Guest Posting And SEO Blog

25/Sep/2018
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Every day, I receive a lot of guest post pitches from my different sites under Content Club but only a few will always be accepted. You might be wondering that I have high standards or they weren’t able to meet the guidelines. Well, sort of but not completely.

To be honest, I’m always excited to feature writers on my site when they submit original, thoughtful and valuable content that my readers would love. Unfortunately, that’s not always what I see in my email. It’s actually cliché pitches or sometimes it’s simply terrible that most of them go straight in the dustbin.

What are the do’s and don’ts when creating a perfect guest post pitch? How will you be able to stand out as a passionate writer and capture the interest of the guest host?

Brace yourself ’cause we’ll absolutely get into the nitty-gritty details of the do’s and don’ts of guest posting.

Let’s start with the dos and don’ts of a perfect guest post pitch.

1. Do: Grab the guest host’ attention with a praising subject line

Your video blog about the importance of your audience was great but…

Start with an enthusiastic subject line that will attract him to open your pitch like compliment him on his latest post. I’d suggest you make it descriptive, specific, stir his curiosity yet make it professional.

Don’t: I would appreciate a guest post pitch if it has my name on it and if it makes me feel that it’s sincere. Somebody needs to calm down and avoid using too much exclamation points!!!!!! WRITING IN ALL CAPS LIKE YOU’RE YELLING WON’T HELP EITHER. Or sending an email template wherein you fill only the blog URL and hit send.

2. Do: Give it a personal touch.

Your guest host would likely accept your pitch by doing a little research about him on his social media sites. Like his page and posts, follow him on Instagram and Twitter, and leave a comment. Try to befriend him and start a conversation on his blog posts. This will show that you are a genuine visitor of his site.

Don’t: Use the word “admin“, “blogger” or copy and paste the company’s name.

3. Do: Properly introduce yourself

Your email ID should either show your real name or your business’ name. Provide your identity and links to your social media sites, LinkedIn page or blog so that s/he could check out your work. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You just need to be honest and explain why you should be considered to write for his/her site.

Don’t: Clearly, you should never use fake email IDs or names. Don’t let this be a game of Waldo where the guest host needs to search you on Google just to find out who you really are.

4. Do: Stand out from the crowd

We all know that copywriters can magically write about anything under the sun. So how are you going to stand out in a room full of typical copywriters? Provide your previous guest posts that gained a lot of comments. This will show you as a credible and trustworthy writer in your niche.

Furthermore, familiarizing yourself with the site’s content by reading their posts will not only help you attain knowledge about their topics and target audience, the guest host’ will also be impressed that you know a lot about their site and readers.

Don’t: A broad topic isn’t better. Plus, it won’t be able to reach your target audience.

5. Do: Make it simple and conversational

Write a guest post pitch like you’re simply talking to a friend in the business. Keep it short, sweet and direct to the point. Use average words that your readers can easily understand. Observe your grammar, format, and capitalization.

Don’t: Using big and deep words in your email won’t make you look smart. Your guest host would appreciate it but s/he might just conclude that you don’t really know anything about their topics or niche and might end up rejecting your pitch.

6. Pitch Your Idea and Send Your Article

As an online entrepreneur, I’m busy with my business 24/7. And as I have mentioned, I receive a lot of guest post pitches every day. We recommend that you send in your idea and article straight away to check if it’s fit for our site and to avoid wasting each other’s time. Also, let the quality of your work speak for itself.

Don’t: Avoid sending a broad and vague guest post pitch.

7. Do: Be humble, polite and request

Whenever you ask for a favor, keep in mind that you need to show respect and be humble. The way you ask or talk to your guest host will determine his/her decision to accept you or reject you. Make the guest host feel important and show that you’re happy to follow his/her guidelines.

Don’t: Following your own rules and requirements.

8. Do: Follow -up

I have to be honest, it would usually take me a few days or even weeks to check guest post pitches. Worst case scenario would be a month. Sometimes you need to give your guest host time to respond. They’re always busy like 24/7. Remember, it takes commitment, A LOT of time and patience to score an approval. Furthermore, if you’re following the guest host on his/her social media sites, you could humbly ask for his/her attention on your guest post pitch.

Don’t: Avoid harassing the guest host by sending your guest post pitch again and again and again.

Moreover, Mommy of a Monster wrote an accurate article about forgivable and not-so-forgivable mistakes to avoid when you are guest posting.

Forgivable

Double posting: Okay, sometimes it’s unavoidable: you have something that you have to post on your site on the same day that you are guest posting somewhere else. When this happens, I always, ALWAYS still include in my post for the day that I’m guest posting and help get people over to read it by tweeting about it…with a link directly to the other site, NOT back to my own site.

Not responding to comments: This is sometimes forgivable if, let’s say, you are on vacation when the guest post goes up. Or maybe the guest host is responding to them. Either way, make sure you understand the guest host’s expectations so that you know how to properly handle.

Being yourself: Totally forgivable. While you really should understand the audience and style, realize that the guest host knows yours as well. Don’t change your style completely — the people that read your blog every day will wonder what the heck is going on!

Tacky and pretty much a guarantee you won’t be invited back

Double posting without a shout out: Don’t get me wrong, putting up a post on your blog to let readers know you are guest posting is fine, otherwise how would they know where you are?! But posting a regular post like it’s any other day on your blog without even acknowledging the guest post you’ve got somewhere else? A huge no-no and a total slap in the face to the person who asked you to guest post.

Not helping drive traffic to your guest post: Why guest post if you aren’t going to help get your readers and audience there? If you aren’t going to tweet about it or tell readers about it on your blog, then don’t guest post!

Tweeting about your guest post, but sending people to your site first: I and many other bloggers have been noticing this one a lot lately; a blogger will tweet “I’m guest posting and so-and-so’s place” and include a link. The link goes back to their own personal blog to a post that again tells you they are guest posting somewhere else and then you have to click another link to get to the guest post! This is absolutely ridiculous, and the only reason I see for doing this is so that they get page views on their blog.

Great inputs from the experts

DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com, Selene Benjamin, editor at Mirasee and Jordan Teicher, associate editor at Contently shared their inputs at Blogging Wizard about writing a guest post pitch.

Let’s see what the experts have to say.

DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com

I’ve spent a while looking through some of the emails that people sent me trying to pitch me a guest post. However, none of them that I looked through have everything that I would really love to see in an email from a potential guest blogger so I added below what I wish they all had.

Here is how to get my attention and increase your chance of guest blogging on SteamFeed and other high-quality sites.

  1. Spend time reading the about page on the site.

You want to get to know the core values of the site. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get an email and the name of a person you’re pitching to on this page.

If the site has a procedure to submit guest posts, you’ll want to read this carefully and follow the rules if you hope to be considered (most high-quality sites have to have something in place to sort through the incredible amount of low-quality spam pitches they get).

  1. Read a few of the most recent articles to get a feel for the type of quality and writing style that will be expected of you.

You’ll want to mention one or two of these articles in your pitch and few takeaways in them that you enjoyed or found value in.

  1. Now you’re ready to compose the email pitch.

Do your best to find the name of the person that you’re pitching. Keep this email as short and sweet as possible.

  1. Give a quick introduction to yourself (include skills and experience that is relevant to the site).

Link to your social profiles and link to other articles that have been published on reputable sites so you can be vetted properly.

  1. In your email, include 3 potential titles that you think will be a good fit for the site’s readers.

A huge bonus would be 3-4 bullet points under each title on what each post would generally cover.

  1. Proofread your email. This is a must.

If the language of the site (in our case English) is not your first language then find someone to proofread your email who is native to the language. This shows that you’re the type of person that cares about high-quality content.

Selene Benjamin, editor at Mirasee

My favorite pitches are the ones that follow our guest post pitch guidelines right off the bat. Those are exciting for me! It shows the author did the research. They know the type of content we tend to post which also gives a good idea of who our audience is.

This is ideal because then we can get right into working on the post and getting it on the editorial calendar. Even if it’s something we can’t use, we know right away and that author can then work to find another venue for their piece.

However, we get a lot of pitches that not only do not follow our guidelines but also show they haven’t read the blog at all. They will say they want to write a post about something that would not be of value for our audience at all. Or if the idea is feasible for us but it’s not in accordance with our guidelines, I will send a reply with a link to the guidelines and clearly state we cannot move forward with pitches that do not follow them.

Once we’ve danced that dance two or three times (sometimes even up to four times), and I still haven’t received an appropriate pitch, I know that that is not an author I want to work with because they cannot follow simple instructions.

Jordan Teicher, associate editor at Contently

What really makes a good pitch stand out is some sort of personal relationship to the material. I had one blogger come to me with an idea about how he spent all day on LinkedIn trying to find work and wanted to write about the experience while offering some big-picture takeaways to our readers.

It’s one thing to lead with an anecdote and then get into thought-leader mode–which I think is how most blog posts are structured–but if you come to me with an experience and can weave it throughout the narrative, you definitely have my attention.

A lot of pitches lack that action and personal relevance. This one checked off both boxes perfectly.

Pitch Perfect

Keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed but you can increase your guest post pitch’s chances by following the do’s and don’ts when writing a guest post pitch. Just don’t lose hope. Your guest post pitch email will score an approval, sooner or later.


25/Sep/2018
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These past few months, I’ve been reading a lot and writing guest posts 24/7. You could call me a lunatic but that’s where all of my time goes. Seriously, I’m not kidding. Well, let’s add the fact that I’m also busy preparing Content Club but it’s more than I ever have written in over ten years of my writing career.

If you’re like me who’s into WordPress and different blogging sites then you’re simply interested into blogging and strengthening your blog’s exposure.

Just like Jeff Goins from Goins, Writer, I honestly believe that guest posting is the single most important strategy for growing your blog readership and platform. Plus, guest posting is certainly a great investment of time.

If I would be asked by my client to find the best strategy to generate traffic to his/her site I would undoubtedly recommend guest posting (and of course, Content Club). Why?

Of course, there are a lot of answers for that query since guest posting actually has numerous advantages but before we begin, let’s talk about first the definition of guest posting.

What is guest posting?

According to Goins, Writer, “Guest posting” means writing and publishing an article on someone else’s website or blog.

I’ve been doing guest posting for quite some time now and it has been absolutely beneficial for me because I was able to build a steady source of income, my name and my blogs were recognized by larger blogs and elite bloggers, and I became credible and trustworthy in my niche.

That’s just naming the few awesome advantages of guest posting. Also, it’s one of the reasons why I created Content Club. So what are the other advantages you could score from guest posting?

1. Guest post can promote and increase your brand’s awareness

As an online entrepreneur, one of my goals is to promote my brand and increase positive exposure for me and for my brand. Guest posting is one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to advertise your brand and to attract potential clients. How? By giving an explanation about the benefits of your brand or by providing true and useful information without looking too salesy. Guest posting is an excellent technique to get your name out there as you start to establish your presence in the internet and make others aware of your brand.

2. Guest post can generate traffic, can find new traffic sources and establish excellent SEO links

Clearly, when you promote and increase your brand’s awareness, you’re also driving traffic to your host’s blog and you’re creating SEO links. This is one of the greatest and most obvious advantages of guest posting. Likewise, usual readers of the host’s blog will not only read what you’ve written, but there’s a chance that they may check your site as well to see more of your works. You could also try finding new traffic by guest posting at different niches or demographics.

In addition, guest post is a goldmine for SEO purposes. How? Even though you’re not an SEO expert, authentic blogs through guest posting incorporate search engine algorithms.

3. Guest post can increase your profit by reaching your target market

Generally speaking, guest posting can include different links. Whether it’s a landing page or a sales page, it’s all up to you how you design your guest post to reach and draw your target market. They’ll be driving traffic to your site once they read your blog and decide to click on the link/s. Afterwards, they’ll purchase your product or service then you’ll increase your profit.

4. Guest post can be a highly effective networking and are popular with well-known blogs

Bryan Harris gave a great advice about answering to comments on your guest post. I find this an excellent way to meet new people and build more connections. Plus, writing a guest post that has a deep content is your ticket into some of the well-known blogs on the web. If you carefully approach them and show them the value you could offer to their readers. It’s also a good strategy to create high-quality links and traffic.

5. Guest post can build credibility and it can create a positive image for your brand

So you’ve already promoted and made other people aware of your brand but sometimes your client may not always have a positive opinion. This may be because of scam posts which makes them already suspicious. To turn the situation around and to earn their trust you could use guest posting to create a positive image for your brand or you could guest post for others and get your name and brand out there. This is a great strategy to communicate statements about your brand in a neutral way. Additionally, you’ll be known by others in the industry searching for credible advice just like Bamidele Onibalusi.

6. Guest post allows you to explore different fields of interest

I have to admit that I’m also interested in topics outside marketing and SEO. I write them down to my different websites. It can be about family, religion or simply everyday life scenarios. Guest posting is a nice opportunity for me to share about my hobbies and thoughts without building another website.

7. Guest post can be fun and it can improve your writing skills

If you love sharing your thoughts with others, guest post is a perfect fit for you. It’s a great means to approach and entertain other people and gather readers. In addition, as I have mentioned in my other post, Guest Posting: The Secret of Successful Online Businesses, guest post can improve your writing skills. Plus, you’ll learn a lot from your host site owner for free! The more you write, the better your guest post will be.

