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Marcus Sheridan talks about Content Marketing


One of my favorite people in the social media space right now is Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion. He’s reinvented his life–thanks to content marketing–and is an insightful blogger and enthusiastic podcaster.

In this exclusive NMX video interview, Marcus talks about the value of your business providing content, how to translate your social media efforts into sales, the value of listening and answering questions, how numbers can be deceiving, and growing your audience by introducing a different medium.

Want to learn more about using social media for your business? Join us at BusinessNext Social in Las Vegas this month.

Marcus Sheridan talks about making speeches more social


When I went to BlogWorld Los Angeles, I had one overwhelming thought. I LOVE that Marcus Sheridan guy! I had never seen him speak before, nor even heard of him, yet after his session, I was an immediate fan. Seriously, I can’t gush enough about what an incredible speaker he is, how he engages the audience, and how many fantastic insights he has for the small business owner. (You can hear his session from the most recent conference in New York by purchasing the Virtual Ticket!)

Check out what Marcus has to say about presenting and what makes for a memorable session in this interview from Blogcast FM‘s Srinivas Rao. Also, think that you can just blog when you feel like it? Marcus has some thoughts on that, too.

What do you think? Should speakers interact with their audiences more? Do you like a monologue or would you rather interact with the speaker throughout the session?

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas 2011: 8 Links a-Baiting


During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until Santa comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

Today’s topic is simple: how to write link bait . I think the term “link bait” has a bad connotation sometimes. People often use it to refer to articles that have fantastic headlines, but that don’t deliver on content, but that’s not really an accurate way to use the phrase. It can also be used to describe posts that are overly critical and insulting, even if the author doesn’t believe it, just to get people upset.

But link bait doesn’t have to be bad. In fact, good link bait can really help your community grow – or at least give you a boost in traffic for a few days, which is great for advertising and SEO purposes.

What makes a post good link bait? Humor, list posts that are easy to scan, heart-warming stories…Let’s take a look at some awesome posts about the art of writing link bait.

Post too long? Head to the Quick Links section for just a list of the links included in this post without all the analysis and quotes!

1. ‘Tis the Season for Link Baiting by Stephan Spencer at Search Engine Land

This post is right on the money if you ask me. Using whatever is being discussed in the news is a great way to write link bait pieces, and whatever holiday it happens to be is always a current event. Hey, why do you think I’m doing a series that coincides with Christmas? It’s my way of (hopefully!) making good content even more interesting. Stephan’s post also highlights another really cool holiday series and what makes the series such great link bait. He writes,

Noomii did a lot of things right with this campaign in a limited amount of time. For one, the site was built with off-the-shelf tools (WordPress and various free plugins), which means the creators didn’t need to spend a lot of time or money getting it up and running.

The concept is simple and easy to “get” right away. Someone stumbling upon the site will instantly understand the what it’s all about without the need to read the “About” section (the button for which, incidentally, is cleverly labeled “WTF?”, for “What the Fruitcake?”).

To read more about using the holidays to write link bait pieces, check out the full post at Search Engine Land. Stephan also writes at Stephan Spencer’s Scatterings and you can check out his book, The Art of SEO, if you’re interested in search engine optimization. Stephan is on Twitter @sspencer.


2. The Doll Experiment: What Babies Can Teach You About Writing Catchier Article Titles by Aman Basanti at Age of Marketing

Although link bait isn’t only about the headline, the title of your post really does matter. I like this post from Aman because it talks about the psychology behind writing a good post, rather than just being a list of tips we’ve all read before. Aman writes about an experiment where babies were show something unexpected and their results were measured. From the post:

If people pay more attention to unexpected events then it stands to reason that by using an unexpected element in your title, you can increase the chances of the title being noticed and clicked. That is, if you want your post title to be noticed give it an unexpected title.

After checking out the post, you can pick up the free ebookMarketing To The PreHistoric Mind, which is available if you sign up for their mailing list. You can also follow Aman on Twitter @ABasanti.


3. How to Rescue a Bad Blog Headline by Stanford Smith at Pushing Social

This post is actually not about writing a great headline, but instead about writing a great opening (or lede) to your blog posts, much in the same way newspaper journalists write their openings. While we don’t always like to admit it, most of us decide whether or not we’re going to share a post before we’re even finished reading, so the link-bait-y-ness of a particular post depends a lot on your opening. Writes Stanford,

Your lede helps yours reader decide one critical question: do I keep reading or hit the back button? If you fail here, your post will never stand a chance.

You can diagnose whether your ledes suck.

In addition to blogging at Pushing Social, Stanford is also the VP of Marketing for Fluency Media. You can like Pushing Social on Facebook and find Standford on Twitter @pushingsocial.


