4 Ways You Can Become a Stalker


I have recently decided to become a stalker, and I think you need to do the same.

Say what?

Before you go thinking I’ve lost my mind and am about to become some kind of creeper, let me clarify that I’m only using the word “stalker” as a euphemism for a methodical approach to expanding your professional network!

Why You Need to Network Every Day

For many people (me included), the thought of going to a networking event to “make small talk” with strangers holds very little appeal. Having said that, over the last year, one of the most important realizations that I have made is that, even though I run an online business, networking with others is a “must-do” activity…which is why I have included it in my content marketer’s daily activity checklist (free download).

When you spend time getting to know other people, you are creating all sorts of opportunities. Here’s just a few:

  • You can learn from them
  • You can get referrals from them
  • They can help you to promote your content
  • They can help you to promote your products
  • They can introduce you to other people who can do the same

Obviously, to get results from your networking, you need to go into it with a “help others firsts” mindset, and you actually need to target the right people – and that is where having a Stalker List comes into play.

How to Create a Stalker List

notebook listIn a post I published the other day, I described how you can use Followerwonk to help you build a list…but what I neglected to mention was a few other ways to do it…plus, in today’s post, I want to share with you how to use it.

In addition to using Followerwonk, you might also want to try some or all of the following ways:

  • Go to Amazon and find a list of authors who have written books that would be of interest to your audience
  • Google terms like “top 50 social media influencers” or “top 50 marketing blogs”, etc…
  • Copy the title of a blog post that would be of interest to your audience and then search on Twitter for people that have shared that post
  • See who some of your favorite influencers are following on Twitter

One thing to keep in mind. Keep your list short, probably no more than 20 names. Then, as you start to get traction with some of them, you can move them onto a “maintain” list and add some new people you’d like to get to know.

How to Use Your Stalker List

One you have you list, you should do the following:

  • Follow them on Twitter
  • Circle them on Google+
  • Connect on LinkedIn
  • Friend on Facebook
  • Comment on the blog
  • Share their content
  • Retweet their tweets
  • Comment on their Facebook page

When you do reach out to these people, don’t be creepy. Don’t adore them. Instead, find ways to add value to their conversations. Treat them with respect and have confidence in what you have to offer. You won’t become pals with all of them, but some of them will end up becoming valuable business allies, and when that happens, the benefits can be incredible.

What do you think?

Do you have comments or questions? Please use the comment form below. If you have a strong opinion one way or the other, I’d like to hear it.

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Content Marketing Strategy

The First 3 Steps to Successful Content Marketing

Content Marketing Strategy

Between the work I do via our consulting division and the mastermind group that I lead, I find myself spending a great of time talking about a topic that is near and dear to my heart: How to develop a content marketing strategy.

It’s a topic that I’m very passionate about and I love having these conversations; however, as I’ve only been sharing my thoughts via one-to-one conversations up to this point, I thought it was about time that I stood in front of my whiteboard and filmed what I have been explaining to client after client.

Prior to creating the video, I had a few goals that I wanted to achieve. They are:

  • Create a video that will help people who aren’t clients to get started on the right foot
  • Create a video that I can have my clients watch before we do our kick off session (saves time)
  • Create a video that I can use as a case study for ranking and traffic on Youtube (case study to come)

Click to Tweet: How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy That Works

In this video, you are going to see me explain:

  • How and why to spend time researching a target market first
  • How and why to define a buyer persona
  • How and why to create a unique selling proposition and content to support it

My Youtube Case Study

A couple of years ago when I was first starting out with content marketing, I created a video that I titled, “How to Start a Business with No Money“. Since publishing this video, it has been watched 426,419 times and is ranked #1 for its keyword on Youtube.

youtubefeedback-2Back then, I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing (from a marketing perspective), but I did know my topic well, so I just fired up my camera and started to explain what was on my mind. I’m happy to say that my unsophisticated approach actually worked quite well. Near as I can tell, the main reason why the video is now ranked #1 on Youtube is because it has received 4,929 thumbs up votes.

In addition to the recognition generated from the 426,419 views, the video has also generated thousands of leads for me. As of this writing, I get about 20 leads a day from this video, and those leads translate into about $800/mo in revenue from sales of my information products.

When it comes to passive income, the video has been a raging success!

Now the question is: can I replicate my success?

Since publishing my new content marketing strategy video today, I kept track of everything that I have done to promote the video, and, over the next month as I continue to promote it, I will keep a log of everything that I do so that, in a month, I can publish a case study with the results of my experiment.

If you are not yet a subscribe and want to notified when that post is live, please be sure and become a subscriber today.

My hope is that, like my earlier video, this video will eventually rank #1 for “content marketing strategy” and turn into a passive income workhorse like the old video has. To help me with that, I would love it if you give it a “thumbs up” on Youtube and share it on your social networks. Thanks, you rock!

Additional Resources

Questions or Comments?

Do you have a questions or an opinion to share? Please do so in the comments below. I read them all!

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Digital Marketing Strategy: Q&A on How to Get Started in a Niche


A few days ago, a new client wrote to me to ask for some advice about getting started in a niche that he was looking at going after. I thought his question was such a good one that I decided to publish it here, along with the answer that I gave him.

My Client’s Question

To protect the privacy of my client, I have omitted certain keywords from his question below.

As I am doing the strategy work we talked about and cruising the web for places that [type of people] “hang out” I am finding that there seems to be a major gap in the Podcast area within [industry name].

I am looking for a place where I can listen to interviews of top salespeople or new salespeople who have had success and frankly not seeing anything worth my time.

Most of what is out there seems to be the “talking head” or  “talk at me” and “train me” type of content. I wonder if it might make sense to set up a “podcast” where I would interview top [type of person] and [other type of person] as will as newbies with a millennial type “start up” perspective coming into [industry name].
I am seeing some trends in the industry where people are beginning to think about [industry name] differently in more of a start up type of manner and also seeing it becoming more attractive to Millennials as a career. 

Any quick thoughts on the best way to validate my hypothesis? 

My Answer

The best way to test is to collect data. Here’s what to do.

1. Set up a landing page (use to describe the podcast (sales copy/headline must be tight) and see how many people opt in. To make this work, the sales copy must be all benefit, benefit, benefit. Treat the launch of the podcast like a launch of a movie or an apple product. Both make a big deal out of “coming soon!”

2. Use your list and/or Facebook or LinkedIn paid ads to drive traffic to the landing page.

If it converts, you are onto something. You may also want to run a split test while you are doing this. Optimizely is good for that.

The ‘manual’ way of doing this is to survey your list with survey monkey, or actual phone calls. You might want to start with 10 phone calls and if that goes well, then do 1 and 2 above. Your call.

