How to Scale Content Production That Doesn’t Suck

Posted by on Jun 18, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Scale Content Production That Doesn’t Suck

How to Scale Content Production That Doesn’t Suck

Soon after Local SEO Guide hired me last year, one of our multi-location retailer clients asked us to produce a few hundred buying guides for all sorts of products they sell.

Bulk napkins, refrigerators, laundry detergent, you name it. My first big project!

The timeline was about one month, on top of overlapping deadlines for other client projects. As the new content guy, I had to figure out how to make this happen without drowning.

But hot damn, that’s a lot of words to research, pay for, edit, format, and internally link in a month.

You’ve experienced some flavor of this, especially if you work for a small, scrappy agency without an existing editorial infrastructure. Sure, you can turn to Upwork, Zerys, or another content writing service to get it done.

But then how do you decide what to spend on great editors? Should they be subject matter experts, or hired guns who handle any topic? How many do you hire?

What if the client doubles or triples the project for your next engagement? Do you have the resources to…scale your content production?

How do you build an in-house content process that can be scaled 10 or 100 times over?


Alas, scale. Love it or loathe it, “scale” (to me, anyway) just means delivering a proportionally bigger chunk of work while retaining high-quality content.

We’re working in a BERT environment where we don’t really optimize content. I focus on making content readable, logical, and unique enough that it stands out.

I don’t want to write one template, then apply a Find-Replace job across location pages for a national retailer, say. That’s too easy, and Google’s getting smarter about rewarding well-written copy with a purpose.

Call it craft content at scale.

So, how do you ensure you’re still brewing Lagunitas at the scale of Heineken?


Five key elements to scaling content

To scale up a content writing program that doesn’t suck, follow these basics:

Find writers
Get organized
Ask questions
Provide a style guide
Give feedback and iterate

Will this work? I can all but guarantee it. Since December, we’ve published new site copy on hundreds of locally targeted URLs for a multi-location national retailer. Check it out.

How to find writers


I prefer working with our own roster of writers, as opposed to a third-party service. I’ve found that it’s easier to communicate with them, from project clarifications to fixing snafus.

Writers tend to be more engaged and accountable when they’re working directly with us. In my experience with content farms, I cede an element of communication to the platform that makes it seem transactional, distant, and detached. And for some copywriting, I guess that’s OK.

It takes time to assemble a content team, there are endless job boards and groups out there. Some focus on content marketers, journalists, social media managers, and bloggers. But they’re all in the blast radius of “writing.” Chances are, you’ll find some great people.

Many of Local SEO Guide’s best content writers came from these (free) watering holes:

Binders Full of WRITING JOBS Facebook group (I’m not a member – had a colleague post in the group for me)
News Nerdery Slack group (heavy on data journalism, but there’s healthy overlap with analytics, SEO, and writing)
Word-of-mouth referrals (from above, former coworkers, editors, friends, etc.)

Ask around, do some lurking, and give someone a chance to succeed. I recommend hiring freelance writers, as opposed to moonlighters with full-time jobs, so you’re not at the bottom of someone’s priority list. (I’ve never been a fan of writing tests—taking them, nor asking others to—but if you go this route, pay them.)

Regardless, building a rapport with whomever you decide to hire will make your job easier. Mutual trust reduces headaches for inevitable hiccups or, uh, pandemics.

For example, the Covid-19 lockdowns emerged in the middle of a sprint to produce 700 pieces of content for a multi-location national retailer (mentioned above). It was among our bigger content projects so far this year.

Many people’s lives were turned upside down—kids suddenly at home, schedules affected, you name it. We were able to contact everyone, figure out where we needed to shift assignments, or plan for late submissions. Wasn’t easy, but we did it.

Be flexible, trustworthy, and give helpful feedback. The writing quality will reflect that.

How to organize your content writing program

No top-secret solution here. We use G Suite’s Google Sheets to track our editorial progress.

Doing a great job? Client suddenly wants to double the copywriting for next month? Add the rows, boom. Scale me up, Scotty.

“What, you don’t use a sophisticated piece of project management software?”

I do for other stuff. Google Sheets works best for obvious reasons:

Most people know how to use it and easily access it
You can quickly add cells to track client-specific inputs
You can have writers submit assignments through Google Forms, which can populate Google Sheet cells with assignments or other info
You can create a tracking spreadsheet template, then copy it and tweak it for project-specific needs
You can use VLOOKUP functions to feed data to or from other spreadsheets. For example, tracking invoicing payment amounts, populating keyword research, or validating completion to monitor writer progress
It can be expanded to accommodate large-scale projects easily
Searching and filtering is [chef kiss] It’s free (relatively—aside from G Suite costs)

Camayak vs. Notion vs. Asana vs. Workflowy vs. Google Sheets

There’s slick content project tracking software out there. We’ve looked at Camayak, Notion, Asana, Workflowy, to name a few.

We keep it simple with Sheets.

What I include in our tracking sheets:

URL of where content will be published (or proposed path/slug for new pages)
Word count
Link to relevant keyword/editorial research
Writer assigned
Editor assigned
Cost (per word, flat rate, whatever it is)
Status updates from a drop-down menu (using Sheets’ Data Validation options)
Date assigned
Due date
Approval (usually my initials, or another LSGer)
Other client-specific notes as needed

Create a basic template and deploy it quickly for new projects.

You’re probably thinking, Whoa, this guy just discovered Sheets. Cool blog.

The point here: Don’t underestimate the value of being elastic to scale, tweak, and implement your content tracking with a simple organization solution.

Questions to ask when scaling up content production

Each project’s content strategy will raise different questions.

For any content creation project, we ask these four questions to orient our strategy. Be honest about the answers with yourself, your stakeholders, your clients, and your freelancers.

If you’re BSing your team members or phoning in the answers, you’ll have big problems with high-scale projects—especially if you’ve produced, published, and promoted the content.

What’s the goal of the content?

Are you looking to grow local search traffic for a national brand? Do you want to drive some type of conversion? Or are you simply looking to educate readers at the top of the funnel?

Figure out your target audience before you do anything, or you will be at sea.

What type of content do we need?

“Content” isn’t just a hand-wavy catch-all term for words. Yes, body copy might require heavy lifting. But content also refers to your keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, headings, slogs, anchor text, photos, infographics, captions and alt-tags, video/audio/podcast transcriptions, and call-to-action copy.

When you produce content, think about everything a user sees: every word, from the H1s to the fine print.

Where will the content be published?

Is there a category path under which your content will live? Or will it be published under the root domain?

Content alone doesn’t have the same effect as having a robust website taxonomy.


In other words, you could have the Best Piece of Content ever. But if the information architecture of a site won’t appropriately display or organize your content pieces, you might be embarking on a fool’s errand. Blobs of text do nothing.

Blobs of text do nothing.

You might expect readers to find your great content directly from organic search. The more logically a website is built, the easier it is for search engines to understand how information is organized. Work with your stakeholders to determine the best place to publish.

How will you measure the content?

What does success look like? Do you care about performance at the page level, or site-wide?

Learning about KPIs has been one of the bigger learning curves for me, personally. I spent the last 10 years in newspapers and magazines, where someone else worried about analytics.

As the scale of your content production process increases, the importance of what you measure gets magnified. That sounds heady, but I’m going with it.

It’s not just about lines on a chart. Your clients will make decisions about where to invest in their SEO program depending on how your content performs. Know that you’re measuring what matters.

Create a style guide (or ask your client for one)


Luckily, most of our clients have editorial or brand guidelines. This saves everyone time, and helps me low-key evaluate which of our freelance writers pay attention to our specs.

Even if your client has a style guide, there might be one-off requests, compliance updates, or other notes from an upstream marketing team.

