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Whether you’re in commerce or content, we all want more traffic. The reason is obvious and painful. For ecommerce, lack of traffic is the number one cause of failure. And for bloggers, it’s the same. A mere 9 percent of blogs make more than $1,000 a month. Even fewer — 4 percent — crack the $10,000 mark.
What’s the solution? Recently a host of case studies have all trumpeted the power of evergreen content:
“The best evergreen content is the holy grail content marketing. It’s the article that consistently ranks well in search and drives 65 percent of your site traffic even though it was written in 2011.”
But evergreen content isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive. The only thing worse than struggling with traffic is pouring your heart and soul into a resource only to see it flop.
The real solution isn’t to jump on the buzzword bandwagon, but to understand what makes genuinely evergreen content so successful as well as why the pretenders fail. In truth, what separates traffic-driving evergreen content from well-intentioned duds is often one missing ingredient.
Evergreen content has to help.
At first, that sound obvious. After all, being helpful is the cornerstone of content marketing itself. When it comes to writing copy, “Every piece of content you create has to do two things: (1) rescue its audience from their own personal hell and (2) deliver them unto their own personal heaven. Great copywriting is about salvation … not sales.” That principle is all the more true for evergreen content.
Unfortunately, most evergreen content fails that two-part test. Why? Because we mistakenly equate long with evergreen.
Take a recent example. To protect the guilty, I won’t name names here, but the piece was a nearly 18,000-word, 127-point, influencer-packed article about SEO mistakes. It was a thing of long-form content beauty and contained a wealth of insights and tips. Ironically, I contributed to it.
The downside was it went too far. There’s a world of difference between size and salvation. Rather than a go-to resource to guide readers through the murky waters of SEO, it was unwieldy and difficult to navigate. There was no clear information hierarchy or concrete takeaways. The same problem often exists with anything that wears the title “Ultimate” or “Skyscraper.”
Bigger isn’t better.
Online, people don’t need a list of a hundred-plus tips, tricks or tools. What they’re desperate for are the easiest, most actionable insights to solve the one problem they’re facing right now, and then the opportunity to drill down into further resources when the time comes. Ask yourself: What hell is my target audience suffering from? What problem steals their sleep and haunts their dreams? What mystery can’t they find an answer to? Where do they hurt?
These are the questions that drive helpful and successful evergreen content. They’re about serving your audience, not showing off. And they’re singular: one hell, one problem, one mystery, one pain … all leading to one answer — or at most, five to 10 — designed for one specific audience. As CEB’s landmark book The Challenger Customer puts it, “customers’ reaction to well-designed thought leadership is: ‘Wow, they’re smart.’ Customers’ reaction to well-designed insight is: ‘Wow, I’m wrong.'” Wrong, in this case, is good because it shows readers exactly how to overcome their hell.
So, what does that look like?
Helpful and easy evergreen content.
Length isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, long-form is a hallmark of high ranking content across the web. But if it is lengthy, then your visitor must have some way to sort and simplify all that information immediately. For example, Joanna Wiebe’s 11,000-word The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever) opens with a linked table of contents so readers can jump directly where they need help the most:
In a similar show of helpfulness, OnCarrot’s 4,000-word Real Estate Content Marketing: A Strategy Agents (Like You) Can Actually Use to Grow Your Business opens and closes with a call-to-action to “get a simplified guide and easy-to-follow checklist.”
Brian Dean’s 10,000-word SEO Tools: The Complete List — which contains 184 reviews each with images and direct links — quadruples down on helping its visitor by not only giving them a PDF option but three sets of on-page filters:
Lastly, when it comes to merging length with simplicity (i.e., making it helpful and easy), few approaches stand out like getting visual. Whether your content revolves around handling negative feedback, the top copywriting books, or even lawn care, this one-two combination ensures the depth that Google loves and the help your visitors crave.
Evergreen content has to “save” them.
We all want more traffic.
However, evergreen content lives and dies by a single word — helpful. Don’t overwhelm your audience. Length and depth are key, but all the 100-point checklists, influencer-packed round-ups and so-called “ultimate” guides won’t save you … if your content doesn’t save them.
Unilever Turns Up the Heat on Facebook & Google Over Tech’s ‘Unintended Consequences’
Unilever has issued a stern warning to digital platforms including Facebook, Google, and YouTube: do more to improve transparency and clean up the “swamp” of fake news, exploitative, and socially divisive content, or be cut off from its multi-billion dollar digital advertising budget.
