Friday, July 29, 2016

78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately


If you’re like me, you stay busy.

Running a business is a tall order in and of itself. When you throw marketing into the mix, things can quickly become overwhelming.

If you haven’t felt this way yet, you’re going to feel it soon: There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Here is one thing I learned early on in my business: outsourcing will save your life.

I speak from personal experience. There’s no way I could have done what I’ve done without strategically and carefully outsourcing a lot of the day-to-day marketing tasks that took up my time and kept me from focusing on other goals. 

Why I’m a fan of outsourcing

Outsourcing has tons of benefits.


Most businesses rely on outsourcing because they want to “focus on the core.” That’s another way of saying “we want to do what we do best.”

For you, the reasons may be different. You might have 29 things you have to do for a client, but you only have time to do 18 of them. You can outsource the rest.

I’m a major proponent of outsourcing a lot of the day-to-day tasks that are laborious and only hold me back from focusing on more pressing matters.

I’m probably different from other business owners, though. While some people have a top-down or hands-off approach to running their companies, I prefer to be in the thick of it.

You’ll see me personally interacting on Facebook, jumping into blog comments, and working on blog articles.

I like to be involved in these aspects of my business because I feel like they are one of my important business tasks—connecting with and learning from other marketers.

That’s one of the great things about outsourcing. You can be as involved as you want or as hands-off as you want. It’s up to you.

A lot of people I talk with are concerned about the cost of outsourcing. “But doesn’t it cost a lot to outsource these tasks?” they ask.

The answer is yes and no.

Yes, you have to pay for quality work.

But no, it doesn’t cost a lot because of the time you’re saving. If your time is worth, say, $50/hr, doesn’t it make sense to pay someone $35/hr to post to Facebook, create a video, proofread an article, or respond to blog comments?

If you can be doing your $50/hr work while your outsourcer is doing their $35/hr work, it’s a win-win-win. You win. They win. Your client wins.


And it’s not just time you’re saving. You’re also creating efficiency and increasing your quality. So maybe it’s a win-win-win-win-win.

Are there risks to outsourcing?

Sure, there are risks to anything.

I’ll admit that outsourcing has its fair share of risks. You can risk hiring the wrong person. You risk an outsourcer going AWOL. You run the risk of poor work standards. You even risk your brand being tarnished when an outsourced worker gets shoddy with their work.

There’s a flip side to this.

Most entrepreneurs and marketers are concerned they’ll get low quality work if they outsource.

What I’ve discovered is that you can actually improve the quality of work if you outsource.

Let’s say you need to create an explainer video for a new product. You can do it yourself with your iPhone and feeble editing skills.

Or you can outsource it to an explainer video professional.

If you outsource it, the quality will be a million times better than the quality you’d get if you’d tried to do it yourself.

See what I mean?

Besides, you don’t always need perfection when it comes to marketing. Although I tend to be a perfectionist, I’ve realized that done is better than perfect.

But I believe the rewards are greater than the risks. Besides, part of being a good marketer is being a good manager to other marketers.

The great thing is that there is a wide array of virtual assistants and marketing professionals available who will ensure that your campaign runs like a well-oiled machine without you having to hold their hand every step of the way.

Here are some specific tasks you should outsource right away.


I always strive to maintain high quality standards on both and Quick Sprout. I’ve found I’m consistently able to do so without it devouring my time by outsourcing.

And I’m not alone. In fact, 64% of B2B marketers outsource their writing in some capacity.

Here are some of the ways you can improve your blog quality through outsourcing:

  1. Moderating blog comments and filtering spam
  2. Responding to the comments your readers leave
  3. Performing research for upcoming blog posts
  4. Generating new ideas and pitches for blog posts
  5. Scheduling blog posts
  6. Finding images and videos for blog posts
  7. Adding meta descriptions, tags, and images to blog posts
  8. Finding statistics to incorporate into posts
  9. Proofreading for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and awkward phrasing
  10. Making adjustments to older blog posts as new data is unveiled
  11. Creating internal links to existing posts
  12. Keeping an inventory of posts and the keywords used
  13. Corresponding with your team of freelance writers
  14. Hunting down guest blog opportunities
  15. Coming up with pitches for guest posts
  16. Reaching out to influencers in your industry

Social Media

In my opinion, social media may be pound-for-pound the easiest area of marketing to outsource.

One of the biggest challenges of social media is curating the content you plan to share. It can take an enormous amount of time simply to find good, relevant articles that your audience will benefit from. Outsourcing this task is an instant way to free up several hours a week!

Think about the importance of visuals in your social media content too. Adding images to individual posts is a massive time drain…unless you outsource it!

