Important Changes to the Google My Business Tool

Important Changes to the Google My Business Tool written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Important Changes to the Google My Business Tool

Do you know about the Google My Business tool? Google has been playing around with the idea of a local directory for years, but it seems like they’ve really settled into Google My Business. They’re bringing everything together under the Google My Business umbrella, and there’s even some talk about them charging for advanced services there.

Every business should have a Google My Business profile, but if you’re a local business, it’s all the more critical.

First and foremost, if you don’t know what your Google My Business Page is, start by Googling the name of your business and location (city and state). In the righthand panel, there should be a directory listing with your business’s name and information. If you’ve claimed your profile, it’s populated with information you’ve put down. If you haven’t claimed your profile, Google’s cobbled together information from public sources and have built one for you.

The real telltale sign of whether or not you’ve claimed your business is this: If the panel says “Own this business?” it means you haven’t claimed your profile yet.

You can find, claim, and edit your page by going to Bookmark that page and go there often, because there’s a lot you can learn from your Google My Business page. Your profile isn’t something you can set and forget for years at a time; it’s something you should be interacting with on a weekly basis.

Get the Basics Right

I’ll be walking you through some recent updates to the platform below, but there are a couple of basic elements that every business owner should be aware of, whether they’re new to the platform or not.

The most important component of your profile is accuracy. Having consistent information about your business available out there online is one of Google’s ranking factors. So for starters, you want to make sure that the name, address, phone number, and website URL of your business as listed on Google My Business are accurate and are exactly the same as what you have on your website.

Describe What You Do

Once you have your name and basic contact information updated on Google My Business, you can get more deeply into the specifics of what your business does. Google has added the option for business owners to write a thorough description of their business. It’s a smart idea to fill that out, and work some crucial keywords in there for ranking purposes.

You also need to select a category for your business. Some business owners are casual about this step, but it’s important to be precise in the category you pick. If you do kitchen renovations, don’t select contractor as your category. Go for something more specific, like kitchen remodeler. There is a whole dropdown list of categories to choose from. If you have other related services that you offer, you can indicate them as secondary categories, but whatever it is you’d most like to rank for and be known for is the category you should select as your main offering.

It’s also wise to limit the number of categories you select—don’t go for more than a few. Selecting too many categories defeats the purpose of the exercise and leaves readers confused about your area of expertise.

Finally, take the time to upload lots of photos and videos. Show people around your office, include pictures of job sites, or highlight product offerings. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is still true, and visuals will help you pop on a text-heavy screen.

Correct Your Hours

If you own a store or business that includes a physical location you want people to visit, ensure that your hours are accurate. There’s nothing more frustrating for consumers than to find that the store they just drove to is actually closed! Not only that, Google will penalize businesses that have incorrect information (or information that doesn’t sync up with the times listed on their website) by not displaying your business in search results.

New Google My Business Features

As Google continues to invest in this platform, they’re adding more and more features. These newer elements can provide a lot of value for small business owners, so I recommend you take the time to fill out information and activate relevant features.


Posts are like blog posts, except they appear within your Google My Business profile. Increasingly, people are finding that these posts are helpful in SEO.

Additionally, they’re a great way to get useful information out there about your business. What you put in the posts is up to you, so they’re a versatile tool. You can share information about an upcoming sale, provide a discount on a product that consumers can find on your website, or it can be a post with helpful tips about something related to your field or industry. Posts can be updated frequently, so you can make them a go-to source for current information about your business.

Appointment Calendar

From hair salons to plumbers, there are service providers across many industries that need to manage appointments from clients. This new feature on Google My Business allows you to display a calendar of open spots, and prospects and customers can book directly through your Google My Business page.

Direct Messaging

Google has created a direct messaging option, so that people can send you messages right through the platform. You can set these chats to come directly to a phone line you’ve established for texting. Your number itself won’t be displayed on Google; rather, anyone clicking the messaging link will be able to send a note from their computer or mobile device and it will come through to you as an SMS on your phone.


This can be a tricky feature to manage, but Google now includes a Q&A section where customers can ask a question, and either you as the business owner or other Google users can respond. It’s a good practice to keep an eye out for Q&As so that you are the one to answer them. Sometimes when your fans get to it first, they inadvertently provide incorrect information about your business, and you don’t want that out there on the internet!

Google Reviews

Google My Business is the house for Google reviews. Over the years, reviews have become a huge ranking factor, so they’re important for SEO. But perhaps even more critically, they serve as social proof. Many people won’t buy from businesses that have either low or no ratings.

That’s why it’s important to respond to all reviews, whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent. Let people know you appreciate their positive feedback. For those who have a complaint or issue, responding kindly and positively can help not only win back that customer, but impress others who happen upon your professional response to the unhappy person.

Don’t stress out about a bad review. In fact, there’s research that shows people don’t trust a business that has a perfect 5/5. You’re actually better off with an aggregate rating of between 4.2 and 4.5.  And in the end, how you respond is more important than the bad review itself.

Driving Traffic to Your GMB Page

There are lots of reasons you might want to drive traffic directly to your Google My Business page (soliciting reviews is certainly one of them!). Google now allows business owners to create a short branded URL so that you can share that with people and people easily direct them to your Google My Business page.

Don’t try to get creative with the creation of this URL. Pick something that makes sense with your business name, so that it’s easily identifiable as a URL that’s linked to you. Once you’ve created this URL, you can include it in your email signature, on store receipts, or on printed materials your technicians hand out to customers in order to drive reviewers to your Google My Business page.


Once you’ve gotten all of the features of your Google My Business page up and running, it’s time to take a look at the analytics on the back end of the platform. There is a treasure trove of information here, and Google keeps adding stuff to make it even more useful.

