7 Tips to Take Your Content From “Meh” to Amazing

One of the greatest struggles content marketers face right now is creating engaging content. More than 70% of marketers have made it a top priority this year to address that and make stronger connections with their audiences.

I think a primary cause for that struggle is that we’re only just a few years past search engine updates that changed, rather quickly, the way content is produced. The days of short, shallow content for the sake of building links are gone.

But change sometimes comes slowly. If you want to stand out, you have to produce better content. That’s all there is to it.

Your customers won’t settle for something boring, shallow, and uninteresting. They have problems, and they want answers to help them address those problems.

Here’s how you can transform your “meh” content into something amazing that your audience has been longing for.

1. Hook them in the opening

The introduction to your content should be the most impactful, hooking your audience when they first read it. You need a compelling intro that isn’t very long but provides an effective tease about what’s to come.

A smart move is to make an emotional impact on the audience within the first few sentences. If you’ve done your audience research, you can use your intro to create a sense of empathy around the main point of the article.

The next segment of the intro can set up the need or desire for a solution, followed by a promise of information to come. Other strong introductions could include:

  • Engaging use of storytelling
  • Facts and statistics, especially those that might be surprising
  • A position or belief contrary to the norm

2. Add visual engagement

Even the driest textbooks I had in school had pictures and visual aids to help break up the blocks of text in each section. Few things will make someone bounce from your content faster than being greeted by a wall of text.

Images and other visual elements don’t just break up the content to make skimming easier; they create a more immersive experience that helps the reader remember your content. It also makes them more likely to read it.

Adding relevant images increases people’s willingness to read by as much as 80%.

Visuals are so effective at promoting engagement that 55% of marketers say creating visual content is among their top priorities for 2016.

Just don’t rely on stock photos.

Find or create images that are highly relevant and fit the context of the cotent. Use PixabayFlickr, and Google’s Advanced Image search to find creative commons images, or try using Canva to create your own.

3. The right headline matters

Whenever you’re creating an article or post, create headlines that match these criteria:

  • Short – keep it under 20 words
  • Impactful – capture their attention and generate interest
  • Relevant – no clickbait; match audience intent to the content.

Even the most value-packed content will be ignored if you don’t have a great title that connects with your readers.

Keep in mind that only about 80% of people will read your headline, and of those 80% only about 20% will actually read your content.

When I’m producing content, I can sometimes get lucky and come up with a great headline quickly. More often than not, I spend as much time coming up with a headline as I do writing content.

4. Find the angle

If you come up with a topic for your audience, there’s a good chance that someone has already covered it. That doesn’t mean you can’t write about it or shouldn’t. You just need to have a unique approach and make sure you’re providing original value.

Every piece of content you write has 3 aspects:

  •         Topic – the overarching subject for your article
  •         Point – The key idea you’re trying to get across
  •         Angle – Your specific position on the topic and point

Go after common topics or even trending, heavily-covered topics. Just make sure you have a good angle. When readers are digging into a topic, it will be refreshing for them to find content with a different perspective.

5. Give your content a voice

One of the purposes of producing content is to build trust with your audience to establish authority. You’ll never achieve that if your content reads like a textbook or technical piece. That content has no voice or personality to it.

If you’re promoting your own brand, write in your own voice. Think about your statements using your voice before you write them. Does it sound like you?

For your brand, develop a voice that matches the personality you’ve already created. Content created by a brand with a lighthearted style, like Taco Bell, has a very different voice from the voice of a more serious, driven brand, like Nike, for example.

When you write with a consistent voice, you make a stronger connection with your audience. Content feels more like a dialogue and less like a learning experience.

6. Chase the one thing

As mentioned, your content has a point or key idea you’re trying to get across.

That’s singular: one point.

Every word and sentence in your content should lead toward that point and support it.

Anything that doesn’t engage the reader and help them reach an understanding of that point is only taking up space. Cut it.

7. Match depth and length

I still stumble across the occasional article that dates back to pre-Google updates.

While researching topics and ideas, I see that one 300- or 400-word post that pops up. No images or subheadings, just a little garden wall of text.

They were short, punchy, and often without much value to them. That’s expected, given the length.

What really surprises me is the posts in excess of 1,500 words that have virtually no substance and could be reduced to 400 words without losing anything. They are as vast as an ocean, but as deep as a puddle.

The length of the content isn’t really important; it’s the depth that you have to be mindful of.

Seth Godin is well known for his short, pithy blog posts. They work for him.

Buffer, on the other hand, is known for long-form posts packed with insight and takeaways.

No matter how long of a post you write, make sure the depth matches the length.

Conclusion

A lot of content marketers I talk to say the same thing: “I’m having a hard time making our content really amazing.”

I get that. It’s not easy.

To make the struggle even tougher, more companies than ever are doing content marketing!

Today, to do better, you have to outdo hundreds of other competitors.

Easy? No. But doable? Yes.

What I’ve found to be effective is sticking with it and going back to the basics like the depth of content and the engagement of the headline.

You don’t necessarily need more skill or talent. By taking the right steps in the right area, you’ll be able to level up and improve your content game.

Do you struggle with creating better content? What do you do to step up the quality and value of your content?

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8 Content Marketing Tricks That Helped Dollar Shave Club Go Viral

Ask any North-American male aged 17-30 whether he’s heard of Dollar Shave Club (DSC).

He’ll probably say, “Yeah.”

And it’s not just dudes who know about DSC. A lot of women know about it too because they’ve bought subscriptions for the men in their lives.

Dollar Shave Club is a classic example of startup that blew up-in a good way.

What was one of the first signs of their success?

A video. A viral video.

If you haven’t seen it, you ought to check it out:

The company’s launch video, casually titled “Our Blades Are F**king Great,” quickly became a sensation on the web.

With punchlines and gags to suit a variety of tastes, the video racked up nearly 5 million views within the first 90 days.

The company’s founder, Michael Dubin, had a few aces up his sleeve to help create a professionally cut video.

The CEO studied performing arts at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in New York, where he learned to use the power of comedy to capture the attention of an audience.

He also leveraged his contacts from his time at UCB to bring on a director and connect with a production studio that helped keep costs low. The original DSC launch video was only $4,500.

Most brands trying to produce a tightly choreographed video like the one DSC produced would expect to spend closer to $60k.

But the viral video wasn’t pure luck. The whole thing was carefully orchestrated. But let’s be honest, most startups aren’t Dollar Shave Club.

You probably don’t have a background in theater to help you be as funny as DSC’s CEO, and it’s not likely that you’ll create something that goes on to secure over 7 million views.

But don’t get caught up on the view count. You can still be successful without trying to chase the same numbers if you break down what DSC did in their quest for a successful launch.

Here are 8 tricks you can pull from their viral campaigns to help you boost your own content strategy.

1. The power of video

Simply put, video is the best format for telling stories. You can connect with a consumer and establish a powerful emotional connection with your audience through the use of video more so than any other content format.

