How to Get Promoted This Month: Impress Your Boss by Doing These 7 Things

I once made a really big hiring mistake.

After a series of promising interviews, I took on an intern whose level of professionalism, performance, and overall demeanor quickly took a turn for the worse. I discussed it with my supervisor, we agreed that it was in everyone’s best interests not to move forward with the internship.

However, when we sat her down to talk, she countered our concerns about her performance by saying, “But … I was driving all the way from [insert desolate location here] to get here every day.”

I recall staring at her blankly. Since when does the length of your commute warrant special praise? Download our free guide here for more interviewing and screening tips to build  your team.

We all wake up every morning, brush our teeth (hopefully), and make our way to work. However, the simple truth is that the act of “showing up” isn’t enough to propel career advancement. The most successful people earn the attention and respect of their bosses by proving they’re an asset to the team. So if you’ve ever entertained the thought of how to get promoted — or, at least, how to impress your boss — we’ve identified a few things every boss would love to see you doing.

How to Get Promoted With 7 Great Behaviors

1) Take ownership.

At HubSpot, we’ve been known to “fire” our best people.

No, that wasn’t a typo.

Here’s how it works: If you have a great idea — and you can prove that it actually delivers — you will be fired from your day job to own and grow that idea. After all, that’s what happened to HubSpot’s former VP of Sales, Pete Caputa. The story goes, according to CEO Brian Halligan speaking to Inc:

In 2008, one of our sales reps came to me with an idea that he believed could revolutionize HubSpot. At the time, we sold our software directly to consumers. But the rep, Pete Caputa, thought HubSpot should have a reseller channel in order to expand the business model. Basically, he wanted to sell our core product to third parties, who would then turn around and sell the product to their customers.”

Halligan was far from sold on the idea, but he decided to give Caputa an opportunity to prove himself. “If you want to do it so bad, start doing it nights and weekends and show us this will work,” he said.

Not long after accepting the challenge, Caputa was, in fact, encouraged to leave his day job here to grow what is now HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program.

Our point: Don’t be afraid to bring big ideas to the table. That’s the type of behavior that good bosses love to see because it illustrates your ability to solve problems for the business (and customers) on a high level. And while it’s easy to solve problems that specifically pertain to you and your reports, the goal is to identify and solve problems that influence the grand scheme of things. Think like a founder, and your boss will take note.

2) Support your colleagues.

Depending on your industry, getting ahead at work might sometimes feel like a dog-eat-dog type of situation. And while the old saying goes, “Nice guys finish last,” there is actually an opportunity for self-advancement through the act of helping others. Not to mention, if your boss catches you in the act, it can highlight your ability to be remarkably helpful: a trait almost every good boss cares about.

But don’t just take it from me. Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, also has something to say about it:

The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade.”

In this book, Grant dives into the idea that in the workplace, people can be divided into three categories: takers, matchers, and givers.

  • Takers are known to, well, take from other people.
  • Matchers are more apt to make even exchanges.
  • Givers separate themselves from the rest by doing good without expectations for reciprocation.

Grant goes on to provide examples of successful givers throughout history, such as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, venture capitalist David Hornik, and businessman Jon Huntsman, Sr. So do yourself a favor and dig into their accomplishments a bit — we have a hunch that it’ll inspire you to rethink the potential benefits of lending a helping hand.

3) Measure and report.

Not long ago, I swore I saw a notable actor from the TV show “Lost” on my flight.

I excitedly texted my friend to tell him, to which he replied, “Send pictures, or it didn’t happen.”

That request got me thinking about our innate desire to “see it to believe it.” If my own friend wouldn’t believe my claims without photo evidence, why would my boss simply take my word for it when it comes time to talk about my performance?

The simple truth: Most bosses are busy, leaving little time for them to investigate whether or not you’re accomplishing what you’re supposed to be accomplishing. If you’re not vocal (and visual) about your performance, you run the risk of going unnoticed. That’s why supervisors love to see employees who not only measure their efforts but also report on them. Clear, specific, goal-oriented reports serve as one of the most effective ways to communicate your progress and prove to your boss that you’re capable of taking on more.

In terms of what to include in these reports, focus on ROI. While vanity metrics like social media views might be worth noting for yourself, your boss wants to see how your efforts are specifically influencing the bottom line.

“Don’t just report on what you crossed off your to-do list, report on what those activities achieved. So often, young staff want to prove that they’re working,” explains HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, Meghan Keaney Anderson. “We know you’re working. We see it and are proud of you for it. Prove not that you’re working, but that what you are doing is working.”

4) Be proactive, not reactive.

“My kids will have chocolate dripping from their mouths, and I’ll say, ‘Did you just eat chocolate?'” Peter Bregman, author of Four Seconds, once recounted for HBR’s IdeaCast. “And they’ll be like, ‘No, I didn’t just eat chocolate.'”

What in the world does that have to do with impressing your boss? Well, it’s a silly, yet accurate example of how you sound when you’re being reactive — and maybe even a little defensive — rather than proactive. Not a situation you’d want to be caught in with your boss, right?

From a psychological perspective, we react to avoid punishment. It’s a direct result of the stimulation that our amygdala — a subcortical brain structure that is linked to both fear responses and pleasure — experiences when we’re caught off-guard. And while it’s unrealistic to assume that you’ll never be faced with a quick decision in front of your boss, proactive employees aim to control situations by causing things to happen, rather than waiting to respond after things happen.

What does that look like, though? Well, aside from taking steps to plan ahead and anticipate “what-ifs,” Bregman encourages people to pause for four seconds before responding to something. That way, you’re allowing yourself a moment to process the situation you’ve been faced with, which can help you strategically and intentionally choose the words that you’re going to say — instead of instinctively saying something that you don’t mean.

5) Make more with less.

Part of being a noteworthy employee is being able to adapt to the industry and company changes that, eventually, will come your way. Let’s say, for example, that your company runs into an unplanned expense, or an important member of the team unexpectedly gives her two weeks notice. That could certainly throw a wrench in your budget and bandwidth, couldn’t it?

Some employees might see these events as a huge setback — one that serves as an excuse for falling short on goals. But the most successful people find a way to do more with less — and the really successful people find a way to do better with less.

Take that hypothetical budgeting issue. If it forces you to reduce or reallocate funds for freelancers, don’t use it as an excuse to allow content production to come to a halt. Instead, consider what you can do to turn the situation around. Maybe you work toward creating one strong piece of content on your own, like an ebook, that can be repurposed as separate blog articles to fill your editorial calendar until the budget gets back to a healthy level. Or, what about reaching out to a co-marketing partner to join forces on a piece of content that benefits you both?

Another great way to demonstrate your ability to do more with less would be to scale back the average time of your meetings. According to the book Time Talent Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag & Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power, “the average organization spends 15% of its collective time in meetings.” That plays into the belief that simply working longer hours is comparable to doing more with less when really, it’s all about making better use of your time. Cutting your meeting time in half will force you to get to the point quicker — and leave you with extra time to allocate toward other projects and tasks.

Remember: Excuses don’t promote career advancement. Solutions do.

6) Welcome feedback.

I have a confession to make. I hate it when I don’t have the answer for something. I want to think I know everything — so when I’m faced with the reality that I don’t, admitting so is a bitter pill to swallow. But being able to do so is a big part of getting ahead.

That’s one reason why it can be so helpful to welcome third-party feedback when we need to know what we’re missing — like when you’ve worked on a long-term project, and you start to see any progress through rose-colored glasses. At that stage, it’s most helpful to invite an outsider in to poke holes in your approach. What’s working? What’s missing? What is needed to take this project from good to great?

According to Gallup, the most engaged employees are the ones who meet with their managers at least once a week — which suggests that both positive and negative feedback, as well as overall effective communication, plays an instrumental role in the way we perceive goals. Asking for that kind of time with your manager is a reasonable request, if you make it count. Make sure that you’re prepared to handle whatever feedback comes your way. While positive feedback is often pretty easy to accept, negative feedback can come as a challenge for many but is often the most valuable.

To ensure that you make the most out of constructive criticism, take note of the following tips:

  • Listen. Sure, it’s easy to tune someone out when you’re not particularly thrilled with what they are saying, but that doesn’t make it right. Give the person the respect she deserves by listening to what she has to say, before you interject.
  • Ask clarifying questions. If you don’t understand the point someone is trying to make, don’t hesitate to ask him to elaborate. Following up with questions will help to ensure that you both walk away on the same page.
  • Consider the source. All feedback is not created equal. While getting some honest feedback from a co-worker who knows little about your project may help you to identify weak spots, it’s important that you focus on the feedback coming from those to whom you report. In other words, give attention and energy where they’re due most.

7) Smile.

We hate to sound like a bunch of “Pollyannas,” but trust us: No supervisor wants to walk into an office and see a team of people that look like they are suffering through a dental appointment. Not only is it detrimental to company morale, but it also sends a signal that there’s something wrong with his management. If there is, that’s an important conversation to have — but not by going around looking like someone just asked you to spend the day watching paint dry.

At work (and at home), it’s important to try to focus on the positive, no matter what’s on your plate. According to a 2010 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, it pays to be positive — literally. Not only did it find that optimistically inclined MBA students have an easier time finding jobs compared to their peers, but also, they saw a 5-10% increase in the probability of being promoted over their pessimistic peers.

Note to Self: Keep On and Smile On

Research like the study cited above taps into the idea that success can correlate with an ability to stay positive, even when completing overwhelming tasks.

And really, those findings align with many of the behaviors we’ve covered here. Even when something happens at work to upset us, proactively addressing it is more likely to be productive than reactively sulking and wallowing in it.

It may sound cliche, but beneath most of these tips is the foundation of a good attitude. So the next time something at the office bums you out — or you’re searching for the best way to progress in your career — revisit this list to see what you can actively do about it.

take our five-year career plan quiz

I once made a really big hiring mistake.

After a series of promising interviews, I took on an intern whose level of professionalism, performance, and overall demeanor quickly took a turn for the worse. I discussed it with my supervisor, we agreed that it was in everyone’s best interests not to move forward with the internship.

However, when we sat her down to talk, she countered our concerns about her performance by saying, “But … I was driving all the way from [insert desolate location here] to get here every day.”

