Our team has been working hard on outreach emails, backlink exchanges, and writing articles. In less than a year, our search traffic tripled, Nightwatch has been listed as one of the best SEO tools available on the market, and our users’ base has been steadily growing ever since.
Let’s explore some of our favorite and most successful link building strategies:
1. Link reclamation — unlinked mentions
Link reclamation does not have to be limited to fixing the broken links (which you can identify using Nightwatch for example). It relates to any opportunity where your brand or resource is mentioned and could be linked to, but is not.
Missing out on the opportunity to get a backlink for your brand where your business is already mentioned is like passing on the 5000 sales just because you forgot to include the “buy” button.
To understand and master how you can use link reclamation to your technique, you need the right tools. Our recent discovery — Brand24 has been a massive help in discovering new potential backlinks opportunities.
It’s a social listening tool which allows you to “access the mentions about your brand across the web, from social media to influential publishers.” You can monitor relevant keywords and spot the opportunities for a backlink.
With Brand24, we’ve identified the unlinked mentions to Nightwatch landing page, as well as discovered SEO-related forums and Twitter users who are talking about our tool. We’ve also taken advantage of monitoring certain keywords, such as “SEO tool” or “backlink tracker” to get an insight into the industry and our potential target audience.
Here’s how the dashboard looks like:
So if monitoring and “fixing” broken links seems daunting, start with monitoring your brand’s mentions and relevant keywords where you could ask the authors to link back to you. Easy enough, right?
1) Start using a tool to monitor the SEO performance of your website, for example, Nightwatch, and a social listening tool, such as Brand24.
2) Identify broken links on the external websites and reach out to owners to replace the link with the working one. And yes, you can do that in Nightwatch backlinks tracker.
3) Start monitoring the keywords related to your brand. In our example, it could be “SEO tool” as well as your brand name. Then, ask the website’s owner to link to your page.
Bonus tip: After identifying broken links or unlinked mention try to connect with website owners before you reach out to them for a favor, for example, using social media.
The era of posting the comments with the link to your website anywhere possible and Google giving it the importance in your search rankings is, thank God, over. It seems like nobody misses spammy, irrelevant comments popping up under each of the published articles, and the marketers community got over it fast as the party was over.
Does it mean that comments have absolutely no value now?
This still seems to be rather a mystery, though nobody has doubts that blog commenting got labeled as a much less relevant SEO strategy than it used to be. Data shows that Google might be giving little importance to this user-generated content, but you could take advantage of it using the same way you would use social media: connecting with relevant people and identifying backlinks opportunities.
We particularly like to use Disqus, because it is stated to be crawlable (though the indexing is out of their hands), meaning potentially SEO-friendly. In addition, their system is easy to manage with a built-in spam filter, and it seems like it is widely used by many high-quality marketing-related blogs, so the commenting is fast and easy.
Bonus tip: Start tracking the blogs and the number of comments you write and use it later to connect with the bloggers using the outreach.
3. Guest posting
Writing articles for other blogs, especially those with high domain authority (DA) is a neat strategy which search engines are willing to reward. Guest posting is a fairly common practice which brings you not only a valuable backlink but also an increased brand awareness, connections, and recognition as an expert in the industry.
It does take effort, resilience, and a creative mind. If we can sell you our tip here, that would be: experiment with your guest posts pitch and outreach method!
It took us a while to master our pitch, and we did not limit ourselves to emails. We’ve also used Twitter DMs and LinkedIn to build connections and reach out to potentially interested bloggers. And it worked like a miracle, so you might want to consider adding it to your outreach strategy, too.
To learn more about creating an effective guest posting strategy make sure to read our article about acquiring 150+ high-authority backlinks in 8 months with blogger outreach.
Bonus: You can also download or copy our guest post content calendar template as well as our list of high DA marketing blogs accepting guest posts and add your own.
What’s the most important part of link building? Experiment, experiment, experiment! Link building is a long-term game, and you will eventually rip the benefits.
In a recent article, we identified citations as one of the next big things in SEO content. Citations are nothing new in the world of copy. Any copywriter worth his or her salt will know exactly how to go about building a basic citation into online content. As for the rest of us…well, if it’s been a while since we were in school, tackling citations may pose a bit of a challenge. Since these handy little credibility builders are the next big thing in SEO content, we think it’s high time for a crash course in citations that includes some best practices to put to use.
What Is A Citation?
According to Forbes, a citation boils down your company (and hopefully your website) being mentioned on someone else’s website. The sentence you just read is a citation. It’s one of the simplest things to build into content. It doesn’t take a lot of technical understanding or fancy formatting. Overall, citations are easy to create. The true footwork is in ensuring your citations are the best.
10 Best Practices You Need To Implement Today
I don’t know how well you remember good old essay writing from your college days, but let’s talk about that for a moment. Back when I was in college, I had to ensure all of my essays and papers adhered to APA formatting. APA guidelines had very stringent requirements for in-text citations and a reference page. At one point, this aspect of writing was the bane of my existence. I hated it with a passion because it took so much time.
In stark contrast, citations in the online world are a breeze compared to my academic days, but the old college writing taught me something important. Authoritative sources are highly desirable to everyone, no matter if the purpose of the content is directed toward academics or business. I also learned that consistency was key. In much the same way, today’s citations for content depend on authority and consistency, which means that although you don’t need to purchase a textbook for the guidelines, there are still basic rules to uphold.
Practice 1: Picking the Right Source(s)
You must ensure that any source you choose to cite meets some basic criteria. Here’s the scoop:
- Relevancy: First and foremost, any source you choose to cite must be relevant. We cannot stress this point enough. If you cite and link to a source simply to build a link or attempt to appear credible, you’ll effectively stab yourself in the back if the source is irrelevant. The right sources will contain information that is relevant to your topic and ultimately be relevant to your business, including your products and/or services.
- Authority: The sources you choose to cite must be authoritative. In all reality, they should be presenting facts and/or statistics that back up the claims you are making.
- Non-Compete: The last thing you want to do is inadvertently point your audience to the competition. Refrain from citing any content that is found on a website offering products or services similar to yours.
Practice 2: Be Picky About Domain Authority
We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready for this? Domain authority (DA) isn’t easy to build. It takes time, great attention to detail and a hefty collection of highly authoritative content. Not to mention, all of that content needs to be credible. So, how can you tell that you’ve picked the best possible source to cite? One indicator is a website’s DA.
Websites with high DA scores are considered to be more authoritative and credible versus websites with low DA scores. Luckily, there’s a handy, free tool that you can use to see a website’s DA.
It’s called the MozBar. All you have to do is download the browser extension and turn it on. You’ll immediately see the DA of any website you visit or any site that displays on a search engine results page.
Your goal should be to link to websites with a high DA. Websites with 80 and higher DA scores are extremely favorable, but you can realistically shoot for linking to any website that scores higher than 50.
Practice 3: Properly Linking To the Source
There’s a concept you need to understand about citations up front. Casey Meraz makes it bluntly clear in his blog on Moz entitled, Finding and Building Citations Like an Agency. To paraphrase his point, he says that citations aren’t about chasing links. In fact, they are about properly linking to a source that backs up the claims you are making or supports your topic through facts, statistics, a case study, and so forth.
Properly linking to a source is as simple as linking to the page you’re pulling the information from. It’s exactly what you’ve seen us do in our above links to ‘Moz,’ ‘MozBar’ and ‘Forbes.’ You will have some play in how you build your citations when introducing the source, but incorporating the link in text that either identifies the source or indicates what is being talked about is a must.
Practice 4: Properly Linking To the Author
It’s easy to build citations that link to the source, like in the previous best practice point where we link to content to Moz by building the link into the anchor text, “Moz.” However, it’s important to remember that variety is the spice of life. We don’t need to always link to just the source we’re citing. We can highlight the author behind the material and link to him or her also.
Linking to an author is a great way of networking. It’s also a pretty amazing way to increase your chances of getting noticed and maybe earning a link back to your website. So how do you properly link to an author? We demonstrated it for you in the previous best practice point because showing is better than telling. Here’s the quick review: We referenced the author by stating, “Casey Meraz makes it bluntly clear…” and we linked Meraz’s name to his Twitter account.
Practice 5: Keep Your Anchor Text Relevant
It is imperative that your anchor text be relevant to what you’re linking to! We cannot stress this best practice enough. The reader (and ultimately Google) needs to see the relevancy of your citations; otherwise, they are pointless. We recently published a blog about keyword rich anchor text, in which we discuss just what keyword anchor texts are and how they are used. You should definitely swing over and review the post because it’s a great starting point for keeping your anchor text relevant.
Practice 6: Only Link to a Source Once
You can cite a source numerous times in the same piece of content, but you only want to link to that source once. Duplicate links aren’t a good idea, and they don’t send out a positive SEO signal. Think of duplicate links as duplicate content: Unfavorable and potentially harmful.
The best practice when linking to a source is to create the link in your very first citation. Throughout the rest of the content, simply reference back to it by saying things like:
- According to [insert source]…
- [Insert source] also states that…
- [Insert source] goes on to show that…
Practice 7: Change How You Link Throughout the Content
You can link the name of every source throughout your content, but it gets kind of boring. Not to mention, simply linking to that name may not effectively display the relevancy of the content to yours. It’s recommended to change how you link throughout your content.
For example, if your first citations read, “According to Forbes…” and you build the link into the anchor text “Forbes,” try rotating to more of a descriptive text anchor in your next citation. Your next linked citation could be anchor text along the lines of “in a 2014 study.” You can also see an example of our changing over to more descriptive anchor text in best practice point number five.
Practice 8: Always Cite and Link When Using a Direct Quote
A fine line exists between a properly cited quote and plagiarism. It’s perfectly OK to include direct quotes in your content. In fact, it can be a great way to drive home a point. But you have to approach direct quotes with care. If they are not properly credited (i.e. cited), they can quickly land you on the plagiarism offender’s list.
The best practice for direct quotes is to link directly to the source of the quote either immediately before or after the quote itself. The anchor text that houses the link should be either the name of the individual or the business you are quoting. Be sure you know the exact source when using a direct quote. If there’s any question, it’s probably best to alter or paraphrase the quote versus creating a credit that could be incorrect.
Practice 9: Don’t Forget To Link Internally
It’s easy to get so caught up in linking to external sources that you don’t bother to create any internal links. Don’t make this mistake. You should always try to link internally, whether it’s to a previous blog or piece of content that is relevant to the topic being discussed, or to your own product or service. The key to creating a strong internal link is relevancy.
Practice 10: Don’t Overdo It
The final best practice is a word of caution. Citations are truly powerful tools for building credibility, increasing your domain authority and boosting your SEO. But it is vital that you don’t overdo it. Too many links and too many citations can be a bad thing.
As a general rule of thumb, you should try to limit citations per piece of content to five to seven, including your own internal links. Your internal links per piece should really only amount to one or two as this is all that is needed. Citations are about balance. You need to back up your claims, but you shouldn’t create content that is stuffed with citations and links. Think of it like keyword stuff, it’s a dead and ultimately artificial SEO tactic that won’t result in any positive attention from Google.
Why You Simply Cannot Ignore Citations
If you haven’t yet delved into citation creation, you might be sitting in front of your computer or reading this blog on your mobile device and thinking, But why should I try to understand these best practices for using citations in my content? Why are citations so good?
For starters, citations are a means of building strong search engine optimization. They accomplish two important things at once:
- They build your credibility and authority by showing your audience you back your claims with sources outside of your company.
- They beef up your link profile, which is taken into consideration by Google when ranking your website. In other words, the more outbound links you create to high authority sources holding relevant information that back up your claims, the stronger your SEO.
If these two reasons aren’t enough, there are more. According for Forbes, anytime another website or company references or mentions your business on their website, they’re putting the spotlight on you. It’s exposure, and it’s FREE. What’s not to love?
Recruiting Some Help
It’s OK if incorporating citations into your content throws you for a loop. To be honest, the citation formatting I had to do back in college threw me for one! It was a steep learning curve, but gaining a basic understanding of proper academic citations proved to be helpful in my copywriting career. Likewise, learning the best practices of incorporating citations into your online content will be beneficial as you work to improve your content and SEO.