Guest posting is alive

Guest posting is a great strategy to create your online identity and generate traffic to your site. Plus, guest posting on different blogs can give you five times as valuable as writing post on your own site. It’s a great opportunity to improve your writing skills and provide value to your readers. Start guest posting today, and see your brand name grow.


25/Sep/2018
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There’s no doubt that guest posting is one of the best ways to rank higher in Google and improve your online visibility.

Although there have been a lot of changes on how guest posting is done over the years, what hasn’t changed is the fact that it remains to be one of the most effective ways to build your authority and jumpstart your online business. Even major brands recognize the power that a well-executed guest posting campaign can bring.

This just goes to show that it’s a strategy you shouldn’t dismiss so easily. Along with blogging, guest posting has been around as far back as everyone on the internet could remember. With that said, we’ve drawn up the absolute guide when it comes to supercharging your guest posting campaigns. This will ensure that you’re able to maximize all your efforts in building your business!

Identify Your Guest Posting Campaign’s Goals

Before going ahead and drawing up a guest posting campaign plan, you’ll have to first identify the goal you want to achieve with the campaign. Not doing so could make your strategy aimless and without direction, resulting in a lot of wasted efforts.

When you know ahead of time what your goal is, you can choose all the other factors in your guest posting campaign in such a way that everything fits the objective you have in mind. For instance, if your goal is to increase awareness in your niche, then you’ll be able to choose blogs to guest post on that are in a similar field.

If you’re at loss when it comes to determining what goal to pursue, don’t fret because we’ll also be outlining the most common ones that you can use for your own guest posting campaign as well.

One of the foremost reasons to do guest posting is to establish yourself as an authority figure in your niche. The next goal you might want to consider is to get traffic back to your site so you can gain exposure from the host blog’s audience. Lastly, guest posting is also an amazing way to build backlinks so you can rank higher for the keyword you’re aiming for.

The great thing is that you don’t have to stick to just one goal. You can aim for all three in your campaign with the right content and methods. For the first and second goals mentioned above, however, it’s important to guest post on blogs that have a decent audience size that are also engaged. If your goal is to build backlinks, guest post on blogs that have a high domain authority.

Determining Whether a Guest Posting Opportunity is the Right One

Once you now have a goal in place, the next best step is to find the right guest posting opportunities that will align with your goal. This means finding sites that are relevant to your business industry or niche.

More than the said criteria, it’s important to guest post on blogs whose audience will be a good match to what you’re offering and also interested in what you have to offer. They should also have an engaged readership since this just goes to show that they have quality content that people care to read. This is also good for you because it only means that your guest post would surely be read and enjoyed by many.

Another important aspect that would signal that a blog is a great site to post on is if the blog owner is active on social media. An active social media presence is an excellent factor to consider since this also means that your guest post will be promoted to their entire audience.

So for instance, if you’re selling pet products, you’ll want to find pet blogs with an engaged audience of pet owners. In the next section, you’ll get to learn how to find the best guest posting opportunities no matter what your niche is.

How to Conduct Audience and Topic Idea Research

Identifying your target audience is all about understanding the personal traits of those who would be interested in what you’re offering.

Knowing this requires that you write down all the potential problems that your service or product can solve. Then, list down all the characteristics of the type of people that would have those kinds of problems. You should then further flesh out the information that you have by adding other traits such as their interests, hobbies, and gender, to name just a few!

This is called an audience persona. Having a solid idea in mind of what your ideal audience looks like is beneficial to your research of finding the right websites to guest post on.

Armed with the above information, you can now do your research by pinpointing the most popular posts published in your niche. Popularity is based on many things such as social shares or blog following. For this part, you might want to use Buzzsumo. All you have to do is enter your keyword on the site and it will show the top 10 posts published on the web based on the words you entered.

From the results, you’ll be able to see which topics have been discussed and are popular with your target audience. You can then tackle the same topics but with a different angle. Alternatively, you can also choose to write on subject matters that haven’t been addressed yet so you can provide a fresh take on various issues in your field.

Another site you can use is Alltop. It’s a site that aggregates posts from different sites and blogs. The great thing about is that it shows all the popular topics in a wide variety of niche. All you need to do is to browse their category tab and look for your niche. Once you’ve picked yours, you’ll be shown all the currently trending posts and news for that category. You can then get ideas from the results and put your own spin on it when you write it!

If you don’t see your category on the site, you can also find topics related to your niche by using the search bar and entering your keywords on it.

Finding the Right Guest Posting Opportunities

Finding the right guest posting opportunities can be done through a number ways but will still require time and basic know-how to undertake. One expert tip we recommend is to start small. Although it’s nice to be able to guest post on big blogs and to have that as a goal, a lot of them require credentials which you can get by publishing your guest posts first on small blogs.

Once you know who your target audience is as discussed in the previous section, you have to then find out what websites they’re hanging out on. After learning what kind of websites they’re likely to frequent, the next best step is to know whether they accept guest posts or not.

You should then create a list and put all the websites you find that accept guest posts. To make your list more organized, arrange the websites from low to high priority or using other factors. You can then start contacting them according to priority or blog size.

Using Buzzsumo, you could also restrict the results to show only guest posts. You can do this by typing the keywords “guest posts” or “guest blogging sites” and add your niche keyword (e.g. pet care). Once it shows the results, take note of the websites who have published guest posts in your niche and add them to a list.

You can also do an influencer search on Buzzsumo by entering keywords related in your niche. Once you have the results, you can then check out each site whether they’re accepting guest posts.

Another great alternative would be to scope Facebook blogging groups for guest post opportunities. The key to be able to nab guest posting placements here is to first aim to provide value to the community you just joined. Don’t ask for a guest posting spot on the outset unless the poster is the one who initiated looking for volunteer guest posts.

Aside from that, you could also ask the members of the Facebook group if any of them are offering any guest blogging opportunity. However, you should still ask this after already providing value back to the group so that members are much more willing to give you one.

You can also use the good, ‘ol mighty Google for finding guest posting opportunities by using variations of the following: “your keyword” + “guest post.” There’s no doubt that you’ll get a ton of results since the search terms you can use are pretty wide-ranging.

Using Third-Party Sites to Find Blogs Where You Can Submit Guest Posts

Aside from the standard Google search using keywords, you can also sign up on websites that facilitate connecting bloggers to each other for guest posting opportunities.

The great thing about such sites is that they provide a much convenient way of reaching out to blog owners since you can search and contact them in just one platform. Compared to doing the standard Google search and manual outreach, these sites have bloggers as members in just one place so everything is streamlined and can be done in just one place.

A few examples of this kind of sites are my MyBlogGuest, PostJoint, BloggerLinkUp, and BlogDash, to name just a few. Some of these sites are free to use while others require a minimal fee to use it or to send a message to other members.

Either way, this is an option worth looking into since it’s pretty handy to use if you’re not willing to do all the required steps to searching on Google and contacting each site you found manually.

All you have to do to be able to connect with other blog owners through such sites is to register for an account and start searching for bloggers in your niche. Once you’ve found some likely candidates, you can then send a message to them to ask whether they’re still open to accepting guest posts. After reaching an agreement, you can send them your post and they could publish it for you.

Other Ways to Find Guest Posting Spots

There are also numerous other ways to find guest posting opportunities and these are no doubt much easier! One of which is to find guest post pages. These guest post pages are where bloggers typically list all the articles they’ve written for other sites. This is a goldmine of possibilities because you can also check each one on their list if they’re still accepting guest posts.

To find them, just type in the following keywords and its variations on Google: “my post on other blogs” or “sites I’ve written on” and then add your niche keyword as well. This will show relevant results of bloggers who have such pages related to your industry!

Or if you already know of an author in your field who has guest posted in numerous other blogs then tracking down all their published posts can be done using this one simple tool. All you have to do is get the URL of their image headshot and then paste that on Google’s reverse image search. You’ll then get a list of all the sites that use the said image.

Lastly, you can also get a nice list of guest blogging opportunities from roundup posts such as this one where they listed 1,387 blogs that accept guest posts organized by category, to boot. These are articles that have already done the research for you in finding out all blogs that are accepting guest posts. However, some might have been written a few years back so it would be better if you first check every site that’s on the list.

Narrowing Down a Long List

If you’ve followed all the above tips, you probably ended up with a long list of sites to consider. Having a long list is great but you should always go for quality over quantity since the last thing you want is to waste tremendous time and effort reaching out and creating posts for sites that don’t do anything for you.

Narrowing down your list means weeding out unnecessary ones that are either not accepting guest posts or won’t provide any sort of value to your guest posting campaign.

For really big sites that claim that they don’t publish guest posts, it still pays to double check with them if they’re still accepting guest posts. There are numerous times that sites who have stated that they don’t allow guest posts actually published them. The chance of this likely happening to you is high if you personalize your guest posts and craft quality pitches that fit the site and audience you’re pitching them to!

To further whittle down your list to just the valuable ones, make sure to check if each site is active even if it’s just a small blog. Remember, we’re not talking about a blog’s size here but how engaged their audience is. In fact, going for a small site with an engaged readership is much better and more preferable than going for a big site that doesn’t get any kind of engagement at all.

The following questions are just some of the ways to assess the criteria of each site on your list. Are they publishing posts regularly? Are they getting a decent amount of shares and comments? If there’s nothing on all fronts, it’s best to remove it from your list since it won’t add anything for your campaign or boost your site in any form.

Coming Up With Solid Topics

After ensuring that each site on your list is of noteworthy and of value, the next step is to come up with solid topics to include in your pitch. Without these, your emails will likely be ignored and go unnoticed.

It’s no doubt important to have a few solid ideas in mind to include in your pitch. This idea should be something that matches the kind of content the blog you’re reaching out to publishers. But more than that, it has to first provide value to their readers. This means you have to do your due diligence in finding out what topics have already been discussed and posted on their blog.

Steer clear from rehashed topics or if you’re really keen on tackling a particular subject matter then discuss it from a different angle. You can do this by looking at old posts or topics and then writing them in a new light by adding more recent information. The good thing about the online world is that all things are ever changing. This means that there’s a new development that you can always add sooner or later on any topic.

Another way to address a topic from a new angle is to tackle it from your experience. The resulting post may have a subjective slant on it but since the purpose is to add your two cents to the conversation then including your personal take is totally fine. Readers can still glean a lot from it since they’ll be able to learn from what you went through.

A related idea to the above when discussing a new angle is to talk about mistakes—particularly what mistakes to steer clear from. Of course, there are niches or topics that this tip may not be applicable but either way, it pays to also explore the other side of the coin.

You can also try pitching a topic that’s related to your offer. However, the key to having this kind of pitch accepted is to craft your topic in a way that’s not just promotional in nature but also valuable to their audience.

Round-up posts are also another great idea. They’re in-depth and are packed full of information that many readers love to consume.

Crafting a Compelling Pitch That Bloggers Respond To

Solid topics are just a part of the puzzle. Without a compelling pitch to accompany your topic suggestions then grabbing a guest posting spot would be harder than ever.

Most blogs, especially big ones, are often inundated with numerous pitches on their inboxes so you should always strive to differentiate your email in any way you can. Start with a powerful subject line and back that up with an email body that’s short and to the point. The most common way to do this is to put your topic pitch in your email headline. Chances are, having an interesting, relevant topic will compel the editor to open your email. Editors have also spilled here what the best subject lines have worked for them!

Don’t make the mistake of writing a long-winded email that would take more than 5 minutes to read. Blog owners are typically busy and wouldn’t want to read blocks of text just to figure out the purpose of your email. Stick to the basics and provide enough information for them to decide whether to accept your guest posting pitch or not.

To take your pitch to another level, why not individualize your email and address the editor by his or her name. This conveys the fact that you did your research and allotted time in personalizing your email. Both of the said things indicate that you’re serious about being considered.

Then, in the first paragraph of your email, show that you’ve taken the time to read their blog and that you care about what they have to say. After that, include an intro about yourself, why your writing will be of value to their audience, your topic suggestions, and what would their readers gain from reading what you have to offer.

Writing Your Topic

Once your pitch has been accepted, it’s now time to get down to the nitty-gritty and flesh out the title you just proposed. Before even starting writing, however, there are a couple of things that you have to consider first. The most important thing being the style guidelines of a blog.

A blog’s guest posting or style guideline contains instructions and recommendations on how articles on the site should be written. If a blog has one, you should make sure to check and follow it since not doing so can result in the rejection of your post. Here’s an example of a guest posting guideline by Shopify.

When it comes to guest posting, your goal is to blend in your article with the rest of the posts on their site since most blog owners want one cohesive tone and writing style for everything they publish on their site.

After getting familiarized with their style guidelines, the next step is to create an outline of the guest post you’ll be submitting. Craft the subheadings of the article in advance and then include the points that you’ll be discussing for each. You can also research for references in advance and put it under the subheading as well.

Before even typing anything, remember to write for the blog’s audience. This is one of the best ways to maximize your guest post results and exposure. After all, the last thing you want is to go through all those hoops only to find out that the audience of the blog didn’t like how you tackled a particular topic.

Another tip to take note of is to make sure you don’t hold anything back. Give it your best shot the first time around and pour all your effort and knowledge to crafting your guest post. When you do this, readers will know that you’re out to give them your best and will likely share or finish your article!

