white tulips in a vase and a turquoise diary on a table

Marketing Agency Vanity Awards

(And Actual Awards You Can Win)

I had no idea that marketing agency vanity awards existed until this year when I almost fell prey to an award scam. They're out there - beware.

Since responding to the first group, I've been targeted by two others. Here is my story. Don't fall prey to the marketing agency vanity award scam!

Note: This is a true story. I have redacted the name of the "conference" and the dates, along with individuals names, but the facts are accurate.


At the end of this article, I include a link to download a free copy of an ebook we published with legitimate marketing awards and conferences you can enter. I hope you download it.


The Marketing Agency Award That Isn’t 

My scam radar is pretty good. I’ve got that cynical edge that looks at every opportunity from two lenses: what’s in it for me and what are you trying to get from me. So, when the following in-mail appeared in my LinkedIn account, my scam radar was on high.


“Hey Jeanne, I'm glad to inform you that you have been shortlisted for the 'Outstanding Leadership Award', set to be conferred at the [Redacted] Conference in (City and date redacted) 2022).”  The note included a link to a video of a past conference. 


I fired back a response:


“Seriously? Where is this listed? And can I promote this? Quite a lovely surprise.”


And then…crickets. Nothing. Days passed, and the woman who had contacted me never responded.


Now, if you were hosting an awards competition, and you’ve just notified the winner, and they responded like this, wouldn’t you respond quickly? I would think so. My scam radar was on high once again. 


However, the LinkedIn profile of the woman who had contacted me checked out. She was indeed affiliated with the conference mentioned and received excellent LinkedIn recommendations  from previous companies who had hired her to coordinate conferences and events. I assumed she was on the conference marketing team and had been hired to reach out to people to get them to attend the conference. How, or why, the conference organizers thought I was nominated for a Marketing Leadership award was beyond me, so I wanted to know more.


I cautiously made an appointment to speak with the woman who had contacted me. She let me know that a colleague from the nominations committee would join the video call. Fair enough. 


“Thanks for booking the calendar for Monday.


Also, apologies for the delay in response as I was not active here due to some reasons.


You have been invited to participate in the nomination process for the "Outstanding Leadership Award" by our research team on the basis of 5 below-mentioned criteria: 1. Leader’s Reputation 2. Educational Background 3. Professional Experience 4. Creative Thinking 5. Decisive Leadership

We have a procedure which we follow for selecting our awardees, for that we have an application form.”


However, she still hadn’t answered some of my questions  about how my name had come up, who had nominated me, etc. 


“Meanwhile, please refer to the deck attached.”


The attached deck was nothing more than a glossy promotional piece, mostly filled with images from their previous event, which looked good but could easily be stock images of a conference. Who knows? 


Remember, I’m from New York City.  Home of street cons and a thousand get rich quick schemes. 

I decided to attend the video call to see what this was all about. 


The Committee Meeting and the Sales Pitch


We met on July 11. The half-hour video conference was bizarre. I immediately told the two people from the conference award committee that I needed to know this was not a scam. I must have asked a dozen times if this was a sales pitch. They assured me that it was not – that it was a genuine award. 


They then proceeded to weave a compelling sales pitch, alternately hyping the award and the resulting promotion for a small marketing agency like mine and the potential for reaching hundreds of other marketing leaders by accepting the award at their conference and paying the additional fees for their marketing package, which include press releases, badges, and the ability to conduct a session at the conference.


The catch? I was expected, as an award winner, to pay $2,000 for my conference ticket. I would also have to pay for my own airfare and hotel. 


The conference dates backed right into Christmas. I was already reluctant to commit, given how close these dates are to both Christmas and a close family member’s birthday. The thought of missing both events due to canceled  flights or weather delays, both real possibilities at that time of year, troubled me. Additionally, as I mentioned to the committee, I wasn’t keen on attending in-person events due to the potential for COVID. They said it wasn’t an option; I must attend in person to receive the award.


But how, I asked, had they found me in the first place? Who had nominated me?


After much discussion, they admitted that a “computer algorithm” had selected my profile as a nominee for the “marketing leadership award” based on “criteria outlined” in their deck, which they could only cite but not explain. 


Throughout the call, the pair stressed “mandatory attendance” at the conference in order to ‘receive the award.’ 


I’ve won several marketing awards, including the New York University Award of Excellence and the Lester Wunderman Award for direct marketing excellence, and in both cases, if I wasn’t able to attend the award ceremony, no one threatened to take back the award.


Both previous awards also came with prizes. The award committees didn’t ask me to pay for my promotions; they promoted the event themselves, only asking for my permission to use my photograph and name in their publicity, which I gave them. 


In the case of this award, however, the committee stressed that purchasing a $2,000 ticket to the conference was mandatory to receive the award. I balked at the price. I pushed back on the other expenses: airfare and hotel fees. They said they would give me the ticket for $1,500 and reduce the hotel fee to $65 per night. I began to feel a surreal sense that I was haggling over the price of a flea market find.


Again and again, the duo stressed that attendance at the event was mandatory to receive the award. If I wanted to publicize my award, I’d have to fork over more money for a press release, “award badges” to put on my social media profile, and other fees to leverage the award.


Still skeptical, I heard out their pitch to the end. The call ended with them urging me to pay a $50 entry fee and complete an application. It wasn’t much money to see what would happen next, so I completed the application, paid my fee, and shrugged. It was a long shot anyway since the pair assured me that from 1,000 shortlisted names, only 500 would make it to the nomination round, with 60 in the final round for the single award. 

After filling out the application, I dug deeper into the conference through my old friend Google Search, but still couldn’t turn up any dirt. I could find no evidence online that either the two people I met with were scammers or that the conference was anything but a legitimate professional development event. The only catch was the odd emphasis on me, the award winner, paying the fees to attend, speak, and promote my award. The hard emphasis on conference attendance was also still nagging at me as a catch that seemed out of sync with an actual award, but I couldn’t see how it was either illegal or a scam, just an oddity that I disliked.

You’ve Won a Major Award!

(Is it "frageeli"? Bonus points if you get the Christmas Story reference)

In less than one week from meeting with the pair and completing my application form, the following appeared in my email in-box on July 19. 


“Hey Jeanne Grunert,

Hope this email finds you in the best of health and spirit.

The [Marketing Conference Name]  primarily comprises achievers from the industry whom we recognize for their contributions while providing a platform for networking and knowledge sharing amongst this elite group of high-performing individuals and companies. 

