How Working Out Is Like Making Money Online

This is a good follow up to my big but video. On this episode of Driving with John Chow, I explain how working out is very much like making money online. This is especially true for the no pain, no gain part.

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9 Mind-Bending Ways to Use Psychographics in Your Marketing

To the uninitiated, the field of psychographics may sound a little like a debunked “scientific” principle such as phrenology, but actually, it’s one of the most exciting developments in psychological analysis that marketers can leverage in their campaigns.

 Psychographics in Marketing

But what is psychographics? Why should you care? How can you use it? These are all questions we’ll be answering in this post. We’ll explore what psychographics is, what makes it so valuable to digital marketers, and nine amazing ways you can apply it to your campaigns.

Before we begin in earnest, though, let’s run through a quick primer on psychographics as a scientific discipline.

What is Psychographics?

Psychographics is the study of people’s attitudes and interests, often studied in conjunction with typical demographic data to build more complete profiles of target markets and audiences.

Psychographics in marketing concept illustration 

Although psychographics is used in a variety of applications, its primary use is in market research. We can tell a great deal about a person simply by examining the demographic data about their life – their age, income level, education, occupation – but by itself, this data is only of limited use. It tells us nothing about their aspirations, their beliefs, their attitudes, or any other subjective psychological measure.

That’s what makes psychographics so powerful; by combining demographic data with psychographic data, we can build much more complete, sophisticated profiles of consumers based on a much richer picture of who they really are.

Now that we know a little more about what psychographics is, how do you go about gathering this invaluable data?

How Can You Gather Psychographic Data?

Although many of the metrics favored by digital marketers are quantitative, psychographics is more qualitative. Yes, psychographic data can and should be appropriately categorized, but psychographic data can be significantly more subjective and nuanced in comparison to traditional quantitative research methodologies.

Market Research Firms

If you’ve ever conducted market research, you probably already know what a tremendous pain in the ass it can be, particularly if you’re a freelance marketer or working as part of a smaller team with limited resources. That’s why many companies turn to dedicated market research firms to do the legwork for them. This offers several benefits, such as scientifically rigorous data collection methods and proper vetting to ensure integrity of the data.

Psychographics in marketing market research concept 

It also presents a further budgetary consideration, as market research data – even generic white papers and reports – rarely comes cheap.

Focus Groups

Conducting focus groups can be an excellent method of gathering psychographic data. It allows you to create testing audiences that adhere to your specifications (including your business’ ideal customers and established buyer personas).

The major drawback of focus groups is actually assembling them and gathering the data. Putting together a focus group can be a significant time-sink, and that’s before you even ask your first question. Furthermore, there are no guarantees that the information you gather will be actionable or even reliable.

Customer Surveys and Questionnaires

Another method of psychographic data collection at your disposal is customer surveys and questionnaires.

This approach has many benefits, including the fact that surveys and questionnaires are relatively inexpensive to produce, can be distributed electronically for ease of completion by participants, and general consumer familiarity with this method of market research.

Psychographics in marketing customer survey concept illustration 

Image via Help Scout

Surveys and questionnaires do have their drawbacks, though, including few solid ways to overcome low respondent participation, and the potential unreliability or inaccuracy of the data itself – many people answer questionnaires in an aspirational way, meaning they may not respond completely truthfully to certain questions, especially questions on more contentious topics. 

Detailed Analytics Data

Perhaps the most time-efficient means of gathering psychographics data is using detailed analytics data.

Psychographics in marketing Facebook interest targeting 

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are arguably better suited to the gathering of psychographic data by virtue of the wealth of personal information these services possess about their users. In particular, an individual’s personal interests can be immensely valuable psychographic data points, as can data that some individuals may not be as truthful about in a real-world setting like a focus group, such as their political beliefs.

9 Ways to Use Psychographics in Your Marketing

As we mentioned above, psychographics is most commonly applied in the field of market research, specifically in the creation and development of detailed buyer personas. However, this is far from the only potential application of this fascinating data.

Let’s take a look at nine applications of psychographics you can use in your next campaign.

1. Create More Refined Social Media Audiences 

If you’ve ever run a Facebook Ads campaign, you’ll know how granularly you can target prospective customers. Targeting relevant audiences by interests is a viable strategy, but if you dig a little deeper into what really makes your audience tick, you’ll find a whole new world of possibilities opens up.