Don’t be afraid of enlisting the assistance of a qualified copywriting team. They can take the headache out of finding and creating those vital citations. And they can even teach you a thing or two in an effort to keep you on the ball when it comes to your content.
Absolutely. In fact, I once took a Shopify site from 1,500 to 10,000 visitors in just under 6 months. And here’s a secret that SEO consultants don’t want you to know: it’s really not that hard to do, but it does require a bit of a time investment.
Here was my strategy:
- I researched all the relevant keywords for my niche using SEMrush.
- I now use SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool because it’s ridiculously awesome (note: I’m not affiliated with SEMrush, I just love their software). The trick is to aim for search terms that have a Keyword Difficulty (KD) of 70% or below. I don’t have a scientific answer for this, but I’ve had a lot of success with targeting keywords at or under 70% KD.
- One other alternative is Topic.
- I exported the data to Excel and created keyword groups with 3–5 keywords in each group
- I then created blog posts for each topic where I aimed for 1% keyword usage
- I also made sure to reach out to bloggers and I asked them if they wanted to work together in any way. For the ones who wanted to work with me, I sent them a link to one of my posts and they give me a backlink for it.
- I also cleaned up my technical SEO errors using SEMrush. That helped immensely!
- I made good use of images and made sure they all had short descriptive alt tags
- With this method, I was able to beat companies like Amazon, eBay, Microsoft and more. This was just a high-level overview, but I hope this helps!
The post is focused on e-Commerce, but this applies to most sites in general.
Because a bloody toaster does not need wifi. No, it doesn’t. I don’t care what any of you say. When wifi can actually put the bread in your toaster, take it out, butter it, and bring it to you whilst you’re lying in bed, then I’ll concede the point, but until then why is your fecking toaster on any sort of remote control whatsoever? I’ll tell you why. Because you’ve got a degree in fecking media studies and you think it’s cool, or whatever the current term for cool, rad, bogus, spiffing, gradely or I don’t really care what you say you bloody zygote, is.
Wifi microwaves. Tellies that you can switch on whilst it’s in Rochdale and you are in Timbuktu. Why the feck do you need that? Security? Make it look like your house is occupied? Just ask your fecking neighbour to do it or buy some socket timers, you IoT arse.
Whilst you are putting wifi and fecking bluetooth on your bleeding kettles have you ever considered that that is just putting more stuff on there to break? No, you haven’t have you, because unlike the people who went and got their HNDs in making and mending this stuff, and look aghast at the tirade of bollocks engulfing us, you haven’t got the brains to realise that all you are doing is making your kit more complex and prone to failure than it needs to be. A fridge that does your ordering for you. And knows your debit card details. And has less locks on it than a budgie cage. Are you fecking mad? There are a number of scenarios that can come from this.
Your fridge orders enough cheese to feed a battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment for a week when it goes tits up.
Your fridge loses connectivity and can order nothing. Because you have forgotten how to go to the shop, six months later you are found dead in the airing cupboard.
Your fridge cheerfully allows a bloke from Nigeria access to your network. Every connected device you have is now either mining bitcoins or attempting to steal the contents of the Bank of Zurich.
Smart fecking tellies. They’re no such thing. Their users are often even less smart than the tellies are.
Look at this bucket of twattery:
a smart cat feeder. It can dispense dry cat food over the internet from an app on your phone. It’s got a camera. And two-way audio. What? are you going to be doing zoom meetings with your cat and seeking his opinion on matters of crucial importance of the day? Mr Tibbles, should we declare war on Russia? Meow. Should we drill for oil in Namibia or is the political situation too fluid to risk the investment cost? Meow. You’re going to stress the poor little bastard beyond endurance because cats like it when the whole pride is present and if he can hear your voice but he can’t find you he’s going to worry that you are apparently there and not there at the same time and whilst Schrodinger can have a cat in two situations at the same time a cat can’t cope with a human doing it and boy, are you going to get the cold-shoulder when you do finally roll in through the door.
£65 for this bucket of arse. Oh. Because: and £9.80 and total set-up time <10 seconds.
The only things that really need to be connected to the bloody network are your computers. Your tellies and game consoles if you must. Your fecking coffee maker, no. And back to that fridge. No, you little bastard, you’re getting filled back up when I decide to go to the Co-Op, not when you decide to whistle up a feckin’ Sainsbury’s van.
The other day I saw a home weather station hooked up to wifi. Alright. Why do you want a home weather station? To tell you what the weather is outside? Do you not have a bloody window? Oh, temperature. I just use a thermometer full of mercury hung up by the back door. Windspeed? Unless it’s a hurricane that’s only of concern if you are a sniper, isn’t it? Have any of your neighbours mysteriously vanished, lately? Oh, you can measure air humidity, can you? That might be important if you have anything that’s sensitive to water. I suppose that tree in your garden is, but it’s not really important for much else to you, is it, you great geekified bucket of twathamptery?
And then there’s this:
Hackers can hijack Wi-Fi Hello Barbie to spy on your children
Security researcher warns hackers could steal personal information and turn the microphone of the doll into a surveillance device.
Actually, I quite like the idea. I might try it myself. If I can make Barbie say to some spoiled little brat “Oi, ugly twat, give me away to somebody prettier because I really can’t have an uggo like you spoiling my image” then I’d be happy, but cheerful sociopathic malevolence like mine is not the only thing that that dolly can be made to say if you have some not very expensive kit and the know-how. Dread the day when it’s going to say “there’s somebody outside your house would like to meet you” to an eight-year old when her mother’s in the kitchen.
Anything with a microphone should not be left on the internet unattended. Or a camera. Or anything you can’t easily scrutinise. IoT. Nigerian crooks’ Christmasses all come at once.
Stories are powerful, aren’t they? They unite us, give us hope and teach us things we may not have known before.
But did you know that stories have another awesome purpose? What is it, you ask?
Stories, when involving your brand and business, can create powerful, successful content.
Wait, really? Yes! And I want to show you just how being personal and sharing your story will be the amazing key to successful content you’ve been looking for all these months and years.
Why do People Want Something More Personal?
In our overly cluttered world with ads on every street corner both literal and digital, it can be overwhelming and many consumers get burned out quickly. People don’t just want to see what they like and are interested in, they also want to see authentic, personal content. It helps set businesses apart and can convince a consumer to use that business.
Being authentic is incredibly vital to your marketing strategy, and the way to bring about authenticity is to be personal.
Yes, pay attention to your analytics but don’t write solely for them – write for people. How can you do this?
By writing your story.
5 Incredible Ways Your Story Can Create Successful Content
I know; you’re sitting there wondering what the heck I mean by your story providing successful content. Don’t worry – I fully plan on telling you just how this can happen.
Let’s take a look!
1. It Provides Authenticity, Which is Vital to Marketing Now. When you tell your story, you give yourself the chance to be authentic in your content.
Remember how I mentioned this earlier?
Authenticity is vital to marketing now and in fact, many millennials, according to Laura Brown from Social Media Today, won’t use a business that isn’t authentic. The millennial generation is a large one, and they aren’t the only generation that wants authenticity.
Don’t spend your entire marketing time regurgitating or copying off of others. Yes, you can get great inspiration from others, but adding your own personal voice, story, and perspective really adds a great, authentic touch.
2. Being Personal Gives a Realistic Touch to All Content. When you take the chance to be personal and share your individual story, you are adding an awesome realistic touch to your content.
Empathizing with your client base can be great as long as you’ve actually gone through what they have. If you haven’t, going for an empathetic marketing approach could prove problematic, as Danny Brown points out.
However, when you approach marketing with a realistic approach and give people realism in marketing, they will eat that up. Get that realistic element by telling your story, not the perceived story you have of your customers.
They will be more likely to listen and work with you if you are real about yourself, and they will eventually be real with you. What a great thing!
3. People Like to Know Information About a Business. People love information and they like sharing it with their friends who love it just as much. What kind of information do people like?
Well, anything that can make them look and feel smart.
However, they also like to learn information about a business. Do you have an exciting story about how your business was formed? Then share it.
“What if the business just happened – nothing exciting?” People still want to know about it. Share any story you have of your business – when it was founded or something great that happened – and people will greatly enjoy it.
4. Creating a “Personal Brand” Online Can Increase Traffic. You have your business channels and blog, but what about a personal brand? Have you set yourself apart from your business to provide more personal content?
If not, creating a “personal brand” is definitely something you should consider.
Because, according to Neil Patel, it can help increase traffic to your site.
How should you go about setting up a personal brand? Well, the first thing is to create your own Twitter account that you use for business-related content. (You can also have your own, truly personal one to post your truly personal things like cat photos.)
You can also make sure that your business blogs are listed under your name, not the business name, helping to set up a unique voice for your business. And, when you go to tell your story, this will help make it more personal and something people will really enjoy.
5. Being More Personal Can Strengthen Your Brand. As you get more personal and share more stories with clients, you might just see your brand beginning to strengthen. Why? Because becoming more personal can really help people begin to trust you.
As people start to trust you, they are more than willing to share your content, engage with you, and purchase products or services. The more this happens, the stronger your brand will get.
4 Excellent Ways to Get Personal in Your Content Without Overdoing It
Whew – now you know a bit about just how getting personal can definitely help your site. But, how much is too much? When should you step back to avoid overdoing it?
Here are a few great suggestions.
1.Make Sure You Focus On Authentic Stories to Bring Customers In. When you write your story, make sure you write it authentically. This will help your readers connect with it more and make them more likely to share it with others.
Just how can you make sure your story is an authentic one?
Carol Barash from Content Marketing Institute says that there are 4 different things that go into an authentic story including:
- Looking for or remembering a particular moment.
- Always writing the story in your own voice, since that will add authenticity.
- Keeping your story going with a great flow.
- Making the reader feel like he or she is part of your story by not setting up walls through words.
2. Have a “Personal” Business Social Media Profile. Now, you know that telling your story is a great way to get personal, and you know that having a personal brand can really add to that.
When you start going for a more personal kick to your content, you need to make sure that your personal business social media profiles are strictly for business. If you treat it just like a profile your friends would follow, you’ll come dangerously close to over-sharing.
On this channel, you can tell more of your business story and get it out to a wide audience. It also gives you the chance to share the blogs you’ve written for your business on a more “personal” level.
3. Interact With Your Clients After Posting Your Story. Your story isn’t going to have that much of an impact if you don’t interact with your readers after posting it. Interacting and engaging with your clients is a great way to drive overall social media engagement.
In addition, it can really help create more of a friendship and relationship with your client base. Focus on maintaining that relationship after your stories have gone live, and your content will be even more successful.
People really do love interaction with businesses, and if they are interacting directly with a person, they will really enjoy that, as well.
4. Maintain a Focus for Your Stories and Personal Brand. Yes, your stories can be about broader topics, but you need to make sure you stay focused on a niche to keep things organized.
Figure out the area you want to share with your clients, and maintain that throughout your stories and on your “personal” business social media profiles. Keeping up consistency is a great way to encourage more people to follow you, share your content, and engage with you.
This will help you make sure you write expert, authentic stories that can work towards personalizing your brand while also giving out excellent information.
Remember, when you write your stories, you can use that as an excellent teaching opportunity for your audience. You don’t need to have things laid out all professionally either. Make sure to add sub-headers, but you will find that being a bit informal will go a long way for your stories.
Sit Down, and Tell Us a Story
Stories are an epic way to create excellent, authentic content that your clients are sure to love and share with their friends. As you work to have a great, personal connection with clients, make sure you are always producing quality content that they, and you, will be proud of.
When it comes to telling your story, Express Writers has an awesome team of writers that can help give your story an awesome feel and voice, no matter what.
There are several strategies that can help you to garner more real traffic to your blog. The ones that I find to be the most effective are:
SEO. You need to understand how search engines work and incorporate that knowledge into your blogs. You need to make sure that you include all the keywords you want to be ranked for, and do so wisely. That means targeting more low-competition keywords and focusing on long-tail keywords.
Optimising your content for voice search. We’re shifting into the world where people are soon to stop typing at all. The more advanced voice input becomes, the less we use actual typing. You need to account for this tendency and target the phrases that associate with voice search.
