Digest Archive + Articles

Your Bottom Line Literally Depends on Milliseconds: 5 Advanced Techniques to Optimize Your Page Load Speed

The most profound lesson I’ve learned through years in marketing is this: people are unbelievably lazy and impatient.

It’s no surprise that 53% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Yes, three seconds is already too long for most people.

This may seem laughable. However, for most online businesses, this is practically a death sentence.

Anyway, this is probably not new to you. If you are involved in marketing to any extent, you must be aware that page load speed is important.

But you may not realize just how important it is—and this is what this article is about.

As you’ll learn, a half-second decrease in waiting time can make a world of difference for you. In fact, for some companies, it’s a matter of extra hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit.

Yeah, that much.

Here I’ll show you a couple of spectacular case studies proving that each millisecond counts. To make it more actionable, I’ll also give you five advanced tips on how to speed up your load speed and get ahead of the competition.

Let’s dive in.

How Mobify Increased Their Revenue with a 0.5-second Decrease in Load Speed

Mobify is a global digital platform that allows retailers to set up their shops online.

In 2016, they made an extraordinary revelation: for every 0.5-second decrease in page load speed, they achieved a whopping $376,789 increase in revenue. It just goes to show how far a minuscule change in website performance can go.

Below is an infographic with more data and findings from their experiment:


Source: Mobify’s 2016 Q2 Mobile Insights Report


The numbers don’t lie. And if you think about it, it makes total sense. Shoppers are more likely to stay on the website if it loads fast enough. And those who browse more, naturally, will buy more. With this said, an increase of just 1-page view per user led to a $398,484 increase in revenue for Mobify.

For some of you standing on the threshold of a breakeven, one second could be a game changer.

Case Studies from Pinterest and Misguided

The next case study is from Pinterest. After rebuilding their site for performance, they managed to cut their wait times by 40%. As a result, they saw a 15% increase in both site registration and search engine traffic.

Fashion retailer Missguided had an incredible success by optimizing their page speed on mobile. Initially, the company was having issues with their page load time on Android. By removing some third-party services, they managed to push the load time down by 4 seconds. A 56% increase in revenue from Android users followed!

How 850 Milliseconds Led to a 10% Increase in Conversions

Yet one more fantastic turnaround: COOK shortened their page load time by a mere 850 milliseconds, or 0.85 seconds, and saw a 7% increase in conversions, 10% increase in pages per session, and 7% decrease in “bounce rates”.

To sum it up, faster websites ensure deeper user engagement, which ultimately leads to higher conversion. To sum it up even further, faster websites mean more profit.

It’s simple as that.

5 Advanced Page Speed Optimization Techniques

Now that we’ve established that today each millisecond counts, let’s talk about how to actually improve one’s website. We won’t touch on the basics of web optimization and get right into the advanced tactics and techniques instead.

Combine and minify JavaScript and CSS files to reduce number of HTTP requests

Every time your website is visited, the user’s browser will ping your web server and request for the files that contain your site’s information, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, images, videos, and other files. This is called an HTTP request. Once the files are sent, the browser will then render the website for the user.

However, the more files your site has, the more HTTP requests are needed to render the page, which will eventually slow down your page load speed. In order to reduce the number of files needed to load the page, I recommend combining and minifying the files.

Minifying the files refers to removing all unnecessary spaces, characters, and lines from your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. Without this extra baggage, you can expect your site to run smoother and faster.

You can also opt to combine files, such as combining your 5 external Javascript files and 5 external CSS files into a single file would mean that it would only take 2 HTTP requests, instead of 10. Hubspot recommends a total of 10-30 files, but anywhere below 99 per page is good enough, according to the previous Head Performance Engineer at Yahoo! and Google.

If you run a  WordPress site, I recommend WP Rocket, a plugin that allows you to easily access, minify, and combine files. It takes less than 10 minutes to minify files using this program.

Utilize asynchronous loading

When a user’s browser renders a page, it loads the information from top to bottom. That means once it reaches a CSS or Javascript file, it’ll stop loading everything else on the page until the CSS/Javascript has been fully loaded.

However, with asynchronous loading, the browser will render all the files simultaneously. Using this technique will ensure smooth loading of the page and will increase the overall loading speed of the page—or at least the part of it that is visible to the user.

Minimize Time to First Byte (TTFB)

After shortening the time it takes for your page to fully load, you’ll also need to consider the amount of time it takes to actually start loading.

TTFB, or time to first byte, is the duration of time a browser waits before receiving the first byte of data from the server. An optimized website should have a TTFB of fewer than 200 milliseconds. Slow TTFB is usually caused by high user traffic, dynamic web content, network issues, or web server configuration.

To check how long your TTFB is, Chrome’s Developer Tools provides the necessary insights. Simply click the “Network” tab and hover over the first item in the “Waterfall” column in Developer Tools.

However, it’s important to remember that the results of Developer Tools are affected by your own Internet connection. You may also opt to use third-party tools such as WebPageTest to find out your website’s TTFB.

As for optimization, I recommend Moz’s primer on how to measure and improve TTFF.

Minimize round-trip times (RTTs) by using a CDN

RTT or Round-trip Time is another critical thing on the checklist to look at.

RTT, essentially, refers to the time from when a request is sent from a browser to when it receives a response from the corresponding server. Network administrators use RTT to diagnose the health of the network connection. So, the shorter the RTT, the faster users are able to request and receive information.

So, how exactly does one minimize RTT? By implementing a CDN.

A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is a network of servers placed at strategic locations and designed to hold a copy of website’s content. Its primary mission is to shorten the virtual distance between a browser and a server. If a user in Australia stumbles upon your UK-hosted website, then a CDN will dispatch the website’s content from a local server (also known as PoPs or points of presence), making it much faster for both parties.

Ultimately, it is a CDN’s role to improve site loading speed and overall performance. It handles high traffic loads, blocks spammers and bots, reduces bandwidth consumption, and balances the load between multiple servers.

If you’re running an international business that expects plenty of overseas traffic, then a CDN is an absolute must.

Install lazy loading for your site

Another way to improve your users’ experience is by having the top of the page (or the content above-the-fold) load faster while the rest of the page takes a few more seconds to load. This is, essentially, lazy loading and it’s especially helpful for sites that have tons of dynamic content below the fold.

Say, you have a blog post with more than 10 photos. The user’s browser would usually download all the photos before showing anything else on the page, but with lazy loading, it’ll load first the content within view and then load the photos afterward.

This cuts down on the load time of the content that matters to the user most, which is critical from a UX standpoint. And it’s as simple as installing plugins, such as Lazy Load, BJ Lazy Load, and WP Rocket.