A tactic you might want to try is to start writing the subheadings you’ve just outlined before writing the introduction or conclusion. The thing about writing the introduction is that a lot of people get stuck writing it that they waste so much time coming up how to open the topic.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, go straight to writing your subheadings and once you’re done with everything, go back to writing the introduction and lead with any of the information you just mentioned. Of course, the key isn’t just to repeat the information you’ll be discussing further down the line but to write it in a way that would grab the reader’s attention from the onset.

Another interesting way to start your introduction is by opening with an anecdote or an interesting story that’s relevant to your topic. The purpose here is twofold: to grab their attention and establish rapport. This conveys a human element that draws in readers better.

Once you’re finished with the introduction, you can now start with the conclusion. The great thing about writing one is that there are a number of ways to go about it. You can opt to summarize the article, recap the points you’ve just discussed or offer a different perspective. Whichever way you choose, it’s important to leave your readers with a valuable takeaway that they would glean from the article after finishing it.

If time is a particular issue, try scheduling your writing using a time block of two to three consecutive hours of just working on your post. This ensures that you get to allot enough time for writing and is also a great way for you to finish everything in a timely manner.

How to Differentiate Your Guest Post

One of the best ways to ensure that your guest post gets accepted and published is to differentiate it. Although we’ve outlined some few tips above on how to do this with your topic, you also need to be able to deliver on your content if you have an outside-of-the-box topic. Below are a few ways to do it!

There are a number of ways to write a guest post that isn’t rehashed content and is refreshing to read. One amazing method would be to use figures or statistics that you’ve gathered. If this isn’t possible, you can use others data but make sure that you present it using a different interpretation to make sure you’re adding something new to the topic conversation.

Another way to provide a fresh take is to adopt an opposite perspective and discuss its merits as well. It’s a good method to bring a new, refreshing take on an otherwise common issue. For instance, often enough in any industry, it’s pretty common for people to take on the majority view since they’re afraid to go against the grain.

The thing is, not all ideas that everyone agrees on is right and in some cases, should be really called out in order to educate people on the other side of the coin. There might be a possibility that you’ll get people who’ll slam what you have to say but at least, you were able to give an informative take on a typical issue from a different angle!

If that’s not your thing, you could also try the route of bringing additional insights from other fields or disciplines. This means you apply a concept that’s usually seen in the province of another industry and explain how it can also be applicable to the topic at hand. For instance, the 80/20 rule which stands for 80% of the results you get come from 20% of the effort you put in. This concept came from the field of economics but it’s also been applied to productivity, marketing, business, and other industries.

Related to this is going by the method of spotting connections between concepts or things that no one hasn’t noticed yet. Like, if you happen to have something in mind when it comes to the relationship between a positive mindset and abundance then, by all means, talk about it in your guest post!

A surefire way to guarantee that your guest post stands out from the pack is to write like a human. This means writing in a way that’s casual and conversational. A lot of times, many people write in such a way that it seems that they’re forgetting that it’s a human reading on the other side of the screen as well. The result is a cold, formal post that doesn’t attract anyone or let alone, gets finished in the first place.

Don’t be afraid to write in a way that conveys your emotions or your opinions. Not doing so is a one-way ticket to article boredom.

You can also inject your own experience into the content so it becomes distinguished from all the other articles discussing the same topic. This can be done by adding an anecdote, case studies or examples that you personally know of.

Improving Your Guest Post

Now that you have your guest post written, the next step you should be aiming for is to improve it. This doesn’t just increase the chances of your guest post being accepted but it also gives the message that the author or the business he or she is representing knows how to provide value! One of the biggest improvements you could make is to add graphics to your guest post. There’s nothing like a nice visual representation to go along with your text. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find readers who would willingly go through long blocks of texts without any break of images in between. Adding images is a great way to keep them interested and help make your guest post more appealing!

If you’ve mentioned some data claims or research results in your guest post, do cite the reference where you got it from. This will help your readers verify the data for themselves as well as position you as someone who has credence in the things he or she writes.

For those that haven’t included figures or statistics in their content, try adding one if it’s relevant to the topic or issue. This not only results in a more informative content but it also establishes you as someone who knows his or her stuff.

In terms of formatting, you have to make your guest post readable by adding subheadings and including bullet points when you can. This allows people to skim but still be able to finish your article. Moreover, a guest post that follows this kind of format makes the article look more organized when reading it.

Briefness is also another important factor. Don’t explain a concept in three paragraphs if you can do it in five sentences. Remember it’s not about the quantity of words you’ve used but in the quality of your explanation that spells the difference between a post that’s seen as worthless and one that’s seen as significant. Of course, you should be aiming for the second one all the time. Even if you have a word count to abide by, you should be adding value instead of needless words that are only seen as fluff!

When it comes to word usage, pick plain words as opposed to jargon. With guest posts, you want to appeal to as much people as you can and that means making it more accessible to both experts and non-specialists alike. This ensures that your guest post is read by a wide range of audience up until the article’s end!

Crafting Your Author Bio

Now that you have all the elements of your guest post down pat, you should be able to end it with a captivating author bio so your readers will be compelled to check you out. Since this is your chance to capitalize on the interest you’ve garnered from the host blog’s readers, you have to include all the right information so that you’ll be able to take something from their interest.

But before that, you have to make sure that they read through your bio. You can do this by making it fun to read. Don’t just spout a mile high list of everything that you’ve done or every accolade you’ve received, say something relevant such as why you’re qualified to discuss the topic and then include a brief info on what you do or what the business you represent does.

After that, you can then add the fun stuff and tell them about your hobbies, interests or any personal info you’d like to share. This makes you relatable and human—two things that your standard reader is drawn to!

Don’t make the mistake of stuffing your author bio with keywords. There’s nothing more that turns off readers as fast as a poorly written bio that seems like it was written for Google instead of for them!

Include any relevant links to your site or social media profiles as well so that readers have the chance to follow you or get to know where they can find you or your business. To make this more powerful, add a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your bio to direct them to what step you’d like them to do next.

For instance, if you want them to download a lead magnet you’ve done, include the link for the landing page and a CTA that says something like, “Get traffic the easy way with the 5 simple hacks!” This will no doubt result in more people clicking your link!

Key Takeaways

Now that you know everything that it takes to supercharge your guest posting campaign, the only thing left is to execute all the information you’ve learned in this guide!

If you’ve read the things I’ve outlined above, you might feel daunted that there’s so much to take note of and to do. To that, I say that anything worth doing will no doubt be a bit harder than your usual. This is especially the case with guest posting campaigns since it requires effort and time to be successful.

Don’t be afraid of all the things needed to get your guest posting campaign successful. The good thing is that once you’re put in the work, there’s no doubt that you’ll reap the benefits consistently and for the long-term.


25/Sep/2018
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Creating an art space can be about so much more than just art for kids. Guest post by Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry

Girl making a sculpture project with wood & playdough in a creative art space.

When you think about having an art space for your kids in your home, what comes to mind?

Whenever I talk about my kids doing art in our home, most people think I’m talking about painting, drawing, or crafting.

We’ve had an art space in our home for almost 9 years, ever since my oldest daughter was 18 months old. My girls do a lot of painting, drawing, and crafting of course, but I’ve learned over the years that an art space isn’t just about art.

Sciene in an art space – Two girls experimenting with liquid watercolors & shaving cream to create a rain cloud.

An art space is really more like a workshop or a science lab. It’s a place where kids explore materials, investigate ideas, experiment with ingredients, learn new skills, build things, and make astonishing discoveries!

Over the years, my kids have used our art space to write stories and songs, they’ve built their own toys, they’ve made family card games, they’ve made musical instruments… I could go on and on.

What I love most is that my kids have become resourceful, expressive, and confident creators in this art space.

The Art Pantry - Clay creations

How To Go Beyond Art

If you want to expand your kids’ creative exploration here are 4 tips to get started:

Hammering with wood & nails are an example of an art space kids can tinker & explore.
1. Offer A New Art Prompt

Set up an art prompt with some new tools and materials that aren’t typical art supplies, like a child-sized hammer, wood, and nails. Show your kids how to use them and supervise until they get the hang of it.

An art space with a mini science lab experiment
2. Set Up A Mini Science Lab

Set out a tray of ingredients for science experiments like baking soda, vinegar, and liquid watercolor (or food coloring). Kids love to mix and pour so make sure to include a few jars or beakers for multiple experiments.

The Art Pantry - Girl with wand with jingle bells on it
3. Upcycle Broken Toys & Recyclables

Save your recyclables or broken toy bits and keep them in a bin near your art supplies. A low temperature hot glue gun works wonders with these “junk” items. This has been our number one resource for making toy accessories in our home!

Exploring how to create paint with spices in this art space.
4. Try New & Exciting Combinations

Keep writing materials, art supplies, basic tools, and science materials all in one place so your kids can easily mix things up and try new combinations of materials.

The Art Pantry - Girl working on beading project

Need help setting up your own art space?

I’m dedicated to helping more kids have access to creative tools and materials. So if you want help setting up an art space in your home, I’m here for you!

My online course, Art Pantry Design Camp, will guide you through the process of setting up an organized and inviting art space for your kids (no matter your budget or the size of your space!).

Design Camp is a 5 week course with step-by-step instructions, clickable product lists, videos, group accountability, inspiration, and support. I guide you through the process and answer every question that comes up for you!

The Fall session of Design Camp is now open for Registration. Click here for more details.

And if Design Camp isn’t for you, I have plenty of free resources and inspiration on The Art Panty site to help you set up an art space and encourage creative exploration.
Be sure to read my guest post on The Artful Parent, How to Set Up a Kids Art Space That Builds Creative Confidence & Independence.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry

Megan Schiller is a designer, art teacher, mother of 2, and founder of The Art Pantry, a design studio for children’s creative spaces. She’s on a mission to help more kids have independent access to creative tools and materials so that they can grow up to become confident makers and innovative thinkers.

 

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Guest author Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry shares 4 ways to make an art space that encourages kids to explore, experiment & create. #kidsart #artforkids #arteducation #artsandcrafts

The post Why Having An Art Space Isn’t Just About Art appeared first on The Artful Parent.

Read more: artfulparent.com


25/Sep/2018
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Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or you’ve been using the same approach for a while, it never hurts to revisit your content strategy plan — to make sure it’s up-to-date, innovative, and strong.

After all, you’ve got more competition than ever. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most successful B2B marketers report spending 40% of their budget on content marketing as of 2018 — up 1% from 2017.

The first step to getting a leg up on the competition is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place. If you’re having trouble planning for the upcoming year or need some fresh ideas to include in your plan, read on.

Click here to try our free Blog Ideas Generator tool.

In this post, we’ll dive into:

What content strategy is.
Why your business needs a content marketing plan.
The exact steps you will need to take to create your strategy, including:

How your content can generate leads.
How (and what) to publish on social media.

What Is Content Strategy?

Content strategy refers to the management of pretty much any tangible media that you create and own: written, visual, downloadable … you name it. It is the piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry.

You might’ve heard how important content creation is to the growth of your business, but as you’ll see throughout this post, it needs to have a well-planned purpose. When you develop a content strategy, there are some key things to consider:

Whom You’re Creating Content For

Who’s the target audience for this content? For how many audiences are you creating content? Just as your business might have more than one type of customer, your content strategy can cater to more than one type of reader or viewer.

Using a variety of content types and channels will help you deliver different content to each type of audience you have in mind and engage everyone your company does business with.

The Problem it’s Going to Solve for that Audience

Ideally, your product or service solves a problem you know your audience has. By the same token, your content coaches and educates your audience through this problem as they begin to identify and address it.

A sound content strategy supports people on both sides of your product: those who are still figuring out what their main challenges are, and those who are already using your product to overcome these challenges. Your content reinforces the solution(s) you’re offering and makes your customers more qualified users of your product.

What Makes You Unique

Your competitors likely have a similar product as yours, which means your potential customers need to know what makes yours better — or, at least, different. This is where content comes in. In order to prove why you’re worth buying from, you need to prove why you’re worth listening to.

The Content Formats You’ll Focus On

What forms will your content take? Infographics? Videos? Blog posts? Having identified the topics you want to take a position on, you’ll need to determine which formats are best for expressing that position.

The Channels Where It’ll Be Published

Just as you can create content in different formats, you’ll also have different channels you can publish to. Channels can include owned properties, such as your website and blog; and social media properties, such as Facebook and Twitter. We’ll talk more about social media content strategy in the step-by-step guide later in this article.

How You’ll Manage Creation and Publication

Figuring out how you’ll create and publish all your content can be a daunting task. It’s important for a content strategy to know who’s creating what, where it’s being published, and when it’s going live.

Today’s content strategies prevent clutter by managing content from a topic standpoint. When planning a content calendar around topics, you can easily visualize your company’s message and assert yourself as an authority in your market over time. Learn more about topics in content strategy in the video below.

Why Do Marketers Need to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?

Content marketing helps businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads. Think about it — if you can create just one blog post that gets a steady amount of organic traffic, an embedded link to an ebook or free tool will continue generating leads for you as time goes on.

HubSpot’s Sales Blog Team found this to be key to their strategy to increasing traffic to the blog over time. Read about their blog strategy here.

The reliable source of traffic and leads from your evergreen content will give you the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed content. Plus, your content will not only help attract leads — it will also help educate your target prospects and generate awareness for your brand.

