of strategy advice you could get.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any content marketer whose role is to craft attention-getting headlines that not only grabs a reader’s immediate attention, but also leads to more sharing and interactivity.

From the Post:

Superlatives – words like best, biggest, greatest – can be effective in headlines. But it turns out that negative superlatives (like worst) can be even more powerful.

In a study of 65,000 titles, Outbrain compared positive superlative headlines, negative superlatives headlines and no superlative headlines. The study found that headlines with positive superlatives performed 29% worse and headlines with negative superlatives performed 30% better. The average click-through rate on headlines with negative superlatives was 63% higher than with positive ones.

Negative vs superlatives

There are a few theories on why this might be.

  • Positive superlatives may have become clichéd through overuse.
  • It may be that negatives are more intriguing because they’re more unexpected and thus activate the element of surprise.
  • Negatives also tap into our insecurities in a powerful way. Using negative words like “stop,” “avoid,” and “don’t” often work because everyone wants to find out if there’s something they’re doing that they should stop.”

How to Conduct a Basic (But Effective) SEO Audit in Under 30 Minutes

by Art Enke on

Let’s face it, not every business online is able to enlist the help of SEO professionals, or to invest in a comprehensive SEO Audit. Whether it is because it simply isn’t in the budget yet, or because they’re not sure if it’s something that they need, there are countless businesses online that can benefit from an SEO Audit that simply haven’t looked into it yet. This article is a refreshing, straightforward DIY guide to SEO Audits for those very companies who could use an SEO Audit, without having to hire professional help.

Who Can This Help:
Again, this article can help any new or established business online who has yet to have a comprehensive SEO Audit done on their website, or have not had one done in a long time. A full SEO Audit will give you tons more minute details about your website performance, but if you just want a quick SEO health check, this 30 minute method is a great start.

From the Post:

Webmaster Tools (5 minutes)

Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed information for site owners and should be used alongside any other tools you use for an SEO site audit. Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed information for site owners and should be used alongside any other tools you use for a SEO site audit. Of course, this won’t be available for competitor sites but you’ll gain some valuable tips for your own.

Webmaster Tools gives visibility into how content is being crawled, provides backlink data, shows which domain is set as the preferred/canonical domain and more. Spend five minutes mostly viewing the sections under “Search Traffic”, “Google Index” and “Crawl”. Under Search Traffic, you’ll see if there are any “Manual Actions” or Google penalties manually applied to your site. If there are penalties present, these will need to be resolved first before the site can perform properly.”

How To Get Your Content Linked To From Top-Tier Websites

by Matthew Barby on Search Engine Journal

Content Marketers are not the same as SEO’s, but in this day in the digital marketing age, it is in any online business’ best interest to combine content marketing with SEO strategy whenever and wherever possible. So naturally, we were drawn to this particular article because it speaks in a language that both content marketers and SEO’s can get behind. It provides advice on how to conceptualize new content for your website, technical tools to help you narrow down those ideas, and meaningful tips on how to create and promote that content so it can capture the attention of top-tier websites.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help content marketers and SEO’s who are actively striving to build connections with top-tier websites because it shows you step by step how to create high quality linkable assets that are designed to gain wide visibility.

From the Post:

Finding Content Gaps

The most important stage of your content campaign is to identify a gap within your industry that needs to be filled. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here; in fact, I often look at ways to build upon existing popular content first before even coming up with new concepts.

Here are a few questions that you need to ask yourself when conceptualising your new content:

  • What type of content performs well within your niche?
  • Who is producing this content, and where are they publishing it?
  • What is it that your target audiences are looking for?

To get an idea of what content works well within your niche, you can use a very handy free tool called BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo allows you to search through popular content based on a search query that you input. You can filter the content by type (i.e., article, video, infographic, etc.) and also by the number of social shares across each network.


Using this tool, you can also drill down into what sites are publishing the popular content so you can do some further analysis around the other content on those sites.”

What Keeps Brilliant Visual Content From Being Shared

by Buddy Scalera on Content Marketing Institute

This article is a very in-depth, fascinating look into an example of visual storytelling by The Washington Post, specifically, an infographic called “The depth of the problem” about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Throughout the article, the author analyzes how The Post structured and designed their visual story, and then points out what parts of it was successful, needed improvement, and why. Most marketers know intuitively that just putting together a pretty infographic is not enough, and this article takes you a step further by showing you what parts of a visual story are most important, along with how to present that story in the best way possible.  

Who Can This Help:
This post would be incredibly helpful for content marketers and publishers who are already actively seeking to produce and publish high quality visual content, or would like to begin to do so, because it uses a very current visual example on an authoritative website to convey important lessons in visual storytelling.

From the Post:

Telling a data story with pictures

As of this writing, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which dropped off the radar and was lost in the Indian Ocean, is still missing. It’s a tragic, yet intriguing news story that has dominated many headlines over the last few weeks.

Where’s the black box? Why can’t the authorities locate it? Were aliens responsible for the crash? Was the plane shot out of the sky? Did something happen like on that television show,Lost?

The Washington Post shared an infographic titled, “The depth of the problem,” which attempts to show why locating the black box has proven to be so difficult. It’s not just that the ocean is huge; it’s also incredibly deep. Movies like The Abyss and Pacific Rim make the bottom of the ocean seem like some sort of convenient and well-lit place to retrieve this elusive, beeping black box.


For starters, the infographic is attractive and offers a nice, brief introduction. It’s just enough to get us to understand what will come, but it also offers some basic keywords for search engines. Check.

By explaining the size of the plane, we get an immediate mental picture. It gives us perspective as we scroll down the length of the infographic. At key points, it offers some key details that show where certain sea creatures (all real, no kaiju) live. Numbers along the edge tell us that we’re getting deeper and deeper. The pale blue at the top of the infographic slowly changes to a darker, more ominous hue.

Deeper and deeper still, it’s the data that grabs us. They show that the Titanic sank in a part of the ocean that was significantly more shallow… and then remind us that it took 73 years to locate that ship when it went down! An amazing fact, coupled with crisp, lean storytelling.


The story was the numbers and they didn’t just tell us why they were interesting. They showed us why.

9 Irresistible Incentives That’ll Grow Your Email List Like Crazy

by Stef Gonzaga on Boost Blog Traffic

An essential part of a comprehensive content marketing for a company or brand is without a doubt email marketing, because despite how “old” the concept of emailing itself is (hello, since the beginning of the internet?), it remains to be one of the most effective and immediate ways to connect with new and old customers in a meaningful and customizable way. This article is a goldmine of information about email marketing content copywriting and the concepts it covers are broadly applicable to any industry.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any marketer of a brand or company who is actively trying to optimize their email marketing strategy, because it not only provides 9 actual incentives/types of offers to include in your emails to customers, but it also tells you exactly what you need to create them as well as some psychological research-based anecdotes on why something works.

From the Post:
The Time-Saving Cheat Sheet
If your goal is to share inside information about your topic that can easily be overlooked or missed, create a cheat sheet. Think of it as the key to a box of secrets that make your reader instantly more productive or rapidly improve her skills. A cheat sheet is a highly practical reference guide that outlines and shares valuable data and shortcuts, often in a visual format that makes the retrieval of key information as efficient as possible.

This bribe is attractive to the reader because it delivers a lot of information in a very concentrated form and can quickly prove its worth, perhaps saving them hours of effort. Jon’s very own Headline Hacks report and MakeUseOf’s gallery of shortcut cheat sheets are great models you can emulate.
But sometimes, something simple can be just as useful. Take a look at Brown Eyed Baker’s simple cheat sheet on how to measure butter in cups, a technique that has always been a mystery to the average baker.

Minimum requirements: A word processor like Microsoft WordApple Pages or OpenOffice Writer is sufficient for creating a simple cheat sheet, but for a more sophisticated end product, you might require a desktop publishing package such as Adobe InDesignMicrosoft Publisher, or QuarkXPress. Alternatively, you can use a cheat sheet tool like Cheatography to generate cheat sheets based on a default template.”

Have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content

How To Choose The Right Content Type To Turn Visitors Into Customers


An abundance of content types allows you to connect with prospective customers. But how do you choose which content types are more suited for achieving certain goals?

Content offers you an opportunity to be a part of a buyers journey. Regardless whether they seek specific answers or to compare alternatives, being where your customers will turn for information gives you a chance to increase brand awareness and likelihood of a purchase.

But is just creating content enough? Does it matter what content type you use? Is a blog, the most popular content type after all, enough to attract new buyers and increase sales?

The answer lies in understanding how people buy online and what motifs drive them to specific content. And then, in mapping different content types to different stages of the buying process.

Understanding Buyer Behavior Online

To plan which content types will work best and you first must understand how customers behave when they shop online. There are 5 distinct stages of a typical buying process:

  1. Need Recognition – this is a stage in which a person realizes a problem or a need.
  2. Information/Solution Search – knowing about a problem, a person starts to gather initial information about its causes as well as available solutions.
  3. Evaluation – next, a person begins to evaluate them to establish which one is the most suitable solution to their problem.
  4. Purchase Decision – this is a stage when the person selects a particular solution and makes a decision to buy it.
  5. Post-Purchase Evaluation (Buyer’s Remorse) – at this stage customers begin to question their purchase decision. This is when they might decide to return an item. It is therefore important to develop systems to reassure customers of their decision.

Those 5 stages of the buying cycle relate to what’s known as buyer intents – objectives every customer has in mind when deciding to search for a specific information.

We distinguish 3 separate buyer intents online.

The Intent to Learn 

Customer with this intent haven’t fully realised the problem they have. They do know there is something wrong but can’t define it yet.

When you create content for this group of customers, your role is to help them to understand their problem, not offer solutions. You need to focus on educating them about their problem, rather suggesting any solutions you may have on offer.