Make sure to post relevant and high-value content. It’s not just about the keywords. If you produce a flawless in terms of SEO article, but it’s literally no different to the competitors’ entries, merely because it’s a piece of recycled text, you aren’t going to boost traffic. Instead, you should focus on producing the content that keeps on giving, such as checklists, guides and case studies that can be referenced in the future.
Make sure you have guest posting enabled. You can easily promote your blog if you give other people a chance to become your contributors.
Submit guest posts yourself. Garner organic traffic by cooperating with other blogs.
SEO Violations That Can Kill Your Rankings. Below reason for seo Violations
Have you ever heard that too much of a good thing can be bad for you? Well, this certainly applies to SEO keywords! Don’t be too greedy. Previously, people used keyword stuffing as a way to rank their page for multiple keywords in search engines. Fortunately, Google is smarter now – they’ve updated their spam algorithm to drop rankings for pages that keyword stuff.
Having low-quality content on your site can damage your SEO because Google and other search engines are looking for pages with relevant information. If you duplicate content from another site or web page or post thin content, it’s not considered as valuable to searchers!
Neglecting Social Media
Social media is more powerful than many people realize; some business owners don’t take it seriously because they think of teens and meaningless posts. Contrary to popular belief, social network sites can generate a lot of business for your organization! While social signals are not currently a factor in ranking websites, content that is posted to social channels tends to have an edge in search rankings.
How Much a Miner Earns:
The rewards for bitcoin mining are halved every four years or so. When bitcoin was first mined in 2009, mining one block would earn you 50 BTC. In 2012, this was halved to 25 BTC. By 2016, this was halved again to the current level of 12.5 BTC. In about 2020, the reward size will be halved again to 6.25 BTC. As of the time of writing, the reward for completing a block is 12.5 Bitcoin. In November of 2019, the price of Bitcoin was about $9,300 per bitcoin, which means you'd earn $116,250 (12.5 x 9,300) for completing a block. Not a bad incentive to solve that complex hash problem detailed above.
Whether you're looking to make some fast cash, or you're after long-term, more sustainable income-producing results, there are certainly ways you can make money online today. The truth is that making money online isn't as difficult as most make it out to seem. But It does require some discipline. www.bitflash.eu is where I invest my bitcoin and ethereum and get weekly returns.
Content creation is something copywriters and business owners alike always focus on. We know content needs to be awesome, high quality and something that reflects the company correctly, but sometimes people miss the mark.
You can create great content, but is it shareable? This is the big-ticket question to your content success.
Let’s take a look at how and why you need to have shareable content.
Why is it Important to Create Shareable Content?
You know that creating content is vital – I’ve talked about it throughout several of my blogs. However, you might be wondering what shareable content is and just why it is so important. Shareable content is something that your clients will enjoy enough to click the share button on Facebook or re-tweet on Twitter, helping you widen your content reach. When you create shareable content, you are getting closer to having content that goes viral, which will help bring in more clicks, likes, and, in the end, more revenue. This is precisely why it is important. How can you create shareable content? Never fear! I am going to take a look at some of the top tips just for you.
11 Awesome Ways to Create Shareable Content
Get your thinking cap on and prepare to learn some awesome ways to create great, shareable content for your clients.
1. Create Content that Provides Value to Your Readers. Something that people look for in content is if it provides some sort of value to their lives. This can be in the way of a DIY project, recipes, how to get healthy, and many other things. No matter what your industry is, you are always able to create valuable content that your clients can take and apply to their lives or businesses. A great way to tell if it is valuable is to think, “If I were one of my clients, would this post provide me with the information I am seeking?” If the answer is yes, then you have valuable content.
2. Keep Things Positive to Get More Shares. One of the often joked about aspects of the Internet is how negative people can be. Whether it is people trolling reviewers for books or games or if it is about a political stance, people can simply be mean and negative. This doesn’t just happen in the comments either. There are plenty of places to promote and share negative content, and it can get pretty exhausting for most people. Because of this, positive content is an absolute must when you want your content to be shareable. By creating positive content, you have more of a chance to stand out from the other sources on social media, and get more shares. Becoming a positive force on the Internet is significantly more powerful than you may realize. Try it out and see what benefits you reap.
3. Share and Create Content that Clients Have an Interest in. When you create or share a resource on your social media channels, you need to make sure your clients are truly interested in it. The best way to do this is to research your client base and learn what they like, where their interests lie, and even take some time to look over analytics. This can help you tailor all of your posts to make sure they have the impact you want. In addition, content that your clients are interested in will make it much more likely to be shared. Interesting content equals sharable content.
4. Make Your Content Look Awesome. A big part of creating sharable content is whether or not it is aesthetically pleasing. If it doesn’t look like it is put together well, people are less likely to share it. However, if your content has a put together look and utilizes high quality images or videos, people will be more apt to share it. People love quality whether it is in written format or photos, videos and any other form of media. A great way to make written content aesthetically appealing is to make sure it has a great flow that people can quickly and easily skim their eyes over. Once you do this, you are well on your way to getting more shares for your content.
5. Ask Your Followers for Their Input On Topics. You can get people to share your content, but if you have them put their two-cents in, people are more likely to share, as Social Media Examiner points out. First of all, this increases social media engagement, which is something every business or person wants on his or her social pages. Second, if you listen to the suggestions and make content based off of input, people will share and are likely to say, “This page listened to me! Take a look.” People love feeling involved and they also like feeling that they helped a business with something. That feeling of importance is something many of us enjoy, and you can provide a little taste of that with just asking, and listening, to a bit of client input.
6. Use Photographs on Facebook and Twitter. One of the best ways to get your content shared is to use images in your social media campaign. According to Jeff Bullas, Facebook posts that share an image obtain a 37 percent higher level of engagement, which shows just how important photos are. Use them in your social posts, blogs, web content, and even press releases to garner more results as well as more shares.
7. Create Content of Varying Lengths. When you write up content, you should try to provide readers with different lengths of articles. The battle over how long a blog post or piece of web content should be has long raged on, but if you provide different lengths instead of looking for that “sweet spot” you are able to reach out to a wider audience. Some people like to read short and to the point pieces where as other people want to read an in-depth article on a topic. Provide them with the choice, and even throw in a few different formats such as infographics, videos, or podcasts. It is important to remember that, while shorter content is helpful for your readers, long Web content is still winning the content length war.
8. Make Your Customers Feel Smart. Another great way to create shareable content is to make your customers feel and look smart. People aren’t likely to share something that will make them look silly, but if you provide them with content that is great at making them look intelligent, they will share it. This goes hand-in-hand with creating valuable content, as well as creating content that teaches your clients something new while helping them know they are truly smart.
9. Use Content Curation Tools to Find Great Content to Share. It can be difficult to come up with excellent content ideas all the time but, if you use content curation tools, you can come up with some great topics. Content curation tools can help you find great resources for your blogs, as well as helping you learn about topics in your industry and what your clients will be interested in. It also helps you find great sources to share on your social media accounts.
10. Make Sure You Have Captivating Headlines. Headlines are vital to any and all content because a headline can be what convinces someone to click on the link. In addition to convincing a reader to click the link, a captivating headline can also be what convinces someone to share a post. If your headline is crafty, fun, and insightful, you will find that your followers and readers are more likely to share or re-tweet. Once that post is out on their Facebook or Twitter, then the headline can convince their followers to not only click on the link but to share as well. The cycle continues, providing you with some truly excellent results.
11. Share Various List Posts with Followers. Along with photographs, people love lists. When someone clicks on your content, they are more likely to stay on it if it is in list format. This makes it easier to skim the content and find the bits of information that are more valuable to the reader. Once someone has been able to skim over your list, they are also more likely to share it with others, according to Convinceandconvert.com.
Start Creating Shareable Content, Now!
By following these methods, you are more likely to have content that gets shared on social media, which will help boost clicks and revenue. Shareable content helps to amp up engagement and makes all of your readers and followers happy and engaged.
If you’re in the process of beginning content creation efforts for your website or blog, it’s likely you have a lot of questions about how to get started.
While “content” is a huge buzzword right now, the process of how to get content is a little foggy. Some feel like content just appears on the Web and few people fully understand what goes into content creation. This is understandable — the process can be mysterious for people who have never dabbled in it before.
Here’s what you need to know:
Why Create Content?
To spearhead a good content creation program, you first need to understand why content is so important. Right now, 27 million pieces of content are shared across the Web on a daily basis. This content ranges from text-based content like articles and tutorials to video content and photo content. What’s more, about 87 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing in their organizations and a whopping 70 percent of them are putting out more content than they did last year.
Content is a huge tool for businesses. When content is valuable, useful, actionable, and interesting to readers, it gains social shares and draws more people to your company. This, in turn, helps you expand your reach on the Web and earn more leads.
Everyone is using content marketing right now and companies that aren’t prepared to create and distribute high-quality content are missing out on a huge amount of traffic and success. Consider the following:
- 82 percent of customers feel closer to a company after reading the company’s original content;
- 90 percent of customers believe that custom content is useful in making purchasing decisions;
- 60 percent of customers will likely buy from a company that writes useful content;
- 60 percent of people will seek a product after they read about it on the Web.
These statistics make it clear that in addition to doing functional things like helping your site rank for SEO, creating high-quality, unique, original content also boosts your business in the eyes of your customers and helps you earn more business. We live in a content-focused world. Today’s consumers don’t want the gimmicky hard-sell tactics of a few decades back – they want valuable, interesting, informational content that helps them make purchasing decisions and learn new things. When you can provide this for them, you set yourself up to be an authority figure in their minds as well as the company to which they’ll turn when they’re ready to make a purchase.
The Content Creation Process: 5 Key Steps
Now that you know why content is so important, it’s time to cover the how of content marketing. Content marketing is a process and nothing happens overnight. Rather, there are several definitive steps and pieces to creating a functional content creation machine. These steps are as follows:
1. Identify your audience
This is huge. If you don’t know who you’re writing to, it’s virtually impossible to write targeted content. Companies that create effective blog content, commercials, or podcasts know exactly who their target market is and what those people care about and can thus deliver targeted, quality content that their customers find interesting, engaging and exciting.
That said, the first step in your content creation efforts is to define your target audience. To do this, you’ll need to sit down with a piece of paper (or use an online template, if you prefer) and think about your audience. Who are they? Where do they live? How old are they? How much money do they make? What do they care about (social, cultural, environmental, financial, or personal issues)? What problems are they facing? For an example, consider these examples from HubSpot.
Once you’ve answered these questions, the next step is to find out where your target audience hangs out. Do they read blogs? If so, when and how often? Maybe they prefer Facebook or Twitter. Maybe they love podcasts. No matter what their unique preferences are, you need to know these things about them to tailor your content strategy to them (more on this later). Search Engine Journal offers an awesome tutorial for this process that should be very helpful to green or first-time content creators.
Combine all of these answers into one specific marketing persona. Give him or her a name and a photo if it helps make the person feel more real. You can create additional buyer personas as needed, but for now, you can focus on writing all of your content for that one person. Doing this will help ensure your content is targeted, useful and interesting to your customers.
2. Set your goals
You know who you’re writing for, now let’s talk about why you’re writing for them. Is the purpose of your web content to drive sales? Is it to earn leads or drive social shares? No matter what your content marketing goals are, defining them in clear terms will help you target your content more effectively. According to MarketingProfs, the basic content marketing goals are as follows:
- Business Value
It’s possible that your content falls into one of those categories or all three. In any event, though, you need to determine what you want your content to achieve before you start creating it.
3. Determine how you’ll share content
Once you’ve decided whom you’re writing for and why, it’s time to consider how you’re going to get your content to them. Web content is a varied discipline and you have the option of blogging, sharing content on social media, participating in forums and question sites like Quora, or posting content on your website. No matter what you choose, it’s worth noting that nothing today stands alone. If you run a blog, you’ll also need to build and maintain a few social media profiles.
While this is often an intimidating prospect for new content creators, it’s not that difficult. Think of it this way: you need one platform to “house” all of your content (generally a blog, although it could be a website as well) and another few places to help it get noticed (social media, etc.) As a general rule, most content creators recommend starting with two social media platforms of your choice, building your profiles there, and then moving out to other platforms as you master the first ones. Doing this allows you to connect efficiently with your audience and stay organized while also keeping you from feeling overwhelmed.
