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17 Lead Magnet Examples + Tips on Topics & Traffic Sources

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When a visitor becomes a lead, they are a step closer to becoming a customer. That’s because a lead’s contact information allows you to start a direct conversation with them about something they are potentially interested in.

Here are 17 ideas that can help you convert visitors into leads. I’ll also cover tips on finding topics for your “magnets” and some ideas that’ll attract visitors to them. So feel free to get the full scoop or jump to the sections that interest you the most:

A lead magnet is a marketing tool that offers something valuable to a website visitor (free resources, product trials, discounts, etc.) in exchange for their contact information.

When a visitor expresses their interest by submitting contact information, they become a lead. 

Lead magnet ideas + examples

Learn the most popular (and most effective) ways to capture leads.

1. Free tools

Give out free tools? Isn’t that too much for mere contact information? Not necessarily.

Everyone expects to get something for free on the internet these days. And a lot of companies have been leveraging that expectation to get prospects closer to their brand.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. If you want people to experience your product and you spend hefty sums to get them to visit your website, why “spoil” everything with any kind of friction?

To reduce friction, you can distribute samples of your product’s functionality as free tools. An example of such a scenario is our very own Ahrefs, the all-in-one SEO toolkit. We offer visitors to sign up for the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools if they’re not ready to get the full deal. 

Sentence on Ahrefs' homepage summarizing what our toolset is all about

Why it works:

  • Attracts visitors by offering to solve a problem for free while increasing your brand awareness
  • Allows you to show a sneak peek of your product and offer an upgrade
  • Puts the lead on a nurturing program 
  • Decreases friction to your product

2. Product trials and samples

Free tools should be free. This means “forever free.” If that doesn’t fit the bill for you, consider creating a free trial of your product instead. You can limit your free trial by making it accessible for a set time and/or introducing certain features.

Still giving out too much? Try product samples.

Here, we’ve got examples from two competitors that provide book summary services. Blinkist lets you try its entire product for free for a limited time.

CTA to start free trial. On its right, two phones and a pair of earphonesCTA to start free trial. On its right, two phones and a pair of earphones

A cool takeaway from this example is how it surveys visitors before it lets them in. I mean, why wouldn’t someone “invest” one minute or even less to fill the survey and get something for free?

Picture of two columns of books and a lady smiling. Below, the "start the survey" buttonPicture of two columns of books and a lady smiling. Below, the "start the survey" button

And below, we have its competitor, Soundview. You can’t get a trial period here. Only a sample of a book summary. Makes sense because one book summary should be enough to get a feel of the quality of Soundview’s product.

Text field where visitors can enter their email address to download the book summaryText field where visitors can enter their email address to download the book summary

Why it works:

  • The user can try your product before they buy it.
  • While the user signs up for a free trial, you can offer them to sign up for a newsletter (or some kind of lead nurturing flow).
  • The friction to your product is decreased.
  • You can survey users during the onboarding to get market research data. 

3. Early access/waiting lists

If you’ve got a product idea that just needs to see the light of day ASAP. If you want to launch it to a limited number of people before going big. If you want to get feedback from that small group of people before the entire internet sees it. Then consider launching your product with an early access lead magnet.

In this example, we’ve got Chip, the savings app. It launched its product with this kind of lead magnet. From the look of the website now, it must have worked out nicely for the company.

Text field to enter email address to get early access to Chip's productText field to enter email address to get early access to Chip's product

Why it works:

  • You can build a list of potential customers even before launching your product.
  • You can use your list to discuss product functionality. Early birds are often the savvy people within your niche.
  • It allows you to ship fast to a small/controlled group.

4. Discounts and bonuses

Challenge #1: You want to give people an additional nudge to shop your brand. Challenge #2: You want to have a “direct line” for people interested in your product.

Offering a discount or a bonus in exchange for an email address solves both of those challenges simultaneously.

Quiksilver, the clothing brand, offers free shipping and free returns when people sign up for a free account. And it’s probably a win-win. I’m sure that free shipping and returns cost the company less than distributing its goods through other shops. Smart.

Form to add personal details and sign up for a free accountForm to add personal details and sign up for a free account

WAWWA, another clothing brand, offers 15% off your first order just to get your email address. I guess that tells a lot about the power of having a prospect’s email address.

I love how it promises you a lot of spam. Everybody promises not to spam, but it does the opposite. WAWWA will probably send you product deals, which you expect and is what the brand “warned” you about. Nobody can complain about that.

Text field to enter email address to get discounts and product updatesText field to enter email address to get discounts and product updates

Why it works:

  • People love discounts. Exchanging their email for a discount is quite a fair deal.
  • Discounts can nudge your visitors toward making a purchase from you.

5. Sales materials and product demos

Self-service product trials can be ineffective when you’re dealing with a complex product. In those cases, a prospect is better off with some guidance rather than presented with a mosaic of buttons and dials. This is where guided product demos come in.

Depending on your target audience and market, you can also try other sales materials like comparisons, fact sheets, or third-party reports on your product.

Help Scout has figured out the best way for a newcomer to experience its product (and convert into a happy customer) is to simply learn what the product is all about in a 1:1 demo.

Form to fill in personal details to get a demoForm to fill in personal details to get a demo

An interesting solution when it comes to demos is to have a chatbot prequalify the lead and schedule an appointment with them and your sales team. This example is from Metadata.io.  

Chatbot showing a message that a demo has been booked for a visitorChatbot showing a message that a demo has been booked for a visitor

Why it works:

  • People who sign up for product demos are usually considering the offer quite seriously.
  • You can get in direct contact with the lead: answer questions, fight objections, or even show how your features shine.
  • This is a subtle but effective solution if you’re not comfortable with sharing details about your product on the open internet.
  • This is a common practice to attract enterprise customers, who usually have high requirements and specific needs.

6. Expert advice/free assessments

Getting a free assessment or advice from an expert for the “cost” of filling out a contact form seems like a great solution for all kinds of agencies and service providers.

In this example, agency Single Grain offers a free, custom marketing plan. No better “foot in the door” for a marketing agency than this.

Form to fill in personal details to get a free consultation Form to fill in personal details to get a free consultation

Why it works:

  • Get in direct contact with your audience and personalize your message
  • Allows you to get your “foot in the door”
  • Potential to create the reciprocity effect

7. Courses

This example from Qlik covers all bases about courses as lead magnets:

Summary of courses on data fundamentals and data fluency. Below each summary is a button for visitor to click through to start the course/register for itSummary of courses on data fundamentals and data fluency. Below each summary is a button for visitor to click through to start the course/register for it
  1. Search queries related to data literacy lead to free courses on the platform
  2. Free courses lead to assessments and paid courses
  3. Assessments and paid courses lead to submitting contact information

Reading the list from points #1 to #3 gives you the user’s perspective. Reading it from points #3 to #1 shows you the company’s perspective. I think Qlik discovered that the more people know about the role of data in business, the more customers it can have.

Why it works:

  • Courses are considered premium assets.
  • You can educate your audience over a longer period.
  • Courses are a great source of organic traffic.

8. White papers

A white paper is somewhere between a B2B sales pitch and an academic paper. It aims to be a serious document showing the necessary data and facts to explain why the issuer’s solution is the best on the market—or at least one of the best.

In this example, Ultimaker (a 3D printer manufacturer) gathers contact information from an audience interested in the real cost of owning a 3D printer. Naturally, one of its products is used as an example here.

I think it’s doing a good job because a) you read about its printer, but it doesn’t feel like product placement, and b) it’s true that other manufacturers don’t always communicate the full cost of owning a 3D printer.

