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How to Dominate Google in 2019

How to Dominate Google in 2019

google

You’ve already experienced it… SEO is becoming harder and harder.

As time goes on, it takes longer to rank and you have to spend more money to get the results you want.

But the reality is, you can’t wait forever to get results. And you have no choice but to leverage SEO as a tactic because everyone else is doing it.

So, what should you do?

Well, the first thing you need to do is adjust how you think about SEO. SEO isn’t only about rankings. To be honest, I don’t even track them for my own site. It’s about getting the right kind of traffic.

You know, the visitors who are ready to buy.

So, instead of teaching you how to rank for competitive head terms, which is going to be even more difficult in 2019, I’m going to break down a formula that will give you much faster results and sales in this ultra-competitive environment.

And best of all, I am going to break it down into 4 steps as I know you don’t have the time to do everything.

Here’s the 4-step SEO strategy you should follow in 2019:

Step #1: Attract customers before they are ready to buy

The most expensive keywords to go after are buyer intent keywords. You know, the ones where someone types in a keyword and is ready to spend money right then and there.

And that will always be the case. Not just from an SEO standpoint, but even a pay per click standpoint.

So, what should you do… not go after these lucrative keywords?

Of course not. More so, you have to go after them no matter how long it takes to rank. You just have to be patient.

But in the short run, there are other keywords you can go after that aren’t as competitive and don’t cause a sale right away. But they do cause a sale to happen… it just takes a few weeks from when that person first lands on your site to when they buy.

So how do you find the keywords that aren’t as competitive and cause people to buy (as long as you are willing to be patient)?

You use Google Correlate.

Here’s how it works…

Let’s say you are selling beard oil but you know the term is competitive and will take you a lot longer to rank for than you have.

So what do you do?

With Google Correlate, it will show you all of the terms people search for in Google before they search for the term “beard oil.”

In other words, these are the same people who buy beard oil products… but now you are going to attract them to your site before they are even ready to buy.

Type in “beard oil” or the term you want to rank for in Google Correlate. Then, shift series to -2 weeks, which means you will be given a list of terms people search for 2 weeks before they are likely to type in “beard oil.”

And then you will get a list of terms:

google correlate

As you can see from the image above, people type in terms like beard products, best beard oil, beard balm, what is beard oil, and how to make beard oil.

If you write blog content that is super in depth about those phrases, you’ll appeal to people who also search for beard oil.

The cool part about Google Correlate is it works differently than Google Suggest or any other keyword tool because they are showing you what people search for before they are ready to buy.

And similar to how you put in -2 weeks as the shift series, you can turn it into a positive number and see what people search for weeks after looking up beard oil:

positive

You’ll notice a lot of people who search for beard oil search for oils related to coughs.

Most people who sell beard oil probably don’t think about offering oils for coughing, but it is a similar audience and it’s a great way for you to generate extra revenue from the customer base you already have.

Step #2: Land and expand

Everyone focuses on ranking for new terms. But there is an issue, it’s hard to rank for new terms.

Even though SEO has a huge ROI, it’s a strategy that requires patience.

But here is the thing, you can get results faster if you use the land and expand strategy.

Here’s how it works. Log into Google Search Console. Next, click on “performance” and you will see a list of terms that you currently rank for:

search console keywords

Then I want you to click on one of the most popular terms you already rank for and then click on pages. You should see a report that shows you the URL that ranks for the term on Google. You need this URL because you will be modifying this page.

search console pages

Now I want you to take that term and put it into Ubersuggest. Once the report loads, click on “Keyword Ideas” in the navigation. You’ll see a report that will look something like this:

ubersuggest keywords

You’ll see a laundry list of long tail phrases… I want you to take the ones that are buyer intent related and add them to the page that already ranks for the head term.

When adding the long tail phrases, make sure you adjust your content to be relevant to those keywords. And pick the ones that are highly related to your product or service. Just stuffing them into your page without adjusting the content is spammy and won’t provide a good user experience to searchers.

What you will find is that because you are already ranking for the head term, typically you will shoot to page one within 30 to 60 days for the long-tail variation by adjusting your content. It’s a quick win!

But the key to this strategy is to pick the right longtail keywords. Don’t just look at traffic numbers, focus on terms that you know will cause a sale or a lead.

Step #3: Build a brand

Google has been placing more emphasis on brands. In other words, if you have a strong brand, you’ll rank faster.

When I really started focusing on brand building, my traffic went from 240,839 in June 2016:

june traffic

To 454,382 in August 2016:

aug traffic

As the Ex-CEO of Google said:

Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

In other words, if you want to succeed on Google in the long run, you have to build a brand. As your brand grows, your search traffic will as well.

The way to monitor your brand growth is Google Trends. Type in your brand name into Google Trends as well as a few of your competitors to see how you are stacking up.

google trends

Sadly, there isn’t a quick hack to skyrocket your brand. There is, however, a formula that works for both personal and corporate brands.

So, what is the formula?

You do something that is bold!

Sure people can tell you to blog, speak at conferences, run ads… but none of that helps you build a brand that has a loyal following because everyone else is already doing the same things (or trying at least).

But what your competition isn’t doing is being bold. If you want a brand like Tony Robbins or Apple, bold is the way to go.

So how do you do something that is bold?

Well, lets first start with a personal brand (although I recommend that you build a corporate one instead).

Do the opposite

When it comes to building a personal brand, you’ll have to take the opposite approach of most people in your space. Whatever is working for them won’t work for you.

No one cares for the copycat, especially when they are satisfied with the original solution.

In other words, if you do exactly what your competitor is doing no one will care to follow you.