4. Think about SEO
SEO is the pillar that holds all great content up. Without SEO, it’s virtually impossible for readers to find your content, which makes even the best content useless. Fortunately, there’s a way around that pitfall. SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, refers to the process by which you optimize your content to make it more readable for humans and search engines alike.
When you optimize your content for SEO, you add immense value to it immediately. According to Search Engine Land, there are a few different factors to SEO.
- Content Quality: Content quality is measured by how valuable your content is. Regardless of whether it’s sales content or informational content, it needs to be unique and useful.
- Content Research: Content research is a huge thing. While it’s important that content is factually accurate, we’re talking more specifically about keyword research here. Keyword research allows you to target specific keywords and phrases to help your content appear more prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs). Keyword research is an extensive and important topic and there are plenty of fantastic tutorials to help you explore the concept fully and ensure that you’re finding the best keywords for your site.
- Content Words: Once you’ve determined which keywords you’re going to use you have to distribute them throughout your content effectively. Most experts recommend sticking to a keyword density (the number of times you use your keywords in your content) of about 2.45 percent. Doing this prevents you from “keyword stuffing” (using keywords excessively and unnaturally throughout your content, a practice which can result in poor SEO rankings) and keeps your content readable for users.
- Content Freshness: Google loves many things, and fresh content is chief among them. Fresh content helps users find and interact with your site and shows Google that you’re active on your website or blog. While you might not be able to update your content on a daily basis right now, you can shoot to update it several times a week.
By being well-versed in these SEO factors, you can create better content and ensure that everything you write is catering to the needs of readers and search engines alike.
As with many things, content creation works best when you jump in. You need to have an idea of where you’re going and how you’ll get there (your target audience and content distribution platforms) but once you’ve got that down, the next step is to begin creating content. Doing this achieves several purposes: First of all, it allows you to start getting an idea for what your readers like and don’t like. Secondly, every page you write is a new page for Google to index, which can provide you with a SEO boost from the get-go. Finally, writing content is a great way to start attracting readers, even if you’re not batting 1,000 just yet.
If you’re having a hard time determining what you should write about, there are a few places you can turn. One great resource is Quora, which we mentioned a little earlier. Quora is a question-and-answer site that is a great place to mine for content ideas. Simply pick a thread that interests you or aligns with your industry and check out the upvoted questions and answers. Doing this can be a great way to figure out interesting content topics as well as to further your understanding about what’s going on in your industry.
Making Your Content Even Better: 3 Tips and Tricks
Now that you know the basic structure of content creation, let’s talk about what you can do to make your content even better. Content creation is a process and, as you begin to establish yourself within your industry, you’ll find that there are certain tools and tricks you can use to make your content creation easier and more efficient.
1. Seasonal Content Audits
A content audit is a little bit like spring cleaning: you go through your content to determine what’s working, what’s not, what’s old, what’s irrelevant and what needs an update or correction. Doing this can strengthen your site hugely and help you make the most of the content you have. By getting rid of old, outdated, inaccurate, or unpopular content and replacing it with relevant, updated, current, interesting or valuable content, you can ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck, so to speak, and truly providing your readers with valuable information.
Doing a content audit is intimidating if you have never done one before, but rest assured that it’s not as hard as it sounds. Undertake this important step a few times a year to ensure that your content is every bit as good as it should be.
2. Editorial calendars
Editorial calendars are believed by many to be the holy grail of content creation. If you’re a new blogger, an editorial calendar can help keep you organized and ensure that you meet your content goals. If you’re an experienced blogger, an editorial calendar is a great tool to have. For those who don’t know, an editorial calendar is a planning document that helps you plan and execute your content. Specifically, it does the following things:
- Allows marketers to brainstorm and generate ideas for posts;
- Allows an organized platform for delegation of responsibilities related to content;
- Helps marketers create and stick to a publishing schedule, which is one of the most important components in building and maintaining a Web presence;
- Allows marketers to have a bird’s eye view of marketing strategies ;
- Acts as a platform for communication and collaboration in larger teams.
Content creation isn’t something you can just improvise – at least not for very long. It requires strategy, planning, intentional direction and consistency, and an editorial calendar is a perfect platform for putting all of these things in place. Companies like CoSchedule offer free content marketing editorial calendar templates that are a great place to get started.
3. Tools of the trade
Did you know that there are several tools you can use to help your content marketing efforts be more effective? One of my personal favorites is SEMrush.
SEMrush is a digital marketing platform that allows you to produce analytics reports, display advertising, conduct research, learn about effective video marketing, discover top industry leaders, find out what the most shared content in your industry has been, estimate the ranking difficult for a given keyword, track your position, group keywords, and manage social media. It’s an exhaustive list, but it’s one of the best services we know.
Using tools like SEMrush not only catapults your content creation efforts to the professional level but it also gives you a real edge over your competition. By learning all you can learn about what’s working and what isn’t in your content creation, you can ensure that you create the best possible content every time you sit down to write.
Content creation: taken alone, it sounds like an impenetrable wall of confusing steps. Fortunately, it’s not nearly as tough as it sounds. By taking the entire process step-by-step and focusing on doing each thing well, you can get your content creation efforts off to a great start, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned writer or you’re starting your first website today.
Content creation doesn’t have to be the domain of high-level experts only and, with a little effort and a good deal of learning, it will not be hard to position yourself to succeed at content both now and in the future.
Have you ever spent countless hours writing your next online article or blog post, only to get a few likes and not one single comment or share? What a bummer! We totally understand your challenge because we’ve all been there. However, with a few easy (yet effective!) steps, you’ll be well on your way to increasing engagement, writing captivating content, and receiving the feedback you need to get better with each post.
Check out our tips below:
1. Create numbered or bulleted lists to make online reading painless and easier to scan. Since the look is different from the typical paragraph style texts, it gives readers the visual break they need to move along the page. When presenting multiple points, it’s a great way to help people find the information they’re looking for quickly.
2. Feature one idea per paragraph and make it brief to keep readers focused on the value without spending too much time trying to find it. Let’s be honest, most people are busy, so their time in between multiple responsibilities doesn’t quite allow them to read a novel that could easily be a simple blog post. Creating paragraphs with two to six sentences is a good guideline for blog posts.
3. Use headers and sub-headers to separate long blog posts, keeping your content structured for easy scanning while convincing people to keep reading. They also serve as a promise to show your readers what the content will be about, so be sure to deliver on your promise and don’t confuse the reader.
4. Write content that speaks to your audience and be sure it is relevant. Sometimes we become committed to what we want people to know and forget to listen to our audience to discover what interests them. You may not have gotten a comment, share or like simply because the topic doesn’t relate to your audience.
5. Share across all social media channels and marketing distribution lists for greater reach. The more people who have access to your posts and resonate with your content, the more likely they will share with others. It is totally OK to encourage the reader to share with friends and colleagues — strategic messaging has proven to get the job done.
6. Stay up-to-date with current events and trends in your industry by staying in the know. Articles, books and white papers boost engagement and increase the relevancy of your content because people want to read and discuss what’s happening NOW, not old news. Stay informed with what’s going on around you and research your target market so you always hit the mark with content that matters.
With time, patience, and consistency, your audience will be sharing their opinions on your posts and get excited to be regularly involved with your brand. Find what works for you and go with it. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box – it will give you more interesting content to write about and people will love you for your audaciousness. Happy writing!
If you’re a content creator you know that it’s a noisy world out there and that you need to spend at least an equal amount of time promoting your content and getting it out there as you do creating it.
No matter how amazing your content is, it won’t get the attention it deserves if you don’t invest time and energy in letting people (as many of them as possible) know it exists.
There are literally dozens of ways you can promote your content online, but here I’ll focus on just one and show you how you can leverage different tactics to get the most out of it. I’m talking about outreach – a proven, highly effective way to get more traffic and more engagement for your content.
You could be reaching out to influencers, relevant blogs, business partners, potential or existing customers – anyone who has the power to give your content that extra push by exposing it to new audiences.
If your content is good and offers real value, outreach will not only amplify its reach but also generate new leads for your business.
It’s important to note here that “value” is in the eye of the beholder. You first need to make sure your content is valuable and relevant not only to your target audience but also to the people you’re reaching out to. Trust me, this will make all the difference in the results you’re getting.
Now, let’s see how you can leverage outreach to gain traction with your content.
1. Build a List Before You Publish Your Content
The key to a well-performing outreach is finding influential people who are a good fit for your brand and the type of content you’re promoting. Depending on your “ask,” you’ll look for people who either wrote, linked to, or shared articles on the same or similar topic.
These are the people you can reach out to and ask to add value to your content by contributing their opinions, link to your content, or share it out to their social following. Assuming that your content is high quality and that they see your ask as an exchange of value, they are likely to respond in a positive way.
You can make the process of finding the right people for your outreach campaign a lot easier by using a tool such as BuzzSumo. This tool can help you do content research and find the people that would be worth reaching out to to promote your content.
What’s great about it is that it’s quite easy to use – after you log into the tool, all you need to do is enter a topic for your article and then sort through the results to find the articles that are similar to yours and that had the highest number of engagements and shares.
To find out who shared each of those articles, click on the “View Sharers” button and you’ll get a list of people who’ve shared it together with the number of followers they have, retweet ratio and reply ratio.
Now you can create a list of people who are worth reaching out to. Just make sure to offer them something other than a “similar article” – your content needs to be more epic than what they’ve already shared! It needs to add a new perspective or add value to the topic of the article they shared or linked to.
2. Import the List Into an Outreach Tool
Professional outreach tools such as OutreachPlus allow you to import your list of contacts and then do everything from performing the outreach to managing the relationships with your prospects and tracking the campaign results.
Once you start your outreach campaign it’s going to be extremely important that you manage it properly. You want to make sure that you’re pacing your emails in a way that’s not too intrusive and that you’re responding to every email, positive or negative, you receive from the people you’ve contacted.
Outreach tools are great for helping you stay organized – you’ll have a history of conversation with each of your prospects so no email or contact gets lost in the shuffle. Ensure that all your campaigns will run smoothly by setting everything up in your outreach tool of choice.
3. Get on Your Influencers’ Radar by Promoting Their Content
You have the list of influential people along with their contact info in your outreach tool and you’re ready to send your first batch of emails. But isn’t there something you should be doing first to increase your chances of getting a positive response?
Of course, there is! You should get on their radar and the best way to do that is by sharing their content on your social profiles. This way you’re helping them expand the reach of their content, and if you’re consistent at it and you @ mention them or their blog, they are likely to take notice.
You can also comment on their blog posts and answer any questions they post on social media. Basically, use any opportunity you get to be helpful and show you follow and appreciate their work.
That way, when you send that first email your name will sound familiar to them and it won’t seem like you are emailing them out of the blue.
4. Pre-promote Your Content Before You Publish
Many successful bloggers are using a tactic called pre-outreach to promote their content. The concept is simple – you’re reaching out to the prospects on your list before you publish your article to ask if they’d be interested in it.
You send them a “teaser” or a preview of the content to spark their interest. If you get a positive response, then they are most likely to share or link to your post once it’s live.
The only negative in this tactic is that it requires a little bit of extra work from the influencer. They have to reply to your first email and then act again (share, link to, etc.) when you inform them that the article is published. It requires some level of commitment as well as an extra step which may be one step too many for busy influencers.
5. Promote Your Content to Your List Once It Goes Live
Using this method you’re reaching out to the influencers on your list after you’ve published your article. It requires less commitment from them than pre-outreach, and if crafted well, it can get you some pretty good results.
A key thing to remember here is that the more personalized your outreach emails are, the bigger the chances you’ll get a positive response. So spend some time writing a message that is aligned with the influencer’s interests and mention any previous interaction you had with them. Be short and to the point, add value, and write a clear, mutually-beneficial CTA.
6. Do the Necessary Follow Up
You’ve probably experienced this many times – you send an email to your prospect, you don’t hear from them in a couple of days, you send a follow-up or two, and they get back to you with a response.
Unless they’re using some email tool to manage their inbox, most people will miss a certain number of emails or read them and then forget to reply.
