featured image Active vs Passive Voice How to Engage Your Audience blog post

Active vs Passive Voice: How to Engage Your Audience

Which sentence sounds better:

  1. I grabbed the mug.
  2. The mug was grabbed by me.

The odds are that you picked option #1. “I grabbed the mug” is written in an active voice, while “The mug was grabbed by me” conveys the same idea but in a passive voice.

You should usually write web copy, blog posts, and other marketing materials in an active voice. This improves clarity and keeps your readers engaged.

Here’s everything you should know about active vs passive voice, including their benefits and when to use them:

Understanding Active Voice

When the subject of a sentence does the action conveyed by the verb, you’re using active voice. In other words, the order of the sentence is subject-verb-object. I (subject) grabbed (verb) the mug (object).

Here are a few other examples:

  • Ashley went to the store. Subject = Ashley. Verb = went. Object = The Store.
  • Carlos threw the baseball. Subject = Carlos. Verb = threw. Object = The baseball.

However, it’s not always quite that simple. For example:

  • Learn how to engage your audience.

The subject of this sentence is you, even though you aren’t in the sentence. The verb is learn, and the object is how to engage your audience. How to engage your audience is technically a complete object, but that’s a grammar lesson for another day.

Understanding Passive Voice

Passive voice occurs when the subject of a sentence receives the action of the verb, hence the term “passive.” The subject isn’t actively doing something; something’s being done to them. Passive voice focuses on a verb-object relationship. Grabbed is still the verb, and the mug is still the object, but I didn’t actively grab it. It was grabbed by me.

Here’s a visual representation to help you understand the difference:

I grabbed the mug.

In this clip, I’m actively grabbing the mug.

The mug was grabbed by me.

active vs passive voice

I’ve already grabbed the mug in this picture, so the action isn’t taking place. You’ve already missed it. I’m telling you that I’ve already grabbed the mug, rather than showing you the action of me grabbing the mug. Sorry!

Here are a few other examples of passive voice:

  • The store was gone to by Ashley.
  • The baseball was thrown by Carlos.

No actions here! Ashley and Carlos already performed them.

To recap, here’s the difference between active vs. passive voice:

  • If the subject is doing something, you’re using an active voice.
  • If something is being done to your subject, that’s passive voice.

Active vs Passive Voice: The Benefits

To enjoy the benefits of both voice types, here’s when you should use them…

Active Voice

  • Engage Readers: Active voice keeps the focus on the action. It shows you what’s happening rather than telling you it’s happened. It feels more immediate and, therefore, more engaging.
  • Clarity: Active voice tends to be more straightforward because it eliminates ambiguity. If I said the mug was picked up, instead of The mug was picked up by me, you wouldn’t know who picked the mug up. It could’ve been you, me, Ashley, Ryan Gosling, Karen from finance — anyone!
  • Directness: Sentences are shorter in active voice, which is great for conveying important information. I grabbed the mug is four words, and you know exactly what I did. The mug was grabbed by me is six words. You still know what I did, but it took you longer to get there. We live in the age of scrolling. Be concise.

Passive Voice

  • Focus on the Object: If you want to focus more on the object of the sentence rather than the subject, you can use passive voice. Is “the mug” more important than “me?” If it’s 8 a.m. and that mug has coffee in it, probably!
  • Formal Writing: If you’re writing technical manuals, scientific reports, or legal documents, passive voice may make more sense. Passive voice conveys information without attributing actions to specific individuals. The mug was grabbed. By whom? Not important!
  • Avoid Responsibility: What if you spilled the coffee, and now there’s none left for anyone in your office? That would suck! You don’t want to get blamed for that. Instead of writing a message stating You spilled the coffee, you could say, The coffee was spilled. Ashley, get more from the store before coming in. K, thanks!

Active vs Passive Voice: Final Thoughts

Usually, you want to use an active voice in your writing, but passive voice has its benefits, too. Want to learn more about the differences between active vs passive voice? Here’s an awesome academic guide.

And if you don’t give a damn about the differences between them and just want to save time, increase visibility, and get your marketing done, check out the content creation package. All of your primary marketing channels are covered with one simple plan. All you’ll have to do is copy and paste!

Content marketing for small business

Content Marketing for Small Businesses: Is It Still Worth It?

Short answer: Yes. 