A lot of tasks don’t require an immense amount of experience. Most virtual assistants are fully capable of handling them with minimal supervision:

  1. Managing and approving friend or follow requests
  2. Inviting followers to attend events
  3. Sending out personalized birthday greetings to key contacts
  4. Sharing your blog content across social networks
  5. Finding and editing images to use in posts
  6. Curating quality content from relevant sources
  7. Scheduling posts across all social platforms
  8. Keeping track of brand mentions
  9. Uploading new videos to YouTube
  10. Creating questionnaires and surveys
  11. Engaging with friends and followers
  12. Ensuring all profiles are updated on a consistent basis
  13. Sending out thank-yous to new followers
  14. Commenting, retweeting, and interacting with interesting content
  15. Designing and occasionally redesigning profiles


While you don’t want just anyone handling the more complex aspects of SEO, there are several elements of SEO that virtual assistants are fully capable of looking after. Many freelancers have the skill to perform keyword research, create a 301 map, or generate a thorough sitemap.

If you’re looking for someone to deal with the nuts and bolts of SEO, you’ll want to go with a highly qualified SEO firm who has a track record of success.

This post from Kissmetrics discusses what to look for in an SEO firm and how to tell if they’re helping or hurting you.

These are some of the SEO tasks that can be outsourced:

  1. Performing keyword research
  2. Creating catchy headlines
  3. Setting up a sitemap
  4. Building and editing landing pages
  5. Performing off-site optimization such as commenting on other blogs
  6. Analyzing the SEO campaigns of competitors
  7. Tracking the position of your content in search engines
  8. Researching cutting edge SEO trends
  9. Submitting content to directories
  10. Handling social bookmarking
  11. Monitoring site speed
  12. Performing an occasional SEO audit
  13. Keeping up with Google algorithm updates

Content marketing

Did you know that 72% of large organizations and 33% of small companies outsource their content creation?

Content marketing is my jam. I love it. I do it. And I’ve experienced incredible success with it.

As experienced as I am, I feel completely comfortable outsourcing numerous aspects of content marketing.

Let’s face it: content marketing takes serious time. As content marketing grows, you’ll discover there are more and more tasks you need to—but don’t have time to—do.

You’re left with a single choice: outsource or drown.

Here is what you can outsource:

  1. Creating offsite content that links back to your website and blog
  2. Interviewing sources
  3. Finding statistics to add
  4. Repurposing content, using a variety of mediums such as infographics, videos, slideshows and webinars
  5. Creating and managing your editorial calendar
  6. Establishing deadlines for content
  7. Building spreadsheets for your editorial calendar
  8. Backing up content in the Cloud
  9. Finding and editing photos
  10. Converting files
  11. Working on increasing post engagement
  12. Keeping track of your content marketing budget
  13. Ensuring all content is mobile-friendly

You can learn more about the process of outsourcing content marketing on one of my previous posts. In it, I discuss some important questions to ask to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.


Every good marketer makes decisions based on analytics.

But analytics can be tricky. You have to set up your analytics, configure the analytics, generate reports from your analytics, monitor these analytics, analyze the analytics, determine takeaways from the analytics, and then make strategic marketing decisions in light of these analytics.

Thankfully, there are parts of the analytics maze you can outsource:

  1. Monitoring trends with traffic, acquisition, conversions, etc.
  2. Spotting long-term patterns
  3. Generating daily, weekly, and monthly reports
  4. Analyzing engagement
  5. Determining how cost-effective your marketing techniques are

Reputation Management

Knowing what the public perception of your business is at all times has never been more important than it is today. In fact, 97% of consumers say they read reviews about local businesses.

Due to the fact that reputation management can be inherently time-consuming, I’ve found outsourcing it to be a smart move:

  1. Handling social listening across the web
  2. Monitoring reviews on sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List
  3. Getting consumer feedback
  4. Paying attention to negative press
  5. Responding to negative comments
  6. Managing trolls

Email marketing

Email marketing matters more today than ever before.

As old-school as it sounds, email marketing is one of the best methods of attracting and retaining high-value leads for your B2B or B2C.

But, as with any area of marketing, things can get tricky here too. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to set up email, integrate it, create updates, format newsletters, and take care of the nitty-gritty of mailing lists and scheduling.

It’s one of the first things you should consider outsourcing:

  1. Creating newsletters
  2. Proofreading and editing emails
  3. Sending out bulk emails
  4. Responding to questions


WordPress could be considered the universal blogging and publishing platform.

In fact, 26% of all websites on the planet use WordPress. If you run your site on it, you can make your life a lot simpler by outsourcing a few key tasks:

  1. Monitoring and managing plugins
  2. Installing new plugins
  3. Providing WP support
  4. Tweaking templates
  5. Handling coding


We’re living in a globalized, digitized world with a surplus of professionals who can handle nearly every aspect of your marketing campaigns.