Best to compile crucial information in an instructions shared document for your content creators.

This serves three purposes:

It’s an editorial blueprint for your writers
It’s a quality control reference
It’s a form of redundancy in your own note-taking. We’ve all searched our inboxes for that thrice-forwarded email about some style note and can’t find it.

Avoid the headache of small errors propagating across hundreds of pages of copy.

Give feedback and iterate

A few pieces of writing advice I always give to freelance writers:

Write like your audience is smart and busy
Write the way you’d want to be written for
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good

(I didn’t come up with these. Other smarter people did.)

We don’t have a crystal ball here at Local SEO Guide. And you don’t either. That makes it impossible to know what’s a perfect blog, a perfect sentence, and a perfect process.

If the content’s performance sucked, I try to understand why. It sucks to suck. So I improve it for next time, or propose a content refresh.

Give your writers and editors honest, actionable feedback. Offer to give it mid-process instead of at the end, so they can apply your suggestions.

Make improvements to your tracking process, your editorial guidelines, and the questions you ask throughout the content process. It’s not a sign that your methods were bad.

Make small improvements that gradually compound, rather than wholesale changes that move the earth beneath everyone.

Of course, You’ll know how your content program performed when it’s published. The benefits of knowing where to nip-tuck your content production process will become apparent the next time around. I smell another blog post…

The post How to Scale Content Production That Doesn’t Suck appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

The data problem in Google Smart Shopping campaigns [Video]

Posted by on Jun 17, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The data problem in Google Smart Shopping campaigns [Video]

Smart Shopping and standard Shopping campaigns provide various degrees of control and flexibility to merchants advertising on Google’s platform. However, advertisers need to be aware of the limited insights inherent to Smart Shopping campaigns, as well as what the metrics provided actually convey.

During our Google Shopping session of Live with Search Engine Land, Mike Ryan, product management lead at Smarter Ecommerce, discussed what advertisers need to be mindful of with regards to these potential problems.

Smart Shopping campaigns, which use machine learning to automate bidding and placements, are a convenient option for advertisers and merchants that don’t have the bandwidth to manage standard Shopping campaigns and also offer exposure on multiple channels. The drawback, though, is that Smart Shopping campaigns don’t provide insights into search terms, audiences or placements.

“If they would be supplying more data and reporting options, the challenge is that it would agitate users because it would raise questions in their minds: they’d want to touch things, they’d want to fix things or change things,” Ryan said, paraphrasing what he heard from a Google employee during the Google Shopping Expert Series in Vienna. Even if they were given more data, advertisers would not be able to make adjustments to Smart Shopping campaigns because all adjustments are automated.

Related: Smart Shopping campaigns: How to test and extract more value from automated campaigns

Return on ad spend, or ROAS, is one of the smart bidding strategies available in both standard Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns. Optimizing on ROAS, however, is challenging, because it doesn’t actually indicate how profitable your campaigns are. “[It] is just like an efficiency metric,” Ryan said, arguing that ROAS conveys efficiency similarly to how fuel economy describes efficiency for cars, yet many advertisers treat the metric like a steering wheel for their campaigns. “This is like some kind of a false comparison when people think, ‘Oh, I have good ROAS, my campaigns must be profitable’; it’s a big assumption and there’s a huge difference,” he said.

Why we care. Knowing what particular metrics convey allows advertisers to evaluate them appropriately and make better campaign decisions. In addition, being aware of what data isn’t being provided can also enable advertisers to get creative and find ways to extract more value from their automated campaigns.

Want more Live with Search Engine Land? Get it here:

Click here for the full session.PPC tips: Bidding strategies for Google Shopping campaigns [Video]Google Smart Shopping: How it’s different from standard Shopping campaigns [Video]Why you should upload your full product catalog to Google Merchant Center [Video]Google Merchant Center tips: Supplemental feeds and feed rules [Video]You can also find a full list of all our Live with Search Engine Land sessions on YouTube.

The post The data problem in Google Smart Shopping campaigns [Video] appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Is This Thing On?

Posted by on Jun 16, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Is This Thing On?

Is This Thing On?

What a week. What a year. Not sure about the rest of you but around these parts SEO doesn’t seem so relevant right now.

The country is in the midst of some deep soul searching brought on by a fierce and rapid grass roots struggle to end the extrajudicial killing by police in the Black community.

I think about this stuff a lot.


This isn’t a brag actually, it’s a beat. We have long wanted to field a diverse team of SEOs, engage in training and mentorship and help the industry reflect more the places we live (The greater SF and LA areas respectively).

We have failed, and more particularly I have failed.

In 6 years of being able to influence and determine our hiring practices, I have failed to add a single Black face to the Local SEO Guide team. Definitely not the high ideals in terms of hiring that I had always aspired to. And trust me, it isn’t because I haven’t tried. I have, just not nearly hard enough or in the right ways. But more on that later.

Sex and gender diversity is great, bringing in people of different background and ethnicities is great. But like most in America I have failed the very community at the heart and soul of struggles for justice and equality in this county.

Okay, enough of the pity party.

We fucked up, now what?

I’m not content at making sure we get more Black faces at LSG. Andrew and I both agree that the most important thing is that we change the way the hiring pipeline works. We are only a week into this and it’s way too early to talk about specifics, but this what I want to do with our organization to help.

We are opening up to posts by underrepresented authors. Not only that, we will be paying $300 per article. Exposure isn’t enough, most of the voices that could use the exposure are also underpaid and overworked.

This isn’t just a publishing platform. I am here to train SEOs. Both Andrew and I are committed to working with you on editing and writing to improve and find your voice. On top of that we will also have our content team help with the structure of writing. Sorry, it’s just not my strong suit.

I am in the process of addressing our hiring processes. The two things at the top of my agenda are:
Yes, I said it! I generally do a lot of hiring by recruiting and until some recent self reflection have been really proud of it. Yes, I get fantastic SEOs. Yes, it helps push towards better gender diversity. But it fails to allow the space and time to get a proper mix of diverse candidates that are outside of your network. And if the SEO industry mirrors the tech industry, our networks aren’t diverse enough. A small solution to help address hiring blindspots is interview quotas. This is simply to ensure you are interviewing the same diverse mix of candidates that you want to hire.  So, pending our lawyers telling us this is legal – seems like it is, we are going to commit to an interview mix for all roles and will share that when it’s more defined. Hopefully it will be useful to other orgs. 

Hiring Pipeline:
To me this is the big one. Part of the reason diversity in SEO is so terrible is we pull from generally non-diverse talent pools. Hiring from the Black community requires an active process. Well, I’m going to be putting in the hard work. I’d also like to thank Wil Reynolds for being very active in attempting this at SEER Interactive and being vocal and public with it. Expect more updates as they transpire.

Pipeline in the industry as a whole. We are going to do even more about the hiring pipeline in terms of the SEO industry as a whole. But we want to leverage our skills, not just our voices, in order to make this industry better. Lots of discussions in the works, but something that we are really committed to do in terms of our own time.

These are just where we are today. We still need to figure out how to implement changes to our hiring policies, and building a pipeline takes time. But we are committed and will be updating our progress. Also we are taking pitches by underrepresented authors right now. Feel free to reach out via our contact form or directly.



The post Is This Thing On? appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

What’s Digital Asset Management and why are marketers adopting the technology?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What’s Digital Asset Management and why are marketers adopting the technology?

What’s Digital Asset Management and why are marketers adopting the technology?

Digital Asset Management platforms, often called DAMs, are software programs that store, organize and enable the more efficient use of an organization’s entire library of digital assets. A DAM is the “single source of truth” where marketers can find every relevant version of the media assets that have been created for the brand — images, PDFs, photographs, audio, video and even virtual reality or other cutting-edge formats.