You can flesh out that one concept that resonates with an audience and deliver it with a voice and personality that captivates them through a one-on-one connection.

DSC use of video was a smart move, especially given video usage statistics. HubSpot shares a number of compelling stats that show why diversifying content marketing to include video is a smart move:

  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • More than a third of all online activity involves watching videos
  • More than a third of consumers trust video ads
  • 80% of users can recall a video ad they viewed in the last 30 days
  • Enjoyment of video advertising increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%

2. Great storytelling

I’m convinced that great storytelling is crucial to a brand’s viral success. This happened at DSC.

Here’s the story (about the story) from Adam Weber, Dollar Shave Club’s CMO.

“What we’ve really focused in on since our launch video has been all about finding which new stories to tell, to what consumers, and then finding the right distribution platforms to tell them. We take our video storytelling to the obvious places. We do a lot of investment in television, which is a great place to tell a narrative with video.”

Here’s more of his explanation:

I think in the long term, as you get more into the digital places, the social outlets like YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter – those types of venues are great venues for telling stories via video. Those have become an increasingly larger part of our game plan. They offer a lot of unique capabilities that something like television doesn’t offer.

Not every aspect of a marketing strategy needs to contain storytelling, but it should be a part of your marketing strategy, and DSC’s success is proof of that. There are three reasons why it works.

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  1. First, stories grab the attention of the audience. When you have an impressive and captivating narrative, people will want to satisfy their curiosity-especially if the story is relatable.
  2. Second, having a strong narrative helps build the trust with your audience. People trust you more when you open up and share personal stories with them. It works very similarly when brands share their narratives, and it brings the audience back for more.
  3. And third, stories simply do a better job at grabbing the attention of most people over raw content like statistics or facts. Not to say those aren’t interesting at all, but you’re guaranteed to capture more interest if you can tell a story around facts and data.

3. They knew their audience

Another thing that stands out with Dollar Shave Club is their knowledge of their target audience. DSC talks to men in a pretty relatable voice, providing something that never existed when it comes to men’s grooming products.

Prior to Dollar Shave Club, a lot of the razor content and brand positioning either used a highbrow “gentlemanly” approach or painted men as hairy Neanderthals who needed blades with the edge of a katana to stay smooth.

But how long can you sell products pushing the “closer shave” approach?

Dollar Shave Club shows that when you take the time to unearth what your audience wants, you learn how to talk to them. You can create content that uses language they can relate to, with ideas that make sense.

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Every content marketing strategy should begin with good, deep buyer research so you know what they want, how they want it, where to find them and how to get it to them.

4. Focused on the value proposition

No matter how hilarious the video is, all those views won’t translate into sales and revenue if you can’t connect the product to the consumer in some way. Storytelling is a good start, but so is knowing your audience.

Dollar Shave Club knocked it out of the park by staying focused on the value proposition with their messaging and content, from landing pages to videos.

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When you watch the videos, you understand the convenience of never having to shop for replacement blades, and you also appreciate the price. I know, like many men do, the frustration of watching the price of blade replacements climb constantly.

Dollar Shave Club didn’t have a unique product. Razors are everywhere. Still, they developed a unique value proposition around their products and made sure to keep that front and center throughout their content marketing campaigns.

5. Easily sharable

Dollar Shave Club includes traditional media placement, like television, in their marketing strategy. But the success of the launch and rapid growth can be attributed to the shareability of their digital content.

By creating a variety of video content, along with stop-motion animations, promoted through social media, they made it easy for prospective customers and consumers to share that content with their friends and family.

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It was, and still is, a perfect formula for getting content to spread. Simply create content that triggers positive emotions.

Awe-inspiring content, humor, and strong stories make any piece of content engaging and shareable.

6. Every word has a purpose

Early in the production process, Dubin had a sizable script that ran upwards of four pages. Part of the creative process meant trimming that down. It’s an approach you have to take with content, no matter the format.

If content isn’t 100% essential to delivering the message, it needs to be cut. Every word, moment, and frame of a video must have a purpose or a point.

Once the content was stripped down to its bare bones, focused only on the brand messaging, the team went to work scripting humorous content to keep the video light-hearted, but sharp-witted and funny.

People understand brand messaging, and when you subvert that, they recognize the risk you took,

says Lucia Aniello who directed the launch video for Dollar Shave Club and worked with Dubin to craft the script.

Learn to trust the funny. If you take a risk, you may get a reward.

A perfect example is the unofficial tagline of the company that acts as the title for the first video. While trying to establish a solid line that would hit the audience hard at the beginning of the video, Aniello suggested “Our blades are f**king great.”

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I remember Mike’s face when I first said that line,

Aniello recalls.

There was a half a second of concern, and then whatever angel sitting on his shoulder-or devil maybe-said, “Go for it.”

7. Strategic content release

There are plenty of marketers who will tell you that Dollar Shave Club just got lucky with the content. Some would say the same for the Old Spice commercials that mixed randomness with wit and humor.

Luck certainly plays a role in any piece of content going viral, but timing is important as well. Dollar Shave Club knew this much, which is why they had some strategy for the release of their content.

In fact, the video was technically live online before it was a viral hit as the team showed it around to attract investors and to gauge reactions.

When it came time to launch, the video piggybacked on a funding announcement Dubin knew would gather plenty of media coverage. That pushed a lot of traffic toward the content and ensured it wouldn’t disappear among the countless hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day.

You have to think strategically to give your content a fighting chance. Don’t try to release content into a vacuum.

8. The content was funny

People don’t share content just for the sake of sharing it. Think about the content you’ve shared most recently. There are likely one or more reasons you did so:

  • The content resonated with you on a personal level through a common thought or belief
  • It was inspirational and connected with you emotionally
  • It was funny or educational-or both
  • You found value in it and felt your connections would also enjoy it

The Dollar Shave Club video, and much of their content marketing, revolves around an amusing, witty, self-deprecating sense of humor. It’s compelling in a Jackass/Knoxville kind of way (minus the violent shots to the groin.)

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But you don’t need to have raw comedic talent or formal training to make a strong connection with your audience. In fact, if you try too hard, your message could come off as forced.

It worked for DSC because they knew their audience, but more importantly, it was the personality of the brand. There was consistency in the brand messaging and the content itself.

DSC wasn’t funny just for the sake of being funny.

Conclusion

The success of Dollar Shave Club’s content can be replicated, but it shouldn’t be duplicated.

With the right strategy, you can develop content that will captivate your audience. You just need to understand what they want and discover how to talk to them.

With that information, you can diversify and produce content in formats that will be most successful with the people you’re trying to target.

You don’t need to be funny. You just need to be authentic, sincere, consistent, and willing to listen.

What tricks can you borrow from Dollar Shave Club to increase your brand’s power?

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How Any Small Business Can Compete with the Big Boys Using SEO and Social Media

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I get it.

