Blog

Here's an archive of blog posts I've shared since 1999, including articles, interviews, books, and news. Topics include marketing, digital marketing, copywriting, communications, and business.

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There's No Such Thing As A Unique Selling Proposition? -

There's No Such Thing As A Unique Selling Proposition?

September 27, 2020

The other day, I received an email from someone I follow. She’s well-known in her niche and teaches marketing for a very specific type of professional. I don’t want to mention the industry, because if I do you will probably know who she is.

She said that you do not need a USP, a unique selling proposition. She alluded to the idea that it’s a term that's hyped up, overused, and not applicable to professional services firms (e.g., lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, etc).

In fact, she says it’s nearly impossible to have a truly unique selling proposition, and that a tiny percentage of firms (less than 1%) can claim a real USP.…

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A Little Rant About ADHD Disclosure -

A Little Rant About ADHD Disclosure

September 26, 2020

I'm taking a little detour today because of something that just happened. In an ADHD support group I'm a member of, someone asked the following question:

I was told that I shouldn't disclose my ADHD diagnosis to places of work. I feel like that would be hiding something that would explain how I function. What do I do?

The answers in the comment section (233 at the time of writing this) varied between “never,” “it depends,” “it doesn't matter,” “only to HR,” and “absolutely.”

As a person with ADHD, I've been an employee and an business owner who hired employees. I have an opinion and it's something I feel strongly about.…

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How to Get More Comments, Less Spam -

How to Get More Comments, Less Spam

September 25, 2020

Preamble: To give you a little context, this post was originally written in early 2007. At the time, I made the radical decision to close (and later, remove) the comment section from my blog. Seems a little irrelevant now, but the principles are still very much applicable. I also updated it slightly. Additions are highlighted for clarity.

I've done a couple of things to my blog recently, mostly “behind the scenes,” that I want to share with you.

Some well-known marketers have closed their comments on their blogs. The primary and most important reason is to deal with the plethora of comment spam.…

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Six Quick Ways To Spy On Your Competition -

Six Quick Ways To Spy On Your Competition

September 25, 2020

I promised to talk about how to conduct a competitive analysis, so here’s a quick snapshot.

You first need to know your competitors.

You might have an idea, but you have to do a bit of digging first. 

Some competitors may not truly compete with you on the search engines. But they probably do better than you in other ways. Other competitors are siphoning traffic away from you, and they may not offer the same thing at all.

So the goal is to identify your direct competitors, which are the ones that offer the same thing you do or are probably located in the same geographical area, and target the exact same audience or solve the same problems you do.…

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Optimize These Four Areas To Get Found Locally -

Optimize These Four Areas To Get Found Locally

September 24, 2020

I talk a lot about SEO, but I often avoid talking about local SEO. Some people have pointed this out to me recently. Yes, it’s an important SEO strategy, especially for professionals. And I should talk about it more.

But if you’ve been following me for some time, you know that I strongly advocate specialization and narrowing down to a niche by either focusing on an industry (vertical specialization), a service/solution (horizontal specialization), or both.

When you do that, local SEO becomes less and less important. 

But it’s still important, nonetheless.

Ranking in the search engines, in general, is standard SEO. Local SEO is similar, but it aims to optimize your visibility locally, so that prospective clients within a geographic area can find you and learn more about you.…

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Magnetize Existing Content With This SEO Hack -

Magnetize Existing Content With This SEO Hack

September 23, 2020

It’s often better to update old, existing content on your blog than it is to create new stuff. This is particularly beneficial if you don’t have a lot of time to create new articles.

Content becomes stale over time. So regularly updating older content is a good way to get the search engines to notice you. It can give you a ranking boost and subsequently an increase in traffic.

But it can also increase your content's stickiness.

If you have content already, start by doing some simple keyword research to see what topics your audience is interested in, what problems they want solved, and what questions they're asking.…

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Add Breadth And Depth To Your Marketing -

Add Breadth And Depth To Your Marketing

September 21, 2020

Back from a short vacation. It was a beautiful week at a cottage by the lake. Most days were hovering around a warm 22° Celsius (72° Fahrenheit), but with a couple of frosty mornings that caused a dense fog to cover the entire lake.

It was absolutely gorgeous.

Before I left, I appeared as a guest on my client Ed Rush’s weekly video-based podcast. If you missed it, I’ve posted the recording and transcript.

Ed uses StreamYard, a service that allows him to livestream simultaneously on multiple platforms, and to pull in comments, questions, and guests in real-time. There’s also Restream.io,…

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How to Secretly Dominate Your Market -

How to Secretly Dominate Your Market

September 20, 2020

On September 10, 2020, I appeared as a guest on Ed Rush's EdTalks Live Videocast. Ed Rush is a consulting client, a good friend, and a former F-18 top gun fighter pilot and business advisor.

EdTalks Live! is a live, interactive, dialogue-style show. We talked about marketing, copywriting, selling, psychology, business, SEO, and more. It was only an hour but we had a live Q&A before the end.

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Turn Learning Tools Into Marketing Ones - online learning

Turn Learning Tools Into Marketing Ones

September 12, 2020

I’ve always been an avid sponge. I'm constantly learning. It's not some self-actualizing goal. It's just the way my mind works. Blame it on my ADHD, or on my desire to always keep my skills fresh and relevant.

This desire to keep learning has helped me earn multiple marketing certifications, ranging from SEO to copywriting. Whether they help me from a promotional standpoint or not is irrelevant. They’re certainly helping me stay at the top of my game.

I personally enjoy LinkedIn Learning. It has an entire library of courses, ranging from psychology to economics. You can access an MBA-level education. Some of the courses a high quality and some of the teachers are industry leaders, too.…

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How To Quietly Conquer The Competition -

How To Quietly Conquer The Competition

September 10, 2020

This is probably my most popular tip for professionals, and it bears repeating.

To position yourself in your industry, especially if it’s highly competitive and even a cutthroat one (in some of the industries I’ve worked with, competitors can be downright ruthless and nasty), you need to differentiate yourself.

You need to claim superiority but without stating it outright.

If you do, you raise the eyebrows (and sometimes, the ire) of licensing bodies, or of resentful competitors who want to tip you off to them.

Reason is, many professional services are limited in how they market themselves. For example, cosmetic surgery is an industry in which licensed doctors are prohibited form stating that they are better, higher quality, more skilled, etc than their peers.…

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