As a result, outsourcing many marketing tasks makes complete sense and has never been easier to do.

I’ve had a lot of success with outsourcing, and I know I’m not alone. Many of my industry colleagues and clients have told me the same thing. If it weren’t for outsourcing, they wouldn’t be in business!

Once you start outsourcing, amazing things will happen to your business.

You suddenly find yourself with more time to focus on high-level strategy. Instantly, you encounter new opportunities for growth and expansion. Your vision becomes clearer. You open up new channels of engagement. Things simply improve.

Outsourcing is a small move that starts the cascade of great benefits.

If you haven’t been taking advantage of outsourcing, I would recommend first identifying which tasks are hurting your efficiency and then hiring others to handle them.

Here’s my challenge: This week, outsource just one marketing task. That’s it!

Use Fiverr, Upwork, or Craigslist. Find someone who’s skilled. Give them a task. See what happens.

Have you outsourced any other areas of your marketing efforts that I didn’t cover?

from Quick Sprout

Income Report Roundup – July 2016

One of the most popular posts I publish are my income reports.

So I decided to round up as many income reports as possible and rank them based on earnings to see how I stack up against the rest.

If you publish an income report on your blog and would like it included in next month’s post then please let me know in the comments!

Here we go-

#1) – $65,740.00 (-$1,945.00)

It’s a slight drop in income for Michelle this month and she’s expecting this trend to continue for one more month and looking forward to normality resuming for business at the end of August.

With expenses higher than usual due to creating and launching her new course which she finished this month, she reflects that it was a good decision to work ahead of time on content so that all of June could be spent preparing her course.

Her featured question this month focuses on affiliate marketing and she also reveals how reducing her freelancing work to focus on her blog and business has increased her income and made for a better work-life balance!

#2) – $29,819.61 (-$995.70)

The seasonal slump continues to trend this month for Lindsay & Bjork and in this month’s report they take a closer look at how things are going so far this year.

They share the importance of reaching your audience where they are and how focusing on skills such as photography or video can help to build your business and brand without necessarily directing people back to your site.

This month saw the beta launch of their new tool for food bloggers ‘Nutrifox’ which allows you to easily embed nutrition information from your recipe’s ingredient list on your site.

#3) – $25,304.01 (-$1,605.99)

It’s been an eventful month for Jon as he worked his last day at his job and moved house, but moving was made difficult by the fact that he tore up his ankle the night before!

This month also saw him set up in a new office to pursue his entrepreneurship full time and he made changes to one of his email optin sequences that has increased his opt in rate for that business to 100 per day.

His second FBA business is now live and driving sales for his new product on Amazon. Going forward he says with the volume of subscribers he’s getting he needs to drastically improve his automation and follow up sequence.

#4) – $24,861.00 (-$7,929.00)

The summer has brought a dip in income for Donnie & Abby and Abby shared how they handle the summer as work at home parents on Facebook live.

She talked about how you need to adjust your mindset and expect different levels of productivity, when to get help, hosting guest posts for the summer and hiring someone to delegate every day tasks such as email and social scheduling.

To finish Abby reminds readers that the real reason they work at home is for times like this, to have the flexibility to spend the summer break with the kids and enjoy some downtime.

#5) – $19,357.38 (-$1,304.52)

This month I officially hit the big 30 and as I enter my dirty thirties there are a number of key metrics on the blog that are starting to decay.

It’s nothing to be hugely concerned about but it will definitely need attention to make sure that it doesn’t continue to decay as we enter the second half of the year.

To start that off this month I’ll be doing a complete audit of the blog, working through traffic sources, content, email funnels and much more, so keep an eye out for what I’ve been up to in next month’s report!

Get all of my income reports & round-ups direct to your inbox!

#6) – $12,591.00 (+$6,728.00)

untemplaterIt’s a nice increase in income for Sydney this month even though she spent around a week acting like a 10 year old on vacation as she was travelling and ended up hooked on Pokemon Go!

She admits that she didn’t get much work done and enjoyed it so much that she lost track of time. That said, her hard working gene kicked in and brought her back to business, hustling and generating income in no time.

She recently ran her net figures for mid-year net worth and was happy to discover she has reached her target of passing $1 million for the first time.

Going forward she plans to continue freelancing, limiting her spending and investing wisely in order to hit more financial goals before she turns 40!

#7) – $11,142.00 (-$9,284.00)

HumanProofDesignsDom has enjoyed more freedom of time as well as location this month as he used June as a test to see how well everything operated in his absence since building up his team in April and May!

Taking on more staff and investing in a few one off expenses while revenue was slightly lower than normal meant profit was down this month but he’s happy to have earned more time off, something that is worth more than just profit to him.

That said, he will be keeping a close eye on expenses going forward and plans to spend his new found free time focusing on bringing net profit back up again!