I understand how brutal it can be-trying to market your small business in a world of billion-dollar businesses and multi-million dollar marketing budgets.

You have a limited budget, limited time, limited knowledge, and a limited arsenal of tactics that you can afford to implement.

But the big brands? They can do anything they want, hire as many people as they want, and unleash any tactic they want.

Today’s small businesses are forced to compete in an increasingly saturated marketplace.

The competition is fierce, and it has become incredibly difficult to rise above the noise.

Combine this with the massive disparity between a small business’s marketing budget and a much larger enterprise’s seemingly infinite resources, and it’s obvious that the cards are stacked against small businesses.

In fact, finding new customers is one of the top concerns of small business owners, and 66% claim this is the biggest issue they face.

How can small businesses tip the scales in their favor and go head to head with mega juggernauts?

It all boils down to two specific marketing strategies: SEO and social media.

When done correctly, these strategies can help any small business compete with the big boys.

I’ve been able to help small businesses do exactly that-upset the sumo-wrestler-size businesses in their niche.

It’s part of the glory of digital marketing. Anyone can compete. Anyone can succeed.

Even the little guy.

You just have to know how.

Leveling the playing field

The beautiful thing about these two mediums-SEO and social media-is that they are impartial. They show no favoritism.

Google doesn’t care what business is offering which product. It’s just looking to provide users with the best and most relevant results.

The same goes for social media.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new startup bootstrapping its marketing or a well established company that’s been around for years.

You can still achieve significant exposure as long as you understand the process and how to reach your demographic effectively.

While it is true that there will be inherent difficulty outranking a behemoth like Amazon or Walmart on search engines and you’re unlikely to gain the same size of a social media following as a corporate titan, the right know-how definitely makes it possible for small businesses to gain traction.

It’s a matter of implementing the right techniques and having an understanding of the processes that are working at the moment.

Small businesses benefit the most from social media

A 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report came up with some interesting findings in terms of who benefited the most from social media.

According to their findings, 90% of respondents agreed social media was important to their businesses.

The interesting thing is that 67% of self-employed individuals and 66% of small business owners were more likely to strongly agree with this statement.

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In terms of the specific advantages, 88% of respondents said the top benefit was increased exposure for their businesses.

Second, at 72%, was increased traffic/subscribers.

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With roughly two-thirds of all small business owners claiming social media was important to their businesses, it’s clear that a well run campaign can have a significant impact.

You also have to take into account the possibility for going viral and seeing massive growth in an extremely short period of time.

If you really understand your audience and know how to connect with them on social media, you can not only gain exposure but also earn your audience’s loyalty and bring repeat business.

So in theory, a no-name startup can experience wide scale exposure overnight and get a flood of traffic along with off the chart sales.

Killing it at SEO

There’s no denying that search engines have forever changed the way we find information and the way businesses approach marketing.

To put some perspective on things, “Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”

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Wow! That’s a lot.

But let’s be honest. Small businesses stand little to no chance of outranking colossal companies for broad search terms.

But when small businesses use smart tactics like long-tail keyword phrases, they have a realistic chance to outrank the big boys.

Here’s a very simple example.

I entered the keywords “razor blade” on Google-a very broad search term.

As you might expect, the top results were dominated by Amazon:

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Then I entered a more specific and much narrower search term, “best double edged razor blades.”

Here are the results:

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As you can see, much smaller companies are getting the top results, and Amazon is the very last entry on the first page.

Of course, the more specific, long-tail, keywords won’t get as many searches as the broad ones. But they can still generate a lot of quality organic traffic.

This allows small SEO-savvy businesses to consistently bring in a stream of leads that are ready to buy.

My hyper-simplistic example by no means demonstrates the full potential of SEO for small businesses. It simply proves that small businesses can in fact compete with their much larger counterparts.

Ideal for small marketing budgets

What’s the primary advantage large companies have over small ones? Money.

Of course, they have a plethora of other advantages like more brand equity, a formal marketing department, an HR department, etc.

But when you break it all down, big businesses can easily have hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars to funnel into their marketing campaigns each year.

On the other hand, small startups may be on a shoestring budget, and $50,000 annually may seem like a lot.

Fortunately, legitimate SEO and social media campaigns can be run without a lot of financial backing.

This is especially true when you do everything in-house.

Rather than hiring a high priced marketing agency, small businesses can cut back on their costs significantly by having staff members run their campaigns.

Instead of a financial investment, a time investment can bring about legitimate results.

The point I’m trying to make here is that SEO and social media are both cost-effective marketing channels and can be very affordable if you’re willing to put in the time.

In fact, “those who spend at least six hours per week are almost twice as likely to see leads generated as those who spend five or fewer hours.”

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While small companies probably won’t have the budget for expensive mediums like TV commercials or paying big-named influencers like Taylor Swift to promote their products, they can almost always afford SEO and social media.

And when they really know what they’re doing and stay up-to-date on cutting-edge techniques, there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t compete with the big boys.

How can I thrive on SEO and social media?

I’ll be totally upfront with you.

Seldom can you just launch an SEO or social media campaign and get instant results.

And quite frankly, it’s not as easy as it looks.

On paper, it might seem like you simply perform some rudimentary keyword research or post a cool article on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Then presto, an influx of traffic floods your site, and your product flies off the shelf.

But that’s just not how it works.

To truly reap the benefits of these marketing strategies, you need to develop an in-depth understanding of the process, go through trial and error, and have plenty of patience.

You also need to stay in the know of what’s going on and continually make adjustments as new trends unfold.

But nonetheless, you definitely can thrive as long as you “get it” and persevere.

The good thing is, there is an abundance of free resources online that will teach you everything you need to know.

Sites like Moz, HubSpot, Quick Sprout, Social Media Examiner, and Search Engine Journal are just a few that can guide your efforts.

So, let’s briefly examine some specific ways you can position your small business to compete with large competitors.

Effective SEO strategies

For starters, it pays to be niche-centric with your approach.

Ideally, your business will cater to a fairly narrow target audience.

Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you’re usually better off focusing on a smaller demographic and being the company that’s best capable of meeting their unique needs.

This mainly revolves around using long-tail keywords rather than trying to rank for broad terms.

Let’s go back to my example about “razor blades” and “best double edged razor blades.”

While the former keyword phrase would be extremely difficult to rank for, the latter is a realistic possibility.

In fact, small businesses were able to rank for it and bring in a reasonable amount of traffic and leads.

It’s also important that you pursue link-building opportunities.

According to Moz, domain-level link features, such as quality of links, trust, domain-level PageRank, etc., were the number one influencing factor on Google algorithm in 2015.

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You can accelerate your SEO campaign exponentially by reaching out to and building relationships with influencers and top publications. If you’re able to get links from reputable sites, this can be the catalyst for a spike in your search rankings.

