Seattle google AI-generated content

Google is Cracking Down on Low-Quality, AI-Generated Content

Are you using ChatGPT to write and mass-produce copy? Google wants none of that. 

 

Google’s March 2024 search update targets spam, much of which is low-quality, AI-generated content.  

 

According to Google, “This update involves refining some of our core ranking systems to help us better understand if webpages are unhelpful, have a poor user experience or feel like they were created for search engines instead of people.” 

 

The Google team expects that their latest update and ongoing ranking system tuning will “collectively reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%.”

 

Why This Matters

 

AI-generated content is easy to mass-produce and can potentially manipulate search rankings, but it’s not known for being accurate. Misinformation has been eroding prominent Google search results, bamboozling people with false historical facts and obituaries, AI-generated images instead of real ones, and plenty more. 

 

Misinformation in the news has also been a problem. I doubt I have to explain why that’s a problem — especially this year! 

 

Whaddaya Mean by “Spam?”

 

Google’s update directly addresses three different types of spam:

 

Scaled Content

 

Methods for creating low-quality content at scale become more sophisticated over time. With the aid of AI, spammers can produce content quickly; sometimes, it’s not clear if it’s been automated. Google updated its policies to address low-quality scaled content to help maintain the integrity of queried search results. 

 

Reputation Abuse

 

Some websites have earned their reputation by creating quality content helpful to visitors. However, they’re also hosting low-value content from third parties that are piggybacking on the site’s prominence to climb the ranks on Search. This practice is as misleading as it is frustrating. If you’re looking up important information on a trusted website, you shouldn’t end up on a page that has nothing to do with your query. 

 

Google is cracking down on this practice starting on May 5. Trusted sites were given two months to clean up their act and maintain their integrity. 

 

Expired Domains

 

Some people purchase expired domains to repurpose low-quality, unoriginal content. As a result, you might click on a prominent page expecting valuable information, only to find yourself getting spammed with ads or misinformation.



How to Keep Your Content Unscathed

 

No system is perfect, and that includes Google’s search algorithm. Unfortunately, some people’s content may be flagged as spam even if it’s not. Here are a few ways to prevent that from happening:

 

Keep Your Content Relevant 

 

If your website is about physics, keep your content about physics. If your blog veers off subject, you could arouse suspicion from Google (and you’ll definitely cause your readers to raise an eyebrow!).

 

Tell Stories

 

Personal anecdotes and similar authentic content are much harder to replicate and far less likely to be mistaken for spam. It’s also a great way to connect with your readers. 

 

Don’t Depend on AI-Generated Content

 

Don’t want to get flagged as a spammer who uses AI-generated content? Then, don’t use AI-generated content! 

 

Write your own content — or better yet, hire a professional to craft high-quality, consistent, engaging, and on-brand so you can focus on what you do best. 

 

And leave it to Google to keep Search clean.

blog topics seattle downtown

5 Ways to Come Up With Blog Topics — Also, Cookies!

You want to write about what you do, but you’re living that cliche of staring at your blank screen. If you’re just starting a blog, you may be asking yourself, “What do you write about?” If you’ve been at it for a while, you may think, “What other blog topics should I cover?”

For fun, let’s say you’re a professional cookie baker.

No matter what you do, there are always new ways to approach a story idea, even if it’s something super common — like cookie recipes. 

For inspiration, here are five strategies for coming up with new blog topics. So bite into your favorite crunchy, soft, or gooey cookie and read on! 

1. Google Your Competitors for New Recipes

Research your top five competitors or thought leaders in your field. What have other cookie aficionados been writing about recently?

 

Create a table with columns. On the left, generate a list of the blog topics your competitors have covered recently and compare it to your own. Are there subjects you haven’t covered yet, and if so, can you infuse your unique point of view that your audience will find interesting? Fill out the right column with your ideas for a post. 

 

Sometimes, you’ll hit gold with a competitor, like I just did with Delish’s 125 Best Cookie Recipes to Bake Year-Round. That’s 125 potential ideas right there! 

 

For extra credit, conduct site audits to identify what keywords your competitors rank for based on the content they’ve written. 

2. AnswerThePublic for a Full List of Ingredients

AnswerThePublic is a confectionary of content ideas and serves as a direct line to what people are querying in search engines like Google. Enter a topic, product, or brand into their search bar. After hitting search, AnswerThePublic compiles all these suggestions based on your initial search term, or seed keyword. 

