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Content and SEO: One Big Secret to Improve Your Discoverability

April 23, 2015

Join us for a free webinar “The Power of Great Content to Boost Your Brand” on April 23rd at 1pm (CST) hosted by Greenleaf Brand Strategist, Elizabeth Barrett. Reserve your spot here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6848011670983740161 



This month we’ve examined the power of great content, both as a way to build your platform assets and as a way to promote your business. However, there is also power behind strong content as a way to boost your discoverability in online searches.

What is SEO?

Showing up in a Google search is key to increasing traffic to your website and gaining exposure for your brand. Search engine optimization (or SEO) is a crucial part of this process and offers a collection of strategies that can improve the visibility of your website or blog in organic (or unpaid) search results. In other words, SEO includes tips and tricks for getting your site to rank as high as possible (ideally on page one) when people search online for something you have to offer.

What’s the connection between SEO and strong content?

There are many SEO strategies, and a significant number involve keyword selection. Keywords are words (or phrases) that describe what your book/business/speeches/etc. are all about. The goal is to choose keywords that accurately describe your offerings, but that also have a high rate of search frequency. If you have great content that is interesting and timely, it is likely that people will be searching for the information you have at hand. If you are able to provide creative solutions to common problems and then use keywords in the body, tags, and headers of your content, you will be able to alert search engines that you have the answers being sought, and your website will be discovered more easily by your target audience.   

So what’s the big secret?

While SEO keyword selection, as described above, is nothing particularly new, there is a powerful way to leverage it, and this technique is not always considered or utilized by content creators.

THE SECRET: Structure your keyword selection within a sales funnel in order to reach your audience at every phase of their decision-making process. 

What is a sales funnel?

When people get online and start searching for help, essentially a sales funnel has started. Unknowingly, these people may be searching for solutions that will eventually end in a conversion of some sort – perhaps a purchase or newsletter signup or event registration.

The three levels of the sales funnel are:

Awareness à Consideration à Purchase

In the Awareness phase, a person is feeling a pain point and searching for help, but they don’t necessarily know what the solution is yet. For example, a keyword at this phase could be “Living Paycheck to Paycheck.”

In the Consideration phase, the person has learned enough to now be searching for a specific solution. To keep going with our example, this person has now figured out that he needs a new job in order to make more money, so a keyword here could be “Career Change at 40.”

In the Purchase phase, the person is ready to become a customer through purchase or participation. For our example, a keyword could be “Career Planning Books.”


How can I apply this to my platform?

If you were an author who had written a book on career planning, our example person above is your perfect customer. And it is likely that you may already be utilizing the keyword “Career Planning Books” since this would be an obvious selection for your SEO list. However, you may have forgotten to include the keywords that this person was using towards the beginning of the sales funnel – and you would have missed out on a great opportunity.

By using keywords from the Awareness and Consideration phases, you could have reached this person earlier in his decision-making process, before he even realized that he wanted a book. By writing a blog post titled “How to Change Careers at 40” or by using this keyword as a back-end blog tag, your content could have potentially popped up in his search results and converted him to a customer sooner.

A last point to consider is that by the time a person reaches the Purchase phase, there are normally a lot of competitors vying for their business, and they might end up becoming a customer for someone else. Stop waiting until people are ready to buy and then fighting for their attention. By using SEO keywords across the sales funnel, and offering great content to convince them of your expertise, you will be able to expand your site’s discoverability, reach larger audiences amidst lower levels of competition, and convert online searchers to fans of your brand.


Don’t forget to register for our FREE webinar where we’ll take a deeper dive into the power of great content:



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4 Reasons Why Your Book is the Ultimate Business Card

April 9, 2015

Join us for a free webinar “The Power of Great Content to Boost Your Brand” on April 23rd at 1pm (CST) hosted by Greenleaf Brand Strategist, Elizabeth Barrett. Reserve your spot here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6848011670983740161 


In my last blog post, I discussed the power of content to jump from the pages of your book to the assets of your platform. The ability to repurpose high-quality, diverse content into platform entry points is a powerful means to connect with readers in new and different ways.

However, great content is also powerful because it can enhance your credibility as a thought leader and can serve as a way to promote your additional lines of business. Although a nicely printed business card with a slick logo still serves to enhance the perception of your work, publishing a book is an even more powerful and impressive way to stand apart from the crowd and strengthen your brand.

1) A book gets your name out there

Within the publishing world it’s a best practice that most books are (or should be) accompanied by publicity – both online and in print. So once your book is published, you can count on having your name appear not only on the shelves of bookstores and in Amazon title listings, but also within national PR coverage including media mentions, interviews, and reviews. This visibility means that people who have never done business with you before, and that may never have found you otherwise, will suddenly be seeing your name associated with a thick volume of impressive knowledge – a perfect way to market your expertise. In addition, media coverage and the back cover of a book are also perfect places to list URLs for your company website and/or social channels, so that interested readers (and potential new clients) can be driven back to your digital hubs to learn more about what your business can offer.


