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 sharethrough.com.

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!

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 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’

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

6 Tips to Improve Marketing Content and Engage Your Audience

Your amazing idea, concept, or product is irrelevant if nobody can find it. You may be offering something vital and life changing, but your potential success is limited unless people are finding your marketing content and engaging with it.

To increase this sort of audience engagement, you need to improve your content.

To that end, below are six pieces of advice on how to improve your content, which will help increase audience engagement and thus, attract more visitors to frequent your site and share your content.

Tips to Improve Your Content and Engage Your Audience

Use SMART techniques

Increasing your audience can be a daunting task; however, it is less insurmountable when you follow the S.M.A.R.T method of planning.

S – Be specific. Growing your audience is a pretty big dream; how is the best way to do it? By increasing blog traffic, or having more names on your email list?

Pick an element that you feel will grow your website, and plan around that.

M – Make sure your target is measurable. Review your numbers as they stand, and decide on how much you want to improve by.

It may be doubling traffic or adding 1,000 names to an email list, but setting a line for what you want to achieve can help drive you, and be a great confidence boost when it’s actually accomplished

A – is for Actionable. Figure out the concrete steps to take to achieve your goal and put them into place.

This could be a change in marketing or an analysis of SEO keywords, but set the plan for how to meet your goals, then put that plan into place.

R – Be realistic. There is little point in setting goals you can’t meet, as you will be demoralized by the failure. Your goals should be inspirational without being impossible.

T – stands for Timely. Without a deadline to work against, it can be tough to measure our progress and evaluate the techniques you are using.

This short-term review can also be a great way to realize you’ve accomplished way more than you think, which can be motivation to carry on working.

Utilize Online Editing Resources

There are some really good resources for editing that are free online.

Pro Writing Aid is awesome for content writers looking for feedback on how to consistently improve, as it provides an analysis of your work, rather than just corrections.

You can see if you have a tendency to use overly long sentences, repeat the same words, or have plagiarized other work.

It’s a great way to become aware of mistakes you make and improve your future writing.
For clear and strong writing, the Hemingway App and Grammar Guide will let you know if you’ve included the passive voice, abundant adverbs, and other elements associated with weak writing.

The Hemingway App

Word Counter is a great tool for SEO analysis as it can provide you with your keyword frequency, making sure you have that 1 to 3 percent keyword frequency to improve your ranking with search engines.

Utilize Online Writing Sources

If writing isn’t your thing but you need a blog element or written content to drive traffic your way, then using freelance services to hire talented writers could save you a lot of time and energy.

Freelancers are also cost-effective and can provide a host of services.

People Per Hour provides services specifically for websites, from software to content.

UpWork Logo

Freelancer.com and Upwork.com, on the other hand, provide all kinds of freelancers from all over the world with various skillsets and levels of experience.

Freelancer website screenshot

If you want to hire a high profile expert, then Toptal is where you should head to. For amazing written content, Rated Writing or UK Writings can offer writing services by qualified professionals.

This reduces the risk of poor quality writing affecting your search engine rankings or failing to engage your visitors.

Use Effective Marketing Tools

An emotive headline can attract and engage your audience, so make sure your title is as emotional as possible.

The Emotional Marketing Value Analyzer lets you check whether your headline uses the most emotional language possible.

Frequent content updates improve your SEO rankings and can, therefore, improve the traffic entering your site.

However, coming up with amazing topics day after day can be tough, which is where HubSpot Blog Topic Generator comes in.

Hubsptot's blog post generator

This tool can help you come up with fresh and interesting posts consistently.

Don’t Overlook Outside Sources

While your content should be original, including some quotes from experts, as well as inserting graphs and data can illustrate your point and make you appear more reliable.

People are skeptical of fake internet articles, so backing up your points with expert comments and data makes your audience more likely to believe in, and share your content.

Sourcing these quotes before you begin writing can also simplify the process as you suddenly have a starting point you can focus on.