4. Positive and Negative Link Baiting: The Risks and Rewards by Jennifer Van Iderstyne at Search Engine Watch

I think this post is a fantastic look at the different ways you can write link bait posts on your blog – and why the traffic you’ll get from a negative post may not be worth the traffic and SEO rewards. In this post, Jennifer talks about the problems of “bad” link bait, so if you’ve been considering this technique for traffic, you might want to check out what she has to say. Writes Jennifer,

There’s an old expression about catching more flies with honey than vinegar. We’d like to think that holds up on the web. But when it comes to negative link bait, it appears that some flies really dig Balsamic.

It may be less work that goes into negative link baiting and it may yield more results faster, but in the long term is it really good for you, your reputation, or your site? And positive link baiting may take longer and sometimes prove fruitless, but when you do well, you do really well.

Jennifer is the Sales & Marketing Manager for Internet Marketing Ninjas. You can find her on Twitter @Vanetcetera.


5. How to Build Links to Your Website Without Selling Your Soul to the Devil by Marcus Sheridan at The Sales Lion

Marcus and I must be on the same wave length when it comes to post topics, because this one is hot off the press at The Sales Lion. Like Jennifer noted in the last post I linked, you don’t have to be negative to write great link bait. In this post, Marcus gives some proven techniques to help you write posts that really get others to link to you. He comes from a small business background, so I really like how his post incorporates those experiences to show you what works. Writes Marcus,

When Panda came out, people that had built their links through awesome content got rewarded.

Others that had been working for years to ‘game the system’ and take link building ‘shortcuts’ shot down the rankings or even got penalized by Google.

Great content is the ultimate ‘Anti-Panda’. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Google loves delivering it to their customers, and their customer (that’d be you and me) love reading it.

And that’s where the links start to build.

After checking out his post, you can follow Marcus on Twitter @TheSalesLion, like The Sales Lion on Facebook, and add him to your Google+ circles. You can also grab a free copy of his inbound and content marketing ebook by signing up for his mailing list.


6. Link Bait -A Viral Marketing Strategy Businesses Missed by Mark Acsay III at Webby Thoughts

This is a great overview of just what link bait is and how it can help you site. Mark lists the different techniques commonly used to create link bait, the essentials you need in every link bait piece, how to market your post so it has the potential to go viral, and how to find the “linkerati.” That’s a term that cracks me up and I absolutely LOVE it! Even better, he talks about how to monitor your success with link bait posts, which is something that many bloggers forget to do! Writes Mark,

Marketing for products has advanced together with the technology. Now, marketing a single product can reach millions of people around the globe. The idea of link baiting provides an avenue for business organizations to introduce their product at a bigger market. However, the technicalities should be considered since it also has limitations and risks.

After checking out this post, you can find Mark on Twitter @markacsay and add him to your Google+ circles.


7. White-Hat SEO + Social Media = Link Bait Magic by Ben Jackson at SEO Discovery (guest post for Problogger)

I like this post because it isn’t just a how-to guide on writing link bait – it talks about how to combine your great post with promotion to get some attention. I especially love his Drop My Link tip, since that is a tool I’ve never heard of before. And, more importantly, even though he’s an SEO guy, I like that Ben’s post doesn’t talk about shady ways to get as many links as possible at whatever cost. The focus here is on quality content, quality comments, and quality relationship-building with other bloggers. Writes Ben,

SEO is becoming less and less about traditional link building, and spamming becomes a dumber idea every day. If you focus on sharing quality content, creating a great user experience, and integrating social media, you are bound to grow your traffic and increase your rankings.

This is a guest post, but you can find Ben’s main site at SEO Discovery. You can follow Ben on Twitter @SEODISCOVERYorg and like his Facebook page.


8. How To Make A Link Bait That Goes Viral by Rohan Pawale at TechLunatic

The terms “link bait” and “viral” go hand in hand, and in this post, Rohan talks about the intersection. He talks about some of the smartest tips I’ve heard in a long time! Create posts with information that people will forget (yes, really!). Map the success of other people. Use videos. The awesome advice goes on and on. If I sound like I’m gushing…it’s because I’m gushing, and y’all know that it takes a lot for me to gush. I love when I read a post where I learn brand new things about writing and marketing my content.

Writes Rohan,

It takes military level precision to execute a perfect link bait. Everything from the number of outgoing and incoming links to the preferred social media should be planned in advance. Link bait if taken means a surge of very high PR incoming links and traffic.

You can find Rohan on Twitter @techlunatic and like the TechLunatic page on Facebook.

