Is Guest Posting Dead?

In 2014, Matt Cutts, former head of the Web Spam team at Google, wrote the following:

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”

Ever since the state of guest blogging has been debated heatedly. Indeed, guest blogs with low-quality content have truly been dead for decades.

On the other hand, high-quality blogging is an effective strategy to create backlinks, and drive traffic to your website. Even Cutts eventually published a correction, and said: “There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.)”

So, the question is, how can we create quality guest blogs every time?

Here, we have outlined three easy and effective strategies to create guest posts that are sure to attract links, and bring in traffic:

The Robin Hood Technique

The Robin Hood technique, as suggested by SEO Gold Coast, is a quick and effective way to write guest posts with good quality content. This technique involves recreating great content from popular blogs and offering them to platforms with a low ranking, and less credibility and traffic.

Keep in mind, however, that this does not mean plagiarizing the content – instead, you must only take inspiration from the blog to recreate ideas for your own post.

The following steps can be undertaken for this technique:

Ahref’s Content Explorer Tool contains one billion pages and can be used to find blogs you can write a guest post for

Ahref’s Content Explorer Tool

Source: ahrefs

  1. Enter a keyword corresponding to your chosen topic to find similar articles
  2. Check the “one article per domain” box to find unique blogs related to your keyword
  3. Sort the results according to Language, Shares, Domain Rating, Organic Traffic, and Number of Words to truly find a customized blog post idea

Note the importance of Domain Rating (DR) that showcases the popularity level of a backlink, based on a scale of 1-100.

While it is tempting to only work with high DR blogs, low DR blogs are also worth investing your time and energy in, as they usually have a niche following and are bound to grow.

What’s more, low DR blogs usually receive fewer pitches and have less strict editorial standards – thereby making it easier to get featured or published.

Finally, you can move on to step 4:

4. Read the content of your chosen blog piece, and recreate it by adding a unique spin to it –  conclude by pitching it to low or high DR blogs through email outreach

Splintering Content

Another effective way of guest posting is by splintering or breaking existing blogs into shorter, but authoritative posts.

The point of splintering content is to dive deep into a topic that you have already researched before, as it is easier to recreate, revise, or rewrite.

After writing detailed individual posts, you can then pitch the pieces to online magazines and platforms that would publish it as guest posts, whilst still re-directing the reader to your original blog post – thereby creating quality backlinks.

The Perspective Technique

A small change in perspective can lead to a completely new, and unique piece of writing.

The trick here is to use a previously written blog post and turn it into multiple guest posts by simply tweaking your overall perspective.

For instance, if your previous blog post was on the “The Future of Link Building” – you can now write on a variety of topics by changing your viewpoint, such as:

  • Future of link building for small business
  • Future of link building for E-commerce
  • Future of link building for startups, and so on

Effective Guest Posting

The techniques outlined here are a good way to get you started. Keep in mind, however, that once you start pitching your guest posts, you may be faced with some problems.

For instance, editors and bloggers may routinely reject your pitch, negotiations may take months, or the link to your article may be taken down suddenly and without prior notice.

To address this concern here is what you can do:

  • Focus on creating good quality content for your blogs
  • Pitch to multiple blogs at the same time
  • Include links to your other guest posts to generate more traffic
  • Keep exploring and writing for new platforms and sites

In short, by following the techniques outlined above, you can defy Matt Cutt’s claim that guest posts are dead. Indeed, guest posts are thriving and can be used to generate traffic and brand awareness for your business in the long run.

customer review, 5 star review, happy customer review,

Customer Reviews – what about the bad ones?

Reviews are essential for businesses building brand visibility online.

But bad reviews make my toes curl. Sometimes they are fair, sometimes not. What can the marketing team do about this?

Different pathways for different reviews

Treating different customers differently is a core principle of good CRM. But until the review is published, you won’t know whether the customer is going to give you a good or a bad review.

Take a look at this – an alternative pathway for your “less good” business reviews.

Make every review count

A Mock-up Review Page

Starting from a review page set up within our software, your customer then moves down three possible pathways. If they give you a 4 or 5 star review, they arrive here.