External links that back up your assertions can also be a huge plus for SEO rankings. You can always make your readers promote your content, too.

Use Images and Infographics

Using examples throughout your work helps appeal to readers, as it gives them an opportunity to really see what you mean, and understand how your points make sense.

One of the best ways to give these examples is through images. Images can break up your content and make your page more attractive.

They’re also useful in terms of breaking down complex information into digestible illustrations.

Many images, such as pie charts or Venn diagrams, are really easy to DIY and are beneficial for elucidating a topic for your readers.

Final Words

Utilizing all of these tips consistently and effectively can really work wonders in driving traffic to your site, and once a visitor is there, these tools will engage them, encouraging them to share the content or return at a later date.

It is essential to maximize the benefits of an online presence, and following these tips will help you to do that.

Sharon Conwell has been a content manager and ghost writer at over 20 online projects, now she is a part-time educator and an editor at Big Assignments. She’s specializing at content creation and optimization. She loves coffee, tulips and her Shih Tzu named Bobby.

Practical Startup Business Plan [13 Things to Consider]

To make a lasting impression, startups, or any business for that matter, should aim not only to survive but to thrive. Only a practical startup business plan can create that lasting impression, and this article will show you how.

Your startup is your baby. As an entrepreneur or a startup, you need to know the do’s and don’ts of this all-consuming lifestyle. You also need to plan ahead of time and execute your plan.

You want your business to be recognized by clients and users, right? Your clients and customers need to feel the same passion that you feel for your startup. But 90% of startups fail for simple reasons such as running out of money or hiring the wrong talent.

And that is why you need to keep your investors, clients, and employees happy to get your startup off the ground and make it successful. So, I have listed these 13 ingredients that are essential for any startup that aims to thrive.

1. Develop a Vision, Create Your Startup Business Plan

Vision helps you hold on to activities that benefit and discard those that don’t. Your business maintains focus. A strong and purposeful vision paves the way, even for the smaller teams within your startup. In essence, your startup’s vision helps you define the activities necessary for results.

Do you have a clear idea (and you should!) about how your startup will grow? For instance, take a look at Google’s vision: “To organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This short sentence seamlessly reflects Google’s products and services, don’t you think?

So, is your vision permeating through your startup?

Steve Jobs had a vision, and it changed the world! Jobs had a vision of technology making life simpler. He thought of minimalist innovation that changed the way we use technology. He started the PC revolution and the era of smartphones.

Does your product or service manifest your vision? Consider this when you develop a vision for your startup:

  • Reflect on the most significant aspect of your startup
  • Identify core values of your startup
  • What does your startup hope to solve in the next five years?
  • Craft a short and memorable vision that employees can easily remember.

2. Draw up Financial Projections That Are Vital to Your Investors

As a startup, forecasting your growth may seem like an overwhelming task. You want to spend your time on selling your product rather than planning.

But it is important that you forecast your expenses and revenues. This is to make a lasting impression both on your internal and external customers. Few investors are interested in a startup that has a blurry vision or unripe growth prospects.

To make a lasting impression, create two revenue projections for your startup. One based on your dream (aggressive) and the other based on practical reality (conservative). This way, you are open to making conservative assumptions while loosening up on your aggressive projection.

Don’t forget to get your expense report in order! Understanding your gross margin, operating profit margin and total headcount per client will help you avoid several expenses all the way.

3. Spend Your Money Wisely

Financing start up? spend wisely

Talk about forecasting growth and building revenue projections.

This takes us to the point of investor funds.

When you have investors backing your startup, they need to know exactly how you will spend the money.

Hiten Shah and Neil Patel, Founders at KISSmetrics, wasted $1,000,000 on a company that never launched!

The spending has to be meaningful. To make a lasting impression, make sure that your investors and your team have a clear view of where your money is being used in the business.

4. Provide ROI for Your Investors and Users

You need to figure out how ROI will be gained in your startup business plan

You need to get your documents in order and get transparent about your expenses, revenues, and benefits of your product and services.

