You Just Published a Blog Post. Here Are the 14 Things You Need to Do Next.


whats next

You’ve just poured your heart and soul into creating an epic blog post your audience is sure to love.

You’ve clicked the “Publish” button…Now what?

It may be tempting to leave it at that and move on to the next project. You’ve got more blogs to write, more topics to cover, and more content to produce, right?

Hold on a minute.

Publishing a blog post and quickly moving on to the next one is a waste of your efforts. Doing so will minimize the impact of your content and its true potential.

Download this cheat sheet of 14 things you need to do after publishing a blog post.

If you want to increase the exposure and circulation of your blog content, implement the following 14 tactics I’ve found to be insanely effective. 

1. Reread the final product

Should be an obvious one…but I need to mention it.

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I like to think I’m pretty thorough with proofreading and diligent about catching spelling/grammar mistakes.

But no matter how meticulous I am, I occasionally find some errors after publishing.

Sometimes, it’s not even spelling/grammar but formatting or some other issue that slips past me.

You should be using spellcheck, obviously, or even a service such as Grammarly. However, nothing substitutes the proofreading services of a trained professional.

Most pros have a process they follow when proofreading a document.

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If proofreading is not your strong suit, here’s what you can do:

  • Hire a proofreader from Upwork or Fiverr.
  • Ask someone on your team to proofread it for you.
  • Once you write an article, wait a day or two before you proofread it. You’re more likely to catch mistakes with fresh eyes.
  • Proofread it a second time.
  • And a third.
  • And maybe even a fourth.

You may wish to hire a copy editor instead of a proofreader.

What’s a copy editor? A copy editor pays more attention to the copy itself, not just grammatical details.

Wikipedia defines copy editor in this way:

Copy editing (also copy-editing or copyediting, sometimes abbreviated ce) is the process of taking raw material to improve the formatting, style, and accuracy of text.

A good copy editor can not only correct your typos and grammar but also improve the style, approach, tone, and accuracy of your content.

It doesn’t matter how much promotion you do (below). If your article is full of errors, you’ll lose credibility.

2. Insert a link to new content on old posts

Internal linking kills two birds with one stone.

First, it encourages readers to explore your site further. Second, it’s helpful for building site architecture and can give you some much needed SEO juice.

I always try to find previously published content that’s relevant to each new blog post and create a link that points to it.

Why does this even matter?

Internal linking helps you to:

  • improve your site’s structure
  • strengthen the overall authority of your site’s internal pages
  • increase the likelihood of inbound link potential to the new article
  • begin to build the link profile of the new article
  • establish the validity of the new article.

Adding a link to your new article from old posts is easy:

  1. Open an old article you’ve published.
  2. Find a relevant spot in the article to create a text link.
  3. Add the link to the new page.

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It only makes sense to do this easy task. Why? Because links matter.

According to Moz, 99.2% of the top 50 results on Google have at least one link to the website from some external site.

But it’s not just sitewide links that make a difference. The page itself should have links too. Moz’s research shows a high degree of correlation between a top-ranked page and a page-specific link.

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Interlinking pages within your website aren’t considered external links, but they do improve your site’s structure and optimization.

Besides, there’s the freshness factor to consider. When a page acquires new links, it instantly signals relevance to the algorithm, improving its potential in the SERPs.

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Adding links should be a top priority shortly after publication.

3. Add a question to spark discussion

Many times, my audience just needs a little coaxing to chime in and get the conversation going.

That’s why I like to add an open-ended question at the end of each post.

This not only encourages my readers to think deeply about a topic but also increases their engagement significantly.

I don’t actually expect people to answer the questions I ask. I do it to spark thinking and conversation.

And thankfully, it works. You guys do share your thoughts with me and other readers!

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4. Post on Facebook

Duh, right?

But there’s a deeper strategy involved.

When I post an article on Facebook, I like to add a quick sentence or two that captures the essence of a post and explains how others will benefit from reading it. Usually, it’s pulled directly from the article itself.

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And the image? It’s a must-have.

Facebook posts with photos get more links, shares, and comments. It’s a fact.

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You can combine different techniques to get even more social sizzle from your Facebook post—a photo with your article, plus a question and the link to the article.

If you promote your article with that kind of power, you’re bound to make an impact.

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Notice how a successful page such as Business Insider promotes its articles with a variety of techniques: images, a brief comment, and the link to the article.