Let me give you examples of how to do the opposite of your competition:

  • Genuinely help people – a lot of people blog and participate on the social web, but how many people take the time to respond to their community? As far as I can tell, less than 1%. Just look at me. For years, I’ve responded to comments on my blog, Facebook, and even YouTube. I am so engaged with my community on LinkedIn that they honored me as one of their Top Voices of 2018! Most people are too lazy to do this… doing the opposite has helped me build a connection with you. And if you are wondering why I do this it’s because when I started out I had no money and people helped me. I’m just trying to do the same.
  • Writing 10x content – when I got into blogging, everyone was doing it. So I had to find a way to separate myself. I did this by writing in-depth guides… not those 5,000-word blog posts, I am talking about 30,000-word guides. On top of that, I spent money on the design so they would look beautiful.
  • Creating video content – when I got into the digital marketing community, there were already large conferences that had thousands of attendees. I thought speaking at all of them would help my brand… and they did to some extent, but I was just another speaker. But very few people in my space were creating video content… so now instead of giving speeches at conferences, I give them on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I’m able to reach more people without having to travel and the content lives on forever (and is available for free to everyone!).

That’s how I stood out from my competition and built a personal brand. And then I did it for years as brands aren’t built overnight.

If you aren’t sure on how to do the opposite of your competition when it comes to your personal brand leave a comment and I’ll try and give you some ideas.

Now let’s go into building a brand for your company… It all comes down to one thing…

Be bold

No matter what you are selling online you have competition. It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or a B2C business… you have competition, which means it is going to be hard for your brand to stand out.

So, how do you differentiate yourself?

You do so by being bold.

Let me give you an example. In the United States, there are tons of options when it comes to cell phone carriers. So how do you stand out when everyone offers the same phone and competitive pricing?

Well, T-Mobile separated themselves by offering free Netflix, unlimited data, and free roaming.

tmobile

And you don’t have to be a big company to do something bold. When Zappos started selling shoes they decided to do a few things different. First, they offered a refund policy that lasted 1 year. Just think about that… if you return a shoe to them 12 months later, the chances are it’s out of style and they won’t be able to resell it.

zappos

Then they decided to randomly upgrade their shipping. So instead of ground shipping, they would randomly upgrade you to 2-day or next-day air.

And Amazon crushed their competition the moment they rolled out their Prime program. When it first came out, you would get free 2-day shipping on all Prime products for just $99 a year. What a ridiculously amazing offer.

Now that’s being bold!

Being bold doesn’t have to break your bank account. You don’t have to do something like Amazon and T-Mobile… it can be as simple as providing amazing customer service when you are in an industry that’s known for terrible support.

If you are unsure of how you can be bold with your business, leave a comment and I will try and give you some ideas. Make sure you provide an overview of your business so I can give you halfway decent ideas. 😉

And of course, being bold won’t build your brand overnight (it takes years) but you should see growth each quarter. If you aren’t, that means you aren’t being bold enough.

Step #4: Build a better mousetrap

A mousetrap? Why would you want to build a mousetrap?

Link building is still important. Sure, Google is looking at many other factors now, but link building still helps with rankings.

But it is harder to build links than it used to be back in the day. Everyone is blogging… heck, there are over 440 million blogs and over a billion if you count Tumblr, Medium, and WordPress.com.

Yes, that means there are more sites to hit up and ask for a link but everyone is doing that.

So how do you build links when everyone is getting those spammy emails asking for a link, such as the one below?

spammy links

You have to build a better mousetrap. Something so amazing that everyone wants to link to it without you asking for a link.

It used to be detailed guides but seeing 10,000-word guides that have fancy designs are more common these days than when I started creating them.

They still work, especially when it comes to brand building, but they just aren’t as effective when it comes to link building.

Same with infographics, they used to get tons of social shares and links (they still do to some extent), but they aren’t as effective as they used to be.

So what kind of mousetrap do you need to build? You could start off with something that people are used to paying for.

For example, the consulting firm Price Intelligently released a free analytics software called ProfitWell.

With very little marketing, they were able to generate 943 backlinks from 187 domains.

profitwell

I also did this with Ubersuggest.

ubersuggest tool

I put in more effort into marketing, so I was able to generate 10,667 unique backlinks.

ubersuggest links

A great example in the consumer space (this would do wonders for e-commerce sites as well) is animated infographics. Everyone has seen infographics, so Aminagraffs decided to make their infographics animated, which caused them to go viral.

Here’s part of their infographic that breaks down how a car motor works.

car motor

Best of all, the Amimagraphs founder didn’t do any marketing… the graphic just spread. Even with no marketing, it generated 751 backlinks from 136 domains and over 200,000 visitors.

car backlinks

If you want to use old-school link building tactics, you can, they just won’t help you as much in 2019. So, get creative and build a better mousetrap.

When you build a good mousetrap, you may be worried about cost. But there is a different way to think about it…

How much would you be spending on marketing to get the same results?

People make fun of me for what I am doing with Ubersuggest and think it is silly that I can “lose” $150,000 or so a month. But if I had to buy the traffic that I get because of Ubersuggest it would cost me much more than $150,000. Even though my mousetrap is expensive, it is still cheaper than paid ads.

And you don’t have to go as far as me. Doing what Animagraffs is affordable. I paid them $750 to create an animated infographic for me. I’m not sure what they charge these days, but I bet you can find someone on the web who will do it for a few hundred bucks.

Conclusion

Instead of thinking of SEO in the traditional sense, I want you to shift your strategy.

SEO is only going to get harder, Google is going to continually change their algorithm in ways you may not like, but the one thing that is certain is the old way of doing SEO will get you results, just not in the timeframe you want.

So, follow the 4 steps above. They are unconventional, but the industry is so competitive and saturated that you have no choice but to think outside of the box.

