Content Marketing Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Duct Tape Marketing
Find a Consultant Become a Consultant

Tag Archives for " Content Marketing "

1 When Thought Leadership Turns to Do Leadership

Podcast Banner Template (3)

Marketing Podcast with Nicole Crozier and Kelly Weppler-Hernandez

Everyone is a thought leader today, right? Or at least it seems that is one of the primary aspirations around building a brand – to be seen as a thought leader in your industry.

But as most anyone who is seen as a thought leader will tell you, it’s not about appointing yourself as such, it’s about doing the things day in and day out that lead people to apply the thought leader tag to someone – again, the key word being doing!

There is a quote attributed to Emerson that I think sums thought leadership up about as succinctly as possible – “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

My guests for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast are Marketing Consultants, Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultants and two of the four co-authors of the upcoming book Do Leadership: A Step by Step Guide to Doing Thought Leadership. We discuss how creating unique and relevant content can make you a thought leader, helping you to stand out from your competition.

As founders of their own independent consulting businesses, Nicole Croizier and Kelly Weppler-Hernandez both live and breathe marketing daily.

Questions I ask Nicole and Kelly:

  • Is the thought of “am I going to stand out” nearly impossible today?
  • What are the business tangible benefits of thought leadership?
  • Where do people get ‘bogged down’ in this process?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why thought leadership is important for small business owners.
  • How to leverage evergreen content to make yourself unique and relevant.
  • The three essential steps to building a thought leadership system.

Learn more about Nicole Croizier and Kelly Weppler-Hernandez. Click here to find out more about their upcoming book Do Leadership: A Step by Step Guide to Doing Thought LeadershipFor a very limited time, the authors are offering our readers exclusive bonus material. Take advantage of guides, templates and worksheets that will have you on the road to becoming the next big thought leader in your industry. These free tools will only be available for a short time, so check them out today.

Interested in joining Nicole and Kelly as a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant? Find out more about the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network and attend a Discovery Call here.

1 How to Build Your Business on Content


Podcast Banner Template

Marketing Podcast with Joe Pulizzi

Content is no longer a nice form of marketing, it’s the air that guides the customer journey, or, in some cases, it’s a business model.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Joe Pulizzi, founder and CEO of the Content Marketing Institute and the author of the new book Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses. We discuss content marketing strategy and what it can mean for you and your business. 

Questions I ask Joe:

  • Is there still an opportunity to be successful in content marketing?
  • How do you make money in the initial stages of a content campaign?
  • What is the “Content Tilt?”

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why some businesses that try content marketing fail.
  • How email strategy is the key to a successful content marketing campaign.
  • Why you should build a following before developing a product.

1 Why You Must Get Scrappy with Your Marketing

Nick WestergaardMarketing Podcast with Nick Westergaard 

With so many marketing options these days, it’s hard to stay focused on what works. While small business owners have always taken advantage of their small, scrappy ways, today it’s a must just to keep any sense of momentum going.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Nick Westergaard, a strategist, speaker and educator, Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, and author of the new book Get Scrappy: Smart Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. We talk about digital marketing and getting the most bang for your buck with your marketing tactics.

Westergaard has always taken a very practical approach to the sometimes wild world of branding and for that, I’m a fan.

Questions I ask Nick:

  • What do you mean by getting “scrappy” with your marketing?
  • How do you balance experimenting with new channels without taking on too much?
  • How do you find what matters and measure it?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why you should avoid the channel mindset.
  • Why you should view content as the voice of strategy.
  • When you should or shouldn’t jump on to a new content channel.

If you want to find out more about Nick, visit

Click here to find out more and buy Nick’s book Get Scrappy: Smart Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small

Massively Expand Your Audience with Guest Posts

photo credit: typewriter via photopin (license)

photo credit: typewriter via photopin (license)

You’ve written a great blog post. It’s timely, poignant and well written. Most of all, it is stuffed with valuable information for your audience. What if I were to tell you that you should share that post with another blog and publish it as a guest post? You would probably call me crazy and ignore my advice.

When you work really hard on a piece of content it is easy to be possessive. “I want my best post to draw traffic to MY blog, and my blog alone!” But posts like this can do even more for your blog and business on another blog. It can expand your audience in ways that your blog alone can’t.

Why Submit a Guest Post? 

Guest posting on established blogs and outlets is a great way to spread your influence among their already established audience. If your content speaks universally or even to a niche of their audience, you’re likely to get some eyes on that post you maybe never would have been able to reach before.

Guest posts can also help with search results. If a guest post of yours gets viewed enough, it can show up highly in searches for your company or name. This means more of the top results are related to your business, and there is less opportunity for your competitors to move up in the rankings. If the article is timely and the outlet is well-respected, you’ll even get listed in the all important “News” list of Google search.

Follow The Rules

Every website accepting guest posts has a different process. Some have a less structured system that requires you to reach out to and establish relationships with their bloggers and editors much like you would when pitching a news story. Others that accept guest posts on a regular basis may have a strict policy. If this is the case, be sure to follow their instructions to a tee. You don’t want your post to be ignored simply because you didn’t format it correctly.

In addition, many guest post outlets will have content calendars that help guide their themes every month. Don’t try to shoehorn your topic into one of their themes, instead find the theme that fits your topic best. Your post can wait (unless it has a specific news angle) so it doesn’t need to be published right away.

