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On Wednesday June 27th, Distilled NYC held a meetup entitled “Marketing Your Startup”. We had around 100 people in attendance, some regulars and many first-time attendees, at Zocdoc headquarters in Soho.

I spoke alongside Tom Critchlow and Dan Shure, both of whom gave great talks on “A Startup Content Marketing Plan” and “Thought Leadership Marketing for Startups“.

In my presentation, I attempted to show WHY startups should care about content marketing by speaking a language they understand (users, money) and tying it back to what many SEOs understand (rankings, traffic, links). I showed some examples (DollarShaveClub’s link velocity) and then examples of startups who could do more with content (Instagram, Mint), as well as startups who have done it pretty well (Oyster, BufferApp, WePay).

Finally, I gave the following six steps to moving forward with content as a startup (including a pro-tip that you need to look through the presentation for):

  • Step 1: Don’t Talk About Yourself – http://johnfdoherty.wpengine.com/ brand-voice-marketing/
  • Step 2: Audience – http://www.seomoz.org/blog/keyword-level-demographics
  • Step 3: Competitor Research – [keyword phrase] + guide How to [keyword phrase] https://seogadget.co.uk/content- strategy-generator-tool-v2-update/
  • Step 4: Prioritize, Resourcize,Calendarize – Start small. Get a dedicated resource (pro tip next slide) to produce one piece of difficult-to-replicate content. Create a calendar of consistent material. Your first won’t get many links. Your second will get more. Your third will do better.
  • Step 5: Do The Hard Work Do The Big Work (Seth Godin)
  • Step 6: Outreach – Remember these guys? Now it’s time for outreach. Email Social media PR http://www.seomoz.org/blog/outreach-for-linkbuilding-whiteboard- friday

Here’s the whole presentation. I hope you enjoy it.

Be The Expert

John Doherty —  June 19, 2012

I recently read this article on SearchEngineLand, asking if SEO/online marketing companies might need to protect their company from clients who essentially “go rogue” and start building links in ways that are against Google’s guidelines, and are not necessarily links that you would build for them. The whole article is built around the premise of iAcquire being deindexed (though we should note that this was because of iAcquire’s actions, not their clients’).

I respect Tony Wright and what he has done for the SEO and online marketing community, and this article brings up the important point about SEOs/consultants overall and their clients.

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I just published my longest post yet, The Personal Branding Post That Seth Godin Should Have Written. I was inspired by this post over on ViperChill about productivity. In an effort to do the man himself justice, I’ve written this teaser Godin-style. Now, go read the full post.

We’re all brands. Regardless of our job or location, what people think of us is our brand. You can control this brand, or this brand will control you. It works one way or the other, but not both.

Consistency. Presence. Reach. Expertise. All four of these are required to build and keep your personal brand. Without consistency, people can’t count on you. Without presence, no one will connect with you. Without reach, no one will find you. Without expertise, no one will learn from or trust you.

The choice is yours.

Read The Post

SEO is not about quick wins. I get asked all the time to “give us something that we can do now that will have a noticeable effect”. People, everyone, wants to get the most bang for their buck, and this especially happens in business where there is direct pressure to produce ROI. After all, no one brings in a consultant until they are unable to solve their own problems. At this point, your problems become mine. And if you’ve been seeking quick wins and they’re not working, what the heck makes you think that me giving you quick wins is going to fix your problems? Quick wins have not been solving your issues until now, so why do you think anything is going to be different with my quick wins?

Remember, doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results isn’t smart. It’s actually a sign of madness. Continue Reading…

Let’s talk about virality and viral growth. I live in New York City and work in online marketing, so I’m on the Internet pretty much all the time. And since I am on the Internet all the time, I notice trends. One trend that I have noticed is that a lot of tech startups are focused on viral growth. When asked how they plan to go, I get an answer along the lines of:

Oh, you know, we’ve got this rockstar developer guru who has hooked us into the OpenGraph, so we’re going to autopost everything you do on our site onto their wall. Then, their friends will see it and we’ll have millions of users in no time and we’ll get bought for 1 billion dollars just like Instagram!

Newsflash for you: this is a terrible idea if your only way to grow is through Facebook.
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John Doherty —  May 24, 2012

Here’s my current state of mind:

I haven’t taken a “real” break in a number of months (where I completely unplugged), so that’s what I’m doing right now at the Mountain Film Festival in Colorado. I’m mostly offline from Thursday afternoon to Wednesday.

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve hit a bit of writer’s block recently.  I’m really looking forward to this break so that I can come back fresh and do well for my clients and in my writing on this site.

But never fear! I have an excited guest post set up from my coworker Chris Warren though. I’m really looking forward to what he has to share with all of you, because he’s a really frickin smart dude and a great marketer.

See you next week!

Today Google announced that they have rolled out the “Knowledge Graph”, which Matt Cutts explains thusly:

Google has been talking about entity search for a while, and a lot of talk has happened in the past few months, starting with this story on Mashable (of all places) and an interview with Amit Singhal of Google. In that interview, Amit said:

It’s a challenging task, but the work has already begun. Google is “building a huge, in-house understanding of what an entity is and a repository of what entities are in the world and what should you know about those entities,” said Singhal.”

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We’re all realizing the value of content and content marketing when it comes to SEO and earning rankings, especially with all the algorithm updates from the past year and the recent Penguin update as well. Content is more important than ever, and even the most skeptical are coming around to see that the time for content marketing is now.

All of that is well and good, but it does us no good if we don’t know how to create an editorial calendar for content creation. So let’s examine some tools that can help us do that. Just like a lot of processes that we think “Man, I wish I had a tool for that”, sometimes you need to try a few to figure out which one works best for you. These should get you started. Continue Reading…

On Sunday I taught a class at General Assembly, a startup incubator, to a group of Chinese entrepreneurs from the 2012 ECSEL Fellows Program. Basically, they are all entrepreneurs who are running companies that have been dubbed as important to the Chinese future and are pushing forward in their respective industries to make change. Some of them are dealing with green technology, others with healthcare, and still others trying to solve environmental issues.

Here’s the presentation. I’d love to know your thoughts, and yes, I will write a post about “linkbranding”, which you see on slide 79. Enjoy!

Online marketers have been realizing more and more the value of having a lot of data and making educated decisions for your site and your business based off of that data. Data can tell many tales and point the direction in which a site, and even more importantly a whole industry or vertical, is heading. This can help us avoid upcoming algorithm changes, or make adjustments based on our competitor’s moves so that we can continue to stay on top.

We must be careful, though, to be sure that we looking at full enough of a dataset, with long enough of a view, to make correct decisions. Otherwise, it is quite easy to misinterpret what is actually going on and thus make unwise decisions.

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