So what other unique strategies are you going to leverage in 2019?

The post How to Dominate Google in 2019 appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Why Being the Loudest Makes You the Weakest

Why Being the Loudest Makes You the Weakest

ferrari

What’s one thing that you are constantly seeing on the web? Especially if you are on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube?

Come on, take a guess…

No, I am not talking about people taking half-naked selfies of themselves or posting their lunches. I’m talking about people showing off. From taking pictures of their cars or money and even their homes to standing in front of private jets and yachts.

You know… one of those images like the one above. And if you are wondering, that isn’t my car. A friend took that picture of me when I was at the race track… heck I don’t even drive anymore (or have any more hair!).

But do you want to know a little secret?

The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room

Now, I didn’t come up with that quote. It’s from the movie American Gangster that stars Denzel Washington.

But sadly, that doesn’t stop people from taking advice from all of the “loud” marketers our there showing off.

But I’ll let you on in a little secret…

People who really have money don’t need to run ads showing off how much cash they have and they surely don’t care what others think about them.

I learned this from my parents, as well as a few other valuable things.

So what did my parents teach me?

I didn’t grow up with money, and I didn’t have rich parents. My first job was picking up trash, cleaning restrooms, and sweeping up vomit at a theme park.

knotts berry farm

And I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me either. My life wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t grow up poor either.

My parents worked really hard as immigrants and eventually, they were able to provide a middle-class lifestyle for me and my sister.

But as I was growing up, my parents taught me that showing off only draws more attention and causes problems.

That’s why I don’t have “lifestyle” photos of myself. Heck, I don’t really even talk much about my personal life as I prefer to keep things private… as much as possible at least. That’s the main reason I don’t use Instagram.

See, when I was growing up, I was thankful for whatever I had.

tinas day care car

When I was growing up, that’s the car my parents gave me to drive. Luckily for me, my parents were generous enough not to make me pay for the car or even the gas.

Sure, the car had a sticker in the back window promoting my mom’s daycare business at the time, but I didn’t mind. When I would go to business meetings people would make fun of me but that didn’t bother me either.

Want to know why? I had a free car. 🙂

I took a business meeting in Bel Air once, which was a far drive from my parents’ house. When the meeting ended, I was one of the first people to give the valet my ticket. I remember people kept coming after me with their ticket and everyone got their cars before me.

I get it… I was driving a beat-up Honda Civic with a “Tina’s Day Care” sticker on the back.

This experience, as well as a few more similar ones, taught me that people make assumptions based on appearances.

And that’s what you are doing when it comes to getting marketing and entrepreneurship advice.

Don’t believe me?

I know what you are thinking… “no Neil, I don’t believe those ads on YouTube of people showing off their homes and fancy cars.”

And I know you don’t believe them because they are running ads or selling get rich quick products. But let me ask you a question.

Who would you rather take advice from?

A random kid who does magic tricks for fun, barely has any money, and is telling you how to grow your website traffic…

OR…

Someone who lives in a multi-million-dollar house, drives a Ferrari, and is wearing a $20,000 watch.

I bet you are going to take advice from the person with a fancy car over the kid. And that’s where a lot of marketers and entrepreneurs go wrong.

In an ideal world, you should hear both of them out and pick the advice that’s most relevant to you.

Just like how I met up with the kid who does magic tricks because he was an up and coming SEO and there’s always a chance that he can teach me something new.

The big mistake people make is that they only listen to rich people. Just because someone has money, it doesn’t mean they know what’s best for you.

In many cases, the person who is rich may not know your space well. For example, two friends of mine, Matt and Tom, have done well in the financial space and they have a blog called Signals Matter.

Just because Matt and Tom have done well, I would never take advice from them about marketing.

Sure, I listen to them about business and financial advice, but I know when to listen and when to stop. At the same time, Matt and Tom are humble, they never show off, they don’t talk about their success, and they don’t ever try to give me advice on things they aren’t experts on… such as marketing.

So, what’s the point I am trying to make?

Know your audience. Just because someone looks successful, and maybe even potentially is, it doesn’t mean you should go to them for all sorts of advice. Know what they are really good at, pick their brain, and get advice related to what they know well and that’s it.

So, should you ignore these flashy people on Instagram and YouTube?

Funny enough, I know a lot about them. And similar to the advice I gave you above, I look at them from a different perspective.

I don’t care about their ads or their products. But what I focus on is how they do their own marketing.

How are they building up their following? What are they doing to get such high engagement?

I believe that you can learn from everyone. Instead of looking at the bad, focus on what you can learn from them and use it to grow your own business.

For example, a lot of the info marketers sell aggressively, but the tactics they use, such as selling through webinars are great. And instead of just ignoring them, I’ve taken their strategies and applied some of them to my own companies.

And now I am able to generate 3.6 sales at $997 for every 100 webinar registrations. That’s not too shabby… $3,589 in revenue for 100 webinar registrations.

In other words, always look for opportunities to learn from.

As a teacher, my mom taught me that you can learn something from everyone… you just have to be willing to listen.

It’s up to you to listen and decide what advice to follow.

So what else did my parents teach me?