Now, let’s dive in to learn the specifics of how to create a content marketing plan.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
1. Define your goal.

What’s your aim for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your strategy. (Want help figuring out the right goals? Download this goal planning template.)

2. Conduct persona research.

To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience — also known as your buyer persona.

This is especially important for those who are starting out or are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.

If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience.

3. Run a content audit.

Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook that distills all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format. We’ll go over several different types of content you can use further down on the list.

If you’ve been in business for a while, review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals to reach. (Pro tip: Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.)

4. Choose a content management system.

Have a system in place where you can manage your content. A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can plan, produce, publish, and measure your results all in one place using HubSpot software. Other content management system options include CoSchedule and WordPress (although we can’t speak to the full range of capabilities of these sites).

5. Brainstorm content ideas.

Now, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for your next content project. Here are some tools to get the wheels turning:

HubSpot’s Website Grader

HubSpot’s Website Grader is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your marketing. From your blogging efforts to your social media marketing, Website Grader grades vital areas of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area.

With this tool, you can figure out how to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas.

BlogAbout

Get your mind gears going with IMPACT’s unique content idea generator, BlogAbout. This tool works a bit like Mad Libs, but instead of joke sentences, it shows you common headline formats with blanks where you can fill in the subject you have in mind.

This brainstorming technique helps you put general ideas in contexts that would be appealing to your target audience. Once you have a headline you like, BlogAbout lets you add it to your “Notebook” so you can save your best ideas.

HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator

Get blog post ideas for an entire year with HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator. All you need to do is enter general topics or terms you’d like to write about, and this content idea generator does all the work for you.

Feedly

This popular RSS feed is a wonderful way to keep track of trendy topics in your industry and find content ideas at the same time.

BuzzSumo

Discover popular content and content ideas at BuzzSumo. This company offers a number of market research tools, one of which uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked. In turn, this information helps you see which content ideas would do well if you were to create content about them.

Blog Post Headline Analyzer

CoSchedule’s tool analyzes headlines and titles and provides feedback on length, word choice, grammar, and keyword search volume. If you have an idea in mind, run a few title options through the Headline Analyzer to see how you could make it stronger, and to move your idea further along in the brainstorming process.

6. Determine which types of content you want to create.

There are a variety of options out there for content you can create. Here are some of the most popular content formats marketers are creating, and tools and templates to get you started.

Types of Content Marketing

Blog Posts
Ebooks
Case Studies
Templates
Infographics
Videos
Podcasts
Social Media

Blog posts

If you haven’t already noticed, you’re currently perusing a blog post. Blog posts live on a website and should be published regularly in order to attract new visitors. Posts should provide valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites. We recommend that blog posts be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length, but experiment to see if your audience prefers longer or shorter reads.

Check out our free blog post templates for writing great how-to, listicle, curation, SlideShare presentation, and newsjacking posts on your own blog.

Ebooks

Ebooks are lead-generation tools that potential customers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They’re typically longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently than blog posts, which are written to attract visitors to a website.

Ebooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process: After reading a blog post (such as this one), visitors might want more information. This is where calls-to-action (CTAs) come into play, directing people to a landing page where they can submit their contact information and download an ebook to learn more valuable information for their business. In turn, the business producing the ebook has a new lead for the sales team to contact.

Case Studies

Case studies, also known as testimonials, are your opportunity to tell the story of a customer who succeeded in solving a problem by working with you. A case study is perhaps your most versatile type of content marketing because it can take many different forms — some of which are on this list. That’s right, case studies can take the form of a blog post, ebook, podcast … even an infographic.

Your goal in a case study is to show the people who are considering your product that the proof is in the pudding. Before choosing a customer for a case study, you should determine which form the testimonial will take and the area of your business to which you’re trying to drive value.

Templates

Templates are a handy content format to try because they generate leads for you while providing tremendous value to your audience. When you provide your audience with template tools to save them time and help them succeed, they’re more likely to keep engaging with your content in the future.

Infographics

Infographics can organize and visualize data in a more compelling way than words alone. These are great content formats to use if you’re trying to share a lot of data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

If you’re ready to get started, get our templates for creating beautiful infographics in less than an hour.

Videos

Videos are a highly engaging content medium that are shareable across social media platforms and websites alike. Videos require a bigger investment of time and resources than written content, but as visual marketing increases in popularity — after all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content — it’s a medium worth experimenting with.

HubSpot Research recently found that video is the most preferred form of content. Video also captures people’s attention more than any other content format.

Podcasts

Starting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don’t have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of podcast listeners is growing — in 2018, nearly one-third of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast in the last month. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to starting a podcast.

Social Media

Once you’ve been regularly publishing content on your own site for a while, it might be time to start thinking about distributing your content on other sites. This could mean repurposing content into new formats and publishing them on your blog, creating original content specifically for external sites — such as Medium — or publishing website content on various social networks.

Considering Medium? Check out our insights from our first year of publishing original content on ThinkGrowth.org.

Posting on social media, however, is pivotal to amplifying your brand’s reach and delivering your content to your customers where you know they spend their time. Social networks on which businesses often post include:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Snapchat
YouTube (yep, this is technically a social network)

When launching a business account on any of the social networks above, it’s important to post the type of content your followers expect to see. On Instagram, for example, users want photos, videos, and graphics that reflect current events, show off user-generated content, or even go behind the scenes of your organization.

On Facebook, your options for what to post open up a bit: Not only can you share your blog posts and website content, but you can also post native Facebook videos, product promotions, and original memes that resonate with your customers. You can also interact with other businesses that have a similar audience as your own.

While the goal on social media sites like Instagram or Snapchat is to connect more intimately with your audience, your goal on platforms like Facebook and Twitter is to expand that audience, drive traffic toward your website, and start conversations in your industry. Do some basic market research to discover which platforms your buyers are on, and mold your content to their expectations.

When you’re ready for more ideas, there are a plethora of different content types to diversify your website. Check them out below:

List of content formats for creating a content strategy

7. Publish and manage your content.

Your marketing plan should go beyond the types of content you’ll create — it should also cover you’ll organize your content. With the help of an editorial calendar, you’ll be on the right track for publishing a well-balanced and diverse content library on your website. Then, create a social media content calendar so you can promote and manage your content on other sites.

Many of the ideas you think of will be evergreen — they’re just as relevant months from now as they are today. That being said, you shouldn’t ignore timely topics either. While they may not be the bulk of your editorial calendar, they can help you generate spikes of traffic.

Most people count on incorporating popular holidays such as New Year’s and Thanksgiving in their marketing efforts, but you don’t have to limit yourself to these important marketing dates. If there are niche holidays that might appeal to your audience, it could be worth publishing content on your blog or on social media. HubSpot’s Service Blog Editor Sophia Bernazzani compiled this ultimate list of social media holidays — keep an eye on it when you’re planning your calendar.

We know this is a lot of information, but the work has just begun. It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage your content, setting up your strategy for the new year won’t be a hassle if you follow the steps and explore the resources here.

For additional guidance, use HubSpot’s Marketing Plan Generator to create a 12-month strategy in just a few minutes.

Happy creating.

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Free Content Marketing Workbook

Read more: blog.hubspot.com


25/Sep/2018
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With the incredible amount of online content, websites, and blogs, you’ll probably agree that it can be hard to know where to send your guest posts, or even where to start looking for opportunities. And while you could simply plug into Google “guest post blogs,” (and that would work – to a certain extent), we’d rather see you be more successful and strategic with your plan. In fact, what if we told you about a series of categories of sites that typically accept guest posts so that you can narrow your search and find a place that is most likely to accept your submission? The path to publication may be easier than you think!

Go Niche

The best place to focus your search for your guest publication is within your own niche. Make a list of sites that are in your niche, or that offer content within your niche and check to see if they accept guest posts. There are several benefits for staying within your field:

You already know a lot about it, so you can speak with authority, and this comes through in your writing.
Having posts published in your niche that aren’t on your own site builds your credibility even more for your audience.
You are able to build relationships with other people in your niche and this is important for later posts when you need insight or quotes from another professional or influencer in the field.

Target a Company or Industry

Further to staying in your niche, you can also achieve this by reaching out to companies or industry sites that are within your field of expertise. Visit a company website or the site of an industry professional and look for a blog component on their site. From there, visit the blog and do a little bit of investigation:

See what topics they regularly post about and what the style of the blog is. Do they mostly do how-tos? Is it largely list based?
Check to see if it appears as if they have accepted guest posts previously, or if it is all written by members of the company.
Use this information to select an appropriate topic and then offer it to the company, being sure to give evidence of your authority and credibility when you send your request.

Make it Newsworthy

Most of the time, there will be changes and growth happening in your niche and given that you already are an expert in your field, you are the perfect person to write about it! Submitting guest posts through a mainstream news publication is a great way to show that you are up to date on what is happening in your field, and that you are focused on continually educating yourself and growing and learning. This looks good for prospective clients. The downfall to news sites submissions however, is that they are often time-sensitive, so if it doesn’t get accepted in time when you send it in (or gets rejected), it will likely be a dead post you can’t submit anywhere else. Keep this in mind when you are choosing where best to send your posts.

Try Magazine Style

You have likely visited several sites that are of a magazine-type style, focused on a main theme, but covering lots of topics and subtopics. Finding one of these sites within your niche can be very beneficial because it gives you more creative liberty in what you submit and can allow more opportunities for you to have your pitch accepted.

Do a Review

There is a final, select category of websites that present an opportunity for guest posting: review sites. This is pretty self-explanatory, in that you submit to these sites when you are reviewing a product or service. There are sites that are specifically dedicated to providing only reviews, but much of the time, the reviews are done on niche sites as part of the online content that is regularly published. Service-based websites may be happy to accept a testimonial style review based on your experiences with their service. If you are thinking about submitting to a site that is not solely filled with reviews, try the following:

Find a site within your niche and check to make sure they have reviews as part of their online content.
Prepare an outline of a review of a relevant product or service. Be aware that the negative or positive reflection in your view will be an important factor in whether your guest post is accepted.
Reach out to the site to let them know that you would like to offer them a review that is relevant to their content or based on your experience with their service.

Read more: feedproxy.google.com


25/Sep/2018
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What Makes a Great Marketer?

In my career as a startup founder I’ve discovered 10 traits that a unicorn marketer must possess in order to be a major asset in marketing campaigns.

Unicorn marketers are magical creatures that help your company bloom into a billion-dollar business.

If you’re ever lucky enough to find a unicorn in the wild, you want to hire that unicorn as soon as you can.

What Makes a Great Marketer?

Here are 10 traits that the best of the best marketers will possess.

What Makes a Great Marketer?

Analytical

Unicorn marketers love to analyze data and trends, and they use to inform their strategy and messaging.

Whether it’s diving into sales reports or pouring over site analytics, they’re eager to use every scrap of data they can find.

Good Storyteller

At their core, unicorn marketers are good storytellers. They know how to captivate the attention of their audience and influence them.

No matter how complicated the service or product, they can break it down into something users can not only understand, but get excited about.

Sincere

People can spot insincerity a mile away. Millenials are particularly adept at spotting inauthentic messaging, and are immediately turned off by it.

Unicorn marketers craft messages that are sincere and transparent, and in doing so, earn the trust of their audience.

Resourceful

You’ll never hear a unicorn marketer say something can’t be done.

They will always find ways to accomplish goals are set before them, even if there’s a shoestring budget or a tight deadline.

Stays Relevant

Whether it’s Facebook Messenger marketing or creating Instagram stories, the best marketers find out where their audience is and meets them there.

That includes diving into unfamiliar territory.

Objective

No matter how large the workload, unicorn marketers are clear on their objectives.

They are adept at prioritizing their tasks, and are able to reassign priority as needed.

Driven and Motivated

The best of the best possess an inner drive and fire.

They give every project everything that have, and are always looking for ways to improve, learn and grow (no hand-holding required).

Humble and Open-minded

Unicorn marketers are confident, but they’re also humble and open-minded.

They’re willing to take constructive criticism, and are always thankful for the opportunity to improve.

Audience in Mind

The best marketers have one thing in common: their audience is always at the forefront of their mind.

They conduct persona research and every message they write is crafted with those personas in mind.

SEO-Minded

You can have the best marketing campaign in the world, but it won’t matter if no one sees it.

That’s why unicorn marketers optimize their content for search so that their messaging is seen by everyone.

If you encounter a marketer that possesses all of these qualities, you’ve found yourself a rare unicorn. Hire them as fast as you can and watch your company grow!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Things you MUST Look for in a Marketer for Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends


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25/Sep/2018
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It is not always clear for online businesses when it is time to rethink their website. Of course, issues like technical problems or outdated information may be obvious enough, but what about the more subtle signs?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Have your online sales dwindled? 
Is your web traffic declining? 
Are bounce rates increasing?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it could be a sign that your e-commerce website needs work. 

It’s nearly impossible, though, to come up with a solution if you don’t know what is causing the problem in the first place. Below are four of the most common conversion killers in e-commerce website design (and how to fix them).

Editor’s Note: Looking for information on e-commerce web design services? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

1. Your platform is not SEO-optimized.

An SEO strategy is a pillar to a strong and successful online company. After all, if your customers can’t find your business, then they are obviously not going to buy your product or service. And while most ecommerce sites understand the importance of strong keywords in product descriptions, it does not necessarily mean that their site is truly optimized for strong SEO. 

