Blueprints for a Bulletproof Content Marketing Strategy

Picture yourself waking up and checking your phone to find 300 new leads in your inbox since you went to sleep, none of which you paid a single cent for.

A warm feeling washes over you. A grin stretches across your face.

That’s the power of an effective content marketing strategy.

Anyone who’s had a piece of content rank well for their most coveted keywords knows there’s no better thrill. Suddenly, your salespeople are less like salespeople and more like order takers. Qualified traffic floods your site. Your prospects are eager to talk to you.

Getting there isn’t easy, but don’t confuse not easy with expensive or takes forever. Done right, a content marketing strategy can come together faster than you think.      

Here I’ll walk you through the most effective content marketing strategies from some of the smartest content marketers I know. Guaranteed there will be at least one new technique you’ll be able to implement straight away.

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1. Document, Don’t Create

Gary Vaynerchuk is an unstoppable content machine.

On top of publishing five New York Times best sellers and thousands of online videos, he’s the fastest influencer to hop on the hottest new app or social network as soon as he detects the sweet, sweet smell of underpriced attention.

What’s the secret to his success?

It’s a content marketing strategy he calls Document, Don’t Create.

Document, Don’t Create is the idea that a successful content marketing strategy is built around publishing a lot of content on a regular basis, and the only way to do that scalably is to document your process instead of creating content from scratch.

Here’s Gary explaining it in his own words (12:30 min – 15:00 min):

“You should be putting out content on a very regular basis. You should start a pillar show. You should be doing Instagram stories and Snapchat stories at scale. You should be putting out 7 – 25 pieces of content on both those platforms a day. And let me explain how. Don’t go fancy. Document, don’t create. It’s a big shift.”

When it comes to making that much content, he compares it to producing The Real World and the Kardashians instead of Star Wars and Friends.

In other words, don’t spend forever planning out every frame.

Turn on a camera and capture real, behind-the-scenes moments of your business.

Here are some of Vaynerchuk’s examples:

Why is Document, Don’t Create effective?

Document, Don’t Create works for a lot of reasons—mainly the following.

Reason 1: Running a business is inherently interesting.

Maybe your workplace isn’t exactly Mad Men, but I guarantee it’s interesting to your customers and prospects. It doesn’t matter if you sell hot sauce, marketing software, or private vocal coaching sessions, there’s inevitably a way to document what you’re doing and make it interesting.

Why does this resonate? According to TechWyse, “People want raw, uncut, honest, and informal conversations about business, life, and learning. When you throw out the scripts and just started talking in an authentic way, things start to take off.”

Reason 2: No one knows your product better than those building and selling it.

What makes more sense: getting you, your sales folks, and your product people to talk about your business or a blogger who has no deep knowledge of what’s going on?

It’s a no-brainer.

Focus on featuring the people in your trenches—those who are solving problems, interacting with customers, and have a passion for what you’re doing. Content featuring those people is more authentic than a strategy reliant on siloed marketers.

Reason 3: It allows you to pump out content. Fast.

When it comes to writing content from scratch vs. documenting your process and repurposing footage, there’s no contest.

One video with the CEO could turn into 10 social posts, 2 blogs, 5 YouTube clips, etc.

Unless you have hordes of writers, there’s no faster way to produce that much content. Yes, you still need a content team, but they’ll be focused on coordinating and repurposing material rather than penning mediocre blog posts.

How do I get started?

How do you start capturing the amazing things happening in your company?

Gary Vee says: “Just start.”

Get in the habit of picking up a camera and capturing as much as possible.

Start interviewing people, collaborating with internal thought leaders, and repurposing pieces being produced in other divisions.

If this is brand new to you, I recommend following these ten steps:

  1. Book a meeting to introduce the idea and explain the strategy to other marketers, salespeople, and leadership from whom you need buy-in.
  2. Commit to sharing 1 piece per day. You’ll ramp up eventually, but start by publishing something every day for the first few weeks.
  3. Try a pilot month where you don’t produce any content from scratch. You’re only allowed to document and repurpose what others are doing.
  4. Create a #document-dont-create channel in Slack for collaboration. Invite everyone who will be responsible for execution, as well as the internal thought leaders and decision makers who you want to contribute.
  5. Create a recording schedule to capture moments from around the company. If you know that key meetings are happening on certain days, make sure you’ve got coverage for those times. You can also schedule short sessions with key people on a regular basis for interviews and Q&A.
  6. Establish a thought-leadership committee. Interview one person per week and turn that interview into multiple pieces of content.
  7. Interview the people who created your old content (e.g., white papers, webinars, etc.) and pick their brains on their areas of expertise. Cut up the old content into smaller pieces and share on social.
  8. Put a camera in the corner of your boardroom and record key meetings. Adopt a mentality of capturing first and editing later. If something contains sensitive or inappropriate information, you can remove it in post.
  9. Download recordings from your call system. If you’re using Zoom or GoToWebinar or any other system that records calls, download the recordings from key meetings or sales conversations and cut them up into marketable bits. Your sales and success people are handling objections and solving problems every day—dig up the gold and use it.
  10. Film sound clips & testimonials from customers whenever they stop by your office or you happen to be near them.

Full disclosure: a lot of the suggestions above are tougher than they sound.

When I rolled out Document, Don’t Create with my team, it took a lot more effort than I expected. People loved the idea, but their feet got cold as soon as we started recording. Be aware that it’s going to take some coaching and practice in front of the camera. That’s why your team is so important, which leads me to…

Who should I hire?

Gary Vee has 22 full-time employees on his content team, in which he has personally invested over 7 figures. That’s purely for his personal brand.

Do you need to start with 22 employees?

No. Start with three if you can afford it. If not, start with one.

In his interview with Brian Mazza, Gary hammers the point home:

Gary: Start with three people at $100k, because you can get three kids at 35k. If it has to be one at $35k to start, that’s the blueprint. Every day in the office.

Brian Mazza: How can I get in front of more people and be more impactful?

Gary Vee: Hire more people. This [pointing at room of employees], that’s it. The fuck are they doing? The fuck are those 20 people doing? They’re biz-deving, they’re developing. That nerd in the corner is building my Facebook message bot. He’s filming. Andy’s strategizing everything. Seth’s working on the audio. Sof, right now, is DMing influencers that have enough awareness and engagement that it feels like there could be something worth my time. Se-nan is focusing on pre-roll YouTube video. Tyler’s my ad man. The second you realize you’re Barstool and CNN and ESPN and Vogue—the second you realize you’re THAT—is the second you decide, “Ok, if I’m that, well who’s the writer?” Once you decide you’re actually a media company comma human being, you’ll be off to the races.

What equipment do I need?

You do not—I repeat, DO NOT—need expensive equipment or editing software to get started. Your phone + the free editing tools on your computer are fine.

As long as you’ve got good lighting and a decent mic, you’re ok.

Now. If you want to go full-blown professional, here is the equipment that DRock uses for producing Gary Vee’s content.

It includes a Sony a7S camera with a variety of lenses, Zoom recorder, Joby Gorillapod, Sennheiser AVX wireless mic & lav set, and more.

You can find DRock’s equipment and software here via Kit >

Alternately, here’s the gear that Tim Ferris uses to record his shows.

If you don’t want to drop a ton of cash on equipment and just want a decent mic for podcasting or interviews, I recommend the Blue Yeti with a pop screen. It’s the easiest, most popular USB mic for podcasters and streamers by far.

What’s the recording process?

As much as Gary films by the seat of his pants, a lot of his content marketing strategy is carefully coordinated, too.

Take the #AskGaryVee Show. Here’s a behind-the-scenes video of how they do it:

The (rough) production process of the #AskGaryVee Show

  1. Set up a recording room ahead of time. Make sure batteries are charged, memory cards have enough space, mics are working, etc.
  2. Source questions from online. Interact with your social community and see if there’s anything they want answered or prepare your own questions.
  3. Bring in the speaker(s) and mic up. Do a quick sound and lighting check.
  4. Record the content.
  5. Offload video footage to computer.
  6. Edit video footage and combine with premade sequences like intro montages, logo bumpers, transition effects, etc.
  7. Upload to online channels and release.

From start to finish, the production of one #AskGaryVee episode takes approximately 5 – 6 hours. If you’re just getting started with your own vlog, count on it taking three or four times as long while you iron out the kinks.

Final word: Document, Don’t Create

If you’re not convinced by now that Document, Don’t create is one of the most scalable and effective ways to build a content marketing strategy, I’ve failed. Give it a college try and see what happens—and don’t give up when your videos don’t go viral.

Practice, practice, practice.

Start with the 10 steps I outlined and go from there. As Gary says, “Ideas are shit without execution. Put your head down and work.”

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2. Repurposing Pillar Content

If Document, Don’t Create is the method by which Gary Vaynerchuk is constructing his “honey empire”, then pillar content is the cornerstone of that strategy.

Pillar content is any piece of content (usually a long-form video or audio show) from which all other pieces in your content marketing strategy are derived.

The idea is to create a sizeable piece of content and then carve it into microcontent that can be shared across your channels in order to promote the larger piece.

Here is the 6-step model Gary uses for creating and leveraging pillar content:

Step 1: Establish pillar content

Start by establishing what Gary calls a “pillar show”.

For Gary, his pillar shows include:

  1. A daily vlog (Dailyvee)
  2. Dedicated content shows (#AskGaryVee, #podSessions, influencer meetings)
  3. Keynotes & fireside chats

Gary is an insanely busy guy, so pillar shows allow his team to get consistent time with him and generate as much content as possible.

