Monday, October 31, 2016

10 Ways to Make Facebook Your Most Powerful Event-Promotion Tool

People often use Facebook Events to connect and meet up in the real world. So why not marketers? Facebook can help promote your in-person events--which are among the most effective B2B marketing tactics you can use. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Warning: Are You Suffocating Your Blog by Needlessly Neglecting Newbies?

Editor’s note: You’ll certainly have heard the following advice, commonly given to bloggers — “write for your ideal reader.” But the truth is, your most valuable readers won’t have identical needs. And if you ignore one important group, your blog growth could stall. Pamela Wilson’s new book is not just a must-read for content marketers; it’s invaluable for bloggers too. In this extract, taken from “Chapter 4: Matching Your Content to Your Customer’s Journey”, she explains how to pitch your content at different experience levels to attract a healthy mix of readers and avoid depriving your blog of the “oxygen” it needs to grow — new fans.

Prospects and customers go through a process of getting to know your business until they feel comfortable opening their wallets and doing business with you.

It’s called a “customer journey.” Although many have tried to map it out and identify key steps along the way, the reality is that the journey taken will look a little different for each person.

Customer journeys are as different as the people who take them.

Content marketing is designed to facilitate this journey — no matter what it looks like — by offering up the right information every step of the way.

I want to share a way of thinking about the customer journey that the Copyblogger editorial team has developed as we work together to produce the Copyblogger blog. We took a step back and looked at how we could best serve our entire audience: the ones who were just finding Copyblogger and the ones who’d been reading for years.

We developed a technique for classifying the content we create, and it has been enormously helpful in guiding our topic choices and developing an editorial calendar that meets the needs of the people who come to our site.

This classification system will ensure that you deliver the content your prospects need to understand your topic, develop trust in your business, and feel comfortable entering into a business relationship.

Identify and Write to Your Customer’s Experience Level

The editorial team identified three labels we use to pinpoint who we’re writing for when we create specific content on our site. Pay close attention to the questions associated with each label. That’s where the magic happens!

Beginner, or What is ___?

Your beginning readers comprise a vast audience, and it’s important to serve them well.

I’ve seen it many times: a content creator picks a topic and begins writing about it consistently over time. Researching, writing, and teaching a topic inevitably leads to a more in-depth understanding of it. As their knowledge deepens, their content becomes richer. But they “forget” what beginners want and need.

This is a mistake. Many of your prospects will find your site because they do a web search for something they’d like to know. They find your content because it answers their question. And they stick around because they see that your information is consistently helpful.

These beginning readers are ripe prospects who you can move along a customer journey using your content. To write content that helps them, think about your main topic and all the related subtopics. Here’s an example:

You write about learning to run for an audience of readers who’ve never run before. Many of the people who come to your site will be complete beginners — people who need to know the basics. They’re asking…

Post ideas to answer the What is ___? Question:

  • What could running do for me?
  • Do I have to run fast to be considered a runner?
  • What is the difference between a regular sneaker and a running shoe?
  • Why is proper training necessary?
  • What is a realistic schedule I can use to go from no activity to running a 5k race?
  • What are warm ups, cool downs, and sprints, and why should I do them?

Beginners have questions — lots of them. And some of them are so basic they might be embarrassed to ask them if they were standing right in front of you. Guess what? That’s why they’re doing a web search!

So make sure you provide plenty of content that answers the “What is ___?” fundamental questions that are running through your beginning readers’ minds.

Intermediate, or How Do I Do ___?

Your intermediate readers have gone beyond the basics. They’ve found answers to their “embarrassing” questions. Now they’re working to achieve mastery. They have a vision, they’re working toward it, and they’re looking to your content for help.

Intermediate readers are voracious consumers of “how-to” style content. They want tips, checklists, “ultimate guides” and step-by-step tutorials. And when you deliver this kind of content to them, they’ll save it, re-visit it, and share it with their friends because they found it useful.