I recall staring at her blankly. Since when does the length of your commute warrant special praise? Download our free guide here for more interviewing and screening tips to build  your team.

We all wake up every morning, brush our teeth (hopefully), and make our way to work. However, the simple truth is that the act of “showing up” isn’t enough to propel career advancement. The most successful people earn the attention and respect of their bosses by proving they’re an asset to the team. So if you’ve ever entertained the thought of how to get promoted — or, at least, how to impress your boss — we’ve identified a few things every boss would love to see you doing.

How to Get Promoted With 7 Great Behaviors

1) Take ownership.

At HubSpot, we’ve been known to “fire” our best people.

No, that wasn’t a typo.

Here’s how it works: If you have a great idea — and you can prove that it actually delivers — you will be fired from your day job to own and grow that idea. After all, that’s what happened to HubSpot’s former VP of Sales, Pete Caputa. The story goes, according to CEO Brian Halligan speaking to Inc:

In 2008, one of our sales reps came to me with an idea that he believed could revolutionize HubSpot. At the time, we sold our software directly to consumers. But the rep, Pete Caputa, thought HubSpot should have a reseller channel in order to expand the business model. Basically, he wanted to sell our core product to third parties, who would then turn around and sell the product to their customers.”

Halligan was far from sold on the idea, but he decided to give Caputa an opportunity to prove himself. “If you want to do it so bad, start doing it nights and weekends and show us this will work,” he said.

Not long after accepting the challenge, Caputa was, in fact, encouraged to leave his day job here to grow what is now HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program.

Our point: Don’t be afraid to bring big ideas to the table. That’s the type of behavior that good bosses love to see because it illustrates your ability to solve problems for the business (and customers) on a high level. And while it’s easy to solve problems that specifically pertain to you and your reports, the goal is to identify and solve problems that influence the grand scheme of things. Think like a founder, and your boss will take note.

2) Support your colleagues.

Depending on your industry, getting ahead at work might sometimes feel like a dog-eat-dog type of situation. And while the old saying goes, “Nice guys finish last,” there is actually an opportunity for self-advancement through the act of helping others. Not to mention, if your boss catches you in the act, it can highlight your ability to be remarkably helpful: a trait almost every good boss cares about.

But don’t just take it from me. Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, also has something to say about it:

The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade.”

In this book, Grant dives into the idea that in the workplace, people can be divided into three categories: takers, matchers, and givers.

  • Takers are known to, well, take from other people.
  • Matchers are more apt to make even exchanges.
  • Givers separate themselves from the rest by doing good without expectations for reciprocation.

Grant goes on to provide examples of successful givers throughout history, such as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, venture capitalist David Hornik, and businessman Jon Huntsman, Sr. So do yourself a favor and dig into their accomplishments a bit — we have a hunch that it’ll inspire you to rethink the potential benefits of lending a helping hand.

3) Measure and report.

Not long ago, I swore I saw a notable actor from the TV show “Lost” on my flight.

I excitedly texted my friend to tell him, to which he replied, “Send pictures, or it didn’t happen.”

That request got me thinking about our innate desire to “see it to believe it.” If my own friend wouldn’t believe my claims without photo evidence, why would my boss simply take my word for it when it comes time to talk about my performance?

The simple truth: Most bosses are busy, leaving little time for them to investigate whether or not you’re accomplishing what you’re supposed to be accomplishing. If you’re not vocal (and visual) about your performance, you run the risk of going unnoticed. That’s why supervisors love to see employees who not only measure their efforts but also report on them. Clear, specific, goal-oriented reports serve as one of the most effective ways to communicate your progress and prove to your boss that you’re capable of taking on more.

In terms of what to include in these reports, focus on ROI. While vanity metrics like social media views might be worth noting for yourself, your boss wants to see how your efforts are specifically influencing the bottom line.

“Don’t just report on what you crossed off your to-do list, report on what those activities achieved. So often, young staff want to prove that they’re working,” explains HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, Meghan Keaney Anderson. “We know you’re working. We see it and are proud of you for it. Prove not that you’re working, but that what you are doing is working.”

4) Be proactive, not reactive.

“My kids will have chocolate dripping from their mouths, and I’ll say, ‘Did you just eat chocolate?'” Peter Bregman, author of Four Seconds, once recounted for HBR’s IdeaCast. “And they’ll be like, ‘No, I didn’t just eat chocolate.'”

What in the world does that have to do with impressing your boss? Well, it’s a silly, yet accurate example of how you sound when you’re being reactive — and maybe even a little defensive — rather than proactive. Not a situation you’d want to be caught in with your boss, right?

From a psychological perspective, we react to avoid punishment. It’s a direct result of the stimulation that our amygdala — a subcortical brain structure that is linked to both fear responses and pleasure — experiences when we’re caught off-guard. And while it’s unrealistic to assume that you’ll never be faced with a quick decision in front of your boss, proactive employees aim to control situations by causing things to happen, rather than waiting to respond after things happen.

What does that look like, though? Well, aside from taking steps to plan ahead and anticipate “what-ifs,” Bregman encourages people to pause for four seconds before responding to something. That way, you’re allowing yourself a moment to process the situation you’ve been faced with, which can help you strategically and intentionally choose the words that you’re going to say — instead of instinctively saying something that you don’t mean.

5) Make more with less.

Part of being a noteworthy employee is being able to adapt to the industry and company changes that, eventually, will come your way. Let’s say, for example, that your company runs into an unplanned expense, or an important member of the team unexpectedly gives her two weeks notice. That could certainly throw a wrench in your budget and bandwidth, couldn’t it?

Some employees might see these events as a huge setback — one that serves as an excuse for falling short on goals. But the most successful people find a way to do more with less — and the really successful people find a way to do better with less.

Take that hypothetical budgeting issue. If it forces you to reduce or reallocate funds for freelancers, don’t use it as an excuse to allow content production to come to a halt. Instead, consider what you can do to turn the situation around. Maybe you work toward creating one strong piece of content on your own, like an ebook, that can be repurposed as separate blog articles to fill your editorial calendar until the budget gets back to a healthy level. Or, what about reaching out to a co-marketing partner to join forces on a piece of content that benefits you both?

Another great way to demonstrate your ability to do more with less would be to scale back the average time of your meetings. According to the book Time Talent Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag & Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power, “the average organization spends 15% of its collective time in meetings.” That plays into the belief that simply working longer hours is comparable to doing more with less when really, it’s all about making better use of your time. Cutting your meeting time in half will force you to get to the point quicker — and leave you with extra time to allocate toward other projects and tasks.

Remember: Excuses don’t promote career advancement. Solutions do.

6) Welcome feedback.

I have a confession to make. I hate it when I don’t have the answer for something. I want to think I know everything — so when I’m faced with the reality that I don’t, admitting so is a bitter pill to swallow. But being able to do so is a big part of getting ahead.

That’s one reason why it can be so helpful to welcome third-party feedback when we need to know what we’re missing — like when you’ve worked on a long-term project, and you start to see any progress through rose-colored glasses. At that stage, it’s most helpful to invite an outsider in to poke holes in your approach. What’s working? What’s missing? What is needed to take this project from good to great?

According to Gallup, the most engaged employees are the ones who meet with their managers at least once a week — which suggests that both positive and negative feedback, as well as overall effective communication, plays an instrumental role in the way we perceive goals. Asking for that kind of time with your manager is a reasonable request, if you make it count. Make sure that you’re prepared to handle whatever feedback comes your way. While positive feedback is often pretty easy to accept, negative feedback can come as a challenge for many but is often the most valuable.

To ensure that you make the most out of constructive criticism, take note of the following tips:

  • Listen. Sure, it’s easy to tune someone out when you’re not particularly thrilled with what they are saying, but that doesn’t make it right. Give the person the respect she deserves by listening to what she has to say, before you interject.
  • Ask clarifying questions. If you don’t understand the point someone is trying to make, don’t hesitate to ask him to elaborate. Following up with questions will help to ensure that you both walk away on the same page.
  • Consider the source. All feedback is not created equal. While getting some honest feedback from a co-worker who knows little about your project may help you to identify weak spots, it’s important that you focus on the feedback coming from those to whom you report. In other words, give attention and energy where they’re due most.

7) Smile.

We hate to sound like a bunch of “Pollyannas,” but trust us: No supervisor wants to walk into an office and see a team of people that look like they are suffering through a dental appointment. Not only is it detrimental to company morale, but it also sends a signal that there’s something wrong with his management. If there is, that’s an important conversation to have — but not by going around looking like someone just asked you to spend the day watching paint dry.

At work (and at home), it’s important to try to focus on the positive, no matter what’s on your plate. According to a 2010 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, it pays to be positive — literally. Not only did it find that optimistically inclined MBA students have an easier time finding jobs compared to their peers, but also, they saw a 5-10% increase in the probability of being promoted over their pessimistic peers.

Note to Self: Keep On and Smile On

Research like the study cited above taps into the idea that success can correlate with an ability to stay positive, even when completing overwhelming tasks.

And really, those findings align with many of the behaviors we’ve covered here. Even when something happens at work to upset us, proactively addressing it is more likely to be productive than reactively sulking and wallowing in it.

It may sound cliche, but beneath most of these tips is the foundation of a good attitude. So the next time something at the office bums you out — or you’re searching for the best way to progress in your career — revisit this list to see what you can actively do about it.

take our five-year career plan quiz

18 Webinar Hosting Tips to Guarantee Nobody Misses Your Next Webinar

Here at HubSpot, we know a thing or two about webinars. We’ve
set the Guinness World Record for largest online marketing seminar, hosted webinars with partners such as
Facebook,
LinkedIn and
Unbounce, and we’re able to host and promote in-house because of
the modern marketing team we’ve built.

No matter how great the content of your webinar is, though, it doesn’t mean much if there’s nobody there to hear it. So what do you do to ensure people actually, you know … show up?

Turns out, there are at least 18 things you can do to get people aware of, excited about, and attending your next webinar. Here’s a guide to making your next webinar a rousing success.

Download our free webinar checklist here to make sure your next webinar or webcast is a success.

What Is a Webinar/Webcast?

A webinar (also known as a webcast) is a live, online seminar or workshop that’s delivered over the internet. A host — that’s you — organizes the event and invites attendees. The beauty of a virtual event? The host and the attendees can be located anywhere in the world.

