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The Top 10 Duct Tape Marketing Podcast Episodes for 2019

2019 was another great year on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. I chatted with some incredible guests, I did some solo shows where I could share a bit about the Duct Tape Marketing philosophy, and I got to share excerpts from my latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, which was released in October.

In honor of an incredible year, I wanted to take a look back at the most popular episodes we aired in 2019.

If you enjoyed what you heard here, check out the full line-up of shows. We’ll be back the first full week in January with all new episodes and guests.

Pamela Wilson – Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Pamela Wilson is the founder of BIG Brand System and the author of Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish. She is an expert in creating the kind of content that grabs your audiences’ attention and can help you grow your business through the four distinct phases of growth.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll learn about the Lifecycle Approach to content management and creation, which acknowledges that your website will have different content needs at different points in the life of your business.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – The Benefits of Including Video on Your Website

Video has become a critical element in marketing strategy. People want to watch video content, and companies are investing in creating videos for their brand. If you haven’t done it already, now is the time for you to incorporate video into your website.

Biggest takeaway: We’ll cover the four types of video content you should include on your website. Plus I’ll share practical, technical tips for video content creation, from how to manage lighting and camera work to where to turn for editing help.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage One: Build

Digital marketing provides business owners with dozens of channels through which to reach their audience. From paid ads to social media to SMS marketing to SEO, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options out there. By starting with a solid foundation and a focus on only a handful of the tactics available, you can get those going strong and then expand to more tactics.

Biggest takeaway: We’ll walk through the five elements that go into the build stage of your marketing maturity model, from the creation of your marketing website with SEO and a strong content program, to social media and email marketing. Plus, you can follow the links in this podcast post to catch the episodes on the other two marketing maturity stages, grow and ignite.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – Why Your Marketing Must Be Led By Strategy First

One of the main tenets of the Duct Tape Marketing approach to marketing is that your efforts must be led by strategy first. If you’re creating content without a guiding strategy, you’re spinning your wheels. These are the steps you must take to build a solid strategic base for your marketing tactics.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll learn why the first step in developing a solid marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer, and I’ll give you tips on how to find them.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Jason Kander – Becoming a Great Leader, No Matter What Field You’re In

Jason Kander

Jason Kander served in the U.S. military as an Army Captain before transitioning into politics. He was elected to the Missouri House in 2008 and became the Missouri Secretary of State in 2009. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll hear a handful of lessons from Kander’s book – lessons that are takeaways from his time in the military. And while the stories come from Army life, they’re applicable to anyone in a position of leadership.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Matt Scanlon – Managing an Expanding Business, With Your Mission Guiding the Way

Matt Scanlon is a fellow Kansas City business owner. He runs The Hill KC, which began as a local CrossFit gym and has expanded to offer corporate wellness products and services to folks in the community who have disabilities or need help getting access to wellness services.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll hear from an entrepreneur who’s going through the tricky but exciting work of growing his business. Scanlon shares some of the struggles he’s come up against with respect to branding and bridging the gap between the different audiences he’s expanding to serve.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Paul Jarvis – Finding Success and Happiness as a Company of One

Paul Jarvis is a writer and designer who runs his own business and counts among his clients giants like Mercedes Benz, Microsoft, and Shaquille O’Neal. He discusses how to approach the big questions about how to grow your business so that you can build something sustainable that continues to bring you joy.

Biggest takeaway: When you decide it doesn’t make sense to scale, what do you do next? Paul Jarvis is happy as a company of one, and he shares tips for finding your own path as a solopreneur.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Jill Nelson – Growing Your Business While Growing as an Entrepreneur

Jill Nelson is the founder and CEO of Ruby Receptionists. The company provides virtual receptionist services across the U.S., and it regularly lands on “best of” lists as an employer and a service provider.

Biggest takeaway: When you found a company, your role as a leader doesn’t remain stagnant. It grows and changes as your business does the same. Nelson shares her own experience in scaling her business in the episode.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Neen James – The Benefits of Giving Intentional Attention

Neen James is an author, keynote speaker, and leadership expert. She believes that the key to building strong relationships with teammates and customers alike is being intentional in the way you give attention. She is the author of Attention Pays: How to Drive Profitability, Productivity, and Accountability.