#8) – $8,520.68 (+$1,314.88)

brendanmaceIt’s an increase in income for Brendan this month as his Adsense income begins to rise but he’s busy thinking about jetting off again.

Having originally planned not to travel again until September he’s getting itchy feet and leaves for London this month with plans to travel until Christmas visiting Prague, Athens, Rome and Bologna.

He’s decided that blogging is the least efficient use of his time with his YouTube videos creating more exposure than a blog post, and has already created five YouTube videos this month.

He reveals that the bump in Adsense income has encouraged him to make more and reflects that there’s no better decision he’s made than to begin working online, and reminds readers to take their internet projects seriously!

#9) – $5,472.66 (+$2,887.37)

IncomeBullyIt’s been a great month for Nathan with a record breaking day for traffic, a nice increase in income and promising plans ahead!

He published 4 posts this month but with 8 other good quality posts scheduled he had trouble perfecting them and in the end decided they weren’t good enough.

He saw a drop in eBook sales and expects a bigger drop to come, and going forward plans to focus on content production and fixing his autoresponder sequences.

He’ll also be implementing a few new traffic sources and testing things out with a goal of reaching 10,000 visitors per month within the next few months!

#10) – $2,972.33 (+$1,650.34)

ThePracticalSaverNew to the roundup this month is Allan at The Practical Saver reporting his best month for income and traffic in his third income report and his fifth month of blogging!

He spent the month building relationships with readers and offering support, re-designing the site and tweaking layout to see what works and signed up for two ad networks.

Going forward he plans to reach 3,000 pageviews per day, increase the site’s Alexa rank, grow his social platforms, reach 500 email subscribers and create content for bigger platforms.

#11) – $2,415.19 (-$2,155.12)

ohpRon is feeling great about this month despite the drop in income because he’s making big progress in his business and is confident that the things he’s doing now will pay off big in the future!

One of those things is content creation for his new authority site which he spent a lot on but says the market has the potential to easily make a bunch of money if the site is successful.

He completed and launched his email marketing course on Udemy this month and is putting the drop in income down to the fact his site didn’t go viral like in previous months.

Next month he plans to move to a more powerful email marketing system, update the funnel for his course on One Hour Professor and get 10 backlinks for his JFFHub site.

#12) – $1,293.44 (-$27.54)

livingoffcloudIt’s been a quiet month for Nadya with a slight drop in income as sales from her ‘Rat’ website were down from last month despite a traffic increase.

She had very low expenses for the month in part due to pausing her contract with her VA because of continuing issues and she spent a little investing in cryptocurrency and backed a few businesses on Kickfurther.

Selling her condo has kept Nadya busy this month and going forward she’s dreading all the packing, moving and unpacking!

She’s looking forward to getting back to business afterwards though and plans to increase conversion on her ‘Rat’ site and continue working on her PBN.

#13) – $800.96 (+$150.00)

AliRazaAli has had a busy month and despite only completing two out of the five goals he set for himself last month he’s celebrating his best month for income so far!

He only published four posts this month, three less than last month and as always is hoping to improve user experience on the site, but this month saw him struggle with time due to a busy Ramadan schedule.

He met his target of earning at least $700 with freelancing and consultation on the blog and completed his goals of commenting on more posts and interacting with people to encourage new readers.

He’s planning to write at least 6 posts on the blog next month and complete his SEO series, earn $700 from freelance and consultation, improve user experience, drive more traffic and improve page loading speed time!

#14) – $620.01 (-$313.40)

OnlineMoneyzIt’s a slight drop in income for Ilya who’s had a very productive month and managed to start focusing time into his new game guides venture.

Online he also merged his Reddit advertising site with Online Moneyz, updated content on his BAB affiliate site and offline he took his college entrance exams and had his orientation.

This month also saw him focus more on putting money he isn’t using to work and he decided to try investing in Kickfurther with his tax money.

Going forward he plans to get at least 30 posts for his new gaming site, publish at least 15 videos on the YouTube channel and create social pages for it. He isn’t expecting income from the new site in July but hopes to see a small increase in August!

#15) – $377.54 (-$341.27)

mypathtopassiveincomeEsteban has found his new job exhausting this month and struggled to find time to work on his side project and blog as well.

Seeing a drop in income hasn’t surprised him as many metrics have dropped due to spending only four hours on the blog this month and he’s thinking about outsourcing his reviews in the future.

He discovered why he was missing out on email sources when a subscriber let him know his links weren’t working and was able to get that fixed, and completed two out of four targets set for himself this month.

His goals for next month include making the first sale on his new site, publishing his long overdue eBook, writing 4 posts for the blog and keep a positive income after paying a premium membership fee which is due.