The most successful webinars are …

Educational.

Education is one of the most powerful tools you can use to make change happen. Webinars need to have some type of educational component to it — whether you’re educating your audience about a product, a service, a new piece of content, how to use a tool, and so on. 

Clearly communicated.

Webinars are great ways to scale your communication. Provide value to your audience by communicating your message clearly. This includes how you organize the content of the webinar, how you present it verbally, and how you present it visually in your PowerPoint deck.

Entertaining.

Finally, a great webinar needs to be entertaining. Otherwise, your attendees might as well think of your webinar as 40 minutes to catch up on email. After all, that verbal component is what makes webinars so unique: There are few other mediums where you can deliver content that lets your personality shine through to such an extent.

It’s really easy to create webinar content with only your end goals in mind — that point you want to get across, or those things you want to talk about — but that won’t keep your audience engaged. Think carefully about who your audience is while crafting your webinar content. At the end of the day, your webinar is about building connections and relationships with your audience so they trust you that much more.

18 Webinar Hosting Tips That Get People to Show Up

1. Pick a killer topic.

It’s really, really hard to get people to attend your webinar if your topic stinks. Try to select a topic that’s broad enough to attract a large audience, yet targeted enough to provide actionable advice that attendees can implement the second they hop off your webinar.

For a webinar with Unbounce, for example, we decided that we wanted conversion rate optimization to be the overarching theme (because what marketer doesn’t want to optimize?), but with a focus on landing page copy and design.

When titling your webinar landing page, do some SEO research to see which keywords you want to rank for. Use that same title for subsequent blog posts and SlideShares, and you’ll end up with a slew of assets to back up that keyword ranking.

2. Set a registration goal.

Having a goal will inspire you to hit it, and help you measure success. In order for us to break the Guinness World Record for webinar attendees, for example, we hit about 31,100 registrants. You should track performance on at least a weekly basis to see whether your marketing efforts are moving the needle. That way, if you need to dial up your promotion due to low initial registration numbers, you’ll know what to do to fix it. 

Note: Just because people register for your webinar does not mean they will attend your webinar. Which brings us to our next tip …

3. Set an attendee goal.

Webinars typically get 36% of pre-registrants to attend the live event. To determine how many registrants you need, you should think ahead to how many actual attendees you want.

Continuing with our Guinness World Record example in the previous tip, we knew we needed just over a third of our webinar registrants to show up to break the most-attended webinar world record. So, with a little backwards math with the 36% figure above, shooting for more than 31,000 registrants yielded 10,899 attendees — just under 36% percent of our registrant number — which is what we needed to break the record.

You will see the word “remind” quite a bit in the rest of this post. That’s because getting people to attend your webinar requires lots and lots (and lots) of registrant reminders. People often sign up for webinars weeks in advance, so it’s critical that you’re making an effort to keep your webinar top-of-mind during that time.

4. Give attendees something special.

Try to think of things that will get people excited, feeling special, talking with colleagues, and remembering their experience on your webinar in the future. Excited registrants turn into excited attendees.

At HubSpot, we’ve given away tickets to events, free marketing assessments, and ad spend coupons to Facebook and LinkedIn. We’ve also inspired the audience by asking them to be a part of something huge, like breaking a world record.

Another example of a contest you could run? Ask them to tweet something related to the webinar a week in advance, and pick the winner at the beginning of the webinar. At HubSpot, we held a #WorkRemote hashtag challenge to support our webinar on working remote effectively, and we built this landing page to explain the rules and how a winner would be picked. (Note: Be sure to work with your legal team when planning any challenge or contest.)

You could note in the promotional and reminder emails that “attendees are getting a special 25% discount on X,” and include that discount code in the final slide of your webinar.

5. Choose the right day of week.

Don’t host your webinar during the weekend. Okay, you probably knew that one. But did you also know that it’s best to host your webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday?

Monday and Friday always seem to get filled up with “catch-up” and “last-minute emergency” happenings around the office. In WhatCounts poll, the data suggested that their audience preferred Wednesday or Thursday for webinars — and we tend to agree. 

6. Choose the right time of day.

HubSpot typically runs webinars at 1 p.m. EST or 2 p.m. EST, because it’s the most convenient time for the largest chunk of our audience. But if you have a huge audience in … I don’t know … Jakarta, you might want to reevaluate your timing. Right? Right.

However, like any variable in marketing, the best time (and day) will depend on your audience. Which time zone(s) do they live in? Do they work nine-to-five jobs, or are their daytime schedules more open? To maximize attendance, experiment with different days and times, compare attendance rates and conversion rates, and tweak your timing accordingly.

If you’re just starting out or have no clue what time works best, you can always ask. Include a field on your registration form that asks attendees to confirm the time slots that work best for them, and schedule your webinar based on that feedback.

7. Create an informative landing page.

Be clear. Be honest. Set expectations. Take a look at the landing page we created for our webinar with Rajan Kapoor of Dropbox (which you can view on-demand here):

hubspot-dropbox-webinar.png

On this landing page, we’ve clearly outlined a few things:

  • Who? Introduce presenters on the landing page, with brief bios that explain who they are and why they matter. (Well, why they matter for this webinar, at least.)
  • What? Include an explanation of what the webinar is about and some of the topics it will cover. Bullet points are best. Pick a dedicated hashtag for your webinar and include it, too.
  • When? Seemingly obvious, but ensure you provide a date and time so people can mark their calendars.
  • Where? Clearly explain when and how the webinar will be accessible. Typically, webinars are accessible via links, and can be joined 30 minutes prior to the start time.
  • Why? Explain the value of your webinar. What will people be able to do after they leave your webinar that they weren’t able to prior to attending?

8. Send a thank-you email and registration confirmation.

Sending a thank-you email isn’t just good manners — it also gives you a chance to confirm your attendees’ registration (so they know that their form submission worked) and, you know, remind them about your webinar. Some people will delete it. Some people will save the email in their inbox, serving as a periodic reminder of your webinar. Some people will take the details in the email and input it on their calendar. If any of your registrants fall into those last two groups of people, you’re sittin’ pretty.

We recommend including a call-to-action to “Add this webinar to your calendar” as the #1 CTA in both your thank-you and follow-up emails. (More on this later.)

9. Send value-building reminder emails.

Send these two weeks in advance, and one week in advance on your webinar. They not only serve to remind registrants about the webinar’s date and time, but rebuild the value that you established with them on your registration landing page. Many of your registrants may have not only forgotten that they registered for your webinar … they may have forgotten why they registered in the first place.

Include relevant blog posts or previous ebooks or webinars that cover similar topics. You might frame this as content your team has recently updated, which they can learn more about in the webinar. Include the webinar’s hashtag and tell people to tweet if they have any questions.

10. Send two final reminder emails.

People forget. Things come up. Last-minute reminder emails — specifically, one the day before, and one the day of — give people enough time to finagle attendance around meetings and other items on their to-do list, but also not too much time that they’ll forget about the webinar. It’s only a day (or less!) away, after all. Again, include the webinar’s hashtag and tell people to tweet if they have any questions.

11. Market your webinar using social media.

You know what’s awesome about social media? It’s much more difficult to oversaturate your social audience than your email audience. And there’s a really, really good chance much of your email audience is connected with you socially, too. That affords you the opportunity to use social media to remind your audience about your webinar.

If you’re using a social media publishing schedule, you can pepper in updates for every social channel that remind your audience you have an upcoming webinar. Increase the number of reminder updates as the date approaches, particularly the day before and day of. Make sure you pick a dedicated hashtag for your webinar and include it on the landing page, in your emails, and everywhere else you’re promoting it.

12. Market your webinar through your speakers.

Of course you’ll be promoting your webinar, but what about the presenters? You know, the ones with a different audience than yours right at their fingertips? Are they leveraging their personal connections, social accounts, and email lists to make sure they have a giant audience? If they’re not, they sure-as-shootin’ should.

13. Don’t be afraid of paid media.

If you’re looking to drive more attendees to your webinar and have the budget, a little paid media to supplement your organic efforts can always help. For instance, you might run a PPC ad on Google for a search term that aligns with your webinar content in order to get the word out and drive attendance.

By bidding on a long-tail term such as “aligning sales and marketing” you can also keep your PPC costs low, promoting your webinar in a cost effective way. Just make sure your paid media team and organic team are aligned, so your company is organically publishing terms like “aligning sales and marketing” while you bid on the same term, resulting in total dominance in the SERPs for that keyword phrase.

For more detailed tips, download our free guide to social media advertising.

14. Blog about your webinar.

Use your blog (and other blogs if you have the relationships) to promote your webinar and the topic it covers. Create a “launch blog post” for your webinar indicating the excitement of new content/data in the webinar. Obviously, you’ll want to provide links to the registration landing page within the blog post, too — including a webinar-specific CTA to include at the end of your post, like we did in the post below:

Blog post promoting a webinar

You can also get your audience warmed up to the topic of the webinar by creating blog content that discusses that topic at different angles. Include the webinar CTA in these posts as well, but be sure to swap it out with a different CTA once the webinar is over.

Bonus: If you start writing posts about the webinar topic far enough in advance, you can use the questions readers ask in the comments section to beef up your presentation, too.

15. Set calendar reminders.

Some uber-organized people will put your webinar right on their calendar, but there are tools out there that let you take it a step further. 

My colleague Christine White, manager of marketing acquisition here at HubSpot, uses AddEvent and WorldTimeBuddy to create add-to-calendar CTAs.

16. Partner up.

If you want more people to attend your webinar, you can always consider working with another brand. But while additional attendees is one benefit, it shouldn’t be the main focus of partnering up — relevancy, however, should be.

HubSpot has partnered with numerous partners specifically for co-marketing purposes because we believe that two well-aligned brands have the power to be truly amazing together — much more amazing than they can be apart. It’s also helpful for your audience if they can hear another perspective once in a while, particularly when that perspective comes from a specialist’s point of view.

Tweet about partner webinar

17. Leverage your homepage.

Your homepage is likely one of the most visited pages on your website. So why wouldn’t you leverage your homepage real estate to promote upcoming webinars?

It’s a great way to show people that your entire company is behind the webinar and sees the value in it for site visitors. Don’t hide behind your webinars; get them out in public and show people that your company believes in the initiative. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to create smart CTAs for your homepage here.)

