How to Go Viral in 10 Easy Steps

How to Go Viral in 10 Easy Steps

In 2014, Pete Frates, a former college Baseball player, challenged some friends and celebrities to pour cold water over their heads to raise money for ALS.

Less than 12 months later, the Ice Bucket Challenge had roped in the sitting President of the United States and reportedly raised $50 million for ALS.

The way the Ice Bucket Challenge shot to viral fame follows a familiar path used by websites like to get millions of viewers to their site.

While viral marketing probably won’t help your next idea ‘blow up’ like the Ice Bucket Challenge, it can teach you lessons on how to make your content viral that you can apply to your business.

Before we get started, we should cover the obvious.

The chance of viral marketing getting you millions of views is really low (not as low as winning the lottery, but pretty close).

Yet it’s not that hard to get thousands or even tens of thousands of extra clicks to your content if you follow a clear strategy. It all starts with a bit of psychology.

This graph was created by Buzzsumo.

Keep in mind most content is not created to go viral.

1. Choose the Right Topic

Viral marketing works best with certain types of content.

Articles and videos shared online generally amuse, inspire or make people look smart (you know, like you’ve got the inside line on something important).

Then there’s content based on current events, like the hotel manager who sent a € 5.3 million invoice to a social influencer for promoting her business.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have content that goes viral because it is contentious.

This much-cited and shared article in the travel niche, “17 Cultural Clashes this European Had in America,” where the headline could be changed to “17 Reasons I Hate Americans,” is a case in point. (He doesn’t really hate Americans, by the way.)

Depending on your niche, it can be challenging to get this positive or negative emotional response for content you’re creating…

Like finance, for example.

This Accountant Used a New Bookkeeping Method... It Saved Him 3 Hours a Day!

Well. Maybe that headline would get an accountant excited, but you know what I mean :D.

Which brings us nicely to the format you should probably be using for your content... SEO-friendly list posts.

2. Write SEO Friendly List Posts

Arguably the most popular format for content on the web are list style posts.

You can broadly break these list posts into two distinct types.

You’ve got the curated list posts, which is basically an expert roundup and the affiliate/ e-commerce style “10 best + product”.

“Best Hotels in LA:” Twice in the top 10 for an extremely profitable keyword using user-generated content…

One of the most successful companies to apply this list model to their online business is Trip Advisor.

The user-generated content produced on the site ranks on Google for almost every instance of “things to do + city/ region” or “best hotel + city/ region” across the world.

All these SERP rankings give the company a valuation in the region of $8 billion.

There are some very successful online businesses using viral marketing and list posts, with solid keyword research, to grow their business.

A great example of a viral site which does this in the travel niche is

The site makes bank as a hotel affiliate by creating viral list posts on topics like “things to do + city/ region” “best hotels in + city/ region” across Thailand and Indonesia (there’s plenty of scopes to replicate this model across other niches or the same niche in different markets).

To get all those clicks though, you need a good headline…

3. Create A Killer Headline

As newspaper editors have known since, well, newspapers, the hook that gets people reading your content is a good headline.

Most viral marketing headlines have an over the top format. Clickbait style headlines frame the content and often set the emotional tone for what you’re about to experience.

Take this example from one of Upworthy’s first posts below:

  • Clear Your Next 10 Minutes Because This Video Could Change How Happy You Are With Your Entire Week.

You can see how a good headline pulls you into the article.

It’s all about creating curiosity, generating interest, setting expectations, and generally getting people to take action.

The problem is, while a great headline sounds simple, they are frustratingly difficult to come up with.

If you are not a natural copywriter, I’d suggest using the headline-generation software. You can find a list of some of the best headline generation software here.

There are also plenty of blog posts like this one with proven headline formulas.

If you want to write clickbait headlines though, go directly to the source. Steal Visit sites like Upworthy, Buzzfeed, and Viral Nova.

They’ve got great copywriters, and you can easily edit the most successful headline formulas they use.

Next up is the visuals…

3. Use Lots of Images

Images are a part of viral marketing. Funny meme time. 😀

Hope it made you laugh.

... And time for two visual marketing stats that won’t surprise you:

If you don’t want to read all those stats, they can be summarised easily…

Images break up an article and convey information more efficiently than chunks of text.

This is why Infographics are so popular (something that Quicksprout has taken advantage of and you could too).

You almost certainly use images in your blog posts, so I haven’t shared anything very useful with you yet.

One thing you can and should do, though, as part of your viral marketing, creates default image graphics for your most popular social media channels.

I’ll cover how to do this and link your images to your social share buttons in the next section of this post.

4. Make Your Content Easy to Share

Making your content go viral starts with ensuring your content is easy to share.

There are plenty of great social sharing plugins available.

Most social sharing plugins give you the option to choose what social share buttons to show and where they should appear on your site.

If you haven’t got social sharing buttons, install them already…

A custom image created for a social media channel will always outperform a regular image.

A custom image created for a social media channel will always outperform a regular image.

While having social sharing buttons on your site is great, I recommend using a social sharing plugin that lets you choose the default image for each social media channel (here’s a list of social share plugins with some that do).

In addition to this, edit the metadata used when your content is shared.

Now you’ve prepared your content, you need to get people to read it.

You should start by emailing your list.

5. Use Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to get eyes on your newly published content.

You can use a lot of different techniques for promoting your content through email marketing. I like infotainment.

There’s a great article on Vyper written by Danavir from Copymonk about writing infotainment style copy for your content emails. I recommend you read it.

As an aside…

The challenging thing with content marketing for most niches is a lot of the content you are producing are for search engines rather than your audience (after a while people get bored of yet another “how to” article or roundup of “10 best tools” to make you more intelligent).

In the business and marketing niche, a very successful hook that engages readers is the monthly income reports.

Michelle Schroeder from does this and Dave, one of the founders of Ninja Outreach, did this with his first website

If you’re successful, this is a good way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. I digress…

For a masterclass in email marketing, check out Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer and Frank Kern.

They are both expert email marketers that grew multi-million dollar businesses before teaching email marketing tactics.

They also use different copywriting styles, which is nice.

On to the next point…

6. Find A Larger Audience

The cornerstone of your viral marketing efforts is understanding your audience.

I’m not talking about their deepest desires… That’s a rabbit hole you want to avoid 😀

No, at this moment I’m talking about what they’re interested in and where they like to hang out.

The best way to find where your audience hangs out online is to talk to people.

There are a lot of different ways you can get this information.

You can do interviews, send them personal emails, ask them to fill in a questionnaire.

When you’ve found out where they hang out, this could be a forum, a Facebook group, Quora or whatever, become an engaged member of the community.

The basics of social networking are simple:

  • Introduce yourself to the group.
  • Share useful information and don’t ask for anything in return.
  • Help people out.
  • Don’t be that person who only talks about yourself.
  • Occasionally share your own content.

Offline, we take this behavior for granted. For some reason on social media, people seem to suffer from a form of social Tourette's.

We forget to be polite. Just act like you would offline, and you’ll be fine.

A longer-term online networking strategy is to create the space where your target audience hangs out.

The last company I worked for established their own Facebook group more than three years ago.

The group now has over 6,000 members. Of course, most of those people aren’t engaged in the group, but many are.

Running a Facebook group offers a lot of benefits for your business.

The group is now a forum that promotes a sense of community among the members.

They share content and discuss issues related to the niche. In addition to this, there are other unexpected benefits.

For example, they discuss products promoted by the company, which persuades more people to purchase the products they promote and makes the company more accountable for the products they support.

Now comes the hardest part, and arguably the most important bit of viral marketing…

7. Get Noticed By Relevant Authorities

Frequently, the key to viral marketing is getting your content shared by influencers in your niche (this is exactly what happened with the Ice Bucket Challenge).

Influencers can generally be broken down into the following three groups:

  • People who might be interested in sharing your content.
  • People who have been featured in your content.
  • Thought leaders/Influencers in your niche.

The tactics I’m going to cover in this next section won’t work for every niche.

If you’re creating viral content around current events or celebrities, you’ll probably want to skip this section.

Instead, jump straight to the part of networking with influencers in your niche.

3 Tactics to Find People Who Might Share Your Content

Finding people who might be interested in sharing your content is time-consuming.

The process starts with finding people who created content similar to, but hopefully worse than what you created.

If you’re doing this manually, input all of the URLs of similar content into an Excel sheet (just Google the phrase you want to rank for and list the leading posts).

Once you have these URLs, collect the details of the people who shared and/ or commented on the content.

Then send them an email about your post (you can automate this whole process using Ninja Outreach). Here’s an email template you can use:


I saw you shared CONTENT on SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL. It looks like you’re a fan of the content.

I just published an article that WHAT MAKES YOUR ARTICLE SPECIAL (THE HOOK). I thought you’d be interested to check it out 🙂



Outreach marketing is an art. There’s a really good article on outreach email templates you should check out. There’s a lot of actionable content in that post.

Next up is targeting people who are linking to your competitors.

To do this, you need to collect the backlinks of the article created by your competitors.

So… go back to the Excel sheet you created the list of articles you want to outrank.

Then, do a backlink analysis of the articles. If you’re using Ninja Outreach, you can use this process to find the backlinks for your competitors.

This will give you the full list of backlinks.

Next, weed out the useless links, and make your pitch.

Here is an email template that Brian Dean from Backlinko uses when doing the process to get links to his own site.

His conversion rate for cold mailing leads was 11%, which is pretty good.

email template that Brian Dean from Backlinko use

A nice twist you can add to your email that can open up opportunities and increase your conversion rate is throwing lines like this into your email template:

Anyway, how are things on your end and what are you working on at the moment?

Perhaps we can help with something you are working on and maybe collaborate a bit. Let me know!

This could open up opportunities for exchanging social media shares, guest posting opportunities or something else.

The idea is to open up new opportunities for yourself and start networking with influencers in your niche.

The final method to get links, which could lead to more social shares, is finding dead links in existing content.

This technique is known as broken link building. The method used share a lot of the techniques mentioned in the previous two examples.

For a proper review of the process, I’d suggest reading this article on ahrefs.

Contact People Featured in Your Content

Maybe I should have put this one first as it’s the easiest 😀

Contacting people featured in your post works well when you’ve created a great article on a topic.

That or you’ve got breaking news that nobody has seen or heard about before (remember the importance of having the inside line).

The process is pretty simple. Collect all of the outlinks in your article. List them on an Excel sheet and shoot them an email.

Here’s a simple template you can use for your outreach.

Networking with Influencers in Your Niche

Networking with people in your niche is an essential part of growing your business (you’re just more likely to share content and do favors for your friends).

The basics of networking with influencers are pretty simple:

  • Look for opportunities to start a conversation.
  • Figure out how you can help them out.
  • Meet offline and go for a beer or whatever :-).

Really, it’s as simple as that…

I’ll start by being controversial. Don’t spend too much time commenting on blog posts or sharing other people’s content…

Sharing content and leaving intelligent comments on a blog is great, but…

The last 20 times I answered 30+ blog comments, I spent more time thinking about leaving an intelligent reply than paying attention to who left the comment.

Not saying intelligent comments and sharing don’t work, but I think there are better ways to start a conversation…

Consider this example… Glen Allsopp who runs Viperchill gets 100+ comments an article.

Even if you’re leaving an intelligent comment, you’re trying to stand out in a very crowded room.

His Facebook page, on the other hand, gets just 10 comments or so a post (and Glen replies to more comments on Facebook).

Glen gets fewer comments on his Facebook page than on his blog. This is pretty usual with bloggers.

This isn’t an exception. I do a lot of outreach, and Facebook is my go-to conversation starter after a cold email.

My next favorite tactic, after helping people out, is to meet up offline. It’s logical.

