7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

 

Where to find a Virtual Assistant
7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

Welcome to Whose Business Is This, Anyway? Where the tasks are unending and your stress level doesn’t matter: Sound familiar?

If it also sounds like your life as an entrepreneur, until this point every little milestone of that life has probably been a celebrated victory. But the novelty is probably starting to wear off.

Related: The Virtual Assistant: A Startup’s Secret Weapon

 There’s content to be edited and updates to be made to your website. You’ve missed two meetings and can’t remember who the contacts are to reschedule them. And your inbox count looks like the GDP of a small country.

There’s a lot to be said about optimizing your own daily routine to get the most out of your days, but that can only take you so far. While you may have aspirations of a tremendously profitable quarter, it’s probably time to compose yourself and admit that you’re not going to be able to do it all alone. You can’t continue growing a business if you’re tethered to your desk.

Traditional hiring processes take far too long when you need someone immediately who can take the load off your shoulders. Ideally, you want someone who can materialize, quickly get up to speed on what’s happening, handle the workload, and disappear until needed again.

I’m referring to a VA (virtual assistant).

This is where a lot of entrepreneurs will cringe. Sure, it’s hard to give up control, and you may find it a challenge to find someone who is reliable and whom you can trust with private company intel. But those someones are out there: You just have to know where to look.

Here are seven surprising places to start your search.

1. Twitter

I am absolutely advocating that you search social media to find a stranger to trust with your business. Start talking about the need for a virtual assistant on Twitter, and you’ll be surprised just how fast VA businesses will respond and start following you. Some of the best VA companies have listening posts set up with alerts to find people just like you.

The best part is that if you’ve got a social-savvy VA, Twitter is just one more task he or she can help you with.

2. Your network

If your contact list includes other business owners, mentors, influencers, professionals or any combination thereof, then it’s time to make calls and let them know you need help. Chances are, they know someone, or can recommend a service they may have used in the past. Don’t ever forget about the power of referrals and word of mouth.

Inspired by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt decided it was time to pick up a virtual assistant when he began to focus on his writing and saw his blog traffic (and workload) spike. He has had the same virtual assistant for years now and swears by her.

“I found that I was so much more productive that it was well worth the additional investment,” Hyatt says of his assistant. “She’s just one of my teammates — and a very valuable one at that.”

Related: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Startup Success

3. VANetworking

If you’ve never worked with a virtual assistant and you came up short on referrals, VANetworking is a good place to start. VAs often network and come together here as a means of finding work, as well as solutions. Not only do they provide information for clients who want to work with a virtual assistant, they also have a hiring section where you can post in search of a VA.

4. Craigslist

This one might be as surprising as Twitter. While the go-to classifieds site has its share of scammers, it’s very possible to find a top-notch virtual assistant on Craigslist. You can also look on Craigslist sites elsewhere in the world and choose your desired location, though the local aspect can be a huge benefit. Even though your assistant will be working remotely, you’ll have the advantage of setting up a face-to-face interview as if you were hiring an in-house employee.

Just make sure you do your legwork, like verifying work history and checking references.

5. Zirtual

Zirtual is a great choice for startups and entrepreneurs as the site specializes in providing dedicated virtual assistants to entrepreneurs, professionals and small teams. One of the biggest perks is that it works only with college-educated VAs who are based in the United States, so you don’t need to worry about the vetting process. Zirtual boasts that fewer than 2 percent of applicants get hired on to their service.

Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, often shares the benefits of working with virtual assistants on his podcast. In his tutorial on delegation, he writes, “I know just how valuable my time is and where my time should be invested to give me the most return.”

6. Workshops and events

Hopefully, you’re consciously aware that you’ll need help down the road and that you have time to be on the lookout. If that’s the case, then always keep the VA search in the back of your mind as you travel to industry events, workshops, and lectures. Those are great places for industry professionals to gather. If you find a VA at an event like this, you know he or she already has at least one foot inside the door of your industry.

Related: Hiring a Virtual Assistant Grew My Business, and Changed My Life

7. College campuses

A local college, or any college for that matter, can be a great place to locate a VA. Talk with career counselors or professors, or post hiring ads on campus job boards to try to locate a student studying in your industry. You may find a student chomping at the bit for a paid internship, willing to act as a virtual assistant as a means of learning the industry and gaining experience in his or her chosen career track.

*  This post first appeared on Entrepreneur.com on 17th October 2016 and is written by SUJAN PATEL

**  Header Image courtesy of Pixabay.com and edited by Virtuadmin.uk

5 Tools That Will Make You A Better Writer

4-tools-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer

I love writing. To me, there is nothing more cathartic or soothing than turning off the rest of the world and putting my thoughts to paper. This passion has made it easy for me to create content for Duct Tape…

I love writing. To me, there is nothing more cathartic or soothing than turning off the rest of the world and putting my thoughts to paper. This passion has made it easy for me to create content for Duct Tape Marketing. I don’t see it as a chore, I see it as an opportunity to relax. And once the blog post is written, I can look back upon it and smile with a sense of accomplishment.

But I do understand that many business owners don’t feel the same way about writing, or marketing in general. For some of you, writing content is a bore at best, an extreme source of anxiety at worst. I get it, the first few times I wrote something, I was nervous to share it with the world. Putting your content out on the Internet can make you feel vulnerable, particularly when the stereotype of Internet commenters is that they are demeaning and combative.

The truth is, the community on the Internet isn’t nearly what you think it is. In my experience, you all have been supportive and even empowering. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to put your best foot forward when producing content.

That’s why I’ve collected these 4 handy tools that will help you become a better writer of great content. Of course, nothing replaces practice, but these tools will make it easier to recognize your writing style, polish your finished product, and even help you focus.

GRAMMARLY

The English language is one of the most complex languages in the world. There are thousands of rules to remember, most of which people ignore on a daily basis in conversation. It’s easy enough to forget obscure grammar rules from back in high school, let alone specific writing conventions you may just be learning. Grammarly will make your writing better by helping you catch all of the errors you don’t even know you’re making.

Grammarly is extremely effective at catching small errors like correctly spelled, but misused words that spell check doesn’t, and even identifies advanced grammar errors. Grammarly also analyzes your writing patterns and helps you improve by identifying things like use of passive voice and overused words.

You can download Grammarly for your browser and even download it for your word processing program. Of course, you can also upgrade to the paid version and get even more advanced insights to your writing style.

SCRIVENER

If you’re just creating one or two pieces of content a month, Scrivener may not be for you, but it is without a doubt my favorite word processing program. Scrivener allows you to collect research, notes and your writing all in one file.

Do you like to use physical notes to collect your thoughts before writing? Scrivener allows you to outline your project with notecards and outlines. For instance, I used it to create digital notecards for each tool I was considering in this post and arranged them to turn them into a full outline. By the time I actually sit down to write, the words flow quickly from my keyboard.

Again, this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re serious about writing you may want to give it a try. 

HEMMINGWAY

Earnest Hemmingway was well known for his short, easy to read sentences. It made his works surprisingly easy to read despite the thematic complexity. The appropriately named Hemmingway tool analyzes your writing and helps identify ways to shorten your sentences and make it easier to read.

It is important to make your web content as easy to read as possible. Breaking up your text into sections with sub headlines is a great way to make your content skimmable, but the body of your text will keep them. If your readers lose your train of thought because your sentences are too complex, they won’t stick around for you to make your point.

Grammarly will help you polish your writing and make it better. Hemmingway will make it easier to read.

FOCUS 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing, I like to tune out the rest of the world. When you can just focus on the task at hand, it makes it much easier to complete it. That’s why I use Focus while I write.

Focus allows you to temporarily block time-wasting websites while you work. We all get writer’s block or are forced to take a moment to think about what we’re going to say next. At least for me, it’s pretty easy to take a break, go to Facebook, then suddenly lose some time looking at pictures of my friends’ pets. With Focus, you can prevent this, so the time you spend thinking about your content is actually spent thinking about your content.

If writing the draft takes less time to complete, you’ll have more time to edit and redraft. You spend less time making the content and more time making the content better.

This goes beyond writing content too. You can use it to block websites as you reach an important deadline or as you approach a new project. Focus is a great all-around tool for the easily distracted entrepreneur, as many of us tend to be.

What tools do you use to write? Do you have any secret weapons that help you create better content? Let me know in the comments below.

Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

 

*This post first appeared on Duct Tape Marketing on Tuesday 17th May 2016

25 Visual Content Marketing Tools To Engage Your Audience by Tomas Laurinavicius

Today I’m sharing a list of 25 visual content marketing tools to engage your audience. It will help you to enrich the storytelling experience you’re creating.

Desygner is an online design tool that lets you create banners, posters, invitations, Facebook covers, social media posts and more, all for free.

Snappa is on of the easiest graphic design tools you’ll ever use. It allows you to create amazing designs without the help of a graphic designer.

Canva makes it super easy to create graphics that get engagement on social media. There’s plenty of templates for marketers from email headers to blog graphics.

Piktochart is an easy-to-use infographic maker. It will take your visual communication to the next level, without hiring a professional designer.

Prezi makes presentations stand out and get remembered. Unlike static slides, it combines motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to engage your audience and help them remember your message.

Visage is a design and visual content creation tool for content marketers who need to create a lot of visual content.

Curalate is a visual commerce platform that connects content to commerce throughout the customer journey to generate awareness, increase engagement and drive revenue.

Storify gives you the tools to create the best evergreen and live blog stories, uniting traditional storytelling with engaged audiences.

PlaceIt lets you upload images of your product or website and insert them into high-quality photos for free. No Photoshop needed.

Silk is a data publishing platform. It lets anyone create interactive data visualizations, publish websites, and tell interactive stories.

ThingLink lets you create custom interactive images by adding clickable icons to links, video, text, music, other images, you name it.

Pablo by Buffer is a simple yet powerful design tool to help you become a better social media marketer. It’s designed for social sharing and makes it very easy to capture images to share directly to social networks or to add to your social content.

SlideShare is the biggest slide hosting service in the world. While it doesn’t provide creation tools, it’s a perfect place to find inspiration for your visual content or upload your own documents, presentations, infographics and more.

Polarr is free and powerful online photo editor. Simply put it’s the pro photo editor for everyone. From high-precision color tools to advanced clarity and dehaze filters, Polarr brings free pro photo editing tools to your mobile device.

ChartBlocks is an online chart building tool. You can easily design and share a chart in minutes. Import your data, design your chart and then start sharing it.

Infogr.am is the world’s most popular infographics creator. You can easily add graphs, maps, text, and even playable videos without diving deep into a design program.

Datawrapper empowers you to create amazing visualizations in seconds. You can use visuals to reflect numbers-related content by creating engaging presentations and infographics.

InVision is the world’s leading prototyping, collaboration & workflow platform. It’s a great solution for publishing clickable and interactive high-fidelity prototypes in minutes.

