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Can You Have Too Many Internal Links?


There have been several debates on whether an SEO page can have too many internal links. What’s a fact, and what’s a mere suggestion? What matters when it comes to using internal links, and how should you structure your internal linking strategy to get the best results?

Yes and No. 

According to Google, excessive internal links on the same page can dilute the links' value and confuse Google on your site structure. Having ‘too many internal links’ can depend on the page's quality and relevancy of the links to the target page.

Away from SEO, an adaptation of the law of diminishing marginal utility is that too much of everything is not good, and the value of an item declines as more is added.

Firstly, tons of internal links can communicate poor website structure and confuse search engines trying to understand your website.

Ideally, internal links help search engines to better understand how a page relates to other pages on a website. With fewer internal links pointing to relevant pages, Google will understand the hierarchy of your pages and the pages that are important to you. 

If there are too many links, with all pages linking to all other pages on your website, the website ends up having no fundamental structure. You get a website with a bunch of pages pointing to each other without a well-thought-out plan or strategy. 

This does more harm than good.

Another reason is that excessive internal links dilutes the value of every link on the page. The more unnecessary links are added, the more the link value is diluted.

With fewer outgoing internal links, search engines understand the importance of the target pages. However, too many links leave search engines guessing which target pages are the priority. It distributes the total value across the numerous target pages.

There are many thoughts on how many links are considered too many on a page. 

For a long time, 'too many links' was defined as 'more than 100 links.' How did this number come up? Is it a mere suggestion or a strict rule?

The origin is traced back to Matt Cutts's post in March 2009, where he quoted Google guidelines, 'keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).'

Back then, Google used to index only about 100kb of a page. Considering how many links a page might reasonably have and still be under 100kb, it seemed right then to recommend 100 links or less. This is because pages with more links stand a chance of being so long and heavy that Google would truncate the page and wouldn't index the entire page.

Google has developed massively and can process way more than 100kb.

So, is 'not more than 100 links' a suggestion or a strict Google rule?

It's only a suggestion to help people avoid link stuffing and has never been a penalty situation. There are successful pages out there with over 100 links. If your page has quality, Google will be interested in its internal links and target pages.

Once again, 'quality content over everything.'

To answer the question, no exact number of links is considered excessive. 'Too many links' is relative and can be determined by the links' relevancy and page quality, amongst other factors.

The rule of thumb among SEOs and website owners is to add internal links only when necessary. Priority should be on link relevancy, user experience, and content quality. 

Two to Three Internal Links

Databox statistics reveal that 51% of SEO experts agree that a blog post should have two to three internal links. Another 36% preferred four to five, while 10% said the number of links doesn't matter.

If a link doesn't meet these requirements, adding the link might not be a good idea. 

Don't Add Too Many Links

Adding unnecessary links to a page tends toward link stuffing which is terrible for SEO. Link stuffing might have worked back when search engines were basic. Search engine algorithms are intelligent now, and stuffing your page with unnecessary links can give your website a lower ranking or completely blacklist your site. 

How to Do Internal Linking Right 

To avoid wondering if excessive links will affect your site or not, you should develop an internal linking strategy that matches your website structure. That way, you're helping search engines understand your site map better while giving value to value pages where necessary.

For instance, you can internally link your pages in a way authority flows from the homepage down to the product/service pages. 

Homepage => Category => Sub Category => Service/Product Page.

You can also channel value from your blog pages to a pillar blog page, guide, course, service page, etc., or vice versa. For example, you can have all blog posts relating to Service A internally linking to the service page.

The goal should always be to align your linking strategy with your website structure and communicate a flow of information with contextual internal links.

Expert Tips

If you must use internal links, optimize them. Here are expert tips on the best ways to execute such a strategy on your pages.

