Content Marketing Masterclass | Brad Merrill | Skillshare

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Content Marketing Masterclass

teacher avatar Brad Merrill, Media Entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome To The Course!


    • 2.

      [Marketing] What Is Marketing?


    • 3.

      [Marketing] How Marketing Has (And Hasn't) Changed


    • 4.

      [Marketing] Understanding the Cognitive Buying Journey (And Funnels!)


    • 5.

      [Marketing] A Word Of Warning


    • 6.

      [Content Marketing] What Is Content Marketing?


    • 7.

      [Content Marketing] Defining Your Goals


    • 8.

      [Content Marketing] The Importance Of Storytelling: How To Tell Compelling Stories


    • 9.

      [Content Marketing] How To Create Detailed Buyer Personas


    • 10.

      [Web Design] Why Good Design Matters


    • 11.

      [Web Design] The Importance Of Responsive Design


    • 12.

      [Web Design] How Minimizing Your Design Can Maximize Your Results


    • 13.

      [Web Design] Why You Should Be Using Landing Pages (And When)


    • 14.

      [Web Design] Baking Social Proof Into Your Site


    • 15.

      [Web Design] Planning For Edge Cases


    • 16.

      [Web Design] Why I Recommend Using WordPress


    • 17.

      [Content Ideas] The Importance Of A Reliable Ideation System


    • 18.

      [Content Ideas] Creation Begins With Consumption


    • 19.

      [Content Ideas] Conducting A "Brain Dump"


    • 20.

      [Content Ideas] The #1 Tool For Content Research And Competitive Analysis


    • 21.

      [Content Ideas] Questions Straight From Your Target Audience


    • 22.

      [Content Ideas] Eavesdropping On Niche Communities


    • 23.

      [Content Ideas] How Your Existing Audience And Content Can Help You Generate New Ideas


    • 24.

      [Copywriting] The Importance Of Effective Writing


    • 25.

      [Copywriting] How To Write Perfect Headlines


    • 26.

      [Copywriting] Matching Your Audience's Tone & Vocabulary


    • 27.

      [Copywriting] Maintaining Focus With Your Content


    • 28.

      [Copywriting] How To Write A Call-To-Action


    • 29.

      [Copywriting] How Grammatical Errors Can Cripple Your Marketing Efforts


    • 30.

      [Copywriting] How To Become A Better Writer


    • 31.

      [Types Of Content] Content Types Intro


    • 32.

      [Types Of Content] How To Create Epic List Content


    • 33.

      [Types Of Content] Teaching Your Audience With Tutorials


    • 34.

      [Types Of Content] Two Approaches To Q&A Content


    • 35.

      [Types Of Content] Interviews & Profiles


    • 36.

      [Types Of Content] Combining A List With A Roundup


    • 37.

      [Types Of Content] How To Create Valuable Reviews & Comparisons


    • 38.

      [Types Of Content] Working News Into Your Content Strategy


    • 39.

      [Types Of Content] Creating Valuable Roundups & Resource Lists


    • 40.

      [Types Of Content] Thought, Opinion, & Controversy


    • 41.

      [Types Of Content] Stories As A Content Format


    • 42.

      [Types Of Content] Statistics & Original Research


    • 43.

      [Types Of Content] Presenting Complex Data For Visual Learners


    • 44.

      [Types Of Content] How To Write A Case Study That Turns Readers Into Buyers


    • 45.

      [Repurposing] Content Formats


    • 46.

      [Repurposing] How To Generate An Endless Stream Of Fresh Content


    • 47.

      [Repurposing] Watch Me Turn One Video Interview Into More Than A Dozen Pieces Of Content


    • 48.

      [SEO] A Brief Introduction To SEO


    • 49.

      [SEO] Understanding Search Engines


    • 50.

      [SEO] Basic Site Setup For SEO


    • 51.

      [SEO] Titles & Meta Descriptions


    • 52.

      [SEO] Themes & Template Settings


    • 53.

      [SEO] How To Select The Right Keywords And Create High-Ranking Content On Any Topic


    • 54.

      [SEO] Does Keyword Density Matter?


    • 55.

      [SEO] Internal Links


    • 56.

      [SEO] Image Optimization


    • 57.

      [Promotion] Why Promotion Is Important


    • 58.

      [Promotion] Strategic Collaboration


    • 59.

      [Promotion] A Simple Way To Get Leading Influencers To Share Your Content


    • 60.

      [Promotion] Teasing Your Content On Social Media


    • 61.

      [Promotion] How To Get Your Content Featured In Popular Resource Lists


    • 62.

      [Promotion] Don't Neglect This Free Source Of On-Demand Traffic


    • 63.

      [Promotion] How To Promote Your Content In Groups & Niche Communities (Without Being Spammy)


    • 64.

      [Promotion] An Extremely Effective Way To Significantly Grow Your Audience Overnight


    • 65.

      [Email] Why An Email List Is Essential For Your Content Marketing Strategy


    • 66.

      [Email] How To Entice People To Opt In To Your List


    • 67.

      [Email] Standard Opt-In Forms


    • 68.

      [Email] High-Profile Opt-In Forms


    • 69.

      [Email] How To Turn Commenters Into Subscribers


    • 70.

      [Email] A Counterintuitive Strategy To Increase Your Conversions


    • 71.

      [Email] Using Social Proof To Grow Your Email List


    • 72.

      [Email] Nurturing Your List: The Key To Maintaining Relationships Over Time


    • 73.

      [External Channels] External Marketing Channels Intro


    • 74.

      [External Channels] Facebook Pages & Ads


    • 75.

      [External Channels] The Perfect Facebook Ad Funnel (For Leads)


    • 76.

      [External Channels] Facebook Groups


    • 77.

      [External Channels] Marketing On Twitter


    • 78.

      [External Channels] Marketing On Instagram


    • 79.

      [Measuring Results] The Importance Of Data


    • 80.

      [Measuring Results] Which Data Should You Be Monitoring?


    • 81.

      [Measuring Results] Moving Forward: What To Do With Your Data


    • 82.

      The Next Steps


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About This Class

Welcome to the Content Marketing Masterclass, a complete guide to growing your business in the modern world using the power of digital content.

I've spent more than a decade working at the intersection of business and media, which has given me a unique competitive advantage as we've entered this world where every company is expected to be a media company.

In this course, you'll learn exactly what it takes to plan and execute a content marketing strategy that drives your business forward. By the end, you'll have all the tools you need to market your business in the digital age.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Brad Merrill

Media Entrepreneur


Brad Merrill is the CEO of Merrill Media, a modern holding company focused on building independent, scalable businesses at the intersection of technology and media. He is regarded as an expert in his field, teaching business and technology courses to more than 100,000 students and providing marketing training to a number of prominent startups and Fortune 500 companies.

Merrill considers himself a passionate creative: he loves creating articles, videos, websites, companies, workflows, and new ideas. He has been creating things on the web since 2007, working on dozens of projects and reaching tens of millions of people in the process.