 

You know how when you start typing something into Google, and then you have multiple ideas auto-suggested for you like this:

Seattle blog topics

Instead of getting just a few ideas like you would above, AnswerThePublic gives you access to hundreds of ideas based on your seed keyword.

3. Use ChatGPT to Get Your Ideas Cooking

Large language models are excellent resources for idea generation. For example: 

Seattle blog topic ideas

Play around with different prompts to get new ideas. Just make sure you’re writing these articles yourself 😉. Google is cracking down on low-quality, unoriginal content — much of which is AI-generated. Simply put, if you’re not writing original content, your blog could do you more harm than good. 

4. Don’t Be a Cookie Cutter: Think About Angles

How do you make your article about cookie recipes unique when there are thousands of articles about them already? Find a unique angle.

 

Here are a few to think about:

 

  • Cookies for every emotion: Write an article about cookie recipes based on someone’s mood. You have “comfort cookies,” “celebratory cookies,” and more. 
  • Cookie chemistry: Take a scientific approach to baking the perfect cookie. What ingredient mixture and baking techniques create your desired cookie texture and tastiness? 
  • Cookie culture: Write about cookies from around the world. What are the most popular kinds in each region? What are some authentic recipes created by other cultures? 

 

Creatively blocked? ChatGPT works well here, too.

5. Revisit Blog Topics to Find New Flavors From Old Morsels

When in doubt, review old ideas, whether you wrote about them or not. Sometimes, an idea just needs some time to bake into something delicious. Other times, you just need to think about the process differently. 

 

Then, you’ve got your published posts to ponder. Can any of these ideas be updated? For example, if you wrote about the five most popular cookies in 2021, update the post for the current year. Refresh your content to keep it freshly baked and smelling sweet.

Lick the Bowl With Anthony Writes Content

 

Creating recipes is easy, but someone’s still got to do the cooking. 

 

Are you ready to save time, increase visibility, and get your baking marketing done? Work with an expert to fill your bakery with fresh new ideas that are consistent, engaging, and on-brand. 

 

Want to see what’s cooking at Anthony Writes Content? Shoot me a message!



CRM metrics

What CRM Metrics Should Your Small Business Be Tracking?

Last week, I highlighted five CRM metrics you should be tracking. This week, I’ve got five more to share.

Let’s get started!

Customer Retention Rate

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Your customer retention rate refers to how many customers you retain over a period of time. To figure this out, you must first specify your time period. Subtract the number of new customers you acquired by the total number of customers you have at the end of that time period. Then, you divide that number by the number of customers you started with during that period. 

In other words: 

  • Customer retention rate = (total customers – new customers) / existing customers 

How to use:  If you have 1,250 total customers at the beginning of the year (total customers), gain 500 more (new customers), and have 1,000 customers at the end of the year (existing customers), then:

  • Customer retention rate = (1,250 – 500) / 1000 = 75% 

This CRM metric works well when determining how many new customers you need to acquire to meet other benchmarks. If your retention rate varies, it could indicate that you’re doing something right or need to improve your processes. 

New-Net Revenue

This CRM metric tells you how much you’re making from your new customers. Since this is net revenue and not gross revenue, the formula is as follows:

  •  Net revenue = Gross revenue – expenses 

How to use: Suppose you picked up ten new customers this month who purchased $1,000 in product (a.k.a. $100 per customer on average). If the products cost $10/each to make ($100 altogether) and you spent $250 in marketing, your new-net revenue is: 

  • $1,000 – $100 – $250 = $650 

Quota Attainment 

Your quota attainment measures how close you reach or exceed your sales goals. This CRM metric is pretty common in sales, but it’s also applicable in other business situations. Here’s the formula:

  • Quota attainment = Completed sales / quota period 

How to use: Your quota is a great benchmark when prospecting new customers. You can gamify it by trying to exceed previous goals or hire someone to do the work for you. However, keep in mind that your customer quality still matters. If you’re hitting sales quotas but have a poor customer retention rate, it’s time to examine your pipeline. 

Upsell Rate

Regarding sales, this CRM metric tells you how many new and existing customers upgraded their purchases. Like others, it’s a simple formula:

  • Upsell rate = # of customers upsold / Customers approached about upselling

Note: You’re dividing your upsell rate by the total number of customers you’ve approached, not your total number of customers. If these numbers are different, your upsell rate will be inaccurate. 