If you really want to test demand, put a buy button on the page, that, when clicked, takes them to a “product not ready but launching soon, so get on the early bird list and you’ll get benefit, benefit, benefit”  If people click the buy button, that means they want it bad enough to pay for it.

Make sense?

Additional Resources

What Do You Think?

No one has a monopoly on good ideas, so half the reason that I published this post was to see if anyone else cared to share their thoughts or comments on my client’s question.

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How I Landed on the Front Page of SlideShare


A few months ago, we made an effort to do a better job of sharing and promoting our content. The initial results were quite impressive, so we hired a full time VA who primarily focuses on content promotion, and we’ve continued to refine and revise our strategies.

After reading a blog post by Chris Ducker where he described how he made it to the homepage of SlideShare, we decided to give it a shot. On our second try, we too landed on the front page of SlideShare (and generated over 21,000 views).

How Did We Do It?

SlideShareHomePageWe posted on SlideShare on a Monday. We spent a full day tweeting about the SlideShare once an hour for 24 hours.

This probably had the biggest affect on initiating traffic, since Twitter is a significant source of our traffic.

We also shared the SlideShare with LinkedIn groups that we belong to, as well as on Pinterest, our Facebook page, and on google+.

We had hoped to do all the sharing on Monday, but due to miscommunication (and our VA helping us working in a different time zone), this all happened over the course of 48 hours, mostly on Tuesday and then Wednesday morning.

We didn’t reach the front page until later on Wednesday, and stayed there until Thursday afternoon.

Lessons Learned

At the start of this post, I mentioned that we didn’t land on the front page on the first try. After our first SlideShare was viewed a few hundred times (with no large boost in traffic to our site), we spent more time researching what makes SlideShares popular. Instructive (how to) shares seemed to fare pretty well.

So, we focused our second SlideShare on teaching something of value. We chose to repurpose a past post on How I Produce My Podcast into How To Produce A Podcast (And Use It To Get More Clients), because that title screen made it very clear WHAT people would learn, as well as WHY they would want to learn it.

Here’s the original SlideShare:


The more places you can promote your content, the better. SlideShare is just one option, and it works best when combined with other promotional strategies. Check out our past interviews from Twitter expert Mark Schaefer, LinkedIn expert Viveka von Rosen, and Pinterest expert Jessica Rhodes for ideas specific to those sites. (I go into even more detail on exactly how we do content promotion in my Digital Marketing Handbook.)

Our goal going forward is to make future SlideShares just as informative, as well as more visually appealing.

What Do You Think?

If you have comments or questions, please take a moment to leave them down in the comments. You will get an answer.

Enter to Win a FREE Copy of My Digital Marketing Handbook

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Ian Altman

Ian Altman on How to Make More Sales by Talking to Fewer People

BI_Images 3

No matter what business you’re in, you never stop selling. Whether it’s to clients, businesses, your superiors or your peers, having the skills to convey the quality of your product is a necessity. Ian Altman has a formula and has been successfully demonstrating that formula to eager businesses and organizations. Whether it’s identifying potential pitfalls, making the most out of a smaller target number, or developing a quality pitch, Ian shares his ideas and strategies on how you can use the skills he has honed and developed.  Best of all? His approach works.

Even on Bright Ideas, it’s not everyday you get an opportunity to hear from a best selling author. Listen now and you’ll hear Ian and I talk about:

  • (03:40) Introductions
  • (07:20) Ian gives us insight into how executives make purchase decisions
  • (09:00) I ask Ian if his advice about executives applies to website sales copy
  • (16:00) Ian discusses how to sell more by talking to fewer people
  • (20:30) Ian explains the difference between his two books
  • (23:15)  Ian introduces the idea of “Adversarial Traps” faced by buyers and sellers
  • (27:00) How to use the “Entice, Disarm and Discover” approach to get in the door
  • (33:40) The right way to ask clients for referrals
  • (36:45) The best way to identify your ideal tribe using the Elevator Rant approach
  • (40:00) How to use the “Issue, Impact, Importance” approach to which client problems are the biggest ones and how to determine if the client will pay to solve them

(If you would like to hear more about great sales tactics, check out the other great Bright Ideas interviews and blogs on the subject.)

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Click to Tweet: Ian Altman on How to Make More Sales by Talking to Fewer People

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


About Ian Altman


Ian Altman is the CEO of Grow My Revenue, LLC. CEOs and executives call on Ian as a trusted advisor and speaker on sales and business development. Ian’s methods have helped businesses double their revenue growth rate without adding salespeople.

Ian is the author of Upside Down Selling, an Amazon #1 Best Seller. He coauthored his upcoming book, Same Side Selling, with Jack Quarles of Buying Excellence.

Are you ready to start Same Side Selling?  Request a FREE preview chapter from Ian’s book Same Side Selling at


Bright Ideas November 2013 Traffic Report


Back in mid-October, I published our very first traffic report after seeing a huge boost in traffic that resulted when I applied some new content promotion strategies that were shared with me.

As traffic generation is a challenge that we all face, I’ve decided to make a habit of the monthly traffic report (plus, starting in January, we’re going to start publishing income reports, so if you don’t want to miss those be sure to become a subscriber).

The goal of publishing these reports is to provide you with more transparency about what is and isn’t working for us here at Bright Ideas. If you think this is a cool idea, please be sure and share this post.

Click to Tweet: Check out the November Website Traffic Report @trentdyrsmid

Audience Overview

November 2013 Audience Overview

November 2013 Audience Overview

As you can see from the above report, overall visits were down 14.33% and unique visits were down 3.80%. Not as good as we would have liked, however, given that November’s traffic was up 52.85% from September – a huge gain for just 60 days – the results aren’t as bad as they might first appear.


November 2013 Conversions Overview

November 2013 Conversions Overview

The graph for conversions above is a bit confusing due to some changes we made in the goals we are tracking. As you can see, the blue line (November results) dropped off quite a bit on November 20th. The reason for that is that I stopped counting conversions that originate from my old blog as that blog, while “dead,” still gets about 150 conversions a week from a Youtube video that I have that gets about 2,000 views a day.

Being as the traffic from that video isn’t really my target audience any more, I thought it was kind of silly to be counting conversions in my goals report.

Now, regarding the big uptick in the yellow line…it went up a bunch on November 15th because I didn’t really use Google Analytics (GA) to track conversions very much prior to then.

Confused yet? Hopefully not…and in future reports, it should be much more straight forward. If you have questions about this, please use the comment form at the bottom of this page.

Landing Pages

November 2013 Landing Page Overview

November 2013 Landing Page Overview

The big win for this month was the 234% increase in the conversion rate of our home page. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that in October, I gave the blog a facelift….and you’ll also know that the new look totally bombed from a conversion perspective (oops), so I quickly released the redesign that you see today.