  • Create text links using contextual anchor texts.
  • Anchor texts must not exactly match the primary keyword of the target page.
  • Do not link entire paragraphs. A word, phrase, or, at most, a sentence is the best for user experience.
  • Avoid using generic phrases like 'click here.' They add zero value.
  • Avoid adding all your links in the first or last paragraph. Distribute them evenly across the page.
  • Avoid having orphan content on your website.
  • Align your linking strategy with your website structure.
  • Your quest to add a link shouldn't supersede your quest to produce quality content.
  • Make your internal links DoFollow.
  • Link to high converting/value pages
  • Ultimately, don't overdo it.

Balance Is the Key

Having too many internal links is relative. Instead of forcing in as many links as possible, focus on giving your readers an excellent user experience by creating quality content with relevant internal links to value pages. That way, even when the internal links seem too many, it'll be negligible.

Seven Oaks Consulting can help. Our talented content writers understand the rudiments of search engine optimization and produce quality SEO content with the right amount of internal and external links to yield results. Reach out to discover how our services can take your business to the next level.

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How to Track Blog Performance: Blogging KPIs

A  blog is an integral marketing channel for any business, so it is important to know how to track blog performance. A blog is where you can showcase your expertise and share knowledge with the world. But how do you know if yours is successful? In this post, we will cover 8 key metrics that every blogger should track to identify trends and measure their performance against set benchmarks.

Why Is It Important to Track Blog Performance?

Tracking your blog’s performance is crucial because it helps you understand how well it is performing. You can use this data to guide future strategic decisions about what types of content to create for continued community engagement. For example, if a certain type of post does much better than others, then it’s your cue to focus on creating more like that. If people are commenting, social sharing, and reading something to the end, it shows they found value in that piece of content.

How to Track Blog Performance

Many know the importance of having a blog but don’t know how to track blog performance. Make sure the metrics you track align with your business objectives. Most businesses blogs fail to increase website traffic or email subscribers. If that is the case for you, then focus on the key metrics to improve and measure blog performance:

  • Engagement Rate – The ratio of likes, shares, and comments divided by total views
  • Bounce Rate – The percentage of visits that last less than 30 seconds before leaving your site
  • Time Spent on Site – How long visitors stay on a page (the longer they stay, the more engaged they are)
  • Referrers – Where did they come from? Google Analytics will tell you what keywords drove traffic to each article so you can optimize future posts based on these findings.

8 Blog KPIs to Evaluate for Measuring Success

One could evaluate many blog KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure a blog’s success. Let’s go over eight main ones:

Organic Traffic

This is the number of visitors that came from search engines. Google Analytics (GA) tracks organic traffic by measuring how many people visit your website through a Google search, then visit one page on your site and leave without going any further. 

To increase your organic search rankings, make sure all of your content is written with high-quality keywords. This will help customers find you when they search those terms online.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a popular metric used to measure the effectiveness of your content. It refers to the percentage of visitors who land on your site but do not visit any other pages. Bounce rate is a good indicator of how well you can engage your visitors and keep them interested in what they are reading. The lower this number, the better.

Time Spent on Page

Time spent on page is the amount of time a user spends on your site, which can be broken down into two parts:

  • How long they stay (time spent)
  • What they do while they're there (actions taken)

As you might imagine, the more time people spend with your content and the more actions they take while browsing it, the more likely they will become engaged with your blog.

Page Views Per Visit

To calculate page views per visit, divide your total page views by the number of visits. Use this metric to understand how your readers are engaging with your content by comparing it to other metrics. For example, do readers who read more pages have higher conversion rates? Or do they usually bounce right away?

Pages Per Session

Pages per session is a metric that measures how many pages each visitor views on your blog. It gives insight into which stories are resonating most with readers.

A high average of pages per session shows that your visitors are reading through multiple posts and spending time on your site. The more they read, the greater their chances of seeing ads or clicking through to offsite links.

Exit Rate

Exit rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site from a given page. It can be calculated by dividing total exits by total visits to that page. Exit rates are used as an indicator for content engagement. 

The higher the exit rate, the more likely it is that people aren't finding what they came looking for. They are leaving quickly instead of scrolling through your content library, looking for something to keep them around.