Biggest takeaway: When you’re not paying attention, it can cause big problems in your business. Customers and good employees who feel overlooked go elsewhere. James shares why it’s important to give intentional attention to the people who matter most to your company.

Click here to listen to the episode.

James Fell – Setting the Stage for a Moment of Awakening

James Fell

James Fell is a health expert and the author of several books, including The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant. As a college student, Fell was overweight, floundering in school, and struggling with money. A moment of sudden awakening changed the course of his life. And he wants to help you find your life-changing epiphany, too.

Biggest takeaway: Even if you’re in a bad spot in your life, you won’t necessarily be motivated to change. Fell walks us through the psychological principles at work that lead us to those epiphanies that can change the course of our lives.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Is your favorite episode on the list? If not, we’d love to hear which one you enjoyed listening to the most!

For our podcast audience, we can’t thank you enough for your support over the years! If you like the show, click on over and subscribe and if you love the show give us a review on iTunes, please!

Transcript of Getting the Most Out of Your Content

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John Jantsch: Producing content’s become a marketer’s primary job. But how do you maximize your reach? How do you make sure that there’s some ROI every time you hit publish? Well this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast, I speak with Pamela Wilson, author of Master Content Strategy, and that’s what we’re going to talk about. How to make content drive the bottom line.

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth focused e-commerce brands drive more sales, with super targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast, this is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Pamela Wilson. She’s the founder of Big Brand System, and the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, Master Content Strategy: How to maximize your reach, and boost your bottom line every time you hit publish. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Pamela, thanks for joining me.

Pamela Wilson: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. That is definitely the goal, right? To maximize your reach and get your ideas out into the world.

John Jantsch: All right, so let me start with a word that’s in the title. What is content strategy look like? I’m sure a lot of us marketers have been talking about you need a content strategy, but define that for somebody who maybe isn’t a marketer.

Pamela Wilson: You know, it might be easiest to say what it’s not. It is not throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks. It is approaching your content with some kind of overarching goal for the people you want to reach, and what you want it to accomplish for your business. The way I talk about it in the book is that the needs of your website change during the lifecycle of your website. So, what you need in the early days of your website is very different than what you need if your sight has been live for six, eight, 10 years.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and you know, I actually think that you can take it a step farther, and I mean, one of the strategies might be what can you actually get done? Or, how can you actually do things in a way that allows you to get more done, or to be more efficient in producing your content? Because I think for a lot of my listeners, and a lot of small business owners, this whole need to produce content has become the biggest task of all.

Pamela Wilson: Right. Yeah, and I recognize that, when I talk about the lifecycle in the book, I talk about how one of the big goals in the first year of your site is to just become a better content creator. Just to gain confidence. The way you do that is producing a lot of content. It’s like anything else in life, you get better at it, the more you practice. My recommendation for the first year is to write a new piece of content every single week as your minimum goal. Which sounds really overwhelming, but if you do it on kind of a schedule, and you get yourself into this routine where you’re producing and publishing content on the same day every week, it’s not that bad, and the more you do it, the better you get at it. Plus, as you know, the search engines love that you’re just putting out this nice, fresh content every single week. So, you’re giving your website a chance to get found.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think that ultimately you look up after a year, and you’ve built an asset. I think that that’s the part that is so hard when you don’t have a strategy, and you’re just throwing like you said … You use pasta at the wall. I mean, I think if you look at this as this is a long-term game … What will I have at the end of a year? You kind of map it out accordingly, I think you end up building something that’s going to serve you for a long time.

Pamela Wilson: You’ll have 50 pieces of content, plus a lot more confidence and skills that you can then build on. That’s what I talk about in the book, that once you have those basic skills in place, then going forward you can do slightly more sophisticated things with your content, because you have those skills to count on.

John Jantsch: One of the things, and you already alluded to this … I think a whole first section of the book, in fact, is called, “The Lifecycle Approach to Content Marketing,” so you want to unpack that?