We received a lot of incredible applications this year and choosing the Honorees for the category "Outstanding Leadership Award" was a very tough job for our Assessment Committee (chair and management). All nominees were adjudged on 5 parameters, namely:

  1. Leader's Reputation
  2. Educational Background
  3. Professional Experience
  4. Creative Thinking
  5. Decisive Leadership


After careful consideration and research, our Assessment Committee (chair and management) rated each applicant on every criterion to reach the final list of honorees.

We are happy to let you know that you have been selected for the Outstanding Leadership Award recognition, to be conferred at the [Name Redacted for this article] in [Name redacted for this article]. Please find attached with this email your Assessment Report for your perusal.

Please pick a convenient date and time using the following calendar link, for our team to get in touch with you and confirm your participation at the event.

We congratulate you on your wonderful achievement and look forward to seeing you at the event! 

Best Wishes,
Assessment Committee”


Whoa! How did go from one of 1,000 shortlisted nominees on July 7 to the winner by July 19?


It made absolutely no sense. Why did I have to meet with them to “confirm my attendance”? Why the rush to confirm my attendance for a conference occurring five months in the future?


The “Assessment Report”


The so-called “report” attached to the email also made no sense and read like a form letter. The criteria listed each had a ranking factor next to it and a brief paragraph about my so-called skills in the respective area. 


But what had the committee looked at to rank each factor? I checked with the three people I had listed on my references to see if the committee had contacted them , and not a single person had been contacted.


The ranking factors included things that could only be determined and evaluated by looking at my agency’s actual client work: marketing plans, content marketing campaigns, and results achieved. But this information is not available outside of my agency.  Only I could submit this information to them, as is typical of marketing awards where the participants must submit campaign examples and results as part of the application process. But I hadn’t submitted anything.


Now I was seriously concerned. What was this award? Why did the entire approach feel like a scam but the conference seem like a legitimate event?


I tried calling the previous award winner to ask her about her experience with the conference. I found her name in press releases mentioning the award and found her company online, where she had shared another press release citing this conference and the award. I left a voice mail saying I received notification that I’d won the upcoming award and wanted to hear about her experiences with the conference and award. 


She never returned my call.


More suspicious than ever, I returned to searching online. Something was seriously wrong with this picture, with pressure mounting from the nomination committee to confirm my attendance at the event. I didn’t return their emails or LinkedIn messages.


Marketing Agency Vanity Awards


It took me a while to uncover two articles online – just two – explaining why I felt this was a scam of some sort. While not technically a scam, the award process itself is fraught with problems, and provides a meaningless vanity award to the winner while ensuring the conference has attendees eager to be there.


In his article The Agency Award Scam and How It Works, Jason Yormark explains how other conferences and industry magazines prey upon small marketing agency owners’ natural desire to grow their agencies through publicity. 


While not an outright scam (agencies are certainly receiving something for the money they pay) the award itself is based on useless, made up criteria. 


Yormark delineates a process that is the mirror image of the process the “nominations committee” used to solicit my response. He ends his article by wondering why no one is unmasking these awards for what they are. I know why. 


People like me who almost fall for them, or who do fall for them, are too embarrassed to admit it. I’m not. I want you to know this, and I want every marketing agency owner to know this so they don’t waste their time on bogus awards. 


The growing realization that I almost fell victim to a vanity award made me very angry. What made me angrier, however, is the fact that very few people online were calling out these companies for the shady business practices they employ.


The Conference Is Legitimate – But the Award Is Meaningless


Is it a scam? Is the conference real?


The conference people I spoke with did indeed offer me an award with the condition that receiving the award was dependent upon attending the conference. That isn’t illegal, as far as I can tell. Any award committee can set whatever criteria they want upon an award. It’s their award. And the conference itself appears to be a genuine professional development event, a typical marketing conference with speaker sessions, workshops, and so on.


However, the value of the award itself, the nomination process, the evaluation process, and the “pay to play” mentality surely puts this award and others of its kind into a gray area that taints it.

I never returned the committee’s more urgent messages, choosing instead to wait to see what would unfold. 


I’m Shortlisted – Again! 

Then – surprise! – on July 27, I was contacted via email by someone claiming to be from “The Advertising And Marketing Forum” with a Virginia address stating that I was nominated for an award for Outstanding Marketing Leadership!


There was a disclaimer and a huge copyright notice at the end of the email, with no link to the disclaimer, no link to their website, and no more information about this magical award – just a demanding tone to make an appointment now or lose the award. No mention of where the magic award would be given, either. 


Not surprisingly, the pressure began just a day later. On July 28, the piece de resistance – an email from the same award conference that had contact me via LinkedIn but from a different person, following up on the July 27 email, to tell me I was shortlisted for the award.


  • July 7: Contacted on LinkedIn about being shortlisted for the Outstanding Leadership Award
  • July 11: Met with Award Committee, told I could apply for nomination. 
  • July 19: Received email with report saying I was the winner but must confirm my attendance at the event to receive the award.
  • July 27: Received another email sequence from a different person (but this time in the state of Virginia, where my agency is located) saying I was shortlisted for the Outstanding Leadership Award…for the same conference, the same award..
  • July 28:  Received a second email encouraging me to meet with them to continue the nomination process. 

It was, almost word for word, the same pitch.



“Hey Jeanne,

Greetings from [Conference Name redacted]!

I hope you are doing well. This is regarding your reply to my colleague Eliza about the upcoming conference.

The Winter Edition of our [Name Redacted] is taking place at [Name Redacted] on December X. We'll be hosting insightful panel discussions for marketing professionals and showcase some exciting innovations from exhibitors and speakers alike.

We are delighted to inform you that you have been shortlisted as a potential nominee for the 'Outstanding Leadership Award', I would be delighted to discuss further the opportunity if we can connect for a brief call at your convenience.”

Well, isn’t that special! It was, word for word, point for point, the exact same pitch and details as the person had sent me via LinkedIn, except this time it was via email.


Here's my response. This person never pestered me again.

“According to what was already sent to me by someone else, I've already won. So, which is it?”

Follow Up: September 2022


These people don't get the message. Through August, the original duo continued to demand a response from me and my payment to attend the conference. Additionally, despite numerous requests to be removed from their mailing list, they continued to email me.