If you don’t have time to do a vlog and a podcast and a blog and an interview series with influencers, pick one and try it out. I cannot stress enough, however, that you need at least one long-form show that hits it out of the park.

Without a great piece of pillar content, the rest of this strategy falls apart.

Step 2: Create microcontent

Once your pillar content is recorded, review the footage and look for moments that will resonate with your audience.

When you find the right moments, turn them into short clips and image quotes.

For example, here’s a piece of microcontent that Gary plucked from a two-hour keynote:

This single post has generated 712,000 views and 104,000 likes on Instagram while the full keynote video generated only 295,000 views and 5,000 likes by comparison.

That’s a 7x improvement in viewership and 60x improvement in engagement!

Just by repurposing and promoting the most powerful moments from longer pieces of content, you can improve the ROI of your material dramatically.

Step 3: Distribute pillar & micro content

Once you have your pillar content and microcontent, distribute them across social.

Use the first round of microcontent to drive viewership back to the pillar content, like this:

As far as posting goes, don’t space things out too far. Gary does it one minute apart, making sure the pillar content is posted first so it can be linked to from the microcontent.

Step 4: Get community insights

After you’ve distributed the pillar content and microcontent, Gary says listen to your audience to find out which pieces resonated.

When Bobbi Smith tweets that she loves a quote from your podcast, note it.

When Jack Jones says he digs the line at 11:34 of your YouTube video, note it.

If you’re having trouble generating awareness, you might have to promote the content to get more eyeballs on it. For better engagement, ask viewers to leave comments with quotes or time stamps of their favorite parts.

Step 5: Make community-base microcontent

The feedback that Bobbi Smith and Jack Jones left on your social posts? Use it to create more microcontent.

Turn great comments into images on Instagram.

Edit clips of the sections that people enjoyed for Facebook.

Repurpose funny GIFs that fans developed and post to Twitter.

All of these repurposed snippets become new original content as they are edited and presented in a new way with custom copy and titles.

Step 6: Distribute 2nd round of microcontent

Once you have your community-driven microcontent, distribute it across social.

After that, Gary suggests going the extra mile by writing articles for Quora, Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your website based on the pillar content by expanding on the transcriptions and adding new points.

He says: “Colin Campbell is a beast in transcribing me. He’ll listen to my videos and then he’ll pitch me, ‘Hey, let’s do “Betting on Your Strengths.”’ He’ll transcribe everything but it’ll be missing some stuff. He’ll call me and interview me for some more questions, and then I’m speaking first-person in a blog post.”

By adopting this framework, you’ll be able to improve your team’s efficiency and build a content marketing strategy that resonates with your audience.

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3. Why Change: Defeating Status Quo Bias

Funny story: I saw Tim Riesterer speak at a conference in Scottsdale two years ago and got so fired up by his presentation that when I got home, I ran to my CMO’s office smiling like a kid on Christmas morning.

Our conversation went something like this…

Devon: Hey Jeff, I just saw the best speaker I’ve ever seen. We need to do everything he talked about!

Jeff: Hold on, hold on. I just got back from Vegas where I saw the best speaker I’ve ever seen. We need to start doing everything he talked about.”

Devon: Really? What’s his name?

Jeff: Tim.

Devon: Tim?

Jeff: Rosterler, I think?

Devon: Wait. Wait, wait wait. Tim Reistersher!?

Jeff: Is that how you say it?

Devon: I don’t know, but I think we’re talking about the same guy!

Sure enough, we were both talking about Tim Riesterer (last name pronounced “REECE-ter”, by the way, which took way too long to figure out).

It turns out I had seen him in Arizona and Jeff had seen him shortly after in Vegas.

If you have never had the pleasure of hearing Tim speak, his presentation is one of the few keynotes that once you’ve experienced it, you’ll immediately want to run out of whatever conference you’re attending to fly home and put it into action.

It’s not only an entertaining talk—it’s a game-changing content marketing strategy. There are a few versions floating around YouTube, but the one from LeadsCon is the best.

The essence of Tim’s talk is simple: your biggest enemy—the biggest threat to your success—isn’t your competition.

It’s the status quo.

Status quo bias is a person’s natural preference for inaction, for staying the course instead of doing something different.

In his research with Stanford, Tim found that up to 80% of people who work their way through a buyer’s journey end up making no decision at all.

This is the bane of every business’s existence.

Everyone thinks that generating revenue means taking market share away from their biggest rival, but the reality is your biggest opportunity is the 80% of people who thought “maybe I need to do something different” and ultimately decided not to.

Here’s a clip from when I interviewed Tim and asked him about it.

Before we dive into the framework for beating status quo bias, here’s the science behind what it is and why it exists.

The Science Behind Status Quo Bias

Neuroscience points to four main reasons why people don’t change their behavior.

Picture it like a ball-and-chain effect. Each of these following four causes is shackled to a prospect’s legs making it difficult for him to budge.

The first ball-and-chain is called preference stability.

Preference stability is the idea that when you make a decision you establish a preference for that decision, and your natural tendency is to keep things stable.

“We hate uncertainty,” Tim says, “and so what we try to do when we hear something new—the first defense mechanism that kicks in—is what I call the ‘Liking Principle’. When somebody says, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, but I think it’s kind of like what I’m already doing. I think it’s kind of like what everyone else is talking about.’ The word ‘like’ is your enemy.”

The second ball-and-chain is cost of change.

People view whatever they are currently doing as free, while a change in behavior is viewed as costly.

“I’m going to have to rethink the budget.”

“I might have to get consensus with a whole committee of people.”

“It’s a lot of time and money to change things up.”

These are common objections, and you have an uphill battle convincing people otherwise. The trick is to show them there’s a cost to staying the same.

The third ball-and-chain is selection difficulty.

Selection difficulty is the result of being overwhelmed by information, and the defense mechanism is to think, “Geez, all of these options sound the same. I’m going to simplify things and make a decision based on price.”

This stems from the fact that your brain needs contrast to make a decision, and if everything looks the same, there’s no contrast. So the only way you’re going to switch is if you can create contrast, and the easiest way to do that is to compare pricing. To break free from selection difficulty, you need to show contrast between what you offer and what your prospects are currently doing without defaulting to price.

The last ball-and-chain is anticipated regret and blame.

Anticipated regret comes from anticipating the negative outcome of a decision and blaming yourself for it.

Essentially, you think, “Maybe things aren’t perfect right now, but at least I’m not dead yet. If I make a change and do something different, that could kill me.”

This last hurdle is key. Even if you do a good job addressing the first three balls-and-chains, you still have to overcome people’s fear of regret. The best way to do that is with a hero story. More on that in a minute.

Now that you’re familiar with the four elements of status quo bias, here’s how to defeat them with the perfect sales pitch thanks to proven neuroscience.

Step 1: Destabilize preference stability

How do you start your marketing message with a bang?

You have to lead with an unconsidered need.

“The most powerful tool you have,” Tim says, “is the unconsidered need. You have tell the customer something they don’t already know about a problem or a missed opportunity they didn’t know they had. That’s how you destabilize preferences.”

Most marketers ignore this approach.

Instead, companies start with customer research and craft their messaging around the needs their target market tells them about. The problem with this approach? You’re going to be delivering commodity messages (see the red box below) that won’t differentiate you because your competitors are likely doing the same thing.

So the next thing marketers tend to do is talk about their unique selling points. Unfortunately, when you start introducing new value-added services, people perceive these extra capabilities as adding costs and complexity, not value.

Instead, research says you should find unconsidered needs and lead with those.

An unconsidered need is exactly what it sounds like: a need that people haven’t considered. The key is that customers didn’t tell you about it—you surprised them. And by surprising them, you can have a dramatic impact on their decision making.

How do you find unconsidered needs? Look for the following:

  1. A need that customers under-appreciate. This is likely a problem they don’t understand the size of—or the speed at which it’s hurtling toward them. Example: Artificial intelligence could replace them in the next 5 years.
  2. A need for which people have done workarounds. Look for areas where they’ve hidden an underlying problem that will eventually catch up with them.
  3. A need that your prospects don’t even know about. This is the one that Apple tends to lean into. It’s a type of need that people didn’t know existed because they didn’t know there was something to fix it.

Once you’ve unearthed your unconsidered needs, you need to tie them to your value-added services. In other words, don’t lead with services—lead to them.

By leading with unconsidered needs and tying them to your value props, research shows that you can generate a 50% increase in the perception of differentiation and a 10% increase in persuasion. (Corporate Visions)

Step 2: Cut the cost of change

According to Prospect Theory (the theory that earned Daniel Kahneman a Nobel Prize), people are 2-3x more likely to do something different in order to avoid a loss than go after some sort of gain.

Let that sink in.

People are two or three times more likely to do something in order to avoid a loss than achieve a gain. And yet virtually every company leads with the gain!

To test this out, Stanford and Corporate Visions recruited executives and split them into two groups. Each group was given the choice between two scenarios.

GROUP 1: You’re the CEO of a company that’s going through tough times. Option A: You can save one-third of all your workers and let go of two-thirds. Option B: You can hire a risky vendor that has a 33% chance of saving everyone’s job but a 66% chance of losing everything.

GROUP 2: You’re the CEO of a company that’s going through tough times. Option A: You can let go of two-thirds of all your workers and keep one-third. Option B: You can hire a risky vendor that gives you a small probability—a 33% chance—of losing nothing. Unfortunately, there’s a high risk that the vendor could lose everything.

The results?

In group one, 74% of executives chose Option A and 26% chose Option B.

In group two, 55% of executives chose Option A and 45% chose Option B.