How to use: Are you trying to convince customers to go up a tier in your service offerings? Reach out to your base and make the pitch! The better your pitch or offering, the more likely you will have a higher upsell rate. If you get crickets, then it’s time to reassess your offering. Maybe it’s not aligned with what your audience wants. Either way, you’ll be better prepared next time. 

Depending on your customer base, you should first ask for feedback regarding what you’re selling and what other pain points you may be able to address. Then, A/B test your pitch to a small percentage of your customers before reaching out to everyone on your list.  

Net Promoter Score

While reaching out to customers, ask them how happy they are with your current offerings and if they are likely to become brand ambassadors. This CRM metric doesn’t have a formula. It’s a simple scale tailored to your brand. 

How to use: Include a survey with a straightforward question: How likely are you to recommend our product or service to others? Then, provide a scale of one to five (or ten, three, whatever works) and a comment form. Those on the “very likely” end of the scale are your brand promoters. If you’ve got a few responses on the “not likely” side, read their comments to see where you can make improvements. This type of feedback is extremely valuable because if one person is having a poor experience, others may be, too. 

Final Thoughts on CRM Metrics

Even after highlighting ten CRM metrics between this post and last week’s, there are still plenty more that can indicate how well your business is performing. Figure out which metrics are most relevant to you, and track them periodically to gauge your success. 






CRM KPIs

What CRM KPIs Should Your Small Business Be Tracking

CRM KPIs. That’s a lot of acronyms to handle. Okay, there are just two — but if you don’t know what they are, that’s a lot! 

Let’s break them down:

  • CRM stands for customer relationship management. In other words, it’s a strategy for managing customer relationships. This involves using data you collect to improve communication and understand customer needs and preferences so you can tailor your products and services to align with them. When you buy a tee shirt online that actually fits (shocker, I know) and then get an ad for the same company or notifications for when that brand has a sale, that’s the work of an efficient CRM. 
  • KPIs are key performance indicators. They are quantifiable metrics you use to measure performance and determine whether a project is meeting your objectives and goals. For example, if you’re running an online tee-shirt company and want to boost sales by 50%, you could track your progress using a KPI. 

When it comes to small business marketing, here are five CRM KPIs you should be tracking. And yes, there are waaaaaaay more than five CRM KPIs to track, so we’ll be covering more next week. 

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

You want to acquire as many high-quality leads as possible for the least amount of money. However, marketing and sales funnels have many moving parts, and their leaks can cost you dearly. As a CRM metric, CAC can help you identify these leaks so you can patch them up. 

Here’s the formula:

  • CAC = Total spend / # of customers acquired

How to use: If you spend $500 on a Facebook ad campaign that takes your audience to a landing that attracts ten new customers, your CAC is $50 per customer. If you adjust your targeting and run a second $500 campaign that attracts 20 new customers, your CAC is $25 per customer. Congrats! You’re on the right track. Now, it’s time to figure out what you did differently and how you can do it better. 

Close Rate

Another way to identify sales funnel leaks is to know your close rate. Your close rate refers to the number of deals you’ve closed compared to the number of leads you have initially. Simply put:

  • Close rate = # of leads / # of deals closed

How to use: If you started with 50 leads and only closed five deals, your close rate is 10%. This is not usually ideal, but it provides growth opportunities to learn from your mistakes. One way to do this is to ask your leads to partake in a short (and we mean SHORT) survey for feedback. Learning why some leads didn’t become clients will help you improve your close rate.  

Customer Attrition Rate

Even the most successful companies have an attrition (or churn) rate, whether it’s a business no longer carrying your product or someone unsubscribing from your mailing list. As a business owner, you usually want your attrition rate to be as low as possible because it’s cheaper to keep customers than to find new ones. 

Here’s how to measure your churn rate: 

  • Customer attrition rate = # of customers leaving / Total # of customers

How to use: While this CRM KPI can’t tell you why some of your customers are leaving, you’ll at least know the rate at which they’re going and may be able to rule out a few variables. If you track your attrition rate each month or year, you can start identifying trends based on internal changes you’ve made and external shifts that may impact you or your customers. 

Renewal Rate

Your rate of renewal shows you how many customers are retaining your services. It’s a great indicator of how much your business is growing. And if it’s not, you should identify why that is. 

The formula is:

  • Renewal rate = # of renewing subscribers / Original # of subscribers

How to use: Let’s say you have 100 customers subscribing to your services for 12 months. At the end of those 12 months, 75 renew their subscription, making your renewal rate 75%. Using this metric over several periods will help you learn your average rate of renewal, which will help you plan when acquiring new customers. 