Speak to Their Audience

Ideally, when identifying guest post outlets, you’ll want to find outlets with audiences that are close to yours. By finding these outlets, you won’t have to spend as much time adjusting the content to speak to their audience, and more of their readers are likely to begin to follow your blog.

But this doesn’t mean you must stick to blogs that only cover your subject matter. You can expand beyond your immediate industry, but be sure to make your post relevant to the audience of the blog on which you’re guest posting. If you’re going after a marketing blog, be sure to approach your subject with a marketing angle.

Share, Share, Share

Once your new guest post is live, you must be willing to share all across your social channels. Get your audience to embrace your post and the outlet. The publisher will do the same.

In addition, be sure to follow up with the publisher once your post is live. You’ll want to get information on how many shares and views your post got. That way, you can use these stats as support for your guest post pitches in the future.

Ready to start guest blogging? At Duct Tape Marketing, we publish guest posts weekly. If you are interested in reaching a small business marketing audience, you can apply to guest blog here:

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

Freelancing in the Cloud

Kate Kendall via twitter

Kate Kendall via Twitter

Marketing Podcast with Kate Kendall

Running a thriving business, with or without employees has become so much easier today. You have at your fingertips, through the use of marketplaces and technology, access to the greatest talent available in the world. You can hire that talent virtually or rent  that talent by the hour to get that very specific request filled.

The Producer Model as I’ve taken to calling it (h/t to Brian Clark) allows anyone with a game plan and some hustle to assemble teams of talent to take on much larger projects and competitors while staying nimble enough to pivot towards the next promising opportunity.

Tapping talent marketplaces for programming, legal, design and pretty much anything you might need on your team is a great way to build a thriving business while you work from anywhere in the world.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Kate Kendall, CEO of CloudPeeps and founder of The Fetch. We discuss content marketing and the need for small businesses that may not have the resources to hire full-time marketing help.

Questions I ask Kate:
• How do you get the most out of freelance or remote work?
• How does CloudPeeps work?
• Do people go to CloudPeeps to fill positions permanently?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:
• Why investing in a marketplace startup model is difficult and why you must plan long-term
• Why the “Remote Work” movement is catching steam
• Why freelancing sites like CloudPeeps must evolve to scale

Podcast Transcript

Transcription Services Provided by GMR Transcription

John Jantsch:              Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing podcast.  This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Kate Kendall, the co-founder of San Francisco-based CloudPeeps, where you can hire freelance marketing content and community pros.  She’s also the creator of a neat little business event board, I guess is the best way to define it, called  So, Kate, thanks for joining me.

Kate Kendall:              Thank for having me.

John Jantsch:              So, obviously, you don’t sound like you’ve lived in southern California all your life.  I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about your journey and certainly what led you to CloudPeeps, but maybe there’s an even more interesting story before that.

Kate Kendall:              Yeah, definitely.  So, you’re right, there’s an accent.  And it’s a hard one to pick up because it’s a bit of a hybrid because I was born in England and moved to Australia when I was ten.  So, I’m a dual citizen.  Then, I lived in Australia most of my life before moving to San Francisco.

John Jantsch:              So, those people in Melbourne don’t understand you a bit, do they?


Kate Kendall:              No.  So, wherever I go, I’ll be in the UK, and they’re like, “Welcome to town.  This is how you get to the Tower Bridge.”  When I’m Australia, they’re like, “Welcome, here’s the daily paper.”  And I’m like, “Yes, I used to be a business journalist.  I know a bit about how media works.”  So, I’m a tourist wherever I go.  Even when I was living in New York for two years, people would always stop me on the street going, “Do you need directions?”  So, the accent definitely has changed.  But I’m getting better at my American accent, so I’m starting to say things like “banana” instead of “banana.”  It’s really coming along.

John Jantsch:              If you say “awesome,” then we know you’ve arrived.

Kate Kendall:              [Laughs] Yeah, no.  Awesome, I’ve always tried to keep that down because it has been overused.  So, yeah, I started out as a business journalist in reporting on the equivalent of Ad Age in Australia.  It’s called Marketing Magazine.  And from there, I got really into social media around 2007 and 2008, and kicked off an event breakfast series there and that led to founding TheFetch, which was the city guide to discover all of the events that were more geared for your professional life in your local region.  We launched that in ten cities.  Around the same time, I really noticed, if you were bootstrapping your company or you were a smaller business or you need to get help, unless you have the resources to hire someone full-time, it was kind of hard to find the right people to help you grow your business.

So, I had the idea of CloudPeeps a few years ago, but really founded it in January 2014 as a way to connect with freelance talent in this space.  There’s a lot of sites out there, you know, that are very much focused on freelancers, very global, very much across all verticals, and I wouldn’t necessarily have used those as a customer.  I don’t trust maybe the quality of their service or some of the tasks that I needed doing or the jobs that I needed doing or if it was the right kind of person for the job.  So, I think that’s where CloudPeeps has really kind of come along and focused on that.

John Jantsch:              I do want to talk about some of the specifics of CloudPeeps in a second, but you know, this is a really loaded question.  There’s no good way to answer this question.  There’s no good way to ask it.  How has it gone so far?