Social Media Shares

Social media shares are a great way to measure whether your blog content is thought-provoking to your audience. People tend to share the posts they find interesting, so it's a good indication of how much engagement the post gets.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate refers to the number of people who convert your desired action divided by the total number of visitors. This can be a monetary conversion, like when someone makes a purchase on your site. It can also be an action that doesn’t involve money, like filling out a contact form or subscribing to your newsletter.

Measure Your Blog’s Impact by Studying Its Data

What is the best way to measure a blog? That depends on your goals and how you define success. This article looked at eight KPIs that can help you manage your blog and track its impact on your business. In addition to keeping these KPIs in mind, always prioritize quality content output. It builds brand trust, increases website authority, and improves engagement.

Ready to level up your marketing game? Get in touch with Seven Oaks Consulting to discuss your business goals and how we can help you achieve them!

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How to Improve Email Metrics

Understanding email marketing metrics is more important than ever before, given that the email marketing industry is growing at a rapid pace. Today, around 90% of all adults have an email account. As a result, businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to reach this massive audience!

As you continue to learn more about content marketing KPIs, consider these email marketing metrics as part of your overall program to measure and monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns.

What Are Email Marketing Metrics?

So you’ve grown your email list and sent out emails as part of your business marketing efforts. But do you know how well they are performing?

Email marketing metrics help businesses understand how effective their email marketing is. Email opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and bounces are all examples of email metrics. Businesses use these metrics in Google Analytics (GA) or other analytics software packages to better understand how well your emails performed over time.

How to Elevate Your Emails

Here are some sure-fire ways to take your email marketing up a notch… or two.

Personalize Your Message

Personalization is a must in email marketing, and it's an easy way to stand out. You can gain trust, get your message read and opened, and create positive experiences for your customers.

Provide Value to Your Potential Customers

The best way to improve email marketing metrics is to provide value for your potential customers. If you can present something helpful, entertaining, and informative, you will skyrocket your open and click-through rates!

Produce Compelling Copy

It would help if you made your audience feel something while telling a story with your landing pages and emails. Be mindful of your target audience's tone, word choice, and headlines. This is crucial because different audiences prefer different things. For example, young adults will likely respond better to conversational language than senior citizens.

Write a Catchy Subject Line

When it comes to successful email marketing, the subject line is the first thing that people see, and it is what draws people in, so you want it to make an impression. 

You need a good subject line that:

  • Is relevant to the content of your email
  • Is short and concise (no longer than 15 words)
  • Personalizes each message sent for maximum engagement
  • Factors in when your customer sees their email (e.g., don't send emails during peak hours if possible)

Craft a Well-Designed Email

Your email should look good no matter the width of the screen. People viewing it on mobile or desktop should be able to enjoy the same aesthetic. Use a responsive design that works across all devices and browsers. This way, the email will resize according to its available space. If you use a service like MailChimp, you won't have to worry about this—the platform does it for you!

Use Striking Images & Colors that Complement the Text

Images and colors can highlight important information, illustrate your message and break up the text. They also create a sense of urgency and add charisma to your email.

Images should have a purpose in helping you to deliver a point. If an image does not match the topic of your email, it will distract subscribers from what is most important.

Include a Call-to-Action

You should always include a call-to-action (CTA) and conversion triggers in your email marketing campaigns. A CTA is a request for action from the reader, while conversion triggers are actions the reader takes after reading your email. These can be as simple as clicking a link or as complicated as filling out a form. It can also be a purchase if you sell things online.

content marketing KPIS

Clever Email Campaigns Get More Conversions

We have all seen generic email blasts go out to a large group of people, hoping that a few customers will respond. Unfortunately, this strategy is ineffective and can result in lost money and wasted marketing efforts. So, create personalized emails that are more likely to yield positive customer responses.

The first step in personalizing your email campaign is understanding your customer base and what makes them tick. Once you know their preferences, it's time to create an email campaign with those preferences in mind.

The second step is making sure the content speaks directly to each recipient as if they were having an actual conversation with you. For example, use text like "Hi [name]," rather than "Hey there." Studies and tests have shown that personalized emails can increase email open rates by 23% and click rates by 57%!