CMO Keith Weed recently spoke at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting held in Palm Desert, Calif. CNBC quotes him as saying, “We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing.”
Two of the most important consequences being referred to include the threatening of safety of users, especially young children, and loss of trust by consumers and companies at large.
While it’s unlikely that Unilever will turn its back on the two largest digital platforms, Weed’s words matter because of the sheer amount of ad budget Unilever holds across its portfolio brands. MediaPost reports that in 2017, the company spent approximately $9.8 billion on marketing and advertising, a quarter of which went to digital.
Beyond the public denouncements, Unilever is also working with IBM to develop a blockchain with which the company can more effectively reduce ad fraud via a record of what media is purchased and how it is delivered.
A separate MediaPost article shares YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s response to Weeds comments on Monday. In her own statement at Recode’s Code Media conference, she assured,
“We want to do the right set of things to build [Unilever’s] trust. They are building brands on YouTube, and we want to be sure that our brand is the right place to build their brand.”
Recent efforts we’ve seen in support of this include significant updates to its Creator Program policy. Further, in light of the recent Logan Paul controversy involving a video in which a suicide victim was filmed inside a Japanese forest, the company has suspended running ads on his channel, per Ad Age.
While brand safety is a concern on the minds of many marketers, Unilever’s public comments this week indicate that brands are viewing the issue with a much broader lens, and seriously questioning the role these platforms play in people’s everyday lives, beyond the world of advertising. In this important cultural moment, people are looking to brands and platforms to assume responsibility and be proactive to keep their spaces safe, trustworthy, and suitable for communities.
To further explore the overarching question of how technology, including digital platform giants, can be used to bring us closer together versus further apart, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register today and save 20%.
Facebook’s Next Step in Building Community: $10M in Grants
Facebook has made several important announcements as of late the support its mission to create more “meaningful communities.” The latest? Investment in a newly announced Community Leadership program designed to support its community-building leaders through a variety of residency and fellowship opportunities that offer training, support, and funding.
Here’s how it will work: Facebook will name five “community leaders in residence” and provide up to $1 million each to fund their proposals, in addition to providing them with the opportunity to attend a customized leadership development training session.
Moreover, Facebook will select 100 individuals to join its fellowship program and receive up to $50,000 each for a “specific community initiative.” They’ll also participate in four in-person gatherings during which they will have the chance to meet and collaborate with other fellows.
Another key initiative in the works? Expanding Facebook’s “engineering team for community safety,” which is headquartered in London. In particular, the company hopes to double the number of employees focused on such efforts including detecting and stopping fake accounts, protecting people from harm (e.g harassment and scams), and making it easier to report content, by the end of 2018.
Further, Facebook outlined new tools for group admins, including page personalization options (e.g. color and the ability to pin announcements to the top of the page), the ability to create and share group rules; and more features to monitor Group Insights.
Outside of its Communities Summit, but along the theme of ensuring time on the platform is time well spent, the company also confirmed last week it was testing a downvote button that would allow users to provide feedback on comments in particular. The downvote button is being tested within a limited group of U.S. users for the time being.
This is not to be confused with a “dislike” button, but rather a more “lightweight way for people to provide a signal to Facebook that a comment is inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading”—this according to a Facebook spokesperson quoted in TechCrunch.
Here is what the button looks like in action:
As the screenshot depicts, the user will have the ability to select whether the post was found to be “offensive,” “misleading,” or “off topic,” the choices aimed to help guide Facebook’s course of action with respect to the particular piece of feedback.
Forbes adds that, the downvote option in its test mode only applies to public posts as opposed to Group posts or the Pages of public figures. It also doesn’t affect the ranking of the post and the number of downvotes a post gets won’t be publicly shared.
These initiatives by Facebook to reverse some of the negative perceptions of its role in society come at a critical time as brands and citizens alike are putting more and more pressure on the world’s leading tech platforms to course-correct their products for the safety of their users. Just this week, Unilever threatened to yank ad dollars from Facebook and Google due to the company’s growing dissatisfaction with their overall impact on society.
“We cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online,” stated Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, to the BBC.
Learn about Facebook’s increasingly complex role in society by joining SMWNYC April 24-27. The conference will offer multiple sessions designed to explore where brands and platforms fit into tech’s future in our world. Register today to secure your pass.