Kate Kendall:              Yeah, definitely.  So, I think it’s like we have a model of transparency.  One of our advisors and investors is Joel Gascoigne, the founder of Buffer, and obviously they’re very transparent.  So, I’m always have to kind of share how it’s going.  I often blog about this really authentically and honestly, but the first year was really great.  We were kind of in beta mode and we were testing and we were testing out plan formats, so instead of it being a true open marketplace, we were operating more as we would be the little micro-strategists suggest what customers were doing and the plans were $690.00 a month and it would focus on long curated content and social media.

But really what we found is the majority of customers want growth.  So, they think they want this and this and this, but they really need something more to help them grow their business.  And that’s where we started really evolving beyond just curated created content and social media plans to allow peeps, that’s what we call the talent side, to service customers in a variety of needs.  So, anything from influencer outreach to content marketing to a bidder search to that social media and deeper community management in moderation.  And that’s where we’ve really found, especially this year, we’ve been able to grow a lot faster and more meaningfully.

John Jantsch:              So, I always think this is funny because I think we go in with maybe great plans, and we get a lot of surprises along the way.  So, what are some of the things that have been harder than you thought they would be, maybe for you personally or just in growing the company?

Kate Kendall:              When we were operating more in the early days, we were doing things in a very bootstrap manner.  We’d duct taped Google apps and all these forms together, and it wasn’t really a technical product.  So, starting the technical buildout and the product build, it took us a while to find that right product market fit.  It was almost like we were operating smoother and faster when we were first thinking very manually, but, obviously, that’s not scalable long-term.  So, the surprise, I guess, there was it does take a bit of an investment and a time to really find what works.  In the previous company, TheFetch, it was very much that media model, so it was very straightforward in growing audiences and that’s where, you know, I was at home with journalism and media and things like that.

And then, moving to marketplace, this was an interesting challenge for me as an entrepreneur because they’re such wild beasts.  Everything that you do can make a big positive or negative impact.  You have to be a lot more data driven, so if you’re in journalism or media, understand the zeitgeist, produce great content, and you’ll be on your merry way.  Marketplace is a lot of things that you have to measure, tweak, monitor.  You have two sets of customers.  You have your supply side and your demand side and making sure everyone’s happy has been a huge learning curve as well and what to focus on at each stage can really make or break your business.

John Jantsch:              It is really tough because in that two-sided thing, you’re always chasing supply and demand.  If a great copywriter comes on as a peep and gets no jobs from you, then maybe they’re going to move on or not pay much attention.  Same thing, if a company comes on and has a lot of needs and a lot of budgets, but they can’t find the right people, then they’re going to move on.

Kate Kendall:              So true.  And the thing about marketplaces is they often take five to seven years to really establish and get liquidity.  You see a lot of start-ups out of San Francisco and the Valley, overnight success stories raising lots of money, get acquired within a few years.  Marketplaces, you really need to invest in in the long-term, and you have to grow mindfully.  So, just as you said, we have to make sure that we don’t have too many jobs at the same time that we can’t fulfill them.

We have to make sure that we have enough supply side that is happy and engaged, and they all come and work and it’s not too many people.  It’s almost impossible to make these things happen overnight, so that comes down to even when we see new sites popping up all the time.  The learnings that we have now after a year and a half, there’s already so much that’s gone into it, I can sleep well at night knowing you can’t just clone it.

John Jantsch:              That’s a really great point.  When you have that kind of supply and demand, you really almost have to control the growth.  It’s kind of a brick-by-brick thing, but the beauty of that, of course, is you build a pretty strong foundation.

Kate Kendall:              Exactly.

John Jantsch:              So, I’ll ask you the flip side of that other question.  Have there been some things that have been easier than you thought they would be?

Kate Kendall:              So, I think finding customers has been pretty straightforward.  I mean, that’s often a challenge, especially for more of the SaaS companies, you know.  How do we get customers?  How much are we paying to acquire customers?  What’s the lifetime value?  All of those things.  We’ve had a really healthy demand side, so it’s not that we’ve ever been short of customers.  It’s more, you know, finding the right match, teaming them up with the right people.  All of that stuff is more of a challenge.  So, every day, we’ve had customers register.  A lot of organic and referral-based marketing.  We’ve yet to begin, like, hardcore customer acquisition in the paid capacity, but I’ve been really surprised with how much people have managed to sniff out CloudPeeps and discover CloudPeeps based on reputation.

John Jantsch:              Do you think some of that is actually being driven by the kind of the change in the way that people are working?  It used to be if you had a real business, you had a real marketing department.  I’m running into a lot of companies that are saying, “Hey, we need a strategic marketing mind or somebody in here thinking about our vision, but, gosh, we can get all this great talent without the overhead.”

Kate Kendall:             It is so true.  And the thing is, a lot of channels, they need to be tested first, so, say, if you want to test out this channel or you want to do this, being able to hire a specialist or someone to come in and focus purely on execution is really helpful.  The days of the 50-page marketing plan and two-year spend-in-advance and all of that are well and truly gone.

We’re seeing a lot of opportunistic in our job marketing, and that means you need to be able to have that workforce in that on-demand or augment your talent internally in a very swift capacity to make the most of it.  So, we’ve seen all sorts of companies, even Google and Adobe have registered on CloudPeeps.  They’ve yet to get working with peeps, but it’s not just small business that don’t have resources.  It’s a lot of big companies that have the capacity, but they need speed, and they need people to focus on getting the job done.


