5 Ways Networking Can Improve Your Content Marketing

Content marketing isn’t something that happens in a vacuum. Inspiration and tips for your content marketing can come from unexpected places, including networking events. The next time you’re debating whether it’s worth going to that after-work professional get-together, consider these five ways networking can jumpstart your content marketing efforts.

Find New Ideas for Content

Sometimes when I’m trying to come up with new ideas for content, I’ll go to Quora, see what digital marketing-related questions are popular, and write a blog post addressing one of those questions. You can generate content the same way at networking events, with your fellow attendees in the place of Quora commenters.

Pay attention to the questions other attendees ask about your company or industry and the conversations that start as a result. Keep in mind that these are probably some of the same topics that interest your potential online customers. After the networking event, jot down some notes about questions that came up multiple times or particularly engaging conversations you had, and use these to fuel new content for your company.

Connect with Interview Subjects

You’ve probably met someone in your industry who has unplumbed depths of knowledge on a particular professional subject or a fascinating story about their journey down their career path. Why not follow up with them to see if you can interview them for a blog post, short video, or podcast episode? Interviewing leaders in your field is a great way to produce authoritative content and get new insights on industry topics. It’s also a good way to strengthen a professional connection—your interview subject is much more likely to remember you after you produce a piece of content around them than they would be if you only spoke briefly at a networking event.

Connect with People Who May Want to Share Your Content

If you’re dedicating time and energy to producing great content for your company, you should also be promoting that content to make sure the right audience discovers it. And content promotion is a lot easier if you have other industry bloggers and media connections in your corner. Get to know people who write for publications that frequently share the type of content you create, and they may share some of your highest-quality work with their audience—or even let you contribute an article to a high-traffic site.

As with all aspects of networking, remember that this should be a two-way street. Don’t ask for a social share or guest post just because it will help your company—show your peer how this kind of exchange can be mutually beneficial.

Leverage Live Events for Content

If you’re hosting or even just attending a large networking event, you’re sitting on a goldmine of potential marketing content. You can, at the very least, write a blog post or press release summarizing the most important takeaways from the event. If you’ve invited a speaker, or if someone from your company is leading a presentation or workshop, you can film or record their presentation and use it as a video or podcast. Need an example of how to create content around a live event? Check out Content Marketing Institute—they do a great job of crafting articles and press releases about their online Content Marketing World conference.

Learn Content Marketing Lessons While Networking

Content marketing and networking have a lot in common (check out this Small Business Trends article if you don’t believe me). One lesson from networking that I’ve found particularly useful in content marketing is that you should give to others, rather than just thinking, “What’s in it for me?” You won’t make too many meaningful professional connections if you open every conversation by asking for a favor. Similarly, if you try to use a “hard sell” approach in content targeted at people who are just beginning the research phase, you risk turning potential customers off.

Build a connection by offering your assistance first: for example, you could share a relevant blog post from someone you met at a networking event or write your own how-to guide to walk potential customers through a task that’s giving them trouble.  When you take the time to build trust with your network connections, they’re more likely to offer their help, and when you build trust with potential customers, they’re more likely to move past the research phase and make a purchase.

Want more tips on digital marketing strategies? Subscribe to our newsletter or contact us directly.

Transitioning to a New Website Without Losing Value

Losing a site’s hard-earned SEO value after switching domains is an all-too-common problem for inexperienced online marketers. Dan Valle explains the importance of transferring all the value that you’ve built up over time to your new website so you don’t lose search engine rankings and, ultimately, traffic. Learn what to consider before transitioning and hear why Dan recommends using a staging website.

10 Best WordPress Plugins for SEO

You’re certainly not alone if you’re using WordPress to power your website: as of 2014, 74.6 million sites were using this CMS platform. WordPress is a popular choice in part because it’s relatively intuitive for non-developers. Unfortunately, just having a WordPress site doesn’t mean that your pages are automatically optimized for search engines. The good news is that there are many WordPress plugins that will help you improve your on-page SEO and organic search engine rankings. These plugins can make your life easier by letting you make changes to your website without having to manually change a large amount of code, but if you’re not already fairly familiar with WordPress, it can be overwhelming to wade through the 29,000+ available plugins to find the ones that are going to be best for your site.

