Marketing Recruitment 101: 3 Job Search Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

As a marketing recruitment firm, every day we get the opportunity to help marketers move their career forward. Since 1996, MarketPro’s marketing recruiters have successfully matched high-performing marketers with clients who need a specific set of skills and experience to take their business to the next level.
The shortage of highly-skilled marketers in today’s marketing landscape makes it harder for companies to find top talent. Majority of the time, when we search for talented candidates, they aren’t in the mindset of looking for another job.
As a result, they are not always up to date with how to write a resume and interview appropriately. Therefore, it’s only natural candidates will make mistakes during their job search process-and don’t even know- it costs.

Your Resume Is Too Artistic
Far too often, we see great candidates who are perfect a role, but their resume doesn’t reflect themselves in the best light. Your resume is your chance to highlight and showcase your experience and accomplishments.
However, many candidates use their resume as an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity. Instead, show off how creative you are through your portfolio. The exception would be for very creative roles, such as graphic designers or UX designers. So, general marketers need to be cautious about creative they craft their resume, and here’s why.
From our experience as a marketing recruitment firm, we know all resumes go through some version of an applicant tracking system. The resume is then scanned and searches for keywords. Thus, formatting your resume in PDF format instead of a Microsoft Word document limits your opportunity to get picked for a role.
Unfortunately, the truth is most HR software is not smart enough to read PDFs. Thus, it is crucial to think about who is going to read your resume. If the font is too small or if they’re too many distracting images, most hiring managers aren’t going to take the time to really through your resume.
Additionally, the hiring process isn’t going to change for you as a candidate. There are specific rules and procedures everyone has to follow. Providing a chronological and straightforward resume that aligns with your LinkedIn account profile is the first step to you securing an interview.
Resist Poor Opportunities, Not Assessments
Usually, roles from director to CMO specific to senior level marketing, about 85 percent of the time, requires some testing component. Examples include various personality tests or Wonderlic assessments. From the candidates perspective, this is a great thing!
Companies conduct these tests for two main reasons. First, they want to assess candidates to see if they are the right cultural fit. Secondly, the company wants to verify if the candidate is the right fit for the role.
The assessments ensure you as the candidate will find the right opportunity that meets your needs, and it shows the company cares about making the right hire and fit. Also, think about the assessments as another lens in which recruiters and HR teams can look through to make sure you’re going to be happy and prosperous in the new position.
Consequently, candidates who push back on these assessments risk losing a role that is a perfect match for them. Why would you want to limit yourself for a new opportunity for refusing to do a standard test?
Not Picking Up the Phone
If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Sounds familiar?
Not answering the phone call and hearing what a recruiter has to say potentially means you would be missing out on the best opportunity in your life.
About ten years ago, an incredible marketer we worked with became a CMO at the age of 39. Except for small startups, it’s rare for someone to achieve C-level success before the age of 40. Wondering what her secret is?
She always picked up the phone.
Her motto was to always listen to marketing recruiters who contacted her, within reason. As a result, she was able to climb the corporate ladder quickly. Furthermore, she believed establishing a relationship with a recruiter early on will bring better opportunities in her future when she least expected it. Whether or not she was looking for a new job, she understood the long term value in creating a relationship with expert professionals in marketing.
At the end of the day, you have more to lose by not picking up the phone or responding to a recruiter’s email than by completely ignoring it.

How to Use Google ‘Near Me’ Searches to Your Advantage

I love potatoes.
They are the top food in my diet. I like them baked, fried, scalloped, you name it.
But most of all, I like them mashed.
I can’t count the times my boyfriend has asked me what I want for dinner and I’ve simply responded, “mashed potatoes.” Sure, they’re not a full meal, but the stomach wants what it wants. “Where do you want them from?” he asks.
And that’s when it happens. My most common Google search:
“Mashed potatoes near me.”

Your customers, both current and potential, are using Google every day to find delicious food and other services near them
To be fair, most people probably aren’t searching for mashed potatoes in the way I am. However, many people use Google to find “comfort food near me,” “family restaurant near me,” or even simply “food near me.”
In fact, Google Trends shows that interest in the term “food near me” has been on a steady rise over the past five years.
While many resources emphasize the importance of a strong online presence for your specific brand–and it certainly is important–it’s not always clear how to prepare for situations where someone is searching for a generic term that could apply to your business. If you own or manage a restaurant, you likely know that food searches are relevant to your company but you may just be crossing your fingers and hoping Google is doing its best to serve up your website whenever possible.
How can you influence this behavior yourself? Is it possible to make your business easier to find?
Make sure local customers can find you online by optimizing for local search
According to Google, ‘near me’ searches doubled in 2015 and the volume of queries like this have increased 34 times since 2011.
But before we jump into how you can show up in the results for a “near me” search, it’s important to understand how “near me” searches work.
‘Near me’ searches are location-based search queries that often take place by someone who is ready and able to make a purchase. Google uses the searcher’s present location when conducting the search to ensure they are delivering results that are nearest to them.
Making sure that your website is optimized for local search is an important step in being found by the local audience.
Here are some of the best ways to set yourself up for Google ‘near me’ success:
1. Update your Google My Business page listing
As you may already know, having a Google My Business page for your business is a vital first step in taking control of your business’ online presence.

Example of a Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is a free tool that allows small business owners (and nonprofits) to promote their business information on Google Search and maps.
It’s important to make sure your Google My Business listing is accurate and up-to-date. When someone performs a ‘near me’ search, Google will actively search addresses that are close to the user’s location to determine which results to serve up. Making sure that your address is correct increases your chances of being shown to potential customers.
Plus, Google My Business listings give a searcher additional information about your business that could help them make a decision. Info such as hours, your phone number, photos, reviews on Google as well as other review sites, and even times when your business is the busiest are provided in the search results.
2. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Starting July 1, 2019, Google will be rolling our their mobile-first indexing strategy. Historically, Google has used the desktop version of a website as their primary method for indexing – a process that allows the search engine to collect and store data in order to quickly serve up the information in a search. Think of it as Google’s way of paraphrasing your website and storing it until someone searches for you.
Since the majority of Google searches are now done on a mobile device, Google will be indexing pages based on primarily the mobile site moving forward.
What does this mean for your business? Well, making sure that your website is mobile responsive and that you are not using separate URLs for your desktop site vs. your mobile site is important. If you are, Google will prefer the mobile URL for indexing. You can learn more about how to prepare for mobile-first indexing with this Google Search guide.
3. If you have multiple locations, create a different web page for each one
This may seem counterintuitive. After all, can’t I just list all of my business locations on one page so people can see the bigger picture?
While having one page for all of your business locations is a great idea, it helps to make individual landing pages to provide further information on each location, such as an address, hours, and even photos of your staff.
The Chateau, a local family-owned chain of Italian restaurants here in Massachusetts, has eight locations. While all locations are listed in the footer of their website, they have also created dedicated landing pages for each location. If you visit the Burlington location page, you’ll find their address, phone number, hours, and even a map. On the technical side, they have also used Burlington in the title of the page as well as an H1 tag; short for header tag, this piece of code tells Google what the main topic of the web page is. This provides Google with information to index that puts The Chateau ahead of its competitors when it comes to ‘near me’ searches.
In fact, if you search for “Italian food near me” in Burlington, MA, The Chateau comes up in the first three organic results!