Plus, it’s harder to ignore someone who is standing in front of you unless you’re an ass (and you don’t want to be networking with those kinds of people).

Meeting up with people offline is pretty simple. Check out if you can find some live meetups close to where you live.

Go to them, start a conversation and make some friends.

That’s outreach covered. Time for some paid advertising.

I want to look at cat videos viral marketing on Facebook and Pinterest.

8. Viral Marketing On Facebook

With over a billion active users Facebook is the largest social media channel on the Internet.

It probably should be a part of your viral marketing strategy.

To send your content viral with any consistency, you need an advertising budget.

There’s a lot of great information online about running and scaling facebook ads campaigns.

If you’re new to Facebook ads read this post by Jon Loomer.

And remember these simple rules a Facebook marketer told me:

  • Start with a small advertising budget per article (maybe $5-$10 if you’re starting out).
  • Track and split test ad copy and images.
  • If an article goes viral, I’m talking lots of shares and visitors, quickly scale your campaign.
  • When visitor numbers start to drop kill the advertising and repeat the process with new content.

The start of a successful viral marketing campaign on Facebook will look creepily similar to a graph showing the value of bitcoin or human population growth. It drops just as quickly.

Those spikes on the left are successful Facebook ads. Image was taken from the article 6 Foolproof ways to Optimize Your Site for Viral Sharing

Those spikes on the left are successful Facebook ads.

If you’re creating contentious content, you can run Facebook ads to people from opposing groups to increase the chance of your content going viral.

This tactic would work pretty well for that article I mentioned earlier called “17 Cultural Clashes this European Had in America.”

9. Viral Marketing On Pinterest:

Pinterest is the number one source of referral traffic to many of the sites I’m involved in.

And the good thing about Pinterest is you can get traffic without spending a penny on ads.

You can see that Pinterest is the top source of referral traffic by a long way.

You can see that Pinterest is the top source of referral traffic by a long way.


Generating traffic and consistently making content viral on Pinterest takes time.

You need to grow the number of followers you have and join active boards. The basics of Pinterest marketing are pretty simple:

      • Create at least 3 boards related to your niche and join at least 3 group boards.
      • Post content on all the Pinterest boards your active in at least 3, preferably more, times a day.
      • Share three pieces of content from other creators for every one piece of your own content.
      • Create multiple Pinterest graphics for every piece of content you produce.

Like I said, those are the basics. If you’re serious about Pinterest marketing, you need to read an in-depth post.

I suggest you just head over to this post on Income Diary.

It’s got all the information you need to get started.

Finally for the most important viral marketing tip...

10. Don’t Give Up!

Creating viral content is difficult.

Regardless of your niche, most of the content you produce is never going to go viral.

So remember, if it doesn’t work the first, fourth, ninth or twenty-sixth time, don’t give up!

Also, only some of the tactics and tips I shared in this post are relevant to you.

Pick, choose, test and adapt the tactics to fit your needs.

Over time you’ll find a system that will generate extra clicks to your website.

If you have any tips, please share them in the comments below.

I’m sure other marketers will find them useful 🙂

Nico sets up no-brainer software deals for bloggers, e-commerce store owners, and video marketers. Sign up to his list on Launch Space to get lifetime offers to useful software.

What Are the Best Native Ad Networks for Websites?

Let’s face it: Ads can be a nuisance for readers.

Advertising gurus do their utmost to make ads entertaining, amusing, and sometimes even controversial, thereby reducing the “annoyingness” of ads.

However, as the Internet matures, readers are getting tired of clicking on banners.

More and more studies are proving the existence of banner blindness.

Native advertising is a more unobtrusive form of advertising that syncs naturally with web content and is receiving more and more attention from publishers big and small.

In this post we will discuss:

  1. What are native ad networks?
  2. The advantages of native ads vs. traditional banner advertising
  3. What are some of the best native ad networks for small and medium-sized websites?

The aim of this post is to give you as a publisher all of the relevant information about this increasingly effective advertising format, as well as give you some tips on how you can add native ads to your site or blog, no matter how much traffic you have.

What are native ad networks?

The basic idea behind native advertising is making ads appear less like ads.

For instance, while browsing through the tech section of Business Insider, you may see a story titled “Top 10 Gadgets Under $50,” which has been sponsored by the SuperGadget.Store.

Native ads appear like interesting and relevant news items or stories, usually at the end of articles.

They look something like this:

native advertising example

Native advertising was everywhere in 2017, and it’s a hugely growing market…

Native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021, according to this recent Business Insider article.

This Business Insider study goes so far as to predict that spending on native ads in the US will reach an incredible $21 billion by 2018.

And as Facebook continues to dominate online advertising, perhaps it comes as no surprise that the largest segment of native ad spending is in the social media segment.

Interestingly though, it is the native-style display ad segment that will experience the fastest growth, at more than 200% in the next two years.

native advertising revenue

Advantages of native ads vs. traditional banner advertising

We have all experienced banner ads or, more annoyingly, popup ads when we browse.

Those forms of digital advertisement are intrusive -- hence, their relatively low click-through and conversion rates. Here are some of the advantages of native ads:

  1. The biggest advantage of native ads is their ability to fit seamlessly into a website without looking like an ad. Because most native ads are similar to advertorials or actual stories, it could even be argued that these enhance a website by adding relatable and interesting content from outside sources. Native advertising is any paid content that is made to sync with the form of the website it appears on without being disruptive. It is less obtrusive and often not focused on product promotion. Instead, it usually comes across as sponsored posts or suggested reading.
  2. Native ads promote brand awareness better than any other type of digital media. Like advertorials, they just present beautiful and informative content that is sponsored by a company or website. This is one way to make your brand go viral, in a positive way.
  3. Native ads can bypass security measures meant to keep ads at bay. You do not need an ad space on a website to put up native advertisements. Native ads, instead, comply with the editorial structure and standards of the publisher (online or offline) on whose site they are placed. They are part of the content on site pages on which they appear, so they do not appear as ads; they appear as content. That means that native advertising has a higher potential to reach a much greater number of people.
  4. Native ads have a much better click-through rate than traditional banner ads, especially on mobile where it has more than 1% CTR. In addition, 32% of consumers are open to sharing a native ad with friends, family, and colleagues while only 19% of consumers will share traditional banner ads.

For more information about the advantages of native ads vs. traditional banner ads, click here to see a great infographic from

The reasons above outline why in 2018, publishers are moving more and more towards native ads, and you should too if you want to maximize your yield from online advertising.

What are some of the best native ad networks?

There are many native ad networks out there, so it is not easy to determine which one is the best.

The following section will list some of the best ones, explain the difference between them, as well as highlight their advantages and disadvantages.


Outbrain native advertising agency

Outbrain is one of the largest native ad networks in the world, with over 200 billion recommendations served per month.

Outbrain are also one of the first native ad networks, marketing their services as early as 2006.

While some publishers hail Outbrain as the king of monetization with the highest Cost Per Thousand (CPM), this is hard to prove.

What is undoubtedly true is that Outbrain has always been a bit of an elitist network, with a publisher list that includes heavyweights such as The New York Post, The Daily Telegraph, Fortune, Time, CNN, US Weekly, Fast Company, Mashable, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian.

As you can probably guess, Outbrain really values its elite publisher relationships and have long-term contracts with them that often last for many years.

The network takes its clear content guidelines very seriously and makes sure that only serious ads are shown on its publisher’s websites.

Although Outbrain has become less stringent of late, affiliate marketers can and do get banned pretty easily.

If you own a website or blog that is in any way questionable in terms of content, or you do not have at least 500,000 monthly page views, you will probably find it difficult to get accepted as a publisher on Outbrain’s network.

The sign-up process is not simple and if you do get approved, you will have to sign an exclusivity agreement with Outbrain.

This means that you will not be able to swap your Outbrain widget for that of another network to A/B test performance and determine what works best for you.

The exclusivity contract usually binds you for a 2-year period.

Also bear in mind that getting a widget from Outbrain can take a few weeks, so don’t expect to make money immediately even if you do meet their requirements.

To try and sign up with Outbrain, click here.


Taboola native advertising agency

Taboola is currently the biggest native ad network in the world.

The network has a massive list of dominant publishers that include the likes of Daily Mail, USA Today, MSN, AOL, Bloomberg, and NBC.

Taboola’s adverts have a nice variety of very serious financial instruments all the way to gems like “Top 10 Stars Who Are Aging Horribly.”

If you are an affiliate marketer, you will probably find it difficult to advertise your products on Taboola as the platform is pretty stringent about most products peddled on its network.

The Taboola Choice feature allows users/readers to offer feedback on what recommendations they don’t like so that the platform is constantly learning from user feedback.

Advertisers can use the publisher blocking feature with which you can exclude bad sites and maximize your advertising buck.

For publishers, the CPM at Taboola are decent, and it also offers excellent publisher tools and graphs.

Taboola does not accept publisher sites that include adult themes, alcohol, gambling, sweepstakes, questionable health improvement products, weaponry, illegal drugs, tobacco, as well as iffy financial products such as binary options and the like.

Taboola is top notch and if you can work with that platform, you should. The only issue is that you need to have a minimum of 500,000 monthly page views to join its network as a publisher.

If you’re just starting out or own a niche blog with not much traffic, unfortunately, you will not get accepted as a publisher.

To contact Taboola, click here.


revcontent native advertising agency

Revcontent is one of the fastest-growing content recommendation / native ad networks serving over 250 billion recommendations per month and ranked #215 on Inc. 5000 in 2017 as one of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies with over 2,000% growth.

Despite the fact that Revcontent started out 5 years after Outbrain and Taboola, the new platform is successfully catching up.

According to comScore, its network reaches more users than Amazon and YouTube.

Revcontent has managed to bag a few top partnerships, including Newsweek, Viralnova, Forbes, Diply, and many more.

Its network generates high revenue and engagement rates for its publishers by focusing on selectivity.

Apparently, Revcontent denies 98% of the sites that apply!

It also seems that Revcontent really focuses on technology.

The network uses highly responsive widgets, infinite scroll, gallery implementations, and unlimited API customizations.

Advertisers can target based on country, mobile device, and brand.

Recently, Revcontent even added a retargeting pixel for advertisers on its network.

Regarding advertising, Revcontent is not too stringent, allowing a lot of trashy ads that would probably not be approved by Taboola or Outbrain, but that probably have very high CTR and earn decent money for publishers who feature it on their sites.

Publishers with websites generating more than 50,000 monthly visits can try to join Revcontent.

However, be warned that the network claims it will check your website to make sure that your content will provide value to readers and meet their quality guidelines.

Revcontent also claim not to accept sites that contain or promoto questionable content and apparently they have become more stringent of late, since getting accused by various media outlets over fake news scandals during president Trump’s election.

Revcontent only accepts 6% of all applications submitted, so better make yours count.

To sign up, click here.


ayboll native advertising agency

Whereas Taboola, Outbrain, and RevContent work almost exclusively with large websites and favor the famous 20/80 rule of doing business, Ayboll offers the best native ads for small and medium-sized websites.

They have differentiated themselves from the big companies by providing their service to any site or blog, no matter how much traffic they have.

Ayboll accepts pretty much anyone into their network, even adult-themed sites.

They do this simply by categorizing their advertisers’ ads into one of three different safety levels: Safe, Moderate or 18+.

Publishers who don’t want to show nudity or anything questionable on their sites can just opt for the safe rating, while those with a more mature readership can choose the ‘Moderate’ or ‘18+’ Safety levels.

According to their website, getting started is easy and, unlike other platforms, requires no long-term contracts, exclusives, or complicated approval processes.

It’s basically a self-serve system like Google AdSense, but for native ads. You create a username and password and can create various widgets right away and start earning money.