In 2010, Merrill founded VentureBreak, which became a leading source of news about innovation for forward-thinking entrepreneurs, investo... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome To The Course!: Hello and welcome to the course. My name's Brad Merrill, and I'm so excited that you're here with me to learn about content marketing. We've got a jam packed course here and I think you're really gonna enjoy it now. I think a good place to start would be a brief introduction of myself. So first of all, I wear many hats. I'm an entrepreneur. I'm a marketer. I'm a journalist. I'm a publisher. I live and work at the intersection of business and Media, which has given me a unique competitive advantage as we've entered this world where every company is expected to be a media company. I was doing content marketing long before it became a hot buzzword, and I've spent more than a decade learning what works and what doesn't. What I hope to deliver with this course is an all inclusive, neatly packaged guide detail ing what I've learned through years of professional experience and hundreds of hours of research that you can use to develop a content marketing strategy that drives results for your business. So what exactly is content marketing? According to Wikipedia, it's a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. But content marketing isn't just a new kind of marketing. It's the way good marketing is done in today's world were shifting away from traditional TV and radio ads where nobody's really paying attention and we're moving to the Web where people are paying attention. But it's not just the medium that's changed. You used to be able to put out an ad saying, Here's my product. You should buy it and a certain segment of the audience would say Okay and buy it today. There are so many companies competing for the consumer's attention that most people are no longer receptive to traditional advertising. If you want their attention, you have tow, earn it, and the way to do that is by providing some kind of free value upfront with no expectation of return. It sounds counterintuitive, but the reality is people buy from those they trust, and you can use valuable content to build trust with potential customers at scale, passively bringing new prospects into your sales funnel day in and day out. This course is both theoretical and practical. By the end, you'll have a high level understanding of content marketing as a whole, but you'll also understand the nuts and bolts the specific, actionable strategies that you can immediately apply to grow your business. On a similar note. Content marketing is both an art and a science, and I hope to convey both of those aspects for you in the course. Producing content is a creative effort, no doubt. But you also have to be strategic and data driven in your approach, so we'll be sure to cover everything from both angles. You'll also notice that the ideas in this core span multiple disciplines. That shouldn't be a problem if you're a small independent company or start up. But in larger organisations you may occasionally need to pass things off to whoever is responsible for that part of the business. So with that said, here are some of the things will cover in this course. We'll start by taking a look at some classic marketing fundamentals principles from the old world of marketing that you'll need to understand For this course. I want these strategies to be accessible to people with all levels of experience, so we'll start with the absolute basics and work our way up from there after that will move into the essentials of content marketing will dive deeper into what it is and how it works . Will discuss the importance of storytelling in the anatomy of a good story, and you'll learn how to create detailed buyer personas to guide your entire strategy. Then we'll get a little bit technical and take a look at some key Web design principles. Toe Optimize your website for content marketing Basically all the little details you need to focus on to turn your site into a well oiled lead generating machine. After that, you'll learn how to develop a system for getting to know your audience and consistently generating new content. Ideas. Content Marketing is a long term game, so it's important to have a reliable ideation system in place so you never run out of steam . Then we'll move into the world of copyrighting, where you'll learn all about effective writing headlines, structure, vocabulary, tone calls to action editing as well as a number of tips that you can immediately implement to become a better writer Overall. From there we'll talk about the various types of content you can create and will actually give you more than a dozen specific content ideas that you can steal and apply to your business. We'll talk about different content formats like Blawg, posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, and I'll show you how you can create an endless stream of valuable content simply by repurpose ing what you've already created. Then we'll get technical again and talk about search engine optimization, and I'll walk you through just about everything you need to know toe. Optimize your site for search engines and Dr Free Organic Search traffic to your content. Next, we'll talk about how toe actively promote your content in drive traffic from a wide variety of sources. Content promotion Is Justus important as content creation, so I want to make sure you're comfortable with that part of the process as well. We'll also talk about email marketing and how you can use your content to grow your email list more quickly and effectively. Toward the end of the course, we'll talk about some external marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and how those platforms can tie right into your main content strategy . And finally, we'll talk about how you can collect and analyze data to measure the results of your content. marketing efforts and ensure that you're always making progress toward your goals. As you can see, this course covers a lot of ground, and you should walk away with a professional level understanding of how to market products and services in the modern world in terms of actually using the course. What I recommend for most students is to first complete the course from start to finish and then return to individual sections later based on where you are in your own progress. Also, keep in mind that the course is designed for people with varying levels of experience, so feel free to skip ahead if a particular lecture feels a bit redundant or irrelevant to you personally. So with all of that in mind, I want to thank you again for joining me. I'm so glad you're here and without further ado, let's get straight in 2. [Marketing] What Is Marketing?: before we get into anything specific to content, marketing or marketing in the age of the Internet, let's spend some time brushing up on some classic marketing fundamentals because the basic ideas are the same even today. A good place to start is the definition of marketing itself. What is marketing? Well, the answer to that question varies depending on who you ask. According to Wikipedia, marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships, and it's used to create, keep and satisfy the customer. The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines it as the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. The definition I prefer that tends to be mawr. Applicable to this course is the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors. It's about building a reputation, building trust and educating people on what you have to offer. You want to capture their attention, guide them through each stage of the buying process and then eventually direct them to take action, like making a purchase or signing up for a free resource that will further educate them on why your product is the right choice. Your goal as a marketer is to figure out what's important to the people in your target market, educate them on what constitutes a good deal in your particular field and provide concrete , quantifiable proof that your business provides the best possible deal. If you can do this properly, you'll be able to earn people's attention and then their trust and eventually their action . The problem is, most businesses don't do this properly, and that's why marketing sometimes gets a bad rep. Ah, lot of companies will do anything and everything to get people to open up their wallets to them, marketing and advertising or about hyperbole and fluff. I'm sure you've seen ads claiming that a product can totally change your life If you just buy this car or this energy drink or whatever, suddenly you'll be happier. You'll be more attractive. You'll be a whole new person because of this one purchase. But life doesn't work like that. So it's understandable that consumers are turned off. All these ads do is make big, exaggerated claims. Whether they're explicit or implied. There's no education, there's no proof, and there's no trust. The result is skepticism rather than enthusiasm. You don't want your prospects to be skeptical. You want to give them the information they need toe, understand and believe in the value you have to offer to the extent that they feel it would be foolish to do business with anyone else, regardless of price. You can accomplish that through proper marketing. Another thing to understand is that marketing is not the same thing as sales. Marketing is everything you do to reach people. Initiate a relationship and educate them on why your product is right. For them, sales is the process of engaging with people one on one and actually closing a sale or getting a signed agreement. Now, marketing and sales should always be aligned, and marketing is what fuels the sales process. But the two disciplines do require different skill sets, and this course is focused on marketing. 3. [Marketing] How Marketing Has (And Hasn't) Changed: the world has changed a lot over the last couple of decades, and I don't think that could be overstated. We're living through one of the greatest culture shifts in human history. Think about it. We literally have all of humanity's collective knowledge at our fingertips. Anything you want to know is just a search away. And if you need to contact somebody even if they're on the other side of the planet, you can do so instantaneously. It's really a remarkable time to be alive. Now, of course, you can expect business and marketing to reflect this new, fast paced world. A lot of things have changed. For example, marketing tools and platforms have changed and continue to change all the time. In the past, you may have purchased ad space in a newspaper or magazine, but over time that focus began to shift over to radio, then to television and now the Internet, where you have Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and all these other platforms that are unlike anything from the old world of marketing. Ultimately, it's just a matter of where the consumer's attention is at the moment. Another example of that company's usedto worry about having a listing in the Yellow Pages today. What matters is S CEO or, ah, search engine optimization, because search engines are where consumers go when they're actively searching for a product or service. So you want to be there when they come looking. Nobody reads the Yellow Pages anymore, so that's much less of a concern. The next interesting changes that suddenly every company is a media company. It's common today for individual businesses. Toe have editorial staff creating and publishing the kind of content you'd expect from an industry publication. And that is the essence of content marketing. People's attention has also changed. It used to be relatively easy to get the consumer's attention because they weren't being constantly bombarded every minute of every day. Not anymore. It's been reported that the average person is exposed to between 4000 and 10,000 ads each day, which I know sounds a little farfetched. But when you combine all the logos on the products around you with billboards, print ads, radio and TV, and of course the countless ads you see online, 4000 to 10,000 seems like a reasonable count, and those numbers just continue to grow over time. As a marketer, it's your job to cut through that noise and earn people's attention, because in today's world, attention is a scarce resource. With all of that in mind, though, the core principles of marketing are the same. The methodology is different, but human psychology has not changed all that much, and I'd like to talk more about that in the next lecture. 4. [Marketing] Understanding the Cognitive Buying Journey (And Funnels!): one of the most important concepts to understand about marketing is the ADA model. That's an acronym for awareness, interest, desire, action. And it's one of the best ways to illustrate the cognitive buying journey of a consumer. This is a very old concept by today's standards, dates back to the late 19th century, but it's still just is applicable in today's world, because again, human psychology hasn't changed a lot in the last century. So people still go through the same mental and emotional process when they're making buying decisions, and that process boils down to ADA. Let's break this down so you can get a good understanding of each stage. First, we have awareness. This is where the consumer becomes aware of your product or your brand. Often this happens through advertising or PR, and it's basically the first encounter that people have with you. They're not buying yet. They may not even be interested yet, but they are aware that you exist. The second stage is interests, and as you could probably guess, this is where the consumer becomes interested in your brand. Again, they're not buying yet, but now they feel inclined to take a closer look and learn more about what you have to offer. Next up is desire. This is where people develop a favorable disposition towards your brand. In other words, it's the stage where you try to develop an emotional connection and move people from liking your product toe actually wanting it. And finally, we have action where the consumer takes the next step. Whether that means making a purchase, starting a free trial, joining your newsletter, making a phone call. Whatever action you're trying to get people to take happens here. So that's Ada, the four main stages of the buying process. You'll notice that this model is often illustrated as a funnel. It's bigot, the top and small at the bottom. This is a useful way to think about the marketing process as a whole. The idea is you want a guide people through the sales process, but naturally, not everyone is gonna make it all the way to the action stage. So at the top, in the awareness stage, you have a huge mass of potential customers with a problem that you may be able to solve. Some of them will make it to the interests stage, but others will drop off, and that can happen for any number of reasons. They may find another solution, or they may decide that your solution isn't right for them. Whatever the case, it's extremely rare for 100% of the people at the top of your funnel to move down to the next stage. The same thing happens in the interests stage. Some people move down to the desire stage, others drop off and the cycle continues all the way through. You're gonna lose people at every stage. But don't get discouraged when that happens, because what you're doing is gradually pruning your list of leads until you've got a small group of enthusiastic customers who are ready to buy from you. By the time people get down to the action stage of the bottom of the funnel, they're excited about your brand. They've got their wallets out, and when it comes time to make the ask, you're not gonna have any problems closing the sale. And that's the general idea behind marketing. You don't wanna have to beg and plead to get people to take action. So instead of asking people to buy from you 10 seconds into your relationship, you need to spend time providing value, educating them, walking them through the process and letting them go. If they're not. An ideal customer later in the course will revisit these concepts as they pertain to content marketing specifically. 5. [Marketing] A Word Of Warning: I'd like to preface the rest of this course with an important caveat. No amount of marketing conf fix a bad product. Good marketing essentially amplifies the kind of business you're already running. If you have a good product, a good marketing campaign is gonna amplify that and drive substantial results. But if you start a big marketing initiative for a bad product, you might make some initial sales. But ultimately you're going to struggle with retention, and it's gonna be difficult to maintain a positive brand image over time. So what I'd encourage you to do if you have the opportunity, is audit your business for any weak points. Before you put these strategies into action, make sure your product really is better than the competition. Be ready to provide a great customer experience and make sure you believe in your overall message because it's not easy to sell other people. If you're not sold yourself 6. [Content Marketing] What Is Content Marketing?: Now that we've explored the basics of marketing in general, it's time to get a little more specific and take a look at content, marketing and what makes it unique. So again we'll start with a basic definition, and then we'll dive a little deeper. Wikipedia defines content marketing as, ah, form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. If you're wondering what exactly constitutes content, it's basically anything you publish on the Web. Blogger posts, articles, videos, photos, podcasts, tweets, Facebook posts, these air all types of content. But the goal is not to create a bunch of content just touting your products. There's a time and a place for that, but the vast majority of content you create should be focused on providing valuable information that's useful to your audience. If you do that, you're gonna earn people's attention. You're gonna build trust, and then it will be a lot easier to guide them through the buying process. When that time comes, I think of content marketing not so much as a subcategory of marketing, but Maura's the current state of marketing as a whole. It's how good marketing is done in today's world. With that said, content marketing isn't a completely new concept. Businesses have actually been doing similar things for generations. For example, John Deere, which makes tractors and other farming equipment, launched its own consumer magazine all the way back in 18 95. The idea was to combine John Deere branding with articles, photos and agricultural tips with the goal of creating the go to publication on rural life and using that as a platform to promote John Deere products. Well, it worked. People loved it. In fact, the magazine actually still exists, and it's played a major role in creating the affinity people have for the John Deere brand . Today, the core philosophy behind modern content marketing is exactly the same. But the barrier to entry is much lower because, thanks to the Internet, you don't have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on printing equipment just to get started. Content marketing Kenbrell If it your business from two distinct angles, immediate leads and sales and long term branding in terms of generating leads and driving sales in the short term, it's all about ADA, which again stands for awareness, interest, desire, action, The goal is to use your content to guide people through that buying process, from the awareness stage at the top of the funnel, all the way down to the action stage at the bottom. And it's a good idea to create different types of content for different groups of people. Awareness content is gonna be different from interest content, which is different from desire, content and so on. We'll talk more on that later. But just keep in mind that you want to use your content to educate people and guide them through that process. When it comes to a long term, branding content can be just as useful. When you're constantly providing free value with no expectation of return, you become a trusted source of information. And when people think about your industry, where the type of product or service you offer, you're gonna be the first thing that pops into their minds because of all the free information you've given them in the past. So to summarize content marketing is a marketing approach where you create and distribute content, blawg post videos, etcetera and use that content to earn people's trust and ultimately guide them through the buying process. 7. [Content Marketing] Defining Your Goals: developing an effective content strategy begins with defining your long term goals and understanding the action and investment required to achieve those schools. Content Marketing is a long term game, so it's important to make sure you're always moving in the right direction and not just spinning your wheels. You've probably heard of smart goals before, and these are exactly the types of objectives you want for your content strategy. Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, results focused and time bound. Let's run through that criteria for a little extra clarity, starting with specific specific goals clearly state exactly what you're going to dio think what, how and why you want to minimize ambiguity and define your goals as clearly as possible. It's also important that your goals are measurable that way. You know whether you've achieved them, of course, but you also know how far along in the process you are at any given moment. Next we have attainable. You want to be ambitious with your goals, but you don't want to go overboard to the point where they're completely unrealistic. So set goals that are challenging but still based in reality results focused. This means you should measure your goals based on results, not activities. You never want to find yourself running in place and doing things that aren't actually moving the needle. So focus on the results and let the activities follow. And finally, your goals should be time bound. They should be linked to a specific time frame to create a sense of urgency. There's a big difference between a goal you want to achieve this month and a goal you want to achieve in the next five years, so be sure to take that into account. In addition to the end result itself. You'll also want to monitor other related KP eyes for each goal. That is key performance indicators. So if your goal is to add $10,000 in monthly revenue, you'll obviously need to increase sales to increase sales, you're going to need more leads to get more leads. You need more traffic and so on. This is going to require some guesswork in the beginning, but as time goes on, you'll likely get your conversion rates down to a science. So you know exactly how much traffic results in a particular number of leads or sales. And of course, the actionable part of all this is your content creation and your content promotion. If your goal is to increase your Web traffic by 20% in the next six months, that begins with creating valuable content and promoting it, which will cover in detail later in the course. 8. [Content Marketing] The Importance Of Storytelling: How To Tell Compelling Stories: Everybody loves a good story. In fact, storytelling is one of the things that makes us unique as human beings. According to psychology today, stories provide a way of understanding our place in the scheme of things by structuring our understanding of events. They root us in an ongoing stream of history and thereby provide us with a sense of belonging and help establish our identities. We love sharing stories with one another, and storytelling is one of the best ways to connect with people and build relationships. So it follows that storytelling should also fit into your marketing strategy, right? Given that it's such an effective way to relate to people one on one, a good story is an essential factor when it comes to building relationships with people in your target market. Chances are you're not the only business that offers your particular type of product or service. You have competitors, but even if you don't operate in a super crowded market, you still have to compete with all the other various inputs that are vying for your customers attention. Every 60 seconds, people publish more than 1400 new Blawg posts, 277,000 tweets and 2.4 million Facebook posts. And all of that happens over and over and over every minute of every day. Your job is a marketer is to cut through all that noise by making a human connection. And again, one of the best ways to make a human connection is by sharing a compelling story. You're gonna be doing a lot of storytelling with your content, so it's worth taking a look at the anatomy of a good story, sort of the essential building blocks that you always want to include. Storytelling in the context of marketing isn't all that different from storytelling and literature. You've got characters, you've got a point of view, you've got conflict and you've got a resolution. Let's go through those points one by one so you can get a good understanding of each of them. So we'll start with characters. When you're crafting a story, you have to consider the people involved. Who is the story about who's taking action, who is facing a problem that needs to be overcome when it comes to marketing, The main character in your story will often be your reader. But for that to work it's important to know your reader, and the way to do that is by creating detailed buyer personas. So what is the buyer persona? It's basically a composite sketch of a certain segment of your audience, based on a combination of raw data and educated guesses about who your readers are. It's a way to visualize an individual person consuming your content and identify the best way to connect with them. If you work in a big company that's been doing marketing for a long time, you may already have some buyer personas to work with. But if not, don't worry will cover exactly how to create a buyer persona in the next lecture. For now, just understand that when you're telling stories with your content, your reader will often play a central role. So you want to know them well and tailor your story specifically to them. The next thing to consider is your stories point of view, which ties right in with your character. It could be first person, second person or third person. In the case of first person. Your main character is the author. Use words like me and I, and your story generally comes from first hand experience. This is ideal. If you're an expert on a topic and wanna share tips or advice or experiences based on your unique background. Second person point of view is more focused on your audience. Use words like you and your and your reader place the lead role in your story. It's all about their circumstances, their challenges and how they confined solutions to their problems. Second person is rare in traditional literature, but in marketing it's very common because again, your audience will often be the primary focus of your story. And, of course, we also have third person. This is where the main character in your story is 1/3 party, and you mainly use pronouns like he, she or they. This is something you're probably familiar with because most books are written in third person, but it's not quite as common in marketing because it's generally not as personal. However, one common use of third person point of view in marketing is a case study where you tell the story of how a customer or client used your company to solve a problem and highlight the results. In this case, that particular customer is the main character. So those air your three points of view. The next component of a good story is conflict. This is what makes a story a story, right? Any compelling story needs an element of conflict. This could be a specific conflict between two or more characters, or even just a problem in the main character's life that needs to be solved. So when you're creating a piece of content to help your reader do something, you want to frame it as a conflict, a problem that you can help them solve. If there's no conflict, there's no story. And finally, your story needs a resolution. If you just present a conflict and end it there, your story is going to seem anti climactic, and your reader isn't really gonna benefit from your content. The resolution is the natural conclusion, based on how the main character solved the problem. So if you're writing in first person, it would be how you solved a particular problem in second person. It would be how the reader could solve a problem, and in third person it would be house. Some third party solved a problem. Remember, we used the example of the case study where a customer solved their problem by working with your company. Okay, so now you understand why storytelling is important and you're familiar with the core elements of a good story. You want to keep all of this in mind as you move into the content creation process later in the course. 