#16) – -$102.71 (-$113.48)

TheExtraIncomeProjectOur second newcomer to the roundup is Lloyd at The Extra Income Project, reporting a decrease in income after investing in a course and his only income coming from Adsense.

He’s considering removing the ads from the site since he doesn’t like the look of them or think they are worth it, and has ideas to create his own product which would make better use of the ad space.

He’s working hard to ensure traffic continues to flow if he takes time off and last month completed four out of nine goals he set for himself.

He’s frustrated to have a lot of ideas for posts but little time to actually write them, and reminds readers that if you aren’t A/B testing things on your site you are missing out!

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In Summary

This month brings some familiar faces back to the roundup and 2 newcomers, while a few of our usual suspects didn’t publish a report this month.

The total income from all of the blogs featured this month is up $5,423.64 to $211,185.10 – not bad considering the summer slump is still affecting a lot of our top earners.

Just 5 out of the 16 blogs featured this month are reporting an increase in income and 2 are celebrating their best month so far!

It’s important to remember that the slow down of sales in summer can be caused not just by a decline in visitors out enjoying the sun, but by our bloggers taking some time out to enjoy it for themselves as well.

That said it’s also a time for the mid-year reviewing of goals, so stay tuned to see what August brings as things hopefully start to pick up for everyone again!

If you feel inspired to start your own blog then why don’t you start a blog now? It only takes a few minutes!

Performance Tracking

I only include the earnings history of the top 10 blogs each month to make the graphs easy to read.

I’m having a problem with the graph right now and will update the post when fixed

from Matthew Woodward

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Very Best Of Internet Marketing July 2016

This is the 34th post in the series which shares all of my favorite internet marketing posts from the past month.

There is an awful lot of junk to sort through every month so here are the best bits according to me!

The Best Posts Of July 2016

This months roundup is going to be heavily focused on SEO with a range of new strategies, tests & case studies for you to digest.

We are also going to delve into the world of blogging with some actionable advice and traffic strategies for you to implement.

So without further ado…

SEO & Link Building

Let’s kick things off with this awesome SEO giveaway to win one of the best SEO tools on the market!

Once you have done that, you should take a look at all of these awesome SEO tips to help grow your search traffic.

Don’t forget to optimize your site for featured snippets and you might also want to implement this on page advice at the same time.

One of the most overlooked points of on page optimization though, is the ability to hack your way to 5x higher CTR rates which makes a huge difference in your rankings.

When you combine that with internal linking, you have a killer formula for SEO success.

But lets no forget, link building is still king.

Blogging / Traffic Generation

The heart and soul of any blog is traffic and if you are struggling with that you can try these unusual traffic strategies.

If you couple that with this blog promotion strategy and this expert promotion advice you will reach record levels of traffic in no time!

But, if all else fails you could try some of these traffic grabbing plugins for your blog.

Don’t forget – the number 1 priority of your blog is to create new email subscribers and here are 85 awesome ways to build your email list easily.

Whatever you do with your blog, make sure that you do not make these common mistakes!

Money Making Case Studies

I showed you 465 ways to make money online recently but it’s always interesting to see how other people do it.

This case study shows you how someone made a $27k/mo blog just by promoting products from JVZoo!

While Michael Hyatt shares his launch strategy to sell over 20,000 copies of his new book!

And last but not least, did you know about this sneaky tip to spy on your competitors promotions?

from Matthew Woodward

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction


Wouldn’t it be great if every single person who clicked on one of your articles read it from start to finish, unable to pull their eyes away from the screen?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

To achieve this goal, however, you must master the art of writing intriguing introductions.

Wait a second, you’re thinking. Writing introductions? Isn’t that kind of a small detail of a 2,000-word article?

Your article intro is not a small detail.

The introduction to your article is often the difference between engaging readers and having a bounce rate high enough to make a click-baiter cringe.

Think about it. If you don’t grab your readers right away, you’ll lose them.

You went through all that work of writing a killer article, right? You worked hard at it. You spent a lot of time on it. You did a ton of research.

But if your introduction sucks, your efforts will be all for nothing.

You lost before you even got started!

If you want to write great content, improve the success of your marketing campaigns, and increase the loyalty of your fans, you must master writing introductions.

Let me show you how.

1. Master the opening line

To have a strong introduction, you need to open with a strong first sentence.

The millisecond your reader hits the page, they have an extremely high likelihood of leaving the page.


Data says so.

The first sentence has one single purpose: to entice the reader to read the next sentence. In doing so, it sets the tone for the rest of the article, hooking the reader in, one step at a time.

If you fail at this, you readers won’t scroll.

