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Is YouTube Worth It? 7.6 Million Views Later, Here’s What I Learned

Is YouTube Worth It? 7.6 Million Views Later, Here’s What I Learned

neil video

Everyone’s saying it… video is the future of content marketing!

But is it really?

Similar to you, I noticed that trend over a year ago, and I decided to listen to everyone who told me to focus on videos instead of just text-based content.

I even wrote a blog post about how I was shifting my content marketing budgets over to podcasting and videos.

But, as you know, opinions don’t really matter in marketing. If the data shows something is working you should do more of it. And if the data shows the opposite, then you need to reconsider what you are doing.

So, was YouTube really worth it for me?

Neil, you’re on YouTube?

If you haven’t already seen my YouTube videos, you can check them out here (they are the same videos I also put on my blog).

And if you have seen my videos, you’ll notice that I have a ton of them. I started posting on YouTube a bit more than a year and a half ago and have already uploaded 347 videos so far.

That’s a lot of content!

The videos all vary in length. I have videos that are as short as 2 minutes, and I have others that are over 30 minutes.

The topics of video content also vary from covering strategy to tactics to answering your questions to even sharing tidbits from my personal life.

I’ve even shared some of my speeches on YouTube as well.

So, is YouTube worth it? Well, before I get into that, let me share some of my stats.

My YouTube channel

Since inception, my YouTube channel has generated 7,627,060 views.

total views

I know the above screenshot shows I’ve been a member of YouTube since August 18, 2011, but I uploaded my first real video on May 11, 2017… and it was about generating more Twitter traffic.

twitter traffic

Before that period, I did upload 2 other videos, but they were uploaded for ad purposes. I was using them to drive registrations to a webinar (which didn’t work as well as I had hoped).

Although my total YouTube view count is at 7.6 million, on a monthly basis my view count ranges between 600,000 to 700,000 organic views.

Over the past 30 days, I have generated 724,464 views, which resulted in 2,003,272 minutes of watch time.

viewcount

To give you some perspective, it would take you roughly 3.8 years to watch over 2 million minutes worth of video. And that’s assuming you’re watching for 24 hours each day and not taking breaks.

That’s a lot of watch time!

And here is an overview of how I generated those views.

stats breakdown

As you can see, the majority of my YouTube views comes from “search.”

That means people are searching on YouTube. After that, the suggested and browse are driving a large portion of the views. And then it is external, which are the views I am driving from NeilPatel.com.

It’s kind of crazy how I am driving 101,683 views a month just from my own site.

If you are creating funny videos, news-oriented videos, lifestyle videos, or documentary style videos like Gary V., the majority of your YouTube traffic will come from “suggested” and “browse” in which your videos are going to be recommended a lot in the sidebar of YouTube.

On the other hand, if the majority of your content is educational, kind of like mine, you’ll get the majority of your traffic from YouTube search.

What’s YouTube search like?

No matter what kind of videos you create, you can always generate traffic from YouTube search, similar to how I am.

The amount of traffic just varies on the type of videos you create… educational videos tend to generate the most from YouTube search.

Let’s dive into my search traffic:

search traffic

As you can see, I rank for terms like SEO, digital marketing, social media marketing, etc.

But the second most popular term I’m generating traffic for is my name, Neil Patel.

And no, it’s not because I have built up a brand in the marketing space. It’s because I have so many videos on YouTube, I have organically started to build a brand on YouTube.

neil patel youtube

As you can see, I only generated 91 views from people searching for my name in May 2017 (that’s when I uploaded my first video). And now I can generate roughly 5,500 to 6,000 views per month just from that one search term alone.

All I did to grow my brand queries was to upload more content that I felt my target audience wanted to watch.

Overall, YouTube search traffic is high-quality traffic, and it’s much easier to rank and generate those views than on traditional Google search. Best of all, you can rank well on YouTube within a matter of days… even hours!

You heard me right, you can rank well on YouTube in a matter of days.

If you have a brand new profile and you are just starting to upload videos, you may not rank as high as you want right away, but you should see results fairly quickly and over time (like weeks and months, not years) you can easily climb to the top.

Remember, YouTube isn’t competitive like Google and their algorithm is different. If you want the most traffic, you just have to follow these 26 steps.

It sounds like a lot, but it isn’t. Most of them are short and easy to implement.

Whether you follow each of those 26 steps or not, make sure you at least follow the 6 principles below as they make the biggest impact:

  • Push hard in the first 24 hours – Unlike traditional SEO, videos that perform well in the first 24 hours tend to do well for the life of the video. If you have an email list or a push notification list, notify them of your YouTube video right when it gets published. If YouTube sees that your video is doing well early on, they will show it to more people and rank it higher.
  • Upload text-based transcripts – Although YouTube can somewhat decipher what your video is about, they don’t rely on it. They want you to manually upload a transcription of each video. This will help them determine what your video is about and rank you for the right terms. If you are too lazy to manually transcribe your videos, use Rev. It’s only a dollar per minute.
  • Engage with your audience – YouTube is a social website. Content that gets the most engagement performs the best. The obvious thing to do is to tell people to leave a comment, like your videos, and subscribe to your channel. But what works the best is responding to comments. You’ll notice on my videos that I respond to every single comment (or at least I try to).
  • Focus on click-through-rate – Similar to Google search, YouTube looks at click-through-rate. From using video thumbnails that pop to creating compelling headlines, you want to get people to click on your video or anyone else’s. If you want a cool looking thumbnail, use Canva.
  • Use the right keywords – Similar to Google, if you target the wrong keywords you won’t get much love. You can use VidIQ or if you want a free solution you can use Ubersuggest. When searching for the right keywords, don’t just go after the ones that have the highest traffic, focus on the ones that are also related to your video.
  • Keep people on YouTube – YouTube doesn’t want people to leave YouTube. Sending people off to your site early on will hurt you. And if your video isn’t engaging enough, you won’t do well. You can always use the “hot intro” to solve this (watch the video below).

Now that you got the basics down and you’ve seen all of my stats, let’s go over if YouTube is really worth it.

Is YouTube worth it?

I wish I could give you an easy yes or no answer, but that isn’t the case. It really depends what your goals are.

Don’t worry, though, I am not going to give you a lame response… instead, I am going to go over each scenario and tell you if you should go after YouTube (or not) based on your goals.

I will also share my own experience.

Advertising income

It’s not easy to get millions of views per month. Depending on what vertical you are in, some monetize better than others when it comes to ads.

But the one thing that I am certain about is that unless you have tons of views (like well into the millions), the ad income isn’t that great.

According to SocialBlade, I could generate an estimated monthly ad income of $173 to $2,800.

ad income

Based on the vertical I’m in, it would be toward the middle to upper end of that number, but still, it’s not that great.

$2,800 a month in ad income wouldn’t even cover my costs to produce and edit the videos I put out on a monthly basis.

So, if you are looking to monetize purely through YouTube ads, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not that lucrative unless you can keep your production costs down and you are in a category where you can get millions of views each month.

Sponsorship deals

I know there are famous YouTube stars who make a killing off of sponsorships and endorsement deals. If you are looking to make money from YouTube in this fashion, I wouldn’t count on it. It’s tough, and unless you have generated millions of views each month, you probably won’t get any sponsorships.

Selling products

Whether it is informational products or physical products, YouTube works extremely well.

Based on the data I have from other YouTubers, I would generate around $35,000 a month from YouTube on the low end and $50,000 on the higher end if I pushed people to a webinar and then sold a $997 informational product.

That’s not too shabby.

I don’t do this with my YouTube channel, but it works well.

My buddy Adam does this with his YouTube profile and kills it. He makes a generous 6 figures a year just from promoting informational products from his YouTube videos. He typically sells his products for a few hundred dollars as he is in the consumer space.

I know Tai Lopez does well from this strategy to0 and so do 20 or so other marketers that I personally know.

In other words, if you want to leverage YouTube to sell products, you should consider doing so. It’s not too competitive to generate the traffic and there is a ton of money for each visitor you attract.

Building a brand

This is what I primarily use YouTube for.

And for this purpose, it has worked well for me. I get countless emails from people telling me that they found me on YouTube or how they love the content I am producing.

youtube email

For me, it’s not an ego thing, but I want to build a bigger brand. The bigger my brand, the easier it is for my agency to close consulting deals.

Assuming you put out good video content, you’ll find that people will subscribe to your channel, follow you, engage with you, and get to know you better.

If you are selling anything in the future, having this extra brand exposure doesn’t hurt.

If your goal is to build a personal brand, YouTube is great. It doesn’t help as much with corporate brands, but the investment is well worth it from a personal branding perspective.

If you are starting out from scratch (not just on YouTube but in general), I would recommend you focus on a corporate brand instead (YouTube won’t be as effective here), but if you are knee deep in it like I am, just keep pushing forward on your personal brand.

So, for personal brand building, YouTube is worth it. For corporate brand building, not so much.

From YouTube alone, the extra brand exposure has helped my agency close a bit more than $320,000 in revenue (not profit) that I know for sure as the clients told me that they found me on YouTube first.

Lead generation

Here’s where I have generated my biggest ROI… consulting leads. Although I don’t directly collect leads from YouTube, a lot of my clients have seen my YouTube videos.