Write-up about PDF. Below that, download button for PDFWrite-up about PDF. Below that, download button for PDF

Why it works:

  • You can save your most in-depth, expert content for your most qualified audience.
  • This is a good way to show your expertise.
  • You can use this opportunity to customize your content for specific market segments. 

9. Ebooks

Some problems are just too broad to tackle with one blog article. That’s where ebooks come in.

Ebooks are some of the most irresistible lead magnets because they offer free education on complex, professional topics that you’ll find hard to get anywhere else.

Write-up about DesignOps book. Below that, button to click through and get the bookWrite-up about DesignOps book. Below that, button to click through and get the book

Why it works:

  • Ebooks attract people who are interested in learning more about your niche. They are likely good candidates in lead nurturing campaigns.
  • Ebooks are considered premium content.
  • Ebooks can be a part of a larger content distribution program. They can even be made with repurposed content.
  • This is a rare opportunity to get someone’s attention for more than five minutes.

10. Webinars/virtual summits

When everyone else is blogging and publishing ebooks, you can stand out from the crowd with webinars and virtual summits.

A webinar is especially effective (i.e., better than your competitor’s educational materials) if the topic is better shown than told.

On left, summary about the webinar. On right, text field to enter email address and register for itOn left, summary about the webinar. On right, text field to enter email address and register for it

Why it works:

  • Attracts industry professionals
  • Doesn’t always require you to create content—the speakers can do that
  • Brings invited guests, especially those who are influencers in your industry, closer to your brand
  • Live sessions let you communicate with audience
  • Can be recorded and used as evergreen content

11. Reports

Serious people will take you more seriously when you show them how serious you are. And an industry report is one of the most “serious” types of content that you can produce.

Reports are usually collated after hundreds of professionals are surveyed. These professionals are often, if not always, the issuer’s customers. Only then can the report be something truly new and unique. So this is not something every company can put together. 

But when you do manage to put something like this together, it speaks volumes about the scale of your operation.

Write-up on HubSpot report; below that, download button for the report. Next to both is picture of someone typing on a computer Write-up on HubSpot report; below that, download button for the report. Next to both is picture of someone typing on a computer

An additional bonus of getting leads is that reports tend to naturally earn backlinks, which is one of the most important success factors in SEO.

Why it works:

  • Reports are considered premium content.
  • Reports can be great linkbait
  • On top of acquiring leads, you can additionally gain brand awareness if your reports get cited online.
  • Reports usually attract industry professionals. And press too.

12. Newsletters

This form of lead magnets doesn’t need an introduction. You can find it all over the web.

Some of those newsletters are just that—a content digest regularly delivered to one’s inbox.

Text field to enter email address to subscribe for Ahrefs' newsletter. Next to text field is our bearded man on a computerText field to enter email address to subscribe for Ahrefs' newsletter. Next to text field is our bearded man on a computer

And some are a gateway to a lead nurturing program. It’s common to see companies pitching their products or special deals in between the regular news.

Why it works:

  • Great way to remain in regular contact with your audience
  • Allows you to distribute any kind of content, e.g., educational materials, discounts, special announcements, etc
  • Good entry point of marketing automation programs

13. Calculators

But not the regular type of calculator. I’m talking about calculators that are meant for purposes specific to a given problem: ROI calculators, financial calculators, statistical significance calculators, and so on.

They are a brilliant way to lure in B2B prospects because a lot of decisions in business need to add up. But they can also work for B2C, e.g., mortgage calculators.

A “lead magnet” calculator can be directly related to your product, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be about something that your audience cares about. A good example is this customer support hiring calculator from Help Scout:

Text field to enter email address to unlock calculator Text field to enter email address to unlock calculator

14. Cheat sheets and checklists

If your target audience members are involved in repetitive work, they will need to go over the same steps multiple times as they carry out their tasks.

Cheat sheets and checklists help make this work easier to complete and preserve sanity. You don’t have to look up the same small bits of information or remember all the details that can make or break a complex process.

No wonder developers love cheat sheets. Here’s an example collection of cheat sheets from Opensource.com. Each one is a lead magnet.

List of cheat sheets with a summary next to each sheetList of cheat sheets with a summary next to each sheet

Creating a press release can be stressful. You need to work with different stakeholders, get everything absolutely right, and sound interesting to the press at the same time. A “press release checklist” lead magnet is hard to resist.

Text field to enter personal details to access the checklistText field to enter personal details to access the checklist

Why it works:

  • Great way to attract an audience at the top of the funnel
  • Often shared
  • Likely to be used multiple times, equating to multiple opportunities for people to remember your brand
  • Highly practical: saves people time and unnecessary mistakes, offering positive emotional potential that can be associated with your brand

15. Templates

Along with ebooks and newsletters, they are one of the most popular ways to get someone’s contact information.

There’s nothing wrong with using a template at work. A lot of people do that. If they’re not using somebody else’s template, they’re using their own. Templates allow professionals to keep the quality of their work consistent without needing to go over the same problem multiple times.

Types of templates in grid formatTypes of templates in grid format

Probably no other company publishes more templates than HubSpot. You can find over 85 marketing templates here.

Why it works:

  • Templates are a practical tool likely used multiple times. This means multiple opportunities for brand exposure.
  • Templates can be great linkbait.
  • Adding a template to a blog article can increase your chances of ranking on search engines (if that aligns with the search intent of the query).

16. Swipe files

Looking for inspiration is probably one of the most common reasons to go online. And there’s a special lead magnet for that as well.

Here, we’ve got Webprofits’ swipe file of handpicked landing page examples from 73 high-growth companies.

Form to enter personal details to download swipe fileForm to enter personal details to download swipe file

Why it works:

  • Great for helping people looking for inspiration
  • Allows the reader to save time on separating the wheat from the chaff, as swipe files are carefully curated ideas

17. Contests, quizzes, and giveaways

Getting a lead from a lead magnet that promises a prize is the easy part. The hard part is to convert that lead later on because you can attract leads not interested in your product (if the prize is something different from your product).

One way is to try and get their attention while they wait for the winner’s announcement. Another way is to try and point them to your product through a drip campaign after the whole event.

Here’s an interesting example. It combines a quiz and a contest. First, the visitor completes a personality quiz to reveal their perfect home decor style. Next, they can enter the contest to win furniture in that exact style. You can read the full case study here.

Form to enter personal details to join the giveaway; on its left is a living room decorated in "urban chic" styleForm to enter personal details to join the giveaway; on its left is a living room decorated in "urban chic" style

Why it works:

  • You don’t have to create any special content. You just need to have the budget to sponsor the prize.
  • This is great for the top of the funnel, as the contest itself can drive awareness of your brand. You don’t have to do anything special other than sponsoring a truly attractive prize.

How to find topics for your lead magnets

What should your lead magnets be about? Let’s explore a few ideas on how you can answer that question.

Do keyword research

Keyword research is the process of understanding the language your target customers use when searching for your products, services, and content. It then involves analyzing, comparing, and prioritizing the best keyword opportunities for your website.

To start your keyword research, you need two things: a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and some seed keywords.

One way to find your seed keywords is to look at your existing, top-performing content. If you don’t have any content yet or want to skip your existing content for some reason, you can use words or phrases that you think should be interesting to your target audience.

For example, our best-performing articles are on the topic of SEO. And we know that we want to attract even more people interested in SEO to our website. So creating a lead magnet for something SEO-related is a sound idea for us.