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages. Each bar represents the share of people who stopped scrolling at a particular spot in the article. (An article is assumed to be around 2000 pixels long; if the top of your browser window gets to the 2000-pixel mark, you're counted as scrolling 100 percent through the article. The X axis goes to 120 percent because on most pages, there's usually stuff below the 2000-pixel mark, like the comments section.) This graph only includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at all--users who "bounced" from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented. The graph shows that many Slate readers do not scroll at all. That's the spike at the 0 percent mark, representing about 5 percent of readers. Most visitors scroll about halfway through a typical Slate story. The spike near the end is an anomaly caused by pages containing photos and videos -- on those pages, people scroll through the whole page.

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages. Each bar represents the share of people who stopped scrolling at a particular spot in the article. (An article is assumed to be around 2000 pixels long; if the top of your browser window gets to the 2000-pixel mark, you’re counted as scrolling 100% through the article. The X axis goes to 120% because on most pages, there’s usually stuff below the 2000-pixel mark, like the comments section.) This graph only includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at all (users who “bounced” from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented.) The graph shows that many Slate readers do not scroll at all. That’s the spike at the 0% mark, representing about 5% of readers. Most visitors scroll about halfway through a typical Slate story. The spike near the end is an anomaly caused by pages containing photos and videos—on those pages, people scroll through the whole page.

And if they don’t scroll, they won’t engage.

Check out this article by Dilbert author Scott Adams to see how the first sentence is done.


He writes this:

I went from being a bad writer to a good writer after taking a one-day course in “business writing.”

That’s a great opening line.

Why? Because it makes me want to know more!

  • How did he become a good writer?
  • What did he learn?
  • Could I benefit from it too?

Adams nailed it. He drew us in by making us ask questions.

If you don’t know how to craft an intriguing first sentence, the remaining 980 words of your article will be a complete waste.

Luckily for you, with a few simple tricks, writing a phenomenal first sentence can be quite easy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep the first sentence short. This makes it easy for the reader to digest the first bits of information and prevents them from losing interest quickly.

But there is more to it than that.

You have to make sure that the first sentence grabs the reader’s attention and holds it for the rest of the article.

Here are a couple of tried-and-true tactics that make for super compelling first lines.

Ask the reader a question

This is an easy way to get the reader’s attention and get them engaged without a whole lot of effort on your part.

For example, if you are writing an article on quitting your job and starting your own company, you could open with the question: “Did you know that almost 70% of Americans report being actively disengaged from their careers?”

Why does this work?

It has to do with the brain’s “limbic reward system.”

The Limbic Reward System lights up when curiosity is piqued.

When this system is activated, dopamine is released. And dopamine gives us a sense of reward and pleasure.

When we are intrigued by a question, i.e., experience a sense of curiosity, the limbic reward system lights up. And that’s why we want to keep reading—it’s rewarding to satisfy curiosity.

Writer Olga Khazan asks a question that’s on everyone’s mind, causing the reader to be instantly interested.


We want to know the answer to that question, so we keep reading.

That’s why a question is a great opening line. You can even use the question as the article title.

Tell a story

The brain also lights up when it encounters a story.

According to the theory of neural coupling, certain portions of the brain are activated when a reader thinks about the same mental and physical activity that a character in a story is doing.


James Clear usually starts his blog articles with a story, often a true story.


The story makes his readers interested in the article and keeps them reading to the very end.

Use a shocking quote

Another great way to start your article is to use an attention-grabbing quote.

Let’s say you are writing an article on world travel. A great way to introduce the article would be with the quote from Helen Keller:

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Tell the reader to imagine

Sparking the imagination is an instant way to draw the reader into the experience of the article.

Notice how this article from Wired For Story begins:


The reader tries to obey the imperative by imagining. This effort compels the reader to read further, drawing them into the article.

Writers for The Atlantic are experts at their craft. This writer does the same thing—asking the reader to imagine.


Share an interesting fact

In a day and age when the Internet is so rife with crappy information and fraudulent “gurus,” people are skeptical. They have every reason to be.

Opening your article with a relevant fact or statistic is a great way to establish trust and authority from the first sentence and let readers know you’ve done your research.

2. Have something unique to say

Okay, so you’ve crafted an excellent first sentence, and you have your reader’s interest.

Now what?

Now, you have to hold that interest by having something interesting and uncommon to say.

Very few people take the time and energy to regularly produce new, thought-provoking content. If you do, you’ll set yourself apart from the herd in a big way.

Forget re-purposing of old articles or rewriting stuff from other people’s websites. If you want to have the reader’s respect and attention, you have to say something they’ve never heard before.

Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff you read today has been regurgitated 28 times before.

Let’s imagine you run a travel blog. Based on my advice, you write a number of 3,000-word comprehensive “How-To Guides.”

Whenever a reader opens your guide on financing their first around the world trip, they’ll expect to read all about airline rewards programs, frugality, and credit card points.

And that information is great, but it is also very generic.