Homepage CTA on HubSpot promoting webinar

18. Use the best video conferencing tools to ensure a smooth video experience

If an industry expert reveals the secret to success, but their technology wasn’t good enough to record it, did they make an impact?

The content of your webinar might be unparalleled industry insight, but it isn’t nearly as valuable if your attendees can’t easily access and listen to the event. Picking the right video conferencing tool puts your webinar on the platform it deserves so people are encouraged to join in and listen to you.

What are some reliable webinar hosting services to choose from? Glad you asked …

Loom

Loom is a video recording software, compatible with Mac, Windows, and Chromebook computers. The tool offers a convenient desktop app and can record your screen activity in real time. Loom is particularly useful for pre-recorded webinars, slide presentations, and single-hosted experiences.

Google Hangouts

If you have a Gmail account, you’re probably familiar with Google Hangouts. This simple video conferencing tool pops out of your Gmail account and can invite attendees to a group call using their email addresses. It supports live webinars with multiple guests.

Zoom

Zoom is a cloud-based conferencing tool that offers live and on-demand video services. You can use a Zoom account to add a video chat option to group events listed on your online calendar.

GoToWebinar

GoToWebinar helps you create branded webinars with automated email invitations leading up to the event. It also makes it easy to follow up with attendees after the webinar, while reporting on who attended and who didn’t.

Customers buy from the companies they can trust, and broadcasting your industry expertise via webinar is one of the key ways of doing that. To learn more about how inbound marketing can help you delight your customers, take our free certification course below.  

Learn Inbound Marketing over the weekend.

 
free webinar checklist

Here at HubSpot, we know a thing or two about webinars. We’ve
set the Guinness World Record for largest online marketing seminar, hosted webinars with partners such as
Facebook,
LinkedIn and
Unbounce, and we’re able to host and promote in-house because of
the modern marketing team we’ve built.

No matter how great the content of your webinar is, though, it doesn’t mean much if there’s nobody there to hear it. So what do you do to ensure people actually, you know … show up?

Turns out, there are at least 18 things you can do to get people aware of, excited about, and attending your next webinar. Here’s a guide to making your next webinar a rousing success.

Download our free webinar checklist here to make sure your next webinar or webcast is a success.

What Is a Webinar/Webcast?

A webinar (also known as a webcast) is a live, online seminar or workshop that’s delivered over the internet. A host — that’s you — organizes the event and invites attendees. The beauty of a virtual event? The host and the attendees can be located anywhere in the world.

The most successful webinars are …

Educational.

Education is one of the most powerful tools you can use to make change happen. Webinars need to have some type of educational component to it — whether you’re educating your audience about a product, a service, a new piece of content, how to use a tool, and so on. 

Clearly communicated.

Webinars are great ways to scale your communication. Provide value to your audience by communicating your message clearly. This includes how you organize the content of the webinar, how you present it verbally, and how you present it visually in your PowerPoint deck.

Entertaining.

Finally, a great webinar needs to be entertaining. Otherwise, your attendees might as well think of your webinar as 40 minutes to catch up on email. After all, that verbal component is what makes webinars so unique: There are few other mediums where you can deliver content that lets your personality shine through to such an extent.

It’s really easy to create webinar content with only your end goals in mind — that point you want to get across, or those things you want to talk about — but that won’t keep your audience engaged. Think carefully about who your audience is while crafting your webinar content. At the end of the day, your webinar is about building connections and relationships with your audience so they trust you that much more.

18 Webinar Hosting Tips That Get People to Show Up

1. Pick a killer topic.

It’s really, really hard to get people to attend your webinar if your topic stinks. Try to select a topic that’s broad enough to attract a large audience, yet targeted enough to provide actionable advice that attendees can implement the second they hop off your webinar.

For a webinar with Unbounce, for example, we decided that we wanted conversion rate optimization to be the overarching theme (because what marketer doesn’t want to optimize?), but with a focus on landing page copy and design.

When titling your webinar landing page, do some SEO research to see which keywords you want to rank for. Use that same title for subsequent blog posts and SlideShares, and you’ll end up with a slew of assets to back up that keyword ranking.

2. Set a registration goal.

Having a goal will inspire you to hit it, and help you measure success. In order for us to break the Guinness World Record for webinar attendees, for example, we hit about 31,100 registrants. You should track performance on at least a weekly basis to see whether your marketing efforts are moving the needle. That way, if you need to dial up your promotion due to low initial registration numbers, you’ll know what to do to fix it. 

Note: Just because people register for your webinar does not mean they will attend your webinar. Which brings us to our next tip …

3. Set an attendee goal.

Webinars typically get 36% of pre-registrants to attend the live event. To determine how many registrants you need, you should think ahead to how many actual attendees you want.

Continuing with our Guinness World Record example in the previous tip, we knew we needed just over a third of our webinar registrants to show up to break the most-attended webinar world record. So, with a little backwards math with the 36% figure above, shooting for more than 31,000 registrants yielded 10,899 attendees — just under 36% percent of our registrant number — which is what we needed to break the record.

You will see the word “remind” quite a bit in the rest of this post. That’s because getting people to attend your webinar requires lots and lots (and lots) of registrant reminders. People often sign up for webinars weeks in advance, so it’s critical that you’re making an effort to keep your webinar top-of-mind during that time.

4. Give attendees something special.

Try to think of things that will get people excited, feeling special, talking with colleagues, and remembering their experience on your webinar in the future. Excited registrants turn into excited attendees.

At HubSpot, we’ve given away tickets to events, free marketing assessments, and ad spend coupons to Facebook and LinkedIn. We’ve also inspired the audience by asking them to be a part of something huge, like breaking a world record.

Another example of a contest you could run? Ask them to tweet something related to the webinar a week in advance, and pick the winner at the beginning of the webinar. At HubSpot, we held a #WorkRemote hashtag challenge to support our webinar on working remote effectively, and we built this landing page to explain the rules and how a winner would be picked. (Note: Be sure to work with your legal team when planning any challenge or contest.)

You could note in the promotional and reminder emails that “attendees are getting a special 25% discount on X,” and include that discount code in the final slide of your webinar.

5. Choose the right day of week.

Don’t host your webinar during the weekend. Okay, you probably knew that one. But did you also know that it’s best to host your webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday?

Monday and Friday always seem to get filled up with “catch-up” and “last-minute emergency” happenings around the office. In WhatCounts poll, the data suggested that their audience preferred Wednesday or Thursday for webinars — and we tend to agree. 

6. Choose the right time of day.

HubSpot typically runs webinars at 1 p.m. EST or 2 p.m. EST, because it’s the most convenient time for the largest chunk of our audience. But if you have a huge audience in … I don’t know … Jakarta, you might want to reevaluate your timing. Right? Right.

However, like any variable in marketing, the best time (and day) will depend on your audience. Which time zone(s) do they live in? Do they work nine-to-five jobs, or are their daytime schedules more open? To maximize attendance, experiment with different days and times, compare attendance rates and conversion rates, and tweak your timing accordingly.

If you’re just starting out or have no clue what time works best, you can always ask. Include a field on your registration form that asks attendees to confirm the time slots that work best for them, and schedule your webinar based on that feedback.

7. Create an informative landing page.

Be clear. Be honest. Set expectations. Take a look at the landing page we created for our webinar with Rajan Kapoor of Dropbox (which you can view on-demand here):

hubspot-dropbox-webinar.png

On this landing page, we’ve clearly outlined a few things:

  • Who? Introduce presenters on the landing page, with brief bios that explain who they are and why they matter. (Well, why they matter for this webinar, at least.)
  • What? Include an explanation of what the webinar is about and some of the topics it will cover. Bullet points are best. Pick a dedicated hashtag for your webinar and include it, too.
  • When? Seemingly obvious, but ensure you provide a date and time so people can mark their calendars.
  • Where? Clearly explain when and how the webinar will be accessible. Typically, webinars are accessible via links, and can be joined 30 minutes prior to the start time.
  • Why? Explain the value of your webinar. What will people be able to do after they leave your webinar that they weren’t able to prior to attending?

8. Send a thank-you email and registration confirmation.

Sending a thank-you email isn’t just good manners — it also gives you a chance to confirm your attendees’ registration (so they know that their form submission worked) and, you know, remind them about your webinar. Some people will delete it. Some people will save the email in their inbox, serving as a periodic reminder of your webinar. Some people will take the details in the email and input it on their calendar. If any of your registrants fall into those last two groups of people, you’re sittin’ pretty.

We recommend including a call-to-action to “Add this webinar to your calendar” as the #1 CTA in both your thank-you and follow-up emails. (More on this later.)

9. Send value-building reminder emails.

Send these two weeks in advance, and one week in advance on your webinar. They not only serve to remind registrants about the webinar’s date and time, but rebuild the value that you established with them on your registration landing page. Many of your registrants may have not only forgotten that they registered for your webinar … they may have forgotten why they registered in the first place.

Include relevant blog posts or previous ebooks or webinars that cover similar topics. You might frame this as content your team has recently updated, which they can learn more about in the webinar. Include the webinar’s hashtag and tell people to tweet if they have any questions.

10. Send two final reminder emails.

People forget. Things come up. Last-minute reminder emails — specifically, one the day before, and one the day of — give people enough time to finagle attendance around meetings and other items on their to-do list, but also not too much time that they’ll forget about the webinar. It’s only a day (or less!) away, after all. Again, include the webinar’s hashtag and tell people to tweet if they have any questions.

11. Market your webinar using social media.

You know what’s awesome about social media? It’s much more difficult to oversaturate your social audience than your email audience. And there’s a really, really good chance much of your email audience is connected with you socially, too. That affords you the opportunity to use social media to remind your audience about your webinar.

If you’re using a social media publishing schedule, you can pepper in updates for every social channel that remind your audience you have an upcoming webinar. Increase the number of reminder updates as the date approaches, particularly the day before and day of. Make sure you pick a dedicated hashtag for your webinar and include it on the landing page, in your emails, and everywhere else you’re promoting it.

12. Market your webinar through your speakers.

Of course you’ll be promoting your webinar, but what about the presenters? You know, the ones with a different audience than yours right at their fingertips? Are they leveraging their personal connections, social accounts, and email lists to make sure they have a giant audience? If they’re not, they sure-as-shootin’ should.