Measure Email Performance to Meet Your Business Goals

Email marketing is a strategic and effective way to reach customers, build relationships, and get people to buy more. Businesses that can effectively leverage email marketing find it easier to close deals with new customers while maintaining their existing base.

Today, many companies still struggle with getting the most out of their emails. They do not know what metrics are important or how to use them to measure their success. If this sounds like you, get in touch with Seven Oaks Consulting to discuss your business objectives and how we can help elevate your email marketing!

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A Creative Content Writer Is Irreplaceable

Nothing can replace a creative content writer, a marketing writer who hand-crafts unique content.

In a world where we are used to shortcuts, it’s no surprise that article spinners exist. While they can save users time writing fresh content from scratch, they don’t come without drawbacks. Even with innovative technology coming out in efforts to make life easier, creative copywriters are here to stay for the long haul.

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How Do Article Spinners Work?

An article spinner repurposes existing content without paraphrasing. For example, you may have an article for your company blog that you want to publish on other mediums to increase traffic to your website. Using an article spinner to recreate a similar piece is an inexpensive way to achieve this. If not done right, though, it can get you into big trouble.

Search engines punish websites with cross-published identical content. The problem is, most businesses don’t want to spend time rewriting articles. They want a shortcut - and an article spinner is just that.

Article Spinners Ruin SEO Efforts

Though made to be time savers, article spinners come with a host of problems. They produce low-quality content that is difficult to understand. The whole point of search engine marketing is to provide quality content with which visitors can engage. Article spinners do the exact opposite. Low-quality spun articles will not hold a viewer’s attention, resulting in increased bounce rates.

The Verdict: You Need a Creative Content Writer

Marketing writers are here to stay, no matter the AI-driven technology. Creative, relevant content is irreplaceable because:

Every Brand Is Unique

Article spinners don’t take personality into consideration when refreshing articles. In contrast, a skilled copywriter produces content that is natural and conversational, rather than robotic and monotone. This is crucial for search engine optimization. A well-written article encourages an audience to interact. In turn, businesses reap the benefit of more organic traffic and sales. Establish authority and get on Google’s good side by sharing made-from-scratch content.

Quality Content Drives Better Leads

Word of mouth has been one of the most effective ways of marketing. When people like what they see, they’ll spread the word to their network. Similarly, top-notch content marketing encourages high-quality clients and sales. If visitors find your article easy to understand and packed with value, they may share it on their social channels. These shares are powerful because they could reach prospective clients.

According to a study by BrightEdge Research, 65% of online experiences start with a search engine. This is impressive, considering HubSpot reported an average of 2 trillion Google searches each year! It has been proven that going the extra mile to make sure your content is unlike any other pays off.

Invest in the Best Content You Can - Because It Pays Off in ROI

In life, you get what you pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Poorly written content is more detrimental to your brand than having no content at all. Instead of spinning content with software, hire a marketing writer to create authentic content. It goes a long way in sparking discussion and building a community!

At Seven Oaks Consulting, we curate top-notch content that will boost your search engine ranking and drive new traffic to your website. Our team of creative content writers offers unique, search engine optimized B2B content. Contact us to learn more about our copywriting services!

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Digital Content Strategy Hacks

Your digital content strategy doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. One of the most persistent fallacies in content marketing is the belief that a website always needs a ‘steady stream of new content’ in order to educate, inspire, and motivate customers to take action via a content marketing campaign.

While it is true that frequent website updates appeals to Google’s search engine algorithm, that does not mean continually searching for new ideas and creating brand-new, from scratch content each time you wish to publish. To create a digital content strategy, you need one solid idea that supports your marketing goals and appeals to your target market. 

Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle Your Best Ideas

Reuse, repurpose, and recycle applies to content marketing as well as to thrifty living. Here’s how “thrifty content marketing” can transform your approach – and significantly reduce your workload.