Let’s take another look at our website about helping non-runners learn to run. They’re asking…

Post ideas to answer the How do I do ___? question:

  • What kind of shoe offers the best support for running hills?
  • How can I find running buddies in my community?
  • What should I do about dogs that approach me while I’m running?
  • What are the best apps for mapping my run?
  • How can I stay hydrated when I run in the heat?
  • What’s the best way to control my body temperature when running in the cold?

Advanced, or How Do I Get Better at ___?

Advanced readers have the basics down pat. They’ve also mastered intermediate-level questions and know “how to” do most activities and tasks associated with your topic.

When they get to this point, they morph into advanced readers. And they’re still looking to you and your content to guide them on their journeys. After all, you’re the authoritative voice who got them to this point, right? Your site is their preferred place to learn.

Advanced readers want to improve their performance. They know how to do the basics. Now they want to get better, faster, and more efficient. They’re asking…

Post ideas to answer the How do I get better at ___? question:

  • How can I increase my stamina so I can run longer distances?
  • What’s a good strategy for winning a 5k race?
  • How can I keep running even in my 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond?
  • What’s a reliable training regimen to increase speed?
  • How can I adopt a winning mindset on race day?
  • Where can I find safe and fun running routes while traveling?

What Percentage of Your Content Should You Write for Each Group?

Oh, I’d love to give you a formula here. I really would! But this is something you’re going to have to figure out for your own website and audience. A few guidelines:

Write mostly for beginners. The beginner audience is massive, and reaching out to them will help you bring in a steady stream of prospects who will be forever grateful you were there for them when they were asking their newbie questions.

Listen carefully, and note what people are asking about. If you notice lots of comments on your site or on social media platforms that feature intermediate and advanced questions, write content to answer those.

Notice objections and write answers to them. Any time you make an offer, people will find all sorts of reasons not to buy. When you’re writing a sales page, for example, you’ll want to be sure you’re answering those objections and providing reassurance in your copy.

But your regular content can answer objections, too. As a matter of fact, using content this way makes it much easier to sell something once you’re ready because you’ve responded to questions and met objections slowly and naturally with the information you’ve shared over time.

Using our example above, a few objections — and the content that will answer them — might be:

Objection: I’ll never be a runner: I’m too out of shape.

Content: 5 Inspiring Examples of Great Runners Who Don’t Look Like Typical Athletes

Objection: I don’t have time to run.

Content: A Simple Way to Run Daily and Still Have All the Time You Need

Objection: Others can run but I’ve tried, and I know I can’t do it.

Content: 3 Surefire Ways to Ease Into Becoming a Runner — Even if You’ve Failed Before

This approach to content — thinking in terms of beginner, intermediate, and advanced — will influence the topics you cover and how you deliver your information.

Matching Your Content to Your Customer’s Journey: A Checklist

  • Serve up content for every step of your prospect’s journey. Make sure you have plenty of content for beginners and ample content for those who are at an intermediate or advanced level.
  • For beginning readers, answer What is ___? Beginning content defines a topic and helps web searchers expand their understanding of the basics.
  • For intermediate readers, answer How Do I Do ___? Intermediate readers want to know how to apply what they’re learning to their lives and situations. “How-to” content fits perfectly into this category.
  • For advanced readers, answer How Do I Get Better at ___? Advanced readers crave mastery. What content can you create that will help them get really good at your topic?
About the Author: Pamela Wilson, author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience, is Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital. Find more from Pamela at Big Brand System.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

3 Interviewing Skills Every Company Must Embrace with Their Video Marketing

professional camcorder on the tripod, selective focus on nearest part

  With more and more companies embracing video marketing, the skill of in-house interviewing (from one employee to another) is becoming more and more critical. But, as you might imagine, this type of skill varies wildly from person to person. Here at The Sales Lion, we’ve been doing more and more video with clients, and…

The post 3 Interviewing Skills Every Company Must Embrace with Their Video Marketing appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Are Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 Companies Using Instagram?