Venngage is another great online tool for creating beautiful infographics. To get started choose from hundreds of professional templates for infographics, reports, posters, promotions and social media posts.

Easel.ly lets you create and share visual ideas. You can choose from thousands of reporting, timeline, resume and process templates.

Issuu is the largest collection of free-to-read publications from incredible publishers around the globe. You can publish content such as magazines, catalogs, eBooks and more on this free platform.

Adobe Post empowers you to create stunning social graphics in seconds. A perfect tool for content marketers on the go.

Uberflip is a content experience platform that aggregates all of your content (blog articles, eBooks, videos, white papers, and more) so you can create, manage, and optimize tailored content experiences for every stage of the buyer journey.

Apester is a digital storytelling platform that allows you to create and embed surveys, personality tests, video quizzes and polls into your social posts.

Mapme is one of the most powerful map creators out there. You can easily create, customize, grow and promote your maps. The best part? No coding needed.

What’s your tool of choice?

That’s a big list to choose from. What tools do you use for your visual content marketing needs? Share them by leaving a comment or tweet me @tomaslau.

*This post by Tomas Laurinavicius first appeared on Forbes Tech on 11th May 2016.

 

 

 

7 Tips to Outsource to The Best Freelance Transcriptionist [Infographic]

Outsourcing Transcription to a Freelancer

If you have never outsourced your recorded audio or video to a transcription service or hired a freelance transcriptionist before, this Infographic should be of some help.

Many people think they can type and it’s easy to listen and type what is being spoken, take it from a freelance professional transcriptionist, it’s not.  Transcriptionists also have to insert the correct grammar and spelling at the same time as intelligently paragraphing and making sure everything reads sensibly.

Equally, anybody that thinks they can type and that it’s going to be easy to earn extra money transcribing, either directly with clients or via freelancing websites, is probably going to end up costing their client requiring the audio or video transcription, time and money.

For entrepreneurs or small businesses, for example, that are on a tight budget, hiring a freelancer can be very attractive due to the economical costs.  Established transcription services have websites with reviews from satisfied clients you have used their services.  These services can be expensive and not so easily affordable for entrepreneurs or small businesses.

Established transcription services have websites with their reviews from satisfied clients you have used their services.  These services can be expensive and not so easily affordable.

Freelancing to a professional freelancer can help you cut costs and retain the quality that you need and expect from your transcript.  By outsourcing your transcription requirements to a freelance transcriptionist, that is professional touch typist with experience in listening and typing and what is spoken, hopefully not someone that is trying to scam you.

To guide you through your journey of outsourcing your recorded audio, video, podcast or webinar for transcription, I have created this infographic to help you find the best freelance transcriptionist, for a budget you can afford.

I am a freelance transcriptionist outsourcing my skills and 20 years of experience, that also helped me create this infographic.

With the advancement of digital technology, audio and video transcription has grown in demand significantly.  If you need a transcriptionist that is reliable, fast and accurate then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Save

Save

Save

195+ Perfectly Optimized Design Templates for Email, Social Media & More [Free Templates]

We all know visual marketing works. Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Not to mention, infographics are Liked or shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. 

The problem is, it can be hard to actually create these visuals — especially when you’re a small marketing team with too much to do and no designer on hand.

So when it comes to creating a cohesive set of campaign visuals — from Twitter graphics to blog images — what’s a marketer to do?

Well, to make your life easier, we worked with Canva to put together the ultimate set of 195+ design templates for every visual marketing need.

There are 10 visual design types and multiple themes that are carried through each design type, making it easy for you to quickly spin up a visual marketing campaign across multiple channels.

This set of 195+ designs includes:

  • Infographics templates
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest templates
  • Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter cover photo templates
  • Email header templates
  • Blog featured image templates

Ready to take your visual marketing to the next level this year? Get your 195+ design templates from HubSpot & Canva today.

download 195+ free design templates

 

Written by Niti Shah | @nitifromboston

Source: 195+ Perfectly Optimized Design Templates for Email, Social Media & More [Free Templates]

How to Triple Your SEO Efforts Just By Blogging by Julia McCoy

If you’re like most bloggers, you’re probably wondering how you can produce huge results, the kind other bloggers retire doing. Or, you’re looking to gain a serious boost for your business via blogging, but not sure how to get rolling. Fortunately, this success isn’t just blind luck – it is the direct result of a series of efforts you can apply to your own blog.

If you’re like most bloggers, you’re probably wondering how you can produce huge results, the kind other bloggers retire doing. Or, you’re looking to gain a serious boost for your business via blogging, but not sure how to get rolling.

Fortunately, this success isn’t just blind luck – it is the direct result of a series of efforts you can apply to your own blog.

If you’re looking to increase your SEO, blogging is the first and most important step. According to HubSpot’s 2015 blogging frequency benchmark data, companies that blog earn 97% more inbound links than companies that do not. Additionally, companies that post more than 16 blog posts each month get roughly 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish four or fewer posts each month. (We recently gained over 300 keyword positions in a single day—and it was 100% through our content & blogging.)

Read on to learn more about the SEO importance of blogging and how you can triple your SEO efforts through regular, high-quality posts.

Blogging 101: Why it’s so Darn Important for SEO

When it comes to SEO, there is arguably nothing more important than blogging. In order for content to rank well, there has to be content in the first place and multiple industry leaders have shown that companies that blog regularly do better than companies that don’t. 

HubSpot’s aforementioned blogging frequency benchmark data shows that when small companies with 1-10 employees publish more than 11 posts each month, their sites get three times as much traffic as companies of the same size that publish only one post per month. What’s more, sites with 11 posts each month earn twice as much traffic as companies that publish between 2-5 posts each month.

For slightly larger companies, the results are comparable: companies with between 26-200 employees that publish more than 11 posts per month get twice as much traffic than companies who only publish one post each month.

It’s obvious that blogging frequency really does matter and that, in order to boost traffic and improve SEO, you need to produce relevant, useful content on a regular basis.

One of the main reasons for this is that old blog posts stick around long after they’ve been published. In fact, when HubSpot conducted a study of their own blogging traffic, they found that 90% of the leads their blog produced actually came from old posts. That said, it’s possible to generate, in equal parts, traffic from both old and new content, as long as you know how to create content that is genuinely interesting and valuable.

How to Blog for SEO: 6 Takeaway Tips

Now that you know how important blogging is for SEO, here are 6 tips to help you blog better and produce better results.

1. Create quality content

This may seem obvious, but creating content is one of the most important aspects of SEO. This is because each post you write adds a new SEO page that has the potential to be crawled and indexed by Google. Additionally, each new post can be optimized for unique long-tail keywords which allows bloggers to create pages full of new ranking opportunities. Blogs also offer the opportunity for high-quality backlinks and plenty of organic traffic to your site.

2. Write attention-grabbing headlines

If you do it right, every post you write can create high-quality traffic that gets you noticed. Unfortunately, most people don’t do this right. This is because they focus only on getting content written and distributed rather than creating viral content that maintains its value. The first secret to doing the latter is to make sure that your headlines are irresistible.

Eight out of 10 people read headlines while only two out of 10 read body copy, so you can bet that people will click through to your blog if you get your headline right. Need an example? Consider Upworthy for a moment. Upworthy launched two years ago and now boasts viral posts and 88 million visitors, which makes it more popular by visitor numbers than the Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Buzzfeed. The secret to Upworthy’s success? Attention-grabbing headlines first of all, and then minimal sharing buttons and the use of short, intriguing videos to grab users.

How to Triple Your SEO Efforts Just By Blogging

Once you’ve mastered killer headlines, you’ll want to ensure that your content is the correct length. At Express Writers, our blogs are generally between 1000-3000 words and Buzzsumo has found that its most popular posts range between 3000-10,000 words.

3. Solve your readers’ problems

No matter how quality your content is or how shocking your headlines are, it isn’t going to carry you to SEO and sales success if it doesn’t pertain directly to your readers. This means that, in order for your blogging efforts to work in favor of your SEO standing, you need to understand your audience very well. You should know what they’re interested in and which problems they’re struggling with and you should be able to synthesize new content ideas that will help make their lives easier.

To get a better handle on who your audience is and what they want, use sites like Quora to get involved in niche-specific conversations and then head to BuzzSumo for help in creating and generating new ideas for content. BuzzSumo allows users to plug in keywords and see what other related topics have gone viral on social media. Another great tool for this same purpose is Ubersuggest, which is fantastic for generating ideas for blog posts and advertises itself as “Google suggest on steroids.”   

4. Make it evergreen

It’s one thing for your posts to be attention-grabbing but it’s entirely another for them to hold their value throughout the months or years. This is where Evergreen topics come in. According to Moz, evergreen content offers “continued and sustained success.” To put it another way, evergreen content doesn’t rely upon passing trend and it doesn’t rely on the re-posting of old content. Rather, it uses foundational industry truths as topics from which to branch out. Examples in the world of blogging include “How to Blog – The Steps to a Successful Blog Start,” “Revealed: 19 Things to Know Before You Start a Blog” and ProBlogger’s own “How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners.” These posts all take one evergreen topic (blogging) and offer helpful tips and tricks on the subject. Because of this, these posts aren’t going to come into and out of fashion. Instead, they will continue to be highly searched-for and will continue to be a major source of traffic for their home sites.

5. Use long tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are and have always been a big traffic factor for bloggers. Take Search Engine Journal, for example, who noted a huge 78% jump in traffic after optimizing their content for long-tail keywords. In order to optimize content for long tail keywords, it’s important to create extensively researched, lengthy, valuable content that utilizes your long-tail keywords in a natural way.

Since long tail keywords show you what your users are looking to do, there’s a high probability that content optimized for them will produce far better conversions than content that is not. Additionally, longtail keywords can help you understand how to better structure content in order to solve a searcher’s problems or provide value for their needs.

6. Use CTAs to collect emails

As of 2013, there were more than 3.6 billion email addresses worldwide with upwards of 247 million emails sent on a daily basis. According to many email marketing experts, for every $1.00 bloggers spend on email marketing tactics, they earn $42.00. If you need an example, you can think about QuickSprout, which created a revenue of $43k from one email blast over a single 24-hour period.

That said, it’s wise to collect emails every time someone visits your site. Do this through a special landing page or embed email popups or subscription forms throughout your blog. Accompany these with powerful CTAs and then use the gathered emails for email marketing down the road. In order to get the most emails possible, ensure that your site is structured properly and easy to use. This means that your site should be compatible for all devices and very readable (in terms of font type and actual writing). The site should also load quickly and be easy to navigate. When your site provides a positive experience for users, people are much more likely to click and subscribe than they would be for a difficult site that wasn’t intuitive.

Conclusion

While increasing SEO can be confusing, it’s obvious that blogging does in fact have a large impact on SEO. Follow these 6 tips to help you blog better, increase SEO rankings, and make more sales. Happy blogging!