You can see data about how people are interacting with your Google My Business Page. The performance tab will give you an overview of the traffic to your page. You can see the number of views, searches, and actions for your listing on a week-by-week basis.

Google My Business Insights homepage

You can see information about who’s asking for driving directions to your store. Google will break it down by zip code, showing where most of your customers are coming from.

Google My Business directions requests

Google also tracks phone call activity. You can see when customers call your business, broken down by days and times. A lot of businesses have certain days or times of the day when they get most of their calls. Knowing this information can inform how you staff your phones. For example, if you get a high volume of sales calls on Monday mornings, you might want to make sure you always have a salesperson in the office at that time, rather than relying on your receptionist to forward those calls to a voicemail.

Google My Business Insights phone calls

And last but certainly not least, check out search queries. You can see which search terms are leading people to your Google My Business profile. This is not only helpful information here, it can also inform what you do in terms of website SEO and outlining keywords for paid search efforts.

Google My Business is an invaluable tool for local business owners. It’s another way to get noticed on Google. It can boost your search rankings. It allows customers to get in touch with you directly and book services seamlessly through the platform. Plus, it provides you with lots of detailed reporting on the back end so that you can better understand your customers and their needs. If you’re not already on Google My Business, now is the time to claim your profile, and if you haven’t been too active there thus far, I hope this information inspires you to get the most out of the platform.

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Influencer Partnerships: How to Navigate Influencer Usage Rights and Repurpose Content

Brands that understand the value of partnerships with influencers are prioritizing the repurposing of influencer-created content. But extending the life of that content comes at a price, which is something marketers should be mindful of when beginning a partnership. Here are the important things you need to know. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Transcript of Setting Priorities to Make Time for What Matters

Transcript of Setting Priorities to Make Time for What Matters written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Laura Vanderkam. She is the author of several time management and productivity books, including one we had on this show about a year ago, Off the Clock, and she’s got a new book. We’re going to talk a little bit about Juliet’s School of Possibilities: A Little Story About the Power of Priorities.

John Jantsch: So Laura, welcome back.

Laura Vanderkam: Thank you so much for having me.

John Jantsch: I want to get this one out, because a lot of your books have, I mean, productivity, time management. I’m going to borrow another title, let you answer this question. What do the most successful people do before breakfast?

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. So a good question to ask, right? Yeah, I found in researching how people who are doing a lot, sort of professionally and personally, spent their time, that many of them were using their mornings quite intentionally. They’d recognize that this was time they could have for themselves before everybody else wanted a piece of them, both at work and at home. So, if there was something that they had aspirations to do, and didn’t necessarily fit in the category of work or family, this tended to be the time to do it.

Laura Vanderkam: So that could be exercising. For a lot of people, it was certainly exercising. But it could be creative pursuits, you know, you want to write that novel, you can tell yourself you’ll do it at the end of the day with the time that’s left over, but we both know that that probably will not happen. Whereas, if you get up a little bit earlier, and, you know, commit to writing, say 300 words a day, you’d have a draft of that novel in about a year. So, using that morning time for things that matter to you, is really what sets up the day for success.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I know in my own personal experience, because I have somewhat of a morning routine, that if it gets knocked off, I’m sort of unsteady the rest of the day. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but I know it does impact me.

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. Well, we all have things that help our days. For many people, having something that feels like you scored some sort of victory in the morning, and a meaningful victory here. I mean, you know, yes, I guess we all got out of bed, which is good, but, you know, something that advances you toward your goals, can really make this day feel great.

John Jantsch: I know in listening to you reading your books, that you have a pretty good sense that most of us have no idea how we actually spend our time doing.

Laura Vanderkam: No. Which is interesting, right? Because we live life every day, and yet time passes, whether you think how you’re spending it or not, and so it is very easy to spend time mindlessly. Because of that, we tend to tell ourselves various stories about where the time goes. You know, some of them are probably true, but a great many of them also aren’t. So the good thing about tracking where the time really goes, is that you can figure out what’s just the story and what’s the actual truth.

John Jantsch: You know, there’s so much great advice, so many great books, hacks, apps, whatever, to help us manage our time. Why do we ignore them all?

Laura Vanderkam: Well, I think it’s the same thing of time continuing to move along. I mean, it’s like the challenge we’d have with spending money well, if all our money was burned at the end of every day, right? You know, it’s very difficult to make use of this extremely limited resource given that it’s constantly going. So, you know, you have to kind of think about what you’d like to do with it, and think about what are my intentions for the time? To think about your time before you’re actually in it.

Laura Vanderkam: It’s kind of like, you know, somebody paddling down a river, you know, pausing on the edge of their canoe and looking to see where the current’s going. If you do that, you’re a lot less likely to run into a rock. But, you know, it takes time.

John Jantsch: A few years ago, and it only took me about 20 years of owning my own business to get there, but I stopped really trying to manage time, and actually have gone to managing priorities, and actually working less hours, and found that I’m getting just as much or more done, rather than stressing about, “Oh, I should add some stuff to my checklist, because there’s two hours left in the day.” How does that idea settle with, you know, kind of your thoughts about, you know, how people manage their time?

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. I’m a big fan of not filling time just because it’s there. In fact, many of the most successful people I’ve studied have a fair amount of white space on their schedule. They do this for several reasons. I mean, one, you know, everything takes longer than you think it will. So, you know, you got to make sure you build in space to deal with that. Also because it allows them to seize opportunities that, you know, if something unexpected but very good comes up, it’s great to be able to follow where that leads, instead of, you know, having your day already spoken for.

Laura Vanderkam: So, you know, I try to make very limited to-do lists, you know, definitely not stuff that’s going to fill the entire day. Because I know stuff will happen, you know, and if I finish everything on my list, the short list, I’m sure I can go find some more stuff if I feel like it. But if I make a very short list of the things I know absolutely have to happen, then I know that regardless what happens, you know, if I wind up spending half the day in the ER with one of my kids, for instance, I’ve still made progress. So I think that is the core of being productive.

