financial blog writers

Financial Blog Writers: 5 Secrets for Amplifying Content Quality & Succeeding in the SERPs

Financial firms: Got a blog?

I sure hope you do.

It might sound like an obvious statement, but your blog is your biggest reader magnet. Without one, you’re practically undiscoverable in the 400 million active websites online today.

According to Demand Metric, 90% of businesses are blogging in 2020. By the time you’re done reading this article, tens of thousands of posts will have been finished and pushed live. With 77% of all internet users reading blogs now, and blogs considered one of the top five most trustworthy sources of information, there’s no bones about it — your finance business needs a blog.

But there’s a lot of content already out there, which means you’re facing stiff competition.

And if you’re in a popular niche like finance, the competition is even fiercer. You need expert financial blog writers on your side.

Psst… we craft industry specialist content for brands in the finance space! See our expert finance writer rates here.

However, competition for eyeballs isn’t all talented financial blog writers have to worry about. From special quality requirements by Google to features of the industry itself, here’s why it pays to invest in a writer who knows that they’re doing in this field (plus plenty of actionable tips for you to get started writing your finance blog!).

Let’s dive in!

Financial blog articles are hard to do well and easy to mess up. Why? You need financial know-how AND engaging writing. ✍💰💲 @JuliaEMcCoy discusses the expertise you need and how to write for this tough industry. Click To Tweet

financial blog writers

First Things First: Offering Financial Advice Is Tricky Business Even Under Normal Circumstances

Have you ever received well-meaning but inaccurate financial advice from a friend or family member?

They probably thought they knew what they were talking about. It probably sounded good. Maybe you even acted upon it. But surprise!

Things didn’t go so great. 😬

Let me be the first to warn you: Google is well aware of people like your friend or family member, and they don’t have time for crappy financial content in their search engine.

You may already be an expert on finance, but if you’re thinking about starting a finance blog, make sure you do your homework. 📚

Specifically, make sure you know how to convey to Google the fact that you do, in fact, know what you’re talking about.

Here’s how.

Your Money or Your Life

Unlike writers in other industries, financial blog writers need to be aware of a small but uber-critical quality requirement: YMYL.

It stands for Your Money or Your Life.

According to Google, YMYL topics are those that can impact a person’s future happiness, health, safety, or financial stability.  The Official Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines require a Very High-Quality rating for all pages that fall under YMYL. That’s because if someone follows the advice and it turns out to be poor or inaccurate, it can have serious negative consequences on their life, happiness, health, or finances.

How do you demonstrate quality under YMYL?

You make sure your readers are E-A-Ting the best content! Demonstrate:

  • Identify authors and their credentials. Showcase your company’s accomplishments and dedicate yourself to never publishing low-quality content. Ever.
  • Develop your brand’s authority by consistently publishing high-quality, well-researched, and cited content on specific topics.
  • Be transparent about who you are and what your company is about. Have your contact information clearly listed, and make sure all other important info is easy to find.

But! Make sure you’re actually demonstrating that authority to back it up, even if you’ve got the most interesting blog in the world. 😉

authority meme

‼HOT TIP: Financial blog writers need to be aware of a small but uber-critical quality requirement for ranking: YMYL (Your Money or Your Life). Learn more ➡ Click To Tweet

How to Write Financial Blog Articles That Win Audiences (and Conversions!)

It’s easy to fall into the trap of dry, uninspired writing, but the best finance blog writers know just how to spice up the copy to win audiences and conversions.

Here’s a quick guide for financial bloggers and a few tips when writing a finance blog.

1. Analyze Your Target Audience, Then Speak Directly to Them

Nobody likes being talked at – on the internet, talking at your audience is a great way to scare them off.

With financial blog articles, it can be easy to sink into that. However, you should be cultivating your unique voice in a way that creates a conversation with your readers.

The best way to speak to your readers? Understand their language, their needs, goals, and desires.

You can identify those things with a target persona. You can think of a target persona as a case study of your readers. It can shed insight into what topics you should discuss, what you should avoid, and how to approach conversations for the best possible reception.

I also recommend that you:

  • Define your target audience as narrowly as possible. Finance is such a big topic that it’s better for you to define the scope of your blog as narrowly as you can. That also allows you to develop your content differentiation factor.
  • Identify your audience’s reading level. A finance blog written for investment specialists will sound very different from one intended for the general public.
  • Embrace the human element. Finances can be a touchy, emotional subject. So, don’t be afraid to address the human element of the conversation to get in touch with your audience.

financial samaurai

When your target audience is well-defined, it will show! Compare the Financial Samurai to the Penny Hoarder (below). Who is the target audience of each?

2. Give Your Financial Blog Readers a Reason to Read

We like to know that we’re going to get something for our efforts. So, with every financially-centric blog you post, get in the habit of putting yourself in your target audience’s shoes and asking yourself: what’s in it for me?

People (usually) don’t go looking through financial blog content unless they’re enthusiasts on the topic. If they’ve landed on one of your articles, chances are they’re looking for advice. Therefore, pay special attention to the value that you’re providing by highlighting the clear benefits of each article. Do:

  • Make tips and advice as actionable as possible
  • Break down concepts and leave your readers feeling more knowledgeable than they were
  • Lay out the key points and benefits early (the introduction is a great place) so readers know what they’re getting and why reading this blog is worth their time
  • Share your unique wisdom and perspective (content differentiation factor!)

When writing financial topics, you need to be engaging and informative, but NOT stuffy, to win readers. Learn how to take the “stuffy” out of your writing in my Unlearn Essay Writing course.

3. Use Your Blog as an Opportunity to Build Relationships

According to Bankrate, the average adult in the U.S. stays with their bank for some 16 years – five years longer than the average marriage lasts.

The best financial writers know that the industry is used to thinking in terms of (and emphasizing) relationships, so they take care to demonstrate this in the content they create.

If you’re treating each blog as a conversation with your readers, you’ve already taken the first step toward building a relationship with them.

Now, take it a step further.

In 2020, readers want to know that you’re there to provide value, and to be of service beyond simply doing what it takes to win a sale. Readers convert to customers when they not only feel good about the product, but also the company providing it.

Why? Focusing on building relationships sends the message that you care about the experience your customers have with you. According to PwC, 73 percent of customers will stay loyal if that experience is a good one.

So, take the opportunity to show your readers you care. Always remember to:

  • Showcase your transparency with author bios and credentials clearly listed (remember: YMYL!)
  • Use compelling CTAs to invite your readers to interact with your brand further
  • Invite feedback via blog comments or other forms
  • Create content that makes your readers part of your story

financial blog writers quote

4. Get Catchy with Financial Headlines

Mastering the art of headline writing matters for all content writers, but it’s especially important for financial blog writers. Why?

Because when 73 percent of people are skimming your blogs, what are their eyes going to catch?

The headlines. And let’s be honest, which would you rather read…

  • IRS Advice for the Self-Employed
  • Self-Employed? Lower Your Tax Burden With These Lesser-Known Credits

When it comes to financial blog content, use catchy headlines that emphasize what’s in it for the reader. Consider headlines that indicate an article will:

  • Make life easier
  • Show the reader how to do something
  • Present information backed by science
  • Share hard-won wisdom or personal experience
  • Provide a fresh take on an overdone topic

(These are great tips right here!)

The Penny Hoarder blog

Which headlines stand out to you, and what do they all say about who the Penny Hoarder’s target audience is?

5. Avoid Finance Jargon Jungles

Last but not least, financial articles can run on the long side. (Neil Patel once found that the average length of a finance blog article was around 2,500 words.)

That’s plenty of space to stray waaaaaay into the weeds. 🌿🌼

On its own, that’s not a bad thing. There are lots of gems of wisdom to be found in the weeds. But you also run the risk of getting trapped in jargon jungles, using terminology that might prove confusing to your readers.

Remember: the average adult reads at a ninth-grade reading level. Unless you’re writing specifically for a crowd who you know will understand the terms, it’s better for your readers (and SEO) to use plain English as much as possible.

📰 Newsflash: The average adult reads at a 9th grade reading level. Unless you’re writing for a crowd you know will understand the terms, it’s better for your readers (and SEO) to use plain English as much as possible. 👍 Click To Tweet

Need Expert Financial Blog Writers? We Got ‘Em!

TL;DR: finance blog writing is its own kettle of fish bait.

From satisfying Google’s special quality requirements to crafting engaging, accessible copy, you’ve got a lot on your hands. I’ve provided a bunch of tips for you to get started writing a finance blog, but an expert financial blog writer can also help.

Check out our content shop to learn more about the finance blog content we offer, or talk to us about finding an expert copywriter in your unique niche.

Happy creating!

Hire financial blog writers

gpt 3

What Is GPT-3 and Will It Take Over Our Writing Jobs?

As a writer myself and the owner of a writing agency, artificial intelligence (AI) has been after our jobs for a while.

Can it be done cheaper? By a robot? …For less money?

Time and time again, the answer has been no. I even wrote a two-part series a couple years ago for Content Marketing Institute, debunking the myth that robots can write content and replace a real, human, breathing writer.

Today, technology is growing at a faster pace than ever. From manufacturing to rote office tasks, we’re finding AI replaces human workers in practically every industry. Anyone working a rote or repetitive task is quickly seeing him or herself replaced by a machine. In fact, AI expert Kai Fu Lee believes as many as 40 percent of the world’s jobs will one day be automated.

So, as of 2020, could content writing be among them?

With the launch of GPT-3 in May 2020, many people think it’s possible.

Before you panic, however, keep reading. I’m taking a closer look at what GPT-3 is, how it’s causing us to rethink content, and why artificial intelligence will never replace certain activities – particularly those that rely on human creativity.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Is AI in the form of GPT-3 coming for our content writing jobs in the near future? 🦾 @JuliaEMcCoy doesn't think so. Get 5 major reasons why, now on the Write Blog ✅ Click To Tweet

what is gpt 3 and will it take our jobs

What Is GPT-3?

GPT stands for “Generative Pre-Trained Transformer.” It’s a language AI created by San Francisco-based tech company OpenAI – backed by, yes, Elon Musk.

GPT-3 is the third edition of GPT, which rolled out in May 2020. In July 2020, OpenAI announced the creation of its waitlist for access. Those encouraged to sign up include entrepreneurs, academic researchers, or members of the general public interested in becoming beta testers.

Transformer-based AI language generators have already been around for a few years, first appearing in 2017. OpenAI GPT appeared in 2018, and the upgrade, GPT-2, was released in February 2019.

Compared to OpenAI GPT, GPT-2 was a sleek and sophisticated model with some 1.5 billion parameters for constructing text. At the time of its release, OpenAI noted GPT-2 was “probably too dangerous to release” but it had “seen no strong evidence of misuse so far.”

GPT-3 is two orders of magnitude more powerful than GPT-2, with 175 billion parameters. It’s better equipped than any other AI model out there to spin out realistic, convincing text.

And it does. Check out this pop song by Taylor Swift about Harry Potter…

GPT-3 produced pop song

Arram Sabeti used GPT-3 to produce numerous pieces of content, including instructional manuals, interviews, and pop songs.

How GPT-3 Works

The GPT-n series uses what’s called an autoregressive language model that makes use of the same deep learning mechanisms found in natural language processing.

(If any of those words sound familiar, it’s because I’ve talked about them briefly before. Google now deploys NLP to better understand search intent – that’s what BERT was all about.)

Let’s break down what all of that means.

An autoregressive language model is a model that attempts to identify the next best word in a string of words based on the ones that come before.

For a very simple example, consider the first line of the Taylor Swift song above.

We know in English that all sentences follow a certain structure: it’s usually something like “subject – verb – object.”

If we start with a subject – the most obvious choice being “Harry” – then we know that the next word needs to be a verb.

Sure, we could shove any verb in there. That’s not how our brains actually work when we’re writing. However, in autoregressive modeling, the algorithm will only consider the word(s) before. Right now, that’s our starting point.

So, Harry. Harry what?

Harry’s got.

Got what?

Glasses.

That “Harry’s got glasses” ended up being the first line is random. It could have just as easily spit out “Harry’s got a scar” or “Harry’s got books.” We’ve clearly been given more data about Harry and his physical features.

As a result, the grammar and context are both correct. The lyrics feel genuine.

That’s a major step up from what AI could do just three years ago when I tested out another model. Given the subject (content marketing) and some basic data about it, the AI returned this brilliant gem of utter nonsense:

AI-produced content writing

The state of AI in 2020 is a whole other level compared to what it was in 2017. Source: CMI.

In 2017, it was much easier to laugh at the idea of AI taking over things like creating news stories, wiki articles and – yes. Web content. But if you’re looking at that Taylor Swift song and getting an uneasy feeling in your stomach, you’re not alone.

Why Some Fear GPT-3 Will Make Writers Obsolete

GPT-3 was specifically built to create realistic, convincing text – and it does exactly that. In fact, some people have already attempted to use it in content writing. Will that make writers in this industry obsolete? Here’s why some people think so:

  • Early creations are convincing. Early research around GPT-3 has shown it can – and does – generate news articles that human readers have difficulty distinguishing from reality. That makes it one of the most important (if not frightening) advances in AI yet.
  • GPT-3 can seemingly predict the future. Want to predict the future? Maybe tell GPT-3 what’s going on and ask what’s going to happen. Actually, researchers did exactly that, updating the AI about the 2020 pandemic. It accurately predicted which industries would be most affected, and what would happen to the world economy as a result.

But really. If you’re a writer with any skill whatsoever, AI is not coming to take away your job.

Here’s why.