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Your CLV identifies how much revenue you’re receiving from a customer throughout your engagement with them. The formula is a little more complicated than the other CRM KPIs on this list. You need to know the averages of your:

  • Purchase value (Total annual revenue / # of annual purchases)
  • Purchase frequency rate (# of annual purchases / # of unique customers)
  • Customer value (Average purchase value X average purchase frequency rate)
  • Customer lifespan (How many years the average customer buys from you)

Your CLV = average customer lifespan X average customer value

Let’s say you know the following:

  • Annual revenue = $250,000
  • Number of annual purchases = 5,000
  • Unique customers = 1,000
  • Average customer lifespan = 5 years

Using this information, you can solve all of the above: 

  • Purchase value = $250,000 / 5,000 = $50
  • Purchase frequency = 5,000 / 1,000 = 5
  • Customer value = $50 X 5 = $250
  • Customer lifespan = 5 years 
  • CLV = $250 X 5 = $1,250

How to use: Once you know your average CLV, experiment with different scenarios to maximize it. If you learn that you’ll keep your customer for seven years if your purchase value is $45, then: 

  • Customer value = $45 X 5 = $225
  • CLV = $225 X 7 = $1,575

Decreasing your price by $5 per year will increase your CLV to $1,575. You’ll also have to factor in your gross vs net profits, but you can see where this is going. 

Final Thoughts on CRM KPIs 

If you’re not using CRM KPIs already, now’s the time to start. They’re an excellent way to identify your strengths and areas for improvement. Without this data, you won’t know if your business is performing as well as you’d like. Stay tuned for part 2 of CRM KPIs next week…

…And if you’re looking to save time, increase visibility, and get your marketing done, check out my content creation packages.  

small business marketing

Small Business Marketing: 5 Mistakes You May Make

…And How to Fix Them

Marketing campaign got you down?

First, breathe. They didn’t build Rome in a day, and your organic traffic won’t build that quickly, either. 

But it never hurts to do a reality check. If you’ve been at it for a while and your campaign isn’t sprouting legs, it’s probably because you’re making one of these small business marketing faux pas (part 1):

You’re Neglecting the “Social” in Social Media

Social media without two-way communication isn’t social. It’s a lecture.

Do you want someone to like, share, and subscribe? So does (almost) everyone else. 

Social media platforms offer incredible opportunities to connect with potential customers, build brand awareness, and strengthen relationships. However, you won’t achieve any of this if you don’t reply to customers and engage with their content. 

How to fix: Take 10-15 minutes every day to engage with your audience on the platforms you use. Reply to their responses, like their content, and share some of their posts with your audience. 

Think of a social media platform like you would in any situation with a crowd of people in a networking environment. The people who engage tend to make the most connections, not those in the corner glued to their phones. Just make sure these are quality engagements—not moments when you’re drunkenly interrupting thoughtful conversations, belching incoherent conspiracy theories, and trampling a brittle Executive Director on the way to the open gin bar. On the web, we call them trolls. 

You’re Overlooking Customer Feedback

Which resource is more valuable, an ounce of printer ink or gold? The ink.

Printer ink is stupid expensive, but it helps with the metaphor. If you’re more interested in panning for gold than reading and addressing what your customers are saying, you’ll be depleting your gold mine in no time. 

How to fix: We all love to see our businesses make money, but customer feedback is often more valuable. Quality feedback provides you with a direct line to understanding your target audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. When you address these accurately, you’ll make them feel heard, earn a reputation as a continuously improving and innovating business, and may even turn those customers into brand ambassadors. 

Speaking of brand…

Your Branding is Inconsistent

Your brand is more than just a logo; it’s your visual and verbal identity. As one agency puts it, your brand is why your organization exists, what you do, how you do it differently than everyone else, and the way it comes to life. 

If your visuals and messaging aren’t cohesive, people will struggle to figure out who you are. Worse, they’ll think you’re struggling with the same. 

How to fix: Create a brand guide that includes adjectives that best set the tone of your business and the colors that best represent your brand. Use this guide as your north star in everything you create going forward. 

Think of it this way: your brand is like your home’s foundation. If it’s untested and put together without care, you’ll deal with structural issues for years. 

Your Content Calendar Needs Work 

Your content calendar is more than just a list of topics and publishing dates—it’s a delicate dance of strategy, foresight, and savvy organizational management. Without one, you’ll almost certainly struggle to keep up with your content and limit your knowledge of what you have and how it’s performing. 

