Content Marketing Advice, with a Side of Snark

So today is April 1, which usually means we’ll try to feed you some stupid joke that will just make you roll your eyes when you realize the date.
Not this time, internet.
Brian kicked things off on Monday with three ways to get links that you haven’t heard 20 million times from people whose websites have no links. Plus he gets a little snarky, which you never want to miss.
On Tuesday, our friend Jon Nastor showed us how we can actually get listeners for our podcasts. It’s a useful thing to know, since the #1 question on the minds of new podcasters is: “For the love of all that is holy and good, is anyone ever going to hear this thing?”
And on Wednesday, Loren Baker helped you figure out why your site is slower than a slug on Xanax … and how to fix it. Seriously, there’s moss growing on that thing.
Moving to the podcasts: On The Showrunner, Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor discussed sponsorships and affiliate marketing. On Copyblogger FM, I considered the fine balance between being precise with usage and grammar … and just being an annoying jerk. And on Unemployable, Brian Clark talked conversion optimization with Talia Wolf. “Conversion optimization” is another way of saying, “People will actually buy what you are selling,” so don’t miss that conversation.
That’s it for this week … enjoy the goodies, and watch out for April Foolery!
— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on

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Artificial Intelligence: Implications On Marketing, Analytics, And You

A rare post today. It looks a little further out into the future than I normally tend to. It attempts to simplify a topic that has more than it’s share of coolness, confusion and complexity.
While the phrase Artificial Intelligence has been around since the first human wondered if she could go further if she had access to entities with inorganic intelligence, it truly jumped the shark in 2016. Primarily because we got our first real everyday access to products and services that used some form of AI to delight us. No more theory, we felt it!
I’m going to take a very long walk with you today. This topic has consumed a lot of my thinking over the last year (you’ll see the exact start date below). It’s implications are far and wide, even in the narrow scope that I live in (marketing, analytics, influence). I have so much to tell you, stuff I’m scared about, and so much I’m excited about.
Here are the elements I’ll cover:

+ AI | Now | Local Maxima.
+ AI | Now | Global Maxima.
+ What the heck is Artificial Intelligence?
+ Machine Learning | Marketing.
+ Machine Learning | Analytics.
+ Artificial Intelligence | Future | Kids.
+ Artificial Intelligence | Worry about Humanity.

Through it all, my goal is to make the topic accessible, get you to understand some of the key terms, their implication on our work, our jobs, and in a bonus implications on the future we are responsible for (your kids and mine).
Let’s go!
AI | Now | Local Maxima.
AI also seems so out there, so hard to grasp. Let me fix that for you.
Here’s a


6 SEO Friendly Tips to Improve Site Speed on WordPress Blogs

In the world of SEO, user experience on websites has always been a factor, as has the time it takes for a site to load.
However, with the use of mobile devices surpassing desktop use (in most consumer-facing industries) and the wide adoption of broadband, people expect sites to load instantly.
Long gone are the days of waiting 10 seconds for a site to load.
If a page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, users will instantly hit the back button and move on to the next result.
Accordingly, Google officially started paying attention to site speed and declared its importance as a factor in rankings.
In order to keep up with Google’s site-ranking measures, WordPress blog users need to know exactly what they can do to improve their own site speed.
Remember when Google rolled out AMP (accelerated mobile pages)?
They now serve up publisher content in a simplified Google hosted experience that renders superfast. I like AMP from a user perspective because I know that AMP content will load incredibly fast on my mobile device, but as a publisher:
I’d rather speed up my blog and attract traffic directly to my site than have users stay on Google.
If you use StudioPress Sites or the Rainmaker Platform, your site will already load quickly. However, adding ad scripts, featured images, tracking codes, 301 redirects, etc. will slow down the loading of a site and increase demand on your server/hosting company.
Here are six simple

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Podcasters: Stop Looking for an Audience (and Let Them Find You)

“Three … two … one … Ready or not, here I come!”
My daughter Sadie hides anxiously behind the living room couch, while her best friend is searching, calling out her name, and trying to find her.
Hide-and-seek, a game played out millions of times.
If you don’t know, hide-and-seek is a popular children’s game in which any number of players conceal themselves in the environment, to be found by one or more seekers.
The hiding is not what makes it fun.
Kids will play for hours and hours when they continually find each other. When one of the children stays hidden for even five minutes too long, the others quickly lose interest.
It is a quest fueled by the moment of discovery.
Hey podcaster, stop hiding behind the couch
Now let’s think about why thousands upon thousands of content marketers, business owners, hobbyists, and fans start podcasts. More often than not, it’s to build an audience around a topic they love.
They start with enthusiasm and determination, only to quit after 10, 12, or 20 episodes (the number doesn’t matter, the quitting does).
Listeners couldn’t find their podcasts, so they quit. Like Sadie hiding behind the couch, when no one finds us, the game ceases to be fun and we quit.
Podcasts need to be actively optimized — not only to help you build an audience and authority, but also to help you stay motivated to not quit.
The search begins
The consensus amongst podcasters is that since Google can’t index audio, you can throw your