Unlike a “traditional” landing page, the home page has many calls to action, and the only one that I’m tracking in this report is actual conversions (new subscribers) from the home page.  What I am not tracking in this report is when a new visitor clicks one of the calls to action on the home page and then becomes a subscriber from the second page they view. If I had more time and was better with GA, I’d probably get this set up…but, I don’t, so this is all I have for the time being.

Traffic Sources

November 2013 Traffic Sources

November 2013 Traffic Sources

As you can see, the largest portion of my traffic is from people typing in the URL – or at least this is my understanding of this report (if I’m wrong, I would love for you to leave the correct interpretation down in the comments).

A few months ago, we started to use campaign tracking links extensively in our emails, and you can see that emails to our list definitely account for a significant portion of our traffic. If you aren’t yet building a mailing list, you need to start now (when I release our December income report, you are going to see how incredibly valuable it is to have your own mailing list).

Referral Traffic

November 2013 Referral Traffic

November 2013 Referral Traffic

Social media is an absolutely wonderful tool for content promotion (a topic I cover extensively in my book) and in this report you can see that Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all made incremental contributions to overall traffic. What I cannot tell for sure, is how many people saw our content on social media and then decided to type in the URL instead of clicking the link.


When it comes to understanding GA, I consider myself a complete neophyte. GA collects a ton of data; I wish I was better at interpreting it. That is part of the reason why we are going to publish traffic reports on an ongoing basis – we hope to get much better with our understanding of analytics.

If you are an analytics guru, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below as I, and the rest of our audience, would undoubtedly learn a thing or two!

What Do You Think?

If you have comments or questions, please take a moment to leave them down in the comments. You will get an answer.

Enter to Win a FREE Copy of My Digital Marketing Handbook

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Jessica Rhodes 4in x 6in x 300dpi x FC

Digital Marketing Strategy: Jessica Rhodes on How Marketers Can Leverage Pinterest for Content Promotion


How would you like a social media tool that gives you a broad audience reach? Would it be valuable to be able to share your content on a site where users are eager to browse, discover, and learn new things?

That site would be Pinterest, and if you’re not already using it for your business, you’re likely missing out. In this podcast, Pinterest expert Jessica Rhodes shares why Pinterest can be so useful for business, as well as how to best use the site to your advantage.

I got a lot of great tips from my conversation with Jessica and was able to implement a Pinterest sharing strategy immediately after we talked.

(Of course, Pinterest is just one form of social media you can successfully leverage for your business. Check out our past interviews from Twitter expert Mark Schaefer and LinkedIn expert Viveka von Rosen for ideas specific to those sites.)

Listen now and you’ll hear Jessica and I talk about:

  • (02:30) Introduction
  • (03:30) Why Pinterest is so important for marketers
  • (08:00) How to start developing a following on Pinterest
  • (11:00) How to get started pinning images
  • (13:00) What makes an image pinnable?
  • (15:00) How to make your pins stand out
  • (16:30) How infographics can be leveraged on Pinterest to increase attention
  • (18:20) Common mistakes made by pinners

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there, Bright Idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
podcast. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast for
marketing agencies, consultants, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who want to
discover how to use content marketing and marketing automation to massively
boost your business without having to massively boost the number of hours
that you work every week. And the way that we do that is we bring onto the
show proven experts to share with you the specific tactics and strategies
that they have used to build their own successful businesses. So no
theorists or gurus here, just real, live entrepreneurs who have been
generous enough to donate their time, come onto the show, answer my
questions, and provide you with bright ideas that you can immediately
implement into your business.On the show with me today is an entrepreneur by the name of Jessica
Rhodes. I asked Jessica to come onto the show, because she is an absolute
expert at Pinterest, and I am an Pinterest neophyte. Matter of fact, I
barely as of the recording of this episode, I barely even use Pinterest.
However, that is, of course, going to change as a result of what I learned
in this episode, which we’re going to get to in just a second.Before we do that, I just want to very quickly tell you about the
Bright Ideas Mastermind. If you are a marketing consultant, or a
freelancer, or you run a small marketing agency, and you are not satisfied
with how fast your company is growing, or you’re struggling to attract new
clients, or you’re just not sure what you should be doing next to ignite
that next level of growth, go to, and you’ll have
the opportunity to apply and join a very select group of people who are all
doing exactly the same thing, and who have that same mindset that by
helping each other, and by sharing ideas, the collective intelligence of
that Mastermind benefits in a big way everybody that is in it. So to get to
that, again, it’s with that said, please join me in welcoming Jessica to the show.Jessica Rhodes is the founder and president of ESS, Entrepreneur
Support Services, a business providing various admin and marketing support
services to busy entrepreneurs and small business owners. Entrepreneur
Support Services is the parent company to the, the
premier source for booking outstanding guests for your podcast. Jessica is
also highly skilled at social media marketing and specializes in using
Pinterest and specifically, custom infographics to drive tons of traffic to
her clients’ websites. Jessica founded ESS so she could stay at home with
her 7-month old son, Nathan, who she often refers to as her vice-president.
Hey, Jessica, welcome to the show.Jessica: Hey, Trent, thanks so much for having me on. I’m excited to be
here.Trent: And I’m excited to have you here, as well. So you are a
Pinterest marketing expert, and do you know, I’ve got to be honest with
you, I’ve paid less than zero attention to Pinterest, so, and I’m sure
there are some others who are listening to this, so you seem to think it’s
kind of a big deal, and you’re getting some really great results, so I
wanted to have you on, so that you can share your story, what those results
are, why people should be paying attention to it. So with all that said,
for people that don’t know who you are, please introduce yourself, and then
we’re going to dive right into it.Jessica: Yeah. I’m a work at home mom, first and foremost, I started my
business to be at home with my son, Nathan, who I, he’s kind of like my
vice-president, he’s very present in my business. And, yeah, he’s seven
months old now. And I started my business to be at home with him. Started
it before I became a mom, so it was, you know, kind of had that transition
out of my nine to five. I was working a non profit, transition out with
him.So, I am a Pinterest marketer, I do Pinterest marketing for my
clients, and have just seen amazing results from this platform. It’s the
third most popular social media platform online. It’s only a couple years
old, I’m sure you can guess what the first two are. But, it does seem like
not a lot of people are really taking advantage of how amazing this
platform is.As soon as I really started managing my one client’s Pinterest site,
we saw so many people going through to his website, people were staying
longer, so it’s really, with a couple very simple strategies that I know
we’re going to talk about today, Pinterest is a site where you can really
see some massive results on social media. I’ve just personally also in my
own business have seen Pinterest be really powerful and driving traffic to
my website. People are more open, it’s similar to Twitter, in that you can
really gain a lot more followers faster.I think getting people to like a Facebook fan page is kind of like
pulling teeth nowadays. I feel like it’s similar to an email newsletter.
People are very selective of who they’re liking on Facebook, who they want
to see in their news feed. But a place like Pinterest, you’re really able
to really build a big following, and get your content out to a large number
of people. That’s really why people should be using it, it’s just so
powerful in getting your message out.Trent: Absolutely. And you know, the timing of this interview is very,
very good because I’ve really been paying a lot of attention to content
promotion as of late, and so folks in the audience, this is how important
this stuff is. There’s a blog post that’s going to go live, it’ll be live
by the time this show is live, and in it, I reported my traffic since
starting to do more promotional stuff, and I have to confess, Pinterest is
not even a part yet of that promotional stuff. But our traffic has almost
doubled in a month, and we actually looked at the last week, and we are
looking at a level of traffic that, if it just repeats itself over the next
couple of weeks, is four x what it was a month ago.Jessica: Oh, it’s amazing. I mean, Trent, I know you know, content is
king on social media. People don’t want to be sold to on social media. They
are there for interaction, engagement, and information, and the great thing
about Pinterest with promoting your blog post, your podcast, your business,
is that you post that pin-able image, and people just click the pin and it
drives them right to the site.So if you were to post a great image on Facebook, you put in the
description, the link, to the blog post, so I know it works, I’m not a
Facebook marketing expert, so I won’t speak too much about that, but I feel
like on Facebook, there’s that extra step of, they get attracted to the
image, then they’ve got to look over to the description, and then click the
link to get to the site, whereas on Pinterest, it’s just two clicks to get
to your blog post. So I think that’s one of the big reasons you can really
drive a lot of traffic to your website.