John Jantsch:              Yeah, and I think it used to be seen as having the assets internally was, you know, a good thing because it was a show of force, but I think a lot of people have realized three years from now, everything about their industry could change, and then having that big sort of warehouse all of a sudden became a liability.  Somebody else can jump in a steal your market because business is done in a new way.

Kate Kendall:              Totally.  Yeah, it’s much more responsive.  You see that often with the future of work as well.  I think when the recession hit, that kind of started to change the psyche.  In Australia, we’ve been “outsourcing” or working with people globally for many decades, and I think in the U.S., it’s really catching up now.  Just because you can’t have someone sitting right next to you in-house doesn’t mean that you can’t trust them or work with them or that they’re not necessarily better.

So, a lot of the work we do is around educating people around the concept of remote work.  You often hear it called “remote” now.  It’s not “virtual.”  It’s not “outsourcing.”  “Remote” has become sexy, and those terms are kind of mid-90s and things like that.  So, again, there’s a huge remote work movement.  A lot of people that would be working with agencies in the past, the agencies are remote to the companies and the clients.  I think it’s just around this re-education and reframing around what it is to be a modern day worker and how that work is performed and work is no longer a place.

John Jantsch:              Back when Jason Fried’s book, Remote, came out, I had had him on the show, and we talked a little bit about how there are some differences, though, in managing remote or virtual or freelance workers, I think.  And sometimes people struggle with wrapping their arms around the best way to still be productive and efficient, even though you’re using a remote workforce.  Obviously, I’m guessing that one of the things that you try to do is educate people on how to get the most out of freelance work.

Kate Kendall:              Exactly.  So, I think there are two types of customers that we kind of see.  There’s the customer that comes in, and they are so time-poor they really don’t want the management overhead or the emotional overhead of managing freelancers.  So, someone to come in, get the job done, focus on execution and not really be as absorbed internally.  There are some people looking for that.  And then, the other side is that people do think of freelancers like part of their team and how to make the most of them and give them feedback and everything like that.  It’s similar to how they would in-person.

One of things I’ve noticed is I’ve been going to offices, even around San Francisco and New York and things like that, is you walk in and people are still communicating on Slack and hosting their meetings and communication on Slack anyway, so the offices are quite quiet anyway, apart from the sales department.  So, it kind of comes in as if all the communication’s happening online now, people are becoming a lot savvier at knowing how to give feedback and [inaudible] [00:13:47] and, you know, hold the focus and get the job done in a wide region of communications.  So, I think that, again, people are getting better at managing and understanding how to get the most out of teammates in-house because a lot of that is becoming online, and then, just because someone is not in that same room is not having as big an impact as it once did.

John Jantsch:              You mentioned Buffer.  One of my daughters actually works for Buffer, and you know, I don’t know how big their staff is now.  Let’s say it’s 50 people.  I think only six or seven of them are in the San Francisco office.  So, my daughter will come home for a week because she can work remotely.  They have almost a dashboard of communication tools queued up at all times, so they’re seeing people in the office, and they’re seeing other teammates in other parts of the world.

Like you said, I think they use HipChat, but they’re constantly in communication.  In effect, I’m sure you know this, they hold three big get-togethers a year so that they do kind of have that ability to give each other hugs and that kind of thing that you can’t replace with any technology.  Certainly, if you put in the effort in the process, you can certainly do a tremendous amount of very efficient communication in this way.

Kate Kendall:              Yeah.  That’s what we really think at CloudPeeps is that it’s not necessarily 100 percent remote or it’s not 100 in-person.  It’s just giving people the opportunity to work how they want to and how they best work.  So, we really focus more on productivity and counting hours, and I think that allows people to get more work done and be happier.  And then, the same with the freelancers who’ve asked for full-time.  We’re not necessarily, “Oh, you can’t be a full-timer.  We’re pro-freelance.”  It’s about opening the world work up to different ways and different formats.  I think that’s positive for everyone.

John Jantsch:              Well, I was going to ask you that question.  Do people go to CloudPeeps to fill positions permanently from time to time?

Kate Kendall:              They do, but they often see it as a contract-to-hire capacity.  I think one of the things I’ve found personally, as I’ve been working full-time in the past, is you often meet someone, have a conversation, do a quick interview, then you embark on this big, full-time job.  And it’s almost like getting married straight away without dating.  So, that’s the way people often love that referral.  I’ve hired peeps for HQ.  Tessa, our happiness lead, was a peep herself first.  And in the past at TheFetch, a lot of those people grew from my network.  I think getting straight into hiring someone isn’t what they come to CloudPeeps for, but you build those relationships, and then potentially hire them full-time in-house as W2s.  We’re happy to do that, and we’ve built that as a way that customers can acquire talent within the platform.  It’s different from going to LinkedIn and going, “I’m just looking for a full-time person.”

John Jantsch:              And then it becomes, as you said, the 90-day or 120-day interview.

Kate Kendall:              Yeah, exactly.

John Jantsch:              So, how do people get paid?  How do people pay for these?  Is it competitive?  I’m guessing questions that people are out there thinking, “Gosh, this sounds like a good idea.  Can I afford this?”