Many of our clients at Leverage Marketing have WordPress-supported sites, so I talked to our SEO team to get their recommendations for some of the best WordPress plugins. Here are ten that they’ve found particularly useful.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Cost: The basic version is free, and Yoast SEO Premium starts at $69 for one site. Premium comes with several extra features, including tutorial videos, a 301 redirect manager, and Google Webmaster Tools integration.

With over one million active installs, Yoast SEO is easily one of the most popular plugins for WordPress. It’s an SEO management tool that’s pretty easy to figure out even if you don’t have a background in online marketing. With Yoast, you’re able to add title tags, meta descriptions, and sitemap.xml (which helps search engines like Google crawl your site) to all your web pages and blog posts. Yoast will even let you know how well you’re doing: after you enter meta information, they’ll tell you whether your SEO value is good, okay, poor, or bad, and they’ll offer tips to improve your on-page SEO if it’s not looking so great. You can also see a search snippet preview so that you know what your page will look like in the Google search results.



Cost: The Starter Plan is free. You’ll need to request a quote for the Enterprise Plan.

A/B testing your headlines is a valuable SEO strategy; by pitting headlines against each other and seeing which gets more clicks, you can choose the more successful headline and drive more traffic to your site. If you run these tests manually, you’ll need some coding know-how, but Optimizely has a plugin that helps you do A/B tests on any WordPress-powered site, no developer experience necessary.  There are several different plans at different price points, but all plans let you run unlimited experiments. Some of the more expensive plans include extra features such as visitor segmentation, geo-targeting, cross-browser testing, and multivariate testing.

Simple 301 Redirects

Cost: Free

If you’ve recently migrated your website to WordPress and changed your URLs, you’ll need to make sure that people who have previously visited or bookmarked your original site are redirected to the new one. You’ll also need search engines to figure out that your old URL has changed so that the new URL can be properly indexed, preserving the SEO value of your old site. The Simple 301 Redirects plugin lets you do this seamlessly just by entering your old and new URLs. The basic version of this plugin is effective for most smaller sites that don’t require a lot of redirects, but larger sites should use the Bulk Uploader add-on.


Cost: Free

Like Simple 301 Redirects, Redirection is a WordPress plugin designed to set up (you guessed it) 301 redirects. However, it also does a good job of tracking how many people who try to visit your site are getting 404 errors (those ominous messages that say a webpage was not found). This can help you find problem areas on your site and redirect users who are getting 404 errors.


Akismet 2

Cost: The basic plan is free, and the Enterprise plan is $50 a month. The Enterprise version can be used on unlimited sites and comes with 100,000 monthly checks.

Allowing comments on your blog posts is a great way to encourage reader engagement, but your credibility will take a hit if most of your comments are spam. Because manually deleting a large quantity of spam comments can be labor-intensive, many WordPress users let the Akismet plugin do the work for them. Akismet automatically checks comments and filters out ones that look like spam, helping you maintain your credibility, save disk space, and keep your site running fast. You can also review the comments that were caught or cleared and see the number of approved comments for each user. Newer versions of WordPress already have Akismet built into them, so you may not even need to download the plugin.



Cost: Free

Social sharing is a small but significant SEO ranking factor, and a high amount of social engagement can drive more traffic to your site. To get more people to promote your content, you need to make it as easy for them to share as possible. ShareThis lets you create small and large social sharing buttons for 120 social media channels. That’s probably way more buttons than you’ll ever need, but it’s nice to know you can easily add buttons for all the most popular networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, plus some niche networks that might appeal to your target audience, such as Tumblr and Reddit. Additionally, you can get analytics reports from ShareThis and use a feature called CopyNShare to track when a visitor copies your page URL.


Cost: The basic Blogger package is $80 per year. It backs up two sites and includes 1GB storage space.

If you’ve ever experienced the pain of losing something you put a lot of time into because your website got hacked or your server crashed, you’ll want to add the BackupBuddy plugin. Even if you haven’t experienced this pain, you should still add BackupBuddy so that you never have to worry about losing anything on your site. BackupBuddy is quick to set up, and you can schedule backups to an offsite storage destination as often as you want so you don’t have to remember to do it manually.


