Almost every one of us is an information addict.
I’m not kidding. There’s something about digital marketing that makes us glutinous for more data, more case studies, more news updates, and more advice than we could ever possibly put to use.
Every once in a while, we need to distance ourselves from all the clutter and remind ourselves what really makes a difference. This is one of the reasons why I love downloading free guides and eBooks. They force the blogger to take everything they know, cut it down, and summarize it into the most important actions you can take.
So, for this post, I decided to share 6 of my favorite guides. I hope you read through and act on at least one of them. You won’t regret it.
1. HubSpot: The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Ebook for Lead Generation
The most important thing a digital marketer can do is build a loyal audience.
A steady stream of new traffic is important, but it’s not as important as a loyal following. Loyalty ensures that you will have an audience tomorrow, even if every acquisition channel turns its back on you.
A visitor who sees you more than once will trust you more, and they will be more willing to buy from you. Especially if you keep sending them useful resources that actually make their lives better.
Loyalty is also the key to successfully earning exposure on social networks, with their dwindling organic reach. You need a loyal audience of people who will visit your site regardless of what they see in their Facebook feed. That’s the only way enough people will see your resources and share them to make a difference.
How do you build loyalty? One word: “email.”
Email is still the best way to reach the most people consistently. It has an average open rate over 20 percent. Facebook’s average reach is just over 6 percent.
But it’s very difficult to get people to sign up for email updates if you don’t offer them something of immediate value in exchange. One of the best ways to do that is with an eBook.
That’s where this video series comes in.
You can get the guide here. This is what it covers:
- How to plan out your eBook
- How to outline the basic structure of the book
- How to lay out the book with copy and images
- How to enhance the book visually so that it looks professional
- How to add hyperlinks, export the book, and create a landing page for it
2. Shopify: 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale
You won’t need to enter your email address to use this guide.
Most digital marketing guides are heavily specialized on a single subject. The reason this one is so valuable is because it acts as an introductory guide to marketing for ecommerce. These are hard to find these days.
Don’t write it off if you have years of experience, either. Most of us become specialized and get a bit of myopia after a while, and this is a good read for a top-level view.
Here are the general topics that it covers:
- Social media
- Search engine marketing
- Content marketing
- Paid Ads
- Selling offline
- Traditional advertising
- “Everything else,” a miscellaneous section that’s well worth the read
You can browse through the guide here.
The guide is divided up into 50 subsections, each of them focusing on a specific strategy or channel. It’s definitely worth browsing through, especially the sections that you don’t specialize in.
3. Boost Blog Traffic: Headline Hacks
The brutal truth is that we do judge a book by its cover.
We have busy lives, and we’re forced to make snap decisions. Every time we see a link in Facebook, every time we see a listing in the search engines, every time we see something shared on Reddit, we have to stop and ask ourselves whether it’s going to be worth our time to click and see what’s on the other side.
This is why headlines are so important.
Headline Hacks is one of the most useful guides out there, for two reasons:
- It makes you realize that the most successful headlines throughout history reuse the same basic structures over and over again
- It lists 52 headline structures that we can shamelessly adopt and adapt into our own headlines
Finally, a guide that doesn’t force me to think!
In all seriousness, though, this is an awesome resource to have. Using these headlines, and learning the lessons taught be them, really does make a difference.
4. Peter Sandeen: 7 Key Steps to Guest Blogging Success
This one’s a bit more obscure than some of the other guides, and if you’re looking for something really long this isn’t the guide for you either.
But Peter Sandeen gets about 170 new email subscribers every time he writes a guest post. That’s more than most marketers can say, even the ones who regularly get published on major blogs.
In this guide, Peter breaks down guest blogging into 7 key stages:
- Find a good place
- Pick the right topic
- Get accepted
- Write well
- Subtly sell your incentive
- Have a good landing page
- Build strong relationships
It’s steps 5 and 6 that really make this guide stand out. Peter rightly puts the focus on getting actual referral traffic and converting it into email subscribers, instead of relying on search engines to value the links and do the heavy lifting for you.
Like I said, this guide isn’t extremely lengthy, but it puts the focus on what really matters when it comes to guest posting, and for that I think it’s worth putting on your desktop.
5. Social Triggers: How to Get Your First 5000 Subscribers
This one comes from Derek Halpern, who single-handedly built Social Triggers from 0 to 125,000 subscribers in 2 years. This guide cuts right to the point and focuses on a small number of changes you can make that really matter if you want to build up a recurring audience.
Here are a few of the things that get covered in the eBook:
- Why “more content” isn’t the right way to grow your audience
- Why it’s okay to say the same thing over, and over, and over (to different people)
- How to create an audience around a very strong and easy to share persona
- Why it’s a good idea to reach out to sites outside of your “niche”
- How to make outreach way easier using “the drafting technique”
I really like this guide because it challenges a lot of ideas that are considered by many to be “best practice,” and his conclusions are 100% correct. I wish I’d read this guide a long time ago.
6. Moz: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Like with Shopify, you won’t need to enter your email address to see this guide.
If you’ve been doing SEO for quite some time, this resource probably isn’t going to teach you anything new, but it’s an important reminder of what really matters. For everybody else, this guide is definitely worth the read, even if you don’t plan to learn anything more about SEO after finishing it.
The guide covers all of the basics:
- How search engines work
- How people use search engines
- Why search engine marketing is such an important channel
- The basics of search engine friendly design and development
- Keyword research
- The importance of usability, experience, and content
- How to expand popularity and attract links
- Useful search engine tools and services
- Myths and misconceptions about search engines (this one’s worth a read even if you’re an SEO)
- Measuring and tracking success
I truly believe anybody involved in digital marketing should learn at least this much about SEO. It can be the difference between a good campaign and a great one.
Now that I’ve shared my favorite guides, I hope you’ll do this for me. Set aside your information addiction, pick a guide, go through it, and put it into action. Don’t put it off.
Thanks for reading.