If you’re a writer with any skill whatsoever, AI is not coming to take away your job. 🤖 Learn 5 reasons why via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

5 Reasons Why Content Writers Aren’t Going Away – Even with GPT-3

In July 2020, Vox described GPT-3’s ability to churn out convincing content as “uncanny.” Arram Sabeti’s experiment likewise raised questions about whether AI could soon be good enough to eliminate the need for human content writers.

The answer? Nope.

1. News Articles and Content Writing Aren’t the Same

AI excels where there’s lots of data that needs crunching and tasks are rote – news article writing satisfies both of these requirements. If you give AI data (facts), and parameters (article structure), you’ll get a news article that reads convincingly.

Content writing isn’t quite the same.

In fact, if you’re doing content writing correctly, it won’t read like a news article. Why?

Content writing requires creativity. And…

2. AI Can’t Replicate Human Creativity

Sure, there’s an entire site dedicated to the creative fiction of GPT-3. But if you read through it, you’ll notice a few distinct things:

  • It’s formulaic. Whether it’s 50 lines of Tom Swifties or horoscopes for Rick Brown, you’ll notice something if you study them: Sentence and paragraph structures are all exactly the same.
  • It only sounds great because the data and parameters were great. The examples are all ridiculous because the researchers used ridiculous things to generate the output.

Is that really creativity?

AI won't replace content writers for a major reason: Writing requires creativity, and AI can't replicate that. 💡 Find 4 more reasons on the Write Blog 👉 Click To Tweet

Human-crafted writing varies. Flowing from one sentence to the next, it uses a wide mix of structures and lengths. So far, GPT-3 has shown that’s not super possible. At the end of the day, you can tell.

There are also multiple types of content – they can’t all sound like news articles or copypasta.

3. Robots Suck at Emotion. And Context.

Content writing isn’t just about putting buzzwords on a page where people are most likely to see them or stuffing articles full of keywords at specific intervals.

In the 2020s, content writing has leveled up. You’re now expected to care about angles, to connect with your readers. To tell stories.

Research overwhelmingly shows that emotional connections work when it comes to converting readers into paying customers. In one study, a major bank successfully improved its conversion rates by 70 percent by rebranding a credit card from an emotional angle.

Good luck getting AI to hook your readers by the heartstrings. It’s an age-old cliché – robots have no heart.

4. Content Writing Isn’t Data-Oriented

Sure, there are facts. Sure, having statistics in your content can help you demonstrate more credibility and authority.

We even have a lot of statistics showing how to do content correctly, especially blogs. But when it comes down to it?

Things that are data-oriented tend to have specific processes, procedures, and methodologies. Content writing – while certain structures might exist – doesn’t really have any of those. It’s still a process that’s unique to the people who are writing it.

Professional content writing is creative, unique, and engaging – NOT stuffy or robotic. Unlearn the bad writing habits you don’t need and absorb the amazing ones you do to stand out: Click here to learn more about the Unlearn Essay Writing course!

Speaking of which…

5. If You Could Be Replaced, You Were Already

If GPT-3 had been rolled out in 2008, content writers would probably be a quaint relic of internet history today.

That’s because in 2008, content writers were robots churning out pages upon pages of poorly written, keyword-laced gibberish designed to win positions in the SERPs.

If that was you, and you never progressed past that level, you’ve been replaced.

But if you kept pace with the industry and learned the skills content writers need today, then you have more work than you know how to handle. Content writers who can tell stories, connect with readers, and inspire conversions are as much in demand as ever.

Exceptional Content Will Always Need a Human Touch

GPT-3 is a fascinating development in the realm of artificial intelligence, and one that holds the potential to change the world. I’ve looked at what it is and why some people in the content writing industry fear that it may one day come for our jobs.

But don’t worry, content writing will always need a human touch because of the unique requirements that robots simply can’t recreate. Keep honing those content creation skills, and always remember to focus on the human – that’s what your readers want.

In need of exceptional writers to handle your content? Check out our content shop and get started with an expert writer today.

CRO

What Is CRO? Your Complete Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization in 2020

This post was originally published in March 2014 and completely updated in August 2020.

SEO, SMO, CMO, UXO, CRO… What does it all even mean?

It’s another one of those alphabet soups that digital marketers love, but make the rest of us want to pull out our hair.

However, if you look closely, you might notice something. Each of these acronyms has something in common.

It’s one word: optimization… Something else that digital marketers love.

Whether it’s the user experience, the search engine rankings, or the conversion rate of a website, savvy digital marketers will attempt to optimize anything and everything.

We’re going to focus on that last one right now: conversion rates.

According to research by Wordstream, the average conversion rate for a website hovers around 3%. But the top 10% of any given industry will demonstrate conversion rates of 11.45%.

How do you aspire to that jaw-dropping percentage?

You use one of the most powerful yet underrated tools in digital marketing: conversion rate optimization.

Let’s explore!

What is CRO, or conversion rate optimization? It's the process of tweaking your website & content to generate better conversions from existing traffic. 💯 In other words, convince them to ACT! More on the Write Blog ➡ Click To Tweet

CRO

What Is CRO in Marketing?

CRO stands for conversion rate optimization. According to HubSpot, it’s the process of adjusting your website and content to generate greater conversions from the traffic already landing on it.

Most forms of marketing focus on improving site traffic, generating better quality leads, or positioning your brand in front of your target audience. These are all important activities, but they’re only half of the marketing puzzle.

We’ve all clicked through to sites doing an amazing job marketing themselves with edgy social media posts, only to find ourselves not sold enough to commit once we’re on the landing page. This happens because the brand focused on external marketing and hasn’t optimized the user experience for conversion.

Just because you’ve attracted an audience doesn’t mean they’re showing up with cash in hand, ready to buy. In fact, only a small percentage of people who land on your site will go through with a transaction, whether it’s completing a transaction or signing up for a newsletter:

Visitors who complete a transaction

Lots of people will view your site. A handful of them will even put things into their cart, but only a sliver will go through with the sale. Source: Crazy Egg.

CRO is all about bumping up that 3.3% to a higher number by taking immediate, metric-oriented steps on your site. It’s a simple, powerful, and overlooked strategy for generating greater revenue.

No fiddling with keywords or social media settings required.

What It Really Means to Convert

Let’s talk about conversion real quick. In the simplest terms, a conversion happens when we turn one thing into another. In marketing, conversion specifically refers to people who engage in a specific desired activity that furthers your business goals. For example:

  • Curious readers into avid subscribers
  • Digital window shoppers into paying customers
  • Early-stage buyers into account holders

The mechanism by which you attract and convert your target audience into customers is called the sales funnel. Conversion is often considered the final step in the funnel, but you can have several smaller conversions along the way as a user moves from being a curious onlooker to a paying customer.

However, not every action a user takes represents a conversion. Conversion is not:

  • People clicking through from the search engine or social media to your site
  • People clicking around on your website

Although they’re both desirable actions, neither of these behaviors indicate that a user is moving closer to subscribing or purchasing from you.

CRO vs. SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of analyzing and optimizing your digital presence to improve your position in Google so your target readers can find you. Typically, SEO focuses on things like keywords, metadata, and content structure to boost site traffic and get noticed by potential customers.

SEO gets mixed up with CRO a lot, but the two do have quite a bit in common. In fact, it’s a good idea to focus on both as they work well together. In both cases, you’ll focus on:

  • Well-written, expert content that both elevates your standing in Google and improves conversion rates.
  • Optimized headlines, meta descriptions, and technical SEO to entice potential customers and improve the user experience.
  • Page layout. Well-designed pages are helpful from more than just a human perspective. They also help Google index your page and provide the most useful featured snippets.

CRO vs SEO

Why CRO Matters If You Want to Succeed

Obviously, presenting a compelling user experience is important because it leads to more revenue for your brand. However, there are a few other reasons you should spend more time with CRO if you aren’t already:

1. Content Marketing Has Become the Dominant Form of Advertising Online

If you’re relying on paid outbound marketing like PPC or sponsored posts, you’re at risk of falling behind. These days, pretty much all digital marketing takes the form of content marketing. That’s an approach to marketing that emphasizes the creation of helpful, engaging content that provides your target audience with the answers they’re already searching for in Google.

It’s not enough to simply have a great product and assume your customers think you’re the obvious choice. Your customers have a lot of choices, and they want you to demonstrate your authority on the matter.

Question: Do you know HOW to demonstrate your authority using incredible content marketing? It’s time to learn. Check out my Content Strategy & Marketing Course to get the serious skills you need to make it happen.

2. CRO Forces You to Study and Adapt to Your Customers

The impressions you make on customers – often the first ones – heavily determine your conversion rates. That might seem like an obvious statement, but you’d be surprised as to how frequently this gets overlooked online.

How many times have you ever clicked onto a site and been put off by the colors, the font, or something else entirely?

According to psychology, the brand has about a tenth of a second to make a first impression.

That’s why a one-second page delay can decrease conversion rates by as much as 7 percent, or why simply changing the color of a button can increase conversion rates by 21 percent.

In the sea of content your readers sail upon every day, it’s also why 94 percent of marketers see personalization as vital to success.

But you aren’t going to know why people are clicking away unless you’ve taken the time to unravel the mysteries of customer behavior. Even worse, you may change the wrong thing and send those conversion rates plummeting further.

CRO - how to calculate conversion rate

Signs You Need CRO for Your Site Right Now

So – you’ve done everything right. You’ve got great content on a well-planned site. Your product descriptions are the bomb. You’ve made it super easy for people to check out and you’ve got one hilarious newsletter that keeps your audience engaged.

Think you don’t need CRO? You’re dead wrong, especially if any of these signs apply to you:

  • You’re getting lots of traffic, but low or declining conversions. So, people are finding you. Your Google Analytics dashboard looks fantastic. Yet, sales are trickling in. That indicates something is going wrong in your funnel just before conversion, and you need to fix it.
  • You can’t identify where people fall out of the funnel. You’ve got half-finished signups, abandoned carts, unsubscribes galore… But you can’t spot any pattern to it all. That indicates a lack of analytics tools, and possibly a lack of understanding about the customer journey.
  • Consumer psychology is a new concept for you. Most of marketing hinges on understanding consumer behavior. You can’t sell to people you don’t understand.
  • Your website still looks exactly how you designed it… Six years ago. In 2014, mobile-optimized design was still considered cutting edge. In 2020, about 67 percent of the world accesses the web via a mobile device… And they aren’t going to waste their time on your site if it doesn’t work.
  • You’ve just revamped your site or are in the process of updating it. Is it “new decade, new site” time in your neck of the woods? Make sure to include someone on your development team who knows about CRO and start off with a high-converting web presence.
  • Customers are complaining. They might not be complaining to you, but they’re still complaining. If you’ve recently come across a Reddit post or a Yelp review talking about how difficult it is to do anything on your site, it’s time to get it looked at and optimized.

CRO - conversion barriers

Barriers to conversion rate optimization: ❌Requiring registration from users to access content or complete a purchase ❌Burying information like shipping charges ❌Overwhelming customers with forms. More on the Write Blog: Click To Tweet

6 Strategies and Best Practices for CRO in Marketing

Optimizing your site for maximum conversion rates is the single most important thing you can do to improve your brand’s viability. Sometimes, all it takes is just a few tweaks to dramatically improve your audience’s response to the experience you create for them.

Unlike SEO or other forms of optimization, CRO can have immediate effects for minimum effort. That might sound too good to be true, but it’s not!

Here are six things you can do today to optimize your conversion rates and transform more readers into paying customers.

1. Identify Your Metrics Before Getting Started

Like much of digital marketing, CRO is metric-oriented and data-driven. You need this information to understand exactly what your customers are doing at any given moment while they’re interacting with your digital presence. Otherwise, you’ll be completely blind with no way to tell if any of the changes you’ve made are actually effective.

You want to track metrics that give you a good sense of how your users are interacting with your site across the board. A few I particularly like include:

  • Exit rate/time on site. This will tell you how long users are spending on your site before they leave it entirely. You may also want to track interactions per visit.
  • Cart abandonment rate. Are users filling up their carts, and then walking off without checking out? Find out how often this happens by tracking the abandonment rate.
  • Bounce rate. Unlike time on site, a bounce rate tracks single-page sessions. In other words, how many users are viewing only a single page before leaving?
  • Click-through rates. This will give you a sense of how many qualified leads are actually coming to your site.
  • Traffic sources. Different types of traffic sources (direct visitors vs. search visitors, for example) have different levels of engagement.
  • New vs. returning visitor conversion rate. Are you attracting many new customers with few of them returning? Or is most of your business from the same individuals returning over and over?
  • Engagement rates. Are some pages getting more attention than others? Consider looking into why.

2. Start Tracking Your User Activity Before Doing CRO Activities

If you don’t have Google Analytics for your site already, get it set up. It’ll provide many valuable insights into where your traffic is going and how people are interacting with your site.

After that, I like using heatmaps for analyzing behavior. Heatmaps show you where visitors are clicking, or where their attention gets drawn. That’s powerful for identifying where to place CTAs, how to organize content, and whether the page design is working for the content it holds.

heatmaps show user behavior

Heatmaps, like this one from Crazy Egg, can show you exactly where users are clicking or tapping. Source: Crazy Egg.

3. Know Your Brand’s Value Proposition

Have you identified your brand’s value proposition? It’s time to do that now. A value proposition includes all of the benefits your product offers, plus a recognition of your customer’s pain points. It’s how you’ll connect with your customers and set yourself apart from the competition. (If you haven’t identified yours, HubSpot has a great guide on doing that.)

According to HubSpot, knowing and expressing your brand’s value proposition can improve your conversion rates. It:

  • Informs your content, especially your CTAs
  • Highlights your solution as relevant to your target audience
  • Reduces consumer anxiety surrounding the buying process
  • Induces a sense of urgency
Free Masterclass!