Search results for “Italian food near me”
4. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google
Reviews can provide valuable information to help a potential customer make a purchasing decision. Be honest, how many times have you shied away from purchasing something simply because the item or service had too many negative reviews? Or, on the other hand, how often have you decided to try a new restaurant or product because the reviews were stellar?
Google actually encourages businesses to remind their customers to leave reviews. Keep in mind, however, that not all websites have this policy. In fact, Yelp strictly prohibits its users from asking for reviews.
So, why are reviews important for ‘near me’ searches on Google? Here’s an example of what comes up when I search “mashed potatoes near me.” As you can see, the first three results highlight the fact that users mentioned mashed potatoes in their reviews for the businesses shown.

Search results for “mashed potatoes near me.”
5. Make sure your menus or pricing sheets are available as plain text and not just as an image or PDF
There are a few reasons you want to make sure your menus or pricing guides for your services are available as plain text on your website.
First, it’s important to remember that not everyone consuming the content on your website can physically see it. Many visually impaired users may be utilizing assistive technology, such as screen readers, to translate the content of your website into synthetic speech. Screen readers cannot read an image; rather, they read what is called alt text. Alt text is a short description of the content in an image. For example, this photo has alt text that reads “a dog running on the beach during daytime.”
Use alt text to describe an image for visually impaired users.
However, if a photo has too much content–such as a graph, table, or menu–alt text isn’t enough. In this case, some readers may miss out on very valuable information.
In addition, Google won’t be able to index any of the information within the photo. If your restaurant offers mashed potatoes but the only time that mashed potatoes are mentioned on your website is within the photo of your menu, Google (as well as prospective customers like me) will never know that you have them.
This is why you should always list your menu items and prices directly on your website, with the option to view the menu as a printable PDF. In this example, Pressed Cafe has a full text-based list of their menu items on their website with a button to view the printable menu.

This restaurant offers both an online and printable version of its menu.
6. Include relevant keywords in your tags and website text
This one is a bit more technical, but still important.
You don’t just want someone to choose your business because you’re close, you want them to choose your business because it’s relevant to their current needs.
Let’s use an example. I’m about to leave work when I remember that I need to get my oil changed in my car. I do a quick Google search for “oil change near me.” A local mechanic shows up at the top of the search results. In the search results, I see that they have the keyword “oil change” in the title of their site. This is important because the title tag, which is the name of the clickable headline that is displayed on a search engine result page, plays an important role in search engine optimization (also known as SEO). In other words, using keywords in the title of your website helps you rank higher on Google.
Plus, the website mentions “oil change” on their website homepage, and uses the keyword again as an H1 tag on their services page. This emphasizes to Google that not only can you get an oil change at this business, but it’s also something they specialize in. This helps Google determine that their website would be relevant for someone searching for an oil change.
If you aren’t a coder or don’t understand website development, don’t sweat it. There are many free tools, such as the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, that can help you get your SEO on track.
Certain ‘near me’ searches may have a seasonal connection
Sometimes, data can surprise you.
After I realized that the search for ‘food near me’ has been on a steady rise, I started to wonder if there were any notable trends within the year for certain searches.
Using the Google Trends tool, I noticed that the term ‘mashed potatoes near me’ consistently spikes once a year. Any guesses as to when that might be?
That’s right, it’s Thanksgiving! And a search for ‘Chinese food near me’ you ask? That spikes every year around Christmas and New Years.
What does this tell us? Well, certain ‘near me’ searches may be more popular around certain holidays or events. This probably won’t affect your business’ SEO strategy much, but it is a helpful reminder that even if you don’t own what is traditionally considered to be a seasonal businesses, you are likely to see business changes that are seasonally-based.
If you were planning on preparing for these upticks, keep in mind that Google bots take some time to index a new site, typically around three months. This means that changes you’ve made on your site might not show up in Google right away. However, Google does have information on how to ask Google to recrawl your URLs to speed up that process.
It’s time to take advantage of Google ‘near me’ searches for your business
An important key to ranking for ‘near me’ searches is to recognize that the term ‘near me’ is dependant on the user’s location, and not just another keyword you should be targeting in your SEO strategy. If you are optimizing for ‘near me’ as a keyword, you may appear in searches that include ‘near me’ but they may not be served to users who are actually near your business.
Instead, focus on building your business’ presence on Google and ensuring that the information on both your Google My Business listing and website are correct and strategically highlight terms you want to rank for.
Those terms may not include mashed potatoes, but if they do… well, I just might be stopping into your business in the future!

How to Build an Impressive Portfolio That Gets You Hired

In this booming freelance industry, you need to rely on your unique personality to stand out.
One good way of doing that is by creating an impressive online portfolio.
Now, I’m not referring to the usual resume that shows your educational background, awards, and recognition – you know, the boring stuff.
What I mean with “impressive” portfolio is creating a website where you showcase your skills efficiently.
But here’s the problem:
Not all of you are good at designing a portfolio website.
And that’s okay – nothing is wrong with that!
When I built my site back in 2010 I spent lots of hours learning how to purchase domains, install WordPress themes, and made endless tweaks to find the perfect plugins so my site could impress potential employers.
Fast forward to today, I can proudly say it worked but someone building an online portfolio today should seek a less complex content management system like Spark CMS and focus on their craft.
Spark allows you to quickly build an online portfolio without needing to learn how to configure website themes or install widgets to build your marketing stack.
When you don’t have a portfolio, you’re letting jobs pass you by – jobs that were meant for you and your skills.
And all because you weren’t able to build a memorable portfolio!
But don’t worry – I got your back!
I will teach you the basics of creating a formidable portfolio. Your website should improve your online visibility and establish your personal brand to generate opportunities to work with brands.
Let’s do this!
Answer your “why”
As in:
“Why should I hire you?”
Clients hire people to fill a need in their business.
That’s why you need to know what they’re looking for and be the solution to their problem.
But first things first:
Determine your specialty!
If you’re a writer, then specialize in a specific writing skill like copywriting, blogging, or transcribing podcasts.
To niche down even further identify an industry to serve. When collaborating with brands often you have to choose between lifestyle brands, fitness brands, or business brands.
You need to state this in your portfolio to filter out jobs that you don’t qualify for.
Next – and arguably the most important part – is your mission statement.
On this part, it’s not enough to just say what you do.
Instead, tell how you can help increase their sales with your help!
Don’t say that you write great web content if you’re a content writer.
Instead, frame it this way:
I help B2B SaaS companies create a reliable stream of monthly recurring revenue by crafting engaging stories that convert website visitors into customers!
It’s not really your articles they want, but how your output affects their bottom line.
Don’t just say it, show it!
Back up your talk.
If you claim to be a content writer or influencer, then show samples of your work from previous clients.
Share published articles, blog posts that got thousands of views, or news stories that went viral.
Also, it’s not enough to merely share your work without describing what it is.
You need to flesh out the details for your prospective clients to truly understand how you can help them!
Think long-term about your portfolio because with consistency you can become an influencer. Here’s how leading influencers are defining meaningful work today.