So here’s what you do once you’ve identified your seed keywords. Plug in the seed keyword, e.g., “seo,” and limit the results to some popular lead magnet types. You can then prioritize those ideas based on provided SEO metrics, such as search volume or traffic potential.

Matching terms report results for "seo"Matching terms report results for "seo"

Keywords Explorer found over 2K potential topics on lead magnets, including the seed keyword “seo” and one of three popular lead magnets.

Once you understand what content can bring organic traffic and/or is likely to generate engagement, you can create lead magnets based on those topics.

Analyze competitors

You can browse through your competitors’ websites to get clues on topics for lead magnets.

You can look for topic patterns on their blogs. Or look for content that a competitor promotes by visiting their homepage, for example.

Three separate guides with short write-ups for each belowThree separate guides with short write-ups for each below

An even more effective way to analyze your competitors is to find your competitors’ top-performing content. Here’s how Ahrefs can help with that.

First, you can check who creates content similar to yours. To do that, plug in your website in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and go to the Competing Domains report:

Competing Domains report results for the Ahrefs blogCompeting Domains report results for the Ahrefs blog

Next, there are two reports that can help you reveal the best content published on those domains.

The Top pages report allows you to discover pages based on the amount of organic traffic they bring. You can even filter those results for types of linkbait.

Top pages report showing results that include words "template" or "cheat sheet"Top pages report showing results that include words "template" or "cheat sheet"

Another report, Top Content, reveals the best-performing content in terms of engagement: referring domains (from links to that content), Twitter shares, and Pinterest shares.

Top Content report resultsTop Content report results

If you want to get an even bigger picture of the content that has been created for a given topic, you can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

For example, if we wanted to look for the topic of SEO but see only lead magnets, we could plug in our seed keyword with some search operators…

seo (template OR "cheat sheet" OR checklist OR webinar) 

… to get hundreds of results that we could analyze based on their performance (traffic, Twitter shares, etc.).

Content Explorer results after plugging in seed keywords with search operators Content Explorer results after plugging in seed keywords with search operators

Study your niche

Another proven way of finding topics for your lead magnets is paying attention to what other people say in places where your industry and/or your target audience hangs out. Think groups on social media, magazines, personal blogs, and communities.

This way, you can find topics with a lot of engagement and/or topics that are currently trending. This will allow you to react to opportunities faster than your competitors. On top of that, you can potentially get valuable insights from conversations on those topics.

For example, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) became a hot topic once again when news of sunsetting the old GA came out.

Post about GA4 trending on RedditPost about GA4 trending on Reddit

You can then use a keyword research tool and see the search demand and how difficult it will be to rank a course lead magnet on the topic of GA4.

Matching terms report results for "ga 4" and other related termsMatching terms report results for "ga 4" and other related terms

Keyword Difficulty (KD) below 20. Looks like this kind of lead magnet is still something relatively easy to rank for. For now.

You can also try an audience research tool like SparkToro. Just plug in topics your target audience frequently talks about to discover related topics and hashtags (among many other things).

SparkToro overview on topics "seo" and "marketing" SparkToro overview on topics "seo" and "marketing"

How to drive traffic to your lead magnets

Lead magnets are useless when they get no traffic. Let’s see how we can get that piece of the lead-capturing mechanism to work.

Drive traffic with relevant blog posts

Look at the example below. Here, we’ve got HubSpot actually writing blog posts about its lead magnets.

This way, it can maximize its chances of driving organic traffic from search queries related to those lead magnets. And the results are impressive, given this is consistent traffic that’s basically free:

But it doesn’t have to be just one blog post per lead magnet. You can link to your templates from multiple blog posts. This is what UXPin does with its impressive library of free ebooks.

Ebooks in grid format with CTA button below each bookEbooks in grid format with CTA button below each book

Whenever it blogs about a subject related to one of the books, it can link to the book. On top of that, it can simply promote the latest ebooks in the site navigation of the blog. By doing this, its books received over 6K links pointing visitors from the blog to those lead magnets:

Internal Backlinks report resultsInternal Backlinks report results

Create an SEO-friendly landing page

Creating an SEO-friendly page means a number of things (more about that later). But first and foremost, it’s about the search intent, aka the reason behind the query.

Basically, it boils down to following the same format, type, and angle of the content (or as we call it, the three Cs of search intent) that you can find within the top 10 ranking pages for a given search query.

So for HubSpot’s templates shown in the section above, the best way to drive organic traffic is through a blog post because that’s what people seem to expect based on the SERPs.

But for calculator lead magnets, oftentimes the best way to go is with a landing page that links directly to the tool or features the tool on the page. Below are two examples of that with some impressive organic traffic results.

The first one is from Confused.com.

Confused.com's homepage; notably, CTA button to click through and get a quoteConfused.com's homepage; notably, CTA button to click through and get a quote

You won’t get a quote until you submit the contact data. At this point, it doesn’t allow you to opt out of “newsletters and relevant content.”

Text fields to submit contact details; next to those, a write-up that states the company will send promotional content to the leadText fields to submit contact details; next to those, a write-up that states the company will send promotional content to the lead

This landing page that links to the calculator gets over 113K monthly organic visits without any ad spend.

And here’s the second example. The calculator is featured directly on the landing page. What’s more is it allows visitors to get the result without submitting any information. Thoughtful. But who wouldn’t want free guidance on how to get a better house?

NerdWallet's calculator. On right, CTA button to click through and get free guidance on getting a better houseNerdWallet's calculator. On right, CTA button to click through and get free guidance on getting a better house

This calculator ranks #1 in the U.S. for the query “how much house can i afford” and gets an estimated 341K monthly visits from search engines. That’s a lot of free traffic.

Keywords Explorer overview for "how much house can i afford"Keywords Explorer overview for "how much house can i afford"

A competing lead magnet from Zillow does the same thing: The calculation is open to all. But that crucial next step—learning how much you can borrow to get your house—will require some personal information.

Zillow's affordability calculator; next to it is a text field to fill in ZIP code to get more informationZillow's affordability calculator; next to it is a text field to fill in ZIP code to get more information

The landing pages from NerdWallet and Zillow have one more interesting SEO tactic. Right below the calculators, they answer frequently asked questions about financing a house.

This way, they send a strong signal to Google about the context of the page. Also, they can rank for related long-tail keywords, such as “how much should i spend on a house.”

List of frequently asked questions List of frequently asked questions

You can learn more about SEO-friendly landing pages here:

Promote on your high-traffic pages

Your lead magnets can piggyback on other pages’ traffic. All you need to do is identify your high-traffic pages and find a spot where it makes sense to promote your lead magnet.

For example, Zendesk promotes its lead-capturing assets on the homepage—right below the main header:

Lead-capturing assets in grid format below main header. Visitors can click through to provide personal info before accessing each asset (report, study, etc)Lead-capturing assets in grid format below main header. Visitors can click through to provide personal info before accessing each asset (report, study, etc)

Adobe Marketo goes as far as making its product tour lead magnet the focal point of the homepage:

CTA button to click through and access product tour lead magnetCTA button to click through and access product tour lead magnet

Promote via email

Why send a lead magnet to a person whose email address you already have? Here are some good reasons. You can:

  • Get information from that lead (for lead scoring). For instance, you may have captured a lead with a simple newsletter lead capture form. But your new lead magnet, which offers something premium, can require the lead to submit more information.
  • Keep your leads engaged with your brand.
  • Use the lead magnet to re-engage old leads.
Write-up about Design Value Conference. Below that, a CTA button to click through and registerWrite-up about Design Value Conference. Below that, a CTA button to click through and register

By sending a lead magnet on the topic of design ops, UXPin can better segment its newsletter subscribers.