Content marketing for small businesses is more important than ever before:

  • 54% of businesses will increase their content marketing budgets in 2024
  • Businesses that make blogging a main priority are 13x more likely to see a positive ROI
  • 75% of us use social media when researching brands

As consumers, we’re overwhelmed. There’s content everywhere we go — and most of it sucks! And because it sucks, you have a unique advantage: the chance to infuse your brand with personality, passion, and purpose. 

Let’s dive into what content marketing for small businesses should look like and the benefits you’ll reap when you do it well:


Content Marketing for Small Businesses


Believe it or not, content marketing isn’t about persuading someone to buy your product or service. It’s about sharing educational, entertaining, and engaging content that exemplifies you as a thought leader and strengthens the relationship between your brand and your audience. When your connections transcend transactions, you’re on the right track.

It’s also easier said than done, and there’s a lot of competition out there, and a lot of it is bigger and louder than you are. 

Luckily, that doesn’t matter nearly as much as you may think…


How to Break Through the Noise


How do you make your voice heard when everyone is vying for attention? It’s not about being the loudest; it’s about being consistent.

Be consistent in your message, authenticity, and when and how often you post. When creating something, ask yourself: What do I want my audience to get from this, and is it relevant to them? You should also be consistent in your follow-through. 

Being consistent makes you dependable, and being dependable makes you trustworthy. When you establish trust, you don’t have to worry about making your voice heard. Your audience will be listening for it. 


Content Marketing Benefits:


When you’re consistent in your content marketing, here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy:


Forge Authentic Relationships


When crafting compelling content, you’re also shaping perceptions, sparking conversations, and (hopefully) forging genuine connections with your audience. Blogs, social media, and newsletters shouldn’t be forms of one-way communication. They exist to open a dialogue with your audience and build relationships with them. 


Increased Organic Traffic: 


Paid ads can give you a boost, but it comes at a price. No, literally. They cost you money. Also, when they’re gone, they’re gone. Organic traffic won’t give you instant gratification, but it’s free and pays in perpetuity. 

Organic traffic is when people find your website through natural search engine results, like Google. It’s free, and when it ranks high on a search engine query, it signals to users that the information is authoritative and relevant. 




Organic traffic generates a higher volume of quality leads, catalyzing scalability. It’s simple math: When you have more people interested in your products or services, you’ll have a greater opportunity to grow and hire more people and/or free up time by outsourcing tasks you don’t need to do.


Is Content Marketing Still Worth It?


Long answer: Yes. 

Content marketing gives you a competitive advantage, creates and strengthens relationships, cost-effectively increases your visibility, and helps you scale your business. 

So yeah, I’d say it’s worth it. It’s just difficult and time-consuming.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult and time-consuming for you. Do you want to save time, increase visibility, and get your marketing done? Check out my content creation package page, or send me a message!


content creation 101

Content Creation 101: The 3 E’s Your Content Needs

Content Creation 101 lesson #1: Most content sucks.

Why does it suck? Because it doesn’t provide value to your audience. 

Whether you’re writing a blog, email, web copy, or something on social media, you need to ask yourself if you’re following the three E’s of content creation. Is it…

  • Educational
  • Entertaining
  • Engaging

Not every piece of content will be all three (e.g., the information you find on PubMed will be educational, not entertaining), but you’ll start seeing results if you consistently create with the three Es in mind.

Let’s cover some content creation 101 basics, then explore each E further:


Content Creation 101


Here are a few general rules when creating content: 



Set Clear Objectives



Would you invest $10,000 in a stock because the name sounds pretty? Hopefully not. Before you even begin researching a company, its financial statements, and evaluating risks, you should understand your investment goals. 

Content creation is no different. 

What are your goals for creating content? Do you want to:

  • Boost brand visibility by 50%
  • Increase your organic traffic to your website by 80%
  • Double your current number of monthly leads

Whatever your goal may be, make it a SMART one. 

Don’t say, “I want to increase organic traffic to my website.” 

Say, “I want to increase organic traffic to my website by 80% within the next six months by writing a weekly blog post and posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram three times a week.” That’s a SMART goal. 

Also, start thinking about what you want to learn or do when engaging with your material. Knowing this ahead of time will drive the direction of your content.


Know Your Audience


How do you get your audience to view your content? Start by knowing who they are. 

  • How familiar are they with your product or service? 
  • What are their interests?
  • What platforms do they use? 

An audience interested in the latest in fashion will be different from those who follow the vast potential applications of gene editing. If your audience consists of CRISPR-loving fashionistas, then that, my friends, is what we call a niche. Now, find out where they are and what content they want to see. 