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5. Post on Twitter

You’re obviously limited in terms of writing a description with 140 characters.

But I try to write a short, snazzy caption to pique the interest of my followers.

Chris Brogan does this too. The guy’s a Twitter master, and he knows how to get people to click on his articles when he promotes them.

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Also be sure to include a hashtag or two, but don’t overdo it to the point of looking like a jabroni.

A couple of hashtags is all you need to double the amount of engagement on your promoted article!

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6. Post on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great for highly professional posts and those that are relevant to my industry.

If you’re posting on LinkedIn, you’ll improve your LinkedIn engagement.

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LinkedIn users are among the most plugged in and tuned in to your message.

Use your best judgment in terms of the type of content you decide to post on LinkedIn, but by all means, use it!

7. Post on Reddit

You might regard Reddit as the Internet’s home for hipsters and geeks, and you might be right.

But it can also be a traffic gold mine.

Why? Reddit has millions of pageviews, and its active user base is committed to engagement.

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With Facebook and Twitter, you might have casual users, but there’s something about Reddit’s audience that makes them absolutely addicted to the site!

Reddit users interact on the site using what’s called karma. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, think likes on Facebook, except not really.

Basically, the idea is this: if your post gets lots of karma, more people will see it.

Reddit users don’t hesitate to share their opinions—good or bad—on articles that get shared.

If your content is subpar, you’ll get scoffed at. If it’s good, you can be confident that your new post will get referenced, linked to, and viewed by a lot of people.

8. Share on news aggregators

Sites such as Alltop serve as resources where readers can find a vast amount of content on the topics that interest them.

Bloggers can often share their content on these types of sites, which can ultimately lead to an influx of quality traffic.

Check out this guide from Techlicious on the best news aggregator sites.

9. Tap into other relevant networks

Whether it’s Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, or even Google+ and its uncoolness, share your content on whatever other site(s) you think might be beneficial to you.

The Internet is full of backwater forums, highly-engaged Facebook groups, and other pockets of interactive communities.

Seek out your tribe, build an audience, and provide this network with value through your content.

10. Send to email subscribers

If you’ve got a sizable list of loyal subscribers, you can circulate your content with relative ease.

Just make sure you’re not doing it to the point of being annoying.

I send out a daily email to my subscribers, and it’s the perfect frequency for my engagement, audience, and goals.

11. Ask a key contact to share it

I would never recommend being the irritating guy who’s always hitting someone up for a favor.

But I would recommend occasionally asking a key contact if they wouldn’t mind sharing a new post with their audience.

Just make sure that it’s relevant to their niche/industry and adds value to their audience.

In fact, that’s the most important thing—adding value.

Value works both ways. You should be trying to provide value to the influencer too. Before you hurry to email all the influencers in your address book, please read this post. It will give you some helpful tips on how to do it.

12. Respond to comments

Let’s be honest. Getting readers to comment on your content isn’t easy—especially at first, when you’re just getting the ball rolling.

Although I usually get quite a few comments on Quick Sprout and NeilPatel.com, it didn’t just happen overnight.

It took a lot of hard work, persistence, and, of course, responding to comments.

Back in the day, my blog posts were pretty lame. But even then, I tried to respond to comments.

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Being engaged and responsive is essential for building relationships, creating social proof, and ensuring future engagement.

Even though it can get a little time-consuming if you receive dozens or hundreds of comments, it’s well worth it to respond to each one individually in a timely manner.

13. Comment on other blogs

If you’re relatively new to the game and are still trying to establish an audience, this is perfect for building rapport and trust.

Some may think of this tactic as old school, but it definitely gets results.

Why? Because you’re providing value to other people. It’s not just about scammy link building.

It’s about engaging with real people.

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Just be sure you’re leaving valuable comments on relevant blogs.

14. Comment on a commenter’s blog

One strategy I would highly recommend to fairly new bloggers is to take a bit of extra time to reach out to the people who are commenting on your blog.

For example, I suggest identifying a few consistent commenters contributing to the conversation and stopping by their blogs.

From there, I like to find a relevant post that ties into my content and leave a thoughtful comment.

I know this can be a bit time-consuming, but it can really boost your reputation and likability—both of which are integral to your content marketing longevity.

Conclusion

According to Hubspot, “B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67 percent more leads than those that do not.”

You already know that blogging is a best practice. You do it. But then what?

Then you share it.