Some other strategies include:

  • Creating valuable content that’s based around user intent (e.g., answering common questions and addressing customer pain points)
  • Performing on-site optimization (e.g., incorporating keywords into your URL, headers, meta description, etc.)
  • Optimizing your site for mobile

Potent social media strategies

I love social media because it gives small businesses the opportunity to convey their identities and build highly personalized relationships with their audiences.

You can showcase your swagger and let consumers know why your company is worth doing business with.

It may sound a little cheesy, but I think the most important part of finding success on social media is to be yourself.

I, for example, am building my strategy with the specific goal of reaching MY customers and not worrying about the masses.

This coincides with Seth Godin’s concept of building a tribe (a community) around your brand.

Like the old saying goes, “Try to please everyone, and you’ll end up pleasing no one.”

Dollar Shave Club is a great example of a brand that embraces being itself.

Their off-kilter, slightly smart-ass marketing messages are unforgettable and definitely appeal to a certain segment of the population.

Saying things like, “Our blades are f**king great” is ballsy. But it’s hard to deny that this attitude has been a key contributor to their success.

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Another integral element of a well run social media campaign is to be constantly engaging your audience.

Whether it’s retweeting epic content relevant to your niche, responding to comments on your Facebook page, inviting others to connect on LinkedIn, or asking questions to ignite digital discussions, it’s important that you’re interacting.

In other words, be on the offense.

The great thing about social is that it can actually be used as an outlet for handling certain aspects of customer service.

People love giving their feedback via social channels, which gives you an opportunity to strengthen relationships and quickly fix escalating situations when the feedback happens to be negative.

It’s also essential that you’re using the right networks.

Each social network has its own demographic and appeals to a different segment of the population. You want to make sure you’re spending your time on the networks your core audience is using.

For example, if your target audience is primarily female, Pinterest would be one of your best bets because 81% of Pinterest users are female.

Some other strategies include the following:

  • Use a consistent tone and style to strengthen your brand identity
  • Be authentic
  • Provide genuinely useful and valuable content
  • Use plenty of images (people respond favorably to visuals)
  • Maintain a consistent presence (e.g., don’t go MIA for months on end)
  • Curate content as well as create your own
  • Use analytics to measure your results and make the necessary adjustments
  • Consider using tools like HootSuite and Buffer to automate some aspects of your marketing (e.g., scheduling posts ahead of time)

Conclusion

In my opinion, the current day and age is the most exciting ever for small business owners.

While in the past, smaller enterprises almost always had to play second fiddle to huge companies and “pick up the marketing scraps,” these days, it’s totally possible for them to compete and even thrive.

Even if you just recently launched a startup and have to watch every penny, you can still get ahead and create massive exposure for your brand.

By getting on board with SEO and social media and understanding the nuts and bolts of these mediums, you can gain traction in your industry and drive quality leads to your site.

Can you think of any other marketing strategies that level the playing field between small and large businesses?

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5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions

I’ve been watching Facebook closely for a long time.

I’ve tested hundreds of ad iterations.

I’ve worked hard to build organic reach for myself and my clients.

Here’s what I’ve concluded: Facebook is awesome. But it’s also tricky.

Why? Because the algorithm is constantly shifting, forcing marketers to up their game, readjust their techniques, and reorient their strategies.

Here’s the thing. If you have a social presence for your business, Facebook has decided that your organic reach needs to shrink.

Again.

You know, of course, that this isn’t the first time the social giant tweaked its algorithm.

In June, Adam Mosseri, VP, Product Management for News Feed at Facebook, shared a post that detailed how Facebook was updating the news feed.

The core of the update is to prioritize posts that come from friends and family while reducing the onslaught of content from businesses and other publishers. Facebook wants users to see more posts from actual people, not businesses doing marketing.

The gist of the algorithm remains the same.

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But the variability is increasing. Mosseri explained:

It will vary a lot by publisher mostly based on how much of their referral traffic or their reach is based on people who actually share their content directly…

If you’ve got strong engagement from your audience and they’re shouting your name from the rooftops as they share your content, or generate content around your brand, you’ll be far less impacted by the update.

But most of the businesses I work with aren’t enjoying that level of stellar engagement.

This is what it boils down to. If you want to improve your reach and engagement, you’ll need to find ways to leverage user-generated content (UGC) since that’s what friends and family will see first.

What I want to communicate is pretty simple: User-generated content is one of the most effective forms of content marketing available today.

User-generated content is the future of content marketing.

UGC will act as dynamite to your social media presence, accelerate your onsite content efforts, increase engagement, boost conversions, and build up a wall of defense against any algorithm the world throws your way.

Let’s talk about where the rubber meets the road-your fans helping your site become a conversion-generating machine.

Why you should put your money into user-generated content

There are a lot of benefits to UGC, and those benefits can be significant. And that’s primarily because you’re not limited to social media when it comes to working with customers to acquire and leverage it-though that’s where a bulk of your gains can come into play.

Consider for a moment that more than half of the adult users on Facebook have around 200 people in their immediate networks, according to Pew Research.

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That social network graph looks something like this:

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If the algorithm wants all those people to see content from their connections first, it’s in your best interest to get your audience producing or creating content about you.

And that’s not just for the sake of a little (or even big) boost in visibility.

Consumers fully admit they find branded information from their peers trustworthy-85% of consumers, to be exact.

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That’s because the vast majority of them find that kind of content to be helpful when they make a decision about whether or not to make a purchase.

Nielsen’s study on this subject showed that 92% of consumers trust content and the opinions of their peers over any other kind of advertising.

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UGC also has influence over that trust, according to data shared by Yotpo:

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UGC is the best way to beat an algorithm that wants to topple and bury your promotions amid pictures of babies, beards, and breakfast platters.

But you’re not limited to Facebook in leveraging it.

With variations in engagement time across different social channels, you can see where there are opportunities to use user-generated content to drive up engagement as well as increase consumer trust.

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Some brands are having a lot of success on other social channels and digital properties with UGC.

Below are a couple of examples of brands that leverage UGC using different channels.

A touch of wanderlust

National Geographic asked users to capture unforgettable people, places, and experiences that have impacted their lives from their travels around the world. The hashtag campaign (#wanderlustcontest) brought in tens of thousands of submissions branded to NatGeo.

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And, of course, among those public submissions were some truly breathtaking and awe-inspiring photos people were all too happy to continue sharing.

Ignite user creativity

Nissan’s luxury car brand, Infiniti, ran a campaign promoting its Q30 model, aiming to leverage the content of its fans to help promote the vehicle. The New Heights contest had users print out a marker card that would display the vehicle in 3D when used with their mobile app.

Fans were encouraged to show off the vehicle in unexpected places by snapping pictures and sharing them with a branded hashtag via different social channels.

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These two great examples of building campaigns and visibility from user-generated content had a couple of things in common:

  1. They both revolved around contests. While this is a good way to encourage action among your followers, it’s not always necessary to give something away in order to source user-generated content.
  2. These two campaigns were actively asking their fans to provide the content.