Don’t Underestimate This and Take Action Now

As you’ve learned, page speed is not just important. It’s literally critical. Increasing your page load speed by mere milliseconds can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue increase.

Manipulating your site’s TFFB and CSS and Javascript files may seem daunting If you are not a developer. But if you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that there are always a few tools/plugins out there that will do the job for you—with minimal coding knowledge.

Some of the techniques, such as asynchronous loading, might need some help from a developer, though. But it’s worth it.

The Power of the One-on-One Approach to List Building and Selling Online

Bryan Harris, founder of Video Fruit, made $8,337 with 575 emails he collected from Facebook groups. Without a sales funnel, website, or advertising. Just by approaching potential clients the old school way, one-on-one.

But marketers are obsessed with scalability and automation. We want more fans, more traffic, a bigger list. We fall over ourselves to deploy the latest automation tools, chatbots, and whatnot.

Yet, sometimes something as primitive as one-on-one conversations can bring in as many or even more highly-targeted leads—and without the need for complex tools and funnels. As I always say, in a world of abundance, quality beats quantity any day.

In this guide, I will show you techniques with real-life examples of how to put the one-on-one approach to use. You can use it to validate your idea, test new audiences, launch products, get new subscribers, and earn money!

Let’s dive in.

Approaching People in Front of You First

Fitness and wellness instructor Alex Fergus does not waste time. When his investment banking job didn’t give him enough time to hit the gym he decided to quit and start his own fitness company.

Instead of experimenting with complex sales funnels he got most of his initial subscribers from his list of personal training clients and other people he knew. Although it seems counterintuitive, building an internet business starts with the people who are literally right in front of you.

Alex sent his new subscribers a newsletter with fitness tips and other valuable content. Keep in mind he didn’t even sell anything at the beginning. He simply built trust with people who already knew him by giving away his expertise.

Take an hour to write down a list of people who might benefit from your content. They might be your current clients, people you’ve met at events, friends of friends, your crush, or whoever you think will benefit from your content.

Hacking Facebook groups

Facebook groups are a jewel among endless cat videos and pictures of your aunt. You can find an active group for almost any niche. And if you know what you are talking about, members will listen.

Remember Bryan Harris from the intro? He is considered one of the “kings” of list building. No wonder he made over $200,000 in 10 days with his list building course.

But he began his journey, right here, in a Facebook group.

He started with these two posts in a group he was a member of:


Bryan messaged 49 people who commented on his posts. 25 answered.

He listened to the needs of these 25 people and created a product based on their input. 19 people bought his product for $29 each. He made $551 just like that.

Bryan kept up this momentum and collected 575 more addresses through Facebook groups. He pitched a $397 product to this list and 21 people bought it.

$8,337 in revenue just from Facebook groups.

This is the perfect example of an entrepreneur going back to the basics by choosing quality over quantity and using a systematic one-on-one approach.

To find relevant Facebook groups for your niche, head over to

I recommend engaging in no more than five groups so you can build strong authority within those groups. Identifying the top influencers in the group and interacting with them is a good way to speed up the process.

Offer valuable advice and ask for permission to message members directly. And there you go, you have direct access to your potential customers.

Highly Personalized Cold Outreach on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become much more than a place to look for a job. By using LinkedIn`s advanced search features you can tap into the biggest B2B network in the world and reach the very people you need on your email list.

Best of all, you don’t have to waste time reaching irrelevant people; you can go straight to the decision makers.

Because you can see what they are working on, where they live, articles they have published, and much more, you have enough information to break the ice with a highly personalized message.

Note that you have only one chance to get the attention of your prospect, so make sure you have a well-thought-out outreach strategy.

Here are some tips and examples you can use as inspiration.

Everyone is busy so keep your first message short. Mention some connections you have in common. Also, pointing to the prospect´s achievements goes a long way. When they respond, ask if the person needs help with X and introduce your free offering, such as an e-book or a webinar.

Of course, don’t make it seem fake and automatic – that will get you zero responses.

John Nemo, one of the top LinkedIn outreach experts, recommends this approach:

  • You ask a question
  • You offer value
  • You ask permission
  • You don’t pressure them

These are two of his most effective scripts:

Hey [NAME] – hope you are well!

Curious – are you interested in using LinkedIn to find new clients or customers?

If so, I have a great (and free) webinar I can send you a link to, along with some copy-and-paste invitation scripts, LinkedIn message templates, and sequences I use called “Messaging Magic.”

If you’d like to see how it works, just reply with the word “YES” and I can shoot you over a link to the webinar and message scripts.

And if you’re not interested, no worries at all.



If the prospect replies “yes,” John follows up with:


Here’s a link to the free webinar:

(Note: once you register, on the confirmation page you’ll get access to all the free “Messaging Magic” scripts and templates.)

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

You can replace a free webinar with a consultation or any other valuable free offer you might have.

Another tactic I personally find very effective is to simply ask for advice. By asking for advice, you downplay yourself and make the addressee feel important. You’ll be surprised by the power of humility in outreach.

This approach doesn’t require any advanced technology or sales funnel. Although for outreach of a larger scope, you may need to subscribe to LinkedIn´s premium service.

Using Twitter and Facebook search

I can’t finish this article without mentioning a search bar on Twitter or Facebook that you might already be using, but for completely different things.

Many people looking for services or specific products mention it on Facebook or Twitter.

Just head over to the search bar and type in keywords related to your offer. You might be surprised by how many results pop out.

For example, a quick search on Twitter for “looking for a sales funnel expert” yielded the following results:



Offering advice and asking for permission to DM these prospects can have the same effect as engaging with people in a Facebook group.

You Don’t Need Thousands of Subscribers—and Vast Resources—to Make Money

I hope this article will dispel the myth that you need thousands of subscribers to make money online. Sometimes all you need is a small list of highly targeted and engaged prospects who trust you.

Another thing that halts entrepreneurship for many people is the idea that you need vast resources and a series of complex and expensive tools to build landing pages, sales funnels, and email sequences.

There are great options for entrepreneurs who are just starting and want to get their client acquisition systems in place at a low cost and without much previous experience.

Kajabi, for example, is a great option that I personally use. With one click, you can set up an entire sales funnel for your product launch: landing pages, fulfillment pages, email sequences, order forms, and whatnot.

Once I’ve set up all of my templates, it only takes one click to initiate a new “Pipeline”. Not only that, all the elements are prepopulated with high-quality copy that you can easily customize for your specific needs.

This is a great option when you are starting out. And it costs pennies relative to the value you get. Once you grow, you can move on to more advanced solutions such as Clickfunnels, Getresponse, and Leadpages for more specific needs.