This phenomenon is driving brands to shift to a customer-centric marketing model that requires personalized content to be delivered to a wide variety of customer touchpoints –– an approach that is more easily implemented with Digital Asset Management technology.

More about Digital Asset Management
Download our buyer’s guide on DAMs today!
What’s Digital Asset Management and why are marketers adopting the technology?5 steps to get your team up and running remotely in 48 hours with a cloud-based DAMHealth network shows that yes, personalization is a thing — and it works

DAMs also help plug leaks like the duplication of effort in media creation, the time wasted searching for creative assets and the inevitable miscommunications between geographically diverse teams that are collaborating virtually. Additionally, these systems can help eliminate costly errors in compliance with brand standards and rights management.

Bottom-line-minded CMOs also appreciate that the analytics capabilities in many DAM systems allow them to track the usage –– and therefore the ROI –– of creative assets, allowing for future optimization and further efficiencies.

What’s driving the growth of Digital Asset Management?

Despite the apparent slowdown in marketing technology investment last year –– Gartner’s latest CMO survey report pegged martech spending to account for only 26% of the overall marketing budget in 2019, as compared to 29% in 2018 –– Digital Asset Management (DAM) is still expected to grow.

Why? Because today’s consumers and business decision-makers expect content from brands to be relevant and personalized to them, regardless of where they encounter it. Of the 1,000 respondents to the Adobe Consumer Content Survey in December of 2018, more than half said they’re more likely to make a purchase (51%) or become loyal to a brand (49%) if the brand’s content is personalized. Thirty-four percent even said personalized content would spur them to make an unplanned purchase.

What does this growth look like?

Forrester Research in 2019 predicted that the DAM market would climb to $1 billion that year, saying that three-quarters of global software decision-makers were looking to “speed creation, optimize storage, and enhance delivery of their marketing and brand content.” ResearchandMarkets believes DAM software will grow to account for $6.9 billion in spending by 2024, which represents a 34.7% compounded annual growth rate from 2019 to 2024.

Gartner’s 2019-2020 CMO Spend Survey found that CMOs expected that the creation and management of content and campaigns would command the second-largest portion of the marketing budget. Additionally, the survey indicates that CMOs consider content creation and management to be the fifth most vital capability for supporting the delivery of their marketing strategy over the next 18 months.

Source: Gartner’s 2019-2020 CMO Spend Survey

Source: Gartner’s 2019-2020 CMO Spend Survey

The further benefit of a DAM is that these assets are appended with metadata that can provide information on anything the marketer might want to know before using the asset, such as whether the company owns the perpetual rights to use a photograph (and in what markets), whether the legal team has approved a video, and that an infographic or whitepaper has been checked to ensure it complies with the brand’s design standards.

Before the blossoming of software-as-a-service (SaaS), DAMs were installed software that resided on a company’s servers. But their utility has grown exponentially — especially for global and distributed organizations — now that most DAMs are cloud-based offerings.

Tellingly, much of this adoption isn’t new, but rather represents brands upgrading or changing their current technological systems. Unlike many other types of martech, DAM is a fairly well- established category –– one of the players we profiled in our Martech Intelligence Report, Widen, was founded in 1948, while others sprung up in the 1980s or 1990s.

Gartner’s 2018 marketing technology survey found that 79% of marketers had either fully deployed or were in the process of deploying a DAM solution. Another 12% said they planned to deploy a DAM within the next two years. Only 10% of respondents (3% of whom said they “don’t know”) didn’t indicate they planned to use digital asset management.

More touchpoints/devices and more content drive a greater need for DAM benefits

What has changed about the environment is that the problems that DAMs are designed to handle have grown in importance as both consumers and business decision-makers engage with marketing content in a wide variety of environments and using multiple digital devices. Online members of Gen Y –– the highly-coveted demographic of people between the ages of 29 and 37 –– use more than four connected devices on average, according to a May 2018 Forrester Research report called “Omnichannel Strategies Demand a New Content Approach.”

And even media thought of as “traditional,” or as something other than media, are calling for the efficient delivery of digital assets, as the $300 million acquisition of Dynamic Yield by McDonald’s proves. The QSR giant is using the technology to dynamically personalize its digital drive-through menus, and it will eventually expand this approach to its self-service ordering kiosks and its mobile app.

McDonald’s delivers personalized digital menus to encourage contextual purchases and upsells.

Adoption of DAMs is also driven by the acknowledgment that managing digital media – especially when assets encompass everything from PDFs to vector graphics to VR experiences to podcasts – is a very complex undertaking where there are many opportunities for things to go wrong and result in a waste of resources.

Click to see a larger version of this image

Another factor working in DAMs’ favor is the growing accessibility of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Though DAMs offer a great deal of utility, the manual nature of categorizing assets – adding descriptions, tags, etc. to enable users to later find the assets as needed – represents a big hurdle to the successful employment of this technology.

Recently, however, API-accessible content recognition systems (from Amazon, Clarifai, Google, Imagga or Microsoft) have become widely available and DAM vendors have built the capabilities into their platforms – enabling users to automatically analyze and append information to assets (known as metadata) without the huge investment of employee time that was once required.

On its website, Imagga touts the benefits its technology brings to IntelligenceBank’s DAM, saying: “The keyword auto-tagging feature thus removed an important barrier of entry for companies introducing IntelligenceBank DAM into their business process.”

An example of suggested tags for an image provided by Imagga and IntelligenceBank.

The sophistication and ease of use of these capabilities are a significant differentiating factor, especially given the varying needs of brand marketers in different categories. For example, for an automotive manufacturer, there’s substantial value in artificial intelligence that can learn to recognize that an image contains not just a “car” but, in fact, shows a sedan of a particular model and year. Notably, Adobe has chosen to use its proprietary Sensei artificial intelligence, for appending metadata which it considers to be a competitive advantage in achieving this level of specificity.

Get the full report: Enterprise Digital Asset Management Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide. Includes in-depth profiles of 18 different vendors.

The post What’s Digital Asset Management and why are marketers adopting the technology? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to Become a Content Marketing Specialist in 2020

Posted by on Jun 13, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Become a Content Marketing Specialist in 2020

How to Become a Content Marketing Specialist in 2020

This guide will show you exactly how to become a content marketing specialist.

I’ve been working as a content marketing manager for the last 10 years and in this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about starting a career in content marketing.

I will explain what a content marketing specialist is, what skills are needed to become one, what jobs you can get, and how much money you can make as a content marketing expert.

What is a Content Specialist?
What Skills Should a Content Marketing Specialist Know?
How Do You Become a Content Specialist?
How Much do Content Specialist Make?
What Jobs can you get as a Content Marketing Expert?

What is a Content Specialist?

A content specialist (also known as a “Content Marketing Specialist”) is the person responsible for writing, editing, and developing content for the needs of digital campaigns.

Content marketing specialists work in close co-operation with the SEO and Digital marketing professionals to ensure that the produced content is aligned with the overall goals of a digital marketing campaign.

Depending on the skills and experience, the content marketing specialist role has different variations.

For big companies, this also defines the career path of a content marketing professional.

The most important are:

Content Marketing Specialist – Researching and writing content.
Content Marketing Strategist – Designing the overall content marketing strategy of a company.
Content Marketing Manager or Content Marketing Director – Responsible for the smooth running of the content marketing department.
Content Marketer and Content Marketing Expert – professionals with years of experience in content marketing campaigns. May work in a company or as freelancers.
Content Marketing Consultant – Established content marketing experts who provide consultancy on how businesses can use content marketing to increase their traffic and sales.

What Skills Should a Content Marketing Specialist Know?

To become a content marketing specialist, you need to have the following qualifications and skills:

College degree – Optional if you plan to work as a freelancer but a requirement if you want to work in a company. Usually, it is required to have a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, journalism, or communications.