This aspect-the asking-is the most important part you need to remember.

Why? Because the majority of brands simply don’t ask. If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.

It’s just that simple.

So, what’s the simplest and most effective way to get UGC?

Ask your users to provide it.

If you want UGC, ask your followers to provide it

Brands don’t want to be pushy, but with UGC, you’ve got to approach it like you approach a call to action (CTA).

With a CTA, you’re telling your audience explicitly what you want them to do. It’s been proven time and again that without a clear call to action, you lose conversions.

But only about 16% of brands take the same approach with UGC, expressing to fans just what kind of content they want to see. Without that kind of direction, consumers aren’t sure what’s okay to share.

In fact, 50% of consumers want brands to tell them what they should include when creating and sharing content.

You don’t need to give away a luxury or big-ticket item when you make the ask, but you do need to ask.

Don’t sit and wait for your fans to provide you with gold.

Here are some of the best ways you can start sourcing and leveraging user-generated content for your brand and social channels.

1. Curate user-generated content with Yotpo

I’ve long felt that Yotpo is an impressive platform for sourcing reviews, engaging customers, and utilizing customer feedback to promote growth.

Now, it’s even better than ever.

Yotpo has stepped up its game with the recent launch of the Yotpo Curation tool.

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This tool allows you to collect relevant Instagram photos from fans and influencers, displaying them on a single dashboard.

From there, you can tag products and handle rights management (including engagement with the original user to say thanks), inject the photos into your product pages, and even sell from your timeline.

This simplifies the tedium of trying to manually source user-generated images and lets you quickly benefit from the social proof tied to UGC.

In one survey conducted by Yotpo, 77% of consumers admitted they preferred to see consumer photos over professional shots:image03

That’s a clear indication of what you should have on your product pages.

Imagine the impact of having quality reviews alongside images showing off your products being used by actual customers.

It would provide a significant lift in conversions when you consider that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site displaying user reviews. A study conducted by Reevoo showed that reviews alone, without any other UGC, lift sales by 18%.

The Yotpo tool turns your customers into brand ambassadors right on your product pages, plus you can create your own shoppable Instagram galleries or post that UGC to other social channels.

2. Build a community

When I talk about building a community, I’m referring to a gathering of people. Literal people in online gatherings.

You may view your social channels as individual and separate communities, but they’re really not. At least not without some kind of organization.

There are a lot of ways to build communities, e.g., Facebook groups, subreddits on Reddit.com, or communities built into your website.

A community you create and manage can give your fans a sense of belonging and make them feel connected to your brand. They’ll share a mix of personal content as well as content related to the brand as they engage with one another.

Through this engagement, you’ll see things like images, videos, and testimonials crop up that are ripe for the picking.

That user-generated content feeds back into the community, encouraging others to generate more of it, and it helps anchor prospective customers who were on the fence about making a purchase.

Giant Vapes is one of the largest online retailers of e-liquid for electronic cigarettes. It also operates a Facebook community, roughly 25,000 members strong. Members regularly share the products they’ve purchased, industry news, their opinions about interactions with the company, praise over shipping and deals, and more.

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3. Give them customization and unique experiences

Customization provides your fans and customers with a sense of real ownership. They’ll naturally want to share with their friends and family what they’ve created, and you can play on that desire by asking them to do so.

Whether it’s a customized piece of clothing, a bag, or a vehicle, customization often leads to some great user-generated content.

And sometimes you don’t even have to ask.

Scores of people got excited about the announcement of Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker. Players create their own Mario levels to play on their own or share with the community. Fans, new and old, went crazy when it launched, and YouTube was flooded with the creations of streamers, generating a lot of visibility for the brand and the game.

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This video has almost 12 million views to date.

In the same vein of creating unique experiences, Hello Games is seeing images and videos of their game No Man’s Sky showing up all over the web, including a subreddit devoted to the game (a user-created community).

No Man’s Sky features a universe boasting over 10 quintillion procedurally (randomly) generated planets, each with creatures and alien plant life different from the last. That guarantees unique content, and fans have been quick to share images and videos of their discoveries since its recent launch.

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When you give your audience something they’ve never experienced before and the chance to create something unique they feel they own, they’re more likely to share that experience far and wide. That builds a lot of trust and provides a lift in conversions.

4. The UGC contest

I touched on contests above with a couple of examples, but in recommending this approach, I wanted to add one more because of the success of the campaign.

Back in 2014, Starbucks invited fans to decorate their white cups with customized art. Fans were asked to submit the images through Twitter with the #whitecupcontest hashtag for a chance to win. There were thousands of entries, and, of course, a constant stream of buzz that drove customers to their local stores.

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I’m mentioning this contest specifically because it pulls in elements from my last point: let users customize and do something unique.

You don’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to add customization to your product line.

Sometimes, you just need to give your customers a blank canvas and set their creativity free.

5. Use videos on product pages

Yotpo can strap a rocket onto your conversions with user-generated images, but don’t let the rocket run out of fuel.

If you can get your fans and customers generating videos of your products in use, those should be added to your product pages as well.

Explainer videos are great, but there’s nothing that sells a product faster than a video showing real, happy customers, who are 100% satisfied with their purchase.

Here are some quick stats that show how effective product videos really are:

  • 90% of users admit that seeing a video about a product helps them make a purchase decision
  • 36% of customers trust video ads; imagine the trust you gain from earned media
  • 64% of visitors are more likely to buy a product after watching a video online
  • Product videos can increase conversions by as much as 20%

Conclusion

Aside from those five tips, it goes without saying that you should absolutely be using product reviews on your website and social channels such as Facebook.

Leverage that social proof, and find creative ways to team up with your customers.

A large portion of your audience are happy to create and share content for you-they just need to know what you’re looking for.

Tell them how to help, inspire them to get creative, and watch your conversions climb steadily as your collection of UGC grows.

Are you using user-generated content right now to build trust with your audience and increase your brand’s visibility? What techniques are you using, and what’s the most successful?

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7 Huge Sites for Traffic That Marketers Don’t Take Advantage Of

big sites

Do you want to know why everybody focuses on SEO and social media marketing?

Because everyone wants traffic for their websites, and both of these sources are huge.

Google, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all in the top 20 traffic sites in the world.

Whether you’re a plumber, SaaS marketer, or recipe blogger, you can find your target audience through one or both of these sources.

Or if you sell physical products, you likely sell them on the e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay—same concept really as you can sell virtually anything on them due to their size.

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on getting traffic from these well known sites.

However, it’s a shame that more marketers don’t realize that social media and SEO are just the surface of web traffic.

They are the obvious ones that every marketer tries to get traffic from, which leads to stiff competition.

But there are opportunities elsewhere if you know where to look.

There are so many other sites from which you can get traffic to your website that the majority of marketers never even take a second look at them unless one of them explodes.

Take Reddit, for example. I’ve written about how to effectively market on Reddit a while back.