2) A book sets you apart in your field

Being a published author is clearly beneficial as a way to cast the net and spread awareness of your name to new audiences, but it is also beneficial because of what it conveys about you – that you are a proven leader in your field. Publishing a book can serve as a differentiator and enable authors to establish their expertise among competitors who have not captured their wisdom in a book. When searching for a consultant, advisor, strategist, or trusted resource, clients are well advised to only hire the best, and having a book can enable your business to jump to the top of their list.


3) A book can lead to speaking opportunities

The stage is a natural place for thought leaders to spread their ideas. However, there are often barriers to entry at top conferences and events. Once again, just like clients searching to hire the best consultant, conference organizers must ensure that they only bring in top experts that can truly offer value when speaking to registered attendees. One way to narrow down the search is to see whether a speaker has also published a book. By having this asset, it becomes clear that a speaker has a solid thesis, a well-thought-out message, and is capable of telling a story that is captivating enough to keep a reader interested. A book sends the message that you can shine on a stage, and can result in speaking offers and a chance to grow your audience, your business, and your revenue even further.


4) A book can cross-promote other products and services

Finally, in addition to book sales, consulting fees, and speaking gigs, there are other ways to monetize ideas through content offerings such as workshops, online classes, training seminars, webinars, and whitepapers. Having a book serves to both hook a customer’s interest in your topic and leave them wanting more, while also reflecting highly on the quality of your ancillary products. If your book is compelling, it’s likely that your other products will be too. A book serves to cross-promote and enhance your brand, assuring clients that when they engage with your business, they can expect the best. 


Don’t forget to register for our FREE webinar where we’ll take a deeper dive into the power of great content:



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Content Entry Points: 3 Ways to Help Ideas Jump from Page to Platform

March 31, 2015

Join us for a free webinar “The Power of Great Content to Boost Your Brand” on April 23rd at 1pm (CST) hosted by Greenleaf Brand Strategist, Elizabeth Barrett. Reserve your spot here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6848011670983740161

Stay tuned in April as we share tips and resources to help you leverage your content for a wider audience!


What is a Content Entry Point?

Authors naturally love to write, so getting ideas down on the printed page is a process that often flows easily. While writing a manuscript, it’s common for authors to enjoy exploring all angles of their subject and to offer readers different ways to engage with their content. “Content Entry Points,” as I like to call them, are places in a text where a reader connects with an idea and jumps in to learn more. These entry points can be quite diverse and include devices such as anecdotes, statistics, historical information, quotes, illustrations, graphics, maps, checklists, and worksheets.


Why is this important to a book?

The reason that these entry points are important to include in a book is that every reader is different and not everyone likes to consume content in the same way. Visual readers will respond well to graphics, numbers-oriented readers will like the stats, and readers who absorb information best through first-hand accounts will appreciate anecdotes. When an author offers multiple entry points such as these in their manuscript, they are also casting the net wide and offering lots of people a chance to engage with the book, no matter what type of content consumption preference they may have.  


But what happens when an author needs to take that next step? What happens once the manuscript is complete, the content is diverse, and it’s time to spread the word to let people know that the book exists?


The answer is that it’s time to use this same technique to build a platform.


What is a platform?

For an author, a platform is like their stage. It’s a foundation that an author can build from and deliver their ideas to the world. A platform can consist of many different assets such as a website, social media channels, a blog, and speaking engagements. All of these assets are ways that authors can communicate with their audience and spread their message to the masses. Developing multiple assets is a great way to build a very strong platform since these assets are also... you guessed it... content entry points!


TIP 1:  Don’t Worry — You’ve Done this Before

Many authors experience some anxiety about building a platform, partially because a large majority of assets they need to develop are digital. Blogging, tweeting, pinning, posting – these are activities that lie outside the comfort zone for many authors whose expertise lies in writing good old fashioned books. But the good news is that authors don’t have to reinvent the wheel for content when expanding their platform. The same ideas – and the same content entry points – that an author develops for their manuscript can easily jump from page to platform.  


TIP 2:  Cast the Content Net Wide

Without realizing it, authors almost always have an arsenal of content ready to utilize within their platforms. If a book has infographics, these can be used as images to post on Facebook or Pinterest. If there are already great quotes used in the manuscript, consider using some as tweets. Have a case study? Summarize it in a blog post. A particularly powerful anecdote can be written as a long-form post on Medium. Platform assets lend themselves very nicely to the repurposing of a book’s content and offer a chance to deepen and enhance an author’s ideas. Two content entry points that a printed book can’t offer are video and audio. But an author can easily record a video series discussing the ideas behind the book to post on YouTube, or interview peers for added insights in a podcast for their website.