2 of my clients first found me on YouTube (hence the $320,000 figure above), and countless more have seen my YouTube videos.

If you want to collect leads, YouTube is a great channel. I just wouldn’t collect leads from day 1. First focus on building your audience and then drive people to a landing page after 5 or 6 months of being on YouTube.

The reason for the delay in collecting leads is that it will help you build up your channel authority, so once you do drive people away from YouTube, you will be able to maintain your traffic versus seeing a drop.

The cool part about lead generation is that it works well for both B2B and B2C. With B2B, you will collect fewer leads, but each one will be worth more. With B2C, you will generate more leads, but each one will be worth less.

B2B vs B2C

Speaking of B2B and B2C, YouTube works well for both spaces. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, YouTube will generally work.

I know I mentioned above that YouTube doesn’t work as well with corporate brands as it does with personal ones, but that doesn’t mean YouTube won’t work. It just means personal brands see a better result.

Conclusion

Overall, YouTube is worth it. You just have to find the right monetization strategy for yourself.

Some people, like my buddy Adam, use YouTube to sell info products while also monetizing through ads.

Ads don’t make him as much money, but when you add up everything together the revenue number is nice. And you will probably be in a similar boat in which you’ll make money from YouTube in multiple ways.

For example, I use YouTube to build a brand and collect leads.

The last piece of advice I have for you is to use videos on multiple platforms. This will drastically increase your return on your investment.

With me, I upload videos to Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Everyone talks about YouTube (even me), but I’ve done better from uploading videos on LinkedIn from a revenue standpoint than YouTube.

It’s not because LinkedIn is more popular, it’s just that they are more generous with giving you more video views than YouTube because their algorithm currently heavily favors video content.

So, are you going to jump on the YouTube bandwagon?

The post Is YouTube Worth It? 7.6 Million Views Later, Here’s What I Learned appeared first on Neil Patel.

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The Future of Content Marketing: It’s Not What You Think

The Future of Content Marketing: It’s Not What You Think

future of content marketing

Have you heard the saying, “content is king?”

Well, of course, you have. But creating more content won’t necessarily get you more search traffic.

You’ve heard people like me mention stats like the average piece of content that ranks on page one of Google contains 1,890 words.

number of words

But that doesn’t mean writing in-depth content that is 1,890 words will automatically get you more search traffic. It just means that the average web page on page 1 contains that many words.

I bet you are going through the scenario below…

You keep writing content but, for some reason, you aren’t getting the amount of search traffic that you would like to be getting.

Don’t worry, I know what you are going through, and I will tell you the solution. But first, let’s go over how content marketing is changing.

Over 440 million blogs exist

The latest stat I could find on the web is that there are currently 440 million blogs.

But if you consider Medium and Tumblr (and other similar sites), that number is surely over a billion because just Tumblr alone has over 400 million blogs.

So, what does that mean for you?

Because there are so many blogs, it’s going to be hard to drive awareness.

There are roughly 7.5 billion people on this earth and the number of blogs is growing faster than the population. So, if you assume there are roughly 1 billion blogs, that means there is one blog for every 7 and a half people.

That’s way too many blogs!

So why should someone read yours instead of the others?

Why doesn’t content marketing work as well as it used to?

Because there are so many blogs, you have tons of competition.

Whatever you are thinking of blogging about, the chances are there is already someone (or tons of people!) already blogging about it. Seriously!

Even if you are planning to write about news and current events, the chances are some other blog is going to beat you to the story… even if it is by an hour (or a few minutes).

With there only being so many popular keywords that people search for, there are now more websites competing to reach the top of the rankings.

Currently, Ubersuggest is tracking 619,718,788 keywords globally. During the last 30 days, only 24,593,402 of them generated over 10,000 searches.

And no matter what popular term you are going after, you are going to have a lot of competition.

For example, I rank on page 1 for the term “SEO” (at least in the United States). But I am competing with a lot of sites… 581 million to be exact!

seo serp

If you want to go after one of those 24,593,402 keywords, you are going to face a lot of competition.

Sure, you can also get a lot of traffic from long-tail phrases, but even those are getting more competitive over time.

How does your content strategy need to change?

As I mentioned above, whatever you are writing about, chances are someone is already writing about it.

When I started my first blog, Pronet Advertising (which no longer exists), the first post I wrote was called, “Winning the Search Engine Marketing War.” It was 412 words long, contained no images, and no had links. But that was way back in 2005 and content marketing was much different back then.

If I published it today, it would do terrible. Back then I didn’t have a personal brand, no one knew who I was, and the post still did pretty well.

Heck, the standard social channels like Facebook weren’t even being used by marketers.

Do you want to know why it did well? Because it was new.

Back then, people never read a post about winning the search engine marketing war. It was fresh and people wanted to know more. The fact that it was short didn’t matter.

Now, when you publish new content, there is a good chance that people have already read something similar. Because of that, why would they want to link to your piece or even share it?

Even worse, only 8 out of 10 people read headlines but only 2 out of 10 will click through. That means people feel your content isn’t interesting or that they already know a lot about the subject matter of your content.

In other words, if you don’t write something new and amazing, it won’t do well.

It doesn’t matter if you made your content 1,890 words, bought some social shares, or weaseled your way into a few backlinks… no one will care if it isn’t something original and unique.

Just look at the search phrase “SEO tips.” There are 3,630,000 web pages competing for that term.

seo tips

And almost everyone who ranks for that term is writing about the same old stuff. The only difference is how many tips they are including in their article.

seo tips content

How do you write new content that’s fresh?

You need to share life experiences. Your life is unique. If you can tie your personal experiences into your content, you’ll do much better.

If I look at my most popular posts on NeilPatel.com over the last 12 months, here they are in order:

Do you notice a pattern?

They aren’t generic posts like “10 ways to double your search traffic” or “how to rank on Google”… each post contains something new… which you already know.

But what else?

If you look at all of those posts, I wrote them more recently.

They don’t rank as high on Google compared to some of the posts I wrote earlier this year (or in previous years), yet they are still the most popular ones because they are unique.

Whether it is data that people haven’t seen before or something based on a personal experience that people can learn from, the articles that are unique and can only be written by you will perform the best.

In other words, you have to be original to get loved. Not just by Google, but by people.

So how do you write unique content that contains data and has personalized stories?

Here are some ideas:

Buzzsumo

If you put in a keyword related to your industry, it will show you all of the popular posts.

buzzsumo

Avoid writing another “copycat” article. If you have a unique perspective on any one of those topics and it is something that the industry hasn’t seen, there is a good chance it will do well.

But it can’t be another copycat article that talks about the same old things that have been talked about a thousand times before.

My favorite part about Buzzsumo is that it will show you what’s popular during certain time frames.

You can adjust your search to the last month, year, 5 years, or any time range to see how people’s preferences have changed over time.

time filter

By using this feature, you will get a better understanding of where the market is moving and how you need to adapt.

Google Trends

This simple tool shows you what’s hot right now. Literally at this very second.

trends

You can even filter the real-time trends per industry.

trend category

Or you can see what’s been popular for the day as well as the number of searches performed.

daily trends

And, of course, you can use Google Trends for any country. The above screenshots are for the United States.

If you have a unique perspective on any of these trends or data, you should consider riding the wave and creating a blog post as soon as possible.

Beware, a lot of people use this tactic and the majority of the traffic will be taken up by popular news sites. But if you have a personal experience or data related to the trend or topic then you can do really well.

SurveyMonkey

If you already have some readers, the easiest way to come up with unique topic ideas that they will love is to just ask them for advice.

For example, why not create a free survey using SurveyMonkey and ask your readers questions like “what would you like me to blog about” or “what would you like to learn” or “what’s the biggest problem I can help you solve?”

Asking questions like these ones should give you great ideas.

When surveying, make sure you get over 30 responses. The more the better because you can use their text analysis feature to see what the majority of your readers are interested in.

text analysis

Problogger Job Board

If you are interested in using data and research within your posts to make them unique, consider hiring someone from the Problogger Job Board.

That’s what I do.

If you already have data, you can find someone on Problogger to help crunch everything and give you golden nuggets for your post.

Or if you don’t, they can gather research from all over the web and come up with something unique.

I found some researchers that are amazing at what they do. They hit up the tool companies within my space, ask them for data, and then come up with interesting insights that deliver value to my readers.

In exchange, the tool companies get free press, which helps them and, in most cases, they will also share and promote your post.

A good example of this is the post I wrote on Hummingbird. It has a ton of unique data points, and I mentioned the companies that helped me gather the data.

But other people have generic content and do well… 

Yes, there are tons of blogs with generic content that rank well. But here is the thing, their content is either old, in which they were one of the firsts to cover the topic, or they have high authority.

When high authority sites like Huffington Post and Entrepreneur write generic content, it ranks because they already have lots of brand queries, backlinks, and social shares.

If you have over 20,000 brand queries per month (you can see how many you have in Google Search Console)…

brand queries

…and you have also have a domain authority of over 60, you’ll see some results if you write generic content.

I still don’t recommend going the generic route (a lesson I have learned from my own personal experience), but if that’s what you want then make sure you at least meet those rough guidelines.

At least that is what I found you need for the most competitive industries going after the English market.

