How To Live A Good Life (FS185)

Modern western culture is buzzing with ideas about living a happy and fulfilled life. I can’t walk down the street without seeing a #liveyourdream hashtag on something.

There seems to be hundreds of books, podcasts, courses, shows and instagram accounts about it. But with all the gurus and research courses and books out there, is there a framework that can really help? I mean, we should know that by now, right?

Of course the answer is “no,” there is not a one-size-fits-all framework for a happy life; that easy button does not exist.

BUT, as your own experience probably tells you, there absolutely are things you can do to keep heading in the direction of happiness and fulfillment.

So that’s what we talk about in this episode: the ideas and practices that have meant the most to the three of us working, experienced and successful-ish entrepreneurs. After the past decade or so of full time professional creative work, what have we learned about rich inner fulfillment?

Enjoy, and thanks for listening.

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After a decade of professional creative work and life, what have we learned about fulfillment?

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Show Notes

How to Live a Good Life – The Simple “3 Bucket” System by Jonathan Fields

Good Life Project

The Wisdom of the Enneagram Book

6 Core Human Needs by Anthony Robbins

Why we do what we do | Tony Robbins:


9 Sizzling Influencer Activation Tips from Lee Odden #MPB2B


Influencer marketing is an incredibly hot topic in the marketing world-and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers add insight, credibility and authority to the content they help create, and they also have the potential to bring that content to a new audience.

But what makes someone influential? Is it popularity? Is it celebrity? Is it the fact that they have niche expertise? And how do you identify, activate and continue to build on your relationships with influencers?

During his Sexy Hot B2B Influencer Activation session at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden delivered a presentation packed with actionable tips, tools and examples that answered all these questions and more.

Below I dive into some of the top takeaways from Lee’s presentation, all of which feature actionable advice for helping you heat up your influencer marketing efforts.

#1- Do your homework.

When you’re thinking about which influencers you want to collaborate with, make sure you know who they are and what expertise they bring to the table. This will ensure that you’re presenting them with a relevant ask and help you personalize your message when reaching out.

#2- Lead with value.

Your efforts to infuse influencers into your content cannot and should not be all about you and your goals. There needs to be value for everyone.

When reaching out, lead with what’s in it for them to pique interest and show them that you see the value in what they can contribute.

#3 – Don’t ask for too much too soon.

Influencers are tapped frequently to participate in various projects. If you’re just getting started with your relationship, start with a small ask so you don’t overload them and send them running.

If the insights they provide are really good, reach back out and ask them to dig in deeper on a particular subject. This will help you keep the relationship and momentum going.

#4 – Think about influencers early on.

Influencers shouldn’t be an afterthought. When you’re creating your content plan, ask yourself: “What influencers make sense for this content?” This way you’ll be able to seamlessly integrate your experts into the content and avoid having to duplicate efforts later.

#5 – Activate influencers before you need them.

To truly get the most out of your efforts, you have to build strong and lasting relationships with your influencers-not just go to them when you need something. Take the time to research, identify and engage with them before you actually need to ask anything of them to build rapport.

#6 – Utilize marketing tools.

There are dozens of helpful marketing tools you can use to discover, reach out and engage influencers, as well as manage the relationship into the future.

During his presentation, Lee mentioned three different types of tools that could be a big help:

1. Specialty tools. Tools such as BuzzSumo are great for discovering and researching influencers to add to your list.

2. Marketplaces. Marketplaces such as Webfluential and Tapinfluence are a pay-to-play option where brands can go “shopping” for influencers.

3. Marketing platforms. Platforms such as Traackr and GroupHigh are the tools you can use to develop, enhance and maintain influencer relationships.

#7 – Make it easy for influencers to amplify your content.

After all the work has gone into creating an awesome piece of content with influencers, you want to make it easy for them to share it. Consider providing them with a few pre-written social messages that they can simply copy and paste.

#8 – Personalize when repurposing.

