Business storytelling: what you can learn from journalists

Those who use exciting stories are captivating. However, many people make big mistakes in storytelling: they tire instead of enthusiasm. In this text, you will find the essential storytelling rules taught at journalism schools – and you will learn how to apply them to your business. 

What is storytelling – and why are so many people doing it the wrong way?

Maybe you just got an email again from someone who told you a sad story long and wide to want to sell you a product – and then you see great guys everywhere in your Facebook timeline Carts that used to be miserable like the church mice (which they spread out in a long text to get you signed up for a free webinar).

Yes, that’s storytelling too.

But not particularly imaginative. 

Because this type of storytelling is now predictable, annoying in the long run and can even provoke rejection – for example, if heavy topics such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or cancer are used too obviously to sell.

Therefore, a first warning: Those who go too flat in business storytelling can be shipwrecked!

However, doing without storytelling is not a solution. Because it works! (If you do it cleverly)

But how do you do it, right? And what happens when we tell stories? 

3 Effects of storytelling – and how it benefits your business

Suddenly everyone is a listening room full of people, you report essential things, give tips and instructions, give numbers, make the urgency of the topic clear – and look into tired eyes. 

But then you start talking about your grandma who once said this one sentence to you …

And that affects: Suddenly the audience looks interested. 

Why? 

I’m not a brain researcher – but I have been told that listening to a story activates many more areas than listening to facts. Senses are activated, feelings are evoked. It’s like the listener is witnessing the situation! 

Also: if a story begins, we want to know how it ends. And that immediately increases attention.

Even if only one concrete example is mentioned and a real person tells it, we pay attention: Because examples are storytelling on a small scale.

Journalists also learn this very quickly during their training: 10,000 traffic fatalities hardly trigger emotions unlike Katharina, 35, who had to die because she couldn’t avoid a ghost driver in time. Her 3-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat.

That makes us swallow. Sympathize. And it does more to us than any number, no matter how high it could be.

That is why journalists are looking for specific examples – individual fates. And that’s why you should also talk about people if you want to illustrate a topic.

(And here’s a little test: don’t you MUST now know if the little girl survived in the back seat? I bet you want. Because: see above.)

  1. You create closeness – and that promotes sales.

As soon as you start talking about yourself, people listen to you. Especially when you talk about depths, crises and problems.

This affects two types of storytelling in particular:

  • The cause-effect principle:
  •  This is about the vivid explanation of why something is as it is. 
  • I live healthier today, BECAUSE … 
  • I only advise offline, BECAUSE … 
  • I only go hiking barefoot, BECAUSE … 
  • Usually, this “because” has to do with a negative experience. And of course, we have to talk about that if we want to explain why we are doing something. If we do this in a descriptive and exemplary manner, we do 1A storytelling.
  • The hero journey:
  •  The storytelling known from Hollywood is always about
    • a hero
    • a problem
    • overcoming the problem 
    • the change of the hero
    • a message associated with it

Most of the stories (of you, of customers, of friends) can be squeezed into this pattern!

What happens in the other person’s head in both cases: he or she develops empathy. You build a connection. Closeness arises.

And once there is proximity, the decision to buy is easier. Storytelling is, therefore, a great sales vehicle.

Is that manipulation?

Oh well. The Duden defines manipulation as “an impenetrable, skillful procedure that gives someone an advantage, wins something they want”. And then, I found this definition: “Influencing decisions without the decision-maker being aware of it.”

Accordingly, any sale is manipulative. 

But of course, the manipulation can take on different dimensions. For me, it is negative if dramatic stories evoke empathy, if we sympathize infinitely, then buy an incredibly expensive product – such as high-priced coaching – but the closeness builds up abruptly with the purchase of the product. The coaching ends turned out to be access to calls with dozens of other customers.

Then I have only one word for it: fooling around.

2. People remember you better.

Have you ever been to a lecture where you wrote a lot? And did the lecturer tell a little story about himself or another person in the middle of all his facts?

I would bet: two weeks later, you had to look in your notes to recall the information – but you still had the story in your ears.

Our brain sorts stories in a different, more critical drawer than pure facts. We remember them longer because they made more of an impression. We felt something when we heard them. It makes a big difference.

So if you want people to take an essential thing from a lecture, workshop, or seminar, the best thing to do is wrap them up in a story. It doesn’t have to be Hollywood drama – sometimes it is enough to give an example of a real person.

That’s working!

Listeners are also more likely to tell other people about you – because you impressed them more sustainably: “The X, who recently said something similar, take a look at their website!” 

Ten situations where you can use storytelling

  1. On your website 

Your homepage (in detail) and you’re about me page are ideal for storytelling. But be careful: Nobody wants to see too much text! That means that you shouldn’t spread a long story on the homepage. 

However, if you can say “I’ve been in this situation before” or “I’ve overcome a problem that you as a website visitor may know,” tell us about it! 

Warning: Do not tell any stories “because I am supposed to do storytelling”, but focus on the experiences that have something to do with your website visitor. In which he empathizes and with which he can do something.

2. In social media

Platte advertising posts have not worked for a long time. Therefore, you should try to get closer to potential customers as a person. What do you experience, what does it do to you, what insights can you share with others?

And if it’s just anecdotes from your everyday life: stories get to know you better.

For example:

  •  An observation from your everyday life from which you have drawn a conclusion (which has something to do with the life/business of your followers)
  • Something that just happened to you that made you think
  • An encounter with a person that triggers an eye-opening effect from which you have learned something

You mustn’t merely describe an event, but connect a message to it! Then the element “hero has changed” is fulfilled (even if only in tiny details) – and storytelling becomes a story.

3. In blog posts and books 

Have you noticed how many times I’ve given small examples in this blog post? How many times have I described situations to you? That is already storytelling, if only on a small scale. 

We all learn best from examples. That is why American non-fiction books are teeming with descriptions of individual cases.

4. In emails 

Many have come to believe that storytelling should be used in newsletter marketing. This can be seen in countless emails with subject lines such as “I finally did it!” Or “That was the worst birthday of my life”. 

If that piles up, I have to admit that at some point, it gets annoying.