If you don’t have the authority or any brand queries, you can still do well with generic “copycat” content, but you would have to focus on international regions.

There is way too much content for Google to choose from in English. But that’s not the case in Hindi or Portuguese.

If you are open to expanding internationally, follow the tips in this post as it will help you pick the right regions to tackle first.

Conclusion

I hope I didn’t discourage you from leveraging content marketing. It’s still an amazing tactic that has helped me generate 1,864,246 unique visitors a month.

traffic

Sure, I’ve been doing this for some years now, but NeilPatel.com is one of the newer search blogs compared to sites like Moz or Search Engine Land yet I was still able to do well. This is especially true over the last year where I saw most of my growth.

And the big strategy I shifted towards was to start writing personalized content… content that contains my life experiences and stories that can’t be copied or created anywhere else.

Even if you are new to your industry, you can still reference other people’s experiences or tie in lessons you learned from your past as some of those things are still relevant today.

If you can’t do that, resort to using data. People love reading about new trends and strategies as long as you have new data to back up your claims.

So, are you going to write fresh, new content versus regurgitating the same old information again?

The post The Future of Content Marketing: It’s Not What You Think appeared first on Neil Patel.

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The 34 Marketing Principles I Live By

The 34 Marketing Principles I Live By

neil patel

Can you guess how long I’ve been a marketer?

7 years? Maybe 10?

Guess again.

I’ve been a marketer for 18 years now. That’s a long time… And funny enough, I’ve also been an entrepreneur for the same amount of time as I’ve never really held a “corporate” job.

Many of you think I am smart, and I am great at marketing. But let me burst your bubble… I am NOT smart, and I am NOT a great marketer.

Instead, I’ve just been doing everything long enough where I’ve learned what not to do.

See, the first 4 or so years of my marketing career went really slow and didn’t go the way I wanted. This was mainly because I kept making mistakes. And even worse, I kept repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

So, when I was around 20 years old, I created a list of marketing principles to never break because I wanted to ensure that I didn’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Over time I kept adding to the list, and it has helped me succeed not only as a marketer but also as an entrepreneur.

Hopefully, the list principles below helps you get to where you want in life. I know it’s helped me tremendously.

Here goes:

Principle #1: Don’t be the first

So many new marketing channels pop up, don’t be in a rush to try them all. Especially when these channels are new and unproven. You’re more likely to waste time than find wins.

At the same time, you don’t want to be the last either. The key is to be an early adopter. Once a channel is picking up steam, that’s when you want to jump on board and see if you can leverage it for your business.

Principle #2: Ride it while it lasts

Every channel that works eventually gets saturated. Some fade away, but most stick around, and some just don’t work as well.

For example, Facebook grew through sending out invitation emails to everyone in your email address book. That just doesn’t work anymore.

Digg used to be an amazing site that drove 100,000 visitors to a site in less than 24 hours. It doesn’t anymore. Google AdWords used to be a cheap way to drive sales. It still works, but it is expensive.

When you find a channel that is working amazingly well, push hard and milk it for as long as it lasts. As time goes on, you’ll want to keep leveraging it, but you’ll naturally have to scale back as more competitors jump due to price increases.

Principle #3: Sales and marketing should be owned, one person

To truly grow, you need to understand the whole picture. From how someone comes to your site, to what they are looking for, to how to sell, upsell, and retain a customer.

You need to think about the whole cycle a customer goes through.

For that reason, a company eventually needs a Chief Revenue Officer (especially in the B2B world). A CRO is someone in charge of both sales and marketing. The departments can run separately, but they need one boss.

When both departments don’t roll up into one boss, there is typically is a disconnect. This will cause the conversion rates to be lower.

Principle #4: Go all in during recessionary periods

The market moves in cycles. When things go down people pull back on marketing. Don’t optimize for short turn gains, optimize for the long run.

Marketing tends to be more cost-effective during recessionary periods. This is when you should be spending more, doubling down, so that way you can beat your competition once the recession is over.

Principle #5: If you aren’t thinking long term, you won’t beat your competition

Most publicly traded companies optimize for a return within the first 12 months. Most venture-funded companies have a 1 to 3-year outlook. If you want to beat these companies, you need to have a 3-plus year outlook. This will open up more marketing channels that your competition can’t look at due to investors and outside pressure.

With your marketing, it doesn’t mean you have to lose money for 3 or more years to beat your competition. It means you just have to get creative. For example, I know marketing costs are rising each year, so I’ve invested in software to generate visitors at a much lower cost than CPC advertising.

Doing these sorts of things requires patience as it can take years for creative ideas to come to fruition.

Principle #6: Never rely on one channel

Good channels eventually become saturated and it’s too risky if your marketing is solely based on one channel.

If it goes away or stops working for your business, it will crumble you. You can’t control algorithms, and you can’t always predict costs. Focus on an omnichannel approach.

In other words, you can’t just do SEO or social media marketing. You need to eventually try and leverage all of the major marketing channels.

Principle #7: Marketing tends to get more expensive over time

It’s rare for marketing to get cheaper. You can’t control this. As much as you focus on marketing, you have to focus on conversion optimization. It’s the only way to keep you in the game as costs increase.

Try to run at least one A/B test each month. And don’t run tests based on your gut. Use both quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions.

Principle #8: Don’t take your messaging for granted

No matter how effective your traffic generation skills are, you won’t win if people don’t understand why they should buy from you over the competition. A great example of this is Airbnb. They beat Home Away and are worth roughly ten times more.

They both have a similar product and they both executed well. Airbnb came out much later, but they nailed their messaging.

Spend time crafting and creating amazing messaging. Typically, amazing messaging requires story-telling and understanding your customers.

You may have to survey your customers or talk to them over the phone, but eventually, you can come up with the right messaging using qualitative data. And once you’ve figured out the right messaging, retest each year as market conditions can change, which will affect your messaging.

Principle #9: The numbers never lie

Opinions don’t matter!

Marketing should always be a data-driven approach. Follow the numbers and keep auditing them as things will change over time. What works now may not in the future due to external factors that you can’t control such as privacy and security concerns.

For example, if you users claim to hate exit popups, but the data shows an exit popup increases your monthly revenue by 10%, then continually use the exit popup.

People within the organization will complain and argue with you, but as long as you aren’t doing anything unethical, follow the data.

Principle #10: The best thing you can do is build a brand

Whether it is a corporate or personal one, people connect with brands. From Tony Robbins to Nike, people prefer brands. By building a brand, you are building longevity with your marketing.

Don’t ever take it for granted and start building it from day one. No matter how small or big your company is, you should continually work on improving your brand.

From the story behind why it exists to showcasing it wherever you can, push hard on branding. In the short run, it will not produce a positive ROI, and it is hard to track the value of a growing brand, but it works.

When people want to buy sports shoes, they don’t always perform Google searches. Instead, they just think “Nike.” When people want a credit card, they think Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.

Brands are powerful and create longevity.

Principle #11: Always protect your brand

You’ll have opportunities to generate quick sales or traffic at the sacrifice of your brand image. Never do it.

It’s better to have less traffic and sales in the short run than it is to tarnish your brand in the long run. If you tarnish your brand, you’ll find that it will be hard to recover and cost more money.

Principle #12: Don’t take shortcuts

Every time someone presents a social media or SEO shortcut, avoid it. Typically, they won’t last long, and they could set you back through a penalization. It’s better to be safe and think long term.

It will be tempting but say no.

Principle #13: Don’t market crap

Building a crappy product, service, or site just won’t cut it. With the web being competitive and it being easier to start a site online, you need to make sure you have something incredible.

It’s 10 times easier to market something people love than it is to market something people don’t care about.

No matter how good of a marketer you are, it’s not easy to market something people don’t want. So first focus on creating something amazing.

Principle #14: Hire a full-time affiliate manager from day 1

There are always people within your space who aren’t competitors and have an established user base. Have a dedicated resource continually reaching out and partnering with these sites and companies.

It’s a good long-term way to grow without having to invest a lot of capital. Even if your product or service isn’t ready, hire this person from day one as it takes 6 months to fully build up a good base of partnerships and affiliates.

Principle #15: Go against conventual marketing wisdom

Doing what everyone else is doing won’t work for the long haul. Doing the opposite usually works much better.

It may sound risky to go against the grain, but it is one of the best ways to grow when you are in a saturated market.

A simple example of this is how Gmail grew when they first came out. Space was crowded and even though their tool was great, so was a lot of the competitors. Gmail grew by creating the illusion of exclusivity. People had to be invited by other members to get a @gmail.com email address.

Principle #16: If you aren’t scared, you’re not pushing the limits

If you’re cheering about everything you are doing when it comes to marketing, something is wrong. You need to scared and be going through a mix of emotions every time you launch a new marketing campaign.

If you aren’t then you’re not pushing the limits. Testing campaigns that your competition won’t ever dare to try, and, of course, be ethical when doing this. Don’t burn your brand.

The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Those who push the limits, tend to have a greater reward.

Principle #17: Don’t be unethical

You are going to have opportunities to gain quick wins at the cost of your customers. Always put others first. It’s the only way to survive in the long haul. In general, if you are going to have trouble sleeping at night, you shouldn’t be doing it.