If you haven’t figured it out, the math in the experiment is the exact same.

The researchers were able to generate a 70% increase in persuadability simply by changing the wording.

“Your words and story matter,” Tim says. “It seems like a subtle tweak, but for a 70% increase in persuadability, it’s time we all pay attention to how we frame things. It just uses brain science to your advantage. It doesn’t lie about anything. It simply repositions it in a way that affects a person differently.”

Step 3: Eliminate selection difficulty

Marketers have a tendency to view their prospects as damsels in distress.

They think their “new-and-improved” products are going to swoop in and save the day, so the company ends up sounding like a pretentious superhero.

But prospects see right through it. Inside, they’re thinking, “Oh, you’re saying I’m doing something wrong just because you’ve got something new? Screw off.”

Tim says you need to make people feel smarter because they heard your message, not make them feel stupid. And they feel stupid if you put them in a position of seeming like they need to be rescued.

What you need to do is invoke the most powerful form of persuasion known to humankind: self-persuasion.

To leverage self-persuasion, you have to use contrast.

Start by describing the concerns, questions, limitations, and flaws in someone’s current approach BEFORE you talk about your capabilities.

When it’s time to bring up your company, the key is to create contrast with visuals.

Here’s an example of how we created contrast at Vendasta with our landing pages:

It shows contrast between our hosting platform vs. WPEngine with comparison tables and imagery depicting that the grass is greener (literally) on our side of the fence.

Why do visuals perform better than words? Because the part of the brain responsible for decision making—the limbic system—doesn’t use language. It relies on imagery.

If you do a good job describing the challenges of your prospect’s current approach AND use imagery to show the differences between their current state and desired future state, they will better understand why you do what you do.

Step 4: Tell a good hero story

Congratulations! If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve been able to beat the first three obstacles of status quo bias. The last step is to tell a compelling hero story.

A good hero story is more than a customer success story.

One of the best storytelling frameworks was established by Alcoholics Anonymous.

“In Alcohols Anonymous,” Tim says, “they identified that you can’t tell someone they’re an alcoholic and have them take the course. They have to persuade themselves, but they only persuade themselves when they hear a story of someone like them. And that story can’t just be, ‘Hey, here’s how great my life is on the other side.’ That story must start with where I started. What it looked like, what it sounded like, what it felt like, what it smelt like, what I dealt with. So when you tell a customer success story, don’t just talk about the upside on the other end. Talk about where the customer started and what they were dealing with.”

What this boils down to is that great success stories are before-and-after stories.

You can’t just talk about your customers’ success. You need to start by painting a vivid picture of where they started, and only then will others self-identify and relate.

Now go back and look at your case studies and testimonials.

Do you lead with detailed, emotional descriptions of your customers’ challenges? Or do you dive straight into solutions? If it’s the latter, go back and rework them.

Summary: How to beat the status quo

If there’s one thing to take away from the research on status quo bias, it’s to think more about your “why change” story than your “why us” story.

From there, the framework for an effective content marketing strategy is simple:

  • Destabilize preference stability with an unconsidered need. These can be needs that customers underappreciate, needs for which they’ve done workarounds, or needs they didn’t know they have.
  • Show prospects the cost of staying the same, as well as potential gains
  • Create clear, visual contrast between people’s current state and desired future state
  • Tell a before-and-after story that prospects can identify with, particularly with their challenges upfront—not just a story that focuses on results.

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4. Why Stay: Remaining the Status Quo

In the last content marketing strategy, I outlined the most effective framework for how to tell your marketing message based on research by Stanford and Corporate Visions.

The premise was simple. When you’re marketing to new prospects, you’re asking them to change—to do something different than what they’re currently doing. Unfortunately, people don’t like change. Social psychologists even have a term for it: status quo bias.

Stanford and Corporate Visions studied status quo bias and found a powerful framework for combating it, wherein marketers need to disrupt the four root causes enforcing the brain’s resistance to change.

Go ahead and get the full framework here.

(I highly recommend reviewing that post before continuing with this one.)

The previous research—the “Why Change” study—validated a framework for what companies need to say in order to defeat status quo bias.

But what do you do when you ARE the status quo?

What do you do when you’re the incumbent? When your success depends on protecting customer relationships? Is there an ideal messaging approach for keeping customers, too? The answer is yes.

Spoiler: If you’re more of a visual person, here’s Tim from Corporate Visions explaining the strategy in Phoenix. It’s fantastic. Highly recommended watching it.

“Here’s the bottom line,” Tim says. “You can statistically, significantly improve the intention to renew by actually reinforcing status quo bias.”

To defeat status quo bias, we learned that you need to defeat these four things:

But to remain the status quo, you need to reinforce those four things:

The following are the five key steps for reinforcing status bias, as well as the actual scripts that were used in the stuy so you can see how the messages were framed and the structure that provides the best results.

Step 1: Document results

Whenever you start a renewal conversion, you should begin by documenting the results and successes you’ve had. This comes before any of the status quo stuff.

Open with the recap that revenue has improved X%, satisfaction has gone up by y%, certain goals that were set out have been achieved, etc.

List anything and everything that’s good.

Step 2: Validate prior decisions

Now we get to the good stuff—the brain science.

Your first step to reinforcing status quo bias is to reinforce preference stability, because (hint hint) their current preference is for you.

Corporate Visions says: “Make a point of reminding customers of the long, hard process they went through to make their original buying decision. This will reinforce their natural tendency to keep their previous decisions and preferences stable.”

Step 3: Mention risks of change

The next step to solidifying status quo bias is to show customers that changing something at this point is risky, which reinforces their anticipated regret and blame.

Remind them how much effort it took to ramp up. How much time was spent onboarding everyone, managing the changes, and getting the implementation done.

Again, the message here should be that changing anything at this point risks stalling or taking a step backwards and once more leaves them vulnerable.

Step 4: Highlight cost of change

The second-last step to reinforcing status quo bias is to highlight costs of change.

Walk customers through the start-up costs that were invested and have now been returned through improved performance. Plus, point out that you’re now part of the ongoing operating budget.

People believe change costs more than staying the same—confirm that.

Step 5: Reinforce selection difficulty

The last step to reinforcing status quo bias is to reinforce selection difficulty.

Corporate Visions says: “Let your customer know you’ve continued to update your program to keep pace with other competitive offerings in the market. People struggle to change if they don’t see sufficient contrast between alternatives. And though it may seem counterintuitive, there is less pressure to prove competitive differentiation during a renewal discussion. In fact, it may be optimal to demonstrate that you are more alike.”

At the end of the day, the smartest thing you can say is that you’re more or less the same as everybody else.

“When all our life we’ve been taught to be different,” Tim says, “potentially in this moment the most important thing you can say is ‘We’re not.’ Because if you’re not, why would [the customer] take the risk of change?

Summary: How to stay the status quo

When you’re delivering a Why Stay message, it is the opposite of the Why Change story. It deliberately needs to reinforce status quo bias.

What if you want to get your customers to adopt something new? When should you talk about that?

“Talk about it in the middle of the contract when the renewal is not on the line,” Tim says. “Go in there and have a QBR, talk about the new things you’re working on, share some new insights and ideas. But the moment of renewal is NOT the time to introduce insights or provoke your customer or challenge them to do something different. It actually increases the likelihood they’ll leave.”

Full Script from the Why Stay? Study

5. Trojan Horse Surveys

A while back, my colleague and managing editor at Vendasta, Dew Smith, had a great idea to combine our research surveys with lead generation.

The idea was simple:

  1. Promote a survey to our target audience asking about their challenges
  2. Add a couple questions at the end for whether or not they would like to hear about how we help solve those challenges
  3. Incentivize the survey with $20 gift cards to get more responses
  4. Follow up with respondents who said they want to hear more about our solutions

It’s extremely smart—lead gen disguised as research.

Trojan horse surveys, if you will.

So we tried one out…and it worked!

Over 33% of people who took the survey indicated that they wanted to hear more about our products. Even though the cost per lead was higher than other programs because we were giving out $20 gift cards to everyone who participated, it was worth it because these were bottom-funnel leads that converted into presentations at a higher rate than top-of-funnel leads for our sales team.

If $60 – $80 leads are too rich for your blood, play around with the incentive. Offer discounts or cheaper gift cards or no incentive at all and see if people still respond.

Which survey questions work best?

Make sure that your survey comes across as research first and lead gen second.

Here’s the first question we asked in the survey we sent to agencies.

  • What are the biggest challenges your business is facing? Rate the following from 1 to 5, where 1 is “not challenging” and 5 is “extremely challenging.”
    • Finding qualified leads
    • Managing sales pipeline
    • Technical aspects of integrating new solutions (APIs, SSO, etc.)
    • Logistical aspects of integrating new solutions (marketing resources, team training, client awareness, etc.)
    • Setting and managing client expectations
    • Fulfilling services
    • Reporting
    • Billing and accounting

For each of the options above, we then dove deeper and asked follow-up questions.

  • What are your biggest challenges in regards to finding qualified leads? Rate the following from 1 to 5, where 1 is “not challenging” and 5 is “extremely challenging.”
    • Identifying my target market
    • Researching prospects
    • Contacting decision makers
    • Creating marketing collateral
    • High cost per lead
    • Other (please specify)
  • What are your biggest challenges in regards to managing sales pipeline? Rate the following from 1 to 5, where 1 is “not challenging” and 5 is “extremely challenging.”
    • Tracking the efficiency of our sales team
    • Tracking sales opportunities and pipeline
    • Training our sales team on digital marketing
    • Sales team education on pricing and margins
    • Incentivizing our sales team to sell digital
    • Other (please specify)

After digging into each of the topics from question #1, we wrapped up with a few questions about how respondents were solving their challenges.