A blog that simply churns out content is not going to get the kind of traffic, interaction, and action that it needs to. It’s essentially worthless unless you actually do the work of sharing it.

When you go the extra mile and follow these strategies, you can cast a wider net and circulate your content to the deepest recesses of the Internet.

These methods are the secret sauce you need to gain more leads and a loyal following of people who’ll stay hungry for future content. The great thing about intensive sharing is that doing so often attracts prospects who are most likely to convert on your content.

If you’re in the “publish and leave it” habit, it’s time to change. Use these simple, straightforward, and easy methods, and your content will begin to take off.

Do you have any specific steps you take after publishing a blog post to ensure maximum visibility?



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The Poor Man’s Marketing Stack: How to Hack Marketing Automation


There are over 2,000 marketing technology companies today.

Each one doing something a bit different, filling some unique yet critical need.

That means on a daily basis, marketers might choose from 100 different software programs to fulfill relatively basic tasks.

That inspired somebody, somewhere, to misappropriate the word ‘stack’ from the development world to describe how a particular company might be aligning all their pieces of a marketing and sales pie.

The result often becomes a head-bangingly frustrating process where you’re piecing together several to deliver a single campaign.

Sure, you could opt for an all-in-one solution like HubSpot. But it’s also F&*#@*G expensive.

What if you don’t have that kind of loot?

Here’s how you can use even the most basic, inexpensive or free pieces of software to replicate sophisticated marketing automation and business process hacks.

How to Eliminate Bottlenecks with App-Connecting Tools

Marketing automation, when implemented properly, has the power to increase leads by 451% and boost sales by 34%.

But… a shockingly high 85% of B2B marketers admit to not using it correctly.

The secret ‘inbound marketing lie’ that no-one wants to admit is how F-ing time consuming this stuff is.

Not to mention, if you don’t have the right tool setup, it’s nearly impossible to pull off.

HubSpot is amazing. I’m a super happy partner and advocate. It makes marketing automation relatively easy to implement at scale. But most can’t (or won’t) fork over the ~$10k a year. That’s completely understandable.

When I started consulting, there was no way my clients or I could afford it either. (Although there is a compelling argument for making your money back relatively quickly if you’re using any all-in-one, database driven tool properly.)

That led to an endless search for tools that played well natively. Existing integrations between key pieces of software, like hooking up Gravity Forms with MailChimp, can make your life 10X easier.

But it’s difficult to construct an entire marketing funnel with only tools with native integrations. And it’s not realistic, as other departments or teams within your organization will probably have their own tools that need to work seamlessly with yours.

Fortunately, tools like Zapier and IFTTT (If This Then That) began popping up to help solve this problem.

They’re pretty basic once you get the hang of it. Simply connect two applications, create a ‘trigger’ (the thing that starts this process in motion) and an ‘action’ (what happens when the trigger is, well, triggered).

For example, Gravity Forms (an excellent WordPress plugin) can then automatically send new form submissions to your favorite CRM like Contactually – even though there’s not native integration between these two applications.

contactually-gravity-forms

Best of all, with a little ingenuity, you can use them to re-create a marketing stack and begin automating your marketing.

We’re going to walk through examples in a minute, but first the theory.

Get Started by Outlining Your Marketing Funnel Steps

In an ideal world, strangers find out who you are and develop interest and trust in your brand before agreeing to become a customer.

Digital marketing 101 talks about creating a seamless customer experience by creating tactics that align with each stage of the buyer’s journey:

marketing-funnel-stages-brad-smith

  • Awareness: A stranger becomes aware of some problem in their life.
  • Information: They begin looking for ways to help solve said problem.
  • Evaluation: Recognizing a need, they begin actively searching for a solution between different alternatives.
  • Decision: They make the conscious decision to move forward with the alternative that best meets their criteria.

Sophisticated tools can help you hit all of these points without ever switching around. But that’s gonna be tough with inexpensive software that typically specializes in one small area or another.

So instead, the goal is to recreate what these other platforms can do, moving people logically from one step to the next when they’re ready. Ideally, in the most automated and simplistic fashion possible.

The goal is to recreate what HubSpot and other sophisticated (read: expensive) marketing automation software does, for a fraction of the price.

Sounds nice in theory, right?

But practically, how would that look?