A better introduction would be something like this:

How would you like to save up enough money in the next 6 months to spend all of 2017 traveling the world?

That would be pretty epic, right?

Well, this is entirely possible, and in today’s article, I am going to show you how you can do this.

It’s not by skipping your morning latte or spending thousands of dollars with your credit cards on a few hundred miles either.

I am going to show you how you can create a life of mobility and freedom by leveraging the skills you already have, tactically selecting your destinations, and using a little known tax secret that will save you thousands of dollars!

Sound good? Let’s get to it.

It’s hard to be different. I realize that.

Sometimes, in order to create unique stuff, we simply have to work harder, think longer, and research more than our competition.

Here are some ways you can develop that unique voice in your article introduction:

  • Share a personal story or fact. You’re the only you there is. You can share a story or experience no one else can. One way to tell such a story is to write, “If you know me…”
  • Get your emotions in it. People have an emotional reaction to emotions. When we convey our emotions in our writing, people tend to respond. Besides, emotion is also a unique and personal thing. How do you communicate this in an introduction? Easy: “Want to know how I feel about it? I feel….”
  • Share your goals or vision. If you have a guiding goal or vision for life, you can communicate this in your introduction. “That’s one of the reasons I wrote this post. My goal in life is to…”
  • Make a promise. A promise is a personal and attention-grabbing thing. Give your readers a promise, and it will secure their loyalty and their interest. “I promise that I’ll do my dead-level best to….”

Unique isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.

3. Keep it simple

We live in a world where most people have an attention span of only a few seconds.

Apparently, our attention span is getting shorter!


After a few seconds, we get bored and move on to the next shiny object.

If you want your readers to make time in their days to read what you have to say, make sure you present things as simply as possible.

Longer articles, of course, deserve longer introductions. But it’s important to respect people’s time and attention. You can’t change what is (people’s short attention spans) by writing a long introduction based on what should be (longer attention spans).

Avoid rambling about how great your information is, and just share it already!

4. Speak directly to the reader

Whenever you are writing educational material for other people, you want to use the word “you” as much (and as naturally) as possible.

In this article, I’ve used some variation of the word you more than 100 times. Why? Because I’m talking to you! I want you to know this information. I want you to benefit from it.

By emphasizing the word “you” in your article, you show the reader you are directly addressing them and their situation and not just writing a generic article to the general populace.

But there’s another side to this. I should refer to myself as well. My goal is to convey a personal feel to this article. After all, it’s me talking to you, right? So it’s only natural that I would refer to myself too.

5. Explain what the article is about

The point of an introduction is exactly that: to introduce the content that will be presented in an article.

I cannot tell you the number of times online articles left me confused even I after I’d read a few of their paragraphs.

I couldn’t tell whether the authors were teaching me how to run successful Facebook ads, or telling me a weird story about their childhood.

Take a few sentences, and clearly explain what the article is going to cover without giving away too many details.

This will build suspense around the subject matter while still letting your audience know what they may be in for.

A great example of this comes from the Buffer blog. Notice how the introduction poses a question and then proposes to answer that question.


Your curiosity stays high, but the introduction sets the stage.

6. Explain the importance of the article

Once you’ve explained what the article is, now it’s time to explain why people should care.

Everyone on the Internet approaches every new piece of information with a simple question: “What’s in it for me?”


If you want to write introductions that hook the reader and help your content go viral, you have to master the art of explaining what the reader stands to gain from the information you are sharing—the benefits.


How will it benefit your readers’ lives? How will it solve a problem they are facing? How will it cure a pain they are feeling?

If you understand how to quickly and efficiently answer these questions, you’ll keep your readers glued to your article till the last word.


Few things can make or break your article as easily as an introduction.

If you can master the art of the first few paragraphs, you’ll be able to increase reader engagement, improve sales, and earn a reputation as a phenomenal writer.

It’s not an easy skill to master, but like many things in Internet marketing, it’s fairly straightforward.

If you put in the work, you’ll get results.

What tactics do you use to create a compelling article introduction?

from Quick Sprout

Friday, July 22, 2016

June Update for Niche Site Project 3

This update is a little late, but I’m happy to publish the June report for Niche Site Project 3 at least before July is over.

As you may recall, last month was really the first time I started these “monthly” updates. I don’t know how long we will keep publishing these monthly reports, but certainly long enough to see some nice growth with the sites.

Samara, Colleen, and Ryan have each made some progress with their sites, and I’ll let them give their individual updates themselves.

So, continue reading below for the reports.

June Update from Samara

Hey guys,

I’m back with a quick report on June data for Tiny Fry.

I published a total of 8 articles, which is more than the previous month but still lower than my goal. I also launched two new sections on the website, one of which is a Q&A and the other has an interview-type format, where Tiny Fry speaks to sector professionals, parenting educators, midwives, baby massage experts, etc. I have had an overwhelmingly positive response from the people I reached out to, and I have interviews lined up until the end of the year already.