The Intent to Compare

Customers at this level understand their problem and are ready to start evaluating their options. Their buying mood is higher, although they are not ready to make the final decision yet. Therefore content aimed at this group should focus on highlighting benefits of your solution and providing all the information a customer might need to make an informed decision to buy.

The Intent to Order

Lastly, customers with this intent are ready to buy a solution they selected. They already know what they want and are ready to place the order. A content aimed for this group should move them swiftly through the buying process.

What Content Types Work With Each Buyer Intent?

Intent to Learn

Those customers haven’t realized their problem fully, yet. Your job is to educate them about it.

The most effective content types for this include:

  • Blog posts
  • Guides
  • How-to guides
  • Short videos

Intent to Compare

When creating content for this group, you need to focus more on showcasing the benefits of your solution. Ideal content types for this group would include:

  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Demos
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Testimonials
  • Images of product in use

Intent to Buy

The aim for content targeting this group is to offer the quickest path to purchase. You must use content types that offer almost instantaneous option to buy, before the customer has an opportunity to change their mind. Content types to create for this group:

  • Product pages
  • Sales pages
  • Landing pages

How To Apply This Knowledge To Real Life

Turning this theory into practice, let’s pretend that you run an online store selling smartphones. Your task is to develop content that will engage your audience and will turn them into buying customers. Let’s also pretend that you want to specifically target freelancers and business people who are often on the road and potentially need a solid computer replacement to perform certain tasks while out of the office.

Here is one way to do it:

Content aimed at customers with the Intent to Learn:

  1. Blog post – 10 Ways Smartphones Have Already Replaced Your Laptop at Work
  2. Blog post – Benefits of using smartphones thank computers when on the road
  3. Blog Post – Smartphone Office, Yay or Nay?
  4. Cheat sheet – Things To Pay Attention To When Buying A Smartphone For Work
  5. Cheat sheet – A Typical Smartphone Terminology
  6. Blog post or video – How To Evaluate If A Particular Smartphone Is Good For Me

Customers with the Intent to compare:

  1. Video – A Review Of Two Phones From The Same Range
  2. eBook – What’s Inside My Phone (And Why Knowing This Matters)
  3. Case study – How A Phone Helped This Freelancer Grow Her Business (On Holidays!)
  4. Webinar – Setting Up A Mobile Office In Your Smartphone

Customers with the Intent to buy:

  1. A smartphones product page
  2. Landing Page for a particular line of smartphones
  3. Regular newsletter with new phones, business app reviews as well as tips & tricks and customer stories
  4. In Depth blog post on Samsung Galaxy S4 as a mobile office machine


There is an abundance of content types you can create to be a part of your customers buying journey. Not all of them work on the same stages of the buying cycle. It is imperative though that you educate your customers through appropriate content types mapped to where they are in their journey.

Developing Content Strategy: Where to Begin


I guess that might be the first word that pops into your head when you think of developing a content strategy, right? After all, seeing so many companies successfully producing vast amounts of content every day can intimidate anyone. And certainly make you think twice about competing with them.

There is just no chance you could write so many articles. Not to mention record videos, run webinars, create podcasts and who knows what else.

And that’s leaving aside the fact that you are not a writer, video producer or a designer. It’s simply unachievable with all your other responsibilities. You have a business to run after all, you need to oversee it, deliver the work and look after your clients.

These things alone can take up most of the day.

At the same time though, these days it’s hard to market a business in any other way than through content. Whether you like it or not, content is something you need to consider for your new website.

So how do you come up with a plan that will make you competitive on the market while being achievable at the same time?

Well, I hope these 7 steps will set you on a right course.

Content Strategy for a New Site: Where to Begin

Let me tell you what is your real challenge – creating a strategy without having any historic data on your site. Let’s face it, you haven’t had any visitors to the site, you don’t know who they could be and thus, have no idea where to start.

Luckily, you can make up for that pretty quickly. Here’s how.

1. Define and Research Your Audience

If you did your business research right, this step should be easy. Your content audience are your customers, people with the very problem you have a solution to. There are however some additional information you need to find out about them.

What topics they are mostly interested in. This is actually quite easy to do. List all problems you are solving for your customers and build your topics around those. Also, find what other websites they are reading and what are the most popular topics there.

Their literacy level. Every audience has a different literacy levels. You need to learn this to know how to write and structure content for them. Again, the most effective way to do this is by visiting sites they commonly frequent.

Tone of voice that will suit them best. You also need to decide what tone of voice they will respond the best to. Should you sound casually, perhaps even like their friend, or will a more formal, business tone be in place?

2. Develop Content Personas

Next you need to build an actual image of a person you will be talking to. For a long time marketers have been creating a perfect image or representation of a typical target audience member to have a better understanding who exactly they are speaking to.

Having content personas will make it easier to pick topics and create a more engaging copy. I wrote a very detailed article on developing content personas here.

3. Choose Your Topics

Once you gained a good understanding of your audience, it is time to pick topics for your content. You need to discover what problems you can help your audience with but also, how you could entertain them.

But remember, you are only picking topics, not listing actual content ideas. A topic is a general area you will create content on and each topics can have an unlimited content ideas.

Here is a simple system to get you started:

  • If you deliver a service, map out all your services to customer problems they solve and see how many topics you could create from that.
  • If you sell a product, do the same with its features. Map them out against problems they solve and you will definitely find plenty of potential topics.

4. Select Content Types

Content marketing is not just about blogging. Naturally, writing blog posts is a major part of it, there are however other content types you could create:

  • videos
  • graphics
  • comic strips
  • infographics
  • memes
  • ebooks
  • white papers
  • reports
  • quizzes

and many others.

When picking your topics, think of:

  • which ones your audience will find attractive
  • which ones you are able to create (or have resources to do so)
  • and which ones will most effectively present your topics

5. Set Goals for Your Content

The next step in developing your strategy is to define what goals you have for your content. You may want your content to:

  • bring more traffic to the site
  • generate leads
  • raise awareness of your business
  • help to build your social media tribe

Those goals will determine the types of content you produce, how you are going to create them, how you will set your content on the site (or other sites), where and when you will post and how you are going to measure your progress.

6. Define Actions You Want Your Readers to Take

Together with your goals you need to specify actions you want your readers to make. Do you want them to share your content, inquire online, view your product page, download a report? These decisions will affect how your content is structured and presented.

For instance, if you want your audience to find out more about your product, you might decide to leave only one link in the main navigation of your blog, pointing to your product page for instance (f.i compare the menu on and on their blog). If however, you want readers to download a specific report, you might want to create an appropriate call to action button at the end of a post sending them to a dedicated landing page.

7. Set Your Schedule

And lastly, you need to realistically decide how much content you are able to produce. This is by far the most difficult aspect of the strategy, mainly because we tend to be over ambitious. You may think you can churn out those blog posts in an instant. In reality though, it takes time to create (and promote) every single piece of content. To do it well you have to spend time on research, production, networking and much more. Therefore, be realistic. Focus on creating one great piece of content a week and don’t burn yourself out. Content marketing is a long term strategy and no matter what you do, it will take time before it yields any results anyway.


Developing content strategy for a new website can be scary. There are a lot of variables to consider, many affecting one another and it can be easy to get lost in all this. However, the most important things to consider are your audience, topics they are interested in and what content formats you can create.

image via

Can Your Content Strategy Adapt To Future Marketing Trends? – April Content Marketing Roundup

In last month’s Content Marketing Roundup, we focused on utilizing creative content strategies to help you develop and effectively promote your content across different mediums, whether on your own company blog or via popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Reddit. Those strategies are still viable as ever, and so this month we wanted to capitalize on those creative ideas by introducing a strategy angle that we all could practice more of: adaptability.

Adaptability is the ability to adjust oneself readily to different conditions: to change or be changed in order to fit or work better. Adaptability in content marketing is crucial if you want to remain competitive in the changing marketing landscape, especially if, for instance:

  • you have up until recently relied heavily on guest posting as a means of content promotion, since it is now being termed dead (although that is up for debate); or
  • you have many competitors in your content niche, since the current tools available online today are not only enabling but encouraging them to (legally) steal your content; or
  • you haven’t given any thought to producing viral content, since the use of a “viral” content strategy is giving some brands, big and small, huge marketing ROI.

These are just a few examples of current trends in Content Marketing that could impact your content strategy, and that make a strong case for making sure your strategy can adapt to these and to future trends.

But why else would we want to focus on adaptability in your content marketing strategy? Because that’s one of the top qualities of any healthy business or leader. The articles we chose to feature this month’s roundup all provide valuable advice based on that idea.

Table of Contents:

Content Marketing Roundup:

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 1.16.43 PM

12 Ways to Increase Traffic From Google Without Building Links

Cyrus Shephard on The MOZ blog

This post comes in perfect timing now that many marketers are turning away from guest posting and, instead, investing more time and marketing resources in alternative tactics to increase traffic. The MOZ blog is known to be consistently on the cutting edge of SEO, so as expected, this article is packed with a handful of solid, actionable steps you can put to use immediately to build your audience without any manual link building.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for content marketers and SEO’s who are refocusing their marketing efforts away from link building. It could also be helpful to business owners and bloggers who have new websites that need a boost in traffic.

From the Post:

6. Improving site speed

Improving site speed not only improves visitor satisfaction (see point #1) but it may also have a direct influence on your search rankings. In fact, site speed is one of the few ranking factors Google has confirmed.

One of the interesting things we learned this year, with help from the folks at Zoompf, is that actual page load speed may be far less important than Time to First Byte (TTFB). TTFB is the amount of time it takes a server to first respond to a request.