Psychographics in marketing Facebook interest targeting options branded terms 

Once you’ve identified and refined your core audience, look for the psychographic commonalities that your target market shares. Are their political beliefs relevant? Does their affinity for certain brands or even specific products suggest wider underlying attitudes? (For example, mothers in their thirties who are also into yoga may be interested in broader health-related topics.) How do these consumers see themselves? These are all questions you can ask as the starting point for psychographic targeting research that could yield new opportunities you may not have considered previously.

2. Write More Emotionally Compelling Ads

We know that leveraging emotional triggers can be amazingly effective in online advertising. If we can write emotionally compelling ads using the bare minimum of information, imagine how much more effective your ads could be if you knew more about your target market.

Psychographics in marketing top 10 emotional triggers in online ads 

Using emotional triggers in ad campaigns is always a tentative balancing act, as what one person finds fascinating and enticing may be morally repugnant and utterly repellant to someone else.

However, psychographic data can reveal a great deal about your target market, allowing you to write emotionally powerful ads – negative or otherwise – that may improve your conversion rates considerably.

3. Enhance A/B Tests

Hopefully, you’re already A/B testing most of your marketing collateral. However, incorporating psychographic data into A/B tests can result in even more revealing and accurate results.

Psychographics in marketing A/B test concept illustration 

Image via VWO

It’s important to note that when I say psychographics can be used to enhance A/B tests, I don’t necessarily mean the tests themselves. It’s very difficult to segment an A/B test by psychographic dimensions, simply because there’s no reliable way to determine or define a visitor’s psychographic profile at the moment they visit your site. I am, however, saying that psychographic analysis may yield valuable insights into why your visitors responded to the A/B test in the way they did.

Psychographics in marketing calls to action examples 

For example, does a specific landing page you tested perform strongly because of something as simple as a design element or the wording of a call to action, or are there more complex underlying reasons that could have shaped visitors’ behavior? The main image on your landing page might resonate differently depending on your audience’s psychographic makeup.

Only you can decide whether this data is actionable, but the more you know about why visitors interacted with your site in the ways they did, the more accurately you can target your ideal prospects in the future.

4. Identify New Content Topic Areas

One of my favorite content marketing concepts is what Larry calls “land and expand,” the process of broadening the breadth of your content topics to include tangentially relevant topics that are beyond your immediate business interest but are still relevant – and interesting – to your primary audience. This is an application of psychographic data that can really shine.

For example, here at WordStream, we know that many of our readers work in digital marketing – gasp! – but we also know that many are interested in broader trends in the technology industry, as we determined by analyzing analytics data from our social media accounts as well as our website.

Psychographics in marketing Google Analytics affinity categories 

Affinity categories in Google Analytics let you explore your site visitors’ interests

If we were to dig a little deeper into psychographic research, we could then ask more detailed questions when devising our wider content marketing strategies based on those interests. For example, we could investigate whether our readers’ interest in technology stems from an aspirational view of the world and how technology can solve urgent social problems, or whether this interest in tech is from a purely consumptive or entrepreneurial standpoint.

Psychographics in marketing Twitter Analytics screenshot 

Twitter Analytics is an excellent source of psychographic data such as
personal interests

Once you start to learn who your audience really is, you can “land and expand” much more effectively – a real boon for established blogs that may be experiencing difficulty in finding new topics to cover.

5. Improve Your Conversion Pathways

If you’ve set up custom conversion pathways in Google Analytics to measure the success of specific goals and objectives, incorporating psychographic data can be remarkably effective at identifying why people fail to convert and explaining more fully why people drop off at the point in the funnel that they do.

Let’s say you have a custom conversion pathway established in Google Analytics, and that this conversion pathway is tied to a specific business objective (which it should be, by the way). You may know that many prospects fail to convert on a specific landing page – but don’t know why.

Psychographics in marketing Google Analytics conversion pathways 

A visualization of conversion pathways within Google Analytics

By applying the psychographic data you’ve gathered to a specific problem (i.e. why you’re losing people at a specific point in your funnel), you can examine the problem with a great deal more focus. Is the language of your landing pages turning off prospects because they perceive your business differently than you do? Does your brand messaging reinforce beliefs your audience already holds, or does it stand directly at odds with their perceptions of themselves as consumers?

The more you know about your target market, the more confidently you can hypothesize why the most vulnerable points of your sales funnel are failing – then shore them up.