Follow Up: October 2022


Since the original approach in July, I’ve now received two other approaches for various “awards”.


Here’s one example. They never stop.

Hi Jeanne,

Trust this mail finds you well.

We have an excellent opportunity we would like to share with you– a prestigious felicitation program (A “felicitation program” What is that?) is confirmed to be a part of our marketing event’s schedule (What marketing event? They never cite it by name) in the USA later this winter.

As we went through your portfolio (What portfolio? My marketing work is done under tight NDAs for clients and it never listed in a portfolio online)  we recommend that you show your earliest interest (What the heck is “show earliest interest"?) in the program as you have a high chance of getting an accolade (getting an accolade” - again what accolade, why, and from whom?) owing to your unparalleled contributions to the marketing sector.

If you think you might be interested in going forward (If it is a legitimate award, you win it - you don't have to "go forward" with anything. You are told you are the winner and if you accept, they give the award), let us know so we can schedule a call as soon as possible to discuss the opportunities this two-day marketing summit beholds for experts like you.

While on call (grammar mistake), our experts will also guide you through the application process step-by-step.

Let’s connect this week?


B (name redacted)

(and sent from a gmail address with no signature line - no organization, no conference listed, no name)


Legitimate Marketing Agency Awards

We've put together a free ebook of LEGITIMATE marketing awards you can win. Just sign up for our newsletter and you can download your very own copy. Plus, we'll throw in our free content marketing playbook, too.


smartphone with award guide, cup of coffee, and eyeglasses on a table

a white coffee cup next to a laptop

The Way We Think About Customer Relationships Is Broken

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) dates back to the 1980s when the business and marketing industries shifted their focus from being "product empathetic" to "customer empathetic." The technological age has made CRM more comprehensive by introducing data-driven, automated software systems, but are we taking the right approach? 

Understanding the pros and cons of using software-based CRM can help identify and fill the gaps in understanding consumer demands and strengthening customer relationships. 

The Pros of Software-based CRM 

Technology has proven to be an indispensable tool for improving customer relationships. Data is now considered the globe's most valuable resource as technology evolves. The aim of software-based CRM is to collect and analyze consumer-based data to gain better insight and implement better business practices. This approach has proven to be quite successful for businesses in various ways, including:

  • Streamlined communication and engagement with customers
  • Better knowledge of demographics and target-audiences 
  • Higher customer acquisition and retention 
  • Automation of essential, everyday tasks

Having access to real-time data allows companies to anticipate shifting trends in consumer demand, such as the increasing demand for socially-conscious and sustainable business practices. To meet your customers' needs and expectations, you first have to know what they are, both short-term and long-term.

The Cons of Software-based CRM  

As data mining becomes more pervasive, the sheer amount collected can be overwhelming and rendered useless from a customer relationship and marketing standpoint. It is essential to remember that effective customer relationship management is not only based on software and data-driven approaches.

Although data-driven software may be an integral aspect of modern-day CRM, much more is involved. When implementing a software-based strategy, it is vital to be aware of common pitfalls: 

  • Over collection of data leading to a lack of focus or a defined set of goals 
  • Break down in company leadership due to overreliance on software automation 
  • Loss of the "human element" when it comes to marketing and customer relations 
  • Overhead costs and the risk of working with the wrong vendor for your company 

As any futuristic, dystopian novel would tell us - it is critical never to lose touch with the human aspect of our existence. Automation is no match for critical analysis and human insight to meet customer needs and surpass expectations. 

A More Human Approach to Customer Relationships  

As with any useful tool, the key lies in understanding how and when to use software-based CRM effectively. Before implementing any business strategy, including customer relationship management, you need to have a clear and well-defined set of goals. To begin, ask yourself some basic questions: 

  • Who is your target audience, and what are their needs as consumers?
  • Where do you fit-in in the business sector, and what kind of impact do you wish to have? 
  • What is the best way to deliver your message and expand your customer base? 
  • How do you intend to ensure transparency and respond to customers' concerns? 

Numbers and statistics can be helpful tools for developing marketing strategies. Remember, data is merely a reflection of consumer trends, and human behavior is dictated by more than numbers on a spreadsheet. When it comes to customer relationships, you should take a more human-based approach than relying on software systems alone. 

MOre Free Marketing Resources

hom eoffice setup with computer on a desk

The Big Reason Why Marketing Campaigns Fail

What is the single biggest reason why marketing campaigns fail? There is no guaranteed equation for producing the most effective and longest-lasting results. Marketing campaigns are multi-faceted and require a high degree of effective collaboration from all marketing team members.

Creativity is another essential aspect - considering that no two marketing campaigns are the same. We will explore why lack of focus, which can lead to other problems, is often the single biggest reason marketing campaigns fail.  

a leaf against a blurry background with the word focus

The Need for a Well-defined Set of Goals

A lack of focus can result in a poorly developed marketing campaign. It can also lead to other problems in marketing strategies, such as poorly executed research and misinterpretation of data analytics. Here are some insights to determine if you are on the right track:    

  • Effective collaboration is key to crafting a successful marketing campaign, as with any team-based project. Although working with a team can help to foster creativity and generate new ideas, it can also lead to a lack of focus. Establishing a well-defined set of goals is critical to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 
  • Marketing campaigns help establish a brand image and raise consumer awareness. A vital aspect of establishing a brand image is to provide valuable information, not just eye-catching advertisements. The desire to produce immediate results may negatively impact the marketing campaign's effectiveness due to lack of substance.

The Importance of Continuity   

Once you have defined your goals and established your brand, it is important not to lose sight of your long-term marketing strategy - and this is where continuity comes in. Continuity helps establish trust with your target audience and stand out among competitors. 

Remember, the first step to any successful marketing campaign is to create a well-defined set of short-term and long-term goals. Some helpful questions to ask include:

  • How will your marketing campaign evolve based on your target audience and changing market trends?
  • What is your brand's message, and how can you keep it consistent as your marketing campaign adapts to consumer demands?

In a world often obsessed with the latest trending topics and hashtags of the day, don't underestimate the power of continuity. A strong, clear, and consistent message can help establish the foundation for a successful, long-term marketing campaign. 

flowers, papers, and laptop on a desk

Marketing Education Without a Degree

Nothing substitutes for a marketing education or a marketing degree. It’s invaluable, especially when seeking full-time employment as a marketing manager. 

