Today, I’m super excited about the topic I’m sharing with you — how to get powerful organic lead generation results with six inbound content must-haves.
These are the six we’ll go over in today’s video:
Call to Actions (CTAs)
Ebooks and Lead Magnets
Conversation App (live chat)
In today’s video, I’m sharing how all six work together like an ecosystem to bring you massive results and pull in ideal clients. You just need to know what to do with each, and how to set them up properly. Let’s get into it!
Power Up Your Inbound Lead Generation With These 6 Content Types (Video)
But, how do you actually set up content in a way that will bring you results?
That’s what we’re here to talk about.
I’ve been practicing content marketing for eight years, using my own businesses to test the best content marketing practices. I’ve launched four different brands that are all profitable. What I’ve found, especially with my primary income source — my agency, Express Writers, where we handle on average 200 client projects every month — is that you need these six inbound tools, so to speak, to get real results.
Three are content formats, the other three are more or less tools to help that content work.
Call to Actions (CTAs)
Ebooks and Lead Magnets
Conversation App (live chat)
Think of all of these things like an ecosystem. Without all six, you won’t hit massive inbound results.
When and How Do You Create These Six Content Types for Inbound Lead Generation?
Here are the answers to that question.
Two of these should be created every week: blogs and CTAs.
One of these should be created once per quarter at a minimum: ebooks or lead magnets.
The other three need to be created and then maintained at least once every quarter: your web pages, lead forms, and you should set up an app on your site for live prospect conversations. We use Drift.
Here’s how all six work to bring in live prospects. See below for a real pathway example of all six working together to pull in prospects (via my agency, Express Writers). I’ve put a number for our list of six content types next to each to identify how all six work together in this “cycle” of pulling in an ideal lead.
#2 Blogs — Example of a 2,000w search-optimized blog post (found through SEO keywords we’ve researched that tie into searches our prospects make on Google, like ‘how to write SEO content’)
So, when you apply the tips I’ll show you for setting up an inbound lead engine that WORKS, you must create content that doesn’t fall short of amazing. If it does fall short for your readers, unfortunately, you really won’t see the kind of results I’m talking about.
Conversion paths are key — think about what a prospect needs to contact and/or buy from you
Make the buyer’s journey clear and easy
Grow an audience that wants what you have to sell with the right keyword terms and content created around those consistently
I’m positively THRILLED to share with you that after two years of writing (I’ve lost count of the hours put in), my third book is in the final stages of publication! Woman Rising: A True Story is about to hit the bookstores and Amazon Prime in all formats — audiobook, hardback, paperback, e-book! — February 10, 2020. Sign up for the launch at womanrisingproject.org.
I’m feeling all the feels today. This book has been a cathartic journey, my heart and soul wrapped up inside its pages. It’s incredible to be able to come out of the writing closet, so to speak, and finally share my story with the world.
February 10, 2020 is the official release date!
Woman Rising is a left turn from the other two I’ve written, which were in non-fiction, marketing genres.
With this new book, I’ve returned to my writing roots – narrative storytelling – to share one of the craziest stories I’ll probably ever pen. It is the harrowing true story of my childhood within a cult, of creating a business online and my escape at age 21. And, it’s the story of what happened after. How I built multiple businesses, a life I love living, and found joy and restoration.
I wrote this true story of my crazy life to inspire and change lives. If I can be who I am today, you can build your own dreams into reality, too.
I’m super excited because this is more than just a book. It’s a cause, too: The Woman Rising Project, Inc. (more on this in the video interview). My cause is in the final stages of being filed as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. My goal is to be a voice for those that have none – because I was once that child, adrift in the torrential sea of parental abuse, done in the name of religion, without a single ally on my side. I will be partnering with seven other nonprofits that have come personally recommended, making real changes in the issues of hidden abuses at home. I want to impact and help abused yet “invisible” children and women that grew up in, or experienced, trauma and abuse at home. I also want to touch on and make a difference for women and children in slavery, religion-based domestic violence, sex trafficking, and starvation.
I will be sharing my time, donating copies of Woman Rising, and lending my creative energy to these nonprofits to make a real difference in these issues happening right here inside the United States.
Today’s video is an interview-style story of my book. My husband, Josh interviewed me. We had fun, and it was pretty crazy diving into what my life used to look like. Enjoy.
The Book: Woman Rising, A True Story (Coming February 2020)
As a child, I had a perfect life – from the outside.
To everyone around us, we were lovely. I was an A-student, had close bonds with my siblings and we were all exceedingly well-mannered. Yet, if you looked closely, you might have spotted a few unusual things about me. I only wore long skirts, only ever sported certain colors, and I always seemed to run on a disciplined, precise schedule.
Those were the only clues of the fear and terror with which my father ruled his family – a full-fledged religious household molded by his twisted interpretation of the Bible.
It was a reality that no one saw – because no one realized that my life of perfection was a façade.
Woman Rising: A True Story is a narrative of my life growing up in that household that looked perfect from the outside. I’ve shed light on my past and my history with this visceral retelling of all the pain and horror that you’d expect of life inside a cult.
Against this backdrop, I share the story of my curious rise to success as an internet entrepreneur – at first seen by my father as a way to fund his Church, and later, become the means of my escape.
After failing college and an attempt to get an R.N. degree, a degree my parents forced me to pursue, my way out came almost accidentally. First, by meeting Josh – the man destined to be both my business partner and my husband – then by stumbling into the creation of a business where seemed like all the odds stood against success. But once the door was open, it was destined to forever and completely change the rest of my life, giving me a road to adulthood and a life of forever freedom. And above all, a life I truly loved living. (Which was an unthinkable, unattainable reality. When I left the cult, I believed I was broken for good.)
Ever have one of those split-second moments of “let’s just run with it” moments of inspiration?
Part 2 of Woman Rising is the true story of building four brands from scratch, including all the downs – momentous failures that taught me incredible lessons on the way to success as I started the hard journey of healing. I hope to share this as my “entrepreneurial manual” for success. In it, I hold nothing back in sharing each of the steps I took, including the steps that were backward, in building my brands out of nothing.