6. Reinforce Your Brand Values

We’ve talked about the importance of cultivating brand advocacy in the past, and for good reason. Brand evangelists are your most hardcore fans, and one of the best ways to encourage people to become loyal brand ambassadors for your company is to put your brand values on full display in everything you do. An easy way to do this is to compare the psychographic profiles of your most fiercely loyal followers and ensure that your wider messaging reflects these brand values.

Psychographics in marketing Baileys brand values daybook illustrations 

Illustrated examples taken from Baileys’ brand value daybook. Original art by Serge Seidlitz.

The Lush cosmetics company is an excellent example of this principle in action. Obviously I don’t have actual psychographic data for Lush’s target market to hand, but the company makes sure that its commitment to ethically produced, environmentally friendly products made without the use of animal testing is front-and-center in its messaging. I’d bet my last dollar that this messaging strongly reinforces the personal values of Lush’s ideal customer.

Psychographics in marketing Lush cosmetics brand values 

How can you reinforce your brand values as part of your wider marketing messaging?

7. Create More Targeted, Relevant Email Marketing Blasts

One of the great things about psychographics is that it gives you so much clearer an idea of not only who your target market is, but also what they want and how they feel. This, in turn, allows you to tap into your audience’s doubts, fears, and questions to create highly relevant and targeted email blasts.

Psychographics in marketing email subject line open rate comparison chart 

We know that creating highly personalized email blasts is a great way to improve your open rates. Tapping into psychographic data allows you to do precisely this. You can also cross-reference existing analytics data from your email marketing campaigns to gain greater insight into why your most popular email blasts resonated so strongly with your readers – then replicate it.

Email marketing allows for certain concessions that other marketing campaigns may not, such as the use of using hypothetical questions as enticing subject lines, tying your company’s brand values to current events, and other creative techniques, all of which can be deepened by a greater understanding of your audiences’ psychographic profile.  

8. Use Aspirational Imagery and Messaging

One of the most revealing things you can learn about your prospects through the application of psychographics is not only who they are, but who they want to be. Aspirational messaging can be extraordinarily effective, and the more you know about your market, the more effectively you can leverage these aspirational desires in your campaigns.

Psychographics in marketing aspirational marketing pyramid diagram 

At WordStream, we frequently remind our readers that people don’t buy products for its own sake; they buy things to solve their problems. As such, aspirational messaging can be amazingly powerful. It allows prospective customers to envision how your business can not only improve their lives in an immediate, problem-solving sense, but also how your business can help them become the people they want to be – a powerfully persuasive technique.  

9. Revisit and Update Buyer Personas

Our last tip might not be as exciting as the preceding tips, but it’s no less important.

Once you’ve gone through the trouble of gathering psychographic data about your target market, it’s vital that you either update existing buyer personas and message matrices to include this new information, or create new ones entirely.

Psychographics in marketing buyer personas demographics 

Many companies use multiple buyer personas for each stage of the conversion funnel, and incorporating psychographic data into your existing personas is crucial to ensure your campaigns hit the mark. This also offers a range of other benefits, including the potential for more personalized messaging, a clearer and more comprehensive profile of your ideal customers for new hires, and ultimately, more effective marketing campaigns overall.

Psychographics, Qu’est-ce Que C’est

Psychographics is an exciting and fascinating field of study that can be immensely beneficial to marketers hoping to gain greater insight into what makes their target markets tick. Combining more subjective psychographic data with traditionally empirical marketing metrics can be tricky, but the potential gains make it well worth exploring.

If you’re using psychographics in your campaigns, I’d love to hear your experiences – get at me in the comments with ideas or suggestions! 

How Much Should You Charge for Influencer Marketing?

The rise of social media has introduced incredible ways for you to connect with audiences all around the world. As fewer people read physical magazines and more people are cutting cable TV out of their lives, brands are also having a harder time reaching their target audiences, especially among younger demographics. This presents a ripe opportunity for you to make money online if you’ve got a social reach worth mentioning.

The question is then how much money you can actually make with sponsored content and native advertising, not only on your blog, but across your more popular social channels like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. More and more, the bigger bucks are also turning to Instagram, partly because of increasing growth, partly because of the visual appeal, and partly because it’s where a lot of target demographics are spending an increasing amount of time.

And brands know it. And the right ones are willing to pay for it. And you can sell your digital currency to your benefit as a result. But how much should you charge?