If you want the ability to do work that matters and choose who you work with your WHY is everything.
As you complete projects explain the work you did on the project and the issues you’ve solved.
You can talk about it by sharing how you’ve managed to rake in many views, or what you did to make it go viral.
The goal is to provide potential clients a better idea of your work and how effective it is!
Now, if you don’t have any, then you’re working at a disadvantage.
Instead, here’s what you can do:
Elaborate on how you can help them with their problems.
Write the step-by-step process on how you plan on writing for them.
Will you be responsible for researching keywords for them? Do you promote the content on social media and other channels?
You need to answer these questions and more on your portfolio site!
Leverage your knowledge and show to people that you definitely know your stuff.
Feature client success stories
Show testimonials of clients impressed by your services.
If you don’t have any, Create and optimize your personal brand on LinkedIn. Then reach out and ask past clients for a quick 1-2 sentence positive feedback to feature.
On your LinkedIn profile page simply scroll down to your recommendations section and ask for a recommendation. I suggest customizing your ask to receive a higher response rate.

This works best if your clients are popular influencers or have worked for well-known brands (James and Patrick work for Mention.com and Wishpond.com) as you can leverage on their followings.
You can also ask them to work with creating a success story post with you.
This shows the prospective customer how good you really are.
Again, it’s possible you haven’t got former clients under your belt.
If that’s the case, you can add positive words from other people who have seen your works and commented on it on social media or your blog.
You can take screenshots of their Facebook comments or Twitter replies and show it on your site.
They may not be as good as a testimonial from an employer, but they’re still worth something!
Provide free resources
Giving resources away for free shows goodwill to your audience and prospective clients.
It also tells people that you’re willing to create something of value without anything in return.
You can, however, make the content accessible only to your subscribers. So you’re doing this to help build your email list which could prove even more valuable down the line.
Lastly, your free resource also helps build your reputation as an authority in your field of work.
Now, there are two ways you can approach this:
Create a free downloadable e-book
Offer content upgrades like free e-books containing tips and advice on your primary skills.
To create an e-book, research for pain points that clients have in their business.
Are they having trouble generating site traffic and converting visitors into leads and customers?
Then relate this pain point to your skills as a freelancer. How can your services make this problem go away?
Once you’ve found a specific pain point to discuss, get cracking by creating the e-book using MS Word, Google Docs and saving them as a PDF file.
If you want to position yourself as a premium brand check out a tool like Flipsnack Flipbooks gives you the ability to create a uniques brand experience. Definitely worth the money (increased conversion rates) as eBooks become more saturated in years to come.

Build a blog
If you’re not a writer, then blogging may seem out of your realm of expertise.
However, don’t focus on the writing aspect of blogging.
Instead, look into how blogging can help you share case studies, ideas, and tips related to your expertise.
By sharing your knowledge, you are able to build engaged followers of your brand. More importantly, you get to engage potential customers as well!
The not-so-secret secret of blogging is this:
It helps make your portfolio site easier to find on Google!
By optimizing your blog posts for your target keyword, you can drive hundreds and thousands of visitors to your site whom you can convert into clients!
But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s go back to blogging…
One of the issues with blogging is consistency.
Even for experienced bloggers, maintaining a publishing schedule to follow to a tee is very difficult.
Therefore, you need to develop an editorial calendar to help you keep track of your upcoming blog posts. Research for topics and schedule when you plan to write and publish them.
This way, you get to organize your blog’s schedule and churn out high-quality content for your target audience.
Improve your portfolio’s SEO
Since you’re already blogging, it makes sense to work on your portfolio’s online visibility on sites like Google.
One good way of doing that is by improving your SEO.
Now, freelancers usually approach freelance marketplaces like Gig Worker because you can gain a reliable stream of work if your able to craft a portfolio that stands out from the competition.

But with SEO, you can generate inbound leads which give you leverage. I recommend using marketplaces to ensure you have a steady flow of client work while generating leads that will pay you a premium price.
Instead of looking for clients, it’s the clients that look for you!
Basically, you make your portfolio site easier to find on search engines by following the best SEO practices,
If you do SEO the right way, your blog can show up on Google’s search engine results pages or SERPs.
And the higher you rank on SERPs, the more visits and higher conversion rate you can expect!
Here are some of the points to consider with your portfolio site’s SEO:
On-page audit
This is where you thoroughly check your site’s SEO status.
The backlinks, response time, meta descriptions, headers, and grammar are some of the things to analyze.
Right now, some of these terms won’t make sense to you.
But what this all means is simply this:
Create a site that people will like!
You can break it down into smaller details by referring to the factors above.
Use a tool like Loganix Citation Audit to help you get clarity on what variables of your SEO to improve.
Looking at the big picture, you simply need to make a site that people would want to visit.
If more people come to your online portfolio, then traffic from Google will soon follow.
Keyword research
To make your portfolio easier to find on Google, you need to know what people are searching for that’s related to your services.
This is where keyword research comes in.
First, you need to find keywords with lots of search volume and optimize for them.
You can target multiple keywords on the same post if they share the same topic.
Then, use the right keywords and at the right frequency.
Spread them accordingly throughout your articles. Ideal keyword density depends per site, but it’s usually around 1% to 3%.
For stater, Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs Keywords Explorer are some of the best tools to help you.
Make your site secure
People prioritize online security.
In the anonymous online landscape, there are good reasons why you shouldn’t trust anyone.
And since you’re in the business of working with clients online, you need to make them trust you and your site.
You can do this by purchasing an SSL certificate for your portfolio website.
Instead of showing HTTP on your URL, a secure site will show HTTPS – the S at the end which stands for “secure.”
Not only will you make your site more trustworthy to people – it will also put your site in the good graces of Google.
After all, a secure site is one of Google’s main ranking factors!
Content creation
There’s too much content online about different topics.
And to cut through the noise, you need to create exceptional content.
Obviously, not everyone is a great communicator.
But it doesn’t matter because there are different kinds of content you can publish on your blog! You have the option to be a blogger, vlogger, or podcaster. Choose one based on your personality and skillset.
Your content doesn’t have to be perfect.
But focus on creating a body of work that displays your skills to brands.
The key to having an awesome portfolio is the ability to confidently promote your work and deliver clients’ expectations.
The last thing you want is going through a portfolio that has little or nothing to say about their job.
Include the ones you’re most proud of and present it in the best way possible.
Talk about the journey and the backstory of your career and be passionate about it.
By following the tips above, you’ll surely be getting that jackpot client deal in no time!