13. Don’t be afraid of paid media.

If you’re looking to drive more attendees to your webinar and have the budget, a little paid media to supplement your organic efforts can always help. For instance, you might run a PPC ad on Google for a search term that aligns with your webinar content in order to get the word out and drive attendance.

By bidding on a long-tail term such as “aligning sales and marketing” you can also keep your PPC costs low, promoting your webinar in a cost effective way. Just make sure your paid media team and organic team are aligned, so your company is organically publishing terms like “aligning sales and marketing” while you bid on the same term, resulting in total dominance in the SERPs for that keyword phrase.

For more detailed tips, download our free guide to social media advertising.

14. Blog about your webinar.

Use your blog (and other blogs if you have the relationships) to promote your webinar and the topic it covers. Create a “launch blog post” for your webinar indicating the excitement of new content/data in the webinar. Obviously, you’ll want to provide links to the registration landing page within the blog post, too — including a webinar-specific CTA to include at the end of your post, like we did in the post below:

Blog post promoting a webinar

You can also get your audience warmed up to the topic of the webinar by creating blog content that discusses that topic at different angles. Include the webinar CTA in these posts as well, but be sure to swap it out with a different CTA once the webinar is over.

Bonus: If you start writing posts about the webinar topic far enough in advance, you can use the questions readers ask in the comments section to beef up your presentation, too.

15. Set calendar reminders.

Some uber-organized people will put your webinar right on their calendar, but there are tools out there that let you take it a step further. 

My colleague Christine White, manager of marketing acquisition here at HubSpot, uses AddEvent and WorldTimeBuddy to create add-to-calendar CTAs.

16. Partner up.

If you want more people to attend your webinar, you can always consider working with another brand. But while additional attendees is one benefit, it shouldn’t be the main focus of partnering up — relevancy, however, should be.

HubSpot has partnered with numerous partners specifically for co-marketing purposes because we believe that two well-aligned brands have the power to be truly amazing together — much more amazing than they can be apart. It’s also helpful for your audience if they can hear another perspective once in a while, particularly when that perspective comes from a specialist’s point of view.

Tweet about partner webinar

17. Leverage your homepage.

Your homepage is likely one of the most visited pages on your website. So why wouldn’t you leverage your homepage real estate to promote upcoming webinars?

It’s a great way to show people that your entire company is behind the webinar and sees the value in it for site visitors. Don’t hide behind your webinars; get them out in public and show people that your company believes in the initiative. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to create smart CTAs for your homepage here.)

Homepage CTA on HubSpot promoting webinar

18. Use the best video conferencing tools to ensure a smooth video experience

If an industry expert reveals the secret to success, but their technology wasn’t good enough to record it, did they make an impact?

The content of your webinar might be unparalleled industry insight, but it isn’t nearly as valuable if your attendees can’t easily access and listen to the event. Picking the right video conferencing tool puts your webinar on the platform it deserves so people are encouraged to join in and listen to you.

What are some reliable webinar hosting services to choose from? Glad you asked …

Loom

Loom is a video recording software, compatible with Mac, Windows, and Chromebook computers. The tool offers a convenient desktop app and can record your screen activity in real time. Loom is particularly useful for pre-recorded webinars, slide presentations, and single-hosted experiences.

Google Hangouts

If you have a Gmail account, you’re probably familiar with Google Hangouts. This simple video conferencing tool pops out of your Gmail account and can invite attendees to a group call using their email addresses. It supports live webinars with multiple guests.

Zoom

Zoom is a cloud-based conferencing tool that offers live and on-demand video services. You can use a Zoom account to add a video chat option to group events listed on your online calendar.

GoToWebinar

GoToWebinar helps you create branded webinars with automated email invitations leading up to the event. It also makes it easy to follow up with attendees after the webinar, while reporting on who attended and who didn’t.

Customers buy from the companies they can trust, and broadcasting your industry expertise via webinar is one of the key ways of doing that. To learn more about how inbound marketing can help you delight your customers, take our free certification course below.  

Learn Inbound Marketing over the weekend.

 
free webinar checklist

How to Unblock Someone on Facebook and Messenger [FAQ]

When you block someone on Facebook, they won’t be able to see anything you post on your profile, tag you in any form of content, invite you to any events or groups, message you, or add you as a friend.

But what happens if you accidentally block someone, or decide you want to unblock someone?

This quick guide will walk you through the process of unblocking someone on Facebook or within the Facebook Messenger app.

Make sense of the Facebook Business Page Timeline using this free guide.

It’s important to note that when you block someone on Facebook, you will also automatically unfriend them. Unblocking them will not automatically add them as a friend again — you will need to send them a separate friend request after you unblock them if you wish to be their friend again.

Got it? Let’s jump in.

How to Unblock Someone on Facebook

1. On Facebook, click the down-arrow icon in the top right and then select “Settings”.

 

2. On the left side of your Settings page, click “Blocking”.

 

3. Find the “Block users” section, and click the blue “Unblock” link beside the name of the person you want to unblock.

 

4. Click “Confirm” to officially unblock that person.

How to Unblock Someone on Facebook Messenger

  1. In the Messenger app, click on your photo icon at the top left corner.

 

2. Scroll down and click “Account Settings”.

 

3. Click “Blocking”.

 

4. If you type a name in the text box, you can click the “Block” button to block them. Below the text box, there’s a list of previously blocked people. To unblock someone, click the “Unblock” button beside their name.

5. Click the blue “Unblock” button to unblock that person.

 

download our free facebook business page tips

 
learn how to create a facebook business page

When you block someone on Facebook, they won’t be able to see anything you post on your profile, tag you in any form of content, invite you to any events or groups, message you, or add you as a friend.

But what happens if you accidentally block someone, or decide you want to unblock someone?

This quick guide will walk you through the process of unblocking someone on Facebook or within the Facebook Messenger app.

Make sense of the Facebook Business Page Timeline using this free guide.

It’s important to note that when you block someone on Facebook, you will also automatically unfriend them. Unblocking them will not automatically add them as a friend again — you will need to send them a separate friend request after you unblock them if you wish to be their friend again.

Got it? Let’s jump in.

How to Unblock Someone on Facebook

1. On Facebook, click the down-arrow icon in the top right and then select “Settings”.

 

2. On the left side of your Settings page, click “Blocking”.

 

3. Find the “Block users” section, and click the blue “Unblock” link beside the name of the person you want to unblock.

 

4. Click “Confirm” to officially unblock that person.

How to Unblock Someone on Facebook Messenger

  1. In the Messenger app, click on your photo icon at the top left corner.

 

2. Scroll down and click “Account Settings”.

 

3. Click “Blocking”.

 

4. If you type a name in the text box, you can click the “Block” button to block them. Below the text box, there’s a list of previously blocked people. To unblock someone, click the “Unblock” button beside their name.

5. Click the blue “Unblock” button to unblock that person.

 

download our free facebook business page tips

 
learn how to create a facebook business page

The 7 Most Useful Google Sheets Formulas

Lately, the best part of my day has been figuring out the cool new things I can do in Google Sheets — which, yes, definitely means I need to get out more, but also means I can share my favorite formulas with you.

Learn how to run effective marketing campaigns using Google.

How to Use Formulas for Google Sheets

  1. Double-click on the cell you want to enter the formula in. (If you want the formula for the entire row, this will probably be the first or second row in a column.)
  2. Type the equal (=) sign.
  3. Enter your formula. Depending on the data, Google Sheets might suggest a formula and/or range for you.

V-LOOKUP Google Sheets Formula

V-lookups, are by far, the most useful formula in your tool-kit when you’re working with large amounts of data. The V-lookup formula looks for a data point — like, say, a blog post title or URL — in one sheet, and returns a relevant piece of information for that data point — like monthly views or conversion rate in another sheet.

For example, if I want to see how much traffic a specific set of blog posts got, I’ll export a list from Google Analytics, then put that list in another tab and use the V-LOOKUP function to pull views by URL into the first tab.

The only caveat: The data point must exist in both cells, and it must in the first column of the second sheet.

Formula:

=VLOOKUP(search_criterion, array, index, sort_order)

Let’s walk through an example, which should make this a bit easier to understand.

In the first sheet, I have a list of blog posts, including their titles, URLs and monthly traffic. In the second sheet, I have a report from Google Analytics with average page load time by URL. I want to see if there’s any correlation between page speed and performance.

An example:

=VLOOKUP(A2,’GA Avg. Load Time’’!$1:$1000,2,FALSE)

IFERROR Google Sheets Formula

Any time you’re using a formula where more than 10% of the return values lead to errors, your spreadsheet starts to look really messy (see the above screenshot!).

To give you an idea, maybe you have two columns: one for page views and another for CTA clicks. You want to see the highest-converting pages, so you create a third column for page views divided by CTA clicks (or =B2/C2).

About one-third of your pages, however, don’t have any CTAs — so they haven’t gotten any clicks. This will show up as #VALUE! on your sheet, since you can’t divide by zero.

Using the IFERROR formula lets you replace the VALUE! Status with another value. I typically use a space (“ “) so the sheet is as clean as possible.

Here’s the formula:

=IFERROR(original_formula, value_if_error)

So for the above situation, my formula would be:

=IFERROR((B2/C2, “ “)

COUNTIF Google Sheets Formula

The COUNTIF formula tells you how many how many cells in a given range meet the criteria you’ve specified. With this up your sleeve, you’ll never have to manually count cells again.

Formula:

=COUNTIF(range, criterion)

Let’s say I’m curious how many blog posts received more than 1,000 views for this time period — I’d enter:

=COUNTIF(C2:C500,“>1000”)

Or maybe I want to see how many blog posts were written by Caroline Forsey. If the author was in Column D, my formula would be:

=COUNTIF(D2:D500, “Caroline Forsey”)

LEN Google Sheets Function

Have you noticed Google Analytics cuts off the “http://” or “https://” from every URL? This posed a major issue for me when I wanted to combine data from HubSpot and GA — the V-Lookup function wouldn’t work because the URLs weren’t identical (“https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing versus “blog.hubspot.com/marketing).

Luckily, there’s no need to manually change every URL. The LEN function lets you adapt the length of any string.