How to fix: Find the best tool for you and your team. It can be a simple spreadsheet or a more collaborative tool like Trello or Asana. Whatever you use, make sure you include your calendar basics, like content title, type, location, category/bucket, dates, assigned contributor, status, and additional notes. 

You’re Doing Your Small Business Marketing Alone

Small business marketing doesn’t mean that you, the small business owner, are doing the marketing. It’s usually better that you don’t because you’ve got a million other things to do. Should you play an active role in planning and reviewing key pieces of content before they’re published? Absolutely (or whoever’s in a marketing managerial role should anyway)! Should you be spending hours every week creating it? No? 

How to fix: Save time, increase visibility, and get your marketing done by outsourcing it to an expert. 

And stay tuned for part 2 of this article, because there are many more small business marketing mistakes that can be improved upon!

how to create a content calendar feature image

How to Create a Content Calendar

Save time and stay organized. Create a content calendar. 

Your calendar is more than just a list of topics and publishing dates — it’s a delicate dance of strategy, foresight, and savvy organizational management. 

Whether you’re a dedicated Trello or Asana user, have a case of the Mondays, or use a spreadsheet, there’s no best way to create a content calendar. However, there are several elements you should always include, and a bunch more based on your goals and how elaborate you’d like your calendar to be. 

Here’s how to create a content calendar:

Know Your Audience

Content is king, but relevance is queen. You can churn out a thousand posts, but if they lack intent and a target, you might as well be throwing a dart as a dartboard you can’t see. Ten bull’s eyes are worth way more than a thousand holes in the wall and one very angry bar owner.

This all goes back to content creation 101. Ask yourself:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What are my objectives?
  • Will my audience find this useful?

And don’t forget to make your content educational, entertaining, and engaging. 

Select Your Tool

And by tool, I mean platform. Keep your minds out of the gutter. 

There are many platforms to help you stay organized, and most offer way more than you’d ever need. Whether you want a sophisticated project management tool or a simple pen and paper, stick with what works best. 

Create Your List

Do you know what looks excellent in a content calendar? Ideas.

Create a list of topics you want to cover and run them through your relevance filter. Once you’ve got a large list of topics to create content for, organize them in buckets. Are you a design and construction firm specializing in kitchen, bath, and closet remodels? Organize each of your ideas under these categories. 

Do you have twice as many kitchen ideas as you do bath or closet remodels? Consider adding more bath and closet ideas or emphasizing kitchens more frequently (e.g., two monthly blog posts about kitchens, one for baths and one for closets). 

Determine Your Frequency

How often do you want to post? You probably don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your audience, but you must maintain your presence. 

At a minimum, I’d recommend: 

  • Blog posts – once a week
  • Newsletters – once a month
  • Social media posts – three times a week

Elements of a Content Calendar

Here are the basics:

  • Title of Content: This can be the title of a blog post, something like “April Newsletter,” social media for Week 12 of 2024 — as long as you know what it is, you’re golden. 
  • Content Type: Blog post, video post, chart, newsletter, social media, ebook, etc. 
  • Content Location: Include a link to the file where the content lives. 
  • Bucket: Who is the content for? For example, you may include categories like buyers and sellers if you’re a real estate agent.
  • Dates: Include your first draft, final draft, and publishing dates.
  • Assignee: Who is in charge of creating this content? Reviewing? Publishing?
  • Status: Has the content been created? Reviewed? Scheduled? Published?
  • Notes: Leave space for relevant information, like how well this content was received, follow-up ideas, etc.

 

Schedule Your Posts

Yes, this deserves its own section — because people forget! 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve created content for clients only for them not to schedule it and miss out on lead-generating opportunities. Scheduling posts is easy, and every platform, from LinkedIn to Mailchimp, will let you do it. 

Don’t create 15 posts leading up to April’s trade show only to publish them in May. Schedule a time to schedule your posts.

Review and Refine

… While you’re scheduling time to schedule your posts, you should also schedule time to review your content calendar and the metrics you’re using to determine your success. By analyzing this data, you’ll discover what’s working and where you should be making improvements. Keep at it, and you’ll be closer and closer to hitting that proverbial bull’s eye more often. 

How to Create a Content Calendar: Final Thoughts

Do you know what’s great about a content creation package? Your content calendar is created for you! All you’ll have to do is copy and paste (and schedule your damn posts!!!).