Pamela Wilson: Yes. The Lifecycle Approach basically recognizes that your site needs different things at different points in its life. In the first year, what I recommend is what we just talked about which is try to publish a new piece of content every single week. This is going to build your skills, it’s going to build this content asset. As you said on your website, search engines will find you, I mean there are all these positive things that will come out from that really big push that you do in the first year. Then, in the second year, what I call your second through fifth year, this is your growth time. This is where you can kind of build on the skills that you’ve developed that first year. In some cases, if you have managed to publish every week in the first year, you might be able to dial it back to publishing every other week.

But, what I’m asking you to do in the book is to write deep dive content. Write content that goes into more depth, it’s longer, maybe it starts to incorporate things like multimedia, so maybe you start exploring video or audio, or you build some slide shares, and you weave them into the post or you incorporate images. It’s just asking you to take your content quality to a slightly higher level. If that means that you have to publish less often, that’s fine, during those growth years. Years two through five.

Then what happens, and this point was driven home for me when I took over managing the copy blogger blog back in 2015, what happens is, you get to this point, somewhere around year six. If you have kept this up consistently, where you need to start changing your strategy yet again, because you just have a ton of content, and some of the pieces of content that you’ve created over time you want to resurface those for people who never got a chance to see them.

You’re going to be going back and refreshing things, updating them, in some cases putting a new publishing date on them, and republishing them so people see them again, and you may go back for your most popular posts, and you may add again multimedia. Something that was maybe you did it in your first year, and it was very popular, lots of people are still hitting that piece of content, maybe you add a video to it. Maybe you interview a thought leader in your space, and you add that video to it. Or, you create a slide share. You just kind of polish it up, and give it a new life on your website.

John Jantsch: You mentioned video a couple times, and I do think that there is a need for short form, long form, video, images. How do you reconcile giving people advice on … I mean now, I not only have to produce all this content, I have to have it in all these different formats.

Pamela Wilson: Right. Exactly. And that’s where we come back to this concept of a lifecycle. I am not asking you to do all of this in year one. I just want you to develop skills so that you feel confident, and you can build on those skills very organically over time. Just like any new skill that you’re learning. You learn the basics, and then you start to learn the more complex skills as you go along.

The one thing that I tell people when they’re thinking about multi-media is do not try to master everything at once. Find something that builds on your existing skills. Maybe you feel very comfortable working with images. Maybe you just start by adding more images to your longer posts. You break them up with images that maybe every 400, 500 words you add an image, just to break up the page a little bit.

Or, maybe you are somebody, one of those rare unicorns, who feels incredibly comfortable in video. I’ve met a couple, but there aren’t that many of us. You just do a camera … You talking to the camera on video, where you just chat a little bit about the content of the article, or maybe it’s even a podcast episode. That’s the other thing I talk about is when you’re thinking about multi-media, it’s not so much that you’re always adding video, for example. It’s that you are taking the existing piece of content and changing it into something else.

For example, here we are, we’re recording a podcast. We could take this podcast and turn it into an ebook. It’s audio and it becomes something written. That’s the idea is to repurpose it, so that you turn it into something that has a slightly different format, and it’s going to appeal to a different audience that way.

John Jantsch: Want to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers. This allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation, email auto-responders that are ready to go, great reporting.

You want to learn a little bit about the secret to building customer relationships they’ve got a really fun series called Klaviyo’s beyond black Friday. It’s a docu-series, a lot of fun, quick lessons. Just head on over to Beyond black Friday.

Let’s talk about topics. You mentioned that you work with a lot of folks starting up an online business. Is there foundational content that you need to produce first, or could you keep talking about year two, and year three, but a lot of times, if I’m starting a business, what content is going to serve me now?

Pamela Wilson: Right. Well, typically people go into creating an online business and they’ve been asked questions about their area of expertise. They’re building a business around some kind of expertise that they have, or passion, or interest. They’ve heard questions. You and I have heard this lots of times. It’s a really solid piece of advice. Think about the questions that people typically ask you about your area of expertise, and start at just answering those. That can provide a really great guide for when you are just starting out.