Share on social media and in communities

Here are two things you may want to consider when sharing lead magnets on social media.

First, don’t rely too much on traffic from social media when it comes to this kind of content. Sure, your content stands the chance of becoming viral, but organic reach on social media has been declining for quite some time now.

Facebook post about Design Value Conference only got two "likes"Facebook post about Design Value Conference only got two "likes"

UXPin only got two likes when it first announced its online conference. And it has over 145K fans. Quo vadis, Facebook?

Second, not all social media platforms will be suitable for your content. For example, Deloitte’s webinar on “Cloud Core Banking Academy” seems like a better fit for professional network platform LinkedIn (rather than Facebook). 

Another example, Asana’s Anatomy of Work report, earned 10 likes on Facebook (276K followers) and over 10 times more on LinkedIn (168K followers). But either way, this result seems quite low for all the effort put into this content.

Asana's engagements for its lead magnet posts on social media are quite lowAsana's engagements for its lead magnet posts on social media are quite low

Promote with online ads

Although it will cost you, promoting lead magnets with online ads makes perfect sense.

You and your prospects may be perfect strangers. For now. But well-targeted ads with a lead magnet can change this.

While the ad narrows down your “hunt” from millions to thousands or even hundreds of people, the lead magnet zeros in on the manageable group that is most likely “worth” the time to pitch your product to.

For instance, Microsoft does that all of the time on LinkedIn with its high-ticket products:

Microsoft's ebook lead magnet shown in the form of a paid ad on LinkedIn Microsoft's ebook lead magnet shown in the form of a paid ad on LinkedIn

Partner up with other companies

This is the last idea on our list. Look for other businesses that target a similar audience but do not compete with you directly.

Then see if they are up for a content collaboration with you. This way, you can pitch to their audience, and they get to pitch to yours.

For example, in 2018, we worked with Buffer, a social media scheduling tool, to create a webinar titled “How to Get Website Traffic With Evergreen Content and Social Media Marketing.”

This makes perfect sense. While the audience was comprised of digital marketers, our products are different enough and do not compete with each other.

Page on Buffer about its webinar with Ahrefs. Below that is a text field for a lead to enter their email address to register for the webinarPage on Buffer about its webinar with Ahrefs. Below that is a text field for a lead to enter their email address to register for the webinar

If you want to see how this looks in practice, check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn2XCFqREbU

Final thoughts

Lead magnets are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can help you get visitors’ contact information. On the other, they can create friction for people who want to access something that could help you sell your products or services.

Are leads more important than getting high volumes of organic traffic and, potentially, more brand awareness? This is a decision you need to make on your own. One solution may be to try and get the best of both worlds by getting your lead magnets search engine optimized (as I’ve explained in this article).

Also, let me add this: From my observations, gated content (at least written content) has become less popular in the last few years. It seems that most companies just prefer not to create this type of friction. This was not the case some five years ago.

Previously, the idea was that if you sold something really unique to a super savvy audience, you’d go with gated content. But now seeing that IBM doesn’t gate its quantum computing case studies, that idea seems to have gone with the wind.

Want to learn more about lead generation? Check these out:

Got questions or comments? Ping me on Twitter.

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SEO

12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

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12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

Want to meet other people interested in SEO offline? Give an SEO meetup a go.

In my experience, it’s one of the best ways to meet like-minded people and provides a more relaxed, informal setting than a bustling SEO conference. Who knows—you could make new friends at a meetup or even land new SEO clients.

But with so many events worldwide, it’s impossible to mention them all. So, here are some of the most talked-about SEO meet-ups I think you should have on your radar.

Okay—so I may be a little biased, but I wanted to start by sharing our Ahrefs’ SEO Events. We’ve run five Beer and Snacks Meetups in Singapore. We’ve also hosted an SEO Workshop and Networking meetup the day before BrightonSEO, and we just launched our London Meetup.

Tickets to the London Meetup sold out in a day and a half—it was our fastest-selling ticketed event ever.

Tim Soulo, Joshua Hardwick, and Ryan Law will speak at our inaugural event, covering topics such as improving your rankings, competitor research, and content marketing. To stay informed about our next event, follow our events page.

Sidenote.

Missed our meetups but still want to catch up with the Ahrefs team and a host of world-class speakers? Get Ahrefs Evolve tickets ✨

London SEO XL MeetupLondon SEO XL Meetup

The LondonSEO Meetup hosts an evening of networking with industry peers and leading experts featuring SEO speakers like Itamar Blauer, Steph Hugman, Reina Hanada, and many more.

The bigger XL event has even hosted prolific search engine news chronicler Barry Schwartz in 2023.

Search London Meetup PhotoSearch London Meetup Photo

With over 2,800 members, Search London is a popular meetup that has been around for over a decade.

Events are organized every 8-12 weeks, and members are from a mixture of agency, client-side, and start-up businesses.

The meet-up is open to anyone in SEO, PPC, or social media—and offers marketing professionals and first-time speakers a safe, supportive space to share their industry knowledge and experiences.

Search 'n Stuff Meetup PhotoSearch 'n Stuff Meetup Photo

Search ‘n Stuff meetups are an energetic and all-embracing community tailored to empower digital marketers, startups, in-house teams, and professionals. Expect sharings centered on strategies, campaigns, and other relevant SEO topics.

Neurodivergents In SEO Meetup PhotoNeurodivergents In SEO Meetup Photo

Neurodivergents in SEO provide a safe space for neurodivergent SEOs to network and learn.

The group holds in-person meetups at BrightonSEO, both in the UK and the US, and monthly pub quizzes with great prizes.

If you’re an SEO or marketer and identify as neurodivergent, you’re more than welcome to join the community. You can do so by signing up here.

Search Norwich PhotoSearch Norwich Photo

Search Norwich launched in 2018 as a free marketing meetup event. It often features top industry speakers who share their knowledge, tips, and advice with the search marketing community. At Search Norwich there are no sales agendas, fluff, or pitches—just valuable insights.

SEOFOMO Meetup PhotoSEOFOMO Meetup Photo

The SEOFOMO meetups are run by SEO superstar Aleyda Solis, who is a well-known SEO speaker and founder of SEO consultancy Orainti. She’ll also be the headline speaker for our first Ahrefs Evolve Conference.

SEOFOMO is a laid-back, free event perfect for learning, connecting, and sharing with other SEOs.

SEO Mastermind PhotoSEO Mastermind Photo

SEO Mastermind is a supportive, free, and friendly SEO community where you can grow your skills, meet like-minded people, and get answers to all your organic marketing questions.

SEO Mastermind meets around eight times a year, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium—but they also occasionally have meetups in other locations, for instance, at Brighton SEO and ISS Barcelona.

Organizer Jeroen Stikkelorum told me that SEO Mastermind is on a mission to build the most valuable Dutch-spoken SEO and organic marketing community in The Netherlands and Belgium. So if you’re local, give it a go.

SEO Lager Fest Meetup PhotoSEO Lager Fest Meetup Photo

SEO Lager Fest is a fun SEO meetup that (apart from drinking) enables you to network with like-minded folks in the SEO industry. They hold an SEO quiz, run case study competitions, do AMAs, and even do SEO charades.

SEOnerd Switzerland Meetup PhotoSEOnerd Switzerland Meetup Photo

SEOnerdSwitzerland is a volunteer-run association that organizes events for SEOs in Switzerland and beyond.

