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The New Way to Blog

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the new way to blog

Blogging has changed over the years.

When I first started blogging, it wasn’t that competitive.

You write an article… on pretty much anything… and you get some social shares.

And then you would try to build links, but even if you weren’t great at link building you would still naturally generate more backlinks overtime.

Just take a look at one of my first blog posts that I wrote on August 31, 2005. Here are the first few paragraphs…

SEO Made Easy

The hardest thing for any site owner these days is getting the search engines to properly list their website. Making a site search engine friendly is the key to the success of search engine optimization. A site must be written in a language that the search engine will recognize such as HTML. In addition, the site must have defined keywords that are going to be used in classifying the site.

In all actuality, search engine optimization is nothing more than simple common sense. The whole goal of optimizing your site is so that search engines will find your site easily and catalog it within their systems for easy retrieval by consumers. Simple SEO is not hard and requires only basic knowledge of how algorithms work in relation to programming. The two important things to remember for those that are trying to learn the basics are how a search engine spider works and how it figures out what content is relevant to your keywords you have chosen.

I didn’t really provide anything actionable in the post. I even went on to discussing how search engine algorithms aren’t that complex.

But back then there weren’t many blogs. Now there are over a billion. That’s roughly 1 for every 7 people in this world.

Which is why it’s hard for you to generate backlinks, social shares or even get SEO traffic when you blog.

So, does that mean all hope is lost and that blogging is dealing?

Of course not. It just means you have to adjust your approach to blogging.

And that’s what I am going to share today. Here’s the new formula to blogging.

Not all content is equal

Before I dive into the formula you should follow, you should first have a better understanding of the type of content that does well.

And it’s not the same for all platforms.

Just look at the screenshot below from the NeilPatel.com blog. These are the top blog posts by traffic…

topposts

What do you notice?

The first post breaks down how to get Instagram followers.

The second tells you what the 4ps of marketing is.

The third post tells you how to check the traffic of a website.

The fourth breaks down how to make money from Instagram.

Do you see a trend yet?

Here’s another hint. Let’s look at the keywords that drive traffic to the 4ps post.

4pkeywords

As you can see the keywords that drive traffic to that page are all basic and beginner terms.

But here is what’s interesting. I broke down all my beginner content versus advance content.

Beginner content on average gets 3.68x more SEO traffic than advance content.

seotrafficposttype

So, at first, I thought it’s because beginner content gets shared more on the social web. But that can’t be true because I just skip beginner content myself… so I decided to look at the social shares per post on Facebook (I could get Linkedin and Twitter stats due to API limitations).

facebookshareposttype

Interestingly enough, advanced content gets 91 more Facebook shares on average and 288 extra visitors from Facebook.

Now let’s look at backlinks. (You can check the backlink count for any page here.)

backlinkposttype

On average my advanced content generated 4.81 times more backlinks on average than my beginner content. (When going through the backlink count numbers, we removed links from scrape sites and RSS feeds as we don’t really consider quality links, they are more so spam.)

So, what does this tell you?

Well first off, not all content is equal.

Secondly, advanced content tends to get more backlinks and social shares.

But basic content tends to generate more SEO traffic.

And no, it’s not just NeilPatel.com

To make sure we weren’t the only ones seeing this, we analyzed 191 blogs using Ubersuggest.

Can you guess what we found?

The results were somewhat similar.

Here’s what we saw form a social share perspective.

ubersuggestfbshare

As you can see advanced content generated more social shares. Now we couldn’t see people’s Facebook traffic stats, but it’s a pretty safe assumption to assume posts with more social shares typically generate more social traffic.

And here’s backlink data.

ubersuggestbacklink

Advanced content generated more backlinks. It wasn’t 4.81 times like it was for NeilPatel.com, but it is still a significant difference.

And as for search traffic, based on our Ubersuggest traffic estimation basic content generate more SEO traffic.

ubersuggestseotraffic

So, what’s the new way to blog?

The beautiful part about owning an ad agency is that you see a lot of data, you can spot a lot of trends and figure out what works for all industries.

Globally we have over 700 customers. It allows us to test a lot, so we can figure out how to provide the best results in the long run.