How to Increase Your Website Popup Conversion Rate by 1000%

Would you like to capture more emails? Want to get more out of your paid advertising?
How about converting 1 out of every 5 website visitors?
It may sound inconceivable. It might seem like catching lightning in a bottle. But Matcha has done it, and done it repeatedly. Lightning does strike the same place twice.
In this post, I share exactly how to optimize your website popup to maximize lead capture. At Matcha, we do this with content-powered popups.
Using content-powered popups, one Matcha customer saw an 1800% increase in their conversion rate. On our own site, we saw an 842% increase. Other Matcha customers have seen improvements in the 10-20x range.
Let’s get into it!
Regular Popups vs. Content-Powered Popups
Content-powered popups came from asking a very simple question: Can website popup performance be significantly improved by taking a different approach than what everyone else is doing?
There are two types of popups that everyone uses.

Sign up for my newsletter (because my content is great)
Get a discount code for sharing your email address

We’ve all seen these popups. And we’ve all dismissed hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. That’s why these type of popups typically convert less than 2% of visitors (and oftentimes, that conversion rate dips below a dismal 0.5%).
We discovered that content-powered popups could move a conversion rate from 0.5% to nearly 20%.
Content-powered popups’ success comes from:

Providing a compelling, relevant, and timely offer
Delivering that offer at the right time (i.e., in the right context)
Aligning the offer to the right person or audience

Simply put, you need to deliver something of value to the right person at the right moment on your website.
The Matcha platform makes doing this a breeze. But even if you don’t use Matcha, you can still DIY. You just need a popup tool, a blog, and some elbow grease.
Matcha helps small and growing brands with ecommerce websites transform their blogs into lead and traffic magnets. The Matcha platform allows you to effortlessly publish professionally produced content, distribute those articles to the right people, capture leads with content-powered popups, and track and optimize results with a powerful analytics dashboard.
Create a Compelling, Relevant, and Timely Popup Offer
The #1 reason so many website popups fail? They don’t offer something that’s immediately valuable.
When we first launched our popup at Matcha, we offered people the ability to sign up for our newsletter. We promised great articles on ecommerce marketing, blogging, and more delivered to their inbox weekly! No surprise the conversion rate was a disappointing 0.9%.
After a lot of testing, we found that content-powered popups convert more website visitors than any other type of offer That means the popup gives someone an article, guide, or other type of content in exchange for their email address.
Finally! We’d cracked the code.
An example of a content-powered popup that helped to increase conversion rates by 842% on the Matcha site
So, we brought our newfound knowledge to our customers.
At first, the brands we were testing this idea with were skeptical. They thought: How could a PDF or ebook be more compelling than a discount on my products?
But the data from our tests convinced them. We (and our customers) regularly saw a 10x improvement in conversion rates with a content offer.
For a new visitor, a discount isn’t relevant unless they’re already considering purchasing. A coupon isn’t something they’re immediately going to use. In fact, it can quickly devalue your product in the eyes of a new visitor because the first thing they see is essentially a sale. It can signal the wrong things about your product.
On the other hand, offering information (i.e., content) in exchange for a visitor’s email address provides immediate value. It also has the benefit of establishing your brand as an expert and a trustworthy source of information. And, you don’t have to give up any margin to get a lead.
Deliver the Offer at the Right Time
This is also known as contextualizing your popup.
To ensure your popup performs well, you must understand and manage the context in which it’s being served. Consider:

Where did the visitor come from?
Are they new or returning?
Are they already on your newsletter list?
Are they already a customer?
What pages on your site are they visiting?

For example, if a new visitor lands on your homepage, this is not the time to offer them a discount for the reasons I discussed above. But if someone has added something to their cart and is about exit your site, that’s a different story. You may want to offer them a discount before they exit because they’re already in the buying mindset.
Unless someone is showing clear buying intent, you shouldn’t offer them a discount. You need to offer them valuable information instead.
Content-powered popups use your blog and the articles in it to determine the context. Let’s consider an example.
Let’s say you sell a backpack that is perfect as a carry-on for recreational travelers. Any growing business worth its salt knows that it needs a blog. In this case, you would likely be blogging about the leisure travel lifestyle: tantalizing places to visit, how to sleep on a plane, how to travel light, and so on. These articles all provide context for what your website visitors are interested in. With content-powered popups, you can deliver a guide to international travel to display to any new visitor to one of these travel posts.
Everly’s content-powered popup targeting their keto audience
Compelling content offered in the right context is irresistible to visitors. Take a look at the screenshot above, featuring a guide to the keto diet. This popup appears on CPG brand Everly’s blog. It appears when people are reading articles about keto and low-carb diets, so it’s highly contextualized. With this approach, this popup converted 19% of readers to subscribers!
Being contextual means offering the right thing at the right time to the right person. You might consider having the above popup display on Keto product pages in addition to blog articles about Keto. Also, you could use discounts contextually to get better results. For example, you might set your popup to show a discount to anyone who is a return visitor on a product page showing exit intent. The key is to be relevant, timely, and compelling with your offer.
Align the Offer to the Right Audience
You might be wondering how to control which audiences see which popups. How can you control who goes to specific blog articles? Well, you can’t entirely, but you can proactively drive the right people to the right pages.
If you’re not using content ads on Facebook and Instagram, you’re missing a huge opportunity to attract new audiences and customers at a fraction of the price of your product ads.
Don’t take my word for it. Here is what Nik Sharma, Head of DTC at VaynerMedia and 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 said:
“There are three reasons this approach works. First, driving a paid click to a piece of content is only a few cents, compared to driving a click to a brand or landing page, which could be up to $5-6 per click. Second, with retargeting you’re able to immediately build qualified audiences. Third, great content doesn’t sell a product. It sells an opportunity to better an aspect of your life.”
Using targeted ads ensures you attract the right people, allows you to optimize audiences, and gives you insight into different niches within your audience. Audience insights from Facebook paired with conversion analytics from your popup provider give you incredibly rich information about your audience.
After you dial in your audience targeting, you can switch from the typical cost per click optimization to cost per lead targeting and really ramp up lead conversion and optimize down costs.
Matcha does this as part of our content-powered popups. Early users have seen a 50 to 75% decrease in cost per lead — and sometimes even more!
Other Important Website Popup Considerations
I have a few other small tips for you to keep in mind as you’re implementing your own content-powered popups:

Popup timing
Popup design
Mobile vs. desktop

Popup Timing
Matcha ran a bunch of tests to see at what point should you serve a popup when someone is reading a blog article. We tested how well popups convert when they appear 3, 6, 15, and 30 seconds into a reader’s time on page. We also tested popups that appeared as soon as the visitor started scrolling down the page.We didn’t test exit intent because most of the traffic we were testing was from mobile.
Here are the results from our popup timing tests.