A good example of this in marketing is how affiliates use forced continuity. This is when they sell physical products for free as long as their customers pay for shipping. What these customers don’t realize is that they are going to receive the same product every month and they will get a bill every month as well.

Don’t be unethical.

Principle #18: Get the right influencers onboard early

People tend to have a deeper connection with individuals over corporate brands. Get influencers on board early, as it will help you attract customers faster.

Make sure your influencers are related to your business or else it won’t work and will just be a waste of money.

For example, if you are selling a B2B software you don’t want half naked Instagram influencers promoting your product. It won’t work.

But if you are selling fashion products, having influencers on Instagram who have popular fashion channels will help drive sales.

Principle #19: Video is the future

People want to connect with you and your company. If you aren’t integrating video within your marketing, you are making a big mistake. Whether you like being on camera or not, video should be in your strategy from day 1.

When you create videos, don’t just put it on your site. Put the same videos everywhere… from social networks to asking other websites to embed your videos on their site.

You should even test running video ads as they tend to be more effective than text-based ads. They are more expensive to run, but the conversion rate is typically higher.

Principle #20: You don’t know everything

Marketing is always changing. No matter how good you get at one tactic, never stop learning. Having the attitude that you are great will only hurt you. Have an open mind and be willing to learn from anyone, especially newcomers with little to no experience as they bring fresh insights.

Principle #21: Don’t hire arrogant marketers

If you have arrogant marketers on your team, consider replacing them with people who are open to learning (assuming you aren’t breaking any HR laws).

Arrogant marketers are typically stuck in their ways and they aren’t open to change. Just because someone doesn’t know as much, doesn’t mean they can’t learn.

Arrogant marketers tend not to experiment, and they prefer sticking with what they know.

Principle #22: Little is the new big

Social media has empowered everyone. Don’t take people for granted, even if they don’t have money. By helping everyone, it will cause your brand to grow in the long run.

Don’t worry about a direct ROI when helping others, it will cause word of mouth marketing.

Because of social media, everyone can impact your brand in a good or bad way. So make sure it’s in a good way by helping everyone out (as much as it is feasibly possible).

Principle #23: Continually test what’s working

Because of external factors that you can’t control, things change over time.

For example, 3rd party authentications used to boost conversion rates, but now people are concerned with using them because of privacy concerns.

Always retest what has worked in the past every 6 months to ensure it is still helping you.

When you don’t retest, you’ll find that your conversion rates will drop over time and you won’t know the cause of it.

Principle #24: The majority of people don’t read

If you write a masterpiece, expect the majority of the people to not read it. Make your content and marketing landing pages easy to skim. Without this, you’ll lose out on a large portion of sales.

Things like design, spacing, colors, and typography all affect readability and how easy it is to skim. Yes, messaging is important, but if no one reads it then you won’t generate sales.

Principle #25: Headlines are more important than content

8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 will click through and read your content. Spend as much time coming up with a headline as you do writing content. If you have an amazing masterpiece and a terrible headline, it won’t get read.

You shouldn’t stop with one headline either. Consider A/B testing a handful of headlines, as this will help you come up with a winning version.

Principle #26: Expand internationally once you’ve figured out your main market

The English language is always competitive. But markets like Asia and Latin America don’t have as much competition and people within these regions are willing to spend money.

Translate your website, content, product, and service as quickly as possible (while maintaining quality, of course!). It will open up more marketing opportunities and revenue streams.

When picking new markets, don’t just look at GDP look at the population as well. If one region has a slightly lower GDP but a higher population, consider going after the one with a larger population first.

Principle #27: Be willing to start over every year

If you are expecting to grow by just doubling down on what worked in the past, your growth will slow down.

By having the mentality that you need to start over and redo all of your marketing initiatives each year, you’ll grow faster as you will be receptive to change.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore what worked for you in the last 12 months, it means that you need to keep doing that as well as well as go back to the drawing board to try new tactics.

Principle #28: Ideas are a dime a dozen, but good team members aren’t

You’ll have dozens of ideas that you’ll want to test, but if you don’t have people to take charge of them they won’t go anywhere. Don’t bite off more than your team can handle.

If you want to grow faster, you need people to take charge and lead each of your marketing initiatives. This will also allow you to fine tune each channel and squeeze the most out of it.

And if you have dozens of ideas, don’t just hire any marketer. If you don’t hire the right person, with experience, you’ll find that marketing channel isn’t working out too well for you. So take your time.

Principle #29: Don’t hire people you need to train if you want to grow fast

There is nothing wrong with hiring people who need training, but it will cause your growth to slow down.

If you want more traffic and sales ASAP, you can’t hire people that need hand holding or training. Hire marketers with industry experience that know how to get off and running from day 1.

Ideally, you should even consider hiring marketers who have worked for your competition and have done well for them.

Principle #30: It takes 3 months for a marketer to get ramped up

No matter how skilled of a marketer you hire, even if they come from your competition, it typically takes 3 months for them to find their groove.

So, when you hire them as a full-time employee or a contractor, be patient and be willing to give it at least 3 months before you decide what you want to do.

Of course, you should see results within the first 3 months (even if they are small) but you still need to be patient.

Principle #31: People love stories and always will

Storytelling goes back centuries. They were effective back then and they still are today (and they will be tomorrow as well). Integrate stories within your copy. It will help you craft a better bond with your audience.

With a better bond comes higher conversion rates.

Principle #32: Don’t take trends for granted

If you see the market moving in a direction, even if you don’t think it will last forever, consider riding the wave. Even if you don’t like the trend, you’ll find that it typically makes customer acquisition easier and more affordable.

Use tools like Google Trends to help you determine which trends are popular and to see how the market is moving.

A great example of this is MixPanel copied the KISSmetrics product, but they grew faster as they rode the mobile analytics trend, while KISSmetrics did not.

Principle #33: Optimize for revenue, not top of funnel metrics

In marketing, looking at numbers like monthly visitors is great, but it isn’t the most important metric. Optimizing for leads isn’t enough either.

Your tracking needs to encompass the whole funnel. By optimizing for revenue you’ll be able to make better decisions and see faster growth.

When looking at your funnel, keep in mind that it shouldn’t stop with a purchase. There are upsells, repeat purchases, cross-sells, and even churn to consider.

Principle #34: Follow the rule of 7

People need to hear about your brand or see your brand 7 times before they’ll convert into a customer. In other words, you need to be everywhere if you want to win market share.

With every company having similar products and services, people have a hard time deciding who to buy from. If your brand is more prevalent, people are more likely to choose you.

Make sure you are leveraging as many proven marketing channels as possible.

Conclusion

Some of the principles above may seem obvious to you while others may not. But you’ll find that both you and your team will make many of the mistakes no matter how obvious they seem.

Whether it is the principles above or your own, consider creating a list of your own for your team to follow. And it shouldn’t just be for marketing. I have lots of principles… especially in regards to entrepreneurship.

So what other principles should marketers follow? Just leave a comment below with some of the principles you follow.

The post The 34 Marketing Principles I Live By appeared first on Neil Patel.

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How to Build Links When No One Will Link to You

How to Build Links When No One Will Link to You

link building

Are you frustrated that no one will link to you? Have you tried all of the basic link building methods like email outreach to find out that none of them are working for you?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Everyone says you need to write amazing content to build links. And although that helps, what if I told you it isn’t a requirement.

Yes, link building is hard, but not impossible.

And if you are struggling to build links, here are the tactics you need to follow… even if your website, product, or content aren’t as good as your competition, these tactics will work.

Tactic #1: Link Intersect

If you email a site asking for a link, the chances are they are going to ignore it. I get these requests all the time… and I ignore them too.

But on the flip side, if you emailed someone that linked to 3 or 4 of your competitors there is a good chance they will also link to you.

When someone links to a few of your competitors, this tells you that they don’t mind linking to sites within your industry and that they are more open to linking to more sites as they already link to 3 competitors.

So how do you find sites who link to at least 3 of your competitors?

The way you do this is by heading over to Ahrefs and selecting their “Link Intersect” feature (it is under the “more” navigation menu option).

link intersect

You’ll want to enter your 3 closest competitors and then your domain at the bottom. This will generate a report of sites that link to your competition but not you.

link intersect report

From there you’ll want to drill down to specific pages to see what pages are linking to your competition.

link intersect drill

As you find common sites that link to a few of your competitors, you’ll have to dig in to figure out in what context they are linking out.

For example, if someone is linking to your all of your competitors’ blogs in a resource page, you have to make sure you have a blog before hitting them up. Because if you don’t, why would they add you to the list?

Once you find a handful of sites that are a good fit, you should email the site owner, build a conversation, and then ask for a link.

Here’s an example that my team used for a site that I own:

link intersect email

And here was the response we got:

response link intersect

We use this tactic at scale. For every 100 websites that we emailed we picked up 9.7 links. We got this ratio for sites in a competitive niche and we aren’t using my name.

Tactic #2: Image link building

People love images… just look at social networks like Instagram. They’ve built a multi-billion-dollar company by encouraging people to take more photos.

As you’re blogging, you should consider using custom images on your site. If you aren’t a great designer, no worries, you can just use tools like Canva. Or if you have a bit of money to spend, you can always head to Fiverr and spend a few bucks paying someone to create custom images.