Since then, I’ve seen more and more articles about marketing on Reddit as the site becomes more popular and marketers see others succeeding on it.

So, what sites in particular am I talking about here?

I’m going to give you seven specific examples of sites with tons of traffic that you can potentially drive back to your site.

Then, I’m going to show you an easy way to find even more sites that are virtually untapped.

Sounds interesting? Read on… 

Site #1: IMDb

IMDb is the movie site.

It has insane levels of traffic, all focused on movies and TV.

The first step in deciding whether a site could be good to market on is to determine whether your audience uses it.

Since we’re not looking at the biggest sites (search engines and social media), only certain audiences will be found on each site.

If your audience isn’t on IMDb, I promise that they are on some other large sites.

Since IMDb has a very specific focus, it’s really only good if you sell products related to movies and TV.

But if you do, it could be an opportunity.

I say could be because you won’t be able to drive traffic from every site that your target audience uses back to yours.

You have to look for a way to drive that traffic back.

In this case, there is one chance, and it comes from the active forum community on IMDb:

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You can tell from the frequency of posts that it’s really active, and that’s just one section of the forum.

Then, you’ll need to become a part of the community and find a way to give value—but do so in a way that requires members of the forum to click through to your website.

Here are 3 resources that will help you do just that if you’re not experienced with forum posting:

Site #2: Etsy

Etsy is another up and comer that will eventually be saturated by marketers. But it’s not at that point yet.

If you sell any sort of high quality jewelry, crafts, home decor, or clothing, it’s a fantastic e-commerce marketplace.

Why compete against so many businesses on Amazon for customers looking for the cheapest option, when there is a ton of traffic comprised of people who care a lot about those things and will pay a fair price for them?

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There are no tricks to increasing your sales on Etsy.

If you have a product that is actually great, people will see it, and you will make sales.

You can certainly use conversion rate optimization and copywriting tactics to sell more, but marketing isn’t tough when there isn’t much competition.

Site #3: BuzzFeed

No doubt you’ve heard of BuzzFeed, but have you ever considered it as a traffic source?

If you have a younger demographic in a social niche (like entertainment, home decor, food, etc.), it could be a great source.

BuzzFeed not only has a ton of traffic but also allows you to contribute your own content to it.

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To start, create an account, click on the icon beside the arrow above, and click “new post.”

That’ll bring you to a standard text editor, and you can post whatever you’d like.

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If that post gets some traction early on, BuzzFeed will actually help you by promoting it on the site.

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Crafting the right kind of post isn’t easy, but if you do, you’ll get tens of thousands of views on your post.

Then, you can link from your post (when appropriate) back to your site.

Matthew Barby has created a great guide to getting on the front page of BuzzFeed. He was able to do so multiple times himself and drove a lot of traffic to his recipe site:

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Site #4: Forbes

Forbes is a magazine site for all topics related to business.

And while it’s possible to be invited to contribute, you can also drive traffic back to your site with a much simpler method: comments.

Blog commenting back in the day used to be extremely popular. Eventually, people realized that it didn’t always produce results.

The main reason for that is because they commented on blogs that had barely any traffic to begin with.

Any post on the main page of Forbes will get tens of thousands of views. Even if a small portion of those people read your comment, that’s at least a few hundred eyeballs.

From there, a great comment can drive anywhere from 25-50% of that traffic back to your site.

That’s a decent use of your time, especially if you’re struggling with traffic.

Every Forbes post has the “comment on this story” option at the bottom of the last page:

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According to their rules, you can have up to two links to other sites in the comments:

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Really, you only need one.

The hard part is leaving a comment that will impress people enough to drive traffic back to your site. Here are some great resources that will show you how to do that:

Site #5: Business Insider

Business Insider is another site similar to Forbes, with slightly different topics:

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Even though it has a slightly higher Alexa rank, it still has an insane amount of traffic.

As an added bonus, you can add your website’s URL to your username as you leave comments:

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Again, this is just blog commenting at its core, so use the same strategy as I showed you above with Forbes.

Site #6: Allrecipes

If you have a food blog, there are many opportunities to get creative and draw traffic back to your own site.

Although Allrecipes is a tough one, it’s still possible to make it work.

A standard recipe page looks like this at the top:

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Then you see instructions, and then reviews.

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If your review is really helpful, it will be seen by almost everyone who views the page.

Then, you could place a link at the end of the comment. It’d be easy to make a natural transition.

For example:

I’ve tried 10 other gumbo recipes, but none have turned out as good as this one.

It was so good that I adapted the recipe just for my gluten-free friends. They LOVED it!

Here’s how I changed the recipe to make it gluten-free: (link)

I’m sure you could make the comment more valuable—I’m just not a cooking expert.

The point is, look for ways to add value with your comment while naturally incorporating a link into it. It won’t even look like you’re trying to drive traffic to your site. It’ll look like you are just trying to help people.

That’s your goal with any link: make it useful.

Site #7: Quora

Quora is the 141st most popular website in the United States.

It’s a question and answer site that even I use. It has the same concept as Yahoo Answers, but the quality is much higher.

The site is continually getting more popular, and many (but not all) marketers have realized its potential.

The simple strategy is to leave really great answers to questions posted in the community.

Great answers will be upvoted to the top and seen by most people.

Then, include links in your answers as appropriate, and that will drive traffic wherever you’d like:

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To get started, start typing a topic in the search bar. It will suggest a bunch of related topics, and when you see what you’re looking for, click it:

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You can then follow that topic and answer questions that you feel you can do justice to.

There’s no trickery here: you have to provide value.

Yes, it’s a lot of work per answer, but the rewards can be big as well.

You can get millions of views on your answers over time if you stick with it:

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While not all those reading your answer will end up visiting your site, even a small chunk is a significant number.

In addition, you will likely end up attracting additional business from people impressed with your answers. Even without the traffic, it’s worth it.

How to find as many of these low competition sites as you need

Maybe more than one of these sites are perfect for your marketing.

Maybe none are.

That’s the point of going to sites that are smaller than the Googles and Facebooks of the world—but large enough to be potential sources of traffic.

They don’t have every audience you might want, so I can’t give everybody specific sites to market on.

However, you can find plenty more that are right for you with a simple process that I’m about to show you.

This will work for everyone.

First, head over to Alexa, and browse sites by category.

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By sorting by category rather than rank (which is what I did for the seven sites in this post), you ensure that you find sites relevant to your business.

From there, you have the option to choose a subcategory, or you can start with the broad sites.

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Either method works, but be careful not to narrow down the sites too far and be left with those that don’t have much traffic.

While a site’s Alexa Rank isn’t perfect by any means, it does generally correspond to traffic levels.

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Try to stick to sites with an Alexa Rank no higher than 20,000.

That still leaves you with a ton of options.

At this point, you’re staring at a list of domains.