Imagine how likely this is to happen to busy influencers whose inboxes are flooded daily with sales pitches and outreach messages. If you don’t get a reply the first time around, just assume they didn’t get/read your email. Send them a follow-up to remind them that there’s something great sitting in their inbox that they can act on at their convenience.
Also, if you were performing pre-outreach, make sure to follow up when your article is published even if they didn’t respond the first time around.
7. Track your results
In order to be really effective at content promotion through email outreach, you need to track your results to see what is working or not working so you can optimize your efforts.
An outreach tool will help you track responses, document what people you reached out to were interested in, understand the type of messaging that’s working, keep track of the people who shared/linked to your content, and more. Only if you measure your efforts will you know if it makes sense to scale them.
Promoting content through outreach is hard work – it’s not a process that you can simply set and forget. At the core of outreach is an exchange of value and it is only sustainable over the long term if you build meaningful relationships with the influencers who agree to promote your content.
A lot of affiliate marketers think that the bulk of their work comes right in the beginning – and that, as long as they find a great product, it will “sell itself.” If only that were true – we’d all be living on tropical islands, while our products sold like hotcakes!
While product selection is a crucial part of affiliate marketing, what you do after you select your product will ultimately determine whether you succeed or fail. If your work doesn’t include a great content writing strategy, you’re doomed to fail.
But what kind of content do you need? And, where does it need to go?
If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing, you need content in these 5 areas:
1. SEO Articles
Remember, the products that you’re selling are the same products that thousands of other affiliates are selling. Plus, you’ve got millions of other people who are selling similar, competing products.
You have to make yourself stand out, and the right SEO articles can help you do just that!
High-quality SEO articles establish you as an expert – as someone that other people will want to do business with. By publishing well-researched and engaging SEO articles, you’re showing your target audience that you have the answers and solutions that they need.
Just make sure your SEO articles aren’t sales pitches designed to look “informative.” You’ll get the most results from articles that act as a “pre-sale.” When you “pre-sell,” you show off your expertise and build a relationship with readers. In turn, they decide to trust you – and to trust the product recommendations that you make to them later.
As an added benefit, crafting SEO articles with the right keywords can help you rank higher in the search engines – meaning you’ll get more exposure and, hopefully, more sales!
To an affiliate marketer, an email subscriber list is like oxygen; you can’t hope to survive long without it! Most of the rich affiliate marketers you see out there (you know, the ones who really CAN afford to live on an island, if they want to!) got that way through repeat business. And, in affiliate marketing, the best way to drum up repeat business is through your newsletters.
Newsletters are ideal for affiliate marketers who sell a variety of related products – like an entire skin care line, instead of just wrinkle cream. That way, when people buy your wrinkle cream and sign up for your email list, you can let them know about the special firming lotion you also sell, or the pore-minimizer that can make them look younger.
When written correctly, newsletters allow you to build a relationship with your subscribers – much more so, than you can with traditional articles.
So, what do I mean by “written correctly”?
Good newsletters aren’t all sales pitches. Of course, you’ll need to email out a hard-sell from time to time, but good newsletters also address plenty of “freebies” – like new developments in your niche, or new information that your subscribers need to know. By sending out these interesting and informative developments, people will learn to trust you. Then, when you do send out a hard-sell for something, they’ll be much more likely to buy the product – in many cases, just because you say it’s A-OK!
You don’t even need a massive list of subscribers to take advantage of this phenomenon. As long as you build a steady relationship with your list, the sales will come. And, over time, you’ll add more subscribers – and increase your profits!
3. Your Own Blog
So many affiliate marketers out there are trying to snag customers with nothing more than a bare-bones landing page. Why not set yourself miles ahead of them by building a genuine authority site? It’s not as tough to do as you think. In fact, the right blog writing can do it for you!
Blog writing offers you a great way to share valuable information. That bare-bones landing page doesn’t prove that you’re an expert in anything. Instead, by having a blog that people can check out no-questions-asked, you increase the odds of them thinking you’re an expert and signing up for your list.
Blog writing is also a great way to let your personality shine through. Since blogs are more casual than traditional SEO articles, they’re a great way for people to think of you as a “real person” – instead of a robotic marketer that only shoots out sales pitches.
As an added benefit, every time you update your blog, it counts as an update to your entire website – something that the search engines love!
4. An Ebook
Even a short ebook (think 10 or 15 pages) can be a great incentive for people to sign up for your email list. It’s something that you only have to write (or have written for you) once – but if it’s good, your ebook will generate results for you forever!
As an added benefit, giving out a free ebook that’s chock full of solid information shows that you’re a real expert – and sets you apart from everyone else!
Anytime people can see and hear you for themselves, it proves that you’re not a scumbag. Because, let’s face it, plenty of affiliate marketers are sleazy, get-rich-quick-types who only care about money – and couldn’t care less about their customers.
The right online video marketing techniques can be a great way to build your credibility AND share important information with your target audience. The key, though, is to make sure that your videos present you in the right light. That means looking credible, having a compelling and well-researched video script, and speaking with confidence. Take a few minutes to find a free online teleprompter website, so that you can look directly into the camera (instead of reading off a piece of paper). By making eye contact with your audience, you’ll automatically be seen as more credible!
Many of us (me included) make the same newbie mistake. We sign up for any programs we find, slap a banner or two on our website and then wait for the money to come rolling in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. As with any business, you will need to work consistently and persistently to build your affiliate sales business. Below are ten tips to help you make more sales with
your affiliate marketing business.
1. Sell What You Believe – Selling a product or service that you have actually used and believe in is much more effective than selling a product you have no clue about. Try the product, tell your story and make more sales. Being able to personally recommend a product can go a long way. Be sure to know about your product too, so when people ask you questions you can let them know the information they need. This will help in making more sales as well.
2. Be Selective – Do not join every program you find. Spreading yourself too thin will cause you to lose focus and sales. Find one or two excellent programs and products that you can really spend time and energy promoting heavily. You don’t want to confuse your potential customers with too many offers, ads and products plastered all over your site.
3. Sales Materials – Most affiliate companies will offer you professionally made sales materials such as banners, ads, sales copy and more. Be sure to take advantage of these if you cannot provide your own. Test and track the ads to find the most effective. Place the banners in different locations on your site and find what works the best. Don’t just paste them anywhere and hope they work.
4. Customer Testimonials – Be sure to use customer testimonials or case studies. Ask the company if they can provide you with some until you start getting some of your own to use. Use the testimonials in whole and snippets in various places you are promoting.
5. Video Marketing – Video marketing can be much more effective than text ads because it allows the customer to actually see how the product is used and how well it works. You can easily make your own effective video with your personal recommendation to go along with the demonstration.
6. Social Sites – Be sure to add videos, banners, incentives, etc. on your social sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others. Tweet pertinent info about your product as well. Be sure to connect all your social sites to your site and vice versa.
7. Add a Bonus – Giving a person a little extra incentive to purchase your product is sometimes all it takes. Offer a free ebook, report, gift card, etc. so the customer will be convinced to make the purchase. A little extra push can make a big difference in your total sales.
8. eMail Signature – Your email signature is a sometimes overlooked advertising opportunity. Write a little teaser about your product and/or bonus and add this to your email signature along with your affiliate link. Every email you send could be a potential sale!
9. Article Resource Box – Be sure to incorporate article marketing into your promotion tactics. Add a snippet and link in your article resource box to get people’s attention.
10. Promote to Your List – If you have been online for any length of time, you should have built a reliable mailing list. Send special offers and incentives to your mailing list. Let them know they are appreciated and will receive special offers that no one else will.
Affiliate marketing can help you get started in the internet marketing business or it can help you increase your existing business income. Either way you need to work at it and promote consistently and effectively for it to be successful!
1. Improve your page loading speed
A few factors contribute to your page's loading speed. Google will penalize you for slow loading speed, which damages your ranking.
It can also negatively affect how users interact with your website. Consequently, those negative interactions will harm your ranking as well.
2. Produce high-quality content
How often does your website get updated? In the case of a website that hasn't been updated since it was built, you probably don't have a high SEO ranking right now.
It's crucial you keep visitors returning to your website if you want to drive more traffic and increase its popularity. You need quality, fresh, and relevant content for your website.
The so-called dwell time is another factor that impacts your SEO ranking. This is measured by the amount of time people spend on your website per visit. You will increase dwell time and keep visitors on your page longer if your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy material.
A long dwell time is often associated with websites with highly valuable content. The document apps you use can access your content ideas online in one place.
You should also take this into consideration. According to Nielsen, Google Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world, with nearly 45% of the market share.
3. Optimize your images
You should optimize your website images properly so they boost your search engine ranking. However, if you do not optimize them, they will have little value.
Specifically, I'm referring to factors such as file format, size, and file format. Large images can negatively impact your ranking because they increase the page loading time.
Images can be optimized by resizing or compressing them, or you can use them to sneak in keywords through their names.
An example would be to name an image, such as "best shampoo for long hair," rather than "shampoo1."
In addition to using keywords strategically in the title, caption, and description of the image, you can also use them in the image.
4. Break up your content with header tags
Another way to make your website more user-friendly is to use headings.
In addition to making the content easier to read, headers also make it look more appealing, which is always helpful.
The lack of content on your site may discourage people from spending much time on it, which will affect your SEO ranking.
5. Start blogging
Blogging is great for your business. It’s an outstanding tool for lead generation and helps you engage with visitors to your website.
Blogs can also help improve your search and ranking rankings. Here's why. As I mentioned earlier, fresh new content draws people to your website and keeps them there for longer. Blogs are the best channel for this.
You can drive a lot of traffic to your site on a daily basis if you have a large following of loyal readers.
Additionally, you can incorporate other features I mentioned so far, such as images and head tags, into your posts as well
Feb 24, 2021
Written by CJ Affiliate Credits
How can affiliate marketing make better progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion? This engaging discussion from the CJU20 Digital Series brought together leaders from across the digital ad industry to shed light on how they’re navigating today’s heightened discussions on systemic racism, how to lead teams to do the same, and ways we can all drive meaningful and lasting change. This conversation will inspire you to initiate change within your own spheres of influence, whether in your organization, team, or personal life.
Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify
CJ Affiliate · Conversations for Change: Addressing the Need for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Affiliate
This podcast is a recording from the panel discussion, "Conversations for Change: Addressing the Need for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Affiliate" from the CJU20 Digital Series which was held virtually on September 23th, 2020. We also have a video recording from this session available.
Kenya Feinberg (Moderator), VP, Corporate Development, CJ Affiliate
Corey Flournoy, Global Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Groupon
Bryan Mirabal, Creative Strategy Lead, MagicLinks
Renetta McCann, Chief Inclusion Experience Officer, Publicis Groupe
Aimee Catalano, Director, Global Partner Marketing, Google Cloud
Editors note: Since this session was recorded on September 23, 2020, Kenya Feinberg and Corey Flournoy have since left their respective companies to pursue DE&I at other organizations.
Junction Live, taking thought leadership off the page and into the studio with some of the sharpest minds in affiliate marketing.
NICOLE RON: 00:14
Hi, everyone. I'm Nicole Ron and I'm head of global marketing, product marketing, and business systems here at CJ Affiliate. My team puts on our annual performance marketing conference CJU. Last year, we had some incredible sessions led by amazing speakers. But the most inspiring session of last year's event is the one that I'm sharing with you today: Conversations for Change.
In this session, CJ was joined by leaders from across the digital industry from companies such as Google, Groupon, MagicLinks, and our own parent company, Publicis Groupe, to address the need for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. While the format of today's episode may be different, I'm excited to share the words of wisdom and inspiration of these incredible individuals on topics as critical as this one.
At CJ, this is a conversation we've been having at length and we've been focused on initiating real change. I hope this episode encourages you to do the same within your own spheres of influence—whether in your organization, your team, or even in your personal life. Please enjoy!
JASON CODRINGTON | CJU20 EMCEE: 01:22
Thank you for joining us for Conversations for Change, a very timely and important discussion with a few individuals who are truly leading change within our industry. Today, our moderator, Kenya Feinberg, VP of Corporate Development, will be speaking with our panelists about ways affiliate marketing can make strides towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. So without further ado, I'll hand you over to Kenya. Take it away!