  • What are you currently doing to overcome your challenges?
  • Any additional comments about the challenges your business is facing?

Lastly, for the call to action at the end of the survey, we tested a few soft asks to see if people would like to hear more about our solutions. Here are a few that worked well:

  • Please provide your email address to get a copy of the published study.
  • Are you interested in hearing about our products & services to help you with __________, __________, and __________?
  • Want your business to be featured in our study that will reach thousands of influencers? Provide a quote about _______. We’ll feature the best ones and link to your site.

Overall, surveys are great conversation starters. By asking questions about people’s challenges, you hear what they have to say and come across as knowledgeable, empathetic, and helpful.

6. Lead Magnets That Convert Like Fire

The cardinal rule of any content marketing strategy worth its weight in leads is that every piece you publish should have a call to action promoting an irresistible lead magnet.

A lead magnet is an incentive—usually some sort of free template or ebook or tool—someone receives in exchange for their contact information. As the name implies, this magnet generates leads that marketing can nurture into sales.

This strategy sounds simple, and yet marketers mess it up every day.



Instead of going through the trouble of making a new magnet for every blog post—along with fresh landing pages, banners, UTMs, and the rest of those necessary evils—we tack on an old lead magnet (or worse, a generic CTA like “Subscribe to our blog”) and then sit back and scratch our heads wondering why conversion is only .5%.

The formula itself is simple:

  1. Write content about a relevant topic based on good keyword research.
  2. At the end of the content, say: “Did you like this content about XYZ? Download ________ that we published on the same subject!”
  3. Link to a landing page where they can download the content in exchange for their contact info.

Step two is the make-or-break step. Your articles should have a lead magnet that’s directly related to the topic at hand—preferably a tool or template that helps the reader with whatever they came looking for in the first place.

Take HubSpot’s article, Email Marketing Best Practices: How to Send Emails Your Subscribers Will Love. At the end of the article, this is the call to action:

The post is about email marketing and the lead magnet is a guide to email marketing.

Bingo, bango, bongo. That’s how it’s done.

Unfortunately, HubSpot has gotten lazy in recent years, too.

Of the top posts currently on their blog, none of them have a relevant CTA.

  1. 9 Secrets to Getting a Response From the CEO in 2018” >> CTA = Click to apply to the HubSpot Sales Partner Program.
  2. How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value” >> CTA = Subscribe now to the HubSpot services blog.
  3. The Sales Manager Job Description Template That Will Help You Find the Perfect Candidate” >> CTA = Get HubSpot’s free CRM.

I understand different posts have different purposes and HubSpot might have good reasons for sometimes omitting lead magnets, but c’mon? NONE of the posts I checked have anything good. For shame.

Instead, the lead magnets and CTAs should be something like these:

  1. 9 Secrets to Getting a Response From the CEO in 2018” >> CTA = Cold email templates for reaching out to CEOs. Download now.
  2. How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value” >> CTA = Download our Customer Lifetime Value calculator for Google Sheets.
  3. The Sales Manager Job Description Template That Will Help You Find the Perfect Candidate” >> CTA = Download 10 bonus job description templates for sales managers and start using them now.

The last two examples are so obvious it hurts. The words “calculate” and “template” are in the titles, so people searching for those terms are already expecting calculators and templates. Give the people what they want!

That leads me to the next piece of advice…

Use tools and templates!

Ebooks and white papers are good. Templates and tools are better.

Webinars and checklists are good. Templates and tools are better.

Case studies and infographics are good. Templates and tools are better.


Your mission is to make lives easier and be as helpful as possible. Sending someone to an ebook or white paper or webinar usually requires them to do more thinking and figure out a solution themselves.

On the flip side, a tool like an ROI calculator or social media scheduler says, “Hey, we’ve done most of the work for you. Check it out and save a ton of time.”

Saving people time is the best source of value. Even if that means putting in more effort yourself to develop tools and templates, it’ll pay off in droves.

To hammer the point home, here’s the most successful post on my blog.

Post: Blueprints for a $20 Million Webinar Funnel, Inspired by Sam Ovens.

Topic: How to build the funnel for Sam Ovens’ consulting webinar.

Lead magnet: Templates for the Sam Ovens funnel.

Not rocket science, right? And yet this post has generated more leads than all my other posts combined thanks to following the simple formula:

  1. Good article with good keyword optimization (“sam ovens templates”)
  2. Call to action with relevant lead magnet (Sam Ovens templates)
  3. Landing page with free lead magnet in exchange for contact info

In fact, this particular post got so popular it was noticed by Sam himself, who then began a campaign with the message “Get off my lawn.”

Can’t say I’m not a little proud about that 😉

Sometimes the basics are better than the best growth hacks. This is one of ‘em.

7. Reaching the Top of Reddit

A while ago, I saw this post by Jon Buchan in Josh Fechter’s Facebook Group, Badass Marketers and Founders (BAMF), and it caught my eye.

Intrigued, I checked out the breakdown and was immediately impressed that his success was achieved purely through good copywriting. No shadiness necessary.

Here’s the post itself, and here’s the deck where he explains his process.

Step 1: Craft the perfect title

Arguably, the best part of Jon’s Reddit post is the title.

It’s direct and provocative. Were it the subject line of an email, it would have an astronomically high open rate.

When coming up with a headline, Jon suggests the following:

  • Accidental (drunk) is better than deliberate, especially when it’s life-changing.
  • Use curiosity & novelty. “Drunk” may mean this story could be funny or least unusual, which is important for drawing people in.

Step 2: Write a great intro

According to Jon, good intros include four elements: identity, struggle, discovery, and surprise. Here’s how he opened his successful post:

Identity: “I was desperate for sales…”

Struggle: “…hellishly drunk…”

Discovery: “…wrote a completely absurd cold email…”

Surprise: “To my astonishment, it worked…”

It’s important to cut to the chase and cover all four of these elements quickly so you can keep people’s attention and pull their eyes down the page.

Step 3: Segue into proof

Now that your story’s going at a good clip, you should segue into proof. After all, Reddit is a cynical community, and you’re going to have to prove you’re not lying.

Jon does this by dropping a few big names and then linking to a letter he received from someone he was prospecting.

He emphasizes the following:

  • Use big names to get attention
  • Also reference smaller businesses
  • Make sure the companies are in different sectors
  • Note that your solution can work for other use cases, too. In the example, Jon’s advice isn’t just good for sales—you can use it to get PR exposure, job interviews, and book podcast spots, too.
  • Offer of help to anyone who wants it

For visual proof, link to an image that proves you’re telling the truth. Here’s the letter Jon shared via someone else’s Twitter profile, which adds more believability.

Step 4: Provide value

If you’ve done everything right so far, you’ll have people legitimately engaged with your story. Now it’s time to drop a value bomb.

In Jon’s example, he dives into an effective email marketing strategy.

Lastly, he wraps things up with a quick conclusion and more social proof.

Again, Jon says, “Reddit is very cynical. As such, I provided further proof that would satisfy all but the real conspiracy theorists.”

He also notes that since he’s provided so much value, he can get away with posting a link to his Facebook group.

Step 5: Respond to comments obsessively

One of the not-so-secret secrets to milking the Reddit algorithm is to generate as much engagement as possible.

Every time someone comments, you should reply. No exceptions.

Jon says, “I made sure to obsessively check the thread and comment. This kept people engaged, increases the comment number (people will more likely visit highly commented threads), and people know I’ll reply if they post a question for me.”

Key points to keep in mind

  • “The drunk cold email that changed my life” is a great title. Don’t underestimate the power of a good hook.
  • Use the identity, struggle, discovery, surprise formula for a good opener.
  • Make people laugh or at least smirk within the first 10 seconds of reading.
  • Talk about the benefits to your life. Jon says, “I deliberately covered multiple sectors, company sizes, and uses so people couldn’t respond with ‘Well, that’s good but I bet it won’t work for XXX.’”
  • Provide solid proof, preferably through other people’s social accounts.
  • Provide tons of useful content, including tools and/or templates. Jon says, “This gives you a pass to post a URL at the very end of your post. Without it, you’ll get downvoted to hell.”
  • Respond to all comments obsessively.

8. Emmy Award-Winning Content Marketing

A while ago I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a sponsored post with Anthony Bourdain’s face on it and the headline, “Anthony Bourdain Does Not Want to Owe Anybody Even a Single Dollar.” Being a Bourdain fan, I clicked on it.

What followed was a great article about Anthony’s financial situation growing up and his philosophies on saving—complete with trademark Bourdain humor and all.

At the start of the article, it said: “Wealthsimple is a whole new kind of investing service. This is the latest installment of our recurring series “Money Diaries,” in which interesting people tell the unvarnished truth about their financial lives. We believe being honest about money is always valuable, even if it isn’t always good investment advice.”

And so began my love affair with Wealthsimple’s content marketing strategy.

First off, kudos to Wealthsimple for hacking Hollywood like champs. Swear to God, someone over there poached Horace Slughorn from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and made him their director of influencer marketing.

Take one look at their Money Diaries series, and you’ll see an impressive list of interviews with A-listers discussing their finances.

Anthony Bourdain.

Kim Kardashian.

Elijah Wood. Margaret Atwood. Gary Numan. Woody Harrelson. Kevin Bacon. Jon Hamm. Kylie Jenner. Spike Lee. Awkwafina. Maria Bamford. Abbi Jacobson. French Montana. Tegan and Sara. Paul Reiser. Iman Shumpert.