Laura Vanderkam: That, you know, anyone can plan a perfect schedule, that’s not very exciting. The question is whether you can keep moving forward on the things that matter to you and the people you care about, when life happens, as life always happens.

John Jantsch: Well, and I think that that whole idea of priority is so important too, because a lot of the things that are priorities, are things I don’t want to do. They’re not fun, you know, they’re hard work. Maybe I spend a whole lot of time finding ways to not do that until, you know, it’s April 14th, and the taxes are due, right? All of a sudden, I’ve got all kinds of time to do that thing.

John Jantsch: So, I think forcing yourself to do this stuff, again, as you said, that’s important, even if you like it or not. You know, because I know I create a lot of wasted time and probably wasted stress, by having that thing just sitting out there going, “Oh, I’ll get to it next week.”

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. I would tell people to acknowledge that. If there’s something you really do not want to do, you can ask yourself why that is. Sometimes that’s offering you some insight into your life, into your skills, and into things that are not your skills. You know, and there’s plenty of people who really, really hate doing the paperwork associated with their taxes, who might be better off hiring, you know, an assistant to get some of that, to coordinate with the accountant and all.

Laura Vanderkam: You know, so maybe it’s something that you could figure out a way over time that you can spend less time on. Whereas if something is truly energizing and fun, and meaningful to you, maybe there’s ways you can spend more time on those things.

John Jantsch: Now, you spend a lot of time, I mean, we’re sort of, I think, logically talking about work here so far, but you spend a lot of time working with people and how they spend their leisure time as well. I think as work and leisure, or whatever we call it, family time, play time, you know, seems to be no line anymore, you know, between those. How do we make sure that we are getting the most out of what we are calling leisure time?

Laura Vanderkam: Well, I think we need to have some of the same intention for our leisure and family time that we have for our work time. I don’t mean that you need to, you know, send calendar invites for dinner and schedule every 15 minutes, in the way some people do at work. But people will come home from work at 6:00, go to bed at 10:30, 11:00, that’s four and a half, five hours. You wouldn’t have a four and a half, five hour block at work and have absolutely no idea of what you intended to do with it.

Laura Vanderkam: So, you know, just saying, “Well, we’re going to go for a family walk after dinner, or, you know, tonight is the night I’m going to read 100 pages of that novel.” You know, whatever it is, having some intention for your personal time makes it feel richer and more full. So it winds up, you know, expanding in our mental space and making us feel, in fact, like we have more time.

John Jantsch: This, you know, sometimes is a luxury of owning your own business. I mean, I don’t necessarily have people putting meetings on my calendar and things. So, I’ve actually, over the years, found that I’ve gotten much more intentional about playing harder. So in other words, instead of saying, “Oh, I’ll sneak in an hour here, I mean, I’m going to go fishing for half a day or something.”

John Jantsch: But, I’m going to plan that, I’m going to put that into the calendar and I’m not going to think about not doing it. I’m going to be 100% in on that. I think what that’s done for me, is then when I come back to work that afternoon or the next morning, I’m much more intentional about work, actually.

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. I mean, being intentional about leisure time, it can really be life-changing. You know, part of the issue is that people are so busy with work, they think, “Well, I want to do nothing, or I don’t want to commit to anything, because that’s just more commitments, and then I’ll feel like I have less time.” But that turns out not to be true.

Laura Vanderkam: Having commitments, that are meaningful to us and energizing to us in our leisure time, makes us feel like we have more time, you know? An evening where you kind of while away the hours and scroll around online and watch TV or something, is very forgettable. Whereas, one where you, you know, go volunteer somewhere in an organization that you’ve been doing some really serious work with, and you’ve committed to being there every Thursday night. I mean, that’s more memorable, that feels more important. So it actually stands out in this wash of time.

John Jantsch: I think most people, maybe there are other people that don’t, but I know myself, I’ll throw in this category, I probably get 90% of my work done in two or three hours of a work day. I mean, 90% of the real pay off work, you know, happens in two or three hours. I think that, you know, when you start, and we can talk about time diaries in a minute, but I think we really underestimate how much time we waste on things that we think are busy or productive.

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. I mean, it’s the parade of [inaudible 00:10:50], that is 80% of your good stuff happens in 20% of your time. With that said, I mean, it sounds then like maybe we could only work four hours a week or whatever it is, that if we could only identify the important stuff. The problem is, it’s not always quite that clear. I know that you and I have both had say random conversations that we just decided to take a phone call for some reason, and then it leads somewhere great, right? Or that we are reading something that maybe is tangential to our jobs, but it triggers this idea that leads to something big as well.

Laura Vanderkam: So I would say that yes, you know, a lot of our major stuff does get done in probably a short amount of time, and we’ve all had the experience of if you’re getting ready to leave for a vacation, you were just on fire, before you get out the door and getting everything done. But on the other hand, you got to be careful about not trying to cut it too much, because then you miss that sort of serendipity that leads to great things.

John Jantsch: Want to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, and this allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation, email autoresponders, that are ready to go, great reporting. You want to learn a little bit about the secret to building customer relationships? They’ve got a really fun series called Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday. It’s a docu series, a lot of fun, quick lessons, just head on over to, Beyond Black Friday.

John Jantsch: So your latest book, Juliet’s School of Possibilities, is a parable style. You know, I’ve always wanted to write one of those, but I don’t think I could pull the whole dialogue thing off. So tell us a little bit about Juliet, and what you were trying to accomplish in that story.