TIP 3:  Audience Consumption Preferences

One last point for authors to remember is that not all people within a demographic are the same. While it’s very important to consider who a target audience is for a book – whether it’s men, women, C-suite leaders, or millennial college students – it’s vital to keep in mind that content consumption preferences are based on personality. One CEO may hate reading more than a paragraph of text, but loves video. While another CEO may find listicles too simplistic and prefers to deep-dive into meaty chunks of information. Both readers are in a business demographic and are likely to be active on social channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn, but they have different content consumption preferences. Therefore, while building a platform, don’t assume that all tweets need to be text-only to cater to business leaders. Mix it up and include a diversity of content entry points across the platform in order to give as many readers as possible a chance to jump in!


 Don’t forget to register for our FREE webinar where we’ll take a deeper dive into creating and optimizing your content: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6848011670983740161



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Challenging Misconceptions about Writing Your Book

March 25, 2015

To close out this month's theme about writing your book, we have a special guest blogger, Justine Tal Goldberg of WriteByNight, a writers’ service providing coaching, critique, editing, and more to writers of all stripes. For more practical advice on writing successfully, check out WBN’s free writer’s diagnostic, “Common Problems and SOLUTIONS for the Struggling Writer.”


So you’ve decided to write a book. You’ve got a story to share with the world and a tall cup of coffee to keep you sharp while you do it. You’ve never written a book before, but you’re not worried. You got good grades in high school English and enjoyed writing in college. Often when you read, you think, I can do better than that. You can write a book, you figure. How hard can it be?

Fast forward a month, you’re stalled, frustrated, on the verge of giving up. You’ve tried and tried to make steady progress, to translate your ideas clearly from your head to the page, but it’s just not working. This book-writing thing is shaping up to be a lot harder than you thought it would be. It feels impossible, like traveling through a long, dark tunnel with no end in sight.

Writing your first book is not impossible, but without the right approach, it can feel that way. It’s a challenge for which you need to prepare. You wouldn’t dive into the deep end without first learning to dog paddle, would you? I didn’t think so. Book-writing is no different. Smart writers prepare themselves for the realities to come before embarking on an unfamiliar process.

Prepare by setting yourself up for success, by honestly examining your expectations and correcting your misconceptions about the book-writing process:

Misconception #1: I have to have the whole book planned out before I start.

The reality: Writing is a process of discovery. In many cases, you won’t know exactly what you want to say until you say it. That’s not a problem; it’s just the nature of the beast. So don’t hold out for a set-in-stone plan from the outset. There’s no such thing. Instead, make a loose plan and be prepared for it to change. It inevitably will.


Misconception #2: I don’t need a writing schedule. 

The reality: You absolutely do. Telling yourself that you’ll write when you have a few extra minutes or when the mood strikes is the kiss of death for a book project. It’s a surefire way to not move forward. Our days are busy, so if you hope to make steady progress, you’ll need to identify specific times that are dedicated to writing. For help with carving out writing time from your busy schedule, download this free Time Management Questionnaire.

Misconception #3: My writing will come out perfectly the first time.

The reality: This is an easy mistake to make. We read published books and believe that the impressive prose we find inside simply poured from the writer’s pen, polished and ready for our eyes. The truth is that the easier a piece of writing is to read, the harder it was for the writer to write. You can bet she drafted, revised, and edited extensively—and got lots of help along the way—in order to get her writing to its published state. It’s trite, but it’s true: writing is revising.


Misconception #4: I can edit myself.

The reality: You can...to a point. It's reasonable to expect that you can read your own writing and identify opportunities for improvement, but there is a point at which you're so close to the work that you become blind to its merits and its faults. At that point, you'll want to hand that manuscript over to someone else, ideally a professional editor, for the benefit of a fresh pair of eyes. 


Misconception #5: Writing a book will be fast and easy.

The reality: Any way you slice it, writing a book is a big investment of time and effort. Unforeseen obstacles along the way make additional demands. It's not fast and it's not easy, but it is incredibly rewarding, not in spite of but because of its challenges.


As you begin the journey of writing your first book, keep these common misconceptions in mind, and reflect on your own personal expectations that may not be listed here. Armed with the knowledge of what’s to come and actionable tools for how to handle it, you’ll avoid false starts, wasted time, endless frustration, and worst case scenario giving up entirely. Facing necessary challenges along the way is not a tragedy; not sharing your important story with the world is.

Set yourself up for book-writing success. Be smart. Be prepared.



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Building and Editing Your Book: Webinar Recap

March 20, 2015

Did you miss last week's webinar on writing your book? No worries. We've got you covered!

Click the link below for the full recording and remember to tweet your questions to @GreenleafBookGr #ideasthrive for your final chance to win a free consultation with one of our professional editors!



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