The influencer content you’ve worked so hard to create shouldn’t just sit on the shelf after publishing. Make it work harder for you by repurposing it into other smaller assets that are personalized to your specific audiences.

#9 – Keep your influencer connections hot.

As mentioned above, you want to build a strong and lasting relationship with your influencers-and that means that you need to have an ongoing relationship. You need to keep romancing them a bit.

Follow, monitor and engage your influencers on social media, listen for opportunities to be thoughtful, send them referrals if you can and reach out with them when with new opportunities to collaborate.

If you’re at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, the TopRank Marketing team would love to connect! Find us on Twitter to let us know what sessions you’ve enjoyed the most at @TopRank, @leiladlf, @leeodden, @amywhiggins@azeckman and @CaitlinMBurgess.

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Top 5 Website Performance Testing Tools

Among the many important ranking factors there’s speed. Searchmetrics ranking factors report found that the top 10 highest ranking sites were also the fastest. Moz found out that it’s not the general speed of the page, but the Time To […]

Post from: Search Engine People SEO Blog

Top 5 Website Performance Testing Tools

Written by Rohit Purakayastha, CSP Corp

The post Top 5 Website Performance Testing Tools appeared first on Search Engine People Blog.


Content Gating: When, Whether, and How to Put Your Content Behind an Email/Form Capture – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Have you ever considered gating your content to get leads? Whether you choose to have open-access content or gate it to gather information, there are benefits and drawbacks you should be aware of. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand weighs the pros and cons of each approach and shares some tips for improving your process, regardless of whichever route you go.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about content gating.

This is something that a lot of content marketers use, particularly those who are interested in generating leads, individuals that their salespeople or sales teams or outreach folks or business development folks can reach out to specifically to sell a product or start a conversation. Many content marketers and SEOs use this type of content as a lure to essentially attract someone, who then fills in form fields to give enough information so that the sales pipeline gets filled or the leads pipeline gets filled, and then the person gets the content.

As opposed to the classic model that we’re used to in a more open content marketing and open SEO world of, “Let me give you something and then hopefully get something in return,” it’s, “You give me something and I will give you this thing in return.” This is a very, very popular tactic. You might be familiar with Moz and know that my general bias and Moz’s general bias is against content gating. We sort of have a philosophical bias against it, with the exception of, on the Moz Local side, some enterprise stuff, that that marketing team may be doing, may in the future include some gating. But generally, at Moz, we’re sort of against it.

However, I don’t want to be too biased. I recognize that it does have benefits, and I want to explain some of those benefits and drawbacks so that you can make your own choices of how to do it. Then we’re going to rock through some recommendations, some tactical tips that I’ve got for you around how you can improve how you do it, no matter whether you are doing open content or full content gating.

Benefits of gating content

The two. This is the gated idea. So you get this free report on the state of artificial intelligence in 2016. But first, before you get that report, you fill in all these fields: name, email, role, company website, Twitter, LinkedIn, what is your budget for AI in 2017 and you fill in a number. I’m not kidding here. Many of these reports require these and many other fields to be filled in. I have filled in personally several that are intense in order to get a report back. So it’s even worked on me at times.

The opposite of that, of course, would be the report is completely available. You get to the webpage, and it’s just here’s the state of AI, the different sections, and you get your graphs and your charts, and all your data is right in there. Fantastic, completely free access. You’ve had to give nothing, just visit the website.

The benefits of gating are you actually get:

  • More information about who specifically accessed the report. Granted, some of this information could be faked. There are people who work around that by verifying and validating at least the email address or those kinds of things.
  • Those who expend the energy to invest in the report may view the data or the report itself as more valuable, more useful, more trustworthy, to carry generally greater value. This is sort of an element of human psychology, where we value things that we’ve had to work harder to get.
  • Sales outreach to the folks who did access it may be much easier and much more effective because you obviously have a lot of information about those people, versus if you collected only an email or no information at all, in which case would be close to impossible.