However, I became a marketing manager without a formal marketing education. Here are the steps I took to learn to be a marketing professional without a marketing degree.

My Story - from Executive Assistant to Marketing Manager

I majored in English literature at Molloy College, a small Catholic college in New York state. My goal was to be a novelist. I wanted to write classic works of literature, including science fiction and fantasy. 

Yet I had to make a living. The occasional magazine stories I sold didn’t pay for much! I worked first as an advertising copywriter, then took a job as an Executive Assistant to the president of a nursery and landscaping company on Long Island’s North Shore.

His company included both a bustling garden center that catered to the rich, famous and wealthy, as well as a landscape design firm. It was one of the few large garden center businesses to have its own marketing manager, and I worked with her extensively. When she was let go in July 1995, the president asked me to take over the role since I wrote well and had worked alongside her.

It was my first marketing gig and I knew nothing! I messed up so many things it’s amazing I lasted the next two years. But last I did, and I ended up creating some fantastic advertising that one customer actually scrawled a message on and brought in to show his appreciation for the ad. I still have a copy of that ad.

Here's the famous ad in the New York Times - Sunny wrote Russ, the president, a note about how it made her want to come in, and dropped it off in the store.

After leaving the nursery in 1997, I went on to lead marketing for a financial services company and then for a series of education testing, professional development, and publishing companies before founding my own content marketing agency. Along the way, I did return to school, and completed a master of science in direct and digital marketing at New York University, earning not only a degree “with distinction”, the university’s highest honor, but also two national direct marketing awards.

5 Ways to Learn Marketing Without a Marketing Education

Here’s how I ensured my own marketing education despite starting in the profession without a marketing degree.

  1. Learn from a colleague.

One of the first things I did when working at the nursery was study what the current marketing manager was doing. I followed her original blueprint for my first year in my new role as marketing manager, using her example to maintain marketing continuity. At each job, I was able to observe either what the previous marketing manager had done by reviewing her plans or by working alongside a more seasoned marketer. You can learn a lot from your colleagues. Here at Seven Oaks Consulting, we feature an unusual model of taking on a lot of college students and recent graduates as part of our content team. It’s not that we prefer junior marketers on the team, but we love to help them grow. It’s paying the profession forward -- helping to build the stellar marketers we hope to see someday in the field. To do that, they need to learn from seasoned professionals as I was able to do so long ago.

  1. Read books by the experts.

In every field or endeavor, there are known experts. In content marketing, Joe Pulizzi comes to mind, along with Ann Handley. Both are true experts in content marketing. My former NYU professor of direct marketing finances, Heidi Cohen, is also known as a content marketing and digital marketing expert. Read their books and learn marketing from people who don’t just talk about it but actually do it!

  1. Keep up with the news.

Another way in which I learned the marketing profession as a junior marketing manager was to read industry news. I’d take along Direct Marketing News to read on the train during my commute or I’d read Advertising Age the Wall Street Journal. This continued my education by exposing me to current marketing trends and campaign examples.

  1. Attend conferences.

I learned so much at the old Direct Marketing Days New York and the New York City Direct Marketing Club meetings. The guest speakers, the trade show booths, the small group sessions....I’d leave with copious notes and ideas about what to incorporate into my own marketing plans. Some of the contacts I made at those trade shows remain good friends. If you can, attend marketing conferences live or online as much as possible.

  1. Ask a lot of questions.

Vendors want to share their knowledge with you. Ask questions of everyone! I went on press with my printing vendor to learn more about catalog production and eventually became a known expert in the field of traditional direct marketing thanks to my deep understanding of both mailing houses and printing. Marketing vendors were keen to help me understand new techniques and ideas. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions.

Now...If I Had to Learn Marketing Without a Degree

How things have changed since I was a young college graduate studying marketing on my own!

The internet has opened up tremendous potential learning opportunities for marketing managers. You can watch YouTube videos, subscribe to podcasts, download tons of books thanks to Amazon Kindle and Google Play, and so much more. 

Hubspot free marketing courses enable any junior marketing manager to learn from the comfort of their own homes. Need to learn marketing software such as MailChimp or ConvertKit? The software vendors themselves provide training!

Many of the old newspapers like Direct Marketing News have gone digital. Gone are the days when the only way to learn about new techniques and marketing research was by attending a conference or seminar. But the opportunities unfolding daily on the internet have made it easier than ever for someone motivated to learn to find the information they need.

A marketing education remains, to me, a priority for anyone interested in a full-time career in marketing. I wouldn’t trade my New York University degree for anything. It was an amazing experience to learn in a workshop environment, to go to the offices of some of the best creative agencies in the world and watch as they planned campaigns, to learn marketing finances and accounting from people who were actually working in the profession. 

But if you aren’t blessed or lucky enough to be able to earn a marketing degree, you can still ensure your marketing education with these ideas. 

straw hat and magazine on the beach

Print Media in Content Marketing

I admit that when I chose the topic of The Use of Print Media in Content Marketing, I did so because I love printed media. When I first entered the marketing profession, print media was still the way to go. Catalogs, direct mail postcards, brochures for checkout line racks, you name it, I produced it. Heck, even ad a print advertisement I created that was published in the New York Times generated such a response that a customer wrote a note to the owner of the garden center where I worked and dropped off the ad for him to see!

But if you Google the phrase “is print dead” you’ll return over 189,000,000 results, far over and above what Joe Pulizzi returned when he searched this phrase back in 2019. In his article, Print Magazines Dead? Bite Your Tongue, Joe states emphatically that print is most certainly not dead. It’s just changing. 

I’m with Joe. Print marketing, whether it’s a custom-created magazine, a flyer, or a rack insert, offers an outstanding opportunity for many companies to promote ideas, the heart of content marketing. Don’t forget that content marketing started with print -- the John Deere magazine, The Furrow, which offered a magazine filled with ideas for mechanizing the farm. And it just happened that John Deere sold those products from tractors to combines that mechanized the farm. 


“The web is where we go to get answers but print is where we go to ask questions.”



Print Media Statistics

From Marketing Profs: print-a-tangible-way-to-invigorate-your-marketing-strategy-infographic

  • In a crowded marketplace, print gives you an edge.
  • 92% of 18-32 year olds state that print is easier to read
  • When making purchasing decisions, consumers trust print 34% more than search engines
  • Postcards have a 4.25% response rate compared to .1% for email marketing
  • 70% of people recall more from reading a print ad than a digital ad
  • Print is better for perceived value, memory and recall of an ad, and emotional response

Up Close and Personal: An Interview with Content Marketer Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Amazon bestselling author of Killing Marketing, Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing, which was named a “Must-Read Business Book” by Fortune Magazine. His latest book is The Will to Die, his debut novel.