According to Woorank’s recent report, 18 percent of ecommerce sites had broken backlinks that led customers to 404 error pages or poor redirections. Backlinks that come from high domain authority sites can be extremely beneficial for your own website’s ranking, but if these links are not formatted correctly or lead to irrelevant pages (such as a generic homepage), it could lead to higher bounce rates. 

According to SEMRush, in addition to backlinks, other SEO factors on your website affect its ranking, including your website’s security and the quality of your keywords throughout the content. This is why using an e-commerce platform optimized for better SEO practices is a smart choice. Look for features that make it easy to include customized navigation links, page titles, URLs, tags, and meta descriptions so your site’s content is highly visible for search engines to pick up on.

2. Your UX is out of date.

The experience your customers have with your website and brand makes all the difference. Study after study has proven that tweaks to the UX can impact your business’s bottom line. It affects how much customers are willing to pay, how loyal they are to your brand and how likely they are to recommend you to other consumers. 

A great UX can be a clear advantage in a highly competitive market. In fact, next to price, the usability of a website and other UX factors are the most important considerations for online shoppers. If your website is not offering an up-to-date UX that provides what your visitors want, chances are that they will look elsewhere. 

Take a look at design flaws that could be standing in the way of a smooth UX

Are customers able to navigate through your platform clearly or does your site offer too few (or too many) categories? 
How complex is it to make a purchase?
Does your design truly reflect your brand or could it use a modern update? 

Keep an eye on your analytical datasets and see where your customers begin to disengage. If customers are frequently abandoning their carts, it could signal an issue with the UX of the purchasing process. Or if users commonly exit after viewing product pages, perhaps the layout or description could use some rework.

3. Your data collection strategy is unclear.

Ecommerce businesses rely more on customer data than ever before to stay relevant to audiences and provide them with better experiences. Brands that are heavily data-driven are more profitable and grow faster than companies that do not extensively use customer data in their strategies. 

Due to the high expectations set for personalized brand experiences, e-commerce brands must have a system in place to not only collect necessary datasets but also to apply them for a better customer experience. 

Rather than trying to build a large database of information, a better approach is data minimization. The important thing for online brands to do when it comes to figuring out data-collection strategies is to narrow it down to the why, what and how. 

Why are you collecting this information?

What is it going to be used for?

How will it be organized and applied?

Define your strategy first and determine the exact ways that your team can apply customer data, whether it be with personalized shopping recommendations, custom offers or better marketing messaging. From there, it will be easier to determine which data points are necessary, and your team can figure out how to collect this through website data analyzation methods.  

4. Mobile optimization is limited.

As more shoppers use mobile devices for research and checkout, it is important that e-commerce brands offer the same or similar shopping experiences on the small screen. Twenty-four percent of retail ecommerce sales are now technically m-commerce, so online brands must be prepared to make their sites optimized for customers browsing through their smartphones and tablets.

Though the number of m-commerce sales continues to rise, it seems that brands are still not offering the type of experience that customers expect or deserve. According to a report by Salesforce and Demandware, customers are less likely to purchase from an e-commerce brand if their mobile site seems less secure or has UX barriers, such as difficulty seeing product information or issues with checkout.  

Be sure that the mobile version of your website is just as well designed and UX optimized as your desktop version. In order to avoid common customer frustrations, it needs to be adaptive to various screen sizes so customers do not constantly have to zoom in and out manually to browse your site. Adjust text sizes for easy reading and make sure that navigational tabs are simplified for easy searching.

Conclusion

A total overhaul of your website can be expensive and time-consuming, and in some cases, not completely necessary. A few little tweaks and changes can have a strong effect on your customers. Take a look at your own analytical data to see what could be causing visitors to vanish without a trace and without a purchase. 

Your website should never truly be complete. There are always adjustments and changes to be made for a better shopping experience. Pay attention to what your customers want and design accordingly.

Read more: business.com


25/Sep/2018
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For all the brands looking to improve their online presence, here is a checklist of 50 SEO tips that briefly cover everything from SSL certificates to schema to search friendly URLs and much more.

Site Structure

Marketers should keep a close watch on the structure of their website and the SEO strategy they will implement. Below is the rundown of 19 tips linked to the construction of your site.

HTTPS. Security of your site is an important consideration. It’s a good idea to migrate HTTP sites to the HTTPS protocol. In an attempt to protect customer and crucial business information, you as a startup owner should improve the trust factor of your site by investing in a cheap SSL certificate. Given the fact that HTTPS sites enjoy slightly better Google rankings, it pays for e-commerce startup owners to activate their SSL certificate. This move towards web security will enable visitors to transact on your site with confidence.
Fast Site. You also need to ensure that your e-commerce site responds quickly to customer clicks. Site speed is another element that can dictate the success of your e-commerce SEO. Reduce page load times so as to reduce the bounce rates of your site.
Internal linking tells search engines how to index your site. The further a page is from the home page, the less important it may be considered to be. That doesn’t mean pages should have a lot of links. It just means that content should be organized logically and that every page on the site should have at least one link to it.
Backlinks. Everyone pretty much knows this, but we’ll repeat it anyway. The basis of off-page SEO is and has always been links. So start building superior-quality backlinks.
Mobile Friendly. Research suggests that, on average, > 50% of web traffic comes from mobile searches. In order to stay in sync with technology, e-commerce owners should capitalize this tendency by optimizing the site for mobile displays. While doing this, care should be taken to compress the images to less than 70KB so that mobile pages load faster. Search for “google site speed tool” to find a great tool for testing the speed of your site on mobile screens.
Home Page Status to Category Pages. It is also important that you grant ‘individual home page’ status to category pages, with respective content and keywords. A well-organized category-level navigation is another important factor that can boost success.
Meta descriptions play a significant role in increasing your CTR (Click Through Rate). Efforts should be directed towards writing compelling Meta Descriptions so that visitors will be compelled to see what you have to offer. One great way to find the best meta description formula is to test them using Google Ads. Test a few versions as ads, see which are clicked on most often, and use that text as the basis for your meta description.
Image SEO is another tip that e-commerce startup owners might find useful. When web content is supported by images, it can make for better visitor engagement and also causes the page to be returned in image searches. Such content-supportive images should come with ‘Alt Tags’ and if possible ‘Title Tags’. These tags enable both normal and visually-impaired visitors to easily access your site.
Title Tag. It’s important that you optimize your Title Tag by ensuring that it contains a string of 60-70 characters. Long-tail keywords can deliver enhanced organic searches you may not have thought of. Adding the keyword to the Title Tag is another sure shot means to attract the attention of visitors to your website. How to find the right Title Tag? The AB testing method mentioned above using Google Ads can help.
Chat / Chatbots. You can include live chat on your website. Remember that you need to have someone available to respond to live chat though. Chat “bots” have become a thing lately though and can programmatically answer visitor questions when a human isn’t present.
Breadcrumb navigation is another navigational aid used in your structure. It is through breadcrumbs that visitors can navigate between the numerous product lines, categories and information pages of your website. Google recommends breadcrumbs as a way to organize information. It is advisable to use Breadcrumbs on all your product category, product sub-category and product pages.
Social Integrations. You can allow visitors to share your pages through social integrations. Provide such an option on all your product pages
301 Redirects. When a product or page is discontinued, use the permanent 301-Redirect URL . This way, instead of a dead page, users are automatically redirected to a live page. It also lets search engines know that the page has moved, so you don’t lose any of your hard earned links.
Header Tags. Incorporate header tags on all your product pages. The most important headline should be an H1 tag. You should have only one H1 tag. Then, add H2 tags to sub-headings. You can have many of these. Within H2 headings you can nest H3 or H4 tags. This helps search engines organize content on a page-level.
Canonical Tags. You should also use a canonical tag. This URL tag avoids the issue of duplicate content which every website experience. When a search engine finds content in two or more places on your site it has to decide which one to show in search results. The canonical tag lets them know the right one.
URL Structure. Pay attention to the structure of your URLs so as to strengthen product categories. Website.com/category/ should be the URL of your category page. Similarly, you can represent the sub-category page using the website.com/category/sub-category/ URL format. Additionally, the product page can be represented as: website.com/category-sub-category/product-name. These URL naming formats are not only user-friendly but can lead to more traffic because search engine and users can get a better idea of what your page is about from the URL itself.

Brand Awareness Online

Now for brand awareness.

The best way to improve the presence of your brand is to allow buyers to share their reviews and recommendations on your e-store or website. This will not only increase the web content of your product pages, but will also provide social validation.
Initiate a guest blogging strategy where 3rd parties create content for your site. In fact, this very post is the result of a guest blogging effort. This can not only drive more traffic to your e-store but will also enhance the presence of your brand amongst online shoppers.
Paid search like Google Ads can pave the way for enhanced brand awareness that will eventually lead to an organic sale. Does PPC improve SEO? No. They’re not connected.
E-store owners can also look at inserting aggregated star-based reviews next to their products in support of an organic search. This can make stars appear in search results next to your products and services. Aggregated reviews are a form of “schema”. You can learn more about schemas at schema.org.
You can also bank on the power offered by rich snippets which are meant to provide additional information to the visitor who lands on the home page of your e-store. They can help your site occupy “position zero” in search results. The most common e-commerce rich snippets are availability, reviews and ratings, events and pricing. You can add rich snippets by implementing Schema Markups.
You can initiate an affiliate program by asking bloggers to express their views about your online products. This tip not only generates more sales but will also increase the backlinks to your e-store, at least, as long as they like your products or services.
Another marketing tip that can work is to look for local events that are happening in the industry-space and sponsor them.
You can also participate in Reddit forums linked to your product line if done very subtly. But be warned, Reddit users do not respond well to overt marketing. Use this strategy at your own risk.

Along with all the above-mentioned tips linked to three different heads of e-commerce business, you can also check out a host of helpful tools that can positively impact your organic traffic. Below are a some SEO tools to check out.

Google Shopping is a tool that may come with a lower ‘cost per click’ and the higher conversion rates when compared to other PPC alternatives.

Google Trends can give you insight into what is trending in your industry, giving you ideas as to where to invest content and SEO resources on your site.

The Crazy Egg tool promises to make your website better instantly.

Google Search Console is a tool to improve the performance of your site by enabling you to quantify search traffic data. This one is considered a “must have”.

You can check out Adwords Keyword Planner to identify compelling keywords. It’s not perfect though, while popular – the numbers sometimes don’t add up.

Readable improves the readability of your web content. Well, it doesn’t do it, it shows you how to.

If your e-store has visual content that needs to be shared amongst visitors, you can use Canva to create amazing graphic designs.

Quick Sprout says you can learn how to grow your traffic, improve your website, and increase your conversions. Sounds great!

You can also check out the responses given out by users on Quora. A question and answer platform, Quora helps you plug the gaps between useful user insights and the deficiencies in your products.

SEMrush is an awesome tool to identify the keywords that are being used by your competitors.

Thanks for reading!

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25/Sep/2018
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This Saturday night, Sept. 8th, marks the 2018 Korea Autumn Racing Carnival and the latest chapter in Korea’s drive to position itself as the next horse racing superpower. This year’s edition is poised to be biggest and most geographically diverse to date, with nine different countries represented across the two main features. Fans in the United States could have an especially exciting evening ahead of them as Chublicious, the only entrant both bred and trained in the USA, has a strong chance for a podium finish in the night’s main event.

In its third year, the carnival’s showpiece races, the G1 Keeneland Korea Cup (1800M/1 1/8 Mile) and G1 Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200M/6 Furlongs) are already established as the premier horse racing events on the local calendar. The USA’s formidable presence (i.e. 19 locally-bred horses across both races) is also a key factor in Korean racing’s rising status amongst US audiences.

The USA, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Japan will all face host nation Korea on Saturday at Seoul Racecourse, where they will attempt to claim a share of the Cup’s purse of 1 Billion Korean Won (US$894 000) and the Sprint’s 700 Million Korean Won (US$626 000) prize money.

TVG will provide live coverage of the Korea Cup and Sprint in the Americas. Fans can tune into TVG1 at 3:45 p.m. Seoul local time on Sunday, Sept. 9th (2:45 a.m. EDT, or 11:45 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Sept. 8th) for the Korea Sprint (Race 8). The Korea Cup can be viewed at 4:55 p.m. Sunday local time (3:55 a.m. EDT, or 12:55 a.m. PDT) (Race 9).

The Carnival’s 2017 sophomore edition marked the first chance for the USA to race on Korean soil. While Japan was victorious in both races, Linda Rice’s Papa Shot (third in the Cup) and Kenny McPeek’s The Truth or Else (fourth in the Sprint), made sure that America’s first Carnival appearance was a memorable one.

This year the Ron Faucheux-trained Chublicious will be the only US-based horse in action when he takes part in the Sprint. Chublicious earned his first graded win this time last year as a longshot who powered his way to an upset victory over the favorite in the Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

With Chublicious (Sire: Hey Chub) having ended only once outside the top three in his last ten starts, the Sprint will more than likely feature an American podium finish as the race includes a total of nine US-bred horses. Two of them, the Ji Yong Cheol-trained Wonder Bolt (Sire: More Than Ready) and Seo In Seok’s Zentenary (Sire: First Defence), are among the highest-rated horses in training at Seoul.