For example on Big Brand System in the early days, I was talking a lot about design, and branding topics. My first 10 posts were called design 101. It was all questions that I had been asked by clients over the years, and all things that I sort of wish they knew, because it was this foundational knowledge. I always recommend that people go back to what is the foundational knowledge, what are the questions that you get from people who are really beginners with this topic that you want to talk about and that you want to build a site around.

John Jantsch: Yeah, it’s funny. I work with a lot of content producers, and a lot of times people will hire a marketing person say at a technical company and tell them, “Go produce content.” They’re like, “Well, I don’t know this stuff.” It’s amazing how much content is in the sent emails of the technicians, and the engineers, and sometimes that can be a great place to find content.

Pamela Wilson: Customer service. Right? You attack your customer service people and you find out what people are asking. Sometimes if the person writing is kind of a beginner, that actually puts them in a wonderful position to know what the very basic questions are.

John Jantsch: You have a chapter called, “The Four Day Content Creation System,” and that seemed like the closest thing to a magic bullet that everybody is looking for. Why don’t you describe the Four Day Content Creation System.

Pamela Wilson: You know, I came up with this, because when I made this recommendation for people to write a piece of content every week, it sounds so daunting. But this is a way to approach it that it breaks the process down over several days, and what I have found in all creative work that I … I’ve done creative work my entire career, right? So whether it’s design or writing. Any kind of creative work really benefits from being left alone to rest for a little while, and having you come back to it with what I call fresh eyes. You see it with fresh eyes. That’s what this system builds on. It’s this idea that you take a break from your piece of content, and then you come back to it.

Day one, what you’re trying to do is create some kind of a backbone for your piece of content. This could be written content, but it could also be a podcast. Day one what you want to focus on is writing your headline, and your subheads. Once you get your headline written, and this … It could change in your final piece, but you want to have a working headline that you’re pretty happy with, and your basic subheads that sort of lay out the premise of what you’re going to be talking about. It’s basically an outline straight from English class in middle school. But we’re not going to call it an outline, we’ll call it a backbone, because it sounds less daunting.

That’s day one. You do that, and then you walk away. Then on day two what you want to do is write your first draft. Start to finish, I always tell people write forward, don’t write backward. Don’t go back and try to edit, you have a whole day for that. But on day two, just get your first draft written. Once you’ve done that, you come back on day three, and you edit. You polish. You get it all ready to publish on the next day, and then on day four you’re publishing it, and you’re promoting it, and you’re really putting it out there, because it’s fresh new content. You want to get out there, and kind of advocate for it on the fourth day.

John Jantsch: I spent the first maybe 10 years or so of my blogging career writing every day.

Pamela Wilson: Oh wow. Yeah.

John Jantsch: I wrote a post every day, including Sundays. I didn’t have the luxury of doing that, but a lot of times, I wish I did, because another thing that your system does is it probably avoids silly mistakes.

Pamela Wilson: You know, the thing is the mistakes kind of … They jump out at you on the page. Right? You can see them, because you’ve given yourself a break, and you haven’t looked at it for maybe 24 hours, and then when you come back to it, it’s like, “Oh well, clearly this is a grammatical error, or clearly I have not supported my argument here, and I need to just add more information, this part isn’t clear.” I mean, things just really jump out when you give yourself a break.

John Jantsch: Back in 2005, ’06, ’07, ’08, I had the grammar police that would come on and make comments, back when we used to have commenting turned on, on all of our blogs.

Pamela Wilson: Right.

John Jantsch: I would hear from people very loudly. But I had fun with it, because I figured that was part of the format.

Pamela Wilson: Yeah. Absolutely. And that makes people feel useful. What can you do?

John Jantsch: One of the things that I like … I like when books do this, and you’ve done a good job with this. You have all of these checklists in the back of the book that kind of walk people through not only the stages, but then each fit promotions to your content strategy, the body of work approach to content creation. I love those. Pamela, where can people find out more about Big Brand Systems and about where they can find your book?

Pamela Wilson: The best place is go to They can find my website there. There’s all sorts of great stuff. I have a page where I’m … I’ll send you a link … Where I have lots of free stuff. I have it all gathered on one page. It’s

John Jantsch: We’ll have that in the show notes, too.