7 Ways to Get Recruiters and Job Offers to Come to You
“You are your own brand, and you need to build that brand and promote it as much as possible. It is important that you start building your brand online, because this is where employers are going to be looking for potential employees,” suggests Dima Midon, an expert from TrafficBox. Use all of the online tools at your disposal, particularly LinkedIn, which is a professional network that allows you to really promote yourself as a professional, and someone who is an expert in your field. This is a great tool for job seekers. Make sure that you keep your profile up to date, especially when it comes to contact information, so when an employer searches you, they will be able to contact you if they are interested in learning more.
5 Ways Cryptocurrency Can Help Entrepreneurs in 2018
Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the way we transact value, invest our savings and raise capital with its decentralised digital cash system. Blockchain technology is a once-in-a-lifetime invention; never before in history have we been presented with such a breakthrough in financial technology. In 2018, entrepreneurs are well positioned to become early adopters of blockchain technology.
1. Raising capital
Cryptocurrency has disrupted the way early stage companies raise capital. With initial coin offerings, startups around the world can raise money quickly and cheaply from a wide pool of global investors. The valuation of a company is almost immediately reflected by the market, a process that has traditionally been challenging for early stage businesses. Shares are issued as tokens and tradable almost immediately, bringing large amounts of liquidity to the company.
This new approach to raising capital has changed the world and enabled the best technical talent to build their companies at high speed. In 2014, a teenager from Canada called Vitalik Buterin raised money for his startup, Ethereum, through an initial coin offering. He wanted to improve on Bitcoin’s blockchain and create a platform for people to build unstoppable applications. With just a whitepaper and a vision, he was able to successfully raise $18 million for his new blockchain, which was valued at over $100 billion as of January 2018.
2. Transacting value
Cryptocurrency enables us to transact value between peers without a centralized authority. It provides a cheaper, faster and more efficient alternative to traditional payment networks. As a company, accepting cryptocurrency payments is becoming increasingly efficient, saving on fees and bringing faster settlement. Soon, startups will no longer need to go through the long process of setting up a business bank account to receive and distribute funds. In 2014, Overstock.com became the first retailer to accept bitcoin, receiving over 800 orders worth $126,000 in bitcoin in the first 22 hours. It has since amassed a $403,000 portfolio of cryptocurrency.
3. Investing for the future
For entrepreneurs, cryptocurrency may be the investment opportunity of a lifetime. Never before in history have retail investors had investment access to high growth early stage companies. Traditionally, venture capital funds and private angel investors have held monopolies on access to investment in the world’s best technical talent. Cryptocurrency provides a gateway for anyone in the world to invest in the world’s most exciting technology, allowing retail investors to own a basket of high growth companies. For example, through the decentralized method of blockchain investment, teenager Erik Finnman was able to invest in Bitcoin in 2011, becoming a Bitcoin millionaire at age 18. These types of investment stories would not be possible with traditional private venture capital fundraising.
4. Developing on the blockchain
The blockchain offers powerful infrastructure for companies to run their technology and create entirely new business models in a trusted way without a centralized authority. Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the way startups create value. The Ethereum platform allows companies to build unstoppable blockchain applications quickly and for free. One example of a company leveraging the Ethereum blockchain is OmiseGO, a payments company that is using blockchain to provide banking services for the world’s 2 billion unbanked population. Blockchain technology is a cost-efficient way of building decentralized applications that can scale to a global population.
5. Joining the blockchain community
The blockchain community offers access to some of the world’s best entrepreneurs, who are actively investing, advising and building upon the blockchain. Telegram, Facebook, WeChat, Slack and WhatsApp groups have proved popular in building communities of decentralized blockchain investors who can communicate with each other on a daily basis. Many large investments in early stage technology companies can be coordinated within minutes, a process that would traditionally take months in traditional venture capital. For example, in 2017, Brave’s Basic Attention Token sale sold out of its $35 million offering within 30 seconds. The blockchain community offers a strong sense of purpose with all members committed to a common goal of advancing blockchain technology to global adoption.
Cryptocurrency provides a platform for entrepreneurs to raise capital quickly, cheaply and efficiently. Entrepreneurs can transact value through the blockchain at high speed with limited setup costs and invest in high growth technology companies at an early stage. Platforms like Ethereum allow entrepreneurs to build decentralized applications to a global audience for free. The blockchain community offers access to some of the top entrepreneurs, engineers and investors in the world and in 2018, cryptocurrency will continue to provide a viable means for entrepreneurs to create value in the world.
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