So I advise you about the right balance. I often tell little episodes in the newsletter – but I don’t write every subject line to cry out for storytelling. And I often focus purely on imparting knowledge. In this way, I avoid the appearance of fatigue (“Oh, now there is a storyline byline – and when does something come here that helps me … ???”).

Nevertheless: Please don’t refrain from telling stories in your newsletter from time to time! It is precisely these emails that give me the most feedback.

5. Live in front of the camera.

Do you sometimes make videos for your business? Then get started with a short story next time – immediately! Do without “Welcome …”, “Great, I’m living!” And other fuss. You will quickly have more attention – and more people will hear what you have to say afterward because they have stayed with it longer.

6. Talking to potential customers

 If you want to convince people of yourself or something, examples, and small, “I know that” stories will help immensely.

Sometimes it is enough to tell about another customer who has already achieved what your counterpart wants to achieve. Packed in a little story, it will make a more significant impression than any good argument!

7. On landing pages

I tell you about me on almost every landing page, because people buy from people. So if I advertise a freebie or would like to invite you to an event, I can prove by telling a short story: I am familiar with the topic!

If you too can briefly outline that you have done something that has to do with the topic – then do it!

8. For presentations

PowerPoints are all well and good – but the moment you deviate from them and just tell an anecdote on the side may be the best in the entire presentation. 

For every presentation, think about: What point can I substantiate with an example? What eye-opening effect can I bring my listeners to by telling a story?

That will make a lot more impressive than any string of facts. 

9. During press work

If you’ve looked around this page a little, you’ll see that I preach one thing repeatedly: offer your stories to the press! 

My customers keep seeing that that’s precisely what works – and suddenly journalists report back when you send them stories in their inbox:

  • Chocolate sommelier Stefanie was able to tell on Impulse.de how, as a very young boss, she met the expectation that she should appear “nicer” – and how she overcame this problem
  • Qi-Gong expert Angela reported on woman.at how her mother had helped her out of the mess (a little later she was also allowed to give Qi-Gong tips on the site, which had never met with interest before)
  • Fitness coach Beatrice told in several magazines how she found life through sport after burnout and cancer diagnosis

10. On stage, prominent speakers know exactly: on stage, it is not a question of conveying as many facts as possible, but of sending one or two central thoughts that are remembered.

So I strongly recommend that you approach this central idea with a story! 

If we witness how the speaker concluded, we will still remember it weeks and even months later.

What journalists learn about storytelling – and what you should check out

Have a “hero.”

 Every journalist learns right at the beginning of his training: If you want to describe a problem, find a person to whom it applies. All articles, radio features, and television reports that go beyond news reporting take this rule of thumb to heart.

So if you want to use stories, don’t talk about “many people” having problem XY. It was about how Sabine, 47, was suddenly confronted with this problem, what it did to her – and how she could finally overcome it.

Do you want to tell a story about yourself, not someone else? Great, then you are the hero of your account!

Unfortunately, your topic mainly consists of facts and figures? Then find yourself a sample person who has an impact on these facts and figures – and use it to illustrate why the topic is so important!

Let something happen quickly

Who would watch a film where Tom Hanks flies calmly on an airplane over an island and then arrives at home in a good mood …? 

No, the plane crashes, of course, Hanks lands on a desert island – and suddenly has to fight like Robinson Crusoe for his survival and against going mad. 

Most Hollywood films work according to this principle: Often, something happens within the first five minutes that changes everything – and dominates the remaining 85 minutes. 

So what is the “plane crash” in your story? In your customers’? Every good story, no matter how small, needs a “Suddenly …”.

Again: It doesn’t always have to be the great story of suffering, the tragedy of your life – after all, there are enough small events that involve coping with a problem! If only as a convinced vegetarian you ended up in a small Argentinian town and suddenly had to find out: it was almost impossible to find something to eat that did not focus on a roasted pink piece of meat …

If you describe this vividly and according to the rules of storytelling (a hero is suddenly confronted with a problem and has to find a solution), you are sure to have open ears – without it having Hollywood potential.

By the way, journalists sometimes apply the “let something happen quickly” rule in the first sentence – even before we get to know the hero. Something like this: “It was a rainy Thursday afternoon when the horror came to Niederbüll.”

 The order of the elements mentioned here can, therefore, be changed! The main thing is that they are included in your story at all.

Say what the problem is

Ideally, when you tell a story, you should clearly state what the problem is here. If SUDDENLY something happened, you should take the whole thing to a higher level again, make the meaning clear: 

  • What is at stake here right now? 
  • Why does the problem have to be solved? 
  • What will happen if not …?

So you give your story additional depth. In the journalism school, I learned the following sentence, which describes this aspect of storytelling very well: “Get into the helicopter”.

That means: look at what has happened from above as if from an airplane. What more significant dimension do you see? What are the effects of what happened to the big picture?

 Journalists then often use a sentence like “Sabine Hansen is not an isolated case”. Then numbers usually follow, such as how many others are affected by the problem.

 You don’t have to stick to it blindly – but maybe you find an aspect that is “bigger” than the person and their problem? Then name it.

Describe small details

Good journalism describes vividly – in the right places. Many texts start with scenery in which little things are mentioned in detail. So readers can imagine the situation correctly.

This works especially if you want to make it exciting. If you work towards a SUDDENLY telling a story, you can build tension by describing: Where are we? How is it there? What can you hear, smell, feel?

This will “pull” your listeners into the story; they will be more attentive – because while they are empathizing with the situation, many different areas of their brains are active (unlike if they only had to process facts). 

Have a happy ending – and a message

When we hear about a problem, we want to know how it ends. Our brain is particularly satisfied when it hears a happy ending. Therefore, think of stories that have an outcome. What is still “work in progress” is not suitable for storytelling.

For example, it would be very unsatisfactory if Tom Hanks just lived on his lonely island at the end of the film. 

 A story needs development. And development also means: How did it end? How was the problem solved? What did that do to the hero?

The next time you read a magazine text, just pay attention: Does the author return to the hero and his problem at the end of the text? This is a classic journalistic trick to create a common thread.

Even if other people had their say in the middle part of the text – other people affected, experts, supporting actors: In the end, the journalist usually “closes the bag” and picks up on the scene described in the introduction. A typical exit describes what the hero does today, how the problem related has changed him or her.