Pamela Wilson: Yes. Absolutely. They can find the book right on the website.

John Jantsch: Well, Pamela, thanks for joining us, and hopefully we’ll run into you someday soon out there on the road.

Pamela Wilson: That sounds great. Thanks John, it was good to chat with you.

Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Marketing Podcast with Pamela Wilson
Podcast Transcript

Pamela WilsonToday on the podcast, I chat with Pamela Wilson, founder of BIG Brand System. Through her company, Wilson teaches small business owners how to plan for and grow a business through its four distinct stages.

On today’s episode, we discuss her book, Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publishand how any small business owner can leverage their strengths to create effective content that gets their business noticed—whether they’re just starting up or have been around for years.

As a keynote speaker, business coach, and leader of various workshops and courses, Wilson has helped companies across the country learn to effectively communicate with their customers.

She and BIG Brand System have been featured in Entrepreneur, The New York Times Small Business Blog, CNN Money, and Mashable.

Questions I ask Pamela Wilson:

  • What does content strategy look like?
  • Is there foundational content that you need to produce first?
  • What is the four day content creation system?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why the things that your website needs in its first year will be different from what it needs after it’s been around for five years.
  • How looking at what your customers are asking about can help direct your content strategy.
  • How you can build on content you’ve already created to get it seen by a wider audience.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Pamela Wilson:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Klaviyo logoThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to


How to Use Images to Enhance Your Content and Social Media

This is an excerpt from Master Content Marketing, a new book by Pamela Wilson of Rainmaker Digital/Copyblogger.

If you’re not a working artist, this post may push you straight out of your comfort zone.

“Me? Create images for my content? No way.”

The good news is that image creation (just like content creation and social media marketing) can be learned.

I’ll share a few rules of thumb to guide you as you get started. When you combine the rules I’ll teach with practice, you’ll become more proficient with image creation over time.

You may even find yourself looking forward to creating images! I believe that’s partly because images are processed in a different part of your brain than words. When you work on your images, you’re giving that hard-working verbal processing part of your brain a break.

Your Visual Cortex: An Unsung Superhero

Your visual cortex is a small part of your brain that’s hidden toward the back of your head. But its effects are massive: it produces the reality you see all around you. And it’s fast: it processes visual information 60,000 times faster than words.

Images “speak” a different language than words and convey their meaning faster, too. That’s why one of the most important things you can do to put a finishing touch on any piece of content is to add an image.

One of your goals is to create content that gets noticed and read, and great images make us stop and look. There’s proof for this: a 2013 study by MDG Advertising showed that content featuring compelling images averages 94 percent more total views than content without.

But images don’t just draw viewers — they boost understanding (and retention), too.

“Text and oral presentations are not just slightly less efficient than pictures for retaining certain types of information; they are much less efficient. If information is presented orally, people remember about 10 percent, tested 72 hours after exposure. That figure goes up to 65 percent if you add a picture.” — John Medina, Brain Rules

Images Invite, Explain, and Entertain

The best images add meaning to the words you’ve written: they convey emotion, evoke an atmosphere, and communicate opinions. All this without words! It sounds like a tall order, but the information in this post will help you find and use images that do all that.

You’ve spent time and effort writing an amazing article. Let’s put some icing on that cake with an image that draws attention to the content you created and helps boost comprehension, too.

Revisit Your Carefree Image Creation Days

As young children, we all start out as artists. The difference between the art we made when we were kids and the art we make now is that when we were kids, we didn’t care about whether our images “worked.” We enjoyed creating them, and that was all that mattered.

There’s no time like today to revisit your inner artist. And there are good business reasons to start adding images to your content.
Image processing happens in a different part of the brain from where words are processed, so putting images with your words will engage more of your reader’s brain.

Images are especially effective vehicles to activate associations. If you spark an experience or memory with your image, you can convey a meaning that goes well beyond the words on the page.

Block Out Time to Find the Best Image

Recreate those carefree “artist” days by blocking out time for image creation in your schedule. Some people like to “warm up” with images as the first thing they do when they get into their office in the morning. Others identify the times of day their minds seem to need a break from writing words or doing calculations, and they use those times to create images.