There’s probably a bit too much to break down, but sticking with the theme of the loudest person in the room is the weakest, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Respect is earned, not bought – sure, people will look up to you if you show off your wealth. But you build fake friends who only care for one thing… your money. Real respect is earned by your actions, your knowledge, your accomplishments… not how much money you have in the bank account.
  2. Knowledge is power – value knowledge more than wealth. Successful people don’t care to only hang around with other rich people. They thrive to learn more and be around smart people. Never stop learning and always have a thirst for knowledge.
  3. Wealth is built, not spent – you won’t build wealth if you burn your money on fancy cars or showing off. You’ll build wealth by reinvesting and putting your money to work. The last thing you want to do is tie up your cash in assets that don’t produce any income. If you ever get to a point in life where you have more money than you know what do with, then, by all means, go buy whatever makes you happy.
  4. Think before you talk – when things start going well, showing off and talking about how well you are doing won’t help. All it will do is create more competition. The last thing you want is other people copying you because it will slow down your growth and potentially cause you to earn less. So, think twice before telling people how well you are doing.
  5. Life isn’t that bad – entrepreneurship is like a rollercoaster. There are good moments as well as bad ones, happy ones, and even scary ones. You need to stay level headed and be logical at all times. An easy way to do this is to always remember that when things are going well for you, there is always someone else out there who has it better. And when things are getting bad, remember, there is always someone out there who has it much worse than you.
  6. Arrogance will kill you – don’t think you are better than other people because you are not. Sure, you might be a good person, but money doesn’t make you better than everyone else. And not having money doesn’t make you worse than everyone else. Find your place in life and do what fulfills you. I know it sounds cheesy, but it is true.
  7. Optimize for contentment – people strive to be happy, but why? Happiness is an emotion and it doesn’t last forever. People aren’t happy 24/7, so don’t optimize for it. It’s just unrealistic. Instead, optimize for contentment.

Conclusion

There will always be people that are going to show off. Just remember, the loudest person in the room is typically the weakest.

People who have real wealth in most cases have nice things, but they know not to rub them in your face and show off.

The moment someone shows off their wealth, it typically means they don’t really have it. It’s what they call 6-figure millionaires, in which people spend all of their money creating the illusion of wealth.

So, when you see these people or even people with real wealth, don’t focus on what they have. Focus on how some may be trying to scam you for your money with their get rich quick schemes.

You are too smart for that anyway.

Instead, I want you to focus on what you can learn from them. For example, a lot of those Instagrammers who are flashy understand marketing concepts that have helped them build an engaged community. Learn from that and use the tactics that work for you.

A lot of those YouTube and Facebook advertisers might be selling products you don’t approve of but some of their ads are really clever. Again, learn from them. Look at their ads, their copy, their landing pages… see if you can adapt any of their strategies and apply them to your business in an ethical way.

So what do you think about all of the people who show off?

The post Why Being the Loudest Makes You the Weakest appeared first on Neil Patel.

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If I Had to Start a Blog From Scratch, I Would…

If I Had to Start a Blog From Scratch, I Would…

neil patel

You’ve seen me and thousands of other marketers talk about how to make a blog popular. But if you don’t set up your blog correctly, you won’t do well no matter what kind of marketing you do.

And no, I am not talking about the technical setup of your blog. I am talking about the foundation. From what you are blogging about, to how you structure your content… there are a lot of basics people get wrong.

And if you get them wrong, it’s going to be that much harder to get more traffic (and more importantly monetize the traffic).

So, if I had to start a blog from scratch again, here are the principles I would follow before even writing my first blog post:

Principle #1: Pick a big enough niche

Unless you are well funded, you have to pick a niche. It’s too hard to compete on a broad level with sites like Huffington Post and Business Insider. They well funded and are able to produce huge amounts of content from contributors big and small.

And if your niche is too small, it will be hard for you to grow your traffic and monetize your blog as there just won’t be enough people interested in what you are blogging about.

When trying to find a niche, use Google Trends. Make sure to pick a niche that is bigger than “digital marketing” but smaller than “nutrition.”

Principle #2: Don’t stick with one platform

I know I’ve told you that you need to use WordPress as your blogging platform, but it shouldn’t stop there. Why not also use Medium, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and even Facebook?

These are all platforms where you can repurpose your content.

Blogging is competitive, so you’ll need to push your content out on as many platforms to ensure that you’ll get the most eyeballs.

Setting up social accounts across the different platforms is really important. Make sure the branding and imagery are the same across all of them and try to generate some followers by following these steps so that when you start producing unique content you’ll have places to promote.

Principle #3: Control your destiny

Google doesn’t penalize for duplicate content. But that doesn’t mean you should just post your content on every platform without thinking of it.

The only platform that doesn’t have an algorithm that you need to worry about is your own blog. Facebook, Medium, Tumblr, and LinkedIn all have algorithms you can’t fully control.

Always link back out to your site when posting on these other platforms. The more people you can get back to your site, the better chance you will have of growing your traffic and monetizing.

Other platforms like Facebook don’t make it easy for you to generate revenue if you keep your readers on their platform.

Principle #4: Blogging is both about “you” and “I”

Blogging is something that is supposed to be informal. No one wants to read an essay or a white paper.

People want to read stories. They want to be involved in a conversation, and the easiest way to do this is to use the words “you” and “I” within your blog posts.

This one simple change will help you build a deeper connection with your readers. A deeper connection means better monetization in the future.

Principle #5: Always ask questions

At the end of every blog post, always ask a question. If you don’t ask a question, people won’t know what to do next.

By asking a question, a portion of your readers will answer it by leaving a comment. This will increase engagement, which again will make monetization easier in the long run.

Principle #6: You have to stand out

There are over a billion blogs on the web, and that number is continually rising. This just means blogging is going to get even more competitive over time.

So how do you stand out in a crowded marketplace?

You have to go above and beyond. Sadly, there is no single answer as every industry is different, but typically infographics, visuals, and doing the opposite of everyone else in your space will help you stand out.

For example, if everyone in your space writes 1000-word blog posts, test out writing 10,000-word posts. Or if everyone is using text-based content, test out visual based content like infographics or video.

Principle #7: Your content needs to be portable

People are always on the go these days. Your content needs to be easy to digest.