This way, your investors can clearly see what return they would get on their investment. A visible ROI serves as an important motive for the investors for choosing you over your competitors.

This holds true for your customers as well. Users need to know the benefits they get from your product or service.

5. Get the Perfect Pitch Presentation on Your Fingertips

To get your startup off the ground, you need to deliver the perfect business pitch.

A meeting with an angel investor can be a defining moment for your business.

Unless your product, application or service is disruptive, they've already heard your story. (Meaning, one that changes the industry, creates a new market, etc.)

When you are out there preparing for your pitch, you know it is imperative to keep all your information handy.

Pitches can happen anywhere, not just in big boardrooms. You need to be ready to pitch in elevators, waiting rooms, cocktail parties, etc.

Being able to deliver that perfect pitch can get you great partnerships. And even lucrative incentives.

In no particular order, here's how to make a lasting impression with your pitch:

  • Know your audience. Be ready to answer “how many people need your product?”
  • Know your competition. How many players are in the market? How are you different?
  • Know your user base. What user base do you have already?
  • Know your numbers. Are you making any money? What do your numbers look like?
  • Know your growth. Forecast how much more money you’ll get.
  • Know your product. Be clear about the way it works, etc.

The emphasis is always on the investors. They want to know what's in it for them. And that keeps them engaged with your pitch and interested in your startup!

6. Offer the Right Customer Experience

Customer support is essential for your Startup Business Plan

Sure, you need revenues to drive funding. But what drives revenue? Users.

Users have great power in driving revenues for your business.

Just look at Google. The company reached close to $1 billion revenue within five years on its incorporation. So how can your startup make a lasting impression and get more users?

Can users navigate through your website easily? Does your application have any issues? How is your UI/UX user experience on a platform?

Customers know what they want, but not how to get it. You can market your products and services, but a great experience can only be felt first-hand. Improve your customer experience for more success!

7. Hire the Right Blend of Talent

Few startups are funded, some are self-funded, and others are crowdfunded. Either way, a startup has to be smart about paying employees during the startup stage.

Choosing the right resources is important. You need the right talent with the right attitude.

Founder of FoodtoEat Deepti Sharma Kapur hired too quickly in 2012. She realized that she hired people who needed jobs, not those who understood her vision for the company.

She had to let go of many at the startup stage which wasted her time and resources. Four years later, Deepti’s company is worth USD 5,000,000 in revenue.

8. Offer a Disruptive Pay Model

If your startup is not heavily funded, then get your customers to pay for the services.

This creates a lasting impression than if an investor was to fund your startup.

When you get your customers to pay as they go, you are mindful about the money spent in the wrong direction. Just look at how these disruptive innovations fuel Uber and Netflix!

Like a credit card, some startups can take the fund for granted, causing more damage. Plus, you will work harder to make a lasting impression.

9. Run Effective Meetings at Your Startup

Startup Business Planning in a team meeting

One of the easiest ways to build a lasting impression with your clients is the way you hold your meetings.

You can leverage meetings especially if you are a service-based startup.

Clients need to know what they are paying for. Besides, effective meetings unite teams and motivate employees. So, meetings are a great way to communicate and keep everyone engaged.

3 ways to make a lasting impression with meetings

  • Weekly Status Calls - Meetings are a great way to keep your investors or clients involved in your business and engaged. Discuss how the week went by and also talk about your plan of action for the next week.
  • Keep Meeting Agenda Clear - This way you are then focused on the agenda at hand. You will save everyone’s time and discuss the issues that need the most attention.
  • Schedule Follow-Up Meetings - Rather than extend an ongoing meeting to discuss impromptu points, schedule another meeting. Remember that simple language and offering simple solutions will always get you remembered.

10. Own up to Your Mistakes

Maintaining integrity is an important aspect of any business.