As important as page speed is for desktop search Google considers it even more important for mobile devices. Think about the last time you waited for a page to load on your cell phone with a weak signal.”

Most People Won’t Actually Read Your Landing Page – How to Get Your Message Across Anyway

By Shane Jones on KISS Metrics

One of the most important steps on the path to conversion that any reader on your website will take is the landing page. No matter how stellar your content is or how valuable your product offerings may be, the fact of the matter is that if your landing page isn’t formatted intuitively for them, your reader will leave without ever performing the desired goal and you both lose. This article is a great, well-researched overview of how to optimize your landing page so that your reader gets the message you want them to get every time.

Who Can This Help?
This post can help established businesses and brands with a website or blog, and where their goal is to capture conversions through one or more landing pages. This applies to those looking for organic traffic goals as well as paid search conversions.

From the Post:

The Importance of Relevance

One thing that all viewers have in common: they decide whether to even glimpse at your landing page in the first place, or not, based on its relevance. Time is of the essence, and people aren’t going to take time out of their day to read or even scan content that doesn’t have any significance for them. That’s why you need to really get to know your target audience and write content that will specifically appeal to them.

According to e-commerce professional Angie Schottmuller, viewers are looking for content that matches three criteria for them in “the triangle of relevance.”

  1. The content is important based on the current season. That is, the content is relevant because it is timely.
  2. The content is associated with the viewer’s area of expertise or business. People are interested in content that will help them with their professional development.
  3. The content is significant because it coincides with the viewer’s personal interests. Content that appeals to a person’s hobbies, interests, curiosities, goals, or dreams is relevant because people like to read about things they enjoy.

While you may not be able to incorporate all three criteria into your landing page, you always should try to target at least two. Find out what’s relevant to your users, and then create the corresponding content to encourage them to stay.”

Micro Content, Maxi Effect — How Shifts Toward Visual Content Will Impact Marketers

By Rebecca Lieb on Marketing Land

“Quality vs. quantity” has long been the mantra of any content marketer or online publisher when it comes to publishing valuable content online. However, given the incredible upsurge of mobile and social media usage (i.e.,140 characters or less) in recent years, long form content is not necessarily better in every case of online publishing. This article explores this dilemma in a meaningful way, showing you how mobile-friendly visual and audio-visual content assets will continue to rise in value and popularity, and also why you should start investing in these types of content sooner than later.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any business or brand with an established presence online and social media, and who already consistently produces and publishes high-quality content in their niche. This serves as a sign of things to come in the area of online content, and would help these businesses solidify an adaptable content marketing strategy that leverages more visual content.

From the Post:

“Ease of use is key here as well. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter don’t create content, rather they enable its dissemination — and if no one updates their status, then these platforms don’t stand a chance. Clearly, it’s a lot easier to upload that shot of your Hawaiian vacation (or delicious lunch, or mischievous puppy) than to narrate in detail why such things are interesting — especially while using your thumbs and combating auto-correct.

Content Strategy Implications

That content is becoming shorter, less verbose and more visual obviously has tremendous ramifications for content strategy.”

The Growing Cost of “Viral” Videos Shows Shift in Marketing Landscape

By Tom Doton on The Information

This article evolves around the story of a well-known and highly successful Dollar Shave Club marketing campaign in 2012, which was actually its first marketing video, featuring its founder Michael Dubin talking to the camera. Today, the 93-second spot announcing Dollar Shave is hailed as a prime example of viral startup marketing and if you’ve watched it, you could probably see how it might have inspired your favorite video campaigns from other brands in the past couple of years. But what’s especially interesting to note about this particular viral campaign is that, while the Dollar Shave Club’s introductory video campaign was naturally shareable, the company was also actually pushing the “virality” of the video with up to $10,000 a day in paid advertising. This goes to show how leveraging multiple marketing channels on one piece of content can really maximize your ROI.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help virtually any business or brand online today that is open to using and integrating different marketing channels such as television, video, blogging, and paid advertising, to promote their most popular content.

From the Post:
N/A (*requires payment to read in full)

The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze And Maybe Infuriate You

By Maria Konnikova on The New Yorker

Are you sick of the word “viral” yet? Well too bad, because it’s here to stay. Thankfully, among the many marketing strategy articles floating around the web about “how to write a viral post”, The New Yorker published this really hearty post that provides a bit more substance about the psychology behind viral posts that is worth a read. While this article was actually published a bit further back than the past month, we just couldn’t help but include this in our roundup.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help content marketers who are trying to use viral posts as part of their content strategy, and it could also be of general interest to any marketer who wants to know a bit more about their reader’s user experience when it comes to digesting viral content on the web. Because, whether or not you’re trying to get your content to go viral, it’s always helpful to learn more about your reader.

From the Post:

“The presence of a memory-inducing trigger is also important. We share what we’re thinking about—and we think about the things we can remember. This facet of sharing helps explain the appeal of list-type stories (which I wrote about in detail last month), as well as stories that stick in your mind because they are bizarre. Lists also get shared because of another feature that Berger often finds successful: the promise of practical value. “We see top-ten lists on Buzzfeed and the like all the time,” he notes. “It allows people to feel like there’s a nice packet of useful information that they can share with others.” We want to feel smart and for others to perceive us as smart and helpful, so we craft our online image accordingly.”

Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide Which Content Is Shareable

By Courtney Seiter on The Buffer Blog

This article is a decidedly very scientific look into content creation and how certain types of content affect your brain, leading to certain actions such as sharing and trusting. It also covers a full gamut of possible emotions that can be triggered by reading content, such as happiness, fear, amusement, interest, surprise, hope, affection, anger, excitement, and more, and makes sense of how these resulting emotions can lead to reader behavior through graphs and comparisons.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any content marketer or blogger whose goal is to create compelling content that is likely to be shared and trusted, since this article helps you to literally draw connections between types of content that will make your readers want to share, trust, or reject your content. It is also a generally fascinating read for anyone who is interested in content and on human psychology.

From the Post:

Anger/disgust make us more stubborn

The hypothalamus is responsible for anger, along with a lot of other base level needs like hunger, thirst, response to pain and sexual satisfaction.

And while anger can lead to other emotions like aggression, it can also create a curious form of stubbornness online, as a recent University of Wisconsin study discovered.

In it, participants were asked to read a blog post containing a balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology. The body of the post was the same for everyone, but one group got civil comments below the article while another got rude comments that involved name-calling and more anger-inducing language.

The rude comments made participants dig in on their stance: Those who thought nanotechnology risks were low became more sure of themselves when exposed to the rude comments, while those who believed otherwise moved further in that direction.

Even more interesting is what happened to those who previously didn’t feel one way or another about nanotechnology. The civil group had no change of opinion.

Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology.

Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.

So negativity has a real and lasting effect – and it’s evident in how content gets shared, too. In the previously mentioned New York Times viral content study, some negative emotions are positively associated with virality – most specifically, anger.”



How to Steal Your Competitor’s Best Content & Use It Against Them

By Dave Schneider on Matthew Woodward

Who Can This Help?

From the Post:


3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

By Sonia Simone on CopyBlogger

Real world examples of great marketing are some of the best learning tools, in our opinion, so it’s only appropriate that we highlight this article about a little donut shop that utilizes some simple, yet core marketing principles to build an incredible popular and memorable brand. While this donut shop isn’t an online business trying to create and promote content, the lessons would apply to any business online today who are trying to establish a memorable brand as well.

Who Can This Help?
As mentioned, this article contains lessons that would help any business online today that is looking to establish a memorable brand around their business. These lessons would be especially helpful for such businesses who are in the early stages of development or who are willing to take risks, since many of the actionable steps mentioned in the article apply to things like your brand imaging and isolating certain audiences (for the betterment of your brand).

From the Post:

1. Be memorable

Voodoo’s signature doughnut is shaped like a voodoo doll with a little pretzel-stick stake through its heart. They have a number of doughnuts on the menu that you can’t order without cursing.


Do they taste better than other doughnuts? If you’ve been pining for bacon or breakfast cereal on your doughnuts, I guess so. Otherwise, they’re a lot like everyone else’s doughnuts: delicious for two bites, and then you start to hate yourself.

But if you go to Voodoo once, you want to talk about it. It makes for a great story that their customers love to tell.”

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About SEO Costs But Focus On What It Earns

By Trond Lyngbo on Search Engine Land

Many companies online today understand the need to enlist the help of an SEO professional in order to make sure their business stays competitive online. But unless you’re an SEO professional yourself, or have strong knowledge about SEO concepts and the changing marketing landscape when it comes to Google and search engine marketing, it’s hard to make sense about what SEO is supposed to accomplish for your business and how much it “should cost”. This article answers these questions while also putting things into perspective when you’re trying to figure out where SEO fits into your overall content marketing strategy.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be most helpful to businesses who are looking to hire SEO help, or who are evaluating where SEO belongs in their current content marketing strategy.

From the Post:

SEO Is More Than Link Building Or Even Content Marketing

Business owners sometimes view SEO as pure link building and little else. They ask for a quote to build x number of links every month and then evaluate bids based on the cost per link — without really understanding how these links are created or how link quality differs based on location.

All links are not created equal.

  • Site-wide footer links differ from low-quality blogs with high outbound link counts
  • Forum signatures, blog comments, press releases and social media back links have varying weight and impact on search ranking
  • Links from authoritative sites are worth their weight in gold
  • Great content marketing can attract links of high value and long-term benefits
  • There’s no single magic tool that will by itself dramatically improve your site’s ranking.
  • Even if there once was, those days are long gone. SEO just doesn’t work that way anymore.”