Ideally, your story, therefore, has a message and makes it clear to me as a listener: Here, a change has occurred that has something to do with me. 

This also applies if the story did not turn out positive for the hero! He or she will have learned something anyway – and for the listener, that is something like a “happy ending.”

Five mistakes you should avoid when storytelling

  1. Avoid too many details.

Many of my tips tempt you to get lost in details. Describe what it takes. Add something here and there and there, because this and that, and that is somehow important.

In other words: getting into the LANTERN.

That is the death of good stories.

How do you know if your descriptions are still exciting?

By looking into the faces of your listeners (if that’s possible). How attentively do you listen?

The big challenge is just to give details that pull your audience into a situation that creates tension. 

Depending on the situation, you should handle this differently: In a short video in which you describe a short event, a few details are enough. You can take a little more time on stage, especially if the story has a larger dimension.

My tip: tell the story in front of a sample audience – or give your text to a few test readers! Ask them to tell you where to remind yourself to stay tuned honestly.

2. Avoid digressions

In journalistic research, I often wrote half a notebook – and ended up using only about 10 percent of my notes for the text. 

Because a vital journalist rule is: only select the people, events, and descriptions that are relevant to your core topic, your message.

This can go so far that protagonists are accompanied and interviewed and do not even appear in the text afterward because the experiences were not typical of the text’s essence. 

For example, if the topic is “single women are statistically more stressed than women in a relationship, even if it is a bad relationship,” the journalist needs someone who can best illustrate this. If it turns out that the selected protagonist is only semi-stressed, the story no longer works – and the journalist will look for someone else.

What you can learn from it: If you tell a story, concentrate on the CORE. 

If you know which message you want to end with, you should only choose the critical events and developments for this message. 

3. Avoid naming too many people.

Maybe you could tell several stories about the same phenomenon. Journalists do just that in many texts: they have two or three protagonists. However, the following rule applies: Each protagonist should illustrate a different aspect of the topic.

If we stick to the thesis that single mothers are stressed out, a journalist would, for example, choose a woman who lives alone with her child and only copes with everyday life with great effort – and a mother who is in a relationship that is more difficult than it should be everything is significantly less stressed.

Each protagonist stands for something and is carefully selected by journalists. It rarely takes two protagonists who have experienced the same thing!

For your first storytelling steps, I would recommend focusing on one protagonist so as not to confuse your audience or readers.

(Exception: there are a hero and an antagonist. If your hero has an opponent, you must include both in your story – after all, the antagonist embodies the hero’s problem.)

4. Don’t just tell THE ONE story.

Sure, if you bring along a good story that describes great why you are doing what you are doing, you should tell it repeatedly. It doesn’t matter whether you already have customers or are just at the beginning: a good justification story makes a difference.

But please don’t focus ONLY on that!

Because stories are suitable for so much more, you can make decisions understandable, lead listeners to an eye-opening moment, convey knowledge.

For me, storytelling is an addition. I use it here and there.

  • to illustrate a point
  • to work towards a conclusion / a message / a “moral from history.”
  • to create ties (“Yes! I feel the same way!”)
  • to create more interaction (nothing triggers more than small, unadorned stories from my life …) 

Therefore: Whenever you can explain something using an example that follows the sequence hero – problem – solution – change, you do real storytelling!

(With that, I would like to take away the high standards again: It doesn’t always have to be Hollywood material, even small anecdotes can work correctly!)

5. Don’t overdo it

One final request: don’t kill your audience. Because if from now on, you only come around the corner with blood-sweat-tear-stories, then I promise you: It will tire in the long run.

As a customer, I react grumpily when I realize that a person always uses their personal (dramatic) story exactly when it comes to selling. Then I feel manipulated – and I’m gone.

It is like everything in life: A healthy mix is ​​essential. 

Search terms Google – How to generate traffic with the right keywords

“If you search, you will find” – this saying applies not only to everything in life but of course also to the Internet. This lesson is particularly important when it comes to your website. Because your potential customers should find you or your company, whom they carry out a search query that deals with your core business. The noise is loud on the Internet – you will encounter a large number of companies that are also trying to direct search queries to specific terms to their websites. With this article, we would like to show you how you can increase the traffic on your site with the appropriate tools and strategies by choosing the right search terms Google.

What is part of the ideal search engine optimization (SEO)?

As we have already indicated, the right choice of focus keyword, which should lead interested users to your website, is critical. But how do you find these terms and make use of them? When we talk about SEO optimization, we also have to talk about SEO keyword. Through the ideal method of the right keywords, you contribute to the fact that search engines – and thus also users – are referred to your website faster. The search result leads directly to your company.

Of course, some aspects are entirely logical and require no further keyword research – if you have a flower shop, for example, it is clear that terms such as “flower shop, flowers, flower arrangements” etc. are among the names that your potential customer is looking for becomes. Only this type of keyword determination is not enough to get the best results. Intensive keyword research is of particular importance and requires effective  SEO online marketing.  Your on-page optimization. This way, search queries are ideally used to give your company even more reach. It also helps to find new topics for your content marketing strategy.

Search terms Google – Learn to think about how your customer is looking!

Think carefully about how your customers can reach you. Most entrepreneurs use  Google Ads accounts to become more visible on the Internet. These are filled with the appropriate keywords. There are a variety of different sources available to help you find the right ones to improve your search engine marketing.

For example, consider the following when determining keywords:

  • Your website: Always keep it up to date. Find gaps between the content of your website and your keyword list.
  • Your products: Make sure that your products can be found quickly and easily on Google. If you’re a retailer, things like product names and models can make keywords powerful.
  • Your brand: also think about your brand. The name of your brand – together with the product – already represents a new keyword group.

It can also make sense to enter your URLs as keywords. Some people also search for them on Google if, for example, they cannot remember the name of a product.

An essential feature for optimal SEO – keyword tools

Your keywords should reflect all of the different types of user queries that could help someone find your business when they’re looking for something you offer. So that the Google search of your potential customers also ends on your website, you should use a keywords tool. One of the best known is the so-called Google Keyword Planner. This tool has the task to find the right search terms for your Google Ads campaigns and shows you how high (or how low) specific words are in the course about the topic of your choice.