One Idea Can Generate Multiple Marketing Pieces for a digital content strategy

Most ideas can generate more than one content marketing piece. In fact, one idea can usually generate at least four or five. 

One large topic often has multiple smaller topics hidden within it like gems in a mine waiting to be picked apart from the rock.

Let’s take a recent topic I that came my way through my bank’s weekly email to their business customers: How to Boost Business Credit. The original article published by the bankfocused on the steps a small business could take to improve its credit rating and, by extension, borrow more to fuel business growth. It was a well-written 500–700-word article, but that was it – it was one article.

It could easily have been seven different content marketing projects, each appealing to the same audience but shared through multiple marketing channels.

As a small business banking customer, it’s easy for me to slip into the mindset of their target market. This makes it an idea sample to show you what I mean by one idea fueling multiple content pieces to achieve the client’s objectives. 

One Idea – SEVEN Content Marketing Pieces

Using the method my team at Seven Oaks Consulting and I use with our B2B content marketing clients, one idea can be spun into multiple content marketing pieces for a digital content strategy. One idea can be used to generate multiple content pieces along the content marketing continuum, helping to generate awareness, support customer education, and nurture the connection into a lead for business credit.

The Seven Oaks Consulting Content Marketing Process

We consider the persona, or target market, for the client’s services, asking ourselves, “Where do they go for content? Which social media platforms do they visit? How do they prefer to consume information: video, audio, or text?”

Next, we look at the tactics available to the client. Some client have multiple touchpoints established with their target market: a blog, a website, social media channels, emails. We leverage these touchpoints and may suggest additional ones for content amplification.

For the content creation process, the bank has several steps to generate a lead for its credit (loans) services:

  • Education
  • Awareness
  • Motivation

Education comes first because most small business owners desire to learn more about the entire credit process. And, because credit is a complex and often new subject for business owners, the educational phase is crucial to the lead process. The bank wants their potential loan applicants to understand the process well before they apply for the loan. This helps the bank by saving time with customers and helps customers find the right credit source.

Awareness moves people from education (this is what business credit is all about) to “Bank XYZ offers such services.”  It is moving people from the understanding of the topic into understand that Bank XYZ offers the service.

Lastly, motivation comes into the picture – motivating customers to take action and apply with Bank XYZ for credit and loans. 

From our one idea, I’ve generated seven content types:  

  1. Microblogging/social posts 
  2. Multiple blog posts – small business credit, credit cards for small businesses, how businesses can check their credit rating, how credit ratings for businesses are calculated, what can help or hurt your credit rating etc.
  3. Infographics showcasing any of the ideas from the blog posts
  4. Case studies showing how the bank’s consultants helped small businesses improve their credit, fight credit fraud, or obtain credit 
  5. A video of a bank manager explaining how the bank makes their credit decisions, key concepts in small business credit, etc.
  6. A gated white paper or longer position paper on small business credit: what businesses need to know/do
  7. Newsletter content based on the blog posts

Of course, the actual content deliverables depend on the desired budget, staff availability, and timeframe. Perhaps the bank wants to create all the pieces with their own marketing team. The list of suggested content pieces must be pared down to encompass the team’s strengths and bandwidth. Also, if the bank managers aren’t comfortable going on camera, the seventh idea needs to be adapted or changed. And of course, if clients don’t wish to be identified in a case study, that can limit the ability to create them. 

These 7 content types can now be divided into each phase of the content marketing process:


  • Blog Posts
  • White Paper
  • Infographics


  • Social Media Posts
  • Case Studies
  • Videos


  • Social Media Posts
  • Emails

Come up with one topic per month or quarter, then work it to the best of your ability. It will generate more momentum through repetition of concept and ideas. This momentum typically outweighs whatever organic SEO boost a site gets from adding unique ideas by building content clusters. Linking among similar topics on the site boosts organic SEO better than generating dozens of new ideas in the same amount of time.