Drawbacks of gating content

Let’s walk through the drawbacks of gating, some things that you can’t do:

  • Smaller audience potential. It is much harder to get this in front of tons of people. Maybe not this page specifically, but certainly it’s hard to get amplification of this, and it’s very hard to get an audience, get many, many people to fill out all those form fields.
  • Harder to earn links and amplification. People generally do not link to content like this. By the way, the people who do link to and socially amplify stuff like this usually do it with the actual file. So what they’ll do is they’ll look for State of AI 2016, filetype:pdf,, and then they’ll find the file behind whatever you’ve got. I know there are some ways to gate that even such that no one can access it, but it’s a real pain.
  • It also is true that some folks this leaves a very bad taste in their mouth. They have a negative brand perception around it. Now negative brand perception could be around having to fill this out. It could be around whether the content was worth it after they filled this out. It could be about the outreach that happens to them after they filled this out and their interest in getting this data was not to start a sales conversation. You also lose a bunch of your SEO benefits, because you don’t get the links, you don’t get the engagement. If you do rank for this, it tends to be the case that your bounce rate is very high, much higher than other people who might rank for things like the state of AI 2016. So you just struggle.

Benefits of open access

What are the benefits and drawbacks of open access? Well, benefits, pretty obvious:

  • Greater ability to drive traffic from all channels, of course – social, search, word of mouth, email, whatever it is. You can drive a lot more people here.
  • There’s a larger future audience for retargeting and remarketing. So the people who do reach the report itself in here, you certainly have an opportunity. You could retarget and remarket to them. You could also reach out to them directly. Maybe you could retarget and remarket to people who’ve reached this page but didn’t fill in any information. But these folks here are a much greater audience potential for those retargeting and remarketing efforts. Larry Kim from WordStream has shown some awesome examples. Marty Weintraub from Aimclear also has shown some awesome examples of how you can do that retargeting and remarketing to folks who’ve reached content.
  • SEO benefits via links that point to these pages, via engagement metrics, via their ranking ability, etc. etc. You’re going to do much better with this. We do much better with the Beginner’s Guide to SEO on Moz than we would if it were gated and you had to give us your information first, of course.

Overall, if what you are trying to achieve is, rather than leads, simply to get your message to the greatest number of people, this is a far, far better effort. This is likely to reach a much bigger audience, and that message will therefore reach that much larger audience.

Drawbacks of open access

There are some drawbacks for this open access model. It’s not without them.

  • It might be hard or even totally impossible to convert many or most of the visits that come to open access content into leads or potential leads. It’s just the case that those people are going to consume that content, but they may never give you information that will allow you to follow up or reach out to them.
  • Information about the most valuable and important visitors, the ones who would have filled this thing out and would have been great leads is lost forever when you open up the content. You just can’t capture those folks. You’re not going to get their information.

So these two are what drive many folks up to this model and certainly the benefits of the gated content model as well.


So, my recommendations. It’s a fairly simple equation. I urge you to think about this equation from as broad a strategic perspective and then a tactical accomplishment perspective as you possibly can.

1. If audience size, reach, and future marketing benefits are greater than detailed leads as a metric or as a value, then you should go open access. If the reverse is true, if detailed leads are more valuable to you than the audience size, the potential reach, the amplification and link benefits, and all the future marketing benefits that come from those things, the ranking benefits and SEO benefits, if that’s the case, then you should go with a gated model. You get lots of people at an open access model. You get one person, but you know all their information in a gated content model.

2. It is not the case that this has to be completely either/or. There are modified ways to do both of these tactics in combination and concert. In fact, that can be potentially quite advantageous.