I jump between writing and creating images all day long. I look at my to-do list and check in with myself: “Am I in the mood for writing, or creating images?”

Begin with a Goal

What exactly do you want to accomplish with the image in your piece of content? What effect would you like it to have?
When they’re created for marketing our businesses, our image goals fall into common categories. We want to:

  • Entertain: these images provoke smiles and spread goodwill
  • Educate: these images share information and build authority
  • Provoke: these images surprise and prompt an action
  • Inspire: these images evoke emotion, encourage, or uplift the viewer

Decide what you want to communicate from one of the categories above and choose an image as a vehicle for your message. Having this information in hand will make it easier to get through the next step without wasting time.

Where to Avoid Looking for Images for Your Content

Before I talk about where to look for images, I want to talk about where not to look for images. And to do that, I need to share a few words about copyright. Stick with me! It will be short.

Literature, art, and photography are intellectual property which benefits from the protection of copyright. Finding an image floating around on the web doesn’t grant you the right to use it: someone owns it, and you may only use it if the owner gives you permission.

This permission is often conditional. For example, you may be allowed to use an image to illustrate a point in a purely editorial context, but you may not be able to use it in a commercial context.

I have known several people who have been sued for not paying attention to proper usage. They ended up owing thousands of dollars to the owner of an image because they used it without paying for it, thinking they had permission. These people didn’t set out to “steal” anything, but that’s exactly what they did.

Never use a web browser’s image search function to find images to use in your content. It is too tempting to find the “perfect” rights-protected image there. I also recommend you avoid image-sharing services like Flickr. Yes, some photographers add a Creative Commons license to their images which grants permission to use it. But I knew someone who used an image with a Creative Commons license and then, later on, the photographer changed the license and my friend had to stop using the image. It was an image that had been used to sell one of her well-known products for many years, and she had to scramble to look for a replacement.

Let’s keep you out of legal hot water and save you from future headaches, shall we? Here’s how to find images you have the right to use freely — images that will make your content more attractive and effective.

Where to Look for Images for Your Content

To find the perfect image for your next piece of content, you have three choices:

  1. Find a free stock photo you have the rights to use.
  2. Buy a high-quality stock photo you have the rights to use.
  3. Create an image yourself.

You can also commission photography, of course, but that’s not very common for web content. Even major corporations use high-quality purchased stock photography. Let’s look at each of these three choices in detail.

Free Stock Photography

An important note: when looking at free stock photography, be sure to check the licensing on any image you use. In many cases, the image is free to use in exchange for crediting the photographer who provided it. Sites will specify what you need to say in the photo credit, so follow their directions carefully. Pixabay is my favorite free photo site because it’s the one that feels most like a paid site. It features easy-to-search photos, illustrations, and vectors. Pixabay images are vetted by a team of volunteer editors and do not require you to credit the photographer. Creating an account on the site will allow you quicker access to images, which you can download in a variety of sizes. Kaboompics offers major image categories and has a search feature, too. Their image collection isn’t huge, but the images they do have are high-quality and quite large — large enough to be used for print design. The only thing you can’t do with Kaboompics images is to sell them: the site is devoted to keeping their images free. TheStocks is a collection of stock photo sites all in one place — the majority of which are free. You can use the interface to browse collections and get a feel for the quality and style of the photos available.

Paid Stock Photography

Over the years that I’ve taught branding, I’ve met a few people who didn’t ever want to pay for the photography they used. And I have to confess I got more than a little impatient with them.

You see, I have art directed more photo shoots than I can remember. And I know how much work happens to create the professional-level images featured on paid stock photography sites.

Memorable images aren’t easy to create, and I think the hard work is worth paying for.

When you’re ready to make a very small investment in getting professional photography that you have the rights to use for any commercial purpose — and that you can run without adding a photo credit — take a look at these paid stock photo sites: I love the oversized images, advanced search features, and vast archive on this site. It’s my go-to when I need an image that stands out. Polished, beautiful images with a robust search feature.

Adobe Stock: A massive collection of high-quality images with a price range that reflects the quality (it’s on the high side). Worth looking through when you need a specific image that will be memorable.