And this is of course, the normal Google Business Reviews page.

If the customer selects a 1,2 or 3 star in the first screen they head off a different path, to this page. Where the review is captured and forwarded to the business. But the crucial difference it’s not on your public Google Business page.

The red square links to the Google Business page, so the customer can post a public review.

Sneaky or “allowable” marketing?

You choose – would you do this for your brand?

I have the contacts to set up this service for any business – get in touch.

How To Hide Your Business Address On Google

Having your business address easily accessible through Google is a fantastic resource for traditional brick and mortar businesses. However, in today’s world, there are many e-commerce companies or organisations that simply don’t need their address openly available to the public. If you fall into this category, this post is for you.

If your address is on Google My Business and you want to hide it, here are 3 easy steps to get it done.

While I will be using our company, Creative Agency Secrets, as an example, it’s worth mentioning that we keep our address visible to the public since we have a physical office space that many of our clients visit. Nevertheless, this is a very useful tool for many businesses, such as one of our clients, AmCham. AmCham is a virtual company whose employees work from home, and as a result, they don’t want the addresses public. So let’s get started.

Step 1: Get to the “Info” page

The first step is to log in to your Google My Business page. On your Google My Business portal (located on the first page), click the menu bar on the top left corner of the screen and select “Info”

Google My Business Portal

 

Step 2: Edit Your Address

On this page, select your address and a window should pop up where you can edit your address settings.

Info Page With Address

 

Step 3: Change Visibility Settings

Scroll down to the bottom of this window and you’ll see a box saying “I also serve some customers at my business address”. Un-check this box and your address will be hidden from the public.

Address settings

 

Bonus – Step 4: Edit your radius of service

Many companies can only offer their services in a certain area. Google gives you the option to adjust your service area in the window to ensure your business prospects are within reach and that you’re only getting relevant inquiries for jobs.

You can either select the “Region, city or postal code” option and add a general area your business operates in, or select the second option, “Within ___ km of my business”, and establish a radius of access for your business. And of course, don’t forget to click “Apply” at the bottom right to make sure it’s all saved.

Set radius of business

For example, one of our past clients, MethSolutions, offers meth testing in their clients’ locations. However, they can only service locations that their certified samplers can access by car. They have hidden their main office address, but each sampler stationed around New Zealand has a specific but limited area that they can reach and meth test. They used the “Region, city, or postal code” option to ensure that they will get business opportunities from local and accessible clients, but don’t necessarily have to give their exact location away. As the picture shows, one of the areas the can access is the suburb Pegasus in Christchurch, so Google Maps highlights that region.

MethSolutions business area

We hope this helped you optimise your use of the Google location feature. Good luck and let us know if you have any questions or concerns!

How to Migrate to Digital Marketing

Migrating to digital marketing from traditional marketing is a question I get asked frequently.  Giving a talk to the Te Atatu Business Association, I was able to showcase both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) examples of ways to work out these things

  1. Where to start your digital marketing
  2. Which marketing methods will work best for your business
  3. What communications will work best for your clients and customers

The resources on the last slide are worthwhile saving / bookmarking.  They relate to directory listings and tips for local marketing.

local directories

Boost Your Business with Local Directories

Don’t let your business get lost in the crowd

Yellow pages directoriesIt’s that time of the year again where we remind you about the benefits of good ol’ directories! Before the internet, we relied on finding services through the big yellow brick of a book we received each year. Thanks to the world wide web, we now find them stuffed under uneven table legs or as a booster seat. Today we find what we’re looking for with a click of a button. Does your business stand out?

In 2016, Google took away the right-hand sidebar where the paid adverts were displayed. Now the paid posts soar straight to the top, making it a tough battle for smaller companies to get noticed. Directories can be a cost-effective way to help get found via search engines. Being active on directories increases the chances of your business getting noticed.

Why updating your information is vital

yelp directoriesIt is important to keep your business updated in directories. If your business has gone through a recent change and you didn’t update your information, you could lose a lot of potential customers!