Cost: The Basic plan is $199.99 a year, and the Pro plan is $299.99 a year. The Pro plan is PCI and SSL compliant, which is especially important to online businesses that store credit card information.

Sucuri is a website security plugin that includes features such as remote malware scanning, security blacklist monitoring, and website integrity monitoring (essentially making sure there’s not any weird behavior that might be an attempted hack). If the plugin detects something suspicious, they’ll notify you immediately via your preferred communication channel. They also provide fast customer support if you do have any security issues that need resolving.

WP Smush

WP Smush Pro

Cost: The basic version is free, but photo file sizes are limited to 1MB. Smush Pro starts at $19 per month and can compress images up to 32MB.

What happened the last time you tried to go to a webpage that was loading at an excruciatingly slow rate because of a large image file? If you’re as impatient as me (and the average internet user), you probably bounced from the page. And chances are, that’s what’s happening on your own website if images are slowing down your page load time. In addition to losing traffic, you may also be hurting your SEO value, since site speed is a factor in rankings. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your visual content to reduce your load time—you can just add the WP Smush plugin. This image optimization tool lets you condense images as you upload them or ‘bulk smush’ images that are already slowing down your site. As mentioned in the cost section, the free version of the plugin should be sufficient if most of your photo files are under 1MB. If you have a lot of large photo files, you may find it worthwhile to pay $19 a month for Smush Pro’s 60% average compression rate on image files as large as 32MB.



Cost: Free

Jetpack was created by Automaticc, the same company that created WordPress, and it’s not so much an individual plugin as it is a bundle of useful plugins. With its dozens of features, there are probably some tools that you won’t really need (not everyone needs to be able to post mathematical expressions on their blog, for example). However, there are some features that will appeal to a wide range of website owners, such as the Aksimet-backed contact forms, concise analytics with no additional load on the server, the option to create email subscriptions for blog posts and blog comments, and alerts as soon as downtime is detected. If you’re looking for a lot of features that you can control from one space, Jetpack is a good choice.

Have any questions about the plugins described above, or need help improving your site’s SEO? Contact us!

How We Track Marketing Attribution & Revenue

The Real Deal with Bob Kehoe

When it comes to seeing the positive results of your efforts, I think I’m no different than most worker bees.

Like the chef who churns out an evening’s worth of top-of-the-line food for his or her hungry patrons, the sales team who lands that big, sought after client, or the carpenter whose long hours and sweat resulted in that nice new building addition, I am elated when the fruits of Leverage’s labor turns out to be noteworthy growth for our clients.

Recently, my team gave me yet another noteworthy reason to sing their praises.

A short time ago, we assumed the online reins of a specialty computer manufacturer and sales company.  What they’re selling is way above and beyond the high-end laptops being sold at Best Buy (I know all too well about those as of late, having just forked over no small amount of change for one for my college-bound daughter, but that’s another story). This company’s clientele includes major film and television networks, visual effects companies, and big-name engineering and architectural firms. On the low end, their computers start in the $4K ballpark.

The manufacturer’s previous experience with a digital marketing firm was an exercise in futility: after a year with our competitor, they saw little, if any, return on their investment, most notably when it came to tracking any revenue generated from or attributed to their website.

Enter Leverage Marketing. And Bizible.

Recently, Leverage has entered into a partnership with Bizible, who offers, among other things, top-notch programs that allow marketers and their clients to use cross-channel marketing attribution data. Basically, Bizible helps marketers figure out how to assign credit to different touchpoints on the customer journey, such as SEO, PPC ads and landing pages, in order to streamline marketing efforts, as you can see in the image below. Like Leverage, Bizible casts a wide net with the industries their products can serve: real estate, health care, and manufacturers such as our computer client are just the tip of the iceberg.


After only a couple weeks, our computer client started seeing notable results, thanks to both Leverage’s innovative and meticulously constructed game plan and Bizible’s dynamic software. Or, as one of the client company’s head honchos put it, “we went from working in the dark to having stadium lighting.”

Bizible allows us to track all of our marketing efforts and allows us to properly attribute success to the appropriate channels.