A good example of this is how I created a handful of custom graphs about Facebook for this blog post. The graphs look something like this:

facebook image

Over time, you’ll notice that other sites will take your images without linking to you. This may sound bad, but in reality, it is great because you can reach out to each of those sites and tell them to give you credit and link back.

Note, I am not telling you to “ask,” I am telling you to enforce that they need to link back to you.

Here’s how you find all of the people who have taken your images.

First, head over to Google Image Search. Once you land there, click on the camera icon.

google images

Once you click it, you’ll see a box that looks like this:

google image search

From there you will either want to paste in the URL with your custom image or upload it. And once you hit search you’ll see a list of sites who have taken your image.

image results

Some of these sites will have linked to you while others may have not. For the ones that have not linked to you, email them something that goes like this…

Subject: Copyright infringement – [name of their site]

Hey [their first name],

I noticed on this url [insert the url on their site that has used your image without linking back] you used an image that I created, and the rights of that image are owned by me.

I don’t mind you using it, but please link to back to [URL on your site where the image could be found] and give me credit. I spent a lot of time and money creating the images on my site, and I would appreciate it if people knew that it was originally created by me.

Please make this change in the next 72 hours.

Thanks

[insert your name]

Out of all of the link tactics mentioned in this post, this one has the highest success rate. It’s close to 100%.

If you email someone and they don’t link back, try them a few more times.

As your site grows in popularity, more people will steal your images, which will make it easier to build backlinks.

Tactic #3: Link reclamation

As your website gets older, you’ll notice that people will naturally mention you and your company. But when they mention your company name they won’t always link to you.

So why not email all of these people and ask them to turn the mention into a link?

It’s a simple strategy, and it works really well.

Just think of it this way, if someone has mentioned you or your company without you having to convince them, it typically means they already like what they see.

So, when you email them, not only will they feel flattered, but there is a high probability they will respond as well.

This means it will be easy for you to convince them to link to you.

But when you shoot off the email, I highly recommend that you also share the content that mentions you on the social web and let them know that you did this.

Here’s an example email:

Subject: I’m honored, thanks [insert their first name]

Hey [insert their first name],

I’m flattered! I really appreciate you mentioning me on your site [insert link to the article that mentions you but doesn’t contain a link].

I just wanted to let you know that I shared your article on Twitter to show my appreciation.

On a side note, I would appreciate it if you adjusted the mention of my name, “[insert your name]” and turned it into a link that pointed people to [URL of your site].

Cheers,

[insert your name]

PS: Let me know if I can do anything for you

Your success rate should be well over 50%. For me, my rate is close to 83%, but again a lot of people in marketing know who I am, so your success rate will be lower.

The key to leveraging this tactic is to email people right when they publish a post that mentions your site but doesn’t contain a link.

If you ask people to add a link to a post that is older than 6 months, you’ll find yourself generating only 1 link for every 5 or 6 emails you send.

In other words, if you want a high success rate, you need to be on top of it. The easiest way is to create alerts using Buzzsumo.

Just sign in and click on “monitoring.” Then click on “create new alert.”

buzzsumo monitor

Then click “brand mentions.”

alert

Fill out the name of your site or company. Make sure you also add any misspellings.

alert details

Select how you want to be notified anytime someone mentions you.

alert emails

Click finish, and you’ll then see a see a report that shows you how many mentions there are over the last week, month or even 2 months. As well as a list of sites that mentioned you.

mention report

report list

Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, but you should try and email people within 24 hours of having a brand mention. That’ll give you the highest chance of generating a link.

Tactic #4: Performance-based press

Do you want mentions on sites like TechCrunch and Entrepreneur? And no, I am not talking about guest posts.

Well, of course, you want to be mentioned on those sites. But how?

There are companies like PRserve that offer performance-based press. If they get your press, then you pay. If they don’t, you won’t spend a dollar.

The cool part about PRserve is that it is a real legitimate PR agency. They don’t sell links, they aren’t familiar with link building, and they don’t leverage author accounts or guest posts. They pitch editors to write about you and your company.

These editors will either say yes or no. If they say no, again, you don’t pay a dollar. If they say yes, PRserve charges you a performance-based fee that ranges depending on the site (you’ll negotiate this rate with them in advance).

Now, there is one big thing to note about PRserve. There is no guarantee that when they get you an article there will be a link to your company. For example, if they convince TechCrunch to blog about you, there is no guarantee that TechCrunch will link to your site. They will mention you, but again there is no guarantee of a link.

But if you take this strategy and combine it with tactic 3, you should easily be able to turn that mention into a link.

As for all of the tactics, this one is my favorite. The reason being is that it drives revenue.

When sites like Venture Beat and TechCrunch cover you, expect to get more leads, sales, and traffic.

The guy I’ve dealt with at PRserve is named Chris. He typically knows before taking on a project what he can produce and how long it will take. As a heads up, things move a bit slow, but that is because he is actually pitching editors of big publications who tend to have busy schedules.

Tactic #5: Infographics

You’ve heard me talk about infographics before, but this tactic has a slight spin.

See, whenever you create content (whether it is blog posts, videos, podcasts) there is no guarantee that it will do well.

Here’s a screenshot of some my latest blog posts…

np blogs

As you can see from the image above, some posts have done much better than others. You can tell by the number of comments on each post (the higher the comment count, in general, the more popular the post was).

Can you guess why some posts have done better than others?

I put in a lot of time to each of my posts, so that’s not it. To be honest, no one really knows the answer. Content marketing tends to be a hit or miss, in which some of your content will do really well and others won’t.

You are going to have many more misses than hits, which is why I am about to explain a strategy that will only produce hits (at least from a link perspective).

I want you to go to Ahrefs, click on “content explorer,” and type in keywords related to your space.

content explorer

Ahrefs will show you all of the popular articles based off of social shares and links. Look for articles that contain at least 100 backlinks.

Here’s an article I found in the content marketing vertical that has over 3,600 backlinks.

hubspot

What’ll you’ll want to do is read that post and turn it into an infographic.

You’ll need to cite the original source. You can easily do this by adding their logo to the footer of the infographic and include the text “data provided by.”

If you don’t know how to create an infographic, you can pay people on Fiverr or you can use tools like Infogram.

Once you create the infographic, publish it on your blog and, of course, link to the original source. Now you’ll want to email each of the sites that linked to the original article and mention how you have turned it into an infographic. You’ll even want to give them the embed code.

The email would go something like this…

Subject: I think you need to see this

[insert their first name], would you agree people are more visual learners?

Well of course you do. We all tend to learn better from looking at visuals than reading text. 🙂

I noticed you linked to [insert the article they linked to] and I get why. It is an amazing resource for your readers. I also enjoyed it, which is why I turned it into an infographic.

[insert link to your infographic]

If you think it will help your readers digest the information, feel free to embed it within your blog.

Oh, and if you are wondering where you linked to [name of the article they linked to], it’s here [URL of on their website that links out].

Cheers,

[insert your name]

PS: Let me know if I can do anything for you.

This approach to link building requires a bit of work, but it works really well. The reason being is you are taking out the guesswork of what people love.

As long as you pick informational articles that can be turned into infographics and these articles have at least 100 links, you’ll be able to generate links.

Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, but you need to go after articles with at least 100 links. Some of the sites linking in will be junk and not everyone will embed your infographic… so going after a site with 100 links, in general, should help you build 16 or 17 links.

If you also don’t know how to create an embed code for your infographic, just use this WordPress plugin.

A good working example of this strategy is this science of social timing infographic we created. The data was originally gathered by Dan Zarrella. We just turned it into a visual graphic. This strategy helped me generate 1,070 backlinks.

infographic links

Tactic #6: Moving Man Method

Do you know how many businesses shut down each year? I don’t know the exact number, but it has to be a lot because 7 out of 10 businesses fail.

When these businesses shut down it opens up a lot of link opportunities… hence broken link building exists. But today I’m not going to teach you about broken link building as you are already familiar with it.

Instead, I am going to share with you a similar strategy, that has a slight twist, called the Moving Man Method. It was created by my friend, Brian Dean and it has helped him generated high domain authority links.

If you want to leverage the Moving Man Method, you need to find businesses who:

  • Changed their name
  • Stopped updating resources
  • Discontinued products and services
  • Are slowly letting their business die as they are running out of money
  • Have announced that they are going out of business (but haven’t yet)

Brian used this strategy to get a DA 87 link.

backlinko example

If you want to leverage the Moving Man Method you need to first find sites within your space that have done one of the 5 things above.

For example, in the marketing space, Search Engine Watch used to be a popular research site within the marketing community, but since they got bought out years ago the current owners haven’t done much with it. The business isn’t doing well, and they don’t put much time into it.

And Blueglass was once a popular SEO agency until they shut down their main US operations. Here are some sample emails Brian sent to gain links.

outreach

In most cases, people respond because you are helping them ensure their site stays up to date by not linking to URLs that won’t benefit their readers and, secondly, you are giving them a new option to link to, so they don’t have to waste time finding a replacement.

And here’s the response Brian got:

email response

This strategy works similar to broken link building. All you have to do is take the link that meets one of the 5 requirements above and put it into Ahrefs.

search engine watch

Conclusion

I know link building is hard. I’ve been where you are today. You spend countless hours trying to build links, but for some reason, you just can’t convince anyone to link to you.