The list goes on.

And on.

And on.

How in the world did a fintech company manage to execute better influencer marketing than most agencies in a long, looong time? I reached out to Davy Rothbart, the producer of many (most? all?) of their Money Diaries posts to find out.

Davy Rothbart’s CV is extensive—although I didn’t know that when I emailed him out of the blue and asked to chat about Money Diaries. I had seen his name at the bottom of the articles and decided to drop him a line.

Turns out the guy is an Emmy-award-winning director, Wikipedia page and everything.

Further proof of my ignorance arrived when I asked one of our content marketing strategists to hop on the call with me, and he Slacked back with this:

Ok, Patrick. Calm down. We’ve got an interview to do.

Fast forward to the call.

Davy shows up to the Google Hangout with his fricking Emmy Award perched on his shoulder like a golden parrot. How cool is that?!?!

Anyhow, Davy is a great guy. We had something like twenty minutes blocked off, but I think he ended up giving us over an hour of his time.

He prefaced the call by saying, “I don’t know if any of this will help, but here’s what I do.” Turns out, there was tons of advice that marketers should hear.

For the sake of structure, I’ve broken it into three parts: recruiting A-list influencers, the process of interviewing, and the critical elements of storytelling.

Without further ado, here’s how an Emmy-award-winning filmmaker executes a powerful content marketing strategy.

How to recruit A-list influencers

You’d think that having Hollywood connections would help you with influencer marketing…

Well, it turns out it does.

Davy straight up said that a lot of the interviews he has done for Wealthsimple have been set up because—true to Hollywood fashion—he knows someone who knows someone who knows someone.

So yes, it helps to have connections.

BUT—and this is a big but—not knowing people has never stopped a hard-working chump from getting what he or she wants. And even though it helps to have Elijah Wood’s cell number kicking around, that doesn’t mean Mr. Wood’s publicist will say yes when push comes to shove.

In fact, Davy said when they started the Money Diaries series he had to approach publicists with little more than the promise that “this is going to be cool some day.”

“Riiight,” they probably thought. “I’ve heard that one before.”

But the wild thing is, they actually bought it. They bought the company’s vision.

“Exposure was enough,” Davy said. “I wasn’t asking for a lot of their time, and the upside was that they could get a lot of publicity through the company’s future campaigns.”

So as far as I know, Wealthsimple didn’t have to pay a single celebrity for their Money Diaries posts. They were happy to do it for the exposure.

And you know what? I’ve noticed a similar effect myself from producing podcasts.

There’s a weird imbalance right now regarding the perceived value of different marketing channels. If you ask an A-lister to talk at your conference, you’ll be spending God knows how much on their speaker fee and travel and hotel. But podcasts? Totally the opposite. If you say, “Hey Mr. XYZ – any interest in recording a quick podcast remotely? Only takes twenty minutes and we’ll promote the heck out of it.” They’ll usually reply faster than a dude on Tinder in a small town. Even better if they’ve got something new to promote.

People—especially influencers—don’t realize that their name is as valuable (maybe more) in the headline of a blog post as it is on a conference screen.

Here’s the other thing Davy said, though. It’s not all about celebrities. It’s about people who are interesting—about the story they tell—that can be powerful.

This part I sorta agree with.

On one hand, I hear what he’s saying. Wealthsimple has written great stories on the finances of nuns and sword swallowers and crack addicts. If you can tell engaging stories for your target market day and night, knock yourself out.

But here’s the thing…

Margie who runs the cupcake stand on your corner doesn’t have a following.

The Rock does.

And if you happen to get an interview with The Rock, you can use cross-interest targeting to promote that piece of content, for example, to CEOs who are fans of Dwayne Johnson and digital marketing.

My two cents? Swing for the fences. Seriously.

[Months later, I took my own advice and asked Rand Fishkin to appear on our company’s podcast, which he agreed to. I’m telling you, go big or go home.]

The other benefit of swinging for the fences is that if you interview someone well-known, other well-known people are more receptive to it.

Davy says, “If you get a big name up front, it’s soooooo much easier to get other big names. It’s also smart to hire a well-known documentarian or film person, because then a lot of people just want to work with that person.”

Moral of the story: don’t be shy. Leverage your current connections and friends of friends to secure your first big name, and if you can’t do it that way, start reaching out with cold emails that emphasize the exposure the influencer will get. Hire someone that influencers will want to work with, or go after the ones who have something to promote at the moment (new books, Netflix specials, etc.). Above all, get creative and don’t give up.

How to structure your interviews

Davy says he typically conducts interviews over the phone and then transcribes the results into a 6,000-ish word transcript. (Sidenote: If you need to do any transcribing, I recommend Speechpad.)

In terms of the interview itself, he prepares 10 pre-written questions and then tries to go with the flow of the conversation.

What are the best questions?

For Wealthsimple—given that they’re a finance platform—the questions are mostly (obviously) about money. “What was your first job? How much did that pay? How has your career evolved?”

Whatever your business is, follow the same formula. Run a marketing agency? Ask about the most desperate thing they’ve done to get a client. Building a SaaS product? Ask about the most costly software mistake they’ve ever made.

Davy said exact dollar figures are key.

Articles that specify how much people spend on X or how much they made doing Y outperform everything else, especially if you lead with those figures.

That’s good advice for all bloggers. Readers love data, and people are inherently interested in how much things cost or how much people make. Use it to your advantage.

If you have problems getting people to open up about such things, let the interviewee know what others have shared. That’ll get their gears going and make it more likely that they’ll share something similar. Follow your natural curiosity and don’t stick too rigorously to your pre-written questions.

Critical elements of storytelling

There are countless books on the elements of storytelling, but when it comes to creating a content marketing strategy, here are Davy’s three biggest tips:

  • Start your post with an engaging, notable, or funny excerpt that sets the tone.
  • Segue into something relatable. It could be the voice of the person—are they known for being funny, conversational, open?—or maybe a personal email from a friend or something on social media. Anything relatable to the reader’s life.
  • Get as specific as possible. Again, use as many dollar amounts as you can.

What about keyword research and subheadings and all the other technical stuff that SEOs and bloggers get caught up with? Sure it’s important, but story is king. Davy even admitted (somewhat bashfully) that he has no idea who Wealthsimple’s audience is. He just tells the damn story and doesn’t worry about selling.

“The audience matters,” Davy says, “but good storytelling is universal. Write what you’d want to hear, what you’d find compelling, and go from there.”

9. Ideal Content Breakdown

When it comes to a content marketing strategy, what’s better: quality or quantity?

Great question.

With today’s obsession over content, it feels like you’re failing if you’re not pumping out material as fast as Stephen King on cocaine in the 80s, burning out in the bright glare of your monitor while fueling the unending blog slog of post after post after post.

How much is too much? In other words, is it better to publish a lot of content on a regular basis or focus on generating fewer high-quality pieces?

HubSpot tackles this question head on in (probably) their best blog post ever, Quality vs. Quantity: A 6-Month Analysis of the Age-Old Blogging Debate.

Upfront they say, “In an ideal world, the answer would always be less content of a higher quality. You’d spend lots of time researching and writing every post, then when you published it, the whole internet would notice…But that’s not how blogging works in real life. To grow a blog, you need to consistently publish content that your readers enjoy.”

To understand which content marketing strategy performed best, they categorized all of their posts into the following groups:

Tactical: Posts that teach people how to do something or inform them about a specific subject. E.g., “How to build an effective cold calling strategy.”

Deep Tactical: Like Tactical posts, but more in-depth. Length often exceeds 1,500 words. Covers topics using a lot of original quotes and current data. E.g., “HubSpot’s most effective cold calling campaigns, based on 10k campaigns.”

Editorial: Trends or issues that pertain to your audience. The difference between this and a tactical post is that often there’s no concrete takeaway. E.g., “Goodbye Moz, Hello SparkToro! Start-up stories from Rand Fishkin.”

Infographic/SlideShare: Infographics or SlideShares that stand on their own, usually featuring an introduction and the embedded media. E.g., “The Basics of Excellent Cold Calling [Infographic]”

TOFU: Posts created with broad, top-of-funnel (TOFU) traffic in mind. Usually related to larger trends or novel topics. E.g., “15 of Google’s Coolest Doodles.”

Syndications: Posts that appeared on other blogs, either internally or externally.

Promo: Short promotional posts of a gated offer. E.g., ebook, template, or webinar.

After analyzing their own mountain of data on these different post types, HubSpot arrived at the following takeaways.

Conclusion 1: Low volume is not an option

When HubSpot produced fewer posts of higher quality, they received 32% less traffic and 4% fewer leads than their benchmark phase.

When they produced higher quantity of lower-quality posts, traffic only increased 5% from the benchmark phase—but they generated almost double the benchmark leads. How? Each post generated the same average number of leads per post, but overall post volume drove lead volume much higher.

LVHC = Low Volume, High Content; HVLC = High Volume, Low Content

“In short,” HubSpot says, “[low volume] isn’t a viable strategy for us. The traffic and leads losses are too high, and the dip in subscriber churn isn’t enough to make up for them.”

So how many posts does HubSpot publish in a week?

(Make sure you’re sitting down for this…)

HubSpot publishes 20 – 25 posts on their marketing blog every week, which translates to 3-5 blog posts each week day and 1 blog post each weekend day.

If you want to grow a blog as lucrative as theirs, there’s a case to be made that you should copy this cadence. It reminds me of Gary Vee’s mantra about getting more “at bats”. The more you publish, the more opportunities for success.