Blogger Outreach: How to Get Influencers to Promote Your Content For Free

by Brian Dean

Although the state of SEO is going through a time a change nowadays, with Google cracking down more frequently it seems on various tactics that it used to promote, one content promotion tactic that will never go out of style is blogger outreach. Reaching out one-on-one to fellow bloggers and website owners to discuss and share content is what the internet was meant for, so its high time that you start honing your blogger outreach processes if you haven’t yet done so. This article is a great, step-by-step resource to help you get started and ultimately maximize the effectiveness of all of your blogger outreach.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to bloggers and website owners who actively reach out to other bloggers to network and/or to promote and share content, since it gives you some solid tips on how to organize your outreach in a meaningful way.

From the Post:

Step #2: Separate Your Target Bloggers Into Tiers

Let’s face facts: not all blogs are created equal. Some blogs are big, well respected and get tons of traffic and engagement. Others, well, not so much.

One of the most common mistakes that people make with blogger outreach is using the same approach for every blog on their list.

That makes ZERO sense.

To get the most from your outreach, you need to divide your target bloggers into two or three different tiers. That way, you can give industry leaders the TLC they need … while taking a more direct approach with everyone else.”

Why 55% of Potential B2B Buyers Might Not Trust Your Website Content

By Dianna Huff on Content Marketing Institute

A large portion of businesses publishing content online today are B2B companies and, for these companies, since the stakes are higher, there are unique challenges when it comes to website content optimization. One of those challenges is how to appear trustworthy to potential buyers. This article is a great resource for B2B companies in that regard because it explains precisely how potential B2B buyers distinguish trustworthiness online, starting with the most important destination – your website.

Who Can This Help?
This article is obviously most helpful to B2B companies who do a significant amount of business online and who obtain a decent portion of their leads from their website. However, the tactics covered within the article could be appropriate for other types of companies as well who are concerned with projecting a trustworthy presence online.

From the Post:

“One reason companies may leave off contact information — and instead force people to contact them through a one-size-fits-all form — is because it’s harder to track people when they call or email. By tying a web form to a marketing automation or CRM system, it’s easier to get names into a database and then track subsequent conversations with them.

But here’s the thing: Our findings say that the vast majority of buyers prefer to contact vendors through email (81 percent) or phone (58 percent).

chart-how buyers contact vendors

More importantly, forcing potential buyers to go through a form reduces leads. When asked, “How important are the following items with regard to moving forward with a Request for Proposal/Quote?: Company Address/Contact Information, Product Pricing, Lead or Ship Times, and Product Name,” 68 percent of survey respondents indicated that they consider “Company Address and Contact Information” to be “Critically Important” with regard to moving forward with a vendor.

The reality is that buyers source vendors online. Once buyers have a short list of suppliers, they’ll send these names to a purchasing agent or will send out RFQs. If a buyer can’t find the information needed to send out an RFQ, the vendor gets scratched and the buyer moves on — with the vendor never knowing the buyer was on the website or that it was in the running. In short, buyers pre-qualify vendors and suppliers, and they do this using the website content they find.”

Have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content


How To Write A Great Roundup Post

How To Write a Roundup Post

It may sound counterintuitive, but when done correctly, sending readers away from your site is one of the best ways to keep them coming back. That’s the idea behind content curation.

Before we dive into the details of roundup posts, let’s define the term curation. As Neicole Crepeau writes on Convince & Convert, curation “is the art and science of finding and sharing quality content on a specific topic.” It’s the dirty work that helps readers understand an industry, event, person or product.

Robin Good breaks down the traits of a successful curator in his excellent post, Content Curation Is Not Content Marketing.

The content curator characterizing traits:

1. Is not after quantity. Quality is his key measure.

2. Does not ever curate something without having thoroughly looked at it, multiple times.

3. Always provides insight as to why something is relevant and where the item fits in its larger collection (stream, catalog, list, etc.)

4. Adds personal evaluation, judgment, critique or praise.

5. Integrates a personal touch, in the way it presents the curated object.

6. Provides useful information about other related, connected or similar objects of interest.

7. Credits and thanks anyone who has helped in the discovery, identification and analysis of any curated item and links relevant names of people present in the content.

8. Does not ever republish content “as is” without adding extra value to it.

9. Does not curate, select, personalize or republish his own content in an automated way.

10. Discloses bias, affiliation and other otherwise non self-evident contextual clues.

One of the most straightforward ways to curate content is write roundup posts. Even though the meat of the content is written by someone else, these posts can be extremely valuable for audience development, reader engagement, SEO and lead conversion. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

Step 1: Identify sources.

A strong roundup is only as good as its sources. You need to find the most interesting and insightful content possible, meaning you need to unearth new and interesting articles. The first step is automating the collection of good information. Using tools like an RSS reader (Feedly is our favorite), Google Alerts, IFTTT and Twitter lists, you will be able to manage huge amounts of information. Here are a few other interesting content discovery tools:

This is a great start, but it’s not enough to monitor the same feeds all the time. You need variety. There are many places to find new bloggers in your industry but social media and message boards are great places to start. Identify the most-used hashtags in your vertical and monitor them on Twitter and Google+. Get involved in subreddits and forums to meet new people and share ideas. These are great ways to uncover new and interesting content written by up-and-comers in your vertical.

As you find content to highlight, use tools like Evernote, Honey and Pocket to save, tag and organize it. When it comes time to write, everything you need will be in one place.

Step 2: Cite, cite, cite.

The quickest way to upset influential bloggers and lost your readers’ trust is to “lift” content. Roundup posts are, by nature, collections of content written by someone else. The goal is to spread ideas, not take credit for someone else’s work. Done right, a roundup makes it abundantly clear who wrote the posts, tweeted the tweets or published the videos you are curating. Always link to their site, blog or Twitter handle. In fact, it’s wise to let them know in advance so they can tell you where to link. Use do-follow links so the sources can get credit from Google also.

Step 3. Look at what influencers are publishing.

Here’s are some examples of how some of the best curators approach roundups:

Here are examples of roundups that I post on a weekly basis:

Roundups are a great opportunity to embed media like YouTube videos, tweets and Facebook posts into your articles Visual, engaging and interactive content goes a long way towards bringing readers back to your site for the next roundup.

Step 4. Be consistent.

In general, content marketing is a long term strategy. The most successful sites publish great content on a regular basis for years. Roundups rely even more on consistency to work. They depend heavily on subscription-based tools like email marketing and social media as opposed to SEO.

One of the keys to curation is providing analysis and value. This will not and can never happen in a single blog post. Earning the trust of readers takes months and possibly years.

Blogger Peter Larson, also known as the Blogologist, recently provided insight into the growth of his popular site RunBlogger. He writes that it took a year to get his blog up and running.

I want to emphasize this point: unless you have an existing online following from another site, or some other existing platform/audience that will help draw traffic to your site immediately (e.g, you’re a famous book author, public figure, etc.), you really need to take a long-term view when starting a blog. Don’t get discouraged by low traffic numbers initially, if you put in the necessary effort they will rise over time.

Curation works but it’s hard work. Give the strategy at least six months and, as always, pay attention Google Analytics and other data to tweak your work as you progress.

Step 5. Promote it.

As we mentioned above, roundups rely on relationships, meaning that curated posts might not bring in the organic traffic that your other articles do. They can, however, establish meaningful relationships with your target readers.

Perhaps the best way to build an audience around a weekly roundup post is an email newsletter. In 2009, Instapaper creator Mark Armstrong started a blog called Longreads which highlights great longform journalism. Using an email newsletter and Twitter, Armstrong built the site in the destination for discoing longform content. The site has since been partnered with Atlantic Media and attracted 125,000 Twitter followers.

If you are just getting started, make sure you are collecting email addresses from day one. Get in the habit of creating and sending an email newsletter each week. Even if you only have a handful of subscribers, these people could be the foundation of something truly great.

Do you have questions about curation or examples of great roundup posts? Let us know in the comments.

Are You Being Creative Enough With Your Content Marketing Strategy? March Content Marketing Round-Up

This month we read through a ton of in-depth, specialized Content Marketing articles from around the web. And lucky for you, as usual, we scoured through the whole lot of them and plucked out our favorites to make up this month’s “best-of-the-web” content marketing roundup.

We chose to highlight these particular articles this month because they demonstrate the most actionable content marketing tips, contain the most inspiring strategy, and cover a wide gamut of current (and super relevant) content marketing tools, platforms and concepts.

Table of Contents:

Content Marketing Roundup:

9 Tools to Discover Influencers in Your Industry

by Lee Odden on Top Rank Blog

For many businesses, especially those in the B2B subset, it simply isn’t enough to just blog about industry-related content and distribute it in the same way most other websites do. Instead, its almost imperative for your business success to actively engage with experts within your own industry (and tangentially related industries) as part of a more focused marketing strategy. This article directs you to some great online platforms to help you find these experts and to create a more authority-based content marketing strategy.

Who Can This Help?
This article is especially relevant for businesses creating content targeted at specific areas of subject matter expertise. Whether your goal is to developing more quality leads, gaining visibility, or establishing thought leadership, this article helps by showing where you can engage with high level influencers in your niche.

From The Post:

Little Bird – Founded by past RWW pioneer, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Little Bird is a paid tool that helps users discover influencers that are validated by their peers on Twitter for a variety of topics as well as emerging topics. It also supports competitive intelligence, content marketing, social sales oriented research across multiple social networks.

followerwonk – With a focus exclusively on Twitter research and analytics, this free tool from the folks at Moz provides a handy search engine for influencer discovery as well as tools for competitive comparisons, tracking and data visualizations. A social authority filter allows sorting of influencers and reports can be saved for future reference.

Before you start with influencer discovery, don’t make the mistake of simply shooting from the hip, so to speak, and search these tools using only your top SEO keywords. Think more from the point of view of who you want to influence. What topics will be important to them? What questions do they have during the sales cycle and what do you know about their preferences for information discovery, consumption and interaction?