So a semi-gated model is something we’ve seen a few content marketers and companies start to do, where they have a part of the report or some of the most interesting aspects of the report or several of the graphics or an embedded SlideShare or whatever it is, and then you can get more of the report by filling in more items. So they’re sharing some stuff, which can potentially attract engagement and links and more amplification, and use in all sorts of places and press, and blog posts and all that kind of stuff. But then they also get the benefit of some people filling out whatever form information is critical in order to get more of that data if they’re very interested. I like this tease model a lot. I think that can work really, really well, especially if you are giving enough to prove your value and worth, and to earn those engagement and links, before you ask for a lot more.

You can go the other way and go a completely open model but with add-ons. So, for example, in this, here’s the full report on AI. If you would like more information, we conducted a survey with AI practitioners or companies utilizing AI. If you’d like the results of that survey, you can get that, and that’s in the sidebar or as a little notification in the report, a call to action. So that’s full report, but if you want this other thing that maybe is useful to some of the folks who best fit the interested in this data and also potentially interested in our product or service, or whatever we’re trying to get leads for, then you can optionally put your information in.

I like both of these. They sort of straddle that line.

3. No matter which one or which modified version you do, you should try and optimize the outcomes. That means in an open content model:

  • Don’t ignore the fact that you can still do retargeting to all the people who visited this open content and get them back to your website, on to potentially a very relevant offer that has a high conversion rate and where you can do CRO testing and those kinds of things. That is completely reasonable and something that many, many folks do, Moz included. We do a lot of remarketing around the web.
  • You can drive low-cost, paid traffic to the content that gets the most shares in order to bump it up and earn more amplification, earn more traffic to it, which then gives you a broader audience to retarget to or a broader audience to put your CTA in front of.
  • If you are going to go completely gated, a lot of these form fields, you can infer or use software to get and therefore get a higher conversion rate. So for example, I’m asking for name, email, role, company, website, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In fact, I could ask exclusively for LinkedIn and email and get every single one of those from just those two fields. I could even kill email and ask them to sign in with LinkedIn and then request the email permission after or as part of that request. So there are options here. You can also ask for name and email, and then use a software service like FullContact’s API and get all of the data around the company, website, role and title, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc. that are associated with that name or in that email address. So then you don’t have to ask for so much information.
  • You can try putting your teaser content in multiple channels and platforms to maximize its exposure so that you drive more people to this get more. If you’re worried that hey this teaser won’t reach enough people to be able to get more of those folks here, you can amplify that through putting it on SlideShare or republishing on places like Medium or submitting the content in guest contributions to other websites in legit ways that have overlapped audiences and share your information that you know is going to resonate and will make them want more. Now you get more traffic back to these pages, and now I can convert more of those folks to the get more system.

So content gating, not the end of the world, not the worst thing in the world. I personally dislike a lot of things about it, but it does have its uses. I think if you’re smart, if you play around with some of these tactical tips, you can get some great value from it.

I look forward to your ideas, suggestions, and experiences with content gating, and we’ll see you next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

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Why Your Unique Value Proposition Isn’t as Important as You Think It Is (and What Matters More)

A hot prospect has demoed your software or product, and now you’ve got Sales talking with the decision-makers about an enterprise solution that will be your biggest yet. You find out they’ve narrowed down their decision to you and two of your competitors. This should be a slam dunk-you just spent the last three months doing market research and sharpening your Unique Value Proposition (UVP), and you know your team now clearly communicates the unique value you provide.

But the sales process drags out weeks and months. . . and the prospect is asking for discounts and extra customization at no additional charge. You’re crunching the numbers, trying to figure out how to keep the deal alive and asking yourself why you’re stuck competing on price again. And then you find out the prospect chose a competitor.

What went wrong? Your UVP was strong. Your sales team was at the top of their game. What happened?