Kate Kendall:              Definitely.  So, the average price right now for what a customer spends on CloudPeeps is around $1,000.00.  So, we’ve really seen that increase as we’ve opened up to different things, and it’s still rising.  Some people might list a $300.00 quick, basically, “make my social media presences look alive each month.”  Some people might list an $8,000.00 much more intensive per month job.  You’re seeing that range from what customers are actually spending and what they need.  It’s our role to educate them.  If they’re coming in and they’re wanted to spend $500.00 and get the equivalent of a CMO a month, we’ll say, “That’s pretty unrealistic.”  So, we’re doing a lot on the education side to the customers.

And the peeps get paid in real-time, which I think is different from freelancing externally in that you often send an invoice in and hope you get paid within the next two months.  Especially if you’re dealing with large corporations.  Even getting paid within 90 days or so is impressive.  So, we take payment in advance, pay the peeps every two weeks or month, depending on the style of work.  We have hourly and fixed-price work, which is more like retainer.  In terms of the process, we work in a pitching contest model right now.  We actually got asked this question last night at the online community meetup, “Is it competitive?”  A peep answered.  She said that it’s kind of a blend of both.  The community’s super supportive.  We’re really focused on building that internal freelancer community, so people will actually share tips, advice, they’ll get feedback on things in their work.  So, it’s very collaborative, and there are lots of customers now that are coming through the doors.

We have 500 peeps, so the volume ratio is actually really good and in the favor of winning works.  So, it’s not as similar to services like Freelancer or Upwork, which was previously oDesk, in that you might be competing against hundreds of people.  Yeah, that’s a big thing.  And over time the pitching contest models don’t scale super well, and that’s where we’re starting to take a much more data-driven, instruction data-driven approach to matching customers and peeps, which gets to be more like a dating Website and those kinds of tools.  What are you looking for?  Here’s a list of search results.  Here’s maybe the top two or three picks.  Then, connect with your favorites.  That are a lot of people that are looking for specific things, so the main expertise, passion, all of that on the peep side.  So, we can start to match people based on their availability, time zones, needs, and do it in a much more sophisticated way than spray-and-pray pitching.

John Jantsch:              So, they’re not trying to establish an hourly rate necessarily, like you might hire a virtual assistant.  It’s more of a project that people are bidding on?

Kate Kendall:              It really depends on the style of work.  We do both ongoing and on-time work.  We’ve had customers over a year now, so I’ve been really surprised at the length of usage that have said, “I need ongoing social media or community manager to moderate my social media channels and build community and audience there.  And I want to spend $1,000.00 a month and this is what I’m looking for.”  They establish guidelines and say, ten peeps would reply to that pitch call and state their background experience and why they’d be interesting in working with that customer.  So, that’s often the No.  1 use case that we see.

John Jantsch:              Have you found some tools that are your favorites?  We mentioned a couple of them, but some of your favorites for, if you’re going to be going to more of this virtual workforce, for communicating, for tracking projects.  Do you have a few that you would like to share that are your favorites?

Kate Kendall:              Definitely.  We use a lot of Marketplaces ourselves, so I’ll talk more about the services that we use then some of the tools.  I use a tool myself for personal assistance, and I think that Maren Kate has done a brilliant job there at vetting and training talent on there.  Then, I also use UpCounsel, which is where you can get legal help on demand.  So, if we need to get our terms of service updated or anything like that, I’ve found that service brilliant.  San Francisco is almost like the home of the service economy.  You can get everything done on a push of a button, so there’s lots of great services that have the pros and cons.

With tools, we have started to form a few partnerships or look at other freelance tools.  Things like Timely and Harvest for time tracking have been fantastic, so the customers are looking for a bit more of that hourly accountability.  They’re both great tools.  We use Slack.  We use JustWorks for all of our HQ.  It’s a bit like Zenifits meets ZenPayroll.  Xero for all our accounting.  Absolutely love Buffer, of course.  We use SumAll to pull together all of our social media stats internally.

What else do we use?  GitHub Issues, so we do all of our project management in GitHub, but we also use Asana and Trello.  Kind of a common remote stack that you hear people almost use after a while, and we always look to that.  We haven’t tried anything like Squiggle yet, which is when you’re talking about that remote, you can see people.  We haven’t gone full-on, but we should check that out.  We still use a lot of Hangouts and Skype and things like that.

John Jantsch:              What was the first one you mentioned for personal assistance?

Kate Kendall:              Zirtual.

John Jantsch:              Great.  I’ve seen that.  Well, Kate, I appreciate you stopping by to join us today and share some of your journey and share certainly, I think, what is an essential and needed.  You started to talk about how there have been these places you can go say, “Hey, I need this done.”  The E-Lances of the world, but I think by kind of curating a community of people that do very specific online digital marketing kind of work, I think the need is huge, and I’m guessing the demand will show up for you as well.

Kate Kendall:              Thank so much.


6 How to Use Infographics Effectively

Because of the constant bombardment of information we experience on a daily basis, the average human being now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish! In the digital era, marketers have to change and adapt their strategies in order to get their messages heard amongst the many other competing voices. Because humans are wired to respond more positively to visuals than text, infographics tend to get far more shares than traditional text-based content.

Additionally, infographics allow you to create an emotive story around a seemingly meaningless sea of data, allowing people to swiftly understand the key points without having to do any of the tedious reading. While anyone can pay to commission an infographic, there are certain factors you need to consider if you want your infographic to become a viral success!