No matter how tempting it sounds, don’t take shortcuts by buying links. Focus on long-term strategies as it will ensure that you will do better in Google in the long run.

And if you are struggling, start off with the first tactic I mentioned in this post. It tends to be effective and you can leverage it at scale.

Tactic 2 and 5 take a bit more effort, but they also work really well. For example, the infographic I showcased in tactic 5 has more backlinks than the original article. 😉

Tactic 3 and 4 also work, but they won’t generate you hundreds of backlinks. You should still leverage them as the more links you get the better off you are. You just have to be patient with these two.

And lastly, tactic 6 works well too, but you can’t always control the timing. Reason being is you have to wait for sites within your industry to meet one of the 5 requirements I gave you in tactic 6.

If you are struggling to build links, use all of these tactics. They work well and you’ll notice results within 30 days.

Are you struggling to build links? Have you tried any of the tactics I mentioned above?

The post How to Build Links When No One Will Link to You appeared first on Neil Patel.

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DIS Alumna Gives Keynote Address at Lessons From Abroad Conference

DIS Alumna Gives Keynote Address at Lessons From Abroad Conference

Students had an opportunity to meet professionals in the field of study abroad and discuss strategies on how to use their study abroad experience when applying for jobs or taking the next step after graduation.

DIS was represented by speakers Lauren Prunkl, alumna from Spring 2017, and staff member and alumna, Alison Ryncarz.

Lauren, keynote speaker of the conference, spoke about how DIS shaped her career path through the professional connections she made in the classroom and on her Field Studies. Alison facilitated a session on strategies for finding a job after graduation.

During her time as a student at DIS, Lauren was in the Sustainable Development in Northern Europe Core Course and took sustainability and urban design courses during her semester. Her favorite course, Strategies for Urban Livability, “steered [her] direction toward a professional career in urban planning.”

In this class, Lauren met Ole Kassow, founder of the Danish non-profit organization Cycling Without Age, which gives senior citizens in Copenhagen free bike rides throughout the city. Lauren’s class took local nursing home residents out for a ride in the city, which inspired Lauren to bring this organization back to Greenville, South Carolina. Lauren maintained her connection with Ole Kassow, who ended up visiting Lauren and Furman University when he was in North Carolina.

Lauren now works as a Coordinator and Quantitative Analyst at Furman University’s Collaborative for Community-Engaged Learning and, outside of work, is developing the Cycling Without Age program in Greenville. Lauren’s keynote address showed how the connections she pursued during her semester abroad grew to influence her professional career track.

Following the event, Alison shared, “The conference was a great opportunity for students to ask questions, brainstorm, and discuss with both peers and professionals how to make the most of the experience they just had abroad. Lauren’s story seemed to speak to a lot of the students – she showed how a simple conversation could grow into a professional relationship and even influence her career goals.”

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Recent DIS Faculty Accomplishments

Recent DIS Faculty Accomplishments

DIS is proud to have faculty that teach what they do. Alongside teaching at DIS, most faculty have careers that allow them to conduct research, manage companies, work on projects, and meet with clients.

Faculty member and brain researcher Troels W. Kjær, MD and Ph.D. has recently written a new book published by Politikens Forlag, titled ‘Klæbehjerne: Bliv bedre til at huske’ (which translates to, ‘Retentive Memory: Get better at remembering’). In ‘Klæbehjerne,’ Troels – in collaboration with journalist Anne-Mette Futtrup – examines how the brain can grow bigger and stronger through training. The book provides methods on how to learn to remember better, as well as three training programs to introduce lifestyle changes to benefit memory.

>> Read about Troel’s course: Human Health and Disease: A Clinical Approach

>> Apply to be a research assistant in Troels’ research group

>> Learn more about Faculty Troels W. Kjær’s book, ‘Klæbehjerne’

Faculty member Martin Rasmussen contributed to a new book: ‘Kreml i krig: Ruslands brug af militær magt’ (which translates to ‘Krelin in war: Russia’s use of military power’), published by Djøf Forlag. In this book, Danish Russian and military researchers investigate the question: What has Russia’s role been in the wars and conflicts of the post-Soviet era, and how can Russian behavior be explained? The book uses an interdisciplinary approach and its analysis draws on theories of Russian strategic culture, new war, and hybrid warfare.

Read about Martin’s courses:
>> Shadow Wars: Fake News and Hybrid Warfare
>> Partners and Rivals: EU-U.S. Relations
>> Enemy Within: Spies and Espionage in the Cold War
>> Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism from a European Perspective

>> Learn more about ‘Kreml i krig

Faculty member Charlotte Diamant was interviewed on the Danish TV program, ‘Mød dit urmenneske – forældre og børn’ (which translates to ‘Meet your primal human – parents and kids’). The show is about the relationship between parent and child, and why this relationship is essential for humanity’s survival.

>> Read about Charlotte’s course: Developmental Disorders

>> See Charlotte on TV

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Move Over SEO: How Developers Can Generate You More Traffic

Move Over SEO: How Developers Can Generate You More Traffic

developers

I’m a marketer. I know more about traffic generation than most others, and I surely know more about marketing than developers.

But what if I told you that developers can generate you more traffic than an SEO or any other type of marketer?

And no, it’s not because the developer implements changes to your site… they are just able to produce more traffic.

What’s crazy about this is that it’s cheaper in the long run than paying marketers.

Most of you know that I have an ad agency, Neil Patel Digital. And although I always want more big companies to pay us, typically a developer can generate you more traffic than I (or any other ad agency) can drive.

It sounds bad, but it’s true.

Here’s what I mean…

My traffic growth

I’ve shown you my traffic over time. You already know I get a lot of traffic, but, in case you forget, here’s my latest traffic numbers:

traffic np 31 days

In the last 31 days, you’ve helped me generate 1,864,246 unique visitors and 4,764,739 pageviews. That’s not too shabby!

Even at my level, I still haven’t tapped out as only 25.1% of my traffic is repeat visitors.

Now, can you guess how much traffic I had during the beginning of the year?

jan traffic

808,747 unique visitors.

So how have I grown from 808,747 to 1,864,246 in 10 or so months?

Well, one thing that helped was the purchase of the KISSmetrics blog. By combining both of the blogs together, I instantly increased my traffic.

It helped me generate an extra 510,442 visitors per month.

kissmetrics

But that’s not what I am talking about when I say developers can drive you more traffic with SEO.

There was another thing I did this year which really helped my traffic grow… more than the KISSmetrics blog purchase.

Can you guess what it is?

Ubersuggest.

How much traffic does Ubersuggest generate?

I bought Ubersuggest back in early 2017, and I ended up merging the tool into NeilPatel.com in February 2018.

The moment I merged the tool into NeilPatel.com, here’s what happened to my traffic (keep in mind the last month is on a partial month):

ubersuggest traffic

My traffic went from 808,747 to a bit more than 1,176,243 visitors a month between February and March.

The original Ubersuggest (version 1.0) doesn’t look anything like what it looks today. It looked more like this:

keyword overview

And…

suggestions

The original tool cost $120,000 to acquire and $15,000 on development to clean up the code, add some simple features, and merge it into NeilPatel.com. In addition to that, I had API expenses that cost me around $2,000 a month.

That alone got me Ubersuggest 1.0.

Now I didn’t have to buy the tool, I could have created something from scratch like my SEO Analyzer, which I am currently redoing and merging into Ubersuggest.

The first version of the SEO Analyzer cost me around $30,000 and since then I have continually spent more to improve it.

seo analyzer

As you can see from the graph, the SEO Analyzer has driven me 435,115 unique visitors so far this year. And those visitors generated 3,143,220 pageviews.

The best part about the SEO Analyzer is that it is easier to maintain than my blog. It only costs $1,173 a month for hosting.

All in all, tools have generated me more consistent traffic than anything else. I don’t have to worry about social media algorithms or Google updates… people just keep using them even when you stop putting effort into them.

How hard is to generate traffic through tools?

At this point, you are probably wondering how hard it is to market these tools. Because if you pay a developer, they probably won’t just get instantly popular.

And you are right, they won’t.

But it isn’t rocket science. If you build something that is somewhat decent, it will naturally gain popularity.

All you have to do is write a blog post or two about your tool and just be patient. If you can get others to blog about your tool, it will, of course, help even more.

Just look at Ubersuggest. It has continually grown even though I haven’t done much marketing for it till the last 30 days.

search console

As you can see during the earlier months it kept growing in popularity just because I kept it up and running.

If you don’t have an audience as I do, what I’ve found is people will mention your tool if you just email them. I know link building is tough, but not when you are giving away free tools.

You can search Google for list-based posts within your industry. Some of these lists will focus on or include other tools. Just email out people and see if they will mention your tool.

Hey John,

I love JohnChow.com and I have to say I am a huge fan for years.

I know you are busy so I will get to the point. I noticed that you wrote a blog post called “10 Marketing Tools You Ought to Use” but I noticed that most of those tools cost money.

I recently released a free marketing tool called Ubersugget and it helps people get more traffic from Google for free. 🙂

Let me know what you think of the tool and I would be honored if you included it in your list.

Cheers,

Neil Patel

In addition to that, you can always put your tool on Product Hunt.