Further highlighting US-bred talent with overseas training are Ennobled Friend (UAE/Sire: Malibu Moon) and Maximus (Singapore/Sire: Lemon Drop Kid) in the Cup as well as Wild Dude (UAE/Sire: Wildcat Heir) and Moanin (Japan/Sire: Henny Hughes) in the Sprint.

Moanin will carry Japan’s hope in the Sprint, while fellow Japanese runner London Town heads into the Korean Cup to retain his title and become the first horse to post back-to-back wins. One of his challengers will be the Irish-bred Riven Light, who overcame an injury and made a remarkable comeback to win the Galway Festival as the topweight and widest draw.

Korean Champion Cheongdam Dokki

The Korea Cup also boasts a squad brimming with US-bred horses currently training in Korea. The host nation’s side is yet to seal victory in the Cup or Sprint, although that may very well change this year with US-bred Cheongdam Dokki (Sire: To Honor and Serve), a champion four-year-old winner who has enjoyed a hot run of form with 11 wins and 3 placings from 16 starts. The combination of Cheongdam Dokki’s potential and a home track advantage should make for a compelling evening as Korea looks to assert their standing in the Carnival’s main event.

The rivalry between Korean runners Final Boss and Cheonji Storm is set to cause great excitement and expectation among fans. Final Boss is last year’s Korean Derby winner and a son of Menifee, one the leading US-bred sires in Korea. The pair showed a strong fighting spirit at this year’s Segye Ilbo Cup, which ended in second favorite Final Boss stealing the moment from the heavily backed Cheonji Storm.

The Korea Autumn Racing Carnival is the renewed collaboration between the Korean Racing Authority and Keeneland as part of a long-standing tradition to export the best bloodlines to Korea and take its horse racing to world-class status. The participation of horses trained in nine different countries this year as well as increased popularity of Korean racing in the US, reflects the quality and global recognition the Autumn Carnival has achieved.

The Korea Cup and Korea Sprint from Seoul Racecourse will be broadcast live on TVG this Saturday night. Handicappers will want to note that races will be available to bet on at two tracks in Korea during the evening – Seoul (10 races) and Busan (5 races). They can also tune in and wager on leading ADW platforms such as TwinSpiresXpressbetNYRABetsWatchandWagerAmWager, and BetAmerica. For the most comprehensive offering of past performances, expert picks and to watch live they can visit skyracingworld.com.

Content provided by Sky Racing World

About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South Korean racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.

The post USA Poised For Success At Keeneland Korea Cup And Sprint appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

Read more: paulickreport.com


25/Sep/2018
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Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Generating and retaining customers is the lifeblood of every small business in the world. Which is why it’s no surprise that business owners find marketing the #1 biggest challenge.

We recently ran a survey with 304 business owners to uncover their biggest interests and challenges when running a business. Around 33% said marketing was their biggest challenge, money and time were close behind. Advertising was also on the list.

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

It’s clear that getting repeat business, retaining customers and generating new ones is a huge focus point for all business owners. The question is, how do you do marketing and advertising effectively? How do you attract new customers with a positive ROI?

Here, I’ll share nine of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses. From search engine marketing to social media advertising, you’re about to get a ton of proven ideas to grow your business strategically.

1. A Website for Conversions, Not Fancy Design

When creating or optimizing a small business website, the design always seems to be the top priority. Indeed, many business owners fret over image sizes and shades of color. But what about its ability to attract new customers? Leading the website traffic down the right path to convert them into a customer seems to go out of the window in favor of design.

Yes, design is important. However, it should serve the function of the website — to generate new customers — not the other way around. So, what makes for a conversion-driven website? At the very least, your home page must include these elements:

Headline: What is the value proposition of your offering? What makes you different? The headline should grab the attention of the visitor and compel them to keep reading.
Calls-to-action: What do you want the visitor to do? Should they call you directly, fill out a form or buy from your website? Having a clear call-to-action will encourage visitors to take the next step in the relationship with you.
Benefit-driven copywriting: The content on your homepage (and product pages) must focus on the benefits that your product or service brings to the customer. It should talk about their challenges, not facts about your business. People care about how you can help them. Elements such as awards and years in business can help with trustworthiness, but should be secondary to what you do for your customers.
Social proof: Start collecting customer testimonials and wear them on your website like a badge of honor. You can also include reviews from third party sites (such as Google Reviews) and logos of any publications you’ve been featured in.
Contact information: Make your contact details easy to find. If you rely on telephone enquiries, ensure your phone number is in the header. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, make it easy for people to find you.
Visual content: The imagery you use should enforce what you’re offering. If you sell physical products, use imagery that illustrates them in use.

Bighorn Law prominently displays their phone number in the navigation bar. They also include a relevant clear headline and call-to-action relevant to the various locations they serve:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Whatever the action you want people to take, make sure you’re encouraging them take it!

2. Optimize for Local SEO

Once you have a conversion-driven website, it’s time to drive traffic. According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. In other words, most of your customers will find you via Google.

Which is why it’s important you make it easy for prospects to find you in a sea of competitors. This means optimizing your website for SEO.

For small businesses, local SEO is the holy grail of digital marketing channels. Here are some components to keep in mind when running a local SEO campaign:

Optimize title and meta descriptions: These two elements dictate how you appear in the search engine. If you’re a plumber and operate in the Austin, Texas area, you’d want the keyword “plumber austin” to appear in your title and meta description.
Claim your Google My Business listing: By claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing, you increase your chances of exposure on the search engine. This means appearing in directories as well as Google Maps:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Generate Reviews: Not only does your average rating contribute to social proof, it can also help your ranking in the local search results. Encourage your customers to leave reviews whenever possible.
Ensure your NAP matches: The NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) on your website must match the one you include in your GMB listing.

By ensuring your free local listing is set up and fully optimized, you’re more likely to attract more clicks, leads and customers.

3. Create a Funnel that Nurtures

Not all visitors to your website will be ready to buy right away. Which is why it’s important you have a call-to-action at all stages of the funnel.

What are these funnel stages? Typically, they include:

Top-of-funnel (TOFU): These are people who are entering the awareness stage and are looking for a solution to their problem.
Middle-of-funnel (MOFU): At this stage, potential customers are researching specific products and services to fulfil their need.
Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU): The prospect is ready to buy. They’ll be choosing from a selection of vendors. It’s your job to make sure it’s you.

Generate TOFU leads by offering something of value in exchange for their details. This can include educational material (such as ebooks and whitepapers) or product-related offers (like discounts).

To attract these TOFU leads, create content that delivers value upfront. You’ll learn how to do this in #6. MOFU content, on the other hand, should talk about their specific problems and the different ways they can solve it (including your offering).

Finally, BOFU content should focus on getting the prospect to become a customer. This content might include competitor comparisons, spec sheets and pricing tables. With all this content in hand, you can use email marketing to capture lead information at each stage of the funnel and nurture them into customers.

4. Identify Local & Industry Influencers

Influencer marketing has become a practice of its own over the last 24 months. For those not in the know, influencer marketing is where brands partner with social media “influencers” who have access to sizable audiences in order to promote their products and services.

While it may appear to be reserved for bigger brands, the art of influencer marketing is widely available to small businesses thanks to the rise of micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are those with a smaller yet niche audience of engaged followers. They don’t cost as much, meaning it’s an affordable option for small businesses. Not only that, but they tend to receive a higher level of engagement than “major” influencers.

Using Instagram as an example, search for accounts that share similar interests to your audience or those based in your target geo. For example, if you run a burger restaurant, you could search for your town name to find the top posts:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Then, look through the accounts associated with these top posts. Identify those with 20,000 to 100,000 followers, as these fit the “micro-influencer” criteria:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

From here, engage with these micro-influencers to get on their radar. Do this by liking and commenting on their posts. Once you’ve done this a few times, send them a direct message (DM) to see if they’d be interested in working with you.

Offer freebies and in exchange for the exposure to their account. Work with them to create engaging content. Remember, Instagram is a social platform that thrives off high-quality and shareable photos. Make sure your content fits this criteria.

5. Optimize the Customer Experience

Customer service is no longer just about after-sales care. The entire relationship must be optimized to delight prospects, customers and advocates alike. This is known as customer experience, which encapsulates marketing, sales and customer support together into one cohesive strategy.

IKEA has one of the most recognizable customer experience strategies in the entire world. From the meatballs to the guided walkways where their furniture is setup, everything has been cleverly designed to delight the customer.

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

So, what makes a great customer experience? Some say it’s about “sweating the small things” and going the extra mile. But to do that your entire business needs to be working towards the same goal.

This means making every touch-point with your business a delightful one. From talking to sales reps to browsing your website. Here’s a quick process to coming up with a good customer experience strategy:

Step 1: Create a Vision

Great customer experience puts the customer first. How can you be different and more brilliant than the competition? Are you dissatisfied with the status-quo? Brainstorm with your employees and come up with a mission statement.

Step 2: Understand the Customer Journey

How do your customers make decisions and research solutions and new products? To uncover this insight, talk to them directly. Conduct in-depth research and create segments for each customer category.

Step 3: Collaborate

Remember, customer experience means bringing every part of your business together. Collaborate with all of your employees to come up with the best customer experience strategy possible. Enable and empower them to serve your customers as best they can.

Step 4: Execute

Start making it convenient for customers to buy from you, easy to reach you and personalize the entire experience for each of your customer segments.

Over time, you must measure the effectiveness of your customer experience strategy. You can do this by running customer satisfaction surveys to see how happy customers are with different areas of your business.

When done right, customer experience can become your biggest differentiator. Take the time to delight your customers in every corner of your business as possible.

6. Create Valuable & Entertaining Content

As mentioned earlier, not every prospect will be ready to buy from you right away. Which is why it’s important to build a relationship early by delivering value up front.

How? With content marketing.

Content marketing is the practice of creating entertaining or value-driven (how-to) content to capture a wider audience. For example, Ozone Coffee uses content to share stories and attract an audience of passionate customers who care about social responsibility:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Define your content strategy by talking to your customers and uncovering the topics they care about. These topics don’t need to be directly related to your product, but they should be relevant.

In the example from Ozone above, they provided a healthy baking recipe for their readers. It has nothing to do with their business aside from the fact that baked goods taste delicious alongside coffee, but either way they know it’s a subject their customers care about.

From there, create a schedule and stick to it. This could be once a week or even once a month. Whatever your cadence, make sure it’s consistent.

When you publish new content, promote it through your social platforms, email list and any other channels you’re active on. Ensure you’re attracting a wider audience by encouraging your followers and customers to share.

7. Test Facebook Ads

Paid media platforms like Facebook Ads can provide a wildly positive ROI when done right. For example, design service Design Pickle generated over $5,800 in monthly recurring revenue from their Facebook ads:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

Not only can you hyper-target your exact ideal audience, but you can generate leads with a small budget before scaling up.

To cover the intricacies of Facebook Ads would take an entire guide in itself. Instead, I’ll cover some basic principles and offer an example so you can see them in action:

Strategy: What do you hope to achieve? Are you promoting your products or content? Who is your primary audience? Make sure you have a documented strategy first-and-foremost.
Objective: This is the first step when setting up your Facebook Ads. Objectives include brand awareness, traffic and lead generation. Select the objective that makes the most sense to your strategy.
Target Audience: This is where the real power of Facebook Ads lies. Define targeting variables such a geographical location, gender, age — all the way to psychographic elements like interests and behavior.
Budget: Set a daily budget, schedule when you want your ads to run and select an optimization method. For example, “link clicks” will optimize your budget spend for generating traffic to your website.
Ad Format: Your ad creative can be served in image, carousel or video formats. Make sure you have this ad creative in advance by following Facebook’s guidelines.
Monitor: Keep a close eye on your Facebook Ad campaign. Monitor elements such as cost-per-click (CPC) as well as on-page metrics like bounce rate and avg. time on site.

In the example below, pediatric dentist Route 32 use engaging imagery to capture attention quickly. They also use benefit-driven copy with a clear call-to-action, making it clear what they want their audience to do:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

Imagery is the most important element to Facebook Ads. It’s what will stop your audience from scrolling through their news feed. Use vibrant colours and include small amounts of text that get to the crux of what you’re offering.

8. Create Native Social Media Content

Of course, you don’t have to pay to play in the world of social media. Indeed, you can create an organic audience of engaged followers just by creating content they care about.

The process and strategy varies from platform to platform. Here, I’ll share some great examples from other small businesses and how you can emulate them for your own success.

In the example below, 33 Aces Brewing use their Instagram account to let their branding shine through while creating engaging photography:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

Instagram users are drawn to high-quality photos. 33 Aces uses simple photography principles while showing the day-to-day life at their brewery to show their followers what goes on under the hood.

In this next example, Bean Box have used their platform to create a viral contest. When followers sign up, they receive a $10 gift card and the opportunity to win a prize worth $500:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

When someone signs up for the contest, they have the option to share with their friends for more entries. This incentivizes sharing, as they have a greater chance of winning if they do.

Finally, this example from Bradbury & Partners shows how you can blend work with an element of fun in your content:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

The overarching principle: create content that works in the context of each social platform. People prefer high-quality photography on Instagram, so make sure you give it to them.

Similarly, everyone loves a good Facebook contest, so find new ways to tap into this sharing behavior to expand your audience.

9. Don’t Neglect Partnerships

There are other small businesses in your marketplace who have access to your ideal customer. You can partner with these businesses to promote each other’s products and services.