Here’s the formula we found to work well.

Spend 40% of your time creating basic content

When thinking about basic content, I want you to keep “how to” in mind.

Anything that is how to that targets beginners typically is considered beginner content.

You can find these keywords in two simple ways…

First off, you can go to Ubersuggest and type in a keyword related to your space.

You’ll see an overview of how popular the keyword is.

keywordoverview

And then in the left-hand navigation, click on “Keyword Ideas”. You will see a big list of keywords and as you click on the tabs or scroll you will see hundreds if not up to a million ideas.

keywordideas

Beginner keywords tend to be searched a lot and, in many cases, have a lower cost per click than advanced keywords as they are more top of the funnel and less likely to convert a visitor to a purchaser right away.

The second way you can find these keywords is to go to Ubersuggest and type in a competitor URL.

In the left-hand navigation click on “Keywords by Traffic” and you will see all of the keywords that your competition ranks for.

competitorkeywords

No matter what industry you are in, these how to informational keywords or generic terms can drive brand awareness… doesn’t matter if you are an ecommerce store or even a B2B company.

It’s great to have this traffic because a portion of those visitors will convert into customers. It won’t be at a high percentage (usually a fraction of a percent), but you can get millions of visitors due to the volume so it will still add up to being meaningful.

And if you aren’t sure on how to create basic content, followthis. Or you can watch this…

Spend 10% of your time creating advanced content

Think of advanced content as anything that an industry expert, or a speaker would discuss.

Think thought leadership.

Whether you include stats, talking about trends, or what the future beholds… this is the type of content that generates the social shares and backlinks.

And if you want to take it one step further, we’ve found that if you include charts and graphs it tends to generate more backlinks than if you don’t.

Here’s my backlink count from posts with charts and graphs versus ones without:

graphsnographs

You can use Canva to create them, which is free.

In most cases you probably won’t have data like I was able to show you in this post, but you can get it.

From sites like Upwork, you can hire researchers for $5 or $10 who can reach out to companies and help you gather data, or they can search the web to find it.

The big thing to consider with advanced content is, if it is something you would share on the social web, chances are it’s good. If you wouldn’t, then others probably won’t.

Spend 20% of your time refreshing old content

What you will find with blogging is that your old content will get less SEO traffic over time.

The easiest way to see this is to follow this video…

If you spend 20% of your time updating old content you will not only maintain, but you can grow your SEO traffic from your older posts.

It works so well I have a team that just updates old content for me because it’s too much work once you have thousands of blog posts.

If your blog is new you won’t be refreshing much, but once you have over 100 blog posts you’ll find that you will need to spend a good amount of time updating.

Spend 30% of your time marketing your content

I have this saying with my team…

Don’t forget the “marketing” in content marketing.

If you write content, whether it is advanced or basic, it doesn’t automatically mean it will do well.

If no one sees it, no one is going to share it or link to it.

So how do you ensure your old content gets read? It starts with 3 simple steps.

  1. Internal linking – I want you to add 3 links to the new blog post you just published from your old content. Go into your old blog posts that are relevant and add 3 links to it from relevant old posts (one link per post). And if it is a good fit also link your new post to any old posts that are a good fit or ones that you referenced.
  2. Social sharesfollow this process to get social shares (scroll down and read the “ask people to share it” section). It’s tedious, but it works and it’s how we get social shares to any new blog that doesn’t have an audience or a big social following or even a big budget.
  3. Build links – over time you will naturally get backlinks as I get, but when starting off you will have to manually build them. Don’t buy them or do anything shady, just follow this and you’ll build more links over time.

Conclusion

Blogging still works. It’s not dead!

You just have to change your approach to how you blog.

Copying what people or even I did years ago won’t work. You have to take a new approach. And that new approach is outlined above. 🙂

If you follow this for 6 months you will see results. If you follow it for a year, your traffic will be noticeably different. And if you stick with it for 2 to 3 years, the results start compounding.

So, what do you think about the process above?

See How My Agency Can Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic to Your Website

  • SEO – unlock massive amounts of SEO traffic. See real results.
  • Content Marketing – our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
  • Paid Media – effective paid strategies with clear ROI.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

​​

via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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