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How to Make Exceptional Communication Your Winning Difference

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote this tagline: “Remarkable business begins with remarkable communication.”…

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How I Gain 1,260 Instagram Followers Per Week

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instagram

Do you want to be instafamous?

Well, who doesn’t?

Over the last few months, I’ve been running numerous Instagram experiments and I’ve finally figured out how to grow my Instagram following.

My Neil Patel account has been growing by 1,260 followers per week.

follower growth

And I know what you are thinking… Neil, you are already well known, this can’t be replicated by anyone else.

Right?

Well, not only did we test this strategy out on my profile, but we also did it on 2 other profiles.

It works no matter what industry you are in. Heck, it works even better if you aren’t in B2B like me.

Just look at Dhavalilama. His likes per image have been growing by just using the heart trick, which I will explain in a bit, and he isn’t using my whole strategy. :/

So, how do you gain more Instagram followers each week without spending money?

Tip #1: Instagram wants long videos

You’ve heard everyone say that you need to upload videos. Social networks like Instagram aren’t just competing with other social networks, they are competing with traditional media and even companies like Netflix for your attention.

If you upload videos, you’ll find that you’ll get more engagement than if you just upload images.

But the key isn’t to just upload any video… it ideally needs to be engaging and long.

By long I am not talking about a 60-second video, I’m talking minutes. You’ll have to leverage IGTV for this, but that’s what they want as not enough people are using that feature.

Hence, if you use IGTV, they’ll push your video more.

That way when someone is watching a 5-minute video you just posted, they’ll be able to watch the first 60 seconds on their feed and then they’ll be pushed over to IGTV.

All you have to do is upload the video to IGTV and select the “post a preview” option.

preview

What this does is, it uploads the video to IGTV and then also promotes the video through your feed.

Just look at this video that I only posted on IGTV.

igtv

It had 236 views before writing this blog post.

When I posted that video, I had 9,078 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 2.59%.

Now if you look at this video that I posted…

igtv

It had 2,971 views before writing this blog post.

When I posted that video I had 21,047 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 14.11%.

What’s crazy is, that one simple change increased my video engagement by 444%.

Tip #2: Ask and you will receive

Instagram’s algorithm is simple… the more views and likes your videos and images receive, the more people will see them, which increases engagement and your follower count over time.

There’s not too much more to the algorithm.

Of course, they are looking at things like what percentage of your followers actually engage… but still, the algorithm from a conceptual standpoint is simple.

So, have you thought about asking for people to “like” your image?

Now with Instagram, people are using it via their cell phone so it’s more of a “double tap” than a like… but you get the point.

On average, when I post an image on Instagram I can generate 945.6 likes.

Here’s an example of one of those images:

neil patel quote

And as you can see from the engagement, that one did better than most of my images as it has over 1,000 likes.

Plus, the messaging resonates with a lot of people.

But here is one that is simple…

double tap

I just asked people to “double tap” if they need to improve their video skills.

It didn’t take much creativity to come up with that image and it received 1,441 likes. In other words, it produced 51.96% more engagement.

You should give it a try… I tend to use this tactic a few times a month and it works really well.

Just be careful though, if you use it every day or every week, people will get sick of it and it will stop working. Hence, I only use it a few times a month max.

Tip #3: Go live

Did I already mention that Instagram is competing with television networks and Netflix?

Because of that, what kind of content do you think they want more of?

Well, yes they want more video content, but we already talked about that.

They want more live content.

Think… reality TV.

Now the live content you produce doesn’t have to be like Keeping up with the Kardashians… they just want live content that people are looking forward to viewing.

You know how you will tune into shows like American Idol or the latest soccer or football match because it’s live and you want to see what’s happening in real time? That’s the effect Instagram is hoping for with live content.

Now, when you go live, Instagram is promoting it heavily so you’ll get more viewers. It doesn’t matter what you talk about… they just want to see more people go live.