Create Your Own Images

Here’s a radical idea. Chances are very good that you walk around every day with a camera close by in the form of your smartphone.
What would happen if you began registering images of the world around you, a few photos at a time?

When you’re looking around, keep your eyes open for:

Contrast: Look for color contrast, light and shadow contrast, size or texture contrast.

Faces and emotions: Keep your finger on your camera button to capture expressions, emotions, and stolen glances that tell stories.

Angles: Dramatic angles and a sense of perspective that draw your eye into the image make a boring image interesting. Sometimes all it takes is positioning yourself or your camera above, below, or to the side for the image to come to life.

The Art of Image Searching

Some images just work: they complement your words; they add shades of meaning and entertainment value to your page.

And some images? They’re boring, they send the wrong message, and they aren’t worth spending time deciphering.

Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman group, which is devoted to researching website usability, says this about images:

“Users pay attention to information-carrying images that show content that’s relevant to the task at hand. And users ignore purely decorative images that don’t add real content to the page. So much fluff — of which there’s too much already on the web.”

To find the best images, you’ll want to become skilled at searching for them. Here are the tips the pros use:

Start searching for one word, then narrow your results by adding words or subtracting. Searching a single word usually leads to an overwhelming number of results. Bring up the results from a single-word search, and see what you want more or less of. Most sites will allow you to add a minus sign before terms you don’t want to appear. If you’re getting a lot of results with children, for example, and you’re looking for an image of business people, add “-children” to the search box along with your original word.

Use style terms. Adding specific words like “vintage,” “grunge,” “white background,” or “close up” will narrow down your results. You can also narrow your results by orientation, so you only see vertical or horizontal images.

Step back and see what jumps out. When looking at a page of thumbnail images, ask yourself, “Which one stands out?” When an image holds its own among dozens of others, that’s a good sign that you’ve found a strong one.

Consider your text. If you plan to add text to your image, look carefully to ensure there’s an open area on the photo that doesn’t have a lot of busy text underneath it, so your text will be readable.

Consider where the image “points.” Many images look like they “point” a certain way. Sometimes a person in the image is looking off to the right, left, above, or below. Viewers will tend to follow their gaze. Sometimes the image has strong angles that send viewers’ eyes in a specific direction like they’re following an arrow. Make sure to use this to your advantage: position images so they draw viewers toward the text you want them to read. For more on this, read Point Out the Obvious with Images on Big Brand System.

Use a single focal point for high drama. The most dramatic images have a single focal point: an obvious visual “star of the show.” Sometimes you can achieve this manually by cropping an image to remove extraneous elements and focus your viewers’ eyes.

Even non-artists can put the power of images to work for their content and social media marketing.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.

Pamela WilsonPamela Wilson is the author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience. She’s Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital/Copyblogger. Find more from Pamela at Big Brand System.

3 How to Master Content Marketing


Marketing Podcast with Pamela Wilson

Content and the notion of content marketing is here to stay. Prospects and clients alike expect to be able to turn to a search engine and find the answer to any question or challenge they face.

This idea is also likely one of the greatest sources of stress for most business owners. The need to feed the never satisfied content monster is real.

But, content marketing has evolved and is no longer a nice thing to have – it’s the air that powers all of marketing today and you simply need to get this part right in order to fully maximize any marketing channel.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Pamela Wilson, founder of Big Brand System and the driving force behind most of the content you read at Copyblogger. She is also the author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience. Pamela and I talk about content marketing and what it takes to produce compelling material.

Pamela knows all about everything marketing. She’s an award-winning graphic designer and marketing consultant who, for 30 years, has been teaching small business owners how to grow their business with a combined system of marketing, strategy, and design.

Questions I ask Pamela Wilson:

  • How would you define the term “content marketing” today? And how has it evolved throughout the years?
  • The idea of writing content is to not necessarily attract thousands of readers but to draw in prospects and to move people along the customer journey – can you explain this?
  • Do you believe that, as companies look to grow their teams, small business owners should all be hiring content-specific staff?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to create non-intrusive content that is helpful and easy to read
  • Where to begin when creating a content strategy and what the key components are to creating great material
  • What the different stages of readers are and how to write effective content for each category

Learn more about Pamela Wilson and Big Brand System here and check her out on Copyblogger here. To buy Pamela’s book, Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience, click here.