And no, I am not talking about making your content mobile compatible or leveraging AMP framework (although those are good ideas). I am talking about making your content portable.

For example, creating video-based content or audio-based content (podcasts) are simple ways to make your content portable. For example, it is easier to watch video-based content on your mobile phone when on the bus or listen to podcasts while you are driving.

Principle #8: Content isn’t king unless it’s good

You’ve heard the saying that content is king. But is it really?

The Washington Post publishes over 500 pieces of content per day. The Wall Street Journal is at 240, the New York Times is at 230, and Buzzfeed is around 222.

The list keeps going on and on as there are over 2 million blog posts published daily.

In other words, writing mediocre content isn’t good enough. It won’t do well for and you will just be wasting time. So, don’t write content unless it is really, really, really good.

Principle #9: You have to produce quality and quantity

It’s sad, but it is true. Not only does your content have to be amazing, but you have to publish amazing content in quantity.

Just because you are writing an amazing blog post, it doesn’t mean you will do well. Content marketing is a hit or miss game in which your posts will do well or they won’t. And in most cases, your content won’t do as well as you want no matter how good you are at marketing.

To increase your odds of success, you need to be willing to produce amazing content in quantity.

Principle #10: Your blog isn’t always the best place to blog

Especially early on, you need to save your best content for other blogs. From industry blogs to large sites like Entrepreneur and Business Insider… consider placing your best content elsewhere.

Once you’ve been blogging for a year and you have built up an audience, you’ll want to keep your best content for yourself. But in the beginning, placing your best content on more popular blogs will help you increase your brand recognition and audience.

If you aren’t sure on how to craft a guest posting proposal, read this.

Principle #11: Useful content beats viral content

We all dream about viral content, but it’s not easy to produce.

The chances of your content going viral are slim to none. And when your content goes viral it will die down… the question just becomes when.

Instead of focusing on creating viral content (when you have less than a 1% chance of producing it), focus on creating useful content. Useful content tends to be evergreen, which means it can generate steady traffic over time.

Principle #12: It’s easier to build a personal blog than a corporate one

I know I’ve mentioned that I wouldn’t build a personal brand if I started all over again, and I wouldn’t.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leverage one. People connect with people more than they connect with corporate brands.

It’s not like you have conversations with Coca-Cola or Nike like you have with a friend.

If you want your blog to be popular faster than go with a personal brand. If you want to build something big and potentially even sell it one day, consider a corporate brand for your blog (even though it will take longer for it become popular).

Principle #13: A blog won’t work without a community

Blogging is about creating conversations. But without readers and community, there is no conversation.

It would just be you talking…

For this reason, you can’t expect to build a popular blog without building up your social profiles.

From running Facebook and Twitter ads, to manually growing your follower counts, you need to focus on your social media game.

The bigger your social following the more people you’ll have to drive to your blog, and the easier it will be to create a community.

Principle #14: No man is an island

As you are building up a community, people will engage with you through comments.

If you don’t respond to every comment, then your community will slowly die down.

Just think of it this way… if you continually talked to someone and they ignored you each and every time, what would you do? Eventually, you would stop talking to them.

Don’t be rude to your community, help them out. Make sure you respond to each and every comment. Not just on your blog, but even when people comment on your social profiles, make sure you respond back.

Principle #15: People don’t read, they skim

Most of the people that come to your website won’t read. Blogs tend to have an average time on site of less than 1 minute.

There is no way your average visitor is going to read your 2,000-word blog post in under a minute. That means people skim.

Make sure you write your content with the assumption people skim. From leveraging headings to even writing a conclusion at the end of each post, this will help your readers get value out of your content even when they don’t fully read it.

Principle #16: It’s all about the headline

Some people spend 80% of their time writing the content and only 20% promoting it. Others spend 80% on marketing and 20% on the content creation. And some spend 50% of their time writing and 50% promoting.

But what about the headline? Why don’t people spend time crafting and testing amazing headlines?

What most people don’t know is that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will click through and read the rest. So focus on creating amazing headlines or else you won’t get tons of traffic.

Principle #17: Reveal your cards, all of them

Because the blogosphere is competitive, you have no choice but to reveal your cards. From your secrets to the “good stuff”… you’ll have to share it all.

If you don’t share it, you won’t be giving people a reason to read your blog over the billion other ones out there.

When revealing your cards, make sure you do it early on in each blog post. It is a great way to hook your readers and to get them to read the rest of your content.

Principle #18: Consistency will make or break you

When you continually blog, do you know what happens? Your traffic typically stays flat or slowly goes up.

But when you stop or take a break, your traffic will tank. And then when you start up again, your traffic won’t just go back to where it was, you’ll have to fight to gain your traffic back.

I once took a month break from blogging and it took me 3 months to recover my traffic. Literally 3 months.

Don’t start a blog unless you are willing to be consistent. Not just for a few months or a year, but I am talking years (3 plus).

Principle #19: Don’t ever rely on 1 traffic channel

You hear blogs exploding with Facebook traffic or Google traffic. But do you know what happens when those sites change their algorithms?

Your traffic drops.

It’s just a question of when, so expect your traffic to drop. So, don’t rely on only one traffic channel.

Before you write your first post, think about which channels you are going to leverage for traffic generation. You need to have an omnichannel approach in which you are leveraging all of the feasible channels out there that work for your niche.

Principle #20: Don’t forget about Google

You should always write for humans and not search engines. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore Google.

Whatever you are considering writing about, make sure you do some basic keyword research. Head over to Ubersuggest first. Then type in a few keywords related to your article and it will show you a list of other popular phrases.

If they are relevant, make sure you blend them into your content.

This one simple thing will help ensure that your content gets the most search traffic that it can possibly generate.