Every time I go live, I am able to get at least 1,000 views. Just look at the live I just did…

live

In the first 6 hours, it’s already received 718 views and I did this live session on a Sunday during non-peak hours. Within the first 24 hours, it will easily surpass 1000 views.

In other words, go live! It’s a simple and quick way to grow your following count. Ideally, you should be going live on a weekly basis.

Heck, you can’t go live too much… feel free to go live daily.

Tip #4: Respond to comments

This one is simple, but no one really does it.

Social networks are supposed to be social. That means you should participate.

And no, I am not talking about just liking other images and viewing videos. I’m talking about engaging with people and talking to them.

So, when you like something that someone else posts, leave a comment.

And when someone leaves a comment on one of your posts… what do you think you should do?

You should respond to them with a comment.

Now, let’s look at some of my posts for a minute. You’ll see decent engagement, but more so, you’ll see me being very active.

comments

Just look at all of my responses.

By engaging with people, you’re more likely to build a relationship with these individuals, which makes it more likely that they will back and continually engage with your posts.

Tip #5: The heart trick

Alright, are you ready for the heart trick? You know, the one Dhavalilama has been using to boost his like count by 300%.

The concept is simple, but it will take a bit of finesse to implement.

A part of Instagram’s algorithm is how much engagement you get from other Instagram users within the first hour of you posting anything.

Now, I’ve done a lot of tests with this… if you can get Instagram users who have more followers than you to like your image or video when it first goes live you’ll find that your content is much more likely to show up on the discovery page.

From a lot of testing, here’s what seems to be the most effective:

  • Get people with larger following accounts to like your image or video within the first hour it comes out.
  • Ask them to not like anything else within that hour. We’ve found that if they like too many images or videos it doesn’t work.
  • And if they are feeling extra generous, have them leave a comment.

The heart trick isn’t that complex, but it is hard to implement because you have to convince users who are more popular than you to like your content right when you publish.

And ideally, you need 6 people who have large accounts (the bigger the better), for this to work extremely well.

Tip #6: Create multiple stories each day

What do Tai Lopez, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Grant Cardone have in common?

Well, other than the fact that they all have over a million Instagram followers…

They all post a ton of stories per day.

And when I mean a ton, sometimes they are posting over 20 stories a day… literally.

The more stories you post, the more engagement you’ll create, which will lead to more followers.

Just look at the stats from the stories I just posted:

story instagram

I can generate over 1,000 views within 8 hours of posting a story and generally in the range of 1,600 to 2,000 views within 24 hours.

The same story 23 hours later received 1870 views.

story 23 hours

Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to maximize stories:

  1. Don’t post all of your stories at once, spread them out throughout the day. This will cause people to keep coming back and engaging with your profile.
  2. Use a combination of both images and videos within your stories. Overall, you’ll find that videos create more engagement.
  3. The more stories you publish, the better off you are.
  4. Add polls to your stories, this also helps boost engagement.

polls

Tip #7: Quality matters

Have you noticed that some images get more likes than others? Or certain videos get more engagement?

Instagram is a visual social network. So the visual part is important… you want your images and videos to look great no matter what.

Now, they don’t have to be perfect, but you do want to make sure you are posting images that people enjoy.

Here’s what I mean…

When you look at my profile, you’ll see a ton of images of me that contain quotes.

instagram profile

Some of those images perform really well, while others don’t. For example, every time I post a quote using this image template…

bad template

It gets 21.4% less engagement then when I use this template…

good template

Keep track of what your followers like and don’t like. Post more of what they like and stop posting the stuff that has low engagement.

Tip #8: Test, test, test

Speaking of posting more of what your followers like and less of what they don’t, you need to constantly test.

Even though quality matters, when you are testing you shouldn’t aim for perfection. Just aim for speed.

Once you find something that people like, do more of it.