Never forget to NAP, this means not sleeping on the details. Make sure your Name, Address and Phone data is accurate and up to date. Location and accessibility are two of the most important factors when it comes to customers. If your telephone number is an old one and a customer can’t get through to you, they’re unlikely to try again. Likewise, if you were to put your address as a small town in South America, a New Zealand customer wouldn’t follow up with your business!

Pro tip: Check the directories your company is listed in and confirm your details are correct. Some websites take their information from others; resulting in a cycle of incorrect information.

Updated List of Directories*

This year, we bring you an even bigger list of potential directories your business may be found in. Take a look to see where your business is listed and where it isn’t.

It’s the only thing standing in between you and your next big client.

NB: Not all directories will apply to every type of business, some are more specific to particular fields. (eg. Tripadvisor will benefit restaurants and hotels over a telecommunications company.)

 

*The directories list has been ranked by domain authority, with the highest ranking at the top (accurate as of July 2018).

 

New Zealand Directories

 

RateBeer – Directory of beers, breweries, bars and stores.
Express Business Directory – Business directory.
Yellowpages NZ – Search for anything in NZ .
Enroll Business – Browse through local businesses and services of New Zealand.
MyHuckleBerry – Business directory.
Finda – Find anything in NZ.
Info News – Directory connected with membership and news.
Wises – Services based off an interactive map.
Hotfrog – A site where people register their businesses for free.
WowCity – Lots of different listings including hotels, real estate, stores, services and health. Get all this information by selecting a city.
Lawlink – Connect and share with attorneys around the world.
Neighbourly – The easiest way to keep up with everything in your neighbourhood.
NZPages – Collection of sites of all kinds and purposes.
NZ Search – New Zealand businesses and sights.
Localist – Local and authentic Kiwi businesses.
Zoomin – Businesses broken down by New Zealand city.
Zenbu – Collaboratively edited directory of businesses and places that help you find anything, anywhere.
ZipLeaf – Online business directory.
PathLegal – Directory for lawyers.
BusinessMe – New Zealand business directory.
Cylex – Business directory of New Zealand.
Fyple – Efficiently sorted local businesses and services.
Local Store – Local stores with updated listings.
My Wedding Guide – Everything about weddings.
RankedByReview – Find local businesses with the best reputation.
MySheriff – Does all the work in finding the best service for you.
LocalBD – A local business directory.
Search Local – Site with all kinds of companies and businesses listed.
New Zealand Websites – New Zealand business websites.
NZ Localizer – A directory with many New Zealand companies.
Directory NZ – A list sorted by category of need.
New Zealand Search – Directory of websites, a search engine and New Zealand articles.
Homeimprovement2day – New Zealand companies for home improvement.
99Nearby – The latest listings of local businesses.
The Local Business Network – Free listing of your business and a paid versions with enhanced SEO.
OpenDi – Business directory.
Directory Pages – Local directory with a premium category option.
NZ Blue Page – Business list based on city and map.
NZ Business List – Business listing by category and city.
Opening Hours – Local businesses and their hours of operation.

 

 

International Directories

 