Some 30% of Fortune 500 companies and 22% of Inc. 500 companies have active Instagram accounts, according to recent research from The Center for Marketing Research, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Friday, October 21, 2016

Hubcast 114: #INBOUND16, Video Signatures, & Moo

Hubcast Podcast

Welcome back to The Hubcast, folks: A weekly podcast all about HubSpot news, tips, and tricks. Please also note the extensive show notes below, including some new HubSpot video tutorials ...

The post Hubcast 114: #INBOUND16, Video Signatures, & Moo appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.


#SocialSkim: Twitter Takeover Hopes Crushed; Pinterest Hits New Milestone: 10 Stories This Week

This week: Twitter's hopes of a takeover are dashed; Facebook Live gets a scheduling feature, and Facebook releases push notifications for apps; livestreaming app Busker blends content and e-commerce; four ways B2Bs should be using Snapchat and Instagram; and much more... Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2017 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends

Although business-to-consumer (B2C) content marketers have been more successful with their efforts this year than they were last year, many still need to slow down to give their content marketing more time--to ensure even better results via longer-term planning. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Six Content Marketing Principles You Shouldn't Be Ignoring (but Probably Are)

Content marketing can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Either way, six fundamental content principles should be guiding how you create and distribute your work. The trouble is, many marketers ignore at least some of those principles. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Monday, October 17, 2016

Mad Marketing 105: Personal Reflections on Digital Trends, Frustrated Marketers, and More

Mad Marketing Podcast

It’s podcast time my friends, and in this episode of Mad Marketing, we discuss the following: Mobile First Index is now here, and why *timeliness* is going to be such a major part of search moving forward. read about it here: Bot Content isn’t Going to Kill Content Marketing, but it is already here, which…

The post Mad Marketing 105: Personal Reflections on Digital Trends, Frustrated Marketers, and More appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.


The Best Days and Times to Post on Five Major Social Networks

The most effective days and times for brands to post on social media vary significantly by network, according to recent data from TrackMaven. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Friday, October 14, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Eight Mistakes You're Making on Facebook's News Feed and How to Fix Them

Most of the tricks and tactics that worked on Facebook a few years ago no longer work; today, they can actually harm your page's ranking potential. Here are some mistakes you might be making--and tips on how to avoid them. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


The Five Most Realistic Ways to Make a Living as a Writer

You want it so bad that it dominates your waking thoughts.

You’re even afraid to say it out loud, in case you sound plain crazy:

“I want to make a living as a writer.”

(You can just imagine the snorts and smirks from family and friends.)

But it’s true — you’re no closer to reaching that goal than the day it first popped into your head.

So, who knows? Maybe the doubters are right. Maybe you are naive to think you could earn a living doing something you love, instead of something you just tolerate.

Except… that you’re not. Because people just like you are already doing it.

The problem isn’t your dream; it’s the way you’re going about achieving it.

Why Most Wannabe Writers Never Earn a Penny

Writing for a living offers a ton of advantages – you get to choose when and where you work, and with whom.

No wonder this promise of creative and personal freedom attracts so many people.

But the truth is that most of them don’t want to think about the practicalities of becoming a full-time writer.

They don’t want to think about the uncertainty, the rejection, the self-doubt.

They don’t want to think about all the small, unglamorous tasks that make life as a writer possible.

Deep down they fear their perfect dream will tarnish if they drag it down to earth. So it just hangs there in a shiny bubble, waiting for the day it miraculously comes true.

But let’s be honest — it just won’t happen. Or do you really think someone will approach you one day and say:

“Hey there. I heard from someone that you were thinking of writing something, someday, and I’ve love to pay you to see where that someday could lead.”

Of course not, but without a concrete strategy, that is what it would take to make your distant dream a reality.