=LEFT(text,LEN(text)-n)

=RIGHT(text,LEN(text)-n)

So, let’s say the full URL is in column I. To remove the “https://” string and make it identical to the URL in the Google Analytics tab, I’d use:

=RIGHT(I2, LEN(I2)-8)

If you wanted to remove the last characters in a cell, you’d simply change RIGHT to LEFT.

Array Formula for Google Sheets

Rarely do you need to apply a formula to a single cell — you’re usually using it across a row or column. If you copy and paste a formula into a new cell, Google Sheets will automatically change it o reference the right cells; for example, if I enter =A2+B2 in cell C2, then drag the formula down to C3, the formula will become =A3+B3.

But there are a few drawbacks to this. First, if you’re working with a lot of data, having hundreds or thousands of formulas can make Google Sheets a lot slower. Second, if you change the formula — maybe now you want to see =A2*B2 instead — you have to make that change across every formula. Again, that’s time-consuming and requires a lot of processing power. And finally, the formula doesn’t automatically apply to new rows or columns.

An array formula solves these issues. It’s one formula, with one calculation, but the results are sorted into multiple rows or columns. Not only is this more efficient, but any changes will automatically apply to all your data.

ARRAYFORMULA(array_formula)

Let’s suppose I want to see how much non-paid traffic we’d gotten in March and April. That requires subtracting paid traffic from total (column D from column C) and then adding the totals together. Two separate formulas.

Or, I could use an array formula:

=ARRAYFORMULA(SUM(C2:C5-D2:D5)

The second part, SUM(C2:C5-D2:D5), should look somewhat familiar. It’s a traditional addition formula — but it’s applied to a range (cells C2 through C5 and D2 through D5) instead of individual cells.

The first part, =ARRAYFORMULA, tells Google Sheets we’re applying this formula to a range.

I could also use an array formula to look at the non-paid traffic specifically from updates (not new content) in March and April.

Here’s what that would look like:

=ARRAYFORMULA(SUM(C2,C4-D2,D4))

IMPORTRANGE Google Sheets Formula

I use to spend a ton of time (and processing power) manually copying huge amounts of data from one spreadsheet to another. Then I learned about this handy formula, which imports data from a separate Google Sheets spreadsheet.

Suppose our resident historical optimization expert Braden Becker sent me a spreadsheet of the content he updated last month. I want to add that data to a master spreadsheet of all the content (both new and historically optimized) we published. I’d use this formula:

IMPORTRANGE(spreadsheet_url, range_string)

Which would look like:

IMPORTRANGE(“https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/abcd123abcd123”, “Update Performance!A2:D100”)

How to Split Text in Google Sheets

Splitting text can be incredibly useful when you’re dealing with different versions of the same URLs.

To give you an idea, let’s suppose I’ve created a spreadsheet with every URL that received at least 300 views in January and February. I want to compare the two months to see which blog posts got more views over time, fewer, or around the same.

The problem is, if I do a V-LOOKUP between the two tabs, Google Sheets won’t recognize these as the same URLs:

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/songs-for-maximum-motivation (regular URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/songs-for-maximum-motivation?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=songs-for-maximum-motivation&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion (tracking URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates (regular URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion (tracking URL)

It would be awesome if I could get delete everything after the question mark in the tracking URLs so they matched the original ones.

That’s where the split text formula comes in.

=SPLIT(text, delimiter, [split_by_each], [remove_empty_text])

Text: The text you want to divide (can be a string of characters, such as https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion, or a cell, like A2)

Delimiter: The characters you want to split the text around.

Split_by_each: Google Sheets considers each character in the delimiter to be separate. That means if you split your text by “utm”, it will split everything around the characters “u”,”t”, and “m”. Include FALSE in your formula to turn this setting off.

In the example above, here’s the formula I’d use to split the first part of the URL from the UTM code:

=SPLIT(A2,“?”)

The first part is now in Column B, and the UTM code is in Column C. I can simply delete everything in Column C, and run the V-LOOKUP on the URLs in Column B.

Alternatively, you can use Google Sheet’s “Split text to columns” feature. Highlight the range of data you want to split, then select “Data” > “Split text to columns.”

Now choose the character you want to delimit by: a colon, semicolon, period, space, or custom character. You can also opt for Google Sheets to figure out which character you want to split by (which it’s smart enough to do if your data is entered uniformly, e.g. every cell follows the same format) by choosing the first option, “detect automatically.”

I hope these Google Sheets formulas are helpful. If you have any other favorites, let me know on Twitter: @ajavuu.

How to Run a Marketing Campaign with GSuite

 
Check out this free ebook on running effectibe marketing campaigns using GSuite.

Lately, the best part of my day has been figuring out the cool new things I can do in Google Sheets — which, yes, definitely means I need to get out more, but also means I can share my favorite formulas with you.

Learn how to run effective marketing campaigns using Google.

How to Use Formulas for Google Sheets

  1. Double-click on the cell you want to enter the formula in. (If you want the formula for the entire row, this will probably be the first or second row in a column.)
  2. Type the equal (=) sign.
  3. Enter your formula. Depending on the data, Google Sheets might suggest a formula and/or range for you.

V-LOOKUP Google Sheets Formula

V-lookups, are by far, the most useful formula in your tool-kit when you’re working with large amounts of data. The V-lookup formula looks for a data point — like, say, a blog post title or URL — in one sheet, and returns a relevant piece of information for that data point — like monthly views or conversion rate in another sheet.

For example, if I want to see how much traffic a specific set of blog posts got, I’ll export a list from Google Analytics, then put that list in another tab and use the V-LOOKUP function to pull views by URL into the first tab.

The only caveat: The data point must exist in both cells, and it must in the first column of the second sheet.

Formula:

=VLOOKUP(search_criterion, array, index, sort_order)

Let’s walk through an example, which should make this a bit easier to understand.

In the first sheet, I have a list of blog posts, including their titles, URLs and monthly traffic. In the second sheet, I have a report from Google Analytics with average page load time by URL. I want to see if there’s any correlation between page speed and performance.

An example:

=VLOOKUP(A2,’GA Avg. Load Time’’!$1:$1000,2,FALSE)

IFERROR Google Sheets Formula

Any time you’re using a formula where more than 10% of the return values lead to errors, your spreadsheet starts to look really messy (see the above screenshot!).

To give you an idea, maybe you have two columns: one for page views and another for CTA clicks. You want to see the highest-converting pages, so you create a third column for page views divided by CTA clicks (or =B2/C2).

About one-third of your pages, however, don’t have any CTAs — so they haven’t gotten any clicks. This will show up as #VALUE! on your sheet, since you can’t divide by zero.

Using the IFERROR formula lets you replace the VALUE! Status with another value. I typically use a space (“ “) so the sheet is as clean as possible.

Here’s the formula:

=IFERROR(original_formula, value_if_error)

So for the above situation, my formula would be:

=IFERROR((B2/C2, “ “)

COUNTIF Google Sheets Formula

The COUNTIF formula tells you how many how many cells in a given range meet the criteria you’ve specified. With this up your sleeve, you’ll never have to manually count cells again.

Formula:

=COUNTIF(range, criterion)

Let’s say I’m curious how many blog posts received more than 1,000 views for this time period — I’d enter:

=COUNTIF(C2:C500,“>1000”)

Or maybe I want to see how many blog posts were written by Caroline Forsey. If the author was in Column D, my formula would be:

=COUNTIF(D2:D500, “Caroline Forsey”)

LEN Google Sheets Function

Have you noticed Google Analytics cuts off the “http://” or “https://” from every URL? This posed a major issue for me when I wanted to combine data from HubSpot and GA — the V-Lookup function wouldn’t work because the URLs weren’t identical (“https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing versus “blog.hubspot.com/marketing).

Luckily, there’s no need to manually change every URL. The LEN function lets you adapt the length of any string.

=LEFT(text,LEN(text)-n)

=RIGHT(text,LEN(text)-n)

So, let’s say the full URL is in column I. To remove the “https://” string and make it identical to the URL in the Google Analytics tab, I’d use:

=RIGHT(I2, LEN(I2)-8)

If you wanted to remove the last characters in a cell, you’d simply change RIGHT to LEFT.

Array Formula for Google Sheets

Rarely do you need to apply a formula to a single cell — you’re usually using it across a row or column. If you copy and paste a formula into a new cell, Google Sheets will automatically change it o reference the right cells; for example, if I enter =A2+B2 in cell C2, then drag the formula down to C3, the formula will become =A3+B3.

But there are a few drawbacks to this. First, if you’re working with a lot of data, having hundreds or thousands of formulas can make Google Sheets a lot slower. Second, if you change the formula — maybe now you want to see =A2*B2 instead — you have to make that change across every formula. Again, that’s time-consuming and requires a lot of processing power. And finally, the formula doesn’t automatically apply to new rows or columns.

An array formula solves these issues. It’s one formula, with one calculation, but the results are sorted into multiple rows or columns. Not only is this more efficient, but any changes will automatically apply to all your data.

ARRAYFORMULA(array_formula)

Let’s suppose I want to see how much non-paid traffic we’d gotten in March and April. That requires subtracting paid traffic from total (column D from column C) and then adding the totals together. Two separate formulas.

Or, I could use an array formula:

=ARRAYFORMULA(SUM(C2:C5-D2:D5)

The second part, SUM(C2:C5-D2:D5), should look somewhat familiar. It’s a traditional addition formula — but it’s applied to a range (cells C2 through C5 and D2 through D5) instead of individual cells.

The first part, =ARRAYFORMULA, tells Google Sheets we’re applying this formula to a range.

I could also use an array formula to look at the non-paid traffic specifically from updates (not new content) in March and April.

Here’s what that would look like:

=ARRAYFORMULA(SUM(C2,C4-D2,D4))

IMPORTRANGE Google Sheets Formula

I use to spend a ton of time (and processing power) manually copying huge amounts of data from one spreadsheet to another. Then I learned about this handy formula, which imports data from a separate Google Sheets spreadsheet.