Breaking Content #42: Purposeful Content, Advanced LSI Optimization, AMP Alert & More

I’m back.Dainiuscircle

Apologies for a late Breaking Content issue. I got pulled away by other priorities and so had to hold off on writing.

I started working on this issue in December and was halfway through it before I had to take a break. For this reason, most of the stories in this Breaking Content are a couple of months old.

However, they are all still relevant. So instead of scrapping the draft, I decided to go ahead and finish what I started back then.

I’ll be back within a month with more recent updates and advanced tips.

Just one last note before I go. Many of you suggested that stories in the paid acquisition and strategy categories/funnel would be more related to content marketing. So from this issue on, stories in all categories will be strictly tied to content marketing.

For instance, if the story is about PPC, it will be presented in the context of content distribution or SEO, both of which impact your content performance.

Thank you for your feedback and involvement. And as always, if you have any further suggestions or questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. 


A Guide to Advanced Semantic Keyword Optimization (According to Google Patents)

Why it matters: Google’s algorithm is getting increasingly good at understanding the context of queries. That’s why your content must provide context by way of semantically related phrases. 

Key takeaways:

  • Add phrases that suggest the context of your keywords.
  • Look for common phrases on pages that rank high for your target keywords.
  • LSI keywords are phrases that are used to describe the target keyword (eg. “President of the United States” is semantically related to “White House”).
  • Use semantically related phrases in anchor text for more organic linking.
  • Pay close attention to words with multiple meanings (eg. “Jaguar” can be a car, an animal, or an NFL football team).
  • Keep in mind that semantic search also personalizes search results based on the user’s search history, location and etc.
  • Today search results are based on what we type and say. In the future, personalization will extend into what we see and capture with our smartphones and other gadgets like Google Lens.


The Fall of Featured Snippets

Why it matters: Featured snippets rank above organic search results, so understanding what’s going on with them is critical to SEO success.

Key takeaways:

  • Over 16% of keywords return search results with featured snippets, according to Moz data.
  • The number of search queries with featured snippets has been dropping lately.


  • This drop coincides with a dramatic increase of knowledge panels appearing in search results.


  • One of the takeaways from this story is that Google potentially sees more value in knowledge graphs than features snippets.


UX Is the Focal Point of SEO This Year

Why it matters: User experience is becoming an increasingly important ranking factor, according to many studies and statements from Google’s employees.

In the key takeaways, you’ll find actionable tips and quick UX tweaks that will improve your SEO rankings.

Key takeaways:

  • Use headings (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5> and <h6>) appropriately. They should reflect the hierarchy of information and follow the page structure. One of the most common mistakes is to use H1 tags for all headings.
  • Improve your site’s structure and navigation. Although it seems obvious, many sites forget about navigation on deeper-level pages. It’s critical for SEO because your inner pages are the first encounter with the user from organic search.
  • Site speed, especially on mobile, remains one of the most critical SEO and UX factors.
  • I’ve been banging this drum for the last three newsletters, but here we go again: a good mobile user experience should be your #1 priority right now. Mobiles search has already surpassed desktop a long time ago. Mobile friendliness is one of the most important ranking factors after Google’s 2015 update. Plus, Google is rolling out the mobile-first index in a not too distant future.


Google: AMP Canonical Pages Must Match (ALERT)

Why it matters: 25M sites employ AMPs, so Google’s recent policy change with regard to AMPs will affect a lot of you.

Key takeaways:

Content on the AMP page and the original page (canonical) must match starting Feb 1, 2018. If the AMP page is not identical to the original one, Google is likely to remove it from the index.


The Ultimate Guide to SEO in 2018 from Backlinko

Why it matters: Backlinko is known for one of the longest and most thorough digital marketing guides. Their SEO guide for 2018 is not an exception.

Key takeaways:

  • Google’s AI-based query processing technology called RankBrain will be a key ranking factor in 2018. RankBrain currently evaluates content quality based on time spent on the page and the organic click-through rate.
  • As a result of knowledge graphs, featured snippet and other forms of instant answers in Google’s search results, the organic CTR is down 37% since 2015. That’s why optimizing this metric is of critical importance.
  • Context-based content optimization will trump keyword placement, which means more focus on long-form content and LSI keywords.
  • Again, get ready for Google’s mobile-first index, which means optimizing content, navigation and the whole UX for mobile.
  • More and more videos are appearing in Google’s search results, so double down on video content. Upload videos to Youtube and embed them to articles to enrich content and give more context to Google’s crawlers.
  • Voice search is on the rise. 40% of adults do at least one voice search a day and over 20% of all mobile searches are already voice searches. It’s time to think about SEO optimization in the voice context. This actually doesn’t differ a lot from content optimization for featured snippets (I covered it in my previous newsletter, which you can find here).
  • Don’t forget that links and the content itself are still key to success in SEO.
  • Publish content that is based on proprietary data to attract journalists and backlinks.
  • Encourage comments on the site, which directly affect your rankings, according to Google.
  • Do podcasts for backlinks.


Study: How AMPs Impact Your Organic Search Results

Why it matters: Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) allow for fast page rendering and delivery on mobile, which affects Google rankings and bottom-line results.

Key takeaways:

First off, some mind-blowing data on what impact even a mere one-tenth of a second could have on sales:


  • After AMP implementation on 90% of pages, Thrilist saw a 70% increase in organic search traffic.
  • A big media company in the study converted 95% of pages to AMPs and saw a 67% lift in organic search traffic.
  • Ecommerce site Myntra saw a 40% drop in the bounce rate on pages transformed into AMPs.
  • Event Ticket Center saw a drop of 10% in the bounce rate, an increase in pages per session of 6%, a lift of 13% in session duration, and a huge 100% rise in sale conversions.
  • Here’s also a summary table with results from the 10 sites that participated in the study:



How Google Gives Us Clues about Keyword Intent in Search Results

Why it matters: Google’s RankBrain is surprisingly good at identifying the intent behind search queries and serving search results accordingly. As such, if you optimize your SEO content for the wrong intent, you will have a hard time ranking in top positions.

Key takeaways:

  • Don’t target keywords without understanding the intent of the searcher.
  • Google your keyword, look at the search results on the first page, and identify top two to three intents behind that search query.
  • Pay attention to the “intent to position ratio”, which means the higher the intent is in organic results, the bigger percentage of searchers have this intent.
  • Look for intent clues in related searches and autocomplete suggestions.
  • If images are ranking at the top, you should be doing image SEO for that keyword.
  • If you see highly authoritative sites or social networks, such as Pinterest or Youtube, dominating the first page, it may be better to do SEO on their platforms instead.