Trent: So people like me who are super ill-informed about Pinterest
are going to think it’s like that website that all the chicks go to, you
know, look at shoes.

Jessica: Recipes and wedding pictures.

Trent: Yeah. You’ve got it. So you mentioned you have a client, and
he’s a guy. I’m guessing he’s not selling recipes and wedding pictures.

Jessica: No, not at all. He might have a couple pins with recipes that
he pinned when I wasn’t looking. So, it’s the great thing about Pinterest,
is, sure, if you are pinning recipes and wedding dresses, and you’re
following people who are pinning those things, that’s going to be on your
Pinterest feed. But I manage a couple different client sites, actually,
they’re both male, and they’re both marketers, and entrepreneurs, and their
Pinterest feed is that. It’s marketing content, it’s content for

The reason Pinterest is such a great place, not only to be on for
social media, but it’s a great place to, it’s kind of like a portfolio for
your business. My client has a podcast, a web TV show, a blog, many
different aspects to his business, so there’s boards to kind of show all of
that, whereas you may have different websites for your podcast, a website
for a sales page. On Pinterest you can show all that like a portfolio. And
so it’s a really powerful way to kind of just show who you are to your
clients and prospects without being sales-y.

Trent: Okay. So let’s kind of go through the steps, then, to achieving
success on Pinterest. I’m guessing the first thing you have to do is
probably start growing a following?

Jessica: Yeah, you want to, once you set up a page, and I recommend
everyone set up a business page, assuming you are there as an entrepreneur.
You want to set up a business page, and so if you already have a Pinterest
page, you can simply go, and click “Convert Here”,
to just make it a business page, and there’s really no difference from the
outside. If you look at business page, and you look at a personal page, you
wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but as an entrepreneur on
Pinterest, if you have a business account, you can then utilize Pinterest
Analytics, where you can track which pins are most popular, how often
you’re getting shown on the Pinterest feed, and there’s a lot of other
different features, so, again, you want a Pinterest business page to really

You also just want to think a lot about your “About” description,
your profile image. You want to have your website verified. If you’re there
for business purposes and to market yourself and your business, you need to
have a profile that looks like you’re there to show off. I mean, if you’re
there for personal reasons, and again, you’re there to find recipes for
dinner, having your first name and a profile picture is all you need.

But to be there to market yourself and your business, you really want
to have a little “About” description, that’s optimized with keywords that’s
going to drive people, because, remember, Pinterest profiles can show up in
Google search results. Sometimes they show up more than your website if
your SEO isn’t that strong. So, that’s a really great way, again, to drive
people to your website is through your Pinterest profile.

And a little bit on verifying your website on Pinterest. When you go
to your account settings and you put your website in, you want to click
“Verify”. It’s a pretty simple step. If you’re not that tech savvy, I’m
sure you could talk to the person who manages your website, but it’s
essentially putting in some kind of, oh, I am not tech savvy, I think it
says beta code, or meta code, I hope people aren’t cringing if they’re tech
people. But it’s some kind of code that you then put on your website, so it
links your Pinterest page and your website, so that’s how you activate that
analytics feature.

It also shows a little check mark next to your website, and as a
Pinterest user, when I see that check mark on someone’s Pinterest page, I
know they’re there and they’re active. Because people don’t want to follow
you if you’re not pinning, right? So if you are there and you are pinning,
and you want to grow a following, you want to verify your website so people
are attracted to you and they say, okay, he’s got his website verified,
he’s got his boards filled up, this is someone that’s going to be
delivering content to me. So that’s a really important step in attracting a

Trent: Okay. So that’s a good start. And then, once you kind of get
all of that up and running, I’m guessing you’ve got to start pinning stuff.
Is that right?

Jessica: Right, right. So you want to set up boards, you know, to get
started, I would set up, let’s say you’re someone, let’s take you, for
example, Trent. You’ll be our hot seat here. You have a blog, you have a
podcast, you have different aspects to your business. I would recommend for
you, having a board for your podcast, and then as you start out, so you
create the board tonight, you want to have at least five pins on there,
because when you look at someone’s Pinterest page, and you’re looking at
their profile, you’ll see five preview images, right? So you’ll look at a
major pin, and then have four pins underneath. So you want to make sure
that when you’re looking at a Pinterest profile, all those five pins are
there. So at the very minimum, have five boards, five pins on each to get
started, and then you’re going from there.

I actually listened to an interview the other day, on a Pinteresting
podcast, I’ll give a shout out because I really like the podcast, it’s And she interviewed a woman who actually only spends
10 minutes a week on Pinterest, and gets massive results. So it’s not like
Twitter, where you need to be tweeting 30 times a day. If you blog a couple
times a week, or you have a weekly podcast, it’s as simple as taking five
minutes to just showcase your blog and your podcast, and the different
aspects to your business on Pinterest. So, it’s very, very simple, you
know, 10 minutes a week, people are seeing results from.

Trent: So let me, being as I’m on the hot seat, so let’s say when I
publish this particular episode, or the one I recorded earlier today, what
image do I want to pin? Like normally when I get a caricature of my guest
done, so surprise, surprise. You’ve got one coming your way. Is that what I
want to pin?