He has founded three companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and has launched dozens of events, including Content Marketing World. In 2014, he received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Content Council. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with CMI's Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in over 30 states.

My Take on Joe’s Book, Content, Inc.

If you haven’t heard of Joe, I invite you to get to know him through his outstanding book, Content, Inc., which was recently revised and reissued. I purchased my own company from Amazon and devoured it over vacation. It helped me rethink many aspects of content marketing. It’s a great book because it doesn’t just explain what content marketing is, but what a content-first business model looks like and how to create one -- and then, how to leverage it as a business model.

Joe is honest throughout the book that content marketing isn’t a fast route to sales, and he’s right. It takes time, sometimes too long for our clients’ comfort levels, to generate the kind of impact they need to make. That’s okay. Not every marketing tactic is right for every client, and I get that. 

But like Joe, I’ve seen content marketing produce outstanding results. When it works, it works exceptionally well to build brand loyalty, elicit and emotional response, and create a memorable impression on customers that no amount of hype creates.

Joe took time out of his busy schedule to respond to my questions. Thank you, Joe.

The Use of Print Media in Content Marketing

Seven Oaks Consulting (7Oaks): What is your experience using content marketing for your company or your clients?

Joe Pulizzi (JP) I've been in the content marketing industry for over 20 years. Originally, I worked at Penton Media's Custom Media Division working on print magazines for companies like HP, Autodesk, and American Red Cross. I left Penton in 2007 to start Content Marketing Institute, the leading educational organization for content marketing.

7Oaks: Do you use print media, such as niche-focused magazines or other printed materials, as part of your content marketing program?

JP: Not presently. While at CMI, we launched Chief Content Officer magazine in 2011 targeted to 30,000 senior-level marketing executives (I left CMI in 2018).

7Oaks:  How many do you send? How is it distributed and to whom?

JP: Quarterly

7Oaks: What was your ROI?

JP: It was generally break even (subsidized with partner advertising)…but expenses approximately $30,000 per issue. For ROI, we found that those highest-yielding customers of CMI were also subscribers to the magazine. 

7Oaks: Why do you think print is effective?

JP: There are many  reasons why print is effective. First, it grabs attention. Because so few brands are doing it these days, it stands out. Next, if you already have an audience, such as a customer list, you’ve got a good chunk of the work out of the way -- you have an audience who might like to hear from you and who may respond positively to your print piece. Third, and this may be a little out there, but I do think print is ready for a Renaissance. Everyone talks about it being dead, but TV didn’t die when cable and on-demand movies came out, and radio thrives even though we have more choices than ever. There’s still room for print in a media manager’s marketing mix if it fits the strategy.

7Oaks:  Do you think print media is effective for specific industries or all industries? 

JP: I believe print can be effective in any industry.

7Oaks:  Is it better for acquisition or retention marketing?

JP: I think it’s better for retention and building loyalty, but yet, it can work for acquisition marketing. It’s just harder to measure when usingi it for acquisition. 

7Oaks:  Do you think printed materials have a place in the future of content marketing? Why or why not?

JP:  Absolutely. With limited competition it's very easy for a high-quality publication to stand out. Also, people are much more willing to voluntarily give data information for a quality magazine.

Thank you, Joe. You can find his books on Amazon or check out his blog at joepulizzi.com

books and coffee on a table

How Brand Storytelling Increased ROI by 2,700%

Brand storytelling or content marketing engages the imagination, encourages buyer curiosity, and brings customers into your brand story like no other marketing technique I know.

Case in point: the right story increases ROI by 2,700%.

And no, that’s not a typo.

Here’s the story behind this dramatic increase in ROI and how you can grab your own share of that incredible profit potential.

A Tale of Two Brand Stories
Ancient Quartz Crystal Unearthed

Do you see this crystal?

closeup of rock

It was unearthed during an excavation in Virginia. As dawn’s rosy fingers touched the sky, a ray of sunlight fell upon the earth, illuminating the crystal with inner fire. Legend has it that the land where the crystal was found was once a sacred hunting ground. Many flint and stone arrowheads have been found nearby, and evidence of old forests of oak and poplar, inhabited by abundant herds of deer, point to a time long gone when Indians roamed the quiet mossy woods. Perhaps Mother Earth, hearing the cries of her children, gave this healing crystal from her generous supply to restore harmony to the finder. Who knows?

My New Paperweight

Do you see this chunk of quartz crystal?

One morning as I walked my dog across the lawn, I stubbed my toe on a rock. I kicked at the point of muddy rock a bit more until I realized it was part of a bigger rock. My dog started digging and soon handed me what at first looked like a chunk of mud. But I saw a little glimmer so I rinsed it off under the garden hose. It was a beautiful hunk of almost pure quartz. I liked it so I kept it on my desk as a paperweight.

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Stories That Sell - The Power of Brand Stories

Both stories are true. I just spun them differently. Which one did you find more appealing?

The second story is, of course, the true story. I stubbed my toe on what I thought was a plain old rock sticking out of the ground while I was walking my dog one morning. I noticed a little glimmer, though, and washed off the rock. Much to my delight, I had a huge chunk of almost perfect quartz. It seems as if my house is actually built on a large quartz deposit. We continually find the most beautiful quartz under the lawn, pure, white, and rose.

But some people who love using crystals for healing might be more attracted to the story of the ancient ground expelling a quartz with healing properties. I wrote this story with a lot of flamboyance and hyperbole, which isn’t my typical style, and not something I might find appealing.

Many copywriters have used such a style to successfully sell products. The most famous example is an advertisement written by the legendary John Caples. “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano” is a long form ad, or advertorial, used to sell an online course. And it is famous for good reason: not only is it immediately compelling, but it uses the story of an imaginary customer, one who purchased and used the course successfully, to sell the home study music course. It engages the imagination, the emotions, and weaves a net of desire in the prospect’s mind to encourage them to buy the course.

Good content marketing does the same. It uses brand storytelling to sell, and engages the emotions before engaging logic to encourage customers to take the desired action. It builds awareness, interest, desire, and action (AIDA), the proven formula for increasing sales.