Conversion Rate

3-second delay

6-second delay

15-second delay

30-second delay

On scroll

Overall, we recommend using a 6-second delay. Even though the 30 second delay converts at a higher rate, you’ll have fewer people who see the popup and end up with fewer leads overall.
Popup Design
It’s pretty simple. The more professionally designed your popup looks, the better it makes your site and brand look. If your design is poor, then people won’t trust your popup or your brand. You don’t necessarily need a graphic designer to build the popup because most tools provide templates and a visual builder. But, you should take a look at good popup designs and borrow from them.
Alternately, you can use freelance sites to find affordable designers to do it for you.

A well-designed popup should be interesting and clearly communicate your offer
Mobile vs. Desktop Popups
If your popup isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s hurting more than it’s helping Popups need to render just as beautifully and clearly on a phone or tablet as they do on a computer. Why? Because in all likelihood, you’re going to get a lot more traffic from mobile. A bad experience on mobile can result in a huge drop in your conversion rate.
You may need to create a separate design just for serving the popup on mobile — even if your tool says that you don’t need to. You should always manually test your popups on a mobile device because your tool may display it correctly but it might still appear small and unreadable on mobile.

Effective Lead Generation Strategies to Boost Your Reach

Whether you are running a business out of your home or are leading a massive organization, your main goal will always be to get more customers. Getting more customers does not have to be tricky, but there are certain steps that you need to take for effective results.
If you really want to get more customers and are willing to put in the time and effort required to do so, then you have to indulge in lead generation.
What is lead generation
It is the process by which you create potential customers for your business. You implement lead generation strategies, to introduce your business to new eyes.
Essentially, lead generation is about getting high quality and high intent customers for your business. But it is pointless without brand exposure and marketing.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some effective lead generation strategies that will do wonders to boost reach for your business.
Why lead generation is important
Salespeople are turning more towards inbound marketing strategies. Many businesses have found that inbound marketing, where people come in on their own will, seems to work better than cold-calling.
Working with interested leads tends to produce better results. This is why businesses rely on lead generation to help them generate traffic, which can eventually lead to a conversion.
Lead generation bridges the gap between businesses looking for people to buy, and people looking to buy a product. By using a lead generation process, your business has more chances of grabbing a potential buyers attention by showcasing something of value that you can offer to them.
How to do lead generation
There are a lot of different industries out there. So, what works well for you might not work well for others. You need to really think about your audience and what tactics you can use to drive them to your end goal.
But there are a few top level things any business can look at, but you may have to tweak a step to fit your business.
Step 1 – Focus on lead capture
For lead capture, you may want to consider using a special form or a dedicated landing page. If you set yourself up a nice and concise form, you have a better chance of getting a conversion.
There are tricks when it comes to creating a form.

Form length – there can be a tradeoff here. The trick is to find a middle ground. Too short of a form might mean anyone and everyone signs up – even if that means they aren’t a serious customer down the road. Too long of a form and you risk abandonment. People might not be willing to spend too much time on it. So ask what you need to ask, and maybe save the finer detailed questions for later on.
Lead qualifying fields – You may want to add a question or two that allows you to pick out and focus on your top leads. You might ask them something that will help you determine how likely they are to become a customer. Asking a specific question that can help you gauge whether or not they are in need of what you have to offer.
Form fields – Speaking of fields, you need to ask all the basics. If you want to be able to communicate with them in the future, you’ll have to get a few key details. This will include the obvious like name and email. But you’ll likely also want to know a few other key details like business industry, number of employees, role at the company, company website, etc.
Lastly, your privacy policy or terms & conditions – People want to know you aren’t going to share their information with others. No one wants their information to be added to a mass email list to receive spam and other junk. If you fail to add a link or a brief summary of your commitment to their privacy they may not fill out the form at all. Privacy is huge!

Step 2 – Lead magnets
You have a form, and maybe even a landing page. But none of this matters if you aren’t offering something of value. Your lead magnet is the incentive you can offer in exchange for the lead’s information.
But not just anything will do. A lead magnet usually works because it gives insightful information or solves a problem. These are usually super specific pieces of content, that are high value, and easy to absorb.
There are a ton of things you can offer…

PDFs – This one is super simple to create and usually works really well. You can turn any of your blog posts into a PDF and offer it as an exclusive download or upgrade. It’s actually quite impressive how many people want to own something they may have already read in a PDF format. If your information is helpful enough, people will value this download as a useful tool.
Discounts & promotions – This type of lead is fine with receiving emails from you because they want to see future sales, coupons, and promotions. A good deal is always an easy way to get lead traffic, and it also helps move them towards conversion!
Reports – This is a great resource for B2B businesses. This is an easy one to make work for industries who like data and research. This can also be an easy one to update over the years. You can compile data you find or do your very own research, and either way, give the people statistics they want to see.
Newsletter – People like to subscribe to newsletters as a way of keeping up with their favorite brands. Or to learn about specific things in the industry. Most newsletters will lead them to other insightful content, or the brand’s latest content, which is why they choose to subscribe! Even better is this type of lead is expecting you to email them!
Ebook – People always talk about eBooks as being lead magnets. Sure they can be useful, but they aren’t as high of converters as some of the other items on the list. Plus, they can be time-consuming to create. But, if you offer a really good one, you may find a few really good leads come your way.
Checklists – People love checklists. These are easy to digest and points are clear to understand. Plus, the items listed are lined up in an order that helps the person achieve what they want in the easiest way possible. They are also relatively easy for you to create!
Infographics – Most people love visuals. You might already add them to your content and you may find that they are pretty great for driving traffic. These work because they help people visualize the content you’re giving them, making it easier for them to digest the point of the content. It’s a win for everyone.
Video – A step above infographics are videos. The visual and audio make this a far better tool to learn from and help drive your point better than articles and eBooks. Plus, you have to the opportunity to show off your personality and your brand!

Do keep in mind though, if you opt for deal sites, then your margins can be pretty thin. This is not exactly a permanent solution if that is what you are looking for in the first place. But then again, you will be able to generate leads quickly and acquire loyal customers in the long run.
You can also host a variety of different rewards or incentive programs. A referral incentive or a loyalty program incentive can be just what you need to reel leads in (without having to push deals out on deal sites).
Step 3 – Landing Page Conversion Techniques
There are many things you can do to make sure your landing page converts. Here are some general tips to making sure your landing page is the best for your business.
Let’s take a look at why this landing page works.