The Google Keyword Planner offers the following options.

  • Search for keywords and find ideas for Google ad groups
  • Ranking of existing keywords that you enter yourself
  • Creation of various keyword lists

Step-by-step: the Google Keyword Planner

To use the Google Keyword Planner, you need a Google Adwords account. If you don’t have an Adwords account yet, you can set it up in a few minutes. By the way, you do not need to initiate an active Adwords campaign to use the tool – nevertheless, you should install the Adwords account completely.

Next, log in to your Google Adwords account. Then click the wrench icon in the toolbar at the top of the page and select the Keyword Planner tool. Now you have two options – on the one hand; you can find relevant search terms from the planner or have your keywords checked for significance. Fortunately, these two SEO-oriented keyword research tools are enough to generate thousands of potential keywords. The tremendous new SEO offer optimized texts.

Generate keywords in different ways

If you want to generate new search terms instead of checking existing keywords, the search field shows you the option to type words, phrases or URLs that relate to your topic. How good the results of the research are depending on your input, which is why you should be strategically wise here.

  • “Word entry”: These are individual words that describe your company (e.g. “car” or “vacation”). This enables you to access Google’s internal keyword database for various industries.
  • “Phrases”: Here, you enter terms that consist of one to three keywords. For example, if we assume that you have a pet shop, you can enter terms such as “feed for rodents” or “grain-free animal feed” here. Terms that your customers would use in their Google search to find what they’re looking for.
  • “A URL that relates to your company”: This is primarily for Adwords users. But even in this way, you can sometimes find important keywords by entering the URL of your website or an article on your homepage.

Check your keywords

This is a function that is useful if you already have a long list of keywords and want to check their search volume. To put it in a nutshell, this option will not help you generate new keyword ideas. You may also discover new online marketing trends for your industry. Nevertheless, the information determined in this way is by no means uninteresting. Copy a list of keywords into the search field and click “Go”.

Search terms Google – What is all about SEO?

Determining the right keywords is a measure that influences a wide variety of factors in the ideal SEM search engine optimization. The correct search terms are also useful in connection with services such as Google Suggest. But Google has come up with much more for the optimal traffic on your website.

Here is an overview of the essential features:

Google Search Console

The Search Console ensures that your website always stays up to date. Thanks to the Google Search Console, you can find errors in the code, internal links and other areas of the site. The Search Console also shows which online search queries the user came to the website and which terms were relevant. Since many users are now only online via smartphone, Google’s Search Console also shows how well your site is displayed on the go. The feature also shows you how often specific keywords are used within the domain.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that produces detailed statistics about website activity. Google explains on its website that the system “helps to analyze the traffic on a website and to get a complete picture of your target group”.

Google Analytics uses a Javascript tracking code to collect data about visitors to your website and their interactions on your page. You then insert this code on your website.

With Google Trends, you can observe specific topics and search terms. This is also important for keyword analysis. Thanks to the tool, and you can see the search interest in a question or a search term within a specified period and also see which words are searched in addition to the first time.

Google Suggest

It is not easy to improve your status on Google Suggest or to provide the keywords that ensure that auto-completion is in your company’s favour. You had already noticed how important Google Suggest had become when you started a search query on Google. The tool is strongly oriented to the search behaviour of its users by logically merging term groups according to their temporary popularity.

As soon as you started typing a term, the word was completed by not only spelling it out but adding alternative names. Wouldn’t it be nice if your company could also benefit from this feature?

The direct influence on Google Suggest is challenging to control – it is essential in this context that you conduct meaningful content marketing and try to identify suitable keyword trends using Google Trends and include them in your content strategy. Because in the end, it is always about generating content in which the terms that users are looking for are incorporated.

Conclusion: Anyone who says SEO must also mean keyword optimization

Even if proper keyword research can be a bit time-consuming, it is worth it. After all, you want your new, potential customers to find you and your offer immediately if you are looking for services or goods from your core business. With the right key terms that you can generate with the right tools, you can find out exactly how your target group is looking. You then incorporate these terms into your content marketing strategy and your general online marketing measures  – and thus manage to generate traffic to your website.

How to write comments that bring visitors (but don’t make you a spammer)

I had to laugh.

A few days ago, I saw a funny photo, and I found the statement particularly apt.

In the photo, we see two older women chatting on the street:

I only dare to go out on the road. It has become too bad on the Internet.

Sometimes it is. People scold, swear, troll, and annoy so much on the Internet that the street is already safer than the Facebook timeline.

On the Internet, many people seem to be losing their manners.

You can see this on blogs too: comments that are pure spam, that offend or that are subliminally arrogant.

Comments are an excellent tool for getting new visitors – if you do it right, because almost every blog offers you the opportunity to leave your URL when you comment.

If the readers find you attractive, click on your link, and you have won a new reader.

Another feature of comments is almost as important: they create a relationship between you and the blogger. Usually, the blog comment is your first encounter with another blogger. So you should make a good impression.

But how do you write good comments?

1.Have a face

Have you ever had a date when you showed up in a Spiderman costume? Or as a Duckwin Duck with a cape and mask?

Of course not.

People with a mask are immediately suspicious. They are up to something or hide something under their cape. You don’t trust such a person.

It’s no different on the Internet.

If you comment, there should be a face – your face.

As a gravatar, do not use childhood heroes or other “masks”. You shouldn’t just use the gray silhouette, which is set by default.

Take a photo where you can sleep well and look beautiful and use it as a gravatar.

Everything else just makes people suspicious – and suspicious people don’t click your link.

2. Have a name

On the Internet, many people like to hide behind a pseudonym.

If it were legally possible, many would even like to blog with a pseudonym – but this is not possible due to the obligation to provide an imprint.

I am not a dating expert, but if you introduce yourself as “Master Yedi” on your date, then I am sure that the meeting will go wrong – unless you are lucky and your counterpart does not label yourself as schizophrenic.

Therefore, use your real name when commenting.

And no, please do not use your domain as a name: “Harry from CoachingDeluxe.de.”

That looks spammy. It looks like you want to put your domain in the comment as often as possible.

So don’t do that.

Just do it: “Harry”.

There is a separate field for the domain.