In a quest to offer a decent alternative to Google AdSense, Ayboll provides not just native ads, but also various other advertising formats.

These include slider ads, banners with arrows in them (like the famous AdSense ads effectively used by arbitrage marketers) and “before-you-leave” ads (smart exit popups on exit intent).

The only downside with Ayboll is its customer support, which is not very responsive (I guess this is due to the large number of small publishers clogging up their support queue).

The platform does, however, have a very detailed FAQ page which should answer most questions.

If you want to try out the Ayboll network, click here to sign up (it really does only take a few minutes to get their widget).

Our Tip:

If you are a small or medium site and insist on working with Taboola or Outbrain, you could advertise with them to push up your traffic stats.

This will obviously also make them more inclined to accept you as a publisher.

The same is true for RevContent, where it should be easier for medium-sized publishers to get accepted as a publisher.

Either way, you can always sign up with Ayboll no matter how much traffic you have, see how they work for you, and then try out one of the bigger networks once your traffic has increased.

Do you have any background working with these native ads networks?

Who offers the best native ads for blogs or small sites in your opinion?

Please let us know in the comments below!

How to Get Things Done With a Remote Team

Steve Jobs is famous for the quote “Real artists ship.”

He was referring to the fact that everyone has ideas, but real artists deliver on them or ship them, as he put it.

According to the folklore at Apple, this was a favorite saying meaning you have to have the guts to actually deliver when it's time to deliver.

While we haven’t yet defined a set of core values at NinjaOutreach, if I had to start with something, this would probably be near the top of my list.

What I’d like to do is explain first, why, fundamentally I believe we have an uphill battle with “shipping” and what we can do to change that.

First, Why Does Shipping Matter?

While it may seem obvious as to why shipping matters, I think it’s worth reiterating.

There’s too much credit given to things being 50% done, or 99% done.

In fact, I really think ‘Done’ and percentages between 0 and 100 should never be allowed to be together; like raisins and cookies - fine on their own, but terrible when combined.

Done is binary - it’s a 1 or a 0 - something is Done or it’s Not Done, and nothing in between ever matters.

  • Users don’t benefit from a feature that’s half done.
  • The business doesn’t benefit from an asset or a redesign that’s 99% done.
  • Employees do not get credit for almost completing a lot of tasks.

Therefore, we must start prioritizing done over everything else.

We must starting thinking that it’s better to finish something that is low priority, but near completion, than to switch gears to start a higher priority issue from scratch, only to the switch back later to finish the original thing, and delay the finish date of all tasks.

So, How Do Things Get Done?

Have you ever thought about how things actually get done?

Consider a project that, in total, should take around 8 hours to complete.

Theoretically, it could be finished in the following ways:

1 Individual works 8 hours in one day and ships it at the end -
Time to complete: 8 hours

1 Individual works 1 hour per day for 8 days
Time to complete: ~168 hours (7 days * 24 hours)

The difference in the two scenarios is 160 hours - think about what can happen in that time?

In our business about 100 people sign up a week.

If this was an onboarding feature, or a welcome video, that’s 100 people that could have been impacted - but weren’t!

This scenario, by the way, is sort of the best case scenario, as it only involves one person fully in control of their time.

Imagine what happens when another person in a different time zone is thrown into the mix, as is usually the case for anything of significant value.

For example, consider a hypothetical product feature that is going to take the following amount of time:

  • 16 hours of development
  • 1 hour of bug review
  • 2 hours of bug fixing
  • .5 hours of a final review

Let’s assume 8 hours days, which in and of itself, is a bit of a stretch. In an ideal world, if a developer worked two full uninterrupted days, the feature was reviewed immediately, and then the following day the bugs were fixed, combined with a final review, this feature would take about 2.5 days to launch.

But here’s the thing:

  • Uninterrupted days rarely happen
  • Bug fixing and reviews are rarely immediate
  • People in different time zones rarely match up coincidentally
  • Weekends happen
  • Work, spread over a long period of time, takes longer as you naturally have to catch yourself back up

As a result, what typically happens is something like this:

  • Day 1 - Developer works on the feature for 3 hours
  • Day 2 - Developer works on the feature for 6 hours
  • Day 3 - Developer works on the feature for 1 hour
  • Day 4 - Weekend
  • Day 5 - Weekend
  • Day 6 - Developer works on the feature for 6 hours
  • Day 7 - Developer works on the feature for 2 hours extra to account for the fact that working on a feature for over a week requires additional time to think, remember, get in the zone, etc
  • Day 8 - Reviewer is busy with other project so no review gets done this day
  • Day 9 - Review takes place, bugs are listed
  • Day 10 - Developer fixes bugs
  • Day 11 - Weekend
  • Day 12 - Weekend
  • Day 13 - Final review takes place and feature is launched (maybe)

The result is something that resembles closer to two weeks as opposed to two days.

Mind you, this could easily extend even further, if for example, the product development cycle decides to change launches to being only once a week (something we are planning on doing), which would extend this another 5-7 days.

If you think this is only an issue related to product development - think again. This scenario could easily exist between two marketers, a marketer and a designer, a marketer and an external client / contractor, etc.

Now imagine how it might look with 3 or more people involved...I think you get the idea.

The difference between 13 days and 2.5 days is what I call ‘space’ and it’s virtually the enemy of businesses in general.

Our goal is the minimize it at all costs, because despite the fact that all people are working and making progress on some tasks during this time period, the end result is that typically the most important / high value tasks (which often involve multiple people and take the longest), are getting done the slowest.

Considering that the value of something is measured over its lifetime of being live - that’s a lot of lost value.

The Problem With Remote Team And Space

The paradoxical nature of business is that the more people get involved in a project, the slower it goes.

Overall, of course, the net output of things getting done is usually higher, but with diseconomies of scale.

That is to say, that doubling the people working rarely doubles the amount of things that get done - instead maybe it’s something like 1.3x.

It’s no wonder why I feel that we as a company are operating at the slowest pace we’ve ever been.

Startups, in theory, are supposed to be agile and to get things done much quicker than large bureaucracies like Microsoft.

This is because there are less hurdles that are needed to get something approved, implemented, etc.

The exception to this are remote startups - which operate notoriously slowly. Here’s why:

  • Different time zones make it difficult for everyone to meet. A meeting that could happen today, instead, has to be planned out several days in advance. Sometimes, people can’t even sync up to plan to sync up!
  • Instead of hopping on a call, peoples’ default is to leave chats to each other, or notes on a Trello card. This is useful when the person is not around, but often ends up creating a game of “phone tag”, in which basically notes are left to each other over and over.

Consider just a few things that are still unfinished at NinjaOutreach:

  1. The eBook task, which was started in December
  2. The redesign of the services pages, which was started in January.
  3. The influencer marketing place, which was started in March
  4. Implementation of the new onboarding flow, which probably should have taken 3-4 days and is now on week 3.

To name but a few of the many tasks in our Trello board that are overdue or have had to have their dates changed so as not to look so behind.

But really, just about every task has some sort of unnecessary space in it - which to some extent is normal and to be expected, but I think we can do much better.

How To Get Things Done Faster

So, what’s the solution?

Well, here’s a few things you can and should do to quicken the pace at which things get done.

Act Immediately

The best thing you can do is always to act immediately.

If we just discussed a task, or we just finished a meeting, and the next steps are clear and they involve someone else, then immediately act on reaching out to them, setting up a time, or getting an understanding of their current bandwidth / schedule.

Don’t wait!

Schedule Meetings As Often As Needed And In Advance

Be quick to schedule meetings. Remember, you don't need someone’s permission to schedule a meeting with them.

The extra communication to confirm a good time just creates unnecessary space.

If you can’t get ahold of someone via chat then just send them a calendar invite for a time that is convenient for you and appears reasonable for them given their time zone (keep it 9-5), chances are they can be flexible enough that, with advanced notice, they can make it happen.

Additionally, you can follow up in chat to let them know about the invitation and throw out some optional times they can reschedule to in case it doesn’t work.

Then schedule meetings with Mark and I to discuss progress on a particular task, which will hold you accountable to getting things done in a timely manner and hold the other person accountable on delivering.

The key to effective meetings are to

  • Keep them short
  • Only involve the necessary people
  • Have a clear agenda

If you do those three things, have meetings as much as you need.

Think Ahead

Let’s say you know you’re going to have a meeting with myself or Mark and that a decision will likely come out of that.

Instead of waiting for that decision to happen and then saying,

“OK, now what?”

Think about whether or not you can schedule the next step beforehand.

For example, even if you don’t know what the decision will be, you might already know who it will involve, which is enough to get you started and scheduling that meeting in advance.

Hassle People

Look, internally I understand that no one wants to be “that guy” - the guy who is always bothering people asking when something is going to be finished, etc.

Although, I think just about everyone could stand to be a little more of a “that guy” than they are currently being.

Regardless, for the few people that often go outside of the internal team aka to work with Hau, or something related to business development, or a freelance designer or writer - then it is not just OK, but encouraged to be “that guy”, because ultimately it is your responsibility to get things done and make sure your work is prioritized by everyone who is involved.

That guy might be annoying, but he gets shit done.

Launch Smaller

Getting large projects done is hard because they’re large - but what if they were smaller?

While it might not be possible to ship an incomplete ebook, there are certain tasks, particularly with product development, that can be shipped in parts.

Think of things in terms of the MVP - Minimum Viable Product, aka the smallest, acceptable form in which something could reasonably be shown to the end user or partner.

Use Your Calendar Wisely

Remember the example I gave about the 8 hour task that could be done in 1 day or 8 days?

As best as you can, try to block off as much time as possible to complete tasks.

Think about tasks as being made up of miniature milestones, and for a task that involves multiple people a typical milestone is a handoff to someone else, such as a designer or a reviewer.

Therefore, if you need 4 hours to work on something to then be able to hand it off to someone else, block off those 4 hours on your calendar and then immediately hand it off to the next person.

Combine that with scheduling a meeting with them to set the expectation of when they should be handing it back to you.

For example, say:

Person A works on the service pages mockups for 4 hours, hands them off to Person B, and immediately schedules a meeting 2 days later to meet and discuss her designs.

Is much better than

Person A works on the services designs for an hour a day for four days, then hands them off to Person B.

Person A prioritizes them low, because no one has told her otherwise, and gets them done after 4 days of partial work combined with a weekend.

When she’s done, she leaves a chat message to Person B about having a meeting, and he comes online (when she isn’t) and leaves another chat message saying that these times work for him, after which she comes online (when he isn’t), and says that none of those work for her can he do this time, after which he comes online and says yes, and they meet.

So, Now What?

If you haven’t gathered - getting things done is really important.

It’s probably the thing we can work on the most and also the thing that will have the largest impact on getting the business from here to there in X time vs. 2x time.

So, take a hard look on what you’ve been “working on” for a long time, and think about what you can do to get that done asap.

a remote team leader who gets things done

How can you eliminate space in your workflow?

Remember, the year ends in a few more days - what do you want to be able to say you’ve accomplished?


What is PR and what is its importance to digital marketing?

Today, people share, comment, and like. They search, purchase, and review. And consume, consume - consume more than ever!

And they do it all online.

Because of this, public relations — the heart of digital communication — is rapidly increasing in popularity among marketers.


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The story used to be much different, though.

At the beginning of the digital era, most people were skeptical.

They didn’t know whether the person on the other side of the screen was a robot or a human.

They weren’t sure who they could trust when it came to making online purchases.

But today, everyone can communicate with everyone else — despite their physical location — and public relations is an increasingly sought-after industry.

It makes sense. Not only is our world becoming more connected, but people are becoming more open to those connections.

In other words, since social media, email, Slack, and a plethora of other digital communication mediums rule the world, we humans are getting more and more comfortable with talking to each other online.