Julia is a serial entrepreneur and content marketer, and the founder of Express Writers; she loves to blog and is a soon-to-be published author.

Source: How to Triple Your SEO Efforts Just By Blogging

2016 Forecast: Top 12 Great-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs

2016 Forecast: Make a living writing
Top 12 Freelance Writing Gigs for 2016

If you think there are no great-paying freelance writing gigs out there anymore and it’s all $5 blog posts, I’m here to spread some sunshine.

I have the advantage of chatting with hundreds of freelance writers on a regular basis in Freelance Writers Den. That’s allowed me to get a strong sense of what the trends are, and where writers are finding opportunities.

I’m hearing more and more reports of rising rates in some specific writing niches, and of growing demand for some emerging assignments.

If you’re hoping to up your game and find great-paying freelance writing gigs this year, check out my list of a dozen top niches.

All of these niches have two things in common, so let me call out those two key items first:

Look for complex topics

This one cuts across all the categories below. If you want to earn well, stop writing about parenting/travel/yourself/pets/books and all the other things everyone on earth can easily write about, and tackle difficult topics few writers can manage.

That continues to be where all the money is. If you can write about surety bonds, advanced washing machine technology, trends in shower-curtain materials, new energy efficiency technology, that sort of thing? You can name your price.

Bigger is better

Most starving writers I know write for solopreneurs, local publications, small nonprofits, or local small businesses in their town.

Want to earn more? You need to start pitching bigger clients who have bigger budgets. Yes, I know you’re scared. But writing for bigger clients is actually easier and more fun. Successful enterprises tend to be less dysfunctional, better planners, and more focused — and they’ve got experience working with freelancers that can make your job easier.

Start going after bigger fish to bring home bigger paychecks.

Now that I’ve got you thinking niche topics and bigger prospects, what types of writing are set to earn well this year? Here are my predictions (in no particular order), and a break-in tip for how to get going in each market:

1. Case studies

Wherever companies sell a complex product or service, they need customer success stories to help describe why their solution is the best one in the marketplace.

I’ve seen writers get $1,000 for their first paid case study, after writing a single sample.

Break-in Tip: Nonprofits and small businesses would always love to have case studies, but can’t afford to hire a writer — volunteer to do one to get a sample.

2. White papers

Anywhere you find a business with a complex product or service they sell to other businesses, there are white papers. A study conducted by The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs reported 68 percent of B2B marketers used white papers last year.

If you’re not familiar with this format, which often runs 5-10 pages or more, it’s worth learning how white papers give buyers useful info while positioning the sponsoring business as the go-to source for a particular solution. Rates range from $.50 a word to $500 a page and up. (Steve Slaunwhite taught a nifty bootcamp we’ve got stashed in Freelance Writers Den on this topic.)

Break-In Tip: Look for tech startups that couldn’t afford a pro, and propose a brief white paper to help them gain visibility. Then, you’re set with a white paper sample.

3. Longform blogging 

Have you noticed blog posts are getting longer and more detailed? Yes, marketers have learned Google hates short posts, and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.

Fortunately, that means a great opportunity for writers to earn more in blogging, as blog posts increasingly become more like articles.

Google hastes short posts and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.

The secret of good longform blogging is not to simply take longer to say the same thing (which I’m seeing a lot of). Great long posts are packed with useful information, and often use screenshots, infographics, fresh interviews, and unique research. I’m seeing $200-$400 and more for these, and I believe we’ll see many more markets up their game in the coming year.

My biggest blogging prediction for 2016 is that it’s the year that recycling stuff you found on other sites will simply no longer cut it. To win these clients, start digging for the new angle that will get their blog noticed.

Break-In Tip: You can write a longform blog post on your own blog or as a guest post to show what you’ve got.

4. Brand journalism

What smells like a sophisticated, online magazine but is run by a company — and pays like copywriting? Brand journalism projects. These articles are usually overseen by an experienced editor, and you report the story like you would for any magazine or newspaper. The catch is the ezine content is there to get the brand name in front of consumers.

I’ve earned $2,000 an article writing these, and was able to pitch my own topics and write some fun stories.

Break-In Tip: Watch for brands that feature article-quality content. Many blue-chip brands are into this — I’ve worked on projects for SunTrust Bank, Dun & Bradstreet, American Express, and was recently approached by Intuit.

You may need to sleuth a little, because many outsource the editorial management to an agency. Try searching on LinkedIn or Twitter to see who’s connected to their content project, and reach out.

5. Annual reports

Along with their cousin the corporate social responsibility report, annual reports continue to be fat projects that can pay $5,000-$10,000. I’ve seen annual reports that easily top 100 pages — and if they like your work, this can be a nice repeat gig, every year.

More and more companies are feeling the need to do social responsibility reports to document their sustainability, human rights record, and more, particularly at public companies, so this is a growing niche.

Break-In Tip: Small nonprofits need annual reports, too — volunteer and claim a sample.

6. Big national consumer magazines

Reports of the demise of print have been widely exaggerated. Yes, there’s a lot of change going on, but some magazines are still going great guns and paying over $1 a word. I did a 1,200-word feature assignment this summer that paid $2,800 plus every dime of my travel expenses, for instance.

New magazines also continue to be born, though fewer than in the past — there were nearly 100 launches last year, and closures slowed — and new pubs are often more open to new writers than established rags. Crack that Writer’s Market online, dial their search tool up to five dollar signs (signifying highest paying markets), and see who you could pitch!

Break-In Tip: Start with those newer magazines, or your local ones, but don’t get stuck there. Keep pitching up to the next rung — and if you’re not getting responses, learn more about how to write queries and perfect your pitch.

7. Trade publications

These low-glamour industry-news pubs don’t get pitched a lot, and are usually desperate to find someone who can help pharmacists, restaurant operators, or convenience store owners wring another dollar of profit from their business.

As a result, pay tends to be good — $.30-$.50 a word at the low end, up to $1 a word or so. Trade pubs have survived the magazine fallout fairly well, as each has a niche audience advertisers who sell into that industry are dying to reach.

Go to tradepub.com and browse for topics you know or are interested in, scan some issues, and write a strong introduction letter that plays up your knowledge of the sector.

Break-In Tip: Play on your life experience here. Used to be a lawyer? Try one of the state lawyer magazines put out by the state Bar Association. This is a real use-what-you-know situation.

8. Video scripts

You’ve probably noticed that video is booming, from internal company announcements to welcome videos on blogs to video sales letters. It’s a great opportunity for you former TV and radio journalists, playwrights, screenwriters, and anyone else who writes for aural media to cash in.

Break in tip: Make a video for your website that shows your writing skill, or perhaps find a nonprofit that needs to promote one of their programs, write a script, and collaborate with a videographer.

9. Web content

If you can write an online sales page that gets your clients more revenue, you will earn well. I know writers who charge $2,000 for a long sales page.

But if salesy stuff isn’t for you, no worries — there’s plenty of earning opportunity in other static Web content.

Some of the best projects out there are revamps of big websites with 35-100 informational Web pages or more. I once worked on one of these projects for well over two years, billing $2,000 a month and up, every month.

As online presence becomes ever more important for companies, and changes like mobile require rethinking, I expect to see steady demand for Web content writing and rewriting. Remember my caveat about complex information — things like writing up hotel descriptions continue to pay poorly, but if you need to explain something like insurance consulting services or environmental engineering projects, pay should be at professional rates (at least $100 a page for under 300 words of copy, $300 and more for longer pages).

Break-In Tip: Finding starter clients for your Web content writing services is like shooting fish in a barrel. Get a list of prospects together in a particular industry, and then take a look at their websites. Contact the ones that look dated or lack basic info like a strong About page, team bios, or testimonials.

10. Marketing emails

All those people who predicted email would die are looking dumb about now, because email marketing continues to be one of the top ways blogs and brands reach customers and sell products and services.

Maybe at some point they’ll project these messages straight into our brains, but for now, building an email list and sending marketing emails continues to be a key marketing strategy. As with writing online sales pages, if your writing is connected directly to sales, you are golden.

I know writers getting $250 per email and more for autoresponder sequences or marketing campaigns.

Break-In Tip: Subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters in niches that interest you. Watch for brands where news turns up only sporadically, or sales angles seem weak — then reach out and offer to help.

11. Book ghosting for CEOs

Forget the regular folks who’re hoping you’ll write their life story, or the people advertising on Craigslist that they want an e-book written for $200. There’s real money in ghostwriting for busy, successful CEOs, coaches, motivational speakers, and other thought leaders.

I auditioned in the past year for several projects in the $15,000-$35,000 range, and $50,000 is not uncommon. If anything, the drumbeat of marketers telling thought leaders they need to build their authority by putting out a book under their byline is only growing — which means the audience that might pay well for a book is, too.

Break-in tip: Write an e-book yourself, so you’ve got a sample! Then start networking and connecting with the kind of coaches/CEOs who might do a major book.

12. Online Courses / E-Learning

This niche is huge — $107 billion globally, plus another $50 billion in self-paced e-learning courses, according to an elearningIndustry.com report. And talk about a global opportunity in every language — the three fastest-growing country markets for online education are India, China, and Malaysia. Much of this work is done by agencies or freelanced directly to writers and designers.

We’re not just talking online, universities, either — most clients are major corporations with the budgets to pay handsomely. From how to fill out your time sheet on up, companies are saving money and (wo)man-hours by turning trainings into online modules.

There’s a bottom line that putting training online instead of teaching it in person saves travel expenses for companies, standardizes learning, and creates convenience for learners. Interactivity is making online ed ever more efficient and valuable. Online ed is going to keep growing, as more companies discover the benefits — estimated growth is over 9 percent annually.

The opportunity for freelance writers in this niche, as Donald Trump would say, is huuuge.

Break-In Tip: There are a few moving parts to getting into this niche — but it’s easier to get started than you might think. If you’re interested, it’s worth taking the time to find out more about writing for e-learning.

To sum up, don’t believe the negativity out there, that all freelance rates are through the floor. There are still great-paying freelance writing gigs — if you know the types of writing that are in demand, and the clients that want you.

What writing niches do you think will pay well this year?  Leave a comment and add it to my list.

Source: 2016 Forecast: Top 12 Great-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs

Beginner’s Guide on How to Add a Link in WordPress

WordPress Links on Virtuadmin.uk
Beginner’s Guide on How to Add a Link in WordPress
Last updated on January 8th, 2016 by Editorial Staff

Do you want to add a hyperlink in WordPress? Recently, one of our users asked us how to add a link in WordPress. In this beginner’s guide, we will show you how to add a link in WordPress posts, pages, text widgets, navigation menus, and more.

Since this is a very long and detailed tutorial, please use the navigation below to get to the appropriate section:

How to Add Links in WordPress Posts and Pages

WordPress comes with a user friendly post editor called the Visual Editor.

You can see the visual editor by going to Posts » Add New or by editing an existing post or page.

To create a link, you need to click on the Link button in the visual editor.