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah, well I’ve been writing about time management for a great many years, and I’ve just noticed over this time that, and I’m given my speeches, the parts people remember are the stories. No one ever comes up to me and says, “Oh gosh, that statistic you quoted about X, that was life-changing.” It’s really more like, “Oh, when you told that story about this,” and people can quote back these stories pretty much verbatim, which is amazing. But, that is how we absorb information. The human brain is very wired to remember stories in a certain format, that stories that teach a lesson.

Laura Vanderkam: So that’s basically what parables are, is stories that teach a lesson. You know, I love reading, I love writing, and so it was fun to try my hand at something a little bit different, that, you know, I could actually write dialogue, as opposed to writing straight non-fiction.

John Jantsch: So, give us the preview of Juliet’s story then.

Laura Vanderkam: Well, so Riley is a hot-shot young consultant whose career has been on fire up until the moment when suddenly it isn’t. Her life begins to fall apart on various dimensions, because she’s having such a hard time figuring out what she should be doing with her time, and her personal life is also falling apart. In the midst of all of this, her company gives her an ultimatum, kind of strong-armed into going into this retreat for the weekend at a place called Juliet’s School of Possibilities. She thinks it’s going to be a huge waste of time.

Laura Vanderkam: But then she meets Juliet, who is a successful business owner, who is also just incredibly calm. She seems to have infinite amounts of time for the things that are important to her. So, in the course of the weekend, Riley tries to learn Juliet’s secrets, and figure out how she can put these into practice in her own life.

John Jantsch: So, I just heard you speak recently at the World Domination Summit, which is one of my favorite conferences. In fact, I’m trying to have many of the speakers on, so listeners will hear that line a bit over the next few weeks. But one of the things that you said that I know I need to do, and I know I’m not good enough at is, you know, we have a tendency to sit down, you know, in the morning and go, “Okay, what do I need to do today?” You talked about this idea of structuring our week, and that makes so much sense, because that’s really probably the chunk that’s going to be the measure of our productivity. You want to kind of talk about that idea?

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. Well, we live our lives in weeks. You know, I just talk about how we often think of our lives in days, but we actually live our lives in weeks. A week is the unit of life as we actually live it. So, you know, I think that’s how we need to plan out our time, because any given day is not big enough to encompass everything that you’re going to need to get to. But in a week, you can probably get to most of the things that are important to you.

Laura Vanderkam: So, I suggest that people think through their weeks before they’re in them. A really good time to do this is Friday afternoon, just because Friday afternoon is a time when most of us are not doing anything of any consequence whatsoever, kind of sliding into the weekend at that point. So you take a few minutes, you think about the upcoming weeks, you ask yourself what are your top priorities for this in, you know, the work sphere, your relationship sphere, so family and friends. Then the personal sphere, so things you want to do just for you.

Laura Vanderkam: List, you know, just a short number of items, two, three, in each category, and look at the next week and see where they can go. If you do this consistently, you will find yourself, just by default, making progress towards your goals, because every single week you’re doing stuff that matters. Whereas, if you don’t think about this ahead of time, again, it’s easy for time to just get away from you.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think also the other thing, hopefully you say, “Hey, I’ve got these three big things I need to accomplish.” Maybe you say no to a few things now, because they’re already in your brain or already on your calendar.

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. Well, the time on Friday afternoon where you’re planning the week ahead and putting your priorities, is also a great time to look at what is already on your calendar and get rid of whatever does not really fit with what matters to you, and what, you know, path you thought would be a good idea, but no longer does. So, you know, if you can get out of it, maybe that’s a good time to do so.

John Jantsch: I love this idea of time diary. I’ve been actually preaching it for many, many years, particularly when people, you know, were talking about just not being able to accomplish anything. I get a collective, “Oh, I don’t have time to do that or I don’t want to do that.” How have you been successful at getting people to track, even for a week, their time?

Laura Vanderkam: Well, I mean, my promise is that it will be useful, and useful in a way of not say, “Oh, well, look, we discovered that you said you’re so busy and you watched TV for X number of hours.” It’s not about that. I really don’t care for the game of got you on these things. It’s more that pretty much everyone who does this finds some quantity of time that they’re spending in ways they don’t care about so much, that they can use for things that they do care about.

Laura Vanderkam: I say this about people who are just extraordinarily busy, have so much going on in their lives, there’s always still some quantity of space. You know, it doesn’t have to be much, I mean, for many people, if they were able to find just, you know, a couple of hours per week to do things that they were very excited about, this would change their whole experience of time.

Laura Vanderkam: So, that’s why I suggest people do it. I also, you know, make sure people know that it’s not about recording every single minute perfectly. Good enough, is good enough. I check in three to four times a day, write down what I’ve done since the last time I checked in, don’t [inaudible 00:00:18:31]. If you did mostly work, and you also went to the bathroom and got a glass of water, work, it’s fine. You don’t have to account blow by blow on everything. But, you know, you do it for a couple of days, that’s good. If you can do it for a week, that’s even better. You’ll get enough information that I think you’ll find it worthwhile.

John Jantsch: Well, and I work with a lot of business owners, and they spend time doing a lot of things they should delegate, they could delegate, that would be much more profitable if they delegated. Sometimes, you know, what I actually do, is have them assign a dollar value to, you know, what was that worth? Or what could you have gotten somebody else to do that for? Some metric. That can be pretty eyeopening, when they look at, you know, how much of their time is doing work well below what they need to make in their business.

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah. No, I mean, when you realize something’s not a good use of your time, you have a couple of choices. I mean, one is you can just stop doing it, which is an option that, you know, people really should look into more than they actually do. You know, you can see if there’s a way it can take less time, which is of course what most time management literature deals with. How to make things, you know, more streamlined, more efficient, turn your 60 minute meeting into a 45 minute one. That has its purpose, of course. But, you know, that’s another option.