Business Insider reported on the massive amount of people using these digital tools, citing 1.49 billion people on Facebook alone each month.

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But before we get too deep into the “how” and “why” of public relations, we need to discuss the “what.”

So what exactly is public relations?

What is PR?

Public relations wears many different hats, and thus it can be difficult to define.

In its most basic terms, public relations is defining and strengthening a business’s brand image through outreach to consumers, other businesses, and influencers.

But rather than leave you with an overly intangible definition of what public relations is, let me borrow from Marketing Profs, where they explain it with a bit of a story:

"You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say: 'I am very rich. Marry me!' That's direct marketing.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl. One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says: 'He's very rich. Marry him.' That's advertising.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl. You get up and straighten your tie, you walk up to her and pour her a drink, you open the door (of the car) for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her a ride, and then say, 'By the way, I'm rich. Will you marry me?' That's public relations."

In short, public relations is giving a crap about people in hopes that they give a crap about you in return.

It’s taking the initiative and then asking for something only after you’ve provided value.

Your business wants more customers. And that’s good. You need more customers.

But so does the next business and the next.

And that crowded marketing space makes for a lot of skeptical clients and consumers.

Which is exactly why public relations is so effective (and necessary).

Here are four ways you can use it in your digital marketing strategy.

1. Content marketing


Unfortunately, the term “content marketing” isn’t much more descriptive than “public relations.” And that’s probably because the two are so closely related.

Just like the foundation of public relations, content marketing takes the initiative in building the business-customer relationship.

Rather than waiting for people to seek out your business, a content marketing strategy seeks them out… sort of.

Great content doesn’t try to sell anyone on your product.

Instead, it provides value to the consumer, for free.

It offers advice, tactics, lessons, or tips, and asks for nothing in return.

No money in return for your goods and services? Sounds like a cruddy business strategy, right?

After all, you need to make sales, not just give away free stuff.

But the reality is that content marketing, done right, actually increases sales, audience size, and trust with your company, simply because you took the initiative.

A whopping 97% of B2C businesses rate their content marketing strategy as successful in some regard.

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And most organizations, 86%, use content as part of their overall marketing strategy.

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So just how effective is content marketing?

Well, 77% of B2C marketers attribute their success at least in part to their content marketing strategy.

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However, a disclaimer.

As the above statistics illustrate, many businesses have taken to content marketing.

This means that the online space is filling up quickly.

Which further means that getting your content noticed is a challenge.

My recommendation?

Create unique content that other businesses in your industry aren’t creating.

Make it stand out. Ask yourself what new angle would offer a fresh perspective to consumers.

For example, Jason Wong created The Holy Méme Bible, which sold over $200,000 in less than three weeks.

How can you make your content marketing strategy worth your prospect’s time?

There’s a lot of competition, and you’ll have to make some pretty amazing stuff to grab attention.

It’s easy for people to go elsewhere and indulge in your competition’s content.

Create a content marketing strategy that is unique, valuable, and interesting.

And always err on the side of providing value for people rather than trying to sound gimmicky or creative.

There’s a time and place for both. But value will likely bring you more traffic, leads, and sales than cute writing.

2. Brand mentions

If you don’t know when people are talking about you and your business, interacting with those people — public relations — is practically impossible to do.

But how do you know when people are talking about your brand?

As a free way of going about it, monitoring notifications of brand mentions on social media platforms is critical.

But don’t just pay attention to the mentions. Interact with the people who do the mentioning.

Thank them for their feedback, ask them follow-up questions, and treat them like you would a good friend.

Nike support does a good job of this on Twitter.

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Their feed is full of replies to customers seeking answers or giving props to the brand.

Monitoring mentions on social media platforms will take you a long way, but for some of you, it still isn’t enough.

You’ll want to monitor mentions all across the web, whether they intentionally tag you or not.

To do that, you’ll need a more sophisticated tool.

Consider Mention, a powerful business-monitoring software that tracks mentions from social media and around the web, while providing countless worthwhile business insights.

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Whatever you decide, monitoring when, where, and how people talk about your business won’t only give you insight into the general opinion of your brand, it will also give you the opportunity to personalize the experience for prospects.

This means you can resolve any particularly heinous comments with class, and leverage customer relationships to sell more inventory.

In short, it will make people more loyal to your business.

And loyalty pays.

Loyal customers are five times more likely to repurchase items and forgive mistakes, seven times more likely to try a new offer, and four times more likely to refer your business to a friend.

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And engaging with your customers leads to an average revenue increase of 40%.

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Because of this, 60% of businesses believe that customer service — a cornerstone of public relations — will be the primary determiner of who succeeds and who fails.

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You run a business, but that doesn’t mean your business can’t interact with people. In fact, your business should take extra steps to do so.

Interacting with people when they mention your brand is a great way to retain the customers who are consistent spenders with your brand, a result that will put most digital marketing strategies to shame.

3. Influencer marketing

How does influencer marketing relate to PR?

They go hand in hand.

Think about it. With influencer marketing, businesses build relationships with the audiences of influencers. It’s a refer-a-friend kind of marketing strategy.

A business pays an influencer to talk well about their company in hopes that the influencer’s audience will turn their attention to the business.

And so long as the influencer matches the company — in style, niche, and size — this tactic can be incredibly powerful.

Take, for instance, the fact that 90% of consumers trust recs from their peers, while only 33% trust ads.

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Now, you might be thinking to yourself that peer recommendations are very different from influencer recommendations.

But are they?

After all, what is an influencer but someone who has “influence” in the lives of their audience?

Asked another way, isn’t an influencer simply someone who is peer to a large group of people?

To answer that question, 65% of brands bank on the fact that influencer marketing works because it’s relational.

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And they are right to put their money and time into it. At least, according to consumers.

20% of women consider purchasing a product that has influencer backing.

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And 68% of consumers trust online opinions from other consumers.

Influencer marketing is a great way to let someone else sell your product for you, which is often far more effective than trying to sell it yourself.

There’s an influencer for every business size, style, and product.

You just might have to do some research to find the right one.

Just remember this: The influencer you work with is the most important part.

In other words, choose the right influencer, and your marketing campaign will work.

But choose the wrong influencer and kiss your invested money goodbye


4. Publication features

Getting featured on massive publications is a great way to drive traffic to your website, get an SEO-helpful backlink, and increase brand awareness.

The online publication for SUCCESS receives thousands of social media shares on almost every article that they put out.

And Success isn’t the only one. You can see shares-a-plenty on sites like Entrepreneur, Mashable, Forbes, and Fast Company.

If you get your business or content featured on these publications, the impact is huge.

Not only can you put on your landing page that your business was featured, but you will also get loads of traffic from the massive amount of views that these publications drive.

But how do you get featured?

Well, in two words, public relations.

You could, of course, get featured by getting lucky and having a regular contributor approach you and ask you for content.

But that’s unlikely.

Rather than wait for a bit of luck, you can often pay writers to tactfully include you in their work.

But you can only do this by having a public relations specialist who can connect, maintain relationships, and pitch to contributing writers.

Many contributing writers are looking for a new topic to bring to their editor.

If you hand them one on a silver platter, chances are they’ll take it with excitement.

Try meeting writers through social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.

Message them to pitch your topic idea and ask for a feature.

Publication features are a great marketing tactic for your public relations specialist to start focussing on.

The more you get featured, the more traffic and brand awareness you’ll generate.

Why public relations in digital marketing?

In digital marketing, there is an endless supply of tactics and techniques to choose from.

Paid advertisements rule a heavy portion of the marketing industry, and SEO has its place as well.

But since much of marketing can be viewed as impersonal, public relations is increasingly important.

Public relations is like the good friend and the savvy salesperson.

They don’t pressure you into buying their product, and they definitely don’t outright ask for the sale. That is, not unless they’ve provided value for you first.

Public relations takes the initiative in the business-consumer relationship. It says, “No, you go ahead and have a seat while I do everything” before ever asking you to make the purchase.

So why use public relations in digital marketing?

Because every marketing strategy needs a personal touch, and public relations is just the one to do it.

Jason Quey is the VP of Marketing and Operations at Codeless, a B2B long-form content marketing company.

How Promotions Can Destroy Customer Experience in Three Easy Steps

In the age of digital price wars, me-too marketing, and copycat products comes the rise of customer experience as a competitive advantage.

While the former three can easily be duplicated by other companies, the way customers experience your company will forever be unique.

Unfortunately, given its importance as a brand differentiator, customer experience (CX) is also one of the most easily damaged.

And your digital promotions are most likely the saboteurs.

The Role of Digital Promotions in Customer Experience

In our online era, part of the customer experience stems from your digital promotions.

Thanks to outlets like social media, AdWords, email, and retargeting, companies have plenty of promotional opportunities to place their brand in front of their most likely customers.

In addition, consumers and businesses can easily discover new companies and stay connected with their favorite brands through digital advertising.

So how do you measure your digital campaign's effectiveness?

Well, that depends on who you ask.

Talk to any marketer about how their last digital promotion performed, and they're likely to tell you the new customers/sales/revenue the promotion brought in.

Which is great, especially if those numbers hit targets and made a profit. But what happens after the promotion ends?

Did you gain a customer for life, or just for the life of the promotion?

Did you deliver on a level of service that showed why you're better than your competitors?

Did the customer's experience align with your brand's mission?

How does the customer view your company after the promotion compared to before?

These things aren't as easily measured, yet they have everything to do with the true success of your digital campaign.

Typically, these answers come forth over time in the form of a growing or shrinking customer base and public opinion.

But it can be difficult to attribute these points to a particular campaign or promotion (or a series of them).

Nevertheless, the following three digital promotion blunders aren't doing you any favors.

Recognize them, understand them, and avoid them before they deal heavy damage to your customer experience and, eventually, your entire brand value.

Step 1: Emphasizing Sales Over Value

Digital promotions can give your product a temporary sales bump, but that shouldn't be your main focus.

Rather, your promotions should be an investment in your brand, not a race to the sales quota finish line.

Former JCPenney CEO Allen Questrom, who is credited with helping the department store turn around during the early 2000s, believes that promotions should contribute to sales, not pilot the entire selling strategy.

Often times companies will use discounts to fill in revenue gaps when business is slow, but these price drops fail to complete the customer experience with strong service, a solid product, and standout presentation.

Which means there's nothing else to earn the future business of those who were only looking for a good deal.

Regular price promotions are the beginning of brand value erosion that becomes more noticeable over time.

But because of the sales spikes on certain items during those promotions, many companies don't see the damage until they try to cut back on price drops.

At that point, it's difficult to rebuild your brand's worth, and often times nearly impossible to get along without offering the price breaks people have come to expect.

Case in point: another former JCPenney CEO, Ron Johnson, upended the company when he cut sales promotions in lieu of building everyday value.

This decision saw sales plummet $6 billion and over 40,000 workers were laid off.

Step 2: Focusing on Aspiration Over Inspiration

Questrom notes that Zara and Uniqlo, two retail clothing stores that aren't dependent on sales to drive profits, recognize shoppers are looking for inspiration, not aspiration.

That is, consumers might not always know what they want, but will recognize something worthwhile when they see it.

From a seller's perspective, aspiration in a digital campaign often takes the form of "If you're looking for this, we've got it."

But if you're targeting only the ones who are specifically looking for what you offer, you're ignoring the chance to inspire others with your product.

People are bound by their own creativity and don't always realize a product's potential.

That's one reason why Pinterest soared in popularity. The bulletin board-esque social media website help people share ideas and gain inspiration that otherwise never would have been possible.

As a result, there are more than 50 billion Pins on the site, with 73% of Pinterest users indicating they purchased something they found on their Pinterest feed.

Coca Cola's Share a Coke campaign represents one of the most memorable advertising campaigns that can only be described as inspirational.