For a startup, it is doubly important that you keep your customers informed about any glitch, any error or problem, and do so, right away.

Be honest with your resources. Your client is your partner as well.

If you come across a blunder, own up to it. Your failures are your biggest lessons.

When you own up to your mistakes, your customers see you as responsible, accountable, honest and relatable.

11. Don’t Enter into an Already Crowded Market

If you want your startup to continue to exist and have an effect on your customers, then give them something new.

You need to enter a niche for a lasting impression.

Invent the wheel or innovate.

For example, Uber created something so simple that has helped improve economies all over the world. But Google engineered cars that don’t even need drivers! Now that’s a great example of disruptive innovation.

12. Offer Freemium Pricing

Freemium pricing works well for brands like Dropbox, Evernote, etc. who offer sufficient value to their free users.

For example, Linkedin allows you to make a profile and use many important basic features.

But you pay a little more and get access to more service benefits. Apple does the same. They give consumers a choice of storage space, then offer more space on their cloud at a price.

13. Don’t Use Jargon

Whether it is in a meeting, emails or any other communication. As a startup trying to make an impression, spare the jargon. When you say “it’s not rocket science,” someone can contend you to show them how it’s done. All this kills time.


As you can see, these tips are easy to do. You can easily incorporate them into your company culture. You and your resources are key in making lasting impressions to your clients and customers. A lasting impression is an amalgamation of great experiences over time. Use your time and efforts wisely and make it last.


Do you have any other tip or suggestion that can help startups make a lasting impression?


Alice Clarke is a content strategist from Topaussie review and a writer. She is always in search for the next thing in marketing, technology, and startups.

3 Easy Steps to Find Top Industry Influencers

You know you love Ninja Outreach! That's why you are reading this blog post, after all.

You went through its extensive set of tutorials, and now you want to take things to the next level.

Ninja Outreach is the best tool when it comes to creating buzz around your website, products and services.

And its power grows exponentially when you combine it with a couple of third-party tools.

Here are three ninja tactics that will help you discover influential industry bloggers, find lots of raving social media fans, boost website traffic and get links fast.

#1. Use ScrapeBox to Find the Top Industry Influencers Fast

ScrapeBox has gotten a bad reputation because it includes an automated blog comment poster.

But it has a huge collection of useful SEO tools, including a fantastic URL harvester.

And at Randombyte, we fire it up and use it whenever we launch a new project.

Start ScrapeBox, and then set the desired footprint. Here are a few good examples:

  • intitle:blog
  • intitle:blogger
  • intitle:author
  • inurl:blog
  • inurl:author
  • intitle:links
  • intitle:resources
  • inurl:links
  • inurl:resources

Input your target keyword(s), and then press the "Start Harvesting" button.


Google's search results continue to be the most relevant, but feel free to add Yahoo, Bing, or your favorite search engine to the list. Then, press the "Start" button.


ScrapeBox will query Google's database, returning the top 100 search results for each keyword.

Tip: You need to use proxies if you work with several keywords. Fortunately, ScrapeBox also includes a free proxy scraper.

Some of the harvested domains may show up several times in Google's search results, so we must filter them.


It's time to export our results! Ninja Outreach can access clipboard data, so there's no need to export, and then import files.


This is where things get interesting. Log into your Ninja Outreach account, and then create a new list.

Skip this step if you plan to add prospects to an existing list, of course.

Then, click the "Import" button and choose the "Click here to submit websites" link.

Choose your list, and then paste ScrapeBox's output in the "Websites" field.


Keep the "Discard duplicate domains" checkbox enabled; otherwise, you may upset some bloggers by emailing them several times.

Ninja Outreach will send you an email when the data gathering process is done.

From my experience, you'll barely have the time to grab a cup of coffee until all the data is processed 😉

It's time to start emailing your new list. Be sure to visit each website before emailing its webmaster, though.

You want to personalize each email, and thus significantly boost your response rate.