Easy to read – Cut out confusion, and cut to the chase. No one wants to land on a page that is lengths at the end to download a simple PDF. So give a brief explanation of the content and anything the user should expect.
No crazy fonts – another way to make it easy to read is to use a good font. Some fonts out there may be fun, but minimize the curly cues for design elements, and make sure what you’re saying is legible.
Visually appealing – Symmetry and a good image can go a long way. You’ll want to avoid harsh colors as well as colors that are hard to see. You know, don’t use a yellow font on a white page.
Clear and easy to find CTA – What’s worse than getting to a page and not knowing what to do. If people are confused about how to move forward with their download or access to your content, they won’t move forward (literally).

Step 4 – Lead Scoring
Let’s talk about lead scoring. This is essentially when you assign values or points to each lead you are able to generate.
The leads that you do get in might not all make the cut for what you’re looking for. Sure they might be interested in what you have to share, but that doesn’t mean they will convert to a paying customer. Lead scoring, therefore, helps you prioritize your leads and work on the relationships with those who look promising.
You can calculate a basic lead score a few different ways. But the most basic is to calculate the lead to customer conversion rate.
The best lead generation tactics
Now that you get the basics, let’s review a few tactics that are sure to help you convert.
Rethink discounts and deals
This is one common strategy to attract customers, because who doesn’t like discounts? But, several websites offer discounts and deals. This is where you need to rethink your strategy. You should consider looking to see if your product is fit for any local or national opportunities among common deal websites.
If you are not entirely sure, you can always partner up with other businesses. It’s even better if you can find complementary businesses that actually know about hosting deals. They will be able to show you the ropes and they will do most of the hard work for you. This can result in your product or service getting noticed, and you will not have to spend a lot to make it happen.
Give SEO equal importance
Interesting fact: only 10% of internet users go beyond the first page of search results when they look for information. What this means is that businesses have a lot more competition to deal with to get on the first page — which translates to greater leads. No matter how informative or well designed your website is, if it is not visible, you are not going to get any leads.

Source: Pexels
For this reason, it is important that you give SEO (Search Engine Optimization) equal importance. It is a great lead generation tactic that can put your website on the first page of search results. Also, don’t forget about local SEO!
At first, SEO may seem difficult to comprehend, but at its very core, it boils down to the three following factors:

Provide useful information
Answer frequently asked questions
Ensure your writing is concise and clear

To learn more about SEO, you may find plenty of sources online. However, if you are a part of a highly competitive market, then you may want to hire an SEO expert. By doing so, you may get extra value for your lead generation tactics. But in most cases, investing in digital savvy writers and good content alone can do wonders for you.
Adopt content-based lead generation
Since we are talking about SEO, let’s take a look at content too, or content-based lead generation strategy to be more precise. But for this strategy to work, your content has to be optimized. This way, your presence on search engines will be better than ever before.
The more high-quality content you produce, the greater the reward from search engines. The reason being, search engines give utmost priority to websites that answers questions simply and quickly. For example, if you create content about your company that provides the answers to where, what, why and who, then you will benefit from improved search rankings.
At the same time, as search is becoming local, you may further benefit from lead generation tactics that combine your content with your physical location. This way, at least, you will be able to dominate your local search.
A modern website is a must
Those days are long gone when only media companies, tech organization, and focused businesses were required to have beautiful websites. If you have a car selling business or are building apps, you need a fantastic website with impressive design, efficiency, and speed to keep your potential customers from going elsewhere.
By creating a website that is clear to its visitors about what, where, why and who is behind your company, it proves to be a great asset. Come to think of it, a good website is like your very own digital business card. A perfect example of this would be Offer Factor, which has all the makings of an attractive and user-friendly website.

What is interesting is that you do not need to know how to code to make a brilliant website. You can build websites now by dragging and dropping elements and features, it is literally that simple! So really, anyone can have an updated website, and there really is no excuse to not have one.
Start a business newsletter
Email marketing lead generation is quite similar to content lead generation strategies. In this case, think of it as a mixture of content strategy and social lead capture techniques.
If it works out, you will get a lead generation tactic that notifies your target audience about updates from the industry or your company. Not only will they get updates delivered to their inbox, but you will not have to strive for attention.
To make the most of this strategy, you need to compel people to actually sign up. You can start by promising exclusive experiences, knowledge, and VIP sales. But do not stop there — keep sending newsletters, as long as they have something useful to offer. If you play your cards right, by targeting a captive audience you may acquire highly valuable leads, who may even become your own brand ambassador.
In conclusion
The strategies are just a few of the many that can be integrated into your business operations to boost your reach. Not all of them may work for you, which is why you need to do your homework regarding what strategies would be suitable for your business type (what are your competitors doing?).
The bottom line is this: if at first, you don’t succeed, try another strategy. Old strategies can work, but you might need to give them a unique twist. Also, don’t be afraid to spend a little, as it may go a long way for you — especially if you are creative with strategies.

How to Send an Invoice

Let’s say that after receiving your tab at a local store or restaurant you asked if you could pay the bill later. I don’t think that would fly. In fact, I bet you would be on the receiving end of some very amusing facial expressions. For a lot of businesses, they’re expected to be compensated at the time of the sale. As soon as you receive that check for dinner you have to pay for your meal before leaving. If you grab snacks or fill your car up with gas at a store, it’s the same thing. You can’t leave until you pay for what you purchased.
However, there are also plenty of businesses that do not operate this way. Instead, they create an invoice. An invoice is simply a document that suppliers use to let their clients or customers know how much is due to the products or services rendered. And, as opposed to being paid on the spot, the payment is expected at a later date. This gives the other party time to review and process the invoice.
But, how exactly do you send an invoice? And, what can you do to ensure that you get paid for the goods or services provided?
What to Do Before Sending the Invoice
I know that you’re anxious to get paid — cash flow is what’s keeping your business in the green. But, there are some things that you should address prior to creating and sending out an invoice – aka your payment terms. Doing so while guarantee that you get paid faster.
The most important thing to discuss is how much you anticipate the bill to be. The last thing you want to do is catch the customer off guard by hitting them with an invoice that was much more than expected. This is can be simple to figure. For example, if you’re a freelancer charging $30 an hour and know it will take you 20 hours to complete the project, then everyone knows the final bill will be $600.
But, what if you don’t have an exact figure? You need to at least provide them with a ballpark estimate so that there aren’t any surprises. Again, you let them know upfront that you charge $30 per hour, but not exactly sure how long it will take to wrap up the project. It could take you anywhere from 10 to 30 hours. Letting them know this early on gives them an idea of what to expect when you do send the invoice.
Determine how and when to be paid.
After that, you also want to go over how and when you expect to be paid. If possible, you should accept as many different types of payments as you can. Think of it this way. You go into a store and they only accept cash, but you just have plastic. You’re probably not going to patronize that store and will go somewhere else that does accept credit cards. The point is when you accept multiple forms of payments, the more likely you’ll get paid as soon as the customers receive the invoice.
And, don’t forget to determine when you get paid. It’s the norm to receive the payment in full 30 days after the invoice date. However, you can speed this process up by requesting that the bill be paid 7, 10, or 14 days after the date on the invoice. Or, you could demand that it’s due on receipt.
If you’re doing some recurring work or a long-term project for someone, then consider if you want to be paid weekly, monthly, or when the job is completely finished.
Create a Professional Invoice
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, there’s one other thing to do before sending out your invoice — actually creating a professional invoice.
The reason why you want to take the time to properly generate an invoice is that it shows the recipient that you’re a professional who deserves to get paid on time. It also avoids any potential questions that the customer may have regarding the bill since all relevant information is right there in front of them.
At the minimum, all of your invoices should include the following information:

Your name, address, email, phone number, and tax ID number
Invoice number
Itemized breakdown of services or products sold
Total amount
Due date

The top of your invoice should also include the name and contact information of the customer. Additionally, you may want to include the types of payments you accept, taxes, and any late fees or discounts. For example, if they pay the invoice before the due date you could knock off 2% of the total amount due. Or, if the bill is late there will be a late fee attached.
While you could create your own invoice using Word or Excel, with invoicing software you can use one of the pre-built templates and just fill in the specific information for each person that you bill in the appropriate fields. Also, invoicing software will send automatic reminders to clients when the due date is approaching and when it’s past due.
When and How to Send An Invoice?
Alright, now it’s the time you’ve patiently been waiting for — sending out that very important invoice.
The first step is knowing exactly when you want to send the invoice out. It’s acceptable to send your invoice out immediately. For example, as soon as you finish a project, even if it’s 8 P.M. on a Wednesday night, you can go ahead and issue the invoice. Billing frequently and often prevents you and the client forgetting about the bill and maintains a healthy cash flow.
However, there are some other options. For a larger project, you may want to ask for a down payment, such as 50% upfront, then 25% halfway through, and the final 25% when finished. Some people prefer to do all of their billing weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This all comes down to factors like how many customers they have, the volume of work, how quickly they need the money, and when the client’s billing cycle is.
Issuing an invoice physically means creating it and then printing out a paper copy that you send to the customers either in-person, the mail, or fax. While this is a traditional way of sending an invoice, it’s an antiquated way of doing business.
Not only is it more expensive than sending invoices electronically, thanks to the cost of paper, ink, and postage, it’s also slower and worse for the environment. And, there’s also the possibility that it gets lost in the mail or ends-up in your customer’s trash.
Send your invoices via electronically.
One way to do this is to manually create the invoice, save it as a PDF, and then attach it to an email. If you go this route, make sure the subject line references that it’s an invoice from you, such as “Invoice 22 From John Smith Inc.” The message in the body should also be short and to the point. And, for everyone’s security, it should be encrypted as well.
However, with invoicing software, you can quickly create the invoice and then send it digitally to the customer’s email address. When they receive the invoice they can review it and also pay you online. Often, they click a link that takes them to a secure payment processor page where they enter their credit card or bank information. You could also give them the option to pay you via PayPal, Bitcoin, or whatever electronic method they’re most comfortable with.
Electronic invoices are more efficient, ensure that you get paid faster, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly then snail mail or fax. And, in the off-chance that the invoice gets misplaced, you can resend with just a click of a button. Or, you can just wait until the customer receives an automated reminder.
Just keep the following in mind when sending out an electronic invoice:

Make sure that you have the correct email address for the person who handles payments. This way you can send the bill directly to them.
Use an uneditable format to prevent fraud like the client alternating the total amount due.
Follow-up with the customer as soon as you send the invoice. A quick email asking if they received it will suffice.

How to Handle Overdue Invoices
Even if you played by the rules and did everything right, there will be times when an invoice won’t get paid on time. Sometimes this is an innocent oversight. Maybe the person in charge of payments was on vacation and didn’t’ receive the invoice until they returned. Other times it’s because they’re a deadbeat client.
Regardless of the reason, here’s the best course of action to handle overdue invoices:

Keep calm and double check your work. There could be a possibility that you sent the invoice to the wrong address or department.
If everything is good on your end, then follow-up with the client. You should personally email or call them to find out what’s going on.
No response? You may want to physically visit the customer and talk with them.
As a last resort could take legal action against them. Or, you could hand the invoice off to a collection agency or use invoice factoring.
Finally, you may have to know when to call it quits. Chasing down an invoice for a couple of hundred bucks just isn’t worth your time and money. It stinks. But, you also may be able to write that off as a loss.

Are Your Landing Pages Built For PPC?

If you run your own marketing campaigns, then you probably are already aware of the importance of landing pages. Often these pages are responsible for creating a good first impression with a potential new customer. Most landing pages are built with a specific goal in mind such as getting a visitor to fill out a form and download something, but keeping in mind how a new customer gets to the landing page is just as important as the end goal. This is especially true when you are using PPC advertising to drive traffic to a landing page.
What is a Landing Page?
When I started working in marketing, I understood a landing page to be a page designed to capture potential new leads. This meant that the page should offer something interesting to someone and in exchange for that interesting something the website visitor would fill out a form giving us some information about themselves. With that information we can then determine if they would be a good potential lead or not.
More often than not a landing page would offer a visitor the chance to download a PDF with information they want, but in some cases it might result in a phone call or a video download. Honestly, you can offer whatever you want but if you ask for a lot of personal information in exchange for a simple PDF you will find that very few people are willing to make that exchange.
Landing Pages for PPC
The issue with everything I’ve said to this point is that the extent of most people’s knowledge of landing pages ends here. In fact, most people design landing pages with only these concepts in mind which results in landing pages being tailored to one goal, get people to download the offer. The problem with this is that if you plan on using PPC advertising, such as Google Ads, to drive traffic to these pages you are setting yourself up for failure.
As you might already know, Google grades all of the landing pages that Google Ads direct traffic to. A large part of the score is experience and relevance. A bad score can result in your ad costing you more to run or in some cases, your ad won’t run at all.
So how might this impact you? Well, let’s say you own Jim’s Shoe Store. It wouldn’t be unusual for you to have a landing page directing people to download a PDF entitled, “Best Sneakers for People With Back Pain.” However, you know what that landing page won’t help you with? A lot of your PPC. Think about it, you own a shoe store, so you are going to want your paid ads to target keywords like:

Local shoe store
Running shoes
Dress shoes
Types of shoes
Black shoes
Designer shoes
Shoes for people with back pain
Shoes for people with knee problems

Your landing page is only going to be a good experience for people who search for one of those ten keywords and Google understands this.
My suggestion is leave the landing pages you are happy with alone and make new landing pages with PPC in mind. These new pages should feature general information about your business so that they will work with most keywords associated with your business. However, you can also opt to make 3-5 PPC specific landing pages focused on a narrower set of keywords and break up your Google Ads campaigns into groups built around those landing pages. There are a lot of ways to approach this and the only thing that is truly important is that you understand the overall concept and act accordingly.
With one client we recently suggested creating a mini-site featuring 3-5 landing pages. Each page covers an overview of the business and they all connect to each other. Yes, they will all have a form to download and offer so this client can still capture leads, but the pages won’t be entirely about the offer. When this process is complete, and we have had ample time to collect data I will be coming back to post an update.
In the case of Jim’s Shoe Store, I would recommend creating a landing page for athletic shoes, dress shoes, and casual shoes. Each page would have a relevant offer, but the page would talk broadly about each topic and not focus in on only the offer. In this scenario you can assume that person who searches for sneakers, or running shoes, or athletic shoes would have a good experience on the athletic shoe landing page. Thus, we’ve covered more possible search terms with one page.

8 Big Myths of Content Marketing

Myths are woven into our DNA.
We have heard about the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, dragons and other man made creations and legends that live more within the imagination than reality. But without those tales, the tapestry of our lives would be a little less.
Who wants to take away the fairies, super heroes and Santa Claus. Stories are intrinsic to what makes us human.
The art of storytelling is part of every culture. Sharing the events of the day around a camp fire, the kitchen table or the company water filter often sees us conjuring up a romantic image of the compelling wordsmith and the entertaining jokester.
“Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story” is something that needs to be embraced.
Content marketing is an art and a science
Content marketing has become an art and a science with a dash of promotion in the mix. Like any good cake recipe, the right types of ingredients and the quantities will be the difference between success and failure. In that mix sit terms like engagement, trust and credibility. All good, but on their own the cake won’t rise.
So what are some of the myths that have emerged around the digital content campfire?
Myth #1. Build it and they will come
Content marketing is synonymous with the term inbound marketing. Add the other phrase “attraction marketing” to the discussion and people think that content on its own will produce traffic and leads.
The misunderstanding of the true meaning of these terms leads people to think that just creating the content will attract opportunities and produce business changing marketing strategies.
Content marketing is two words and content is only one of them.
Myth #2. Content creation is more important than the marketing
This follows on from the first myth.
The creatives and the writers of this world often fall into this trap. Their misguided mantra is often “I create and therefore I will succeed”.
Sorry, that won’t do.
Some of the best artists of this world often had a “hustle gene” or a partner that went out and made it happen. Salvador Dali, the famous Spanish surrealist painter was a painter that was not only the creator but the marketer. He maybe took it a little bit too far.
But he knew how to get attention.
In a digital world the sheer noise, velocity and volume of content creation means that the marketing is 50% of the game.
Viral content is often associated with luck.
Publishers like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have made us realize that leaving it to luck is not an option. Content marketing success is now more science, big data and the relentless pursuit of optimizing content for sharing and traffic.

Myth #3. Tons of ordinary content is enough
What is ordinary content?
To me it means a bland, 400-600 word blog post that is missing a voice, insights and an x-factor. Visuals are also vital.
I could go on, but you know what I mean.
Ordinary content shouts out these messages. I don’t care, just having a go or maybe it reveals an underlying lack of confidence that says “who would want to read my stuff anyway”.
The competition for online attention is getting harder and when I started 6 years ago the content standard required wasn’t as high.
This is one of first blog posts that I published on March 25, 2009. This will not do today. Disclaimer: But, don’t let that stop you from starting the content marketing journey.

Some recent research by Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media about the standard of content for bloggers (and content marketers) is revealing with 1.500 word posts becoming mainstream.
Content marketing is growing up.
Taking something from “good to great” means more reading, more polishing and maybe some deeper research. It means wrestling and wrangling the content into an art form that reveals your brand purpose and mission.
But I forgot something. Passion.
Being passionate about your topic is often the difference at the end of the day. Content that is written just for inbound links and search is often missing the heart and soul of what awesome content is all about.
Myth #4. Content marketing is more about search engines
Google’s mission “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” has sometimes lead to an abomination or two in content marketing strategy execution. Their motto “don’t be evil” is maybe something that good content marketers should embrace.
Writing content that is just written for search engines should be made a sin.
Write for humans, touch their emotions and your content has a much better chance of being shared with viral velocity.
Myth #6. Good content marketing doesn’t need much technology
Social media and content marketing are almost like kissing cousins.
Related, close but not the same.
When content marketing emerged, the technology that surrounded it was either raw or non-existent. Using social content was seen as a manual job otherwise it was not proper.
The thinking was often that “using technology made social not social“.
The reality is that content marketing is many moving parts. This includes images, videos, blog posts, many social networks, multiple media, metrics, optimization, email, search and more.
You will need technology, apps and digital marketing technology platforms to create, publish, launch, manage and measure “at scale”.
This means marketing automation platforms like Hubspot, Infusionsoft and Marketo are becoming essential for even small to medium businesses.

It also means using technology and apps like Shuttlerock that enable you to crowd source content from your readers, fans and advocates.
Make it easy for your marketing team to collect, curate and publish brand content.

Myth #7. Content marketing is just about giving away free content
Bloggers are the epitome and essence of content marketing. Many bloggers (and content marketers) have fallen into the trap of only giving away free content. They forget to ask for something in return. They think that conversion from traffic to leads and sales will happen on its own.
You need optimized ”Calls to Action”.
Want something for free like a free PDF then I need an email in return. Want to read that ebook. That will be $7 thank you. Want some premium resources and maybe online training then the credit card needs some loving.
Great content marketing achieves 3 goals. It’s a lot like dating. Attraction, seduction and commitment. In digital marketing that translates to the following.
If you don’t achieve the last goal then you are doomed to fiscal failure.
Myth #8. Content marketing automation is evil
Content first has to be created, then it needs to published and finally it needs to be free to be pushed out into the big wide digital world and achieve its mission. That will mean it may have to achieve many roles:
Growing brand awareness
Building credibility and trust
Drive link building
Create thought leadership
For a noisy world with 2 billion smart phones and 1 billion websites, this means that automation will be a necessary evil. Some call it inhuman and others call it smart. My mantra is this:
“Automate the content distribution but not the conversation”
This means you can be authentic and smart!
Over to you
Are you using digital marketing automation software as part of your content marketing strategy? What is the standard of your blog posts?