Content marketing certification – Optional but can increase your chances of finding a job when you have no experience or success stories to showcase in your CV. The best way to get certified is to follow a content marketing course.

Writing skills – A large portion of your time will be spent in content writing (whether this is blog posts, video scripts, or ad copies), and thus is important to have basic writing skills and of course enjoy writing!

Keyword research skills – Writing for the web starts with a keyword. To succeed as a content specialist, you need to know how to do keyword research to find out the content needs of online users so that you can create content to satisfy their intent.

Basic SEO skills – If you work as part of a content marketing or digital marketing team, then most probably the SEO specialist will take care of optimizing the content for the web but nevertheless, it is necessary to have some basic SEO skills.

If you plan to work as a copywriter or content marketing freelancer, then you need to know how SEO blog writing works and how to create SEO optimized content.

Web analytical skills – This is a critical skill for content marketing managers and consultants. They know to know how to analyze the data and effectiveness of a campaign and how to create reports to present their findings to the management or clients.

How Do You Become a Content Specialist?

These are the steps to follow to become a content marketing specialist in 2020.

Understand what content marketing is and how it works
Improve your writing skills
Learn how to use content marketing tools
Master the keyword research process
Learn SEO copywriting
Start your own blog
Apply to work in a digital marketing agency
Work as a content marketing freelancer
Publish your written work on reputable websites
Stay current with the latest trends in content marketing

1. Understand what content marketing is and how it works

To start a career in content marketing, the first thing you need to do is learn what content marketing is, how it works, and why it’s an important process for all kinds of online businesses.

If you’re a beginner, you might think that content marketing is the same as blogging or writing content for the web, but it’s more than that.

Content marketing is an on-going process that involves understanding your target audience and creating the right type of content that can satisfy their intent at the different stages of their journey.

Content Marketing Lifecycle

So, as a content specialist, your job is not just to throw words on a page and hit the publish button but to make sure that whatever you write or create has a specific purpose and goal.

To do that, you need to know the bigger picture which is the driving force behind any online marketing campaign and this is digital marketing.

The digital marketing strategy of a company will define the content needs for each of the channels participating in a campaign. It’s the job of the digital marketing manager to design the strategy and the job of the content marketing manager to implement the strategy with content.

In big companies, these roles are clearly defined but if you work in a small team or as a freelancer, you’ll have to play both roles.

So, if you want to get into content marketing and gradually advance from a content marketing specialist to a content strategist or even a digital marketing expert, you need to learn digital marketing and not just how to create content for the web.

Resources to Learn More About Content Marketing

Digital Marketing Courses – The 10 best courses to follow to learn digital marketing and understand how to practically use content marketing in real-life scenarios.
Content Marketing Checklist – A comprehensive checklist that covers everything you need to know about content marketing.

2. Improve your writing skills

As a content marketing specialist, you’ll be asked to write content for different audiences and content platforms. To execute this task successfully, you need to have good writing skills.

This means good knowledge of the English language (or the target language of your audience) and the ability to write content that is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.

From experience, this is a skill that can be improved through practice. Some people are born to be writers and they can produce great content with minimum effort but for others, its a tedious task.

The best way to learn how to write better content is to read other blogs or books related to your chosen niche and to do a lot of writing.

In the beginning, it may take you 3-4 hours to write 1000 words but as you become more experienced, this rate will dramatically improve.

Resources to Improve your Writing Skills

How to Improve Writing Skills in 15 Easy Steps – A nice guide by Grammarly outlining ways to get better in writing.

3. Learn how to use content marketing tools

If you want to be a content specialist, you MUST know how to use tools.

In fact, experience with tools is so important that most content marketing related job postings list “experience with content marketing tools” as a requirement:

Content Marketing Job Posting

There are a lot of tools in the market and each company is using its own set of marketing tools, but some tools/platforms are common to all like:

Microsoft Office Products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
Google G Suite Products (Docs, Sheets, etc)
Google Analytics
Google Trends
Google Keyword Tool
Google Data Studio
Google Search Console

Other popular tools that most companies and freelancers use are:


The best way to learn a tool is to use it in real-life scenarios and you can easily do that with free tools like Google docs, Google Analytics, Google Keyword Tool, and WordPress.

Other premium tools like Semrush, have a number of resources and online courses to help you learn how to use them.

Exclusive Offer for Reliablesoft Readers – 14 Day Free Trial
4. Master the keyword research process

A skill that you definitely need to master is topic and keyword research. The outcome of keyword research is used in all stages of the content marketing lifecycle.

From campaign design to creating the actual content, keywords play a vital role in the success or not of a campaign.

To give you an idea of what we mean by keyword and topic research, here is an outline of the process:

Find content topic ideas – Through researching your competitors and using a number of tools, you create a list of topics that are aligned with your digital marketing goals.

Perform keyword research – You analyze each topic in detail and find out the actual search terms people use when searching for your topics on search engines, social media platforms, and forums.

Examine the user intent – For each of the keywords identified from keyword research, find out what kind of content you need to create to satisfy the intent of the user.

User Intent in a Typical Marketing Funnel

A great way to learn keyword research fast is to follow a good course, like the ones listed below.

Resources to Learn More About Keyword Research

Keyword Research Courses – 5 highly actionable courses to learn the secrets of keyword research.

5. Learn SEO copywriting

As a content marketing specialist, you don’t have to be an SEO expert but you need to have excellent SEO copywriting skills. SEO copywriting is the process of writing content that search engines can understand.

There are various techniques you can use while writing for the web to help search engine spiders understand what your content is all about.

This does not mean stuffing keywords into your copy but using keywords intelligently in a way that will make your writing friendlier to both users and search engines.

The most important SEO writing principles are:

Adding your main keywords in the page title
Including keywords in the page URL
Mentioning your keywords in the opening paragraph
Adding related keywords in your section headings
Adding LSI keywords in your content
Adding relevant ALT text to images
Linking to other pages of your site using optimized anchor text
Linking to other authoritative websites

When you apply the above principles while writing the content of a page, you increase your chances of achieving high search engine rankings for your desired keywords.

You need to know how SEO copywriting works, even if you’re not the person writing the content.

As a content marketing manager or consultant, you’ll have to review and approve content before it’s published.

Resources to Learn More about SEO Copywriting

How to write SEO friendly articles – Tips on how to write SEO friendly content.
On-Page Optimization Tips – Learn how to optimize your web pages (not just content) for search engines.

6. Start your own blog

One of the most efficient ways to learn any digital marketing discipline, including SEO and content marketing, is to practice.

Through a course you can learn the theory and go through examples, senior content marketing professionals in your team can help you with the process but the best way to find out what you really know is to start a website and publish content.

Creating your own blog will benefit you in a number of ways:

It’s a great way to practice what you have learned in a course
By writing, you will gradually improve your skills and become faster and better
It’s a great way to showcase your skills to potential clients or employers
It’s a great way to make money online
You’ll have a website to experiment with different SEO techniques and tools

In addition, when applying to work as a freelance writer, potential clients will need to see samples of your work.

If you have no other experience, showing blogs from your website will help you a lot in securing the job.

Resources to Learn More about Blogging

How to make money blogging – A detailed guide on how bloggers can make money online from their blogs.
WordPress blog for beginners – A step-by-step guide on how to start a WordPress blog from scratch.

7. Apply to work in a digital marketing agency

Digital marketing agencies are always looking for good content specialists. I know this from experience. In our agency, we’re always in search of passionate content marketing specialists and sometimes we consider applications even if we don’t have any job openings.

There are many advantages of working in a digital marketing agency regardless of your experience and job title:

If you’re starting out now, you’ll get a chance to see how content marketing works in real-life scenarios – Established agencies have processes in place, dedicated job roles for each task and this will help you understand how content marketing works.