Paying for Instagram Exposure

As of this writing, the #ad hashtag on Instagram has over three million posts. This doesn’t include influencers who are offering sponsored content without disclosing the paid arrangement they have with their advertisers. Some influencers might use the hashtag #spon or #sponsored instead too. So this three million is really only the smallest tip of what is likely a very large iceberg.

instagram-ad

So, let’s start at the top. According to an AdWeek article published back in July 2016, the highest paid influencer on social media is pop star Selena Gomez. Based on that report, they’re saying that the young singer and actress is worth over half a million dollars ($550,000 USD, to be exact) for each social media post. That post is then shared across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so it’s relaly more than just one post.

Obviously, it wouldn’t be realistic for *you* to turn to Coca-Cola and demand half a million dollars for an Instagram post, but it gives you some idea of how high this ceiling can go. And the ceiling keeps getting higher. That same report says that Gomez would have only charged about $250,000 in December 2015. As we keep moving forward, the figure will keep going up.

Size Matters (Your Following, That Is)

Assuming you don’t have millions and millions of rabid fans with open wallets following you on social media, how much can you charge for your Instagram post? An article in the UK’s Daily Mail asked the people at the influencer app TRIBE how much influencers should charge.

As can be expected, the rate depends heavily on the size of your following (but also on the extent of their engagement). Converted from Australian dollars to American dollars, they say that a following of 3-20k yields a ballpark rate of about $55 to $220. If you have between 20k and 100k followers, you might get $220 to $440 per post. If you have 100-250k followers, you might demand $400 to $600. And so on.

Who Pays Influencers?

But all of those rates are theoretical and don’t necessarily reflect what a real person really received from a real brand in the real world. For that, the remarkably minimalist Tumblr blog Who Pays Influencers? is a tremendous resource. We do have to take some of these submissions with a grain of salt, as they are provided anonymously, but if we accept them in good faith, they can be very illuminating.

whopaysinfluencers

They can reveal not only how much the influencer got paid and for doing what, sometimes with a mention of how many followers he or she had at the time, but also what it was like working with that particular brand on that particular campaign. You might find that XYZ brand promises a lucrative payout, but they were hard to get in touch with and payment wasn’t ultimately issued until months later. That’s very valuable information.

So, if we were to go all the way back to the beginning and address the question that serves as the title of today’s blog post, what is our answer? By now, you’ve probably already guessed it. It depends. It depends on a lot of things, from the level of your reach, to the demands of the campaign, to the level of engagement of your followers, to how often you publish sponsored content.

After all, if your Instagram feed is constantly flooded with sponsored content from competing companies, many brands may be less interested in working with you, even if you boast hundreds of thousands of engaged followers.

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This Is Why You Should Be Testing Your Headlines

It’s all about that click.

headline analysis and testing

This is true whether you’re writing headlines for PPC ads or content that’s meant to earn organic search traffic, links, and social media shares.

You can’t honestly call your content “high quality” if it isn’t getting read. And if your headline is boring, people won’t click. They’ll ignore you.

That means lots of bad things for your business and brand. For instance, you won’t:

  • Grow your audience.
  • Attract links naturally.
  • Generate qualified leads.
  • Boost your social media engagement and shares.
  • Make enough money.

Oh, and if we’re talking paid search? You’ll pay more for your ads, since Quality Score heavily rewards a high click-through rate.

If only there were a way to know in advance whether that headline you’ve been writing will generate tons of traffic or be ignored…

Well, there might be one way – headline analyzer tools. But do they actually work?

What Are Headline Analyzers?

Headline analyzers are free tools that score your headline, giving you some sense ahead of time as to whether people are going to want to click on your headline.

Here are three headline analyzer tools you can test drive:

CoSchedule

headline analyzer tools

This headline analyzer is my personal favorite. I’ve been using it for a couple years. It analyzes and scores your headline based on factors like your word balance, length, keywords, and sentiment. Plus, CoSchedule’s tool will show you what your headline will look like as a Google search result and an email subject line.

Advanced Marketing Institute

headline testing tools

This headline tool analyzes the “emotional marketing value” of your headline and also gives it an “emotion classification.” They say that most headlines should have between 30 and 40 percent EMV words at minimum, but ideally should be in the 50 to 75 percent range.

ShareThrough

headline analysis tools

I’m least familiar with this tool. It uses an algorithm that analyzes your headline based on 300 variables. It provides some feedback on your strengths and also points out a few areas where you can potentially improve (e.g., mention a brand, body part, or celebrity… Um, seriously?)