Dedicated to fair opportunities and diversity, they provide training and coaching for people wanting to break through as a public speaker in the SEO industry.

SEOnerdSwitzerland also offers training and coaching for speakers, aiming for a diverse and inclusive panel.

WebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, AustriaWebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, Austria

WebSchrona is a free monthly meetup for SEO and online marketing professionals in Salzburg, Austria. They meet every second Thursday at 6 p.m.

There’s no fixed agenda, so discussions are often unplanned and spontaneous and often involve a drink of some description.

Organizer Alexander Außermayr tells me that everyone is welcome to join their SEO meetups. The aim is to provide a regular, uncomplicated meetup in an open space—often a beer garden, if the weather is good.

SEO Benelux Meetup PhotoSEO Benelux Meetup Photo

SEO Benelux started in 2018 as a Facebook community for Dutch and Belgian SEO specialists. The meetup grew into the largest in the Benelux region, with more than 3,000 members.

There are four meetups each year, two in Belgium (Ghent and Antwerp) and one in the Netherlands (mostly Amsterdam). Each meetup attracts 70–90 people and features three speakers.

If you don’t live in a big city, it may be difficult to find a good meetup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any in your local area.

Here are my tips to help you find new meetups near you.

Tip 1 – Use Google’s advanced search operators to uncover new meetups

As new meetups pop up all the time and often without notice, it’s worth doing some digging to see what’s out there.

You can just do a regular ol’ Google search, but we’re SEOs—so let’s use some advanced search operators and spice it up a bit.

In this example, I searched for the phrase “meetup” in the title, plus my location and my favorite SEO tool, and it managed to uncover Tim’s tweet on our London Meetup.

Advanced Google Search Operators ExampleAdvanced Google Search Operators Example

This is just a very basic example, and you could use any website or location, but it shows how you can uncover information about new meetups with a little research.

Tip 2 – Trigger the Events SERP feature

By searching for events or events near me, you can trigger the Events SERP feature. In the example below, I found a few SEO-related events by prepending “SEO” to the search.

Triggering the Events SERP Feature ExampleTriggering the Events SERP Feature Example

Once you’ve triggered the feature, scroll down until you find an SEO meetup that catches your eye.

Tip 3 – Use Meetup to find an SEO meetup

If you can’t find anything on Google then it’s a good idea to run a quick check on a specialist community platform.

One of the most popular platforms is Meetup. It allows you to find events near your location on any topic.

Meetup.com screenshotMeetup.com screenshot

Over the years, I’ve attended a lot of smaller meetups through this website, and they have always been interesting and a place to make new connections.

Tip 4 – No SEO meetup in your area? Start your own!

I started my own mini-meetup in 2018 on WhatsApp with some former colleagues, imaginatively titled #seodrinks.

#SEOdrinks meetup logo#SEOdrinks meetup logo

It started from humble beginnings in a room in a small pub in London, and it’s still in a room in a small pub—somewhere in London. (If you want an invite, let me know on LinkedIn.)

We only have semi-regular meetups in London and a small group, but every meetup has to start somewhere.

If you want to start your own SEO meetup, platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram are the best free places to start, but if you want a more specialized paid option, you could try Meetup or another similar platform.

Final thoughts

You don’t always have to attend a big SEO conference to meet other amazing people in the industry. Some of the smaller meetups I’ve been to have resulted in making more contacts than the bigger conferences.

As such, SEO meet-ups are one of my favorite ways to meet people who are just as interested in SEO and marketing as much as you are.

Did I miss an SEO meetup? Add your SEO meetup here, or let me know on LinkedIn.



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How to Combine SEO and Content Marketing (The Ahrefs’ Way)

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How to Combine SEO and Content Marketing (The Ahrefs’ Way)

SEO and content marketing are different marketing channels. But you don’t have to choose between them. They’re complementary.

In fact, you should combine them for greater effectiveness in your marketing.

Two main reasons:

1. Content marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly—they work well together

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers.

Here’s how SEO helps content marketing:

The web's largest traffic referrersThe web's largest traffic referrers

SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engines to get more traffic.

Here’s how content marketing helps SEO:

  • It helps you get more search traffic — If you want more search traffic, you need to rank for more keywords, which requires you to make more content.
  • It makes SEO more effective — Thought leadership content acquires backlinks, gated content generates leads, and sales enablement converts traffic into sales.

2. The same amount of investment in effort, money, and time can generate results for both content marketing and SEO

We’re the perfect example. Our content ranks high on Google and generates hundreds of thousands of monthly search visitors:

Ahrefs blog trafficAhrefs blog traffic

It also attracts links and shares on social media because we make sure each piece is unique and not just regurgitation or “AI content”.

LinkedIn comment on how we blended an SEO-friendly term with a contrarian point of viewLinkedIn comment on how we blended an SEO-friendly term with a contrarian point of view

Finally, each piece of content introduces visitors to our product and educates them on how to use it to solve their problems. (Keep on reading and you’ll see it in action too!)

Example of how we introduce our product in our contentExample of how we introduce our product in our content

It hits all content marketing and SEO goals at once:

  • Acquires search traffic ✅
  • Builds thought leadership ✅
  • Attracts links ✅
  • Generates sales (over the long-term) ✅

How do we do what we do? Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness. Here’s one line that summarizes our entire SEO content marketing strategy:

We create and maintain high-quality, product-led, search-focused content about topics with business potential and search traffic potential.

Let me break down how we combine SEO and content marketing:

If you want to acquire search traffic, you need to target topics that your potential customers are searching for.

The easiest way to find these keywords is to use a keyword tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer:

  1. Go to Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a few broad keywords related to your site or niche
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Filter for keywords with traffic potential (TP)
Matching terms report in Keywords ExplorerMatching terms report in Keywords Explorer

Sidenote.

Traffic Potential is the estimated monthly organic search traffic to the top-ranking page for a keyword. Since pages tend to rank for many keywords, Traffic Potential is a more reliable estimate than search volume.

Go through the report and pick out the keywords that are relevant to your site. For example, if I were an ecommerce store selling coffee equipment, this could be a potential keyword to target:

The keyword "best coffee grinder"The keyword "best coffee grinder"

A keyword’s business potential is how easy it will be to pitch your product while covering a certain topic. It’s our ‘trade secret’—it’s why we can easily introduce our product and its features in every piece of content we create.

Here’s how to score a topic’s business potential:

Business potential scoring chartBusiness potential scoring chart

So, taking the above example, the topic “best coffee grinder” would score a “3” (provided we sell coffee grinders) whereas a topic like “does decaf coffee have caffeine” would score a “1” or even a “0”.

You should prioritize topics that score high on business potential, i.e. a “2” or a “3”.

What does all of the jargon mean? Let’s break it down.

Search-focused

Part one of being ‘search-focused’ is finding keywords that people are searching for. Part two is to figure out why they’re searching for those particular keywords. This ‘why’ is known as search intent.

Given that Google’s goal is to always rank the most relevant content, we can look at the search engine results (SERPs) to uncover search intent. Take your target keyword, enter it into Keywords Explorer, scroll down to SERP Overview, and click Identify intents:

Identify intents feature in Keywords ExplorerIdentify intents feature in Keywords Explorer

So, we can see that searchers looking for the keyword “best coffee grinders” want detailed reviews and expert recommendations on the best coffee grinders. Not only that, we can also see that searchers want a list that is fresh.

Identified search intent for "best coffee grinder"Identified search intent for "best coffee grinder"

If we’re targeting this topic, making it search-focused means matching this search intent—we’ll need to create a list of the best coffee grinders for the current year.