You can advance the ladder and make more money – You may get an entry-level job as a content marketing specialist and then become a content strategist and eventually a content marketing manager.

If you don’t want to work for an employer but want to become your own boss, then why not start your own digital marketing agency. It’s not easy if you’re new to the digital marketing world, but it’s not impossible either.

8. Work as a content marketing freelancer

One of the most popular ways to start a career in content marketing is to become a content writer and work as a freelancer.

Content Marketing Related Jobs for Freelancers

If you search job posting sites like FlexiJobs, UpWork, and Problogger Job Board, you’ll see hundreds of jobs related to content writing. It’s perhaps the most wanted job in the market today.

What are the benefits of becoming a content marketing freelancer?

You’ll earn money and depending on how fast you can work, a lot of money
You can work from home
You can build references for your CV if you decide to work for a company or agency
You’ll build the skills the experience needed to secure bigger projects
It’s the first step in setting up your own content marketing agency

Three tips for you:

1. As mentioned above, when you apply for a job, you’ll be certainly asked to provide samples of your previous work so make sure that you have some great articles published on your blog.

2. Apply for job postings fast and provide accurate information. When you post a content marketing related job on any site, you get hundreds of responses in a matter of hours. To increase your chances of being considered for the job, reply as fast as possible, and answer any questions precisely.

3. Be prepared to participate in a pilot project. Employers before hiring a content marketer, ask for writing samples on their chosen topics so be prepared to accept the invitation and deliver the work fast.

9. Publish your written work on reputable websites

If you want to differentiate yourself from other content marketing specialists and become a true expert, then you need to get published by reputable websites.

Publishing content on your own blog is great but that limits your reach and reputation to your blog audience.

What companies and clients want is to work with professionals that are recognized as experts in their field and one of the ways to do this is to get featured on well-known and big websites.

For example, if your work is published on Forbes, Entrepreneur, or other popular publications, it will be very easy for you to get hired by a company or get paid a higher rate for your work as a freelancer.

The process is not easy, there are hundreds of people that need to be featured on famous websites but it can really make a huge difference in your career.

Here are some tips that helped me get featured on websites like the Content Marketing Institute.

1. Find websites that accept contributions from guest authors. You can easily find them by searching Google for terms like “Write for Us”, “Blog Contributors”, “Guest Post Authors”

Establish yourself as a Content Marketing Expert.

2. Start by pitching websites that are less popular than Forbes or CMI. Your goal at this stage is to build references so that you can gradually apply to bigger websites.

3. Read their requirements carefully and apply to become a guest author.

4. Once accepted, write your best content and send it for approval.

5. Once you have a couple of published articles, try to find out the details (email, Twitter, LinkedIn) of authors and editors of the sites you want to be featured.

6. Connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn, read their author requirements carefully, and send your pitch.

Some will not even reply but a few will give you a chance to send them a sample.

If the above process sounds like too much work, it’s because it is but in the end can be a huge difference in how much you can get paid, especially if you work as a freelancer.

Writers that have a good reputation may get paid $2000 for a 2000 word article, compared to $300 for writers that have not taken the effort to promote their personal brand.

10. Stay current with the latest trends in content marketing

If you ask any successful content marketing expert on what is important to do on a daily basis in order to survive in the industry, they will tell you to stay informed of the latest trends in content marketing and digital marketing in general.

The digital marketing industry is not a static industry but it’s continuously evolving. New content platforms rise to the surface, SEO ranking factors are changing and you need to follow these changes if you want to become more than just a content writer.

The best way to do this is to follow websites that cover the changes in our industry. If there is something happening, you’ll be the first to know it. These are the websites that I follow and visit on a daily basis:

Content Marketing Institute
Search Engine Roundtable
Search Engine Land
Marketing Land
Google Blog

How Much do Content Marketing Specialist Make?

The average salary of a content marketing specialist is between $35K and $62K per year. This can rise to $59K-$139K for a content marketing director.

Content Marketing Manager Annual Salary

The salary of content marketing professionals depends on three factors: skills, experience, and location.

According to, the average annual salary of content marketing professionals per job role is the following:

An Online Marketing Content Writer, Copywriter, and Web Content specialist typically make between $35k – $72k.
A Content Marketer typically makes between $36k – $81k.
A Content Strategist typically makes between $41k – $95k.
A Content Marketing Manager typically makes between $46k – $98k.
A Content Marketing Director typically makes between $59k – $139k.

What Jobs can you get as a Content Marketing Expert?

When you search for “Content marketing jobs” in popular sites like FlexiJobs, Payscale, and Glassdoor, you’ll get a number of marketing jobs with different titles.

To avoid confusion, these are the most popular content marketing job types and their meaning.

Web Content Specialist / Content Writer / Content Marketing Specialist – They are looking for writers that can write, edit, and develop web site content.

Content Strategists – Content strategists typically develop a content marketing plan and oversee a team of content writers.

Content Marketing Managers / Content Marketing Directors – Responsible for designing a content marketing strategy and coordinating with other teams (SEO team, social media management team).

Key Learnings

Becoming a content marketing specialist is a great career option. Content marketing professionals can work from home as freelancers, start their own digital marketing agency, work for a digital agency, or work in any kind of business that uses content marketing.

The process is straightforward and can be summarized in three steps:

Learn how to write great content that online audiences will love to read.
Improve your analytical skills and learn how to use content marketing tools.
Build your portfolio and establish yourself as a content marketing expert.

When you do the above, you can get a job at any level of the ladder and earn a good salary for doing what you love.

I hope this guide helped show you how to become a content marketing specialist. If you have any questions or need help with a specific step, let me know in the comments below.

The post How to Become a Content Marketing Specialist in 2020 appeared first on

The 4 Ps of Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide (With Examples)

Posted by on Jun 12, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The 4 Ps of Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide (With Examples)

The 4 Ps of Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide (With Examples)

The 4 Ps of marketing…

You’ve probably heard about them from a friend, a textbook, or even at school.

I know it sounds like a boring topic that’s common sense, but there is more to it than meets the eye.

And no, it’s not just for large companies… the smaller you are, the more important for you it is to leverage the 4 Ps.

So before we dive into it, let’s first break down what they are…

What are the 4 Ps of marketing?

The 4 Ps of marketing is a famous concept that summarizes the 4 basic pillars of any marketing strategy: product, price, place, and promotion.

It sounds simple and it really is (the harder part is implementing it, which we will get into later).

The idea behind the theory is that if you implement them, you will generate more sales. But sadly nothing is that easy. :/

The origin of the concept, also known as marketing mix, goes back to 1960 when McCarthy introduced it in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.

I know that’s ages ago, but it is just as valid today.

Let’s dive into each P…


The product is what the company sells.

It might be a product like a soft drink in the beverage industry or dresses in a clothing store. Or these days it may even be software like Ubersuggest.

It could also be services, such as consulting or a paid speaking gig or even a therapy session.

In short, the product is everything that is made available to the consumer.

In the 4 Ps strategy, defining this means understanding what your offer needs in order to stand apart from competitors and win over customers.

In other words, what makes your product so great or unique? Because if you don’t stand out it’s going to be hard to thrive.

For example, you may know about my product Ubersuggest, but you probably already know about a handful of my competitors?

So what’s the big thing that makes my product stand out from everyone else?

I don’t focus on features… I don’t have 100s of reports… instead, I focus on usability. My goal is to make Ubersuggest really easy to use, especially if you are new to marketing.

On the flip side, my competitors focus on ad agencies and really advanced marketers. I built something for a different target market, even though I am in a crowded market place.