Jessica: Yeah, that’s a great, and I actually, you really stuck out to
me when we first connected. One of the reasons you stuck out is because of
those caricatures. That’s a great idea. And so I’ll talk a little bit about
what makes an image pin-able. So those caricatures are fantastic, because
they are going to attract attention on the Pinterest feed. When you’re
looking at the Pinterest feed, there’s a lot of square graphics. And if you
go to the Pinterest feed, just look at what your eyes are drawn to.

The one thing that I would add, Trent, to that image is text. So you
can use Photoshop, you know, there’s a lot of different simple software out
there where you can just add text. So I would put on there, “Listen to this
podcast episode with Pinterest marketing expert Jessica Rhodes, for tips
and tricks about Pinterest.” So you’d want to add a little bit of text, so
the people know what they’re going to be clicking through to. Because going
back to what I was talking about on Facebook, where you look at the image
and then you go over to the description, you want to cut out that second
step. So they look at the image, and they, in an instant, just by looking
at the image or reading the image text, people know exactly what they’re
going to get from it.

Trent: Okay. So that’s something I could easily have my VA do, is just
take the title of the episode, put it on top of the image, pin the image.

Jessica: And then you also want to have a call to action, so I think I
already said this, but you want to make sure on your pins you say, click
here for whatever you want them to do. You want to be very direct. Click
here to read this blog post. Click here to listen to this podcast. People
are very simple creatures, if you tell them to do something, they’re going
to do it. I mean, if it’s clicking to get to something that’s going to be
entertaining, you’ll be surprised at how many people do that.

Trent: And so with so many other boards and Pinterest users and so
forth, how the heck is my stuff ever going to stand out?

Jessica: Well, you want to go through, and you want to follow people in
your niche. So a really good way to build the following and get the right
people to follow you, is to who are the “celebrities” in your industry. The
lesson of who are your ideal followers, who are your ideal listeners,
clients and prospects, who are they hanging out with, who are they
following? You want to follow those people.

And you also want to be interactive on Pinterest, so when somebody
repins your pin, go and leave a comment that says, “Hey, thanks for
sharing. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you don’t miss an episode.”
Because when you leave a comment, your name and profile picture is now
showing up on the Pinterest feed below that pin. So doing things like that.
A pretty standard practice is when you follow someone, they usually follow
you back, so very simply, if you go out and follow the people that want to
follow you, that’s a really fast way to build a following. I said
“following” a lot in that sentence.

Trent: But don’t worry, I’m following you. All right. So now we’re
getting a little bit of traction, we’ve figured out how to pin some stuff.
You see a lot of infographics these days, and I will confess, I am actually
not the biggest fan of infographics. I guess my brain is just not wired to
appreciate them. But it seems that I am the exception, that a lot of people
really seem to like infographics. So, in case anyone listening to this
doesn’t know what an infographic is, maybe you should explain that, and
then why do I want to do it.

Jessica: Sure. So, infographics are long, thin images. You see them on
Pinterest, and they kind of capture a lot of information accompanied by
colorful graphics and pictures. And the reason people like them is because
they’re eye candy, and quite frankly, the reason I like them from a
Pinterest marketing perspective, is they just get more attention. So,
obviously, it’s not a one size fits all. There’s going to be the Trents of
the world that don’t like them, and that’s fine, but, from a marketing
perspective, they just take up more real estate on the Pinterest feed, so
they’re going to attract more attention, and that’s why I like them, and
why I use them. It’s because they’re able to get more attention, people
repin them more often.

Because a lot of time on Pinterest, people will repin an image,
because it has information that they don’t really want to read right now,
but they want to save it for later. So, they’re like, “This infographic
looks really interesting, I don’t want to read it right now, but I’m going
to repin it onto my board, and save it for later.” And when that happens,
say they have 300 followers, now 300 other people are now going to see that
infographic that you had pinned originally. So, I mean, that’s another
reason Pinterest is amazing, is because everything goes viral.

Trent: Now I see why I might actually end up liking infographics. If
they get me more traffic . . .

Jessica: Yeah, you don’t have to even look at them all the time, but if
you get them made, or you make them, you’re going to see some nice results.

Trent: And then I would like them a lot, actually.

Jessica: Yeah, exactly.

Trent: All right. I’m sold. So how about mistakes you see people
making on Pinterest? What are some of the things that you don’t want to do?

Jessica: So, a big mistake, a big no-no, is changing the source link on
somebody else’s pin. So, you know, you’re our hot seat today, Trent, so say
for example you get this awesome caricature made of your guest, Jessica
Rhodes, you make this great pin, your VA pins it, it links back to your
website, and I repin it, and then I click edit when it’s on my Pinterest
page, and I change the link to go to my website.

Trent: Oh, you bad person.

Jessica: You would be really mad, right? So, that’s happened to me, it’s
happened before, because people see this awesome pin, they’re like, “I love
that graphic. It kind of fits my website, I’m going to change the link and
go to my website.” And unfortunately, people can do that, but it’s a big
Pinterest no-no. You don’t want to do that, somebody took the time to
create a great image, it links to their website, it’s custom to their
content, so that’s just a big thing you don’t want to do. You want to be
creating content.

So going into my next kind of do and don’t, 80% or more of the pins
on Pinterest are just circulating throughout the site. Not a lot of people
add to the site, not a lot of people are uploading content, or pinning from
their websites or other websites. They’re just kind of hanging out on
Pinterest and repinning. So, one of the things that you really, as a
Pinterest marketer, if you’re on there for your business, you don’t just
want to repin everyone else’s content.

You want to focus on being that 20%, that 15%, that’s adding content
to the site. Because as soon as you do that, it takes you a couple minutes,
months and years down the road, people are still going to be finding it
through their search results, and they’re still going to be repinning it.
And I see that with my clients, I pinned, I made an infographic for a
client back in May, and to this day, people are still finding it, still
repinning it, and it’s still driving traffic to his websites. So, that’s
another reason why infographics are great.

Trent: Well, and infographics are just another form of content
marketing, and anyone who’s been listening to my show for any amount of
time knows that the reason that Bright Ideas is successful is because of
content marketing. We don’t advertise to get people to come and find us. We
just make sure that we have a lot of content and it gets spread all over
the Internet. When I talked at the very beginning of this episode about
this huge boost in traffic that we’ve received, it’s just because we
started to actually do more promotion of the content that we were creating,
and that’s why. And I think this interview is timely, because we are going
to start doing this stuff with Pinterest, even though . . . go ahead.

Jessica: Yeah, and Pinterest, what I’ve really seen with Pinterest is
that people treat is as a search engine. I know I treat it as a search
engine. I mean, I’m there to market myself and my business, and my client’s
business, but I’m also on there, when I want a recipe for dinner, I mean,
we laughed about this, but I will go to Pinterest first. I treat it as a
place to find information. So, sure, as an example, I go on there to find a
great recipe for dinner, but I also go there to find new podcasts to listen
to. So it’s a great place to be showcasing.