Despite my penchant for giving props to Leverage and other colleagues whenever possible, there is a part of me that also has a glass-half-empty mindset: basically, if it’s too good, I wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. But with Bizible, that shoe never dropped. The equation is simple: in this case, Leverage’s innovation plus Bizible’s program equals success.

Excuse me now while I rest my arm. It’s admittedly a little sore from all the back-patting I’ve done here. If you’re missing tracking of your marketing efforts, you’re not alone. According to the 2015 State of Digital Marketing Report, one-third of marketers say they don’t know what digital marketing channel makes the biggest impact on revenue.

Give us a call to discuss how we can set up attribution tracking for your business. You should know what marketing channels contribute most to your bottom line. Otherwise, you might as well be playing blackjack with your marketing budget.

4 Texas Companies with Killer Unique Selling Propositions

No matter what products or services your company offers, you have competition. Even if you’re the first to market with, say, a unicorn that helps out with household chores, you’re bound to see other companies offering a similar product soon (let’s not get too caught up in the logistics of the unicorn business analogy). The only way to survive is to show that you are different and can deliver something to your customers that others cannot.

This is your unique selling proposition (USP), and it should clearly explain how you set yourself apart from your competition.

So what makes for a really, really good USP? Rather than trying to nail down a magic formula (there isn’t one), I’m going to share 4 examples of businesses that I think do a great job of connecting with customers on the basis of their USP. And, since Leverage is an Austin-based business, I’ve chosen to highlight 4 other companies headquartered in the Lone Star state.

Bunkhouse Group

Photo Credit: Todd Dwyer


Most vacation rental and hotel groups tend to focus on their properties’ modern amenities and nearby attractions. However, the Austin-based Bunkhouse Group has taken the opposite approach with their El Cosmico vacation rentals—they emphasize the lack of modern technology and nearby metro areas—and it’s working.

El Cosmico is a collection of tents, tepees, yurts, and trailers in sparse West Texas, near Marfa. Most rental units don’t have their own kitchens, but there is a communal cookhouse. Showers are outdoors. Cell phone reception is spotty. And somehow, Bunkhouse makes this seem amazing by tapping into a desire that many of us have to temporarily disconnect from the modern world. Check out their ‘Mananifesto’ to see how they really sell this concept.

Sometimes it pays to take the opposite approach of others in your industry. Tweet: Show how something that might be perceived as a weakness actually make you stronger and sets you apart.


Perform a Google search for ‘cloud faxing’ and you’ll find that there’s actually a pretty crowded field. Scrypt is one of many, but they manage to stand out by targeting a specific demographic: healthcare and insurance providers.

Scrypt’s cloud faxing system is HIPAA-compliant, meaning it adheres to strict regulations that have been established to keep patients’ personal healthcare information private. The average small business owner or freelancer might not need such a high level of security for their faxed documents, and as a result they probably won’t turn to Scrypt. However, Scrypt’s HIPAA-compliance standards are ideal for customers in healthcare—which is a $2.9 trillion dollar industry. Scrypt certainly isn’t hurting for having targeted its unique selling proposition to one vertical.

Don’t try to be all things to all people. Tweet: Hone in on a selling point that will appeal to a specific demographic whose needs aren’t being met by your competitors.

Fueld Films

Fueld Films specializes in turnkey video production (meaning that if you need to film a commercial production, they’ll source an entire production team and make it happen) and currently has offices in Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake City. There are plenty of other companies that have the resources and connections necessary to put together a production crew, but Fueld Films positions themselves as the company that really connects with their clients and understands creative industries. Here’s an excerpt from their ‘About Us’ page:

Our production team gets to know you, your client and your creative idiosyncrasies. We’re the best friend you can call in the middle of the night and we’ll show up with booze, or ice cream, or that extra camera no one thought you could afford.

I’m not currently planning a large-scale video production, so I haven’t tested Fueld on their middle-of-the-night promise, but I like that they take a friendly, offbeat approach to describing their services rather than simply saying something clichéd like “We go the extra mile”. They’re able to show off their dedication in a way that is likely to appeal to clients working in creative industries.

Tweet: Don’t be afraid to sound like a real person when sharing your unique selling proposition. You’re selling to humans, so connect with them by showing the human side of your company.