9. [Content Marketing] How To Create Detailed Buyer Personas: in the previous lecture, we talked about storytelling, and I briefly mentioned the concept of buyer personas. This is something you'll definitely want to have in your arsenal to optimize your content marketing efforts. So in this lecture, I'd like to take a closer look and walk you through the process of actually creating buyer personas for your business. So, first of all, what is a buyer persona? As I mentioned earlier, it's essentially a composite sketch of a certain segment of your audience. You take what you know about your audience, where your target audience make some educated guesses and boil that information down into a handful of fictional characters that you feel are representative of your readers. One of the best ways to create effective content is to imagine one or more individual people who will eventually consume it and then crafted to best meet their particular needs . A buyer persona ca NBI that individual person you write for and when you're writing in the second person point of view, you can use buyer personas to more effectively work your audience into your story as the main character, using their challenges and even their own language to connect with them on a more personal level. With that in mind, what does a buyer persona look like? First, each buyer persona will have a name. This is totally arbitrary, but it helps to imagine them as a real person. The rest of the information will vary depending on what your business does, but here are some examples of data points you may want to include job title. What do they do and what's their job description? Salary? How much money do they make age? How old are they? Gender. Does your audience tend to skew toward one gender or another location? Are your prospects based in a single location or they more distributed education or they college educated? Do they have a common field of study? Family? Are they single? Are they married? Do they have kids hobbies where they like to do for fun reading habits? Who do they turn to for information goals? Where their ambitions, what do they want out of life challenges? What problems are they facing? How could you help them solve those problems? Values what's most important to them, and why? Fears what keeps them up at night? And what would help to alleviate those fears. Things of that nature thes. They're just examples, but these are the kinds of things you'll want to know. Now you're probably wondering where all this information comes from again. It's a combination of raw data and educated guesses, and it can come from a variety of sources. For example, you can look at your website analytics to see where your visitors are coming from, what keywords they used to find your site, how long they stayed, what links they clicked and so on. This can tell you a lot about the desires and motivations of your audience. You can also extract some interesting data from your social media followers, for example, by using Facebook insights. But there's also a more subjective side to this. Talk to your existing customers. Ask them questions and pay attention to the conversations happening on social media. If your company has a lot of direct contact with customers through a customer service team or sales team, get those teams involved and ask them what they've learned about your customers. If you don't have an audience or a large customer base yet, you can also look around the web where people in your target audience are having conversations and learn about them that way. And you can even learn from your competitors by analyzing their customers and looking at the way they engage their audience with their content again. It's okay to guess a little. And if you're having trouble later in the course, will talk about a number of ways to generate content ideas, and you can actually use those same strategies toe. Learn about your target audience and further develop your buyer personas. So stay tuned for that now. How many buyer personas do you need? This really depends on the scope of your business, but I always recommend having more than one because it's unlikely that you only serve one single demographic, right. 3 to 5 is probably a good range to shoot for. That gives you a few fictional people to keep in mind as you're creating your content, and it gives you the opportunity to create content that's tailored specifically to one particular segment of your audience or another 10. [Web Design] Why Good Design Matters: we've all heard it before. Never judge a book by its cover. But the fact is, we make judgments based on appearances all the time and not just with books. What your website looks like is gonna have a substantial impact on the results you see from your marketing efforts, regardless of how good your content is now. Of course, you've probably heard people say that content is king and that's 100% true. But there's a caveat to that. Content may be king, but design is the castle. Design is what people notice before they've even had a chance to read your content, and it sets the tone for the entire experience. Remember, there are literally millions of different inputs competing for your audiences attention, so it's crucial that you nail that first impression and keep people engaged. Design is also a key factor when it comes to building trust. There's a study titled Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites, in which a group of participants was directed to search the Web for health information that was relevant to them and then discuss their level of trust for each of the pages they found out of all the factors that led people to mistrust a website 94% were designed related 94% . That means in almost every case, people were turned off not by the content of the site itself, but by the sites appearance. Here's some of the participants First impressions of the websites they visited. I found the screen too busy. I couldn't quite latch on to anything straight away. It's so clinical, so pasty. Lots of white, lots of pale blue, obviously trying to be gentle on the I the banners when they're trying to sell you something or click down here for your free whatever, you just get turned off one of them I didn't like the color of I couldn't wait to get out. It was an insipid green backdrop. It just put me off reading it. There was nothing I liked about it at all. I didn't like the colors, the text, the layout again. These are all criticisms of the design and user experience, not the content itself. On Lee, 6% of the comments about rejection or mistrust cited the actual content. So if you want people to trust your brand and your content, it's clear that your Web design needs to be on point. This is more important than any individual marketing campaign because your website is the end point for all of your external campaigns and promotions, so it better be optimized in this section. We'll talk about some recommendations and General Do's and don't of Web design that you can implement to begin your content marketing strategy with a solid foundation. 11. [Web Design] The Importance Of Responsive Design: When you're publishing content in today's world, it is absolutely imperative that your website is responsive. If you're not familiar with the terminology, a responsive design automatically resize is in adapts to the smaller screen of a smartphone or tablet, essentially making your site mobile friendly. This improves the experience for mobile users by ensuring that your text is readable. Your links and buttons are easy to tap, and there's no horizontal scrolling or zooming. I don't know if you remember the days when you had to zoom and pan across websites on your smartphone. Back in the early days of mobile browsing, everything was designed for the desktop, and Mobile was just an afterthought. If that it was not an ideal experience. And in today's mobile centric world, that would be unacceptable. Mawr and more people are using smartphones and tablets as their primary Web browsing devices, and this is evidenced by the fact that more than 60% of all Google searches now come from mobile devices. So when you're publishing content, you should expect at least a good chunk of your readers, maybe even the majority, to view your content on a mobile device. It's also worth noting that Google and other search engines now use mobile friendliness as a ranking signal, meaning that when all other factors are equal, a responsive site will rank higher in the search results than a non responsive site. Now, technically, there are multiple ways to make your website mobile friendly. There's a method known as dynamic serving where your website has the same you are l but actually serves up different code when it recognises a mobile browser. Then there's the method, where you have a completely separate mobile site and just redirect people when they visit using a mobile device. And finally, there's responsive design where you're effectively serving up the same website in the same content on every device. But in this case it has a fluid and flexible layout that rearranges and adjust certain elements according to the size of the user's screen. Responsiveness is generally the way to go unless you have some special circumstances, because responsive design allows for a very consistent appearance across multiple platforms , while also providing the optimal user experience, regardless of what devices your audience uses to view your content 12. [Web Design] How Minimizing Your Design Can Maximize Your Results: a common mistake in the world of Web design, is trying to accomplish too much with a single page. If there's a lot of stuff going on on your website, or if you give the user too many options, it can be difficult to get them to take action. That's why it's generally wise to take a minimal approach toe Web design and to the extent that you can ensure that each page serves just a single purpose, you can do this in a number of ways. First, when possible, I recommend using a single column design. That way. There's no question about where the reader should focus their attention. Often, websites will have a sidebar with a bunch of random links and promotions, all crammed together with no clear purpose. But ultimately, that just adds clutter to the page and diverts the readers. Focus from your content. Cut the sidebar if you can. But if you can't just be sure to minimize the clutter and Onley include things that actually support the main objective of the page. On a related note, it's a good idea to keep choices to a minimum. There's a phenomenon called paralysis by analysis, where the energy it takes someone to make. A decision outweighs the benefit of actually making the decision so they end up doing nothing. That's what happens when you give people too many options. Stick with a single call to action if possible, or at least minimized the options to two or three. That principle applies particularly well deformed fields. When you have a contact form or an opt in form for your email list, you want to reduce the friction as much as possible. So asking for a ton of information right away is usually a bad idea. Try to stick with the basics name, phone number, email address. And finally, don't underestimate the value of white space. If you use fewer colors, the colors you do use are going to stand out and really pop. Try to reserve bold colors for the parts of your website that actually drive action and ultimately make you money like your opt informs and call the action buttons. So to summarize, if the goal of your website is to drive profitable action for your business, less is more. Forget the bells and whistles because they only distract from your core objectives 13. [Web Design] Why You Should Be Using Landing Pages (And When): so we've discussed the importance of minimalism as a general design principle. But what happens if you take minimalism to the extreme and design a page that has only one purpose with literally zero other options? A page where the only possible action is your core objective? For example, generating leads growing your email list or selling a product? This is what's known as a landing page to give you a better understanding. Here's how Wikipedia defines it. A landing page sometimes known as a lead capture page or a destination page, is a single Web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine, optimized search result or on online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy. That is a logical extension of the advertisement search, result or link. So, to put it simply, a landing page is where you send people from an advertising campaign when you want them to take immediate action. It could be a Facebook ad or a message to your email list or some other promotion, and it serves as a logical extension of the ad itself, so it'll likely have the same headline in the same visuals and again, it's on Lee purpose is to get people to take action. There's no sidebar, no site navigation, no external links, just your content in a very clear call to action. When it comes to your general top of funnel content, your block posts and things like that, you'll normally publish those on your main website. But when it comes to moving people deeper into your funnel, turning casual visitors into leads or customers, that's when a landing page is useful. When you're driving targeted traffic that you hope to convert into leads and sales, you don't just want to send them to your home page. You want to give them a very clear course of action in a landing page is a great way to do that. If you want an easy way to set up a landing page without having to do too much extra work, you can use a service like UNB, Ounce or lead pages, which both offer pre made landing page templates for just about every industry. There are also plenty of free and inexpensive templates around the Web that you can find with a quick Google search. We'll talk more about specific use cases for landing pages later in the course, but I wanted to introduce the concept early on, so you have it at your disposal. 14. [Web Design] Baking Social Proof Into Your Site: you can talk all day long about how great you are, and people kind of expect you to do that. But they're unlikely to just take your word for it. After all, how are they supposed to know that you're not just exaggerating like all those other marketers? Why should they trust that you can actually deliver one powerful factor that many businesses neglect is social proof. Of course, you love your product, but when you show that other people love your product to your credibility goes through the roof. A great way to do this is by prominently showcasing the feedback of your happiest customers . Ideally, you'll use reviews from places like Yelp and Facebook or recommendations from linked in because people already recognize and trust those platforms and their logos. If you have large, recognizable corporate clients, you can also ask their permission to display their logos on your site as existing clients. And if you ever find yourself getting coverage in the press, you can use the logos and quotes from those stories to further boost your credibility. Whenever you have the opportunity to showcase an authoritative third party who thinks you're awesome, you should absolutely do it. It will give your readers more confidence in your content, and it'll make it much easier to move people through your funnel. 15. [Web Design] Planning For Edge Cases: Most of the time, a casual reader is gonna need several touchpoints with your brand before they hand over their information and become a lead and often many mawr before they become a customer. But occasionally a serious buyer may stumble under your site. Credit card in hand, ready to buy, with no interest in slowly drifting through your funnel. It's not the norm. But you should always be prepared to handle those types of customers and accept sales right away. On a similar note. It's a good idea to have multiple methods of contact available to make sure you're always capturing those serious buyers, regardless of how they prefer to engage. So, yes, have an opt in form. Have a contact form, but also make sure you have a prominent email address and, ideally, a phone number as well for those edge cases where someone prefers to get in touch That way 16. [Web Design] Why I Recommend Using WordPress: really quickly. I want to go on a slight tangent here and talk about content management systems. A content management system, or CMS for short is the software used to create and publish content on your website. There are a ton of different options out there, from subscription based platforms like Squarespace to self hosted options like WordPress. Andrew Paul. You may be using one of these already, but if you're just getting started or if you're open to trying a different solution, I'm gonna be very straightforward here and suggest that you use WordPress. WordPress is a free, open source content management system that you can install on your own Web host and used to build beautiful websites and publish content with little to no technical knowledge. It started all the way back in 2003 as a simple blogging platform, and it's since evolved into a full fledged CMS that powers more than 25% of all sites on the Web. To give you some prominent examples, TechCrunch Forbes, Ted, the NFL UPS mashable the next Web PlayStation time NASA, Harvard Business Review, Nikon and Coca Cola all use WordPress to power their websites and blog's now, WordPress itself is actually pretty simple, but it's specifically designed to be modified and extended, and that's primarily done through themes and plug ins. Themes. Control the appearance of your site and plug ins. Control the functionality. If you want to change the way your site looks, you install a theme, either one that's publicly available or one that's designed specifically for your brand. If you want to add a feature that WordPress doesn't offer out of the box, you install a plug in. The result is a website that looks and performs exactly the way you need it to to grow your business. I'm a huge proponent of WordPress. I think it's the single best solution for companies that do content marketing. Now, of course, there are other solutions. And if you're happy with what you've got, by all means use what works for you. I just wanted to give you my two cents on WordPress 17. [Content Ideas] The Importance Of A Reliable Ideation System: you've probably been wondering when we're going to start talking about content. After all, this is a content marketing course, and that part of the process begins here in the idea stage. How do you come up with good content ideas? And, more importantly, how do you come up with good content ideas? Consistently content, Marketing again is a long term game. It's not like you put out a few pieces of content and just hope for the best. You're gonna be doing this for a while, so it's important to have a system in place that allows you to generate ideas reliably. That's what you'll find in this section a variety of strategies in tools that you can use to find ideas and inspiration for your next piece of content. 18. [Content Ideas] Creation Begins With Consumption: one of the best things you can do as a content creator is make it a habit to consume lots of content. Renowned author Stephen King has a great book called on Writing a Memoir of the Craft. In it, he discusses how important it is for aspiring writers to dedicate time to reading. He writes. The rial importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing. One comes to the country of the writer with one's papers and identification, pretty much in order. Constant reading will pull you into a place, Ah, mindset. If you like the phrase where you can write eagerly and without self consciousness, it also offers a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn't. What is trite in what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying or dead on the page? The more you read, the less app you are to make a fool of yourself with your pin or word processor. Consuming content is also great for idea synthesis. You see, there's really no such thing as an original idea. Ideas air simply new combinations of existing elements. When you immerse yourself in those existing elements. You can really get your creative juices flowing and encourage the ideation process. And when I say you should consume lots of content, I don't just mean content that's relevant to your field. You should definitely be reading industry blog's and stuff like that, but also take the time to read books, science, poetry, history, even social media posts. You'll be surprised how seemingly unrelated concepts can suddenly click and form an incredible idea, and often this happens when you least expect it. There's a concept known as unconscious creativity when you're working on a problem and then you stop and do something else. Your unconscious mind keeps working in the background until suddenly you have that light bulb moment in the shower were in your car or in some other situation where you're not actively trying to come up with ideas. So consumed lots of content. Immerse yourself in those existing elements and then step back and let unconscious creativity work its magic 19. [Content Ideas] Conducting A "Brain Dump": once again unconscious creativity can play a significant role in the ideation process, but you're not always gonna have an epiphany in the shower or on your drive home. Sometimes you need to actively extract ideas from your mind. One way to do that is by conducting what's called a brain dump. You can do this by yourself, but you may find that it's even more effective with a partner or a team, because you can play off of each other's ideas. Here's how it works. Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes to create a sense of urgency. Then just start jotting down potential content ideas as quickly as possible. You can use sticky notes or a whiteboard or notebook. Doesn't matter. Just come up with is many ideas as you can, and get them all written down without filtering your thoughts at all. This is about quantity, not quality, So don't worry about how good or bad your ideas are. Just get him out of your head and worry about refining them. Later. When the time is up, soar through your ideas, decide which ones could work and look for any emerging patterns or combinations that could work, you may find that more ideas come to your mind during this process will be sure to record those as well. At the end of the process, you and your team should have a pretty solid list of ideas that could potentially fit into your content strategy. 20. [Content Ideas] The #1 Tool For Content Research And Competitive Analysis: One of my favorite tools for generating ideas and inspiration for new content is buzz Sumo . This service allows you to see the most popular content on any topic or from any competitors based on social shares and back links. So you would open up buzz sumo dot com Inter a topic related to your industry. This could be broad or specific, and what you get is a list of popular headlines from around the Web thes air, all pieces of content about the topic you entered that performed particularly well. You can click each headline toe open up the original post, but there's also a wealth of data right here on the results page. Under each title, you could see the author, the source in the type of content, whether it's a list or how to article or something else. Then, on the right side, there's an overview of the number of times the post was shared on each of the major social media platforms, including the total number of shares on the far right in the middle column. You can view the back links for each results, see who shared it on Twitter or share yourself, and if these results don't quite meet your needs. There are plenty of filtering options over here on the left. For example, you can narrow the results down to content published in the last 24 hours the past week, the past month, year, two years, five years or a specific range of your choosing. Then, if you want to see a wider variety of sources, you can use this check box toe. Limit your results toe one link per domain, and you could also filter by content, type, language, country, word count and specific domains. You consort the results however you want, and you can use any of these search operators to run a more advanced search, and you're not limited to searching topics. You can also enter a competitors domain name to see what content is performing well. For them. Using buzz Sumo can be a great way to understand the mindset of your target audience and see what types of content they're consuming. It's also an opportunity to see where your competitors may be lacking, for example, topics they're not covering or areas where you may be able to create something better 21. [Content Ideas] Questions Straight From Your Target Audience: Quora is one of my favorite sites on the Web. It's a Q and A service where people asking answer questions on thousands of different topics, and the questions get answered by real people with riel experience. I don't know if you remember Yahoo's Q and A site, Yahoo answers, but man, it was an absolute disaster, wasn't it? The questions were bad, the answers were bad, and there wasn't really a system in place to keep the community positive and helpful. That's not the case with Cora. They've managed to create an incredible community where you have everyone from car mechanics toe astrophysicists answering questions about their expertise. And if you consider yourself a curious person, it is a joy to use with that in mind, Quarrel can also be an asset for your content creation efforts because it allows you to see what questions people are asking about your industry. So you go to cora dot com Inter a topic and then browse popular questions and answers about that topic. If you click Topic F A Q. You'll see a curated list of the most common questions people have on that topic. You can also browse related topics and do the same with each of those. Just like Buzz Sumo. This is a great way to explore the psyche of your ideal reader. You can see exactly what questions they're asking, what problems they're experiencing, even what words they're using. And aside from just knowing your audience, you can also use core questions as a direct starting point for new content. If a lot of people are asking a particular question and you have the expertise to provide a helpful answer, there's your piece of content. 22. [Content Ideas] Eavesdropping On Niche Communities: another way to find ideas and inspiration and to get to know your potential audience better is by exploring the places where they hang out online. That is, groups and communities focused on your topic or your industry read. It is a great example of this. If you're not familiar with Reddit, it's a message board website divided into various boards or communities called Subreddit its, which are each focused on a particular topic. Read. It is huge, and there's a subreddit for just about any topic you could think of. I always say that if there at least four people in the world interested in a topic, there's probably a subreddit for it. So see, if you could find a couple of active sub bread, it's that are relevant to your audience and take a look around. I recommend browsing through the top posts and changing the sorting toe all time. For best results, look at the links people are sharing. Read the text posts, pay attention to any recurring questions or themes, and consider how you might be able to apply that information to your content strategy again . Read. It is a great place to do this, but you're gonna want to dive deeper, look for other forums and communities focused on your topic. Dig through the archives and see what conversations are happening. You can also look into Facebook and LinkedIn groups, which are becoming more relevant in the age of social media. Public groups are searchable, so find some relevant groups and do the same thing. Watch for any recurring questions and conversation topics, and you should come away with some solid content ideas straight from the people you hope to serve. And finally, you'll, of course, want to follow the major blog's and publications in your industry as well as your competitors read. Their content may be used buzz Sumo to find the top performing content. And then here's the kicker. Pay attention to what people are saying, Read the comments. See how people are responding on social media? What questions were problems are they still facing? And how can you be part of the solution? That's the goal. After all, providing value in solving people's problems 23. [Content Ideas] How Your Existing Audience And Content Can Help You Generate New Ideas: I mentioned that you should be following the responses toe other blog's and publications in your industry, and it goes without saying that you should also be monitoring your own comments and social media mentions religiously looking for repeat questions and other trends that you could potentially use for future content. You can also just ask your audience what they want from you by prompting them to leave a comment or having them fill out a survey or even interviewing readers or customers one on one. Nobody knows your audience better than your audience, so ask them about their problems, their struggles, their questions, even their reading habits. If you want to get a closer look into their mind and understand what types of content they like to consume, you can also learn a lot from your past content. Take your most successful content and build on it with supplemental material and use the content that didn't do so well as a learning experience. And, of course, you always want to monitor the analytics for your content not just the traffic but also the demographics of your audience and the keywords people are using to find your site. I've often found myself ranking for a keyword that I hadn't even considered, and that gives me a better perspective of what my audience is looking for specifically, which leads to better future content. So be careful not to overlook your existing audience in your existing content when it comes to generating new ideas. 