Choosing the right topic

It’s important to remember that your infographic should never be a tout for your company; instead you should aim to tackle a contentious issue in your industry or cover a hot topic that you know will encourage sharing. In other words, aim to provide genuine value to people instead of simply promoting yourself. With resources such as Google Trends, Twitter hashtags, and numerous RSS aggregators, you’re sure to be able to find a topic that people will love to see encapsulated in a stunning infographic.

Content creation

When researching the facts for your infographic, always use reputable sources and ensure that they are airtight – particularly if your infographic is about a contentious issue – someone is bound to want to point out the flaws in your argument! You may wish to incorporate some quotes from industry specialists to serve as proof elements for your argument. Also, a few interesting lesser-known facts and quirky anecdotes may help to provide some light entertainment for readers.

When organizing your content, thinking visually is crucial. It’s important to remember that not every fact and statistic will make a good visualization, and conversely, not every great visualization will fit within the narrative of your infographic. In order for the infographic to work, the visuals must support the content and help to drive the narrative home. Never be tempted to sacrifice substance for style! As with any form of content marketing, well-researched, high-quality content is the cornerstone of an effective infographic.


You may wish to design an infographic to match the branding of your company, and this may be a good idea if you are creating the piece for company presentations or other internal purposes. However, you should always avoid “over branding” the piece – in most cases you only need to include your company’s logo and website discretely in the footer.

In the design phase, less is more; if you’re used to creating long-winded text content, you may feel reluctant to omit certain pieces of data, even if they aren’t propelling the narrative forward. However, leaving in extraneous elements will only serve to clutter the infographic and confuse people. Always design from a holistic perspective and be prepared to sacrifice elements that aren’t contributing to the clarity and argument of the infographic.


You may wish to create a specific landing page for your infographic, or you can simply post it as part of a blog post. Either way, you should make sure that the page has complete social media functionality so that people can share with ease. Additionally, it helps to include the HTML embed code directly beneath the infographic so people can post it on their websites with ease – this is particularly useful for bloggers within your niche who may wish to incorporate your infographic into their own unique content.

There are numerous infographic submission sites that will be happy to host your infographic and if you’re lucky you could even have it featured on Mashable. However, to get your infographic to go viral you’re probably going to have to do a lot of hustling. Promoting using social media is highly recommended, but don’t forget to leverage your personal network. If you know someone who has a large following online, persuading them to share your infographic can result in huge amounts of exposure, expanding your audience and bringing you new business!

infographics, infographic, mammoth


Mammoth Logo


Jack Knopfler is the Lead Content Editor at Mammoth Infographics. He has a background in digital marketing and has helped clients in a range industries to improve their presence online.

2 5 Easy-To-Use Blog Post Formats

If you’re starting a new blog for your business, you probably have done a lot of research on how to write blog posts. You’ve probably come across all different kinds of posts, everything from other businesses like yours to Buzzfeed’s top 10 cat gifs of the week. It can be a bit overwhelming. Every blog post is different, and you may not know which styles and formats to emulate.

The truth is, there are countless ways to write blog posts, and many different formats you can use. In my last post, I even suggested you use multiple different formats every week or month to help you write more efficiently. Here are several different, easy to use blog post formats and how to use them.

Countdown / List

Countdown or list posts are some of the most highly shared posts on the Internet, and they are easy to read and create. Made popular by sites like Buzzfeed, the countdown post is a list of headers, broken apart by small bits of content under each header. You see this all the time: “5 tips to make you a better blogger,” “The top 10 teams in Major League Baseball,” even posts like this would fall under that format.

These sorts of posts are frequently shared because the headers make it easier for speed readers to comprehend the content of the post. They also make it and for those who may not want to read the entire post to pick and choose the content they want to read. It is easy to write because the list format allows you to gather and organize your thoughts without having to worry about those pesky and sometimes difficult-to-write transitions.

To write a countdown or list post, begin with a topic. Next think of a handful of examples. Aim for a nice round number like 5 or 10, but don’t sweat it if you can only think of 4 or 7. Next, write a little bit about each example and why it pertains to the topic. Finally, write a short intro and conclusion about the subject and why it matters to your audience. It’s as simple as that!


How-to blog posts are exactly what they sound like, a post with a step-by-step outline of how to complete a task. Here on the Duct Tape Marketing blog, Sara writes great how-to posts. These are often easy to write because you’re outlining something you already know how to do, and really helpful to your audience.

To write a how-to blog post, begin with a task and list out the steps one by one. Next, spend a bit of time explaining each step, maybe even including photos or examples of each step. Make sure these steps and explanations are broken down so your blog’s audience can understand, and avoid any industry-specific jargon. Finally, write an introduction explaining to your audience why they should learn this new skill, and maybe a conclusion encouraging your audience to practice and use the new skill.


News posts are editorial posts that analyze a newsworthy event and apply it to your industry. News posts get shared because there is a good chance your audience is already talking about the news story.

To write a news blog post, start by creating a listening post to keep an eye (or ear) out for news that applies to your business. This can be done by following journalists and news outlets on social media, or just checking your favorite news outlets daily. Next, find a news story that may have an impact on your industry or business in the future. Begin by writing a little bit of background on the news story, and then spend time talking about how it impacts you, your industry or your customers.


Sharing posts are some of the easiest to write, and are a valuable tool to leverage for growing your strategic partner base. These are posts where you can share other posts or products to your audience. For example, every weekend John shares his “Weekend Favs,” three new tools that can help make running a business easier.