Google+ – Google’s social media platform.
LaCartes – Find anything. From local activities to exotic destinations. Worldwide site.
Maps Connect – Add or update your company details to Apple Maps so customers can find you.
Yelp – Directory of a wide range of services and businesses. Worldwide.
Issuu – Articles about businesses and services all around the world.
Foursquare – Find best places to eat, drink, shop or visit.
Community Walk – Create a walk in a neighborhood and find businesses nearby.
BrownBook – Global business listing database.
Tupalo – Find the best spots in your surroundings and see what other people think about it.
2FL – Local businesses worldwide.
Yello Yello – Global business directory. Helpful to find out what’s going on in your city.
Spoke – Business information.
Sales Spider – Site with multiple purposes. Lots of reviews and products but also business directory. Has a community on site.
Kompass – Businesses worldwide (requires tax/vat number).
TripAdvisor – For things to do on your trips. Claim your business at https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Owners.
Zee Maps – Create and publish maps of business lists.
CallUpContact – A directory based on maps
Link Centre – Internet directory and search engine.
Viesearch – Find the most popular businesses based on 5 star ratings.
Cybo – Business directory with a wide range of categories.
Where2go – Business directory.
Find Us Here – Global business directory.
Factual – Location data company.
Lekkoo – Give a street name and find anything around there.
Epage – Free classified ads and business options.
iGlobal – A global community of businesses, professionals and events.
So Much – A link directory without ads.
Expatriates – Classified ads for expatriates.
Top Design Firms – Reviews and rankings of top web design firms, ecommerce development, graphic designers and design agencies around the world.
CompanyFM – Create a page to promote your company and brand, showcase your product or service, expose your content, build customer loyalty, or just be found.
Wand – Worldwide directory of businesses.
Place Reference – Place yourself on a map and see what’s around you (with the list and streetview).
BeanHunter  – For finding the best cafes and coffees in various cities.
Fonolist – Find businesses, events, and reviews. Narrow it down by the country and city you’re looking at.
Local Wall – Free classifieds and advertisements wordwide.
Places Map – World places map directory.
Nettica – Online directory of products and services worldwide.
College Zoom – College directory with reviews and achievements.
bad copy, unclear business name,

What do you do? Explain, clearly or lose leads

I want to showcase this list of three businesses who want to grow their international connections.  Shared by a reputable international facilitator organisation, these exemplify the utter incompetence of smart people when answering the question “What do you do?”.

I despair.

bad copy, unclear business name,

Poor descriptions of business loses leads

How to differentiate your business

We did some work this week with a consultancy who describe themselves as “Family Business Specialists“.  How straightforward.  I know who they advise…. I don’t yet know what they do – but that three word description allows me to filter myself in or filter myself out of using their services.  Either I am or I am not a family business.  Either I need or I do not need a family business advisor.

Who wants to work with an

“Extremely passionate and dedicated consultancy who loves its customers.  We live to server our customers.”

Now maybe this is a clever IT joke “I server my customers, you server your customers etc”. Or more probably it’s a spelling mistake nobody spotted.  Never mind that – every consultancy can claim passion, dedication and customer services.  It doesn’t say what TYPE of consulting they do or for whom.

C’mon.

10 questions to answer before writing your elevator pitch

  1. Who are you and what do you offer?
  2. What is the company history?
  3. Who are the key personnel?
  4. Who are your clients?
  5. Which are your case histories?
  6. Who are your competitors?
  7. What’s different about you?
  8. Who is your target market?
  9. What are your company objectives?
  10. Where does your company want to be in 5 years time?

This is Step 1 in our New Business Development workshop – during which you write a one year marketing plan, and from which you will understand how all the parts of the “marketing mix” join up to deliver successful communications to your prospects.

 

Read more blog posts about Step 1 State your Business by clicking the image below – it will take you to that category on our blog.  Teach yourself, how to describe your business successfully.Symbol for who is your brand in new business development

NZ Entrepreneur Magazine features our article

We are stoked that this month’s NZ Entrepreneur Magazine has published an article by Rebecca.  Called

 

Marketing Strategies to Grow and Scale a local business, it sets out 12 top tactics for local marketing.

Subscribe to NZ Entrepreneur Magazine to get it monthly delivered to your inbox.

WooRank Website Test Tool

How to test your website is working effectively

May I show you a little insider secret from the world of web marketing?  It’s called a website rank check tool.  It shows you a score out of 100 for how well your website is built, secured and how well it delivers marketing engagement.

My favourite one is the WooRank tool – I have it installed in the toolbar of my Chrome browser.  But you can use this website or the HubSpot Website Grader Tool does a similar job – but from behind a registration paywall.

We use this when testing SEO on a website for clients.  But you can do it yourself – we’ll show you how.

A case study Central Flowers

WooRank Website Test Tool

WooRank Website Test Tool

I read a lot of newsletters and when I got one from a printer and web design company, I clicked through to their gushing review of their team’s work building a website for their customer.  So I decided to do an independent check on the website.  It scored 52.3/100.  Hardly a rip-roaring success for a new site.