Product-led

Product-led means ensuring you’re not just creating content for the sake of it; you’re also ‘selling’ your product. You want to be aware of which use case, feature, or service you want to weave into the narrative. Naturally, of course.

Scoring a topic’s business potential would have done 90% of the work here. If you’re creating content about a topic that scored a “3”, then your product pitch would be natural. For example, we could easily add links back to our coffee equipment store after covering the best coffee grinders. Or, if we make our coffee grinders, we could pitch them as one of the best. (That’s why I say the business potential score is our secret ingredient.)

The challenge comes when you’re covering topics that score a “1” or “0”. It’s not impossible, but you’ll need to be creative.

For example, I recently covered the topic “SEO specialist”. It had a business potential of “1” and was tough to include a product pitch. Fortunately, I noticed that some job listings asked for experience with different SEO toolsets (including us.) It was the perfect segue to introduce our product and certification course.

An example of how I managed to pitch Ahrefs in a post with a business potential of 1An example of how I managed to pitch Ahrefs in a post with a business potential of 1

High-quality

This is subjective. Everyone’s standards are different. But here’s how we think of quality:

  • Accurate — No hype, no lying. Every statement we make should be as accurate as possible.
  • Clear — No fluff—delete all unnecessary words and sentences. Use jargon only when needed. When necessary, create illustrations to expand on ideas and concepts.
  • Helpful — Being product-led is important but the content should not just be aimed at pitching. The content should be focused primarily on helping visitors solve their problems, while creatively weaving our product into the context.
  • Unique — One way to make your content unique is to have skin in the game—conduct experiments, run data studies, and write from personal experience. If having skin is difficult, then interview practitioners. Focus on did, not could.

The deterioration of your content is inevitable:

  • Search-focused — Your rankings may drop because of competitors. Or you didn’t even rank the first time round. Or your target topic’s search intent changed (e.g., the word corona’s search intent changed during the void years of 2020-2022.)
  • Product-led — You may have new features, services, or use cases to introduce. Or your team has depreciated certain features or abandoned some services.
  • High-quality — Statements may become inaccurate over time. Or your unique idea was so successful that everyone else copied you (and outranked you.) Or you might have better ways to reword sentences and paragraphs. Or just simply the ideas, screenshots, and content has become outdated.

That’s why you don’t build a train track and disappear. You have to actively maintain it to keep it working. (I’m looking at you London tube.) Same goes for your content.

The way to maintain your content is to conduct regular content audits. We do this every quarter—Each writer on our blog team goes through their portfolio of articles and selects at least three pieces to update. Each writer may also choose a couple to do a full rewrite.

I highly recommend going through our content audit template so you can see what went wrong with your content and what to do with it next.

Final thoughts

SEO and content marketing may be different marketing types, but that doesn’t mean you need to do one to the exclusion of the other.

Both channels are highly compatible and as you see above, can be designed as an entire strategy that hits all important marketing objectives.



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Trending Content Output Compared in ChatGPT, Gemini & Claude

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Trending Content Output Compared in ChatGPT, Gemini & Claude

“Should we use ChatGPT, Gemini, or Claude to create trending content?”

That’s a good question – and one that I’m frequently asked when teaching a live class about engaging audiences through content.

You might mistakenly assume that instructors are supposed to answer questions like that. But my colleagues and I do something different.

We give our students relevant assignments that provide them with the opportunity to discover the answers to good questions for themselves.

This test-and-learn approach is something that you can also apply within your own company, agency, or team. Want to know which generative AI model to use to create trending content?

Well, conduct a test and compare the output.

Write Concise Descriptions Of The Most Emotionally Engaging Video Ads Of Euros 2024

You already know how to use Google Trends to identify search terms or topics that are trending now. In fact, many journalists use this free tool to get story ideas.

Over the long Fourth of July weekend, I used Google Trends and saw that the topic “Euros 2024” ranked No. 1 in Trending Searches with more than 1 million queries.

Next, I decided to avoid using OpenAI’s ChatGPT 3.5 for my tests. Why? Because it’s the most popular generative AI model, which means that your competitors are probably using it, too.

That means the content that this tool creates is less likely “to provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results,” as Google’s long-standing advice recommends.

ChatGPT Output

So, I explored the custom versions of ChatGPT and selected Write For Me by puzzle.today.

Why? Because it ranked No. 1 in the Writing category. The tool also claimed it would help me “write tailored, engaging content with a focus on quality, relevance and precise word count.”

I want to create better content, not just content that is different from what everyone else is creating. So, I asked Write For Me to “write concise descriptions of the most emotionally engaging video ads of Euros 2024.”

Here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

1. Unity Through Football

 “A diverse group of children from different European countries come together on a pristine football pitch. As they play, the camera captures their joy and camaraderie, transcending language and cultural barriers. The ad concludes with a montage of professional players joining the children, emphasizing football's power to unite nations and foster friendship.”

2. Legacy of Legends

 “The ad begins with black-and-white footage of iconic moments from past Euros, highlighting legendary players. It transitions to vibrant, modern clips of current stars recreating these moments, symbolizing the passing of the torch. A heartfelt narration speaks to the continuity of dreams and the legacy carried by each generation.”

3. Homecoming

 “A montage of fans traveling from various parts of Europe to the host country, capturing their excitement and anticipation. Emotional reunions with fellow fans, old friends, and family members create a sense of belonging and community. The ad closes with a panoramic shot of a stadium filled with cheering supporters, underscoring the tournament's role in bringing people together.”

4. The Dream Begins

 “The ad follows a young aspiring footballer practicing tirelessly, inspired by their favorite Euros moments. Interspersed with clips of professional matches, it shows the child's journey from local games to a stadium filled with fans. The message is clear: dreams start small but can lead to greatness, encouraging viewers to pursue their passions.”

5. Heartbeat of the Game

 “This ad features a rhythmic sequence of football-related sounds: the thud of a ball, cheers from the crowd, and the whistle of the referee. These sounds build into a symphony, interspersed with clips of players’ intense focus and emotional celebrations. The heartbeat sound underscores the passion and excitement of the Euros, resonating with fans’ own emotions.”

6. From Streets to Stadiums

 “Children playing football in urban alleys, rural fields, and makeshift pitches across Europe are showcased. Their raw passion and joy are mirrored by professional players in grand stadiums, blurring the lines between dreams and reality. The ad concludes with a powerful message: football belongs to everyone, from the streets to the grandest arenas.

Now, it’s perfectly clear why video ads with these descriptions would be emotionally engaging, but it is frustratingly unclear which brands are running these ads during Euros 2024.

So, I’d have to do some double-checking to make sure that ChatGPT isn’t hallucinating.

Gemini Output

Next, I gave Google’s Gemini (formerly Bard) the same prompt. Here’s what this generative AI model produced:

1. Adidas: "Hey Jude" (Most Engaging)

 “This ad features rising England star Jude Bellingham alongside football legends like David Beckham and Frank Lampard. It taps into positive emotions by showcasing the passing of the torch and the enduring spirit of the game.”

2. Irn-Bru: "Get to Germany"

 “This ad, likely using humor, aims to create positive feelings and excitement around the Euros being held in Germany.”

3. Budweiser: "Bring it Home"

“This ad uses a patriotic theme, likely aiming to inspire viewers and evoke a sense of national pride for their team's chance to win the Euros.”

It’s perfectly clear which brands are running the most emotionally engaging video ads of Euros 2024, but it’s still unclear which methodology Gemini is using to make this selection.

