Content Marketing

7 lies about starting an online business that society has us believe

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” - Henry Ford

The general public – also known as “people” – isn't always the best source of business advice or tips. This is something that the likes of Henry Ford or Steve Jobs understood long before the world had ever seen their flagship creations.

People thought that what those guys wanted to achieve couldn't be done. When horsepower was the main means of transportation, Ford introduced mechanical horsepower. When the world was crazy about going small as the main trend in cellphone design, Jobs decided to screw it and went large. They just didn't care about “common knowledge” and knew that there's much misconception floating around.

But let's go back to the 21st century and discuss online business, since it's what interests us the most.

Asking for advice is a dangerous game to play, even though it doesn't seem like it at first. For example, if you ask the right person, you will get some great guidance that will help you succeed quicker. But if you ask the wrong person, you will only get sidetracked and lose valuable months going the wrong way.

“Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there's a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.” – Sam Walton

So just to help you stay on your toes, here's a list of seven common lies or misconceptions about starting an online business. Treat it as a warning sign to help you get through the clutter and on the right path.

1. “You have to be better to succeed”

In every market there's competition. You will always come across people who have been there for longer than you, who have more connections than you, who are more creative than you, who have more money to invest than you, and so on and so forth. This is only natural.

But a very big lie, or should I say excuse that people use to explain why they've decided to quit a given project, is that you need to be better than all those people to succeed.

On the contrary, you just need to bring in something unique about what you're offering. Don't compete with people at their game – the game that they are already better than you at. Introduce a new angle and own it.

Just work with what you have and be different rather than better.

“There is always going to be someone out there that knows they have to compensate for maybe having less talent with harder work and preparation.” – Mark Cuban

2. “You have to search for an untapped niche”

The concept of being the first person on the field sounds very attractive, doesn't it?

But there's on big flaw here. Being first will only pay off as long as the field you've chosen has the potential to become popular. If it won't, you will be just standing there with your business wondering why nobody's coming to buy your stuff.

Joining a niche that already has some players in it, on the other hand, gives you a lot better chance of building something significant.

When you think about it, the fact that a niche is popular means only one thing – that there's money in it. So join an existing niche and get your piece of the pie.

3. “You need to create a business plan”

Sorry to break this to you, but business plans are a thing of the past.

And you don't have to take my word for it. Here's what Neil Patel of QuickSprout and KISSmetrics has to say about it:

“If you think having a business plan is going to increase your odds of success, it won't. There are no stats proving that writing a business plan is going to help you succeed. So, do yourself a favor, and save your time.”

Basically, business plans are flawed because they assume way too many things and give you a false impression that you're on top of everything, and that you're ready for every possible scenario that can happen in the future. This clearly isn't true.

So just focus on what you have today and take care of these two elements:

  • know what you're selling,
  • know who you're selling it to.

4. “If you build it, they will come”

Oh the great internet, all you need is a domain, a website, and you can rule the world. Sounds about right, doesn't it?

Let's break this down on a timeline: (1) getting a domain – 5 minutes, (2) getting a Squarespace account, setting up the site and launching it to the world – 10 minutes. Total = 15 minutes.

At that point, all you have to do is sit patiently and wait for people to come in and buy whatever you're offering, right?

Well, I'd love for it to be this simple! Too bad it isn't.

My first personal experience with this issue was back when my mom had her first go at online business four or five years ago. She had a website built (online English course for Polish people), she rented the content, set up some simple e-learning environment, and … crickets. Nobody signed up for months. Months!

It was when I learned that on the web, nothing goes far without promotion.

And this is hugely unlike any other type of offline business. For instance, if you open a cafe in a popular area of the city, you will have people stumbling through the door naturally. On the web, not so much.

In a nutshell, you really need some money set aside for marketing if you want to get your project off the ground.

5. “Email marketing is for the big brands”

With all the social media sites we have these days, all the messenger apps, platforms like Feedly and so on, email is still the most effective way to reach your audience and get them back to visit your site.

It's been reported that every dollar spent on email marketing brings $40 back on average, and not only that, but also the people who come to a website via email marketing, shop more and spend more than those who visit you through other channels (including social media).

The funny thing is that email still manages to perform that well in spite of the amount of spam that's circulating around.

So, there can be only one conclusion here, just get started today. If you're not offering any kind of email newsletter on your site right now, put it on your to-do list and fix it right away.

Companies such as Sendinblue or MailChimp offer free email newsletter software that will allow you to manage your contacts, send out newsletters, and even track the results every message is generating.

Back in the day, having such a tool at your disposal wasn't possible without a sizeable budget or at least some serious web development or programming skills.

6. “You should wait for the perfect idea”

“Don't spend so much time trying to choose the perfect opportunity, that you miss the right opportunity.” – Michael Dell

I think Michael Dell puts it very well.