Google: Anchor Text in Internal Links Matters

Why it matters: Internal linking is an important part of on-site SEO optimization that could have a big impact on your rankings.

Key takeaway:

Anchor text in internal links matters. Google’s John Mueller implicitly confirmed this in a tweet at the end of last year: “Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text. At least they should, right?”



#Paid Acquisition

How Google Adwords Affects Organic Search Results

Why it matters: There’s a lot of indirect intersection between SEO and Adwords that you must take into consideration when evaluating the ROI of paid search.

Key takeaways:

  • Adwords does not directly affect page rankings, contrary to popular belief. But paid has an indirect effect that influences organic search performance.
  • The searcher is more likely to click on an organic result if the page has an ad.
  • Searchers who were exposed to your brand via Adwords ads before are more likely to click on your organic listings in the future.
  • Having both paid and organic listings for the keyword strongly affects the organic CTR. And as we know, the CTR is a big factor in SEO.
  • Paid traffic increases site visits, social signals, mentions, and other factors that directly affect the page’s ranking.
  • Paid could disrupt the dynamics of organic search queries in the industry by attracting or deterring competition, and altering rankings in the process.



How Problogger Staff Edits Their Own Content

Why it matters: Good editing makes content clear, concise, and easy to read. However, few companies have a good editing workflow in place, which often results in poor quality copy and articles.

Key takeaways:

  • Check your article’s introduction and make sure it has a strong enough hook that convinces to read further. Also, avoid lengthy intros.
  • Add subheadings and break the content into sections that contain a single idea. This is critical to retaining the majority of readers who will skim your content.
  • Create visual breaks in the form of bullet points and short paragraphs. Don’t hesitate to use one-sentence paragraphs, especially for punch-line sentences or other critical information.
  • Remove redundant and irrelevant information that could bog down the average reader. A common mistake is to include a lot of details for beginners and professionals. To accommodate more readers, it’s better to include links to further information instead of cramming everything into your article.
  • Make sure there is a conclusion that gives the reader a call to action. This makes your content purposeful.
  • Remove and replace lengthy and complex words. My rule of thumb is to use words with as little syllables as possible. As a reference point, use the Flesch–Kincaid readability test (you should aim for a score of 60 or higher).
  • Link to your other related articles to retain readers who are seeking further information.
  • Before publishing, do one more round of edits to make sure the article is error-free and as concise as possible. (If you are self-editing, take a break and do this last step with fresh eyes.)



Top 2018 Marketing Trends from Top Experts

Why it matters: Well, it’s self-explanatory.

Key takeaways:

  • Traditional SEO strategies, such as links, on-page SEO, keywords are losing importance. Google’s RankBrain, an AI-driven ranking algorithm, will play a key role in organic rankings moving forward (Brian Dean, Backlinko).
  • Semantic relevancy and features snippets will be huge in 2018, which presents a lot of growth hacking opportunities in SEO (Casey Armstrong, BigCommerce).
  • AMPs will gain more importance this year (Lars Lofgren, I Will Teach You To Be Rich).
  • Understanding email deliverability, inboxing strategies, and personalization based on behavior will be key to email marketing success (Barron Ernst, Showmax/Growth Consultant).
  • First-click attribution will trump last-click attribution in data analysis (Benji Hyam, Grow and Convert).
  • “Google Analytics + Salesforce integration could be a game changer for B2B Marketing” (Melinda Byerley, Timeshare CMO).
  • More companies will be optimizing the entire sales funnel for mobile as users are getting increasingly comfortable with shopping using mobile devices. (Logan Young, BlitzMetrics).
  • Videos will truly become the primary medium of marketing (Dennis Yu, BlitzMetrics).
  • Branding will be a key CRO hack: “Focus on improving your brand. Work on improving your image, trust, and authority. This is the stealth CRO hack that no one can steal from you and it will improve your conversion rates across the board (Sean Work, Crazy Egg).


How to Create Stellar Content for Your Funnel—and Measure Its ROI

Why it matters: All too often marketers create content that has no specific purpose in the funnel, and that is a critical mistake in content marketing.

Key takeaways:

  • There’s no need to create stellar content if it has no purpose in the sales funnel
  • Each piece of content must have a specific goal aimed at impacting one of the stages in your sales funnel (eg. bring traffic, generate leads, convert, etc.):


  • As you go down the funnel, content becomes more specific and less scalable (eg. individual presentations).
  • Today marketing is responsible for both the top and the bottom of the funnel:


  • The key metrics to measure are ROI (the ultimate goal), traffic and reach (are you reaching enough people? engagement and behavior (is your content achieving its purpose?), repeatability (in case of success, can this campaign be reproduced?)

Watch the full keynote panel below:

3 Marketing Myths Debunked by Analysing Youtube’s Audience

Why it matters: prejudices and stereotypes can often kill creativity and misguide our strategic decisions. This piece of content will serve as inspiration for being truly open-minded and question everything.

Key takeaways:

  • One of the most common parenting stereotypes is that moms are the main caregivers. However, Google’s studies show that 86% of millennial dads seek out parenting advice on Youtube. More interestingly, dads watch more parenting-related content on YouTube than moms do.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Youtube is quite popular among Gen Xers. 75% of them watch Youtube at least monthly.
  • There’s a generational stereotype that millennials are an immature and dependent demographic that only seek for entertainment. However, research shows that 93% of millennials go to YouTube to learn how to navigate through adulthood, from tips on growing an herb garden to parenting advice. You shouldn’t forget that millennials are now the biggest demographic in the US, and the largest group of homebuyers.
  • The key takeaway here is that you should trust nothing but data and hard facts in making assumptions about your audience and acquisition channels.



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Breaking Content #41: Storydoing, Offline Retargeting, HTTP/2, Multi-Purpose Headlines & More

First of all, I’m super pleased with your engagement and all the feedback I’ve received over the last few months.

Now, to address your most common requests, I’m slightly changing the format of my newsletter.

From now on, each story will come with the argument as to “why it matters” to you and the bulleted list of key takeaways that will help you understand the core message/main advice from the story without reading it.

I think this week’s issue turned out super well. Much food for thought for sure. As always, I’m looking forward to your feedback!

In the 41st issue of Breaking Content, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should bring back comments to your site
  • Google’s official guidelines for quality content
  • Why you should switch to HTTP/2
  • Top SEO trends to watch in 2018
  • How to create data-driven stories that spread
  • How to write multi-purpose headlines that work for SEO/social/inbound
  • What is offline retargeting and why you should start bidding on branded keywords
  • Main takeaways from Adobe Think Tank forum on “The Future of Advertising”
  • Main execution mistakes in PPC for e-commerce
  • And much more…

Let’s jump in!