So, I’d still have to do more due diligence to discover that it’s probably recent articles and posts about new research from DAIVID.

Claude Output

I asked Anthropic’s Claude 3.5 Sonnet to “write concise descriptions of the most emotionally engaging video ads of Euros 2024.” Here’s what this generative AI tool replied:

“I apologize, but I don't have access to specific information about video ads from Euro 2024, as my knowledge cutoff is in April 2024, and I can't browse the internet for current information.”

 “I can, however, offer some general thoughts on what makes emotionally engaging soccer/football ads:”

“Underdog stories of players or teams overcoming adversity.”
“Nostalgic montages showcasing historic Euro moments.”
“Depictions of passionate fans and their connection to the sport.”
“Inspirational messages about unity and international cooperation.”
“Cinematic recreations of iconic goals or plays.”

 “If you'd like me to expand on any of these concepts or discuss emotionally engaging sports ads in general, I'd be happy to do so. For accurate information about Euro 2024 ads, I'd recommend checking official UEFA sources or recent sports media coverage.”

Well, Claude’s honesty is admirable. But its knowledge cutoff means that I shouldn’t use this generative AI model for content about fairly recent trends.

Write Short Captions For The Funniest Photos From The 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

For my second test, I used the Google autocomplete feature to confirm that the phrase, [Nathan’s hot dog eating contest], was a trending search term.

Then, I asked each of the three generative AI tools to “write short captions for the funniest photos from the 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.”

ChatGPT Output

Here’s what Write For Me generated:

“Captions for Funniest Photos from the 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest:”

"When you realize you're only halfway through your 50 hot dogs."
"Eyes on the prize: the ketchup bottle!"
"Training for this by swallowing my pride daily."
"When the bun hits you harder than the hot dog."
"Mustard not? I mustered up the courage!"
"New strategy: inhale, don’t chew."
"Hot dogs: 10, Dignity: 0."
"When you think it’s the last dog but it’s not."
"The face you make when you beat your personal best... by 1 dog."
"Calories don’t count if you don’t chew, right?"

Okay, I admit that many of these captions are funny. But it’s difficult to tell if they belong to actual photos or if this custom version of ChatGPT hallucinated the entire list.

And don’t get me started on getting permission to use any photos that exist. Of course, I could always use DALL-E 3 to turn the text above into images.

Gemini Output

Next, I gave Gemini the same assignment. Here’s what it generated:

1. Mustard Mishap: "Someone's about to be redecorated in yellow!" (Photo of a competitor with mustard splattered all over their face).

2. Relish the Moment: "This is what pure competitive joy looks like." (Photo of a competitor mid-devour with a look of intense concentration and relish dripping down their chin).

3. Bun Bungee: "Is that a hot dog or a bungee jumper? Defying the laws of physics, one frankfurter at a time." (Photo of a competitor with a hot dog halfway down their esophagus).

4. Fountain of Fury: "Looks like someone forgot their manners! (But they're probably winning.)" (Photo of a competitor with a spray of water and ketchup erupting from their mouth).

5. Doggy Downtime: "Even champions gotta rest sometimes. (Just don't let Joey Chestnut see this.)" (Photo of a competitor slumped back in their chair with a belly full of hot dogs).”

Um, okay. These are also funny captions.

But it’s hard to know if they go with actual photos that were posted on July 4, 2024, without using Google Images to conduct a series of relevant searches. And that still doesn’t give me permission to use them even if they do exist.

[Note, these responses were generated a few days before Google announced their support for labelling AI-generated images.]

Claude Output

Then, I asked Claude 3.5 Sonnet to “write short captions for the funniest photos from the 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.” Here’s what it replied:

“I apologize, but I don't have access to specific photos from the 2024 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, as my knowledge cutoff is in April 2024. Additionally, I can't generate, produce, edit, manipulate or create images.”

 “However, I can suggest some hypothetical humorous captions that might be appropriate for funny moments at a hot dog eating contest:”

"When the hot dogs fight back"
"Regretting that 50th hot dog"
"Mid-contest nap: Expert level achieved"
"Ketchup everywhere... except on the hot dogs"
"When you realize it's only been 2 minutes"
"The face of a champion... or indigestion"
"Spectators' faces: Equal parts horror and awe"
"When the bun-to-dog ratio is all wrong"
"Competitive eating: Where table manners go to die"
"That moment you question all your life choices"

 
“Remember, these are fictional captions for imaginary photos. For accurate information about the 2024 contest, you'd need to check official sources or news reports from after the event.”

Once again, Claude gets high marks for being honest about its limitations.

But unless I want to select some of these hypothetical humorous captions and use them as prompts in Adobe Firefly, then I need to use one of the other options.

Write A 400-Word Blog Post About The Top Omni Channel Retailing Trends Of 2024

For my third test, I used SparkToro to research the audience of 5,000 to 6,000 people who search for the keyword [customer retention] each month.

I used SparkToro’s trending keywords feature to analyze the search terms that have risen in popularity among searchers for “customer retention” over the last quarter.

Then, I selected the trending keyword, “omni channel retailing trends,” for this test.

ChatGPT Output

When I asked Write For Me to “write a 400-word blog post about the top omni channel retailing trends of 2024,” here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

Top Omnichannel Retailing Trends of 2024

 “As we move into 2024, the landscape of retail continues to evolve rapidly, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer expectations. Omnichannel retailing, which integrates various shopping channels into a seamless customer experience, remains at the forefront of this evolution. Here are the top omnichannel retailing trends to watch out for in 2024.”
 
1. Enhanced Personalization Through AI and Data Analytics
“In 2024, personalization goes beyond just using the customer’s name in emails. Retailers are leveraging advanced AI and data analytics to offer hyper-personalized shopping experiences. By analyzing consumer behavior, preferences, and purchase history, retailers can tailor recommendations, promotions, and content to individual customers. This level of personalization enhances customer satisfaction and increases conversion rates.”
 
2. Seamless Integration of Physical and Digital Channels 
“The line between online and offline shopping continues to blur. In 2024, more retailers are perfecting the integration of physical and digital channels. Innovations like in-store augmented reality (AR) mirrors, smart fitting rooms, and mobile app functionalities that enhance in-store experiences are becoming standard. Additionally, services like click-and-collect and in-store returns for online purchases are expected to become more streamlined and widespread.”
 
3. Expansion of Mobile Commerce (M-Commerce) 
“Mobile commerce continues to grow as consumers increasingly use their smartphones for shopping. Retailers are optimizing their mobile websites and apps to provide faster, more intuitive, and secure shopping experiences. Features like one-click purchasing, mobile wallets, and personalized push notifications are becoming essential components of mobile strategies.”

 4. Social Commerce Revolution 
“Social media platforms are transforming into powerful retail channels. In 2024, social commerce, where shopping experiences are embedded within social media, is set to explode. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are enhancing their shopping functionalities, allowing users to discover, browse, and purchase products without leaving the app. Influencer marketing and user-generated content continue to drive this trend, making social media a critical part of omnichannel strategies.”
 
5. Sustainable and Ethical Retailing
“Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainability and transparency from the brands they support. In response, retailers are incorporating sustainable practices and ethical sourcing into their omnichannel strategies. This includes offering eco-friendly products, reducing packaging waste, and providing transparency about product origins and manufacturing processes. Brands that can effectively communicate their sustainability efforts through all channels will gain a competitive edge.”
 
6. Voice Commerce and Conversational AI 
“Voice-activated shopping and conversational AI are becoming more prevalent. With the rise of smart speakers and virtual assistants, consumers are using voice commands to search for products, place orders, and track deliveries. Retailers are integrating voice commerce capabilities into their omnichannel strategies to enhance convenience and improve customer engagement.”
 