Insert link button in WordPress visual editor

When you click on the insert link button, it will bring up a popup window. In the URL field, you will enter the actual hyperlink, and in the link text field you will add the text that will be linked.

Default insert link popup in WordPress post editor

You also have the option to check the box next to ‘Open link in a new tab’ option. This will open the link in a new browser tab. It’s recommended that you use this option if you are linking to an external site.

WordPress also allows you to quickly link to posts and pages that you have published on your own website by using the content search feature.

Simply click on ‘Or link to existing content’ option and WordPress will show you recent content and a search field.

You can search for a post or scroll down to find it from the list. You need to click on the post title to select it and then click on Add or Update Link button.

Link to your existing posts and pages in WordPress

Take a look at our 14 tips for mastering the WordPress visual editor to learn more.

How to Add Links in WordPress Text Widgets

WordPress allows you to add Widgets to your site’s sidebar or other widget ready areas.

Most of these widgets are automated and do not have many options. For example, the recent posts widget will automatically show links to your recent posts.

If you want to add some custom text with links in your sidebar, then you can use the Text Widget.

Text widget allows you to add text and basic HTML inside it.

There are two ways you can add a link into a text widget. First method requires you to write some very basic HTML.

Method 1: Adding a Link in HTML

Creating a link in HTML is very simple. Take a look at the following example.

<a href="http://www.wpbeginner.com">WPBeginner</a>

It will now show WPBeginner linked to wpbeginner.com.

The href tag is where you add the URL. Make sure to add http:// before the domain.

In between the anchor tags, you can add any text that you want to link, in our example WPBeginner.

Here is a screenshot of a text widget with an HTML link inside it.

A text widget in WordPress with an HTML link

Method 2: Using a Plugin

If you don’t want to write HTML, then you can enable visual editor for your text widgets.

You would need to install and activate the Black Studio TinyMCE Widget plugin. If you need help installing a WordPress plugin, then follow our step by step guide to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, simply go to Appearance » Widgets page. You will notice a new widget titled ‘Visual Editor’ under available widgets.

Drag and drop this widget to a sidebar where you want to add your custom text and links. The widget will expand to show a text area with the same Visual Editor as your WordPress posts and pages.

Adding a visual editor widget in WordPress

You can now add links and format your text just like you would do in the post editor.

How to Add Links in WordPress Navigation Menus

Do you want to add links in your site’s navigation menu? WordPress comes with an intuitive menu editor which allows you to create and manage navigation menus on your WordPress site.

Simply go to Appearance » Menus page. If you don’t have a navigation menu setup, then you can create one by entering a menu name.

Creating navigation menus in WordPress

If you already have navigation menus set up, then you can add, edit, or delete links from it.

Take a look at our beginner’s guide on how to add navigation menus in WordPress.

How to Add Title and Nofollow in WordPress Links

Many experts recommend adding a nofollow tag with links pointing to external websites. It improves your SEO score and protects your site’s link juice.

Here is how you can add title and nofollow options to insert link popup in WordPress.

Simply install and activate the Title and Nofollow for Links plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will add title and nofollow options to insert link popup.

Next time you add a link, you will see an insert link popup like this:

Title and nofollow options in insert link popup

Take a look at our guide on how to add title and nofollow to insert link popup in WordPress for more information.

How to Add Link Buttons in WordPress

Want to add a button to your WordPress posts or pages? There are many ways you can do this. You can write your own HTML and CSS for your buttons, or you can try a plugin.

The problem with most plugins is that they want you to use shortcodes to add buttons and links. Adding different parameters to a shortcode is very much like writing HTML.

We have a better solution.

Simply install and activate Forget About Shortcode Buttons plugin. Upon activation, create a new post or edit an existing one.

You will notice a new button in the visual editor menu to insert buttons into your post or page.

Menu button to insert a button into your post

Clicking on the button will bring up a popup where you can customize your button, choose colors, borders, add text, and links while seeing a live preview.

Design your button

For more information and details take a look at our guide on how to add buttons in WordPress without using shortcodes.

How to Add Link Content Cards in WordPress

Have you noticed how Twitter and Facebook automatically display thumbnail images for the links you share? You can make your WordPress site do the same.

WordPress can automatically embed links as content cards for other WordPress powered sites. This functionality was added in WordPress 4.4.

Simply paste a link in the post editor and if the URL is from a WordPress site, then WordPress will automatically embed it.

WordPress Embeds

But if you don’t like WordPress’s implementation of content cards, then you can try Content Cards plugin.

It allows you to whitelist this feature for select few sites, and it uses the Facebook open graph meta data, so it will work on non-WordPress sites as well. See our tutorial on how to add links as content cards in WordPress for details.

How to Add Affiliate Links in WordPress

Do you want to increase your site’s revenue by using affiliate links? Affiliate marketing provides a steady income to many blogs and websites.

All you need to do is add your referral links to products and services that you recommend, and when your visitors purchase these products, you get a commission.

The problem that most beginners face is that each product or website they want to recommend has a different URL. Keeping track of all these URLs is not possible specially if you are recommending multiple products.

The best way to add and manage affiliate links is by using an affiliate management plugin.

Simply install and activate ThirstyAffiliates plugin. Upon activation the plugin will add a new menu item labeled Affiliate Links in your WordPress admin menu.

Click on it to add your affiliate links.

Add and manage affiliate links in WordPress

Once you are done, you will be able to easily insert affiliate links into your posts and pages by clicking on the add affiliate link button.

Insert affiliate link in WordPress posts and pages

For detailed instructions take a look at our guide on how to add affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates.

You may also want to read this article about: Top affiliate marketing mistake you need to avoid.

How to Add an External Link Icon in WordPress

Many sites like Wikipedia, adds an icon next to links for external websites. The purpose of this icon is to tell users that clicking on the link will take them to a third-party website.

Here is how you can do an external link icon on your WordPress site.

First, install and activate the External Links plugin. Upon activation, simply go to Settings » External Links page to configure plugin settings.

add icon to indicate external links in WordPress

You need to check the box next to ‘Mark outbound links with an icon’ and save your settings. You can now visit your website, and you will see an icon next to all external links on your website.

Icon indicating external links

For detailed instructions, take a look at our guide on how to add an external link icon on your WordPress site.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn how to add a link in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to fix most common image issues in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Source: Beginner’s Guide on How to Add a Link in WordPress

30 Content Marketing Tools You Need to Reach Your Persona by Bob Ruffolo

www.virtuadmin.uk
30 Content Marketing Tools You Need to Reach Your Persona by Bob Ruffolo

Do you ever wonder how the best content marketers get so much done in such little time?

Sure, they have a team of people helping out, but that’s not all.

They use tools that help them plan content, manage content, and improve the performance of their websites.

These tools save content marketers hours of time and provide valuable information that you just can’t find with a Google search.

The following are 30 of the best content marketing tools available, including the tools we use for our business and our clients.

Content Planning Tools

1. SEMRush

semrush

 

What it does: SEMRush tracks over 95,000,000 keywords and over 56,000,000 domains to provide a complete competitive analysis of websites in your industry. You can find out how they rank for keywords and get an estimate of their traffic.

What it costs: Starts at $69.95 per month.

2. Ahrefs Content Explorer

Ahrefs_Content_Explorer

What it does: A simple tool that helps you find the most shared content for any topic.

What it costs: Free with limited searches; plans start at $79 per month.

3. Google Trends

google_trends

(Source)

What it does: Helps you find trends based on topics, location, and other variables. You can see historical trends and trends happening in real-time.

What it costs: Free

4. Content Strategy Helper Tool

Content_Strategy_Helper_Tool

What it does: This tool consolidates trending news from across the internet to provide inspiration for content topics.

What it costs: Free

5. BuzzSumo

buzzsumo-2

What it does: BuzzSumo lets you find what content performs best for any topic or competitor website.

What it costs: Free with limited data; plans start at $99 per month

6. Tweak Your Biz Title Generator

tweak_your_biz_title_generator

What it does: Type in your topic, hit enter, and then this tool spits out hundreds of share-worthy blog titles for you to choose from.

What it costs: Free

7. Inbound Now Blog Title Idea Generator

inbound_now_blog_title_idea_generator

(Source)

What it does: This tool is slightly different than the previous one. It randomly shows you a blog title idea where you can fill in your topic. You keep clicking to see more ideas, until you find the one that grabs your attention.

What it costs: Free

Content Management Tools

9. HubSpot

hubspot-4

What it does: HubSpot is the best end-to-end Inbound Marketing platform that allows you to manage your blog, social media, email marketing, list segmentation, lead generation and scoring, landing pages, and more.

What it costs: 30-day free trial; plans start at $200 per month

8. DivvyHQ

divvy_hq

What it does: DivvyHQ is an entire platform that helps you plan, schedule, and publish content, as well as manage the entire workflow.

What it costs: 14-day free trial; plans start at $1,000 per month

10. Kapost

kapost

What it does: Kapost is a content management framework that allows you to create content, distribute it on social media, and view analytics.

What it costs: Plans start at $1,000 per month

11. Siege Media Content Marketing Checklist

siege_media_checklist

What it does: This is a helpful checklist to make sure you’ve done everything you can to create the best piece of content.

What it costs: Free

12. WordPress Editorial Calendar

wordress_editorial_calendar

What it does: Allows you to easily manage your blog posts with a drag-and-drop interface and schedule publishing.

What it costs: Free

13. Trello

trello

What it does: Trello is a visual-based organization tool that allows you to manage separate projects or “boards” at once.

What it costs: Free

15. Google Drive

google_drive

What it does: Google drive is a cloud storage software that allows you to create and collaborate on word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings.

What it costs: Free

14. Evernote

evernote

What it does: Evernote is like Trello and Google Drive combined.

What it costs: Free with limited features; plans start at $24.99 per year

Tools to Improve Your Content Marketing

16. Inkybee

inkybee

(Source)

What it does: Provides insights about websites to help you identify influencers for outreach and PR.

What it costs: 14-day free trial; plans start at $79 per month

17. BuzzStream

buzzstream

What it does: Research influencers, manage your relationships, and conduct outreach that’s personalized and efficient.

What it costs: 14-day free trial; plans start at $29 per month

18. SocialOomph

socialoomph

(Source)

What it does: Allows you to schedule social media posts, track keywords, manage multiple accounts, and more.

What it costs: 7-day free trial; plans start at $6.97 every two weeks

19. Outbrain

outbrain

What it does: A service that lists your blog posts under “relevant articles” or “promoted stories” on major websites such as CNN, TechCrunch, and ESPN.

What it costs: Minimum daily budget of $10

20. GetResponse

getresponse

What it does: It’s a more advanced version of Aweber or MailChimp for email marketing.

What it costs: 30-day free trial; plans start at $12.75 per month

Measuring Progress and Tracking Metrics

21. Google Analytics

google_analytics

What it does: Measures your web traffic and provides insights into traffic sources, demographics, user behavior, and more.