24. [Copywriting] The Importance Of Effective Writing: in this section, we're gonna talk about copyrighting, and when I say copyrighting, I really just mean writing because copyrighting is simply writing in the context of marketing and advertising. So I want to spend some time in this section discussing a variety of methods and principles to help you write more effectively. So first of all, why is effective writing important writing is gonna be the basis for most of the content you create for your business. Blawg posts, articles, landing pages, ad copy and so on. Even audio and video content will often require some writing ahead of time. So the written word is clearly a cornerstone of content. Marketing Writing is a great way to communicate ideas, but it comes with a certain handicap when compared with in person spoken communication. You've probably heard that body language accounts for a significant portion of human interaction facial expressions, posture, eye contact, gestures. When you're speaking, all of these things can either support or negate the words you're actually saying. We use body language often unconsciously, to connect with people to gauge character and trustworthiness toe, understand how someone is feeling what you say is arguably less important than how you say it. But when it comes to writing and publishing written content on the Web, all of those qualities air lost. There's no body language. There's no tone of voice. You're totally reliant on the words themselves, which makes effective writing that much more important. You want to be able to build trust, share ideas, educate people and persuade people all without relying on the help of body language. Beyond that, we've talked repeatedly about the attention economy. There are thousands of different companies competing for your audiences attention. Why would someone spend five minutes reading your content when they could be doing literally anything else? The world of Web content is more crowded than ever before, and it's only getting more competitive. Some people see this is a bad thing. They think the surplus of content drives down the value of content itself. But the reality is as the volume of content on the Web increases, so too do the rewards for marketers who create truly valuable content. You want your content to be the needle in the haystack, the diamond among thousands of ordinary rocks. Effective writing can help you achieve just that 25. [Copywriting] How To Write Perfect Headlines: one of the most important parts of good content is an effective headline. Whether it's a blawg post, a video, a landing page or an ad, the headline is your chance to nail the first impression this has the potential to make or break your entire post. When you're working on a piece of content, I recommend starting with a working title, just something to identify what you're working on and guide the general idea of the post. Then, once you're finished with the content itself, come back to the headline and refine it. Sometimes you may find that you ended up taking a slightly different approach to your content than you originally intended. So that's why I like to write the final headline after I've written the main content. And when it comes to that final headline, you want to take it pretty seriously. Don't just type out the first thing that comes to your mind and click publish. Remember the headline is your one chance to grab people's attention, so make sure you're spending enough time on it, I'd say five minutes. At the very least, what I like to do is come up with a list of potential headlines 5 to 10 of them, and then narrow them down until I have the perfect title. So with that process in mind, what elements do you need to have in that perfect title? First of all, you want something unique. If your headline looks exactly the same as all the other content on your topic, what reason does that give your audience to think you have any unique value toe? Offer them, show a little personality? And don't be afraid to be different? A good example of this is the hilarious viral video that put Dollar Shave Club on the map Dollar shave club dot com. Our blades are great. Yes, it's edgy. Yes, they took a little bit of a risk dropping an F bomb in an official commercial, but it got people's attention. It showed people right off the bat. That Dollar Shave Club wasn't a traditional razor brand like Bic or Gillette. Now my advising you to be intentionally edgy and swear in your headlines all the time. No, not at all. All I'm suggesting is that you allow your brand toe have a personality and a unique, authentic style. Whatever that happens to look like for you. Next, a good headline is specific. You want to be extremely clear about what you have to offer. So if I was writing a headline about how to grow a business with content marketing, ah, bad headline would be something super general like content, marketing or even how to grow your business. Instead, I'd want to be really specific and say, for example, how I increased my company's sales by 50% using content marketing. That way, the reader knows exactly what to expect, and if they're interested in what I have to offer, they'll click through. Specific headlines are especially important in cases where you're running paid ads because you only want people to click if they're actually interested right. You don't have to pay for a bunch of untargeted traffic, so you want to filter those people out with a very specific headline and along the same lines, you want your headline to be useful. It should convey a clear benefit. In the example I just wrote how I increased my company's sales by 50% using content marketing. It's extremely clear what the reader is going to learn. Same thing with the dollar shave club video. Our blades are great. If you're looking for a great razor blade boom, there it ISS. So to summarize, when you're writing headlines, make sure to always offer something unique, make it specific and make it useful. Come up with a list of potential headlines for each piece of content you create and narrow the list down to the best one. You may also want to run it by a colleague or even a couple of friends to get a fresh perspective. In any case, always remember that your headline is your chance to make or break that first impression, so be sure to give it the attention it deserves. 26. [Copywriting] Matching Your Audience's Tone & Vocabulary: in this lecture, I want to offer a quick tip about your words themselves. It's obviously important that you inspire trust in your audience, and one of the best ways to do that is with your tone and your vocabulary. Doing this properly comes down to knowing your audience and understanding what they're looking for. So with your tone, you generally want to match the attitude of your reader. You don't want to be perceived as too academic, for example, or on the other side of the spectrum to juvenile. You have to strike a balance between being conversational and being informative. And what that balance looks like is gonna vary from one topic or audience to another. But the best general advice I can give you here is to be human and authentic. You're not writing an encyclopedia. The same principles apply to your vocabulary. It's always a good idea to use the same words and phrases that your audience uses to describe their problems and pain points. That's a great way to form a connection and show that you truly understand them right, because when someone lands on your site and seize their problem explained exactly the way they describe it, they know right away that you're gonna be able to help them. And that also comes with a more technical benefit when it comes to S CEO or search engine optimization. If you use the words and phrases your target audience is searching for, they're gonna be more likely to find your content when they type those keywords into Google . If you're unsure about any of this, as far as what words to use or how to best communicate with your reader, remember, you can always use the techniques and resource. Is we covered for generating content ideas toe. Also better understand your target audience. 27. [Copywriting] Maintaining Focus With Your Content: back in the Web design section, we talked about the importance of making sure each of your pages serves a single purpose, and the same idea applies to your content itself. Ideally, every piece of content you create should have one core idea or solve one main problem. You never want to try to do too much with one piece of content. If you try to be everything for everyone, you're going to dilute the value and ultimately put off the people who would otherwise be interested. So start with the problem you want to solve. Prepare the solution or the core idea, or whatever point you're trying to get across and keep that in mind throughout your writing process to keep you on course. It's okay to dive deep into certain aspects of the problem as long as they're relevant. What you don't want to do is go off on a tangent and start talking about something that doesn't actually contribute to the value of the post. So whatever your main goal is whether that's teaching the reader something, arguing a viewpoint selling a product, keep that in mind and make sure that everything you write supports that goal in some way 28. [Copywriting] How To Write A Call-To-Action: a key part of any good piece of content from a marketing perspective is the call to action . This is where you take a casual visitor and get them engaged with your brand, or where you take somebody who's already engaged a subscriber and move them deeper into your funnel. Your call to action is your ask after you've built a foundation of trust by providing lots of value. Unfortunately, many content creators miss out on a valuable opportunity by not including a call to action in their content. Think about it in today's distracted world, anyone who makes it to the bottom of your post is someone you want to keep around just by making it all the way through there, clearly engaged and interested in what you have to offer. So it's very important that you direct them to take the next step, whatever that may be. Ah, call the action is just that you're calling on the reader to take some kind of action, and that action could be something as simple is leaving their thoughts and opinions in the comments section or sharing your post on social media. It can also be something like subscribing to your newsletter or downloading a free resource , and that's the way to bring those casual visitors into your ecosystem. So how do you write a call to action? Well, it depends because you wanted to be a natural extension of your content itself. But here's some quick tips. First, don't beat around the bush. If you want people to take action, you've gotta ask often. This means beginning with a command verb like by order, subscribe, download, sign up and so on. So if you've got some kind of free resource you want people to download, you don't just want to say this free resource is available. Now you want to tell people exactly what to do. Download this free resource. Now, hopefully, you have a better name for it than this free resource. But you get the idea next you're called Action needs some kind of value proposition. What do people get out of whatever it is you're asking them to dio in the example I just gave you, they get a free resource. You could also ask people to call for a free consultation or sign up for a weekly newsletter or request a free quote. Whatever it is, the reader should know exactly what benefit they will receive for taking action. It's also a good idea to use emotion to your advantage, and you could do this by using emotional words or simply showing that you're excited and enthusiastic about your offer. So when it comes to emotional words, let's say you're in the real estate industry. You could say things like home or dream house, something to trigger that deep emotional desire that you know your audience has. And then when it comes to enthusiasm, just be excited. Use exclamation points. Basically show that you are already sold on this offer because again, you can't sell other people. If you're not sold yourself, every piece of content should have a call to action because you always want to keep people engaged and moving in the right direction. Hopefully, these tips will give you a head start, but as far as your actual offers and free resource is, and stuff like that will cover those in more detail later in the course 29. [Copywriting] How Grammatical Errors Can Cripple Your Marketing Efforts: If you want to inspire trust in your audience, your writing should be free of errors, and your spelling and grammar should be impeccable. Now look, nobody's perfect. We all make mistakes, and one of the beautiful things about the Internet is that you can usually go back and fix your mistakes even after you've published your content. But the fact of the matter is, people judge you based on your ability to communicate properly. And if your post is littered with grammatical errors, you're gonna face judgment. And it's gonna be harder to establish that trust because you're showing a lack of attention to detail. For example, if I'm reading a block post about taxes written by a leading accountant and tax expert, but throughout the Post, they're using your instead of your That's gonna cause me to think, whether consciously or unconsciously, how can I trust this person to give me tax advice when they can't even handle basic grammar ? And I don't say that to be a jerk. I know some people struggle with that stuff, but it's just the cold, honest truth. People will judge you for your spelling and grammar errors, so you need to take steps to ensure that those errors don't happen. First and foremost, if you haven't already, I would strongly urge you to invest the necessary time to learn and master all the grammatical rules of whatever language you're writing in. That's important. Educating yourself is one of the most effective things you can do and that education is going to continue to pay off for years to come second. And this is especially important if you know you're prone to errors in your writing. Have an editor proof. Read your content before you publish it. If you can catch errors in house before they ever reach your audience, you can have confidence that everything you publish is high quality and error free. Finally, please take advantage of the technology you have at your disposal to improve your writing. Your standards fell check is great for typos and some basic grammatical errors, But if you really want a comprehensive safety net, I recommend you check out Graham early, which gives you real time context based feedback on the mechanics, usage, grammar and spelling in your writing. It's basically like having an editor looking over your shoulder at all times, which is really helpful. So with all of that in mind, hopefully you see why error free writing is so important and what you can do to ensure your writing against those pesky grammar mistakes. 30. [Copywriting] How To Become A Better Writer: to close out this section. I want to talk about some things you can do to become a better writer. Overall, good writing isn't an ability you're just born with if the skill you have to practice and develop over time. So the number one thing you can do to improve your writing is to write and write often. Write in a journal, use different styles, cover different topics, even try your hand at fiction. What matters is that you're always improving your ability to communicate using the written word. If you're looking for some quick, actionable ways to improve your writing here, a few tips. First of all, one of the best ways to strengthen your writing is to use the active voice as much as you can You see in English. There are two main voices you can use in your writing. The active voice in the passive voice. The distinction is simple. Is the subject of the sentence doing the action, or is the subject having the action done to them? Here's an example. You could say Louise kicked the ball across the field, or the ball was kicked across the field by Louise, which one of these sounds better, probably the 1st 1 and that's because it uses the active voice. The subject of the sentence. Louise is doing the action. Louise kicked the ball in the second case, the subject of the sentence. The ball is having an action done to it. The ball was kicked. There are some cases where the passive voice makes sense, but most of the time you're much better off using the active voice. Next, let's talk about contractions. If you've ever written an academic paper, you've probably been told not to use contractions. Words like your there don't aren't isn't and so on. While contractions may not be appropriate for an academic setting, content marketing is usually more casual and conversational. Like I said earlier, you're not writing an encyclopedia. You want to match the style and tone of your audience, and usually that includes using contractions on a similar note. You want your content to be approachable, even for people who may not be experts on your topic. After all, that's usually why people come to you in the first place because you're the expert. So I recommend simplifying your vocabulary and avoiding excessive jargon, a great litmus test for one's understanding of a topic is whether they can effectively explain it to a child. Keep that in mind and always imagine you're writing for an audience that has no experience with your topic unless you know for sure that your audience has a certain level of knowledge. For example, if you write for an audience of physicians, one of the most important tasks you have to accomplish as a writer is keeping your reader's interest. That's especially true in today's world, where as soon as somebody gets bored, they're clicking onto something else. One of the best ways to keep people engaged is to make your content easy to skim short sentences and short paragraphs ideally broken up by subheadings and images. If your post is just one giant wall of text, nobody's gonna want to read it. Try to break your writing up and make it easier to digest. The next thing we need to discuss is one of the most common pitfalls in writing, and that is an overuse of modifiers like adjectives and adverbs. Adverbs in particular, are often unnecessary, and I don't think I could explain it any better than Stephen King in this great excerpt from his book on writing. Consider the sentence. He closed the door firmly. It's by no means a terrible sentence. At least it's got an active verb going for it. But ask yourself if firmly really has to be there. You can argue that it expresses a degree of difference between he closed the door and he slammed the door and you'll get no argument from me. But what about context? What about all the enlightening not to say emotionally moving prose, which came before he closed the door firmly. Shouldn't this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing pros does tell us isn't firmly an extra word, isn't it redundant? That's the end of the quote by Stephen King. I always reference that when I talk about over using adverbs, the idea here isn't to use zero adverbs just to use them sparingly. See what I did there Okay. Earlier in the course, we talked about storytelling and how every story has a character in a point of view. Much of what we do in content marketing is written in the second person point of view, that is, your reader is the main focus, and you address them directly with words like you and your. In fact, that's exactly what I'm doing with this course. I'm addressing you directly, and I want to encourage you to do the same with your content again. You want to be conversational, you want to engage your audience, and the best way to do that is by making them the focus in your writing. So don't be afraid to use you and your something you may have noticed if you've created content for more than one company, particularly in journalism, is that different companies have different standards when it comes to style and grammar. This is what's called a style guide, and if you value attention to detail, you should definitely establish a style guide and adhere to it in all of your content. Basically, a style guide is a list of conventions that you use in all of your writing. For example, how you use italics, whether use a space before and after your dashes, how you structure your content, whether you capitalize or hyphenate certain words that people disagree on. If you want a great example of this male chimps content marketing style guide is publicly viewable at style. Guide dot mail chimp dot com The idea is to define your style rules ahead of time. That way, every piece of content published by your brand is consistent and finally, editing. Is Justus important as writing? If you have an editor on staff, it's a simple ascending your draft over to them. But I think self editing is a valuable skill that people too often neglect. After you write your first draft, walk away for a bit, do something else and then come back when your mind is fresh. At this point, you want to start cutting your content down. Be merciless here. You want your writing to be as clear and concise as possible, so you have to remove the fluff. Keep in mind that every piece of content should have one core idea or solve one main problem. Anything that doesn't contribute to that should be cut. And by the way, even if you're great itself editing, it's still a good idea to run your content by an editor or a colleague before publication just to get another perspective. So that's it. Those air some of the most actionable pointers I can offer you if you want to improve your writing and create better content. Like I said, it does take time and effort to develop the skill of good writing. But those are all things you can start doing to become a more effective writer today, so I hope you put them into action. 31. [Types Of Content] Content Types Intro: As I'm sure you know, there are many different types of content you can create to serve your audience. But the interesting thing is, as we discussed earlier, there are no completely original ideas. Everything you create is simply a combination of existing elements in this section. I want to arm you with some of those existing elements. More specifically, we're gonna talk about several common and effective types of content and how you can take the concepts behind them and apply them to your own strategy. 32. [Types Of Content] How To Create Epic List Content: If you've been on the Internet at all over the last few years, you know that list posts or list IQ. ALS are extremely popular, and it's not hard to understand why. They're easy to skim their share a ble and they don't require a ton of mental energy to digest, which is great for today's forever distracted world. The structure of list content is pretty simple. You start with an introduction, and then you have your list items usually divided by subheadings, and at the end you have a conclusion and hopefully a call to action. But I advocate a slightly different approach to lists that'll really set you apart from the competition, and that is going really deep into each list item with meticulous detail and explanations, as well as rich media like images and videos. This gives you an opportunity to serve two distinct audiences, the people who just want to skim and the people who want more substance. The skimmers could just browse the subheadings in the first few lines of your explanations , and the readers can get every juicy detail that you have to offer. It's a win win. So as an example, if I were writing a list of the 10 best ways to improve your content marketing. I wouldn't just write a bullet point list and call it a day. That's the lazy approach, and naturally it comes with mediocre results. Instead, I'd essentially write a mini tutorial for each list item detail ing every step for each of strategies in the list. See, this is how you set yourself apart by doing what your competitors aren't willing to dio. The result is your content will be more detailed and therefore more valuable and therefore more visible because people are going to share it, reference it linked to it, and you get to reap the rewards. And by the way, it's worth mentioning that lists also lend themselves to incredibly catchy in terrible headlines. Something about the number in the title just makes it enticing. I'm sure you've seen sites like Buzzfeed and up worthy, having huge success with this, um, as a subcategory of list content, I think checklists are also worth mentioning here because they're a powerful form of content in their own right, with a checklist. The goal is to create a list of items, products or actions that are necessary for a particular task or goal. So you compile everything that people need into a neatly packaged list, and you've got a valuable share, a bowl piece of content. 33. [Types Of Content] Teaching Your Audience With Tutorials: how to guides and tutorials are a cornerstone of content marketing and one of the most straightforward ways to provide value by teaching people how to do something. In my experience, tutorials are the single best way to drive sustainable long term traffic with a single piece of content. So how do you write a good tutorial? Well, you want to start by clearly stating the objective. Every tutorial should have a specific goal or outcome, and you want to make sure that's established right out of the gate. In both your headline and your introduction. Tutorials could be long or short. It really just depends on the complexity of the task and how long it takes tow. Walk the reader through it. Typically, I recommend formatting each of your steps as subheadings with more information under each one. That's especially true if you're writing a longer tutorial with a lot of steps. Now when you're teaching someone to do something, it's very important that you're clear and concise. You want to make the process as easy as possible for the reader, so be sure to spell everything out, making no assumptions about the readers current knowledge. But at the same time, be careful not to go overboard with unnecessary details that may overwhelm them. Use your best judgment and try to strike a good balance. Next. Almost every tutorial would benefit from the use of visuals like photos, screenshots or videos. A tutorial with visual elements is much easier to follow than a giant wall of text. Before you publish your tutorial, follow the steps yourself to make sure you covered everything and then have a friend or colleague run through it as well to give you feedback. This is especially helpful if the person who's helping you doesn't have a lot of experience doing what? The tutorials explaining. Because then you can gauge whether you explain everything clearly. And finally, if you have a comments section, make sure to monitor your comments, answer people's questions, offer support and update that tutorial. If you notice any recurring questions or problems 34. [Types Of Content] Two Approaches To Q&A Content: another great type of content is Q and A. Questions and answers are always a good starting point, and it's another straightforward way to provide value. Your audience has questions, and you have answers as far as what questions to answer. We kind of talked about that in the Ideas section. There are so many places to get to know your audience and see what questions they're asking . One of my favorites again is Cora. There's just so much information on that site, not just in the answers themselves, but in the wealth of public data you can find on a topic page. The most frequently asked questions. How many people are following each question and so on? And of course, working in your industry and interacting with your customers should also give you a good idea of the kinds of answers they're looking for. There are a couple of ways to approach Q and A content. You can write a long list style post answering a bunch of related questions in one place where you can write a single post answering a single question in detail. Neither of these approaches is necessarily superior. They each have their strengths, so For example, if I were to write a post listing, say, the top 15 questions asked by new content marketers, that could be really valuable for people who fall into that demographic, and it's gonna be really share a ble. But if I write a post answering just one question and using the question itself as my headline, that gives me the opportunity to rank on Google and other search engines when people search for that question, When it comes to actually writing your answer, make sure you do some research and see what's already out there and determine how you convey, dive deeper or offer more value than the competition. For example, if a question is really popular on Cora, Cora is almost certainly gonna outrank you when people search for that question just because it's such a popular, authoritative site. But you can still stand a fighting chance by creating something that's better and more valuable than any of the answers on Quora and then promoting it accordingly. 35. [Types Of Content] Interviews & Profiles: on interview is an excellent type of content for almost any topic. The idea is to find an expert in your industry, reach out to them and ask them questions about their expertise. It's a great way to provide enormous value to your audience while also leveraging the authority of the person you're interviewing to boost the credibility of your brand. So how do you conduct a great interview? You want to start by choosing the right format? A face to face interview can be great, but more often, phone or Skype interviews end up being more practical. To talk to someone face to face. You have to be in the same location at the same time. You have to fit into the person schedule, and it often consumes a lot more time than necessary. On interview by phone or video. Chat is a lot easier to set up. It eliminates travel time, and it's still pretty easy to build, report and have a real conversation. You can do email interviews, but they generally don't turn out as well. A spoken interviews make sure you're recording the interview and ideally have a backup method just in case something goes wrong. So, for example, you could be recording video and then have a separate audio recorder running where you could have a microphone and then be taking handwritten notes at the same time. You never want to get to the end of an interview and realize you have nothing to show for it. Trust me. Um, before you interview someone, be sure to do your homework, read everything they've written. Know their story, check out the interviews they've done in the past. Make sure you're prepared in terms of the interview itself. Keep it conversational. Don't give the person a list of questions in advance. You don't want canned responses. Ah, you obviously want to have some questions in a general roadmap planned out. But don't be afraid to go off course and ask follow up questions. You wanna listen to what they're saying? Be an active listener and treat it more like a discussion than an interrogation. With that said, you also don't want to talk too much yourself. Try to keep the focus on the other person. Interviews can work well in just about any format. You can do video. You can do audio. You can write it up as an article and even publish a full transcript. Whatever you think will be the most valuable format for your audience. If you want to go deeper, you could also do a profile, which is basically a mini biography or documentary of a person or company in your industry . Usually, this begins with an interview, but you also want to do some additional research and include other relevant information to tell a complete story. After interviewing and profiling hundreds of people and companies over the last few years, this is easily one of my favorite content formats. 