You need to go to each of those sites individually and answer the same two questions I’ve been mentioning all along:

  1. Does your audience visit this site?
  2. Is there a way to get that traffic back to your site?

The second step is the hardest at first, but you’ll get more proficient at it as you go. In general, you want to look for things like:

  • a forum
  • comment section (that allows links)
  • guest posts/editorials that you can submit
  • a way to post your products directly (if the site is a store)

After you go through 100-200 sites, you’ll have a list of at least 5-10 sites you could effectively use as traffic sources.

The final thing to mention here is that when you’re marketing on a brand new site, you need to take the time to figure out an effective strategy.

For social media sites and search engines, the work has been done for you by marketing bloggers. For most of these new sites, you’ll have to do the work yourself.

Try to understand the tactics used on social media and search engines, and then apply those tactics to these new sites.

Even if you don’t get them perfectly at first, you should still have some success because of the low competition.

Conclusion

Search engines and social media giants are fantastic sources of traffic for almost all businesses.

But…they are hard to capitalize on.

The best marketers win big, while a large portion of marketers struggle.

Unless you’re already getting a great ROI on them, you’re probably better off finding new traffic sources that marketers in your industry haven’t saturated yet.

I’ve given you seven specific examples of these sources, but more importantly, I’ve given you a simple framework you can use to find more of them. They might just turn out to be perfect for your business.

If you have patience and persevere through the tough parts in the beginning while you figure out the best marketing strategy on these new sites, you’ll find that you can get much more traffic with less effort (and cost).

One last thing: If you try this out, I want to hear from you! Leave me a comment letting me know if you were able to identify any sites that could work for your marketing plan.

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5 Ways to get SEO Traffic in a Hard Niche

seo

It’s one of the biggest challenges when it comes to SEO.

You can read about tons of different SEO tactics on various blogs, but will they work for you?

After all, that’s the important part.

Not everyone wonders about this because they know that common SEO tactics will work for them, no problem.

But you might be different.

Your business may operate in a “hard” niche.

And it’s true, SEO is more difficult in these niches, so not all tactics will work.

However, I’ve worked with many clients in hard niches and have been able to achieve great SEO results with them.

That’s why I’m confident that there is an SEO plan out there that will work for you.

I’m going to help you make that plan for your specific business by showing you 5 ways to improve your SEO efforts in hard niches.

But before we start…

What is a “hard niche?” There’s no formal definition, but I’m referring to businesses that operate in niches that:

  • have small online audiences 
  • have lots of SEO competition
  • are hard to get links in (there aren’t many blogs or sites that seem to link out)
  • are “boring” (I’ll expand on this throughout the article with specific examples)

If your business falls into that category, I believe that by reading this post, you’ll learn at least a few ways to improve your SEO traffic. 

1. Competition depends on the scope (hint: change your scope)

We’re going to address those problems individually, starting with competition.

It’s easy to rank highly for a term when only a few pages on the Internet are optimized for that term.

However, if you’re going up against 10 experienced SEOs, you’ll have a hard time.

If your business is in a hard niche in the sense that traffic is incredibly valuable so competition is fierce (think loans, insurance, etc.), you’ll find that scenario often.

The very core of your SEO strategy needs to shift because you won’t be able to beat all your competitors.

Instead, you need to find keywords that they don’t even target because they don’t think that those words are worth their time.

But you’re smarter than that.

We’re talking about long-tail keywords here—longer, more descriptive keywords that have lower search volumes.

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Even though they have lower search volumes, because they are more specific, the traffic they bring is usually more targeted and valuable.

While long-tail phrases don’t get as many searches per month as shorter ones do, there are way more long-tail phrases than the popular short-tail ones.

This isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s an important one if you’re targeting a competitive niche.

Even a phrase that only gets 50-100 searches a month may be worth it if it’s for a term with high commercial intent (reader is likely to buy something from you).

How to find long-tail keywords: Sure, some SEOs are smart and target long-tail keywords because they know they’re easier to rank for, but there aren’t very many of those SEOs.

And since there are so many long-tail keywords, you can always find some new ones to target if you’re willing to dig.

Why?

Because the best keywords aren’t easy to find.

Most bad SEOs (and there are a lot) and business owners simply use the Google keyword planner (or a similar tool).

They plop in a broad keyword and choose keywords to target based on the results:

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But thousands of people have done this for just about every niche imaginable. You’ll find more competition than seems reasonable for almost all of those terms.

Google has data on just about every search phrase you can think of but doesn’t always show it in these broad search results.

So, while using the keyword planner is fine, you need to enter seed keywords and phrases that are different from those everyone else is using.

There are many ways to find these, but one of my favorites is to head over to Reddit.

Type a broad keyword into the search bar. I typed in “drywall”:

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Now, start looking at the results for keywords.

I quickly found “how to screw drywall” in one of the threads.

Put that into the tool, and it turns out that the phrase gets about 90 searches per month in the US:

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No, that’s not a huge number, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either. If you rank for that phrase, you’ll also probably rank for other very similar phrases (e.g., “how screw drywall” or “how to screw in drywall”). Each of those will have small search volumes, but they’ll all add up to something substantial enough.

Put together 50-100 articles for long term phrases like those, and you’ll be getting a few thousand search visitors fairly easily, without the insane competition for popular keywords.

Look at the search results for that phrase:

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The #1 result is a YouTube video, and the top content results don’t even have the phrase in their titles.

That’s as easy a keyword as you’ll find, and it’s because it’s not a keyword that comes up in those obvious searches.

If you put the time into finding great long-tail keyword phrases, you’ll make your SEO plan significantly easier and more effective.

There are many ways to find good long-tail keyword phrases. Here are a few resources with other specific tactics:

2. If links are hard to find, think laterally

In some niches—such as marketing, recipes, and entertainment niches, for example—it’s very easy to get links.

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs that are willing to link to you if you make a good case.

But in some niches, those blogs just don’t exist.

That’s when you need to get creative.

One very effective strategy is to get links from related niches.

For example, if you’re a plumber, related niches would be:

  • home DIY
  • home decor
  • beauty/life (e.g., a proper way to unclog sinks or prevent clogs)

Basically, think of any other niche that you can add your expertise to.

Then, all the typical SEO tactics come back into play: guest posting, forum posting, etc.

Let’s go through an example.

Let’s say that you’re a home decorator.

One related niche is home buying and owning, which has a different audience from your typical home decor enthusiasts.

You could write about how home decor could add value to your home. In fact, that turns out to be a good long-tail phrase:

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What could you do with this?

You could create content for your own site and then reach out to home buyer/owner blogs asking for a link. That’s a standard SEO tactic.

Alternatively, you could use the idea for a guest post on a popular site.

Not only will it rank for the long-tail keyword that you target (sending you continuous traffic), but it’ll also send you a lot of immediate referral traffic from the site you post on.

Start by thinking of as many related niches as you can, then generate as many ways as possible to add value to those niches.

3. Boring niche? Here’s how to make it more fun

What can you do in a boring niche?