 

4. Analyze Your Site From Your Visitor’s Perspective

Most people go into business because of something they’re passionate about, and that’s great. But being so close to your passion project can make it difficult to spot pain points or tricky navigation that’s only easy for you because you use it every day.

When you start a site analysis, make sure to approach it from your customers’ experience. Note any unusual flows, poorly placed CTAs, or ill-chosen colors.

I also recommend you use the metrics above to try to figure out why users are behaving on a certain page in a certain way. For example, if your heatmap shows that users aren’t scrolling down a page, try to identify whether it’s a content problem or a design problem.

You may even want to consider having a third-party reviewer take a look at your site and record their experience.

user expectations vs actual user experience

Make sure you’re displaying the information your users are looking for. Source: XKCD.

5. Start with Your Lowest Hanging Fruit

Once you’ve made a list of the improvements your site needs, take a moment to prioritize them in terms of difficulty and complexity. You may have entire pages that need to be overhauled, but that can take a long time. Since CRO can have immediate effects, start with the easiest changes first. For example:

  • Update your CTAs
  • Change button colors or text
  • Spruce up your headlines
  • Write more compelling metadata
  • Get new product pictures or screenshots

Move to more complex projects, like a new site homepage, after you’ve done the little things.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Input

Finally, if you’re really struggling to identify strategies for optimizing your conversion rates, ask your readers! Consider running a survey on your social media, website, or newsletter. You can even gamify it with a series of fun tasks to entertain and encourage responses.

If you’re wondering what to ask your readers about your site’s UX, Adobe has a bunch of ideas:

  • Focus on feelings and flows to uncover how they’re connecting with the experience
  • Collect demographic and tech literacy details if users are comfortable sharing
  • Record favorite and least favorite features
  • Ask users what they want to see implemented the most
  • Ask users about preferred content types

preferred content types

The types of content you use can have a tremendous impact on conversion rates.  Source: Ascend2 (via Smart Insights)

High-Performing Sites Have Content That Converts

Optimization is a major goal in digital marketing, whether it’s optimizing for the search engines or conversion rates on a site. CRO is one of your most powerful tools when it comes to strategizing how to encourage readers to transform into avid subscribers or paying customers. Hopefully, I’ve left you with a few ideas about how to optimize your conversion rates and increase your revenue.

However, while you’re revitalizing your CTAs and metadata, make sure all of your content is up to par. An expert writer who knows the ins-and-outs of writing that converts can help you perfect your message to compel your readers to act.

Ready to get started optimizing your conversion rates? Check out our landing page services and Authority content options to see how we can help.

Get started with CRO

how to find customer service representatives

How to Find and Hire Great Customer Service Representatives to Complement Your Marketing

Here’s a scary fact.

Your customer service representatives could be causing your business heavy losses.

In fact, businesses lose up to $75 billion a year because of bad customer service. 🤯

The bottom line?

You can’t have great marketing without awesome customer service representatives.

It’s a fact, fam.

In the past nine years of running my content agency, Express Writers, I can’t reinforce enough how true of a statement this is. When we do have the right people in our customer service representative team, 85-90% of prospects who start a chat with us convert into customers.

Wow!

So, how can you do it, too? How do you:

  • Find the right people to hire as customer service representatives?
  • Know how to differentiate between great and awful picks in the hiring process?
  • Lead your team of representatives, so you keep winning by keeping your customers happy?

In this blog, I’ll answer all your questions.

Let’s dive in!

Businesses lose up to $75 billion/year due to bad customer service (@forbes). 🤯 Great marketing doesn't work without awesome customer service reps. Learn to find the right hires and lead your team to keep your customers happy ❤ Click To Tweet

find great customer service representatives

What Is a Customer Service Representative?

A customer service representative is a person who interacts with your customers.

You already know about customer contact centers, where callers go when they need help with problems or questions. Solving these problems and answering these questions is what customer service representatives do.

At Express Writers, my customer service representatives are the first people potential clients talk to. They’re our front liners: the experts who give buyers their first glimpse of what they can expect if they decide to work with us.

No wonder they have to be (and are) so awesome!

What Do Customer Service Representatives Do?

There’s more than meets the eye in the job customer service representatives do.

Here’s a list of their most important duties:

  • Listening to customers’ concerns and needs
  • Helping potential customers understand product information
  • Taking new orders
  • Processing billing
  • Taking care of customers’ accounts
  • Solving problems and issues behind complaints
  • Taking care of returns and cancellations

Being a customer service representative is more than just picking up a phone call and answering a few questions.

It’s being a company’s voice, heart, and soul.

Customer service reps should be your company's voice 🗣, heart 💗, and soul 🕊. Find the right people to embody your company's vision, and you'll notice huge gains. Click To Tweet

And when you find the right people to embody your company’s vision, you’ll notice a huge change in your success level.

Here’s why.

Why It’s Important to Hire the Right Customer Service Representatives

Ever eat at a restaurant with a grumpy, frowning waitress who acted annoyed by your little requests?

I bet the experience was unpleasant. You probably picked another place to eat the next time you dined out.

That’s how important customer service representatives are. They’re the people who determine if customers love or hate you. They can make or break your business.

“But what if I have a great product? Won’t they skip over my unpleasant customer service representatives?”

Well, yes. Maybe some of them will.

But remember, you have competitors. And customers are picky about spending their money.

In fact, 90% of Americans consider customer service an important factor when deciding whether or not to do business with a company.

When asked what made them fall in love with a brand, 73% said it was friendly customer services representatives.

what makes consumers fall in love with a brand

According to a HubSpot survey, 80% of customers stop doing business with a company due to bad customer services.

80% of customers leave bc of bad customer service

Source: blog.hubspot.com

And what happens when you keep losing customers?

You spend more, since it’s 5x more expensive to gain new customers than to retain existing ones.

It costs 5x more to attract vs retain a customer

Source: invespcro.com

So, you can put all your bets on your products and pray your customers will ignore your bad customer service…

But chances are you’ll still see your sales dropping and your faithful followers abandoning you for your competitors.

How to Find and Hire Excellent Customer Service Representatives

So now you’re sorting through the piles of resumes on your desk (or computer).

You’re not sure what to look for. The right degree? 5 years of experience? 10? Awards, maybe?

Hint: None of these will tell you if you’re hiring the right customer service representative.

Here are three things to look for instead.

1. People Who Are Hungry

Average people spend 22 years of their lives learning, and then stop.

Geniuses spend their whole lives learning.

Michelangelo was one of them. “Ancora Imparo,” he said at age 87. I’m still learning.

And while you probably can’t hire another Michelangelo, you CAN find people who share his hunger for learning.

They’re not hard to miss. They’re always craving knowledge. Always stretching for growth, even when it’s uncomfortable. They’re eager for challenges, hungry for new skills, and willing to step out of their comfort zones.

These are the people you should hire.

According to John Brubaker in his Entrepreneur article, “You don’t have to micromanage the hungry. They’re so self-motivated they’ll push themselves harder than you could push them.”

2. People Who Are Humble

When I started out hiring my own customer services representatives, I was attracted to the same things that catch a ton of interviewers’ eyes.

The decades of experience. The awards. The numerous accolades.

And no, there’s nothing wrong with these.

But surprisingly (or not), the people with all these credentials are sometimes the hardest to work with. They’re 100% sure of their skills. They’re inflexible and unwilling to grow and learn. They don’t take criticism positively.

On the other hand, it’s a dream to work with humble people. Even if they aren’t as experienced. They’re open to learn and change, and it won’t be long before they overtake others with more experience.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A great man is always willing to be little.”

Take his advice and go for great in the hiring process.

Download the Profitable Content Marketer Skills Cheat Sheet

 

3. People Who Are Smart

Smart doesn’t necessarily mean degrees, honors, or awards.

It means wit, flexibility, and the ability to learn fast.

When hiring, look for people who think outside of the box. Look for individuals who are empathetic, quick to pick up new information, and determined not to give up on problems until they’re solved.

How to hire amazing customer service reps to complement your marketing: 1️⃣ Find people hungry for growth & knowledge 2️⃣ Find humble people 3️⃣ Find fast-learning smarties - people with wit & flexibility ✅ Click To Tweet

How to Lead a Great Team of Customer Service Representatives

Of course, hiring is just the first step on a long journey of leading your team of customer service representatives.

To gain their loyalty, prepare them for dealing with customers, and enjoy their best work, follow these four steps.

1. Focus on Results

Give your representatives freedom.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them guidelines on how to do their job. You should.

But once they’re trained and ready, let them choose their own schedules. Allow them to solve problems in their own unique ways. Give them the flexibility to think outside of the box when they need to.

If you work remotely, ditch the apps that take random screenshots of their computer screens. Stop nitpicking and asking for detailed reports covering every minute of their day. Trust them, and you’ll be amazed with the trust and loyalty you gain back.

This is so true with my own team of customer services representatives. I’m overwhelmed with how much trusting them and focusing on results has made them happier and harder workers.

“A sense of freedom — the ability to choose what you work on, as well as how, when, and where you perform your work — is a growing priority for talented professionals across sectors and industries, and one of the core elements of a fulfilling career.” – Harvard Business Review

2. Train Your Reps to Make Customers Feel They’re #1

When customers reach out, they’re looking for a “wow” experience with a company. They want to feel valued, special, and listened to.

So, if there’s one thing you can teach your customer services representatives, it’s empathy. You want them to step into your customers’ shoes. See the world with their eyes. Understand their needs and problems, and desire to solve them.

A great example is one of our customer service team members, Content Strategist Kira. What she does is go back and forth with prospective clients, answering their questions and providing them with the information they’re looking for. On live chat, she doesn’t even ask for their email right away, so they never feel like they’re being “turned into leads” or “moved down the funnel.”

Our chatbot (punnily named “The Write Bot”) is only set up during offline hours. During working hours, I always make sure there’s a real human our customers can reach out to.

Express Writers drift customer service

3. Encourage Self-Growth

You don’t want your customer service representatives to be like robots. You don’t want them churning out information they’re reading on a pre-made script.

Instead, you want them to be the voice of your company. You want them to be experts on what your company stands for and does, so customers feel they’re in excellent hands.

To do this, always encourage your representatives to grow. Train them, give them access to free materials and books, and dig up amazing resources for them.

This is how I do it at my agency. I give my team access to my courses and books, recommend blogs and authors to follow, and even curate content for them to read. The more they grow their expertise, the more they can gain trust from customers.

4. Create a Family Feeling

Make sure your customer service representatives feel supported. Let them know you (and other team members) will always be there when they have problems or questions.

This is exactly what we do at Express Writers. I created a special channel on Slack called #offtopic for my key members. On this channel, my team can chat about their day, share their experiences, and enjoy a close family feeling.

Great Customer Service Representatives Go a Long Way

You can create the best product or service in the world…

…and still be abandoned and ignored by customers because of bad customer experience.

So if you’ve been seeing a drop in sales or getting bad reviews, it’s time to step up your game and hire great customer service representatives.

You’ll be amazed by the difference this makes.

Talk to our great customer service representative about content

what is direct to consumer marketing blog

What Is Direct to Consumer Marketing? + How Content & Inbound Marketing Fits In

Here’s a scary fact: Your business can lose a ton of money if you stick to your traditional B2C campaign.

This is because consumers have radically evolved in the last decade.

Here’s proof:

So, what can you do to save your business?

Well, it’s simple. All you need to do is adapt to the way consumers want to connect to brands today.

It boils down to four words: direct to consumer marketing.

In today’s blog, I’ll show you exactly what it means, why you should do it, and how you can start up your own successful (but not costly) D2C campaign.

Ready to start?

Let’s dive in!

Scary fact: Your business can lose a ton of money if you stick to a traditional B2C campaign. 💀 Why? Consumers' buying habits have radically evolved in the last decade. The antidote? 💉 Direct to consumer marketing. Learn all about it: Click To Tweet

guide blog direct to consumer marketing

What is Direct to Consumer Marketing?

Direct to consumer marketing is simply marketing done without middlemen. While a traditional B2C campaign involves a retailer, an ad agency, a publisher, and other middlemen, a D2C marketing campaign involves only the brand and the buyer.

Here’s how HubSpot defines the term.

direct to consumer marketing definition

What is direct to consumer marketing? Marketing done without middlemen. It's just the brand and the buyer. 🤝 Click To Tweet

So, let’s imagine you’re selling shoes. Here are two scenarios for your marketing campaign.

Traditional B2C Campaign:

  • You sell your shoes at a retailer like Walmart, paying for ads to get your brand in front of potential customers.
  • Buyers walk into the store and interact with your brand through salespeople not connected with your company.
  • You have no way of knowing if buyers are happy with your product.

Direct to Consumer Marketing Campaign:

  • You sell your shoes straight to customers through your online store.
  • If they have questions, they can ask you directly.
  • They order and you send your product straight to their doorstep.
  • You get feedback and suggestions to improve your brand and better fit it to your target audience.

Direct to consumer marketing is minimalist, simple, and involves nurturing personal relationships with customers.

3 Reasons Why You Should Commit to Direct to Consumer Marketing

Thinking of starting a direct to consumer marketing campaign? Here are three big advantages to convince you to begin right away.

Advantage #1: You Can Deliver a Personalized Message to Potential Consumers

Direct to consumer marketing allows you to collect data straight from your consumers. Because you know your audience well, you can craft a brand message that speaks straight to them.

And this works. In fact, 34% of all consumers make an unplanned purchase when they read personalized content from a brand.

What’s more, 86% of all buyers say personalization has an impact on their purchasing decision.