I know my story isn’t singular – in fact, as the media routinely reveals, abusive religious households are scattered across the US, hidden behind a façade of normalcy. Woman Rising is a story meant to be fuel, an inspiration for those who are searching for a way to embrace and manifest their dreams in the face of terror and abuse. I hope that my story helps anyone struggling in similar conditions to realize that you’re powerful and you’re enough.
I’ve shared my story of what can happen beyond the label of victim in the hopes that others can find their voice. I was once a child, living inside of a home that terrified me. No one helped me. Everyone was fooled by our exterior. With this book, I want to bring a voice to an issue that is prevalent right here in America. I want to make a real, positive, lasting change for good.
Then, go follow The Woman Rising Project page on Facebook! (While we still have access to the private group, I’d love to invite you in, so look for that group as it will be posted on that Facebook page.)
I’ve been practicing content marketing for nearly nine years now — and I’m not the only one. There are thousands of us content marketers out there. Not to mention, the industry itself is worth over $400 billion!
But, time and time again, I still hear the question asked: “So what exactly IS content marketing?”
This video was created to answer that question. My goal is that this big, burning question is thoroughly answered in a way that inspires you to get started on your content marketing journey! 💡
To get a solid, accurate definition of content marketing, let’s turn to industry leaders that have been an influential part of this industry today.
So, let’s start there. Then, we’ll head into a down-to-earth discussion of what this type of marketing really is!
Unless you’re living under a content marketing rock, you’ve probably heard of Content Marketing Institute. The founder of CMI, Joe Pulizzi, is known as the “Godfather of Content Marketing.”
The literal ‘godfather’ of content marketing himself. Credits to my amazing video producer, Renata Franco.
Back in 2011, Joe started Content Marketing World, a world-leading content marketing event today with over 4,000 content marketers in attendance. When Joe had the idea to start the event, he reserved a room that fit 125 people in the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel. Over 600 people showed up. It grew and grew every year from there.
A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.
Let’s look at a few other sources. Wikipedia used over 34 sources for their definition of content marketing:
Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses in order to:
Content marketing is the process of creating valuable, relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your audience. Buyers and customers today are inundated by more marketing messages than ever before — more than 2,900 per day, by current estimations. This creates an environment of attention scarcity, challenging marketers with the task of producing engaging content that won’t get lost in the static. A well-crafted content marketing strategy places your business in the position of a thought leader.
When content marketing works BEST, it usually has two core elements:
When the main purpose of content marketing is to grow and build an engaged, happy audience
When the creator/creators (brand, publication, entrepreneur, marketer) are ready for a long-term commitment
Some say the first example of content marketing goes way back to Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard Almanack, first published in 1732, which Franklin published in order to get people hooked on his printing service.
In the 19th century, John Deere started a magazine called the Furrow with the goal of providing accurate, unbiased information for farmers to improve their operation, according to a Content Marketing Institute documentary.
If you study the best examples of brands grown through content today, even the Content Marketing Institute, this was their goal — build an audience before selling anything. Typically, content was created for 12 to 18, 24 months before an offer was ever made to that audience.
So, if this is ever backwards — the offer and sale come ahead of the audience — content marketing simply put, doesn’t work.
To win at content marketing, the type of content you publish should be the BEST in your industry. Think in terms of mastering what you do.
This means being the best in…
Best in author voice (expert writer, researcher, creator – outsource this to make life easy)
Best in topics and concepts (thought leader – avoid outsourcing this part)
Best in optimization and visibility (to be found on Google, research the right keywords and topics before creating)
Focusing on mastering on one channel is better than jumping to all the shiny objects. Study the benchmarks you’re up against, and create better content! More comprehensive, more long-form, more unique.
Any company, big or small, from tech to manufacturing, can produce content marketing.
How Does Content Marketing Differ from Traditional Advertising?
Content marketing’s goal is to build an audience, and then, turn that audience into buyers. (Without that, there is not a ton of profit and ROI.)
Why it’s different than ads: content marketing that works puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. It completely obliterates the annoying, pushy “look-at-me, look-at-me” attitude of traditional advertising. Instead, content is used to build a relationship.
The costs of content-marketing can be low, as compared to ads. You can publish on your own site, your own blog — unlike traditional advertising, where companies pay a third party, like Facebook, to include an ad.
Some successfully use content marketing in tandem with paid ads. So, that can be done to great success.
What Does a Content Marketing Plan Include?
Usually, these are the six content types included in a content marketing plan:
Web pages (onsite: Home, About, etc.)
Blogs (onsite: consistent fresh content)
Social media (consistent fresh content on social profiles)
Email copy (build your list, send out new content)
News/ad/sales copy (sales pages, ad campaigns, PRs)
Creative (video scripts, etc. as needed for different campaigns)
The best content to publish consistently is blog content (weekly), emails (weekly), and your social media content (daily).
Don’t Go Crazy in Doing All of That Content — Manage and Delegate It
This can get overwhelming, fast. You have to have a method to the madness.
The key is managing. Instead of “doing” all the content, think in terms of “managing” all the content. Delegate to the right partners, the right expert writers and creators.
It’s easy to worry, “Do I have to do all the things?” In short, the answer is yes, you DO have to do a lot, but if you think about managing rather than doing you won’t be burnt out all the time and risk content marketing failure. Also, think of your complete content marketing as an ecosystem.
That’s about it for today’s video! If you have any questions on content marketing that I didn’t address in today’s video, tell me in the comments.
Hit that Subscribe button for my new videos every other Monday!
Are you search optimizing, or SEO’ing, your blog posts correctly in WordPress before you hit that Publish or Schedule button?
Pre-publish optimization in WordPress is SO important, I can’t even stress how much.
It’s almost a crime to spend all your time producing a wonderful piece of content around a focus keyword, just to let it get published without optimization in WordPress first.
In today’s video, sit down with me at my computer and watch as I show you EVERY step I take before I publish a blog in WordPress, in my WordPress blog post optimization checklist for SEO.