Victoria Bennett, Partnership and Sponsorship Director at Barclays Personal and Corporate Banking, says it best:

“To tap into one another’s expertise, contacts and customers. A combined approach can be more powerful than flying solo when executed properly.”

Start by finding potential partners in your space. For example, a local music venue could partner with restaurants in the area to promote gigs in exchange for poster space inside the venue.

Events are another effective method of tapping into each others’ audiences. That same music venue could partner with restaurants to offer a variety of different foods for a weekend festival, tapping into each other’s audiences to spread the word.

Whoever you partner with, and however you do it, make sure it’s mutually beneficial. The partnership should work towards the goals of both businesses, no matter what they are.

How are you planning to grow your business this year and beyond? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively” was first published on Small Business Trends


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25/Sep/2018
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You know what’s one of the hardest things about becoming an online marketer?

You really don’t know where to start.

Like formal education, there’s no sequential and well-defined learning path.

Which is why most of the successful marketers became experts through trial and error.

But this approach doesn’t work for everyone.

In fact, one of the reasons why people give up on internet marketing is because they’re never really sure if they know enough.

Thankfully, Google, Facebook, HubSpot, and several other leading online companies decided to do something about this.

They’ve put together digital marketing courses of the highest quality that anyone, even a complete newbie, can take for FREE.

Yup! you need to pay NOTHING.

They’re designed for complete newbies and take them to different levels of expertise in online marketing methodologies like content marketing, eCommerce, copywriting, social media, email marketing etc.

Many of them even certify you on course completion.

Now imagine “Google Certified” or “Certified by Facebook” written with your name.

 

google digital garage certificate

 

Quite a credibility boost, isn’t it?

Will these courses make you an expert?

Most of them won’t.

But they’ll give you a solid understanding of the core internet marketing concepts with a bird’s eye view and prepare you for more advanced marketing techniques and strategies that you can apply to your niche marketing business.

They won’t teach you step-by-step niche marketing techniques or give you marketing tools like NicheHacks Insiders, but they’ll still give you an overall understanding of all the major online marketing concepts.

Let me describe each course for you.

 

1. Google Digital Garage

Target Audience: Newbies and Intermediate marketers
Course Instructors: Multiple Google marketing experts
Course Format: Videos, workbooks, practical activities, and additional reading material
Certification: Yes

 

If you don’t do any other course in this list, just do this one.

Seriously, Google Digital Garage certification course is a goldmine for newbies.

It starts with the very basics of online marketing and gradually takes you to more advanced topics like SEO, advertising and retargeting.

 

Source: Google Digital Garage

 

The course contains 26 “Badges” which are essentially 26 different modules with 106 short video lessons.

It covers all aspects of digital marketing and teaches you how to market any product or service using different online marketing tools.

 

Source: Google Digital Garage

 

Trust me, it’s a lot of content.

Each topic has anywhere between 2 to 7 short video lessons that make it easy to digest the information

To help you practice what you learn, all topics come with their own set of practical exercises and quizzes.

 

Source: Google Digital Garage

 

If you’ve been into online marketing for some time, the starting lessons might look a bit too basic to you.

You can choose to skip them and go to the more advanced lessons.

But I’d still recommend taking the whole course in its defined sequence because it shares some really good case studies and examples with every lesson.

At the end of every topic, you’ll need to pass a short multiple-choice exam to earn the badge for that topic.

And once you’ve earned all the 26 badges, you can attempt the final certification exam to earn the right to call yourself a Google certified digital marketer.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

Google Academy for Ads

Google Academy for Ads is a platform where you can learn everything about Google’s most popular tools and services like YouTube, Google Analytics and Google Ads (previously Adwords) and earn certifications by completing the coursework and passing the exam for each course.

 

Source: Google Academy for Ads

 

Google has moved all its certification courses and learning programs related to marketing advertising and sales to the Ads Academy.

Every course takes you from the very basics of the topic to the most advanced levels

And here’s the best part

All courses and certifications are absolutely free (which was not the case a few years ago)

But not all of them are meant for marketers.

So I’ve shortlisted the ones that you should worry about.

Google Ads Certification Course
Google Analytics Individual Certification
YouTube Certification Course
Digital Sales Certification Course

Let’s have a quick look at each of them.

 

2. Google Ads Certification Course

Target Audience: Intermediate marketers
Course Instructors: Multiple Google marketing experts
Course Format: Videos, workbooks, practical activities, and additional reading material
Certification: Yes

 

Google Ads Certification (previously Google Adwords) is one of Google’s most popular and in-demand certification courses. If you’re looking to enhance your knowledge of paid advertising, audience targeting, and retargeting, this course is for you.

It can be accessed in Google’s Academy for Ads.

In case you didn’t know, Google Ads is Google’s advertising platform that anyone can use to market their product and services by using different kinds of ads (search, display, mobile, video etc.)

 

 

The famous”Google Keyword Planner (GKP)”, which most marketers use for keyword research, is a part of Google Ads platform and is primarily used for targeting keywords for advertising.

Google’s Academy for Ads offers separate courses for each advertising type.

Google Ads Fundamentals (mandatory)
Google Ads Display Certification
Google Ads Search Certification
Google Ads Mobile Certification
Google Ads Video Certification
Google Ads Shopping Certification

To become certified, you’ll need to pass the Google Ads Fundamentals exam plus any other certification of your choice from this list.

Which means, if you want to earn Google Ads Search Certification, you’ll first need to pass the Google Ads Fundamentals exam.

The same applies to all other certifications in this list.

Once you complete a certification, you’ll get a nice presentable certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile or resume.

 

Source: Google Academy for Ads

 

Should you really bother about this course?

I definitely think you should.

Earning a Google Ads certification will open up new opportunities for you, help you promote your business, and get high paying freelance advertising clients.

But even if you’re not interested in the certification, the knowledge shared in this course will help you IMMENSELY and show you ways you can double or triple your sales by using targeted and optimized ads.

Remember, most of the top marketers use paid advertising and don’t rely solely on SEO for traffic and lead generation.

 

3. Google Analytics Individual Qualification Course

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Instructors: Justin Cutroni and Krista Seiden
Course Format: Videos, workbooks, practical activities, and additional reading material
Certification: Yes

 

Anyone who has a website usually has a Google Analytics account as well.

It’s the world’s most widely used web analytics application.

But did you know there’s a LOT you can do with Google Analytics beyond the standard reporting on Pageviews, Bounce Rate, and Top Content?

When I took this course a few months ago, I was literally blown away by the power of Google Analytics

There’s SO MUCH you can do with it.

If you use to its potential, it will not only become your number one audience research tool but also give you data from so many different angles that you’ll be able to make much more informed and data-backed marketing decisions.

 

Source: Google Academy for Ads

 

Google Analytics Individual Qualification course is comprised of two parts.

Google Analytics for Beginners
Advanced Google Analytics

You’ll get certificates of acknowledgment for just completing the two parts.

But to become Google Analytics Qualified, you need to complete both the parts AND pass the comprehensive certification exam.

Here’s the prize waiting for you.

 

 

Even if you complete the first part “Google Analytics for Beginners” you’ll have more practical knowledge of the tool than most people.

The course is really well designed and delivered by a couple of analytics advocates at Google, Justin and Krista.

 

 

Both the courses are divided into several modules that are further broken down into 5-10 min lessons.

Plus, you can access additional resources like hour-long Q&A sessions with Krista that she recorded to respond to the most common user questions.

Overall, the course will add a LOT of value to your skill set and enable you to look at web analytics in a completely different way from the past.

 

4. YouTube Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Text content, supporting videos, additional reading material, exercises
Certification: Yes

 

If you’ve ever wondered how to successfully start, grow, and monetize a YouTube channel, this course is for you.

Google Academy for Ads actually has 4 YouTube certification courses.

YouTube Channel Growth
YouTube Creative Essentials
YouTube Asset Monetization
YouTube Content Ownership

Source: YouTube Certified

 

However, only the first two are about growing a YouTube channel and creating the right content. The other two are focused on legal matters, such as content rights, and technical matters like reporting and analytics.

Unlike the courses on Google Ads and Analytics, the YouTube certification course mostly has text content with occasional video lessons.

However, the additional reading material and quizzes make it a comprehensive course for anyone looking to enhance their understanding of YouTube.

Once you complete a course, you’ll need to pass the certification exam and score at least 75% to become a YouTube Certified professional.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

5. Digital Sales Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Text content, supporting videos, additional reading material, exercises
Certification: Yes

 

This is a pretty unique course from Google.

Its main purpose is to help digital marketers sell advertising services more confidently, which might not sound relevant to you as an affiliate or niche marketer.

However, this course offers a LOT more

It covers some of the key sales and marketing principles that any marketer should keep in mind while selling their products or services.

Doing this course would definitely improve your communication skills, teach you to think from the customer’s perspective, and give you a much better understanding of how to position your product or services for maximum impact.

Instead of plain text articles, the course is comprised of interactive quizzes, videos and a lot of additional reading material.

Lessons are broken down into small and easily digestible chunks presented in slides with illustrations, images, and diagrams.

Here’s an example.

 

Source: Google Ads Academy

 

I personally found this a very useful course and would recommend anyone involved in online selling to enroll in it.

That’s all as far as the courses on Google Ads Academy are concerned.

All of these courses offer great value and award you globally recognized certifications.

If you’re just starting your journey as an online marketer, this is the best place to start learning.

Let’s have a look at some of the other free courses on the web.

 

6. Facebook Blueprint

Target Audience: Newbie to Advanced marketers
Course Format: Text content, supporting videos, additional reading material, exercises
Certification: Yes

 

You must’ve seen marketers brag about their Facebook marketing skills and how they treat Facebook as an ATM machine where they simply run a Facebook ad campaign and start making money with product sales.

Well, you can start doing the same in just a few weeks with Facebook Blueprint.

Facebook Blueprint is THE most comprehensive collection of Facebook advertising and marketing courses on the web created by Facebook itself.

 

 

It’s a complete academy of Facebook courses where you can learn everything starting from the most basic things like creating a Facebook Page to the more advanced techniques such as advertising and retargeting.

You can choose courses matching your business goals

 

 

Or choose a learning track based on your role

 

 

The courses are designed using a combination of interactive reading material, videos, and quizzes.

I especially like the frequent use of case studies and interviews of successful marketers that are included in most of the courses.

You can attend all the courses for free.

But if you want to go a step further and become a certified Facebook marketer, you’ll need to pay the certification fee (which varies by certifications). You’ll be awarded your unique certification number and badge once you pass the final comprehensive exams.

 

Source: Facebook Blueprint

 

In my opinion, the certifications are not that important (unless you’re planning to work for an agency or offer freelance Facebook marketing services)

What’s important is that you make use of this amazing resource that is available for free and learn as much about Facebook marketing as possible so that you can use that knowledge to grow your niche marketing business.

 

HubSpot Training Academy

I’m a huge HubSpot fan because they’ve built this multi-million dollar company purely on the back of some outstanding content. Really, it’s a great case study of what content marketing can do for businesses.

With HubSpot Academy, HubSpot has shared their years of experience, learnings, and experiences on one platform.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

I have personally completed all of their marketing courses and can vouch not only for their value but also for their outstanding production quality.

For a free resource, HubSpot academy massively over delivers.

Here’s a quick look at some of their courses relevant to online marketers.

 

7. Inbound Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Lindsay Thibeault
Certification: Yes

 

Inbound certification is the flagship course of HubSpot Academy. Till date, over 130K marketers have successfully completed the course and passed the certification exam to become Inbound certified.

But what exactly is Inbound?

Inbound is a customer-centric marketing strategy in which the focus of all the marketing activities is on building and nurturing the relationship with your prospects, instead of bombarding them with direct sales pitches.

The whole methodology is divided into 4 stages

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

As a niche marketer, you should pay special attention to this course because it outlines exactly the kind of thought process you should have while selling or promoting your products.

Instead of making the most common newbie mistake of trying to sell to strangers from day 1, understand the inbound approach and focus on turning strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, leads into customers, and finally customers into promoters and word of mouth marketers of your brand.

This course will tell you exactly how to do that with over 2 hours of high-quality video lessons.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

At the end of the training, you can become a certified Inbound professional by passing the certification exam.

Here’s the prize waiting for you.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

Once you understand the fundamentals of the inbound methodology with this course, you can apply it to other marketing forms such as content, email, and social media marketing.

 

8. Content Marketing Certification

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Multiple HubSpot marketing experts and guest lecturers
Certification: Yes

 

This is the best training course at HubSpot Academy, in my opinion, and probably one of the most comprehensive courses on content marketing fundamentals anywhere on the web.

It covers all the important aspects of content marketing like,

The purpose and the process of content marketing
Becoming an effective writer
telling great stories
Generating content ideas
Promoting your content
Writing long-form content
Creating a writing framework
Optimizing content for maximum search and user engagement

Some of the lessons are taught by accomplished content marketers like Sujan Patel which would cost you hundreds of dollars outside HubSpot Academy

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

There’s a complete module dedicated to SEO and internal linking strategy as well which makes this course even more valuable.

I strongly recommend watching all the lessons one by one.

But if you think you already know enough about content marketing, you can skip directly to the certification exam to become a certified content marketer.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

9. Email Marketing Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Courtney Sembler
Certification: Yes

 

If you’re a regular NicheHacks reader, I’m sure you know we’re huge fans of email marketing.