#2. Use Ahrefs to Get Enthusiastic Fans, Retweets and Traffic

Just like Ninja Outreach, Ahrefs is a tool I simply couldn't live without.

Let's see how you can use it to get lots of Twitter fans, who will enthusiastically retweet your content.

Log into Ahrefs, and then click the "Content Explorer" link.

Type in the desired keyword, and then press the "Explore" button.


Ahrefs will display lots of articles that have gotten a huge number of social shares.


Content Explorer gives us a big list of proven article ideas.

It also shows who has tweeted the links to those articles.

Click the "Who tweeted" button next to the article that is similar to your content piece.


You will see a list of people who shared that article with their followers.

This means that if you have a similar - and hopefully better! – content piece, you've already got a qualified list of prospects.

Most of these people will be eager to share your content, and thus send you free website traffic.

Start by following them on Twitter. Resist the temptation to ask for a retweet right away, though.

Your response rate will explode if you romance them first.

And this is exactly the place where Ninja Outreach makes itself useful once again.

Export the list, and then open it in Excel or your favorite spreadsheet application.


Sort your prospects, identifying the ones that have websites.

Click "Data" -> "Filter" -> "Sort Z to A" to display all the prospects that have a website at the top of the spreadsheet.


Select the URLs, and then copy them to the clipboard.

Paste them into Ninja Outreach, following the same steps we've used to import the

URLs gathered by ScrapeBox.

You will end up having a list of highly targeted prospects that includes contact info and detailed website metrics.

Send emails that demonstrate your respect for their work, write insightful comments on their articles, and then politely ask for a social media share and – why not? – a link to your article.

#3. Use "Search" to Get Easy Links

Ninja Outreach's "Search" feature is similar with ScrapeBox's URL harvester, so it can be used to find targeted prospects as well.

It's easy to get links from people who have mentioned your content, but have forgotten to link back to your website.

Go to the "Content Prospecting" tool, and then search for your business name or website URL, excluding the results that come from your own site.

I don't know about you, but I will gladly get links from DA68 and DA94 domains anytime!

Don't be put off by the small PA (Page Authority); a value of 1 shows just that the PA was measured for the other (www/non-www) version of the URL.

Save the prospects to a list, evaluate their sites' metrics, and then start reaching out to them.

Use an email template that's similar to the one below:


The top industry influencers are bombarded with dozens of requests each day.

So take your time and write outstanding content.

Keep your readers in mind, teaching them as many useful things as you can. Be sure to create actionable content pieces.

Show your website visitors what they need to do to get results, step by step.

Then, use the tips above to find popular industry bloggers and people who have shared similar articles in the past.

Contact them using personalized emails, which demonstrate that you know them and you appreciate their work.

What do you think of the tips and tactics described above? How do you plan to use them? What would you do to improve them?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!

George Pirvu is the CEO of Randombyte, an online marketing company that helps businesses increase online sales, build and protect their online reputation. He has worked for big corporations such as General Motors, as well as for many small business owners. Don't be a stranger! Drop him an email at george.pirvu@randombyte.com

How to Leverage Influencers to Build the Best Content Upgrade

A Content upgrade is a powerful way to capture leads, as you’ve probably heard before. Influencer marketing is a powerful way to increase your reach and, ultimately, your bottom line.

I propose combining these two methods into a single, potent strategy.

Here are few quick statistics to warm you up to this idea:

Convinced? Good.

So, what happens when you combine these two incredibly powerful tools?


Now, this post is split into 3 sections:

  1.  The kinds of posts that attract influencers
  2.  How to create a content upgrade that catches an influencers eye
  3.  How to get influencers to talk to you

Here goes nothing!

Kinds of posts that attract influencers

Before you can create a content upgrade to attract influencers to your brand, you first have to create the content you’re going to upgrade from.

The kinds of posts that attract influencers in the first place are those that involve the influencers themselves.

Of course, before you can involve your influencers you must first find them. You can use Ninja Outreach to do just that!