When I wrote a blog post about the latest release (Ubersuggest 2.0) and then I got on Product Hunt, I saw a big spike in traffic and usage.

new traffic

Over time, the traffic normalized and came down… but as you can see from the graph above, the traffic is still better off than before.

Best of all, it is also causing my brand signals to go up, which is a huge factor in Google’s algorithm.

Just look at the chart from Google Trends. I am catching up to Buzzsumo and Ahrefs fast. SEMrush, on the other hand, is still crushing me.

google trends

The crazy experiment

You guys know I am crazy, or at least my friends say I am. So, in the spirit of craziness, I thought it would be fun to make Ubersuggest a good marketing tool instead of something that was mediocre.

You’ve already seen how I have cleaned up the UI and added data from sources like Facebook.

keyword ideas

And just by doing that I got a 38.12% increase in branded traffic.

comparison

In the next few weeks, I am going to make the tool even better by adding more keyword ideas.

I am going to take concepts from Answers the Public and start showing comparison and question-related keywords.

answers the public

From there I am going to add traffic estimation data on URLs, which I hope to release by the end of the year.

That way, you’ll be able to type in a URL and get data on how many visitors from Google a site is generating as well as their top keywords and pages.

ubersuggest overview

And then I am going to add all of Buzzsumo’s features.

ubersuggest ideas

The overall goal is to keep releasing new features, and then announce them each time.

As I do this, my brand queries and traffic should increase each time. This is how I am going to grow from 1.8 million unique visitors to 3 million by the end of 2019 (that’s at least my personal goal).

Conclusion

It really is easier to grow your traffic by just paying a developer to create free tools than it is to pay marketers.

I know I am a bit crazy and am spending more than most people are comfortable with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow in my footsteps.

Just go on Google and search for “scripts” within your industry. For example, if you are in the real estate industry, search for “mortgage calculator scripts”.

You can do this for any industry.

You’ll find tools that you can buy for a few hundred dollars (sometimes even for free) and use the code and just put it on your website. This will allow you to have a tool that you can release for free with little to no effort.

Now, I will warn you that you won’t do as well as me because I am spending a ton of money on development. But you will probably do better in the long run than just burning money on ads.

In an ideal world, you should release tools, do SEO, run paid ads, send promotional emails, etc. In other words, you should use all of the channels out there to grow your business. Especially leveraging developers!

So what do you think about the concept of generating traffic through developers? Are you going to start leveraging it?

The post Move Over SEO: How Developers Can Generate You More Traffic appeared first on Neil Patel.

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DIS Stockholm Campus Featured in Architects Sweden’s Industry Report 2018

DIS Stockholm Campus Featured in Architects Sweden’s Industry Report 2018

Swedish Architecture firm In Praise of Shadow designed the DIS Stockholm space. Showcased in the report is their work – a hallway and study space which connects classrooms at DIS. Facts about Sweden’s most important trading partners in the architecture sector – Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Japan – overlay the photograph.

Architects Sweden is an organization and union for architects, interior architects, landscape architects, and spatial planners working in Sweden.


Photo: Sveriges Arkitekters Branschrapport 2018

>> Read the Architects Sweden’s Industry Report 2018 – DIS is featured on pages 32 and 33 (report is in Swedish)

>> Learn more about the architecture firm In Praise of Shadow

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My Failed Attempt at SEO (And What I’ve Learned)

My Failed Attempt at SEO (And What I’ve Learned)

seo failure

Did you know that I’ve failed at SEO before?

No, I’m not talking about when I first started my career. This was when I knew SEO like the back of my hand.

I’m talking about when I was good enough to get sites ranked on page 1… that’s when I really failed at SEO.

And boy was it was heartbreaking!

Let’s just say this: I was able to rank a site on page 1 of Google for the term “online poker” and then my rankings tank. Not because of a Google penalty but from something I never expected.

But before I go into what I learned, let’s first go over how it all started…

Online Poker Lowdown

online poker lowdown

Back in 2010, I bought an old poker site that was never really updated. It was called Online Poker Lowdown. Funny enough, the site is still up today even though I don’t own it.

The reason I bought it was because it ranked in the top 1,000 for the term “online poker.” The site just needed some updating.

If you are wondering how I found it, I was Googling for the term “online poker,” and I hit up a dozen or so sites who were ranking between page 30 and 100 for the term and bought the cheapest one.

And the reason I went after the poker industry was that back then a lot of us thought it was going to be legalized in the United States. So, if I could rank at the top, I would have a site that would eventually be worth a lot of money… assuming I was patient.

My first blog post

I published my first blog back in November 2010. It was called, the top 5 poker mistakes you’ll make.

poker mistakes

The blog post wasn’t the standard 2,000 plus words that I write these days, but it was long enough for 2010. Keep in mind, there weren’t as many blogs back then so it wasn’t as competitive.

But this blog post did well, there were 31 comments:

comments poker

And over time, the blog continually grew as I published more content.

My path to growing Online Poker Lowdown

I wish I had the analytics for the site still, but I don’t.

If my memory serves me correctly (and usually it does), the site capped out at roughly 41,000 unique visitors a month all from 104 blog posts.

And at one point I even ranked number 7 on page 1 for the term “online poker.”

The best part of all, it didn’t even take me a year to achieve those results.

Keep in mind that back then you could get rankings much faster than you can now. But still, it was pretty fast even for 2010/2011.

So how did I get my rankings and traffic so high in such a competitive space?

It wasn’t the content, it was the backlinks.

Google’s algorithm was much easier to predict back then and links impacted rankings more than anything else.

Now you are wondering how I got all of these people to link to me. Like today, no one wanted to link to poker sites… even back in 2011.

It was from writing posts like this.

top 30 blogs

By creating list-based posts of the top blogs within the poker industry, it was easy for me to get them to link back to me.

If you want to do something similar, it’s not as simple as writing a blog that includes the top 30 or even 100 blogs within your industry.

  1. Your post needs to be detailed – I know the example I showed on Online Poker Lowdown isn’t detailed. Times have changed. If your list-based post isn’t as in-depth and thorough as possible it won’t work nearly as well. For example, if you list out the pros and cons of the site and why you included it, that would be much better than just writing a few paragraphs and linking to dozens of sites.
  2. You need to include images – when listing out the top 100 blogs within your industry, make sure you include an image for each blog. This one little thing will add a bit of flair to your post.
  3. Your list needs to be long – a top 30 list isn’t as effective as writing a top 100 or top 500 list.
  4. Your list needs to be of bloggers – don’t list out the top 100 sites, it needs to be blogs. Bloggers are much more open to linking back to you.

Once you publish your list-based post you’ll need to drive a ton of traffic to it within 7 days of it being published. Back in the day, I drove traffic to the Online Poker Lowdown top 30 poker blogs post by paying for StumbleUpon ads.

But that is no longer an option as StumbleUpon doesn’t exist anymore.

You can still drive traffic through Reddit ads, Quora ads, Twitter ads, and Facebook Ads though. These options are technically better than StumbleUpon as they have better targeting options.

Even if your blog is popular, I would still recommend that you pay for ads… even if it is just 50 dollars. By paying for ads, it ensures your blog post gets read by hopefully a few thousand new people if not more.

You don’t need the highest quality traffic either, you just need visitors who are somewhat interested in your content.

The more people that read your post, the more will click through to one of the top blogs you mentioned. And the more people that click through to their site, the more of them will notice your blog when they analyze their referral traffic.

In other words, when they see a spike in their Google Analytics account, they’ll notice that the extra traffic came from your blog.

This will put your blog on their radar!

Now, on the 7th day of your blog post being live, you’ll want to email each website that you included.

The email should go something like this…

Hey John,

I just wanted to congratulate you for having an amazing blog. I loved OnlinePoker.org so much that I included in my list of the top 100 poker blogs. [insert link to your blog post]

There are so many junk sites in the poker space, but yours truly stands out. I love how you go into great detail about poker strategy and you have some infographics breaking down how casinos make their money.

Hope you got some nice traffic from me… the blog post was pretty popular and well received by the poker community.

If you want to showcase your accomplishment, feel free and mention it to your readers. Or you can just place this badge on your blog.

poker badge

[insert embed code for the badge, which should also contain a link back to your site]

Cheers,

Neil Patel

You’re going to have to customize the email and then, of course, make a badge that looks much nicer and is smaller. But you get the point.

This one strategy really boosted my backlink count and skyrocketed me to the top. It still works today, but if you are going to leverage it there are a few things you should know:

  1. Your post needs at least 10,000 visitors – only a portion of your visitors will click through to some of the top sites you mentioned. The more people that read your post the better, so make sure to drive at least 10,000 visitors. If you need to use ads, use them because if only a few thousand people read your post it won’t work nearly as well.
  2. You need to create a badge – make one that is much prettier, simpler, and smaller than the example I showed. Without a badge and embed code, you’ll barely generate any links.
  3. Send follow up emails – for all of the people that don’t open up your email and respond, send them a follow-up email within 3 days asking them to share your content on the social web. The email should look something like the one below.

Hey John,

I’m not sure if you saw the email I sent you a few days ago. I just wanted to congratulate you for having an amazing poker blog. I included OnlinePoker.org as one of the top 100 poker blogs in the world. [insert link to your blog post]

Your blog truly stands out as you have gone above and beyond by creating content like infographics explaining how Las Vegas casinos work.