Don’t have a team big enough to keep up with that schedule? Keep reading…

Conclusion 2: You need traffic AND lead gen

Since blogging is a long-term play, HubSpot dug into the long-term traffic- and lead-generating capabilities of their post types.

They found that TOFU, Deep Tactical, and Infographic/SlideShare posts generate the most traffic, while Promo and Tactical posts generate the most leads.

But here’s the problem: there are no post types that are a grand slam for traffic and leads.

“In the long-term,” says HubSpot, “we get way more bang for our traffic buck by focusing on TOFU, Deep Tactical, and Infographic/SlideShare posts than the others. But these post types aren’t the ones that are ‘high returns’ for leads—those are Promo and Tactical.”

So ultimately, it’s a chicken-and-egg scenario. You can’t get leads without traffic, but traffic without conversion is useless.

What’s the right balance?

Here’s what HubSpot determined after their research:

If you stick to publishing a spread of content like this, your chances of success improve greatly over publishing random, uncoordinated posts.

Conclusion 3:  Certain post types perform better on certain platforms

All marketing channels are not created equally. After analyzing which content did the best across channels, HubSpot found the following.

Email: TOFU performs the best, followed by Deep Tactical, Infographic, and then the rest (Editorial, Promo, Syndication, Tactical).

Organic: Besides TOFU, the rest of the post types receives similar levels of organic traffic over time. Deep Tactical and Tactical are the next most popular, and they’re the most immune to traffic decay over time.

Social: Like Email, traffic from Social tends to spike in Month 1, then peters off during Months 2 – 6. TOFU performs the best, followed by Promo, Infographic, Deep Tactical, and then the rest.

Consider those breakdowns per channel when building your content marketing strategy.

5 Key Takeaways

There’s a lot to digest here, but the takeaways boil down to these five points:

1. Publish up to 20 posts per week. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? If your content team isn’t big enough to pull that off, go back to the pie chart with HubSpot’s recommended % breakdown of content types and follow that. For every 10 posts you publish, 3 of them should be tactical, 2 should be deep tactical, 2 should be a Slideshare, etc. Arguably, you shouldn’t worry about syndicated or editorial posts until you’re publishing more often.

2. Increase your number of Deep Tactical posts. These posts drive more traffic on average than other post types, and they continue to attract traffic over time.

3. Lean heavily on keyword research for tactical posts. If you don’t, you’ll waste time on a content marketing strategy that won’t drive as much traffic as it should.

4. Consider writing fewer tactical posts to produce more TOFU and Infographic/SlideShare posts. Be careful, though! While TOFU posts increase your audience, Deep Tactical posts are better for qualified traffic and lead gen.

5. Build in two slots a week for Promo posts. They’re key for lead gen.

10. Thought Leadership Committee

In his book The Sales Acceleration Formula, Mark Roberge—former CRO of HubSpot—outlines the exact tactics that HubSpot used on its journey from $0 to $100 Million.

In the demand generation chapter, he explains that the best way to build an effective content marketing strategy is to hire full-time journalists and use them to establish an internal thought leadership committee.

Here’s the excerpt from pages 117 to 120 where he explains the process:

There is one key resource of the content production process—the journalist.

Journalists hold the keys to the future of demand generation! Nobody recognizes this opportunity, not even the journalists themselves. Take advantage. Your job as an executive is to develop this journalistic capability within your company to drive the modern demand generation process.This can be tricky. Developing this journalistic capability is the hardest, but most important, part of your journey. There are a number of options here. On one end of the spectrum, you could hire a full-time journalist. The good news for you is that many journalists are extraordinarily gifted and, unfortunately, their traditional professional opportunities are becoming scarcer every day. Newspapers and magazines are on life support. Exceptional journalists are struggling to find work. Find them and hire them.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could hire an intern. Go down to the university near your office with the best journalism program, find a great student, and have them come by your office for a half day every Friday morning to write. If you are extraordinarily budget conscious, you may even be able to pay them through course credit.

Of course, there are many options in between these two extremes. The journalism industry is very open to freelance lifestyles. You can find a freelancer to write for you. Alternatively, do you have an office administrator? Traditionally, these folks have exceptional written communication skills. Could you eliminate a mundane five-hour task in their week to free up time for valuable content production time?

When hiring this journalist, do not obsess about domain experience. This hire does not need to have deep knowledge of your product, your industry, or your buyer. It is helpful, but it is less important than great journalism skills. A great journalist can sit down with a PhD neuroscientist, pick her brain for an hour, and write a beautifully interesting piece of content. They do not need to be experts in the space.

Once you have found the journalist, the next step is to form a thought leadership committeeThe thought leadership committee provides the journalist with a continual source of domain knowledge. Anyone at the company who understands your industry, your product value proposition, and your customer’s needs should be considered for the thought leadership committee.

Certainly your executive team should participate. If you sell a technical product, some engineers should be involved. If you have relationships with partners or external thought leaders, they can contribute as well. Your salespeople on the front lines are valuable resources here because they understand your buyers. They hear the questions buyers have at the beginning of their buying journey. Salespeople have well-rehearsed answers to those questions. They understand which answers resonate with the buyer. These questions and corresponding answers make for beautiful blog articles. In fact, check the “Sent Items” folders on your salespeople’s email server. Salespeople often send the same canned responses to their prospects as they address questions that arise throughout the buying journey. These canned emails make for exceptional blog articles.

With both the journalist and thought leadership committee in place, the final step is to put the two functions together to produce content on a continual basis. I refer to this step as defining the content production process.

Let’s assume you have 10 people on your thought leadership committee. An example content production process would look like this. Every Tuesday at 9am, one member of the thought leadership committee will sit down with the journalist for a one-hour interview. The interview should be on a niche subject. Don’t choose your product as the subject. The interview should be about a trend in the industry, a question buyers have early in their buying journey, a phrase that likely resonates with an individual your business can help, and so forth. After this one-hour interview, that member of the thought leadership committee is done for 10 weeks, as the other members will cycle in.

An hour interview can generate a lot of content. From that one-hour interview, the journalist can write a three- to five-page ebook on the discussion topic. The journalist can write three or four short blog posts around niche subjects in the ebook. The journalist can generate dozens of social media messages for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook about the quotes, stats, and trends mentioned in each blog article. Although this content is created within a day or two, it can be scheduled for release to the public over an entire month. Each day of the month, one of the social media messages is published. It links to the corresponding blog article, driving interested readers to the blog. At the end of the blog article is a call to action to the reader that states, “Did you like this blog article on XYZ? Perhaps you will like the ebook we published on the same subject.” Many readers click the call to action and are brought to a landing page, where they find out that the ebook is free. They simply need to provide their name, email, phone number, and company URL, and they will have access to the ebook immediately.

This process can be repeated each week. If you’re feeling enthusiastic, you can repeat it twice per week or even every day. The result is a stream of high-quality content, developed with minimal budget and minimal time from the executive team and other high-value employees. You have now extracted the brain power of the company and promoted it to your buyers on the digital page. As more and more content is published, more and more potential buyers follow your business on social media. More and more people link to your corporate website and blog. As we learned earlier in this chapter, this rise in social media following and inbound links drives exponential growth in the number of buyers finding you via Google searches. Thanks to the landing page and free ebook offer, a high percentage of these website visitors self-identify themselves to your business in exchange for the complimentary content. This is inbound marketing at its best. This is a formula for predictable, scalable demand generation.

I love this format for scalable content generation. It pairs well with Gary Vaynerchuk’s Document, Don’t Create strategy, and it makes total sense to lean on the thought leaders in your company to help with marketing.

When in doubt, it’s always a good call to take content marketing advice from HubSpot.

11. Flagship Content Marketing Strategy

Raise your hand if you think you have too much content.

Looking around the imaginary room right now, I’d say most hands are in the air.

As much as content is the fuel to your content marketing strategy, sometimes less is more—especially when it comes to flagship content.

Flagship content is content you should spend a lot of time and resources developing because it’s crucial for your marketing funnel and buyer journey.

Here’s a great example of flagship content: Engagio’s Clear & Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing. It’s helpful, well-researched, and entertaining. By far one of the best pieces from a content marketing strategy I’ve seen.

I happen to know Engagio paid an agency $45k for this one piece alone.

One. Piece.

But according to the agency that developed it, the impact of the guide was significant. After three months from going live, the paper had:

  • 251 demos requests (by far their biggest source of leads)
  • 31 new opportunities for $569K of pipeline.
  • 15 existing opportunities accelerated and won for $246K

Incredible the amount of value one piece of content delivered, right?

Even if you don’t have $45k kicking around to hire an agency to do this for you, you can still map out your important pieces and prioritize the production yourself.

Step 1: Map out your current content

Download this content mapping template from HubSpot to get started.

Fill out the persona part on the left-hand side and then write down the flagship content you already have for every phase of your customer journey. Here’s what mine looked like when I did this with Vendasta:

IMPORTANT: Only include your most-impactful content in this exercise.

You might have hundreds of blog posts and videos and podcast episodes, but the idea is pair everything down to your key pieces. Be extremely picky.

Step 2: Brainstorm new flagship content

After mapping out your content, you’ll probably realize that a lot of it isn’t good enough to make the cut or that you’re short in some areas.

For example, when we did this exercise at Vendasta, we realized we were really heavy on top- and bottom-of-funnel content and really low on middle-funnel content.

The next step is to sit down and brainstorm new flagship pieces for every stage.

Add them in red to your content map so you know which ones don’t exist yet.