Quick Links

For those of you short on time, here’s a list of the links covered in this post:

  1. ‘Tis the Season for Link Baiting by Stephan Spencer (@sspencer)
  2. The Doll Experiment: What Babies Can Teach You About Writing Catchier Article Titles by Aman Basanti (@ABasanti)
  3. How to Rescue a Bad Blog Headline by Stanford Smith (@pushingsocial)
  4. Positive and Negative Link Baiting: The Risks and Rewards by Jennifer Van Iderstyne (@Vanetcetera)
  5. How to Build Links to Your Website Without Selling Your Soul to the Devil by Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion)
  6. Link Bait -A Viral Marketing Strategy Businesses Missed by Mark Acsay III (@markacsay)
  7. White-Hat SEO + Social Media = Link Bait Magic by Ben Jackson (@SEODISCOVERYorg)
  8. How To Make A Link Bait That Goes Viral by Rohan Pawale (@techlunatic)

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List-Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting (this post)
7 Community Managers a-Managing
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here, and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (Link Bait), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

Seven Blog Post Ideas for Business Owners


“The biggest keyword tool is not Google. It’s your customer.” – Marcus Sheridan.

At BlogWorld LA 2011, speaker Marcus Sheridan talked about his experiences taking his pool business to a whole new level by using a blog. He’s able to compete with huge pool companies, even though he’s a small business owner, and more importantly, he’s able to do so in an economy where fewer people are spending money on pools. The secret Marcus shared with us is that if a small business blog understands what customers are asking, the blog can answer those question and ultimately make sales. He went over seven blog posts ideas anyone in any industry can use to gain traction with a small business blog:

1. Cost and 2. Price

One of the most common questions that people ask in ANY industry is how much they’re going to have to spend to purchase products. “What is the price of…” or “How much does…cost?” are great place for you to start. People avoid answering these questions for some reason, so if you’re willing to talk about price/cost, you’ll stand out.

3. Problems

Your competitors are going to talk about the problems with your products. Beat them to the punch! Address these problems instead of sweeping them under the carpet so you control the conversation. Talk about why your products are still the best options, even with the disadvantages.

4. Versus and 5. Compare

Customers what to know the differences between your products and between your products and other products. Who doesn’t love options? Talk about these differences on your site! That way, when they search for these long-tail keywords, your site is what comes up first. It goes back to the concept that you should talk about problems – you want people to hear you out first, so they can think about your products favorably.

6. Awards

People love to win stuff. Most industries don’t have official awards, so create them yourself! Not only will this be interesting to your readers, but you’ll also get linked by other people – even your competitors! From personal experience, I can say that this kind of post takes a lot of work and might be controversial, but you will get traffic and SEO value if you take the time to publish this kind of thing.

7. Breaking News

Lastly, if you can break news in your industry, this is a great way to attract more readers and to get people to link to you. It’s hard to get the jump on major news sources, but you can talk about how general news relates to your industry. As an example, when Virginia experienced an earthquake earlier this year, before the ground even stopped shaking, Marcus was planning his next post – to talk about the damages some pool owners could be experiencing and why his company’s pools weren’t damaged.

Marcus was by far one of the best public speakers that I’ve ever seen and I think his presentation can be summed up in one thing that he said during it, “If a consumer is thinking it, you should be writing it.” It’s a good lesson for all bloggers, not just small business bloggers!

Remember, you can check out the entire session, as well as other talks from BlogWorld LA 2011 by picking up a virtual ticket to the event.

About the Speaker

The story of Marcus Sheridan is a unique one. In 2001, he stumbled across his first business with two friends and began installing swimming pools out of the back of a beat-up pickup truck. 9 years later, and with the help of incredible innovations through inbound and content marketing, Sheridan’s company became one of the largest pool installers in the country and currently has the most visited swimming pool web site in the world. With such success, in late 2009, Sheridan started his sales/marketing/and personal development blog—The Sales Lion, and has since grown it to one of the strongest blog communities on the web.

Marcus Sheridan: The Story of Inbound Marketing


Session: 7 Blogging Ideas That Will Brand Your Business and Make You the Voice of Your Industry
Speaker: Marcus Sheridan

At BlogWorld LA, Marcus Sheridan will not only show 7 powerful ways by which businesses will gain huge SEO and Branding visits through content, but he’ll also take the audience to the ‘next level’ of understanding how consumers think, feel, and the things they truly want to be reading about.

Hear his story:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

Keeping Profanity Out of the Dialogue


… by Marcus Sheridan

Many of you will not agree with what I’m about to say within this post. And to be honest, that’s OK. This is a subject that has been rolling around in the back of my head for quite some time now and it’s one that no one in the blogosphere has spent much time addressing. So despite the fact that some may be quite put off or offended by the following words, I feel it’s time I put my thoughts to pen regarding what I feel is a rather important subject—Profanity and Communication.