Can you really make painting homes fun?

If you approach the subject with a notion that it is, in fact, boring, then you probably can’t.

But usually, there are ways to make content at the very least entertaining.

Brian Dean did a great case study of this exact idea. Mike Bonadio, who runs an SEO agency based in NYC, had a client who worked in bug control—boring.

However, he created a high quality infographic on an interesting topic: how bugs can help you defeat garden pests. That infographic got picked up by a few prominent blogs:

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Gardening is a related niche for pest control (just as we discussed in the previous section).

But Mike took it a step further by creating “fun” content.

Bugs aren’t supposed to be fun, but he made it fun by focusing on the benefits that bugs can provide.

And you can do this in every niche by focusing on exciting benefits and surprises instead of the boring parts.

For example, do you seal driveways?

Well, that seems boring at first, but what if you created content like:

  • How many gallons of sealant would it take to seal Leonardo DiCaprio’s driveway?
  • Choosing the wrong driveway sealant will cost you money: A comparison of the true cost of paving a driveway

I’m not so sure that all of those are real things, but the point remains. Turn the boring parts into an important element of a story, but not the main focus.

Back to the case study—how did it go?

Extremely well, I’d say. After Mike reached out to sites in that related niche, he was able to get over 60 referring domains and hundreds of links:

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On top of that, he got over 2,100 views from referral traffic in the short term. His client’s site still ranks #4 for the term “exterminator NYC.”

Can you make your niche interesting to your customers? I know this is difficult and requires some thinking, so let me give you another example: Blendtec.

Blendtec is a company that sells…blenders.

Not exactly a sexy product.

However, you might have heard of their “Will it Blend?” video series.

In these videos, they blend all kinds of crazy objects, like iPhones, superglue, and even skeletons to answer the question: “Will it blend?”

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They now get millions of views on each video they produce.

More importantly, those videos get linked to a lot, and those videos link back to Blendtec’s website, which makes them rank highly for all sorts of blender-related terms.

4. Don’t start from scratch

If you’re in a hard niche and you also have a brand new website, it’s going to be a long journey to SEO success.

For some types of businesses, most notably local businesses, you have an alternative: use another site’s domain authority.

For example, if you search for “plumbing Chicago,” you get these results just below a map of a few plumbers:

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Notice that these listings aren’t of sites that actual plumbers own but of review sites such as Yelp.

Any business can create a page on Yelp, which will automatically have more search authority than your brand new site.

More importantly, these sites have that authority because they already have good search optimization and huge quantities of backlinks.

All you need to do is show up highly on their important pages, and your page (on their site) will rank highly in the search results.

You don’t need links to do this. Usually, you just need reviews.

If you run a great business, these aren’t too difficult to get. Just ask all your happy customers to leave a review (and give them instructions).

In addition, here are some more resources that will help you get more online reviews:

5. Competitor analysis is always an important first step

The final complaint that I hear is that “no one links out in my niche.”

Well, I’ll tell you something: everyone else is getting their links from somewhere.

And with the tools available to you today, there’s no reason why you can’t get many of those same links.

This is not a new technique, but it remains one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways of getting backlinks and improving your search rankings.

It’s not difficult either, but it will take some work on your part.

Here’s the simple procedure.

Step #1 – Make a list of competitors: First you need a list of sites similar to your own—your competitors.

If they are similar, you should be able to get most of the same links they have.

To make this list, start searching for popular terms in your niche, and then write down the URLs of the top 10 results (or fewer) in a spreadsheet or list:

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If it’s a site on a specific topic, you can write down just the domain name, but if it’s a huge site (like hgtv), copy down the exact URL of the page.

Step #2 – Get a list of their backlinks: Next, you need to sign up for either Ahrefs or Majestic.

Those are not affiliate links; those are just the two best link databases by far.

The small monthly cost is more than worth it if you’re serious about SEO.

Go through your list, one by one, and enter the URLs or domain names into the site explorer:

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Then, go to the “backlinks” panel on the results, and you’ll get a list of all the backlinks to that page or site:

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Step #3 – Determine if it’s possible to get any of those links: Here’s where the work really comes in.

You need to visit each of those pages that link to your target page and see if it’s possible for you to get a similar link on those pages.

For example, one of the above links looks like this:

image12

It’s a page that links to tons of resources.

If you had an appropriate resource page, it would be simple enough to email the owner and ask to be included.

Other times, you might see that the link is from a guest post. You can email the owner pitching a guest post of your own.

While you won’t get a 100% success rate, you will be able to duplicate a good portion of the links for each competitor.

The links are out there, and this is one of the best ways to find them.

One final note is that I recommend you batch each step to improve your efficiency.

Don’t try to get each link as soon as you find it. Instead, record it in a spreadsheet, and do all your link outreach at once.

Conclusion

Not all niches are created equal.

Some are in fact more difficult when it comes to SEO.

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not doable.

I’ve shown you 5 ways that can help you improve your search traffic in almost any industry (hard ones included).

Start by trying out at least one of these, if not more.

If you have any success stories about SEO in a boring niche, I’d love it if you shared them in a comment below.

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Local Chiropractor Awarded 5-Star Review by The Reviewers Choice

Local Chiropractor Awarded 5-Star Review by The Reviewers Choice

A local Richfield wellness clinic has been awarded a Verified 5-Star  Review by The Reviewers Choice.  The Reviewers Choice is a unique online directory that specializes in featuring proven 5-Star local companies but only after a rigorous review verification process through phone interviews and proof of payment for services or products from customers.  Their motto is “Verified Reviews for Consumer Confidence”.  

The owners of the clinic said they feel honored to have patients who take the time to express their deep gratitude for the results they’ve received at the clinic.  The Reviewers Choice announced the completed 5-Star Review verification process in the last week of January.  After it was completed, they developed the patient review into what’s called a “Verified Review Video” which can be seen at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC6Bb-sCuqo

The Chiropractic clinic is in the midst of developing an intense wellness program which the doctors refer to as “8 Weeks to Wellness” and they are thrilled to watch their patients develop new healthy lifestyles and habits in 8 weeks that will transform the rest of their lives.  To put it simply, they are passionate about their patients.

The Founder & Owner of The Reviewers Choice, has commented:

“Our relationship with this clinic has proven they are a perfect fit for our directory as they care about their patients as if they were family. Our goal with awarding our Verified Reviews to any company is to help local consumers narrow down their local search quickly so they’re not spending so much time researching the vast choices online. We are the only review company that verifies reviews before they go public.  We want to help consumers avoid companies that have been “propped up” by fake reviews.

No business is perfect every day of the year, but ultimately we want to give the consumer peace of mind that the company they’ve chosen has a 5-Star reputation and has a solid track record of doing business for some time.  This wellness clinic is without a doubt one of these companies that people are looking for.”

To contact The Reviewers Choice for qualification of a Verified 5-Star Review, call 832-263-1990.

 

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