Building a business, especially in the online is a road filled with many unknowns, guessing, taking risks and trying out things that are as far from “standard business practice” as possible. You will naturally find a lot of failure along your way until you come across that one approach that works.

There's a kind of “chicken and egg” problem with waiting for the perfect idea. Basically, how do you know that an idea is perfect before you test it out in the real world? Well, you don't.

So instead of procrastinating, just get started with a basic, minimum viable idea, and then expand over time once you have some real feedback from customers/audience. Don't be picky. Just take action on the idea you have, whatever it might be.

Which brings me to:

7. “You should come up with your own 100% original idea”

Being this one inventor who locks himself in a hut somewhere in the mountains, works on a new creation, gets no outside contact or insight, and then releases something awesome to the world a year later is a pure fairytale.

In today's world, everything is a remix. Every online business idea has been built on top of a set of other ideas, taking bits and pieces and remixing them into something new.

It seems that the secret isn't to try figuring out everything on your own, but to look at what other people are doing – look at their ideas – and then try giving them your own spin. It's way too easy getting caught up in the process and spending too much time thinking about what to do, instead of just taking action on the information you already have and releasing something as soon as possible.

If you want an extreme example, let's not forget about Bill Gates and Microsoft. What is regarded as their biggest innovation – presenting things inside windows – wasn't an original idea. It's believed that Microsoft borrowed the core of the design and the way it behaved from the early products of Apple – Lisa and Macintosh computers.

Your turn

Finding confidence when building an online business isn't always an easy thing. Not every bit of advice turns out accurate, and it's rather hard to pick the sources you can trust.

In the end, probably one of the best possible approaches is to:

  • take on just the minimum amount of information that you need in order to get started,
  • listen to the tips people give you, but don't treat them as gospel all the time,
  • and then just follow your gut when executing on your plan and ideas.

“The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business – but it's a whole lot more fun, don't you think?” – Bill Rancic

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By |August 10th, 2014|Content Marketing|2 Comments

7 creative ways to improve your content marketing strategy


Since you're probably familiar with content marketing, it's time to focus on making your blogging, email marketing and social media efforts cut through the noise. That may sound difficult considering the competition and the massive amount of content flying around everyday, but if you think just a bit outside the box, you'll be on your way in improving your content marketing strategy in no time.

1. Follow the 80-20 Rule

Before you can begin rolling a content marketing strategy, you need to know exactly what kind of content to create and how to promote it. This idea phase is kind of a big deal too – apply the Pareto principle and you'll realize that an effective content marketing strategy relies on 80% of a successful idea and 20% in the execution.

This means that you need to generate killer ideas from the get-go. Where do you get these ideas? Well, they're essentially everywhere. They're in books (like from Edward de Bono), over coffee with a colleague/mentor, in what's trending around the world and even from previous campaigns from other niches (here's an Old Spice parody from First Round).


2. Let's Get Visual

You've probably heard that visual imagery and videos are the big thing right now. After all, who doesn't enjoy a pretty picture or hysterical video? But, there's just a little bit more to using visual imagery.

On top of compelling photos, have some fun and create memes, photobombs, employees having fun or even before & after images. Other unique images would be cartoons, comics and of course infographics. If you want to include videos, then consider conducting interviews, capturing live events or streaming/posting a presentation/webinar.

Besides capitalizing on imagery, you're providing your audience with a variety of content that they can take something away from. Keep in mind that it was discovered by MarketingProfs / CMI that the brands who are effective at content marketing use 14 different ways in creating content. So offer a variety of content.

3. Recycle

Believe it or not, there are multiple ways to recycle your content. For example, if you have popular YouTube video, you could simply convert that content into an infographic for people to share on Facebook. You could also share a timeless blog over and over again on Twitter by grabbing the Revive Old Posts plugin for WordPress. We do this a lot with our customers content to help their keep up their content strategy.

Another way to recycle content is by expanding on previous pieces of content that earned you a lot of traffic. For example, if you wrote a blog post about “10 Things You Didn't Know About Pepperoni,” then you could write a follow-up like “10 More Things You Didn't Know About Pepperoni.”

4. Don't Follow The Pack

If everyone in your industry are busy creating and sharing the same content, then how do you expect to stand apart from competitors? Take a look around and see what's going in your niche. If everyone is sharing pictures of kittens using their products, then make an informative infographic for your product. In other words, don't merely follow the pack. Do something different that makes you stand-out.

5. Tick Everyone Off

This doesn't mean calling your customers names or bad-mouthing competitors. What it means is being able to create content that gets under the skin of viewers. Why? Because it's an extremely powerful trigger. So, let's say you're in the financial industry. One idea would be to create an infographic or list that highlighted the worst financial scams within the last year.