3. Don’t scatter links.

Links in comments are like fire: they can keep you warm and bring joy, but you can also burn your fingers on them.

So you should treat links to your blog very carefully.

My advice: leave it.

Sure, you may be able to contribute something to the discussion, but no matter how good the link is, it always leaves an impression on the blogger:

He just wants to spread his links.

Maybe some readers have this impression too. It is tough to post a link in the comment without acting like a spammer. And spammers immediately leave an unpleasant aftertaste.

Above all, you should refrain from comments such as: “Cool, I also wrote something on this topic [Link].”

Sincerely: who cares? You join the “me too” shouts at a flea market. You can be happy if the blogger unlocks your comment at all.

If you want to arouse interest and trust, leave the scattering of links in the comment field entirely.

There are better ways to get backlinks.

4. Don’t stink

Self-praise stinks, even on the Internet.

Some people love their voice so much that they can tell you for 15 minutes what they had breakfast and how tenderly the butter melted on their tongues.

Unfortunately, you can also see self-praise in blog comments. And to clarify: self-praise has lost nothing.

How to read comments like:

  • “I’ve been implementing all these tips for years. That’s why I have the leading blog in my niche. Have a look; there you can learn something. “
  • “Nothing new in this post, I’ve been doing everything for years.”
  • “Oh yes: I can make a good living from my blog income and only paid the deposit for my Mercedes SLK yesterday.”

My thought with such comments: Nice for you. You get an order. Pat your shoulder three times.

Seriously: hold yourself back in a comment with self-praise. Otherwise, you are immediately unappealing.

Oh yes: mockery, destructive criticism and sarcasm also stink.

5. Read the article

Yes, this is not a matter, of course.

This phenomenon is often seen on Facebook, where people only see the headline of the article, but are already diligently writing hate comments on Facebook or otherwise adding their mustard.

If you don’t want to go through as a mustard slingshot, then show with your comment that you’ve read the article.

So don’t write: “Great article.”

But: “I loved the example with the mustard. That made the problem so clear to me. “

Do you see the difference

Be as specific as possible and refer to the article – the more specific, the better, because then you can also start a dialogue.

6. Show appreciation

People love recognition.

And when you give others credit, it has a significant effect: people love you too.

Imagine your circle of friends, and a “new” comes into the round. He criticizes each of your friends, enumerates quick facts, and makes an effort to stand in a great light.

Then a second newcomer comes around, and he gives praise. He sincerely praises your friends’ shoes, their smiles and is interested in them.

Which person do you find more likable?

The second, of course. Those who give recognition also get recognition from others.

Therefore, you should always show appreciation in your comments. No, you shouldn’t crawl or slime in the other’s butt, but give honest praise.

As a reminder: When you put it in, you tell people what they want to hear. When you praise, you tell people what they don’t expect.

So your comment should contain a simple element: the compliment.

I don’t say that because I want you to praise me in the comments, but because it should be so. Compliments are the best way to make yourself accessible.

7. Increase the value

Now comes the coronation.

The most important aspect of a useful comment is that it offers added value. Ideally, your comment should increase the value of the article and not decrease it (as unfortunately, spam comments do).

You can deliver added value in the following variants:

  • Tell about personal experiences – Often, in a blog article, you only see one person’s skills. If you bring your expertise into the discussion, people will know that it works for others or that you can do it differently. A good experience report leads readers to this reaction: “Oh, he had the same problem as me. I’ll take a look at his blog. “
  • Ask meaningful questions – in your comments; you should ask questions that others might ask – then other readers will see the answer directly. You should also ask questions that are as specific and goal-oriented as possible. An excellent question is always: “How would you approach Problem X? I can’t get any further … “
  • Add a point – Many bloggers like to write list posts with a fixed number of points. If you can think of another, it would be the perfect material for comment. But please don’t be spiteful or with your big index finger. Just put your tip on the table. If you are lucky, the blogger will even add your comment to his article.

Improve the world

There are enough trolls and spammers on the Internet to make the web a place you don’t like to travel.

We can change that. We can start with ourselves and write comments that are not spammy. Comments that add value. Comments that give honest recognition and do not burst with self-praise.

In the end, only everyone can win: the blogger gets more comments. Good comments get you more attention. And you two enter into a dialogue.

What more do you want?

4 simple steps so that your content ranks well in the search engine

Imagine that you have created excellent content.

You invested 20 hours, did a lot of research, and packed the findings nicely. It is a little masterpiece. Everything is perfect. Nearly.

With all the effort, you forgot one important thing: good old search engine optimization. By now, you should be convinced that SEO plays a vital role in inbound marketing.

Every inbound marketer should have a bit of space in their hearts for SEO.

So let’s take a look at why SEO is essential and what steps to optimize your content for the search engine.

Why is SEO important?

On the surface, there seem to be significant differences. But if you look at SEO and inbound marketing from different perspectives, you will see that they complement each other perfectly:

When you research for a topic, you do it from the gut or through market research (inbound). But you should also consider proper old keyword research (SEO). Further sources are also good for the consumer (inbound), but they are internal and external links (SEO) simultaneously. After creation, your content must be promoted. The best way to do this is via influencers and guest posts (inbound), but at the same time, you also get external links (SEO). Finally, take a look at the shares and comments and see how well your content performed (inbound). But the search engine rankings are also a good criterion (SEO).

You see, SEO and inbound marketing are a perfect combination. Whereby SEO is just one piece of the puzzle, inbound marketing without SEO would only be half as effective.

Therefore, you should always create content for people and then adapt it to the search engine. And you do that with the following four steps.

1. Research

You might think of search queries and competition when you think of keyword research and the keyword planner, to pure vital figures.

But you should take a vital thought step in advance. You should always speak the language of your target group. You should find out what words your customers use. Different target groups often use different names for the same ideas or concepts.

If you know your target group’s exact words, you can take a look at the key figures:

  • Search queries – Here, you can see how many queries there are for this keyword in a month. Make sure that there are enough search queries. A rough guideline is 1,000. But don’t drive yourself crazy, even a keyword with 50 search queries can be interesting if you catch the entire target group with it.
  • Competition – Here, you can see the game in AdWords for this keyword in most tools. With this, you can derive the game in the search results. Logically, the most attractive are many search queries and little games.
  • Trends – Trends is also an interesting point in the research phase. Google Trends sits on important data and can show you the seasonal popularity of a keyword or generally show whether there is an upward or downward trend.