What it costs: Free with premium options for big websites

22. Advanced Web Ranking

advanced_web_ranking

What it does: Provides SEO audits, tracks rankings, keyword research, content optimization, and more.

What it costs: Licenses start at $199

23. Moz

moz

What it does: Moz is a comprehensive tool that provides analytics, competitor research, and tracking for a variety of metrics.

What it costs: 30-day free trial; plans start at $99 per month

24. Share Tally

share_tally

What it does: You type in a URL and this tool shows you where it’s been shared and how many times.

What it costs: Free

25. ShareMetric Chrome Extension

sharemetrics

What it does: A Chrome extension that compiles link data and organic search visibility from several popular marketing tools.

What it costs: Free on Google Chrome

Tools to Increase Conversions

26. OptimizePress

optimizepress

What it does: Allows you to easily build landing pages to drive sales of your product or service.

What it costs: Packages start at $97

27. Visual Website Optimizer

visual_website_optimizer

What it does: Run split tests, track user behavior, and optimize pages with minimal technical knowledge.

What it costs: 30-day free trial; plans start at $49 per month

28. Optimizely

optimizely

What it does: A simple tool for running A/B tests and tracking user behavior without using code.

What it costs: Free with limited features; plans start at $17 per month

29. Crazy Egg

Crazy-Egg-Heatmap

What it does: Creates heat maps of your website that let you visually analyze user behavior.

What it costs: 30-day free trial; plans start at $9 per month

30. Leadin

leadin

What it does: A free tool from HubSpot that lets you track user behaviors, convert visitors into email subscribers or leads, and provides detailed contact information.

What it costs: Free

Bob Ruffolo

Bob Ruffolo

Bob is the founder and CEO of IMPACT, an agency he formed in 2009 to help people and their organizations succeed by changing the way they market themselves online. Since its founding, IMPACT has achieved its status as one of HubSpot’s first Platinum Partners in less than 2 years, and secured its place as one of the top inbound marketing agencies in the country.

Follow Bob: Bob Ruffolo on Twitter Bob Ruffolo on Linkedin Bob Ruffolo on Google+

The Broken Link Building Bible – Moz by Angular Marketing

The Broken Link Building Bible
The Broken Link Building Bible – by Angular Marketing Published on Moz

The broken link building strategy may be one of the most effective, white-hat link building strategies in years. In today’s post, Russ Jones outlines everything you need to know (really, everything) about how to effectively use this strategy in your next link building campaign.

As a link building tactic, broken link building is an effective, white-hat, scalable, content-focused link building strategy that builds links through finding broken links, recreating that broken content, and helping webmasters replace broken links with your corrected link.

Broken link building may perhaps be the most effective, white-hat link building strategy in years. In particular, broken link building is appealing because the success of the campaign is directly proportional to how much good you do for the web. You profit only if you create good content to replace lost or abandoned content that webmasters still want to link to. This is the type of strategy that marries so many of the competing interests our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs link building, inbound vs. outbound, etc.

Below, I attempt to organize as much as I know about broken link building tactics. Throughout the piece I mention tools that will help you make the broken link building process scalable and less monotonous. Let’s begin.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Prospecting
    1. Resource Page Targeting w/ Keywords
      1. Selecting Keywords
      2. Prospecting Phrases
      3. Scraping Search Results
      4. Extracting URLs
      5. Header Checks
      6. Opportunity Qualification
      7. Prospecting Tools
    2. Resource Page Targeting w/ Model URL
      1. Site Selection
      2. Backlink Acquisition
      3. Extracting URLs
      4. Header Checks
      5. Opportunity Qualification
      6. Prospecting Shortcuts
    3. Direct URL Targeting
      1. Site Crawling
      2. Opportunity Selection
  3. Content Creation
    1. Rebuilding Tools
    2. Raised Expectations
  4. Outreach
    1. Contact Finding
    2. Email Templates
  5. Conclusions & Community
  6. Credits

Overview

Broken link building is a link building tactic where a marketer contacts a webmaster who has a broken link on his/her site and recommends one or more alternatives that include his/her target site. For the purposes of this piece, we will use a pediatrician in Raleigh, NC as an example client.

Prospecting

The first step in any Broken link building campaign is to find relevant dead pages. However, there are different methods of prospecting depending upon the broken link building strategy you are employing. There are essentially three types of broken link building strategies:

  1. Resource Page Targeting with Keywords
  2. Resource Page Targeting with URLs
  3. Direct URL Targeting

We will cover each of these in the prospecting section. I will mention multiple tools throughout this post and will give descriptions of all of them at the end. Keyword Based

Keyword based is the the most common and, in my opinion, straightforward method of broken link building. The method involves searching Google for keywords relevant to your site’s interests, finding resource pages that link to content related to your keywords, extracting all the links from those resource pages, finding missing pages among those links, and finally qualifying those opportunities.

Select Prospecting Keywords Like so many things in SEO, we begin with keyword selection. A successful broken link building campaign lives and dies by the keywords used. There are a couple of characteristics we want to look for in an ideal keyword.

  • Categorically relevant: This characteristic seems obvious. The prospecting keywords need to be relevant. However, they don’t necessarily have to be relevant to your product like the key phrase “health resources.” The keywords could be relevant to your audience “resources for kids” or your geography “Raleigh resources.” Remember, you are finding resource pages with these keywords, you are not finding the final targets. You want to cast a wide net, which leads to…
  • Generally broad: This is where most campaigns fail. Our mock client is unlikely to find any resource pages for the keyword “raleigh nc pediatrician resources,” much less any with good link opportunities. You should choose key phrases that you would consider to be categories that your company might fall in, rather than the specific term.

Prospecting Phrases: Once you have identified your keywords, you will want to pair them with prospecting phrases. These are searches to use in Google or Bing to find relevant resource and links pages like “intitle:resources” or “inurl:links.” Below is a list of prospecting phrases you can use to help find relevant linking pages.

site:.gov
links
resources
intitle:links
intitle:resources
intitle:sites
intitle:websites
inurl:links
inurl:resources
inurl:sites
inurl:websites
“useful links”
“useful resources”
“useful sites”
“useful websites”
“recommended links”
“recommended resources”
“recommended sites”
“recommended websites”
“suggested links”
“suggested resources”
“suggested sites”
“suggested websites”
“more links”
“more resources”
“more sites”
“more websites”
“favorite links”
“favorite resources”
“favorite sites”
“favorite websites”
“related links”
“related resources”
“related sites”
“related websites”
intitle:”useful links”
intitle:”useful resources”
intitle:”useful sites”
intitle:”useful websites”
intitle:”recommended links”
intitle:”recommended resources”
intitle:”recommended sites”
intitle:”recommended websites”
intitle:”suggested links”
intitle:”suggested resources”
intitle:”suggested sites”
intitle:”suggested websites”
intitle:”more links”
intitle:”more resources”
intitle:”more sites”
intitle:”more websites”
intitle:”favorite links”
intitle:”favorite resources”
intitle:”favorite sites”
intitle:”favorite websites”
intitle:”related links”
intitle:”related resources”
intitle:”related sites”
intitle:”related websites”
inurl:”useful links”
inurl:”useful resources”
inurl:”useful sites”
inurl:”useful websites”
inurl:”recommended links”
inurl:”recommended resources”
inurl:”recommended sites”
inurl:”recommended websites”
inurl:”suggested links”
inurl:”suggested resources”
inurl:”suggested sites”
inurl:”suggested websites”
inurl:”more links”
inurl:”more resources”
inurl:”more sites”
inurl:”more websites”
inurl:”favorite links”
inurl:”favorite resources”
inurl:”favorite sites”
inurl:”favorite websites”
inurl:”related links”
inurl:”related resources”
inurl:”related sites”
inurl:”related websites”
list of links
list of resources
list of sites
list of websites
list of blogs
list of forums

Search Results Scraping: You now have the arduous task of finding all the results for all these prospecting phrases. Google is not fond of sending in automated requests, so you have a couple of choices. You complete the task by hand and use the MozBar to extract results, you can use a SERP scraping tool and risk Google’s ire, or you could look into use the Bing API, which would necessitate changing many of the search operators in the above list of prospecting phrases. Ultimately, you will want to pull down the top 100 results for each of the prospecting phrases you use. You will have quite a bit of crossover, so you will want to de-dupe those lists. You can use Virante’s free “Duplicate Deleter” tool to accomplish this, or you can simply use Excel’s remove duplicates function.

Link Extraction: Once you have a culled list of potential “linking pages,” you need to extract every external link from these pages and begin the process of finding all the 404s. You can also combine this step with the 404 header check using a tool like Domain Hunter+or Check My Links.

Link extraction:

Link extraction and 404 header check

404 / Error Checking: Once you have extracted all the links, you will have to check the headers on each link to determine whether or not they are 404s, our ultimate target. If you used Domain Hunter Plus or Check My Links, you can skip this process. The easiest way to do this is with a simple HTTP Status Code checker. There is a free bulk tool here. Just copy and paste all your URLs here, without the http:// and it will find all the 404s for you.

Opportunity Qualification: There are two things you will want to determine about each potential opportunity to vet them for quality: relevance and backlinks.

  1. Backlink acquisition: Once you have found a set of 404 pages, you now have to filter them to determine which are actually strong targets. The more backlinks pointing to a 404 page, the more opportunities you have for link replacement. These linking domains will be the sites you contact to replace the broken link with your own. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest at the moment is likely Majestic SEO’s bulk backlink checker. Remember, at this point you are trying just to get an idea of those with the most links and ignore those with very few. This will limit the amount of time you have on checking relevance.

  2. Relevance analysis: Now you filtered your list of 404 opportunities to those with a good number of unique linking domains. Let’s say that number is 50 or more. You now have to determine the relevancy of that content. You can do that a few ways:

    • Visit the Wayback Machine (also known as the way back machine) to find cached copies of the URL in history. If the page is well linked and did not block web crawlers, you should be able to find the content here.

    • If this is not available, you can look at the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. You can use SEOMoz Open Site Explorer to get an export of the anchor text.

    • You can look at the URL itself for hints as to how relevant the content would be.

    • You can visit the linking pages to see if those links have descriptions of what the previous content was.

Prospecting Shortcuts: There are two tools that you could use to jump over a lot of these steps.

  • Broken Link Index (brokenlinkindex.com): This tool by iAcquire allows you to find tons of potential 404 pages from their gigantic database of opportunities. Unfortunately, all of the link qualifications have to be done one at a time, although you could export the list and automate the process if you are savvy.
  • Broken Link Builder (brokenlinkbuilding.com): This tool by CitationLabs is not free, but allows you to perform all of the actions above in an automated fashion. Just type in your kewords and it performs all of the steps above, from finding opportunities to qualifying them based on links and relevance. This is by far the most robust broken link building tool currently available and a huge time saver.