It was a simple concept: print individual names on bottles of their drink and encourage consumers to "Share a Coke" with someone they know whose name matches the one on the drink.

The company not only saw a 7% boost in sales during its 2011 trial period, but also 18 million impressions on social media, an 870% rise in the company's Facebook site, and a 39% bump in "Likes."

Even consumers who don't usually buy soft drinks might have felt the urge to share a Coke if they found a bottle with a loved one's name.

Which shows that a little inspiration can go a long way.

Step 3: Failing to Involve Your Team

As much as your prospects need to know about your promotions, your team needs to know just as much. And it shouldn't be insider knowledge reserved for your sales reps.

Every employee in your company, from customer service to tech support to sales and business analysts, is responsible for crafting your customer experience.

Their actions affect your company culture, which helps determine how customers interact with your brand.

And they need to be in the best position possible to ensure a seamless experience at every turn. has been a leader in building a pervasive company culture.

Their “Powered By Service” motto isn’t just a tagline, but a daily philosophy that applies to every employee, regardless of job title.

Because of its prevalence within the company’s operations, the company continually receives fame regarding their culture.

Whether you're running a single digital promotion to boost website traffic or running various promotions to highlight a new product, your team should know the what's and why's, as well as how these promotions may affect their job.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Customer Experience from Digital Campaign Failures

While digital promotions can help you earn viewership and market share, establishing long-term clientele can prove healthier for your P&L rather than the one-off sales from a coupon code.

Instead, every digital promotion should contribute to your brand's value in a way that makes them want to do business with you, even when they have to pay full price. Here's how:

Make your product stand out.

There's an unwritten rule in business: If two companies are exactly the same, one isn't necessary.

While you may offer the same or similar products as your competitors, your digital promotions should focus on what makes you different.

Your brand is unlike any other, which is why it should do all the talking when it comes to promoting your products.

Content Queen Ann Handley suggests creating campaign content based on what your customers want.

To find out what that is, exactly, you can monitor and manage your reputation through review sites like Yelp! or Google and see what customers are saying.

Handley also recommends promoting yourself in ways that cater to the customer, such as educating them about the benefits of your product or hiring only those who fit within your company culture.

Create value, not price wars.

Some people would never buy your product, regardless of how low you slashed the price.

Others would commit if the price were lower, while still others would be willing to spend whatever it takes to make your product their own.

That third type of person is the one who will come to you if you can successfully make your product stand out.

Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy are prime examples.

Each company created a game-changing smartphone, but the functions, features, and experience for each one remain distinct.

And while there are plenty of cheaper smartphone options from other manufacturers, the iPhone and Galaxy continue to outrank them.

When your digital promotions hit on value points, the rice will be the least of their concerns.

Build your brand from within.

You invest millions of dollars in creating a brand that's worthy enough to earn you customers, but that brand is only as strong as the people supporting it from within.

Go to any Chick-Fil-A and you'll never hear an employee respond with anything but "My pleasure."

Zappos Customer Service declares it "delivers happiness."

Geico's online quote process is "so easy a caveman can do it."

These aren't just nice things to say, but rather a real look at the company's philosophy in claiming those words as their own.

When you can teach your employees what your brand stands for, including persona, values, and qualities, your team's efforts magically become greater than the sum of their parts.

They embody your core culture and develop your company's unique language.

And you are better able to deliver a consistent customer experience in every campaign.

As a result, you empower your brand to serve your customers in a way that will make your competitors cringe with envy.

Wrap Up

Digital advertising was projected to surpass television advertising for the first time by the end of 2016, generating over $72 billion dollars in ad spend.

There's obviously value in promoting your company on digital channels, but doing so the right way can ensure your promotions pay off long after your offer expires.


Benjamin Shepardson is the owner of NoStop Blogging Services

How To Use Outreach to Generate Traffic, Backlinks, and Authority

You might not believe this, but it’s true:

Before he became a blogging superstar, Jon Morrow was struggling.

He’d been blogging for a couple of years but he’d hit a brick wall.

Actually, it was a glass ceiling. The glass ceiling of the blogosphere.

That’s when you reach 100 visitors a day and can’t go any further. Nothing you do makes a blind bit of difference.

So he quit what he was doing.

Gave up blogging completely.

And about 6 months later he hired a blogging expert to do a post mortem – examine all his stuff and tell him what he’d been doing wrong.

The answer was simple but astounding: “No one knows who you are”.

"Yeah, but isn't that the point of publishing great content? You write lots of great stuff, and then the word spreads, and popular bloggers find out about you?"

"No," replied the expert. "Popular bloggers find out about who you are, and THEN they read your content, and THEN they link to you. Connections come first. Great content comes second."

Great content comes second? Seriously?

That was an eye-opener for me and I’m guessing it will be for you too.

In a nutshell, you need to get on the radar of the influential bloggers in your niche, form relationships with them, cultivate those relationships, and then let your top quality content do its work.

But how exactly do you get on their radar?

That’s what I’m going to show you in this article – three kinds of influencer outreach that will get you noticed by Influencers and bring you traffic, backlinks, and authority.

1. Expert Roundups

Have you ever wondered how bloggers get chummy with the key players in their niche?

They write expert roundups!

a) Are Roundups Still Effective?

But expert roundups have gotten some bad press recently, in particular from Rand Fishkin.

Rand’s main objections to expert roundups are:

  • They’ve been overdone because they’re easy to do
  • They’re a poor format for conveying information
  • They don’t generate links

There are certainly a lot of expert roundups floating around the blogosphere, most of them not well done.

Unfortunately, there’s a widely held view that with an expert roundup, other people write your post for you.

This has led to roundup posts that are nothing more than 20 to 30 expert opinions slapped together with hardly any Introduction and no Conclusion at all.

But this is good news! It means it’s a field where you can really shine if you put the work in.

In my experience, a good roundup post is far more work than a standard 1500-word article.

Why’s that?

Because the key to a good roundup is taking what the experts have said and summarizing it in a way that gives the reader a valuable overview of the topic.

And that’s exactly what’s missing from most roundups.

Expert roundups can be a very good format for conveying information, as long as you summarize or synthesize the information provided by the experts.

b) Roundups Generate Social Shares

What about backlinks?

Well, it’s true—roundups perform poorly in this area. But they generate a lot of social shares.

And according to SEO expert Brian Honigman, “social shares are the new form of link building”.

This is what he said:

“Today, links are mainly achieved through developing original content that is in turn, shared across social media. Links to your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engines understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.”

Brian is absolutely right!

How do I know?

Go to Google and type in “tips for first-year bloggers” and this is what comes up:

Google search results of tips for first-year blogger tips

In position #2 is my roundup post – 19 Experts Reveal Their Top Tips For First Year Bloggers.

It beats a similar blog post from Blogtyrant titled: ‘5 Realistic Benchmarks for Your First Year of Blogging’.

Yet Blogtyrant has been around for much longer than my website and has a Domain Authority of 52, compared with my DA of 21.

We both targeted first-year bloggers. How on earth did I manage to rank higher in Google?

The answer is social media shares - 547 of them, and counting:

Expert Roundup post about top tips for first-year bloggers

But it doesn’t stop there:

The main reason for doing roundups is building relationships with Influencers who:

c) Building Relationships With Influencers

That’s where roundup posts excel!

There are at least 5 points of contact with each expert in the process of creating a roundup post:

  • The initial outreach
  • The expert's response
  • Your ‘Thank you’ email
  • Your email notifying them that the post is live
  • Their email telling you they’ve just shared it to their followers on Twitter

That’s a lot opportunity for building rapport with Key Influencers in your niche!

d) The 6 Key Steps To Creating A Roundup

There are six key steps to creating a successful roundup post:

  • Deciding on the Question
  • Finding the Experts
  • Finding Email Addresses
  • Doing the Outreach
  • Writing the Article
  • Promoting the Article

For a complete guide on how to do it, see my article ‘The Definitive Guide to Writing Roundup Posts That Go Viral’.

2. Top Lists

What if I told you about a technique that uses basic human psychology to get your content shared all over the Internet by people with large followings.

Would you be interested?

I thought so!

This is a strategy I stumbled upon in an article on Income Diary.

I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try.

The results were astonishing!

More about that later.

First, the technique, as described by Josh Dunlop.

It’s quite simple. Just compile a list of 20 or 30 top Influencers in your niche.

Here are some examples of top lists created by Income Diary:

Here’s a top list I created about 10 days ago:

The Top 30 Marketers on Pinterest

The top 30 marketers on Pinterest

There are four key steps to creating a Top List article:

a) Find The Candidates

The easiest way to do this is simply type into Google your keyword plus “top influencers”.

For my article on Pinterest marketers, I typed in Pinterest +”top marketers” (and variations).

I found about 5 lists that other people had compiled.

Then do a ‘skyscraper’ — if other people have created lists of 10, 15, and 20, you could go for 30 or even 50.

Remember: the more Influencers on your list, the more firepower you’ll have in terms of social media shares and backlinks.

b) Order The Candidates

This is pretty straightforward:

The title of your top list will usually imply some kind of ranking factor, e.g. most followers, richest, highest monthly web income, etc.

If your ranking factor is monthly web income, you’ll need to download their income reports and enter the data into a spreadsheet and then sort it by value.

For their article on Top Earning Websites, Income Diary analyzed the SEC 10-K reports submitted by publicly traded companies within 60 days of the company’s fiscal year end.

In my case, I simply found the Influencer’s Pinterest page and noted down the number of followers they had.

Sometimes there’s no objective ranking factor you can use. For example:

Top 10 Most Inspirational Bloggers In The World

In that case, you just need to make sure that there’s a plausible reason for each of your candidates to be included on your list.

c) Write A Paragraph Or Two About The Person

For this, you’ll need to look at their ‘About’ page and you may even have to drill down deeper into their website.

The kind of information you’ll be looking for is:

  • Who they are
  • What they do
  • How long they’ve been doing it
  • Where they’re from

If you want to get more specific, look at what sort of content they produce:

  • Articles / blog posts
  • Videos / screencasts
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics

You could even take your analysis a step further. If they mainly produce articles, what sort of articles:

  • Long form
  • Tutorials
  • Guides
  • Roundups
  • Interviews
  • Resources (Link Lists)
  • Checklists
  • Tip Lists
  • Case Studies
  • Reviews
  • Industry News

d) Reach Out To The People On Your List

Once your article is live, send an email to each of the people on your list.

All you do in this email is let them know they’re included in the list.

Don’t ask them to share the article or for a link or anything else. That will work against you!

Remember what I said about human psychology?

The whole point of this technique is that the people on your list will want to share your article.

Here’s the template I used for my Top 30 Pinterest Marketers list:

Outreach template

An important detail in this template is the last sentence.

It’s very important to let them know you’re happy to make changes to their listing, for a number of reasons:

  • It’s courteous and shows them you’re someone they can work with
  • You may have got something wrong, e.g. their area of expertise
  • It invites communication and that’s what this exercise is all about – building relationships

This technique leverages basic human psychology – we all need and want praise, recognition, and acceptance. As Mark Twain once said: “I can live for two months on a good compliment”.

And that’s why this technique is so effective: 30% to 50% of the people on your list will be honored, flattered and excited to be included.

What do you think they’ll do with your list?

Keep it to themselves?

No way!

They’re going to share it—on social media. And remember: these people have huge followings!

I published my Top Pinterest Marketers List on June 28th, 2017. At the time of writing (July 8th, 2017) the article has collected 197 social media shares!

Top 30 marketers on Pinterest

The people on your Top List will also share your article on their website.

Influencers who get their names on these lists like to mention it on their ‘About’ page. So you may well pick up some valuable ‘do follow’ links.