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  • Awareness: A new lead converts on a landing page, getting added to your email marketing software.
  • Information: As the lead begins searching for more information on your site and interacting with other resources, they should be added and removed from other automated marketing sequences to continue nurturing.
  • Evaluation: Once the lead begins getting serious about considering you as a solution, they need to be updated in your CRM system as such and qualified (if appropriate).
  • Purchase: If they decide to move forward with you, things need to be paid, they need to become a customer or client, and their project or account needs to be set-up immediately.

The important thing to note here isn’t the tools themselves, but your process or workflow. Once that’s defined, you can figure out which tools might be best to slot in each category. For example, even the free Google Contacts might be a good CRM choice (and it integrates easily with Zapier).

Enough small talk though.

Let’s take a look at each stage of this funnel to see how you can use Zapier to recreate steps that typically only expensive marketing automation platforms deliver.

Awareness: Landing Page to Email Marketing

Rule #1 of Permission Marketing (which pre-dated Inbound Marketing by, oh, like a decade) is to get somebody to give you their info in exchange for something of value, allowing you to continue following up with that person over time.

This can be old school, like an email address. Or new school, like their Snapchat… um, err… I have no idea what these kids call it.

In any event, the process is the same.

We already spoke about Gravity Forms, which can be used to power basic eBook forms to collect submissions.

But how about something a little more complex, like a webinar?

Zapier integrates easily with GoToWebinar, allowing you to capture new registrations (and even new attendees).

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This is perfect if you’d like to add these new registrations to an email list.

Even better, is if you create an automated workflow in for a specific email list for the upcoming webinar. That way, you can continually send out new messages to the contact to make sure that they attend the event (thereby boosting your Attendance Rate).

MailChimp is perfect for this. The pricing is very affordable, especially considering the beautiful templates, ease-of-use, and pretty decent automation options. Plus, that damn Chimp is so cute.

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Simply select the upcoming webinar, add the new registration to a specific list in MailChimp, and you’re done.

Easy peasy.

But… what happens if people DO (or DON’T) show up? What happens if they DO (or DON’T) take you up on that customary end-of-webinar call-to-action?

You gotta update their status.

Information: Email Marketing Updates

Let’s say that you’re getting clever now, and that you’d like to create two different sets of messages based on if people did or didn’t attend your webinar.

Obviously, getting this right is important because if somebody receives the wrong email it could damage your credibility.

There are a few ways to do this, but the most straightforward is to simply create two additional lists in your email marketing service – one for those who do show up, and one for those who don’t.

THEN, you’ll want to unsubscribe people from the initial list (like the original webinar registration one) and add them to one of the new lists you created based on their actions.

Most basic email marketing services don’t have this feature already. However you can create a simple Zap to take care of it for you.

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Another example where this comes in handy is if you offer a free trial or demo.

In that case, you don’t want a new lead (or even customer) to continue receiving promotional messages. Fortunately this same simple little hack, creating different lists for different segments of people, being unsubscribed automatically when they join a new list, can take care of a lot of the headache.

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Evaluation: New Lead to CRM to Qualify (or Disqualify)

So far you’ve been nurturing this new lead with a few different campaigns or tactics. Everything’s gone well so far and they’re ready to get serious.

For product or software companies this is straightforward and easy: they download the discount or join the free trial and either purchase (or not).

However it’s a little more complicated for service companies.

How do you know if the lead is any good? You can’t just agree to speak with everyone nutjob who fills out your form (and there will be plenty, believe me).

You can start by filtering your results, setting up qualifying questions in your forms to make sure that you’re tailoring your follow-up process accordingly.

For example, you can set-up different zaps between products based on how people answer a specific question.

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Now you can begin segmenting the people who ARE interested in your services, with the tire kickers who are primarily interested in wasting your time.

But you still have no idea if they’re even a good lead or not.

To be on the safe side, let’s automatically send an email to someone in your company to qualify each new prospect who’s interested in your services.

Simple! Just use Gmail based on the form filtered submission you just set-up. You can even pre-craft the message, pulling in form data, along with helpful links for the person who’s helping you to know exactly how you want them to be qualified (delegation FTW!).

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You can send this email to an assistant, employee, or whomever, and at the same time create a new project management task to make sure they’ll see it immediately as it comes in (along with a due date to make sure each lead is followed up with ASAP).

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With a few simple steps and some foresight, you’ve just set-up and delegated the first few steps of your sales process.

Congrats!