Suppose our resident historical optimization expert Braden Becker sent me a spreadsheet of the content he updated last month. I want to add that data to a master spreadsheet of all the content (both new and historically optimized) we published. I’d use this formula:

IMPORTRANGE(spreadsheet_url, range_string)

Which would look like:

IMPORTRANGE(“https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/abcd123abcd123”, “Update Performance!A2:D100”)

How to Split Text in Google Sheets

Splitting text can be incredibly useful when you’re dealing with different versions of the same URLs.

To give you an idea, let’s suppose I’ve created a spreadsheet with every URL that received at least 300 views in January and February. I want to compare the two months to see which blog posts got more views over time, fewer, or around the same.

The problem is, if I do a V-LOOKUP between the two tabs, Google Sheets won’t recognize these as the same URLs:

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/songs-for-maximum-motivation (regular URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/songs-for-maximum-motivation?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=songs-for-maximum-motivation&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion (tracking URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates (regular URL)

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion (tracking URL)

It would be awesome if I could get delete everything after the question mark in the tracking URLs so they matched the original ones.

That’s where the split text formula comes in.

=SPLIT(text, delimiter, [split_by_each], [remove_empty_text])

Text: The text you want to divide (can be a string of characters, such as https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates?utm_medium=paid_EN&utm_content=create-infographics-with-free-powerpoint-templates&utm_source=getpocket.com&utm_campaign=PocketPromotion, or a cell, like A2)

Delimiter: The characters you want to split the text around.

Split_by_each: Google Sheets considers each character in the delimiter to be separate. That means if you split your text by “utm”, it will split everything around the characters “u”,”t”, and “m”. Include FALSE in your formula to turn this setting off.

In the example above, here’s the formula I’d use to split the first part of the URL from the UTM code:

=SPLIT(A2,“?”)

The first part is now in Column B, and the UTM code is in Column C. I can simply delete everything in Column C, and run the V-LOOKUP on the URLs in Column B.

Alternatively, you can use Google Sheet’s “Split text to columns” feature. Highlight the range of data you want to split, then select “Data” > “Split text to columns.”

Now choose the character you want to delimit by: a colon, semicolon, period, space, or custom character. You can also opt for Google Sheets to figure out which character you want to split by (which it’s smart enough to do if your data is entered uniformly, e.g. every cell follows the same format) by choosing the first option, “detect automatically.”

I hope these Google Sheets formulas are helpful. If you have any other favorites, let me know on Twitter: @ajavuu.

How to Run a Marketing Campaign with GSuite

 
Check out this free ebook on running effectibe marketing campaigns using GSuite.

The Top 15 Ways to Come up with New Content Ideas

I write a ton of blog posts for my websites.

Writing has become a major part of my life throughout the years.

People recognize this and often ask me the same question: How do you come up with these new ideas?

Truthfully, writer’s block happens to all of us. Just ask any writer, and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Sometimes you sit down, and the words don’t spill onto the page as easy as you’d like them to. I can relate and empathize with you there.

That said, I don’t have much trouble coming up with new ideas. I came up with a system a while ago that made it easy for me to constantly source new topics to write about.

These strategies aren’t limited to blog posts.

They can be used to come up with content for research articles, podcasts, and ebooks. You can even use them to come up with ideas for your new video blog or whatever else you’re working on.

Here are the top 15 ways to source new content ideas.

1. Create topic lists in bunches

When you’re ready to write new content, you shouldn’t be sitting down to decide what you’ll write about.

This wastes time, and it’s inefficient.

I like to create long lists of potential topics all at once. Spend a few hours researching subjects for new ideas.

Give yourself enough topics for at least a month or two. If you’re publishing three posts per week, you’ll want to aim for at least 12 to 24 new ideas.

how frequent

Sometimes, I come up with 50 topics at a time.

When your mind is focused on one task, it’s much easier to brainstorm. Come up with the ideas first. You can perfect the titles when you start writing.

This strategy will make it easier for you to pump out content. You’ll be able to pick a topic from your list and start writing.

2. Social media followers

Start with people who follow you on social media. Click on their profiles and see what they’re talking about.

Read through tweets. Check out photos. See what brands they are interacting with.

Some of these may lead to a dead end, but others can be extremely beneficial to your brainstorming process.

Plus, if you have tons of social media followers, you’ll always have a huge source of ideas.

You could even ask your followers directly. Post a question on your Instagram story, and ask for replies.

For example, let’s say you have a brand related to the fitness industry. Ask your followers a question about their favorite unconventional workouts or what meals help them lose weight.

The answers will help you come up with new content ideas.

3. Blog comments

Review the comments on all your posts. You should do that even when you’re not trying to come up with new ideas.

It gives you a chance to communicate with your audience. Always respond to their comments.

These comments can be a great source of inspiration. For example, here’s one of the comments from a recent post I wrote on the Neil Patel blog:

neil patel blog

The reader makes some interesting points here. I could pull a few different concepts from this message to write about in the future.

As you can see, I responded to his comment as well.

If people ask questions in the comments section, those questions could be used as titles for a new topic. Just tweak a few words or so to make it SEO friendly.

Regardless of what your audience comments about, I’m confident you can generate at least one or two ideas from this section of each post you publish.

The great thing about this source is it’s nearly never-ending. As long as you keep publishing new posts, there will always be new ideas hidden in the comments.

4. Conduct interviews

How do you know what type of content your audience wants to see? Ask them directly to tell you.

Conduct interviews. Ask them about their habits.

The great thing about an interview is it doesn’t have to be direct. You don’t have to have a clear black and white question with a definitive yes or no answer.

Just find ways to get people talking.

You’d be surprised how interesting some of these statements can be. The responders may start feeding you new content ideas without even realizing it.

It’s in your best interest to record your interviews. That way, you can review them later instead of frantically trying to write things down while someone is speaking.

5. Competitor websites

If you’re not sure what to write about, check out your competitor’s blog. This is one of the best ways to come up with long lists of topics in bunches.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to steal or plagiarize. But there is nothing wrong with using their titles and concepts for idea generation.

Look through their posts and start writing down topics you haven’t covered yet.

You have a huge advantage here because you can try to make your post about the same topic even better than theirs. For example, let’s say you’re using a top 10 list from a competitor’s blog as an inspiration for a new content idea. Well, you can try to one up them by creating a top 15 list on the same topic.

In addition to your competitor’s titles for new content ideas, you can also look at other aspects of their website.

Read through their comments section. You already did this with the comments on your website, so it makes sense there will be ideas buried in other sites as well.

See if they have an FAQ page on their site. These questions could all be ideas for the topics you can write about.

6. Google search suggestions

If you’ve got a general topic in mind, start searching for it on Google:

email marketing

Look at all the suggested topics that come up when I type in “email marketing.”

These suggestions could all be topics to cover.

In addition to the search suggestions, you can also check out the related searches at the bottom of the page:

related searches

If you’re not sure what to search for to generate these suggestions, start with content titles you’ve already posted.

The reason why this is such a good strategy is because you know the topics will be relevant to your audience.

Plus, you can assume these new titles will be SEO friendly since you sourced them through Google.

7. Recent events

Depending on your brand, you may not want to be reporting breaking news.

It won’t speak to your audience, and it doesn’t fit with your company image.

But you can definitely come up with ways to get creative. When you’re watching the news or reading updates from an online source, try to figure out how you can make these topics relevant to your brand.

Look up local events or  national trade shows related to your industry.

Give your audience information about the event. Tell them what they need to know if they want to attend or register.

8. Product reviews

Think about recent products you’ve used related to your brand or industry.

You can review these topics in a blog post or video demonstration.

For example, let’s say you run a website related to camping and other outdoor adventures. If you go on a fishing trip and use a new pole, you could write about your experience with the new gear.

If your company is releasing a new product, use this method to build hype for a new product launch.

You could even write reviews for products you don’t own and never used. Just look up products online, and base your discussion around online customer reviews.

9. Topic generator platforms

If you’re still stuck and can’t think of anything to write about or research, use online sources to help you generate topics.

One of my favorites is the HubSpot blog ideas generator.

hubspot

As you can see, it’s pretty simple.

Just add some keywords you want to include, and the tool will come up with a list of potential ideas.

In addition to the HubSpot tool, you can check out Portent’s content idea generator.

10. Personal stories

When in doubt, tell a story about something that happened to you.

It could be a success story. Or maybe tell your audience a story about a mistake you made.

How did you learn from it? How did you get to be where you are today?

It could be a recent story or one from the past. Master the art of storytelling.

Personal stories are great because they make your content unique. While people may have similar stories, the details of yours won’t be the same as anyone else’s.

11. Sign up for newsletters

Get content ideas delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up for industry newsletters. They’ll keep you up to date with trending topics, news, and events.

You can even sign up for competitor newsletters. See what they are discussing with their customers.

Use the topics covered in these emails to generate new content ideas.

12. YouTube videos

All businesses should have a YouTube profile. Use it to upload videos, and then share those videos on all your marketing channels.

But YouTube can also be a resource for coming up with new ideas.

Treat it the same way as a Google search, which I previously discussed. As you start to type in a subject, you’ll see suggestions.

When you watch a video, there will be related videos on the sidebar for you to consider as well.

Let’s say your brand is in the automotive industry. Here’s an example from the ChrisFix YouTube channel:

youtube

This video is about how to change the oil in a car. But look at the videos on the sidebar I’ve highlighted.

These related topics are about how to replace brake pads and how to repair rust on a car. Both of these are suitable new content ideas related to this industry.

In addition to finding topics based on the titles of videos, you can also watch some of them to find some inspiration within their content.

Just as you did with your website and the websites of your competitors, you’ll also want to read through the comments section of YouTube videos. Check out the comments on your videos as well as the videos you’re watching to help generate new ideas.

13. New products and technology

If your company sells something, writing content about a new product release is a win-win scenario.

I briefly mentioned this earlier when I talked about product reviews.

First, you’ll be able to generate a buzz for the release, which will ultimately help you drive sales. But it also gives you something to write about.

Furthermore, staying up to date with the latest technology trends can help you come up with new topics to cover.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you have, new technology is evolving everywhere.

There could be new software directly related to your business or just a general advancement in your industry. These are all scenarios to consider sharing with your audience.

14. Use data and analytics

Have you seen a recent study related to your brand or industry?

Write about it.

You don’t have to be the one conducting the research, although that would make the content even better. But to save time, you can use new data to write about a subject.