Another way to do this is by creating a common enemy. Remember that iconic “1984” from Apple? It made PC's the enemy. Apple used the same tactic years later with the “I'm a PC” ads.

Just as you would in a bar, however, stay away from politics, race, and religion as they are topics which you will never win.

6. Hire a Copywriter

Just because you have a brilliant idea doesn't mean that you're going to be able to create incredible content. Copywriters do this for a living. They know how to write attention-grabbing headlines, press releases, ads, page descriptions, SEO and content that establishes you as an industry leader.

Until you've mastered the art of copywriting, it's probably in your best interest to hire a pro. In fact, check out HubSpot's list of “10 Companies That Totally Nail Copywriting” to give you a better understanding of how important this is for your content marketing strategy.

7. Have Plenty of Tools in the Shed

Throughout every stage of your content marketing strategy you'll need lots of tools to develop, execute, share and analyze your content. Here are some tools that may have gotten overlooked.

  • Ubersuggest – Helps with keyword suggestions for blog posts, PPC campaigns.
  • Toluna – Creates surveys or polls so that you data and feedback for future content.
  • Trello – Helps keep you and your team organized.
  • – This tool helps you to remember to follow-up with loyal customers.
  • Linkdex – A powerful tool that will make you more visible in your niche.
  • SEO Engine – Higher end tool that helps you know exactly how to scale SEO with data.
  • Rapportive – This neat app allows you to view social profiles and location all from within Gmail.
  • SocialBro/EdgeRank – These can help you find the best times to reach your niche on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Followerwonk – Can assist you in finding influencers in your field.
  • Outbrain – One of many locations where you can share content.
  • Moz Pro – You'll need an arsenal of tools to measure, track and analyze your content online. Moz is a solid one-stop shopping destination for these tools.

What other tools have you found that help you grow your business online?

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By |August 5th, 2014|Content Marketing|0 Comments

10 steps to launching the worst membership site on the planet


How to launch the worst membership site

Membership sites are kind of popular nowadays. Probably due to the fact that they are great money making machines (when done right).

Picture the following scenario. Let's say you have an information product that you want to sell. You can either:

  1. Sell it right away (for $100, or perhaps better make it $97 – the go-to price mark for every digital product), or
  2. Offer it as a membership program, where you share one piece of the puzzle every week for $50 monthly. And the whole program takes four months to complete, for example.

The second approach will earn you $200 in total (unless your product is of poor quality and people will unsubscribe sooner), and you'll also get a list of users to whom you can offer your future products.

This is just one benefit behind membership sites.

But hold on!

This post is not about the light side of the force at all.

On the contrary, I actually want to show you the 10 steps to launching the worst membership site on the planet.

Why? I'm doing it just as a way to warn you about making some more (or less) common mistakes.

1. Going with a standard WordPress site

Now, a quick disclaimer. I have nothing against WordPress sites, or using WordPress for everything possible.

So if you want to launch your membership site on WordPress, and you have some cool plugins to pull this off (likeWishList Member), a support solution implemented on the back end, a tested way of managing all your precious content, then fine, you'll do a great job.

If your idea of a membership site is to just password protect some posts and then send the password to your subscribers through email then sorry, this doesn't really cut it.

And it doesn't cut it for one main reason. You're probably pitching your membership site as the best thing ever, featuring some best content ever (which is a fine marketing method, by the way). But if what someone gets after signing up is just a simple WordPress site with a bunch of password protected posts, they won't feel very special at all.

2. No one on the support team

The need to have some support mechanism in place is one of the main drawbacks of launching a membership site.

Support is not something mandatory if you just have a one-off product on your offer. Especially if it's an information product. I mean, what's the worst that could happen with it? The only scenario possible is that someone might think the product is of low quality and request a refund.

But a membership site can experience some more problems. For instance: people will lose their login info, won't be able to access your data using their 1990s' mobile phone, will want to change their billing information, their email, or anything else.

What's my Pottermore Login again?…J.K. Rowling Just Posted A New Harry Potter Short Story via @flashboy

— Ashlea (@AKobukowski) July 8, 2014

This makes it clear that a good membership site needs some kind of a support platform, otherwiseyour reputation will suffer. Period.

3. Automatic content

The point of a membership site is to deliver top quality content that can't be seen elsewhere. That's why someone needs to become a member in order to get it, and why they have to pay a fee to do so.

Some people, however, decide to make their membership site content mainly blog-driven. This means that the majority of the content comes from a blog that's available for free to everyone, and only like 1/3 or 1/4 of the content is the actual exclusive premium content.

Image credit:

This is a trick used mainly by people who desperately want to launch a membership site, yet don't have enough premium content to do it properly, so they turn tosending updates automatically.

In a nutshell: Don't do this. It's not cool. Focus on exclusive content instead.