Here’s an example:

Top lists featured in About page

3. Interviewing Influencers In Your Niche

I know what you’re thinking:

Me? Interview a big name in my niche? No way!

And anyway, why would they agree to be interviewed by someone they’ve never heard of?

But here’s the deal:

  • Interviewing is not that difficult, as long as you do your research beforehand
  • The Influencer you approach will know your name, if you follow the steps below
  • People like being interviewed because they like talking about themselves

And here are some reasons you’ll want to interview key players in your niche:

But do you know the real power of Influencer interviews?

That’s right—relationship building.

Researching, conducting, and publishing an interview provides an amazing opportunity to build a working relationship with an Influencer that could take your blog to the next level.

And just in case you need reminding – on the road to blogging success, relationships come first, great content comes second.

Here are the key steps in putting together an Influencer Interview.

a) Getting The Interview

First of all:

You need to get on their radar.

You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Post comments on their blog
  • Tweet their latest blog posts
  • Sign up for their newsletter
  • Follow them on Twitter

When you reach out to an Influencer to ask for an Interview, here are the key points you need to cover:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Interview will be no more than half an hour
  • You will send the questions ahead of time so they can prepare themselves
  • Where and when the Interview will be published
  • Give the Influencer a choice as to method of interview (email, IM, Skype, phone call)
  • Show you’ve done your homework by referring to some aspect of their work or online profile
  • What’s in it for them (exposure to your subscriber base, promotion across your social media networks, a ‘do-follow’ backlink, etc)

b) Doing The Research

Believe it or not, some bloggers try to interview experts without doing any background research.

Big mistake!

Before conducting the interview, and ideally before reaching out, look at 10 to 20 items of content they’ve created in the last 12 months such as:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

In addition, search up previous interviews they’ve done. This will allow you to:

  • Avoid asking questions they’ve already been asked
  • Go deeper into issues that were only touched upon in previous interviews
  • Identify topics they are passionate about

c) Deciding On Interview Method

As I said, it’s a good idea to give the Influencer a choice for method of interview—it’s more likely they’ll agree to the interview if they feel they have some control.

The options for method of interview are:

  • Email
  • IM
  • Skype / Google Hangout
  • Phone Call

However, the best option by far is to conduct the interview by Skype or phone.


Because a Skype or phone conversation allows you to ask unanticipated follow-up questions. And these follow up questions produce the real gems in an interview.

If you decide to interview by phone or Skype, you’ll need to record it. Here are some recording techniques:

d) Setting The Interview Questions

Here are some questions that will always produce interesting answers:

  • How did you start off in [their niche or field of expertise]?
  • What were the main challenges you faced when you were starting out?
  • What’s the best advice you ever received?
  • What are the biggest hurdles that your readers’ face and how do you help them to overcome these problems?
  • What are the [SEO, marketing, outreach, content management] tools that you couldn’t do without
  • Who do you admire most in your field?
  • If you could start again, what would you do differently?
  • What has been your single biggest success?
  • What was your biggest mistake?
  • What’s the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting off in [their niche, area of expertise]?
  • What’s your next project?
  • Is there anything you’d like to add?

e) Interview Techniques

i) Introductions

Always introduce your subject—never ask them to introduce themselves.

ii) Anecdotes

Anecdotes are the lifeblood of interviews. Try to get your interviewee to share an anecdote or two.

One way to do this is to ask ‘When’ questions:

  • “When did you first realize this is what you wanted to do?”
  • “When was the moment you realized you could succeed in this?”

iii) Parroting

Parroting can be annoying in normal conversation. But in an interview, it opens doors.

For example:

Subject: “The business didn’t really take off until I started building an email list”

You: “An email list?”

Subject: “Yes, that was the turning point, it took us from…”

iv) Avoiding ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Responses

Ask questions that can’t be answered with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. These are questions beginning with ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘How’, and ‘Why’.

For example:

  • What were you doing before you started in [SEO, marketing, copywriting etc]?
  • How long did it take to turn your idea into a viable business?

Here’s an excellent video from Teachable on how to conduct an interview with an Influencer:

f) Promoting Your Interview Article

Want to know the best part of interview articles?

The subject you interviewed is going to share your article amongst their followers.

And it’s more than likely they have a large audience.

So let the subject know as soon as the article is live and ask them to share it.

Here’s a template:

Outreach template

Over To You

The Internet is literally swimming in content.

So it’s no surprise that in the blogosphere connections are more important than content.

Of course, you need to produce great content.

But without the right connections, your content will never get noticed.

In this article I’ve given you three kinds of blog posts that will build relationships between you and the Influencers in your niche:

  1. Expert Roundups
  2. Top Lists
  3. Influencer Interviews

One last point:

When you hang out with Influencers, some of their authority rubs off on you. It’s unconscious, it’s just what happens.

In the minds of your readers, the very fact that these big names have appeared in your roundup, in your top list, or in your interviews adds to your authority.

In a nutshell:

Produce these three types of articles and you’ll get much more exposure for your content than you could ever get on your own.

And you’ll build traffic, backlinks, and authority.

If you have experiences with Expert Roundups, Top Lists, or Influencer Interviews, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Rob Powell shows bloggers how to create content that builds traffic, backlinks, and authority. Download his FREE pdf: ‘The Definitive Guide on How to Write a Compelling Intro for Your Next Blog Post’

The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging: for Beginners (Step by Step)

Guest blogging is a strategy where you write for other blogs that could help you get enhanced traffic, quality backlinks, and increased brand exposure. Neil Patel has called guest blogging the best inbound marketing strategy.

One guest blogging case study even showed how a blogger generated 30k-plus users for his email list!

Convinced, but overwhelmed at how to start your own campaign, what with all the lengthy tutorials out there?

Below, I’ll take it easy on the too-much-information part and head straight to actionable steps.

Read on as I take you on a beginner’s step-by-step guide to prepare your own guest blogging campaign.

Ultimate Guide To Guest Blogging

A Beginner’s Step by Step Guide To Guest Blogging

I. Preparing Your Guest Blogging Campaign

Step 1: Find Guest Post Targets

Before you start writing your guest post, you need to find the right blogs to target. Below are several methods you can take to find these guest posting prospects:

i) Search strings

Performing focused Google search is an art that can help you reach the right people. Here is a list of relevant search strings that can help you get the best of blogs from your niche:

“Search Term” + “Search value parameter”
Keyword + “guest post”
Keyword + “write for us”
Keyword + “guest article”
Keyword + “guest post opportunities”
Keyword + “this is a guest post by”
Keyword + “guest contributor”
Keyword + “want to write for”
Keyword + “submit blog post”
Keyword + “guest column”
Keyword + “submit content”
Keyword + “submit post”
Keyword + “This post was written by”
Keyword + “guest post courtesy of ”
Keyword + “suggest a post”
Keyword + “submit an article”
Keyword + “contributor guidelines”
Keyword + “submit news”
Keyword + “become a guest blogger”
Keyword + “guest blogger”
Keyword + “become an author”
Keyword + “become guest writer”
Keyword + “become a contributor”
Keyword + “submit guest post”
Keyword + “submit article”
Keyword + “guest author”
Keyword + “send a tip”
Keyword + inurl:guest-blogger
Keyword + inurl:guest-post
intitle:guest post guidelines
intitle:guest blog guidelines

Exclusive Bonus: Download this step-by-step guide to master your guest posting endeavor.

ii) Follow the Guest Post Trail of an Influencer in Your Niche

Some writers disclose the other blogs that they write for, and this can ultimately lead you to an exclusive list of quality blogs in your niche.

Below is a screenshot of such a resource page that could give you links to other blogs to guest post for:

Image Source: Backlinko

Here are a few examples of search strings you can also use to find more resource pages like the example above:
Author Name + “posts on other blogs”
Author Name + “guest post”
Author Name + “guest blogs”
Author Name + “posts on other blogs”
Author Name + “I’ve been featured on”
Author Name + “sites I’ve written for”

iii) Image Search

Google Image search is another way to find more related works of a target blogger.

Just go to the author bio in a blog post, copy the URL of the author’s headshot, and paste it in the Google reverse image search box.

Hit enter, and you will get a list of sites the writer has also guest blogged for.

Take the example of this Copyblogger guest post by BRIAN CLARK. Scroll to the bottom to find the author bio. Right click the image and select ‘Copy image address’.

Next, paste the image address to the Google Images search bar.

The results will list all the links mentioning Brian Clark, including social media profiles, blogs, and websites. Proceed in the same manner until you build up your list of quality blogs to target your guest posting efforts on.

iv) Search on Social Media Platforms

Using Search strings on social media platforms can yield entirely different results.

For example, you can type “web development + guest post” on Twitter’s search bar to get guest posts on web development.

In the resulting Twitter page, you can single out the best results. You can also use their advanced search feature to refine your search.

Follow the same process on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms to get some quality results for selection.

v) Reverse Engineering

Use a backlink tracking tool like Ahrefs, RankWatch, SEMrush, Majestic & Moz, etc, to track the top referral link sources of your first and second-page competitors.This reverse engineering method will yield some juicy guest posting candidates. Most of the sites that you will find through this process do not actively invite anyone for guest posting, so it’s harder to find them through usual search strings because they usually don’t have a Write for Us page.

Most of the sites that you will find through this process do not actively invite anyone for guest posting, so it’s harder to find them through usual search strings because they usually don’t have a Write for Us page.

Ahref tool homepage

vi) lists quality blogs from assorted verticals. Just type your keyword on the search bar and click your selected niche in the result that appears next. You may then contact the webmasters to know if they accept guest posts.

You may then contact the webmasters to know if they accept guest posts.

vii) Blog Commenting

Do you often get comments on your blog posts? If yes, it’s a good sign of engagement and an acknowledgment that your blog is actually being read.

So why not go a step ahead and interact with those who comment on your blog?

For example, if someone compliments you on one of your posts, why not ask him or her if they would accept your guest post for their site?

Blog Commenting Example

Image Source: Backlinko

Here’s a template script you can use to reply to comments like the ones in the screenshot above

Hey [Name of prospect],
Many thanks for commenting on my guest post at [].
I never thought about the fact that [write something they mentioned in the comment box].
That’s indeed a valid point.
I have in fact an interesting guest post idea that could be great for your website. It’s called: “5 Smart Tips for [related topic]”
Just let me know if you feel the idea is good enough. I could sent you the post this week.
Thanks again for your comment!
[Your name]

viii) Target Lists

A Google search with the right search strings can help you pull up list post type articles on blogs that offer guest posting opportunities. Here are some search terms you can use:

  • Keyword “guest posting sites”
  • Keyword “accept guest posts”
  • Keyword “guest post sites”

ix) Use NinjaOutreach

This super tool helps you speed up your guest blogging campaign by letting you do all your prospecting and outreach tasks quickly, easily, all within a single platform.

With NinjaOutreach, you can:

  • Search prospects for guest opportunities areas
  • Refine search results for your related niche
  • Save leads and categorize them into lists organized under defined campaigns
  • Filter out results by number of social shares, comments, and other SEO metrics such as traffic volume, domain and page authority
  • Start sending outreach emails, track, and manage conversations from within the same platform

It also has a free chrome extension called NinjaOutreach Lite so you can use some of the tool’s features immediately from your browser, without the need to sign in to the web app.

Below is the prospecting tab, which lets you search according to purpose.


The screenshot below shows how you can use the tool’s Your Prospects tab to search for author prospects.

Once you’ve selected your targets, you can label them under the Add Relationship tab to help you remember the actions you’ve already taken for that particular prospect.

That way, while in the thick of your outreach campaign, you won’t mistakenly send the same outreach to the same person more than once.