With this method, executed by professionals such as my team at Seven Oaks Consulting, you can accomplish the following marketing goals:

  • Build and sustain organic SEO traffic
  • Build awareness for your company as an expert in a topic
  • Educate potential customers
  • Nurture customer relationships
  • Augment and support paid lead generation campaigns
  • Generate leads

Content marketing takes considerable time and effort to do right. Generating fresh ideas is one of the most challenging aspects of the content marketing process. But who says you need to have a fresh idea every day, month, or week? One idea can generate multiple creative concepts that supports marketing goals and sustains the lead generation pipeline for many B2B businesses. 

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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.  

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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. 

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9 New Year's Resolutions for Content Marketers

Happy (almost) New Year! Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I'm actually not a big fan myself of resolutions. I always feel that every day is a fresh start. We each get 24 hours with which to make progress on all fronts of our lives - spiritual, physical, mental, personal, business, you name it.

But I know that New Year's Resolutions are an important tradition for many. In that light, I've put together the marketing manager's spin on them.

If you do nothing at all in 2022 but follow these resolutions, I can almost guarantee you a happy, prosperous, and business-filled year. Happy New Year!

9 New Year's Resolutions for Marketing Managers

Repeat after me: In 2022, I resolve to....

  1. Prioritize marketing over other business tasks: It's so easy to tackle everything BUT your marketing! Yes, I own a marketing agency, but before founding Seven Oaks Consulting, I founded and ran an e-commerce business. And I can say from experience that often everything but marketing took priority in my day: answering customer emails, sourcing new products, shipping orders, and more. But the longer you put off marketing tasks, the greater the risk of being forgotten by your customers. With so much competing for customer attention online and off these days, it is essential to make marketing a priority. Resolve to do at least one marketing activity each day to promote your business!
  2. Keep abreast of updates in my field: Whether that means listening to a podcast each week or reading emails from your favorite blogger, make it a point to learn something new each week about your chosen business field or your specific marketing discipline.
  3. Focus on a few tactics to do well: Some businesses try every marketing tactic under the sun, using a "throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks" marketing method. The result is usually an uneven hodgepodge of marketing tactics. Each method might work, but without the energy, enthusiasm, consistency, time, and measurement behind each, it's impossible to know. Instead of trying everything and seeing what works, focus on one or two marketing tactics you believe will work and try them for several months (or even a full year).
  4. Measure the results: Not all marketing methods are easily quantified, but most can be quantified in some way. Whenever you can, measure your marketing activities and use the data to support marketing decisions.
  5. Avoid one-size-fits-all marketing: Just because everyone is on TikTok (or Instagram, or running Google AdWords campaigns, or mailing postcards out) doesn't mean that it's right for your business. Always check the demographics to see if your target audience is reading, listening, or responding to a particular channel before investing in marketing activities there. Your audience may love Facebook and hate Twitter, or may be hard to attract using Google Ads but respond well to content marketing. No two businesses have - or should have - the exact same marketing strategy.
  6. Keep your eyes open: Keep your eyes open and start a 'swipe file', or a sample file, or marketing materials that strike your fancy. While you cannot and should not copy anyone else's marketing materials directly, use this file as inspiration to discover what you like about the marketing activity and why.
  7. Ask for professional help when needed: Don't try to DIY all aspects of your marketing. You can't. I've been a marketing manager for over 30 years and even I don't DIY everything anymore. Besides not having the time anymore to fuss with certain things, I know that my skills lend themselves better to some forms of content marketing (writing) and less to others (video). It's much smarter to invest my time in what I know I can do well and pay someone to do things I don't do well so that the overall end product - the marketing deliverable - is fantastic than to try to save a dime and DIY the entire campaign.
  8. Invest in professional development: Early in 2021, I made what turned out to be a fantastic decision for my business. I invested in my own professional development. I joined a blogging course and weekly mastermind group. And while my blog did not turn into a money making machine, it did teach me a lot about various SEO skills I lacked and helped me to focus on what produced revenue. It was a great experience and one I recommend to anyone able to invest in professional development whether it is a recorded course or a weekly meeting with a coach.
  9. Plan, but be flexible: Resolve to create and follow a marketing plan but remain flexible enough to "go with the flow" should the occasion warrant it. My plans evolved in 2021 but my initial focus remained the same: to build Seven Oaks Consulting into the agency of choice for expert, unique and creative content marketing solutions. This focus, combined with a flexible approach to achieving my goals, enabled me to achieve the goals I set for myself at the start of 2021. Planning, flexibility, and regular check-ins with yourself are the best way that I know of to achieve your goals, too.