Hope you got some nice traffic from me… the blog post was pretty popular and well received by the poker community.

I know you are busy, but I would love it if you could share the article on your favorite social network.

Let me know if I can do anything for you. Or if you want me to update the post to showcase anything else that makes OnlinePoker.org unique just let me know.

Cheers,

Neil Patel

By combing those two emails with the promotions steps I break down in this blog post, you’ll notice that you’ll generate backlinks and social shares.

That’s how I was able to rank on page 1 for one of the most competitive terms.

So why was Online Poker Lowdown a failure?

I broke down how I climbed to the page 1 of Google for “online poker” and as you can see from some of the posts people were engaging with the content.

So why did Online Poker Lowdown fail from an SEO standpoint?

It’s because I didn’t know what I was talking about. See, I know very little about poker, and I hired mediocre writers to help me out.

Although I got the content to rank, my user signals were terrible.

When people landed on the site, many of them would hit the back button, so they could go back to Google and find a better site.

Just think of it this way: If your site has a terrible bounce rate, this tells Google that people don’t care for your site.

Although you may have “optimized” your site for search engines, it doesn’t really matter because people don’t care for your content, and this tells Google that your site isn’t as good as the competition.

Once my rankings started to drop I panicked, and I immediately reached out to a few poker players and I got their feedback.

They all told me the same thing… the content wasn’t great and if they were looking to learn poker all over again, the blog posts aren’t actionable enough to make someone a decent poker player.

They even broke down how I needed to teach scenarios within my content and tell people what they should do when they are dealt with specific hands like what to do you do if you were starting off with a pair of 2s.

For someone not knowing much about poker and because I wasn’t passionate about the topic, I threw in the towel and I sold the blog for a few thousand dollars.

The big lesson I learned was that knowing SEO isn’t enough. Even if you can build links, write content, and climb to the top of Google fast, you won’t stay if people hate your content (or product/service).

Google cares what people think first and foremost.

So, if you can’t create something people will love, your bounce rate is going to be high and you’ll find that it will be hard to get drive steady organic traffic.

Conclusion

This was my worst SEO failure.

When I started Online Poker Lowdown, I was good at SEO and I was a bit too arrogant. I never expected that not being a subject matter expert would really hurt me.

I know there were other solutions that I could have taken, such as partnering up with someone who knew poker (which I tried), but I quickly learned that if people aren’t passionate about the topic it won’t work.

People can tell by your content. You never want to put out stuff that people think is crap. It will just make you look bad.

Plus, when you are passionate about a topic, the writing is different. From the way you’ll tell stories to how you break down actionable steps or how you mix in life experiences… it’s hard to do these things when you aren’t an expert.

Don’t do what I did by popping up sites to make a quick buck. Build something real that you can be proud of.

So, what do you think of my SEO failure? Did you expect it to end this way?

The post My Failed Attempt at SEO (And What I’ve Learned) appeared first on Neil Patel.

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A Blog Isn’t a Blog, It’s a Business

A Blog Isn’t a Blog, It’s a Business

I wrote my very first blog post on July 24, 2005. That blog post is no longer live because it was terrible.

The post was called, “Winning the Search Engine Marketing War.”

It was 412 words long, contained no images, no external links, and it didn’t provide much value because it didn’t teach you anything.

But you know what, back in 2005, the blog post was pretty darn good.

See, I wasn’t competing with a lot of blogs back then. Currently, there are well over 440 million blogs and back in 2011, that number was 173 million. And in 2005, the web was still so small that there were only 64 million websites (with only a small portion of them being blogs).

In other words, my first blog post was pretty darn good because something is better than nothing. People were just happy to get some information, even though it wasn’t great.

But over the years, blogging has changed. What it used to be in 2005, isn’t what it is today.

What blogging used to be

A blog used to just be a blog.

It was a place where you would share your personal experiences with the world. From photos of the places you traveled to and blogging about the food you ate to even sharing personal information about your family life…

In 2005, social networks weren’t popular. Facebook launched in 2004, but it wasn’t what it is now. And sites like MySpace focused heavily on music.

As social networks evolved, people realized it was easier to share personal stories on Facebook and Instagram than it was to write a whole blog post.

instagram stories

Over 250 million people share what they are doing in their personal life each day just on Instagram. All you have to do is talk (or look) into your phone for just a few seconds. It’s really that simple.

And that’s why more of you use social networks on a daily basis than a blog.

Just think of it this way… if you wanted to update your friends on your life, is it easier for you to just upload some pictures to Facebook or is it easier for you to write a blog post?

Of course, it’s easier to just upload some photos to Facebook. It’s why Facebook is so popular.

For that reason, people started to focus their attention on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat over blogging.

So why do people continually create more blogs?

There are many reasons why blogs have grown in popularity. As I mentioned above, there are well over 400 million blogs today.

The biggest reason why blogs have grown in popularity is that you are an end user and continue consuming the content that blogs put out.

Just in the United States alone, 42.23% of people from the ages of 18 to 49 read blogs.

united states reads

And because people want to read blogs, Google has no choice but to rank them. The average page that is listed on page one of Google has 1,890 words:

word count

There are many reasons you may want to create a blog, but from someone who blogs on a weekly basis and has been for 13 years, here are the main reasons to have a blog:

  1. You control your own destiny – social networks have restricted how many of your friends actually see your content. With a blog, you have more control over your destiny. You can collect emails to get people back to your site, you can build a push notification subscriber list, you can rank your content on Google… overall, it’s just easier to get a consistent stream of traffic from a blog than it is from a social profile because you aren’t relying on 1 traffic source. This is more important than ever because the top referring sites on the web are starting to send less traffic out to other sites.
  2. Paid ads are expensive – Google generate 6 billion dollars in ad revenue in 2005 and that number shot up to 95 billion in 2017. With ad costs continually rising, you have no choice as a business but to find other traffic channels. A blog is an obvious question as Google loves ranking text-based content. Just look at Wikipedia, they rank for everything and generate 5.4 billion visits a month.
  3. Marketing has moved to an omnichannel approach – there are currently 1,766,926,408 websites on the web. In 2005 that number was only 64,780,617. That’s a 2,627% increase. That means you as a business have more competition online, which gives consumers more choices. Why should someone choose you over the competition? Well, branding plays a huge part, if you can get a consumer to see or hear about your brand 7 times they are much more likely to be a customer. A blog creates another additional touchpoint.

A blog isn’t a blog, it’s a business

As more sites have come online, SEO has become more competitive. Yes, more people are using Google, but they are searching for the same popular terms.

With Ubersuggest, we have a database of 646,777,704 keywords.

word database

And out of those keywords, only 15,301,405 keywords generate a search volume of an excess of 10,000 searches per month.

As more people come online, it doesn’t mean that they search for brand new keywords. It just means that the popular terms get even more popular.

That’s why it is harder to get people to come to your site over the competition because you are competing with more companies to get those eyeballs.

See, as SEO has become more competitive, you have no choice but to treat it as a business. It takes time and money to produce content. It takes time and money to promote your content. And then once you have those visitors, it takes more time and money to convert those visitors into paying customers.

In other words, because it is so competitive, you won’t do that well unless you put in tons of time or money (or ideally both).

Just look at Quick Sprout, the marketing blog I don’t put much money into it. Even though it’s older than NeilPatel.com, it generates a lot less traffic.

quicksprouttraffic

NeilPatel.com blog generates 693% more traffic because I put over 6 figures into the blog each month (mainly in developing free tools and creating audio and video content), and I treat it like a business.

neil patel traffic

Conclusion

Look, I am not trying to persuade you into not building a blog. But I believe most companies should have a blog. And if you don’t have one, just follow this guide to get up and running.

A blog is the only way you are going to rank well on Google and generate traffic without directly paying for it by using Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.

But if you want to do well, you can’t treat your blog like a “blog”… you have to treat it like a business. If you don’t, then you won’t do well.

Here are the 3 important steps you need to take if you want to do well:

  1. Focus on writing amazing content consistently – it’s not about writing one or two amazing posts… you have to be consistently awesome. The market is so competitive, you can’t write 400-word blog posts as I did in 2005. Sure, if you are in a new niche with no competition, by all means, write 400-word posts, but the chances are you are going to eventually have some competition. And if you don’t have the time, you should just hire a writer to help you out.
  2. Promote your content – after you have content, you’ll have to promote it. Promotion isn’t easy but I’ve broken it down into 4 steps for you. Just follow them and you’ll do well.
  3. Focus on monetization last – most bloggers who get this far face one big problem… as their traffic increases their revenue typically stays flat. Just because you have more visitors, it doesn’t guarantee an increase in revenue. Towards the end of this blog post, I teach you how to convert those visitors into leads and customers. Follow them.
  4. Don’t forget about voice – I know I said you only have to follow 3 steps, but if you’ve followed all of them successfully, you’ll need to start thinking about voice. 40% of adults use voice search daily, so don’t take it for granted. Follow this guide to ensure that you capture the voice search market share before your competition.

What do you think about blogging? Are you going to start taking it seriously?

The post A Blog Isn’t a Blog, It’s a Business appeared first on Neil Patel.

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