Advantage #2: You Can Give Consumers the Option of Personalizing Your Product

For instance, consumers can request specialized print or packaging. You can add in freebies based on your knowledge of a particular buyer.

A great example of personalization is The New York Time’s NYT Cooking subscription.

NYT cooking subscription

Source: nytimes.com

Subscribers to NYT Cooking get their own personalized digital cookbook. They can use it to discover, save, and organize recipes they love on the platform.

Advantage #3: You Can Get Rid of the Profit Share

This is obvious when you’re selling your products at a huge conglomerate like Walmart.

But even if you sell your products online, a middleman like Amazon still lowers your profit share. A professional account on the platform plus fees add up to as much as 15% of your product’s price.

On the other hand, direct to consumer marketing allows you to eliminate the middleman and gain all the profit. You can even beat out your competition by offering your products at lower prices.

D2C marketing

How to Start Up a Direct to Consumer Marketing Campaign that Works

A powerful direct to consumer marketing campaign won’t sprout up overnight. It requires hard work, consistency, and the valuable tips below.

1. Find Your Brand Voice

Branding is essential in direct to consumer marketing. This is because your brand comes in direct contact with your consumers. So, you need to be clear about who your audience is, your mission, and your brand style.

A. Create Buyer Personas

The first step in molding your brand voice is knowing who your audience is. Only by understanding their needs, desires, and beliefs will you be able to truly reach them with your product.

So, how do you create buyer personas that work?

First, collect data on your buyers. You can do this by using Google Analytics and doing surveys.

Find out who’s buying from you. Then, find similarities in the data. You can use these similarities to come up with fictional characters your brand speaks directly to in a marketing campaign.

For instance, you find out most of your buyers are women over 40. They’re stay-at-home moms who don’t feel guilty about spending money for their kids.

Use this information to create your buyer persona. For example, you can call your 40-year-old stay-at-home mom Mildred. She loves splurging on her kids, but she’s worried they’ll end up spoiled. Create your message around Mildred’s needs and beliefs.

Whenever you sit down to create or improve a product, write content, or start a marketing campaign, do it to improve Mildred’s life.

B. Put Your Mission Statement Out Front and Center

What is your brand’s mission? How does it stand out from your competitors? How can your brand serve your consumers?

Write the answers to these questions down, then use the information to create a tagline consumers can’t resist.

Here’s an excellent example from Mailchimp.

mailchimp brand mission statement

C. Come Up with a Brand Style Guide

Your brand style guide will keep you consistent as you market straight to consumers in all stages of the buyer’s journey.

Here are three things to consider as you craft your style guide:

  • Custom colors
  • Custom design
  • Font size and style

Once you come up with a style guide, make sure to stick to it on all your campaigns.

How to find your brand voice for D2C marketing and speak directly to customers 📣: 1) Create buyer personas. 2) Put your mission statement front and center. 3) Create a brand style guide. Click To Tweet

what is in a quote about D2C marketing campaign

2. Work on Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is what makes direct to consumer marketing work.

It’s not like traditional advertising campaigns, where brands relentlessly push their products in buyers’ faces.

Rather, it’s building a strong relationship with consumers over time. It starts when a consumer makes one light interaction with your brand. If they’re happy with the interaction, they’ll make another one. Soon enough, you’ve developed a strong relationship with them.

This is where inbound and content marketing come in.

Here’s how it works.

First, you give people valuable stuff for free.

Let’s say a potential customer is a writer who wants to find out how to correctly connect sentences. To answer his question, he goes on Google and types, “how to connect sentences.”

This is what he finds.

Google results how to connect sentences

When he clicks it, he gets an entire blog packed with easy-to-digest rules and clear examples.

Grammarly blog example

Source: grammarly.com

Is he happy? Of course! The next time he has a grammar question, he returns to the site to find the answer.

What this leads to is trust. This user now sees Grammarly as an authority in the industry. After many light interactions over time, he trusts Grammarly as his go-to source for answers.

Now, if the user is looking for a spelling and grammar checker to use as he writes, Grammarly is definitely the first one he’ll think of. He’ll subscribe without even considering its competitors, because he already has a meaningful relationship with the brand.

grammarly subscriptions

Source: grammarly.com

That’s how subtly and powerfully great content leads to brand awareness.

Free Masterclass!

 

3. Start a Powerful Inbound Marketing Campaign

What about paid ads? Do they fit into a direct to consumer marketing campaign?

The truth is, paid ads will get you in front of your target market sooner. When you pay for ads, you can quickly get on page one of Google’s SERPs.

adidas google ad

But does that guarantee you’ll get a ton of sales and conversions?

No.

In fact, the writing is on the wall for today’s generation of paid ads.

Here’s the #1 reason why: buyers don’t trust paid ads. Look at these facts that prove it:

Enter content marketing. Content marketing is the cheaper, more successful way to gain higher conversions and brand success over time.

Take a look at these stunning facts:

  • The conversion rate of content marketing is 16%.
  • Leads generated from organic SEO have a close rate of 14%. Leads generated from paid advertising are less – at just 2%!

conversion rate - leads from SEO vs paid ads

Source: expresswriters.com

But that’s all just percentages. Maybe you’re asking something like, “How much exactly can I expect to gain from my content marketing efforts?”

If this is your question, you’ll love the formula I came up with to predict the ROI from content marketing. Here it is. Read the whole blog here: Infographic: The ROI of Content Marketing (In Numbers Everyone Understands and With a Case Study).

content marketing trifecta equation

So, let’s say you have 10,000 visitors on your site each month.

  • The conversion rate to leads is 16%, meaning you’ll have 1,600 leads per month.
  • The close rate for leads is 14%, giving you 224 sales per month.
  • If an average sale is $10, you’ll earn around $2,240 per month as a result of your content marketing.

The amazing news is content that converts like crazy doesn’t have to cost even ¼ of what you’ll earn. Visit our Content Shop to find out how to get a weekly blog for as low as $425/month.  

Watch me explain this in a recent YouTube video I did:

4. Give Buyers a Seamless Shopping Experience

Here are three elements modern buyers search for when shopping online. Integrate them with your brand and those buyers will return to you again and again.

A. Convenience

Direct to consumer marketing is all about convenience. It’s about buyers not having to go to Walmart because they can shop directly at your online store while they lounge on the sofa at home.

In fact, buyers love convenience so much that 8 in 10 Americans now shop online on a regular basis!

If this tells you to do one thing, it’s this: Give consumers even more convenience when they buy from you. Design your website so it’s easy to navigate. Provide them with a ton of payment options. Give them simple forms to fill out.

The more convenience buyers enjoy, the more they’ll love you.

B. Great Customer Experience

At Express Writers, we have a commitment to No Client Left Behind. This means we match our high-quality products with amazing customer services.

If you do less than this, you brand won’t survive. It’s that simple.

Let’s look at an example.

Imagine you want to buy an online course that’ll teach you to become a compelling copywriter.

You go online and search. There’s a bunch of GREAT options out there, and maybe you narrow it down to two.

On the outside, these two programs offer the same output: You’ll learn to be an amazing writer when you complete it. Also, the prices for the two courses are similar.

However, you have a problem. You’ve maxed out your credit card and you want to purchase the program through PayPal. You look through the forms but neither brand offers an option for PayPal payments.

So, you contact both companies.

The next day, Company X sends you this reply.

customer service example

Disappointing. But you perk up when you see the reply from Company Y.

customer service example

Of course, we know which company gets the sale.

C. A Platform to Voice Their Concerns, Suggestions, and Questions

To create a strong relationship with customers, make sure they know where to go when they have questions, concerns, or suggestions.

For example, for my course, The Practical Content Strategy and Marketing Course, I created a private Facebook group called Profitable Content Marketers.

profitable content marketers Facebook group

Group members can express opinions, make comments and suggestions, ask questions, and thrive in an environment of like-minded people.

what is a D2C marketing campaign

Direct to Consumer Marketing: Safeguard Your Brand in Today’s Fast-Changing Environment

Today, the traditional methods of marketing that worked like magic in the past are growing stale.

  • Retail stores are closing as shoppers flock to online stores.
  • Consumers resist paid ads by investing in ad blockers.
  • Shoppers search for a meaningful relationship with brands before buying.

The amazing news is you don’t have to worry about these changes when you start your own direct to consumer marketing campaign. D2C is a sure-fire way to safeguard your brand following in a fast-changing world of business.

Want to get premium content for your direct to consumer marketing campaign? Visit our Content Shop to get all the details.

lead magnet

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Ultimate Lead Magnet

Imagine this.

You’re the master of SEO and your website is consistently at the #1 position on Google’s SERPs.

You have tons of daily site visitors.

Thousands. Even millions.

Sound like huge success to you?

It’s not.

Because here’s the thing: Site traffic is COMPLETELY USELESS unless you’re converting your visitors.

Yup. Maybe you have 1,000,000 site visitors.

But those numbers mean nothing compared to your competitor who has 10 site visitors who all convert.

It’s in the conversions that you see real success.

So, how do you convert visitors into buyers?

It all begins with getting leads.

In this ultimate guide, I’ll teach you a proven formula for pulling in thousands of leads from your site.

I’ll show you how to create a LEAD MAGNET.

Don’t have a lead magnet right now? Or do you have a bunch of them that aren’t pulling in the numbers you expected?

Read this guide and find out:

  • Why you ABSOLUTELY need a lead magnet.
  • How DigitalMarketer pulled in 35,859 leads with a single lead magnet (I dissect this exact piece and show you why it worked so well).
  • A step-by-step guide on how to create a lead magnet of your own, based on this powerful example.
  • How Brian Dean boosted conversions by 785% in one day by using an easy-to-create lead magnet (the content upgrade).
  • How to create your own content upgrade.
  • Examples, tips, and images to inspire your creativity.
  • And more!

Ready to dive in?

Ranking for 100,000 high search volume keywords ISN'T a huge success UNLESS you're converting that traffic. What do you need to convert visitors? The humble lead magnet. 🧲 More on the Write Blog via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

lead magnet

What Is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is simply a gift you offer your audience in exchange for their contact information.

what is a lead magnet

It’s super effective because people LOVE getting free stuff.

Take the following experiment of the Amazon gift card.

People were asked if they’d rather get a gift card for free worth $10, or a gift card worth $20 for only $7.

Which one would you pick?

If you were in it for hard value, you’d pick the $20 gift card for $7. Right?

Let’s see how people responded.

consumer preferences study

Source: neilpatel.com

The graph shows that people always go for higher value UNLESS something is offered for free. Then they all go for the free stuff. 😊

This is exactly how a lead magnet works. It cashes in on people’s magnetizing attraction towards freebies.

Here’s exactly how it works:

  • Build something your audience will adore. Let your knowledge about them guide you. Ebooks, webinars, checklists, cheat sheets, and content upgrades are all fabulous ideas.
  • Create an opt-in form on your site. You can do it easily with either Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
  • To get your freebie, your audience has to sign up with their contact information on the form.
  • Once your audience signs up, they can immediately download your lead magnet.

Lead magnets offer your audience huge value for nothing. Or almost nothing. All they need to do is share their contact information with you.

There’s one problem left, though. What if no one cares about your freebie?

Because yes, not all lead magnets are created equal.

There are lead magnets everyone is dying to grab and download…

…and those that are just, well, meh.

Brian Dean no one wants your free report

Source: backlinko.com

The secret to success is knowing what makes a lead magnet desirable, urgent, and worthwhile.

Let’s get into the “how” of building EXACTLY that.

Looking to get an epic lead magnet written and designed? We do that! Check out our top-notch ebooks (AKA lead magnets) here.

5 Lead Magnet Types That Convert and Pull in Leads Like Crazy

First, a few ground rules.

Here’s an incredible example of a lead magnet that converted like crazy:

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library by DigitalMarketer.

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library lead magnet

Source: digitalmarketer.com

This powerhouse managed to pull in 35,859 leads in only two months.

Amazing!

By now you’re wondering: What made it so special? What made 35,859 people desire it? Can I make one just like it?

YES, you can.

This is why I will dissect DigitalMarketer’s lead magnet for you. I’ll:

  • Show you the elements that made it super successful
  • Give you a step-by-step guide to creating one just like it
  • Inspire you with other examples of amazing lead magnets

Let’s get started!

@DigitalMktr pulled in 35,859 leads in 60 days with one powerful lead magnet. @JuliaEMcCoy breaks down why it worked so well, AND shows you how to create your own high-powered lead magnet 🧲 Click To Tweet

1. The Ultra-Specific Lead Magnet Opt-In Form: Where It All Begins

It all starts with the opt-in form.

Why?

You will never convert a single soul if your opt-in form looks boring or generic.

For example, look at this one.

opt-in form for lead magnet

Source: lucidpress.com

Honestly. Would you sign up for this?

Nope.

You don’t know EXACTLY what you’ll get, so why risk signing up for something that’ll only clutter up your email box?

Okay. Let’s once again look at the opt-in teaser for The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library.

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library lead magnet

What do you see?

That’s right. Ultra-specificity. In particular…

Specific Numbers

Numbers convert like crazy. And there are tons of powerful numbers in this content. “8 BRAND-NEW examples,” “11-word ad that netted $208,485,” and “110,422 leads for just $1.76 a piece.”

Notice the numbers aren’t even rounded off. That gives them an extra punch of power and specificity.

Specific Benefits

Those who download The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library get:

  • Examples of successful Facebook ads by DigitalMarketer
  • An 11-word ad formula they can use (for ANY market)
  • A trick that will turn deserting leads into customers
  • A question formula that increases conversions while saving money
  • Inspiration from the top three Facebook ads that generated 110, 422 leads for $1.76

So the number one rule in creating a lead magnet opt-in form?