Those insights (in combination with SEO keywords) will help guide you towards a more productive search for influencers to engage with.”


How to Grow A Blog to 100,000 Visitors in Less than a Year

by Peep Laja on OkDork

While having a high number of regular visitors isn’t necessarily a top priority for some content marketing strategies, it is undoubtedly still a desirable achievement for any website.  This article is a great resource in that regard because, rather than covering general tips on how to create a quality website, this piece walks you step by step through the actual blogging strategy that brought what was initially an obscure blog, to become a successful website that currently brings in 100,000 or more visits per month.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for online entrepreneurs and content marketers who are interested in building an authority website from scratch, or who are looking to build traffic to an existing website that is struggling to gain traction.

From The Post:

The secret of success is doing something that others are not willing to do for a long, long time. So when I was analyzing the content of marketing blogs – trying to understand how I can be better – I finally figured it out.

The answer? Evidence based, data-driven marketing advice. That was how I summed up the gap in the market. That was going to be my angle.

And I chose to focus specifically on conversion optimization because there were few dedicated CRO blogs around. Picking a niche is important when getting started – don’t be afraid to go niche at first. You can always expand later.

Take Tim Ferriss. Four Hour Workweek. He was that guy. Now he is much more than that, he expanded his brand after the first thing became a success. You can do the same with your blog.

Using data-backed content made all the difference.”

#Hashtagology 101: How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Content

by Jonathan Crossfield on Content Marketing Institute

The hashtag might be small, but the fact of the matter is that the art of hashtagging carries an enormous amount of weight in the social sphere, and in some cases it can make or break your social media marketing strategy. It’s odd then, if you think about it, that there aren’t more articles devoted to hashtag strategy. This article is a useful guide to how to use hashtags in your social media content, and it also contains some history and psychology behind the act of hashtagging, which gives an interesting, humanizing perspective to what is a very pop-culture phenomenon.

Who Can This Help?
This guide would be most helpful to businesses and brands who have yet to tap into all of the marketing opportunities available on Social Media, and who are also actively trying to make meaningful improvements to their Social Media strategy, specifically on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where the hashtag is most prevalent.

From The Post:

“Hashtags are also the glue that holds many cross-platform competitions and campaigns together, making it easy for followers to submit content to be aggregated and displayed elsewhere. […]

However, always remember that the hashtag belongs to the community, even if you created it yourself. You can’t censor or control how others will use it, so be sensitive to situations that could fuel a hashtag backlash.

Qantas discovered this in 2011 when it launched a social media competition with the hashtag #QantasLuxury in the middle of a controversial union dispute. At its height, 51 tweets per minute were sent containing the hashtag. The vast majority ridiculed or criticized the airline, creating a highly visible and wide-reaching PR disaster.”

To be a great blogger, put on your bitch mittens

by Mark W. Schaefer on {Grow}

It seems that you can say anything you want in the blogging world and that’s part of the beauty of the internet. However, when your blog is affiliated with your own or another company, when is it appropriate to filter your thoughts and opinions for the sake of your brand? To explore this idea, Mark reflects honestly and personally about how one of his viral (and somewhat controversial) blog posts led him to contemplate what should and shouldn’t be discussed on the web as a high profile blogger. Whether or not you agree with him, his conclusions are relevant to any brands who have a stake in their online presence.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help established brands, whether business or personal, navigate the blogging world while striking a balance between diplomacy and authenticity.

From The Post:

“There is probably a camp who will say, “But it’s OK to have a bad day, Mark.”

No, it’s not. Not on the web.

I am a professional denizen of the Internet and how I show up means something. The Internet is forever and one slip-up can create an unintended viral disaster. We all know those stories.

Showing up as truly human and showing up as a person who people want to hire is a delicate dance, isn’t it?

I think that if I am trying to build a brand, I need to keep my daily bitchifications and dysfunctions where they belong … in the privacy of my home. I have issues. You have issues. We all have issues. But don’t be your own worst enemy by flying these as the flag of your personal brand if you are working professionally in this space to attract customers.

That’s right. I’m saying that you should not be authentic (gasp). It’s official. I am now kicked out of the Social Media Guru Club. About time, too. Who wants my secret de-coder ring?”

Link Pruning Best Practices to Help Recover from a Google Penalty

by Brynna Baldauf on Vertical Measures

Link Pruning, or simply cleaning up your site’s “bad” links, is a legitimate and very effective way get yourself back into Google’s good graces after a Google Penalty because it helps you address and “undo” the link behavior on your website that Google is likely punishing you for via decreased rankings. This article helps you implement an organized link pruning strategy and also provides extra helpful notes for maintaining a healthy site architecture before and after pruning.

Who Can This Help?
This guide would be most helpful to those whose websites have been hit by a Google Penalty, or for marketers or agencies whose clients have experienced a Google Penalty.

From The Post:

The First Steps of Backlink Removal: Reviewing Links

Say you have found multiple sites with questionable links pointing back to your site. What you need now is a roadmap to help lead your action plan. Start by pulling a list of all of the backlinks and anchor text pointing to the site(s) in question. There are a lot of options on how to do this, but the most commonly done combo is to pull a list from Open Site Explorer Data and Google Webmaster Tools. Create for yourself a nice Excel sheet with this column formatting:

  • URL of the link
  • Anchor text of the link (if possible)
  • A space for notes
  • A column to mark YES or NO to add to your disavow list (title it simply “Disavow?”)

This spreadsheet is your fast track back to rankings and traffic, so make sure you are saving often as you make your way through the backlinks of your site.”

Spend 10 Minutes Doing This Everyday And You Could Transform Your Blogging

by Darren Rowse on ProBlogger

It’s always refreshing to read content strategy that is equal parts creative, effective and easy to accomplish, and this is what this article is. Darren from ProBlogger has built an empire around his personal and professional blogging projects, so you know that any advice he’s giving about blogging is going to be helpful. In this article, he lays out a simple strategy that involves competitive analysis and takes only 10 minutes a day. Competitive analysis is not a new practice by any means, but this article discusses how you can integrate these short, focused periods of competitive review into your daily routine in order to give you a constant point of reference and inspiration for the betterment of your blog.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any blogger who is serious about their writing, who is actively looking to improve the quality of writing and content strategy, and who has 10 minutes to spare everyday that they are working on their blog.

From The Post:

Questions to Ask As You Review

There are a variety of areas that you can review when looking at another blog. I tend to break things down into the following areas and find myself asking questions like those that follow.

Note: I don’t ask all of these questions every time I do a review – but I hope by presenting them you’ll get a feel for what directions you can explore.


  • what voice/s are they writing in?
  • what is their posting frequency?
  • how long are the posts that they write?
  • what type of posts are they majoring on (information, inspiration, engagement, news, opinion, etc)?
  • what style and medium of posts are they using (lists, imagery, video, podcasts, etc)?
  • what blend of original vs curated content are they using?
  • what topics/categories are they majoring on?
  • what type of headlines/titles formulas do they use?
  • do they use multiple authors/guest posters or a single writer?


  • how do they engage readers?
  • what calls to action do they use and what is being responded to?
  • what type of posts get the most comments, shares, likes?
  • do they use tools like polls, surveys, quizzes or other engagement triggers?
  • what social media sites are they using and how they using them for engagement/community building?
  • do they have a newsletter – how do they incentivise signups? What type of content do they send?
  • how much do the writers of the blog engage in comments?
  • do they have a dedicated community area? (forum, membership etc)?
  • do they have ‘discussion’ posts or ‘assignments’ or ‘projects/challenges’ that give readers something to DO?”

How to Reverse Engineer Success on Reddit

by Ross Hudgens on Siege Media

Reddit is a community website made of mainly user-generated content, and it is particularly popular among U.S. males between the ages of 25-34 years of age. And as popular as it is, it is not a website that comes to mind when you think of content marketing strategy. However, any website that has such a large readership among different category topics and such a high level of social engagement, is something that the marketing world can’t ignore. This article shows how to navigate the Reddit website in a way that is advantageous from a content marketing standpoint.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any established online brand that is niche-specific, and that is willing to experiment with different avenues of content promotion.

From The Post:

“I can’t emphasize enough that you should not manipulate Reddit. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with building amazing content and occasionally submitting it to a subreddit that would like it.

I do think there’s something wrong with submitting every single post you make, and using an upvote ring to push your work up the site.

Given that, the best way to future-proof success on Reddit is to build an audience that comes back to your site naturally that also frequents Reddit.

To do that, you must have a large amount of content on your site that actually appeals to their target demographic – not just one piece. To multiply the effect, you can also occasionally submit to Reddit, and when doing so, you must employ social hooks to get them to follow your work in the future because it’s good. ”

The Complete Guide To Social Media Formatting: How To Make Your Posts Stand Out On Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin

by Courtney Seiter on Buffer

It’s one thing to know what to say on social media, but it’s a whole other thing to know how to say it on social media. And how you say things on social media has everything to do with format. This article lays out some super simple tricks and best practices of social media formatting to help you create unique, stand-out posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It even includes some additional helpful tools to help you even further in crafting perfectly shareable social media content.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any person, business, or brand who has a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, or Pinterest that they’re looking to improve by making posts more shareable. This could also be helpful to businesses who have yet to tap into any one of these platforms, as it will set them up for success when they begin.

From The Post:

Edit headline and summary text

One of the greatest things about posting to Facebook is how many of the fields are totally customizable. Use this flexibility to highlight the most shareable elements of your content.

Facebook formatting

Pro tip: You can do all of this if you’re Buffering a post to Facebook, too (and gets lots more photo thumbnail choices)!

Size photos correctly

Because Facebook will automatically resize images that don’t match its specifications, size and aspect ratio of photos are super important.