Laura Vanderkam: Then, of course, you could get someone else to do it, which is really the way that we leverage our time, and do things that we couldn’t do on our own. I find that people often resist this idea, but, you know, if you’re looking at the CEO of a major corporation, you’re not sitting there saying like, “Oh gosh, the CEO of Pepsi is failing, because she’s not doing it all by herself.” I mean, no, of course not. It’s the same thing, you know, even if your business is smaller, but it’s also the same thing on the home front too, that we can get help from various places and leverage our time that way.

John Jantsch: Yeah. That’s an interesting concept though, because a lot of people have a real, you know, guilt kind of factor of that. A lot of times they can delegate at work, “But, I’m not going to have somebody mow my lawn. I mean, I could do that, and that’s lame.” But that could be a way to actually free up time, couldn’t it? In the domestic front.

Laura Vanderkam: Yeah, for doing things that are a higher value of your time. People claim like, “Oh, well, you know, I should call my elderly relatives around more,” you know, whatever it is. “But, you know, I’m so busy, I just never have the time.” Well, maybe it’s possible that you don’t want to do it, that’s fine. But if it is truly a value of yours, then maybe you can get some of this other stuff off the plate. Maybe you order your groceries online, set up a recurring order that shows up every week, you don’t have to go to the grocery store. Instead of going to the grocery store, you call your grandmother, right? You know, these are things you can do to free up time for the things that are the best use of your time.

John Jantsch: So Laura, where can people find out more information on you, and your books, and all the work that you’re doing?

Laura Vanderkam: Well, people can come visit my website which is You know, if you are listening to this podcast, and are all caught up in episodes for this, and you’re looking for something else to listen to, I have an every weekday morning short productivity tip podcast called Before Breakfast. So every weekday morning, five to 10 minutes, I give you a little tip that will hopefully help you take your day from great to awesome. So, people might enjoy listening to that.

John Jantsch:  Awesome. Well, we will have those links in the show notes as well. Laura, I appreciate you stopping by. It was great seeing you in Portland, and hopefully I’ll run into you soon out there on the road.

Laura Vanderkam: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Setting Priorities to Make Time for What Matters

Setting Priorities to Make Time for What Matters written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Laura Vanderkam
Podcast Transcript

Laura VanderkamToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Laura Vanderkam. She is the author of several time-management and productivity books, including her latest, Juliet’s School of Possibilities: A Little Story About the Power of Priorities.

Vanderkam is the author of several other time-management and productivity books, including Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy By Getting More Done (which she discussed on a previous Duct Tape Marketing Podcast episode!), I Know How She Does It, and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.

She has contributed to numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Fortune. She also hosts the podcast Before Breakfast, featuring a new episode each weekday.

Questions I ask Laura Vanderkam:

  • What do the most productive people do before breakfast?
  • How do we make sure that we’re getting the most out of our leisure time?
  • How have you been successful in getting people to track their time?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why most of us don’t have any idea how we spend our time each day, and how to get more mindful about managing our time.
  • Why we should be as intentional in planning our leisure time as we are in managing our business priorities.
  • How we can best work on planning out our time, and when to take the time to do it.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Laura Vanderkam:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

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What Does the Future of Paid Search Look Like?

What Does the Future of Paid Search Look Like? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Paid search has been an important channel in a comprehensive marketing strategy for years now. But we’ve also seen some major shifts in the way that PPC works, and as with most technological things, the pace of change isn’t slowing anytime soon.

That’s why it’s important for marketers and business owners to be forward-thinking. Noting the current trends and predicting how they’ll shape the future is the best way to stay a few steps ahead of your competition. Here, I’ll share some of my thoughts about what to expect from the future of paid search.

Automation Will Rule

Automation has become an increasingly critical part of paid search. We’ve seen Google Ads offer marketers the ability to create multiple headlines and descriptions for ads as a part of its responsive search ads program. Over time, Google pairs different headlines and descriptions together to find the combination that gets the best results.

Additionally, marketers can use automation on their own side to take the manual work out of handling bidding and budgeting for ad campaigns. This used to be a tedious part of the job, and with automation, you’re now freed up to spend more time on creating effective ads rather than fiddling with numbers.

I anticipate that the role of automation in PPC will only increase as technology becomes more advanced. This will help marketers to focus more on the strategic elements that go into creating a great ad campaign, and will help businesses maximize their ROI by automatically optimizing their advertising approach.

Amazon Will Move into the Space

Google has long been the gold standard for search engines, and so it’s long been the place where advertisers first turn to with their PPC spend. However, recent studies have shown that more consumers are starting their searches on Amazon now, rather than Google. And with this shift in consumer behavior, we’re also seeing a shift in marketers’ focus.

More marketers are beginning to purchase ad space on Amazon. The audience there is broadening, and it’s currently cheaper to market on Amazon than it is to advertise on Google. Now is the time for you to consider making the shift for your own business. Particularly if you offer goods or products that consumers might be searching for on Amazon, there’s the potential for you to get a lot more value from your ad spend on the e-commerce site.

Video Will Continue to Gain Ground

Text ads have long been the focus of paid search advertising. However, video has been gaining ground across all marketing efforts, and paid search is no exception.

More and more consumers are indicating that video is their preferred medium for learning more about a company. Why not give the people what they want? Plus, video is a great way to stand out in a sea of text. A colorful video with appealing music and engaging voiceover will catch the eye of searchers. And as we continue to see more marketers turn to video to tell their stories, if you don’t embrace the medium, you’ll get left behind.

New Ad Types Will Enter the Scene

Each year, we see Google expand and change their ad offerings. It seems like not so long ago that Google ads were simply the blue links that appeared at the top of search results. Now we’re seeing ads that incorporate images and video, plus ad types that are specific to certain industries, like Google Local Services Ads.

Plus, rumors that Google is thinking about charging for enhanced features on their Google My Business platform indicate that expanded offerings may be coming by way of that particular platform, which will be tailored to local business owners.