Resource Page Targeting w/ Model URL

Unlike using keywords, this method starts with a known site and mines their backlinks to relevant resource pages that, in turn, produce broken link building opportunities.

Site / URL Selection: This is by far the most important part of the process. Choosing the right site will make or break this strategy. I do want to give a nod to Garrett French for pointing this method out to me a few months ago. There are a couple of factors you want to use in identifying the perfect site or URL.

  • Non-commercial: In most cases, you want a non-commercial source. If the site has a direct incentive to acquire links, chances are there will be too much manipulated link noise in their backlink profile to properly mine them for broken link building opportunities.
  • Authoritative: If the site is not authoritative, it likely has attracted few links from resources that aggregate important links on the web. These are the resource pages from which we will find 404 opportunities. If they aren’t linking to your selected URL, you are wasting your time.
  • Relevant: Obviously, the site needs to be relevant to your industry. You can use this technique to find great opportunities based on nasa.gov, but unless you are SpaceX, you probably have no business doing so.

Backlink Acquisition: Following the example above of a Raleigh, NC dentist, let’s assume that we selected the American Dental Association (ADA.org). Using Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, or A Hrefs, export all of the links pointing back to this site. This list of URLs should be treated in the same way as the list of URLs in the keyword method that were pulled from searching Google with prospecting phrases. You can now skip to the Link Extraction section in the previous description and follow from there. The steps are identical, no need to repeat them.

Direct URL Targeting

This is the least scalable of the strategies and is used specifically to target a single link prospect. Unlike the previous two methods where you are trying to find potential broken content to replace and your link prospects are those who link to that broken content, in this method you have already chosen your link prospect and you simply want to find broken links on his/her site as an excuse to start a conversation. I hesitate to include this strategy because it is weak and unscalable, but it is a part of the grouping of strategies known as “broken link building” so I will include it.

Let’s assume that you are the Raleigh, NC dentist and you have decided that all you really want is a link from ADA.org. You feel that you have some great content they would link to if only you had a reason to open up a conversation that didn’t sound completely like begging. Well, the first step is to try and find a broken link on their site so you have a reason to reach out to their webmaster.

Site Crawling: Site crawling can be problematic because you must balance your need for relatively quick responses and a general respect for the site owner’s bandwidth and uptime. Do not turn on a crawler that you are not certain follows polite crawling policies and obeys robots.txt. Your best bet would be one of the following:

  • Xenu Link Sleuth
    A classic SEO tool, Xenu Link Sleuth makes it easy to spider a site and find broken links among other problems.
  • Screaming Frog SEO
    Quickly becoming the spider of choice for many SEOs, Screaming Frog can quickly spider your site to diagnose everything from duplicate content to 404s.
  • Deep Trawl
    Often overlooked, Deep Trawl is a worthy adversary for solving on-site issues.

Opportunity Selection: You now have a list of broken links on your ideal linking website. Identifying the best opportunity will greatly increase the likelihood of succeeding with this strategy. Here are a couple of pointers.

  • Choose a broken link opportunity where the link is external. This does two things: it makes the webmaster feel like it is not his/her fault unlike an internal link and it creates a 1:1 ratio of removing an external link and hopefully adding your external link. A webmaster is far more likely to replace a broken external link with another external link than to replace an internal link with an external one.
  • Try and choose a broken link on the same page as the one your link would most fit. This is most likely to occur if your ideal linking site has a resources section.

Content Creation

The next step in the broken link building process is creating content that matches or improves upon the broken page. The first step you will need to take is actually determining what the broken page is. We assume that you have already vetted this page for relevance so you should have a general idea, but getting as specific as possible will help you create content that meets the expectations of all of those who previously linked to the now defunct resource. There are two tools that can help with this right off the bat…

Rebuilding Tools:

  • Wayback Machine: The Wayback Machine at Archive.org allows you to see much of the web as it existed in history. This is your first and best bet for finding the content. Pro-tip: Use Majestic SEO’s historical index to find when the links were acquired, and then choose the date in Archive.org that corresponds with this date. This will help you know the mindset of the linkers if the content changed over time
  • Warrick: Warrick is a little known tool by the Comp Sci department at Old Dominion that helps you rebuild an entire website by searching through public proxies/mirror caches to find copies of lost content. This is particularly good for rebuilding content that was blocQked by robots.txt. Unfortunately, Warrick is a perl program that may be difficult to operate.

Raised Expectations: Chances are the site for which you are replacing content has greater authority in the industry than does yours. Chances are it is less commercial, more informative, and more trustworthy in general. If you want to acquire a decent return on investment, you need to focus intently on content quality.

  • Expect to improve upon the content that was created.
  • Update relevant statistics.
  • Add new citations and sections.
  • Consider reaching out to the original author for more information to add credibility.

Outreach

So, you have found your opportunity, created your list of link opportunities, and you are ready to start outreach. Here is how to make the most out of that link list you have.

Contact Finding: There are a growing number of resources for automating the process of contact discovery, although each comes with it’s own set of issues.

Email Templates:

There are many strategies you can employ in the outreach, here are a few of them depending on how transparent you want to be. We find, in general, that if you write good enough content you can be very transparent.

  • Act as a user who happened upon the broken link
  • Mix your link in with other valuable, related links
  • Offer the replacement in a follow up email

Below is an example of a broken link building outreach email. The most important part of the outreach process is that you should tailor your outreach at least to the specific campaign and industry if not to each target specifically. If you can add even a sentence of plausible, relevant customization to each email you send out you will greatly increase your conversion. I promise you if you copy and paste this template you will waste a lot of your opportunities, no matter how good it is.

SL: quick note – dead resource on your site

Hello,

I’m a licensed (industry specialist) and a health writer – I recently visited your site while researching for an article I’m working on…

This is a note for your webmaster, as I found a dead resource on your site that visitors like me surely miss.

It’s on this page: http://www.theirsite.gov/linksandresources

I got an error message when I tried to click on this site: http://DeadURL.org/index.jsp

It looks like they made a change to their home page but didn’t update it… anyhow, the correct link is here: http://www.FixedURL.org/

And while you’re updating your page, I wondered if you’d be open to including some further resources that could help people struggling with similar issues.

Compelling Content Title
http://www.clientsite.org/compellingcontent

Compelling Content Title 2
http://www.clientsothersite.com/compellingcontent

Thanks for your help and for providing great resources!

Best,
First Name Last Name
Industry Credentials
clientsite.org

Anthony Nelson has some fantastic templates here from his excellent piece “Broken Link Building Guide from Noob to Novice”.

Conclusions & Community

Like nearly any link building technique, sweat equity is ultimately going to make the difference between a successful campaign and a failure. The devil is always in the details. With that, I would like to see that this becomes a living document. Broken link building, while not a new technique, is becoming more and more scalable. As more agencies, consultants and business owners jump on the bandwagon, their voices need to be heard as well. Subsequently, I am requesting that if you know any tips or tricks that you feel free to include them in the comments here. Thanks, and happy broken link building!

Credit Where Due

While I would like to pretend that most of my knowledge came from divine inspiration or on-the-job learning, the truth is that many thought leaders have chimed in on broken link building. This posting can be attributed in part to conversations with or content provided by the following great SEOs:

Jon Cooper
Garrett French
Anthony Nelson
Matt Zaffina
Paddy Moogan

Source: The Broken Link Building Bible – Moz

3 Tools to Finding The Perfect Keywords for SEO

3 Easy Steps to SEO by Richie Contartesi January 4, 2016

Finding keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) that have the right balance of search volume, popularity, monetization potential, and competition might seem like magic to some people.

You might think that an SEO professional just taps his magic wand on a hat and out pops the best keywords, just like a rabbit out of a real magician’s hat. The reality, though, is that there’s no magic involved, just pure science and statistics. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage a few free tools to find the perfect keywords for SEO for your site or blog post. It all happens in three easy steps, with three free tools.

Tool 1: Check Google’s Key Word Planner Tool

The first thing you want to do is log into Google AdWords and see what the Key Word Planner Tool comes up with for your site or blog post. When you log into Google AdWords, just navigate to Tools and Analysis > Key Word Planner > Search for Keyword and Ad Group Ideas and put in a few keywords relevant to your site. You might enter in a few keywords related to your site as a whole and then, if you already have an idea in mind for your blog post, a word or phrase related to that concept. Once done, click on Get Ideas and check the tab labeled Key Words Ideas. Here, you’ll see keywords related to your idea, and you can begin to mine those for gems that you might use to center your new page or blog post around. That’s not the end of the story, though, so keep reading.

Tool 2: Making sure your keywords are relevant with Blog Social Analyzer

You might get quite a few keywords from the Key Word Planner Tool, and you want to make sure that the keywords you’re targeting are relevant to your particular site. After all, the more relevant your keywords are, the more people are going to share them on social media. Relevance will also determine how often people will link to the post or page, and the more likely it is that people who research for these keywords and end up on your site will be the perfect customers.

One way to check the relevance of the keywords is to see which content has shown the best performance on your site, and try to find similar keywords for the new page or post you’re working on. Using the Blog Social Analyzer tool, you can easily find out which of your current pages or posts are the most popular. Once you know what relevant content has performed the best, you can work to ensure your new content is focused around keywords with a track record of great performance.

Recommended for YouWebcast: TRACTION: How to Achieve Explosive Customer Growth

Within the Blog Social Analyzer tool, you can determine what kind of topics performed best on your particular site. Is your blog or website more attuned to basic users looking for introductory information, or do your users seek knowledge about advanced topics? By looking at which pages or posts were shared the most on social media, you can get a hint of that. Once you’ve gotten a few ideas for relevant keywords, it’s time to look at search volume.

To check out search volume, we’re going to go back to the Key Word Planner Tool that Google provides us with, and find out what we’ve got to work with. With your keywords entered, you’ll see the average monthly searches in a bit of a hodge podge of results, because Google automatically sorts by relevance. This means, unfortunately, that you’ll often see results that have very, very competitive keywords that have a ton of search volume, like “social media site” with 18,000 monthly searches. That’s way too competitive to try centering your blog post around, though, so you want to look at the long tail search phrases that are relevant to your proposed content.

So, target those long tail search phrases and click one time on Average Monthly Searches, then click again to see the keywords with the lowest search volume. Avoid those keywords like the plague most of the time, because there just isn’t enough search volume to make them worth your while. Scroll towards the bottom of the page, looking for keywords that have more search volume but not so much as to be far too competitive. Fine tuning this really depends on how often you plan on posting, or how much content, but remember that if you find 10 keywords with 70 searches per month and incorporate those keywords, you’ll be looking at 700 monthly searches.

Within this same search of keywords, you can also check the commercial value of the keywords. Obviously, you want people to come to your site and buy what you’re selling, so you want to check the traffic you might get that will convert. One way to see that ahead of time is to look at the commercial intent, and see what the Average Cost Per Click is. This shows you the average cost per click of someone bidding on that key word in AdWord, which tells you which of your keywords will have the most commercial value.