After brainstorming, you should be able to sit back, look at the map, and feel really good about the journey you’ve outlined.

Is it the ideal funnel you want your persona to go through?

Is it the strongest content you want to put in front of them?

If you’re not sure, review the map with other marketers and your leadership team.

Step 3: Get cracking

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and start creating content.

There’s no right or wrong place to start, but I’d go with whichever stage is lowest on flagship material. That means the column with the most red.

Again, if you don’t have a large content marketing team or a big budget to farm this out to an agency, you’ll have to pick away at it yourself. The good news is, flagship content helps immensely across all of your lead generation programs, from email marketing to social nurturing to ABM and beyond. It’s worth the time investment.

Step 4: Iterate

Once you have at least one flagship piece at every stage of your funnel, you can start testing the effectiveness of your map.

I prefer to start with email since it’s free and I’ve got a decent-sized list. Put together test campaigns featuring your flagship content and figure out which ones convert the highest. If your email list isn’t big enough to segment into test groups of at least 400 contacts each, consider promoting the content on social to spark a fire.

You’ll find some pieces don’t perform as well as you thought they would, while some perform better. That’s ok. Keep swapping out the duds for new ideas.

12. The Copywriting Bible

There are a lot of good templates out there for content creators. Keyword: good.

But good isn’t good enough.

If you want your content to pop—to convert at the highest possible rate—you need to employ incredible copy. Here is the best guide I’ve seen in five years of how to do that.



Dubbed “100+ Viral Outlines to Build Your Brand”, The Copywriting Bible is a collection of Josh Fechter’s most successful posts and templates that are ready to use and recycle.

The best part of this book is that Josh breaks down his most successful social posts AND provides worksheets to help you make them work for your business.

Upfront, here’s how Josh says you can use these templates to your advantage:

From there, you’re thrown into 480 pages of templates that teach you exactly how to replicate Josh’s winning formulas.

Each post starts with the original copy followed by a workbook-like format that breaks everything down line by line and leaves room for you to fill in the blanks like homework.

The format is easy to follow, and your results will be unique to your company instead of cookie-cutter posts that anyone can copy. Plus, if opening up and putting emotion into your content marketing strategy doesn’t come easy, this is a Godsend.

This guide is by no means the be-all-end-all of copywriting, but it’s a hell of a good start.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t sit in front of a blank page and break a sweat.

Take these posts and templates that are already proven to be successful and make them work for you. Now go forth and publish.

13. Data-Driven Homepage Design

I’ve designed a lot of websites.

Personal websites, SaaS websites, eCommerce sites. Traditional media websites. Agency websites. I don’t consider myself a designer nor a web developer, but the good news is you don’t need to be with the tools available to today’s average joe.

How do I know I’m doing it right?

At the start, I didn’t.

Like most marketers, I built a ton of crap before anything good happened.

But over the years, I read my fair share of research on UXUI. I learned CSS. I saw what was working for others and shamelessly copied it.

And that brings us to today. Here’s one of the best resources I’ve used in the last few years to great effect so hopefully you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

What does the ultimate homepage look like?

Thrive Themes tackled this question in a legendary post that analyzed the home pages of the internet’s biggest personal brands.

Specifically, they dug into the sites of Celes Chua, James Clear, Marie Forleo, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Ramit Sethi and crafted a compelling formula.

Here I am covering it in a talk I gave on personal branding:

For the full teardown and data analysis, read the original post on Thrive Themes.

If you just want the results and recommendations, here goes. Introducing the perfect homepage for personal brands:

Even though this study was done through the lens of personal brands, I think a lot of it applies to companies, too.

Here are five data-driven takeaways to apply to your own site:

Takeaway 1: Use hero images

Whether you’re building a personal site or a site for a business, use high-quality pictures that take up most of the above-the-fold area on your screen.

Sometimes it’s ok to use phone-quality photos in your marketing, but now is not the time. Hire a photographer capture you or your business’ best side.

Takeaway 2: Display authority and proof

By and large, there are four ways to show authority and social proof:

  1. “As seen on” with logos of well-known publications and mainstream media
  2. Pictures with influencers and celebrities
  3. Endorsements or testimonials from customers or influencers
  4. Audience boast – e.g., e.g. “join 50,000+ subscribers”

Try to get as many of these as possible and put them directly below the hero image.

Takeaway 3: Ask for emails

“People in your audience are busy,” says Shane Melaugh from Thrive Themes. “They might read one of your posts, love everything about it… and then promptly forget about it and never return to your site.”

What’s a marketer to do?

Answer: Create an opt-in offer.

Opt-in offers are a mutually beneficial exchange. Offer something your customers want in exchange for their email. Avoid meaningless “Subscribe here” buttons and give away a helpful tool or template or guide that will establish you as an authority.

Takeaway 4: Blog Homepage ≠ Blog

Here’s a takeaway I 1,000% agree with.

A good homepage or blog homepage shouldn’t focus on your latest posts. If you do that, you’re leaving conversion up to chance. A new visitor may or may not be interested in whatever happens to be the top post at the time, which can stunt your growth.

What you want to do instead is lead with your strongest blog content. Look at the analytics of your posts and pick the most popular or highest-converting ones.

Before you get to your blog posts, though, introduce yourself or your business. It sets the stage for your content and paints a high-level picture for what you’re about.

Takeaway 5: Use minimal navigation

According to the study, most of the sites that were analyzed had simple navigation. Most of them only had five links and no drop-downs.

Shane Melaugh says, “This minimal approach to navigation is more than just a design choice. I believe it’s the result of a profoundly important quality that almost all successful brands come to over time: focus. It’s a beginner’s mistake to try to do too many things all at once and try to create a website that appeals to everyone and excludes no one.”

You might think it’s easier for personal brands than corporate brands to keep things simple, but take a company like HubSpot for example.

HubSpot has hundreds of features with dozens of add-ons, and yet their main menu has evolved to include only five main links and five options under software. Quite the exercise in focus—and if they can do it, you can too.

14. Data-Driven Blog Design

Here’s an oldie but a goodie from 2016.

[Side note: the fact that a piece of content from 2016 is an “oldie” is ludacris but true these days. I remember doing research in college and getting excited when I found sources from people who were still alive.]

The topic? Data-driven blog design.

Justin Brooke says he spent $30,000 on Facebook ads testing different blog designs and came up with a winning formula.

I know the suspense is killing you already, so here it is:

I know what you’re thinking…

“That’s it? This dude spent $30k on the obvious…”

Not so fast. Put down your pitchforks and keep reading, because there’s actually some interesting science behind it and a few details that may surprise you.

Takeaway 1: Take advantage of premium real estate

Brooke’s background is in writing and optimizing sales letters.

He says he spent a lot of time focusing on the above-the-fold areas of these letters (the part of that’s visible when your page loads without having to scroll), so he figured the same should go for his blog.

Lo and behold, out of everything he tested in this experiment, he says that optimizing the above-the-fold area had the biggest impact. By moving his opt-in box from the sidebar to the header, his conversion rate went from 2% to 5% conversion.

The offer hadn’t changed! It had simply moved.

Then he changed the call to action in the opt-in box from “Get free updates via email” to a piece of content that people could download immediately.

What happened next? Conversions doubled, from 5% to 10%.

Placement and calls to action matter. By making these two simple tweaks, he improved conversion 400%.

Takeaway 2: Put your sidebar on the left

After moving his opt-in offer to the header and changing his call to action, Brooke took a look at the Facebooks and Amazons of the world for more ideas of what to test. To his point: “They have way more resources than I do for testing optimum performance, so I wanted to borrow from their experience.”

He noticed that a lot of big companies put their navigation on the left.

“Think of your Facebook newsfeed,” he says. “Think of Amazon. You almost always interact with the left-hand side of the screen. When I dug deeper into this, it was confirmed by the Nielsen Norman Group.”

Nielsen had conducted a study that showed that the left part of the screen is viewed a lot more than the right. It’s called the F-pattern.

Eye-tracking study results by Nielsen Norman Group

By moving his sidebar from the right side of the screen to the left, Brooke says conversion improved from less than 1% to 3%.

The more important change that might have led to this increase, however, came from the next takeaway, which is…

Takeaway 3: Use sidebars strategically

Most people stuff their sidebars with junk. Social media widgets, most-popular articles, archives, and other miscellaneous cruft.

Very few people interact with those widgets. Plus, think about it. What would you rather someone interact with: a recent article or a conversion opportunity?

We’re talking about a content marketing strategy for lead generation…that question is rhetorical. If you want leads, it makes sense to eliminate distractions and clutter and focus entirely on getting people to convert.

Brooke says, “I removed everything from my sidebar that tried to get them to visit multiple pages. I replaced it with a call to action on one of my lead magnets because my highest priority was converting visitors to leads. Optimizing my sidebar combined with moving it to the left is what I attribute the 300% increase in performance. Today, my sidebar only has three things in it: a CTA, a way to become a fan, and a search box.”

Takeaway 4: Include a CTA at the end

I’ve covered this at length in other posts, but it’s worth repeating again.

If you want to optimize a blog post for conversions, you need a call to action at the end of the post for a downloadable piece of content that relates directly to the post.

Take a page out of Hubspot’s book. If you’ve written a post about email marketing, stick something like this at the end.

BONUS Takeaway: Use welcome mats

A year after this blog post was posted, someone asked in the comments if the Justin had any new revelations. Check out his response.

I’d echo his advice 100%. While I’ve personally had mixed results with SumoMe, I recommend implementing welcome mats if you haven’t already.