Encourage Feedback


Get your audience to participate in your posts. These types of interactions:

  • Help build brand trust
  • Strengthen customer relationships
  • Drive more engagement 

The easiest, most straightforward way to encourage feedback is by asking for it. End your post with a call to action, whether it’s to click a button or answer a question. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s break down the three Es of Content Creation 101:


Educational Content


How do you get your audience to read and learn something? Make it enjoyable for them! 

Here’s how:

  • Know your audiences’ learning styles. What types of content does your audience engage with most? Do they enjoy graphs and charts? How-to videos? Informative blog posts? When you create content they enjoy absorbing, you’ll leave a lasting impression. 
  • Diversify your content. Customers typically need to see a message 7+ times before taking action. However, that doesn’t mean you should share the same content seven times. Communicate your information by sharing it in multiple formats. Use videos, infographics, charts, quizzes, etc. 
  • Provide relatable context. Don’t be bland. Use real-world examples, pop culture references, and demonstrations to let the knowledge sink in. It works for John Oliver, and it can work for you too!

Entertaining Content


Don’t bore your audience. Beguile them!

  • Hook your audience. Grab their attention from the get-go. Use humor, suspense, curiosity, or emotion to draw them in and keep them engaged. 
  • Tell stories. We love stories, so tell us one! It can be a personal experience, an anecdote, or a work of fiction. Whatever it is, it better be interesting!
  • Are you interested? If you’re writing something you find boring, your audience will find it boring, too. Even content that’s dry as hell has an interesting angle. If you’re writing about parking lots, hook your audience with an interesting fact like: Did you know that there are eight parking spots for every car in the US?

Engaging Content


Want your audience to engage with you? Make them want to!

  • Be authentic. Being authentic and relatable helps you build trust with your audience. Don’t just tell them about a product; show them how it works. Share personal experiences and behind-the-scenes content. People love that stuff!
  • Keep it short. As it turns out, Goldfish actually do have good memories — but we still don’t. Keep your posts short and sweet; by short, I mean cut the fluff. Your audience doesn’t have time for it! 
  • Stay current. Keep your content timely, fresh, and relevant. What’s going on in your CRISPR-loving fashionista niche? Talk about it! 

Altogether Now!


When creating your content strategy, you must set clear objectives by making SMART goals. You also need to know your audience and how you want them to interact with the educational, entertaining, and engaging content you’re producing. If you’re ever unsure whether or not you’re hitting the marks, ask yourself these questions:

  • Educational: Am I communicating what I want my readers to learn?
  • Entertaining: Is this something that my audience will find interesting? Do I?
  • Engaging: Will this content help build trust and encourage my audience to take action?

That’s it! 

So… Is your content educational, entertaining, and engaging? Don’t have time to create it?

Then here’s another way to save time, increase visibility, and get your marketing done: let’s create content together! 

Does Functional Medicine Work? The Importance of Holistic Medicine

Sir William Osler, one of the first Physicians-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, once said that “the good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” Functional medicine isn’t a new concept. Its roots are derived from modern scientific medicine and functional medicine clinics are living by Osler’s words.

Functional Medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of a disease. Functional medicine clinics take the holistic approach to understand who you are, knowing that every person is unique and should have a medical plan that is custom fit for their needs.

Instead of determining which drug will cure a disease, functional medicine clinics have doctors that discover why you have an ailment in the first place, and to restore what’s no longer functioning. 

Think of medicine in terms of a science experiment. Experiments with limited variables are easier to find solutions for. The more complex the problem, the more difficult the solution becomes. The human body is full of variables. Lifestyle, genetic makeup, personality, and environmental factors are just a few, and within each of these basic categories are countless more variables. 

Too often, traditional physicians treat the disease and not the patient. They don’t take the time–and, in their defense, can’t take the time–to understand all of the variables that make you unique. While the standard model of care works well for acute diseases, trauma, infection, and emergencies, it fails to care for the chronic diseases that affect over 133 million Americans.


Principles of Functional Medicine


According to Mind Body Green, there are five principles of functional medicine:

  1. Everyone is different, both genetically and biochemically. With this in mind, functional medicine clinics take a personalized approach, treating the patient and not the disease. Instead of tackling the disease directly, functional medicine practitioners find ways for the body’s normal healing mechanisms to resolve the problem.
  2. Functional medicine is science-based. There is a complex network of interconnected relationships within our body, not unlike the many webs that connect us in other ways. By understanding those relationships, functional medicine practitioners can have a deeper comprehension of the body.
  3. The human body has the capacity of self-regulation. Your body has millions of systems that are interconnected with one another in a delicate balance. Sometimes certain conditions can knock your body off balance.
  4. Your body can often heal itself and can prevent nearly all of the diseases of aging.
  5. Health is a state of immense vitality, not just the absence of a disease or an ailment.