4. Filler content

Automatic content is publishing stuff that can be found elsewhere for free. Filler content is publishing stuff that can't be found anywhere else, but it's as useful as a stab in the kidney.

@bcaudill I think lots of people do it bc they're lacking content and need filler. And filler becomes so painfully obvious.

— Alex (@northstoryCA) July 8, 2014

It's just meant to fill out the schedule and make it seem like there's much going on. If you think that no one will ever notice, you will be surprised when your subscribers decide to vote with their wallets and simply leave. The nature of the problem is the same as with automatic content – not enough real premium content.

5. Mainly promotion-driven content

Yet another example of bad content practices.

This is something commonly seen in various email newsletters. You know, the case when someone sends you one content email, and nine promotional ones just after that. Don't do the same thing with your membership site.


A much better balance to opt for is nine content-heavy updates for every promotional update. After all, your membership site can be a great marketing tool, which you can use to launch other projects. Which brings me to:

6. Not using your membership as a launchpad for other things

Membership sites can be great on multiple levels. Obviously, the membership itself makes you money and grows your business, but there's so much more you can do apart from that.

For example, no matter what price point you're offering, be it $35 a month or $100 a month, there will always be people willing to pay more in order to get more.

You can capitalize on this in multiple ways. Just to list some of the more popular ideas out there (used by membership site owners):

  • Offering higher-price membership levels. For example, if your standard entry point is $X, make the next level up two times this amount. In it, include some extra exclusive content or even information coming from your own resources or your own studies. In short, make it easily two or three times as valuable as the standard membership.
  • Offering couching calls or other mentoring services. When people start seeing you as an authority figure in your niche, some of them will want to work with you up close or even want you to mentor them. You can charge good dollar per hour for such Skype calls.member7
  • Offering direct consulting services. The idea is kind of similar to the one above, but this time you're providing services geared at delivering a specific result to your client. It can be anything from teaching them how to do interior design, optimize their social media presence,tweak their SEO, and etc. The idea is to make your rate per hour high enough so it makes you happy to do this work and not treat it like a chore.
  • Offering other freelance services. There's a lot more things besides consulting that you can do directly with a client. Depending on your niche, the nature of your main membership program and your area of expertise, you can offer things like: writing services, web design, AdWords management, blog management, online promotion, and so on. Of course, the difficult part is finding the right way to structure your funnel and pitch the right services to the right people. Should you need any help with that, feel free tovisit the guys over at Bidsketch and check their proposal resources (there are templates, guides, and e-books that will get you up to speed).


  • Launching live events. This is an idea that's a bit far down the road, but hey, why not? Once you have a big following in certain areas of the country, you can try organizing an event with live workshops, presentations, group consultations and even Saturday night parties.

7. Not using different types of media

For me, and feel free to disagree, launching a simple membership program (offering just some text content) is not enough to make the project successful.

These days, the internet is chock full of different types of content and methods of delivering information.

For instance, a good membership site should utilize things like: videos, audios, webcasts, web-seminars, apps, software, templates (of something related to the content), infographics, interviews, forums, and so on. Text is simply not enough. Need a good example? Check outFizzle (probably the only honest online business training right now).


I know that it will take some time and dedication to produce all this, but it's the only way you're going to differentiate your content from all the other memberships available on the market.

8. No member's area

Member's area is probably the most common element of every quality membership site. The idea is to provideyour subscribers with a place that's kind of like a dashboard for everything going on.

That's why notifying people via email about some stuff and then sending them over to a standard WordPress post doesn't make it a membership site.

One pretty clear reason why people decide not to offer a member's area is that they don't have enough diverse content to share. Let's face it, if you only have text content, your member's area won't look very attractive.

By the way, every quality membership site solution will give you a member's area you can use to communicate with your subscribers.

9. No semi-premium content

Semi-premium content is something that can be partially accessed by anybody (available publicly).

For instance, you can make every subpage of your membership site available openly to the public, but the trick is to display only the introductions, and to follow it up with a subscription link. (In other words, using teaser content.)

That way, you get the benefit of exposing your premium content, and at the same time you're not really making it available. People who want to get the full pie still have to buy a subscription.

This is great for ranking your content on the search engines, and what follows, for getting additional subscribers who will visit you directly through your search engine listings.

10. No interaction helpers

The final item on this list. Interaction helpers are everything your subscribers can use to interact with each other and with the staff of the site – usually just you.


Having no interaction helpers is a common approach for scam membership sites – those that offer crappy overpriced content. If they enabled any sort of interaction helpers, people would simply blast them with negative reviews, complaints, and all sorts of other hateful yet honest comments. And it would all be publicly visible to every new subscriber.

So if you are in this business for real, you have to enable user interaction and make your site just a little vulnerable to the opinions people might have.