15. Hacking Content Marketing With Ahrefs

Josh Fechter’s Facebook Group, Badass Marketers and Founders, is bursting with great content marketing strategy ideas.

Here’s one from Si Quan Ong that’s both simple and useful on a daily basis.

Here it is broken down by screenshot.

Step 1: Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer

Step 2: Type in a keyword relevant to your niche or industry (in the example below, he uses “beard”) and hit search.

Step 3: Under the “Organic Traffic” drop-down, enter “1,000” in the From field and hit apply. Content Explorer will now show articles that receive >1,000 organic traffic per month.

Step 4: Under the “Referring Domains” drop-down enter “0” in the To field and hit apply.

Now Content Explorer will show you ALL articles that receive more than 1,000 organic traffic per month and have ZERO backlinks.

Step 5: Scroll through the list of articles and start generating ideas.

For more ideas, change the number of referring domains to 5, 10, 20, etc. The lower the number, the easier it will be to rank—but at least you’ve got an idea of where to start.

16. Long-Form Sales Letters

Remember infomercials? The long, drawn-out sales pitch. The dramatic voiceover. The cheesy black-and-white reenactments of customer problems and the call-today-and-get-one-free-for-a-limited-time offers?

Brings back memories, huh? I’m choking on nostalgia over here…

Of course, the infomercial never died. Along with direct mail, it made its way online in the manifestation of the long-form sales letter.

What is a long-form sales letter?

You’ve definitely seen one before. They’re one-page websites that are usually a mile long and uglier than sin, featuring web 1.0 styling and more exclamation marks than a teenage girl’s Whatsapp messages.

Yes, this look like garbage. But here’s the thing…done well, sales letters can be an effective content marketing strategy.

“What makes them so effective,” says Jeremy Reeves in an interview with VWO, “is that, if set up the RIGHT way, you can hook all types of readers.”

Specifically, he goes on to segment prospects into three types of readers:

  1. Skimmers – People who skim a page up and down to get a quick overview of what you’re selling. They’re usually fast to act and have already made up their minds before they even get to the page.
  2. Jumpers – People who spend more time on the page than skimmers but less than readers. They will skim the page, and if something catches their attention they’ll dive into the copy and read it thoroughly.
  3. Book Worms – People who read the whole damn thing, top to bottom. Every. Single. Word. They’re typically slower decision makers and tend to think things over and want every single detail before making a decision. Or sometimes they just like to read.

“What makes sales letters so effective,” says Reeves, “is that they appeal to all three types of readers. The best thing you can do is turn skimmers into jumpers and jumpers into bookworms. That’s why it’s important to have fun, exciting, and engaging copy.”

How do you go about creating one that converts like crazy and doesn’t look like ass? Follow this winning formula.

How to format a winning sales letter

It all starts with bold statements at the top of the page, including the pre-headline, main headline, and subheading. After that, segue into a captivating intro.

The point here is to tease the solution. Tell them you’re going to reveal the secret to solving their pain point below and tee it up as a really, really big deal.

“This is where I like to get in touch with them emotionally,” says Reeves. “Depending on the market, product, and hook I found when doing my research, this could be any of the major emotions such as anger, guilt, fear, pride, etc.”

After the intro is established, it’s time to dive into the body.

In the body, reveal your solution—why it’s special, how it works, how it’s better than others—and why readers should listen to you.

Third comes the offer. Explain exactly what you’re selling, from price to value props to guarantees. Lean into why it’s worth more than what they’ll be spending on it.

At the end of the offer section of the copy, put a summary of everything you just said in a box. That way, skimmers can see the “whole package” at a glance.

How to design a sales letter that doesn’t look like crap

Now that we’ve run through copy, let’s talk about design.

Contrary to many designers’ beliefs, sales letters don’t need to look like crap. I only used the previous example to illustrate best copy practices—not design.

Peep Laja on the CXL blog says, “So you’ve got good copy. Congratulations? Not so soon. If it’s not structured and designed well, people aren’t going to read it.”

Here’s how you structure your text according to Peep:

  • Large font size (minimum 16px)
  • Short lines (40 to 80 characters per line)
  • New paragraph every 3-4 lines
  • Use lists, quotes, tables – mix it up
  • Sub-headlines every 2-3 paragraphs
  • Leverage responsive design

“Design is half the marketing and sales battle,” Peep says. “It’s about bringing out the important information and minimizing the secondary. If your site looks like crap, the perception of your product is also crap.”

Here’s an example of a sales letter that doesn’t look too shabby.

There are more and more templates on Themeforest every day to build one-page websites with aesthetically pleasing elements. Find them, use them, test them.

Personally, I can vouch for the effectiveness of well-designed long-form sales letters. The last campaign I A/B tested between this medium-form page vs. this long-form page saw the long-form page perform 8x better. No contest.

Summary: Long-form sales letters

“The biggest lesson,” Reeves says on VMO, “is that no matter what you think or what anybody tells you, PEOPLE READ WHAT THEY’RE INTERESTED IN. Trust me. If people are interested in your product, they’ll read for a long time before making a decision.”

Is long-form copy always the answer? No.

If the product is simple, brief can do. Impulse purchases don’t need a ton of fanfare. On the other hand, if you sell insurance or houses or software, consider long-form.

Reeves says, “Tell them everything that you think will push them one step closer to buying your product…and not a single word more. If people aren’t reading your copy and feel it’s because it’s “too long”, try hiring a great copywriter and look at the difference. The difference isn’t that it’s “too long”, it’s that it’s not engaging.”

17. Funnel Mapping Tools

Data-driven marketers have an attraction toward funnels bordering on the type of timeless love found in Titanic or Romeo and Juliet. Indeed, a high-converting customer journey is enough to make even the toughest marketer weep with joy or cry out in red-faced envy.

Back when I built my first content marketing strategy, I had no funnel to go off of or roadmap to follow. Nothing to imitate or test—only gut feelings on a blank page.

Thankfully that’s not the case anymore.

Today, there are no shortages of “funnel hacks”, templates, and companies / coaches / consultants offering to help. Here are the two best places to start…

ClickFunnels: The gold standard

Creating a funnel sounds easy, but the devil is in the details. Why start from scratch when you could copy funnels proven to work?

That’s the idea behind ClickFunnels and the ClickFunnels Marketplace.

If you’re doubting whether ClickFunnels is worth it, here’s an interview with Todd Collins—owner of an agency called Platinum Reputations—who credits ClickFunnels and Facebook ads as the two reasons his agency doesn’t have problems with lead generation.

George: It seems like adding new customers isn’t a challenge for you.

Todd: No, it’s not finding people that need our services or to solve a problem. That’s not really the issue. It’s fulfilling that work. It’s easy to go out and find a company that you want to sell social media services to or reputation management to.

George: So you built some funnels to get some leads to come into your system, and then you go out and deal with those customers. How many clients do you have right now at Platinum Reputations?

Todd: All together a majority of them are multiplicational, so you’ve got thousands of locations. I think it’s just over 400 currently.

George: Over 400 relationships?

Todd: Right, 400 relationships

George: And how many salespeople do you have?

Todd: Now? One. Me.

George: So when we were talking this morning, getting reacquainted—we text all the time, and we talk on the phone all the time—you used a word that is helping you scale those 400 relationships.

Todd: We were talking about actually funnelling those people in, and click funnelling. Scaling. We talked about scaling. I assume that’s the word you’re talking about…

George: Automation!

Todd: Oh yeah, we automate everything. (Laughs.) If you guys don’t know about ClickFunnels, you should absolutely, 100% get involved in ClickFunnels. It’s something that 100% absolutely works to generate leads. But also Facebook lead forms. You guys can create 600 salespeople within one lead form or a ClickFunnel. So if those two words I just said—Facebook lead forms and ClickFunnels—if you don’t write those down on your pad right now, that should be the one thing you take away from this. Every morning I wake up and I’ve got anywhere between, I dunno, 12 to 18 leads just waiting. And that is a warm lead.

In addition to planning out and tracking your funnels, ClickFunnels allows you to pick pre-built templates or find an expert to design a custom solution in their Marketplace.

Now, confession time.

While Clickfunnels is pretty much the industry standard, I’ve never actually used them. I prefer to get inspiration from the real world and map out my funnels with a different tool. Which leads me to…

Funnelytics: The new kid on the block

I found Funnelytics while scrolling through Facebook, and it was love at first site.

Funnelytics is exactly what it sounds like: a tool for funnel mapping and analytics. Here’s a quick demo from their founder if you’re interested.

Not only is the mapping tool free and easy to use, it’ll impress your boss and coworkers next time you have to visualize a customer journey.

Furthermore, the Funnelytics Vault and private Facebook Group are essentially funnel porn for marketers.

You can access the swipe files from a growing collection of the industry’s best marketers and interact with the community on social. Mikael, the CEO, does a great job of putting up valuable content on the regular and interviewing people who are masters of their craft.

The community favorite seems to be the funnel hack videos by Ben Moote, who breaks down popular campaigns every week. Sign up and check it out in the private group.

Since starting to use Funnelytics, my team has quickly adopted it. After whiteboarding problems at work, it’s now common to hear my CMO say, “Ok, stick this in the funnel tool and share it with me.” Score 🙂

For example, here’s how I mapped out the Sam Ovens consulting funnel in Funnelytics:

For campaigns we’ve actually run, I’ve gone back and added the metrics at every stage. You can set it up to track some of them automatically, but for offline events, it’s manual.

The system isn’t perfect—the text box is notoriously glitchy, and it has its slow days—but it’s a start-up. It’s already providing a lot of value, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

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