Just by way of example, let’s say from your Blog Social Analyzer digging you found that people really liked basic content about “SEO” as well as deeper content about “Business SEO.” You might find that “Business SEO” has an average cost per click of $9, while “SEO” is closer to $0. You’d want to center your post around “Business SEO” in this case, because it has stronger commercial intent.

Tool 3: Checking competitiveness of your keywords with MozBar

Finally, you should find out how competitive your keywords are. Sometimes, even a long tail keyword with low search volumes is still too competitive to try ranking for. The MozBar, available for either Firefox or Chrome, will help you out here. Once it’s installed, search Google for your proposed key word and you’ll see Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) listed for each of your search results. If you see a lot of page authority of 50 or above in the top 10 results, then you might be looking at a keyword that’s too competitive to rank for. On the other hand, a mixed bag of Page Authorities in the 20s, 30s, and even higher (as long as there are some lower numbers in there) can be good to try ranking for.

The next thing to look at, though, before you get too excited is the Domain Authority. If the Domain Authority is really high across the entire top 10 list, this might also be something difficult to rank for. Again, a mixed bag of high and low results is what you’re looking for to find just the right balance of competitiveness.

Source: 3 Tools to Finding The Perfect Keywords for SEO

Beginner’s Guide to Using Rich Snippets in WordPress

Not sure what are rich snippets, and why you should use it on your WordPress site?
Not sure what are rich snippets, and why you should use it on your WordPress site?

Do you want to add rich snippets on your WordPress site? Not sure what are rich snippets, and why you should use it on your WordPress site? Rich snippets allow you to have custom search listings for special content such as reviews, recipes, events, etc. In this article, we will show you how to use rich snippets on your WordPress site.

Why You Should Use Rich Snippets on Your WordPress Site?

Rich snippets provide site owners another way to communicate with search engines. Structured data allows search engines to see different types of content on your site, and use rich snippets to show additional information in the search results.

A recipe in search results with rich snippets data

This additional information in search results make your listing more noticeable in search, which means more organic traffic for your site.

It also helps you build authority in your niche, as your site becomes more visible in the search.

Rich snippets are not just for reviews or recipes. You can use rich snippets for events, products, people, video, music, apps, articles, blog posts, etc.

Now that you know how beneficial rich snippets can be, let’s take a look at how to add rich snippets in WordPress.

We will show two methods: manually adding rich snippets in WordPress as well as using a rich snippets WordPress plugin.

Adding Rich Snippets in WordPress Using a Plugin

Maintaining rich snippets manually can be difficult even for the most experienced site owners. Luckily, there are several WordPress plugins that will make it super easy for you to add rich snippets in your WordPress posts.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin. Upon activation simply click on the Rich Snippets menu icon in the sidebar to continue.

All in One Schema.org supported content types

You will be able to see different content types that you can create with the plugin. The list includes:

  • Item Review
  • Events
  • Person
  • Product
  • Recipe
  • SoftwareApp
  • Video
  • Article

Clicking on any content type will show you the fields that will be available when a user is writing a post/page or any custom post type.

Now you need to create a new post or edit an existing one. Just below the post editor, you will see a new meta box labeled Configure Rich Snippet. Inside, you will see a drop down menu where you can select content type for the post you are working on.

Choose a content type to add rich snippets to a WordPress post

Selecting a content type will display the rich snippet fields you need to fill. In the screenshot below, we selected the article content type, and it showed us article name, author, short description, and article image fields.

Rich snippets for article content type

You can change it to recipe, event, or whatever content type you are creating and then fill in the fields. You are not required to add all fields but some of the fields are required by Google to display rich snippets.

Don’t forget to save your post to store the rich snippets data.

Adding Rich Snippets Manually in WordPress

Rich snippets or structured data markup can be written into three different vocabularies. These vocabularies are microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD. You can use any of them on your site. However, most beginners find RDFa to be more beginner friendly.

Here is an example of a user’s about page in WordPress. Normally the text of the page will look something like this:

John Smith rich snippet post

 

 

 

 

 

This can be easily transformed with rich snippets. If you are familiar with HTML, then you can easily understand the following example:

Rich snippet image 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

For each content type there are some special properties that need to be defined. Schema.org is the organization that helps maintain the standard for different content types. You will find extensive documentation with examples for eachcontent type on their website.

Here is another example of a recipe with rich snippets.

Rich snippet image 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are manually adding rich snippets into your WordPress posts, then you will need to use Text editor so that you can write the required markup. You may also need to refer to Google’s Developer resource on structured data to understand which properties are required for a content type.

Testing Your Rich Snippets

Google and other search engines may not immediately pickup your rich snippets or show it in search results. How do you know that you are using rich snippets correctly on your site?

You need to simply visit Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. You can either paste your markup in the tool box or click on the Fetch URL link to enter a URL. Click on the Validate button and the tool will review your markup.

Testing your rich snippet markup

We hope this article helped you learn how to use rich snippets on your WordPress site. You may also want to checkout our list of the 9 best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.
WPBeginner's Video Icon
Our HD-Quality tutorial videos for WordPress Beginners will teach you how to use WordPress to create and manage your own website in about an hour. Get started now »

 

Starting from Scratch: 6 Steps to Your First Content Marketing Plan

image

Content marketing is amazing for attracting your target audience and building a relationship with it.

There is just one problem, though…

How do you do it?

I share a lot of content marketing tips in my posts, but those posts usually assume you’re already doing content marketing, at least to some degree.

But if you haven’t started yet, or are very new to it, you won’t get as much out of those posts as those with some experience.

So, if you’ve felt that my past posts about content marketing have been too advanced for you, this one will help.

I’m going to give you a step-by-step process to follow to create a successful content marketing plan.

I’m talking about a plan that is simple to understand and execute but that can be used to drive thousands of qualified visitors to your website every month (in less than a year).

Why content marketing?

There are several dozen types of marketing.

They can all produce good results when applied in the right situation.

But I think we’re in a special time for content marketing.

Businesses and marketers are recognizing how effective it is in the modern consumer climate.

People have always liked to buy from businesses and people with whom they have relationships and whom they trust.

Until the Internet, it was hard for businesses to build those relationships.

But now, it’s easier than ever to deliver content to an audience.

This is important whether you’re selling straight to the consumer or to a business. A recent survey found that 67% of B2B buyers base their buying decisions on content.

And they don’t become just buyers—a large percentage of them also frequently share that content (most often in the form of a blog post – 40%).

Most marketers have just started recognizing all this.

Currently, 80% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy.

However, 48% (overall) do not have a written plan. In 99% of cases, this means that they really have no clue what they’re doing.

That’s good news for you. Why? Because just by putting in some effort to go through this post and writing a few things down, you’ll be ahead of over 50% of online marketers.

I’ll let you in on a secret:

Most businesses suck at content marketing.

Seriously, look at the blogs for most businesses—they’re a joke.

But still, 30% of marketers find content marketing“effective”, and another 44% get some results from it.

Don’t be in those bottom three groups…

There’s no reason why you can’t find content marketing very effective for generating traffic and, most importantly, qualified leads for your business.

Follow the six steps I cover in the rest of this post, and write down your notes as you go.

In the end, you’ll have a short, clear, and effective content marketing plan to base your future work on.

Step 1: Why are you doing this?

Before you can start producing content of any kind, it pays to do a bit of planning.

If you just produce content for a general audience, chances are you won’t get much in the way of results.

To really see great results, you need to:

Identify your target audienceCreate content that resonates with those specific readers

When you create general content, it will never resonate with anyone, which is why it isn’t effective.

But it’s not enough to just target a specific audience. You need to understand their beliefs, problems, and desires so that your content matches them.

Part #1 – Who are they? Create a section in a blank document for Step 1. At the top of this section, you need to define who your target audience is.

For example, if you sell running gear, your audience may be “runners.”

But do you see the problem with that?

While “runners” is technically an audience, it’s not a well defined one.

There are many different kinds of runners:

professional marathonersprofessional sprintersrecreational joggers (do it for fun)runners trying to lose weightrunners trying to strengthen their legs…

…and so on.

Do you think you could create content that would speak to both a professional marathoner and a random guy that’s just trying to lose his beer gut?

Not a chance.

Get as specific as you can. You want to identify an audience who would agree with your label.

A professional marathoner would say:

I’m not just a runner; I’m a professional marathoner who trains year round and races six times a year.

I’m not a running expert, so six times might be too many, but you get the point…

Once you have the name of your audience, write it down.

Now you can start to build a reader persona.

Give your average audience member a fictional name before moving on to part #2. This allows you to write to one person, which is an old copywriting trick for writing in a more conversational tone that is more likely to resonate with your readers.

Part #2 – What are they struggling with? Here’s where serious research comes into play.

You need to start profiling your reader.

In this part, you’ll identify as many problems your target audience faces as possible. If you can, classify them by severity.

Let’s continue with the running example.

How do you find out what problems marathoners have?

The best way to gather that information is to simply talk to them. I know it’s not the most comfortable thing in the world to do for some people, but if you can, chat with a few for 10-20 minutes.

Ask them about their biggest problems and obstacles.

If that fails, head to online forums and community sites specifically set up for your target audience. You want to find a place where they talk to each other about their problems.

If you have no clue where to start, start with Reddit.

You can find a subreddit (basically a categorized community) for just about any topic.

In this case, a simple search on Google reveals a couple of “marathon” subreddits:

image

Spend at least 20-30 minutes looking through the threads you find.

Record any problems you see people talk about as well as how often they come up and how serious they seem to be.

On the first few results, I already see two problems:

beginner marathoners who are not sure about etiquette during a race and
racerunners having joint pain during a taper (when they reduce their mileage leading up to a race).

Ideally, get a list of over 100 problems.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s doable, and you’ll be set for content ideas for a while.

Alternatively, do a search for forums on Google.

In this case, these results are probably better.

They are geared towards experienced marathoners, whereas that first subreddit was focused on beginners (although it will have some experienced runners too).

You do the exact same thing here—look for problems.

Again, I see a few problems right off the bat:

How do you set your pace for a marathon?What do you do if you start getting pain leading up to the marathon?

Write down your list of problems (in your document or in a separate spreadsheet) before moving on.

Part #3 – Where do they look for solutions? In order to provide your audience with solutions to their problems, you need to find a way to get those solutions in front of them.

Most of these places are online, so that’s what you should focus on.

You need to compile a list of websites they visit.

That starts with the forums and communities you just found in part 2.

Other than those, you’ll just have to search around.

I would recommend starting with:

top (niche) sites
top (niche) blogs

image

You should be able to compile at least 20-30 “popular” sites they visit.

If it looks like a site only has a few dozen readers, don’t bother recording it.

Record these sites as we’ll be coming back to them later.

Part #4 – How will you solve their problems better than anyone else? No matter what your topic is, there are already at least a few popular sites that cover it.