That's it for my list of things on your way to launching the worst membership site on the planet. Feel free to share, have you stumbled upon any crappy membership sites lately?

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By |July 21st, 2014|Content Marketing|0 Comments

Why writing for your audience is the best SEO advice


Guest post by: Sarvesh Bagla, Founder and CEO of Techmagnate

SEO many be a three letter word, but it spells enough havoc to get the world dancing to its tunes! 2013 saw the face of SEO transform completely. From being a link building mechanism, to a content display tool; from being an “I have this to offer” approach to being a “How may I help you” mechanism.

It may sound cliché, but if we take a close look at all the three Google updates launched since last year (Penguin, Hummingbird and now the new Panda), each had one thing in common–content issues. But why is there such a ruckus surrounding content quality? As Julia Mc Coy of Business2Community puts forward, “Previously, keyword density was everything in SEO content writing. In fact, keyword density was so important that it was upheld over quality writing standards. Then, in 2013, the standards changed. Today, keyword density means practically nothing.”

The New Look of SEO

As Forbes puts forth, content marketing is now, the new “SEO.” Niel Patel, the noted search engine influencer states, “Content marketing is the cheapest and most effective way to do SEO these days. Not only does writing high quality content produce links at a quicker pace than building them manually, but it's also cheaper. Plus, your content will naturally get shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

Post-Hummingbird update, where the emphasis was laid on ‘conversational search', the approach to writing for SEO has changed completely. The focus is now on long tail keywords and natural use of them, which essentially means, writing for your audience, no matter how broad or niche.

But what does writing for your audience mean? Is writing for your audience search engine friendly too? Can it be leveraged to achieve my business goals?

Reid Bandremer of Lunametrics defines the best content writing strategy to follow is one that aligns your reader's needs, your SEO needs and your business needs. He names it the “SEO writing Sweet Spot”. However, he mentions that the reader's need should be given the prime importance since the rest of the needs are completely dependent on them.

The logic he puts forth is simple: If readers are content with what they have to read, search engines would be happy with the apt results they were able to provide and as a result give you higher visibility in the search engine. This, in turn will help attract more visitors to your site and your business grows.

Writing For Your Audience– The Best SEO Advice

It is of utmost importance that each business first recognize, and establish its audience, before beginning writing for it. There's no point shooting arrows in the dark!


  • SERP prefer audience-driven Content:

Google's prime aim is to get its searchers the best results that can provide its visitors help, information and value. It will always give higher priority to a content piece that is able to deliver all of the above mentioned criteria, than one that doesn't. You may have the best of products or services that could send your competition scampering for survival. But what good is it worth, if you're not able to communicate it's value to your audience?

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and you'll understand that as customers, we're always on the lookout for better products and services. If you think your products have the innate ability to satiate your consumer's needs, you need to let them know! There's no longer lasting way to communicate your product's unique selling position, than in writing.

However, communicating your product's scope is not enough anymore. Content should be written in a way that can win your audiences' trust and convert them into buyers.

  • Algorithms embrace high-quality content

There is ample evidence to show that the biggest of websites have gone down the search rakings due to content quality, when the algorithm updates hit.

As per Brafton's infographic, 92% of marketers have admitted that high quality content has been either very effective or somewhat effective for their SEO. The infographic also reveals noteworthy facts like:

  • 52 percent of consumers acknowledge blogs impacting their purchasing decisions
  • 57 percent of marketers admit acquiring new customers through their blogs
  • 42 percent of consumers search for blogs and articles to aid taking their purchase decisions

These figures speak for themselves on how important it is, to be writing for your audience.

  • Endless ways to get your Content across

Stagnant content or content that exist on an island is never really helpful. The more its shared, the more people know you.

There are innumerable ways to market your content and bring it to the eyes of your audience. The major facilitators are:

  • Social Media: It's the best way to reach out and it's growing by the day. Expand your content's reach through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and others and encourage commenting, social sharing and other forms of engagement.
  • Public Relations: Sharing content through the conventional PR releases in general interest and trade publications still provide good results.
  • Outreach: This is by far, the best way to reach out to a bigger audience with established worth. Requesting eminent bloggers and influencers to write about your products and services not only helps you get eyeballs but also helps instil trust about your brand in the minds of your audience. To find out who are the influencers ho can write for your business; refer to help sources like BlogDash and Buzzstream.
  • Paid Ads: Investing money in paid advertisements can elicit great results at affordable prices. You could opt for Facebook and LinkedIn Ads, Paid Search, StumbleUpon Paid Discovery, Outbrain, Promoted Tweets or the widely used Paid Search.
  • It will always engage your readers

Henneke of Enchanting Marketing says “Stuffing bland text with a few extra keywords doesn't work. You need to be engaging. You need to be human.” So how do you make an article or blog post engaging? Outbrain effectively illustrates the essentials of an engaging content where he highlights the following checkpoints:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Citing Concrete Examples
  • Give the piece a voice, funny or professional, without overdoing it
  • Assists in obtaining quality links

Undeniably, the quality of your content influences the kind of inbound links you receive. And yes; quality links still matter. Thanks to sites like Digg, Ma.gnolia, Reddit and, readers now have access to sharing your content on platforms that have millions of readers. That said, it's only plausible to say that a good piece of well written content that is specifically targeted to a particular audience, has potentials beyond measure. It would only be foolish to compromise with quality here.