36. [Types Of Content] Combining A List With A Roundup: the next type of content I want to cover. An expert roundup is essentially a combination of a list post. In an interview, you may find that the most prominent experts in your industry are busy and simply don't have time for an extended interview. That's okay. We can work around that with a roundup style post, where we ask a bunch of different experts one question, and then compile their answers for our audience. Even the busiest people who would have no chance of interviewing for an hour may have time to answer one question For you. The process is pretty simple. Email. All the leading experts in your space. Let them know what you're doing and ask them if they'd kindly answer one question for you. For example, you could ask for their number, one piece of advice, their favorite tools or products or something more specific, like how they'd handle a particular problem. Once you've got some responses, all you have to do is compile them together, and you've got an extremely valuable piece of content showing the various thoughts and perspectives from the captains of your industry. There's another approach to this type of content that doesn't even require an interview. Ah, people to follow list. I'm sure you've seen these. A good example is entrepreneur dot coms 50 online marketing influencers To watch. This is basically a who's who of your industry, a list of people you feel are worth following and why structure it like a list post. Start with the person's name. Write up a short blurb about who they are and why they matter, and be sure to include any relevant links like their website or their Twitter account. Expert roundups are valuable in and of themselves because they introduce your audience to important figures they should know about. But they also generate some extra buzz when the experts themselves share them. If someone takes the time to answer your question or offer some advice for your roundup, or even if they just find themselves featured unexpectedly and your people to follow list more often than not, they want to share that content with their own audience. 37. [Types Of Content] How To Create Valuable Reviews & Comparisons: another great type of content that you've probably seen and used yourself many times is a review. Reviews are pretty self explanatory. You take a look at a product or service that's relevant to your audience and provide an honest review of your thoughts and experiences breaking down the good and the bad. The goal of a good review is to inform the readers buying decision. You want to give them all the information they need to make an informed choice. The most important thing here is to be completely honest. Your reviews should serve your audience, not the brand or the product itself. If a product is amazing, you should say so. But if it sucks, be honest about that and recommend against buying it. I found the best way to write a review is to start with a brief summary. Go ahead and disclose your recommendation right up front. Is the product worth buying or not? Then break the product down into the most important categories. For example, if you were reviewing a pair of wireless headphones, you could divide your review into sections for sound quality, noise canceling, connective ity, battery life and so on. And for each of these categories, you want to provide a detailed analysis of your experience, both the good and the bad. I like to close a review with a list of pros and cons and in the bottom line, where I explain whether I recommend the product or not. The natural extension of a review is a comparison where you compare to similar products that are competing in the same market. In this case, you want to go over the details of each product, but focus specifically on the key differences between the two. For example, this pair of headphones has longer battery life, but this other pair offers superior sound quality. Things like that. When you're comparing to products, you may find that there is a clear cut winner, in which case you should say so. But often one product or the other may be better suited for a particular group of people. So you could say the pair of headphones with really good battery life is great for the traveler who's always on the go. But the pair, with better sound quality, is better suited for the audio file. Who wants the best possible sound experience again? The goal is to provide helpful information to inform the audiences buying decisions. Keep that in mind 38. [Types Of Content] Working News Into Your Content Strategy: news content is a great way to keep your audience up to date on what's happening in your industry. News is interesting because it usually won't drive long term traffic, but it can drive a substantial amount of short term traffic if you do it well. In my experience, there are two distinct approaches that are really effective. Either be the first or be the best. If you're the first person to cover an important story, you'll naturally get a lot of shares in traffic and links as the original source. But if you're not first and let's be honest most of the time you won't be. You can spend some extra time to offer additional context and analysis that the original source may have neglected. For example, you could explain the implications of a story, how it applies to your audience and what they specifically need to know about it. You don't need to cover every single thing that happens in your industry, just the stories that actually impact your audience. In fact, you shouldn't feel obligated to do news content at all unless doing so provides some kind of value to your audience. Providing value is always the number one goal of content marketing 39. [Types Of Content] Creating Valuable Roundups & Resource Lists: so we talked about expert roundups. But another type of content that may fit into your strategy is a link round up. This is exactly what it sounds like, a collection of links that you feel your audience should know about. I used to do a weekly round up for the tech industry, where I compiled the most important news and the best thought in opinion pieces. Every single week. You could do something like that, or you could go with a more evergreen approach where you compiled the best articles, videos, tools or resource is on a given topic. When you're curating content like this, you'll want to be very selective. The way to create the best round up is to fill throughout all the noise and compile the absolute best content for your audience. Spend some time summarizing each links so people know exactly what they're getting and neatly package it into a nice, cohesive list. A link roundup is pretty easy to write because you're curating other people's content rather than creating your own. But it's still valuable because it saves your readers from having to do the research themselves 40. [Types Of Content] Thought, Opinion, & Controversy: next up, we have thought in opinion content, your mileage may vary with this one, depending on your brand in your personal style. But opinion pieces are a great way to go deeper with your content and encourage reader engagement. Consider an issue that's important to your audience and take a side elaborate on your position with logical arguments and help the reader understand your point of view. You don't want to come across his preachy, so allow some room for disagreement, but at the same time, assert your position and don't be wishy washy. Interestingly, controversy is very good for traffic and engagement. I don't think you should actively seek out controversy, but I will say that any time I've taken a stance on a controversial issue, it has generated a lot of buzz. Now, of course, I'm talking about things that pertain to your audience in your industry. Politics and religion and other heavy, divisive topics are almost always off the table when it comes to branded content. If you're gonna weigh in on something using your company's platform, make sure it's relevant to your topic in your business. For example, a few years ago I wrote a series of posts, about a large guest blogging network that was using some let's say, questionable tactics to game search engine rankings for the members of their network. I took a hard stance against that, and while I took a lot of hate from the network itself and some of its members, my coverage was widely credited for spurring Google to take action against them. So even though it was controversial, my content was informative and persuasive. It was relevant to my audience in the tech and business world, and as a bonus it resulted in an actual solution to the problem. 41. [Types Of Content] Stories As A Content Format: We've spent a lot of time in this course talking about storytelling, and that's important because storytelling is part of what makes us human. It's one of the best ways to connect with other people, So any time you can use a story as part of your content strategy, you should take that opportunity. Stories are a great way to entertain your audience, inspire them and deliver a valuable message in a really unique way. For example, you could tell a story about someone who wanted to do something that your audience wants to dio but failed because they didn't do X, Y and Z. You could tell stories of how people have overcome obstacles and problems that your audience faces. You could also work personal stories from your own life into your content. That's a really good way to be more relatable and more human to the people on the other side of the screen, which is essential for building trust. When you're writing stories, make sure to pay close attention, toe all the essential components. We talked about earlier characters. Point of view, conflict and resolution. If you need a refresher, you can always refer back to the storytelling lecture. Now, one of my favorite examples of this is a post by Andy Done. The founder of Bonobos called the risk not taken in it. He tells several stories from his own life, where he's been faced with big, potentially life altering decisions, and he illustrates his thought process with a fictional character he calls the decision elf . Here's a short excerpt. The next day I walked into the offices of bein my then employer. Do you want to move to San Salvador? You'll be living there for the next six months. It has the highest murder rate in the Western Hemisphere, said my dad. You don't really speak Spanish, said the voice in my head. I looked at the decision elf. He winked at me. The risk not taken is more dangerous than the risk taken, he said softly. Do you want to move to San Salvador? Yes, I dio, I said. And just like that, the first decision was made. Had I made it, or did it make me? First of all, I want to say that if you haven't had the pleasure of reading that post, I highly recommend it. It's posted on medium and you can find it pretty easily by searching Google for the risk not taken. But the main reason I'm sharing this is because it showcases the power of good storytelling when it comes to getting your point across. In this case, Andy's point was that you should break out of your comfort zone and do what you want to do with your life, even if it's risky. And he demonstrates that through his story of making a series of risky decisions that ultimately worked out and shaped the person he is today. 42. [Types Of Content] Statistics & Original Research: One of the great things about the Internet is that it places what is essentially the collective knowledge of the world at our fingertips. That's a key part of what people use the Web for when they're not connecting with other people. They're searching for information. So naturally it makes sense that you, as a content creator, could be a source of that information. Some of my most popular posts have been data oriented articles with facts and figures surrounding a particular topic. Search engines love this stuff, So if you can compile some relevant statistics from various sources and present it in a way that's valuable to your audience, you should be able to drive a good amount of long term traffic. Now, of course, you want to give credit where it's due in sight, all of your sources, so people know where you're getting your information. If you want to take facts and statistics to the next level, you can publish original research by conducting your own studies and surveys and sharing the results. You can become a credible and authoritative source for research in your industry. Something to keep in mind, though, if you're publishing original research it's important to do it scientifically. Make sure you include your hypothesis or research. Question the purpose of the study, the specific details of your methodology, your sample size and so on. You want to be as transparent as possible. Then, of course, you will report the results of the study and share your interpretations and possible implications of your findings. 43. [Types Of Content] Presenting Complex Data For Visual Learners: sticking with the theme of research and statistics. Infographics are a great way to make complex data and information easy to digest. You can create an infographic using data from your own research, which is a great way to complement the article or again, you can just collect relevant data from other sources and visualize it. If you have design skills. Or if you have a designer on staff, you can create infographics in house, and that shouldn't be a problem. But you can also outsource that part of the process, and it could be well worth the investment to do. So you compile the data, hire 1/3 party designer on a freelance site and then publish and promote it. The great thing about Infographics is that they're ridiculously share a ble, especially if you take steps to make sure they get shared. So the first thing I'd recommend doing is offering an embed code right there with the infographic on your site. Just a few lines of HTML that people can use to re share the infographic along with, and this is the key, a link back to your site. You can also take a PR approach to promoting infographics, reach out to bloggers and journalists in your industry, show them the infographic and offer to let them republish it for their audience. It's a great way to generate some buzz while also providing value to these other people who are looking for valuable content to share. So again, an infographic is a great way to present complex data for visual learners, and it's incredibly share a bowl, so it may be worth working into your content strategy. 44. [Types Of Content] How To Write A Case Study That Turns Readers Into Buyers: as we've seen most of content, marketing is more about providing value to your audience than touting the benefits of your products or services. But there's a time in a place for everything in a case study is a rare opportunity were bragging about your company's offerings can actually provide real value to your audience. So, first of all, what is a case study? A Case study tells the story of how you've helped a particular customer solve a problem, often with quotes or testimonials from the customer themselves. Social Proof is important in a case. Study is the ultimate form of social proof. It's particularly great for moving people into the action stage of your eight of funnel. So how do you write an effective case study? Well, first, you want to be sure to select the right candidate. Whoever you profile in your case study should have extensive knowledge of your product, enthusiasm about your business and impressive results to back up that enthusiasm. So reach out to some of your top customers. Let them know that they're special and important to you and ask them to help tell their story, not your story. Their story. It's important to make them the focus. When you get somebody on board, move forward with an interview process, talk to them about their experiences, ask open ended questions and learn more about their problems and how your business has contributed to the solution. This should come as no surprise by this point, but a good case study should be structured as a story in this case, the customer. Your profiling is the main character you're telling it. From their point of view, they faced some sort of conflict or problem. They tried X, y and Z. But those methods didn't work, and eventually they overcame the odds and used your business to finally resolve the problem . That's a case study in a nutshell. Now, when you're talking about results, you want to be a specific as possible. For example, if I was doing a case study on how I helped a client with their content marketing efforts, I could say that they were able to triple their traffic or double their conversions. But those phrases air kind of ambiguous, right? I could have taken a company from 10 page views a month to 30 and that would technically count as tripling their traffic, even though the end result was only 20 more page views. It be much more effective if I said that I helped grow a client's traffic from, say, 20,000 page views to 60,000 page views. So use hard facts and concrete data as much as you can. But, of course, make sure you have the customers permission to share anything that may be somewhat private . So those are some things to keep in mind when you're writing a case study again. This is a rare opportunity toe openly tout the benefits of your products, but make sure you always do so within the context of a story. This is a great way to provide value to your audience when they're in the stage, where they're deciding whether your business may be able to help them. That social proof, that story, of how you help someone else can make all the difference 45. [Repurposing] Content Formats: you may have noticed up to this point, I've kind of been assuming that the content you're creating is written content articles, block posts, things of that nature. And indeed, written content is gonna be a staple in the content strategy of almost every brand. However, you are by no means limited to written content. In fact, there are many formats you can deploy to get your message across, and it's worth exploring some of the different options. To see which formats best suit your personal skill. Set the style of your brand and the preferences of your audience. So let's start with video. We are living in the golden age of online video. Many brands are beginning to shift to video as their primary medium for storytelling. And for a lot of consumers, it's the ideal way to consume media. So don't be afraid to experiment with video both on your own website and on third party platforms like YouTube and Facebook and Instagram. The interesting thing is you'll most likely follow the exact same protocol for planning video content, but the end result, of course, is gonna be recorded instead of written. Podcasting and audio content have also been blowing up in recent years. I used to host a roundtable podcast in the tack and business world. That was a lot of fun to do, and I think our audience really got a lot out of it. Podcasting could be particularly good if you have an audience that tends to be busy or on the go. Because audio content is more passive. People can consume it while they're doing other things, like traveling, commuting, working, so the mental demand isn't quite as high. We already covered infographics a little bit, but I think they're worth mentioning here as well. Turning complex data into a beautiful, digestible graphic is a great way to engage that segment of your audience that responds better to visuals. And then, of course, you've got social media posts, which come in a variety of formats in and up themselves. The point I'm trying to get across here is that you're not limited to the traditional text . Blawg post there certain advantages to text, and it likely should be a cornerstone of your content strategy. But don't be afraid to stray from convention and try a format that works better for you or your audience. 46. [Repurposing] How To Generate An Endless Stream Of Fresh Content: in this lecture, I'm going to share with you a strategy used by some of the world's most prolific content creators to generate what seems like an infinite stream of fresh content. So as we saw, there are many content formats that you can work into your strategy. You could do standard written content. You can do audio. You can do video. You can do graphics and other visual formats. You have plenty of options, and it can actually be in your interest to do more than one. You see when you create a piece of content in one format, there's a huge opportunity there to repurpose that content and then share it again in a different format. You can use that as a way to promote the original content or to deliver the same message to a completely different audience. You could turn video into text and audio. You can turn text into video and audio. You can turn text into an infographic. You could turn an infographic into text. You can turn audio into video with slides or animation. You could turn blawg posts into social media content using quotes and graphics. Things like that, the possibilities are endless repurpose ing is one of the most valuable secrets in content marketing because it's such a simple, an effective way to extract additional value from your existing content and, maybe more importantly, to grow your audience by reaching people who prefer a different format. 47. [Repurposing] Watch Me Turn One Video Interview Into More Than A Dozen Pieces Of Content: in this lecture, I want to give you a concrete example to illustrate the impact that repurpose ing can have on your content strategy and just how much of a competitive advantage you'll have as a result. So let's say you interview Ah, high profile thought leader in your industry, and let's say it's a video interview. That kind of interview by itself is an amazing opportunity to generate traffic and links and social shares and build authority and credibility around your brand simply by having that influence there, come and talk to you. But if you just post the video and call it a day, as most people would, you're not really squeezing all the juice out of the orange. There's still a lot of untapped potential in that one piece of content. So here's what I would do in that situation. First of all, when I initially post the interview, I'd uploaded to YouTube and then embed the video on my site. That way, the video is discoverable on the YouTube platform, so I have the potential to reach a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise know about me or my brand. So again I'd embed the YouTube video in a blawg post. Then I'd write up a quick introductory paragraph summarizing kind of the main points of the interview, and below that I would transcribe the entire interview to text every word. That way, if somebody comes along and wants to read the interview rather than watch it, they can do that. And having that transcript There also helps with search traffic, because search engines are a lot better at understanding text than video. So that's the initial post. I've already done a lot more than my competitors probably would, but I am far from finished. An interview with an influencer can be a great source of social media content, so I pull out a few of the most impactful quotes and tweet them out over the next few days , making sure to tag the person and link back to the interview. Then I'd use those same quotes to create some beautiful graphics using a tool like Can Va or Pablo by Buffer. And I'd post those on Instagram and Facebook again, making sure to tag the person and direct people to the original video. I might even make a short highlight reel of some of the best one liners of the interview and share that on Instagram as well. Then if I have a podcast, I convert the video toe audio and release it as a podcast episode, and I probably just recording intro and an outro so my listeners understand the context of what they're hearing. We're still not done here. We can actually go a little bit further and craft another blonde post with a headline like The Three Most Valuable Lessons I learned from Whatever the person's name is here. We're appealing to a slightly different audience, people who may not have timeto watch or read an entire long form interview but are still interested in getting a condensed version of the main points. Then you can even repurpose that post a little bit. Turn it into a podcast episode, where you elaborate on what you learned and why it matters. Maybe tweet out bits and pieces of what you learned, make more graphics and so on. Think about what I just did. I took one video interview and managed to turn it into a dozen or more individual pieces of content. Most people are not willing to put in that extra effort which makes it a great opportunity to set yourself apart by providing more value than the competition. And you know what? It's not even that difficult, since you're just repurpose ing existing content rather than creating something entirely new. It's not like you have to go back and interview that person again and again to create these other pieces of content. You're just creating them from what you already have. So see if you can work this little trick into your content strategy. It's simple, but very, very powerful. 48. [SEO] A Brief Introduction To SEO: in this section, we're gonna cover a topic that's essential to understand If you want to be able to drive a consistent stream of free traffic to your website every single day, and that is S E O, which is shorthand for search engine optimization. Most websites rely on search engines like Google as a primary driver of traffic. And as I'm sure you know, from first hand experience, if not as a publisher than as a user, the difference between appearing on Page one and Page to convene a difference between hundreds of thousands or even millions of impressions, page views and potential leads and sales. And it's even competitive. On Page one, a study by Chat Icka found that the number one result on Google gets a whopping 32.5% of the traffic, with the second result getting 17.6% and it just declines from there. When you get down to the 10th result, you're only looking at 2.4% of the traffic for that particular search term. So it's easy to see why search engine optimization, or seo, is such a hot topic. If you want to maximize your exposure in the search results. You need to make sure your site is following all the best practices that Google and other search engines have come to expect. Now, whenever I talk about S e O, I like to preface my advice with the fact that there are a ton of shady S CEO tactics out there. But I'm not a fan of those and we're not going to cover them in this course. You see my philosophy, not just in SC Oh, but in all of marketing is one of long term value. I think you'll gain a lot more by playing the long game and focusing on the quality of your content than by employing spammy short term tactics that may come back to haunt you in the future. Let me give you an example. Years ago, sleazy marketers realised they could get a lot of back links, which are kind of the currency of S E. O, by going to thousands of random blog's and leaving incoherent comments with links back to their sites that actually worked for a while. But eventually Google got wise and penalized all of them Well, At the time I was the editor of a popular tech blawg that had been absolutely ravaged by the Spammy comments. And I started getting emails from companies begging me, even offering money in some cases to remove the spammy comments there Old s CEO agency had left on their behalf because those links were now negatively impacting their search rankings. Please don't make that mistake s CEO like content marketing is a long term game. You can get plenty of back links by earning them over time and doing other kinds of legitimate promotion. If you feel the need to game the system, your content probably isn't good enough, so you should focus on fixing that first. What we are going to cover in this section is on site S CEO. That is optimizing your sights, code and content to maximize your visibility on Google and other search engines. There are a wide variety of factors that influence your search rankings, and you can't control all of them. But it's important to optimize the things you can control to put yourself in a position to succeed. That's what this section of the course is about. 