Principle #21: Be willing to kill your baby

When you start a blog, people only talk about writing and marketing. But as your blog gets older your responsibilities will grow.

One of them is the willingness to kill some of your content.

Not all of your content will be relevant a year or two from now. For example, if you write about Vine, which was a company Twitter bought and then shut down, it won’t be relevant anymore. Especially if the article focuses on “Vine marketing tips.”

Eventually, you want to delete it. There is no point in keeping useless content on your blog.

Principle #22: You can’t set it and forget it

Similar to killing some of your irrelevant content, you’ll also have to update your older content.

As your content gets outdated, you’ll want to keep it fresh or people will find that it’s useless and bounce away.

This, in turn, will screw up your user metrics (bounce rate, time on site, page views per visitor) and reduce your credibility and traffic.

If you are going to blog, be willing to put resources into updating your older content as well. It’s something that most bloggers don’t take into account when starting.

Principle #23: People won’t come back to your blog unless you ask them to

The best visitors are repeat visitors. They are more likely to comment, link to your site, share your content on the social web, and convert into a customer.

No matter how good your content is, people won’t just come back unless you ask them to.

The easiest way to do this is through emails and push notifications.

By using tools like Hello Bar you can easily collect emails and send out a blast every time you have a new post. And tools like Subscribers will allow you to build a push notification list.

Don’t start a blog without building an email list or push notification list. You’ll find that people who opt-in to them are much more likely to convert into customers. So, build this from day 1.

Principle #24: Don’t wait too long to monetize

A lot of bloggers (including me) have made this mistake. We all wait till we have tons of traffic to monetize. But if you go years before trying to monetize, people will assume everything on your blog is free.

In other words, you are training your readers that they shouldn’t pay for anything. And that’s fine if you have no plan on selling anything.

But you should train them early on that not everything is free. This will make your revenue numbers better as you grow.

Principle #25: Have multiple monetization strategies

You can’t rely on one monetization strategy such as affiliate marketing or AdSense. Sometimes things happen that aren’t in your control such as an offer gets shut down or AdSense bans you and they don’t give you a reason.

Not only is it a safer strategy to have multiple monetization methods you’ll also make more money.

For example, some people won’t click on ads, while others may prefer buying an e-book from you.

When you start your blog, think about all of the monetization methods you want to try out and plan out how you are going to test them out (as not all of them will work).

Principle #26: Always include a personal touch

If you can’t write with a personal touch, then don’t write. Whatever you decide to blog about, make sure you can tie in a personal story.

People prefer reading content that has stories versus content with just facts and data.

If you don’t have personal stories that you can tie in, that means you are probably blogging on the wrong subject.

Principle #27: Be willing to pay the price

Blogging isn’t easy. It’s no longer a hobby where you can just write whenever you want and do well.

If you want to succeed, you have to be willing to put in the time and energy. And if you can’t, then you have to be willing to put in money.

If you don’t then you won’t do well, no matter how brilliant of a writer or marketer you are.

Really think about if you are willing to put in hours each day into making your blog successful. And are you willing to do that for a few years? Or are you willing to hire someone from day 1 to help out?

This isn’t a principle you need to take lightly, and it is the biggest reason most bloggers don’t make it.

Conclusion

Everyone talks about blogging from a tactical standpoint. From how you write content to even how to market it, but very few people talk about strategy.

If you don’t follow the above principles, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels and creating a blog that doesn’t get any traction.

And if you happen to be lucky to gain visitors without taking into account the above principles, you’ll find that they won’t convert into customers.

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

The post If I Had to Start a Blog From Scratch, I Would… appeared first on Neil Patel.

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DIS Academic Seminar Night Focuses on Happiness

DIS Academic Seminar Night Focuses on Happiness

Professor Angner spoke about the science and philosophy of happiness, from the intersection between economics, philosophy, and psychology.

Additionally, he talked about what it means to be happy and how we can study happiness – topics that are especially exciting for students in the Neuroscience, Psychology, and Public Health Programs.

Erik has written articles about happiness and well-being in a number of academic publications such as the European Journal for Philosophy of Science, Journal of Happiness Studies, Journal of Economic Psychology, and the Journal of Health Psychology.

Read about the above highlighted Academic Programs:
>> Neuroscience
>> Psychology
>> Public Health

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DIS Faculty Releases Book on Ancient Macedonia

DIS Faculty Releases Book on Ancient Macedonia

DIS faculty member Thyge C. Bro and co-author Nanna Westergaard-Nielsen recently released their book Makedonien – Europas første stormagt (Macedonia – The First Great Power of Europe). The book takes readers to Macedonia during the time of Philip II and Alexander the Great. It shows how Macedonia was a place of cultural and political importance in the 4th century BC, and highlights how Hellenism influenced European development and identity.

Thyge and Nanna held a release event at DIS where they presented the book and spoke about their reasons to write about Macedonia. A reception followed their presentation and participants had the opportunity to purchase the book.

Thyge has a Mag. Art degree in Classical Archaeology from the University of Copenhagen. He has been working at DIS since 2006 and is currently teaching the Ancient Art and Archaeology semester course.

>> Learn more about Makedonien – Europas første stormagt

>> Check out Thyge’s DIS course 

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The 7 Biggest SEO Lessons I Learned from a Google Employee

The 7 Biggest SEO Lessons I Learned from a Google Employee

google

In the past, I broke down the most vital SEO strategy I learned, which came from a Google employee. This time I thought I would do something similar and share the 7 biggest SEO lessons that I learned from a Google employee.

Some of these things you may already know, but most you probably aren’t too familiar with. And of course, I am not telling you anything that would jeopardize my relationship or the career of the Google employee.