This week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by magicJack for BUSINESS, trusted by a quarter million small businesses. Reliable phone service at an incredible price: plans from just $14.99/month per line – flat. Get two months FREE service when you sign up at The first 100 listeners will receive a FREE IP phone for every line (each an $85 value)!

11 Taming the Print Zombie: How to Use a Once "Dead" Medium to Market Your Business

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Pamela Wilson – Enjoy!

print-marketing-zombieTwenty years ago it was one of the most important means we had to market our businesses. Its death has been announced more than once in the past ten years. And today, using it can be a radical move that helps your business stand out from the crowd.

I am speaking, of course, about printed marketing materials.

The postcards, brochures, flyers, and newsletters that papered our world just a couple of decades ago have all but disappeared now. And that’s exactly why it might be time to reconsider them.

Because while all your competitors are reaching out and touching their prospects’ inboxes, what would happen if you arrived in their mailboxes?

If this sounds intriguing, read on for money-saving ideas and tips so you can explore the possibilities of print collateral to market your business.

Ideas for Print Materials


Well-designed letterhead, envelopes, and business cards make your company look polished and professional. You’ll be motivated to send out estimates, proposals and follow up letters when you know they’ll reflect favorably on your business.


Postcards are inexpensive to print, and less expensive to mail than an envelope. Think about them as an opportunity to send content marketing to your prospects and customers: checklists, buying guides, how-tos, etc.

They’re also the perfect place to make a special offer, which you can send them to your website to pick up (more on that later).

Consider using oversized postcards to stand out in people’s mailboxes, and be sure to explore variable printing, which allows you to personalize and customize elements of the piece depending on who you’re sending it to.

Presentation folders

A beautifully-designed pocket folder has a multitude of uses.

You can rely on it to help your business stand out when you’re making a sales proposal or presenting a report. If you keep it simple and remove your address and phone number (these can be on the paperwork inside) you can use your presentation folders for many years.

This is a “print once, use for years” investment you won’t regret.

Note cards

Simple pre-printed note cards and envelopes that feature your logo will motivate you to send thank you notes, words of encouragement, and follow up notes to people you meet at networking events.

Saving Money with Print

Standard offset printing works best when you’re printing large quantities. To print smaller runs, consider digital printing.

Digital printing happens on machines that are large, sophisticated versions of the color laser printer you may have on your desktop. The quality is similar to traditional offset printing, but the cost is reduced.

Consider using online printers for some of your print materials. Online printers “gang up” their print jobs: your artwork is placed next to other customers’ art on a large sheet, which saves everyone money.

Integrating Print with Your Web Marketing

Finally, if you’re going to use print, make sure you integrate it with all your other marketing efforts.

Start with the obvious: add your website address to all print materials.

For promotional items like postcards, consider creating a custom landing page that’s visually similar to the piece you’re sending, and include the URL on your postcard so you can track visitors.

Coupon codes which are exclusive to your postcard offer are another way to track who received your mailing and see who takes you up on your offer. With variable printing you can even use a different code on each card so you can track clicks to users.

Dip Your Toes in Print Marketing

Print marketing materials are different than web marketing because they’re permanent — once it’s in print, you can’t modify it like you can a web page.

This means taking extra care to proof your information carefully, and working with a graphic designer and printer who can help you bring your vision to reality.

Precisely because print takes extra effort — and not as many marketers make this effort today — tangible print materials can help you stand out.

Start small. If you don’t have a business card, work on that first. Once you’ve created those, consider a simple note card.

Dip your toes in print marketing — because sometimes the most radical way to stand out is to create a tangible object people can see, touch, and hold onto.

Pamela-Wilson-150px-sqPamela Wilson helps small business owners combine strategic marketing and great design to grow their businesses at Big Brand System. Thousands of small business owners have used her free Design 101 series to polish up their marketing. Want it? Just sign up for her free Marketing Toolkit here, and you’ll get the first lesson today.