Experience shows that vague plans fail. Grounding your dreams in reality is what makes them happen. Even if it means thinking about the things you’d rather not consider.

It’s not enough to say you want to make a living as a writer; you need to know how. You need a concrete plan to bridge the gap from where you are now to where you want to be.

And the more realistic your plan, the better. Don’t bet the farm on a path that only a small handful of super talented (or incredibly lucky) outliers have followed. Choose one that’s worked for lots of people.

If you don’t know what such a plan might look like, here are the five most realistic ways to earn a full-time living as a writer.

1) Write Articles for Popular Blogs, Magazines and Journals

Despite talk of global “content fatigue,” major publications — both on- and offline — must keep publishing content or die.

That means popular blogs, magazines and journals remain hungry for quality writing — and many are willing to pay for it too. You’ll need to hustle to find the best opportunities, understanding that success won’t happen overnight, but writing for these publications is still a realistic way to make a living as a writer.

Let’s start with the blogs.

Although writing for popular blogs (a.k.a. guest blogging) is still typically unpaid, with most writers trading their content for exposure, numerous exceptions still exist. For some examples, check out Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing for a comprehensive list of sites that pay for guest articles.

Guest posts can also lead to other paid work. Take this blog as an example: we’ve approached several guest writers to create content for our paid courses, and paid them several thousand dollars for their work.

And what about the world of print? Is that still a viable route?

Traditional publishing has had a rough ride, but many consumer magazines are still going strong, and many of these publications still pay well for feature articles. Of course, you can’t expect to land a lucrative opportunity right away — you’ll need to climb the ladder via smaller, local publications, building your credibility as you go.

Likewise, trade journals crave quality articles within their narrow topic area and many are waking up to the more conversational, engaging writing style that writing for the web demands. Also, talented bloggers with proven specialist knowledge can often skip the ladder-climbing and break in with the right pitch.

In general, the secret to making this model work is being tenacious about chasing down opportunities and being efficient with your writing once you land them.

The people who follow this model successfully are like writing machines — they crank out quality content quickly and don’t allow themselves to get bogged down in any one project.

2) Create Collateral for Content-Hungry Businesses

In the last five years, content marketing — this concept of creating valuable content to attract customers and build credibility and trust — has undoubtedly gone mainstream.

The result? More and more businesses are getting into the content game. Some have a clear strategy, while others are just jumping on the bandwagon and hoping it pays off down the line.

This has created a market for smart writers who can write for a specific audience. These content-hungry businesses need articles, white papers, case studies — the list goes on. And they fully expect to pay for them.

Breaking into this market can be tough without a few contacts to get you started, but it’s not impossible.

Initially, you may need to jostle for attention with thousands of other eager writers in freelance marketplaces like But with patience and hard work you can establish a track record of successful projects and break away from the low-earning masses.

However, this route requires a portfolio of content-related skills — not just an understanding of the target niche, but of marketing fundamentals and SEO too. In other words, you’ll need more than a laptop and a passion for writing to impress this crowd — you’ll need to persuade clients that you understand the bigger picture.

One smart way to differentiate yourself is to build your own platform, using blogging and guest blogging to demonstrate the expertise you hope to harness for others.

3) Become a Best-Selling Kindle Author

What about making it big as an author? Could that be your best route to a life of freedom as a full-time writer?

Well, it’s certainly more realistic than it used to be. Ten years ago, writing a best-selling book was a distant dream for most writers and self-publishing was often dismissed as a vanity exercise.

But today, thanks largely to Amazon and Kindle, the self-published book market is gigantic and making your living from writing books is far more achievable.

Enter, the authorpreneur — the author with an entrepreneurial brain.

Of course, more achievable doesn’t mean easy. If you have visions of publishing one book and retiring on the profits, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

To succeed, you need to be commercially minded and target an established market with proven demand from readers. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your passion but be prepared to validate it first.