As it turns out, UVP isn’t as important as we think it is. CEB research surveyed 3,000 B2B buyers across 36 brands and 7 industries and revealed that only 14% of buyers perceive enough meaningful difference between brands’ business value to be willing to pay extra for that difference. Unless you’re selling something truly revolutionary-solving a problem that has not yet been solved in any way, shape, or form-your UVP is pretty much the same as your best competitors’ UVPs. Although there are subtle differences, your prospects are saying they’re not willing to pay for them. So you end up competing on price.

difference-between-supplies-enough-to-payOnly 14% of buyers saw enough difference between suppliers to be willing to pay a higher price for it. (Image Source)

What’s the solution? It’s not that UVP doesn’t matter at all. B2B buyers demand ROI-you have to deliver at least as much business value as your competitors do, in order to get into the consideration set. So all the work you put into developing your UVP isn’t wasted.

Personal Value Beats Business Value

But while nearly all B2B companies focus on business value and treat B2B buying as a rational decision process, the reality is that people are making these buying decisions-people who have emotions and who are concerned about things like getting a promotion, being respected by their peers, and not making mistakes. They fear risk. They want admiration. They are driven by the desire to be successful.

According to CEB’s research, over 90% of the B2B buyers surveyed would either put off the purchase indefinitely or would buy from the lowest-price supplier in their consideration set. If you’re going to consistently win deals profitably, you need to address personal value at least as much as you address business value.

buyers-who-see-personal-value-versus-those-that-dontBuyers were much more likely to purchase from the supplier that demonstrated personal value. (Image Source)

There are two sides to personal value-a positive and a negative. If you tackle both in your marketing and sales materials, you’ll build a strong case that will motivate buyers. Let’s look at each of these in detail.

Address Personal Benefits

The positive side of the personal value coin is personal benefits-how your product or service benefits your prospects personally. While every individual will have his or her own goals and desires, you’ll want to identify two or three that are shared by most of your prospects so you can focus on these in your marketing. (If you break out different market segments or personas and market separately to each, you have the freedom to get more specific with the personal benefits you highlight.)

To identify the personal benefits that will resonate with your prospects, you’ll need to do a bit of research. The easiest way to learn this info is to set up brief phone interviews with current clients or prospects who fit your ideal client profile. Here are a few questions you can ask that will give you insight.

  • What is important to you as a [title or role]?
  • What are you currently working toward? (A promotion? A role change? You’re looking for what motivates them.)
  • What are your one-year goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in two years?

Once you’ve completed your interviews, look over the words and phrases that your interviewees used to describe what matters to them. What words and phrases were used the most? These are the ones that you’ll want to incorporate into your messaging to ensure prospects fully understand and instinctively react to what you’re saying.

Address Personal Risk

The negative side of the personal value coin is personal risk. Fear is one of the strongest forces that prevent people from taking action-even action they logically know they need to take. If you want prospects to move forward in the buying journey, you’re going to have to address their fears.

Nearly every B2B buyer, no matter what his or her job role, has the following fears.

  • Potential loss of time. Would-be buyers are busy and almost always have more on their to-do lists than they can possibly get done. They worry that implementing your solution will take up too much of their valuable time.
  • Potential loss of respect. To get the deal agreed upon, buyers have to champion your solution to their teams. They worry that if your solution doesn’t deliver as promised, or if it’s a nightmare to implement, they’ll lose the support of coworkers and superiors.
  • Potential loss of job. If the performance of your product or service is bad enough and causes a large loss of money or potential revenue, a buyer could lose his or her job over the purchase. This is a fear that can easily and completely derail a purchase.

If you want to close the deal, you’ll need to address each of these fears in your bottom-of-the-funnel marketing content or sales materials.

Personal value is a powerful driver of purchase decisions.

It’s important to note that “showing” is more effective than “telling” prospects that they don’t need to worry about these potential hazards. Besides that fact that it would be weird, no one would believe you if you simply stated, “And there’s no reason to fear losing your job if you buy from us-you won’t!”

Use testimonials and case studies to demonstrate the results you’ve achieved for other companies similar to theirs. Point out how quickly or easily the implementation went and the specific ROI you delivered. Social proof (especially if you’ve got testimonials or case studies from companies well-known in their industry) will alleviate their fears better than anything else.