Google: Comments Better On Your Site Then On Social Networks [News]

Why It Matters: This article explains why most marketers are shooting themselves in the foot by removing comments on the site.

Key Takeaway: Keep comments on your site instead of moving them over to social media for SEO.

Read more

‘High-Quality Content’ Tips from Google’s Own Style Guides [Advice]

Why It Matters: There’s an ongoing debate among SEOs about what Google regards as quality content. This list of recommendations based on Google’s own style guides comes closest to the truth.

Key Takeaways:

  • Use a friendly, conversational tone with a clear purpose — somewhere between the voice you use when talking to your buds and that you’d use if you were a robot
  • Use standard American spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization
  • Craft clear, concise, short sentences with simple words that users will understand
  • Use descriptive link text (don’t use “click here” as anchor text)
  • Consider numbered lists for sequences of events
  • Ensure that outbound links are to sites that are “high-quality, reliable, and respectable”
  • Use .png images with ALT attributes
  • Use <strong>, <b> tags for emphasis
  • Use tables and bullet points where they are needed
  • Avoid technical jargon, placeholder phrases, or buzzwords


How Google Indexing Really Works [Research]

Why It Matters: It’s a thorough write up of a series of tweets from Google’s Ilya Grigorik that gives a glimpse into how Google indexing works.

Key Takeaways:

  • Googlebot doesn’t support IndexedDB, WebSQL, and WebGL.
  • HTTP cookies and local storage, as well as session storage, are cleared between page loads
  • All features requiring user permissions (like Notifications API, clipboard, push, device-info) are disabled
  • Google can’t index 3D and VR content
  • Googlebot only supports HTTP/1.1 crawling
  • Webmasters can use Chrome 41 for instant SEO debugging!


7 SEO Trends to Watch in 2018 [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: This is a well-grounded round-up of emerging SEO trends to watch out for in the near future. It’s definitely good food for thought.

Key Takeaways:

  • The rise of voice search
  • Link building will continue
  • More focus on user experience
  • More Q&A content optimised for featured snippers
  • The roll-out of the mobile-first index and a massive shift to AMPs
  • The rise of visual search
  • More personalized and contextual SERPs based on machine learning


How HTTP/2 Benefits SEO [Research]

Why It Matters: HTTP/2 is a relatively new protocol that was introduced back in 2015. It’s still not widely adopted, so switching to it now may give you a head start against your competition in terms of SEO.

Key Takeaway: Shifting to HTTP/2 will ensure a more frictionless and faster user experience on your site, which will indirectly translate into SEO benefits.



VIDEO: Using Data to Create Content That Spreads [Advice]

Why It Matters: This is one the best pieces of content about creating quality content that catches on—and I mean it.

Key Takeaways:

  • You have to create content with distribution in mind
  • Build content on proprietary data/information that you possess
  • Types of data-driven stories that spread: geographic comparisons, secret data, timely data related to the news, valuable data to businesses, rankings, etc.
  • The most shareable stories are built on a single premise (one key takeaway per article) and are clearly structured
  • Breaking down data (e.g. by cities/professions) and comparing it will increase your chances to get it picked up by the local/niche media
  • The title should get across the main point of the story, so readers know if it’s worth their time

VIDEO: Writing Headlines that Serve SEO, Social Media, and Website Visitors All Together [Advice]

Why It Matters: Successful content does well on multiple channels: search engines, social media, your site, etc. However, each of these channels requires vastly different headlines. In this Whiteboard Friday video, Rand Fishkin explains how to write winning multi-purpose headlines.

Key Takeaways:

  • Define your target audience and the primary channel for that particular piece of content
  • Use Twitter card, Facebook’s open-graph mark-up to separate titles for website/SEO and social
  • Write two versions of the headline: the most straightforward (SEO version) and the most click-baity (social media version). Then combine them into one


#Paid Acquisition

Facebook Will Target Ads to People Based on Store Visits, Offline Purchases, Calls to Businesses [News]

Why It Matters: Offline retargeting is a new, authentic way to engage/re-engage with your potential or current customers.

Key Takeaway: Facebook has rolled out a feature that allows marketers to target people based on offline behavior, such as store visits, calls, etc.


E-Commerce PPC Campaigns: Common Execution Mistakes and How to Avoid Them [Advice]

Why It Matters: Most e-commerce PPC campaigns fail due to poor execution. This article from Scube Marketing covers the most common mistakes and misconceptions about PPC campaigns for e-commerce and explains how to avoid them.

Key Takeaways:

  • You are not reaching your target audience because you treat keywords as search terms and geographical locations as the location of interest
  • You are drawing false conclusion from A/B test by ignoring the concept of statistical significance
  • You are not doubling down on your winning campaigns


13 Reasons Why PPC Brand Bidding Is a No-Brainer [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: Most SEMs take branded keywords for granted and so bidding on them is the last thing on their mind. It turns out brand bidding has a lot of merits.

Key Takeaways (reasons for bidding on branded keywords):

  • You can present your brand accurately
  • You can ‘compete’ with affiliates and partners
  • You won’t let competitors piggyback on your branded keywords
  • You might uncover new customer segments
  • You might improve your organic search results
  • You might minimize the impact of negative content


Linkedin Launches Autoplay Mobile Video Ads [News]

Why It Matters: Video is king and it’s a great way to tap into the Linkedin audience while the platform is still not over-saturated with video content.

Key Takeaway: Linkedin has rolled out autoplay mobile videos ads. “Advertisers can upload videos through the Campaign Manager, their Company Page or their Showcase Page and promote them with a Sponsored Content campaign.”

Marketers will be able to use the same targeting options as for other Linkedin ads.



The Destructive Switch from Search to Social [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: This article helps to understand the underlying forces that shape what kind of content we consume and how.

Key Takeaways:

  • The most popular 10 websites in 2006 were search-based, while most top sites today are content-driven social networks
  • Most information that we consume today is forced onto us instead of being sought for
  • The endless stream of forced information has reduced our attention span and created an addiction
  • This gave rise to click-baity, low-quality content


Voice Assistants Could Transform Local — But Not Necessarily How You Might Think [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: Voice search is the next big thing in SEO, so understanding and being prepared for this shift is of vital importance.

Key Takeaways: 

  • 20% of mobile searches are voice, according to Google
  • Google Assistant is now at 95% accuracy, according to Google
  • The biggest scale of voice search may happen not on voice-activated home speakers (as many think), but mobile!