You’ll need to be persistent and prolific too — chances are you’ll publish several books before gaining any traction, and you’ll need sales from multiple titles to approach anything resembling a full-time income.

However, according to a report earlier this year from Author Earnings, 1,600 indie authors are earning $25K or above from Amazon book sales, and 1,000 published their first book three years ago or less.

But should you write nonfiction or fiction? Nonfiction is the most natural fit for the average blogger, and if you’re blogging in a popular niche, the chances are that books covering similar topics will also be popular.

If you want to find success as a self-nonfiction author, check out Steve Scott. Even though he’s recently switched his attentions to a regular podcast on self-publishing, his old site still has a ton of useful information.

Fiction writing is arguably tougher (and requires a rather different set of skills), but there’s no denying that your earning potential if you do hit it big, is much larger. And it’s no coincidence that the most famous self-publishing successes are all fiction titles.

For inspiration and direction visit The Creative Penn. Joanna Penn is a prolific fiction (and nonfiction) author and her site is rich with information about making it as a fiction writer.

But in either case, you need to be led by the market for topic (or genre) selection. And you need to be prepared to write multiple books before seeing any real results.

One major advantage of this route is that you continue to earn money from your back catalog, sometimes far into the future. Once you start to make a basic living from your writing, additional titles only build your income further.

4) Sell Yourself as a Conversion-Focused Copywriter

Copywriting, in a nutshell, is writing that’s designed to make readers take a specific action.

Sales letters, video scripts, even product descriptions — these all need writing by someone, and they live or die on the results they produce.

Copywriting may not seem fundamentally different to other forms of writing, but in practice, it’s a discipline all of its own.

While there’s a trend towards more conversational, empathetic copywriting — moving away from the hype-fuelled “hard sell” — you still need a solid understanding of the principles of persuasion.

So unless you have a copywriting background be prepared to invest time and money in learning the fundamentals. There are some excellent books on the topic — CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone is a good place to start. Copyblogger’s Brian Clark shares his favorite titles here.

The most famous training course on copywriting is probably AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

Notwithstanding the steep learning curve, the rewards of copywriting can be significant. A high-converting sales page might earn you $2,000, plus a slice of the revenues too.

As a bonus, a foundation in copywriting will also be valuable should you ever decide to sell your own products.

5) Build a Niche Blog and Promote Third Party Products

I’ll be honest — building a popular blog is tough. Really tough.

And once you’ve scaled your blog beyond a certain point, you might be surprised how little time you actually spend doing the thing you love — writing.

So if your dream is to build a six-figure blog, you’d better be as excited about the prospect of running a business as you are about writing your next post. (In fact, if you’re making six figures, writing is one of the things you should probably outsource.)

But there is a path to making a living from a blog where you still spend a good proportion of your time writing. And it starts with picking a blog niche where a large, passionate audience already exists and — this is crucial — where you can find successful products from trusted names to sell.

Promoting affiliate products is a much smarter way to start earning money from a blog than creating your own product. With an affiliate product, someone else has already done the hard work of validating the market, building the product, and enhancing it based on customer feedback. Someone else gets to handle the pre-sales inquiries, payments, refunds, and product support.

Many affiliate products pay high commissions too — 50% or even more — because the incremental production cost of digital products is essentially nothing.

The secret is finding the right products — ones that you can stake your reputation on. Pat Flynn is the undisputed king of passive income, earned (mostly) from sales of affiliate products — check out his video on Choosing Affiliates Products to Promote and How to Sell Them.

Ideally, you’ll know what products you’ll sell even before starting your blog because then you’re growing an audience that perfectly matches your offer.

Of course, you still have to do all the stuff that makes a blog successful — publishing great content, building your email list, reaching out to influencers, etc. — but writing remains a big part of the equation, i.e., creating the stellar content that brings people to your site.

Once you’re in a groove, you can think about adding your own products to the mix, using your writing skills and topic knowledge to deliver a specific result that readers are willing to pay for.