From how to switch to “text editor,” format your subheaders properly, to knowing if you should use H4s or not, to “should I worry about the Yoast smiley face color?”… I answer it all! ✅
Watch this detailed, practical video to learn how to optimize your blogs before you hit Publish or Schedule on WordPress.
Time and time again, I see a clear pattern — #1 SEO rankings for blog posts that have a focus keyword comes from how much effort you put into your pre-publish optimization. The devil is in those details, and that couldn’t be truer for WordPress blog optimization.
My 8-Step WordPress Blog Post Optimization Checklist for SEO (Video)
If you follow each of the steps I share in this video, you’re much more likely to see results from your SEO content, especially if you publish regular blogs on WordPress, which is my personal favorite platform. I’ll even share with you an example of one of our content pieces, optimized following these exact steps, ranking at the top of Google for a major keyword in just 30 days. Let’s get going!
Make Sure Your Site Foundations Are Right (Pre-Optimization Step)
Before we get into the checklist, a quick word of advice:
It helps to have a fast, clean site. Just like you can’t build a strong house if your foundations are shaky, you simply cannot expect to publish an optimized post on an icky website and see great results.
So, disclaimer: as you head into these tips, if you don’t have a strong, fast, secure, beautiful website, with page load speeds under 3 seconds per page, a beautiful, seamless experience for your end-user, you won’t see results. I recommend working with a top-rated freelance website developer to help get all your tech issues fixed, if you think you might have foundational site issues to fix first. Check out my recent Write Blog guide on how to rank in the top of Google.
Let’s head over to my computer and I’ll show you, step-by-step, the 8 steps to use every single time you schedule a WordPress blog. First, here’s the checklist itself.
How to SEO Optimize Blog Posts in WordPress: 8 Steps
Load the Blog: Edit, Proofread, Upload All Corresponding Images
Add & Proof-check Subheader Optimization for Readability and SEO
Check All Links to Open in New Windows
Add Easy One-Click Social Shares
Add Meta Title and Description with Yoast
Upload SEO Alt-Text Feature Images in the Right Spots
Optimize Your Blog for Social Sharing with Yoast
Additional Bonus Tips on SEO Optimization:
The permalink (URL) for your blog should be your focus keyword. Keep it to five or less words!
Categorize your blog in one clear category. Avoid too many tags. 1-5 tags describing the topic, as long as they don’t duplicate the category, are fine.
1. Load the Blog: Edit, Proofread, Upload All Corresponding Images
Load your blog in WordPress. Edit and proofread the content as you upload and insert any corresponding screenshots, images, etc.
Images for blogs should be at most 1 megabyte, unless you’re uploading an infographic or a key high-res image that absolutely has to be at the resolution it was created at.
2. Add & Proof-check Subheader Optimization for Readability and SEO
Now that the post is in, you need to properly add subheaders — H2s, H3s.
Adding subheaders and making sure the content is readable are the top two considerations so people (and search engines) can read and understand your post easily.
Go in the Text editor of WordPress to make sure all H2s, H3s, etc. are coded correctly (use WordPress’s formatting!).
Proof check them all on the Visual editor to make sure they transferred correctly.
3. Check All Links to Open in New Windows
This is proven to significantly lower bounce rate, so, it’s worth the trouble! Make sure all your links are set to open in a new browser window.
4. Include CTAs
Above all, avoid being annoying with your CTAs. Don’t put too many in, and don’t put them too high up. I’ve tested a variety of placements, and find that text CTAs are great for inner CTAs, and image CTAs best kept to 1, 2, or at most, 3 in one long-form blog. Always make sure your blog at least ends with a strong CTA that directs the reader to take action.
5. Add Easy One-Click Social Shares
Know your platform, first of all. For us at the Write Blog, Twitter is a huge platform for engagement. We’ve kept up a Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, for years now on Twitter that has helped us grow a solid Twitter presence. So, knowing that Twitter is a hot platform, we’ve chosen to use a plugin that enables us to add “Click to Tweets” to every post — which we do. These are punchy phrases or takeaways from the blog that readers can share to Twitter with one click.
Just avoid putting too many in, or putting them above your first H2 (that placement can actually interfere with rankings). You want to avoid any “extra code” in a blog as much as possible, which helps your content stay more visible for rankings.
6. Add Meta Title and Description with Yoast
Don’t forget to plug in a good meta title and description! The “green” on the meta title and description is a good indicator for the right length for both.
Regarding the “overall” Yoast SEO, that comes with a color-coded smiley face (that may not be smiling if he’s orange or red), bear in mind that this may not correlate to actual content results. After publishing over 1,000 blogs, some of our top-ranked blogs are orange, if not red! Nothing beats a real human eye reviewing the content before it goes out, and the focus should be on the quality of content, not a fallible color-coded score by a software.
Other questions you should be asking instead of “is this color green?” 😉
Does my blog read well? Is it typo-free? Is it formatted and readable?
Will my blog actually engage my audience?
Does my blog have a clear CTA that tells the reader how to take “next steps” with me?
7. Upload SEO Alt-Text Feature Images in the Right Spots
We always have our images for our blogs custom-designed, so, we upload correctly sized and branded images to our blogs.
SEO alt-text is important for image visibility in Google. Alternate text is a descriptive text that provides context for people who are visually impaired or need to use a screen reader to browse the web. Alternate text (or “alt text”) describes your images to search engines, as well, so they’ll potentially show up in image searches.
8. Optimize Your Blog for Social Sharing with Yoast
Make sure you’re sharing the right image with your blog link on social media by completing this step. This is especially important if you’ve created custom, share-worthy graphics to accompany the post.
In the Yoast SEO options, click on the “Social sharing” icon.
Skip over the title and description fields – Yoast will pull the information for these from the main snippet fields you already filled out.
Scroll to “Facebook image” or “Twitter image.” Upload your custom image here.
Make sure the image you use has an alternate text and a title specified.
Why Is WordPress SEO Blog Optimization So Important?
Let me show you an example of a blog that earned a top spot in Google, optimized with the steps I’m about to show you. Now you might already know this, but we have over 1,100+ blogs published on Express Writers’ Write Blog across eight years, which have earned over 21,000 keyword positions in Google (case study here).