The subject to this post really started a few months ago when I attended a seminar of a very good speaker. The presenter was passionate, maintained his audience, and had obviously put quite a bit of thought in his message. But despite these positive traits, I was surprised to hear him use 4 or 5 curse words during his presentation.

Now I know you may be wondering what the words were. Let’s just put it this way, they were rather mild. Heck, they were words that one could easily find on the television in 2011. Notwithstanding, I was concerned for this speaker because I knew that some of the people in the audience wouldn’t necessarily share his passion for such vernacular.

Don’t be Fooled by Your Audience

Shortly after the presentation, I commenced talking to a gentleman who, at first site, would be viewed by many as a ‘good ole boy’—boots, cowboy hat, and the faded jeans to fit the bill. Upon asking him his thoughts on the seminar, he rather surprised me with the following statement. It went something like this:

‘I didn’t appreciate that man’s language’.

And that, my friends, was this good man’s lasting memory of what was in reality an excellent discourse. By simply sprinkling in less than a handful of ‘curse’ words, the speaker had completely lost at least one of the members of his audience. This, in my opinion, is a crying shame.

Principles Remain True

Some of you may think this is silly. Others might say, ‘Well it’s 2011, times have changed’. Frankly, I’d beg to differ. In fact, I submit the principles of great communication are as applicable today as they were 100 or even 1000 years ago.—-If you can deliver a great message, without offending parts of your audience, then why wouldn’t you?

Now before any of you start thinking that I’m here to judge someone for their use of the English language, allow me to say I am not. I’ve got too many personal issues to correct before I start judging others and the way they talk. I don’t care if you cuss like a sailor. But the idea of cussing like a sailor around other people who don’t share such linguistic patterns is, may I say, disrespectful and potentially quite detrimental to your influence and ultimate earning power.

False Assumptions…To What End?

So many speakers and writers just assume everyone speaks and uses profanity the way they do, oblivious to the fact that there are thousands and thousands of people online this very second that are offended by hearing and reading curse words.

Along these same lines, I’ve come across many in the blogosphere that go out of their way to profane. It’s almost as if they can’t put a thought together without adding a 4-letter word for more supposed emphasis.

As a reader, I understand I have a choice to move to the next blogger. But such isn’t my point. My point here is WHY? Why must great speakers and writers use such language? Is it really that necessary? I dare say it’s not.

The Language Legends

Bill Cosby is arguably one of the greatest comedians and actors of the late 20th century. I grew up watching The Cosby Show and was brought to ‘happy’ tears with Cosby’s hilarious stand-up routines discussing parenthood, family, etc. Cosby was loved by almost everyone of that generation and never once did he feel the need to interject profanity into his efforts to make others smile.

Jim Rohn, in my opinion, was the greatest self-improvement expert of the second half of the 20th century as well as the beginning of the 21st century until he passed away in 2009. During his lifetime, Rohn touched millions of people by speaking at thousands and thousands of seminars across the globe. And how many of those millions heard Rohn curse?

Zero. None. Nada. Zilch.

Need other examples? Well there’s Ghandi, Obama (in public), News anchors, etc—-the list goes on and on.

Get to the Point Marcus

I cite these examples because it makes no sense to me why so many speakers and writers feel like they can’t be effective without the use of curse words. Fact is, such a style does not add to one’s skills, and although it might make a few people laugh or giggle or think the orator is ‘cool’, there will also always be others who become offended and end up saying ‘enough is enough’.

Therefore, if we, as professionals in our field truly desire to touch as many people as possible, why would we risk our effectiveness over a few simple words? Is it really worth it? Can we do better? I say we can, which is why it is my hope that we can all reach our communication potential and touch as many lives as possible.

To close, may I simply refer to this famous quote, the author of which is unknown:

“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak – probably both”

What are your thoughts on the subject? Join me tonight at #BWEchat on Twitter at 9:00 EST. We’ll be discussing Swearing in Social Media and I’ll be joined by Jason Falls of Social Media Examiner.

The story of Marcus Sheridan is a unique one. In 2001, he stumbled across his first business with two friends and began installing swimming pools out of the back of a beat-up pickup truck. 9 years later, and with the help of incredible innovations through inbound and content marketing, Sheridan’s company became one of the largest pool installers in the country and currently has the most visited swimming pool web site in the world.

With such success, in late 2009, Sheridan started his sales/marketing/and personal development blog—The Sales Lion, and has since grown it to one of the strongest blog communities on the web. With so much success teaching others about content and inbound marketing, Sheridan has now moved on to become a very popular keynote and business speaker, known for his boundless energy and contagious enthusiasm when on stage.

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