I have a group board that, Trent, once you’re up and going on
Pinterest, I’ll invite you to pin there. It’s a must-listen to podcast
group board, so everyone who’s pinning to that board, there’s maybe like
five to 10 of us pinning to it, and when one of us pins to it, it shows up
on everybody’s feed. So, again, that’s just a way to get your content out
there to a massive amount of people.

Trent: So tell me a little bit more about a group board. So, did you
create this group board? Can anybody create a group board?

Jessica: Yeah. So anyone can create a group board. There’s lots out
there. A group board is essentially a Pinterest board that more than one
person can pin to. So when you go to your Pinterest page and you click
create a board, you name it, you have a description. You create the board,
then you go back to edit it and then add people to pin to it. And I think
they have to be following you to actually be invited to pin on the board,
but they’re really, really great, like I said, to get your content out
there to more people.

Say for example, you, Trent, have 5,000 followers on Pinterest,
which, I don’t think you do yet. But, I invite you to pin to my group
board, and I pin to it, and since you’re also a pinner on that group board,
my pin’s going to now show up on your feed, which has 5,000 followers. So,
anyone can create one, you can join them, a lot of people will put in the
description, if you want to join this group board, I mean, some group
boards have hundreds of people pinning to them. They’ll say, oh, just leave
a comment on this pin, and I’ll add you. So, everyone who has one has their
different way of adding people, but if you ever get invited to pin to one,
I always encourage it, as long as it’s relatively aligned with your niche,
I always recommend joining them.

Trent: Okay. I’m looking at, I actually have an old Pinterest account
from my old blog, and it’s got the name of, so in the top right hand corner
of the browser, there’s a little picture of me, and then the name of my
Pinterest account. Is that changeable?

Jessica: What’s your user name for that, the old page?

Trent: It’s “Online Income”, it’s the old blog. And obviously, I want
to use Bright Ideas, so I’m trying to figure out if I have to create a new
account, or whether I can change that one. I don’t see in settings a place
to change it.

Jessica: So, is “Online Income” the user name that you would put in the
URL, Because I’m getting Stephan Roth, which
I’m guessing isn’t you.

Trent: Try “Online Income Lab”.

Jessica: Okay.

Trent: That was my old blog. Yeah, that’s . . .

Jessica: Okay. Yep. Canadian thrill seeker. So, what you can do, I’m
trying to think. So what was your question about changing the . . .?

Trent: Can I change the user name of the Pinterest account? Because I
don’t want to be at I want to be at So should I just create a new account, or can I
change this one?

Jessica: Sure. I think that you can change the user name, and I’m
drawing a blank on how to do that. But I think if you go to settings that
you will be able to do that, and it’s actually a good idea to keep this
account, because it doesn’t look like you have a ton of followers, but it’s
nice to not start from scratch if you already have people following you
there. So if you go to settings, I do believe that you would be able to.
But, I can, of course, reconnect it to try to find out.

Trent: Nope, you can, I just figured it out. If you clicked on “Edit
Profile”, you can change anything that you would like. Perfect.

Jessica: Oh, there we go. There we go.

Trent: All right. Terrific. So, I know that you also have an
infographics business, so I want to give you an opportunity to, if people
want to connect with you, if they’ve liked what they’ve heard, but they
just can’t bear the thought of making their infographics, or they can’t
bear the thought of taking on the management, or they don’t have a VA to
take on the management of yet another social network, how do people get in

Jessica: Sure, thanks. My business is called “Entrepreneur Support
Services”. So, you can connect with me at
You’ll find my blog there, you’ll find Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter,
connecting with me on social media, and yeah. If you just to my website,
you’ll be able to find, I do design custom infographics, so for a very
reasonable price, more reasonable than I have seen anywhere out there with
any of my competitors, I’ll design a custom infographic for you. And you
can find me on Pinterest at, is where you’ll
find me on Pinterest, and you can see all the infographics that I’ve
designed there, as well.

Trent: And, how do you spell Rhodes?

Jessica: R-H-O-D-E-S. Like the state, Rhode Island.

Trent: Okay. And you said very reasonable price. I’m going to put you
on the spot. How reasonable is reasonable?

Jessica: It is. I charge $100 flat for an infographic.

Trent: Okay. And so folks, if you want to see the quality of her
infographics, again, and we’ll link to it from the show notes, this is
episode I believe number 86, so you’ll be able to get, sorry, no, yeah, 86.
You’ll be able to get to these show notes at, and there
you will find links to everything we’ve talked about, including Jessica’s
site and Pinterest profile and so forth. So if you’re driving your car
right now, don’t try and write all this stuff down, please.

All right. So any closing thoughts, Jessica on Pinterest marketing
before we wrap up this episode?

Jessica: Yeah. I would just, you know, don’t get into overwhelm mode.
There’s a lot of Pinterest profiles out there where there’s 30 boards, and
a thousand pins. If you go on there and just set up a couple of boards to
capture your blog posts, your podcast episodes, whatever you’ve got as far
as content goes, just doing that for a couple minutes a week, and getting
those pins up there is really going to make a big difference in where your
website traffic is coming from.

Trent: And how do you, you said five boards at the beginning? How do I
decide what five boards? So let’s put me back on the hot seat, I’m assuming
I’m going to have a board for my podcasts.

Jessica: Right. So you can have a board for your podcasts, or you can
have several boards for your podcasts. So if you break up your podcasts,
you could do it by time. So, here are all my interviews from fall of 2013.
So you can categorize your podcasts, as opposed to just having one board
with all of your episodes. And you can do the same thing with your blog,
you can have one board for your blog, but if you’ve been blogging for
several years, and you’ve got hundreds of posts, you can also categorize
it, so social media blog post, marketing blog post. And then I don’t know
all the aspects of your business, but wherever you’re creating content,
create a board to capture that content, create pins, and pin it.

Trent: Okay. And I notice a lot of people, and probably I should do
this on mine, they have the social sharing icons to the left that float up
and down like I do. Pinterest isn’t one of those, if I do that, I can
probably just have my VA click that little pin button right there, and then
choose the image? Now, it will extract an image from the post, or does it
give us choices of which image in the post we want to use?

Jessica: Right. So when you’re at a blog post and you click the pin it
thing that you put in your tool bar, that will then grab the pinnable
images that you would put into the blog post. So I always recommend putting
pinnable images into the blog post, so it will grab it, people can choose
which one they want to pin. And you actually reminded me, I wanted to
recommend that people make their website Pinterest friendly by adding in
Pinterest widgets, which you can get at So, when you
put the actual pin it button on the blog post, you’re actually going to be
encouraging the people that visit your blog to pin your content for you. So
that’s really where you want to get to, is where you have people pinning
your content for you, because why wouldn’t you want that?