While it’s impossible to know exactly how and where Google will expand their efforts, it’s always worthwhile to keep an eye out for news about changes to their advertising offerings. When you’re able to stay on top of changes, you can get ahead of trends and get in on the ground floor of new paid search tactics while the investment is still low.

Marketers Will Think in Audiences, Not Keywords

The final major shift that I see in how paid search will operate moving forward is in the central focus in creating campaigns. Up to this point, it’s been all about finding the appropriate keywords for your ad campaign.

Audience data and segmentation tools have been continually evolving over the years. And search engines are making it easier than ever for marketers to target their ad spend at people with the right behaviors and attributes. Why do keyword research, hope you’re picking the term that will resonate with your desired audience, and then measure and refine your approach, when you can instead target ads at the audience that you know is most likely to find it relevant?

While it’s impossible to predict exactly what the future holds for paid search, by looking at recent trends, savvy marketers are able to infer what changes are coming and how best to capitalize on them for their business. Things like automation, Amazon, and audience segmentation aren’t going anywhere, so it’s best to figure out how to make these trends work for you so that you can outpace your competition.

Weekend Favs July 13

Weekend Favs July 13 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • MemberStack – Create memberships and gated content without coding experience.
  • Reply Now – Streamline all incoming communications in a centralized inbox.
  • Gist – Unify your marketing, sales, and support efforts on one platform.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

Transcript of Everything You Need to Know About Creating Strategic Content

Transcript of Everything You Need to Know About Creating Strategic Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by SEMrush. It is our go-to SEO tool for doing audits, for tracking position and ranking, for really getting ideas on how to get more organic traffic for our clients, competitive intelligence, backlinks and things like that. All the important SEO tools that you need for pay traffic, social media, PR and of course, SEO. Check it out at We’ll have that in the show notes.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Rachel Parker. She is the CEO of Resonance Content Marketing and the author of a book we’re going to talk about today called The Content Marketing Coach. Rachel, thanks for joining me.

Rachel Parker: Thank you John. Happy to be here.

John Jantsch: I wondered if we could start today’s call off with a few stances of Musetta’s Waltz from La Boheme. Surely you sung that aria before.

Rachel Parker: I have. I have. Yes.

John Jantsch: Obviously I did a little research, and on top of being an SEO and content expert, you are a trained soprano.

Rachel Parker: I am, yes.

John Jantsch: But unfortunately I read with sadness that you don’t get to do that very much anymore.

Rachel Parker: Not very much. Mostly in the shower and occasionally in the car, but that’s about it these days.

John Jantsch: So let’s talk about content marketing, shall we? Set the table maybe for … I still get this all time. People like you and I talk about content this, content that, and people are still saying, “What exactly is content? Is that a blog post?”

Rachel Parker: Yep, good question. And there’s a lot of confusion over what content is and is not. I define content as any communication with your audience that is not selling. So that could be anything, I mean, literally anything from a birthday card to an ebook to your own university program. It’s connecting with your audience without pushing your product or services. And it’s as simple as that.

John Jantsch: Well, that’s interesting because why wouldn’t you include, I mean, at some point you move people through the journey to the point where they want to buy and you’re still producing content that I think has to convince them. Why you? I mean, why would you exclude? I get that content is not exclusively about pushing. It’s mostly about education. But at some point you’ve got to convert them with content?

Rachel Parker: Absolutely, and that’s one thing I tell people. To borrow a term from the dating world, we don’t want to run up in the friend zone. We don’t want to be, “Oh, I really like you for your ebooks and stuff, but whoa, purchase, hang on, hang on.” So yeah, we do want to think about guiding them through a funnel and we think about the top of the funnel stuff, which is our search attracting assets like our blog and our social media, and then moving them further down maybe into downloadable assets and into webinars. And yeah, eventually you want to have a one-on-one conversation with them and say, “Okay, here’s what we have to offer. Can we talk a little further about this?”

John Jantsch: Well, and I for years have actually taken it beyond that. I think that once they become a customer, there’s certainly a role for content in continuing the loyalty, getting them to purchase more, getting them to refer. And I think that’s where I think so many people just think it’s get the order, but I think its role is far beyond that.

Rachel Parker: Absolutely. I think the biggest problem with the traditional sales fun is that it stops when they sign on the bottom line. There is a whole world of relationship beyond that. I mean they could be recommending you to their friends. They could be, like you said, buying more product, upselling. I mean there’s a tremendous, there are tremendous opportunities beyond the sale.

John Jantsch: It’s probably the, especially when we’re talking about small business owners that are quite often very time strapped. What’s the answer there? Because I mean to do everything that people like you and I talk about is really time consuming. To do it right and particularly for the typical owner who certainly is making the sausages or whatever it is back in the ag shop too. So how do you kind of balance the fact that it does take a lot of work with the fact that it is so necessary?

Rachel Parker: Sure. And it does take a lot of work to do and to do well. I mean there are some people who think, “Oh, as long as it gets something out there, as long as I check off on my to-do list, post on Facebook, or publish blog posts.” But it needs to be done well. Especially for a small business owners who are one man, woman shops, it can be challenging.

Rachel Parker: One thing to do is you can look into outsourcing. You can bring in a freelance writer who can write those blog posts for you, someone who can handle your social media. That’s one way to do it. I think the worst thing you can do is just say, “Well, I don’t have time for it so it’s just not going to happen,” because that’s where we’re coming to in the marketing world. It’s no longer nice to have.

John Jantsch: Well, so let me ask you then. So that person that says, “Well, I either don’t have the money or the time to do it well, at least I’m doing something,” is … I mean, is that better than nothing?