Be ultra-specific.

Let’s look at other examples of opt-in forms that follow this rule.

Here’s one from HubSpot.

HubSpot free blog post templates lead magnet

 

 

Nope, HubSpot’s opt-in form isn’t long or elaborate. But it’s super specific.

What you’ll get when you opt in:

  • Six blog post templates
  • Time savings

At the page’s footer, there’s another incentive to download the templates. Notice how powerful the numbers make it!

HubSpot lead magnet opt-in form

Source: offers.hubspot.com

Now, look at this one from CoSchedule.

coschedule opt-in form

This one is clean and completely fluff-free. It goes straight to the point with these specific promises:

  • You’ll improve your marketing
  • You’ll get 20+ templates and resources

Exercise: Sit down to create your own lead magnet opt-in form.

  • Ask yourself: what EXACTLY am I offering my audience?
  • Why would they care, or want it?
  • List the ultra-specific features and benefits of your lead magnet. They don’t have to be wordy or fancy, as long as they directly hit a need or desire.
How to create your own lead magnet opt-in form: 📝 Ask yourself: 1️⃣ What EXACTLY am I offering my audience? 2️⃣ Why would they care, or want it? 3️⃣ List the ultra-specific features and benefits of your lead magnet. Click To Tweet

2. The Lead Magnet That Isn’t for Everyone

If you want to be successful, you must create a lead magnet that turns people away.

Wait, what?

Why would you want to turn people away?

Don’t you want to get three million hot leads you can email immediately?

Yes, of course you do, but on one condition. These leads need to be people your brand can help.

Let’s look again at The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library.

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library lead magnet

Source: digitalmarketer.com

Right off the bat, it turns away:

  • People who don’t have a social media campaign
  • People who don’t do paid ads
  • People who don’t do Facebook ads
  • People who are already enjoying spectacular success with their Facebook ads

It shoots straight at people who want more success with their Facebook ads.

Now, imagine you were in charge of creating this lead magnet and you titled it “10 ways to be more successful at marketing.”

Vague much? You’d not only be turning away TONS of people you WANT on your email list, you’d also be cluttering that list with an audience who’s not for you.

So, before you do anything, you need to know EXACTLY who you want on your list, and then go and create something for them.

Exercise:

  • Pick a specific segment of your market (it doesn’t have to be everyone).
  • Dig into a specific problem they’re facing (remember, it’s just one lead magnet. You don’t have to tackle ALL their problems).
  • Think how you’ll solve that problem with a specific solution.
  • Create that solution neatly packaged in a lead magnet.
  • Ta-da! Your lead magnet idea is ready.

how to create a lead magnet

3. The Lead Magnet That Promises Instant Gratification

Myth: You need to spend months of intense effort creating a huge, value-rich lead magnet if you want to gain success.

Actually, the opposite is true.

The shorter the lead magnet, the better.

Why?

For one thing, your audience wants instant gratification. They downloaded your lead magnet to solve a specific problem, and the sooner it’s solved the better.

Also, getting your audience’s contact information is just the first step on a long buyer’s journey. If they’re taking forever to consume your lead magnet and they’re not even sure if they’re happy with it, how can you convert them with your emails and other content?

The ideal flow looks like this:

  • Your audience downloads your lead magnet
  • They consume it in 10-20 minutes
  • They love it
  • They wait expectantly for your first email
  • They love the email, and wait for the next one and the next
  • They convert and buy your product or service

So, although it seems like a great idea to write a 300-page lead magnet, don’t do it. You’ll only waste time (yours and your audience’s) and get nowhere near your goal with all the effort.

Here’s an example of a lead magnet that’s tons of work (both to create and go through).

20 Week Ecourse lead magnet

Source: digitalmarketer.com

I mean, 20 weeks before your audience decides whether they love or hate you?

Now, look at our winner, The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library.

Here’s the table of contents. It’s brief, well-ordered, and succinct. You know exactly what you’ll get and where to find it.

lead magnet table of contents

This lead magnet runs on for 31 pages, but each page has no more than a few lines of text. Plus, it’s full of images and examples that are engaging and easy on the eye.

lead magnet design example

How long does it take to get through the entire lead magnet? 10-15 minutes.

Of course, this doesn’t mean your lead magnet should be thin. You should pack it with the biggest value you can give.

But make sure your audience can consume it in one sitting. And when they’re done, they can hit the ground running and implement what they learned right away.

Exercise:

  • Practice cutting all useless content from your lead magnet.
  • Make it as short as you can without sacrificing value.
Download the Profitable Content Marketer Skills Cheat Sheet

4. The FREE Lead Magnet That Looks Expensive

Just because your lead magnet is free doesn’t mean it should look free.

Let’s look at The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library in terms of design.

Just like any well-planned and attractive book, it doesn’t start off right away with the first information-packed page. This one starts with a nicely-designed cover. It uses DigitalMarketer’s custom colors and design for branding.

lead magnet cover design and branding

The content itself is divided into chapters, and each chapter is designed with professional-looking graphics. There’s even a whole page dedicated to each chapter title.

lead magnet chapter design example

Within the content, there are beautiful images that resonate with the text.

lead magnet text and images example

Notice the page footer with the chapter title and page number included.

lead magnet page and footer design

This lead magnet is professional to a T!

What does a carefully, beautifully designed lead magnet make your audience feel?

Special, of course. You’ve put together an amazing resource to help them solve a nagging problem or reach a desired goal. That in itself is enough.

But then you’ve gone ahead and designed it so it’s attractive and easy on their eyes.

And you’ve done all this for FREE.

If this doesn’t make them get warm, fuzzy feelings for you, I don’t know what will.

Here’s another example: 52 Headline Hacks by Jon Morrow.

It has a well-designed cover, even down to the copyright date. People feel like they’re getting HUGE value for something as tiny as their email addresses.

Headline Hacks lead magnet

Exercise:

Think of how you’ll design your lead magnet to make your audience feel special. Make it neat, professional, and super attractive.

make your lead magnet attractive

5. The Lead Magnet with the Perfect Idea

Now, let’s take The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library apart and look into each section for ideas on how to build our own.

1. Lead with an Example

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library is a case study. It shows how much success DigitalMarketer got using the ads in the library.

lead magnet intro

You can use this great idea when creating your own lead magnet.

  • Identify the problem people are facing. For instance, maybe they want to bring more traffic to their site.
  • Base your lead magnet on how YOU brought more traffic to your own site. Outline practices that worked and others that didn’t. Show people how to do what you did.
  • You can also interview influencers in your industry and create a lead magnet based on their success. Show your audience exactly what these influencers did to get to where they are now.

2. The Style

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library goes smoothly from the introduction into six sections. Each section explores a certain type of ad DigitalMarketer used, with an image of that exact ad.

lead magnet content example

The sections explain the ideas, strategies, and insight that went into creating each ad. Then, the success the ad garnered.

lead magnet show results

lead magnet show results

Tip: As much as possible, show exactly what worked with specific numbers.

3. The Promise

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library delivers exactly what it promises in the opt-in form. Nothing more, nothing less.

Remember, it’s not enough to get people’s email addresses. You need to wow them with your lead magnet so you won’t lose their attention when it’s time to engage with them through email.

Deliver exactly what you promise. It’s that simple.

4. Easy-to-Digest Format and Tone

There are HEAVY-hitting stats in this lead magnet, but they don’t make it a heavy lead magnet.

In fact, The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library is easily digestible, friendly, and conversational.

Take a look.

lead magnet writing style example

You almost feel like you’re sitting beside a friend, chatting about something he/she is excited about.

It certainly isn’t yawn-inducing like this.

research paper vs lead magnet writing

Tip: Know what your audience talks like and address them in that style. Make them feel like they’re conversing with a friend.

5 Steps to Create the Ultimate Lead Magnet that WORKS (Every Time)

Ready to build your own high-converting lead magnet?

1. Research Your Audience

You’ve heard this tons of times and it’s super obvious, but it simply can’t be stressed enough.

Do research on your audience.

But for a lead magnet, it’s slightly different.

You need to solve ONE SPECIFIC problem your audience is worried about with ONE SPECIFIC solution (your lead magnet).

Once you’ve found a way to do it, you’re already halfway there.

2. Get Ultra-Specific with Your Goals

Resist vagueness at all cost. Come up with a single specific outcome and build your lead magnet around it.

Example: This lead magnet will teach my audience how to lose 10 pounds in a week while enjoying tasty dishes every day.

Make sure you deliver your promise. If your audience doesn’t lose this weight by following your road map, you won’t impress them.

3. Create Your Lead Magnet

Spark up the creativity! Make your lead magnet stand out. Make it something your audience craves and desires.

Use simple sentences, bullet points, and short paragraphs.

4. Cut, Cut, Cut!

You want your audience to digest your lead magnet in one sitting. If it’s too long or bulky, cut paragraphs and even whole pages from it. Be merciless. The shorter your lead magnet, the better.

5. Design with Graphics and Images

Never offer a lead magnet that’s a plain Word doc. Add attractive images and graphics to your content, or hire a designer to do the job.

Enroll in the Content Strategy & Marketing Course

What Kind of Lead Magnet Should You Create?

There are tons of lead magnet ideas you can use.

These include:

  • Ebooks
  • Templates
  • Quizzes
  • Checklists
  • Reports
  • Cheat sheets
  • Swipe files
  • And many more!

But for me, the best ones are ebooks, content upgrades, and cheat sheets.

@JuliaEMcCoy's favorite lead magnets: ⭐ Ebooks ⭐ Content upgrades ⭐ Cheat sheets. Get her complete lead magnet guide here ➡ Click To Tweet

Let’s look at each one briefly.

1. The Ebook

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Library is an ebook.

Why is it so effective?

Ebooks are perceived as high-value, and they aren’t usually free. When you offer one for no cost, people immediately feel they’re getting great value for nothing.

Here’s an example of a great ebook.

ebook lead magnet example

Source: socialtriggers.com

And this.

lead magnet example ebook

Source: mirasee.com

2. The Content Upgrade

A content upgrade is extra value you add to a blog post.

For example, if you write on gardening, you can offer a downloadable checklist of your top 10 favorite types of mulch.

Remember, your lead magnet should tie in with the topic of your content.

For example, look at Brian Dean’s content upgrade.

Brian Dean content upgrade lead magnet

Source: backlinko.com

According to this blog, Brian Dean created a content upgrade for his blog post, Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List.

Here’s what it looked like.

Brian Dean content upgrade CTA

With the content upgrade in place, he increased this page’s conversion rate by 785% in just one day!

Here’s another great example of a content upgrade. Look at this post.

How to write a blog post in 2020 lead magnet

Source: smartblogger.com

What can be a better content upgrade than an editing checklist to help writers polish their blog post when they’ve finished writing it?

smartblogger lead magnet checklist

How to create a content upgrade:

  • Choose a page on your site that receives a ton of traffic.
  • Think to yourself, “What can make the content on this site better?”
  • Create the lead magnet that will do the job.
  • Offer the lead magnet in exchange for contact info.
  • Watch your email subscribers list explode.

how to create a content upgrade

3. The Checklist or Summary

A form of content upgrade, the checklist or summary outlines what you’ve written in your blog in a handy, easy-to-digest format.

Here’s one from HubSpot.

how to create an email newsletter HubSpot lead magnet

And this one. Look at the blog title.

power words lead magnet

Source: smartblogger.com

In the intro, you’re met with this option.

power words lead magnet CTA

When you download it, you get the 801 power words listed neatly in a handy PDF.

Here’s the blog post.

power words blog post lead magnet

Source: smartblogger.com

And this is the PDF summary.

power words lead magnet summary

How to make a summary:

  • List the most important points of your blog
  • Cut down the extra wording
  • Design it into a handy PDF

Ready to Get Tons of New Leads with a Powerful Lead Magnet?

Site traffic is utterly useless unless you can convert a single visitor into a lead.

But people in the online world are busy. They’re constantly rushing from this web page to the next, seeking value.

How can you get them to pause, glance your way, and spend a few seconds of their precious time typing their contact information into your opt-in form?

That’s right.

Give them value for free.

Enter: the lead magnet.

With a powerful lead magnet, you’ll see your email list swell to tens of thousands in no time.

Want to get powerful writing that converts? We write AND design lead magnets! Click to see pricing.

Write and design epic lead magnets

content marketing vs content strategy infographic

Content Marketing vs. Content Strategy: How to Cook Up Great Content (Your Recipe for Success) Infographic

This post was originally published in May, 2018 and updated in July, 2020.

Were you born knowing the difference between pasta and noodles? I bet you weren’t. In fact, I bet most of you reading that sentence didn’t even realize there is a difference.

(Pasta is created from durum wheat and water and is stronger and more elastic than noodles. It’s usually topped with sauces. Meanwhile, the more delicate noodle is made from eggs, flour, and salt and served in broths. 🍝 Now you know!)

This same confusion happens in the content world. Eager marketers often confuse content marketing vs. content strategy.

These two concepts are similar, but they’re absolutely not the same thing. And, as anyone who’s ever put spaghetti sauce over egg noodles in a pinch knows, when you don’t use quite the right ingredients things don’t turn out as well.

So, if you’ve been using the terms content marketing and content strategy interchangeably for a while, don’t panic. You’re not alone.

But the secret sauce to using these techniques effectively is to understand their differences, their nuances, and their applications.

To make it easy for you, we’ve put together a great lesson + infographic that will show you, step-by-step, the exact recipe for understanding how content marketing and content strategy can work for your business.

If you’re one of the diminishing group of B2B marketers that have yet to adopt a documented content marketing strategy, use our guide to get started on that (important) road.