Here’s an example of just one of those, created this year. Within 30 days of publishing this blog, “How to Build a Strong Digital Content Strategy in 2019”, we earned a #1 organic ranking for the keyword “how to build a digital content strategy:”
One key player for this blog’s ranking power is the work we did on optimization before publishing. From the title to the copy to the subheaders to the images, CTAs, links, metas, and more — everything is optimized for search engines.
Time and time again, brands that edge into top positions on SERPs get the lion’s share of the spoils, including higher click-through rates and more traffic.
Why does being in #1 matter so much? According to Advanced Web Ranking, the CTR for organic position 1 on Google is 31.19%. Meanwhile, the CTR for position 10 is 1.12%. One or 31 percent? I’ll let you decide!
Bonus: search traffic is climbing past 70% of all the world’s online traffic right now. That means the majority of internet traffic comes from a Google search. Google alone processes over 40,000 search queries every second. In short, you need to be found where your people are searching.
Taking care of all these small pieces of your blog post may seem like busywork, but it’s not.
Instead, each step is essential for making your content the best version of itself. Attention to detail may be the differentiator between two posts vying for the #1 or #2 spots on a SERP. If your post has better signals, both readers and Google will take note.
The devil is in the details. A sharp eye and a few extra minutes of your time before hitting “publish” could make all the difference.
Need great content to fuel your blogging presence? We offer packaged blogging plans. See pricing here.
I’m so excited to be back creating more videos for you!
I had to take a two-month hiatus from YouTube, but I’m back today with a brand new video (and super excited to be in the hot seat, filming again). 🔥
How to use my favorite content writing tools to help you create content that NEVER falls flat.
In today’s video, I’ll spend under a minute recapping my last two months, so you get a little glimpse into my life and the behind-the-scenes. Then, we’ll dive right into today’s topic with practical advice on my top three favorite content writing tools.
3 Content Writing Tools to Help You Create Awesome Content (Video)
Video Notes: Behind-The-Scenes in the Life of a Full-Time Content Creator
My August was one of the craziest, most unexpected months I’ve had all year.
We went through three managers in the agency. It was an extremely rough patch, but we got through it. With Korilynn back and a new team member, Marisa, added in the support department, we’re stronger than ever. Then, I started taking on a few initial gigs through Content Hacker, I ran into a completely unexpected nightmare client situation. I had to fire them for my own sanity. (Thankfully, that was only one out of four clients — the other three have been dreams!)
Then, the first week of September was a massive highlight. I went to Content Marketing World: it was the first year I went as a speaker, third year going to the conference.
I co-presented with good friend Jason Schemmel, and created an actionable talk called A Masterclass on Creating and Publishing Authority-Building Blogs. Our room was packed out with a line out the door. The CMWorld team put my books out in the Expo Hall, and they ended up selling out of all my books early! See my blog recap of the event here.
Okay, on to today’s topic. Are you ready?
3 Content Writing Tools to Help You Create Awesome Content
We’re going to cover three of my favorite, most-used content creation tools to help you in the ideation stage.
Ideation is arguably one of the most important stages in your content creation process.
Basically, once you have a source of never-ending ideas that come from REAL places, like your customer pain points or relevant keyword research, you map each topic to a clear goal.
Ask yourself and your team creating this content, Can I rank in Google? Can I build sales and connections? Can I build my brand name in the industry? If you can’t map it to a goal, you put the topic in the trash can.
So what I’ll talk about in the next few minutes are tools to give you sources for content ideas and inspiration to create better content day in, day out.
Let’s say we’re looking up a keyword related to “how to blog.”
Here’s what that looks like in KWFinder:
The #1 factor you need is relevancy when looking up the right keyword. Once you know these are keywords your ideal prospect is actually searching, run them through Mangools’ KWFinder to hunt for a keyword you can actually rank for. Then, you want to find “easy to rank for” keywords. So, right away, how to blog is out. It’s hard, and I’d have to go up against sites like neilpatel.com, which has a super high DA. But right below it we have how to become a blogger, which scores as 43, or possible. Since these scores change all the time, you’d want to create content on this keyword and publish it within 15 or 20 days. I would recommend a 3,000w guide on the topic.
Once you have a focus keyword to pull in synonymous keywords to help you structure a great article, use Google’s Searches Related to. Use these in your subheaders and throughout your content.
Tool #2: BuzzSumo
It’s important to look through a content analysis tool for insights on trending topics, and BuzzSumo is one of the best out there. You can use it in a few ones. For one, search your own domain to see your most-shared content. This will give you topic umbrella ideas to write more content under. For example, our top-shared post is a thought-leadership blog I wrote on how to find your “content differentiation factor,” a unique concept I came up with. Interesting! So, I could write a follow-up post with more current insights and new details on that topic.
You can also use BuzzSumo if you’re writing guest blogs to scout out for your publication’s most-shared pieces. Chances are, they’ll be more likely to accept a topic with proof that a similar topic to yours was extremely popular on their site. Just don’t copy topics. Take inspiration from them, but use your own data/slant/opinion on the topic.
Finally, use the Topic Explorer to identify topics in your industry that could be worth writing on.
This September, I’m taking the stage at one of the biggest conferences in my industry of content marketing — Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio!
Founded by Joe Pulizzi, who is one of the most authentic and real influencers in (as well as the “godfather” of) content marketing, CMWorld is my all-time favorite conference.
Thousands of marketers getting together around content marketing — what could be better? This will be my third year in a row attending CMWorld, and my first year speaking!
The last time I attended CMWorld, in 2018, I lost count of how many people suggested I should speak this year.
One of those persons? Joe Pulizzi himself. When the godfather of content marketing himself recommends a next step for you, well… you should do what he says.
My session is very unique. I’m co-presenting with a funny, awesome, genuine content marketer Jason Schemmel, who’s been my friend in the space for a while. I’m super excited to take the stage with a good friend.
Over the past weeks, I’ve been structuring and creating all the content for this session.
It’s going to be one-of-a-kind and unique because I’ve formulated it like an intensive, yet easy-to-follow, masterclass!