The aspect ratio is very specific: image widths need to be 1.91 times the height. This will mean the image scales perfectly in both the desktop News Feed and on mobile.

Images are now larger when shown in the News Feed, so keeping the aspect ratio right will make sure your images look great wherever the user sees them.”


Link Building Success 2013

2013 Link Building Success – 50 Experts Share their Stories

by Corey Collins on Linkarati

Contrary to popular belief as of late, link building is still alive and well. Because as much as Google will try to downplay it, the fact remains that links are still one of the absolute most important measures of website authority (within appropriate context, of course, and along with many other factors). So this article comes as a refreshing overview of how link building contributed positively to businesses in the past year. Corey from Linkarati rounded up this massive group of 50 Marketing experts to share their own link building successes, which contains tons of opportunities that many businesses can replicate on their own.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any business online who is actively doing SEO, and is searching for more positive and proven ways to build links to their website.

From The Post:

What’s more important than link building these days, in my opinion, is brand building. And a great way to build your brand is to align it with already-established and respect ones. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to become a contributor at several major online publishers, such as Forbes and This exposure has been wonderful for my personal brand as well as that of my business. And it just so happens that being a contributor at places like these builds inbound links. Natural link building at its finest, while not even trying. That’s what I consider to be a true win/win, and what business owners should aim for as their goal.


A few months ago we got a link by following up on a blogger’s end of post request on our own blog. You know at the end of a post, a blogger usually attempts to get comments with some sort of CTA phrase like “what do you think?”, “have you made a similar project?” or “what would you do differently on this recipe?”

It’s disappointing as a blogger when the comment section remains empty, even on a good post. Yet we still put those comment CTA phrases at the end of most posts.

Bloggers love engagement on their posts, so instead of simply commenting on their post, we wrote our own blog post that answered their question. We didn’t create a short, thin post. We put some time into it, after all, this was living on our client’s blog. We then left a comment and tweeted at the author to make sure they found our post. They were so happy to see our unique form of following-up and the result was us getting a link on their updated post as well as being shared on their social platforms.”

100,000 in One Week Viperchill

$100,000 in One Week, a Viral Nova Follow-Up

by Glen Allsopp on Viperchill

The title of this article is misleading, because it’s not exactly focused on what you think it would, which would be something along the lines of how to get your website to earn $100,000 in One Week. Although related, this article is instead a series of comments and analysis around the author’s wildly popular, and controversial, Viral Nova post, and around Viral Nova-type content aggregating sites in general. This article is a super in-depth look into this type of website, including things like how to optimize it, an audit of a new Viral Nova-type website created by a reader, the author’s take on whether or not the Facebook algorithm update affects these types of websites (using Upworthy and Business Insider as examples), copyright law infringement concerns, and more.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful for online entrepreneurs and content marketers who are interested in the Viral Nova content model, or are perhaps also interested in creating this type of website themselves, since it includes specific strategy suggestions from a person who has personal experience in this endeavor.

From The Post:

“One person happily shared their new site on my Facebook page and, since I could see he was making a lot of mistakes, I asked him if I could publicly critique the website here and he obliged.

Edgar just started a website called Flippin Cool after reading my post. Right from the start, I can see some things he’s doing wrong. He said he would like to learn from a critique so let’s get into it (please note that I wouldn’t have done this without his permission).


#1 Remove the Right Sidebar Arrow A.S.A.P

There are some clear statements in the Adsense TOS that state you cannot direct people to click on ads on your website. I know that is not what he is attempting to do but I can easily see Google banning him for this if they catch on.

Please note I warned Edgar of this a few days before the blog post went live because I thought it was that important and he removed it as advised.

#2 An Email Opt-in Form Isn’t Relevant Just Yet

I don’t really like the idea of centering the website in-between two columns but if you’re going to do it, at least make the top left portion of the website more enticing. Nobody is going to give you their email without going through a lot of content first.

Again, I prefer the idea of content being on the left rather than packed between navigation, but at least put something there that entices people to click on more articles or simply share your website via social media. Even just moving your category links here (which are really nicely designed by the way) would be an improvement.

It’s prime real estate, especially when your website is new, so don’t use it for an opt-in box for unconverted site visitors.

#3 Make Your Headlines Bigger

They’re your biggest hook when it comes to building sites like this so make sure that people can actually see them clearly.”

75 Copywriting Resources

75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy That Converts

by Chloe Mason Gray on Kiss Metrics

When reading up on resources to improve your writing, it’s easy to go from feeling like there is way too much advice out there, to feeling like there’s just too much of the same basic tips. Thankfully, we stumbled upon this curated listed of incredibly high quality copywriting resources by Kiss Metrics. From E-books, Articles, Infographics, Guides, Courses, and Articles, this list of resources is meaningfully organized by category of your writing needs, such as writing Headlines, writing CTA’s, SEO copywriting, E-commerce writing, and more.

Who Can This Help?
This list can help any copywriter, blogger, or content developer who is responsible for creating valuable online content that converts, as this list contains a wealth of knowledge based on that criteria.

From The Post:

“Masterful copywriting plays a big part in the difference between a website that converts like crazy and one that simply falls flat, failing to engage potential customers. Case in point: in Conversion Rate Expert’s redesign of the Crazy Egg website, copy had a big role in growing the site’s conversion rate by 363%.

This resource guide provides links that will give you a strong foundation for writing great web copy. In order to write effective web copy, it’s necessary to understand the principles of copywriting as a discipline. So, this guide includes resources that are not specific to online copywriting, but, nonetheless, will help you build a strong arsenal of copywriting skills you can take to the web.

E-books, Articles, Infographics, and Guides to Get You Started with Web Copywriting

1. Copywriting 101 by Copyblogger – This 10-lesson e-book will teach you the fundamentals of how to excel at direct-response copywriting, which is, as Copyblogger tell us, one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing.

2. Copyblogger’s Copywriting Library – Did you like Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101 e-book above? You can find more free material in the copywriting section of their Marketing Library. These e-books will show you how to use great copy in your content marketing, email marketing, landing pages, and more.

3. The Definitive Guide to Copywriting – This 30,000-plus-word guide from Quick Sprout teaches you how to optimize your copy to increase website conversions. It leads you from gathering the information necessary to write great copy all the way to understanding how copy and design complement each other on your webpage.”

How I Would Fix Grantland’s SEO: An In-Depth Audit

by Steve Webb on Web Gnomes

The Grantland website has been a hot topic of discussion as of late in the content marketing industry for various reasons, but here, the focus is on the website as a whole from an SEO perspective. In this article, Steve from Web Gnomes enlists standard SEO Audit practices to do an in-depth analysis of the website, thereby identifying strengths, weakness, and areas of improvement. Since Grantland is a rather large sports publishing website with a variety of content and a complex link history, this makes for a valuable and informative SEO Audit example case study.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful for SEOs and online marketers who have an interest in conducting SEO Audits for their own websites or for their clients because it is a great example of a thorough SEO Audit of a large website. This may also be helpful for content marketers as well, since an Audit sheds light on the various technical SEO elements that impact the way Google views your website’s content.

From The Post:

Click Depth
Another important characteristic of the site architecture is the number of clicks it takes to get from the homepage to every other page on the site (i.e., the click depth of each page).
If pages are too far from the homepage, they are much less likely to be crawled by search engines (or found by users).

41% of the site’s pages have a click depth greater than 5 (i.e., they are more than 5 clicks away from the homepage), and 10% of the site’s pages have a click depth of 10 or more. Shockingly, 12 pages are 80 or more clicks away from the homepage.

To reduce the click depth for many of the site’s pages, I recommend creating new ways to interlink the site’s pages. For example, each article could use a widget that displays topically similar articles, based on a metric other than date (e.g., internal links, social shares, etc.). “

Have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
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Controversial Content: Is It Worth It for Your Business? A Look Back At Grantland

Grantland Controversy

The story behind Dr. V’s Magical Putter will likely be a topic in journalism schools for years to come.

Caleb Hannan, a young reporter for the pop culture and sports website Grantland, pitched his editors on a story about a so-called magic putter. It’s an entertaining story, and absolutely worth a read, but this post isn’t about putters, it’s about handling controversy on your blog. To make a very long story very short, the subject of Hannan’s article, inventor Essay Anne Vanderbilt, was transgender. Hannan discovered this in his reporting but Vanderbilt had not made that information public. In October 2013, she committed suicide.

While it remains entirely unclear whether Hannan’s reporting had anything to do with Vanderbilt’s death, Grantland posthumously “outed” her when they published Hannan’s story in January. The story was initially well-received, the backlash was thorough and harsh. Journalists defended Hannan, saying he did what any trained journalist would do, while others suggested that his work directly impacted her untimely death. Regardless, Grantland made some serious mistakes, which editor-in-chief Bill Simmons addressed in a post the next week.

Someone familiar with the transgender community should have read Caleb’s final draft. This never occurred to us. Nobody ever brought it up. Had we asked someone, they probably would have told us the following things …

  1. You never mentioned that the transgender community has an abnormally high suicide rate. That’s a crucial piece — something that actually could have evolved into the third act and an entirely different ending. But you missed it completely.
  2. You need to make it more clear within the piece that Caleb never, at any point, threatened to out her as he was doing his reporting.
  3. You need to make it more clear that, before her death, you never internally discussed the possibility of outing her (and we didn’t).
  4. You botched your pronoun structure in a couple of spots, which could easily be fixed by using GLAAD’s style guide for handling transgender language.
  5. The phrase “chill ran down my spine” reads wrong. Either cut it or make it more clear what Caleb meant.
  6. Caleb never should have outed Dr. V to one of her investors; you need to address that mistake either within the piece, as a footnote, or in a separate piece entirely.