How to create an amazing product that your customers love

I want you to do something simple… go to Hotjar, signup for a free account, and run a poll. Just like the one below.

I’ve been running polls for a while now, but if you are starting off I would ask open-ended questions like:

What’s the biggest problem I can help you solve? (This will give you an idea on what your product needs to do)What’s your favorite marketing product and why? (You’ll want to replace the word “marketing” with whatever industry you are in… this question gives you an idea about who your competition is and what they are doing right)Why did you come here today? (This will tell you why people come to your site and what they are looking for)How can we make our product better? (This is great if you already have a product up as you will get real feedback)What don’t you like about COMPETITOR ABC? (Replace competitor ABC with your competition’s name… this question tells you where there is an opportunity)

I want you to pay special attention to the last question. It really helps you identify how you can differentiate yourself from the competition.

Now, before you go and build a product (or make yours better if you already have one), don’t invest too much time and money without getting feedback.

For example, if I were to add a new feature to Ubersuggest, I wouldn’t just build it. I would get it designed, show you first, get feedback, and then adjust from there.

That way I won’t waste months’ worth of time building a product you don’t want to use.


Price is simple, it refers to how much you charge for your product (or service).

And although it’s simple to understand, it’s really hard to come up with the “right” price. The one that doesn’t just drive the most amount of sales but also drives the most profit.

The real question is, how do you want to be perceived?

Amazon wants to be the place where you can get the best-valued products from A to Z. And of course, delivered at a fast pace so it’s convenient for you.

My buddies’ company, Imperia Caviar offers high-end caviar at low prices. He’s able to get the same caviar that big brands charge thousands of dollars.

You would think that by having a cheap price he is cheapening his brand, but instead, he is bringing transparency to the market and educating people on how caviar isn’t really expensive… it’s actually just a marketing ploy.

I take a similar approach to Ubersuggest. I don’t think marketing software and education should be so expensive. So I give a lot away for free or super cheap.

Do you think that has cheapened my brand or hurt it? Well, let’s look at the data:

I guess not. 🙂

But on the flip side, would Ferrari be Ferrari if their cars were selling for $10,000? Probably not.

How to pick the right price for your product

By no means am I a pricing expert so I don’t want to tell you what to price your product at. But I will tell you to read the Price Intelligently blog. Those guys know to price like the back of their hand and they have dozens of articles that will teach you exactly how to price your product.

It’s important to think about pricing, especially if you are in a crowded space. My rule of thumb is: If you are in a new space or already a leader, you can charge a premium amount.

On the flip side, if your space is saturated and you are late to the market, you’ll want to consider having a cheaper price (if not the cheapest price).

Some questions you should ask yourself are:

What would be the lowest price you are willing to sell your product?What would be the highest price that consumers would be willing to pay?How sensitive to price are your customers?What prices do current leaders in your niche charge?How does your price compare to the competition?


“Place” is another word for location.

As they say in marketing, it’s all about the… location, location, location.

I once ran a tech conference in Los Angeles called Twiistup.

It was a cool event with LA vibes and celebrities. I didn’t create the event, I bought it out years ago.

But you know what? It failed.

It wasn’t because the event wasn’t good, it was more so that I moved it to a terrible location.

I moved it from Santa Monica, which is the heart of the Los Angeles tech scene, to the valley, which is an hour drive from where all the tech companies are located.

In other words… location, location, location.

You have to pick a location where your customers are. Don’t expect them to come to you, you have to go to them.

How to pick the right place

The web is this virtual world. And although the location (place) may seem irrelevant, it really isn’t.

Just think of it this way… if I put my company all over Tiktok, what do you think would happen?

Well, I wouldn’t generate any new clients for my ad agency because none of my ideal customers are on Tiktok.

Do you think a bunch of 16 to 24-year-olds are looking for marketing services? If we offered services where we helped you get more social followers, sure… but we don’t offer that.

Think of the platforms and places your ideal customers are and be there.

That could be a specific site like Google or even an offline venue like conferences. Don’t try to bring your customers to you, go to where your customers are… it’s much easier.

Here are some simple questions to ask yourself so you can find the right place.

Where is your customer?Which outlets (online and offline) sell your product?Which distribution channels are currently working for you?Do you sell directly to businesses or consumers?Do you sell directly to your end customer or do you have to go through middlemen?Where are your competitors?

The customer should always be at the center of your decision, but it’s important to also include aspects of the other Ps that we discussed.


My favorite P… and the one I tend to blog about the most.


Once you’ve optimized the previous 3 Ps, it’s time to promote your offer.

And to be clear, when I talk about promotion I am not just talking about getting your brand out there… I am talking about generating revenue.

What’s the point of promotion if you can’t drive sales?

But with all of the channels out there on the web, which ones do you start with first?

Well, I want you to go here and put in your competitor’s URL.

If they are big, you’ll see data on how much traffic they are generating… which keywords they rank for on Google… the sites that link to them and talk about them… and even how many social shares they are generating.

If they are small, you won’t see any data. You’ll have to put in a bigger competitor.

Another site that you should use is Similar Web. Put in your competitor’s URL and you’ll see tons of data on how they promote themselves.

What’s cool about the web today, versus when I first got into online marketing, is that there are tons of tools that make your life easy. So use them to your advantage. 😉

How do you promote well?

I want you to start off by asking yourself the following questions:

Which channels does your audience use the most to consume information?What kind of message tends to be more effective when promoting your solutions?What is the ideal period for promoting your product?Is there any concern about seasonality?How do your competitors plan and carry out their promotion?

Again, you can use the tools I mentioned above to get a jump start. Another thing I would highly recommend is that you look at Facebook’s ad library.

It will show you the ads that your competition runs and, more importantly, the messaging that they use.

Now, I won’t bore you to death about promotion tips as I already have tons of blog posts on that. But I would start off with these:

Online marketingSEOSocial mediaGoogle adsFacebook adsAffiliate marketingContent marketingEmail


The 4 Ps of marketing may seem boring, but they are essential.

Without them, how are you going to differentiate yourself from the competition? It really is important to stand out.

No one cares for another me-too company. We all want something unique, special… something we resonate with.

And how do you get that? You leverage the 4 Ps.

How are you leveraging the 4 Ps of marketing?

The post The 4 Ps of Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide (With Examples) appeared first on Neil Patel.

Is it Worth Taking a Digital Marketing Course?

Posted by on Jun 12, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Is it Worth Taking a Digital Marketing Course?

Digital Marketing Training

Is it worth taking a course in digital marketing? Are there any benefits from learning digital marketing through a course and getting a certification?

The short answer to the above questions is Yes, digital marketing courses are worth it. I’ve been a digital marketing professional for many years and during my career, I’ve been involved deeply in digital marketing training. I have reviewed several courses, talked with a lot of students, and eventually created my own courses.

The long answer is, it depends on your primary objective from taking a digital marketing course.

  • Is your goal to learn digital marketing?
  • To enrich your CV with a good certification?
  • To increase your chances of getting a digital marketing job?
  • To become a digital marketing professional?
  • All of the above?

And to other factors like the cost and time investment required to go through a training program.

In this post, I’ll help you decide whether you should follow a course on digital marketing by explaining the benefits of enrolling in a course, the costs involved, and what to consider before choosing a digital marketing course.

Benefits of Digital Marketing Courses

There are several advantages from following an online course, classroom training, or even ebooks, and these are not limited to digital marketing courses but are applicable to all types of structured learning.

It’s a great way to learn digital marketing

If you don’t know what digital marketing is, enrolling in a course is a great place to start. There are many courses aimed for beginners that will teach you the basics and help you get a very good idea of how digital marketing works.

It’s more efficient than spending time on Google

Nowadays when you want to learn something, the first thing that comes in mind is Google.

While this is a great method, it’s not as efficient as getting all the information you need in one place.