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3 Strategic Ways to Get Links to Your Website

“Link building” is something I’ve never done in my 19 years of publishing online. In other words, I’ve never spent any time whatsoever emailing strangers and trying to convince them to link to my content.
I have, however, been on the receiving end of many link-building requests. And they’ve never worked on me.
Now, I know there are smart people who work on behalf of clients to get links through these outreach initiatives. Strangely, I’ve never received a link request from a smart person.
It’s usually just dopey people using bad email scripts and automation that some clown sold them on. They don’t even bother to modify the language, so you see the same lame emails over and over.
Outside of receiving compensation for a link (which I would never accept and is just a bad idea in general these days), I don’t see why any online publisher would agree to these requests. What’s in it for us?
So, if you’re looking to get links to your site for all the benefits that come with it (including enhanced search rankings), maybe you should try a different approach.
Let’s look at three that might work for you.
1. Guest posting
Not a new approach, certainly. But guest writing for relevant and respected publications remains one of the best ways to gain exposure to an audience that builds your own. And of course you’ll want, at minimum, a bio link back to your site in exchange for your content contribution.
Now, you may remember

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Search Engine Madness on Copyblogger

Apparently, “March Madness” on Copyblogger is less about college basketball and more about finding things to say about SEO.
One could say we painted ourselves into a corner by saying, “Technical SEO isn’t nearly as important for most sites as actually producing content worth consuming” … and then deciding to write about search optimization all month.
One might even call us foolhardy.
One may have a point.
Nevertheless, we persisted … and it turns out, good things happen when you persist.
On Monday, Jerod talked a bit about some of the easy-to-forget steps that do help those darned search engines understand what your site is all about. Because he’s Jerod, he also had to talk about college basketball. Honestly, it’s March, we’re lucky to have him on the blog at all. And it was a good, useful post.
Yesterday, I wrote about how to cultivate relationships with other folks who publish content … without it getting all icky and weird. Relationships are one of the most fundamental elements of SEO, but they’re also interesting to write about because we’re human beings. Most of us, anyway.
On the podcast network, we mixed it up a little. Sean Jackson and Jessica Frick shared some thoughts on affiliate marketing for digital entrepreneurs. Brian Clark talked with Marcus Sheridan about Marcus’s no-baloney approach to content marketing and his new book, They Ask, You Answer. And Kelton Reid sat down with The New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy to talk about memoir, reporting,

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Digital Communication Best Practices: 3 Incredible Marketing Tips

Digital Communication Best Practices: 3 Incredible Marketing Tips One of the things we pride ourselves on here at The Sales Lion is great digital communication. We teach it to all of our clients and practice it as a team every single day. Our opening You Statement on the home page of the site is, “Dramatically Improve…
The post Digital Communication Best Practices: 3 Incredible Marketing Tips appeared first on The Sales Lion.


How to Build Relationships with Online Influencers (Without the Awkward)

We’ve been telling you there’s no great secret to search optimization, but that’s kind of a lie, isn’t it?
There is one not-so-secret ingredient that makes SEO work. It also makes social sharing work. Referrals, too.
I won’t be mysterious about it — it’s links. Links make the web go around. They’re why it’s called a web in the first place.
When good websites link to you, those links are votes of confidence. Get enough votes and you win.
The hard part? Getting enough of the right links, from the right people. To do that, you need two things:

Great stuff to link to
Relationships with solid web publishers

We hammer you endlessly with advice on #1. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about #2.
The most valuable asset you have
When you’re online, publishing content and interacting with your fellow humans, you develop a collection of what we can call assets.
You have a website, hopefully on your own domain. You probably have some social media accounts. An email list is invaluable. You might have a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel.
But there’s one asset that’s more valuable than any of those — your reputation.
Do people know who you are? And if they do, do they want to spend more time with you?
If the answer to either question is largely No, you have a problem.
Reputations are built with content, but maintained with relationships. If you publish good work and you are a good, honorable, and trustworthy human being, your

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