Conclusion 
“In 2024, the retail industry is embracing these omnichannel trends to create more cohesive and engaging shopping experiences. By focusing on personalization, integrating physical and digital channels, leveraging mobile and social commerce, prioritizing sustainability, and adopting voice commerce, retailers can stay ahead in a competitive market. These trends highlight the importance of flexibility and innovation in meeting the evolving needs of modern consumers.”

Um, okay. This is 498 words long. This content seems designed for publication at the beginning of the year.

The blog post is missing citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics, as Roger Montti’s article, “Researchers Discover How To SEO For AI Search,” noted back on Dec. 18, 2023.

So, it’s not as bad as a first draft. But I would hope that writers would learn by using this custom version of ChatGPT that they need to craft something a little bit better.

Gemini Output

Next, I asked Gemini to tackle the same assignment. Here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

The Future of Shopping: Top Omnichannel Retail Trends in 2024
 
“The retail landscape is ever-evolving, and 2024 is no exception. Consumers today expect a seamless shopping experience, regardless of whether they're browsing online, visiting a physical store, or interacting with a brand on social media. This is where omnichannel retail thrives. By creating a unified experience across all touchpoints, retailers can build stronger customer loyalty and drive sales.”
 
“Let's delve into the top omnichannel retail trends shaping the industry in 2024:”

 1. The Rise of the Data-Driven Experience:
 “With the demise of third-party cookies, retailers are focusing on collecting and utilizing first-party customer data. This data allows for real-time personalization across all channels. Imagine receiving targeted email promotions based on your recent in-store purchases, or seeing personalized product recommendations on a brand's app. Advanced analytics will not only personalize marketing efforts but also optimize search functionalities and product merchandising on e-commerce platforms.”

 2. AI Takes Center Stage: 
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the retail experience. AI-powered chatbots can answer customer queries 24/7, recommend products based on browsing history, and even assist with in-store tasks. Generative AI can create personalized marketing content at scale, while AI-driven sales automation streamlines processes for both retailers and customers.”
 
3. The Blur Between Physical and Digital: 
“The lines between online and offline shopping are continuing to blur. We're seeing a rise in ‘phygital’ experiences, such as augmented reality (AR) apps that allow customers to virtually try on clothes or visualize furniture in their homes. In-store kiosks can facilitate online purchases and allow for easy returns or exchanges. Additionally, ‘showrooming,’ where customers browse in-store and then purchase online, necessitates seamless product availability and pricing across channels.”
 
4. Social Commerce Takes Off: 
“Social media platforms are no longer just for browsing; they're becoming powerful shopping destinations. ‘Live shopping’ experiences with influencers showcasing products are gaining traction, while social media platforms are integrating smoother buying functionalities within their apps. User-generated content and social proof will continue to influence purchasing decisions, making social media a crucial touchpoint in the omnichannel journey.”

 5. Personalization Beyond Products: 
“The future of omnichannel retail goes beyond just product recommendations. Retailers are focusing on creating personalized experiences that cater to individual customer preferences. This could involve offering flexible delivery options, loyalty programs with tiered benefits, or the ability to curate in-store shopping experiences through appointments or personalized product selections.”

Conclusion: 
“In today's competitive retail environment, omnichannel isn't just a trend; it's a necessity. By embracing these trends and prioritizing a data-driven, personalized approach, retailers can not only survive but thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of commerce.”

Well, the headline is better and it’s 433 words long, which is closer to what I’d asked for. But this blog post is also missing citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics.

So, I hope writers would learn the same lesson by using Gemini that they learned using a custom version of ChatGPT: It’s not bad, but a human with experience and expertise can do better.

Claude Output

Finally, I asked Claude 3.5 Sonnet to “write a 400-word blog post about the top omni channel retailing trends of 2024.” Here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

Top Omnichannel Retailing Trends Shaping 2024
 
“As we navigate through 2024, the retail landscape continues to evolve rapidly. Omnichannel strategies have become more crucial than ever, with consumers expecting seamless experiences across all touchpoints. Let's explore the key trends defining omnichannel retailing this year.”
 
1. AI-Powered Personalization: “Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing how retailers understand and cater to individual customer preferences. In 2024, we're seeing more sophisticated AI algorithms that analyze customer data across channels to deliver hyper-personalized recommendations, offers, and experiences.”
 
2. Augmented Reality Integration: “AR is bridging the gap between online and offline shopping. Retailers are leveraging AR technology to allow customers to virtually try on clothes, visualize furniture in their homes, or explore products in detail before making a purchase decision.”
 
3. Social Commerce Acceleration: “Social media platforms are increasingly becoming direct sales channels. Retailers are optimizing their presence on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, enabling in-app purchases and creating shoppable content that seamlessly integrates with users' social experiences.”
 
4. Sustainable and Ethical Omnichannel Practices: “Consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever. Retailers are responding by implementing sustainable practices across their omnichannel operations, from eco-friendly packaging to transparent supply chains and ethical sourcing information available across all channels.”
 
5. Voice Commerce Integration: “With the growing adoption of smart speakers and voice assistants, retailers are optimizing their digital presence for voice search and enabling voice-activated purchases, adding another dimension to the omnichannel experience.”
 
6. Phygital Experiences: “The blend of physical and digital experiences, or ‘phygital,’ is gaining traction. Retailers are creating innovative in-store digital touchpoints and bringing elements of the physical store experience to online platforms.”
 
7. Unified Customer Data Platforms: “Retailers are investing in advanced customer data platforms that consolidate information from all channels, providing a single view of the customer and enabling more cohesive marketing and service strategies.”

8. Flexible Fulfillment Options: “The line between online and offline continues to blur with the expansion of services like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and same-day delivery. Retailers are optimizing their logistics to offer customers maximum flexibility.”

9. Subscription-Based Models: “More retailers are incorporating subscription services into their omnichannel strategies, providing regular product deliveries or exclusive access to content and experiences across multiple platforms.”
 
10. Advanced Analytics for Real-Time Insights: “Retailers are leveraging advanced analytics tools to gain real-time insights into customer behavior across channels, allowing for quick adjustments to inventory, pricing, and marketing strategies.”
 
“As these trends show, the future of retail lies in creating cohesive, customer-centric experiences that seamlessly blend online and offline touchpoints. Retailers who successfully adapt to these omnichannel trends will be well-positioned to thrive in the dynamic retail environment of 2024 and beyond.”

Claude’s content is 443 words long, which is longer than Gemini’s, but shorter than the custom version of ChatGPT. And Claude generated 10 trends, while ChatGPT generated six, and Gemini generated five.

But just like the other generative AI tools, Claude’s blog post is missing citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics.

So, Claude is also good at creating a rough draft. But I’d hope that writers would learn by using ChatGPT, Gemini, and Claude that they shouldn’t become a tool of their tools.

AI Is Not Going To Take Your Job

A year ago, Jensen Huang, the founder, president, and CEO of Nvidia, said,

“AI is not going to take your job. The person who uses AI is going to take your job.”

Well, a year later, we’ve learned by comparing the content output generated by ChatGPT, Gemini, and Claude that it’s still smarter to use generative AI tools to brainstorm or create a good first draft.

Then, use your experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) to add emotionally engaging videos, eye-catching photos, citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics to your content.

Why? Because this is the best way to provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results.

More resources:  


Featured Image: jomel alos/Shutterstock

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