I will be teaching you how to create and publish authority-building content — and inspiring you along the way to get it done! You’ll learn what growth-focused content looks like, you’ll hear from top content marketers that we’ve interviewed for exclusive insights on what it takes to put together a high-converting content marketing campaign. You’ll see the difference between “sexy” vs. “high-ROI” content in real-life. You’ll learn what drives real content growth, the right KPIs to track, what content tools I use every day and what metrics to look for, and how to get executive buy-in for your content campaign.
I’ve spent weeks working on this session. It’s going to be one of my best educational masterclasses on authority-building content, ever!
Come join me at CMWorld. Learn more at ContentMarketingWorld.com, and use code MCCOY to save $100 if you decide to join me. We could meet at the opening party at the Rock ‘ N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio! 😁
Don’t forget to subscribe and catch new videos that hit my YouTube channel.
Till fall, I’ll publish less frequently while I focus on my new book and this massive speaking gig; but I plan to get back on consistent video creation after September. And don’t forget to stay up to date with my new projects! Follow me on Twitter @JuliaEMcCoy.
After a ton of work, it finally went live on Friday, June 28.
This was a project that came after eight years of hard work in content marketing, leading my content agency Express Writers, writing two books, teaching and leading two courses, not to mention writing over a thousand blog posts!
I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this adventure with you.
In today’s video, walk with me down memory lane a minute and listen as I share the full story behind this new brand I’m launching.
I watched my mom connect to the internet, and saw her send an email to someone online for the first time. That person emailed her back in minutes. I was blown away at the power of the internet. Ever since then, I’ve pretty much loved the internet. I figured out how to make money online at 12 years old.
Today, finding an avenue to connect “making money online” to “writing content online” simply delights me.
It’s a wonder that I can get online, craft thoughtful words or teach others to, and make more in a month than my parents did in a year back in the ’90s.
Online content has been my favorite realm–a creativity outlet, and a full-time living–ever since I dropped out of college and a nursing degree back in 2011 at 19 years old to seek my passion.
My Competitive Edge in Content: How It Was My Only Financial Means Out of a Cult
Here’s the thing about how I learned to create content.
When I started diving into following my dreams and building my writing agency, Express Writers, at 19 years old, every single dollar I earned had to go towards paying my way. Otherwise, I was broke.
And in 2012, at 20 years old, I used those hard-earned dollars to help get out and escape my dad’s religious cult.
I escaped and finally built the life I always dreamed of by growing my company Express Writers to over $4.5 million in sales in the past 8 years.
(This is a story I’m telling in a book I just finished writing. I can’t wait to share when that comes out. If you follow me on social media, you’ll hear all about it!)
So, there’s no doubt.
I’m a hard-knocks, bottom-line focused, reality-checking content creator.
My success comes from the hard work I put in.
Nothing I do comes from luck.
I have zero time or patience for what doesn’t work, and I’m motivated by results.
It helps that I have a passion for what I do. I love the science of the internet, and I love making magic with words.
Where Does ‘Content Hacker’ Come From?
When I first heard the term content hacker, it was from Garrett Moon at CoSchedule. He coined it in 2014, simply defining it as a ‘growth-focused content marketer’ and taking inspiration from Sean Ellis’ term, growth hacking, originally coined in 2010.
I can’t think of a better term than content hacking to describe my day-to-day content lifestyle.
Ever since I began my journey in content creation in 2011, I’ve worked hard to create and execute content in a lean way that directly relates to bottom-line growth.
We have over 16,000 organic keyword positions and a million yearly site visitors at Express Writers. Plus, the clients we’ve written for have also seen incredible success with our content.
But, here’s the thing.
My content wasn’t always successful.
In fact, many of my best life lessons have come from the “Ph.D. in Failure” university. But, as I’ve worked in content for the past eight years, I’ve noticed a truth.
There is a serious lack of true growth-focused content in the enormous efforts and investments by marketers and brands in content marketing today.
Backlinko did a study revealing that 94% of content doesn’t get noticed enough to earn even a single backlink.
I see a ton of same-old, same-old.
I see marketers trying a few tricks here and there, hoping to tape-and-glue it — and content efforts failing, time and time again.
I see content falling flat. Budgets fizzling out. No profits earned.
But here’s the thing.
I believe our broken content marketing is fixable.
Because it is.
Content marketing, done right, is magical.
And that’s why it’s time for Content Hacker.
Elite, proven, working content marketing methodologies are needed — more than ever.
Our standards in marketing, both as practitioners and in the education arena, need to be guided to a new level.
I’m thankful and honored to know more than a few brands, marketers, and agencies that are breaking the mold.
But there are far too many today that still aren’t.
And that’s why Content Hacker™ is here.
What Content Hacker Will Be All About
My new brand serves several purposes.
First, Content Hacker is a resource for elite content marketing education. From our graduates in high school considering a marketing degree, to the marketer, agency, or freelancer that desperately needs this kind of help, to the entrepreneur growing their brand from scratch — this education will be offered to all who need it.
Secondly, Content Hacker is the community I never had when I was a hard-knocks content creator, learning to build strong content the hard way. I want to inspire and bring in others besides myself who will help shine the light on the way forward. And that’s why I’ve invited over 20 leading marketers to be interviewed in a special blog category we’re showcasing, Content Hacker Spotlights, telling the stories of those truly making a difference in marketing. I cannot wait to unveil and share who we have that’s said an emphatic “yes” to these upcoming blog interviews. Prepare to have your mind blown. 🎉
Thirdly, Content Hacker is my new “personal brand.” This will be a resource-heavy, inspiration-heavy site, first and foremost: never built to simply spam or sell you. But, alongside a schedule that includes over 50 amazing content pieces launching in the first six months, I’ve put together some great offerings with this brand, bringing you the best of my training, offerings, mentoring, consulting, and books within fingertips’ reach.
Did you get your FREE copy of my launch freebie, The Content Hacker Starter Kit? If not, go grab it on our beautiful new site now (credits to Jill Lynn Design for such an amazing site!).
And, don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new brand.