The Significant Object Project

Stories sell. Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn conducted an anthropological experiment that has had significant ramifications for marketing professionals. Walker and Glenn’s experiment “demonstrated that the effect of narrative on any given object’s subjective value can be measured objectively.”

To conduct their experiment, the duo purchased $129 worth of tchotchkes, or low value objects from dollar stores. (You know what I mean. C’mon, your house is probably full of them. Mine is.) They hired creative writers to weave compelling narratives around the objects. Then, they placed each object on eBay and measured the final sales value of objects enhanced with stories.

The results: $129 worth of objects generated $3.6 million in net profits, an increase of 2,700%.

This experiment, dubbed the Significant Objects Social Experiment, illustrated what many in marketing had known all along - stories sell more products and enhance their perceived value.

Why Do Stories Increase Perceived Value?

Humans evolved with both logic and emotion. In fact, our emotional brains tend to overrule our logical brains. This is why many marketing and sales techniques play on feelings of scarcity, love, hunger, and desire. Sex sells. So does inadequacy, comfort, longing, status, and a hundred other emotional nuances inherent in the human condition.

Stories tap into the emotional aspect of the buying process and serve as a shortcut directly into the customers’ minds.

Many companies bombard their customers with logic; facts, figures, and features galore. But it is the stories about the products that actually help them sell; the case studies, success stories, and benefits to the end customer. These are what harnesses the emotions of customers and transforms browsers into buyers, looky-lous into loyal fans.

The Bottom Line: Key Takeaways for Marketers

The bottom line is that stories sell. Brand stories are especially powerful as they engage customers in the overall company narrative like nothing else can. But product stories, service stories, and success stories are also powerful motivators.

stories that sell

Your Digital Marketing Action Steps

  • Don’t flood your audience with facts and figures. Even if you sell a highly technical product, start with the story first and support it with facts and figures.
  • Use plain, creative, and natural language in your written materials. Avoid corporate and industry jargon. I always have a tough time convincing my clients in engineering and manufacturing that this is so because they love their jargon (marketers do, too). But at the end of the day, engineers and manufacturers are people, with brains hardwired to love stories. Their stories may resonate with numbers but they still love a good story!
  • Show, show, and show - then tell. Demonstrate the value of your products. Paint colorful pictures about your products with words, photos, and videos. Collect testimonials and success stories among your customers and get their permission to share them. But above all, show - don’t tell - your customers what value they’ll receive from your brand, your business, your products and services.

You may also want to read on Seven Oaks Consulting: What You Can Learn About Marketing from a Lucky Lobster.

Would you like to explore how stories can increase your ROI? Your next step: Call Seven Oaks Consulting for a consultation. We helped a local photographer increase her annual revenues by 50%. We have launched multi-million brands through compelling storytelling. It’s content marketing with digital rocket fuel. Call (434) 574-6253 for a consultation or contact us for a free no-obligation consultation.

plant and notebook on desk

Cause Marketing Considerations

You may not be familiar with the term cause marketing, but you're probably familiar with brands of all sorts touting the Black Lives Matter hashtag or a similar cause they believe in. Brand have participated in cause marketing since 1974 when 7-11 convenience stores issued collectible cups to commemorate the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Since then, many brands seem compelled to align themselves with a cause.

When the cause is chosen with care and aligns with the company's brand positioning, mission, and vision, it can be a great boost for the company.

However, just because a cause is popular doesn't mean it's right for every brand. Before you append that hashtag, add a frame to your company's profile picture, or drape your website in blue/pink/green/black/or rainbow colors, think carefully. There are many considerations to weigh to ensure that cause marketing supports rather than detracts from your brand.

What Is Cause Marketing?

The original meaning of cause marketing was to align a for-profit brand with a non-profit to support the missions of both. The purpose of cause marketing is to showcase a brand's corporate social responsibility while simultaneously generating positive feelings in the general public.

There are several benefits that brands receive when they participate in cause-related marketing campaigns.

What Are the Benefits of Cause-Related Marketing?

  • Positive public relations. Consider the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk, which almost always generates lots of positive publicity for brand. Photos of women of all sizes, shapes, colors and ages walking in solidarity to raise money for their sisters suffering from breast cancer is a powerful image and seen throughout October as walks continue across the nation. This form of cause marketing raises over $115 million annually for breast cancer research.
  • Increased visibility. Along with the positive public relations comes increased visibility, which also boosts the company's brand awareness among their target consumers.
  • Additional marketing opportunities. How many companies participate in awareness campaigns? Supermarkets are "pink washed" in October as breast cancer awareness month and the subsequent alignment of brands ranging from yogurt to frozen meals takes front and center. Affixing the cause's pink ribbon, special color, or other visual identifier to a company's public advertising and marketing helps it stand out and may lead to additional marketing opportunities.
  • Increased sales. Some people prefer doing business with companies that align themselves with specific causes. Goya Foods voices its support for President Trump, and while liberals predicted a slump in sales, the brand experienced a temporary boost as supporters poured into markets and bought canned Goya foods. PetSmart gives local animal shelters space to show pictures (or the actual pets, as in the case of cats) in their stores. If people adopt the pet, they certainly need food, toys, and other equipment for their new family members. Supporting the cause ends up supporting the brand and increasing sales.

Drawbacks to Cause-Focused Marketing Campaigns

There are also several drawbacks to cause-based campaigns.

  • Skepticism: Given how many brands rushed to declare themselves woke, equitable, and fair to all colors/creeds/sexual preferences in 2020 in the wake of the riots and other racial unrest in the United States, it's no wonder that the public can be skeptical. If a brand's values and attitudes do not align with the cause, consumers can spot it a mile away. A line of inexpensive clothing produced in Pakistan that suddenly declares itself against the exploitation of workers may get hoots of laughter instead of support because clearly, to produce a $5 t-shirt they aren't coddling their workers. Similarly, a company known for its antipathy to female workers that suddenly calls itself equitable or voices support for more women on boards of directors is also opening itself to criticism.
  • Money: Consumers also want to know exactly how much money a company does indeed give to support a cause. If they choose a more expensive brand because it supports a cause they believe in, how much of their purchase goes towards the charity?
  • Oversaturation: Too many brands leaping into cause marketing has led to consumers feeling jaded by all the colorful ribbons, slogans, and hashtags. They are overly saturated with messages about problems and how brands support, solve, or stand strong with whatever. It leads to message numbness in the marketplace.

smartphone with award guide, cup of coffee, and eyeglasses on a table

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Choose Your Cause Carefully

Given the pros and cons of cause marketing, brand would be wise to choose their causes carefully.