But you’re still not quite done yet. What happens when those people decide to pay you money?

Decision: New Client to Point of Sale and Project Management

Again, product or software transactions are insanely straightforward.

When someone wants to become a customer, they whip out a credit card and it takes a few seconds. Then you can update your email or contact lists accordingly with the previous tips.

However what if this is a larger transaction?

First, you can automatically create a new Freshbooks invoice when someone fills out an appropriate form. You can even have someone fill this out internally while on the phone with a new client-in-waiting.

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Freshbooks already integrates with both Stripe and PayPal (along with a few others), so you can even take this a step further by automating all of the tasks related to onboarding new clients too.

For example, let’s create a new Dropbox folder for each client when a successful first payment is made.

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Pretty helpful. But let’s keep going.

Let’s also create a new TEMPLATED project in your favorite project management tool (like Asana in this case).

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Just like we did earlier with the email message to qualify a new lead, you can select a pre-built template for the new client to get everything set-up in seconds (rather than hours).

Best of all, there’s no shortage of tips or tricks here. If you take notes during your Kick-Off Call with Evernote, a task can immediately be created in your PM tool to make sure these notes are added to the client’s project accordingly.

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A Time-Saving Caveat

Tools like Zapier or IFTTT open up a brand new world of possibilities.

It’s super interesting and you can geek out on this stuff for HOURS if you’re not careful.

Just think about all of the possibilities you can accomplish if even the most basic software options like Gravity Forms and MailChimp can do this stuff.

But don’t start with the tools.

Instead, start with the process. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? How should people move seamlessly through your own marketing funnel?

Begin by setting up the basic stuff and testing as you go. Once you’ve got the process down, it’s easy to dive into the details and begin customizing each little aspect.

For example, just start by automating how each new lead is followed up with. Then you can get clever with implementing different marketing campaigns that funnel down to this step.

Not only with this approach save you tons of time on the front-end, but you’ll drastically increase your odds of this system delivering better results too.

About the Author: Brad Smith is a founding partner at Codeless Interactive, a digital agency specializing in creating personalized customer experiences. Brad’s blog also features more marketing thoughts, opinions and the occasional insight.



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Report: TV time holds, but digital channels dominate for 18 – 49 year olds


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Traditional “live TV” still commands the most time of any media channel, says Nielsen in its first-quarter 2016 Total Audience Report. However it no longer dominates for the most coveted consumer segments.

The report, released earlier today, focuses on three primary areas: reach, time spent with media and audience composition. Nielsen’s legacy business is TV measurement and the report offers support for those trying to make the case that traditional TV advertising is still relevant and powerful.

The document finds that traditional radio reaches the single largest audience, followed by TV. The report also says that smartphones now outstrip PC internet usage, in terms of monthly active users (these numbers are quite different than comScore’s).

Nielsen Q1 audience data

Beyond reach, traditional TV commands the majority of daily media time in the US. Nielsen says that the average US adult spends 4:31 hours per day with live TV. By comparison, mobile devices see just over two hours of engagement. This appears to contradict other data in the market (e.g., Yahoo-Flurry), which assert that more time is spent now in mobile apps than with TV.

While TV and radio audiences have remained stable, all the growth in media consumption is coming mobile devices and PCs. Nielsen also reports that 81 percent of mobile users have smartphones.

When you slice the data by age category a more nuanced narrative emerges. For those under 50, digital media have overtaken traditional TV for time spent. While one might argue with that assertion by combining TV time in different categories, it’s clear from the totality of the evidence that mobile devices and alternative video channels dominate among younger users.

Nielsen Q1 audience data

The report also doesn’t discuss “second screening.” In 2014 Facebook and Millward Brown published research that argued more than 70 percent of internet users actively engaged with a second screen (smartphone, tablet) during TV shows and TV ads. Understanding this dynamic is also important in assessing the effectiveness of TV as an advertising medium.

Another noteworthy set of findings in the Nielsen report relates to media consumption by power users. According to the report and chart below, the top 20 percent of users consume the bulk of media in each of the measured categories. For example, the top 20 percent of smartphone video streamers consume 83 percent of all streaming minutes in the US.

Nielsen Q1 audience report

It goes without saying that we live in a highly fragmented media environment. That’s been true for a long time. But simple metrics (e.g, reach) and assumptions about traditional and digital media must be tested empirically to determine which channels are most effective to reach intended audiences.




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