Here’s what Townsend actually wrote in his book in 1924, which gave us our first usage of this “sales funnel” as associated today with the AIDA model:
“The salesman should visualize his whole problem of developing the sales steps as the forcing by compression of a broad and general concept of facts through a funnel which produces the specific and favorable consideration of one fact. The process is continually from the general to the specific, and the visualizing of the funnel has helped many salesmen to lead a customer from Attention to Interest, and beyond.”
Does that sound like something our customers actually want from us today?
John Hall, co-founder of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that has made the Inc 500 list, has said on Forbes:
“Right now, the marketing funnel as we know it accepts just about anyone and everyone, filters them through qualification processes, then spits them out at the end without much of a parting word. Too many companies see customers as gatekeepers to wallets; meanwhile, customers feel ignored at best – and insulted at worst – when the journey ends.”
In my article from last December, I drew a new marketing flowchart I’ve called The Marketing Lifecycle, which represents a more modern visualization of today’s buyer journey. This concept has started to go far and wide, re-published on MarketingProfs, MarTech Advisor, Content Marketing Institute, to name a few places.
The term “marketing lifecycle” itself isn’t new. Ardath Albee, an industry leader in content marketing, talked about a lifecycle on the Marketo blog. In the post, titled “B2B Tech Marketers Make the Shift From Funnels to Lifecycles,” she says:
“…Marketers [must] shift their focus from buying journey funnels to full-on customer lifecycle management.”
What’s important to remember is that today’s typical customer journey is far more unpredictable than the customer from just a decade ago.
47% of B2B buyers read 3-5 blog posts or content pieces prior to talking with a salesperson (DemandGen).
77% of Twitter users (Twitter) feel more positive about a brand when their tweet has been replied to.
That means that a typical buyer’s journey could look a lot more like this, and there could be a lot longer of a time period between the first and the last stage — or even shorter, depending on trust! — than a funnel even represents.
The sales funnel really gives companies, and executive teams, the wrong idea of who is buying from them. A human is buying from us, in the end. I think sometimes many of us forget that simple fact. And as marketers, it shouldn’t be our focus to “grab” the attention of people who aren’t in our audience, for numbers’ sake. We should never only focus on “dumping people” at the end of a funnel.
It’s time to quit looking at our customers as if they are numbers, a metric in our system, a “wallet.”
Our customers are so much more than their wallets. They are our friends, the people we want to help the most if we’re truly in business to make a difference. Let’s take a more nurturing stance that encourages people to stay in our circle: to join our community of readers, buyers, and evangelists.
4 Stages in a Modern-Day Marketing Lifecycle
Stage 1. Awareness
Lead is: In awareness
Brands need to focus on: Authority building in the industry with high-quality content on a key site “house,” in a variety of formats. Consistency, quality, and quantity all play in.
This is the traffic and awareness stage when someone first hears about you and has a potential need for what you might offer.
Your content and work here should be value-focused, first and foremost. Don’t be promotional or you risk turning leads off. Comprehensive, high-quality blogs are huge winners to build on your site for attracting more leads in the awareness stage.
Trust-building content is the Queen, and the Queen rules the house. Instead of just publishing any content to fill a schedule for pushing your brand forward in the industry with momentum, marketers will need to push themselves further to create content that earns that love and trust – stuff with deep originality, fresh angles on old topics, imaginative ideas, and a big dose of fun.
This trend is already reflected in the data. The majority of marketers (56%) are reporting that content creation is the one area where they have overwhelmingly increased spending, according to CMI’s Benchmark report for 2019.
What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:
High-quality, comprehensive, SEO optimized blogs for inbound site traffic
Focus on building a community feel with your brand — create intimacy with your niche, again, through content
Original research studies
Web pages & site guides
Social media content, videos & copy
Published books by executive team leaders/CEOs (see mine for an example)
Lead magnets and ebooks & building list size and leads to nurture with opt-ins
Ad campaigns (cold audience)
Fourth-stage tie in: Maintain relationships at the fourth stage for more word-of-mouth referrals
Stage 2. Interest & Intent
Lead is: Interested and has potential intent to buy
Brands need to focus on: Conversational marketing. Holding live calls with strongest team members, offering client-specific or seasonal coupons.
In the sales funnel, this is usually broken up into two stages: Interest and Desire. However, the pattern with smart buyers today, especially those buying online (digital and physical services), is that a lead can go from interest to desire very quickly. Never write off your leads too early. We’ve seen clients come back out of the blue months or even years later time and time again.
And guess what the #1 factor is in moving someone from interest to a decision? A real, live human conversation.
After 8 years and $4+ million in sales, all conducted not in person and over the “internet” virtually with clients using our website, we consistently see conversations as the #1 factor in moving someone from interest and intent to decision. Yet, this is a metric left out of ALL KPIs and ALL sales funnels!
Since our leads at Express Writers are 100% inbound and already warm, getting them on a call is easy – and once they have a conversation with one of our capable staff members, 60-80% of the time, they buy.
Allowing the lead to choose phone, chat or email, and then being quick to take initiative, pick up the phone and call is the #1 component of all of our sales. (We’ve never used a single webinar to sell our services at Express Writers.)
Also, our top salesperson is not a salesperson. We stopped doing commissioned sales back in 2015! Instead, our top salesperson is someone who has a ton of experience in client support and serious hand-holding chops, because that’s what it takes. You have to have someone that enjoys this process and loves working with clients.
I can’t recommend this enough: Have more conversations with your leads. Talk about the conversations you’ve had in your boardroom with executives and team members.
Another powerful factor in moving a client through this stage is by using coupons and offering them more.
Remember your email marketing efforts here too. Emailing your content marketing pieces generates a 38x return for every 1$ spent (CampaignMonitor).
What brands should do at this stage:
Conversational marketing (live chat, phone appointments with leads & best company representatives)
Messenger bots & live chat apps
Have your best (human!) representatives at the end of the app & booking live calls with leads
An easy-to-navigate site with clear contact forms
Lead magnets around your core message
Ebooks to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise
Whitepapers and case studies showing off client success stories
Email marketing and list building efforts (write and send great emails consistently)
Ad campaigns (retargeting)
Stage 3. Decision
Lead is: Ready to buy
Brands need to focus on: Having samples, previous happy client reviews, and quotes ready to go. Booking sales calls.