I do quick keyword research for every content idea to get an impression of how popular the topic is and how difficult it will be to rank.

You can also use keyword research to find new ideas for topics that are important to your target group. Another helpful tool for this is KeywordTool.io.

2. Optimization

Here you have to make sure that Googlebot understands that your content is the desired keyword. The Googlebot is relatively intelligent, but you still have to provide it with a bit of context.

You do this primarily with the classic OnPage optimization. Pay attention to the following points:

  • Title Tag – Your keyword should appear in the Title Tag. Ideally, as close to the beginning as possible. Also, make sure that the title tag does not exceed 75 characters.
  • H1 heading – Your keyword should appear in the H1 line.
  • URL – Your keyword should appear in the URL. In general, your URL should be as short and descriptive as possible. Also, make sure that your entire URL is no longer than 90 characters.
  • H2 and H3 headings – If it fits, it can be an advantage if your keyword appears in the H2 and H3 headings.
  • In the actual text – Depending on the length of your content, your keyword should appear approximately twice in the exact wording. Frequently used related words can also help here.
  • At least 1,000 words – Except for content landing pages, we always recommend writing at least 1,000 words. Correlations repeatedly show that lengthier content ranks better.
  • Bold or Italic – Once your keyword is formatted in bold or italic, preferably as close to the beginning as possible, it can have advantages.
  • Image, alt attribute, and file name – You should have at least one image that contains the keyword as an alt attribute and as a file name.
  • Meta Description – Keywords in the meta description are not a ranking factor, but ensure higher click rates and, therefore, possibly more top rankings. Again, make sure that your meta description does not exceed 160 characters.

Another critical point in this phase is the linking. You or others certainly have content in use that continues to work on a topic that you have outlined. This helps your consumer, but also the search engine. So make sure that you have at least three additional links. We always have a lot more. If you set internal links, be careful not to overdo the anchor text. Always ensure a healthy and natural anchor text ratio.

3. Doctorate

Now the real work is just beginning. In general, you should always actively promote your content. A good guideline is 50/50. So if you spent 50% of the time creating it, spend another 50% supporting it.

Inbound marketing is a long term game. That’s why you should think long-term and build real relationships with influencers in your industry:

If you know a lot of influencers, you can always ask them for links, shares, or guest contributions.

Therefore, create an extensive list of all influencers and start building relationships slowly but strategically.

Another critical point is the topic of link building. You should get into the habit of asking for links regularly. You should build it into your workflow. For example, get in the habit of writing to 10 operators after each publication and asking for links.

It is also interesting to analyze the competition at this point. What does the already ranked content do well? What can you learn from them? With tools like MOZ’s Open Site Explorer, you can find out what your competitor’s link profile looks like and try to build a more robust profile over time.

4. Tracking

Finally, you should always keep an eye on your external links and rankings. After all, you need to know how well you’ve worked and whether you still need to improve, right?

You can use the external links e.g., B. also find out with the Open Site Explorer. But you have to start it manually every time, and the tool is limited to a few requests per day. To monitor the ranking, you can e.g., B. Use Rank Checker. But here, too, it is a bit cumbersome if you want to find out the current classification for your entire client. It’s especially tricky with a ranking history.

In general, it makes sense to create evergreen content. Over time, your rankings should slowly improve on their own, because you will always get new links and shares actively and passively.

What are the content landing pages?

Before we finish, one last thing. It is so small and inconspicuous that it is used far too rarely. But this little thing is the key to good rankings.

If you found a longtail keyword (e.g., “how do I eat a banana”) with little competition during the research phase, simply create content for it. But if you have found a short tail keyword (e.g., “banana”) with higher competition, you should take a detour via a content landing page.

Content landing pages are primarily simple pages that are optimized for a specific keyword. They do not generate their benefits directly but through their further content. Hub pages usually unite one topic. So you find z. B. on our content landing pages on the subject of headings, all new content. It also ranks quite well for that.

You will always link to this content landing page from internal as well as external sources. Due to the high added value of the site, influencers like to share and connect it. So you ensure that you can rank long-term with lucrative but highly competitive keywords.

Conclusion

You should invest a lot of time in creating content and always create content that delivers value.

But with all the effort, you must not forget the good old search engine optimization. SEO and inbound marketing are a perfect combination. Only then will you maximize your results and get an effective marketing strategy.

Let’s summarize the individual steps again:

  1. Research – Find an attractive keyword that is important to your target group.
  2. Optimization – Put the keyword in certain places to give the Googlebot context.
  3. Linking – Set further internal and external links that provide the consumer with even more added value.
  4. Influencers – Promote your content using influencers by asking them for a share, link, or guest post.
  5. Analyze the competition’s link profile and see if you can build a better profile over time.
  6. Tracking – Keep an eye on the external links and rankings and find content that could be improved and optimized.

You can accomplish these steps with the tools mentioned. Unfortunately, these are often only accessible to a limited extent or are very cumbersome.

How to create content step by step that gets more traffic

If you want to get visitors now, you need to create high-quality content first.

But before you start with the actual work, you should invest a little time in the planning.

Step 1: content planning

By now, you should have roughly defined your inbound marketing strategy and created a buyer persona.

Let’s take a closer look at critical strategic points related to content marketing:

Step 1.1: Define your rough topic

You start by defining your big topic. What category is your company in? Your topic could also be your industry here.

Step 1.2: Define your subtopics.

After you have defined your topic, you should consider the associated subtopics. As a rule, your topic is very rough. What components can you split it into?

With us, it is possible to divide our topic into the following areas: content marketing, social media marketing, blogging, search engine optimization, advertising texts, landing pages, conversion optimization, analytics, design, and marketing automation.

These are the pillars around which your content will turn.

If you follow these two steps, you have mostly automatically defined relevant short head keywords with which you want to rank in the long term. Short Head means that it is short keywords that are searched a lot, but accordingly have a lot of competition.

As a rule, you should find 5-10 subtopics. You can also call these topics or terms “seed keywords.”