So if you’re looking to craft that perfect headline, problem solved, right? Surely one of these will do the trick.

Or will they?

Analyzing the Headlines in Google Search Results

We know that Google will sometimes reward posts that generate more clicks with higher search positions. And it makes sense for them to do so.

headlines and click through rate

Think about it:

If a page Google has ranking in Position 1 gets 10 percent of clicks while a page ranking in Position 3 gets 30 percent of clicks, that would clearly signal to Google that something may be wrong. Perhaps the page in Position 3 is the better answer for a given query (as long as users aren’t immediately bouncing back to the search results) because it aligns with the user’s intent.

That means a more clickable headline could be the difference between ranking in Position 1, 2, or 3 in the SERPs.

So is there any correlation between the headline score and ranking positions?

Anecdotally, at least with CoSchedule, it sometimes seems so. But this could be an exhaustive study on its own.

For now, let’s just look at one search. Fittingly: [how to write headlines].

Here’s what you get, along with their scores from the three headline analyzers (CoSchedule / AMI / ShareThrough):

  1. Headline Writing 101: How to Write Attention Grabbing Headlines That Convert (Quicksprout) (52 / 18.18 / 73)
  2. How to Write Better Headlines [Infographic] (HubSpot) (73 / 16.67 / 65)
  3. 5 Easy Tricks to Write Catchy Headlines (Goins, Writer) (62 / 42.86 / 65)
  4. How to Write Magnetic Headlines (Copyblogger) (63 / 20 / 65)
  5. The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Powerful Headlines (Neil Patel) (63 / 14.29 / 69)
  6. 10 questions to help you write better headlines (Poynter) (67 / 25 / 66)
  7. 9 Tips for Writing Great Headlines in 2017 (WordStream) (63 / 0 / 61)
  8. 17 Easy Tricks How to Write Catchy Titles and Headlines (DreamGrow) (70 / 30 / 67)
  9. 55 Easy Ways To Write Headlines That Will Reach Your Readers (CoSchedule) (75 / 36.36 / 63)

I know what you’re thinking. CoSchedule, the creator of the headline analyzer, ranks ninth?

Well, I never said your headline was the only – or even the most important – Google ranking factor. But it definitely is one of your most important content elements.

So what does this one analysis teach us?

There is absolutely no correlation between headline analyzer scores and ranking position – at least on this one query.

Honestly, it’s pretty much impossible to draw any significant comparisons from this one example. After all, it’s just one search out of trillions of searches that happen on Google every year.

All we know is that, according to CoSchedule’s headline analyzer, the CoSchedule post has the best headline; Goins, Writer has the best headline according to AMI’s tool; and QuickSprout has the best headline, based on ShareThrough’s headline analyzer.

So is there any value in these headline scores?

Can Headline Analyzers Actually Predict a Winner?

Which one of these articles will get the most clicks?

That was the name of the game for the last month for me at Search Engine Journal (full disclosure: I am Executive Editor of SEJ).

For this particular test, I relied on CoSchedule’s headline analyzer when writing headlines.

Typically, my goal is to write headlines that score 70 or higher. But sometimes, depending on the topic, it’s surprisingly hard to get a score of 70. A score of 80+ is even rarer. Forget about a score in the 90s let alone a perfect 100 (I’ve yet to achieve either).

At SEJ, we use a custom-made headline A/B testing tool (well, technically A/B/C tool). Why custom?

  • We tried using the King Sumo WordPress plugin. However, this causes issues for cached sites (the same headline would end up being shown repeatedly, resulting in flawed tests).
  • We also tried the Title Experiments Free WordPress plugin. However, this one was bad news for SEO. Basically, the H1 tag would look empty to Google whenever it crawled and indexed the page because Google still has problems with JavaScript. Plus, if you have a high traffic day, your server could quickly get overloaded because this plugin sends an AJAX request for every page load.

During our headline test, we wrote three headlines for every new post published. Then, for 120 hours, a test ran. During this time the three headlines were shown an equal number of times to our website visitors.

Our headline A/B testing tool has one constraint worth mentioning. Our “A” headline can be any length we want, but our two alternative headlines (“B” and “C”) must be less than 50 characters total.

7 Things I Learned From 31 Days of A/B Headline Testing

OK, let’s talk results.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume the following about CoSchedule’s headline scores:

  • 100 = Perfect Headline
  • 80-99 = Great Headline
  • 70-79 = Good Headline
  • 60-69 = Average Headline
  • Poor/Bad (59 or lower)

Here’s what I found in the past month.