  • Uniqueness can be established

Kelsey Lundberg of EDUniverse writes, “When we get specific about what we offer that's different than our competitors, we have a great opportunity to reach a right-fit audience. When we produce genuine content that serves the needs of our users, it becomes more valuable than nearly any other SEO strategy.” To facilitate writing for our audience, we have to first understand who are audience is. While for a Thai restaurant, the entire world could be the potential audience, writing for Thai cuisine lovers would help them connect better with the audience. For someone who hasn't tasted Thai food, its recipes wouldn't make much of a sense!

  • Google loves Bloggers

Oh yes, it does. For a number of reasons which include:

  • They write frequently for their audience
  • They write useful and helpful stuff
  • They don't run after keywords!
  • Their work is fresh and original

Kelly Exeter of Swish Design rightly says, “Your business blog is first and foremost about the reader. Every single blog post you write should have something in it for them be it information, entertainment, learning etc. Sure you can use your blog to beat your chest, but this should be the exception and not the rule.” So blog for your audience and blog your way to victory!

Lack of Knowledge about Your Audience: The Problem

Niel Patel has beautifully sketched out a problem-solution scenario of why its important to know your audience you're writing for. Here's the excerpt:

The problem: Failure to Know the Audience

The Period of Occurrence: Prior launch or during nascent stages of content marketing plan.

The Way Out: Think about a single kind of person rather than thousands. It will help make your planning process simpler. He also helped understand the thought better by using the example of a created persona and how writing around it, works the best.

For instance, the model below can help you find out the necessary details you need to write for your target audience.

Google Authorship


Image Courtesy:

One of the biggest considerations that businesses and marketers need to make is the Google Authorship feature. So what is Google Authorship? And why is it of such importance? Search Engine Land defines Google Authorships as “a way to link content you create with a Google+ profile“. It helps provide an insight into the popularity of the author along with a headshot image.

Google authorship helps in more ways than one. It:

  • Creates a verified content present on the web and its creators
  • gets the author noticed through the by-line
  • Adds value to content and search results
  • It helps small businesses gain its audiences' trust
  • Google attributes more credit to content with authorship tags.

In fact, as per Google's Eric Schmidt, Google Authorship is the new way of search. Here's what he had said about it, a year back:

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

Schmidt: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification”

— Chris Ainsworth (@chrisains) February 4, 2013

Technorati and Forbes writer, Jayson DeMers, also mentioned that Google Authorship helps give content a professional touch making them more authentic expert advice. He quoted Google's Matt Cutts, when he said, “If we could be able to tell, Danny Sullivan wrote this article, or Vanessa Fox wrote this article, that would help us understand, this is something where it's an expert in this particular field.

In Conclusion

Search is evolving, and sooner than later we will be searching Google using our voice. Google is preparing for that day, and it's ideal we try to keep up with the pace.

I'd wrap up with a synopsis about writing for your audience, inspired by a blog by Crazyegg: Know your readers, talk their language, and focus on consumers rather than sales. Create quality content at all stages of the sales cycle.

How important do you consider writing for your audience? Have you tried practicing it? How did it fare? Share your thoughts and experiences with me; I'd love to hear them!

The post Why writing for your audience is the best SEO advice appeared first on Technorati.

By |July 21st, 2014|Content Marketing|8 Comments

Building a femme-pire: 10 years of BlogHer [Interview]

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Where are the women who blog?

In 2005, the BlogHer founders, Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardin and Lisa Stone, all tech and media pros, looked around, scratched their heads, and asked the historic question which started it all: Where are the women who blog?

Like most of the founders we know, love, loathe, or follow in our tech-obsessed Bay Area, it's no secret that BlogHer touched a nerve and served a need — from a conference, it became a business, and ultimately a movement that drives culture and ideas. BlogHer is many things to many people: an engaged and passionate community, an ad network, a media company, a political blogging network, a coalition of engaged bloggers (and the brands that love them), passionate activists and entrepreneurs, and a platform ‘by and for women.'