Return on Ad Spend Is Out, Customer Lifetime Value Is In [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: Most companies still prioritize marketing campaigns based on short-term return on ad spend. However, this evaluation method is short-sighted, as businesses may be missing out on customers that matter most in the long run.

Key Takeaway: Marketers should switch to customer lifetime value (CLV) in measuring ROI. “If you don’t have some type of lifetime value calculation, even at a broad level, it will soon be impossible to compete.”


How Brands Are Using Hyperlocal Marketing to Reach Millennial Shoppers [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: Millennials make 25% of their purchases on mobile, which creates more opportunities for more personalized location-based targeting.

Key Takeaways (case studies):

  • Barneys New York, a luxury clothing company, released an app that helps their customers navigate through its flagship store in Manhattan and sends personalized notifications/recommendations based on their online activity
  • America’s Mattress, a chain of mattress stores, uses location information from incoming calls to determine what cities and neighborhoods to target through digital advertising
  • Taco Bell partnered with Waze, a real-time map data app, to place location-based ads for their offers during football season
  • Loacker, an Italian wafers and chocolate company, offers different products based on local tastes


8 Genius Examples of Empathetic Content Marketing in Action [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: Empathy is one of the best ways to establish an emotional bond with your readers, which is key to content marketing success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lush, a beauty brand, created a video about every part of their product manufacturing process to assure their health-conscious customers that their products are truly natural
  • Linkedin created an ebook about how they do advertising on Linkedin themselves, so marketers can learn the ins and outs of this platform from people who know it best
  • Home Depot, a home and garden supply store, created an infographic that encourages the aspiring DIY-ers among their customers to grow their own salads using supplies from the store
  • Extra, a gum brand, encourages their customer to submit photos of their special moments on their interactive site. The select ones are turned into sketch art that appears on a gum wrapper on the inside of Extra packaging. With this campaign, the brand honors and give meaning to everyday moments of their customers
  • Microsoft created an interactive microsite that put their customers in the hacker’s shoes and shows them their main vulnerabilities, which helps them to better protect themselves against data breaches
  • JetBlue airlines created content that acknowledges the struggles that come with air travel and educates on how to minimize or solve them
  • J.Crew, a clothing company, created visual content that educates their customers on how to make a good first impression and express themselves through clothing


Key Takeaways from “The Future of Advertising” [Food for Thought]

Why It Matters: Adobe Think Tank has brought together the top marketing executives, thought leaders, and influencers in the world to discuss the future of advertising. This forum is a must-watch for all marketers.

Key Takeaways: 

  • 80% of all advertising will be automated by 2022
  • Contrary to popular belief, automation will create more marketing job opportunities
  • We will see a shift from storytelling to “storydoing”
  • Psychographics will largely replace demographics in segmentation
  • Emerging technologies may give us a new metric beyond clicks and impressions
  • The rise of brandless, data-driven companies


#Social Media

Twitter Announces What’s ‘Happening Now’ for Sporting Events, and Plans for a Bookmarking Feature [News]

Why It Matters: One of Twitter’s new features may be put to use in event advertising.

Key Takeaway: Twitter has introduced two new features: “Happening Now” and “Save for Later”. The former will allow Twitter users to find information about events in real time. The latter is a bookmarking feature that will allow Twitter users to save tweets for later reading. This feature has not yet been rolled out to all users.


Twitter Tests Doubling the Length of Tweets to 280 Characters [News]

Why It Matters: It may be the biggest change in Twitter’s history that could determine the future of this social network.

Key Takeaway: Twitter is testing tweets of up to 280 characters.


Now You Can Order Food with Facebook [News]

Why It Matters: Facebook is making a more serious push into e-commerce, creating new opportunities for advertising.

Key Takeaway: Now you can order food from your favorite vendors for pick-up or delivery directly on Facebook.


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AI Is the Next Iteration of Humankind

I think we’re missing the big picture when it comes to AI.

Once again humanity tricked itself into thinking that this time it’s the end. That the looming technological revolution will take over our jobs and wipe us off the face of the earth.

It’s not surprising, though.

Technophobia is not a new phenomenon. It was a distinctive feature of about every technological shift that we went through in the modern era. People have always feared to be replaced by machines.

Yet, the dystopias born out of this overblown collective fear have never turned out to be true.

In fact, every single technological revolution has lead to growth in prosperity, living standards, social equality, and other positive impacts.

Is this revolution going to be any different? Oh yea…

But in a different way.

AI will not render humans a “useless class”, nor will it cause social chaos as some futurists suggest. It will revolutionize what has never been revolutionized before — the human itself.

Technology drives everything: economics, politics, demographics. It shapes wars, culture, jobs, history and is an integral part of our society and who we are as a species.

However, one part of humankind that technology hasn’t yet significantly affected is our cognition.

Until now, our evolution was biological. We’ve developed additional layers of the brain, upright posture, and other physical attributes to adapt to our ever-changing lifestyle.

However, we’ve reached a point in time where our biological evolution can’t keep up with the pace of change.

Look how far humanity has come. What an elaborate and complex world we have built. A world, in fact, that’s far more complex than our brains can handle.

In the modern society, we still operate using the reptile brain that dates back hundreds of thousands of years ago. Our false cognition driven by this outdated brain can’t help but misinterpret about every possible stimulus in our daily lives.

That may be the single biggest cause of widespread depression in the modern society.

This is where AI comes in.

The upcoming paradigm shift is not just a technological revolution. It’s an evolutional revolution. It’s the biggest shift in human evolution since the dawn of time that will change who we are as a species for good.

AI will not replace humans, nor will it compete with us. Instead, we will utilize and integrate it into our cognition. Our evolution will shift from biological to technological if you will.

It’s not the computer that becomes super intelligent. It’s the human who becomes super intelligent.

Artificial intelligence-driven brains sound scary. But I can’t imagine the future of humanity and AI in separation.

Up to now, technology has made our lives easier, safer, faster, more comfortable. Each innovation gave us tools to do more with less. Every technological revolution was like the next iteration of scaling human output.

But we have never faced a technology that would challenge human cognition, the core of our identity.

This technological revolution will cause even more cognitive dissonance between our biological wiring and the world we’ve operating in. I don’t think we would be able to healthy operate in a super intelligence-driven society without being super intelligent.

Is it bad? I don’t think so. Like the farmer who thought that widespread famine is inevitable before the Industrial Revolution, now we think that our cognition is inevitably static. That the frontiers of human intelligence have been drawn hundreds of thousands of years ago.

The AI revolution will prove us wrong—and for the better. We are just clueless about almost everything beyond the stratosphere of our planet. We have no idea what is time, space, and finally life.