2021 was a wild ride, and 2022 is also starting off a bit rocky with so many problems worldwide, including the continuing global pandemic. Through it all, one thing remains: we all wish for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

So here's to your new year, and may your New Year's resolutions yield abundant results. Happy new Year!

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Sustainable Business Practices

A Purpose-Driven Approach 

As society becomes more socially and environmentally conscious, consumer trends are beginning to shift. In a fast-paced, digital world obsessed with hashtags and causes of the month, finding your purpose can seem overwhelming. By incorporating a purpose-driven approach into your business strategy, you can attract more customers and expand your clientele. 

Beyond Profits - The Importance of Having a Purpose  

A purpose-driven business approach focuses on a specific social or environmental cause that resonates with potential customers who care about making a difference in the world. Understanding your target audience is vital to this type of business approach. 

Another critical aspect of creating a purpose-driven business approach is to look beyond your profit margin. The key is understanding the impact your business has on society and the environment. This will allow you to find your niche in a purpose-driven market and refocus your brand. 

One successful example of a purpose-driven business approach is the Green Circle Salons program. This award-winning initiative emphasizes sustainability and seeks to reduce the environmental impact of beauty salons by recycling up to 95% of all waste. 

Sustainable Business Practices: Statistics 

Recent surveys show that the majority of consumers care more about corporate responsibility, and, by extension, sustainable business practices, than ever before. According to statistics retrieved from a 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study

  • 63% of Americans are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward, in the absence of government regulation
  • 78% want companies to address important social justice issues
  • 87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about 
  • 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs

Boost Your sustainable Business practices - Finding Your Purpose 

With many social and environmental causes currently being addressed, any business model can find sustainable business practices to align itself with in a meaningful and effective way. 

  • Be sincere - Find a purpose that is important to you and your target audience rather than jumping on the latest social or environmental cause currently trending on social media. The Container Store focuses on what they refer to as conscious capitalism. Ranked under Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for, they promote creating a positive and inclusive work environment and business approach. 
  • Aligns with your brand - Your brand needs to reflect your core business values. Your core values should reinforce how your business is making a difference in the world. Patagonia, an outdoor clothing and gear company, is very passionate about environmental impact and community activism.

It’s important to remember that a purpose-driven business approach is not the same as running a charity or non-profit organization. Instead, you are focusing more on social responsibility and how your business impacts the community. Sustainable business practices can help you make your mark on the world in a positive way.

Text by Laura LaFrenier, a freelance writer who works with Seven Oaks Consulting. Photo by Roshan Dhimal on Unsplash

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

Does Your Content Stand the Test of Time?


Standing in the entrance hallway of my home is a grandfather clock. But it's not just any grandfather clock. It has passed down through three generations of family on my father's side. My grandparents purchased it in Germany sometime around 1930, and had it shipped back to the United States. It is a beautiful old round-face clock with a walnut cabinet. It no longer chimes, but when it did, the mellow Westminster chimes sound doleful, a deep baritone singing the hours against the heartbeat of the tock-tock of the pendulum.

This clock has withstood the test of time. Its mechanical mechanism continues to mark the minutes and hours with only a minor resetting each week. Its classic design is pleasing, the dial easy to read, the carvings beautiful but not over-the-top.

I thought of the clock today as I was musing about whether or not the myriad of blog posts, articles and content generated every day will pass the test of time. A year from now, will anyone read my blog posts? Will anyone care about Google Hummingbird, or will we be onto the next Google update, the next latest and greatest thing?

Whenever you think about quality content, ask yourself whether it will pass the test of time. Quality content, like my grandfather clock, is timeless.