BlogHer grew to a point that it became necessary to branch out into sub-genre spin offs to meet demand and interest, including food, tech/entrepreneurship (BlogHer Pro), and crafts. One thing is clear: BlogHer and the bloggers who fly under her flag is growing in influence, numbers, with game changing, visible voices. It all really boils down to the power of she, and she's on the move…

Kelly Wallace, a correspondent with CNN summed it up best at BH13 when she quipped: BlogHer — where everyone knows your Twitter name.

To celebrate 10 years of building, blogging, and loving BlogHer, it made perfect sense to interview co-founder Elisa Camahort Page. Learn about her journey amidst the peaks and valleys of building a femme-pire, and sharing what she's learned on the eve of BlogHer 14allhappening where BlogHer was born: Silicon Valley.

Congrats BlogHer team — here's to another 10 years of changing the blogosphere (and the world)….

The Big Ask

Q: Elisa – what was the aha moment when you realized the world needed BlogHer and what was your thought process in its ideation and launch? How did you pinpoint the need — was it a hunch, massive research, or did you just go for it? Tell us about the early days, and how you knew you were on to something.

Elisa Camahort

A: My two co-founders, Lisa Stone, Jory des Jardins, and I, launched the first BlogHer Conference in 2005 to answer a question that needed to die, namely “Where are all the women who blog?” There was this assumption that women weren't blogging, or would never adopt social media in large numbers. We knew then, and now everyone knows that was a total fallacy…women are the drivers behind most social media engagement today…but in 2005 it was still radical to champion women as early adopters of technology. We had an idea about moving beyond making lists and talking about awesome women on our blogs (which is great), but we had an idea for a conference to bring together, and make visible, women who blog. After the first sold-out conference, we asked the community where they wanted us to go next. The feedback was pretty clear:

- We want more events.

- We want a place to find each other online every day.

- We want a business model.

And that was our ‘aha moment' when we decided to form the company with a mission to create opportunities for exactly that.

BlogHer 2013

Q: For our readers, define BlogHer in your own words

A: BlogHer is the largest community, network, and media company created by, for, and with women in social media. We reach 100 million users a month across blogs, every social platform, and our conferences. Our mission is to create opportunities for our community members to pursue education, exposure, community, and economic empowerment. And to do that we created the BlogHer Economy, connecting brands/marketers with influencers, so brands can connect with their customers, and influencers can be paid for their work. In the last five years we've paid nearly 6,000 BlogHer members $36 million dollars. And we're damn proud of that.

Q: We hear horror stories about co-founder slugfests and that classic ‘Silicon Valley scramble' for control. All the BlogHer founders (at least to the naked eye) seem to gel remarkably well. Can you offer any insight into the formation of your company culture and do you have any guidelines to share with us on how you maintain this positive vibe? Is it the fact that it's a relatively ‘testosterone free' environment or is it something deeper?

Is it policy or DNA? Tell!

A: Lisa, Jory and I are indeed pretty rare. Not just to be three women who co-founded a venture-back start-up, but to be three founders of any gender still running their company together almost ten years later. Many people are surprised to know that we weren't friends, colleagues, or even acquaintances when we met, and immediately decided to do the first BlogHer Conference. But working on that project for four months proved to each of us that we were a great team. I always advise people to look for the following three things in co-founders or partners:

1. Complementary skills

Having a row of nodding heads from the same perspective, expertise and background doesn't help you have a better company.

2. Equal levels of commitment, or some might say workaholism.

Lots of partnerships fail when someone isn't pulling their weight. That breeds resentment, which is never good.

3. Have the tough conversations, not just the easy ones

Running a company is hard. You need to surface bad news, mistakes, and problems quickly, so you can address them and solve them as a team. Doing so helps you maintain and build trust and create movement.

Q: Any growing pains you'd be at liberty to share? All startups have them, and sharing wisdom regarding what works and what doesn't is great insight on the ‘Fail First, Fail Fast, and Fail Often' school of learning. Any tales from the trenches?

A: It's important to learn as you go, but also not to over-indulge in hypothetical “what would you differently if you knew then what you knew now” thinking. It's a mind set: the fact is that you do the best that you can do with the information, experience, expertise, skills you have at hand in that moment. The key is to trust your gut, but be able to back up concepts with data (with the knowledge that data can take the personality out of concepts). Don't be stingy about taking personal responsibility. Be willing to say “I'm sorry.” Be comfortable asking the “stupid” question. Real leaders don't need to have everyone think they know everything, and they don't always need to be right. Perhaps I didn't exactly answer your question, but I wanted to really share this perspective: if you see everything that happens as part of where you are right this minute, it's not about failure or growing pains. It's about growth and evolution.