When I worked for Martin Viette Nurseries, one of the top nursery and garden centers in the nation, their specific 'cause' was the local Mental Health Association. The company donated the beautiful location on Long Island to host an annual gala.

Now, there is nothing wrong with supporting this charity or another health-related charity if you're a garden center. It certainly was a great cause. But it did absolutely nothing to support the brand. A charity gala is just one step. To successfully convert the event into a cause marketing campaign, other relationships could have been developed.

  • The garden center may have hosted workshops on how gardening improves mental health, with speakers from the mental health association
  • They may have donated gardening tools, supplies, or landscape design to the local mental health hospital
  • They may have put signs around the nursery during mental health months etc.

Just hosting the gala was one way to align with a cause but not an effective form of brand marketing.

Should You Jump on the Latest Social Cause?

As I mentioned before, many companies leaped before they looked at the cause marketing scene in 2020. They pinned hashtags to their posts, demanded that their employees forswear allegiance to organizations, and promoted their own version of social justice warriorhood to their employees and customers.

There are several problems with this (lack of) strategy, however:

  • Before trumpeting support for any cause through your corporate communications channels and aligning your brand with a cause directly or indirectly, make sure you are completely aware of all of the connotations and denotations of the cause.
  • Ask yourself: Is this cause something that my avatar or target customer would support? You'll lessen the risk of brand/cause mismatch by taking the time to understand who your target customers are and what they care about (hint: it's not what YOU care about that matters).
  • Does this cause align with my brand's mission and vision? If you don't have a stated brand mission and vision, work on that first before declaring your undying love of a cause.

Alignment Is the Key to Cause Marketing Success

Cause marketing is a powerful way to boost both a for-profit and a non-profit by aligning both together to share a value-driven message. It goes awry when there's a mismatch and it thrives when both resonate with the target customer. Consider carefully this alignment before jumping on the cause campaign train.

burgundy flowers, pen and notebook on a desk

Authentic Brand Communication

Authentic brand communication rings true with your target audience. When they read, hear, or see authentic messages from your brand, it resonates with them.

And if not? Then there's a major disconnect. Many brands today are focusing on timely social issues to appeal to their customers. This can be problematic on many levels

The Hallmarks of Authentic Brand Communication

I'd signed up for a writer's email list in the hopes of more of the great content I'd found online. You see, she writes about food. I love food.,cooking, healthy food.

Reading well-written foodie essays offers an escape. It's what I seek from food writing: to learn, dream, escape.

I'd been reading her columns on a website for a few weeks and finally clicked on the subscribe button at the top of her column to receive her weekly emails. The subscription box promised emails about food, cuisine, and dining - sounds great!

Who Is Your Audience?

Her first email arrived this morning with the subject line, "American Cuisine." I eagerly clicked it open, only to read a diatribe against America. Aghast, I looked for the point - wasn't this going to explain to me what American Cuisine consisted of? Or point out that America, the great melting pot of civilization, where all creeds, races, and nationalities can assimilate, doesn't have its own cuisine because everyone's cuisine is our cuisine?

Nope. She began a diatribe against the evils of Imperialistic America.

I couldn't read on. She didn't even have an unsubscribe button, by the way just something to "turn off" emails. Which means my email address is still in her files -- and against the law, by the way.

Mismatch Between Brand Persona and Personal Persona

Brand communication takes into account the target audience and their wants, needs, and desires. Brands understand their audience's personas - who is the target customer? And then their communications are aimed at the target audience.

Perhaps, being an old-school, traditionalist, patriotic America, I wasn't really her target audience. That's a fair enough point. However, when a writer pens articles about food, dining, and cooking....her brand IS food, dining, and cooking. None of her previous communications hinted at an anti-American rant lying under the surface of a bubble stew of words.

Perhaps because today is Columbus Day, or, in some parts of the United States, Indigenous Peoples Day, she felt it necessary to focus on America's imperialistic evils.

If so, she committed a huge branding faux pas.

Never sacrifice your brand communications to ride on the coattails of what is timely or in the news.

What's in the moment now? Societal ills, of course. Everywhere, brands are suddenly discovering that not all of their customers are Caucasian. Most of them knew this, of course, but consumers wouldn't have known it by their advertising. I'm still mystified why all the expensive perfume ads like Chanel and Lancome feature only blond white women. Hey, guys, rich women come in all colors, and all of them love luxury perfumes.

But I digress. I don't think the author of the offending email hopped on the hip bandwagon to stir the pot. I think she truly believed in what she wrote.

And that's where the brand communications went horribly wrong.

Message Mismatch with Audience Needs

Her brand = food.

Her personal beliefs = progressive

One of the issues I see frequently with people who are their own brand (artists, writers, musicians, entrepreneurs) is that they have trouble separating their own identity from that of their brand.

If your brand is food and cooking, you appeal to a certain person. Their need is to learn, to be entertained, to dream.

If all of your articles are about comfort food, cooking from scratch, and cooking at home, your brand persona comes across as more traditional than your personal ideals.

The issue appeared when her personal beliefs clashed with her brand persona as a food writer.

Brand Persona - Focused Communications

Good brand communication is focused on the match between your brand promise and the desires of your target audience or persona.

One way to prevent your own personal bias from creeping into the products you produce (your art, for example, or writing) is to develop a target persona. The target persona is a made up person based on who you believe, to the best evidence that you have, is the audience for your work.

For my blog Home Garden Joy, for example, the demographics reveal that my target reader is female, age 65, and loves home and cooking. By imagining my friends Eni or Karel, who fit that demographic, I easily write for that audience.

But if I try to write a piece aimed at my very hip video game marketing niece for that blog, it's going to confuse many people, because my language, writing style, and even photographs will change to address a hip 30-something. And if I try to do that, my brand communications, or communicating the implicit brand promise of Home Garden Joy, will fall flat, because the concerns of a hip 30-something year old are in general quite different from that of a mature 65+ woman who loves nurturing her garden and tending her home.

Brand Clarity Through Communications

Good brand communications is clear communications. It speaks to the wants, needs, and desires of the target audience -- not to your wants, needs, and desires of expression.