I’ve been getting new subscribers to my email list, which is very exciting, and right now I’m sending out a monthly newsletter, but I hope to make that bi-monthly in the future.

As for traffic, I’ve seen a gradual increase in organic visitors over the course of the month, which is great news. I’ve also had a positive trend in impressions and clicks from Google, with 40 clicks in one day, compared with 10 per day just a month ago. I’m also appearing on the first page of Google for a few of my keywords! I’m hoping these trends will continue.


Search Console

My earnings in June amounted to $15.54, which I’m pleased about. It’s a good start, but most importantly, I think it confirms that this strategy works, you just have to be patient and persistent.

Earnings June

I’m working on getting backlinks, and am trying to learn and apply two new strategies each month.

Overall I’m excited about how things are looking. My plan is to continue to add content, do outreach and get backlinks, and hopefully Tiny Fry will grow even bigger.

June Update from Colleen

Hi NSP followers,
June has been a busy month both for myself, but of course also for Coustii! I’ve been backpacking around Europe, crossing things off my bucketlist, and exploring new cities I’ve never been to before. But, it hasn’t been all play and no work!
The month of June has held quite a few accomplishments for Coustii. I had a personal goal to hit 100 links by the end of June. I now have about 100 links more or less with a few in the pipeline still. Looking back, I remember when Perrin told me that my goal was to make 100 links. I’m pretty sure I scoffed behind my computer screen. It was such an effort to make 5 links, back in April, I couldn’t imagine getting 95 more! But here we are! Another major accomplishment for Coustii.
Google Analytics June Audience Overview
With a combination of our linkbuilding strategy and our careful keyword research, Coustii received almost 800 views from organic traffic and over 2,000 sessions in the month of June. I’m still building more links and am now going to whip up some more content, making Coustii bigger and badder than ever with more keywords!
Google Analytics June Organic Search

But wait, there’s more….
Last month, I still hadn’t monetized Coustii yet. I imagine myself as the over-eager player on the bench, sitting on the sidelines and waiting to be put in the game. Coach Perrin has given the nod of approval folks! Halfway through June, I monetized with Amazon Affiliates. 
June Amazon Report

Now, don’t get too excited here, I haven’t made any money yet. That’s OK though! I’m very hopeful, plus I know how much work both Perrin and I have invested in Coustii to know that it’s a work in progress and we have lots of room to grow.

I’m back to the States this month and going to say goodbye to the carefree, backpacking life. And hello to buckling down and giving Coustii all I’ve got!

Until next month!

June Update from Ryan

Remember last month when I was the seriously depressed owner of a failing niche site? Well, I’ve got some good news…

I’m only the slightly depressed owner of a failing niche site, now! Woo hoo!

All kidding aside, things are going much better. It won’t seem that way from the screenshots, because the results have not caught up yet, but I’m finally back on course to make the site grow again. Over the last month I’ve been writing a lot, have gotten a great backlink, and positioned myself for a few more good backlinks in the near future.




It’s not where I want to be at this point (not even close), but it’s so much better from where I was before. Especially in terms of my outlook.

So while I might not be able to point to any shiny numbers, there are a few things that I’ve learned that I can pass along.

1) If you’re having trouble writing, try switching up your writing space. Once I began leaving my house to do my writing, it’s been much easier to concentrate and produce content. When I’m home, there is always a distraction. If I’m stuck on an article, I’ll do the dishes, or get up and pace around, or check my phone, etc. When I’m in a coffee shop, none of these things are available for me to occupy myself with. It results in a much more productive few hours.

2) Don’t sleep on social media. I’m still not very active on social media channels because I’m focusing on getting the site on its feet (and revealed to you guys) before turning my attention there. However, the little social media that I have engaged in seems to have a real impact. Organic search traffic is still the number one goal, but Facebook can be a really valuable tool to push traffic, I think – especially when you don’t have much in the way of backlinks.

3) Don’t isolate yourself. Creating a website can be a very solitary experience. You’ll be spending a lot of time in your own head, writing and thinking and writing and thinking. The more you can reach out to others and collaborate, share ideas, or just talk to in general, the more well rounded your site will become and the more sane you will be. I’m guilty of this big time. I don’t reach out to Jake enough, especially when things were really tough. I think it would have helped a lot. Hopefully a lot of you are finding people to connect with in the Facebook group.

To wrap up, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you out there who had encouraging words to say to me after my last update in May. It really meant a lot to me that so many of you were able to relate to my struggles and offered such positive words of encouragement.

I want to thank Jake as well, because he too has been incredibly supportive through this process. I’m getting there, hopefully you are too!

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from Niche Pursuits