Trent: Yeah, no kidding. I like it when the audience, or the site
visitors, do all the promotional work.

Jessica: Exactly. So if you have that pin it button, it’s really going
to help that.

Trent: And you get that at

Jessica: Yep. And they’re free, they’re just simple little plug ins.

Trent: Okay. Well, Jessica, thank you so much for making some time and
enlightening me on what the opportunity that I’m missing by ignoring
Pinterest, which I will put to an end immediately. And I appreciate you
making the time to be on the show.

Jessica: Thank you so much for having me, Trent. I appreciate it.

Trent: You’re welcome. All right, so that wraps up episode number 86
of the Bright Ideas podcast. To get the show notes for this episode, go to If you enjoyed listening to this episode and found value
in it, I would love it if you would take a moment, and go to When you do, you’ll find a link to leave feedback for
the show in iTunes, and that is the number one way that the show increases
it’s exposure, and helps us to help more entrepreneurs massively boost
their business by discovering all the bright ideas that are shared here by
my guests, who donate their time to come onto the show. So if you take a
moment to do that, I would really, really appreciate it.

That’s it for this episode. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid. Thank you
so much for tuning in. If you are not yet a subscriber, please go to and become one, and when you do, I will give you a four-part
video training series on how to maximize conversions, both on your website,
and in your marketing funnel. And if you don’t know what a marketing funnel
is, when you go into mine, and you start watching these videos, you are
going to be in for a huge eye opener, and you will probably realize, like
everyone else that goes through, that there is a huge opportunity for you
in your own business to implement strategies like I am teaching you in this
four-part video series. So I absolutely promise you, you will find huge
value in going and watching those videos. And again, you can get them for
free, by going to

Thank you so much for tuning in, we will see you again in another
episode soon.

About Jessica Rhodes

JessicaRhodesAfter graduating from Temple University with a degree in Communications, Jessica spent 3 years leading a team of door to door non-profit fundraisers.  With a goal to be a stay at home mom to her son, Nathan, Jessica founded Entrepreneur Support Services, parent company to Interview

Jessica and her team help busy entrepreneurs leverage the power of social media marketing to drive more traffic to their websites. With the launch of Interview, Jessica helps motivated podcast hosts book outstanding guests on their shows.


How to Stay Focused with a Daily Activity Checklist


Sometimes I’m not as disciplined as I’d like. When first start my day, there are tasks that are absolutely critical to growing my business that I know I must do, yet despite this, I sometimes forget…or get distracted by something else.

Sound familiar?

How to Stay on Task – Day After Day

Last night after my wife and I finished watching Homeland (we’ve just finished episode 2 of season 1), my brain decided it was going to go into “bright ideas” overdrive and one of the ideas that surfaced was the need to create a daily activity checklist.

Pilots use checklists. So do astronauts. I’m sure there are many other types of people that use them as well. Why? Simple, they don’t want to forget anything.

We actually use a lot of checklists already. We have checklists for podcast post production, writing blog posts, blog post editing, blog post promotion, onboarding a new client. You name it, we have a checklist for it.

Oddly enough, prior to last night, I’d not yet created a checklist of daily activities. Go figure.

My Daily Activity Checklist

Bad habits, distractions, and laziness be gone. I now have the first draft of a daily activity checklist to keep me on task.


Click Image to Download a Copy –

Want to get a copy? Click here to download your own.

Tweet: Succeed at Content Marketing with this Daily Activity Checklist @trentdyrsmid

How to Create a Stalker List

In the checklist above, you will notice that I referred to something called a stalker list. This is not a list of people that you want to creep on! Instead, this is a list of the influencers who you’d like to build a relationship with. There are plenty of ways to find these people and one of the ways that I’ve found is to use Followerwonk by Moz.

With Followerwonk, you can easily find people who are influential in just about any niche you can think of. To see how to do it, simply have a look at the screenshot below.


If you aren’t a major influencer yourself, I suggest you start by targeting people who are slightly above your level of influence, as opposed to shooting for the stars.

This was a tactic that we used to recruit other bloggers to help spread the word about The Digital Marketing Handbook. We used Followerwonk to find out who we needed to connect with and then I had my VA comment on two posts and tweet those posts out (using my Twitter account). After that, my VA (using my email account) would send them an email to ask if they’d be interested in reviewing my book.

Because we’d focused on helping them first (comments and shares on their posts), when we emailed them, it wasn’t a cold email and many wrote back saying they’d love to review the book…as well as share it on their own social networks.

What Do You Think?

Even though I have interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs on my podcast, I’m well aware that I still have plenty to learn. If you have ideas for daily activities that a content marketer should be adding to this checklist, please share them in the comments below.

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How to Get Started With Content Marketing

BI_Images 2

At a recent business networking event that I attended, I had the opportunity to be a firsthand witness to a “power networker” named Dave. Dave was a networking machine and he worked the room like no one I’ve ever seen, passing out business cards left and right.

Dave was amazing. In fact, he was the talk of the room.

Problem was that none of the “talk” was flattering. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. In just under an hour, Dave had managed to become the most annoying person in the room.

Don’t forget to check out our post on the outlook of content marketing in 2014.

Are You Annoying Your Prospects?

Do you think that anyone who received one of Dave’s cards would ever call him? Do you think that in the short conversations that Dave had with each person that he devoted any time to attempting to understand the problems or challenges faced by the person he was talking to?

Hardly. Dave was only interested in one thing: passing out as many cards as possible. After all, sales is just a numbers game, right?


Today, the way to successfully attract clients is not to interrupt them with your sales messages. The way to attract clients today is to create content that is actually useful.

In his book Youtility, Jay Baer completely hit the nail on the head. Smart marketing is about HELP not HYPE.

Your Best Prospects Are Invisible

According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), almost 60% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects contact potential vendors.



In the “old days” we would begin our buyer’s journey by reaching out and talking to a real person. We did this because we wanted to learn more about the company and create a bond of some kind.

When was the last time you reached out and talked to a live person at the very beginning of your research process? In my case, it’s been a very long time! The days of one-to-one communications early in the buyer’s journey are OVER.

Nowadays, the buyer’s journey starts off with online research and by the time you or I talk to a prospect, 60% of their homework is done. Customers are smart and they are stealthy. They are rigorously evaluating us without our even knowing they exist. IF we pass their sniff test, ONLY THEN do we stand a chance of actually speaking with them.

Content is Mission Critical

Content Marketing is the process of creating content that our prospects actually want or need. If you aren’t publishing high quality, helpful content, your competitors are probably eating your lunch.

To be successful with content, you must think carefully about the customer buying cycle and then create content to meet the needs of people in each phase.