Dig into the Pain of Non-action

The best way to overcome that last bit of doubt remaining after you’ve addressed potential fears is to dig into the pain that will result from not moving forward with the purchase.

Find out what the buyer will lose if he or she puts off the decision, and quantify it. How much revenue is he or she sacrificing? How much time is he or she wasting?

Then compare the loss resulting from inaction to any remaining potential risk. You need to show the buyer that the reward greatly outweighs any potential risk. This is the final kick-in-the-pants that buyers need to make the purchase.

The best time to point out the pain of non-action is in your proposal. After you’ve clearly communicated business benefits and personal benefits, and after you’ve assuaged their fears, make sure they feel how much the status quo hurts-and how that pain will just continue to get worse the longer they stay there.

Never Forget You’re Selling to People

The companies that win will be the companies that thoroughly understand their prospects and clearly communicate personal value as well as business value. Never lose sight of the fact that, even as a B2B company, you’re selling to people. Show off that shiny UVP, but don’t stop the conversation at business value. And you’ll find that price is no longer holding you back from those highly-coveted enterprise deals.

About the Author: Laura MacPherson is a freelance writer who integrates persuasion psychology and research into copywriting and content for B2B companies. Follow her (or connect) on LinkedIn for an unlimited supply of marketing tips and tricks.


The Importance of Storytelling in Content Marketing #MPB2B


Once upon a time …

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …

There once was …

These aren’t just classic fairy tale or movie beginnings. They represent memories. They evoke feelings. They get our minds churning. They signal that an exciting story is about to unfold-and those stories are powerful.

As content marketers, we need to be in the business of storytelling if we want our content to resonate and inspire. As Shane Snow, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Contently, said during his session Create, Connect, And Optimize Through Storytelling: The New Formula For Content Success at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

“When you engage in a story, your brain lights up.”

We want our audiences’ brains to light up when they experience our content. And at a time when content is absolutely everywhere, weaving a good story can set it apart from the rest. Here’s why:

#1 – We’re programmed for stories.

Stories and the way we react to them is part of our human makeup-dating back to caveman times and evolving to where we are now. As Snow said, stories make our brains light up. Research shows that when people are engaged in a story, there are a number of different parts of the brain that are connected and firing.

#2 – Stories break down barriers.

Stories help us understand each other. They connect us. They can inspire compassion. They can change our attitudes.

#3 – Stories build relationships.

Our human predisposition toward embracing stories, coupled with the connectedness stories give us, helps us build stronger relationships.

To open his session, Snow referenced a recent poll he had conducted. He asked his following to vote on who they would elect as president of the United States: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling or England’s Queen Elizabeth.

The response? Overwhelmingly in favor of J.K. Rowling. Why? Because people felt like they knew her. There was a connectedness there-a relationship had been built.

How Do You Tell Better Stories?

Snow’s framework for content marketing storytelling is simple: Create, Connect and Optimize.

Create: Create content that can tell your audience compelling stories at each stage of the buyer’s journey. At the top, address shared interests and values. In the middle, tell stories about your company and your customers. At the bottom, dive into stories about your products and services. In addition, at each stage, the style of content you create could fall into three buckets: timely, seasonal or evergreen.

Connect: Choose how you will share your content with your audience based on Utilize your owned site and your email list to share content for sure. When it comes to additional tactics such as social media or webinars, make your choice based on whether you’re hoping for brand awareness or conversions.

Optimize: Once you’ve created and connected, you need to find out whether your content is actually effective. Start by looking at engagement metrics to determine where you’re winning and losing. Then take the steps to refine your content is created and shared with people.

“Stories have the potential to unlock changes and kindness, and improve our humanity,” Snow said. “If we think about it this way, we can do a lot of good in the world.”

If you’re attending MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, we’d love to connect. Find us on Twitter at @TopRank, @leeodden, @azeckman, @amywhiggins@leiladlf and @CaitlinMBurgess.

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