49. [SEO] Understanding Search Engines: If you want your content to rank highly in search engines, it helps to look at things from their perspective and understand what they're actually looking for, What exactly, to search engines want, and how can you leverage that to your advantage? The main goal of every search engine is to serve its users by delivering the most relevant high quality results for any given search query. This single statement covers the two most important aspects of S e o relevance and quality . For example, if someone goes to Google and search is how to build a website, Google's job is to return a list of high quality pages that explain how to build a website . It doesn't want to show you a page explaining how to cook an egg that wouldn't be relevant , but it also doesn't want to show you a page about building a website. That's not actually helpful, because while it may be relevant, that wouldn't be considered high quality. The system isn't perfect, but the goals are always the same relevance in quality. Before you worry about title tags or meta descriptions or any of the more technical aspects of S. E. O, you need to make sure the content of your site is relevant to your target audience and better than what your competitors have to offer. And by the way, quality isn't just about your content. Your website itself also has to provide a positive user experience. For example, it should be mobile friendly. It should load as quickly as possible, and it shouldn't be littered with obtrusive ads. More on that later. But for now, keep these two words in mind whenever you think about Seo relevance and quality. Now that you understand the primary goal of a search engine, let's take a look at how it accomplishes that goal. So first, search engines create an index of the Web using a special program called a WebCrawler, which is basically a robot that automatically browses the Web and records information about the pages visits every time it visits a page, it scans the content, makes a copy of the page, adds the U R L to an index and then follows all the links on the page and repeats the same process for each one. Skin the content. Make a copy index the URL follow the links. Repeat. This gives the search engine, a massive index of pages that it can then use to help its users find things on the Web. But with so many indexed pages, how does it determine which results to show? Well, it uses a special algorithm that looks at various signals to determine which pages are worth ranking for a particular keyword. In Google's case, that algorithm is called page rank. So to give you an example, links are an extremely important ranking signal for pay drink. The more links that point to a page, the more useful it appears to the algorithm. And that makes sense if a lot of people think a page is worth linking to, it's probably also something Google will wanna show in its search results. But it's not just about the number of links. In fact, that matters a lot less than it used to. Today, quality is far more important than quantity, so one link from a reputable authority site will give you more of a boost than several links from smaller websites. Pay drink also looks at other signals, like when and how often the page is updated, whether the domain is considered trustworthy, as well as a number of technical factors which will cover shortly 50. [SEO] Basic Site Setup For SEO: in this lecture, we're going to take a look at a couple of basic things you can do as part of your initial set up toe. Optimize your site for search engines. The first thing is making sure you're allowing search engines to crawl and index your site to begin with before a Web crawler visits your site. It looks for a file on your server called robots dot txt. This file dictates whether the crawler is allowed to visit your site at all and whether you'd like any areas of your site excluded from the search results. This is a really powerful file, and it could be helpful if you want to customize which parts of your site get indexed in which parts don't. Which bots are allowed to visit your site in which aren't and so on and so forth. But being that it is so powerful, you need to be careful and make sure you know what you're doing. If you decide to edit it, the last thing you want to do is start blocking all bots from visiting your site and suddenly disappear from the search results. Now, if you're operating a custom built site and you haven't intentionally created a robot's dot txt file, you probably don't have one if you're interested in learning more about how it works. Mas dot com has a great guide that will bring you up to speed on all the ins and outs of robots dot txt. If you're using a content management system like WordPress, you should definitely look into your settings to make sure you're not blocking search engines through your CMS, for example, WordPress manages your robots dot txt file dynamically, and it makes it really easy to toggle the global setting right from your reading settings page. There's a check box at the bottom that says Discourage search engines from indexing this site. If you want your site to appear in search engines, make sure that box is not checked. It's off by default, but since it's just a check box would be pretty easy to enable it by accident. So be careful with that. The next thing to consider is the Perma link structure. For your content. This determines what your post you RL's look like most content management systems will also have a setting for this. In the case of WordPress, there's a Perma links page under the Settings menu. The default Perma link structure in WordPress looks like this pretty ugly. Ah, it's just a cryptic post I D number, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to people. War to search engines. When you change your link structure to something containing the name of your post, you have the opportunity to include keywords in your your else, which is a ranking signal that shows that your page is relevant. I prefer to keep things simple and use the standard post name structure in WordPress. But if for whatever reason, you'd prefer to have dates in your girls, you could do that as well. As long as the post name is in there, you're good now, a word of warning. If you've already got an established site up and running, be careful not to do anything that would break your existing links. You don't want to lose the search creds you've already worked so hard to attain. Finally, the age old question to www or not to Www. Most Web servers are set up so you can access a site with or without the www dot prefix. This can sometimes present a problem with search engines because in their eyes, the www version of your site is actually a separate website from your top level domain. So they see two websites with the exact same content, and you end up competing with yourself now. Search engines have gotten a lot smarter in the way they handle this in recent years. But I say better safe than sorry. Choose the version you like better with or without the Triple W. It doesn't matter. Redirect the other version and stick with your choice whenever you link toe one of your pages. 51. [SEO] Titles & Meta Descriptions: The next thing we need to talk about in terms of S e O is optimizing your page titles and meta descriptions so that search engines can understand exactly what you have to offer, making them more likely to rank your site highly for relevant search terms. We'll start with page titles. Now when I say page titles, I'm referring specifically to the HTML title tag. This determines what you see in your browser tab when you visit your site, but it also dictates how your site appears in search results. The page title is the first line for each results, so it's really your one chance to nail that first impression now. Just to be clear, there's a difference between what we call page titles in the context of S E. O and the names of your posts and pages in your CMS. Your post names will usually be part of your page title, but your page title is a separate entity that usually includes not only the name of your post but also the name of your site. More on that in just a second. Some content management systems allow you to edit your page titles right out of the box, but in some cases, you may need 1/3 party plug in were add on If you're using WordPress. I highly recommend the Yost s CEO plug in not just for page titles, but for all kinds of S E O. Custom is ations. So regardless of what CMS you're using, what does a good page title look like? Well, first of all, it goes without saying that every page title should be descriptive and enticing to encourage people to click next. The key words you want to rank for should appear early in your page titles, and that's for two reasons. First, search engines give more ranking weight to the early words, and second, people scanning the search results are going to see the early words first. So if your keywords appear early in your page titles, you're more likely to rank highly, and people are more likely to click through to your site. With that said, it's also a good idea to include your site name in your titles for the sake of brand recognition, but you'll want that to appear at the end. So in short, good titles are descriptive and enticing. Contain your target keyword, preferably at the beginning, and contain your brand name, preferably at the end. So the default arrangement that Yost provides is actually an ideal configuration because it places the title at the beginning. So your keywords appear early, then a separator symbol and then your site name at the end, so your branding is included again. It doesn't matter what CMS you're using, but if your title template doesn't look like this, I recommend changing it, so it does. If you're using Yost, you can also set custom titles for individual posts. If you ever need a break away from the default template. Now let's talk about meta descriptions. Meta descriptions don't appear anywhere on the front end of your site, but they're used by search engines for the black text. Under the title of a search result. By default, a snippet will be automatically pulled from your page content based on what the user searched for. But writing your descriptions yourself gives you the opportunity to increase your click through rate significantly. If you're using WordPress with Yost, this could be done right from the Yost panel on the Post Editor. Click Edit Snippet, then enter your description right here. When you're writing a meta description, make sure it contains the key word you'd like to rank for at least once and use it as an opportunity to entice the reader to click through. There's really no good way to automate meta descriptions, and I don't recommend setting any kind of global meta descriptions in your CMS, since they should pertain to specific pages. Instead, take an extra 30 seconds or so after you finish writing a post to give it a relevant description. I think you'll find it's well worth your time to do that. 52. [SEO] Themes & Template Settings: the way your site is displayed, an organized is extremely important to your S E O. If you're using a CMS like WordPress, your theme is the backbone of your site, and it's often the determining factor of whether your site delivers a positive or negative user experience. And on top of that, it's important that your site is structured in a way that makes sense to search engines away. That gives him as much context as possible. So what are some important considerations when it comes to your theme and templates? Settings First and foremost is responsive design. We talked about this earlier. A responsive design is one that automatically adapts to the smaller screen of a smartphone or tablet. Now, I'm sure you understand the utility of a mobile friendly design in this world where everybody's using a smartphone all the time. But how does that relate to S. E. O. In 2016 Google began using mobile friendliness as a ranking signal for its mobile search results meeting. Responsive sites will now typically outrank non responsive sites on mobile, which is where 60% of all searches happen. The good news is that responsive design has become a standard. So almost any modern theme you install on WordPress or whatever CMS you use will be responsive. Still, it's worth double checking before you install a new theme. Take a look at the mobile version and make sure it adapts properly and offers a pleasant user experience. If your business has an older website that's not responsive, it's time for an upgrade. If you care about your S E. O. This is absolutely mandatory. Next, I want to talk about breadcrumbs, which I recommend adding to your site if you can. So what are breadcrumbs? Well, they're a set of links that look like this. They usually show a link to the home page, a link to the Post's main category and the title of the Post. The practical use case here is pretty simple. They help the user get back to where they came from or explore other parts of your site. They're called breadcrumbs because they worked just like an actual trail of breadcrumbs that you would drop and used to find your way back to your starting point. You've probably seen breadcrumbs on some pretty high profile sites, and they're even baked into the windows operating system. They don't take up much space. They can help users navigate around your site. And as an added benefit, they are extremely search engine friendly. They help search engines better understand the structure of your site and how it's organized. And Google will actually show your breadcrumb trail in the search results in place of your full your L. As of now, the breadcrumbs themselves are not clickable in the search results, but it's still a great opportunity to customize your search snippet just a little bit more , so I recommend taking advantage of it. Often. Enabling breadcrumbs is easy as flipping a switch in your CMS, but in some cases you'll need 1/3 party plug in, or you'll need to hard code them yourself. If you feel they're worth the time. Now, let's talk headings. A common way to organize content on a page is with headaches, right. You have a big block of text, and you can divide that text using subheadings. In addition to helping reader skim your content. To get a quick overview, headings, tell search engines about the content of your page and how it's organized, so it's important that you use the right headings for the right purposes. There are several different types of headings. In HTML you have heading one, heading two, heading three, heading four and so on, each functioning as a subheading of its parent. These air abbreviated in the actual HTML tags as H one h two, h three, h four and so on. It goes up to six. H one is interpreted by search engines to be the title of a page, so the Onley H one text on your posts and pages should be the title itself. The name of your site can be formatted as each one on the home page, but nowhere else. If you're using a CMS, you shouldn't have to worry too much about your template files, because themes generally handle this correctly. However, when you're creating content, it's important not to shoot yourself in the foot by using the wrong headings. So let's talk about that. I'm in the WordPress Post editor here, and I've got this drop down menu where I can switch between the standard paragraph text and one of the many heading options. So even though there is an option to use heading one, I almost never want to do that, because again, the only H one text I went on the page is my title, and that's automatically included by my theme. Whenever you need a divide, your post into multiple sections always use heading to the same goes for dividing an individual section into multiple subsections. You can have multiple H three sections under a single age, too multiple H force under an H three and so on. In most cases, though, all you'll need is hte, too, as a bonus tip, including keywords in your headings. In a natural way, not a spammy way can give you a little bit of a boost because it's one more signal that your page is indeed relevant to that particular keyword. 53. [SEO] How To Select The Right Keywords And Create High-Ranking Content On Any Topic: From an S E o perspective, it's a good idea to have a strategy in mind and know what keywords you want a page to rank for before you even start writing content for it. But how do you decide on a keyword to target? Well, you'll have to do some research. If you're writing a block post, you'll usually want to aim for what's called a long tail keywords, which is basically a specific keyword containing multiple words. If you have a general idea for what you're going for, a great starting point is to go to Google. Start typing some variation of your potential keyword and look at the suggestions in the drop down menu. By the way, before you do this, I recommend signing out of your Google account or opening a private browser window so the options won't include your search history or tailored suggestions. But anyway, all of these suggestions come from riel search data, so these are actual keywords that people are using to search the Web. A good starting point for this method would be frequently asked questions. Think of the questions that your customers were. People in your target audience often ask and spend those into the keywords they may use to do research. This is another time when Quora and Reddit in niche communities come in handy. Once you've found some potential keywords you'd like to rank for, the next thing you want to do is determine the search volume for those keywords. In other words, how many people are searching for them? Ideally, you want something with a relatively high search volume because that means you can get a lot of traffic by ranking for that keyword. To determine search volume, you can use the Google keyword planner, which you can find pretty easily just by typing keyword planner into Google. Now, to use this tool, you'll need an active Google AdWords account. You don't have to run any campaigns or anything, but you do need an active account. When you get into the keyword planner, you'll see a few options. We're going to select the one that says, get search volume data and trends. When this box pops up, you can enter one or more long tail keywords. Either one per line or separated by commas, for this example, will just enter one keyword and then click get search volume. What you get is a table of the keywords you entered in the average number of monthly searches for each keyword. There are also columns here for competition and a suggested bid. Those air directed more advertisers who are considering running ads for this keyword. They don't really apply to our objectives here, so you can ignore those. So just take a look at the average monthly searches for each of your potential keywords, eliminate the ones with low search volumes and then make a list of the ones that look like they're worth pursuing. Next, go back to Google, make sure you're either signed out or using a private browser window and then just run a search for each of the keywords on your list. Make sure to skip over any ads that appear at the top and then take a look at the first few organic search results. Are they the same type of content you intend to create? Would your page fit well into these results? You'll also want to assess the quality of the results. Now, of course, this is kind of subjective, but it really comes down to this question. Would any of the search results completely satisfy someone searching for that keyword. Once you've answered that, you have a couple of options for your next move. When there's nothing on Page one of the search results that would completely satisfy the readers needs, you have the opportunity to write the first article of its kind, so spend some time doing research and putting together a really epic resource that provides exactly what people are looking for when they search for that term. The second and more likely scenario is that there's already at least one piece of content that would satisfy the reader, and that's probably Result number one. The question then becomes, Can you create something better? If the first result isn't absolutely amazing? You can take advantage of that and write the article that people really need by diving deeper and offering more substance than the other top results. And finally, if you're in a situation where all of the top results for your keyword already offer extremely valuable content, you still have another option. You can create a piece of equally amazing content in a different format. You see the most competitive search results spots are usually one by writers because they can create detailed, long form content that delivers a ton of value to their readers. But what about people who don't have an extra 15 or 20 minutes to read a super long article or people who prefer to learn visually often what those long form pieces air lacking is a short synopsis that makes it easier to digest. You can offer that by presenting the same information as an infographic or a checklist or video or anything else that takes existing information and presents it in a different way. Of course, you want to cite your sources and give credit where it's due, but your content may actually be more valuable than the original stuff to a certain segment of people who prefer that alternative format. So those are some ideas you can use to choose a target keyword and create a piece of content that's worthy of ranking for that keyword 54. [SEO] Does Keyword Density Matter?: in the past, A major focus of S E O was this concept of keyword density, which is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a Web page compared to the total number of words on that page. Search engines use keyword density as a ranking signal to determine how relevant a page is to a particular search term. If a keyword appears a bunch of times on a page, it would make sense to rank that page higher for that keyword, right? Unfortunately, the Spammy marketers of the world figured out how that worked and started keyword stuffing basically over optimizing their pages by including the same keyword or related keywords over and over and over as many times as they could. And the result was a bunch of pages ranking that weren't actually useful. They just happen to have keywords littered all over the page with no regard for the quality of the content. Google's response came in 2011 with an algorithm update called panda, which was intended to reduce the rank of low quality sites and content farms while increasing the rank of higher quality sites that are more useful to the end user. One of the effects of the panda update is that keyword density is no longer a linear ranking signal. So if your keyword density is too low, that tells Google that your page probably isn't relevant, but it can also be too high. And if it's too high, that tells Google, you're probably a spammer just stuffing your page with keywords. Today, the ideal keyword density ISS somewhere between 0.5% and 2.5%. But rather than stressing about keyword density, just focus on creating a great resource in work keywords into your content. Naturally, if you use WordPress, you can enter your focus keyword into the Yost section in the Post Editor, and it will let you know if your content is over or under optimized. 55. [SEO] Internal Links: whenever you're writing a post, it's a good idea to include relevant internal links toe other pages on your site that will help your users dig deeper into your content. And it will also help search engines understand the relevance of certain pages, the value of those pages and the relationships between different pages. As we discussed, search engines crawl websites by following links. When you link from one post to another post, that's a way of signaling that those pages are related. When it comes to internal linking, you should prioritise the content that you consider to be most important. Most likely, you'll have a handful of posts that drive a significant portion of your traffic. The kind of core resource is that your site has to offer. You want a link to those whenever you have the opportunity. Now it should always be relevant. Don't just add random links all over the place, but whenever you feel it would make sense toe linked to one of your most important posts. You should do so. This passes link value onto those pages, and the more you do that, the more clear it will be to the search engines that those pages represent your most valuable content, which will help them rank more highly When you add internal links. What should the anchor text be if you're not familiar? Anchor text is the clickable text that's actually displayed to your visitors in the old days of S E O. The common advice was to optimize your anchor text by using keywords. Basically, if you link to a post enough times using the same keyword as the anchor text, that post would start ranking for that keyword. But today, search engines are a little bit smarter and pay more attention to the context of the surrounding content than to the anchor text itself. On top of that, over optimizing by always linking with the same keyword can actually have a negative impact because Google considers that to be a little spammy, just like the keyword stuffing tactic we talked about earlier. So these days, the main thing to think about is whether the acre text looks natural in your copy and provides an actual benefit to the end user. It's okay to use keywords, but don't go overboard and use the same anchor text every time you linked to a post 56. [SEO] Image Optimization: one aspect of S E O that people often overlook his image. Optimization. Search engines have no problem reading your text, but they usually need some help to understand the context of your photos. If you add the proper metadata to your images, which only takes a few seconds, you could generate some extra traffic by helping your photos rank in places like Google images. And as an added benefit, you can also help visually impaired readers make sense of your content if they're using a screen reader. The key is to add on Ault attributes to your image tag with a brief description of the image. Here's what that looks like in raw HTML in WordPress and other content management systems, it's a simple is entering your description into a text box when you insert an image, I recommend doing this for all the images in your content, but you may find it's particularly useful when you have an original image or infographic or some kind of visual that's valuable in and of itself. This is a simple but effective way to tap into a traffic source that your competitors most likely neglect 57. [Promotion] Why Promotion Is Important: Once you've got a handle on your content strategy, you need to get your content in front of an audience. We spend some time talking about search engine optimization, and now we're going to take a look at some more proactive steps that you can take to promote your content and increase your traffic. Promotion is important, and it's where a lot of creators tend to drop a ball. They start cranking out epic content, but they don't take the necessary steps to attract an audience. In many cases, you may see better results by spending more time on promotion than you spend on creating new content. Now don't get me wrong. Creating high value quality content should always be your number one priority, and you may find that when your content is truly valuable, it doesn't take much work to promote. But you still want to cover all your bases and do what you can to draw people's attention. So in this section will cover a variety of strategies that you can use to promote your content and grow your audience without spending a dime 58. [Promotion] Strategic Collaboration: when you're just getting started. One of the best ways to promote yourself in your brand is by strategically collaborating with established players in your space. For example, one of the strategies I always recommend for promoting a new Blawg is writing a series of guest posts for other MAWR influential blocks. The key to successful guest blogging is that any guest posts you write have to meet an extremely high standard of quality. If you write a subpar guest post, it probably won't get published Number one. But even if it does, do you really want that to be the public's first impression of you? Probably not. So make sure you only offer your best work for guest posts as far as actually getting published. I wrote an article about this a few years ago. I call it the Art of the Pitch. As an editor, I've gotten tens of thousands of gas post pitches over the years, and most of them go straight to the trash. So which ones do I actually pay attention to? Well, here's what a perfect pitch looks like to me. Simple but descriptive. Tell me who you are and why I should care and then give me three specific ideas to choose from with a simple outline or description for each one. Start with the smaller blog's in your industry and work your way up to the big guys as you get some posts under your belt. Now, depending on your medium of choice, a guest blawg post may not always be the best method. You can also do other types of collaboration, like making an appearance on a relevant YouTube channel or podcast being interviewed as an expert doing traditional PR things of that nature. The idea is you want to become a familiar face in the media world surrounding your particular industry. This strategy isn't primarily about links or shout outs or anything like that. Those air great and will definitely help you. But the main purpose here is putting yourself in your brand on the map so that in the future you can leverage that existing trust 59. [Promotion] A Simple Way To Get Leading Influencers To Share Your Content: earlier, we talked about expert roundups as something that may fit into your content strategy. But it deserves a mention as a promotion strategy to not only are expert roundups a great content format there also an effective way to get leading influencers to share your content . So to refresh your memory, you reach out to a bunch of experts. Ask him a single question and compile all their answers into one big post then, and this is where it becomes a promotion strategy. Send them a link to the post when it goes live because they contributed to it. Chances are they won't mind sharing it with their audience. The same principle applies to the people to follow list that we talked about in this case. The person didn't necessarily contribute, but it's a pleasant surprise and even an honor to be recognized as one of the top experts on your topic. So it's worth reaching out to those people is well and saying, Hey, we featured you in our list of experts in our industry. More than likely, they'll check it out to see what you said about them and hopefully share it with their audience as well now a word of warning. This is a strategy that's been overused a bit in the business and marketing niche, so it's not as effective in that space as it once waas. But if you cover a different topic, there should be plenty of room for you to do one of these round ups. And by the way, when you're creating this type of content, please don't just throw a bunch of people into a list because they have a lot of Twitter followers and might end up sharing your post. Choose your candidates based on merit and make sure the end result is something that actually brings value to your audience. 60. [Promotion] Teasing Your Content On Social Media: Of course, we have to talk about social media now. Using social media in your marketing is a lot more involved than just shouting links all day. It's important to understand the unique nuances of each platform and to create quality native content. With that, said, social Media can be a great distribution channel as well. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when you share your content on channels like Twitter and Facebook. Anytime you mention a person or company in a post, it's a good idea to tag them. When you share it on social media, they'll get a notification, and it's super easy for them to share it or retweet it right then and there. On a similar note, you can use a service like buffer to queue up a series of social media updates about the same post without making it look like you're sharing the same post. Not everyone will see your post when you share it the first time, but you also don't want to post the same headline over and over again. Instead, try sharing bits and pieces of the post. For example, if you did a round up of 15 experts answering the same question That gives you 15 excuses to tweet out the same post, tagging each of the experts and quoting their individual responses. You can also turn your headline into a question or site a statistic or share some other little nugget of information from the post. A teaser Basically Remember earlier we talked about repurposing content, So if you have done a video interview, you could turn some of the best quotes into tweets. Or if you want to go a step further into graphics and share those on Twitter, Facebook, instagram, etcetera, of course, making sure to tag the person wherever you post it. 61. [Promotion] How To Get Your Content Featured In Popular Resource Lists: We covered link roundups as a content idea earlier, and now we're going to take a look at the other side of the equation, which is getting your content featured in someone else's round up link. Roundups are a really popular format, which means there are lots of opportunities. If you have a valuable piece of content to promote, the process is pretty simple. Head over to Google and try searching for different variations of roundup plus your industry. When you find some relevant lists, you can begin to reach out to the creators. All you have to do is tell them who you are. Let them know that you saw there link round up and found it valuable and say that you have a piece of content you want to share with them. Make sure they know exactly why your post is awesome and what value it'll bring to their audience. Now I'm gonna pause here to remind you again that the quality of your content is always priority Number one, and I would never advise you to waste your time and someone else's time promoting a piece of mediocre content. If you're gonna be bold enough to directly ask someone to link to your content. It needs to be something you're truly proud of. With that said, getting featured in a link roundup is a great way to reach a new audience and drive some long term traffic. And it's great for your S e o toe. Have an authoritative site pointing to your valuable resource with a link. 62. [Promotion] Don't Neglect This Free Source Of On-Demand Traffic: this one is going to sound pretty obvious, but a lot of people tend to forget when you have fresh content. The first people to hear about it should be your email subscribers. The people on your email list have specifically requested to hear from you, so they're the best group of people to send new content to. It's a free source of on demand traffic that you actually own. And continuing to send new content to your subscribers is a great way to maintain that relationship. Keep them engaged and hopefully move them down your funnel over time. Here's a bonus tip. After you send out a new piece of content to your subscribers, wait a couple of days and then use your email service provider to segment out the people who didn't open the original message. Then send just those people the exact same message again. But with a different subject line. This is a proven way to significantly increase your open rate and engage people who may have missed that first email. We'll talk more on email marketing soon, but I wanted to offer a couple of quick tips here as it pertains to content promotion 63. [Promotion] How To Promote Your Content In Groups & Niche Communities (Without Being Spammy): we keep coming back to niche communities like forums. Subreddit. It's Facebook groups. These air all important places for you as a marketer to be on one hand, it's a great way to get to know your audience, which can help you to create better content. But these places can also serve as distribution channels if you approach them carefully and respect their rules. Nobody likes the shameless self promoter who shows up and starts promoting their own stuff without establishing a reputation. Were adding anything of value to the community. So make sure you know the rules of any community you join and focus on becoming an active member. First, you can find forums pretty simply by googling something like your topic, plus forums. If you end up joining a forum site. One of the simplest ways to promote what you have to offer without being obtrusive is by including a link in your signature or your profile, and then just focusing on providing so much value natively on the community itself that people start proactively seeking out your content To find a subreddit relevant to your industry, you could go to reddit dot com slash red. It's enter the topic you're interested in, and it will give you some suggestions. The same rules apply on Reddit, possibly even more so. You never want to be seen as a spammer, read. It is not kind to people who just constantly self promote. They have this thing called a shadow band, which is basically a way of banning people from the community without telling them that they've been banned. So if moderators noticed that all you do is promote your own stuff, they can shadow ban you. And on your end, you'll still be posting things and using Read it as normal, but nobody else will see your posts. You don't want that to happen, so keep your self promotional posts few and far between and again always focus on providing value to the community natively without trying to draw people out. It's counterintuitive, but when people know you and trust you your occasional self promotional posts, they're gonna carry a lot more weight, and people are going to see them as valuable rather than spammy. When it comes to groups on Facebook and linked in the same principles apply, there's really not much more to say. Just make sure you know the rules of the community, participate in conversations, provide value and keep self promotion to a minimum as a bonus tip here. Another way to approach niche communities for the purpose of content promotion is by creating a community of your own. Start your own forum. Start your own Facebook group, get some people on board and work on cultivating a positive, valuable community where you're interacting with your audience, where your audience is interacting with each other and then you'll have a platform that you control where you can share content freely. 64. [Promotion] An Extremely Effective Way To Significantly Grow Your Audience Overnight: in this lecture, we're gonna cover one of the most effective ways to significantly grow your audience pretty much overnight. And I know that's a big promise, but this method really delivers if you executed properly. So what are we talking about here? We're talking about giveaways. Giveaways generate a ton of buzz because everybody wants free stuff, right? But like I said, if you want to use a giveaway toe, actually grow your business, you have to be very strategic in your execution. Let me explain. First and foremost, you have to choose a relevant product. This is the most important part, and it's where most brands fail. You see, you can give away just about anything of value, and you're gonna get a lot of traffic in a lot of entries. But at the end of the day, if your product isn't relevant to your business, you're just gonna get a bunch of untargeted traffic and an audience of people who have no interest in your content and will never buy from you all the brands giving away ipads and stuff like that. That is a terrible strategy, because think about who wants a free iPad. Everybody wants a free iPad unless your business is actually focused on electron ICS or apple products. Giving away an iPad is not going to help you. A good product for a giveaway is one that's highly desired but appeal specifically to your target audience. Often this may be your own product, right? Because what better way to attract people who were interested in your product than by giving away your product? But it could be something else entirely. The idea is to give away something that's extremely valuable to your target market but may not be valuable to a random person you meet on the street. In terms of actually conducting the giveaway, there are to plug ins that I highly recommend Gleam and King Sumo. They're both excellent, and they allow you to collect emails for your list while also tackling one of the big problems with viral giveaways. Nobody wants to share a giveaway because the more people who enter the lower their chances of winning become, and that makes perfect sense. People tend to act in their own self interest, but these plug ins actually incentivise sharing by giving people additional entries for referring their friends. So for example, you get one entry right away, and then if you share on Facebook, you get a second entry, 1/3 for sharing on Twitter. And then, if you refer X number of people, you get X number of additional entries. This is a much better system than the traditional one entry per person approach because it incentivizes sharing and makes your giveaway go viral with very little promotion on your part. With That said, you do still want to do some promotion to kind of get the ball rolling. A good place to start is by reaching out to friends and contacts, telling them about the giveaway and asking them to enter and share promoted to your existing email list again. They're already engaged with your brand. They'll appreciate the opportunity to win a free product, and they're likely to share it with their friends. If you put the right incentives in place, then, of course you want to promote it to the rest of your website visitors. Most likely you're going to use a block post is the main entry page, but make sure you're pushing people in that direction from other areas of your site. For example, you could use something like the Hello Bar, which adds a simple header bar to the top of your site, where you can say, Hey, we're giving away this product. Click here to enter. And of course, you can also submit your giveaway to some relevant subreddit. It's Facebook groups and so on. And by the time you've done all of this, your giveaway should be gaining steam through people sharing it, and you should start to see an influx of highly targeted traffic once again. If you select a relevant product incentivize sharing and do a little bit of promotion ahead of time, a giveaway is one of the most effective strategies you can deploy for fast growth. 65. [Email] Why An Email List Is Essential For Your Content Marketing Strategy: One of the most important goals of a good content marketing strategy is the growth of an email list. I know this surprises some people, but it's true. Even today, in the world of social media, email is 40 times more effective in terms of customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined. That's according to a study by McKinsey and company. On top of that, get response reports that for every $1 invested, email marketing generates an average return of $38. In other words, Ah, 3700% R A y On email list is the single most effective tool for generating repeat traffic and repeat customers on demand. Think about it. It's the only communication channel that you actually own, meaning no news, feed update or new search. Our of them will ever impact your ability to reach people with it. Almost everyone checks their email daily, and most importantly, people have to opt in to your email list, meaning everyone on your list actually wants to hear from you. Your list is your greatest asset for building a strong community and a profitable business . Now, a word of warning. A good email marketing campaign begins with a good list. You want riel information from real people who check their email regularly, and you want those people to be genuinely interested in your brand and your content and what you have to offer. Don't be tempted to buy an email list from a service that promises thousands of email subscribers for a very small amount of money. Most of the emails you get are gonna be old or fake, and the few who are actual people are not gonna be interested in your content or your products. Plus, there's a good chance you'll get flagged as a spammer, which is just icing on the cake of a very bad investment. You'll see much better results by growing your own list organically. So how do you do that? Well, maybe your business already has a list from past marketing campaigns, in which case you've got a platform to build on, which is fantastic. If not, that's fine, too, but you'll want to get started and start putting systems in place as soon as possible to maximize your results. A good place to start is with people you know. Open up your CRM system if you have one and import your existing contacts and customers. Then you want to start producing epic content, and by this point in the course, you should be very comfortable with that. You can then use email subscription forms and opt in incentives, which will talk about shortly to encourage people to join your list. Now, in terms of technology, there are a lot of email marketing platforms out there. You've got mail chimp a Weber Get response infusion soft any of these air fine, and you can feel free to do your own research to determine which service will work best for you. And the beautiful thing about email marketing is that you can switch email service providers at any time and take your list with you again. It's the only communication channel that you actually own in this section will cover a variety of strategies you can use to grow your email list quickly and effectively using the power of content 66. [Email] How To Entice People To Opt In To Your List: Once you decide on an email marketing platform and set up a list, you need to convince people, toe actually sign up. Now, of course, you wanna place opt informs in key locations on your website, but very few people are gonna hand over their contact information just because you asked for it. You have to incentivize the opt in. In other words, offer something of value in exchange for an email address. So what exactly constitutes something of value? Well, in some cases, it could just be the content of the emails he'll be sending, for example, if you write an industry newsletter or something like that. But most of the time it's better to give people instant gratification with some kind of free resource. This is often referred to as a lead magnet because it attracts leads, and it's probably the most effective way to get email sign ups. With that in mind, let's take a look at some examples to help you come up with an effective lead magnet for your brand. First we have a checklist or a cheat sheet. This is a classic lead magnet that converts really well because it's so easy to digest you just package everything people need to know into a simple, actionable list. And interestingly, the general consensus in the marketing world is that short resource is like checklists actually convert better than something like an E book because they're short and the time required to consume them is minimal. A tool kit is similar. It's basically a list of tools that you use for a particular purpose. So if you have an audience of photographers, you could put together a list of your favorite equipment and software for photography. A resource list saves people from having to do research themselves, and it compiles. The most important resource is on a topic in one place. A template is some kind of simple outline that people congrats and apply to their lives by filling in the blanks. Calendars and planners can be a great opportunity. If you want to help people achieve a long term goal, you tell them what to do each day over a certain period of time and they do it. For example, in the health and fitness industry, you could offer meal plans or workout routines as your lead magnet. Spreadsheets are a great way to manipulate data and make live calculations. But ah, lot of people don't know how to program a spreadsheet themselves. You can fill that need by offering a spreadsheet template as a free resource. For example, if you cover personal finance, you could offer a budgeting spreadsheet so people can just download it and input their own numbers to make it work. So I mentioned that shorter resource is tend to outperform longer ones. But if you can write an extended guide or e book that's actionable and rewarding enough, it can be a solid lead magnet. Just make sure you deliver plenty of value and respect people's time. Another way to offer deeper value is by delivering an email course. You could do this with the auto responder feature in your email marketing service just right up a series of emails and queue them up to send every couple of days or so after someone signs up. If you cater to a creative audience, printable XKE can be a great option. Artistic materials, calendars, shopping lists. Any of these things can be delivered as a print friendly. PDF file. Earlier in the course, we talked about conducting original research and sharing the results in a block post. Another twist on that concept would be to share the results in a downloadable PdF In exchange for email addresses, you can summarize your results on your blawg and point people to the free download if they want the full extended report, As we've seen in certain scenarios, audio makes more sense as a format than text or video. It's great for busy entrepreneurs or something like guided meditation. For example, just set up a opt in form and deliver the file as an MP three. Live webinars are an amazing way to build trust with your audience. And they're also a great way to collect email addresses. Have people sign up if they're interested, and then send them more details by email. A super easy but effective way to turn blog's readers into subscribers is by offering a PdF version of your longer blawg posts. For some people, it's just a more convenient way to consume your content. You can do it manually, or use a tool like print friendly dot com to convert your content into a PdF in under 60 seconds. Art and wallpaper. If you do design or photography, you could make some of your work available for free in exchange for an email address. Wallpapers are great as our Facebook and Twitter cover photos. Ah, Photoshopped templates and things like that can also be really effective if you have an audience of creatives. We've repeatedly covered the value of niche communities focused on your industry, and I even mentioned that you may want to create a community of your own. You can also use that idea as a way to grow your list by offering a private community exclusive to people who opt into your email list. This could be something you create and host yourself, or it can be a simple as a Facebook group or slack team. We've also talked about the value of a case study, where you tell the story of a particular customer in the role you played in solving their problem. Another take on that concept is to put the case study behind an opt in form and deliver it by email. The leads you get from that form are all but guaranteed to be highly qualified and far more likely than other groups to buy from you and along the same lines offering a free quote in exchange for contact information will also deliver highly qualified leads that you can follow up with and close. So those are all solid ideas for potential lead magnets. Now it's worth mentioning that when you create a lead magnet, it's important that you give it the time and attention it deserves. The lead bang that sets the tone for your entire relationship with your email subscribers. So it should be something you're really proud off now. As far as delivery, most people deliver lead magnets in one of two ways. The first is to include a download link on the thank you page, which is where you send people as soon as they sign up. The other is to put a download link in the welcome email that's delivered as soon as people confirm their subscriptions. That's the method I prefer because the download link isn't exposed on a public Web page, so only subscribers can access it. Lead magnets are essential for growing an email list, so start thinking about which ones you may be able to employ for your business 67. [Email] Standard Opt-In Forms: where exactly should you place your opt informs and lead magnet offers in order to capture as many emails as possible? Let's take a look. Earlier in the course in the Web design section, I advocated for a single column layout because often a sidebar doesn't really contribute to the primary goal of a Web page except when it does. If you insist on having a sidebar, that sidebar better contain an opt in form, and ideally, it should be right at the top. This is something that's gonna be visible on every page, at least for your desktop visitors, and people expect to see an opt in form there, so if they're looking for it, that will probably be the first place they check. We've also covered the importance of having a call to action at the end of your posts, and an opt in form with a lead magnet can be a perfect call to action. Remember, if someone reads all the way to the end there clearly engaged with your content, so that's the perfect place to ask them to join your list by offering some kind of free resource In exchange. You can also include an opt in form right within your post, content itself again. You've already got the reader's attention, so why not throw in a relevant offer and get them on your list? And the longer your content, the more opt informs you can get away with. I would only include one if your post is in the 500 to 1000 word range. But if you've got a monster post with three or 4000 words, you can feel justified with two or three. Opt in offers within the content itself. For best results, your offer should always be a natural extension of the surrounding content. In other words, try to offer something that's relevant to that post in particular. Here's an easy one. If you have a core lead magnet that you want to promote to your entire audience, your navigation bar is prime real estate. To do just that, use an enticing label and linked to a landing page where people can opt in and pick up your freebie. And finally, don't neglect the about page. Your about page is where people go to learn who you are and what you do. If they're interested enough to do that they may be interested enough to sign up for your list, so make sure you have at least one opt inform on your about page. 68. [Email] High-Profile Opt-In Forms: Okay, so we've covered the kind of standard placements for your opt informs. But there are also some heavier approaches you can use to be a little more proactive about asking people to opt in. For example, one of the best ways to get email sign ups is with what's called a feature box, which is a big area above the content of your website, usually on the home page that tells people exactly what your website is about, with a strong call to action, encouraging them to sign up for your list. It's really powerful when someone lands on your home page because they instantly know what you're all about, and they know exactly what to do next. If they think you could bring them value for a more minimal approach, you can use a plug in like hello Bar to add a dead simple call to action to the very top of your site. This is great for growing your list or really promoting anything to your audience in an unobtrusive but effective way. Next, we have pop ups and I know what you're thinking. Pop ups are annoying, and in many cases I totally agree. But here's the thing they work. Lightbox pop ups are one of the best ways to convert visitors to subscribers. If you're going to use pop ups, though, make sure you offer a free resource that's valuable enough to justify getting up in people's faces. You have to strike a balance between optimizing your conversion rate and optimizing the user experience. There are lots of plug ins out there you can use for pop ups, including Opt in Monster Sumo. Me and Thrive Leads exit intent Pop ups are pop ups that trigger right When a user moves their mouths to leave the page, they're less annoying than a traditional pop up because they don't interrupt people while they're browsing your site. And they can help you capture emails from people who would otherwise leave and maybe never come back. The key to success here is to offer something relevant and enticing enough for someone who was on their way out to spend 10 more seconds typing in their email address. This next one has a different name, depending on who you're talking to. Some call it a slide up form. Others call it a fly in form, but it's basically a little box that slides up from the bottom, usually in the lower right corner of the page, offering the user something and asking for their email address. This is much less annoying than a full size pop up, but it's still pretty effective. 69. [Email] How To Turn Commenters Into Subscribers: If your site has a comments section, you know the people who take the time to leave. Comments are some of your most engaged visitors. So what if you could turn them in the email subscribers? There are a couple of ways to do this. One way is to redirect people to a thank you page right after they leave a comment. And on that page you could offer some kind of free resource if they opt in. If you use WordPress, you can use the comment Redirect Plug in, which automatically redirects first time commenters to a page of your choice. And it's nice because it's only first time commenters, so you won't be constantly harassing people who comment regularly. Another method is to add a check box to the comment form itself, where commenters can choose to join your list right as they post their comments again. If use WordPress. There are plenty of plug ins that do this, including mail chimp for WordPress and newsletter. Sign up 70. [Email] A Counterintuitive Strategy To Increase Your Conversions: Here's a counter intuitive strategy you may wanna try. Usually when you have a pop up or other call to action to get people on your list, you'll have the opt inform embedded right there. But some data shows that it may be better to add another step and have people click a button before the form even shows up. Obviously, they still have to enter their email address, but they don't even see the form until after they've clicked the button. Many marketers have reported increased conversion rates using this approach. The psychology here is this. It's a lot easier to click a button than to fill out a form, so the friction of claiming your free resource is perceived as low. But then the form appears. And even though the friction is higher now, by clicking the button, the visitor made a subconscious commitment to the process, and as a result, they're much more likely to follow through. Very weird, very counterintuitive, but it seems toe work, so you may want to test it out for yourself. 71. [Email] Using Social Proof To Grow Your Email List: We covered social proof earlier in the course, but it's worth reiterating here. Social proof works wonders when you're trying to get people to do anything, whether it's sharing an article, buying a product or opting into your list. If you already have a sizable lists, say 10,000 subscribers, you can show off that number as a means of social proof. But if you're just starting out, you're not gonna have a huge subscriber base to flaunt. So here's an alternative. Testimonials. Quote someone saying something nice about you or your work bonus points If that person is a prominent figure in your industry, even if you're relatively new to the game, you can get testimonials from influencers by offering them some kind of value first, such as a guest post for their blogged. But even if you don't have anything from the big guys, something is always better than nothing. Reach out to your most engaged readers and ask for a quote. If someone leaves you a nice comment or review, ask permission to feature it. Social proof will lend credibility to your brand and increase your conversion rates 72. [Email] Nurturing Your List: The Key To Maintaining Relationships Over Time: So let's say you've got an email list and you've got some strategies in place to get more people signed up. What do you do next? A pretty common mistake is thinking of your list as a group of people. You email when you have something to sell, that's a mindset you'll want to avoid as much as possible. Now, don't get me wrong When you do have something to sell. Your email list can and should be your number one sales driver. But that only works if you've spent time nurturing it. You have to continually bring value to the people on your list, with no expectation of return. These air your V, I. P. S. They like your content. They've asked you to send them more stuff, and it's up to you to start building a relationship with them. And good relationships are based on trust. So what does this mean? It means you have to spend a significant amount of time giving before you ever ask for anything. Gary Vaynerchuk has a great book called Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook, which applies a boxing metaphor to the marketing world. Basically, jab, jab, jab, right hook means give give, give, then ask. So you want to give people as much free value as possible before you ever ask for their money or their time or anything else. It's also worth considering that our in boxes are more crowded than ever before. Remember when you first started using email? You probably opened and read every single message, right? I know I did. But today I delete well over 75% of my emails without even opening them. And I actually did an email cleanse recently where I unsubscribed from hundreds of newsletters that weren't bringing value to my life. They were just noise. However, I did stay subscribed to a small handful of lists that always provide disproportionate value. That should be your goal. You have to earn your place in your subscribers in boxes. Specifically, here are a few ideas for what you could send your email list to continually provide value and build trust. First, we have the welcome email, which is the auto responder message that triggers as soon as someone confirms their email address. This is probably where you'll include whatever free resource you promised them, but it's also a good time to introduce yourself and set the expectations for the relationship. So go over what you'll be sending them and when and how often they can expect to hear from you. Exclusive content again. The people on your list deserved to be treated like V eyepiece, so offer them some exclusive content that you don't publish on the Web. It's okay to promote new blawg posts and stuff like that to your list, but if that's all you do, where's the added value? What's the incentive to join your list rather than just visiting your site? Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves ? Not much of a conversation, right? Well, the same concept applies to your email list. Invite people to hit the reply button and share their thoughts and feedback. You can even add a dedicated auto responder message asking people to tell you about themselves and their challenges. Make it clear that you actually read the responses and you'll start getting real direct feedback from your audience that you can use to tailor future content to them. Unexpected freebies One of the best ways to build rapport with your subscribers is by sending them an unexpected gift from time to time. It could be something that you would normally use as a lead magnet or even something more extensive if you want to go deeper. Either way, it's an amazing way to deliver value and remind people why they signed up in the first place again. Nurturing your list really comes down to providing massive free value to earn your keep. Once you've built up a solid relationship with your subscribers through lots of free value , selling is a breeze. People buy from those they trust in the law of reciprocity tells us they'll be more than willing to give back when the time comes. 73. [External Channels] External Marketing Channels Intro: So far, we've spent most of our time talking about building up a solid home base and publishing content on your company's own website. And that makes sense because your website is usually where you're gonna be directing people . It's gonna be ranking in search engines, and most likely it will be home to your most important content. With that said, it's important not to neglect the various external channels that you have at your disposal . We are living in the age of social media after all. So I wanted to spend a few minutes covering the basics of how those external channels can tie into your overall content marketing strategy. Now, just to be clear, this is not a social media marketing course. Social media services come and go, and they change all the time. However, I expect the principles of content marketing toe last for many years to come. It's just a matter of applying those principles to the platforms available at any given time. So the first thing I want to mention here is that your presence on any external social media channels should support your overall brand message. Your brand has the same story you're trying to achieve the same goals. You're just going about it in a different way. And that ties right into my second piece of advice, which is to take time to understand the unique nuances of each platform. Every social media service has a different audience in a different style, even if the same individual people are following you on two different platforms. They have different mindsets and expectations on each of them. So it's important to produce content that matches the style and tone that's expected of you . For example, on linked in, You're gonna want to be more professional. Where is on your instagram story? You could be totally ridiculous, and people would love it. The next thing is, you must engage and provide value natively. You can use social media as a distribution channel for your main blawg content, but that's not all it should be. You should also be creating what's called micro content images, videos, short text posts, things of that nature specifically for the platforms you're using. So in other words, you should have original instagram photos, Facebook posts and tweets that aren't just links back to your site. Providing value natively will make you stand out among all the other brands that are just trying to push people back to their websites, and it will give you an advantage in a world where algorithms dictate your placement. For example, Facebook wants to keep people on Facebook. So in most cases your native Facebook content is gonna outrank links to your website in the news feed. And finally, let's answer the age old question. Which platforms should your company be using? Should you be everywhere or just on one or two key services? Well, the short answer is that you should be where your audience is wherever the people in your target market hang out, be it Twitter, Facebook, instagram, medium Pinterest, Snapchat Whatever it is, that's where you should be. Now let's say you're audience is using all of those platforms and do you need to be everywhere? Not necessarily. I think you should only bother working with platforms where you have the ability to execute well, so a video content isn't really in your wheelhouse. Don't bother trying to grow a YouTube channel if Instagram is working really well for you, and you literally don't have the time or the staff to properly grow a Twitter account, then forget about Twitter, right? Whatever you're going to do, do it. Well. And if that means Onley using one or two platforms, so be it. 74. [External Channels] Facebook Pages & Ads: the first external channel we're gonna discuss requires no introduction. You know what Facebook is, and so do literally billions of others. The most important principle to understand here is this Facebook is the Internet. Now, of course, I don't mean that literally. But for many people, Facebook has really become the front page of the Internet. Facebook has created a world where we turn to our network of friends and family, along with the very intelligent news feed algorithm, to curate the content we see online. And it works very well. As a result, we trust Facebook toe always serve up content that will find interesting, and you, as a marketer, can tap into that established trust with your content on Facebook, there are a few different avenues you can use to reach people, and the best place to start is with a Facebook page. You may already have one, but if not, here's a quick introduction on Facebook. A page is distinct from a standard profile in that it's associated with a business organization or public figure rather than an individual Facebook user. Creating a page is pretty straightforward. You just choose the type of page you want enter some information, and in just a few clicks you're up and running. Once you've got a page, your business can start sharing content on Facebook. But what types of content should you be sharing? And how often should you post? Well, of course, it depends on your audience, but I recommend sharing new content every day in a variety of formats. So maybe you'll post a link, followed by an image and then a video, maybe even a live stream and so on. You can use Facebook insights to learn more about your audience on Facebook and see which types of content they tend to respond to, and then adjust your strategy accordingly. Facebook is always tinkering with the news feed algorithm, so over time different types of content may work better than others. So always experiment. Now Here's an important tip for content marketers. Facebook has become a highly visual platform. When you post a link, it's gonna pull the featured image from your website, and people are going to see the image before they see your headline. So when it comes to posting on Facebook, your images arm or important than your headlines, if your image is boring. Most people are just going to scroll right past it, so always make sure you've got a solid image to grab people's attention. Once you've got a Facebook page up and running, you'll have the ability to create ads to promote your content in your business. Over the years, Facebook has become more and more of a pay to play platform. It used to be that your audience would see everything you post. But these days the news feed is very selective about the content. It shows people. Facebook wants to keep people on its platform for as long as possible, so it only shows them content that it thinks will keep them engaged. You can combat this by putting out quality content that's genuinely interesting and useful to your audience. But the odds are still stacked against businesses in that regard. Most of the time, you're only going to reach a small fraction of your audience organically. In other words, if you want to maximize your reach, you're gonna have to pay for advertising. A lot of marketers were understandably upset about that transition, but I'm of the opinion that it's more than worth it to pay for exposure on Facebook. Why it's not just Facebook's massive user base. It's the incredible amount of data they have on their users. You can use filters to target an extremely specific audience with a level of precision that's almost scary. You can target by location, age, language, relationship status, level of education, field of study, schools, employers, job titles, industries, income, net worth, homeownership, type of home, household composition, ethnic affinity generation, parental status, life events like anniversaries, birthdays, new jobs, new relationships, interests and hobbies, entertainment preferences, favorite foods and restaurants, shopping tendencies, car ownership, charitable donations, travel, browsing habits and more. It's amazing and more than a little creepy, but you can use these targeting options to essentially recreate your buyer personas and reach them efficiently and affordably. On Facebook, you can use Facebook ads to promote a specific post on your page, your page itself or a link to your website or landing page. In the next lecture, I'll give you a detailed example that you can put to use right away 75. [External Channels] The Perfect Facebook Ad Funnel (For Leads): Now that you understand the importance of Facebook and its advertising platform, I want to share a concept for an extremely effective Facebook ad funnel that you can use if you're just getting started and looking for leads. So first of all, you'll need a piece of content on your site that's relevant to people who could potentially buy from you. The content has to be good, and it has to be tailored specifically to your ideal buyer. Give them a solution to one of their core pain points. If you've been paying attention than by this point in the course, that should be no problem. And, of course, you should have a strong call to action at the end of the post, and your site should be optimized for capturing leads just like we talked about. Next, you'll want to create an ad on Facebook promoting that piece of content and cast a wide net with your targeting. You basically want to target any human being who could possibly be interested in your business in this case, were favoring with over depth. You want to reach as many people as possible while still keeping it somewhat focused on your industry. Remember the importance of visuals, by the way, you need to have an image that will capture people's attention. Facebook gives you the option to optimize your campaigns by split testing different versions of your ad, and I recommend you take advantage of that by testing different images. Keep everything else about your ad the same. Just vary your images. You'll be surprised how much of a difference an image can make. Let that campaign run for a while, and you should start seeing some traffic and ideally, some leads as well. But we're not finished. We're about to make this campaign farm or effective. Facebook offers an advertising feature called the Facebook Pixel, a piece of code for your website that lets you measure, optimize and build audiences for your ad campaigns. You could use the Facebook pixel to create what's called a custom audience that includes all the Facebook users who viewed the piece of content you're promoting. Next, you'll want to create another custom audience using the email addresses from your list so you'll have all of your existing leads in a custom audience as well. Now you want to create a new ad campaign targeting on Lee, the custom audience of people who viewed your content and excluding the custom audience you created using your email list. You can then use this ad to re target people who viewed your content but didn't opt in to your list, and you can send them to a landing page tailored specifically to them. This is insanely effective because these people are already familiar with your brand because they've read your content, and now it's time for you to offer them something in exchange for their email address. See how all of this is starting to come together now. Like I said, that's just an example that you can use if you're looking for leads, but it really illustrates the power of Facebook ads and what you can do with them. 76. [External Channels] Facebook Groups: as we discussed earlier. I'm a huge advocate of creating a community around your brand. Where members of your audience can engage with each other in a Facebook group is the perfect place to do that. Creating a group is pretty straightforward, just like creating a page. But a few tips. First of all, your group needs toe. Have a central theme. Think of any kind of shared interest that your audience can bond over. There are groups for podcasters, content marketers, fitness lovers, women with curly hair. All of these things air perfect for Facebook groups because their specific If you don't have specificity, you won't have unengaged audience, and your brand won't see any of the benefits of operating a group on Facebook. I recommend you create a closed group, which is a group that's visible in search but can't be joined by just anyone. New members have to be approved by a moderator. This has a couple of benefits. The first is exclusivity. When someone gets approved for a closed group, they feel like they're part of an exclusive club, and that goes a long way when it comes to increasing engagement and maintaining a positive community the other benefit is protection from trolls and spammers. You don't want people in your group who are gonna have a negative impact on the overall experience, and you definitely don't want your group to turn into a spammy link farm. Keeping it closed gives you some control over that. When you first create your group, you'll want to create an intro post and pin it to the top of the feed. You can use this as an opportunity to welcome new members. Invite them to introduce themselves and lay out the rules of your community. Yes, you need to have rules, and you need to enforce those rules. Your rules could be things like no self promotion, no trolling, being positive and civil with other members. Things like that again. You don't want your group to devolve into a spammy negative experience, and enforcing a set of clearly stated rules will help you avoid that. Remind the group of your rules regularly, and if someone breaks a rule, send them a private message and remind them personally and band people who break the rules repeatedly. Your Facebook group is under your control. You decide what behavior is appropriate and you have the right to show people the door if they choose to break your rules. Once your group is up and running, your primary goal should be to make it a valuable community for all of your members. The first way to do that is by creating valuable native content specifically for your group stuff that's not posted elsewhere. And like the rest of your Facebook content, you always want to prioritise the visuals. It's a good idea to give your members free stuff. Your group members are a lot like your email subscribers there, one of the most engaged segments of your audience, so you want to constantly reward them with free value. You could also turn group members into email subscribers by teasing a lead magnet in your pinned post or your group description. Now, of course, groups differ from pages in that they're more community oriented, so you should always encourage engagement and discussion. Even an occasional debate is okay as long as it remains civil. Some groups have recurring themes on certain days of the week. For example, weekend winds remember share their biggest successes from the past week. You can also open threads to help your audience members connect and collaborate with each other, and maybe even do a weekly self promotion posts where you encourage people to share what they're working on in the comments. And yes, of course, you can use your group to generate tangible business results. It's your group. You have what is essentially a captive audience, and as long as you're not constantly pitching your products, it's OK to sell from time to time. Remember these air, the most engaged members of your audience and as you establish trust by providing consistent free value in the group, will be much more likely to buy from you when you ask. 77. [External Channels] Marketing On Twitter: as a user, my favorite social media platform would have to be Twitter. Unfortunately, it pales in comparison to Facebook from an advertising perspective, but it's still a great platform in its own right, and one that's worth getting to know. You're probably familiar with the concept of tweets. Originally, they were short 140 character plain text messages. The character limit has since been doubled to 280 rich media like images, videos and polls have become a core part of Twitter as well. So the feed on Twitter looks a lot like Facebook, but Twitter is very much a real time platform. It's where news breaks, and it's often where important conversations begin. It's acceptable to post a lot more frequently on Twitter than on other services, and your content there should generally be more timely. You can share your blawg posts and other content, especially using the methods we talked about in the promotion section, such as tweeting out quote snippets, graphics, things of that nature. But keep in mind that you always want to focus primarily on native content, tweet out thoughts, tips, advice, questions, photos, anything you think your audience may find valuable or interesting. More importantly, though, Twitter is a place for conversations. It's kind of the town square of social media. One of the reasons I love it is because it's truly social. For the most part, everything is public. So in addition to starting your own conversations, you can jump in and out of conversations that are already happening without being creepy. One of my favorite Twitter features is the search function, which I've used to start hundreds of interesting conversations and meet tons of cool people . You can use advanced operators to search for tweets and discussions about anything you're interested in and chime in. For example, I'm interested in startups, So one Twitter search I have saved is this Start up or startups dash http. The syntax here is interesting. With that simple string, I can return tweets containing either the word startup or the words startups that do not contain links. Hints the dash http at the end. That's a negative keyword that I'm filtering out. So when I opened this search as a column in Tweet Deck, which is Twitter's power user app, it returns appear stream of conversational tweets about startups, no links to articles or other websites, so there are all kinds of opportunities to engage and meet new people. Twitter is also the best social media platform for providing customer service again. Everything is public, so you can monitor searches for your brand and your Twitter handle and be there to help when people have problems, or even just to say thanks when they tweet out your content or share a positive experience . There are a lot of services out there that will automate your presence on Twitter, and the topic of automation is controversial. Here's my perspective. Automation is perfectly fine in the context of scheduling tweets, so you can trickle out content over time. But those tweets should be written by you, and you should never try to automate engagement, replies, direct messages, likes and retweets. Automating that stuff is a recipe for disaster Riel. Human connections are not scalable. You can't automate them. Engagement is worth taking the time to do manually 78. [External Channels] Marketing On Instagram: the next external channel we need to cover is Instagram, which over the last few years has become one of the dominant players in the social media world. And you may or may not be aware that Facebook actually owns Instagram. So even if people start using Facebook less and Instagram Mawr as we're seeing with younger demographics, the adage we talked about earlier in this course holds true. Facebook is the Internet. And because Facebook owned instagram, the two platforms are tightly integrated, and you can run paid ads on instagram directly through the Facebook ad platform, using all the advanced targeting options that Facebook has to offer. But before you start running ads, you need to understand how to develop on instagram presence organically. Remember, it's always important to create native content that's tailored to the platform you're using , and this is especially true of Instagram because you don't have the option to just share links. In fact, as of this recording, there is still no way toe link out from an instagram post. That's okay, though you don't really need to link out all the time. And when you do, there is a work around which we'll talk about in just a moment. First, though, you have to understand Instagram content. There are two main formats you can use. You've got your main photos and videos that appear in the feed and on your profile. And then you have stories which are viewable for 24 hours, after which point they disappear forever. Generally, the best approach is to share beautiful, polished photos and videos in your feed and supplement that content with random moments and snapshots in your stories. The photos and videos you actually post to your profile are gonna be your primary content and the driver of your growth on instagram. But stories are a great way to humanize your brand and connect with your existing audience . So I highly recommend taking advantage of both. When you're growing a new INSTAGRAM account, consistency should be a priority. I recommend posting 3 to 5 times a day. Now. What should you be posting exactly? Well, it totally depends on your brand in your particular style, but everything you post should, as always, be valuable and interesting to your target audience. And always keep in mind that Instagram is an extremely visual platform. You don't have to be a professional photographer, although if you have one on your team, that's even better. Ah, but just focus on creating content that's not only interesting but visually appealing. You can give your audience a peek behind the curtain of your business. Show off your product in different contexts. Share nice looking graphics and quotes. Repost photos from your customers. There are plenty of possibilities when you share a photo on instagram. You'll normally want to include a caption toe. Add a little context to the photo. Engage your audience. Use Emojis if that fits with the tone of your brand and always include a few relevant hash tags. Hash tags Dr Discovery on Instagram, and they'll help your photos and videos get noticed, so don't neglect that opportunity. Instagram, like Facebook, has an algorithm driven feed designed to show people content that they're likely to be interested in. A lot of that is based on individual user activity, but you can optimize your reach by increasing your engagement. One of the best ways to do that is by simply asking people to engage with your post, so try to include a call to action in each of your captions, you could ask a question. You could ask people toe like if they agree, or you could ask them to tag a friend in the comments. That's actually one of the most effective strategies right now for viral reach. Now, as I mentioned, you can't link out to your website from an instagram post. But when you have something to share, you can write in your caption something like Link in Bio and then change your website link in your profile to point to whatever content you're trying to promote. Then people can click to your profile and your link is right there. I know it's kind of weird, but that's the most common way of doing it. Many marketers also used the profile linked to promote a lead magnet, include a short teaser in your bio itself and then point your website linked to a landing page. That's a great way to use Instagram to grow your email list in terms of growing your instagram account organically. The best way to do that is by engaging with other people, spend time every day browsing hashtags that are relevant to your industry, follow interesting people and leave meaningful comments the key word here is meaningful. A lot of people approach instagram growth in a release spammy way just indiscriminately following and liking and leaving one word comments. That's a bad strategy. Human connections again are not scalable. If you want to see results, you have to put in the work on Lee. Follow people you actually want to see in your feed and build relationships with and when you leave comments, make specific remarks that show that you're a real person with a really interest in the topic. Do this every day and consistently post good content, and I assure you you will see great results on Instagram. 79. [Measuring Results] The Importance Of Data: By now, you should feel quite comfortable with the process of creating content and using that content to move people through your marketing funnel. But as you move forward, how do you determine what's working and what's not? Well, that could be difficult at times, because content marketing is a long term approach that drives results over time. There's no instant gratification. As a result, it's incredibly important to collect and analyze data and adjust your strategy accordingly . You never want to be in a position where you're dedicating time and resource is to content that's not actually driving your business forward in this section will cover the various data points you should be tracking and how you can respond to your findings. 80. [Measuring Results] Which Data Should You Be Monitoring?: before you can determine your KP eyes or key performance indicators, you need to consider which types of goals are most important to your business. These could include any or all of the following. Brand awareness engagement leads sales or traffic. Let's break these down one by one and take a look at the data you'd want to focus on for each goal, starting with brand awareness. Brand awareness simply refers to how many people are aware or familiar with your company or your product. This is something every business wants to maximize, but brand awareness is admittedly difficult to track and even difficult to define. But there are some concrete metrics that tend to correlate with your overall brand awareness. Such a social media followers, online reviews website, back links, press coverage and Google search volume for your brand name and your products. Then we have engagement, which is an excellent indicator of content performance because your audience will tend to engage with content that they find valuable on social media. You contract likes shares, retweets comments. You contract comments on your own site. You contract click through rates in your email campaigns, and so on. Next up we have leads. As we've seen, Lead generation is one of the most important aspect of content marketing because you're bringing people into your funnel, keeping them engaged and eventually turning some of them into customers. You should be tracking how many leads you're generating overall, where they're coming from, where they are in your funnel, which lead magnets are performing well, which opt informs air performing well, things of that nature. Now, of course, we have to talk about sales at the end of the day. That's what it's all about, right? You always want to make sure you're generating a positive our ally with your content, and you can do that by comparing your revenue with your content production expenses. You should also be tracking where your sales air coming from and whether your sales funnel is closing. People effectively pay attention to the ratio of leads to sales and compare that ratio at different levels of your funnel to see which areas could use improvement. And finally we have traffic. Your website analytics can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of not only your content itself but your content promotion efforts as well. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your site and monitor not just your visitors and page views, but also your search, traffic referrals and other contextual information about your audience. If you notice a particular promotion channel is performing really well for you, that's a sign that you may want to focus your efforts and resource is there to increase your r A Y. 81. [Measuring Results] Moving Forward: What To Do With Your Data: Once you have data at your disposal, you'll want to use it to make adjustments and improve your strategy. What this looks like depends on what type of data you're looking at, but in general, the process goes like this first compared the data with your goals and evaluate whether you've met those goals. Then ask yourself why or why not? Look back at the content you've been publishing and the other actions you've been taking. Look for patterns and trends and draw conclusions about how different aspects of your strategy may have impacted your results. You'll then, when he use those conclusions to inform future goals and create an action plan to achieve them. Think about what adjustments need to be made toe. Optimize your results as you move forward. Is there something you want to do or stop doing or do differently? I recommend scheduling time for this exercise weekly, or at least monthly between your data analysis sessions always be testing, so you can see how different approaches yield different results. Over time. You should be able to get this down to a science where you're testing the effects of specific variables in your strategy 82. The Next Steps: all right. Congratulations. You've made it all the way through the main course material, and it's time to start putting it all into action and growing your business with the power of content marketing. Please feel free to revisit the course as necessary and let me know if you have any questions that I may be able to answer. This is a two way relationship, and I want to help you out as much as I can before we wrap up. I just want to thank you for joining me in this course. I know there are a lot of other things you could have spent this time on, so I really hope it's been valuable. Hope you found it worth it. And I wish nothing but success to you and your business.