1. Headline Analyzers Can’t Actually Predict the Winning Headline

In total, 50 articles and 150 headlines were tested.

During these 31 days of headline testing, the CoSchedule score matched the most clicked headline only 40 percent of the time.

The other 60 percent of the time, a headline with a lower score actually got more clicks.

Here’s one example.

One of these three headlines got clicked on 37 percent of time. Which one?

headline testing

You would think the “A” headline should win since it has a score of 80, but actually the “B” headline (with its score of 70) got the most clicks.

Why? My best guess, based on using CoSchedule’s tool for a while now, is that they heavily weight the word “things,” whereas readers of SEJ might be more inclined to click on “tips” than “things.”

So if you think that a great score on a headline analyzer is a reliable indicator of whether your headline will actually be successful, think again.

2. A Great Score Doesn’t Guarantee Lots of Clicks

If you get a great score (between 80 and 99), you’d expect to get lots of clicks, right?

Nope.

The best score I managed to get for the month was 84 for this headline: This Is the Most Important Aspect of SEO.

This was the “B” headline. It got 35 clicks. That was good enough to come in second place, but it was a loser nonetheless.

As for that previously mentioned headline, How to Rank for Featured Snippets: 9 Things You Need to Know? It got a great score as well – 80.

That was good for last place. Third out of three. Worse yet, it was beaten handily by headlines that had scores of 70 and 66.

This is a perfect example of why you must A/B test your headlines.

3. The Most Clicked Headline Had a Good (Not Great) Score

One headline dominated all the others. Your Rankings Have Dropped – 10 Things to Do Now earned 192 clicks during our testing period.

What score did it get from CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer?

A 71.

That means 33 out of the 150 total headlines we wrote that month had a better score from the headline analyzer.

headline testing tools

That said, any headline over 70 should do well. But if one headline with a lower score can outperform 33 other headlines, this is yet another reason not to completely trust a headline analyzer.

Surprisingly, the headline that got the second most clicks was actually the “C” headline for that same article (What to Do When Google Rankings Drop Dramatically). It got 181 clicks and had a score of 68 from CoSchedule’s tool. That means it outperformed 51 other headlines with higher scores – and we didn’t even end up using it!

4. A Headline With a Good (or Even Average) Score Can Drive More Clicks Than a Great Score

In looking over these 150 articles, there are numerous examples of great headlines generating less clicks than good or average headline scores.

how to analyze headlines

For instance:

  • A Simple Guide to Smart Social Media Aggregation scored 73, but got just 36 clicks.
  • Misrepresentative Content: What You Need to Know scored 79, but only got 20 clicks.
  • How to Filter Referral Spam in Google Analytics scored 72, but got 29 clicks.

On the other end, there are numerous examples of average and good headlines generating more clicks than posts with a great score:

  • 3 Ways SEO & Content Work Better Together scored only a 54, but it got 110 clicks.
  • 8 SEO Tips to Optimize Your URL Structure scored just 59, yet it got 139 clicks.
  • Hiring an SEO? Don’t Ask These 13 Dumb Questions got a score of 64, but managed to get 131 clicks.

Bottom line: Some “how to write headline” posts try to make the process sound easier than it actually is. The truth is you really can never know with 100 percent certainty that your headline will click with readers – and get their clicks.

5. Your Content Is Only as Good as Your Headline

Spending hours writing what you consider “high-quality” content is essentially all time wasted if your headline is boring.

Don’t just spend 2-3 hours writing a post and slap some lazy headline on it. You’re sabotaging yourself.

While some people might argue that you should write dozens or even a hundred headlines for every piece of content, that’s nonsense.

If you can’t write at least an average-good headline for an article within 30 minutes, maybe there’s something seriously wrong with the content.

6. Your Headline Is Only as Good as Your Content

You can write the greatest headline in the world. But if it’s on a topic your audience doesn’t care about, it’s simply a headline wasted.

A topic that is of great interest ­– even if it has an average headline – will almost always outperform a brilliant headline on a piece of content that is more niche or simply is off-topic to your core audience.

Sometime we tend to overthink things during the content research and ideation stage. It’s really not rocket science – identify topics your audience is interested in and find new and interesting ways to talk about them.

7. Headline Analyzers Can Help You Write Better Headlines

Despite all their flaws, the process of testing your headlines with an analyzer will help you write better headlines. The secret of any kind of writing is to do it more. That’s the only way you’ll improve.