But when you’re starting out, promoting affiliate products is the most realistic, and least risky, way to make a living writing on your blog.

It’s Time to Choose Your Writer’s Path

Just stop for a moment and ask yourself:

“Am I sabotaging my writing dream by refusing to get real about the how?”

Because you know what… I’m tired of seeing talented writers stuck in lives they don’t love.

So the dreaming stops here — it’s time to decide once and for all.

Are you truly serious about supporting yourself with your writing, or is it just an idle fantasy to cheer you up when your regular job gets you down?

If you are serious, then decide: which of these five paths above will you follow? The article writer? The content marketer? The copywriter? The authorpreneur? Or the niche blogger?

If none of them feels like an exact fit, don’t worry, that’s normal. Pick whichever one’s the closest and try it on for size. Any discomfort is just the price of getting real.

Got one? Excellent.

Let’s turn your perfect dream into an imperfect reality — one where you’re making a living as a writer.

Just picture the faces of your family and friends when they find out. 🙂

About the Author: Glen Long is the managing editor of Smart Blogger (a.k.a. chief content monkey). When he’s not creating or editing content for this blog or an upcoming course he’s probably watching Nordic Noir. Why not say hello to him on Twitter?


Hubcast 113: Generating Leads Through Speaking, Smart Subject Lines, & Video Creation

Hubcast Podcast

Welcome back to The Hubcast, folks: A weekly podcast all about HubSpot news, tips, and tricks. Please also note the extensive show notes below, including some new HubSpot video tutorials ...

The post Hubcast 113: Generating Leads Through Speaking, Smart Subject Lines, & Video Creation appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

While Everyone Freaks Out About Bot-Created Content, Put Your Focus on Video


In recent months, more and more people seem to be concerned that bots and artificial intelligence are going to be the end of content marketing as we know it. In other words, the man in the machine will soon get to a point where it will produce textually based content better than you and I…

The post While Everyone Freaks Out About Bot-Created Content, Put Your Focus on Video appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Five Essential Reputation Management Tools

An instant is all it takes to threaten your business's sterling reputation online. These five reputation management tools are some of the best for tracking mentions, discovering influencers, and managing online reviews as they happen. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Friday, October 7, 2016

#SocialSkim: Facebook Challenges eBay, Craigslist; Twitter Moments Global Rollout: 11 Stories This Week

Facebook takes on Craigslist and eBay, tests own version of Snapchat Stories; LinkedIn-Microsoft deal under scrutiny; what Twitter Moments global rollout means for you; tips for building trust, influence on LinkedIn; Snapchat for lead gen; and much more... Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mad Marketing 104: Everyone is an Artist with the Talented Ron Tite


  Ron Tite is as fascinating as they come. Not only does he own a content marketing agency, but he’s a successful comedian, a professional speaker, and a recently published author. (Everyone is an Artist(Or at Least They Should Be) In this interview, Ron shares multiple nuggets of truth on the following subjects: Funny bits…

The post Mad Marketing 104: Everyone is an Artist with the Talented Ron Tite appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

13 Mistakes Conference and Event Organizers Just Keep on Making


I love the events space. My job allows me to travel the world and speak for a living and, more often than not, I feel like the luckiest guy alive. With such a profession, I get to attend 50-75 conferences and events annually, the majority of which are great experiences for the attendees. Notwithstanding these…

The post 13 Mistakes Conference and Event Organizers Just Keep on Making appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.


Monday, October 3, 2016

How to Get Maximum Engagement From Your Employee Advocacy Program

Word-of-mouth marketing is not new, but companies are putting a new spin on it to help their marketing, sales, and recruiting: Instead of customers, employees are the ones spreading word to their social networks via employee advocacy programs. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


The Most Annoying Things Brands Do on Social Media

Consumers say posting too often is the most annoying thing that brands do on social media, according to recent research from Sprout Social. Read the full article at MarketingProfs