You can see the result here and it demonstrates two things

  1. The web team are only designing for HUMAN visitors, not SEARCH ROBOTS
  2. The client is not expert in hiring and buying expertise.

First things first.  The web team should know about these issues

  • Headings should be in a hierarchy (they choose to only use H1)
  • Three image Alt attributes missing (so search engines can’t index the image and link back)
  • No anchor text in several external links (except the one going to the web design company)
  • No language declared (so the search engines know it’s English)
  • No blog – so the web rankings won’t become good because the site won’t get regularly updated (this is a failure of marketing strategy more than web design)
  • Secure (SSL) website but registered to a different domain (a property management company)
  • Automatic Copyright update to the correct year (it’s 2016 on the site)

These are hygiene factors.  They show up the lack of quality control by both the developers and to a lesser extent by the client.

The #1 mistake business owners make when buying a new website

The mistake is to buy a pretty design layout.  This is made by a designer.

What you need for an effective website is web development made by a web developer as well.  This sets up the effective tools and structures which humans cannot see from a website front end.  But robots and web search engines CAN see.  And now you can too.

Go and test your website using the Hubspot or WooRank tools now.  And send me the results.

Book in a 20 minute call and we will tell you what can be easily improved and how you can do it yourself (yes, really – most of these improvements do not require web development expertise, only editing in your CMS).

Or just buy the book.

How to Market Your Consulting Services Effectively

Consultants offer all types of services from HR placement to IT, but when compared to other businesses such as selling cars or real estate, marketing a consultancy is much harder to drum up new business. Most of the time, your potential clients are not even aware that they need your services.

You must, therefore, come up with a consistent approach to marketing if you want your business to get traction.  Diligence and persistence pay off when selling services.  

So, if you are new to this line of work and need clients, here are a few ideas on how to market your consulting services effectively.

1. Send Direct Mail

Direct mail is an effective marketing tool since it accurately targets the right audience. To get started, first make a list of prospective clients. Next, send them a brochure, flier, or sales letter detailing the services you offer.

However, remember to address each recipient by name both on the envelope and in the sales letter. By personalizing a sales message, you increase your chances of getting a favorable reception. In the letter, describe the benefits of your services before listing your contacts. Finally, include an attention grabber such as “limited time offer” on the envelope.

Also, make sure that you play up your area of expertise. If you have an online masters in communication management and you’re intending to become a communications consultant, make sure that your qualifications like the master in communications is front and center on any of your sales material, especially your blog.

2. Make Cold Calls

Simply put, cold calling is making calls to prospective clients who do not expect to hear from you. Although many people resent cold calls, they are still worth giving a shot, especially when you are starting out. So, expect a lot of rejections. For every prospect who says yes, hundreds may say no.

3. Advertise

Traditional advertising, which is expensive, may be out of your reach when you first start out as a consultant. So, focus on advertising in trade magazines and journals as well as in consultant’s directories. Also, use another (mostly) free, and often overlooked, advertising tool – the Yellow Pages.  Other local Marketing tips include free directory listings.

Once you install a business phone line, your business name and phone number are automatically listed in the book. You can opt to leave it at that, for, after all, it is free advertising, but to look more professional, consider paying for a larger ad. It also makes your business more conspicuous.

4. Newsletters

Newsletters are another effective way of drumming up new business. They work by presenting relevant information about your trade to prospective clients. In addition, they remind your former clients that you still exist.

A typical newsletter includes helpful tips, your opinions on a particular subject, and any news of importance to your work.  Remember to include local marketing news and information – most of your early clients are likely to be in your city or region – so let them know what’s going on locally where you could meet them to say hi. Here are more local marketing tips which you can action immediately.

5. Referrals

This is probably the easiest marketing tool at your disposal. After you complete an assignment, send clients a note to thank them for their business, and to ask for the names of associates who might be interested in your services.

Overall, a consultancy advisory business is unique because prospective clients rarely know that they need your help. To stand out in the marketplace, use as many marketing methods as possible and deliver them consistently every month.  

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile Raising.  Click the link to read more free advisory articles on how to raise the profile of your business.Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development