Step 1.3: Think about content ideas.

Your seed keywords are the big categories for which you should create content. Here you can choose your rough topic or one of your subtopics (e.g., “Inbound Marketing”) and think about content ideas (e.g., “Inbound Marketing Benefits”) for your editorial plan . At this point, think about a publication rhythm such as B. “once a week”.

Et voilà, you already have an exciting idea and also a keyword that you should focus on. With this, you have automatically defined a long tail keyword. In contrast to the short heads, these are longer and therefore have fewer search queries, but less competition.

Step 1.4: Do keyword research

In between, you should always do little keyword research with the Google Keyword Planner and pay attention to the following points:

  • Relevance – How relevant is your idea to your potential customer? What does he expect? What exactly does your keyword describe?
  • Search queries – How often is your opinion searched for per month? Is the work worth it? Anything over 100 searches is worthwhile.
  • Competitors – How strong is the competition for your idea? How difficult will it be to rank with it?

Since it is not so easy to rank with short head keywords, you should first focus on long-tail keywords with little competition and pick them up first. Let’s do it too! 😉

Step 1.5: Choose the content medium.

In general, you should not start with several media (text, image, audio, video) at the same time, but limit yourself to one medium.

Even if you, For example, a good copywriter up to, creating content that has a marketing function is a bit of a bummer. You have to learn and perfect that first. I only started with text in 2012.

I also recommend that you do not create news-heavy content, but focus on evergreen content. Many of my posts from 2012 are still valid today and are shared diligently. Timeless content is much more efficient. Above all, small businesses always have to struggle with the scarcity of resources. That is inevitable.

Duration: about 1 hour

Step 2: content research

OK. Research doesn’t sound as exciting as letting your creativity run wild and creating content. But solid research is essential if you want to be successful with inbound marketing.

It is about collecting so much data (statistics, examples, quotes, theories, ideas, and stories) for your potential customer to provide them with sufficient information. This is also one of the most common mistakes I see:

Unfortunately, the content is often far too thin.

This is due to a lack of research. Fittingly, Wilson Mizner once said so nicely: “If you steal from an author, it’s called plagiarism. If you take from more than one, it is called research “. I don’t mean that you should copy other content. But you can calmly inspire yourself. After all, there is no monopoly on ideas. It is essential that you bring your own words, your own words, and only your way in your point of view. This makes your content unique.

You will then no longer have any blockages because you have plenty of material that you can use. Even if you’re an expert in your field, you should always research to find exciting ideas that you didn’t have before.

But how do I do it correctly?

Step 2.1: focus on a keyword.

When planning content, we came up with a few content ideas and found a few new keywords to match.

It is crucial here that you focus on a keyword. The trend is in the opposite direction, but that’s how you keep it friendly and straightforward.

Step 2.2: Brainstorming keyword variations

Let’s stick to our example with the advantages of inbound marketing. Here I have z. For example, simply search for “inbound marketing advantages”, “inbound marketing benefits,” and “inbound marketing advantages”.

Step 2.3: Scan the first 100 search results.

I checked the first ten pages for each of these terms, so I scanned all 100 search results. Here I mainly look at the headline and select the posts that seem appropriate to me. Sometimes I find inspiring and exciting articles on page 10. In-depth research pays off! 😉

Then I scan all the posts and filter out those that are not relevant. Amazingly often, there is still inferior content.

Step 2.4: Consume the found content.

Finally, I consume the content and keep taking notes at the same time. I also collect essential sources such as studies or statistics, which I will link later.

During this research, you automatically check your competitors. So look at what they do well and what they do bad. Then think about what you can do better.

Step 2.5: stay up to date.

Also, you should regularly consume a lot of third-party content to acquire plenty of inspiration, ideas, and metaphors. Therefore, you should also follow your influencers and look at their content.

Duration: about 4 hours

Step 3: Content creation

Anyone can create mediocre content.

But producing content that is regularly read, shared, and linked is a somewhat higher art. An art that is hard and takes time. The resources and knowledge needed.

Now let’s take a look at how the process works in detail. Whether you choose text, image, audio, or video, the workflow always remains the same:

Step 3.1: Think of your buyer persona.

First, take your buyer persona at hand, imagine it again in your mind’s eye and start producing content just for them!

Step 3.2: Create a heading

Your headline is the essential element. It is a promise in return for the valuable time of your prospect.

Therefore, make sure that your heading contains a benefit. What does your prospect benefit from? What’s in it for him? A simple trick here is to start with a “like you” heading. When you do that, you automatically force yourself to think about its benefits.

Take your time here. You should create at least 10-30 variations of a heading.

Always remember that everything is only temporary. The finishing touches come later. I always choose the first best. But over time, I keep changing it because I find something better.

Step 3.3: Create an introduction

With the introduction or the intro, you have to pull your prospect into your content. That is why it is the second most crucial element.

Tell something exciting here, make a definite statement, ask a provocative question, or list exciting statistics. Work here with things that draw attention. You are welcome to tell a story that, at first glance, has nothing to do with the topic.

Step 3.4: create a structure.

Then you think of a structure that breaks up your content into small parts. If you focus on the text, we are talking about the subheadings here.

Make sure that they are in a logical order (such as the post you are reading). You should also remember that the beginning and the end are essential. These are the points we humans remember.

Step 3.5: fill in the blanks.

If you have a structure, you have created a form that you only have to fill out. This makes the whole thing much more comfortable.

So start by writing down everything you can think of and what you’ve learned from your research. Don’t pay attention to structure or spelling. The main thing is to put your thoughts on paper!

Step 3.6: Don’t forget the conclusion

A missing conclusion is one of the most common points that I miss from our guest authors and generally on the web.

Therefore, summarize the entire topic in a few sentences, since many only look at the conclusion. In the end, feel free to ask an open question to encourage comments or make a direct call for action. An exciting cliffhanger is not wrong at this point, either.

Step 3.7: do the finishing touches.

You have now created a rough draft. Now you have to grind it again from start to finish.

The previous steps were your notes or script if you focus on image, audio, or video. Now it’s about the creation of the recording.

Make sure that your content is personal, that you use everyday language (content is not an essay), and tell stories.