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 01:49
Thank you so much, Jason. And hello everyone! Welcome to the final stretch at CJU20. We miss the in-person connection and the beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara, an opportunity to connect with new friends, old friends but we hope that you've been able to learn something very valuable today in our virtual format.
I am Kenya Feinberg. I am Vice President of Corporate Development at CJ Affiliate. I serve on the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee at CJ Affiliate as well as the Publicis Media inclusion council. I have to say that I'm super excited about our next 50 minutes together and I'm proud, I am honored to belong to an organization that has truly been honest with itself during this time in our country. CJ has been unafraid to ask, "Who are we? What do we value? What can we be doing better? And what are the resources that we need to truly drive positive change as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion?"
CJU20 was a terrific opportunity to broaden that conversation by inviting an esteemed panel of passionate thought leaders to share their perspectives on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hope you leave this session inspired. We hope that you leave it curious to learn more and hopefully with at least one insightful takeaway that you can apply in your organization or in your personal life.
So I'd like to take a moment now to introduce our panelists:
We have Aimee Catalano. Aimee leads that global partner marketing organization at Google Cloud. In this role, she sits on the marketing leadership team and leads joint marketing efforts across all types of partnerships. She's been in technology marketing for 20 years working for small, medium, and large companies. Aimee's been leading the women's BRG organization, in two organizations actually and she's also cofounded diversity and inclusion efforts at her previous company, Pure Storage.
We also are joined today by Corey Flournoy. Corey brings more than 30 years of experience and he is a recognized leader in diversity and inclusion programming, strategy development, executive coaching, and employee engagement for multiple national corporations, nonprofits, and educational institutions. He is Groupon's Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity where he oversees the company's inclusion and diversity team and works to sustain a culture of inclusion, integrity, and respect at Groupon's offices around the world. Since 1995, Corey has been a founding partner, consultant, and trainer for Creative Outreach Consulting LLC and is a certified professional diversity coach through CoachDiversity Institute.
We also have the honor of having Renetta McCann on our panel today. She has been recognized as one of the leading innovators and most influential executives in the advertising, marketing, and media industries with a global reputation for not only building brands, but also building the organizations and the leadership to sustain them. As Chief Inclusion Experience Officer at Publicis Groupe, she works to drive inclusion at all levels of the organization with an emphasis on ensuring that the company's clients are benefiting from the many strategic advantages that diverse teams deliver.
And finally, Bryan Mirabal. Bryan leads creative strategy at MagicLinks. He advises thousands of global brands and influencers on compelling data-backed campaign solutions. He also leads MagicLinks' DE&I team, including hosting a weekly Instagram Live series that gives voice and reach to Black, indigenous, people of color leaders within the influencer community.
So lately, there have been a lot of conversations about racial injustice. The recent injustices of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and then the international movement towards equality, those incidents really should encourage us all to look inwardly at our own conscious and unconscious biases. We are at a point where eyes and ears are wide open. Minds and hearts are also open right now. And CJ honestly wants to continue to be a part of the conversation, but we also want to be a part of the solution. We're improving the lives of the CJ team members but also improving the affiliate industry at large.
So that being said, I'd like to start this conversation today by asking our panel: how has thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion how has it been changed, or how has it been impacted since these recent tragedies have happened? I'd like to hear your perspective with folks paying so much attention to this topic just to kick off the conversation. So if we could open that question up, I'd love to hear from Renetta first if we could and then I'd like to open it up to the other panelists to respond.
RENETTA MCCANN | PUBLICIS GROUPE: 07:14
Thank you, Kenya, and the CJ organization for having me here today. What I'll bring is kind of a long view to your first question here, because I think in many ways there’s a bunch of things that haven't changed, right? So the fight for equality and justice, the complexity of the situation, and what we need to work towards. What I will say is that the deaths of the Ahmaud Arbery and Breanna Taylor and George Floyd in particular with racial injustice and then all the people who've suffered from COVID-19, I think one of the clearest things that's indicated as changes. Within organizations, we thought DEI was just a function to have to support our talent while they were internal. What I think has happened with all the inequality and injustice we've seen in 2020 is that corporations are being called more clearly into the public square with the recognition that their very own employees are also humans out in the world and that those humans come into the workspace with expectations around participation, expectations around support, and psychological safety. And so, I think the role of the corporation in coming to the table and being definitely an ally, but maybe even a co-conspirator in this work has been heightened.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 08:46
Excellent, thank you for sharing. Could we get, perhaps, Bryan to chime in on that?
BRYAN MIRABAL | MAGICLINKS: 08:53
Yeah, absolutely. And thank you, Kenya and CJ, as well for having me—such an honor. At MagicLinks, it really was a catalyst of a lot of change. The week that George Floyd was murdered, I texted my CEO at 6:00 in the morning, and we very quickly decided on what an action plan was going to look like. And realizing that that action really needed to be tied to a commitment to change rather than just putting out a statement. So a lot happened sort of organically from there. We stopped all marketing and really focused and took a pause to first check in on our team, hearing, first and foremost, from the Black co-workers at MagicLinks about what that experience has been like, really experiencing a different world than some of our other co-workers. And so, those conversations are happening internally. Externally, our CEO put out quite a strong open letter that we did send to our entire ecosystem of partners. So we knew that having such a strong position was a risk and that there were likely going to be some responses that weren't super positive. But it was important to us to not only act quickly but also to make a long-term commitment to change.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 10:08
Great, thank you. I think, also, it's important, perhaps, that we level-set just a little bit more before we dig deeper into the conversation. And I'd like to do that by hearing from each of the panelists. We can actually start with Aimee on the next question, which is, Aimee, talk a little bit about defining or sharing diversity, equity, inclusion. I think that these words are sometimes used interchangeably. I think that they are all very distinct. So if you would, if you could just kind of level-set by defining or sharing what diversity, equity, and inclusion are to you.
AIMEE CATALANO | GOOGLE CLOUD: 10:44
Sure, absolutely. So when we think about diversity, it's really the differences each of us possess, right, whether it's race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, and so on. And I think it's really important that we attract, develop, progress, retain all of the different underrepresented groups and all of the groups and the different levels within Google and within our workforce.
When we think about equity, this is about access, right? This is high outcomes of access, opportunities, and successes for all individuals regardless of any social or cultural factor. And I would say this also includes recognizing the advantages and barriers that require the need for potentially some differentiated strategies to bring people to parity, right?
And then inclusion, obviously, this is just, how do we create a workplace where everyone, every employee, feels welcome, respected, supported, and valued? And how do we all help and create conditions for everyone to thrive? That's kind of the three definitions that I think about when I think of DEI.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 11:54
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 11:56
I guess similar to Aimee. Yeah, diversity is the representation of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity. All those different things that companies, organizations should have. But not because of numbers, but because of what bringing these individuals to the table does for the company. So what perspective, what different ways can you solve problems when you have a diversity of people who have different experiences and different ways of seeing the world in the workplace working together? So that's diversity from my standpoint—is having people in the room with different perspectives.
The inclusion piece is really important because there are organizations that do strive to get a diversity of numbers. But if the environment and culture is not one where people can be themselves—where they feel included in conversations, they feel included in decisions—then they tend to leave or they tend to have a very bad experience. And I've worked for places like that, I've been that person. And inclusion means, have you created space where you do care to actually hear from the people that you have of diversity in that workplace? And not just in lower levels, but in all levels of the organization and across departments.
The equity piece is the difficult part because that is the part that often companies get uncomfortable with. When you think about fair treatment and access and opportunity, there’s sometimes this narrative that by giving someone an opportunity that "is different to someone else", I'm giving them an advantage or lessening the playing field—all those kind of things. Equity is recognizing that there are people in our society who have not had the same opportunities, not have the same privileges, and have not had the same advantages and we recognize that and we're going to do something about it. So equity is what are you doing to change that dynamic? So that people like women, people of color, LGBTQ, people with disabilities—that those things don't become barriers for them to succeed.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 13:54
Any ideas or anything you can share, Corey, about maybe specific tangible examples of how you've been able to see equity played out actionably in a way that that's very willed or real that perhaps folks can glean from? Could you share any specific examples that you've seen in your current role, previous role? Anywhere along the way.
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 14:18
Sure. So when I came on to Groupon two years ago as their first global head, one of the first things I did was I wanted to see the numbers, see the diversity. And quickly recognized, a) we didn't have any ethnic diversity at the C-suite level. There wasn't a great amount of gender diversity in our tech space. And even worse, in the pipeline going down a few steps, there still wasn't that much diversity there. And so, the equity piece is wondering, "What do we need to do different that is going to help us to start getting diverse talent in the room at that higher level?"
And so, we created something called the Great Leadership Program which is Groupon's resource for emerging and aspiring talent. But it was a program geared towards that mid-level, people of color, and women who are in the organization, they're doing well, but they're having a challenge getting to the next step. And so, we did a year-long intense program where these individuals—we chose 15 for the first year—got executive coaches, they received mentorships from VPs and above, even the COO was a mentor. We brought in internal and external speakers. In fact, Renetta was one, she spoke at our graduation for our first cohort. But it was all about investing in these individuals to give them access and opportunity that they would have not gotten just by being employees of Groupon. And so, that's how you start to change dynamics. A third of those individuals got promoted even in that first year of the cohort.
And another important piece was including the managers in trainings. Because you can give resources to individuals who are marginalized, but if the managers do not know how to be sponsors, give opportunities, bring people into the room that normally wouldn't have that opportunity, then you could still get that barrier to actually succeeding or getting hired in an organization
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 16:01
Great. Thank you for that. Thank you for sharing that.
The next question I'd really like to kind of open up the question with a response from Renetta, and that is, Renetta, could you please share with us why DE&I is important in the industry—in the marketing industry—in the digital space specifically? And some consequences for not prioritizing DE&I within our industries?
RENETTA MCCANN | PUBLICIS GROUPE: 16:26
So I'll admit, right now I'm a generalist, so I probably don't know the digital space as well as an Aimee or a Bryan or a Corey. But here's what I'll say. From an industry perspective, what we all know is that the demographics of the United States, the demographics of the consumer populations that brands and marketers and companies are trying to connect with—those demographics are changing. And what we are seeing is that by 2030, a significant portion of that desirable demo, if you will, 18 - 30, 18 - 34, will be people of diverse or multicultural or racially different backgrounds. And quite frankly, this topic takes on critical importance because what we're talking about is the development of messaging and then content that resonates with that consumer base and also carries relevance so that they'll connect with those brands. It's critical that, at least in my mind, that you have the kind of insights or cultural intelligence that fuels that, and that you also have on your teams the perspectives that help you see and get to those insights and the ah-has and certainly things that will help you with what may be inevitable missteps in communications. So I think really what's driving us for our industry is our consumer base. And I think what will hold digital back, in particular, is because it's delivered as close to one-on-one as possible, you want to be knowing more and more every day about that one-on-one and then tailoring those messages to those people. And I find it hard to do that in a multicultural world if a diversity of perspectives and people and insights aren't present.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 18:25
Excellent. Let's see. Maybe we could have Bryan touch on that a little bit more. Consequences for not prioritizing DE&I with our industry. Bryan, would you share with us, please?
BRYAN MIRABAL | MAGICLINKS: 18:36
Yeah. Absolutely. And so MagicLinks is all about the world of digital content creators, specifically video influencers. So when we really look at our entire network, it is consisted of an incredibly diverse group of individuals to begin with. And so for us, it's really important to make sure that we are supporting these individuals to share their stories in a way that is authentic to their true background. Now, we take that a step further when we are also working on the brand side and trying to bridge the gap between what that unique experience looks like for an influencer, and then taking that to the brand, where the brand and saying, "This is what our KPIs are. This is what we want our brand to look like." And sometimes that doesn't necessarily hit the mark with what the content creator would like to create. Similar to what Renetta said, we know that when we're looking at our overall demographics of who our content reach is, it's very diverse, and it's just getting even more and more diverse as each year goes by. So for us, it's really taking a step back and educating our brands first and foremost about what diversity, equity, and inclusion needs to look like within casted campaigns, engaging with content creators, and how that representation of your brand through the content of an individual, where's that going to live? And so let's give an example. We're working with a hair care brand right now. And they come to us and they say they want to have a diverse group of influencers. So that's when it's important that on our team that we do have Black employees that understand that Black hair care is extremely different than hair care for other races. It just is. So it's little things like that that we would have missed and help us to really educate the brand in terms of what that timeline should look like. We're not looking at a 90-day rollout anymore. We're looking at closer to maybe four to five months because of the cycles of washing hair. There's just little things that we see, and it's a conversation that we continue to have because I think this year we're seeing brands—all brands—sort of wanting to double down on their diversity and inclusion strategies. And so what that actually looks like in practice is a lot of education.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 20:49
That's a great segue into the next question that I want to ask. And, Corey, I'll get you to kick this off. I think sometimes there can be this idea or even a misperception that the commitment to diversity sometimes conflicts with the commitment to excellence. We have to lower standards to achieve or accommodate diversity. Can you talk about that relationship between diversity and excellence, and how that often plays out?