For example, I ask people to double tap as I talked about in tip number 2 because I learned it through testing.

heart tap

Here are some other things I’ve learned through testing:

  • Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – people prefer clean images that are simple.
  • Use bright colors – images that are darker, such as night photography don’t perform as well.
  • Switch things up – if you do the same thing every week you’ll find your engagement starting to drop.
  • People want to get to know you – they don’t want to get to know the Photoshop version of you. Be realistic and personal. Connect with your followers.
  • Filters don’t matter – don’t waste too much time modifying or adjusting your images. Little things like filters don’t make the biggest difference.
  • Hashtags aren’t game changing – I know everyone says you have to use hashtags and you should here and there… but they aren’t game-changing. So don’t spam and use 20 hashtags per image you post. And when you do use them, pick relevant and popular ones. You can use Ubersuggest to figure out what keywords are popular.
  • Use Instagram analytics – it tells you when your followers are online so you know when to post. If you post when they are online you’ll get much more engagement.

A good example of a test I’ve run is when I post on my feed. As you can see from my stats…

igstats

My followers are most likely to be on Instagram at 9am. So I try to post around that time, which has helped me get 8.41% more likes per image.

Every little bit adds up!

Conclusion

You don’t have to spend money on ads to grow your Instagram following. If you follow the tips above, you’ll do well and find that you can grow your weekly following count by over 1,000 net new followers each week.

Now, I know you may not want to use Instagram because it doesn’t have you “ideal” audience, but you can drive conversions from Instagram.

For example, when I went live on Instagram and I told the audience to check out my ad agency Neil Patel Digital, I was able to generate 2 leads.

Neither of the leads were ideal customers, but it is a numbers game. If I continually do it I will be able to generate clients.

In the past, I have closed 3 deals from Instagram… one paid $120,000, the other paid $1,000,000, and the last paid $300,000.

They were all consulting arrangements, so I had substantial costs associated with the revenue, but it shows that Instagram does work.

Heck, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be back on Instagram again (this is my 3rd profile, I no longer use the other 2).

You can also use the swipe up feature to drive people to your site and this will help you generate leads and sales.

So, what do you think about Instagram? Are you using it on a daily basis?

The post How I Gain 1,260 Instagram Followers Per Week appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Why Clear Communication Mirrors a Growing Garden

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If you work with a team or for clients, you probably wish you had better communication. Even with the best,…

The post Why Clear Communication Mirrors a Growing Garden appeared first on Copyblogger.

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How to Use Heading Tags to Get More Search Engine Traffic

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I wrote a ton of blog posts.

Over the last year alone, I’ve published a minimum of three blogs per week here at Quick Sprout. Some weeks it was even more, at times with multiple posts per day.

If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while now, you know that everything I produce is long-form content—just like the post you’re currently reading.

This means it falls somewhere in the 1.800-3,000+ word range. I’m not writing quick 500-word pieces for the sake of publishing at a high rate.

Over the years, I’ve covered lots of in-depth topics about content marketing, website optimization, conversions, SEO, and other related subjects. But today I want to share with you a seemingly small and subtle SEO hack that can drastically improve the performance of your content.

I’m referring to heading tags.

Some of you might be more familiar with these than others. I’m sure some of you even use them in your posts, whether you realize their SEO value or not.

I use heading tags in everything that I publish, including this post that you’re reading right now.

In fact, you’ll see them throughout the post as we continue. I’ll make sure to bring attention to them so you know exactly what I’m talking about. So follow along this guide to see how you can improve your content with heading tags.

What is a heading tag?

Before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here. So far in this guide, I’ve used two heading tags:

  • H1 for the title at the top of the page (How to Use Heading Tags to Get More Search Engine Traffic)
  • H2 for this subsection (What is a heading tag?)

There will be several more used throughout the guide as well.

By definition, these are HTML tags that specify headers on a website. Let me break that definition down for you even further.

HTML (hypertext markup language) is the language used to create pages on websites. Tags are the code that tells a web browser how the content should be displayed on the page. There are six types of heading tags; H1-H6.