Vital Farms

Photo Credit: Vital Farms

Eggs may not be the easiest product to make unique, but Vital Farms has found their niche. They started as a single farm just outside of Austin, with 50 egg-laying hens roaming around plenty of open pasture space. The business now consists of about 90 family farms which collectively produce 1.5 million eggs every week. As the company has scaled, they have remained true to their original vision: they take a humane and ethical approach to chicken farming that yields high-quality eggs.

Vital Farms’ eggs aren’t cheap—a dozen typically costs between $4.99 and $8.99 at grocery stores. To be able to sell their product at such a high price point, Vital Farms has to work hard to show that the cost is worth it. Their website is full of valuable information about the benefits of pasture-raised eggs, and each carton of eggs comes with a mini-newspaper (The Vital Times) that cover topics related to sustainable agriculture and the hens raised by Vital Farms. Their significant growth in the past couple of years shows that the approach is working.

Tweet: Think about what motivates your customers. People are often willing to spend a little more for a cause they believe in.

Know of any other unique businesses in Texas, or anywhere else in the US? Let me know about them in the comments!

Go Double Platinum: Attracting Qualified Leads to Your Site

The Real Deal with Bob Kehoe


Here’s a little quiz for that music fan in your life:

Question: What do Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait, U2’s Rattle and Hum and Stevie Wonder’s Journey through the Secret Life of Plants all have in common?

Answer: They were all double albums.

For casual music listeners born after, say, 1990, double albums were collections of all-new recordings that took up two vinyl records.  If you’re still confused, ask your parents. Or a hipster.

Another trait the above-mentioned albums share comes from more of a critical vein: each of these albums left most music fans and critics scratching their heads. It’s easy for even the most casual rock and pop fans to name landmark double album sets (The Beatles’ self-titled ‘White Album’, London Calling by The Clash, and Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti immediately come to mind here), but Tusk, Portrait, and the others first mentioned have gone down in musical history as albums in desperate need of editors.

While there’s a lot of quality to be found on those four double discs, taking a lessor song or two off each of the four sides could very well have made for another Rumours or Joshua Tree.

Web Traffic without Leads Is Like An Album That Lacks Hits

Think of website traffic as a digital equivalent of sorts to the overstuffed double albums from back in the day.

For many businesses just dipping their toes into online marketing, an early indication of success may be the number of views their website pages accumulate over a period of time.  Those measuring the success of their site on this metric alone may be ecstatic at first should their traffic reach or exceed their initial expectations.

But if these views don’t lead to conversions and bring in revenue, the high quantity of visits doesn’t add up to anything substantial. There may be one or two highlights of note, as in the lackluster double album sets mentioned above, but there’s not much to show in light of the quantity of hits recorded.

How To Bring in Pre-Qualified Traffic

To attract qualified leads to your site, you and your marketing team should be prepared to roll up your sleeves, as there are a few ways to sort out the casual viewer from the potential customer.

One way to attract serious shoppers to your site is with well-constructed and high-quality blogging. B2B marketers who write blogs receive two thirds as many leads as those who don’t, and both B2B and B2C marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI. Doing SEO research and incorporating the results into your blogging strategy is essential to attracting readers that are pre-qualified.

Another way to attract customers is to shine a light on past clientele: reintroduce yourself to satisfied customers and encourage them to share your information with their peers. This will increase your exposure and brand trust, since 92% of shoppers value recommendations from friends and family over all forms of ads.

Researching your target clientele and coming up with specific buyer personas can also help you get more qualified leads. Casting a wide net may increase your traffic, but approaching and concentrating on a niche that is likely to seek your business out can do wonders for your revenue stream which, unlike the number of page views, can be taken to the bank.

Beware of Agencies that Only Promise Traffic

Remember to focus on the quality of leads rather than the quantity. If a marketing company is promising high traffic without focusing on any other metrics, this is a classic case of buyer beware. There are plenty of agencies out there who tout success based on the number of page visits their clients’ sites receive, but these are merely boys compared to the men. Leverage Marketing focuses on attracting traffic that results in sales, not just views.

In the end, you – as well as your digital marketing team – want to have a London Calling. At Leverage, we have never settled for Tusk.