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 21:26
So first, I'm going to deal with the fact that I think comes out as a misconception that you have to lower the bar to get diversity in the room at certain levels. And this is a conversation I've had with the senior leadership at Groupon, and through my consulting business—I now work with probably five or six other companies having similar conversations about this question, right? We want diversity, we have this position open, but the candidates just don't match up. They don't have the same years of experience, and do you lessen? Do you make an exception for them just for the sake of diversity? And I like to turn the question back around on people like that—particularly cis-gender, white, heterosexual men—who are in those positions in leadership and say, "Well, at some point in your career, did you get a job that you didn't necessarily have the experience for, but someone gave you the opportunity and chance believing that you would grow into the role?" In almost every case, the answer is yes.
Most people I know who are CEO or C-level—a lot of times it's their first time in that level of job. But for some reason in our society, there seems to be this belief that if you have a certain person that you'll grow into the role, or that you'll meet the demand and we'll work with you to get there. But when it comes to a person of color or a woman, we're often met with the, "Well, we're going to have to pass you on this position and maybe we can revisit it in a year" and you know, it's unfortunate. So we’ve got to change this mindset, right?
I think it goes with first looking at job descriptions. I think sometimes the requirements are so specific that they put in job descriptions— “You’ve had to run a $5M P&L”. When you finish making that job description, there are only white men who have that level of experience to get the job. So by virtue of how you create a job description, you've already guaranteed that you're not going to get diversity. And then you're shocked when you don't find people who have all that experience.
So I think it's time to take a step back and think about what true qualities, what skillset do you need a) to be successful in a role. And also, if a person doesn't have all of it, are there other people within your organization who can help supplement in those areas where it may not be that person's strength? Sort of like being President of the United States. You are not expected to be an expert, or should not be an expert, on military, health, etc. That's why you have a team of people who have certain expertise they bring to the table. And so we got to change this narrative that if you're a person of color or a woman, you are expected to be superman or superwoman or super Black person, and have everything ready to go from day one, and start being realistic about what we need and what we can supplement.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 23:59
Could we perhaps get Renetta to chime in on that? I think it also ties in very nicely to perhaps what I've been hearing lately in the media is about like, oh, it's a pipeline thing, and we don't have the pipeline to kind of facilitate the diversity goals that perhaps we've set out for ourselves. Renetta, can you speak a little bit about how that perhaps ties into the question that I just asked about excellence and diversity, and there does not necessarily have to be a compromise in order to meet those goals?
RENETTA MCCANN | PUBLICIS GROUPE: 24:28
Yeah. And so I agree with everything that Corey said and what I will add on is actually, and I wish I could quote his name, but I read a columnist in the Financial Times, that basically says, the advice that most people with portfolios receive is to diversify that portfolio. So why if we can diversify our portfolios, if you have a mix of long-term assets, different kinds of assets, why does it seem so hard to do that in the organizational structure? And I think part of it is back to who's setting the standards? How are those standards being set? One of the things that I will say is that this whole conversation around pipeline is actually—I would just call it in Hitchcock terms, it's a MacGuffin. It's something that we like to talk about but doesn't really exist or move the story forward. And I think companies get trapped in trying to fill the entry part of it and not pulling people through the pipeline in order to do that. So I just really think we have to take a step back, understand what kind of skills we're looking for, what kind of outcomes we're looking for. And then begin to bring in people who can advance that thinking, take some risk on them, see where it goes, and then set new models instead of relying on job descriptions that were written ten years ago.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 26:04
Great. Thank you. Thank you so much.
I'd like to shift the conversation a little bit, and I'd like to throw this question over to Aimee if I could. And, Aimee, I'd like to ask if you could share with us, or describe a program, an activity, a strategy in your current role, or even in previous roles, what are some easy to replicate programs that you've seen work well? If you could provide an example, a real-life example, of a DE&I-related effort that has perhaps helped to drive the organization, provide some progress along those lines.
AIMEE CATALANO | GOOGLE CLOUD: 26:38
Sure. I can actually think of two—and very relevant to the conversation we're having right now on bringing in the right talent into the company in the spirit of job descriptions. So actually one of the things that we did is, we took a historical look at data from over 6,000 job postings in an 18-month period.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 26:55
AIMEE CATALANO | GOOGLE CLOUD: 26:56
And we analyzed word count ranges and language, and basically how it was affecting who was applying. It was interesting. So one of our findings was that when a job qualification summary is more than 54 words, women applicants decreased dramatically. So as a result, we created this tool to basically help mitigate bias and so now every job description gets run through this tool and so we analyze the text as well as the word count and remove words or phrases that could potentially bias a candidate against applying. And actually form a results standpoint, postings that went through this tool, we actually saw an 11% increase in applications from women. And so that was one program that really showed meaningful thought into what is actually written in the job description can get you to the outcome that we're looking for.
And it's not just the job description. And I'm always really big on this in terms of think about the interview panel that you set-up for candidates and then also the interview questions, right? How do we make sure that they're consistent? They're very competency-based interviews every single time. And then I'd say the second one is there was a lot of this thought around “culture fit” versus “culture add” when you bring people in. So there's all this, "Oh, how do we think about candidates?" And we look to hire people with different backgrounds with a whole wide range of experiences. And so, we want to focus on how a candidate could add to Google's culture, not just how do they fit into what it looks like right now. And so we actually have a “culture add” training. 90% of people who take this training basically said that it's completely inspired them on how they think about a candidate when they interview and how they would be more of a” culture add” versus a “culture fit” into the company.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 29:01
That's fantastic especially the idea of adding to the culture, complementing, supplementing the culture—not necessarily just fitting in with like, "This is the way it is today. Are you a good fit for what we have going on?" But sometimes adding something different is exactly what an organization might need. So thank you for sharing that.
Bryan, are there any things that you can share with us today, examples related to DE&I that have really helped move the needle within your current organization or even previous?
BRYAN MIRABAL | MAGICLINKS: 29:32
Yeah, absolutely. So one thing that was very quick moving right after we had taken our first initial stance on Black Lives Matter this year was the development of a series that's now ongoing called Tea Time. Now Tea Time is a weekly series that I host on the Magic Links Instagram where we are basically giving the floor to different Black thought leaders in our community to talk about whatever they want to talk about. It's really not too structured and our whole strategy was really let's grow and develop policies by asking and learning. So realizing that we don't have all of the answers. We don't know everything. And the best way for us to really combat that is to first take a step back and open it up and learn from different stories and backgrounds. So that actually started with one digital content creator who's a beauty creator based in Texas. She actually reached out to our CEO directly thanking him for taking a strong stance on Black Lives Matter and she was my first Tea Time guest. From there, it sort of evolved.
Very recently, I had another guest who had responded to another one of our marketing sends that we sent out that was supposed to be a Father's Day focused messaging but instead we titled it “Daddy Changed the World”. And it was really-- it was actually sent on the day that would have been Breonna Taylor's 27th birthday. And so our messaging was really focused on that.
From there, this amazing—oh, my gosh, she is the best—but one of my Tea Time guests, she is a self-starter. Started her own influencer agency that represents exclusively Black talent, and we had a great conversation last week, actually, about what sort of inherent biases she sees within her industry and what she's experienced. And she said that, at one point, she was asked if her Black influencers would convert the same in terms of sales metrics as other white influencers. And so that was an interesting thing for us and a great example of us seeing, well, one, that's just an example of inherent racism just sort of happening in real time. But what could we learn from that? So we took that and then we actually went back to our full casted influencer world and looked to see, okay, let's break down the numbers. We learned from someone that this is a question, so let's look. And so we did a full audit of all influencers that we have casted in 2020, and in fact, found that our Black influencers have the highest conversion rate of any of the racial groups that we work with. So interesting findings, but again, we would never have gone to that point to even ask those questions had we not opened up the floor to conversation.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 32:13
Wow. That's impactful. And certainly interesting—thank you for sharing that.
We understand that the topic of diversity, equity, inclusion, it's not always an easy topic. We understand that DE&I efforts sometimes are received warmly and positively, and sometimes there's negativity. There might be backlash or there may be resistance. Could I get one of you panelists—I'll let you just kind of jump in and whoever wants to answer can answer it. But if you did receive any kind of negativity or resistance or pushback regarding the efforts of DE&I, how did you handle that? How did you overcome that in your current role, in a past role, or even in your own lives, your own personal lives?
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 33:01
So I'll jump in and say yes. [laughter] So when Groupon made a public statement about Black Lives Matter and our efforts to support Black-owned businesses and everything else, we received some negative responses from merchants and customers and probably some employees who may feel the same way. They just did not vocalize their viewpoint. And so I think one is being steadfast in whatever your position is as a company. You can't back down when you get challenged, right? So I had to do some training with internals. Questions were, can we just get rid of the merchant if they don't like what we're doing? Or could we just say thank you for their feedback? But I think it's an opportunity for education.
So when you get pushback, it is an opportunity to provide education to those who want it. So there are people who are, “Black Lives Matter, the movement, it's a connect to Antifa”, and they're just—all this misinformation about these groups are. And so I'm good for sending a person a link to the actual website to give them a little background about certain things that people think, what they hear in the media, or what they hear on certain news outlets, on social media. How do you help educate people? This is a great opportunity in this space to connect people to the right source of information. And what I find is, in those situations where we've received emails or even on social media when people push back, "All Lives Matter," and everything else, you provide people with a fact. Sometimes there's a debate. More times than not, I get no response, which means, if you have read what I've said, they possibly have gone to it, they have a different perspective, and rather than engaging in any further dialogue, they just leave it alone.
But I do think we're in a time where you can't back down if you take a position. And I think companies that cower away from it, it speaks volumes. It shows that Black Lives Matter and stuff was a slogan. It was something you posted. And it's a movement. And so part of a movement means you have to be committed to doing the work and, in some cases, doing education.
RENETTA MCCANN | PUBLICIS GROUPE: 35:01
So I'll give a more one-to-one example. So I was in the agency being filmed for an internal video that was going to play about the topic of diversity and inclusion. So asserting my commitment to the topic as well as asserting the agency's commitment. And after the film—I guess stopped rolling if you will—after that session was over, the person who was filming, a person pretty much of my generation, but a white man looked at me, and he looks at me directly because we're really close and he goes, "You know, I don't believe any of that. I don't believe or agree with what you just said." And I looked at him and I said, "Well, I understand. And you know what? If you want to have a coffee, we can talk about that."
Because what I find is that part of what drives the backlash is that people believe that they will now be excluded, or removed, or punished, or lose something of value to them. And essentially, I tend to be more of a promoter of the abundance story, which is that there is more to be gained by embracing inclusion and figuring out how narratives are connected, but also how the presence of narratives can expand the world and expand our insights, intelligence, our ability to go to market, etc. And so I think it's just that recognition at the individual level that people are very concerned about, "What is it that I have to lose in this?" And that's part of the backlash.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 36:43
Wow. That's very powerful, thank you.
I wanted to kind of rewind for just a moment. In that previous question, Aimee gave a really great example of what I would like to couch as accountability in the form of measurement. Can anybody else share examples of how we hold organizations accountable for moving the needle and making progress in the form of how we're actually able to measure? So Aimee gave the example of resumes and increasing that by 11%, as it relates to having more women, right? So I wanted to kind of step back a moment and see if you guys could share any further examples on what we may be able to take away today to go, "Okay. Yes, there's work to be done. Sure, there are conversations that we need to have. But how do we know how we’re doing?" So if you guys could give any examples and I'd like to hear from anybody that wants to chime in.