The third screenshot below shows NinjaOutreach’s outreach mode. This is where, once you’ve decided to reach out to a prospect, you can simply click on the outreach mode button, and the app triggers a pop-up that lets you label the influencer and write your email. (Take note that you need to connect your email app to NinjaOutreach first)

The tool automatically crawls for the prospect’s email address so there’s no need for you to do it yourself manually. The tool also has templates you can choose from.

Step 2. Zero in on Your Target Blogs

Once you’ve set up your list, your next task would be to filter out the list and retain the prospects that will benefit you the most.

i) Quality Metrics

Several technical aspects play an important role in enabling you target the most worthwhile publishers for guest blogging. Here are top three quality metrics to help you identify the quality of a blog.

  • Google Pagerank: Indeed, Google has officially killed Pagerank, its overall authority measuring tool, way back March 2016. However, we still consider it to be among the best tools to measure and figure out page authority and its linking signal strength in order to select for top notch sources. It comes as no surprise that Google itself is still using this tool, which motivates us to keep embracing it. Google Pagerank tool assigns a particular number ranging from 0 to 10 to the websites that it indexes. Sites with higher pagerank are more credible, trustworthy and authoritative. As per Matt Cutts, the Pagerank toolbar considers both the quality and quantity of incoming links to a site. You can check the PR of a site via a PageRank add-on to your browser. Alternatively, you can also visit websites like PRChecker.
  • Domain Authority (DA): Established by Moz as a proprietary metric, it ranks the quality of a website on a logarithmic scale ranging from 0 to 100. Like PR, the higher the DA, the better. Online tools like MozBar or Open Site Explorer, Smallseotools, etc. can help you measure the DA of websites. Experts suggest sites with a minimum DA of 40 to target for guest blogging.
  • Alexa Score: This analytics site gives you an idea of the traffic that a particular site receives. Just opposite to PR and DA scores, it has reverse ratings, hence the lower score, the better. For example, a site with an Alexa score below 1000 means it has strong traffic.

Other factors like unique referring domains, relevance to your niche, audience interaction, and overall quality of the blog (branding, design, content, online reputation, etc.) also help in effectively choosing a blog to target for guest posting.

ii) Single Out the Seasoned Blogs

After checking quality metrics, it becomes easier to identify the best targets for guest blogging. Below are some more points to consider:

  • It should contain an authoritative link profile
  • The blog should be relevant to your niche
  • It should relate to your blog or website
  • The blog’s content should be highly informative and of superior quality
  • Make sure the blog can drive qualified traffic
  • It places your link in the content body and not in any off-the-focus location
  • It should have genuine subscribers (Read: not bots)
  • It should have a decent number of followers over social media (again, not bots)

iii) Get Close to Your Targets

After refining your list, the next step should be to get into the good books of the target webmasters before pitching.
For instance:

  • Be a Twitter Friend: Interact with them on Twitter at first, and respond to their tweets positively.
    Commenting Counts
  • Comment on Their Blogs: React to their blog posts. Contribute valuable insights that could get you in the radar of the blog owner.
  • Email Communication: After exhausting the first few outreach methods, proceed to email the site owner. Congratulate him/her for the informative content he/she posted. Shoot this email at least a week or two before pitching for a guest post.
  • Find The Perfect Guest Post Topic: After this warming up process, it’s is finally the time to break the ice. You can now submit a killer idea and check out with the webmasters if they would like to accept your guest post about it.
  • Send Relevant Posts: Keep in mind that the topic should be relevant enough. It won’t benefit anyone if you send a post on ‘10 tips to be a pro ping pong player’ to a Soccer inspired blog.

iv) How to Choose a Topic

  • Outdated Blog Post: Find a reputable site and look for good posts that are outdated. Write a similar post updated with the latest information.
  • Go Through Published Guest Posts: Most likely, others should have already written great posts on your niche. Take a clue from these posts and come with a new guest post on a similar topic.
  • Try Differently: Alternatively, try to send your target blog a unique post. For instance, if the blog has social media write-ups and already posted two to three articles on ‘Facebook Marketing Tips’, you could provide a guest post on ‘How to become a LinkedIn influencer’.

II. Pitching Your Guest Post

Make an effort to craft a well-written and professional guest post pitch. Below are some outreach practices to avoid.

Don’ts of Guest Post Pitching

i) Unprofessional Subject Line

Avoid excessively praiseworthy subject lines. These would do more harm than good to your reputation.

Some cringeworthy examples below:

  • “Looking for a guest blogger? I am your lucky charm. Hire Me!
  • Don’t you dare to miss an amazing blogger like me.
  • Hey! I dreamt that your blog got a million views on a single day. Guess who wrote that post. Its ME! So why not transform your dream to reality.

Instead, use a straightforward subject line that specifies your intentions clearly. Such as “Request for guest blogging”.

ii) Misleading Email Address in the ‘To’ Line

These types of email ids are no less than suicidal. They can end your guest blogging prospects before starting. Please don’t use them if you want to go pro.

Some cringeworthy examples below:


The best email address should ideally have this format:

iii) Addressing an Unknown Recipient

Forget about starting your mail with lines like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear concerned”, etc. A simple “Hi” followed by the name of the webmaster would be fine. For example, “Hi Peter”.
See below for an example template.

Hi [name],
I’m a long time reader. You may have noticed my comment on your post on [name and link of blog post] — (awesome article, by the way).
I am one of your long time readers. You may have checked out my comment on your post on “Smart tips for [name and link of blog post]”. It's indeed a great write-up.
Inspired by the quality posts on your website [], I would also like to contribute to it as a guest blogger.
I have already been thinking about some interesting topics that would be valuable for your readers. Here are few selected ones:
-Topic #1
-Topic #2
-Topic #3
I’ll make sure the piece provides all the valuable information that the readers would find hard to get from anywhere else.
Just to give you an idea of the quality that I could introduce to your website, Here is a recently published guest post on [].
[Your name]

Let’s dissect this email template:

  • It kicks off with something specific about the target blogger’s site.
  • It is concise (wrapped within 150 words).
  • It makes it easier for the blog owner to choose from among the proposed topics.
  • Helps the latter to get an idea of your experience and published posts.

Here is another good example guest blog pitch from a Udemy Instructor:

guest blog pitch from a Udemy Instructor

iv) Not Going Through the Guidelines

There is no better way to show respect to your target blogger than by reading the guidelines of their website (if there are any).

Nothing instantly destroys a good guest posting opportunity than an outreach email or submission that blatantly defies the blog owner’s guidelines.

Take note if the webmaster wants you to pitch an idea first, or directly submit a complete post. There might be certain guidelines about the format of the post, topic preferences, linking guidelines, and so on.

III. How to Write Appealing Titles for Guest Posts

Step 1: Recall Your Previous Successful Posts.

Adding a numerical touch to the title is usually a winning recipe

  • Top 10 points that make your content better
  • 15 ways in which you could become a social media celebrity
  • Here is how 10 studies prove that consisting blogging make you a popular writer

For more examples, the image below from coschedule compares the best performing and worst performing titles.

Step 2: Use Psychological Turn-ons

As per research by blogging experts, titles that could trigger the emotions of the readers are most likely to succeed.

For instance, Neil Patel talks about five key elements that help the guest posts to get maximum shares on social media: Curiosity, Amazement, Interest, Astonishment, and Uncertainty.

Step 3: Use Specific Words That Could Stimulate the Reader Straight Away

Using certain words have the tendency to enthrall the audience.

For example, words that prompt one to take an action or speak about the quality of a service, like ‘affordable’, ‘download’, ‘exciting’, ‘interesting’, etc

The free guide below gives you top 500 words that create a stir among the minds of the readers instantly.

Exclusive Bonus: Download this ultimate list of 500+ emotional words that can attract and retain your reader's attention.

Step 4: Use Templates to Write Headlines

Several websites like Copy Hackers, Michael Hyatt, Crazy Egg, Copy Blogger, Jeff Bullas, Brain Traffic, etc., provide you with useful headline templates.

If you are running out of ideas, these custom-made headlines can help.

Here are few template examples:

  • What {#} Studies Say About {Subject}
  • How To {Verb} Your {Noun} For Massive Growth
  • Do You Have The Courage To {Do Something Desirable}
  • The secret of _________________
  • The Ultimate Guide To ____________
  • How To Rock A {Noun} That Will Save You Tons Of Time

Step 5: Use Headline Generator Tools

Below are some blog title generators from authority websites.

IV. Writing Your Guest Post

Writing a guest blog requires you to set a goal before proceeding. There is an end goal to writing content for other sites. You either guest post to establish yourself as a trustworthy resource, gain subscribers, anticipate business opportunities, and so on.
Setting S.M.A.R.T goals strategy (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound ) is something you should look at.

Step 1: Define Your Approach

Before writing your guest post, you need to be clear about your approach. Determine the pros and cons and the resources you have to write a tutorial, an ultimate guide, a detailed case study, or concise step-by-step guide.

Step 2: Background Research

A thorough background research is par for the course. So as not to appear amateur, stop talking about what you think should be done and instead, support statements you make in your guest post with relevant case studies.

The Importance of Case Studies

Any article worth its salt should be supported by strong, authoritative sources, and case studies make for compelling support. Adding this sort of backup to you article’s arguments make your statements more believable.

For example, you can say with more authority that clearer email subject lines lead to more opens if you have a case study example where you find that 80% out of the 3500 emails you send per month for a period of 1 year showed you this data.

In one of his posts, Bamidele Onibalusi of the WritersInCharge blog shares details about his own guest posting strategy. He cites each of his own guest posts as each case study and complements with screenshots of their Google Analytics stats, thus showing how these guest posts contributed to the massive growth in his audience. Also, he notes that most of his example posts that did really well are case study type articles.

A case study article about how well case study type articles performed. How meta!

Step 3: Including Screenshots

Say (and prove) more with images instead of words. Instead of simply saying something happened or is true, screenshots of your step by step processes are better. There are various free tools online. Some of which I would recommend are Snipping Tool (Windows, Free), Skitch (Mac, Free), and Jing (Windows/Mac, Free).

V. Including a Call to Action

Don’t forget to include an appeal or call to action for comments. Engagement will help increase the visibility of your guest blog.

VI. Writing Your Guest Bio

Provided the blog you are guest posting for allows it, your guest bio is where you can promote yourself, your website, or put in links that are important to you.

For example:

  • Provide a backlink to your website if your aim is to get quality backlinks
  • If you want decent traffic, include the link to your custom landing page or the product page.
  • If you want to increase your followers, include an appeal to the concluding line of your bio, which says “Follow me on [mention your social network profile link].”

Steps to write an author bio

VII. The Concluding Step

If you get published, congrats! But your job doesn’t end there. Most guest blogs appreciate a writer that can not only deliver content, but engagement as well. So, don’t forget to:
1. Share on Various Social Media Platforms
Share your guest post on all the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc. You can share the blog with your email subscribers and request close contacts to share it on their personal profiles.
2. Respond to Comments
Interact with your readers. Identify the readers who comment on your blogs regularly. Visit their profile, browse through their blogs, and find out any post relevant to your niche. Leave behind a thoughtful comment on their post to ensure a two-way engagement.
So there you have it, a beginner’s step by step guide to guest blogging. Should you wish to add to the tips already mentioned here, you can always type in your suggestions in the comment box. Until then, Happy Guest Blogging!

Ram Babu is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Techies India Inc. and is a Technical Search Contributor at RankWatch, one of the prominent SEO tools among digital marketers. He owns and is also SEO Manager for Code&Co, Big Slate Media, and Agile Continental. Follow Ram at @RamBabuSEO.

How to Win at Content Marketing [ 12 Turns ]

Content marketing is the trend of this decade. Entrepreneurs work on sharing their knowledge with readers with the hopes that readers, in their turn, would be impressed enough to happily line up to the cashier.