We are entering the era that will be reigned by humankind 2.0—a more intelligent, more self-aware, more connected, and integrated version of our species that will push the frontiers of our collective knowledge and answer what was long held to be the unknown.

Breaking Content #40: Contrast Storytelling, Thinking Beyond Intent, Facebook Ad Hacks & More


Google’s Ranking Factors Depend on the Keyword Intent [Actionable]

Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed my hypothesis on SEO ranking factors I had been pondering on for quite some time, which is that ranking factors differ depending on the intent behind the keyword.

For example, for keywords with the clear buying intent, Google would prioritize ecommerce pages instead of educational content, even if it’s on a high DA page like Forbes.

Conversely, if someone is clearly looking for information by typing in long-tail keywords with interrogative words like “how to clean my laptop keyboard”, Google would more likely return in-depth, long-form articles to the searcher.

The 3-Step Process to Discovering the Real Keyword Intent [Actionable]

Christian from Tenscores shares a very simple yet ingenious approach to determining the real intent behind any keyword phrase.

The process in a nutshell:

The first two layers of this approach are quite well utilized, but the third one, which is the real “gold mine”, is often overlooked.


Google Revealed the Best Ways to Switch from M-Dot to Responsive Pages Before the Mobile-First Index [Actionable]

If you are still redirecting mobile users to m-dot pages, you should switch to responsive mobiles pages ASAP—before Google rolls out its mobile-first index.

To make things even easier for you, Google has released an official guide on how to do that without losing link equity.


HTML ID Attributes Have No Effect on Your Rankings, According to Google [News]

Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that keywords in HTML ID attributes don’t affect your rankings.



A Guide to Advanced, Intent-Driven Keyword Research [Actionable]

Keyword queries have evolved drastically in the last few years, as did user expectations. Today searchers want to be served with instantaneous solutions and highly contextual information. As such, your keyword research must go above and beyond semantics.

This article breaks down the process of advanced, intent-based keyword research. A must-read for all SEOs.

How to Predict the Value of Traffic from Your Targeted Keywords [Actionable]

Winning rankings takes time. As such, SEO is a long game with even longer feedback loops. Or I would put it another way, it’s an informed long-term investment with no guarantees.

But there’s a way to make it a little more predictable and test out the keyword’s effectiveness before putting time and effort into content and external SEO efforts around it.

Here’s the idea: run an SEM campaign on the keyword you want to rank organically and observe how traffic from this campaign engages with your site and converts. If the results are encouraging, go ahead and do your best to rank for this keyword organically. Otherwise, pick another keyword and repeat.

Loved the idea.


Advanced Techniques for Speeding Up and Designing Sites for SEO in 2017 [Actionable]

This article covers quite a lot of SEO techniques that I haven’t heard of before, from advanced technical tips for optimizing websites to contrarian opinion on where your SEO efforts should be focused.

Even if you don’t take anything from this, which is unlikely, it will be a good exercise to step outside the conventional SEO mindset.


#Paid Acquisition

A Step-by-Step Guide To Ditching Audience Duplication in Facebook [Actionable]

If you run numerous Facebook campaigns against multiple audiences, you are at the risk of targeting the same users in multiple ad sets, which can lead to ad fatigue, skewed results, and ultimately false conclusions without you even knowing about it.

This actionable guide from AimClear will teach you how to avoid audience overlap and make your campaigns laser-sharp targeted.


Using Storytelling in Facebook Carousel Ads for Better Performance [Actionable]

Storytelling is king in the attention economy—that’s no news, I know. But we often forget that storytelling is not limited to articles, videos, and podcasts.

Facebook Carousel Ads are commonly used to introduce products or services from multiple angles in a single interaction. However, essentially, that’s no different from a bland banner.

This article discusses how to use storytelling in carousel ads to make your creative pop and take this medium to the whole new level.


36 Facebook Ad Hacks [Actionable]

The title is self-explanatory, but I will only add that this article is as actionable as it can get. Although some of them may be quite basic, I’m sure you will take away from it at least 5 techniques to incorporate in your next Facebook campaign. And I mean it.

My favorite “hack” from this article:

Facebook ad hack #21: Use the curiosity gap.



How to Supercharge Your Copy with Contrast Storytelling [Actionable]

This article discusses the concept called “contract storytelling”, which is, in effect, contrasting product benefits with pain points related to the product in order to psychologically inflate its value.

This technique taps into the natural human tendency to compare and evaluate things in relative terms. Be sure you start with pain points and follow with benefits as it will amplify your solution rather than the problem.

The Biggest Collection of Email Copywriting Formulas [Actionable]

Drawing from his experience sending out thousands of newsletters, senior copywriter Daniel Benyo compiled what is probably the biggest compilation of time-tested email marketing formulas.

Yet another huge compilation to bookmark and refer to in your future campaigns.

3 Little-Known Conversion Triggers for Your Email Campaign [Actionable]

As more marketers deploy “urgency” and “scarcity” components in their drips, consumers get increasingly immune to them.

In this article, you’ll learn three lesser-known techniques that will prime leads to convert and make your messaging stand out in today’s overly-crowded inboxes.


What Does the Future of Content Marketing Look Like? (Spoiler: Still Less Content) [Food for Thought]

Content marketing has matured.

Consumers are overloaded with content. A decent organic reach is almost impossible. Engagement is dropping. Content doesn’t drive as many leads as it used to.

“Here is the most important takeaway: the top 10% of our posts were responsible for 90% of the results.”

As such, content marketing is morphing into a more targeted, more focused, more intent-based, more proactive, more consumer-centric, more inward-looking form.

The following article from Janessa Lantz covers the 4 biggest trends in content marketing as its effectiveness decline.

Here’s a rundown for quick reference:

  • Content marketers are acting more like product managers
  • More time is spent on optimising existing content than creating new content
  • Content delivery and distribution is getting more focused and sophisticated
  • The composition of content marketing teams is changing

Forbes’ Branded Content Chief: The 2 Most Important Content Marketing Metrics [Food for Thought]

In an interview with Joe Lazauskas from Contently, Ann Marinovich, SVP of Content Strategy and Partnerships at Forbes, revealed her top content marketing metrics, which are:

  • Views from people who are in market for your product — not total views
  • Engagement metrics: time, scroll depth, scroll velocity (in Layman’s terms, the number of people who actually read content as opposed to skimming through it)

This interview just reaffirms the importance of producing quality content that speaks specifically to your bottom-funnel audience.