Step 3.8: take a break.

Yeah, congratulations! You have a robust design! You can now retake a look at it, but editing or editing it doesn’t do much.

You’re just too blind, too deep in the subject.

So you shouldn’t do anything at first. It sounds ironic, but it is true. Have a beer or wine to celebrate the day. Relax! 😉

The next day you should start again with fresh eyes. I do it in detail like this:

  • Day 1: Research, brainstorm, and make enough notes. Then nothing. Then take a break.
  • Day 2: Make a first rough draft. Bring in a little structure and order. Then retake a break.
  • Day 3: Fine-tune your content until it’s perfect. Then feed him in and publish it.

It works well!

Step 3.9: Optimize for the search engine.

After the fine-tuning and the break, you take care of the on-page optimization. Here you simply make sure that your focus keyword appears in the following element on your page:

  • Title tag
  • URL
  • H2 and H3 heading
  • In the actual text
  • Bold or italic
  • Image, alt attribute, and filename
  • Meta description

Also, you could now do OffPage optimization and take care of what’s outside of your website. All to get links. But here is the most straightforward strategy to start with to create content that is automatically linked because of its added value.

Step 3.10: Add your content

Finally, you have to enter your content. To do this, copy your text into your CMS and, if necessary, upload your infographic, podcast episode, or video.

Make sure that your spelling is correct, that you are using further links and show notes, and that the formatting is designed appropriately.

Duration: about 4 hours

Step 4: content marketing

Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t stop after the content is created. That was only 50% of the work. You should spend the remaining 50% doing your doctorate.

The internet is just a crowded place. Your content may be great, but finding it is a problem.

Getting your content closer to your target audience is hard work!

To make things a little easier, follow the steps below. Of course, you don’t have to take them all now. But the more, the better results:

Step 4.1: Create an email campaign

Your audience should always know about your new content first. And email is still the best way.

Your email subscribers are your real audience.

That is also the basic idea of ​​inbound marketing. You start with a small audience and let it grow bigger and bigger, and they help you more and more to spread your content and your brand accordingly.

Step 4.2: Link from older content

Many like to forget this point. You should link from your older content to your new content. Here you already have perfect prospects and customers who may also be interested in your new content.

Step 4.3: Promote via social media.

Social media is the best place to discover content. That is why you should share your content there via your fan page, relevant groups, and also via your private profile.

Here you can promote your content more often. In the past, we only got a doctorate once. Today we do five promotions per content. Much more effective.

Step 4.4: leave comments.

High-quality comments that add value to entertainment are excellent content that can draw attention to your new content.

You should have thought about who your influencers are in your inbound marketing strategy. So leave comments on relevant posts and link your new content.

Step 4.5: contact your influencers.

If you’re already with your influencers, slowly build a relationship with them and ask them to share your content or link them where appropriate.

Step 4.6: Write guest posts

Guest posts are an excellent strategy to reach the audience you want quickly. Everyone involved benefits. Guest posts can also provide relevant links that can have a positive impact on your rankings.

Buffer has e.g., B. wrote 60 guest posts at the beginning and thus got 100,000 customers. Not bad, right?

Step 4.7: Unlock Paid Ads

You can also spend a bit of money and promote your content via social ads (such as Facebook ads) or search ads (such as Google AdWords). Facebook, in particular, makes it pretty easy with its boost function.

Step 4.8: be creative.

Finally, you can get creative with your marketing. Mint has z. B. worked with badges with something like, “I’m horny for mint” on it. Over 600 blogs took part, linked the website, and gave Mint a lot of visitors and links. Blog parades count e.g., B. also here. Or how about a crazy marketing stunt?

It is even more relaxed if you already plan your doctoral strategy when it is created. So you can e.g., B. mention, quote, and link your influencers in your content. So you have a good reason to let them know afterward.

Duration: about 4 hours

Step 5: content optimization

When many hear “content optimization”, most think of the search engine. But just focusing on it here is a bit too short.

After all, inbound marketing is about more than just the search engine!

So let’s take a look at the individual steps to optimize your content so that it produces better results.

Step 5.1: optimize your content.

First, take a look at your visitors. Does your content marketing work at all? Do you even get visitors with your content?

If not, you should first look at your formatting. Your content has to be attractive. Even if that sounds like a trifle, I often stumble across content that looks inferior but is not.

Then you should look at your quality and ask yourself if your content is of high quality. At this point, also look at your grammar, spelling, content length, and whether you get to the end.

Step 5.2: optimize for social.

In this step, you look at your shares. Is your content shared at all? That’s a good factor in whether your content is of high quality.

Another, not so unimportant, point is the social media images. Do you have an exciting picture at all? Can you see your intriguing headline in the picture?

Also, it can only be due to marketing. Therefore, check again if you can go more about influencers and guest posts.

In some industries (most sensitive topics), content is not shared publicly. Here you simply have to focus on the search engine.

Step 5.3: Optimize for Search

Here you look at the absolute criterion: your rankings. How well does your content rank for your focus keyword? You should also see how many links your content has received. Links are still one of the most crucial ranking factors.

What can you do about it? First, focus again on the good old OnPage optimization and see if you meet all the points from step 3.9. Often you go over here quickly and like to forget some points! 😉

You can still do link building and ask for links to essential content influencers, magazines, bloggers, and other websites. The best thing to do is simply go through guest posts here.

Step 5.4: Optimize for conversions.

Finally, you look at the business indicators. Is your content already generating leads? Can you attribute your content to your sales?

What you can do about it is challenging to say. Then you probably have a strategic problem. Then you should dig in-depth, conduct interviews with your prospects and customers, and try to find out why.

Check out what the best content is. Why does it work so well? Can you create more content like this?

Duration: infinite

Conclusion

The core of inbound marketing is always about content marketing. So you have to start with quality content to get traffic.

But before you start, you should plan a bit and think about your keywords and content ideas.

After that, you should do extensive research and collect enough data to provide your prospect with enough information.

Only then will you be able to create content that delivers value.

Once you’ve created your content, you should market it via email, social media, comments, influencers, guest posts, and paid ads.

Your content is never perfectly optimized. Always better. That’s why you should run there regularly.

Inbound marketing is a journey. And no campaign.