For instance, I pretty much confirmed one thing that I’ve been suspecting lately – that question headlines are losing their effectiveness. In fact, I believe that question headlines can sabotage your content.

seo headline analysis

We tried out nine question headlines on SEJ. Only one attracted any significant engagement (Hiring an SEO? Don’t Ask These 13 Dumb Questions). However, this headline doesn’t fall into the trap that many question headlines do – you can’t answer it with a yes or no (a.k.a., Betteridge’s Law).

Data vs. Creativity

i'm going to try science

Sometimes you just “know” a headline is going to be awesome. It’s perfect. It’s catchy. It’ll grab all the attention and convert like crazy.

Except, if you don’t test it against any other headlines, how do you truly know you couldn’t have had an even better headline?

If there truly is a “perfect” headline for every piece of content you create, you won’t find it unless you’re testing.

The only limit to your headline is your own creativity – and your ability to admit that you might be incredibly biased about how awesome that headline you wrote is.

Be creative. Just let the data be the final decider.

Data always wins.

TL;DR

Can you trust the scores of free headline analyzers to accurately predict which headline will get the most clicks? Nope. You’ll be wrong more than half of the time.

Are headline analyzers worth your time anyway? Yes. Although you’re really writing your headline for one tool’s algorithm, it forces you to re-examine every word you choose carefully.

The more headlines you write and test, the more chances you have to discover the right headline. If you aren’t testing, you’re potentially missing out on traffic, rankings, leads, shares, and revenue.

The more data you collect, the more you’ll know about what YOUR audience responds to. Ultimately, this is why you need to A/B test your headlines.

How to Build Your Brand Successfully Through Guest Blogging

The power of guest blogging can be massive for building brand awareness and generating traffic. However, it’s important you know how to effectively find guest blogging opportunities so you achieve your bottom line. I suggest to everyone starting a blog to focus on building a brand because it’ll help you achieve much more going down the line. One of the best ways to build your brand and generate traffic is through guest blogging opportunities. Through guest blogging, you’re not only finding a relevant flow of traffic, but you can also build authority links back to your blog. If you look at the most successful internet marketing blogs (JohnChow.com, ZacJohnson.com, QuickSprout.com, and ShoeMoney.com), you can see they’ve used their personal brand to push the limits. Whenever you hear these names, you know right away you’ll find quality content, the best tools, and a credible blogger.

If you just started to blog and would like to focus on awareness, then utilize these strategies to build your brand through guest blogging.

Research Topic

One of the best ways to build your brand is to write exclusive content on topics trending. However, the trick is to put a twist on the content, making sure you’re the first to implement a clear solution. The best type of content online always provides a complete solution and/or is the first of its kind. If you look back over several years in almost every niche, the ones who have built a name for themselves are pioneers in the industry. Everyone remembers people who have paved the way for others, making their lives easier. This is why case studies showing a step-by-step process on how to effectively solve a problem create a buzz quickly. They even go viral on social networks because people love problem solving content that is easy to follow.

Before writing content for guest blogs, it’s important to research a topic popular with your audience. This will increase the chance readers will engage through social shares or a call-to-action placed in the content. Later, we’ll discuss how it’s important to add a call-to-action within your content to attractive a bigger following.

Track Your Guest Blogging

I’m surprised by how many people think all guest posting opportunities are the same and I’m here to tell you, they’re not. Different blogs will provide different value to your bottom line so it’s important to keep an eye on those opportunities that give you the highest ROI. For example, some blogs have been around for years, gaining more authority than others. These same blogs have more social followers, relevant traffic, and engagement so it’s important to focus on these when building your brand. The process doesn’t have to be hard, but you’ll have to do some research.

First, start by doing some research online, finding the best blogs in your niche. You can skim forums, do a quick search in Google, or simply know from experience. Once you’ve published your guest post on these blogs, track traffic flow through Google Analytics, looking for an increase in traffic. The more people you can direct through your post to your blog, the higher chances of building brand awareness.