But when it comes to putting content marketing into action, for some reason, many of us give up.

Do not give up content marketing

The reason is actually understandable as, in fact, content marketing is not at all that romantic. It is repetitive, back-breaking research, goal setting, forecasting, planning, along with scrupulous adherence to the plan, production, and promotion.

In this article, I will describe the basic steps that clarify what principles to use when building a content marketing strategy.

I. Describe Your Target Audience

You probably heard many times that content is king. But is it really so? To my mind, it’s not, as the real king is the client. Your content strategy should be built for your target client.

Imagine clearly who exactly your customer is. Mark his needs, fears, and desires. Separate your target audience by segments, and define a typical algorithm for finding information for each: what customers are looking for, and where.

II. Formulate The Key Messages

While formulating key messages for each customer segment, you should rely on the needs, fears, and goals that you have recorded in the first step. Select a typical problem of the segment and describe how you solve it, and then squeeze the description into one sentence.

These are the basic ideas which will become the foundation for all your content marketing. It is desirable to express these ideas in 1-2 phrases or even in the form of a slogan. But do not confuse this with the slogan of the company. A communication slogan describes your content, not your product.

It is also important to remember two things:

  • Do not talk about yourself. Do not say that you are an expert. What to talk about? That's right, about how to solve the problem of your customer.
  • Do not create the content for the sake of the content.

III. Formulate The Mission

Every organization needs a mission, as it will be the main basis or ideology for your content marketing.

Formulate the mission

To formulate the mission, you can answer a few simple questions:

  • What do we do? (What kind of business are we in?)
  • For whom do we do it?
  • Where geographically do we do it?
  • How do we do it? (What makes our business unique? What are our competitive advantages?)
  • What don’t we do and won’t do in future?

Once you’re done, clearly specify and use your mission in every description of your profile (in social networks, in the 'About us' page, and so on).

IV. Set Goals

Define and fix your goals. The goals of your content marketing can be very different. Yeah, of course, to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty and, as a consequence, increase in sales. But goals should be specific and measurable.

For example, doubling Google organic traffic or increasing the number of subscribers to 50%.

Specify the current and desired indicators for each goal for a specific period, such as a year. Be sure to fix the methods and tools for measuring them. Use the five most important indicators. It would help to keep a finger on the pulse to not get lost in the data volume.

V. Analyze Your Competitors’ Actions

Define your main competitors. To make your life easier, use tools like Serpstat, with their advanced competitor research module, or SimilarWeb (assuming that you haven’t already done that, of course).

Analyze your competitor

Your competitors in content marketing will not only be the companies with a similar offer. Some of them also compete with you for content recognition. There are the different online media, information portals, blogs, and the like, that cover the same topics as you do.

Do a review of the content marketing activity of your competitors: how they represent themselves on social networks, blogs, thematic portals, etc., and make a list of the main topics and types of competitors' content.

Once you collect all the information about these competitors, it's necessary to understand how to act differently.

For example, if you tackle the same subject, try to change the format. If everybody writes articles about SEO, you can, instead, create a quick tutorial video detailing step by step instructions about how to check readership reaction to your SEO efforts.

VI. Collect Keywords

A weirdly large number of content marketers do not carry out keyword analysis and are guided just by intuition or instincts. Don’t be one of these types.
A thorough keyword analysis lets you predict what is interesting to your audience even before they will tell you about it. Guided by correctly clustered semantic core, you can support your ideas with real data from the SERPs.

VII. Find Your Customers On The Social Networks

Find 5 accounts of your already existing clients.

Find your customers

The found profiles should be analyzed, to understand what kind of content these people share, what they write about, what their psychological drivers are, and what they are interested in, generally. Then, arrange this list of topics by popularity.

VIII. Highlight The Main Topics

Identify key topics of interest for each group of clients; these are the main topics of your content marketing.

So how do you find out what their key problems are? Simple. Just ask! For example, you can arrange a survey in your newsletter. If you have a sales department, talk to them. Find out your audience's problems. Communicate with customers in social networks (where it is usually easier to do).

Just do not try to invent the target audience's problem yourself. Nothing good will come out of it.

Highlight the main topics


IX. Make Headers Templates

Draft your article headers in advance. This will set you on the right track for writing your next piece.

For example:

  • Tools and Techniques of Graphic Design
  • Develop Yourself in Graphic Design: a Guide to the Use of Essential Tools and Techniques

See the difference?

X. Tone Of Treatment

Determine the tone that you will use to communicate on behalf of your product. Correct tone gives the company its own identity when stacked up against its competitors. To set the tone, try to ask yourself the following questions:

  • If your business was a person, what type of person would he be?
  • What is the relationship between him and a client (coach, friend, mentor, etc.)?
  • What are the epithets he can’t be characterized with?
  • How do you want your customers to perceive your business?

XI. Fill The Content Map

The content map is a table with the distribution of types of content. Use the data collected in the previous steps to fill in the table. Specify:

  • Content types in order of popularity among your target audience
  • The used channels
  • Goals
  • Desired user actions after meeting with the content (should relate to objectives)
  • Frequency of publication
  • Basic content and topics
  • Headline templates
  • Tone of treatment

XII. Where To Find New Ideas Every Day

Yes, I know about that eternal struggle called “What to write about?”. At first, there are so many fresh ideas but then the enthusiasm subsides and you feel that you’ve exhausted all the topics there are to write about.

But you always can bring your muse back.

First of all, ask your sales team, what questions your customers ask and what difficulties they are facing. Your response to these issues can form the basis for excellent new material.

The next source is your professional information field. Follow the specialized media, opinion leaders in the niche. Copying them is not necessary, but be sure to consider all new trends.

And then there are books, magazines, and blogs. You can also attend webinars, conferences, master classes. All this information will give you a good foundation to grow your own ideas.

Also, try Google Trends, which is a nice (and free) way to look for inspiration. By listing what is hot right now, and showing you what has been hot before, this handy web app can give you great ideas on what creative direction you want to head in.

But honestly, to my mind, it doesn’t work much for blogs with clearly bounded topics. Even selecting a Category and location gives a pretty wide range of results, so you still have to be lucky to get something related to your niche.

Get something related to your niche

My favorite way to find out what your potential customers are interested in is Serpstat. This SEO tool has recently rocked on ProductHunt with its feature for Content Marketers that helps to identify SERP trends and find the relevant questions in the form users search for them. You can then create content that contains the users’ most frequently used phrases.

But first of all, it gives tons of inspiration


Keyword analysis

XIII. [Bonus] Gather Your Content Marketing Strategy

After all this work, you need to combine the results of the previous steps into one big document. And it should look something like this (the image is clickable):

content marketing strategy doc

What’s Next?

This is just the beginning. You will still have to create and distribute cool content regularly, collect web analytics data and feedback from readers, edit your strategy, and plan again if necessary.

But if you consistently performed all the previously marked steps, then you're already holding a clear guide that gives meaning and direction to all further processes, and that helps to make content marketing effective.

So, good luck! And if you have anything else you’d like us to add to this article, please share it with us in the comments section below.

Why Republishing Content on Medium Is A Great Idea (3 Things to Do)

Have you been writing a lot?

Feels like posting daily on your site makes your content simply go to waste?

Have you been trying hard to publish your content on a platform where your post can get the more attention?

If that is so, then maybe it’s time to republish your content.

Yes, you heard it right. I am talking about republishing content.

Republishing on Medium

You see, you have to understand that content marketing can be a slow process and sometimes you have written some high-quality posts that do not get the attention that you need.

That is when you should be republishing content, and that's where Medium or other such platforms come in.

Republishing is usually done with a little tweaking in the title and order, maybe. But mostly, the content is the same, which makes it extremely easy to do.

BONUS: Check out this post full of deep insights about republishing on Medium

Breaking The Myth of Duplicate Content

One complication that usually arises with republishing content is the fear of getting penalized for "duplicate content." Some people think that republishing content will result in a Google penalty for duplicate content, but this is not the case anymore.

If the content is republished on the same site, again and again, that might indeed become an issue. But if you republish your content on different sites with different titles, then that won’t be as much of an issue, as far as Google Rankings are concerned.

Some say that if you republish the same post again, your Google ranking will get affected.

But that no longer applies to every instance. The truth is, your Google Rankings will not get affected.

For instance, when this post, "Startup PR Strategy," was republished on LinkedIn with a different title, the latter remained down in ranking.


Going to back Medium, there is no doubt that it is one of the platforms where you get the best chance to republish your content with some of the best strategies that I am going to explain as we move on.

Let’s first check out some best practices for republishing content.

3 Things to Do When Republishing Content

  • Change Your Headline

The most important thing is to change your headline or title when republishing. This will give a totally new look to your post.

Having creative headlines gives a boost to your post in any case, whether it’s publishing or republishing. Headlines grab the reader's attention very quickly. No wonder creating catchy headlines is an art.

As far as Medium is concerned, along with its unique font styles and various picture alignments, it also encourages writers to have interesting and attention-grabbing headlines.

Medium publishes stories, so its titles are geared for story-telling. This title, “Dear People Who Live in Fancy Tiny Houses,for example, is strange, yet catchy at the same time.

  • Use New Keywords When Republishing

Another strategy is to use different long tail keywords in different places. This will increase your reach as the same content will appear for more than one long tail keyword.

What does this mean?

This means that your content will start appearing in more search results. As we all know, every person defines pain points through a variety terms. That is, people search for articles using a variety of keyword combinations, so this strategy will allow you to rank for other related search terms.

This post on how to find related long tail keywords.

Below is one example of how one niche can have different long tail keywords. Now, this clearly explains how you can name an article differently when republishing.


  • Republish to a Certain Limit

You have to keep one thing in mind while republishing and that is, “Do Not Republish Everything.” Yes, the statement is quite self-explanatory.

Republishing your content is a good option to make your content circulate more and increase your website traffic.

But keep in mind that you need to keep some blog posts as well.

Don’t republish everything because this will create problems for yourself.

How is that, you ask?

When you direct your audience to your original website, your website should have some unique content that has not been shared anywhere else. This will show that you have enough unique content to show your visitors, and this is the reason why you should republish but only up to a certain limit.

Now let's move on to the basic reasons on why you should adopt the idea of republishing content.

I know there must be some doubts in your mind that you shouldn’t do this, but let me tell to you about the other perks of republishing your content.

Here are 3 Major Reasons Why You Should Republish Your Content On Medium:

  • High Exposure

Research shows that even the most successful sites get only around 100 visitors per day but on Medium, the scenario is totally different. Medium is one of the fastest trending social media platforms and the best part is that it gets 800+ daily visitors.

This means you will be getting higher views if you republish content on Medium. As an example, this post had 224 views upon its first publication on its original site. But as soon as the author republished it on Medium, the views went up to 2,087, which is quite a high number.

  • Boost Traffic to Your Own Site

Another benefit of republishing on Medium is the imminent boost to your own site’s traffic.

When republishing on other platforms, put your site’s link at the end of your post so that people can click and get redirected to your site if they really like your work; hence, bringing in more traffic.

  • Turn Your Name into a Brand

Turning your name into a brand is one of the most important things these days, especially when you are a writer. People recognize your words through your name.

Compared to LinkedIn or Twitter, Medium has the highest content circulation. Through this portal, you have the best chance at making your small brand renowned.


There can be no disagreement with the fact that creating content is a tough job, especially when you have to create quality content that is interesting at the same time.

People invest so much time in creating content all around the world.

But the sad reality is that not all posts get the attention it deserves. So to give that post the required attention, you need to repost it somewhere else, which is absolutely fine!

So, I hope this post has made you agree that republishing on Medium will benefit your site and yourself as a writer, too.

Keep reposting your great content and make your every word count through Medium