This is the action stage. The main action here is sales. If the other stages are done correctly, and your content has built a great presence, you offer a solid service and products, and you or your team has answered every question; the prospect should buy.
What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:
Conversational marketing (live chat, calls, prompt follow-ups with clients to answer every question)
Have a team that acts fast on sales quotes. The recommended time to get back to someone who contacts you online now is 0 minutes – 4 hours, max.
Have work samples ready to show at request for new clients making a decision
Testimonials and reviews from prior happy clients help new clients buy with confidence
Optional, based on specific company time: Demos (a complex SaaS, for example, could benefit from offering demos)
Stage 4. Loyalty
Lead is: Delighted and willing to send referrals
Brands need to focus on: Great service, delivering a great product, following up and checking on client happiness levels, fixing or repairing any reason for dissatisfaction
This is where you connect with and delight your customers on a regular basis. They become advocates for your brand at this point.
This is one of the most important parts to building a long-term presence and profitability as a business, yet it is so often left off of the sales funnel! Your customers’ loyalty reflects the strength of your brand. You should be reaching out and making sure your customers are happy, checking in with them, and sending them occasional gifts or thank-yous to maintain that relationship and loyalty. It’s up to you as the brand to make sure the customer is delighted. If at any point they’ve been dissatisfied, it’s also imperative to find out why and repair whatever could be broken.
What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:
Followups and seasonal check-ins: build relationships with customers without being pushy
Send gifts and thank-yous — I send a handwritten note with the books I publish
Email marketing: Nurture buyers’ loyalty by sending them your new guides, blogs and customer stories/team stories
New products, books, etc. can also build loyalty and reoccurring interest
Good service and strong products are #1: Revise and maintain your offerings and team to ensure strength in the market
There are a few things I’ve noticed that consistently happen around the sales journey that really does not match up to today’s sales funnel at all (see AIDA model, above).
1. Predicting where a lead is at is almost impossible.
In short: we can’t read a human buyer’s mind. Software can’t heat-map a lead’s “brain,” even though it’ll promise you that it can try. Your lead could be ready to buy, or they could be months away from buying. It’s their decision, not yours, on how and where they should spend their money. In the end, we let our customers know the decision is theirs, and we simply work to stay top of mind.
2. Loyalty is a stage that’s often forgotten, and best built through great internal service.
This stage is when our biggest sales happen! Not at the first close. And the loyalty stage happens AFTER the interest, decision, and action stages. If we’ve served our customers well enough, and maintain that relationship in a way that encourages them to tell others about how much they love us, this pays off.
3. Conventional KPIs can actually pull focus away from a real path to sales.
For example, one of the biggest “metrics” for actual sales from content is the conversations we have with our leads. If our team isn’t having calls, live chats, email conversations every DAY with our leads, then we revise and improve our inbound strategy. We work on our chat popups. We add or remove questions to our forms. Conversations are by far our biggest metric that leads to a sale. Yet I never see “conversations” factored as a KPI in the sales funnel! Instead, it’s open rates, follower counts, bounce rates.
None of that matters half as much as the conversations you’re actually having with your people.
I hope this inspired you and shed some light on the very difficult topic of our customer sales journey.
If you have questions or thoughts, you know what to do — leave a comment!
After 8 years of content creation, and writing thousands of blogs, I’ve learned that multiple process and draft stages are everything to staying ahead of content, producing great quality, and never risking burnout. (I’m 3 or 4 weeks ahead now on more than 20 individual long-form content pieces per month.)
When it comes to stages in content creation, this is the secret to success. And this includes stages for your headlines!
Here’s the three stages I use.
Headline Writing Stage 1: Draft a headline that reflects the idea or keyword you’re writing about. My draft for the blog example would look like: How to promote a new blog post: # techniques (because that’s the keyword and the idea). It should not be perfect at this point. Don’t worry about that yet!
Headline Writing Stage 2: After you write the blog, come back to the headline. How many steps or techniques do you have? You’ll know after writing the article. This is super important: Let the content guide your headline. This will mean accuracy to the topic for the reader, if you match the headline to what you’ve written, after you write it. You want to refine and craft a headline you like.
Headline Writing Stage 3: Run the headline through a scoring tool. I like the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. It’s a fantastic tool that gives you a rating for how much emotion your headline will impact, and what emotions you’ll bring up in your reader. Intellectual, Empathetic, Spiritual are the three emotions the AMI tool scores for. 40-80 is a high score. Another good tool is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, which rates your headline from 1-100, dependent on word choices used in the headline, length, etc.
Now that you know the stages of how to write a good headline, which I’d say is the most important part of this video, let’s talk about a few other headline rules of thumb.
Headline Writing Tip #2. Never, ever, ever, clickbait.
Don’t sacrifice accuracy for sensation.
The best wait to avoid this is with accuracy from headline to topic.
Never disguise your topic or be unclear about it. Be upfront and 100% accurate. Accuracy of your headline to the content also impacts Google rankings. Google looks for headlines that sum up the topic of the content. The topic of your content is what ranks well in Google, if the whole piece is topically accurate. This is because of how semantic search algorithm works. We can get all nerdy here — that’s just a summary. For more, I have a guide on semantic and topical search optimization.
Headline Writing Tip #3. Your starter words matter.
BuzzSumo did a study of over 50,000 articles in B2B content. They found that these starter words performed better than other headline starter phrases:
“The Future of”
“How to use”
“Need to” (without “Know”)
“How to Create”
“You Need to Know”
Brainstorm topic ideas with these phrases in mind. For example, “what does my audience need to know?” or “what is the future of my industry and how does it affect my audience?”
You can even go back and optimize content that’s not performing well on your blog and add in these header phrases. I go back and optimize my old icky headlines all the time and see more results from doing so!
Go Forth and Write Headlines that Work
Hope these tips helped you.
Here’s to writing catchy headlines that work and earn our readers’ attention — and don’t add to the noise and clickbait crap out there!