To write a sharing post, collect blog posts or products to share throughout the week leading to the post. Be sure to keep your strategic partners in mind, and work their products and posts in often. List each item and hyperlink each one. Next, write a little about each post or product you are sharing, specifically why your audience should click the link. That’s it!


Finally, the mailbag post is a great way to get your audience to write your posts for you. The only catch is that you have to build up an active audience for this to work. These posts simply consist of you answering questions directly from your audience.

To write a mailbag post, call for questions from your audience either in a post on your blog or social media. Then copy/paste the questions and write your answers. If you don’t have much of an active audience, you can always think of commonly asked questions to answer, but this can be difficult.

Blog posts shouldn’t be difficult to write. These five easy blog post formats should help you get your blog rolling with great, consistent content.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

4 How Not to Get Lost in the Content Creation Wasteland

Planning an entire year in advance – who DOES that??

You should – if you want to stay focused and on track to meet your marketing goals. To be more specific – if your marketing strategy includes blogging, sending e-newsletters, or any other form of content that you share digitally, a content calendar is a powerful tool to make your online marketing more effective. And without one, you could be just another boring fish in the online marketing sea.

As someone who does nearly all of my business online and connects with thousands of people every week using online tools, a content calendar is a no-brainer. Knowing what I want to share with my audience ahead of time makes my writing more efficient and my work less stressful. It keeps me organized. It keeps me focused on the bigger goal of constantly finding new ways to serve my best customers better.

Think of it like this: let’s say you live in Oklahoma City, and you plan to drive to Los Angeles, somewhere you’ve never been. Even though you have the fantastic invention of GPS, plus a paper map and a good friend who knows the city well to help you get to your destination efficiently and safely, you simply get in your car and start driving west.

You don’t even consider what asphalt cooking in 115-degree heat could do to your tires. You ignore the signs that read “next gas station 158 miles”. You just drive aimlessly, surviving on cold fried chicken you bought at the Albertson’s in Needles because there was literally nothing else open. You’re not sure how or when you’ll get to LA.

content planYou’ll probably still get there… but it could be a much longer and more frustrating trip than it needed to be, all because you didn’t take a few minutes to plan.

Content creation is like that. Without a clear path to your destination, it becomes a vicious cycle that alternates between writer’s block and hopelessness.

Thankfully, a bit of planning will keep you from getting lost in the Mojave Desert of content development.

If you’re reading this with a sceptical eye, then you’re probably someone who struggles with the question “But how do I know what to write about?” The answer is simple: ask your audience.

If your audience is engaged with you and asks you questions, you can build your content calendar to address their needs. Your audience is probably the most powerful planning tool you have at your disposal. The more engaged you are with them, the more they’ll tell you what they want, and the easier it is to plan your content strategy well in advance.

Wondering how to create a content strategy that has your business’s longer-term objectives in mind? Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on monthly themes. You don’t have to have every blog title, and every YouTube video script written out. But by choosing a general theme for each month, you have a framework around which to develop each piece of content. As you come up with new ideas, slot them into the most relevant themes to start building out the calendar.
  2. Plan content around your launches. Are you planning to launch a new product or program this year? Up to a month before your launch, start promoting content that relates to whatever you’re going to be selling; it brings more people into the fold who are likely to buy from you.
  3. Solve your audience’s problems. Survey your email list or Twitter followers; find out what they want to know and use that information to create your themes and your content.
  4. Be flexible. Just like a business plan, it’s impossible to stick to your content plan like glue. Be responsive to your audience’s new questions, and pay attention to current events to see if you can leverage those to make more people aware of your brand.

Ready for a smooth ride on the content creation highway? Take ten minutes today and create your monthly content themes for the rest of 2015. Your audience will thank you.

jessica omanWhen Jessica Oman (the Renegade Planner) isn’t busy helping her clients start and grow businesses that earn them a 6-figure income, she’s road-tripping in the USA with her hubby and pooch, or developing her appreciation for a good West Coast IPA. She’s written the Ultimate Guide to Leaving Your Job and Planning a Business you Can Bank on, which you can download free by clicking here.

1 How To Succeed At Content Marketing On A Small Budget

Here’s great news for your small business: You can succeed at content marketing without spending a fortune. In fact, you may be able to out-content market much larger competitors with much larger budgets. In this article, we’ll review a simple, focused approach to creating a content marketing campaign that is affordable and effective.

shutterstock_95024107Why You Will Succeed: Quality Trumps Quantity

Large companies sometimes turn content marketing into link building campaigns for SEO — putting the emphasis on the number of links, and hence the number of articles published. But whether for Google or people, high-quality content achieves the best results.