  • The first phase has the largest number of potential buyers so you should begin with content that drives interest and awareness. We’ll call this top of the funnel content.
  • The next phase is the middle of the funnel. Here you want to focus on increasing engagement as well as answering questions about what you sell and how much it is.
  • The final phase is the bottom of the funnel. This is the place where you want to getting into the nitty gritty of all the frequently asked questions that are aligned with the buying process.

Attracting Buyers with Content


High quality content connects your buyers with solutions.
(image source:

Content marketing has one purpose: attracting buyers.

Unlike paid advertising, where you are attempting to interrupt buyers from whatever they are doing (so they will pay attention to you), the goal of content marketing is to attract buyers who are already searching for solutions to the problems they have.

Does’t that seem like a much smarter idea?

To succeed with content marketing, you have to shift your mindset from “how can we sell them” to “how can we help them”. People are tired of being sold and if that is your approach (like Dave), they will avoid you. However, if you focus on providing help, not only will people trust you more, but they will also help you to spread the word on their social networks.

Here at Bright Ideas, we walk our talk and provide a steady stream of the most helpful content that we possibly can. On this site there are hundreds of blog posts and interviews that are jam packed with content that is genuinely helpful.

How do I know it’s helpful? Because I get at least one email or tweet a day (from people I’ve never heard of) thanking me for creating content that is so helpful. My audience also regularly buys our products and services, so I can assure that being “helpful” definitely pays the bills.

Don’t just take my word for it though. According to BtoB Magazine, “Content Marketing” is one of the top priorities for marketing in 2014.

Check out the total number of searches for “content marketing”. From January of 2001 through to today, the trend has been steadily increasing.


Still not convinced? Here’s a bunch more statistics:

• 93% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing (Content Marketing Institute / Marketing Profs Study)
• 42% of B2B marketers rate their content marketing efforts as effective (Content Marketing Institute / Marketing Profs Study)
• Only 44% of B2B Marketers have a documented content strategy (Content Marketing Institute / Marketing Profs Study)
• 73% of B2B Marketers have someone in charge of content marketing strategy. (Content Marketing Institute / Marketing Profs Study)

Here are some relevant interviews you may also want to check out:

Here are some additional articles I’ve written on this topic:

How to Get Started With Content Marketing

Getting started with content marketing is actually very easy to do.

Step 1: Find out what your customers are interested in learning more about.

To do this, I strongly suggest that you invest some time to actually call your customers and ask them. There is no substitute for first hand research like this.

If you are too lazy to call people, then I’d suggest sending out a survey and using plenty of open ended questions. Multiple choice is OK, but what you really want is to hear the answers in your customer’s own words so that you can use these phrases for keyword research.

Listen to your customers! (image source:

Listen to your customers!
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Now that you have some idea of key phrases that your customers are using, make a list of them and start to use tools like Google trends and the Google keyword tool to gain insight into the trends and search volume for these key phrases. The data you uncover from doing this will help you to determine which topics you should write about.

If you are just starting out and don’t yet have any customers, use Google to find some discussion forums for the topic you are researching and take note of the questions people are asking. For questions that you see showing up over and over, go write a blog post that answers that question. Now you have a page you can tell people in the forums about and that will drive traffic to your site.

Step 2: Create content to provide helpful advice and answers to the questions your prospects are asking

Now that you have a list of questions, write a blog post that answers each question. It doesn’t have to be a long post and you don’t need to be a world-class writer. You need only be HELPFUL.

If you are brand new to writing, I’d suggest you look at other blogs in your niche and see which posts of theirs have received the most comments and social shares. Use these posts as a guide to helping you to create an effective post.

Generally speaking a good post will go something like this:

  • Overview of the problem (this is why you should read this)
  • Overview of the solution
  • Proof that the solution works (your proof or proof supplied by others)
  • Call to action (what your reader should do next)

Want to Learn More?

As you might guess, there are plenty of addition details, tips, tricks, and hacks to becoming a successful content marketer and to help you discover them, I have written a book that will take you from zero to a steady stream of new customers-all from content marketing. Plus, so that you can get an even bigger bang for your content marketing buck, I have devoted two chapters to how you can add something called marketing automation in with your content marketing.

You can learn more about the book and download a free chapter here.

Have questions? Please use the comment form below.

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How to Convert 80% of Your Proposals

This is a guest post by Jason Swenk.

Converting proposals is key to surviving and growing your marketing agency.  Since most of the time agencies are under insane deadlines, most people don’t put much attention into conversion until it’s too late. The fact is, every agency loses an average of 25-percent existing business each year. This is not their fault but this is the average churn rate over the last 30 years.

This only makes it more important that you convert as many proposals as you can. You worked so hard getting the client to contact you and invite you to do a pitch, why would you ease up now?

The cover letter is 35 percent of your work

One of the most important parts of a proposal is the cover letter. Do you know that over 35 percent of proposals are not read past the first page? I treat the cover letter as a landing page where I had to get their attention to read further. It’s where you have to convince the reader to keep reading.

In the cover letter you need to do the following:

  • Explain that you understand their problem and you have proposed a solution.

  • Quickly explain what you are about and why you do it.

  • Ask them for feedback and encourage them to ask questions.

  • Make sure the cover letter is brief, under a page.

Next up is the Executive Summary

After the cover letter, I immediately dive into more details and go through the executive summary:

  • What is the primary focus of this proposal?

  • Explain to them that you have researched and engaged in meetings to discuss their goals and requirements.

  • Tell them about your experience, building confidence in being able to deliver.

  • Define the estimated time it will take for the project.

You’re building them up and getting them to believe you are right for them.

Show how you will deliver

After the executive summary, I dive into the deliverables. You will want to categorize services into sections, depending on your business. For a marketing/web design proposal, my categories are creative services, marketing, and technology.

  • Be very descriptive in each (especially important if you are talking about something like web design).

  • Tell them about your methodology so they understand the process.

  • Add images where possible so not text heavy, but do not get carried away.

  • List out all the deliverables, i.e. How many versions or pages they will get, etc.

  • List out services that they may have not asked for but that could be a good compliment. Label that session: Optional services.

Next, I would summarize all the deliverables and services. Make sure to list all the services in almost a ledger style with the name and price. I would also recommend to categorize this into sections as well as one time fees and recurring fees like hosting and SEM. This method makes it easy for the client to understand.

After you tell the client the services you are going to do, you can know starting talking about your company and why you exist, awards and the people that will be involved on the project.  You are trying to let them get a good understanding of your company and culture, because people do business with people that like and get along with.

Close that new business

Last is the contract section. Most people separate the proposal and the contract but I always want to have everything together to make it easier for the client-easier for them to execute the proposal.

If you want to learn even more ways to increase your proposal conversions, check out Jason’s free video on how his company converted 80 percent of his proposals. You will see how how Solar Velocity achieved such a high proposal close rate, and get to look at the exact proposal that they used to close businesses like AT&T, AFLAC and Hitachi below. Check it out.