Now then, what are the kinds of posts influencers like?

It’s simple if you think about it - people love feeling important. Not a single person on Earth doesn’t want to feel important on some level.

Write posts that make your influencers feel important!

That could mean posts like:

  • List posts of the best tools
  • Interview posts with the top influencers
  • Roundups of the top content from influencers

Let me explain these in further detail:

List posts of the best tools


This one may not seem like a good idea for influencer outreach. Why would listing tools attract influencers?

The key is to include tools made by influencers.

While you can simply list their tools and write some BS about how great it is even though you’ve never tried it, I suggest actually using their tool first. Most of them have a free trial (Ninja Outreach does!)

Once you’ve tried their tool, write about it. What makes the tool so great? Try to include quotes from the influencers that made them for maximum impact.

Interview posts with the top influencers

Interview posts are awesome as well because being asked to be interviewed is incredibly flattering; It must mean you’re doing well.

I’ve had a lot of success with this method. The best part is that it’s easy because you don’t have to actually write any content - the interviewee gives it to you!

You can choose to interview just one person or multiple people. I like interviewing multiple people because it’s interesting to get a lot of different perspectives. Alternatively, you can interview multiple people and turn each interview into its own post!

The hardest part here is getting the person to take 20 or 30 minutes to sit down and talk with you. You have to make it a no-brainer for them - give them two or three dates and times, and promise not to take more than 15 minutes of their time.

I find that 15 minutes often turns into 30 or even 60 minutes. People love to talk about themselves!

One thing to keep in mind when writing interview posts - don’t give away the full interview in the original article. You’re going to want to hold the full thing back for use in a content upgrade (which I’ll explain in the next section).

Pro Tip: If you can’t get them to agree to an interview, then create a list post of “The Top X Experts in [Your Field]”. Mention them, link to them, and talk about their achievements. Then, let them know you mentioned them! They’re likely to share a piece writing about them as an expert - wouldn’t you?

Roundups of the top content from influencers

expert roundup using Neil Patel

Here's an example of an expert roundup using Neil Patel

This is another super easy strategy because, again, you don’t have to write as much of your own content.

The easiest way to do this is by going to your list of influencers and checking out their blogs. Look for what seems to be great content, then add that content to your post.

Be sure to write a quick summary of each article with a few key takeaways. Don’t give away the whole article, but talk about why you picked it for your roundup.

I also like to add a mention of each of the writer’s names directly with their Twitter handles afterward.

For example, my friend Jacob McMillen (@jmcmillen89) wrote an interesting article about the 7 skills every entrepreneur should develop, and one of them was being able to balance hustle and life. I couldn’t agree more - it’s such a difficult thing to balance, yet so crucial to our happiness.

You’ll notice a few things I did in this mention:

  • I called him my friend (we’ve only exchanged a handful of emails, but I still consider him a friend).
  • I used his name.
  • I added his Twitter handle to make it easy for others to follow him.
  • I mentioned his article.
  • I talked about a key takeaway and expanded on it slightly.

When this article is live, I’ll mention it to him and, hopefully, he’ll return the favors by sharing this post with his followers. (Hi, Jacob!)

Pro tip: Look for someone who is an authority on the subject, but isn’t so huge that they won’t be pleasantly surprised at your mention of them. Someone who has seen success, but not so much that they’re mentioned everywhere and won’t care that you mentioned them.

How to create a content upgrade that catches an influencer’s eye

content upgrade checklist

Now, to the heart of the article - getting not just your content, but your content upgrade to catch an influencer’s interest.

Depending on which article type you chose in the last section, there are a few different things you can do in order to influence the influencers.

If you chose to showcase the best tools, then an in-depth guide to using one of the tools, or multiple tools together, would make an excellent content upgrade. For added benefit, you could have the influencer help you create the guide with insider tips, a few quotes, or even a video or audio piece with some extra help.