(And maybe even … )

  1. There’s a chance that Caleb’s reporting, even if it wasn’t threatening or malicious in any way, invariably affected Dr. V in ways that you never anticipated or understood. (Read Christina Kahrl’s thoughtful piece about Dr. V and our errors in judgment for more on that angle.)

To my infinite regret, we never asked anyone knowledgeable enough about transgender issues to help us either (a) improve the piece, or (b) realize that we shouldn’t run it. That’s our mistake — and really, my mistake, since it’s my site. So I want to apologize. I failed.

There are a number of lessons to be learned here, even if your blog falls on the marketing side — as opposed to the journalism side — of the content spectrum. Controversy is surefire way to generate clicks but if you are in the business of content marketing, it likely doesn’t align with your business objectives. Here are a few things to keep in mind before publishing a post on a controversial topic.

3 Things Questions to Ask Before Blogging About a Controversial Topic

  1. How does this post serve my audience? Your readers come to your blog because they trust you as a source of information. Trust must be continually earned, meaning you need to advance your readers knowledge, entertain them and provide content that can’t be found anywhere else. Controversial topics likely don’t fit the bill unless they are directly related to your niche.
  2. How does this post advance my business goals? For most content marketers, the goal of blogging to drive leads and ultimately sales. If addressing a controversial issue, particularly by offering a personal opinion, means that you will alienate potential readers and customers, stear clear of it.
  3. Is this the right platform for personal opinion? A personal blog is the right place for personal opinions. A business blog is the right place for resources, news and knowledge. Of course, sometimes there is overlap between personal and professional presences online, meaning business owners and blog editors have to be careful about what they say on the web.

It is, of course, possible to address controversial topics tactfully.

  1. Choose your battles carefully. If you choose to take on a controversial topic, understand that you may get backlash. Be prepared to handle negative responses. Is it worth the extra pageviews?
  2. Present both sides of the story. Controversial topics, especially newsworthy events, generate a lot of interest online. If you are looking to capitalize on a surge of searches and social media activity, consider address both sides of a story without offering an opinion. This way you can keep readers informed without upsetting potential leads.
  3. Start a discussion. Gregory Ciotti tackles this beautifully on the Unbounce blog:

Successful controversial content on business blogs should stir up a debate that people feel strongly about, but that won’t result in genuinely hurting people’s feelings.

Essentially, a debate that will have people tripping over themselves to leave their opinion and share it, but one that avoids offensive topics and instead promotes controversy on topics that the general public will not be genuinely upset with.

The thing is, the controversy DOES NOT have to be stupid or silly like arguing over toilet paper, I use that example to simply remind you to stay away from “true” controversies that take things too far.

Have you effectively used controversy in your content marketing? Let us know in the comments.

For more in-depth Content Marketing Tips, download our free guide:

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Must-Read Content Marketing Topics This Month: Content Marketing Roundup #2

The amount of advice and specialized content you can find on the Internet is exploding nowadays it seems, in every genre you could imagine. And while a lot of it could be cast off as fluff, every now and then you can find some extremely valuable industry relevant information. This is certainly true in the field of Content Marketing.

To highlight the most valuable content marketing articles we’ve read, every month we pull together a ‘best-of-the-web’ content marketing roundup including our own favorite content marketing articles from around the web.  This month’s roundup of articles come from popular content marketing-focused blogs you might have already heard of, such as ProBlogger, The Moz Blog, and CopyBlogger, as well as from some other emerging blogs we’ve come across who are also publishing some really great content.

Content Marketing Roundup:

Daily Egg

16 Rules to Make Your Email Rock

by Scott Martin on The Daily Egg

For many companies, email marketing takes up a significant segment of their marketing strategy, simply because it is one of the most efficient and direct ways to connect with the consumer in a personal way and at various levels of the buying cycle. And as old as it is, it is one of the most powerful marketing weapons in any marketer’s toolbox. This article provides a long list of super specific and highly useful copywriting guidelines for crafting a great email that elicits a “quality direct response”.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be most helpful to any established business that already has a basic email marketing strategy in place and that wants to revamp their processes for increased conversions. This would also be very useful for businesses that have yet to implement an email marketing plan, as it would set the foundation for success.

From The Post:

“Remind people why you’re there.
In the valuable space right above the fold, Bob Bly reminds his subscribers why they’re receiving the email. “You’re receiving this email because…”

You can also remind people—right up front—that they can opt out at any time. This tells your reader, I’m not spamming you.

Align your copy.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email promising me a big discount on a product. I clicked through to a page giving me information about the product, but no discount.

It may sound basic, but the emails must be aligned with the landing page and the marketing strategy.”


The Content Matrix: 4 Types of Content Every Site Needs

by Hannah Smith on Distilled

Most established businesses today, regardless of the niche, have a firm presence online. From a fully functioning website filled with company and industry information, to an active company blog and multiple social media accounts, these content streams have become the new standard for businesses in today’s digital world. This article gives an intuitive look into the actual specific types of content businesses should be producing in order to maximize their customer engagement, increase conversions, and to stand out among their competitors.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for businesses who are actively looking to drive more sales and traffic through their business website and blog, since it assumes that you already have these in place. It essentially demonstrates how to turn average content into focused, goal-driven content.

From The Post:

“Why do you need content to entertain if you want to make money? Well, content to entertain allows you to reach people right at the top of the sales funnel, and indeed those who might not even know that they need your products/services yet.

As ‘entertain’ suggests – this sort of content has an emotional rather than rational appeal. It’s the sort of content that’s very shareable (and deliberately so) – the more it’s shared the further your reach.”


Content Marketing Institute

6 Enemies of Clarity in Your Business Storytelling Efforts

by Brad Shorr on Content Marketing Institute

Speaking of website content for businesses, a unique challenge that some businesses face when it comes to creating online content is ensuring that the content is clear, high quality and reader-friendly, when the subject matter in their industry is inherently somewhat detailed and technical.  This article addresses this exact challenge and uses the term “clarity” as the characteristic you should want your business storytelling to embody. Here, the author demonstrates specific ways to make your business storytelling highly effective and engaging for customers of all levels, without sacrificing industry accuracy.

Who Can This Help?
This article can be very helpful for any business where the use of industry terms, buzzwords, and otherwise technical language is commonplace across lots of different forms of content (especially website and blog content). And in fact, since this article contains many specific writing tips that apply in many circumstances, this would be a great read for any business that publishes authoritative blog posts with any level of frequency, because it points out writing mistakes that we all make every now and then. And finally, this would be great to pass down to in-house copywriters, freelance copywriters, and any contractors who contribute content on your blog.

From The Post:

“Clarity’s enemy No. 2: Obscure terms and industry jargon

In an effort to avoid buzzwords, some writers go overboard in the other direction and use words that may be unfamiliar to the intended audience. This will only confuse and irritate your readers.

Here are some examples that came up in content I recently read:

  •          Disseminate instead of distribute
  •          Expeditious instead of fast
  •          Optimize instead of improve
  •          Oscillate instead of go back and forth
  •          Remediate instead of fix
  •          Tangential instead of unimportant, or non-essential

For web writing in particular, simplicity enhances clarity because readers commonly scan content, and are likely to pass over big words without even trying to understand them.”


Timing Your Blog Posts: Know When to Post ‘Em & When to Hold ‘Em

by Matthew Kaboomis Loom on Search Engine People

Ever wonder if there is an optimal time to publish blog posts? Some might know this information intuitively and at a general level – for instance, posting industry blog posts during the day at the start of business hours is obviously better than at night, after business hours – but there’s much more to it than that. This article gets really specific about when you should be posting, like what days of the week, what times of the day, and how these times apply to different social media platforms.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be perfect for marketers who already have a presence on social media, and who post content regularly on a blog. And if you apply the tips in this article, you can expect to garner more views, shares, and engagement, which would be great for any established businesses.

From The Post:

“Pretty much everyone is using at least one of these social media platforms; most of you use multiple platforms. With this well-known list, notice how morning hours work well for most of them

Google+: 9 am to 11 am

Twitter: 1 pm to 3 pm

Facebook: 1 pm to 4 pm

Linkedin: 7 am to 9 am & 4 pm to 6 pm

Pinterest: 2 pm to 4 pm & 8 pm to 1 am

As Jay Baer once said, “Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.” But the flammability depends on how well you use social media. When your content is great, many of your subscribers who received your post in the morning will also be sharing your post through social media in the morning, which is fabulous.”

Keywords to Concepts: The Lazy Web Marketer’s Guide to Smart Keyword Research

by Cyrus Shepard on The Moz Blog

Keyword research is crucial for content marketing success because it not only helps to increase the chances that customers can find your content, but it also ensures that your content is focused enough that it will actually give the answers your readers are looking for. And in terms of keyword usage in today’s SEO landscape, just targeting a handful of keywords in your content won’t cut it. Instead, this article is a thoughtful lesson on how to craft your content around concepts and themes, rather than keywords, which makes your content more meaningful to both the reader as well as to Google.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to all content marketers really, but it would be particularly helpful to SEO’s and content marketers who are familiar with keyword research and are actively adapting their overall content strategy to withstand past and future Google penalties and updates.

From The Post:

“Here’s what we want to avoid:

  1. Choosing keywords that are too broad
  2. Keywords with too much competition
  3. Keywords without enough traffic

  4. Keywords that don’t convert
  5. Trying to rank for one keyword at a time

Instead, let’s take the opposite approach.

The basic idea is that we’re going to focus our content around ideas instead of keywords, and thus give us the potential to rank for 100s or 1000s of keywords at a time.

Truth: The best keyword tools in the world will only show you a fraction of the keywords you can potentially rank for.

Have you ever compared your long tail keyword data with data from Google’s own Keyword Planner?