No matter what business model you have, an engaged, vibrant, and responsive email list is one of your biggest assets.

So it’s no surprise that I’ve included the Email Marketing Certification course in this post.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of why email marketing is so important and how you can make it work for your business.

It covers almost all important email marketing topics like

How to write subject lines for maximum engagement
Writing email content that drives action
Getting your emails delivered and opened
Collecting contacts and building an email list
Audience segmentation and advanced targeting

And several other important topics, as evident from the course curriculum

 

 

What makes this course unique is that it’s designed around the inbound methodology that I previously discussed.

This means that the whole focus of the course is actually on creating campaigns tailored to the needs of your audience and building a loyal subscriber base that trusts you.

It’s very different from the usual affiliate email marketing courses where the only objective is to sell products immediately and bombard subscribers with promotional messages.

The course also has an optional module which teaches you how to use HubSpot for email marketing.

 

10. Social Media Marketing Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Multiple HubSpot instructors
Certification: Yes

 

If you’re having trouble engaging with people on social media, building meaningful relationships, and growing your followers, this course is for you.

It discusses some very important concepts like influencer marketing, outreach, audience research and social listening in a lot of detail.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

Like the email marketing course, this course also applies the inbound methodology to social media marketing and shares practical advice for growing your influence with Twitter, Facebook, and other leading social networks.

So if you’ve been wondering how the most successful social media marketers build influence online, enroll in this course.

 

11. HubSpot High Impact Writing Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Daniel Pink
Certification: No

 

As a writer, I loved watching this course.

But even if you’re not a professional writer, writing is a skill you must learn to become an effective and persuasive marketer.

Because you’ll need it whether you’re creating landing pages, email sequences, headlines, blog posts, social media content or any other form of online marketing.

So what’s exactly in this course?

It’s an interview style video course where you’ll get advice on pre-writing, drafting, and post writing techniques by NewYork Times best-selling author, Daniel Pink.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

Daniel goes into the details of how you can

Develop a habit of writing
Improve your mindset
Write clutter free copy
Create content that makes people remember you
Research the most authentic sources for your content
Overcome the writer’s block
Edit your content like a pro

This course does not offer a certification, but it’s still a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills.

 

SEMRush Academy

If you’re an online marketer, SEMRush shouldn’t be a new name for you since it’s one of the most popular keyword research and SEO tools on the web.

SEMRush Academy, however, is a newcomer on the block and is still in its early days.

However, from the courses available so far, it shaping up to be another valuable learning platform.

Most of the courses on SEMRush Academy right now are focused on the tool itself.

Here are a couple of courses worth your time for now.

 

12. SEO Fundamentals Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Greg Gifford
Certification: Yes

 

If you don’t know anything about SEO and are looking for a course that’ll quickly give you a basic understanding of the core SEO concepts, this course is for you.

 

Source: SEMRush Academy

 

The instructor, Greg Gifford, is well-known in the SEO industry and he does a pretty good job of explaining the fundamentals of SEO in a newbie-friendly manner.

But there’s more to this course than just the basics.

It is comprised of 8 modules with 31 lessons that span over 4 hours.

 

greg gifford semrush academy

Source: SEMRush Academy

 

Here’s what each module is about

Search engine basics
Technical SEO
Link Signals
On-Page Signals
Mobile SEO
Other Ranking Signals
International SEO
Local SEO

Once you complete the course (which I recommend you should) you can attempt the certification exam which is pretty simple for anyone with basic SEO knowledge.

But hey, it makes your profile look good so there’s no harm in doing it.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

13. SEMRush SEO Toolkit Course

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced marketers
Course Format: Videos, case studies, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Multiple SEMRush experts and guest lecturers
Certification: Yes

 

This course teaches you how to use SEMRush for keyword research, generating new content ideas, identifying new niches, and growing your online exposure.

It’s more like a tutorial of the tool.

I wouldn’t have included it in this list if it wasn’t for the additional guest lectures and case studies included in the course.

 

Source: SEMRush Academy

 

Every lecture in the course offers additional reading material and case studies in which experts from outside SEMRUsh share how they used the tool to achieve success for their sites.

In my opinion, these additional resources make it a pretty solid SEO course.

 

Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

As the name suggests, CMI is one of the pioneer content marketing publications that has grown into a multi-million dollar training company.

Most of their courses are paid (VERY expensive) and targeted towards large organizations.

But I found a couple of free sessions that are really useful for marketers of all shapes and forms.

Here’s a quick look at them.

 

14. Developing Audience Personas

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced marketers
Course Format: Webinar, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Ardath Albee
Certification: No

 

I talk a lot about audience personas in my posts because they help you visualize and understand your target audience better and as a result allow you to create more targeted content.

In this course, Ardath Albee, a leading B2B content marketer, will talk you through the process of creating audience personas.

 

Source: Content Marketing Institute

 

It’s a short 35-40 minute webinar and not everything in it is directly applicable to most online marketers.

However, most of the advice on researching your audience, gathering information, and then structuring it into a persona is spot on.

So I’d definitely encourage you to watch it.

 

15. Integration of Paid, Earned and Owned Media

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced marketers
Course Format: Webinar, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Andrew Davis
Certification: No

 

This is a very interesting 40-minute webinar session that teaches you the basics of how paid, earned and owned media can be integrated to create a winning marketing strategy.

Sounds technical?

Not really.

Paid media is any marketing activity that you pay for, for example, Ads
Earned media is the natural coverage your site or brand earns through outreach, networking, and other unpaid promotional activities
Owned media is the content you create on your own platforms, for example, blog

The webinar shares examples and case studies of how different brands used a combination of all three types of media to achieve their desired results.

Pretty useful information for any online marketer.

 

Coursera

Coursera is a leading online education platform with full-degree programs of the highest quality from some of the world’s top universities.

Most of the courses on the platform require you to pay a fee.

But I found a couple of relevant courses that you can attend for free.

To get certified, however, you’ll need to pay, which is optional of course.

 

16. Viral Marketing and How To Craft Contagious Content

Target Audience: Newbie-Intermediate Marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Jonah Berger
Certification: No

 

I seriously loved this course

It’s a high-quality course designed and delivered by Jonah Berger, Associate Professor at The Wharton School, which dives deep into the science of viral content and what makes content stick to people’s minds.

 

Source: Coursera

 

Jonah shares some great examples of sticky content and how advertisers have been using it in different ways for years to stand out in some of the most competitive markets.

This should be on every marketer’s watch list.

 

17. An Introduction To Neuromarketing

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy
Certification: No

 

Neuromarketing is a fascinating subject.

The more you learn about the more it excites you because it shows you ways to play with the minds of your audience and use their habits and tendencies to your advantage.

Both Stuart and I love this topic which is why I even wrote a detailed post about it.

This short course, presented by neuroscience expert Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy of Copenhagen Business School barely scratches the surface of this broad topic.

 

Source: Coursera

 

The course consists of a couple of books and 5 video lectures with a total watch time of around 40 minutes.

But it still has a LOT of actionable lessons that’ll help you create more persuasive content and marketing campaigns, and will also change the way you perceive the actions of your audience.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

18. Marketing With Ahrefs

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos
Course Instructor: Sam Oh
Certification: No

 

Ahrefs is probably the most popular SEO, content marketing, and keyword research tool. It has every feature that an internet marketer needs.

Ahrefs Academy, however, is still a fairly new project but it has a couple of high-quality courses for marketers. One of them, “Blogging for Business”, is a paid course so that’s out of the scope of this article.

The other one, Marketing with Ahrefs, is available for free and has some really useful tutorials on topics that include

Keyword research
Making data-backed decisions in keyword research
Link Building
Finding new linking opportunities
SEO Audit Techniques
Guest Blogging Strategies
Finding profitable content ideas

 

Source: Ahrefs Academy

 

The course goes beyond the basic SEO concepts and offers some really actionable techniques that you can start applying to your business right away.

Most of the advice is based around different Ahrefs features, but even if you’re using a different tool, you can still benefit from it.

 

19. Constant Contact Summer Series

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Webinars, worksheets
Course Instructor: Multiple instructors
Certification: No

 

Constant Contact Summer School is a series of webinars on different email marketing topics.

The sessions have been categorized under 5 broad headers

Email Planning
Email Design
Email Content
Performance Measurement
Growing Your Email Marketing Campaigns

 

Source: Constant Contact

 

Every lesson has its own set of worksheets and quizzes to help you practice and understand it better.

It’s a pretty useful email marketing course irrespective of your level of expertise.

 

20. Social Marketing Training With Hootsuite

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate Marketers
Course Format: Videos
Course Instructor: Multiple instructors
Certification: No

Hootsuite Academy has several high-quality courses on social media marketing. But unfortunately, all of them are paid courses, except for one – “Social Media Marketing Course”

It’s a seriously detailed and high-quality course that covers everything from the fundamentals of social media to the more advanced topics like influencer marketing, advertising, and advocacy

 

Source: Hootsuite Academy

 

The course is divided into 6 modules, each having multiple text resources and video lectures.

At the end of the course, you also have the option to attempt Hootsuite social media certification exam by paying a fee.

 

21. Social Media Advertising With Buffer

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos
Course Instructor: Brian Peters
Certification: No

 

Here’s another value-packed course that you should not miss no matter what.

the Social Media Advertising course by Buffer is focused on just one thing, generating higher ROI on social media advertising campaigns.

It’s a free course available on Skillshare that teaches you the ins and outs of paid social media advertising and how Buffer used it to amplify their content and generate more leads for their business app.

 

Source: Skillshare

 

The course is comprised of 10 video lectures with a total watch time of around 1 hour. It goes deep into different advertising goals, targeting types, content creation techniques for different levels of the sales funnel, and scaling your advertising campaigns.

This one should definitely be on your watch list.

 

22. The Unbounce Landing Page Course

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: 
Certification: No

 

Landing pages are a key part of any marketing or sales campaign.

But creating a high converting landing page isn’t simple.

You need to understand buyer psychology, use persuasive copywriting skills, and design the page in a way that it highlights your main call to action.

Thankfully, The Landing Page Course by Unbounce, addresses each of these points in a lot of detail.

 

Source: The Landing Page Course

 

The course is a combination of articles, reading material (lots of it), and a series of videos on different aspects of landing page design.

It shares several case studies and examples of successful landing pages, and gives you plenty of actionable advice about page design and copy that you can start using right away.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

If You Don’t have Time, Do This

Even though all of these courses are free, you’d still need a LOT of time to consume all that knowledge.

It’s great if you can.

But if you can’t, here are my shortlisted MUST-DO courses for newbies (from this post)

Google Digital Garage
HubSpot Content Marketing Certification Course
SEMRush SEO Fundamentals Course
HubSpot Email Marketing Course
Hootsuite Social Media Marketing Course
Marketing With Ahrefs
Unbounce Landing Page Course

Do these courses first.

Then move on to the others on the list because all of them offer great value for FREE.

Meanwhile, if you want to accelerate your learning in all of these areas and get more specific knowledge with case studies, examples, step by step guidelines and marketing tools, join NicheHacks Insider.

Unlike most of these free courses which give you a bird’s eye view on their topic, NicheHacks Insiders dives much deeper.

It’s a small investment for such a HUGE and personalized learning resource.

 

Don’t Just Learn, Take Action!

Every course in this list offers amazing value and knowledge for free.

But it’s all useless if you don’t apply what you learn.

Don’t watch these courses or earn certifications to feel good about yourself.

Watch them to take action.

The more you apply this knowledge, the more it’ll help you grow as an online marketer.

All the success in the world is waiting for you on the other side of your comfort zone.

 

The post 22 FREE Top-Rated Online Marketing Certifications & Courses To Make You a Better Internet Marketer appeared first on NicheHacks.

Read more: nichehacks.com


25/Sep/2018
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Welcome to SocialTalent’s Live & Learn series!

Each week we gift you with a little bit of info that will help smoothen your recruitment process and expand your knowledge of your industry.

With this Live & Learn series we promise we kept it:

Short
Simple
Ready to use!

Sound good to you? Let’s begin!

How to use Indeed for Recruitment Research

Did you know Indeed is so much more than just a job board? If you read between the lines it can unlock a whole new world of data. Johnny Campbell teaches you how to find out what talent is searching for and how you can make crucial decisions with your team.

 

Key Takeaways

Now you have the skills to find some extra information on the potential candidates you should be looking at AND how the market is reacting to jobseekers demands. Remember:

What job titles is your prospective talent searching for? Checking the filters in Indeed can lead to crucial SEO insights for your job ads.
Use the Education filter to gain an idea of what level of education your ideal candidate will have. What are the exceptions and what is the norm?
Seeing which companies are hiring for similar roles and where talent is currently working will help you clarify what the market is looking for.

 

SocialTalent we have created the best recruitment training for our Recruiter Academy. Packed with insights from Recruitment experts like Johnny Campbell, John Vlastelica and Stacy Donovan-Zapar to develop your skills as a recruiter, whether you work for an agency or have a role as a corporate recruiter as part of a team of flying solo- we have the training for you!

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Create your own Recruiter Academy

Access our video library and learn your way to success!

LEARN MORE

The post How to Use Indeed For Recruitment Research appeared first on SocialTalent.

Read more: socialtalent.com