Each tag can be ranked from highest to lowest in the order of significance, which is clearly illustrated by the size.

Heading Tags

You can add these tags to your content before you publish your work.

Here at Quick Sprout, we use WordPress. But I don’t typically write my blogs directly in that platform. I work in Google Docs, just because I think it’s more user-friendly for writing long-form content.

Whether you’re using Docs, Microsoft Word, or another platform to produce content, you’ll be able to find those header options in the menu bar. Here’s what it looks like in Google Docs:

Google Docs Heading Tags

It’s very straightforward.

The options for H4 and higher won’t appear until after you add H3 tags to your content.

Here’s what the tags look like if you’re working directly in WordPress.

Wordpress Heading Tags

Again, it’s about as straightforward as it gets.

You can verify that the headers are applied properly into your content by viewing the source code of a page. In WordPress, just switch from the visual editor to the text editor to see the HTML code.

You can also view the source code of any page, even after it’s been published.

For example, let’s look at some previously published content here at Quick Sprout. Here is a post I wrote about online marketing for beginners.

Heading Tag Example

I’ve pointed out the different headers above. I’m sure you’re used to seeing content like this (especially on Quick Sprout).

Now, you might look at this and just think the font is larger. All of the main text is written in size 11, the title is size 20, and the subheader is size 16. While this might be the case, it’s not that simple.

Changing the size of the font alone doesn’t equate to a heading tag.

If you check the source code of the page, you’ll see what I mean.

Right click on any web page to see the source code. In fact, you can do it with what you’re reading right now. Then just click “view page source” and it will bring you to the source code. Here’s what that looks like for the Beginners Guide to Online Marketing.

Heading Tag Html Code

Finding those h tags in the source code is like a needle in a haystack. So use “command + f” to your advantage. Then just search for h1, h2, h3, etc…

I pointed out the tags to make it obvious.

As you can see, H1 tags were used for the title, and an H3 tag was used for the first subheader on the page.

SEO value for heading tags

Now let’s get into how heading tags are connected to SEO. By the way, here’s another heading tag (above) that I used for this subsection.

There has been a debate for quite some time amongst SEO experts about how much of an impact heading tags actually have on SEO.

You can’t compare their value to things like domain authority or backlinks, but heading tags still play a factor in your search ranking. That’s because they make it easier for search engines to read and interpret your content.

If you just have big walls of text without subheaders, it’s going to be difficult for bots to know what your page is about.

This can be compared to your overall website architecture as well.

Just like your homepage and top-level content have a hierarchy that makes it easy for crawlers to index pages, the heading tags explain the importance of topics on the page.

Without headers, you’re relying on search engines to take all of your text at the same face value, which won’t help your search ranking.

John Mueller, the senior webmaster trends analyst at Google was quoted saying that Google uses H tags to understand the structure of text on a page.

So it’s clear that they provide some SEO value.

Furthermore, research from the Hook Agency shows some of the most important factors of on-page SEO.

Important SEO Factors

Two of the top ten factors are related to your heading tags.

I’ve found some really great case studies on the web that back up this claim as well. Here’s one of my favorites conducted by Search Eccentric.

The study is about a company called Motorcars Ltd.

They’ve been in business for over 40 years, but in the digital era, they struggled to rank in search engines for their keywords. After analyzing the website, it was clear that there was plenty that could be improved upon.

One of the things that they changed was adding H1 and H2 tags to the site.

The purpose of this was to improve the visibility and make the content more SEO friendly; simple, right? Take a look at the results of this tactic.

The changes had a huge impact on their search results.

Ranking Improvements

After the heading tags were added, the company held the top ranking spot for two of their targeted keywords. They held a top three position for five of their top keywords.

As you can see from the chart, they jumped hundreds of ranking spots.

Now, all of this can’t be attributed to the header tags alone. They also removed dead links and fixed some navigation issues. But the heading tags definitely played a huge role in their success.