Most of those keywords will show little potential search traffic or won’t even register, but you know this isn’t true because these are the same keywords that brought you traffic.

Relying on keyword research tools alone wont bring you to your full ranking potential. You need content that fully explores your themed concepts.”


30+ Resources and Tools for Google Penalty Recovery

by Mike Huber on Vertical Measures

Content marketers who have been in the game for a while are well aware of the ramifications, real and potential, of Google’s Penguin and Panda updates. And while it’s pretty much common industry knowledge why Google has implemented these changes and penalties (essentially to reward good quality content, and penalize poor quality content), for many website owners, it isn’t always obvious how these updates affected their sites, if at all. This article is an extensive and incredibly useful resource list for Google Penalty Recovery, whether you’re Diagnosing the Problem, Checking Your Backlink Profile, or in the actual Recovery Process.

Who Can This Help?
This guide is particularly helpful for content marketers, SEO’s and website owners who are responding to the effects of a recent Google Update on their own or a client’s website. And, even if this doesn’t apply to your situation now, it is only a matter of time before Google brings the hammer down on another update, so this is a handy guide to have on hand.

From The Post:

A screenshot of the list:

30 Google Penalty


Intrinsic Blogging

The Intrinsic Value of Blogging

by Matt Mullenweg on

There are millions of blog posts floating around the Internet on any given day, many of which are things like Top X list-type articles, basic how-to’s, and otherwise very formulaic and generic content that has been produced with a marketing mindset and often strictly for sheer “shareability”. So when you read a truly thought-provoking blog post, about the act of blogging itself, no less, it grabs you by surprise. That’s exactly the sentiment that we,and most readers of this article had upon reading it. This article is about the value of blogging – what it was and what it has become – and it makes you think about content creation in a different way.

Who Can This Help?
This blog post can help anyone who blogs or writes anything online, and it would be especially useful for marketers. It’s a powerful reminder that behind all of the websites and blog posts we read everyday now are real people, and long before Google and SEO came along, the internet was just a place to learn, teach, and share ideas.

From The Post:

“Stats systems, like Jetpack’s, have gotten very good at telling me which post got how many visitors and where they came from, but it’s all anonymous and the numbers don’t really mean anything to me anymore. This is very discouraging, and at its most insidious causes people to deconstruct the elements of what makes something sharable and attempt to artificially construct these information carbohydrates over and over. (Visit that site and try not to click through any headlines — it’s tough.)

The antidote I’ve found for this is to write for only two people.”

How I doubled my unique visitors in six months (and tripled them in a year)

by Stacey Roberts on ProBlogger

For many companies, implementing a complex SEO strategy is not an option, and neither is an extensive social media campaign. This is especially true for websites like single-person run blogs, smaller company websites, and mom and pop operations. But this article demonstrates that you don’t need either of those to make significant, measurable success for your website visibility. The author of this article provides a handful of real tactics that helped her double and triple her unique visitors, which required no technical skills and cost no money to implement.

Who Can This Help?
This post can be helpful to any business that already has an established presence online who is looking for proven and actionable ways to increase blog and website traffic. This is especially great for companies in niches that don’t lend themselves to “viral” posts, such as personal interest-type niches (like the blog in the article, Veggie Mama), but that still have an active online community.  

From The Post:

“Be where others aren’t

You might have no clue about why Google Plus is still around, and you don’t understand why Vine is popular – but don’t let that deter you. New readers are everywhere, including underused social media platforms. I find it much easier to interact with superstar bloggers and influential people who are inundated with Tweets and Facebook comments, but are not so overwhelmed on Google Plus. It’s easier to stand out there, and you’ll certainly be noticed.”


Could This Headline Technique Double Your Click-Throughs Too?

by Jerod Morris on CopyBlogger

This article is a clever look into the art of writing the perfect, click-worthy headline – an aspect of copywriting that can make or break even the best piece of long-form content. And more specifically, this article addresses whether question headlines are more effective than non-question headlines, and why that might be. In short, it all depends on how the question is presented, and whether the question elicits empathy from the reader.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for all businesses and content marketers whose goal is to produce shareable content.  And since these headline-writing tips apply in any situation where you want to explore an argument or prove a point, it is broadly applicable and valuable for any niche.

From The Post:

“It turns out that phrasing headlines in the form of a question — as contestants must do with their responses on Jeopardy — does indeed increase click-through rates. In fact it more than doubles them, on average.

Dooley cites a study by Norwegian researches Linda Laia and Audun Farbrotb as evidence.

[And] lest you think phrasing every headline as a question is some kind of magic potion, think again. It’s just one headline-writing tactic, and the general tenets of a good headline must still be present no matter which tactic or template you choose.

For example:

  • It’s ultra-specific — How much can clicks improve? By double. Why would this occur? Because of the Jeopardy Effect.
  • It’s unique — I’d never heard of the “Jeopardy Effect” before, but I had an inkling what it may mean, and my curiosity was piqued by the reference.
  • It’s useful — What blogger, content marketer, or even just Joe Blow Twitter user wouldn’t want to double their clicks?

Granted, it’s not urgent (the other U), but it doesn’t need to be.”


6 Reasons Univision Got a 13% Engagement Rate on a Facebook Post

by Jay Baer on Convince and Convert

Success stories are one of the most valuable tools for marketing strategy, especially when they are clearly documented, and when they are actually causally linked to a company’s positive marketing plan (rather than simply a stroke of luck).  Because only then can you be sure that the same success can possibly be emulated, given the right set of circumstances and preparation. This article revolves around a great model success story – the story of how Univision was able to capitalize on a single Facebook image post to garner a 13% engagement rate (the average range of Facebook engagement for established brands usually falls between 4-7%).

Who Can This Help?
This article can help brands with both an established presence on Facebook and an established social media team and process within their company. Because, as you’ll learn from reading the article, Univision’s success had as much to do with a smart image post at the right time, as it did with the teamwork and quick thinking of an able marketing team. However, even if you are not yet established on Facebook or in social media, this article is a great lesson on how powerful a single post on social media can be for your brand.

From The Post:

“In this current era of diminished average engagement on Facebook (listen to this podcast with me, Mari Smith, and Mike Stelzner for more on that), a 13% engagement rate is almost stupefyingly brilliant.

Sure, you could say Univision was in the right place at the right time, and caught lightning (or ice) in a bottle. But to believe that is to massively undervalue the cultural, organizational, operational and tactical alignment that must occur in a complex, information-driven organization to make this actually happen.

Social is a River, not a Lake.

Companies with a strong social business climate treat social horizontally, not vertically. Social (and social-focused personnel) run throughout the entire organization, like a river, rather than being a siloed, circular thing that must be visited, like a lake (even a frozen one).”



21 Web Applications I Use and Can’t Live Without

by Patt Flynn on Smart Passive Income

Patt Flynn is a successful and established online entrepreneur who writes a popular blog called Smart Passive Income. This is a list of web apps that he personally uses for anything from web analytics, writing, email, social media, and organization, which is a great piece of content in and of itself. We liked this list not only because of the applications he listed, many of which are extremely useful, but also because it is great example of a piece of content that is successful without being incredibly technical: it currently has over 1000 social shares and 270+ comments. Aside from Patt’s following, this list likely gains most of its success because it is personal, specific, detailed, and useful for broad range of people.

Who Can This Help?
As mentioned, this article would be helpful to a broad range of people.  There are hundreds of web applications available, so it’s always helpful to find tips on which ones are worthwhile to use as well as why, both of which this article provides.

From The Post:


GTmetrix – GTmetrix is a sweet (and free) tool that you can use to check the speed and performance of your website. Just insert your URL and boom – you’ll get a quick analysis and report of how long it took to load, along with a grade and what parts of your site are slowing you down.


ByWord – For the longest time, I used the WordPress editor to create pages and publish posts on my blogs. Now, I realize how much better life is when I use a tool that was specifically built for writing.

There are several tools out there to help you write, butByWord, by far, is my favorite. It’s basically a “distraction-free” writing tool that clears everything out of the screen except for the cursor.


Tweriod – Tweriod (Twitter + Period) is a quick and easy (and free) tool you can use to find out exactly when most of your Twitter followers are online. This data is important because it will help you determine when the best times to tweet are.

If you enjoyed this Content Marketing roundup, stay tuned for our next roundup. We post them regularly at the beginning of every month. In the meantime, check out some of the latest posts on our blog:

Despite what a recent article by Matt Cutts (denouncing guest blogging) might lead you to believe, there are still valuable and effective ways to keep guest blogging a part of your content promotion strategy. This article responds to that article, and also includes a handful of useful tips to help your ongoing guest blogging efforts.

You would think that Google+ Authorship would be more widely used among writers online today, especially given Google’s grand influence, and how many bloggers and content writers there are on the web producing content. However, Google+ Authorship isn’t nearly as popular as it should be. These 10 tips make a strong case for Google+ Authorship for those who are still undecided.

Many articles provide a wealth of tips on how to create high quality content, yet exclude one guiding question that can make a big difference on how that content should be written, which is: what will be done with the article after it’s done? Things like where the article will be published, who will see it, how it will be shared, are all details that should inform the writing process. These 13 steps for improving your content promotion helps you respond to these questions, while also making the most of your content promotion strategy.

Even the most prolific writers can use a few helpful tips to improve writing and writing preparation. Whether its writer’s block, a difficult topic, or its been a while since you’ve written, getting started on a new piece is usually the hardest part. This article is a thorough overview of 7 things writers of any level should practice before writing a first draft.

Most skilled marketers are already well aware of this, but in most cases, customer behavior is based on several principals of psychology and human behavior which is predictable to a certain extent. This article provides 4 useful marketing tips based on some of those principals.

Do you have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.