CMI 2020 report

Via CMI’s Benchmark Report

Content marketing vs. content strategy: What's the difference? 🤔 They're similar, but not the same. Learn why on the Write Blog via @JuliaEMcCoy with a fun cooking analogy 👩‍🍳 Click To Tweet

content marketing vs content strategy infographic

Content Marketing vs. Content Strategy — How to Cook Up Great Content: Your Recipe for Success (Infographic)

content marketing vs content strategy infographic

content strategy vs content marketing infographic

Download the PDFs: How to Explain Content Strategy, and, How to Explain Content Marketing.

Cooking Up Great Content: Behind the Scenes at Our Content Marketing Restaurant

Content is like delicious morsels of goodness to your customers, and you – the brand or marketer behind the brand — are the one that has to cook it up.

That makes your favorite restaurant a great analogy for our explanation.

So, let’s sneak into the kitchen of your favorite restaurant. (For me, that’s a toss-up between Salt Traders or Greenhouse Craft, two amazing restaurants here in Austin.)

Step One: Start with Content Strategy

All of the inner workings of the kitchen – the food preparation, reservations, staff schedule – that’s the content strategy. The content strategy of the restaurant = meetings between chefs, waiters, restaurant owners and staff to strategize and guide how they plan to successfully deliver content — in this case, food — to their customers.

If your #contentmarketing is a restaurant, all the inner workings of the kitchen – the food preparation, reservations, staff schedule – that’s the #contentstrategy. 👩‍🍳🔪🍳 Click To Tweet

In developing their strategy, they may ask questions like:

  • How many waiters need to cover the floor?
  • What type of ingredients should we use?
  • What will attract new customers to our restaurant?

When you develop content strategy for your business, you may ask questions such as:

  • What is our Content Differentiation Factor?
  • What type of content does our target audience crave?
  • How many times per week should we post new content?

In other words, content strategy is the framework you put in place to deliver the content to readers.

It is the planning, preparation and methods you come up with to deliver the ultimate customer experience through content.

Simple, right? So, let’s move on.

Step Two: Add Content Marketing

In a restaurant, you cater to hungry customers by serving up delicious meals, prepared just the way they like them.

In the world of content, you implement your strategy to bring fresh, tasty content to your customers’ inboxes by using content marketing.

Content marketing is the execution of your content strategy. 

It’s the planning coming to life, encompassing each and every component. In this case, the “food” is the content your audience consumes.

Content marketing is the execution of your content strategy. It’s the planning coming to life. If your #contentmarketing is a restaurant, the 'food' is the content your audience consumes. 🍕🌮🥗 Click To Tweet

Your job is to cook up valuable, consistent and relatable content to build a relationship with a targeted audience, which in turn, increases your profits. Because you’re serving up exactly what they crave, this audience comes back to you again and again.

Download the PDFs: How to Explain Content Strategy, and, How to Explain Content Marketing.

Some of the most popular ways to feed your audience their favorite content include:

  • Blogs
  • Emails/newsletters
  • Infographics
  • E-books
  • Case studies
  • Long-form content
  • Web pages
  • Webinars

The content you serve strengthens your brand image while also whetting the appetite of your ideal customer. Win-win!

Step Three: Mix Well

So, let’s outline an example of how you combine content strategy with content marketing for outstanding results.

Going back to our restaurant analogy, let’s say your target audience is 20-year-old yoga enthusiasts. 

During planning, you found that natural and unprocessed ingredients were of the highest importance to your customers (planning = content strategy).

You put this plan (content strategy) into action by designing a menu that informs your customers of the origins of their food (how you deliver the content = content marketing). Then you serve a vegetarian lentil soup made from locally sourced ingredients (what you deliver = content).

Because you’ve pinpointed what they crave and delivered it, your customers feel a connection to your brand.

You planned your content strategy, so you knew how to build a relationship with your audience, the methods in which to reach them, and the product that would best suit their needs.

These customers are receiving valuable and useful information about a health-conscious lifestyle directly through the menu you’ve created to serve them the content they want. They will keep coming back. They will purchase more.

Download the Profitable Content Marketer Skills Cheat Sheet

That is your content strategy and content marketing at work. Together, they’re your content marketing strategy.

An Example of a Perfect Content Marketing “Meal”

Think of the content that your audience consumes as that perfect “meal.”

Did you know? Conductor performed the first-known scientific study investigating educational content impact with customers. The results showed incredible findings. First, survey takers were found 131% more likely to purchase from a brand immediately after reading content from that brand, while 78% of respondents found a brand more “helpful” and an entire 64% found it “trustworthy,” immediately after reading content from that brand. These numbers increased by 8-9% one week later.

The right approach to effective content marketing, and the right content (the food you serve), will build and establish a real relationship and connection with your audience. Not only that, but you have the opportunity to delight them, make it memorable each and every time, and keep them coming back for more. And, grow your bottom line and your business while you’re at it. Win, win!

Let’s say your target audience is 20-year-old yoga enthusiasts.

During your planning stages, you found that natural and unprocessed ingredients were of the highest importance to your customers (compare this to a baseline finding for a content strategy). You put this plan into action by designing a customized menu that informs your customers of the origins of their food (this is your content marketing in action). Then you served a vegetarian lentil soup made from locally sourced ingredients (this is your content).

Now, your customers feel a connection to your brand.

content marketing vs content strategy infographic

Because you were strategic about what your customers liked, and you created an experience just for them, the end result was a customized campaign (if content is our tasty meal) that they found delightful. Your customers are receiving valuable and useful information about a health-conscious lifestyle directly through you. They will keep coming back. They will purchase more.

That is your content marketing strategy at work.

How to Cook Up Your Own Content Strategy and Content Marketing

Now it’s time to put on your apron and take the first steps toward creating your own delectable profit-driving, audience-growing content.

And, any great chef knows you’ve got to start with the fundamentals before you can create a culinary masterpiece. The world of content is no different. Starting with the fundamentals of content strategy will set the pace for the rest of your marketing.

While there will undoubtedly be bumps along the road to successful content marketing, we’re here to guide you through it, step-by-step.

In fact, we’ve developed the precise recipe you need for guaranteed success.

That’s right. I’ll guide you in creating and implementing an effective content marketing strategy through my personal mentorship and teaching when you sign up for my Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

If you’ve got a strategy and marketing in place and want done-for-you content, we offer that option, too. You can get premium access to outstanding content created just for your audience by requesting a client account.

Whichever you choose, you’ll be setting your brand apart from the crowd, growing loyal customers, and increasing revenue by leaps and bounds.

Cheers to that!

content marketing vs content strategy infographic

Marketing strategist day in the life

A Day in the Life of a Marketing Strategist

This is a guest blog from our Expert Marketing Writer, Jillian.

If you were to research a marketing strategist job description on Google, you would find one common characteristic: goal-oriented. 📈

Sure, you need experience and project management skills.

You also need to navigate branding and storytelling.

But, without goals and objectives, it’s almost impossible to create a cohesive marketing strategy that drives ROI.

Marketing strategists have to stay focused on the bigger picture in order to deliver and exceed sales and marketing goals.

The digital marketing landscape is evolving at a drastic rate.

In 2019, digital ad spend worldwide surpassed $333.25 billion and is expected to increase to $517.51 billion by 2023. Meaning, there’s a growing need to discover new ways to connect and build relationships with consumers on their preferred platforms.

That’s where I come into play as a marketing strategist. I have to interpret consumer needs and turn them into a cohesive plan that my team can deliver on.

Every sales and marketing team needs a marketing strategist who can step back and not only build a plan full of tactics but also monitor every stage of the execution. As a result, the strategy turns into a pipeline full of leads that exceeds revenue goals. It’s a win-win for both teams.

As a digital marketing strategist in the finance industry, every day is different. I have the opportunity to expand on my own marketing skills, while also directly contributing to my company’s market share growth. Pretty cool, right?

As a marketing strategist, you have to interpret consumer needs and turn them into a cohesive plan that a team can deliver on. 💯 Follow the day-to-day of resident expert, Jillian 📋 Click To Tweet

A day in the life of a marketing strategist

What Does a Digital Marketing Strategist Do?

I’ve worked in marketing for roughly 6 years and my role as a marketing strategist has been the most challenging, yet rewarding. I have to be innovative, proactive, and direct in order to identify what marketing tactics my team needs to execute on in order to build the strategy and further promote the brand.

A sales and marketing strategist combines all relevant marketing channels—from content development, email, paid media, and more—into one plan that is used to steer a brand. I have to be a storyteller for consumers and an advocate for sales teams. It’s a science in order to combine all elements into a plan that moves marketing efforts forward.

A marketing strategist combines all relevant marketing channels—from content development, email, paid media, and more—into one plan that is used to steer a brand. You need to be a storyteller 📖 AND a scientist 👩‍🔬. Click To Tweet

To give you a better idea of what a marketing strategist does, let’s dive a little deeper into my day-to-day.

Morning: Lead Generation and Analytics Go Hand-in-Hand

A large component of a marketing strategist career is the ability to interpret analytics and translate them into a strategy. However, before I can even think about reading charts, I need a coffee. Who’s with me?

Once I’ve settled in, I log into Google Analytics and analyze yesterday’s performance. I first look into my brand’s website traffic and which source resulted in the most website visits. Personally, I’m trying to increase our organic reach and not pay for every click. My main goal is to increase our organic reach by 30% by the end of 2020, and with the launch of a new website and resource center, I expect to exceed this.

Website analytics - sources of traffic

Source: Google Analytics

Next, I dig into what’s important to our sales teams: Leads. How many leads did we get? What sources did they come from? How many are qualified? Because I have multiple campaigns going on at the same time—from paid search and sponsored LinkedIn ads to webinars—I need to analyze which channel is the most effective for earning new leads and driving traffic. After that, I compare the YTD performance to last year to catch any dramatic decreases or increases.

Source: Google Analytics

After I have a handle on the daily metrics, I start working on any ongoing projects and approvals.

Afternoon: Prioritizing the Big Picture

As a brand and project owner, part of the role as a marketing strategist includes executing on projects from start to finish. All of these projects—whether digital or content development—correlate to the larger strategy and have a purpose for my team. For example, how will my promotional strategy for an upcoming recruitment webinar earn us more leads? Why are clients jumping out of my email journey and how can I re-engage them?

With these projects in mind, I hold daily strategy sessions with our creative team and other digital channel owners to optimize our assets and performance. This could mean anything from avoiding creative wear-out or A/B testing different graphics.

Alongside these strategy sessions with the marketing team, I meet with key decision-makers from sales. I need to not only understand their process and needs but also innovate new ways marketing can provide a solution. If sales conversions are down, how can I create a more qualified lead flow? If we have too many leads, how can I automate the communication process?

For the rest of my day, it’s going between meetings, tactics, and approving creative assets to ensure each project hits deadline.

Evenings: Where Motivation Never Stops

If you think my day seems full enough, I don’t stop when the clock hits 6:00 PM. Instead, I head home and re-open my computer to start my part-time job as a Quality Assistant Editor and Expert Content Writer at Express Writers.

I’ve been writing since I was young enough to hold a pencil and my evenings with Express Writers have become my own personal therapy. I love the feeling of not only writing something that connects with readers but also being able to coach others like myself to improve their own craft.

So, from 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM, I write, edit, and review writing pieces that will be posted throughout various websites and blog platforms.

From mornings analyzing yesterday's traffic and lead sources to afternoons engaged in strategy sessions with marketing and sales teams, a day-in-the-life of a marketing strategist is never boring. 🎯 Read more 👉 Click To Tweet

4 Characteristics of a Marketing Strategist Super Star

If becoming a marketing strategist consultant sounds up your alley, there are a few key traits you need to master in order to pursue this career path.

1.    Know the Ins and Outs of Multiple Marketing Channels

You need to be fluent in various outbound and inbound marketing channels like social media, email, and branding strategies. Beyond that, exude a jack-of-all-trades mentality that allows you to understand all your channels and how your audience interacts within them.

With your various channels, examine and study the technology you need to execute your strategy like a CRM, Google Analytics, and more. This will not only help you determine a budget but also automate the day-to-day tasks so you can focus on the bigger picture.

2.    Understand Marketing Strategy and Drive Growth

While this may sound like a no-brainer, you need to have experience driving results and delivering ROI for businesses. An expert marketing strategist will be able to examine the current business operations and processes, find the gaps, and put together a plan to build a better foundation.

While utilizing younger talent on your team is an excellent way to pull innovative tactics into a campaign, a marketing strategist needs to have real experience to be able to drive and scale business goals.

Download the Profitable Content Marketer Skills Cheat Sheet

3.    Communicate and Navigate Key Decision Makers

To succeed as a marketing strategist, you need to build trust within your own marketing team and the sales teams you’re working with. First, surround yourself with a team of channel experts who will support and execute your vision. This ensures you won’t get caught up writing your own email copy and it allows you to step back and analyze campaign performance.

Next, you need serious buy-in and trust from sales. After all, your strategy directly impacts their clients and the bottom line. To do this, prove your strengths and deliver results that make an impact on their day-to-day leads, client relationships, and more. To stay in good graces, hold bi-weekly strategy meetings, send status updates, and celebrate the successes when they happen.

Once you build a dynamic relationship between yourself and the teams you work with, true marketing magic will happen.

4. Be Passionate and Realistic

You need to be passionate about not only reaching business goals but also serving your customers. The excitement you bring to your teams will translate to their own motivation and execution on the strategy.

However, be realistic and stay within your resources and budget. Don’t promise mountains if you can only deliver hills. You need to be able to communicate accurate timelines to everyone involved so you set yourself up for success in the long run.