How Google Is Using Contextual Signals to Break Through with Mobile Users [Food for Thought]

This article inspired me to think of the context in SEM and SEO beyond intent, especially with mobile users. Good food for thought, which also suggests where SEM/SEO are headed to.


8 Big Questions From Content Marketing World to Ask Year Round [Food for Thought]

Joe Pulizzi shared some of the “what-if” questions keynote speakers at this year’s Content Marketing World asked themselves, which led them to unique marketing discoveries and breakthroughs.

Here are the questions for quick reference (read the full article for backstories and what breakthroughs these questions have led to):

  • What if … we look for unexpected audiences?
  • What if … our audience tells our brand story?
  • What if … we pay more attention to our customers than our industry?
  • What if … the story was more important than the brand?
  • What if … we listened to our audience, not just their data?
  • What if … we grow a community not just to connect but also to create?
  • What if … our audience can be our brand’s most valuable asset?

A mind-expanding exercise that challenges you to reevaluate your content marketing strategy from multiple angles.


#Social Media

Instagram Tests Sharing Stories Directly to Facebook [News]

The line between Facebook and Instagram is getting blurrier. Instagram has been spotted giving users the option to share stories directly to Facebook. Instagram has confirmed the test, but the details as to when or if it is going live in the future are still not clear.


Snapchat Brings Bitmojis to Life with New AR Update [News]

Snapchat steps up its AR game with an update that integrates Bitmoji—which it acquired last year for $64 billion—into the app. Now you can create stories projecting your animated three-dimensional avatar into the real world.

snap video moji2

Yet another medium for brands to creatively engage with their audience and connect on the whole new level.


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If You Can’t Answer ‘Yes’ to These 5 Questions, Scrap That Draft

I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in marketing miracles either.

Some people say you can’t predict success and that viral campaigns are just a matter of luck. That’s simply not true.

Success and virality are computable. You put a piece of content in front of an initial audience of a reasonable size, trigger a cocktail of emotional responses that create an urge to share and voilà!

How come big brands like Old Spice or Dove pull off viral videos every time? One viral video after another. If it was sheer luck, it would be against all odds — but we know that’s not the case.

They follow a formula.

I have a formula for successful content, too. Each piece of my content must pass this test containing five simple questions before I show it to the world.

Let’s dive in.

Question #1: Is this topic novel, and if not, do I offer a unique point of view?

Sometimes I get very mad. I open an article with a promising title, from a credible company, only to find the very same listicle with almost identical points that I read in the last two articles.

Let’s face it: there’s too much content out there. Oh, that’s not true…. there’s too much great content already out there, so readers sure as hell aren’t going to waste their time on bad content. Nobody is interested in another article on how to make money online.

The Internet is too small.

So before writing any draft, ask yourself a couple of questions.

Is the topic of this draft new? If yes, go ahead and work on it.

If not, then is your take on the subject or angle unique? If yes, go ahead and bang it out.

If not, consider changing the topic or coming up with a new angle.

With a little bit of creativity and extra effort, you can find a unique angle even for the cheesiest and most exhausted topic. Just do your research and connect the dots that nobody has connected before.

Question #2: Do I have a distribution strategy for this piece of content?

Content is key, but distribution is even more so. Without a proper distribution strategy, even a masterpiece is not likely to take off.

I’ve come across so many talents that have no clue about marketing. And not surprisingly, they don’t get eyeballs. Because the web is too crowded. Because properly marketed bullshit drowns out quality content without marketing.

So what happens when you finish your draft? Will you pay Facebook to put it in from of people? If so, in front of whom and why? Do you have an email list or a social following? That’s great. Will this content suit the demographic and interests of your audience?

Do you have relationships with the media, blogs that would be interested specifically in this topic? If not, how are you going to approach them? Have you studied their guidelines? Maybe they don’t accept listicles… just checking.

Lay out the distribution plan for this specific piece of content. If you think it can catch on when you considered everything, go ahead and put together this draft.

If not, consider changing the topic or preparing a better plan for distribution.

Question #3: Is this content relevant to the audience that buys my product?

This is digital marketing 101 — don’t fall prey to vanity metrics.

For those who are not familiar with this term, it’s metrics that create a false sense of success. It’s usually big numbers that make us happy, although they have a questionable effect on the end goal. The most common vanity metrics in content marketing are views, visits, and sometimes even opt-ins.

One of my blogs had an article that generated 1,000,000+ views in a month. It was a clickbait article. But because of its general appeal, the audience that came to read it was, well, general. And so few visitors opted in to my newsletter.

What’s the value of this article apart from my superficial excitement at numbers? None.

The same holds true for lead magnets: ebooks, white papers, checklists. If you put together an ebook on a broader topic, it’s more likely to bring in more leads. But how many of these leads will get to the bottom of your funnel? How many of them will pull out their credit cards and actually buy?

Isn’t it better to focus on a more targeted and niche lead magnet that would tempt in the people that feel the pain your product addresses?

Don’t use the top of the funnel to judge content ideas. Don’t create content that drives most visits/leads. Those are vanity metrics. Instead, create content that addresses people who will buy.

Question #4: Does this content serve its purpose in any stage of the buyer’s journey?

So we’ve already answered the question whether our content is relevant to the buyer of our product or service or not. Now let’s get a little bit deeper into this.

Where in the buyer’s journey you’d like to hook your audience with this piece of content?

Do you want to build awareness for the issue your product solves?

Do you want to tempt in people who are just starting to research products or services like yours?

Or do you want to get your product in front of them when they are deciding between different providers?

If you haven’t yet, map out the journey of your typical customer and think where this content fits in it. This will serve as a guide for making your content and messaging more tailored to your potential prospect.

If it doesn’t serve its purpose in any stages of your buyer’s journey, scrap it. Visits don’t matter.

Question #5: Finally, is this the best you can do?

Picture a thousand of people — professional journalists, your marketing heroes, etc. –sitting right now at their laptops and pounding out drafts on the topic of your article.

Well, this is the reality. If you are tackling a broader topic, there will be many more.

How will your article stack up against their drafts assuming part of them are professional journalists, writers who have access to talented editors, research resources, and vast amounts of data into reader behavior and preferences?

In this light, do you still think your draft is the best you can do? Can you do more research and flesh it out more? Can you edit out the redundancy and improve its readability for a better reading experience? Can you spice it up with a joke at the beginning?

In the age of information overload, there’s no place for the second best. You have to be the best in one way or another. Maybe it’s your voice. Maybe it’s the time and effort you put into research. Maybe it’s your niche. Maybe it’s your creativity. You have to have an edge.

If you think your article has an edge, finish and show it to the world. If not, scrap it. The Internet is too small.

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