Rachel Parker: Yeah, something is definitely better than nothing. So if all you can manage is one good quality blog post a month, then go for it. It’s not going to set your traffic on fire. But when you encounter potential customer and you say, “Please feel free to go to my website,” and they are seeing that quality content, that’s going to up your stock. So yeah, I would be the first to say that anything is better than nothing.

John Jantsch: How do you think … You mentioned the blog word. I mean is that … I’ve been blogging, gosh, 13 years now, and it’s changed dramatically the position or the role or what blogging actually is. In fact, we build most of the websites for our clients just using WordPress. We don’t really talk about it being a blog. It’s just a content management system. So do you believe that everyone needs that, whether we call it a blog or whatever we decide to call it, do you think everyone needs that kind of publishing ability?

Rachel Parker: I think it’s one of those things that everybody really needs. When we think about blog, we think about words on a page. But really you could do videos. You could do audios. You could record. You don’t necessarily have to have a formal podcast, but you could record audios on a platform like SoundCloud and just embed those and have that be your audio blogs. There are many possibilities.

Rachel Parker: But I think the blog is essential because the first thing is you own your website, which is something that you cannot say about your Facebook page or your Twitter account. That is your real estate. When people go to your site, I think they need to see some kind of publication that comes from you and that you own.

John Jantsch: So one of the things that I hear … Let’s back up to the strategy a little bit because we’ve been talking about, “Oh, you need to be producing content, you need to be producing content.” Well, you can certainly waste a lot of time producing content that either nobody wants to read or isn’t really going to drive people to know, like, and trust you. What do you say to people when they’re trying to get started? How do you make … I often refer to the fact that content needs to be the voice of strategy. So how do you make it the voice of strategy as opposed to just another tactic?

Rachel Parker: Sure. Your content marketing strategy absolutely has to begin with your audience. If you don’t know exactly who that audience is, then find out before you do anything. This is a challenge for everyone, but I find especially John in the B2B world, because I’ll ask people, “Who’s your audience?” And they say, “Well, midsize companies in manufacturing located in the mid west.” And then I say, “Okay, who in that company?” And they say, “Oh, well, the CEO would be great I guess, or the COO, or maybe a VP.” And they don’t know literally whose eyeballs you want on the other side of that content. So knowing your audience has got to be step number one.

John Jantsch: And it’s interesting about that is, it may, the answer actually may be all three, but they have different objectives and goals, which makes it even worse. So what do you tell people? One of the things, another question I get asked all the time is, “I don’t know what to write about. Where should I get ideas?” I mean, where do you send people to look for ideas about what would make sense for them to write about?

Rachel Parker: Sure. The first thing, again, once you know your audience, see if you can find out where they get their content, what books or magazines do they read, what websites do they go to, what Facebook pages do they subscribe to, and do a little snooping around and see what other people are doing in your industry. Then another thing you can do is just ask your audience. Set up a SurveyMonkey or something very simple via email and say, “Hey, what are the topics that are going to make your life easier, or that are going to help you do your job better? And how can we help with that?” So I would start with that.

John Jantsch: Yeah. There’s also some great tools that are available today too. My listeners will recognize this one because I talk about it all the time. I love BuzzSumo. When I kind of have an idea of a topic or a theme, I can go there and find very specific content, and that that has been shared and theoretically proven that people are interested. And that can be a really great way to stimulate some ideas.

John Jantsch: I think for a number of years we had the … we started talking about content marketing as though it were a separate channel. And I think a lot of people certainly look at it that way. But I think that it’s actually, in fact, I talk about it just being the air for marketing today that we really have to integrate. I mean, you can’t really do effective SEO, you can’t do very effective advertising, in my opinion, without content. You certainly can’t do much PR without good content. So, how do you think in terms of the other channels that you … that clearly you need to feed but need content to do that?

Rachel Parker: Yeah. Yeah, it’s an interesting point, John. I relate it to, there’s a reason why we don’t talk about color TVs anymore because that’s what it is. There is nothing else. I think the term content marketing may be fading away the next few years as it just becomes part of your strategy. Even companies that, these die hard oil and gas guys who I never thought I would see creating content, they’re getting on board and realizing that it’s got to be rolled into your strategy. As we do look at our sales funnel, we need to think about, “Okay, how are we going to feed people with content from the very first encounter through the decision making process, all the way to the purchase and beyond?” So it all has to integrate.

John Jantsch: One of the things that even the greatest journalists that can write just the most compelling story knows is that if nobody reads it, it’s probably not that effective. Are there some tips for creating, that you like to use for creating content that people just really want to share? They’re drawn to it and they, it’s almost like, “Oh, I have to share this”?

Rachel Parker: Sure, sure. Absolutely. Well, there has to be a promotional element involved first of all. As I like to say, if you build it, they will come only worked for Kevin Costner. Because just putting a blog out there is not going to send thousands of people to your site tomorrow. So we do have to promote it. And some of that might involve some dollars, might be a promoted Facebook post or promoted tweets or things like that.

Rachel Parker: As far as putting it out there, or as far as creating content that people want to read, look at, again, if you have a resource like BuzzSumo that shows you the kind of topics that people are sharing or the kind of, even the way the titles are phrased on different blog posts can make a tremendous difference in the shareability and in their likelihood to generate traffic.

Rachel Parker: And then as you progress in your content marketing journey, you’re going to see that you’re going to have your own data. You’re going to be able to look at your own blog posts and say, “Oh wow, this one got a whole bunch of shares. This one, not so much. How can I … What can I learn from this? And how can I roll those best practices into what I do in the future?”

John Jantsch: One of the things that I hear all the time is, a lot of times a company that maybe produces something fairly technical goes out and hires a marketing person, and then tells that marketing person to write some great content of about something of which they know nothing about and maybe can’t even really learn about that easily I mean. I hear that really all the time from writers inside of marketing departments.