So here goes, these are the 7 biggest SEO lessons I learned from a Google employee.

Lesson #1: Penalizations and bans don’t work the way most people think

Google’s goal isn’t to penalize sites. Their goal is to serve the most relevant listing to each searcher.

For example, if BMW had a handful of bad links pointing to it or they were caught building links, it could be foolish to ban or penalize BMW.

The reason being is that BMW is a popular brandthere are millions of people each year who search for the term “BMW.”

bmw

See, the average person doesn’t know what SEO is. They also don’t care about link building or even Google’s algorithm. They just expect to see BMW.com when they search for “BMW” and if they don’t, they are disappointed in Google.

Plus, BMW is a brand. Google loves brands and trusts them more because you as a consumer trust brands.

As the Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said:

Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

Now, hypothetically speaking, if Google decided to remove BMW.com from their index and showed you a random site when you searched for “BMW”, Google knows you will be disappointed based on click-through data. And when users are disappointed with Google, there is a higher chance they won’t come back and use Google again, which means less ad revenue in the long run.

For this reason, Google doesn’t just ban or penalize sites, they keep fine-tuning their algorithm to ignore bad signals such as paid links or negative SEO.

For example, if your competitor all of a sudden sends 1,000 spammy backlinks to your site, there is a high likelihood that Google sees this as negative SEO and ignores it.

I experienced this when I started a nutrition site years ago (I no longer own it). Someone built thousands of adult links to the site and it made up the majority of the backlinks.

The site was generating well over 100,000 visitors a month from Google before the adult links kicked in… and can you guess what happened when they indexed all of those bad links?

Nothing!

Google was smart enough to see that it was unnatural so they just ignored it. My traffic stayed the same.

As long as you aren’t doing anything bad, you shouldn’t worry about penalizations.

Lesson #2: Google prefers automation

Yes, there is a webspam team, but Google prefers automation. They leverage technologies like machine learning to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it in the future.

And, of course, in an automated fashion. They don’t want to hire thousands of people to manually fine-tune their algorithm.

This is one of the big reasons that Digg didn’t get acquired by Google years ago… it was because Digg’s algorithm required a lot of human intervention and their engineers weren’t up to par with Google’s.

You are going to see constant updates on Google’s algorithm on sites like Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable.

But if you focus on what’s best for your users, you should do well in the long run.

As for your traffic swings because of algorithm updates, it’s natural. It happens to all of us.

If their algorithm was perfect you wouldn’t see constant updates. But like every good company, they learn from their successes and failures and adapt. And, of course, they try to do this in an automated way.

Again, as long as you do what’s best for your users, you should see a nice growth in search traffic over time.

Don’t worry if you see a slight drop due to an algorithm update if you are doing what’s best for users. And don’t worry if a spammy competitor outranks you because it won’t last forever. Their ranking algorithm isn’t perfect, but it is really good and keeps getting better over time.

Lesson #3: Don’t waste your money on expired domains (or other shortcuts)

When I was in my early 20s, I thought I was a hotshot marketer. I thought I was smarter than a multi-hundred-billion-dollar search engine and that I figured out a shortcut to climb to the top.

One of those tricks was to purchase expired domains and optimize them. I purchased domains that had EDU and GOV backlinks and skyrocketed to the top of Google for terms like “online casino.”

Can you guess what eventually happened?

My rankings tanked!

Just like any shortcut that can drastically boost your rankings, it will get closed. The question is just when.

I know for a fact that expired domains don’t work that well. Not just due to my experience but because Google knows marketers buy them and either 301 redirect them to their site or create them a network of blogs to leverage for backlinks.

Google is also a registrar like GoDaddy, don’t you think they have all of the information you have, plus more, on domains? 😉

Lesson #4: Google ignores most guest post links

Do you get those emails from people offering you paid links on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Buzzfeed, and many other sites that have a high domain authority?

Well, we all do.

buy links

And they just don’t stop…

link buys

Nowadays, most of the big sites like Entrepreneur nofollow their links. But even if they didn’t, it isn’t hard to figure out which URLs and profiles on these sites are guest posts.

Just search for “guest writer” on Entrepreneur and you’ll find tons of articles like this.

entrepreneur

By no means am I saying that the author above is selling links, I am saying that it isn’t hard for Google to spot these type of posts and devalue the links even if the publication decides to use do-follow links.

Heck, Google even commented on how links from Forbes were useless.

tweet

tweet

As Google commented…

Google devalues or ignores bad links, which reflects the changes we saw in Penguin, where Google devalues those links rather than penalizing for them.

If you want to build links through guest posts… especially obvious ones that clearly state the article was a guest post, don’t expect those links to have much of an impact on your search rankings.

Lesson #5: Google isn’t trying to take clicks away from your website, they are trying to build a better product

Over the last few years, I continually see SEOs complaining about how Google is just trying to keep people on Google and not drive any traffic to your website anymore.

Some of these marketers even claim it is unfair because they are just scraping content from your site and using it for their own benefit.

Let’s be honest here… none of you are going to block Google from crawling your site. You should be happy that you are getting traffic for free!

Who cares if Google scrapes your content… some free traffic is better than none.

It’s a big misconception that Google just wants to keep people on their own site. The real truth to this is that Google wants to do what is best for searchers, not marketers.

For example, one could say that they only care about ad revenue and they should blanket the page with ads… funny enough, though, over time they have reduced the number of ads per page by removing all sidebar ads.

sidebar ads

Yes, they are placing a few more ads at the top to make up for it, but overall it is still fewer ads per page.

I know many of you don’t like this, but they are a publicly traded company… they have to make money. And, ideally, more money each quarter.