Small-business owners understand their business inside-out and know how to talk to customers and prospects. Thus, they are in a position to write highly authoritative and useful content — content that high-profile, influential websites and blogs in their niche are eager to publish. Such content holds several important benefits for small businesses:

  1. Improving brand image
  2. Establishing credibility
  3. Expanding brand awareness
  4. Generating sales leads and referrals
  5. Creating natural links that greatly improve the firm’s SEO visibility

shutterstock_164492432How to Succeed: A Hands-on Approach

The secret weapon to small-business content marketing is you. You know what to write about. You know how to write about it in ways that influence customer perception and action. You know the top publishing sites and may already have a dialog with some of them. Set realistic goals of publishing two articles per month and proceed as follows:

  • Set aside one to two hours per month to brainstorm topics with your team. Create a simple editorial detailing topics, key points and a target-publishing site for each article.
  • Set aside two to four hours per month to write two articles. Find an editor, either on staff or freelance, to edit as needed. The level of editing you need depends a lot on your writing skills; don’t be deterred if you are not a master writer. For more insight on editing, click here.
  • Set aside one to three hours per month to pitch your articles to publishing sites. You may be able to delegate this assignment to your top marketing person.
  • Task a staffer to monitor published articles. Keep track of the number of comments and social shares each article produces, as well as how many visits to your website were referred from publishing sites. Have this person alert you to any comments that need your response. Spend one hour per month reviewing performance data.
  • Continuously improve your efforts by looking for new publishing sites, and monitoring customer/prospect feedback and questions from whatever sources for new topic ideas.

This content marketing to-do list requires a little over one day a month from the writer (you) — and not much at all in the way of hard costs.

How to Succeed: Stay Focused on Off-site Articles

It’s tempting to expand into other types of content marketing once you’ve gotten your off-site article publishing off the ground. But take care: spreading yourself too thin could lead to mediocre execution on all fronts. Here are reasons not to venture out too quickly in certain content marketing avenues:

  • Social Media. You can labor for years to build a sizeable, engaged and relevant following on your own social media sites. Far easier is to piggyback on the established social media communities of your publishing sites.
  • Company Blog. An on-site blog is certainly a good thing, but doing it properly will consume a lot of internal resources. Effective blogs require the steady production of high-quality content and energetic marketing to develop an audience. Additionally, a blog should have an underlying SEO strategy that adds another layer of complexity and cost.
  • Visual Content. Infographics, video, slide presentations and photography have a huge “cool” factor and attract attention from valuable publishers. Nevertheless, visual content is expensive to produce and hard to do effectively, even with a substantial budget.

If you see your initial content strategy gain traction, based on lead generation, social shares, anecdotal evidence and other relevant factors, you can always expand. It’s a great problem to have — much better than trying to do too much and getting nowhere.

sn-brad-shorr-2Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of Straight North, an Internet marketing firm serving business of all sizes with their content marketing needs. You can read Brad’s work on Moz, Smashing Magazine, and

3 How to Repurpose Content in a Clearly Useful Way

You have read 100 times by now how important content is.  You have spent some time doing a bit of research on keywords and have a list of different content formats you know you need to create (blog, newsletter, podcast, email campaigns, advertising, the list goes on….) but the problem is:

This is a full-time job and you do not have the resources or time to sit at your computer and produce content all day, every day.

Sound familiar?  This is a dilemma that many small businesses go through.  They understand the need to be producing content, but are stuck on how to get it all done.

How can you get people to know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer you using content in the most efficient way possible?

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.  This is one of my favorite words when it comes to content production.

To repurpose content is to give it a new life, gain exposure to new audiences and to save you time (which we all know is money).

Below are some examples on how to Repurpose Content:

Foundational Topic

  • Write a blog post on your core topic.  For example, 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success
  • Create an image for each of the 7 Steps and share one tip per day on social channels
  • Expand the blog post into 7 separate blog posts – one on each topic
  • Combine the posts and add an introduction.  Send off to a designer and have it turned into an eBook
  • Take the eBook and translate it to slides.  You know have your hour presentation.
  • Go even deeper and turn the hour presentation into a 1/2 workshop by adding action steps and worksheets to support your presentation.

You now have 8 blog posts, 7 social media posts, an eBook, an hour presentation and a 1/2 day workshop – from one core piece of content.


  • Conduct a regular podcast with as many industry leaders as possible following monthly themes
  • Write a blog post on each interview
  • Send out the best tips on social media channels
  • Share the best interviews via a monthly newsletter
  • Combine the interviews and blog posts into a valuable online course or package them together to give out as a bonus for a different product purchase

You now have podcasts, blog posts, social media updates, newsletter content and an online course or package.

Client Questions

  • Have your support team monitor their inboxes for questions that come through
  • Compile the questions for an FAQ page
  • Pull out the best questions and turn them into individual blog posts
  • Expand the blog posts into an eBook – Best Questions from our Favorite Clients

You now have an FAQ page, blog posts, and an eBook – but most importantly somewhere for your support team to point customers towards when they need help answering those common questions.

Client Competition

  • Have your clients submit photos or videos using your product or implementing your services (in exchange for an incentive they would actually care about of course)
  • Retweet, repost, share the content they submit on all of your social channels
  • Request permission and use the content on your website – all the fun/exciting ways people are using what you offer
  • Develop sales material for your team to use that includes these testimonials/action shots

You now have momentum on social media, online referrals from your customers, content to share on your channels, content for your website, and sales materials.   Not to mention a fun way to get your clients involved in the promotional efforts.

The main thing to keep in mind here is every single time you create a piece of content, come up with a game plan on how you could get the most value possible.  To repurpose is to give you time back in your day – time to focus on the things you love such as running your business or hanging with your kids on the weekend.

Sara HeadshotSara Jantsch is the Director of Community at Duct Tape Marketing.  It is Sara’s job to see to all the little things that make our community members feel appreciated, informed, special and looked after.  She is also a Marketing Consultant and has a strong passion for working with small business owners.