For example, let’s say you’re in the fashion industry. This new study may be something worth writing about:

necktie

Use this study to talk about fashion trends that don’t require wearing a tie. Or maybe share ideas about how to wear a loose tie with the top shirt button unfastened.

You could even share a video demonstration about how to properly tie a tie so that it’s not too tight around the neck.

All these ideas came from new facts in your industry.

15. Revisit previously published content

Your old content shouldn’t be dead and forgotten. Use those topics for ideas too.

Just re-work the titles, and write a newer post from a different angle.

For example, let’s say your company is in the field of mobile app marketing. If you had written a post about how to get ranked on the app store, a new topic could be how to boost your ranking to get more downloads.

Although the topics are similar, they are not quite the same.

Or let’s say you’re in the personal finance space. An old topic might have been about how to save for retirement. But you can take some of the content from that piece and write a new article about the best retirement accounts to invest in.

If an old post has outdated research, you can write a new one that includes the updated information.

Conclusion

While you may suffer from writer’s block from time to time, you should never be struggling to come up with new content ideas.

There are many resources at your disposal. Learn how to take advantage of them.

Come up with a long list of new ideas at once.

Go through this guide of tips and tricks, and you won’t have any problems.

What resources are you using to generate new content ideas?

I write a ton of blog posts for my websites.

Writing has become a major part of my life throughout the years.

People recognize this and often ask me the same question: How do you come up with these new ideas?

Truthfully, writer’s block happens to all of us. Just ask any writer, and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Sometimes you sit down, and the words don’t spill onto the page as easy as you’d like them to. I can relate and empathize with you there.

That said, I don’t have much trouble coming up with new ideas. I came up with a system a while ago that made it easy for me to constantly source new topics to write about.

These strategies aren’t limited to blog posts.

They can be used to come up with content for research articles, podcasts, and ebooks. You can even use them to come up with ideas for your new video blog or whatever else you’re working on.

Here are the top 15 ways to source new content ideas.

1. Create topic lists in bunches

When you’re ready to write new content, you shouldn’t be sitting down to decide what you’ll write about.

This wastes time, and it’s inefficient.

I like to create long lists of potential topics all at once. Spend a few hours researching subjects for new ideas.

Give yourself enough topics for at least a month or two. If you’re publishing three posts per week, you’ll want to aim for at least 12 to 24 new ideas.

how frequent

Sometimes, I come up with 50 topics at a time.

When your mind is focused on one task, it’s much easier to brainstorm. Come up with the ideas first. You can perfect the titles when you start writing.

This strategy will make it easier for you to pump out content. You’ll be able to pick a topic from your list and start writing.

2. Social media followers

Start with people who follow you on social media. Click on their profiles and see what they’re talking about.

Read through tweets. Check out photos. See what brands they are interacting with.

Some of these may lead to a dead end, but others can be extremely beneficial to your brainstorming process.

Plus, if you have tons of social media followers, you’ll always have a huge source of ideas.

You could even ask your followers directly. Post a question on your Instagram story, and ask for replies.

For example, let’s say you have a brand related to the fitness industry. Ask your followers a question about their favorite unconventional workouts or what meals help them lose weight.

The answers will help you come up with new content ideas.

3. Blog comments

Review the comments on all your posts. You should do that even when you’re not trying to come up with new ideas.

It gives you a chance to communicate with your audience. Always respond to their comments.

These comments can be a great source of inspiration. For example, here’s one of the comments from a recent post I wrote on the Neil Patel blog:

neil patel blog

The reader makes some interesting points here. I could pull a few different concepts from this message to write about in the future.

As you can see, I responded to his comment as well.

If people ask questions in the comments section, those questions could be used as titles for a new topic. Just tweak a few words or so to make it SEO friendly.

Regardless of what your audience comments about, I’m confident you can generate at least one or two ideas from this section of each post you publish.

The great thing about this source is it’s nearly never-ending. As long as you keep publishing new posts, there will always be new ideas hidden in the comments.

4. Conduct interviews

How do you know what type of content your audience wants to see? Ask them directly to tell you.

Conduct interviews. Ask them about their habits.

The great thing about an interview is it doesn’t have to be direct. You don’t have to have a clear black and white question with a definitive yes or no answer.

Just find ways to get people talking.

You’d be surprised how interesting some of these statements can be. The responders may start feeding you new content ideas without even realizing it.

It’s in your best interest to record your interviews. That way, you can review them later instead of frantically trying to write things down while someone is speaking.

5. Competitor websites

If you’re not sure what to write about, check out your competitor’s blog. This is one of the best ways to come up with long lists of topics in bunches.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to steal or plagiarize. But there is nothing wrong with using their titles and concepts for idea generation.

Look through their posts and start writing down topics you haven’t covered yet.

You have a huge advantage here because you can try to make your post about the same topic even better than theirs. For example, let’s say you’re using a top 10 list from a competitor’s blog as an inspiration for a new content idea. Well, you can try to one up them by creating a top 15 list on the same topic.

In addition to your competitor’s titles for new content ideas, you can also look at other aspects of their website.

Read through their comments section. You already did this with the comments on your website, so it makes sense there will be ideas buried in other sites as well.

See if they have an FAQ page on their site. These questions could all be ideas for the topics you can write about.

6. Google search suggestions

If you’ve got a general topic in mind, start searching for it on Google:

email marketing

Look at all the suggested topics that come up when I type in “email marketing.”

These suggestions could all be topics to cover.

In addition to the search suggestions, you can also check out the related searches at the bottom of the page:

related searches

If you’re not sure what to search for to generate these suggestions, start with content titles you’ve already posted.

The reason why this is such a good strategy is because you know the topics will be relevant to your audience.

Plus, you can assume these new titles will be SEO friendly since you sourced them through Google.

7. Recent events

Depending on your brand, you may not want to be reporting breaking news.

It won’t speak to your audience, and it doesn’t fit with your company image.

But you can definitely come up with ways to get creative. When you’re watching the news or reading updates from an online source, try to figure out how you can make these topics relevant to your brand.

Look up local events or  national trade shows related to your industry.

Give your audience information about the event. Tell them what they need to know if they want to attend or register.

8. Product reviews

Think about recent products you’ve used related to your brand or industry.

You can review these topics in a blog post or video demonstration.

For example, let’s say you run a website related to camping and other outdoor adventures. If you go on a fishing trip and use a new pole, you could write about your experience with the new gear.

If your company is releasing a new product, use this method to build hype for a new product launch.

You could even write reviews for products you don’t own and never used. Just look up products online, and base your discussion around online customer reviews.

9. Topic generator platforms

If you’re still stuck and can’t think of anything to write about or research, use online sources to help you generate topics.

One of my favorites is the HubSpot blog ideas generator.

hubspot

As you can see, it’s pretty simple.

Just add some keywords you want to include, and the tool will come up with a list of potential ideas.

In addition to the HubSpot tool, you can check out Portent’s content idea generator.

10. Personal stories

When in doubt, tell a story about something that happened to you.

It could be a success story. Or maybe tell your audience a story about a mistake you made.

How did you learn from it? How did you get to be where you are today?

It could be a recent story or one from the past. Master the art of storytelling.

Personal stories are great because they make your content unique. While people may have similar stories, the details of yours won’t be the same as anyone else’s.

11. Sign up for newsletters

Get content ideas delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up for industry newsletters. They’ll keep you up to date with trending topics, news, and events.

You can even sign up for competitor newsletters. See what they are discussing with their customers.

Use the topics covered in these emails to generate new content ideas.

12. YouTube videos

All businesses should have a YouTube profile. Use it to upload videos, and then share those videos on all your marketing channels.

But YouTube can also be a resource for coming up with new ideas.

Treat it the same way as a Google search, which I previously discussed. As you start to type in a subject, you’ll see suggestions.

When you watch a video, there will be related videos on the sidebar for you to consider as well.

Let’s say your brand is in the automotive industry. Here’s an example from the ChrisFix YouTube channel:

youtube

This video is about how to change the oil in a car. But look at the videos on the sidebar I’ve highlighted.

These related topics are about how to replace brake pads and how to repair rust on a car. Both of these are suitable new content ideas related to this industry.

In addition to finding topics based on the titles of videos, you can also watch some of them to find some inspiration within their content.

Just as you did with your website and the websites of your competitors, you’ll also want to read through the comments section of YouTube videos. Check out the comments on your videos as well as the videos you’re watching to help generate new ideas.

13. New products and technology

If your company sells something, writing content about a new product release is a win-win scenario.

I briefly mentioned this earlier when I talked about product reviews.

First, you’ll be able to generate a buzz for the release, which will ultimately help you drive sales. But it also gives you something to write about.

Furthermore, staying up to date with the latest technology trends can help you come up with new topics to cover.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you have, new technology is evolving everywhere.

There could be new software directly related to your business or just a general advancement in your industry. These are all scenarios to consider sharing with your audience.

14. Use data and analytics

Have you seen a recent study related to your brand or industry?

Write about it.

You don’t have to be the one conducting the research, although that would make the content even better. But to save time, you can use new data to write about a subject.

For example, let’s say you’re in the fashion industry. This new study may be something worth writing about:

necktie

Use this study to talk about fashion trends that don’t require wearing a tie. Or maybe share ideas about how to wear a loose tie with the top shirt button unfastened.

You could even share a video demonstration about how to properly tie a tie so that it’s not too tight around the neck.

All these ideas came from new facts in your industry.

15. Revisit previously published content

Your old content shouldn’t be dead and forgotten. Use those topics for ideas too.

Just re-work the titles, and write a newer post from a different angle.

For example, let’s say your company is in the field of mobile app marketing. If you had written a post about how to get ranked on the app store, a new topic could be how to boost your ranking to get more downloads.

Although the topics are similar, they are not quite the same.

Or let’s say you’re in the personal finance space. An old topic might have been about how to save for retirement. But you can take some of the content from that piece and write a new article about the best retirement accounts to invest in.

If an old post has outdated research, you can write a new one that includes the updated information.

Conclusion

While you may suffer from writer’s block from time to time, you should never be struggling to come up with new content ideas.

There are many resources at your disposal. Learn how to take advantage of them.

Come up with a long list of new ideas at once.

Go through this guide of tips and tricks, and you won’t have any problems.

What resources are you using to generate new content ideas?