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In the same Hubspot study, it was found that an accumulation of more content brings more leads: companies that have published 401+ blog posts get 2x as much traffic as those that have less than 400.
The current ROA (return of advertising) is .6x, down from 11.8x in 2016. You’re losing money, most of the time, on ads. The ROI (return of investment) of organic content is anywhere from 14-16% of traffic (conversion into sales). (Ad Strategist)
But here’s the thing.
The average time span to see content marketing results can be 12-18 months.
After building up a repertoire of content, we’re seeing results – like ranking in the top 3 of Google results for “digital content strategy” in as little as 30 days.
So, faster results can happen, only if you build up the right foundations.
And here’s the secret about content marketing.
It doesn’t work if you don’t set it up to work.
Watch today’s video for three ways to set up your content marketing foundations to start earning (and seeing) real results online. ⬇️
Video Summary: How to Build a Strong Content Strategy for Your Content Marketing
Hi, I’m Julia McCoy. You can call me the content hacker. That’s the name of my new personal brand launching in June. I’m a growth-focused content marketer, the CEO of Express Writers, blogger, and author.
Thanks so much for joining me on today’s video!
Content Works – But It Doesn’t Work If You Don’t Set It Up to Work
I’ve been sharing those statistics that I shared with you at the beginning of this video for years now.
I’m here today, creating a video just for those still in the rut of zero action in their content marketing.
I’m calling you out because I care about you. Your success can happen — you might just a few feet away from content marketing greatness.
But here’s the thing.
If you’re not getting the fundamentals of great copy right, and you’re not stepping into consistency and greatness in content production.
All the while, complaining about the things you don’t have.
Not enough leads.
Not enough sales.
Not enough people on my website.
I can tell you, if you just sat down and fixed the content marketing problems staring you in the face —
The problem with most content marketers is that marketers think of content as a quick fix, instead of thinking of it as a fundamental, like building a house.
And they complain about all the things they wish they could have, while they’re ignoring this big, glaring situation of ignoring the fundamentals.
Which they could have — if they fixed their content.
If they stopped being absent on the company blog. If they got the broken areas of their website rebuilt. If they took another look at and fixed all that icky content written more than two years ago.
It’s time for content marketers to stop complaining about the leads, traffic, and sales they don’t have. And it’s time to start doing something about it.
Content marketing action-takers are the content marketing winners.
My story is proof this can happen — and I’m a college dropout that learned all this by a ton of trial and error!
For 8 years, I haven’t missed a week in blogging. Guess what our results are? Over 90,000 monthly visitors and an income built 99% through our on-site traffic. Our traffic converts at 14-16%.
We’re not the only story of success after content done right — we’re just one of many brands, completely built through content marketing! (See a case study of four marketers and teams that have built huge presences with content marketing.)
3 Ways to Start Turning Things Around and Seeing Real Success From Your Content Marketing
If you’re not seeing success from your content, here are three ways to immediately step it up and start seeing results. All of these three things require some time and effort, but they’re going to be worth it.
1. If your site isn’t fast, user-friendly, stable, well-built, or built at all — this is your first step.
Site speed and quality is everything.
Google has said that conversions drop by 12% per second of load time. The more time it takes to load your site, the less your lead, your human, will even stick around. Website time is money! A study done in 2017 showed that one full second can decrease conversion rates by 70%.
Use a tool like Pingdom to test your website speed.
Hire a good WordPress designer from platforms like Upwork to fix, clean or build your site, make it lightning-fast, Google-friendly, reader-friendly and beautiful.
You don’t need to spend more than $30-50/hour to get a great WordPress developer, and you can by the hour and work done. If you need a brand new site, expect to spend a minimum of $500 or $1000 for a solid, well-built 3-page website. More if you want them to build more content.
Get a great website. (Build one if you don’t have one. Rebuild one if yours is crap. Seriously. You’ll thank me later.)
2. Research and put together a keyword report. I do this weekly.
Think of finding the right SEO keywords like paving a driveway to your house and adding your house number on your mailbox. Without a house number, mail couldn’t get to you! Your friends wouldn’t be able to find your house! Without a driveway, people would have trouble getting to your house.
The same is true of building a site without doing keyword research. After 8 years of doing consistent SEO keyword research, I still find untapped keyword opportunities that no competitor or major industry publication has found yet! There are so many opportunities for low-hanging fruit that you can create great content around that will help your ideal audience member or even buyer find you and your site.
Remember, once you have SEO keywords researched, it will do you no good without great content formed around them. Get a writer to help re-haul all your content if it’s icky, or hire a writer to create some content for you! You wouldn’t leave remodeling the kitchen up to yourself and a friend, would you?
Maybe if you’re a professional contractor, you would. Don’t leave writing up to you and add it to your long to-do list, if it’s hard to make a priority OR if you’re not a professional writer by trade. Trust me — Google puts heavy emphasis on your content quality to rank your content.
3. Plan and set a consistent amount of content to happen on your site regularly.
The best way and easiest way to do this is through a blog. I have a goal of a minimum of one blog per week at the Write Blog. I’ve been able to commit to that for 8 years and running. Other marketers besides me have committed even longer!
Think about great images you can add to your blogs. You can even go for custom illustrations and have a designer create header sets for each blog in a branded color that matches your brand and logo. This is what we do at the Write Blog.
You’ll need to get your social media going, too. Share the posts you publish on your site.
That’s it! Three ways to see success from content marketing. Like I said, it’s a lot like building a house, not a cheap or fast trick to get traffic and sales. It’s a long-term commitment to see long-term success. But isn’t everything good in life like that? A marriage — you have to put in daily effort to love that person! Parenting — you have to spend time with your kid every day! Writing a book, building a business, on and on. So why are we trying to do anything different with our content marketing?
By the way, if you need content help, this is what we do every day at Express Writers. We write blogs, research keywords for our clients, plan out consistent content, design beautiful, custom imagery.
That’s it for today’s video! Want more content marketing real talk? Hit that subscribe button and tap the bell so you get notified right away when my new videos are out. Let me know what you thought of today’s video in the comments – I’d love to hear from you! See you next time.