Q: Define all the moving parts of BlogHer and how it's grown from conference to ad network and beyond — and if possible, the growth spurts and ‘pivots' that brought you here today…

A: Though we started as a conference, and the conference is our annual opportunity to re-invigorate our community, it's actually not the lion's share of our business. Most of our work is on the digital side…advertising in all its forms, from premium to programmatic to native, branded content and content marketing, social sharing, amplification programs, and more. We also do proprietary research via a panel of thousands of women in our community. Over the years we expanded our business beyond blogs only to include all the emerging social platforms. And over the years the advertising world itself has gotten more complex, so it basically feels like you must constantly adapt if you want to stay a leader…and adapting which is what I like to call it, as opposed to pivoting.

Queen Latifah with some ecstatic lady-bloggers, including @katiaDBE. #blogher2013 @iamqueenlatifah

— The Life Nostalgic (@LifeNostalgic) July 29, 2013

Q: Can you share your first insight from the ‘top of the mountain' — how did you know you had ‘made it' and this thing was going to work?

A: It's hard to relate to this question, because the constant adapting and evolving and growing means you NEVER feel like you're at the top of any mountain. Never. That being said, we knew there was a there-there at the very first conference. We knew there was a community full of talent, passion and motivation, and we knew there was a way to serve that community for the betterment of us all.

Q: Can you share your first insight from the ‘depths of the valley' — what did you learn and how did you turn things to a positive with your hard-won experience?

A: Look, you can't stop the clock or the calendar. Tomorrow really is another day. And another opportunity to try to get it right. People ask me how I stay so calm during the lead-up to and at the conference. It's because after all these years I know too well that you blink, and it's over, and you know what? It really will all turn out OK.

Q: What is your next pivot for BlogHer? Will there be a conference space large enough? Where do you go from here? (ie: Branson went to outer space, you will go to _________)

A: I can tell you the areas where we will continue to *evolve*…and where we believe the industry is evolving:

1. Mobile, OMG That shift has been here and gone, and there is still a lot of work for everyone online to do if we really want to monetize the mobile audience

2. Video Video is not just a big traffic and attention-driver; it's a results driver. We see higher engagement and higher lift when influencers share their perspectives via video. I, personally, am always saying I want to learn more about creating videos…so we need to bring all our members along with us on that journey.

3. Results I often say that customers don't want to pay just for your reach; they want to pay for your results. After all these years at it, you know what? The industry should be doing a better job of delivering predictive insights and guaranteeing outcomes. That's what we're doing: using our proprietary campaign analysis and reporting tools — when we say, “we can guarantee…” most customers look shocked that we're willing to go there. But it should become pretty standard.

Q: What are the three most important pieces of advice you can give your core audience (professional bloggers and women in tech?)

A: Sure, here are my favorite three pieces of advice:

1. Money doesn't buy happiness (past a certain point), but it does buy freedom. Don't over-extend or over-leverage yourself. Give yourself the freedom of a fat bank account…the freedom to walk away; the freedom to take a risk; the freedom to make your big idea a reality.

2. Ask yourself what's the worst that could happen if I fail? Make the answer concrete, not abstract. Answer it in detail. Sometimes our abstract fear holds us back, but if we really thought it through we'd realize failure isn't the end of the world; it's not a tragedy. Sometimes, instead, it's a catalyst.

3. Consider yourself a Minimum Viable Product. Stop waiting to be perfect to put yourself out there and go for opportunities. Don't be your own barrier, plenty of other people will be happy to serve that purpose in life.

Note to self… #BlogHer2013 — Brave Bosom (@BraveBosom) July 29, 2013

Q: In closing, can you give us some highlights of your 10th anniversary highlights? Any surprises in store? Anything you are doing differently here than you've done in the past?

A: Oh my goodness, so many things:

1. Notable Keynotes: Kerry Washington, Guy Kawasaki interviewing Arianna Huffington, Best-selling author-blogger Jenny Lawson, Grammy-nominated comedian Tig Notaro, Kara Swisher interviewing eBay CMO Richelle Parham, not to mention our annual Voice of the Year community keynote, featuring 12 readings from the year's best blogging.

2. Prolific Programming covering everything from the craft of writing, the monetization landscape, hands-on technical Geek Bars to personal blogging, and blogging for social good and social change.

3. Tribe Up and Thrive via our Birds of a Feather mini-conferences on Saturday afternoon — our new, expanded Birds of a Feather concept for 2014.

4. Parties and Networking every night, featuring an open mic for blog reading, karaoke, champagne toasts, and a closing party that we can only tease you with right now.

5. Our new BlogHer Buddy System, facilitated by our Official Communications Sponsor, Skype, which is a way to connect with attendees before, during, and after the conference.

@emilyahay perfect recap of #blogher2013 –> My Top 10 Lessons from BlogHer 2013 #blogging #leanin #techladies — Rachel Schostak (@rayprinst) August 27, 2013


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The post Building a femme-pire: 10 years of BlogHer [Interview] appeared first on Technorati.

By |July 17th, 2014|Content Marketing|0 Comments