Beyond that, your ideas should inspire those you’re working with to reach new goals and innovations.

Bottom line: If you don’t believe in your strategy, why should your team?

4 characteristics of a marketing strategy superstar 🌟: 1) Know your marketing channels 2) Understand strategy and how to drive growth 📈 3) Communicate effectively with key decision-makers 💬 4) Be passionate but realistic. ♥ Click To Tweet

Is a Marketing Strategist Career Path Your Next Move?

Now is a great time to consider a marketing strategist career path. Not only is the digital landscape ripe with opportunity as it continues to evolve, but the average strategist makes $70, 175 per year depending on the region. Need training? We offer that, too.

A marketing strategist job both challenges your mindset and helps you hone in on your marketing skills. You’ll have the opportunity to actively engage on all platforms while also making a direct impact on your business. What could be better?!

To draw more inspiration for your future from expert content and inbound marketers, check out our list of the Top 100 Content Marketers.

 

build a brand that lasts

How to Use BuzzSumo: The Ultimate Guide on Uncovering Hot Topics to Create Content Your Audience Will Love

This was originally published in 2017 and updated in May, 2020.

What if I told you about a hot content marketing tool that allows you to dig deep into your audience’s brain?  🧠

This tool can tell you what your audience is feeling right now.

Their current thoughts. What they’re looking for when they go online. The #1 topic they want to read about.

Would you use it?

Of course!

Because the truth is, keyword research tools aren’t enough to help you generate steaming content your readers will devour, reread, and share.

I’m not saying they aren’t necessary. They are. In fact, it’s almost impossible to do SEO right without these tools.

But SEO by itself isn’t enough to build a brand.

The ultimate recipe for success is SEO plus hot topics your audience cares about.

So, how can you discover these hot topics?

In this guide, I’ll show you how to do it using BuzzSumo.

Let’s dive in!

How to use BuzzSumo to uncover hot topics

How to Use BuzzSumo: 5 Ways You Can Use BuzzSumo to Discover Hot Topics Your Audience Adores

So, what is BuzzSumo used for?

BuzzSumo is the ultimate content discovery tool. It constantly gets updated with brand new features, so you always know what kind of content your audience wants and exactly what they’re engaging with online.

Here’s a list of awesome things you can do with BuzzSumo:

  • Instantly generate tons of hot topic ideas
  • Index over 3.5 billion articles and posts
  • Get an updated list of the most powerful influencers in your industry
  • Spy on your competitors
  • Monitor everything that’s going on online

Awesome things you can do with BuzzSumo

5 ways to use @buzzsumo to discover hot topics: 1️⃣ Analyze top-shared content 2️⃣ Find top niche influencers 3️⃣ Find trending topics 4️⃣ Use Topic Discovery to generate ideas 5️⃣ Analyze top YouTube content 🔎 Click To Tweet

We at Express Writers absolutely love BuzzSumo. In fact, we use it extensively for our content strategy services.

It allows us to:

  • Put our clients ahead of their competitors by knowing what their audience really wants to learn
  • Discover steaming hot topics in any niche
  • Save tons of time in the brainstorming process

Let’s go into detail and dive into five ways you can use BuzzSumo to discover topics your audience will love.

BuzzSumo pricing guide:

  • Pro: $99/month billed monthly or $79/month billed annually
  • Plus: $179/month billed monthly or $139/month billed annually
  • Large: $299/month billed monthly or $239/month billed annually
  • Enterprise: $499/month

#1: Get Ideas from the Web Content Analyzer

BuzzSumo is your forensic tool for digging into your audience’s brain and finding out what they’re interested in. With the Web Content Analyzer feature, you get a list of the top content people engaged with based on a certain keyword.

BuzzSumo is a forensic tool for digging into your audience

[email protected] is your forensic tool for digging into your audience’s brain and finding out what they’re interested in 🕵️‍♀️. Learn how to use it like an expert: Click To Tweet What if I told you about a hot content marketing tool that allows you to dig deep into your audience’s brain? 🧠✨ No, it's not magic - it's @buzzsumo! Learn how to use this mighty tool via @JuliaEMcCoy: Click To Tweet

SEO by itself isn't enough to build a brand

To get started, click on Content and select Web Content Analyzer.

BuzzSumo web content analyzer

Source: BuzzSumo

Type your chosen keyword in the search bar.

Searching using BuzzSumo web content analyzer

Click on Search. What you’ll get is a list of content pieces with the highest number of engagement from your audience.

top shared content on BuzzSumo

As you can see, a piece about Bill Gates and the coronavirus tops the list with 34.6K total engagements. This gives you a hint on what your audience is thinking about and the kind of content they want to read and share.

Want to filter your results by time? Simply click the filter button and select an option to see results from the last 24 hours, the past week, the past month, and as much as five years ago.

BuzzSumo - filter web content analysis results

For example, here’s the result you’ll get when you choose the 24-hour filter.

Top results on BuzzSumo - last 24 hours

The next step is to click on the top content pieces and find out why your audience loved them. What made them special? More importantly, how can you improve on them in your own content?

Here’s an example.

top content piece on BuzzSumo

Source: www.garyvaynerchuk.com

Because this piece comes in the number two spot within the six-month filter, you now know that your audience is interested in being more productive in their content creation.

Now, it’s your turn to create content with your own tips and tricks on how to be productive!

Bonus: Experiment with the filters! They’re amazing. You can search for content based on type of article, word count, and even a specific domain.

BuzzSumo web content analyzer more filters

#2: Find Top Influencers in Your Niche

Finding the top influencers in your niche will help you in three ways:

  • You can gain inspiration from their content
  • You can spy on them and improve on what’s missing in their content
  • You can get networking opportunities

To get started in your search for BuzzSumo influencers, hover over Influencers on the top bar and click Authors. You can also search for influencers on Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook.

find top influencers on BuzzSumo

In the Authors search bar, you can find top authors by looking up a topic or domain. For example, here’s the results for a search on Forbes.com.

using BuzzSumo to search for Forbes influencers

On the left side, you can see the author’s name and Twitter handle. On the right, you can see how many articles each author published, plus their average and total engagement.

Select View Top Content to see each author’s top pieces.

For example, here are the top results for Zack Friedman.

BuzzSumo - top content for Zack Friedman

Looking for top influencers in your niche? Simply type in your desired keyword instead of a domain name in the search bar.

Here are the results for “content marketing.” (I come in at #2, yay! 😊)

find influencers in your niche on BuzzSumo

#3: Find Trending Topics with BuzzSumo’s Discover Feature

Want to find content that’s creating a large amount of buzz online?

Searching for trending topics within the last 24 hours (or less!) is the way to do it.

To begin, go to the Discover option and click Trending.

finding trending topics using BuzzSumo discover

This will show you the top content pieces driving tons of engagement online.

BuzzSumo - content pieces driving engagement

On the left toolbar, you can filter your search by topics.

For example, click Fashion and you get this.

filter search by topic on BuzzSumo

The magic is you can create your own custom feeds. Simply scroll down on the left-hand toolbar and click the plus sign beside the Custom Feeds option.

BuzzSumo custom feeds

Use the filters to create your own custom feeds.

create a custom feed on BuzzSumo

The filters allow you to add topics to your search, exclude results, and limit to or exclude certain domains. Here’s an example custom feed.

content strategy custom feed on BuzzSumo

Click Update Feed and use it to filter your results. Here’s the top result for “content marketing trends.”

BuzzSumo trending topic result

Is your audience looking for ways to win at SEO during COVID-19? Hmmm… You could write something on that.

#4: Generate Tons of Content Ideas with Topic Discovery

This option is a great choice when you’re feeling stuck and want an inspirational brainwave. It helps you find a ton of hot topic possibilities in seconds.

BuzzSumo discovery tool

[email protected]'s Topic Discovery tool is a great choice when you're feeling stuck and need some inspirational brainwaves. Learn how to use it via @JuliaEMcCoy 💡 Click To Tweet

To start, go to Discover and select Topics.

topic discovery on BuzzSumo

Type a keyword in the search bar. Keep it broad to get a wide range of results. (You can always narrow it down later.)

BuzzSumo - discover topics by keyword

What you’ll get is a brain cloud of content ideas for your chosen subject. The options in larger font are the options most relevant to your search.

topic cloud for topic discovery in BuzzSumo

Scroll down to go more in-depth on each keyword. You can find out great content ideas, common questions asked on the topics, and related keywords.

insights on topics using BuzzSumo discover

Want to test a term based on engagement? Click on it to view its performance over time. For instance, select “SEO tools” within the brain cloud. You get this.

check topic performance over time in BuzzSumo

#5: Analyze Top Content on YouTube

This option is new to BuzzSumo, and it’s absolutely GREAT because YouTube is a huge platform with  two billion monthly users. Imagine the exposure you can get for your brand with this audience!

So, how can you find hot topics on YouTube?

Hover over Content, and click the YouTube option.

analyze top YouTube content on BuzzSumo

Type your keyword into the search bar. For instance, this shows results for the keyword “guitar lessons.”

top performing videos on YouTube for guitar lessons

The amazing part is you can click on Analysis to find out the secrets behind high engagement on YouTube.

BuzzSumo top performing content analysis

Want to find the top influencers on YouTube?

Head over to Influencers and select YouTube. Follow the same steps to finding top influencers in your industry.

analyze top YouTube influencers on BuzzSumo

Here are the top guitar lesson influencers on YouTube.

find YouTube influencers on BuzzSumo

A Step-by-Step Guide to Discovering Hot Topics and Keywords for Your Content

Now, let’s go into a step-by-step on how to map your topics and keywords for outstanding content. (This is exactly how we do it at Express Writers!)

Step #1: Come Up with Goals for Your Content

Each piece of content you write must have its own specific goal. If you don’t have goals, you’ll be creating tons of random content that don’t fit into your overarching content marketing goals.

Every piece of content must have a specific goal

Each piece of content you write must have its own specific goal. 🏆 If you don’t have goals, you’ll be creating tons of random content that don’t fit into your overarching #contentmarketinggoals. Click To Tweet

To guide my content, I came up with a unique concept I call the “three bucket strategy.” (Read more about this concept on my blog, Content Goals: Here’s How to Come Up With Profitable Content Marketing Ideas Using My 3-Bucket Topic Strategy. I also teach this in-depth in my comprehensive, 6-week Content Strategy and Marketing Course.)

3-bucket topic strategy

Step #2: Use BuzzSumo to Discover Hot Topics for Your Content Buckets

The next thing you’ll do is go to BuzzSumo and use one (or more!) of the five tips above to find topics your audience will love. Research topics to fill all your content buckets.

Step #3: Use an SEO Tool to Map Out a Keyword

Remember, BuzzSumo works flawlessly with the best SEO tools out there. So, once you’ve decided on a topic, take it to your SEO tool of choice to map it to a keyword.

Let’s say you chose the topic “SEO tools” from the topic discovery option on BuzzSumo.

Take it into an SEO tool like KWFinder to discover if you should try to rank for this keyword.

Should you? Apparently, no. Although the search volume for “SEO tools” is high, its keyword difficulty score is 69/100. This means you’ll be going up against huge brands, and it’ll be almost impossible to compete for this keyword.

vetting topic discovery with keyword research

Source: KWFinder.com

What you can do is look up related keywords. Remember, a keyword difficulty score below 50 is considered good.

And we got one! “Best SEO tools” has a keyword difficulty score of 40 and a search volume of 5,400. Not bad!

vetting topics with keyword research

See how BuzzSumo works flawlessly with an SEO tool?

Want to learn every step involved in setting up profitable content marketing? Check out my Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

 

Other Content Tools We Recommend

At Express Writers, we use only the best of the best tools for our content strategy services. These are the same tools I teach to my students that we use in my programs.

Here are the top SEO tools we recommend.

SEMrush

SEMrush is the ultimate keyword research tool that allows you to do in-depth keyword research, detailed domain analytics, lead generation, in-depth competitor research, and more!

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a tool that comes packed with everything you need for keyword research and SEO analysis. It allows you to do SEO audits, comprehensive backlink analysis, and domain comparison.

KWFinder

KWFinder is an extremely user-friendly keyword research tool that’s more affordable than the other two above. Although KWFinder is only for keyword research, you can sign up for the basic plan to get access to a ton of other Mangools tools (SERPchecker, SERPwatcher, SiteProfiler, etc.).

Want to dive deeper into which keyword research tool is best for you? Check out my blog, 3 Must-Have Content Tools for Marketers: SEMrush, KWFinder, Ahrefs.

 A Look into the Future of Discovering Hot Topics Your Audience Loves

Worried you’ll wake up one morning with no idea what to write for your blog? (This used to be me! Find out the story in my FREE masterclass).

With topic research from BuzzSumo, you don’t have to feel this way ever again.

In fact, you’ll be drowning in a deep well of topics your audience will beg you to create!

So, is BuzzSumo worth it?

From me and my team, a HUGE BIG YES!!

Want hot content based on expert keyword and topic research? Visit our Content Shop to learn more.

Check out great content from strategy-minded creators

How Today’s Pandemic Is Impacting Business & Marketing + 5 Ways to Keep Thriving

The past month has been one of the craziest in our collective memory.

I’m banking on the inevitability that NO ONE will forget March 2020, when a global outbreak known as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on public health, economies, jobs, livelihoods, and day-to-day living.

Business is NOT as usual. Instead, many of us in marketing are facing scary unknowns.

IRL marketing events got canceled, just like everything else. Those of us who rely on trade shows, conferences, speaking gigs, and other events suddenly have to adapt.

Digital marketing – and content in particular! – just got way more important.

This is huge, but it’s also dependent on the niche you’re in.