Clear Call-To-Action

Blog owners have different rules applying to call-to-actions placed within content submitted for guest publishing. Many bloggers will allow a maximum of two links within the author bio and some will even allow you to place relevant links pointing to external content in the body. If you want to build your brand quickly, then I suggest utilizing call-to-actions pointing to a page on your personal blog where you capture the visitors’ email address. It’s often said email subscribers is the best way to drive traffic back to your blog and increase brand awareness through follow-up messages. Once you have someone join your newsletter, you can market to them several times, promoting products, content, and building loyalty. However, you have to be careful how you utilize this strategy. For example,

  • Make sure guest blogs accept call-to-actions within the content submitted. I suggest reading the writing guidelines before submitting your content.
  • When adding a link, make sure it points to relevant content on your blog.
  • Trade email addresses for something of value. You know why they have come to your website so offer an eBook, resource guide, coupon, etc. This will depend on your niche and purpose.

In the end, guest blogging with a clear call to action can be important when building your brand.

Social Followers Matter

Whenever I’m searching for guest blogging opportunities, I’ll view social profiles to check followers. If you get published on a blog, there is a high likelihood your content will be shared on their social platforms. If a blogger has 50,000 followers, this can be huge for generating traffic and brand awareness. Even through authority blogs tend to have an enormous following, it still helps to know their relevance. I’ll skim through the followers, reading their bio to find out more about them so I can tweak my content to fit their preference. This will increase the chances of getting my content “retweeted”, which is great to generate traffic and build my brand.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!//my.leadpages.net/leadbox-781.js

You Got a Big But!

On this episode of Driving with John Chow, I talk about one of the biggest things that is holding you back from achieving financial success. Your big BUT! We all have a big but, and until we get rid of it, achieving success is impossible.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!//my.leadpages.net/leadbox-781.js

Why You Need to Start Right Now

I get it. Maybe you want to be a hugely successful blogger in your niche. Maybe you want to be behind one of the most popular channels on YouTube. Maybe you want to start a podcast that skyrockets to the top of the iTunes charts. Maybe you dream of fame and fortune and all the glories that come with the territory.

But you have humble means, a humble budget, and decidedly humble equipment.

How Can I Compete?

You take a look at some of the biggest channels at YouTube and you are astounded by the production value. You see the remarkably dramatic shots taken with expensive drones. You see the amazing cinematography or you’re truly impressed by all the after effects. You assume that you have to invest thousands of dollars in the best camera with the best lens, paired with the best microphone attached to the best audio recorder. And then you need the best computer to process all of that amazing 4K footage.

So, you get frozen. You assume that because you don’t have an expensive digital SLR, because you don’t have a drone and because you don’t have a high-end computer to do all your video editing that you’ll never be able to get on their level? What’s the point if your video doesn’t have the same kind of polish as Casey Neistat or Pewdiepie or Wong Fu Productions?

start-game

But there is a point. The point is that, more likely than not, your first effort is probably not going to attract the millions of views that you had hoped for. Your first ebook isn’t going to skyrocket to the top of the Amazon best seller list and your first podcast won’t suddenly have you become the talk of the Internet. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start.

Indeed, if anything, it means that you should start. And you should start right now.

In Theory or in Practice?

If you start right now, you can learn a heck of lot more from your own personal experience that you’ll ever be able to learn researching all the infinite possibilities. If you start right now, you can start building up your audience based on the real substance that you are bringing to the table and not the added polish that a $5,000 camera might bring or that some fancy special effects might deliver.

Quality content is quality content, even if it is only shot on your smartphone or on a cheap point-and-shoot. Some of the best podcasts started out with rather humble microphones attached to rather humble computers. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a superstar in blogging, vlogging, podcasting, social media, ebook writing, or practically anything else. The most important thing is to get started.

Start producing. Create something. Put something out there in the world and see what people like (and what they don’t like). Adjust your content strategy based on the feedback that you get and leverage the experience that you gain along the way. Everyone has to start somewhere. But first, you have to start.

Learning Is Not Enough

Some time back, John posted up a video explaining how learning is not doing. It doesn’t matter how many manuals you read, how many instructional videos you watch, how many online courses you follow. If you don’t actually hop onto that seat and start pedaling, you’ll never know how to ride a bike. It is better to try and fail than to be stuck in the limbo of thinking you know but never taking any action.

running-fog

Because the truth of the matter is that you’ll need to adjust and adapt along the way anyway and the only way you can do that is if you’re already on the track. If you’re frozen at the start line, even the slowest, most pathetic tortoise is going to be miles ahead of you.

So, start now. And once you start, you can get better. And when you get better and grow your audience, then you can invest in fancier equipment to elevate your game further. You can’t see what’s beyond the foggy distance until you get there anyhow.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!//my.leadpages.net/leadbox-781.js