Readers need very good reasons to either add your site to the ones they already follow or replace one of them with yours.

And the way you convince them to do that is bygiving more value.

If your content is clearly better than that of your competitors’, you will draw readers away from them.

Start by going to the most popular sites in your niche.

Look through their content, and note any weaknesses in it.

For example, I picked the first popular marathon site I found, which was a blog on a major running site.

The content is written by a true expert, but it’s quite basic, and it’s very anecdotal.

I would note under weaknesses:

Not enough images, lists, etc.Could use more data supporting pointsVery short, doesn’t dive into the topic thoroughly

Then, I would move on to the next blog.

After 5-10, you’ll start to see the same things pop up every time. These are your opportunities.

Go back to your document. Your goal here is to create a concise description of how your content will be more valuable to your target audience.

For example:

Our content will include a lot of relevant visual content as well as data-driven answers. We will go deep into subjects to try to satisfy our target audience.

Having that description to guide you in the future will ensure that you focus on the right things.

Step 2: Here’s how you figure out the best type of content to produce

The “content” in content marketing can mean a lot of different things.

Pretty much anything that can possibly contain a message is considered content. That includes:

blog postsinfographicspictures (drawings, comics, photographs, paintings)podcastsvideose-booksslideshows

and much more.

If you produce certain types of content for your audience, you’ll get better results than you would with other types.

To figure out what the best type is, you have to consider two factors.

What are your audience’s preferences? Some audiences prefer certain types of content over others.

For example, home decorators are mainly looking for visual content. Pictures and videos are the primary form of content in the home decorating niche.

On the other hand, a niche like nutrition mainly will have your standard text content with pictures mixed in.

The tough part is figuring out what is best for your niche.

To do this, we’re going to look at a few different indicators.

Start by heading to Buzzsumo. Create a free account if you don’t have one yet, and then search for your niche (you can choose a broader niche here).

image

What you’ll likely see is that one of the main social networks is much more popular than the others.

If Pinterest or Facebook are the most popular, image-based content is going to be crucial. Pinterest is a purely image-based network, while images are by far the most shared type of content on Facebook.

But that’s not a perfect overview of the whole situation.

What about things like podcasts?

That’s where you need to search individually. The two other forms of content you need to check for are podcasts and videos.

With podcasts, you can use two methods.

First, you can look at Stitcher’s top 100 podcasts in a relevant category.

In our example, I picked “sports” since that’s what running would fall under.

I looked through the top 100 and couldn’t find a single podcast about running. That tells me there isn’t a lot of interest.

Ideally, you’d like to see at least a few different podcasts about your niche as an indicator of some interest.

If you see 3-4 in the top 10, that tells you that audio content is huge in your niche and you should definitely incorporate it into your content strategy if you can.

Anther way you can check for podcasts is to simply Google “top (niche) podcasts”.

I found a few, run by some popular websites. Then, I looked them up on Stitcher and found that they had barely any reviews. This means they aren’t very popular.

image

In this case, audio content is out.

Finally, what about video content?

Well, that’s pretty easy to check for. Go to YouTube, and search for your niche. You can also try a few suggestions from the search bar.

image

This actually surprised me. There were many marathon-running videos with several thousand views.

I didn’t expect this, which is exactly why you need to check.

Look at the number of views on each video. You’ll have to decide what you’d consider a significant number, but I’d be looking for at least 10 videos to have at least 20,000 views to indicate serious interest.

If there’s only one video with a ton of views, it’s likely a one-off viral fluke and should be discounted.

What are your strengths and/or budget? The second main factor depends on your skillset. If you’re not a good writer, you probably want to lean towards a different type of content.

Often, you’ll find that multiple forms of content are equally popular in your niche. That gives you a lot of flexibility. You can use any combination of them.

But what if only one type of content is popular?Well, then you have no choice.

If you aren’t comfortable creating that content, you have a decision to make:

learn how to create it or
hire someone to do it for you

If you have a healthy budget for content marketing, hiring is always a good option.

If not, you’ll need to develop those skills on your own.

Now, combine the two: Now you’re looking for the intersection of these two areas:

the type of content desired by your target audience and
the type of content you can actually produce.

The type(s) of content that falls into both areas is the one(s) you should produce for your target audience.

[Read the full article here:  http://www.quicksprout.com/2015/11/06/starting-from-scratch-6-steps-to-your-first-content-marketing-plan/]

7 Smart Tips to Drive More Traffic to Your Website

Read These 7 Great Tips To Get More Website Traffic
Read These 7 Great Tips To Get More Website Traffic

Ask an entrepreneur or a marketer what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll likely say “more customers.” What usually comes after customers on a business wish list? “More traffic” to their site. Getting traffic is among the most crucial of any task. Getting traffic is an ongoing process and must be continuously done to keep the flow of traffic coming to your site.If you are a digital marketer or internet entrepreneur, more visitors to your site is something to be always thankful for. Higher traffic rates translates into more chances to make sales. If you are searching for ways to drive more traffic to your site, we’ve got some smart thoughts to help you begin. Here are 7 marketing tips to help you get more site hits.

1. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines:

Search engines have consistently been a remarkable way to get traffic for free. That is the reason you have to get your work done and optimize your site so it positions well for the keywords you target. SEO is still the most powerful approach to get free traffic. All you need is to follow latest search engine guidelines and modern SEO principles. It is essential that you invest some time and effort in the optimization of your site. Your site’s design, content architecture, and tags are the three most important things to begin with.

2. Write Rich Content:

Quality articles will show a better ranking in search results. Confirm that your articles address what your readers need and that they can see all of the information they want in one spot. This is the best way for attracting traffic to a site; offering people something that they can’t get anywhere else, or possibly, not the level of quality that you are offering. In a previous post, we’ve explained 10 rules for successful content marketing in 2015, you should follow them for greater return on investment.

3. Utilize Your Social Profiles:

Social media sites are also among the best approaches to get traffic free of charge. If you look at the latest digital marketing statistics, you’ll come to know that Facebook is 2nd most populous place on the planet, after China. This makes it vital for businesses to ensure stronger presence there. So, if you are famous on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks; the traffic you get from that can easily surpass the traffic search engines. Undoubtedly, building a vast system of targeted followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook takes a lot of time and effort but normally the result is well worth it. In addition, you must explore social bookmarking sites, networking groups, and blogs to share the great pieces of content your team has produced.

4. Get Links with Other Sites In Your Niche:

One more approach to getting free traffic is from different sites in your niche market. Getting links with different sites in your niche is also useful for SEO, particularly if you figure out how to get links without the famous nofollow attribute. However, despite the possibility that the links are nofollow (i.e., they are pointless for SEO), they still help to get traffic to your site. If you figure out how to put your links in a visible place on a site with high volumes of traffic, you can get a large number of hits from this link alone.

5. Pay Attention to Mobile Factor:

With more than 92% of Americans now using smartphones and almost 60% of all online activity now originating from smartphones, we have staggered into another age in technology with new marketing trends and challenges. So looking at the implication of mobile factor on marketing, design a strategy that helps you make the best out of the available opportunities.

6. Target Long-Tail Keywords

Got your high commercial intent keyword bases secured? If yes, now is the ideal time to target long-tail keywords as well. Since long-tail keywords represent a dominant part of web searches, if you’re not focusing on them as a major aspect of your paid search or SEO efforts, you’re missing a great opportunity.

7. Invite Others to Guest Blog on Your Site:

Guest blogging is a two-way street. Along with posting content on different sites, invite other people as well in your niche to blog on your own website. They’re likely to share and link to their guest article, which could bring new readers to your site. Simply ensure that you just post amazing, unique content without spam links, as Google is cracking down on low-quality visitor blogging.

This article was written by Tahir Akbar and first appear on Business 2 Community on 7th August  2015. 

 

Four Things To Remember When Using Typography In Marketing

4 Things to Remember When Using Typography In Marketing

Using the perfect font is essential for good digital brand marketing. It is important to capture people’s attention and font is a foundational element of this process. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the late 1440’s and typography came to exist. Molds were created into metal type casts that made particular fonts that were used in printing. Modern technology today has allowed several versions of the same font to be created, generating typeface families. Read on for important tips on how to navigate through various typefaces to find the perfect brand and master typography in marketing.Readability

Sans-Serif vs. Serif are two branches of font families and are imperative to good brand marketing. Readability attracts a customer’s eye and keeps them reading about the products and services being offered. Choosing certain fonts and typefaces ensures consistent readability and furthers the success of your product.

Sans-serif fonts do not have lines on the edge of text and are considered easier to look at. This increases readability and sans-serif fonts are often used in titles and subtitles for this purpose. In recent years, sans-serif fonts have become used more often in body copy on websites but are traditionally used for headlines.

Serif fonts have extra lines and detailing on the lettering and are often used in body copy because it arguably increases readability. Sans-serif fonts can often lose the reader’s eye and serif fonts ease the reading process and help people keep their place in bodies of text.

Differentiating between Titles and Body Copy is another part of choosing the best typefaces for ideal brand marketing. The title and logo in brand marketing must be distinctly different from the body text used on the website. Subtitles used must also not clash with the title or logo or it will result in a chaotic and unappealing webpage.

Kerning is the spacing between the letters of a title and is a central element to the title. The font used in the logo or title cannot be too close together or it will not be easily legible. The leading in the body copy follows similar rules. Leading is the space between lines of text and special attention needs to be taken to ensure that the space between lines is appropriate so that the text is decipherable.

Accessibility

The typography used must be accessible on different mobile interfaces. One source of type may look readable on a large mac computer yet when accessing the webpage on a smartphone, the body copy becomes illegible. It is important to double-check the accessibility of various fonts on different devices.

Many free sources of typography are not reliable on the interweb. Certain fonts are available for a limited time and then disappear due to copyright infringement or other issues and the webpage becomes unreadable. It is more viable to utilize reliable sources of typography such as Typekit, a licensed source for fonts that can be rented or purchased at a reasonable cost.

Personality

Different typefaces reflect a different company ethos. Classic and traditional fonts tend to lean towards an audience that is looking for a reliable and traditional company. Modern and Fresh type fonts lend themselves to young urban professionals looking to move forward into more futuristic company sources. Funky fonts are more stylistically creative and are appropriate for audiences that are younger and more attracted to fun interfaces. Lastly, elegant typefaces appeal to clothing companies and exudes femininity.

Consistency

Using consistent typography is vital to good brand marketing. Titles and logos should be repeated to present a uniform design model as well as similar body copy on different webpages. Using various fonts creates chaos and detracts the eye.

It is also important to use consistent color schemes with type. Contrasting colors are a good choice but they must be constant or it will not create a cohesive brand.
http://www.business2community.com/marketing/four-things-to-remember-when-using-typography-in-marketing-01290021#Em3WYhzQI5ylkv2E.99

 

Source: Four Things To Remember When Using Typography In Marketing