Since COVID-19 came on the scene, internet use in Europe has been up by almost 50%. If you think about the worldwide impact, Google searches went up from 3.5 billion/day to almost 6 billion! Streaming services saw a 20% rise in usage. Netflix has had to lower streaming quality for everyone just to handle the load.

That said, for many marketers, it’s not all doom and gloom. 🌤

Search traffic is UP for many industries. Niches reporting traffic gains include:

  • Health and wellness
  • Online grocery and meal/food retailers
  • Remote work, remote teams
  • Preparedness
  • Online dating
  • Online toy and puzzle makers (fun fact: puzzles are HOT right now! 🧩)

Let’s talk about it all – the impact of the pandemic on business and marketing, which niches are winning, which ones are losing, and which are holding steady despite the doom-and-gloom. The good news is, hope is here for many content and SEO marketers. 🙏

NO ONE will forget March 2020, when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on public health, economies, jobs, livelihoods, and day-to-day living. 🌎 Business is NOT as usual. On the Write Blog, @JuliaEMcCoy talks about the ups, downs, and ways to keep… Click To Tweet

How the Pandemic Impacts Business & Marketing: 3 Ways the Pandemic Is Impacting Business Search Traffic and Content

1. Who’s Winning Search Traffic During the Pandemic?

2. The Downside: Who’s Losing Search Traffic to Their Site and Content?

3. Companies Holding Strong During the Pandemic and Giving Back

How to Survive and Thrive in Business & Marketing During a Pandemic: 5 Important Tips

1. Don’t Panic

2. Lead with Empathy

3. Communicate Well (and Often) with Staff and Customers

4. Make a Plan

5. Be a Helper

How is the Pandemic Impacting Business Search Traffic and Content?

Here’s the gist of what’s happening in the world of search traffic, and what it might mean for your marketing, business, and content.

1. Who’s Winning Search Traffic During the Pandemic?

It’s not all doom and gloom out there! 🌤

Search traffic is UP for many industries. According to a recent survey Marie Haynes conducted on Twitter, niches reporting gains in traffic include:

  • Heath/wellness
  • Online grocery/food retailers
  • Remote work and remote teams
  • Preparedness
  • Online dating services
  • Online toy and puzzle retailers (puzzles are HUGE right now 🧩)

impact of pandemic - puzzles are huge

puzzles are big during the pandemic

Source: GIPHY

Besides puzzling in their downtime, people are also furiously Googling anything to do with remote work, especially tools, methods, and ideas for collaboration.

Kevin Indig from G2 recently shared on LinkedIn how traffic to many of the site’s remote work-related categories is exploding:

impact of pandemic on G2 categories

Noticeably, the top categories include:

  • Audio conferencing
  • Telemedicine
  • Video conferencing
  • Webinar
  • Collaborative whiteboard

This holds on Google Trends, too. When you compare the search interest over time between the topics “work from home” and “coworking,” there’s a clear winner.

Work from home” interest spiked as the pandemic took hold, while interest in “coworking” flat-lined.

how the pandemic impacts Google Trends

What impact is the pandemic having on business and marketing? Search traffic is UP for many industries like health/wellness ♥, remote work/teams 💻, online dating 💑, and online puzzle retailers 🧩 (puzzles are HOT right now). Click To Tweet

Beyond industries related to remote work, who else may see gains during this time?

Mark Schaefer wrote a great post about the coronavirus’s implications for marketing. He made some predictions about which business niches have an opportunity right now:

Mark Schaefer predicts how the pandemic impacts business opportunities

  • Comfort foods like candy and baking
  • Nostalgia
  • Cozy wear like sweatpants and pajamas
  • Comedy
  • Old TV shows and movies
  • Hobbies (puzzles, knitting, sewing, crafting, reading)
  • Delivery of essentials like groceries and food
  • Small luxuries that can be home-delivered

mark schaefer how a pandemic impacts business quote02

[email protected] recommends looking for marketing opportunities in baking/cooking/comfort foods 🧁, nostalgia, comedy 🎭, blankets/pj's/comfy clothes, hobbies 🧶, food/grocery delivery, and more. Click To Tweet

2. The Downside: Who’s Losing Search Traffic to Their Site and Content?

Despite the gains for many niches, most are seeing a decline in traffic (as reported by Wordstream and SEO Roundtable).

Here’s Marie Hayne’s Twitter survey from March 23 that shows 59.6% of sites reporting a downturn, out of 726 responses:


Some of the affected niches include:

  • Travel
  • Motorsports
  • Ecommerce – fashion
  • Personal finance
  • Child care and daycare

Additionally, Yelp’s Coronavirus Economic Impact Report shows other struggling niches include:

  • Wineries
  • Bridal stores
  • Shopping centers
  • Tax services
  • Day spas

how coronavirus is impacting business niches

The takeaway: These trends aren’t surprising to anyone. Social distancing and quarantines are forcing people to cancel their weddings and big events, avoid services they previously frequented (hair salons, spas, massage therapy), and rethink where their paychecks are going.

Unless this pandemic wipes out the relevancy of your business right now, for struggling niches, it’s time to start thinking of creative ways to stay afloat. (More on that later.) 🏊‍♀️

What business/marketing niches are losing out during the pandemic? Travel ✈, motorsports, personal finance 💲, wineries, tax services, childcare 👶, and more, now on the Write Blog ➡ Click To Tweet

3. Companies Holding Strong During the Pandemic and Giving Back

Keeping the positivity going, let’s take a look at the many companies doing well despite mass unemployment, layoffs, and the stormy economic weather right now. Some are even using their power to do good in their communities.

Internet Service Providers (like Comcast, Verizon, Charter, and Sprint)

ISPs are doing very well right now – the internet has become a lifeline to keep us sane and connected to our social groups and entertainment.

To help those who may be struggling to make ends meet, the above ISPs have pledged to keep Americans internet-connected for 60 days, even for those who can’t pay their bills.

Distilleries

Distilleries around the country are using their excess, highly-concentrated alcohol to make hand sanitizer for their communities, including Dread River Distillery in Alabama and Caldonia Spirits in Vermont.

Fanatics (MLB Uniform Manufacturer)

Fanatics, a company that makes MLB uniforms, had the means to turn their Pennsylvania plant into a factory just for producing hospital masks and gowns.


OneDine (Guest-Facing Restaurant Technology)

OneDine offers restaurants technology that allows guests to order and pay online. They’re offering free Tap & Pay touchless payment systems to help restaurants shift to stay in business.

OneDine offering free Order and Pay technology

Content Marketing

As I’ve mentioned, there is a HUGE opportunity for content marketing in this climate, where people are heading online in droves for much-needed entertainment, education, enrichment, and socialization.

According to eMarketer predictions, marketers will be looking to deliver even more personalized content so their audiences feel connected in the way they do at in-person events. Here’s an explanation:

how the pandemic impacts marketing

Express Writers

I’m including EW as an example of a business holding strong despite the economy. We haven’t had to do ANY layoffs, and our numbers have held pretty steady over the month.

Over just one day of the shutdown, we had the most visitors we’ve ever seen in one day to my Content Strategy & Marketing Course site (130+ people online).

how the pandemic impacts CSM course traffic

Income-wise, Express Writers did see a slight drop this month, but only by about 10-15%. Meanwhile, we’re still seeing between 2-4K visitors/day to the Write Blog and ExpressWriters.com.

how the pandemic impacts Express Writers traffic

SO many more positive examples exist if you just take the time to look. Here are 50 more businesses giving back during coronavirus, via Forbes.

Despite the downs, there ARE businesses continuing to survive and thrive 💪 despite #covid-19. Examples: @Fanatics, @Onedineapp, @GreenhouseCF, and even Express Writers. More on the Write Blog 👉 Click To Tweet

How to Survive and Thrive in Business & Marketing During a Pandemic: 5 Important Tips

As we’ve seen, the pandemic is impacting business and marketing in varied ways. For some of us, the outlook is good. For others, uncertainty may be clouding the future.

No matter your situation, keep these tips in mind to survive this global crisis:

1. Don’t Panic

Panicking will only lead to panic-driven decisions. Panic-driven decisions are based on fear – not logic, practicality, or insight.

Instead, think critically about your business right now. Get informed on coronavirus myths and facts. How does this situation position you to help amid the panic? How can you provide a measure of trust, security, and comfort to people right now in your unique way?

Mark Schaefer, a veteran marketer, talked about this on his blog (which I mentioned already) with great advice – here’s the link again in case you missed it: 7 Non-obvious coronavirus implications for marketing.

Think about businesses that are pivoting to include a wider reach for both their customers and their bottom line. How can you survive and add a touch of thriving by pivoting right now?

2. Lead with Empathy

Every single person you know is facing a different reality right now than the one they knew a month ago. We’re all worried and stressed to some degree.

Leading with empathy is a way to not only show people you care, but to mitigate that stress and worry.

Lots of people who previously went to an office every day are now working from home, many with small children to look after and help with schoolwork. Thanks to their living situation, some people may be isolated from all their friends and family and struggling. Others might face worries about a loved one who works in an essential industry and is exposed to the virus daily.

Be as understanding and accommodating as you can. Lead by example. Though some of us won’t get sick, none of us are immune to the effects of COVID-19.

A great example is Target’s empathetic response to the situation:

Target's empathetic response to the pandemic

3. Communicate Well (and Often) with Staff and Customers

Communication is key for getting through this worldwide upheaval we’re confronting. Your employees, customers, peers, and coworkers are hungry for information right now. They probably have hundreds of questions running through their minds:

  • What’s going on?
  • Are you still open?
  • How are we approaching this situation?
  • What is expected of employees?
  • What are you doing to keep things running?
  • Will I be out of a job?
  • Now what?

As soon as uncertainty hits, it’s time to start being open and honest with your people. Send email updates about the state of your business. Reassure employees if you’re able, or, prepare them for the worst if necessary.

Send customers updates, too – even if it’s just to announce that you’re able to continue as normal, or to remind them you’re still open. Here’s an email Geico recently sent their customers letting them know how the company is responding to the pandemic:

Geico email update about the pandemic

Be sure to check out Really Good Emails for a trove of examples from businesses getting this crucial communication right.

On the other hand, you might be continually shifting your hours of operation, changing your policies, or transitioning into a new normal. Use social media and email to announce everything that affects customers as it happens. Post notices on your blog and website, too.

At times like these, it’s really important to remain transparent and open to retain that trust you’ve built.

4. Make a Plan

Lots of us have more time on our hands than ever. Now is a good time to revisit your disaster preparedness plan for your business (or your savings plan if you’re a marketer or freelancer).

Don’t have one? It’s okay – you’re not alone. Lots of people don’t realize they need to plan for stuff like this until it happens.

As long as you’re financially capable to weather the pandemic, think ahead to the future. Can you start putting small amounts of money away regularly to pad your emergency fund?

What else can you do right now to make you feel more secure in case the pandemic drags on? Make a list of small tasks you can complete in a day, tasks that will lead to a bigger goal.

This Pandemic Preparedness article from Harvard Business Review was published in 2006 amid concerns about avian flu, but it is totally relevant today. Definitely read the advice about being a leader during times of crisis, preparing your business for a pandemic, and how to communicate effectively.

how businesses impacted by the pandemic can prepare

We talked earlier about pivoting to include more services. Here’s a great example of that, from my hometown.

Greenhouse Craft Foods 

One of my favorite farm-to-table restaurants right here in Round Rock, Texas, quickly pivoted their mostly (and always awesome) dine-in experience to the following: essentially a little grocery store with essentials taking over their front counter, punnily titled “Farmer’s Market” — a takeout service offering easy-to-enjoy family meal packs, and more. This was a great way to use their restaurant space for good and pivot without breaking themselves. They used Facebook to share this with their devoted fans.

Note: Don’t break it to make it. Don’t crush core services just for a short-term pivot. However, smart pivots like the one Greenhouse Kraft Foods did, to include much-needed services right now to the public, are worth considering.

@JuliaEMcCoy says: Don't break it to make it. Don't crush core services just for a short-term pivot. #COVID19pandemic However, smart pivots (example: @GreenhouseCF in-store farmer's market for takeout 👏🏻) are worth considering. Click To Tweet

5. Be a Helper

A well-known Mr. Rogers quote has been circulating recently in the news and on social media:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

during the pandemic, look for the helpers

Source: USA Today

Since this advice was intended for kids, let’s take it one step further: BE a helper.

Be the person providing comfort and stability during trying times. Be the person others look to for guidance, reassurance, and support. Be the one offering help in any way you can. Some ideas:

  • Be kind to grocery store clerks, healthcare workers, and others on the front lines.
  • Buy online gift cards to your favorite local businesses to use later. Help them stay running through the pandemic!
  • Tip your delivery person extra (the one bringing you groceries, dinner, packages from Amazon, etc.).
  • Donate money to charities that help needy families.
  • Donate extra supplies to food shelters and hospitals. Check out this Medical Supplies Index compiled by a RN, which lists options for where and how to donate.
  • If you have the skill, consider making face masks for hospitals with shortages.

What else can we do to be helpers? Leave your ideas in the comments. 🙂

In these trying times, don't just look for the helpers. BE a helper. ♥ #COVID19pandemic Click To Tweet

How Will the Pandemic Impact Your Business? It Depends.

Notice I didn’t ask will the pandemic impact your business – I asked how.

Even if your numbers are holding steady, the lives of your employees and customers are NOT the same.

It’s important right now to consider others, be empathetic, stay calm, make plans, and communicate well.

The response you have now will determine whether your business and marketing survive – and even thrive – in the future. So, let’s respond with kindness. Let’s be at our best when the world is at its worst. We’re all in this together. 🌎♥