A well-structured digital marketing course will teach you everything you need to know without spending your time reading hundreds of random blog posts, each taking a different approach to digital marketing.

It’s good for your career

Although a certification alone does not make you a digital marketing specialist, it’s good for your career. Employers like and encourage their employees to build new skills and getting a digital marketing certification can open up new career opportunities.

It can help you get an entry-level job

When you are a beginner and have no experience, one of the ways to prove your future employer that you have the digital marketing skills needed for the job, is to get a digital marketing certification.


Best entry-level digital marketing jobs – a list of the best jobs you can get as a junior digital marketer. Includes salary and job responsibilities.

Learn from the experts

Courses created by industry experts will help you not just learn the theory of digital marketing but how to use it in practice. Through the course, you can learn tips, tricks, and secrets that they only share with their students.

Build the skills necessary to start your own marketing agency

After surveying our students on what was their goal from taking our digital marketing course, a large percentage replied that they wanted to build the skills to eventually start their own digital marketing agency.

The digital marketing industry is growing at a 9% compound annual growth rate as more and more businesses are moving online. This creates an increased demand for digital marketing professionals (both agencies and freelancers).

How much do digital marketing courses cost?

The cost of a digital marketing course is between $19 and $5995.

The main reasons there is a huge price cap are:

The organization offering the course – A digital marketing course from Harvard University (although it comes with no certification) costs $5995 but an online course from Udemy is $19.

The two courses are not the same (they differ in many ways) but you do pay a premium amount to Harvard because of their reputation.

The instructor of the course – Another factor is the reputation and experience of the course instructor.

The type of course – Online courses tend to cost less than classroom-based training. Courses with downloadable material and videos are more expensive than video-only courses.

Topics covered – a digital marketing full course is expected to cover all digital marketing channels including (SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing) and thus is expected to cost more than a dedicated course on SEO.

Here are some examples of the best digital marketing courses in the market and their cost:

  • Digital marketing full course (by Reliablesoft Academy) – $312
  • Digital Marketing Pro (by Digital Marketing Institute) – $1995
  • Digital Marketing Strategy Program (by Harvard University) – $5995
  • Digital Marketing Specialization (by Coursera and University of Illinois) – $1368
For a full list and details for each course, read: The best digital marketing certificate programs.

How to choose a digital marketing course?

What makes a digital marketing course worth taking? When choosing a digital marketing course, you should take into account the following factors:

  • Delivery format
  • Learning format
  • Course structure
  • Course syllabus
  • Course instructor
  • Cost and money-back guarantee options
  • Support during and after course
  • Certification options

Delivery format

You have three options: Classroom training, on-demand online training, and virtual classes.

Classroom training – usually offered by universities or local institutions. The course duration is, in most cases, 5 days and the cost considerably higher than online training.

On-demand online training – this is the most commonly used delivery format. Once you register for a course, you can access the material online, anytime you want. Some courses offer life-time access while others charge per month.

Virtual classes – this is the same as classroom training but instead of attending a course physically in a class, you watch the instructor through live streaming.

The best format is on-demand online training. It’s more flexible, it costs less and it’s more convenient. You can follow the course from home and at your own pace.

Learning format

This is an important factor to consider when choosing a training course. The most commonly used format is video but it’s not the most effective.

If your goal is to enroll in a course that will not only teach you the basics of digital marketing but to use it as a reference when working on your campaigns, then you need to choose a hybrid course.

A hybrid course includes both text material, videos, and downloadable checklists you can easily reference when in need. Video-only courses are good to watch once but not a good option when you want to go back and re-read about a technique.

Course structure

Digital marketing is a huge topic and usually something that cannot be covered in a single course. It’s a common practice for an academy to offer a digital marketing bundle, consisting of one or more courses.

While this is a good option, you should check that the different courses are related to each other. In cases of big training provides like LinkedIn and Udemy, they group several courses together to form a bundle but those courses are written by different instructors and this makes learning difficult.

It’s better to choose a bundle that was created by the same company and the same instructors. This way the material will not overlap and learning will be continuous.

Course syllabus

Digital Marketing Course Syllabus
Example: Digital Marketing Course Syllabus

A good digital marketing course should cover (at least) the following areas:

Some courses cover some of the areas and some courses cover even more. If your goal is to take a digital marketing course that is worth it, then make sure that the above topics are part of the course syllabus.

Course instructor

There are many talented instructors, there is no doubt about that. When it comes to digital marketing training you should check the bio of the instructor and make sure that they have working experience with digital marketing campaigns.

It’s easy for anyone to study and then explain in a class the theory of digital marketing but working in the field and running campaigns for companies, it’s a totally different story.

An experienced digital marketer can teach you tricks and give you advice that a teacher cannot give you.

If your goal is to start a career in digital marketing or use the course as a way to get a digital marketing job, then following the advice of an experienced marketer will make a big

Cost and money-back guarantee options

As mentioned above, you can buy a course for as low as $19 or as high as $5,995. When making a selection consider the following:

The price does not always reflect the value you can get from a course – Companies price their courses differently based on a number of factors (already explained above).

What you should do is go through the course syllabus and assess the value of each course, the experience of the instructor, topics covered, student reviews, learning format, delivery format, access period, how updates and upgrades work and choose a course that you feel it will help you apply digital marketing in practice.

Money-back guarantee – One way to understand how confident a company is with its course offering, is its money-back guarantee policy.

Companies have different policies, no money-back, 7-days trial, 14 days or in some extreme cases (like our academy), 60 days.

From experience, companies that offer no money back or only 7 days (with many conditions) are not confident about their courses and they try to protect themselves from having a high refund rate.

Stay away from these, especially if you choose to pay more than $1000 for a course. You don’t want to register for an expensive course and then to realize that it’s not what you want and have no way to get your money back.

We are giving a 60-day unconditional guarantee because over the years we know that students are happy with their purchase and our refund rate way below the industry average.

Support during and after course

When you buy a course from a big company, you shouldn’t expect much in terms of support, during and after the course. For them, you’re just another client. Even if they have a support center, you’ll get a reply from an agent-based on a script.

This is especially true for companies where the instructor is just a contributor and has no other relationship with the company.

Smaller academies provide better support because they care about their customers and because they can offer one-to-one support. In most cases, the instructor is also a member of the company and for them providing support to students is the same as providing support to clients.

Certification options

Digital Marketing Certificate
Example of a Digital Marketing Certificate

Some courses offer certification, some offer a certificate and some offer either. What the difference and is a digital marketing certification worth it?

A certification is given for successfully completing the course material. This means at the end of a course (can be classroom or online training course), you’ll get a certification that you followed the course.

A digital marketing certificate is given to students that have completed the course material and successfully passed the course exam. This is more difficult to get because, in order to become digital marketing certified, you need to pass the exams.

It goes without saying that getting a digital marketing certification after passing an exam, is more valuable than getting a certificate of attendance or a certificate of completion.

You can showcase your certificate on your CV and increase your chances of getting a digital marketing job or get a promotion if your company recognizes the certification.

My recommendation is to take a course that offers a digital marketing certificate. It will require more work from your part but preparing for the exam, is a great opportunity to understand what you have learned and how good you have learned a topic.

Key Learnings

Digital marketing courses are worth it. Taking a course or multiple courses (in the case of digital marketing) is a fast and effective way to build new skills or enhance your knowledge about a topic.

From my experience, some companies tend to over-price their courses. A good price for a digital marketing course is below $500. Anything above that range does not add anything to your learning but you’re paying the extra money to cover their expenses and increase their profit.

When choosing a course, go through their syllabus and check the instructor’s bio. Buy a course (or a bundle) that was created by the same experience instructor.