Whether it is the knowledge graph or a mobile-first index, their goal is to do what is best for searchers. They know that if they do that their traffic will go up over time and a small portion of you will click on ads.

It really is that simple.

They don’t make these decisions based on what they want to do… they are logical engineers that use data.

For example, if 99% of their traffic said we hate knowledge graphs, there would be no knowledge graphs. Or if 99% of their users wanted more links per page going to external sites, then that is what they would add.

They do whatever you want, assuming you have the same opinion as of the masses.

The lesson to be learned here, don’t worry about Google taking your content or not driving as many clicks to organic results versus paid. You will constantly see changes coming, especially with the popularity of voice search. Know that these changes are based on data that the masses want.

Lesson #6: The biggest search opportunity currently lies in YouTube

Google loves text-based content. That’s part of the reason that so many companies have a blog.

But it isn’t as easy to rank on Google as it used to be… unless you expand internationally. But even that is getting more competitive as we speak.

The biggest opportunity in search is YouTube. According to Alexa, it is the second most popular site on the web and people tend to find their content on YouTube using the search feature.

If you aren’t convinced that you should start going after YouTube SEO, here are some interesting stats for you:

  • YouTube has 1.9 billion monthly active users
  • Only 50 million users are creating and sharing video content
  • Average viewing session is 40 minutes
  • Roughly 5 billion videos are watched per day
  • Mobile devices account for 500 million daily video views

If that doesn’t convince you to go after YouTube, just look at my stats. I should have done it much sooner as the employee at Google pushed me to create videos years ago but I was a bit slow to move on their advice.

And now I am generating 724,464 views a month:

view count

Of which 185,290 comes from YouTube search:

stats breakdown

How many of you can say your website is generating over 100,000 visitors a month from Google?

That’s the power of YouTube… it has volume and it is easier to rank on than Google. Just look at me, I generated over 100,000 views a month in less than a year from YouTube SEO.

Lesson #7: You are not going to like the future

I saved the biggest lesson for last because it affects most marketers who are used to Google in its current form and how it has been for years.

From all of my conversations with people who work at Google, they all know the world is changing and they want to make sure Google adapts with it and, more importantly, stays ahead.

For example, they know a lot of searches are going through voice devices like Alexa and Google Home. If you just look at mobile devices, voice already accounts for 20% of the searches.

And it is happening at a rapid pace based on the graph below:

voice search

And it isn’t stopping there. Both the Internet world and the real world are starting to be connected.

From self-driving cars, which Google has spent billions of dollars on, to simpler things you use every day that Google is starting to connect with (like your stove and fridge).

They want to control it all. And not in a creepy way, more so in a way that makes your life easier.

For example, as you are cooking, if you are unsure about a recipe, they want to be there to make sure that you are doing everything correctly.

As for what it will look like in the future, no one knows yet, including Google. But they are paying smart product people and engineers to solve these problems. For example, they know that kids aren’t using Google search the same way adults are.

A good example of this is when my 8-year-old nephew isn’t sure about something, he asks Alexa. I, on the other hand, will perform a search on my desktop computer.

All we can do here is make sure that we adapt with technology to ensure that you keep getting traffic from Google. This doesn’t mean to just adapt your SEO strategy but more so to adapt your business and ensure that you are staying on top of things and providing users with what they want.

Conclusion

As SEOs, we continually try and play a game of cat and mouse. But why?

Instead of wasting our time on short-term thinking, why not start putting yourself in your customers’ shoes?

That’s what Google is doing. And the changes they are making to their search engine, their future product roadmap, and even to their algorithm is based on what people want.

If you want to continually do well, yes you still need to do traditional SEO. But you need to start thinking about your end user and do what’s best for them.

So, what’s your SEO game plan now?

The post The 7 Biggest SEO Lessons I Learned from a Google Employee appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Fall 2018 International Educators Workshop

Fall 2018 International Educators Workshop

The participants experienced a mini-semester in a week. They attended classes and Field Studies, learned a bit of Danish and Swedish, participated in discussion sessions, visited DIS housing options, and met with faculty and current students. Nearly half of the participants lived with Homestays, and everyone enjoyed a Hygge Dinner in a Danish home.

Highlights during the Copenhagen part of the workshop included a range of exciting Field Studies. Examples include a meal and presentation by the renowned New Nordic chef Thorsten Schmidt at Restaurant Barr, a guided tour of the Danish Public Broadcasting Corporation with the Communication Practicum, a visit to Dansk Retursystem A/S (Denmark’s national recycling company), and a tour of the production center at the cidery Æblerov. Participants also had the opportunity to join sessions such as a Lego Serious Play workshop led by DIS faculty member and Faculty Development Manager Dorte Aggergaard and DIS Learning Technology Manager Esben Lydiksen.

In Stockholm, IEW participants went on faculty-led excursions to the Nordiska Museet (the Nordic Museum) to learn about the Sami, the indigenous people of Sweden, as well as a parental cooperative in Södermalm to learn about how universal provision of pre-school impacts Sweden’s culture and economy. Participants also attended classes, heard from a panel of DIS Stockholm students about their abroad experiences, and discussed undergraduate research opportunities abroad and at DIS.

DIS was fortunate to have IEW participant Jenny Sullivan, Director of Education Abroad and International Fellowships at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), serve as a co-leader for the discussion session “Diversity and Inclusive Learning Abroad.” Jenny discussed how RIT supports students with disabilities going abroad, especially students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The workshop ended with a dinner in the beautiful Kungliga Musikhögskolan building, where DIS shares facilities with Stockholm’s Royal College of Music.

Tack så mycket / Tusind Tak to all that attended!

>> Read more about the IEW – the next IEW is in Spring 2020

>> Check out some photos from this year’s workshop

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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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