There's a time and a place to express personal thoughts, but not to readers who've signed up for more articles like your wonderful piece on the perfect grilled cheese sandwich or how to successfully debone a flounder. Brand disconnects feel like promises broken, and that's exactly what they are: a bond, broken, between brand and target audience.

SEO Expert Jeanne Grunert

Jeanne Grunert is a noted expert on brand communications and one of America's top marketing writers. She is the president of Seven Oaks Consulting and may be reached at jeanne@sevenoaksconsulting.com

working desk for marketing writer

B2B Content Marketing Writing - Sell the Story First

When it comes to B2B content marketing writing, you must sell the story first. Here's what that means to your business and brand.

B2B Content Marketing Writing

Tell the Story First

Everyone loves a good story. From the time we're able to understand the world around us, the words "once upon a time" transport us to new worlds.

This is the power that we tap into when we tell brand stories. Unlike product descriptions or sales copy, brand stories shape perception by engaging the imagination.

Scientists tell us that information flows in different directions in the brain depending on whether we engage our imagination or reality. Sales copy which focuses on product descriptions engages the reality centers. Stories, on the other hand, engage the imaginative centers of the brain.

Despite the difference in how the information flows through the brain, imagination is perceived as reality by our minds. What this means to content marketers is that encouraging consumers to imagine themselves using a product (videos or stories) or facing a similar problem in which the product solves (case studies) brings people one step closer to actually owning the product. Engaging the imagination feels real; the next step is to make it real by owning the product.

Content Marketing Writing Storytelling Basics

Like all good writing, good B2B content marketing writing includes the basics of strong narration:

  • A hero
  • A villain
  • A challenge to overcome
  • A beginning, middle, and end

Let's look at an example: manufacturing ERP software. ERP, or enterprise resource planning software, is a business process management software. It integrates many areas of business knowledge, including accounting, finances, manufacturing, supply chain, inventory, and more.

Companies researching ERP software have a problem. Perhaps that problem is siloed information, a common problem faced by manufacturing firms that add software piecemeal over time and find that it's no longer working well for their needs.

Our hero, in this case, is the software. Let's name it Software X. Software X challenges a villain. The villain is the proliferation of software across the company. The challenge to overcome is how to synchronize information across multiple departments and plant locations.

One Narrative, Multiple Formats and Channels

I love writing B2B content marketing writing stories because one story can turn into multiple formats for a variety of channels.

Once I have the gist of the story and a hero, villain, and challenge in mind, I can then spin the story in many ways for different audiences.

I might:

  • Write a series of blog posts about the "villain" or problem of older software not communicating with one another. The bad guy in this scenario is lost profits and time.
  • Narrate it as a story using illustrations of a child's game of telephone where messages get lost as they are passed along. Removing steps in the transfer of information maintain data integrity and accuracy.
  • Choose a different angle on the problem, such as how much time is wasted by gathering raw data and inputting it into spreadsheets in order to make it usable by the organization.

Once the basic story format is known, you can spin so many narratives and formats from it that it starts to fill an editorial calendar by itself!

In every case, the B2B content marketing writing begins with figuring out the story angle.

Every brand tells a story. The implicit promise, the problem solved, the villain conquered. Figure out the characters in your story and you'll engage the imagination of your customers, motivating them to take action.


SEO Expert Reveals 3 Secret Optimization Tips

As an SEO expert, especially in the realm of marketing writing, I have my 'secret optimization' tips that I use to really grab Google's attention in the SERPs.

These are my three most powerful SEO tips.

SEO Expert Tips

These secrets aren't some arcane knowledge available only to a powerful few. They aren't really secrets, either -- just search engine optimization techniques that the average site owner or blogger doesn't bother with using.

  1. Optimize your images
  2. Use plenty of internal links
  3. Write in a natural, conversational style

1. Optimize Your Images

Images are the unsung heroes of search engine optimization. Many people use Google Images to find out more about a topic of interest. Just the other day, I used Google's Image search to identify a bug, check on a rash on my cat, and find a map of a city I used to live in. Okay, weird searches to be sure, but a Cooperative Extension website, veterinary hospital site, and a town website each received search engine traffic from those images.

When optimizing images, be sure to incorporate several best practices:

  • License images properly and be sure to follow use and attribution requirements or take your own pictures
  • Resize images from your camera to minimize the file size! This is super important. Big images slow down your website and Google hates slow sites. Resize as JPGs to the proper size for your site.
  • Use a compression tool such as the Smush WordPress plugin to further shrink image file size and make them load faster.
  • Rename the file with your keyword phrase.
  • Add an alt tag that accurately describes the image and utilizes a keyword phrase or synonym if appropriate

SEO experts agree that optimizing images may help boost your posts!

2. Use plenty of internal links

I love internal links for SEO for a variety of reasons. Not only do they link to other content on your site as a helpful resource to readers but they give Google's crawls more pathways to follow to find and index additional pages.

Use plenty of internal links but be sure to link from a keyword phrase or at least a useful phrase. Avoid "click here" and "learn more." Yes, I know, this SEP expert has indeed done that on this website, but I do so only when it is a simple call to action. Blog posts like this one are linked from within to juicy keyword phrases.

3. Write in a natural, conversational style

Have you heard of BERT? BERT is Google's new natural language processing code and it is driving an enormous change throughout many industries. It's an open-source code, which means that Google has shared it with other companies, too.

BERT processes language in context. It can read the words both before and after a phrase to understand a search query better. Unlike other artificial intelligence language processors that look at words in sequence, BERT can understand everything in context...so it knows when you mean the past or present tense of the verb "read" for example.

More people search using voice-activated tools than ever before and that trend is likely to continue in the future. The more natural your online content sounds, the better.

Avoid stilted, outdated SEO writing that uses rigid rules to infuse keyword phrases into the content. The days of writing X keywords Y number of times into the content and calling it a day are over and have been since 2012.

Natural writing, conversational writing, and writing that matches a user's query exactly carry more weight with Google than ever before.

Revise, Refresh, Keep Writing

Revise and refresh old blog posts. Keep writing new ones.

One of the beautiful things about the internet and search engine optimization is that it's never-ending. I used to think of it as "once and done" but it's really an ongoing, evolutionary process.

As you learn more about SEO, use what you have learned to improve old posts..

If you need help, we're running a Winter Blogging Special to help you produce SEO blog writing that gets your blog noticed.