It’s wiser to register for a course that offers a digital marketing certificate. It’s a better use of your time and you’ll have another great resource to enrich your CV.

The post Is it Worth Taking a Digital Marketing Course? appeared first on

Digital marketing during COVID-19 times: Data-driven insights

Posted by on Jun 11, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Digital marketing during COVID-19 times: Data-driven insights

30-second summary:

  • More than 4500 digital marketing professionals from the USA and Europe participated in the anonymous survey. We asked them about the impact of COVID-19 on their business and the working routine.
  • 63% of participants reallocate budgets to activities that bring results in the short term.
  • Most entrepreneurs in the internet marketing believe that it is necessary to adapt as much as possible to new conditions not to lose current customers and quickly return to pre-quarantined indicators.
  • Some respondents talk about increasing the volume of work and improving business indicators: 18% of respondents noted an increase in sales, 27% reported an increase in traffic, and 12% received new customers.

We can see and feel the impact of COVID-19 on a company of any size. By now, many have refactored their business logic by cutting expenses as much as practical, offering contactless delivery options or curbside pickup, etc. Internet marketing transformation is another key point in the list of business alterations.

In this article, we’ll share the results of Serpstat’s research on the effects of quarantine on digital marketing. Read on to keep your businesses ahead of the curve and adapt your strategic planning.

About the study

More than 4,500 respondents from the USA, Germany, Spain, and other European states participated in the anonymous survey. They were Serpstat platform users, which includes, digital marketing professionals that work for or run small or medium-sized businesses, agencies, or teams. Niche freelancers were also among the respondents.

The strategic aim of the Serpstat research was to use a numbers-driven approach and highlight insights that go beyond subjectivity.

Survey highlights reel

 Here are the key results of the research:

  • In 60% of companies, no employees were dismissed from their positions. What is more, there were no such plans in the roadmap. Meanwhile, 24% of the survey participants confirmed that they or their colleagues were laid-off for COVID-19 related reasons.
  • 64% said they started working remotely.
  • 63% of companies opted for diverting SEO budgets to PPC.
  • 46% of businesses lost essential customers for the last several months, while 12% claimed they enjoyed a surge in new ones.
  •  40% of respondents confirmed their salaries were cut, while 9% of businesses had plans to turn such changes to reality.
  • 28% observed a decrease in traffic compared to 27% that experienced the opposite.
  • Anti-crisis plans were developed and brought to life by 19% of companies.

Survey participants

Precisely 4,511 respondents opted for the survey. The USA, Germany, and Spain are the countries where most participants are based.

The majority of respondents were aged between 22 and 35, and more men participated in the study. For more details about the gender and age distribution of the respondents, please refer to the charts below: 

SEO and PPC specialists, digital marketing specialists, social media, content, and email marketers were among the participants. Their professional experiences ranged from one year to more than 10 years in the field. 

digital marketing survey - participant details
digital marketing survey - participant job details
digital marketing survey - participant expertise level details
digital marketing survey - company type

What are the changes?

SEO budget redistribution

To avoid losses in online sales, 63% of respondents confirm their SEO budgets were redistributed. Thus, contextual advertising gains maximum attention.

This goes to prove that businesses rethink their long and short-term objectives. The shift to short-term goals signifies that companies intend to minimize the influence of quarantine on their key business performance indicators. 

Work from home

Now, as this article gets typed out, many of us stay at home and work remotely. It didn’t take much time for the many to adjust their businesses and tweak the internal processes quickly. This has helped many business owners to keep their businesses running while staying safe.

digital marketing survey - work from home stats

Thus, 64% of respondents confirmed they worked from home, while as few as 6% of Marketing Managers kept working in offices. Additionally, some employers allowed their employees to choose where they wanted to work.

Changes in customer churn

46% of respondents said that they didn’t have the luck to keep several of their customers. These discouraging numbers have led many businesses to focus on improving their products and services, thus doing their best to retain a loyal customer.

Meanwhile, 12% of the survey participants said they had managed to attract new customers during the quarantine.

customer churn stats

Fluctuations in sales

An insignificant drop in sales was recorded by 27% of respondents, while 26% claimed a dramatic decline in sales.

There are also some comforting numbers as the effects of the pandemic are different depending on a business niche. 18% of the survey participants mentioned a sales uplift.

For as many as 13%, there was no change in the number of sales. No news is good news. Well, it might be so during these tough times for many entrepreneurs.

Shifts in online traffic volumes

According to the survey results, online projects enjoy a traffic boost in 27% of cases. 15%  of respondents shared data about a dramatic decline in their online projects, while 28% suffered a slight sales traffic volume stats

What actions have companies taken to adopt?

Changes are inevitable. Practically 70% of businesses agree with that. Today, customer retention is having the upper hand. We all know that it’s easier to retain a customer than to acquire, and businesses start paying more attention to their loyal customer bases.

As a result, we can see them:

  • Offer discounts (23%)
  • Provide anti-crisis deals (19%)
  • Make specific products or services free (18%)
  • Adapt products/services costs to local currencies (8%)

customer retention efforts of digital marketing companies

Factually, customer-business relationships become more omnichannel and personalized. More than ever before, entrepreneurs need to acknowledge their customers’ needs and make data-driven decisions at every step of interaction with the clients.

Bottom line

Many companies are concerned about the new reality we live in and the new conditions of running a business. Most marketing professionals are convinced that changes in how we do marketing must be made, which also implies an increase in the work volumes. This will allow taking down the harmful effects of the coronavirus pandemic, stabilizing sales, and quickly returning to pre-quarantine business performance indicators.

Eugene Lata is the VP of Marketing and Board Member at Serpstat, an all-in-one SEO platform. His expertise includes marketing, lead generation, SEO, and building smart, innovative marketing teams.

The post Digital marketing during COVID-19 times: Data-driven insights appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

301 Redirects: The Ultimate Guide for 2020

Posted by on Jun 10, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 301 Redirects: The Ultimate Guide for 2020

Understanding how to execute 301 redirects is a fundamental SEO skill. That’s what this guide is all about. Make sure you read until the end because I’m going to show you two of my favorite 301 redirect tactics (that produce massive results). Let’s jump in: What are 301 Redirects? Do 301 Redirects Affect Your Google …

Read more301 Redirects: The Ultimate Guide for 2020

Buck Up, Even Google Screws Up Technical SEO

Posted by on Jun 9, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Buck Up, Even Google Screws Up Technical SEO

GMB Arab Spring

I am located in the U.S. yet yesterday afternoon when I searched for “Google My Business” in Google, the first result I got was the UK URL for GMB:

It wasn’t like that yesterday morning. So what changed?

A canonical tag.

According to, yesterday morning the canonical tag for the URL that usually ranks #1,, was But looking at the source of that URL now shows the canonical tag has changed to

GMB Canonical

I’ll leave it you all to figure out how this set-up confused Google enough so that it had to show me the UK URL instead of, or why previously Google was ignoring the canonical to the /intl/ URL, or why this morning Google is again showing at the top of that SERP even though the AE canonical tag is still there.

My only aim in pointing this out is that while SEO is not always rocket science, it is often tricky.


Famed tech SEO nerd extraordinaire Patrick Stox couldn’t resist digging into the canonicalization issue on Slack.

ohhh, I can answer your last part. The canonical that was is sort of correct, in that the page is a duplicate and the duplicate cluster lead for this is so it “technically” pointed to the right page. /business is what is specified in the sitemap for hreflang for en-us and x-default. They likely have a bit of a mess by breaking both duplicate and hreflang clusters that will take some crawling by googlebot to sort out which is why you’re seeing 2 results in your search instead of just 1 that swaps with the right version now.

The post Buck Up, Even Google Screws Up Technical SEO appeared first on Local SEO Guide.