If you chose to conduct interviews, then your content upgrade could be the full interview, with one specific person or multiple people. You did hold back some value for this like I mentioned in the last section, didn’t you? For example, you can post snippets or key takeaways from the interview as a main blog post, then release the full interview as a content upgrade in exchange for the viewer’s email address.

If you chose to do a roundup of the top content, then your content upgrade could be a condensed list of your key takeaways from all the articles. Alternatively, you could create an in-depth explanation of one of the topics on the list, or even an interview with one of the authors of the content on the list.

Out of all three article types, I find the list of tools to be the most effective. The reason is because it’s very flattering (and highly beneficial) to the influencers who created them, and it’s fairly easy to get them to give some extra tips for your content upgrade.

How to get influencers to talk to you

Mentioning influencers is only half the battle. You have to actually *gasp!* reach out to them!

I know, it sounds daunting if you’ve never done anything like this before. However, you’ve already made it easy for yourself - You already gave them the credit.

The rule of reciprocity is one of the golden rules Dale Carnegie talks about in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

You did something for them, so they’re more likely to want to do something for you. You also made them feel special, which will make them like you even more!

However, there are a few things you can do first to make this cold email outreach easier.

Comments and shares

Bill Widmer response in comment section

There are two things every blogger loves: Comments on their posts and shares.

We work hard on the content we produce. We want to feel appreciated for it.

So, find the influencers you plan on reaching out to, and start commenting on their blog and social media and share their posts. Be sure to mention them when you do.

You’ll notice a few things about the Tweet above.

  1.  I directly mentioned the writer’s name, not just the blog they wrote for.
  2.  I talked about a direct takeaway I gained from their post (understanding how powerful expert roundups are).
  3.  I expressed that others should take a look at his work through my enthusiasm.

Wouldn’t you feel warm and fuzzy inside if you got a mention like that? I know I would.

And again, the rules of reciprocity and making the other person feel special are critical.

Don’t stop at a Tweet, though. Comment on their blog with some key takeaways too! You can also engage with them on their Facebook page, if they have one.

Now, it’s on to the next step…

Reaching out via email

It’s time to actually reach out to your influencers and get some of that coveted influencer love. If you’ve taken all the previous steps, the person you’re reaching out to should recognize your face and name, at least a little bit.

There are 3 things to keep in mind when reaching out to an influencer using email:

  1.  Mention them by name, if possible. A person’s name is, to that person, one of the sweetest sounding words in the world. Thanks, Dale.
  2.  Keep it short and sweet. Influencers are some of the busiest people in the world. (Or, at least, they like to think they are and you should assume so as well.) Your email should be no longer than a 15-30 second read.
  3.  Make it skim-able. Just like it’s important to format your blog posts for easy reading, it’s also important to make your emails easy to read. The easier you make it for the person you’re sending it to, the higher the chance they’ll say yes.

Not sure what to say when you reach out? Click here to download Ninja Outreach’s free influencer outreach email template. It already has all the things mentioned above so you can just copy-paste with a little bit of personalization each time you send it out.

*Hint, hint - in case you didn’t realize, that free download is a perfect example of a content upgrade!

Once you’ve sent the emails, give them a few days to respond. I like the 3-5 day rule - remember, you’re asking them for a favor, so don’t be too pushy.

If 3 days have gone by and you haven’t heard anything, feel free to reach out again. You can say something along the lines of:


Like many of the digital marketing tactics these days, influencer outreach can be a numbers game. Don’t expect that everyone you reach out to will get back to you. The more emails you send, the better your chances will be.

As long as you keep in mind that people like to feel special and are more likely to reciprocate favors when you do something for them first, your chances should be fairly high.

I hope this article helps you get through to some of the influencers in your industry and helps you increase your traffic and grow your business! If you have any questions or need help with your influencer outreach, leave me a comment below!

Bill is a content marketing expert and freelance writer. He created a free cheat sheet to landing guests posts like this one, which you can download here.