How heading tags impact user experience

In addition to the SEO benefits of heading tags, adding these to your site will also help improve the user experience.

As a result, you’ll get more traffic to your site, frequent repeat visitors, and people will stay on your site for longer stretches of time. This simultaneously adds more SEO value as well.

How can heading tags benefit visitors on your website?

For starters, it just makes your content cleaner and more organized. 43% of people say that they skim blog posts. You need to make your content easy to skim by adding headers.

Take this post you’re reading now as an example.

Let’s say you already knew what heading tags were before you started reading. You may not think it’s necessary to read the first section. It would be very easy for you to skip over it because the tags are clear.

But if I eliminated all heading tags from the post, it would create a large wall of text that is extremely difficult to read. Here’s an example to show you what I mean.

No Heading Tag Example

This content is not scannable, and it’s just one excerpt of several pages in the same format.

Now, let’s look at another example, only this time with heading tags used by Conversion XL.

Conversion-XL

This is much easier to scan, and it’s visually appealing.

Now, is it possible to get this same effect just by making the font bigger and bolder? Sure, but why wouldn’t you take advantage of the header tags to get the SEO benefits as well?

In case you’re wondering if these are actual heading tags or just larger font, I checked the source code to prove it.

Conversion-XL code

As you can see, they used H2s and H3s for this part of the post. Although it’s not pictured in this screenshot, an H1 tag was used for the title.

Heading tags best practices

Now that you know why you need to add heading tags on your website, I’ll go through some of the best practices to follow.

Each best practice on my list is going to have a heading tag as well. You’ll see what I mean as you continue reading.

Only use one H1 tag per page

H1 tags should be saved for the title.

By default, the title of your post should automatically become an H1. But you can view the page source code and the text editor to verify that.

If for some reason that’s not the case, you can always add it in yourself.

The idea here is that the H1 tag is the most important. Adding more than one will not only be less visually appealing, but it could potentially confuse crawlers when they’re indexing your content.

Use natural keywords in headers

When possible, you’ll always want to have keywords in your headers.

However, it’s a common misconception that every heading tag needs to be stuffed with keywords. That’s just not the case.

As with all of the content you create, the text needs to be natural and readable. If you can get some keywords in there, that’s great. If not, don’t try to force it.

A great resource for finding keywords to put in your headers is Google. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and look for related searches.

Let’s say you were writing a blog post about the benefits of yoga. Here’s what those related searches look like.

Search Examples

These keywords could be potential H2s or H3s of your post.

You wouldn’t put “benefits of yoga Wikipedia” in one of your headers, because that’s not natural and doesn’t make sense. But things like yoga benefits for men, benefits of yoga in the morning, or how to maximize yoga benefits would all be appropriate.

Use heading tags generously

Some people will tell you to use heading tags sparingly, but I think that’s another misconception.

I’m not saying you should have them every other line, but use them as you see fit. If a post calls for three, then use three. If it calls for 10 or 20, then use 10 or 20.

In most cases, the longer a post is, the more heading tags you can use.

Google Advice

Here’s another quote from John Mueller at Google. He says you can use as many heading tags as you want.

Again, I’d still stick with just one H1 tag. But for H2, H3 (and so on), use as many as you need.

In most cases, I don’t find it necessary to go beyond H3 or H4. SEO aside, I think that’s too complex for the reader. So find other ways to organize your content instead.

You could always use bold or italics to emphasize something, as opposed to getting all the way to H6.

Conclusion

Heading tags are a subtle, yet powerful, SEO hack.

In addition to showcasing important content to search engine crawlers, they also make it easier for website visitors to consume content on your page.

I highly recommend adding heading tags to your content. As you can see from this blog, I use them all of the time.

So use this post as a reference for implementing heading tags and following the best practices.

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When to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails)

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It feels good when you’ve done your research before pitching an article idea to an editor: You know the publication’s…

The post When to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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