Bryan, perhaps you could kick it off to say, how do we measure ourselves and hold ourselves accountable to be able to look back quarter over quarter, year over a year? I mean, we are in marketing and without measurements what are we really, truly doing? So as it relates to the efforts around diversity, inclusion, and equity, how do we measure ourselves? How do we hold ourselves accountable?
BRYAN MIRABAL | MAGICLINKS: 38:06
Oh, yeah, great question, Kenya. So a few things. We, one, now have a minimum, non-white inclusion for all casted campaigns. So we are measuring ourselves against that benchmark. We are measuring ourselves against a lot of benchmarks really within our overall network to make sure that we are—back to the conversation of equity—helping our BIPOC talent and content creators to really get to the same level where they have the same amount of opportunity as that of their white counterparts, particularly when it comes to brand sponsorships. So that's one measurement point for us.
In terms of kind of how we interact with the external world, we also now have within our sales offerings a fully-dedicated diversity package, where that is the focus of our campaign and the intention there is to really help to educate our external brand partners on what that sort of campaign should look like. And so we will be looking quarter over quarter at that, how many brands actually go for that. That's a new thing for us so we're not really sure if that's going to be successful. At this stage, we are trying things. We're committed to making a change and we realize that not every activity that we engage in is going to have the best of results, but it's important for us to at least test first and try it out and make sure how we want to be perceived and the commitment that we want to make is something that is both impactful and measurable.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 39:32
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 39:33
Yeah. For Groupon, we have KPIs—or key performance indicators—in several areas. So for us, in the talent space, we have a certain percentage of a diverse workforce we plan to retain and develop over the next year. So that looks like we provided some special training for managers to know how to have conversations with people who have different cultural backgrounds.
We also recognizing—and this is true for myself definitely in my career. We're doing a job shadow program because it's interesting that people of color and women often don't even think about decisions at a higher level because it wasn't even something for consideration—to believe that you could be part of the C-suite. A lot of people and women of color just has never even entered into the thought process that they could do it. And so we created a job shadowing program where we plan to make certain that a percentage of our employees have the opportunity to get exposure to understand what's really entailed in these roles. And this may be a role you may not be at for 10 or 15 years, but if you can start to see what it's about now, you can start preparing your career to get there. So that's what we're doing for talent.
For culture, we've set a goal to have a percentage of our entire employee base engaged in the actual activities and things we're doing surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. For instance we just launched a global book club on White Fragility, an anti-racism book club that the CEO personally led. We had 40 different small group discussions. We had two global discussion about the book. So we're engaging people in difficult conversations that most people don't feel comfortable engaging in. So we have KPI for that and other ways we want to get employees engaged.
And then we also have the business. We're in a unique situation, like most of us, is we want to know we're setting KPIs for what percentage or number of our merchants are Black-owned businesses. LGBTQ-owned business. Latin-owned businesses that we want to make sure that we support and help them to survive and thrive through COVID. Minority-owned businesses are struggling much more than other businesses. All businesses are struggling, but minority-owned businesses are struggling at a higher rate. And so, Groupon, we're now on the hook for what are we going to do to help provide additional resources, marketing support, connecting to other resources to help them survive. So we have specific numbers across the board that not just diversity and inclusion my team are doing, but people across business units are also accountable to help us make those goals. So that's the other part that is—and Renetta is in this situation as well—these goals are not about those of us who work in DE&I space. It's about the company and people across departments have to also be a part of us reaching these goals. Otherwise, we can't make it happen.
RENETTA MCCANN | PUBLICIS GROUPE: 42:03
Absolutely. I agree with Corey. One aspect of measurement that I'll point out is that a number of agencies within Publicis Groupe participate as members of the Inclusive 100, which is an initiative attached to an organization called She Runs It. But what all of us agree to do is send in data to the inclusion index, which is managed by diversity best practices—I've got a whole lot of acronyms here, right? It’s a 350-question survey that tracks demographics. It tracks pipeline. It tracks learning and development programs. It tracks CEO activities and organizational activities. And so one of the things we benefit from—so you can have internal KPIs—but it's also measuring yourself against exemplars in your industry and those outside. Because one of the things we find by participating in a handful of these kind of industries is as progress happens, you have to move your own practices to keep up, right? It's not as if you can just have an unconscious bias training. You probably have to have unconscious bias training plus something for managers plus something for leaders, right? But as the standard moves in the business industry, you need to be measuring yourself against that standard and putting in place more in different programs to help you keep up in this arena.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 43:42
Love that. I think one of the questions that you kind of jogged by making that statement is it's important to be able to measure, yes. I think that this effort and energy is great when it's top-down, but also when it's bottom-up. And it's both ends of the organizations working at the same time and together.
But I wanted to ask, Renetta, since you're already kind of on a roll here, how best should leaders collect and respond to employee feedback on how diversity and inclusion really impact them? What have you seen work well in ways that leaders within organization and leaders of teams collect that information and collect that feedback from the folks that are on the ground working for them? I know it's not always easy to have a conversation with your manager. So what can you tell leaders, what can you tell managers on how to connect with their employees just on a day-to-day, making it something that's comfortable where it doesn't necessarily have to be super formulaic or super formal, but how leaders can be able to hear from their people and collect that feedback from them, what have you seen work well?
RENETTA MCCANN | PUBLICIS GROUPE: 44:50
So I'm going to give one best practice, and then leave room for Aimee, Bryan, and Corey to weigh in, and that is as a CEO or a top leader, you just have to go talk to people. You have to meet them. You want it unfiltered. At one point in my career—I can't figure out which years—I was a CEO. And as CEO, the information stream is highly filtered. People are telling you what sort of they want you to hear. And it's all—let’s assume the best of intent, right—but it's highly filtered. And then on this topic, you have to go talk to people, especially around inclusion and ask them, "What are your experiences? What are some of the barriers you face? What does real life look like for you in our organization?" And be willing to accept their answers, to convey to them power or voice or agency to communicate what real life looks like.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 45:56
Aimee or Bryan?
AIMEE CATALANO | GOOGLE CLOUD: 45:58
Sure. I can comment. We also do the annual survey. And it's spot-on what Renetta said. It's listening. And so with each of my leaders that work for me, I sit down and we discuss. And you just listen to what everybody has to say. The other thing that I do that I find is really interesting is not everybody's comfortable to speak up in the group forum. It takes a month or two to actually have enough time to go through this, but I just keep level one-on-one. So I have one-on-one conversations with everybody throughout my organization and really understand how are they feeling? What do they need to be successful? And then, for instance, that's part of it, which is listening. It's just as important to show that we're acting on feedback. So we really care about what is the action plan that we're building against what we've heard and making sure that we share that out and report out against that.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 46:58
Corey or Bryan, would you guys like to perhaps share what does that collection of feedback look like? How do you make way and give room for the employees to feel like they can share?
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 47:06
So one of the things I would say is you're right. We do a glance survey every month where we read every comment that comes in from employees. I think when it comes to particularly between the manager and subordinate or the person who reports to the manager, there's something called the ACE model that I've used a couple of times. What we found is that when it comes to diversity of individuals between the relationship between supervisor and someone who reports to them, there's also a difference of perspective sometimes about how we think one person is doing. So I don't know if any of you in your career have really thought in your job, you were killing it. You thought you're doing fantastic work. You thought you're getting promoted. And then when you have a conversation with your supervisor, your supervisor has a very different impression of how you thought you were doing versus where you’re at—and that's just not happening at the evaluation process, right? And so there's been some research, actually, that’s proven that the greater the cultural differences between you and your supervisor, actually the greater likelihood of you having a different perception of how you're doing.
So this ACE model is a really non-conflict way of—there's six different categories and I can't tell you what they all are but they all start with A, C, or, E—where you as a direct report, you fill out this thing and so does your boss. And then you sit down, have a conversation, and see where you match and where you don't match and have a conversation about why there's a difference in perception. And if you can start to have those kinds of conversations more and more, from a manager's standpoint, you being to see how you see the world differently. But also, it gives an opportunity for the person who forced you to give you some feedback as to why we have a difference in perception. So the person who was reporting to me, I feel like I'm doing the best I can with the opportunities that you give me whereas imagine, why are you not pushing for more? Well, it really creates a framework to have those difficult conversations that often, you don't realize you're not having until it's time to do an evaluation. And by then, it's too late.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 49:04
Wow. That sounds like a great tool for inclusion for sure.
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 49:08
Well, that's exactly what it is mostly used for, is in this space of inclusion areas of ability, ambition, commitment, connection, emotional intelligence, and executive presence. And so you as a direct report rate yourself, then your manager, and then you see what is aligned and what is not aligned. And that's a great way. And those are the six areas also that are shown to be needed to move up in positions of leadership.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 49:30
Yeah. Agreed. I think we have time for just one more question, and so I'd like to open it up to get a response from each of you during our time together. And that question is, what inspires you or what are you most proud of as it relates to your diversity, equity, and inclusion work and you've been on this path in your current roles or previous—what inspires you to do this work?
AIMEE CATALANO | GOOGLE CLOUD: 50:05
Okay. I'll go. So I constantly talk to my team and others that we have a lot of work to do in driving the business forward, but I wholeheartedly believe that this is the most important work that we do every day. And so for me, I think what inspires me is I have a daughter, and I would love to see a world where she doesn't face a lot of the unconscious biases that I did, especially earlier in my career. And I feel like we all have such an opportunity to drive change for future generations. And I think a lot of people see the vision. They know it's possible and so that's what kind of makes me think about, "Okay, what are the percentages of time I'm going to spend," and makes me want to lean in and do more work here because this is the stuff that's really going to make a difference when it comes to humans and wellbeing.
RENETTA MCCANN | PUBLICIS GROUPE: 50:57
So what inspires me to do this work is that fundamentally, I think it's about human potential realized, and human progress achieved. And there is nothing more rewarding for me that I've seen—and I've been around for a while—than finding someone's potential—especially somebody who has some sort of difference, they came from the wrong school, or they took a different career path, etc. There's just something different about them and opening up the system so that they can accomplish great things. It's incredibly motivating to me.
COREY FLOURNOY | GROUPON: 51:45
I would say in the DE&I space, we now have a life of pre- and post-George Floyd. Pre-George Floyd, what really inspired was seeing people of color and women have opportunities that they wouldn't have had, had not been some of the programs and happy to say I stayed here in this company, because of the work and the efforts, the things that we’re doing in this space.
Post—it has been watching leadership and others within the organization move from being nonracist to anti-racist. Meaning doing stuff, action, putting forth time and energy to actually help own and trying to change some of the systemic issues that we have. And then also, for us to help underrepresented or minority-owned businesses thrive.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 52:32
BRYAN MIRABAL | MAGICLINKS: 52:32
Yeah. And for me, it really comes down to my passion for sharing stories. That's really why I chose the industry that I'm in to begin with. And this is really the greatest extension of that to share the stories that, in my opinion, are the most important to be told. We are in a world now where our words on the internet will live on and on, well beyond anything in the past. Oral traditional is now digital and there's a record of things. And so having the platform to really share those stories and to connect the dots has been really impactful.
On more of a personal level, it's been great to have the support of my organization to really be able to build out a team that's attacking these issues head-on and really focusing on how we can be the change that we want to see. And so, yeah, it's been great, and it all starts with just creating space and having those honest conversations and realizing that before all else, we are humans and the people that you work with are definitely facing different realities. Each and every one of us has a different story and learning to open up space and really listen is super important.
KENYA FEINBERG | CJ - MODERATOR: 53:44
Wonderful. Thank you all. This is not going to be the last conversation that CJ has on this topic. We look forward to continuing this path, doing the work, and driving positive change forward. So I would just like to say thank you so much to our panelists, who are wonderful, who are able to share very openly today. And thank you to the audience. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for listening.
If you enjoyed this episode and are curious to know more about this topic and many others, check us out at junction.cj.com. or find CJ Affiliate on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram
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