John Jantsch: I mean, is there a way to get that information in a way that you could then inside an organization have you found? I’m sure you’ve worked with organizations where they hire you to write something. You’ve got to have a process for figuring out what the heck that widget is that they sell and what it does. So are there some tips on doing that?

Rachel Parker: Yeah. First of all, you need to get with the people in your … in the organizations that do know, that do have the information. Sometimes you have to be a little bit of a pest because content is the lowest thing on their to-do list. So to be a very, very nice pest, but to make sure you get some face time with them.

Rachel Parker: One tactic that I like to use that has worked really, really well for me, is, I’ll ask them, “Okay, explain this concept to me as if I were a sixth grader. If I were your little 9, 10, 11 year old kid and saying, ‘Hey, what is this? What are you working on,’ how would you explain it?”

Rachel Parker: And that really forces them to simplify and to get past the jargon and really talk about what this is and why it’s important and why people need to know about it. And then from there you can build on that very simple platform and get into the more technical details, depending of course on how technical your audience is, which is another consideration.

John Jantsch: Sure, sure. Yeah. I think a lot of times too, you go to an engineer and tell them they need to write a blog post and they freeze up instantly. But you tell them, let me see your sent email, they’ve probably written some tremendous blog post answers to very technical questions. They just don’t think of that as content. But then, to our first point, I mean that’s content too.

John Jantsch: Where do you send people who … Okay, one of the things I think is that writing has changed dramatically, particularly writing in marketing has changed dramatically. What are some of your favorite resources for where people could learn how to be a better writer?

Rachel Parker: Oh, there are so many sources out there. One of my favorites is Pro Blogger, Darren Rowse’s site. I always read their stuff. They have some tremendous ideas about being, becoming a better blogger, becoming a better content creator. Of course, Content Marketing Institute is another wonderful resource. HubSpot creates some wonderful content. They do a lot of … Oh my gosh, they have a huge team. They are constantly doing webinars and publishing ebooks to help you become a better writer, a better strategist, whatever it is you need. So those would be the three that I would recommend to start with.

John Jantsch: So when it comes to somebody trying to make decisions about, gosh, what should my priorities be when it comes to content, are there a couple pieces or forms of content that you think every, for the most part, every business needs?

Rachel Parker: Absolutely. And I would preface that John, by saying the worst thing you could do is to try to do everything. And then you start off and you’re doing everything under the sun, and then four weeks later you’re totally burned out and you throw your hands in the air and say, “I can’t do this anymore.”

Rachel Parker: I think to start with the big three, which would be a blog, email content, and social media. I think those are … That’s a good package to start with. And if you can only start with one, I would say it’s between email and blogging would be a place to focus your efforts. Email, email doesn’t get a whole lot of attention these days, but it’s still an incredibly powerful communication method because if someone’s giving you their email address, they’re basically saying you can come into the equivalent of my online house and talk to me. And that’s incredibly powerful.

Rachel Parker: Of course, you need the blog to attract search traffic. And then, as I like to quote Jay Baer, he said, “Content is the fire and social media is the gasoline.” Social media is going to give you a bigger platform for talking about these pieces of content. I would start with those three. And then later on, if you want to add video, podcasting, if you want to get fancier, you have that opportunity.

John Jantsch: I’m talking with Rachel Parker. We’re talking about The Content Marketing Coach, the book called The Content Marketing Coach. You do have a few resources at Tell us a little bit about Resonance. What do you do over there at Resonance?

Rachel Parker: At Resonance, we are a full service content marketing agency. Companies come to us who believe in content marketing. They know they need it. They just don’t have the internal resources to be able to do it, to be able to do it consistently and at the level of quality that they need. This is something that we find a lot of teams struggle with because they may have an ace marketing team, but they couldn’t keep it up if a product launch were to come along, or if something were to come along and they just totally soaked the rest of the team.

Rachel Parker: And then some companies come to us and say, “Hey, we have a great team in place. We just need help with a strategy.” So with those folks, we would get into a coaching program where we would help them put together a strategy, coach their teams to make sure that they are ready to hit the ground running. So those are the two ways that we help our customers.

John Jantsch: Rachel, thanks so much for joining us. Look forward to The Content Marketing Coach book being out there in the world, and hope to bump into you someday out on the road.

Rachel Parker: My pleasure, John. Hope to see you soon.

Everything You Need to Know About Creating Strategic Content

Everything You Need to Know About Creating Strategic Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Rachel Parker
Podcast Transcript

Rachel Parker headshotContent, content, content—are you sick of it yet? The problem is that the need for strategic content is not going away anytime soon. The good news is that if you understand the strategic part of content creation and amplification, you won’t need to produce as much.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Rachel Parker, CEO of Resonance Content Marketing. She is also the author of The Content Marketing Coach: Everything you need to get in the game … and win! Rachel and I discuss the best strategies and tactics involved in producing high-quality content.

Rachel knows all about content marketing. Throughout her 15-year marketing career, she’s developed a distinct talent for being able to communicate in the voice of the client. Rachel has helped well-known brands to connect with their customers.

Questions I ask Rachel Parker:

  • What exactly is content? And what are some suggested approaches for small business owners, or someone who just doesn’t have a lot of time, to produce quality content in a timely manner?
  • How do you make content the voice of strategy, versus just another tactic?
  • Do you have tips for creating content that people really want to share?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why a blog or frequent publishing is essential for any business.
  • How to really identify with your audience and, in turn, produce content specific to their needs.
  • What constitutes a good marketing strategy and how it affects your sales funnel.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Rachel Parker:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by SEMrush.

SEMrush is our go-to SEO tool for everything from tracking position and ranking to doing audits to getting new ideas for generating organic traffic. They have all the important tools you need for paid traffic, social media, PR, and SEO. Check it out at