One Condition, Many Causes. One Cause, Many Conditions


Functional medicine clinics and the doctors who run them know that one condition can have many causes. In turn, one cause can spurn many conditions. The Institute for Functional Medicine expresses that depression can be caused by a combination of multiple factors such as inflammation, an Omega-3 deficiency, a low thyroid count, and antibiotic use, to name a few. Meanwhile, inflammation can be caused by a combination depression, heart diseases, diabetes, and/or a million other things.

Functional medicine practitioners know that each symptom or differential diagnosis may be a contributing factor to an individual’s illness. By identifying and treating the root cause(s) of an illness, functional medicine has a much higher chance of properly treating the patient. Functional medicine clinics use scientific principles, advanced diagnostic testing and treatments to restore balance in a patient’s physiological processes.


Functional Medicine and Chronic Health Conditions


The medical management model that traditional practices use is often too quick to resort to drugs, surgery, and other acute care treatments. This application is fine for acute health problems, but not for chronic health conditions. According to Your Medical Detective, chronic health conditions often require a two-step solution:

  • Add what’s lacking in the body to nudge its physiology back to a state of optimal functioning
  • Remove anything that impedes the body from moving toward this optimate state of physiology

Functional medicine practitioners try to first determine why the body is not functioning properly. They do this by using the patient’s unique history as a guide, by the use of advanced lab testing, and a deep dive into a patient’s overall lifestyle. Treatment often involves nutritional and lifestyle alterations, counseling (emotional and/or nutritional, if necessary), a combination of natural agents such as herbs, homeopathics, and supplements, and medication, if needed.


Does Functional Medicine Work?


Functional medicine physicians encourage their patients to take an active role in their own health. By educating a patient about their own body and its processes, that patient will have a greater chance of being treated successfully and living a healthier life.

Even without a medical degree, it just makes sense that functional medicine’s holistic approach would be effective more often than by following a traditional medical management model. Chronic diseases have many different causes. 

Treating them with blanket solutions isn’t the most precise way to make someone optimally functional again. The human condition is made out of countless variable and no single solution can satisfy all of them or even satisfy each subcategory. The most functional approach to medicine involves figuring out what is not functioning within an individual, not a collection of individuals that might have the same disease by radically different genetic makeups, medical histories, and lifestyles. In short, the question shouldn’t be “does functional medicine work?” It should be “do traditional medical models work well enough?”

Some functional medicine practitioners charge upwards of $1,000 per consultation plus the cost of labs. Boston Direct Health charges $500 for a consultation, but they are free for members. For more information about functional medicine and how to receive consultation please visit our functional medicine page and learn more about how a holistic approach to medicine can improve your health.

Direct Primary Care: Quality Care that Cuts Costs


Direct Primary Care (DPC) is an innovative medical philosophy that completely eliminates third party insurance and redefines the physician-patient relationship. According to Qliance Medical Management, Inc., patients enrolled in a Direct Primary Care program have on average:

  • 80% fewer surgeries,
  • 62% fewer references to specialists,
  • 59% fewer ER visits, and
  • Spend 30% fewer days admitted in a hospital.

They are also saving money in the process.

DPC’s model is simple: for a monthly membership fee—usually between $75-$125—you have immediate access to a private physician. Boston Direct Health’s (BDH) membership covers ingrown toenail removal, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, and many services in between.


Rising Healthcare Costs


A Health System Tracker study found that the US spent $10,224 per person on health in 2017, about half the average spend of most countries. From 2015-2025, health spending is project to grow at an average rate of 5.8% per year or 4.8% on a per capita basis. It’s growing 1.3% faster than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year during this period.

Overall health spending growth is expected to accelerate by an average of 6% from 2020-2025. Even if you’re currently spending less per year on healthcare than the average American, your spending is likely to climb significantly as you get older and as new treatments become available.

Not only is this costly for individuals, it’s even more expensive if you work at a firm that have fewer than 200 employees. A Kaiser Family Foundation 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey revealed that the average worker’s contribution to a premium for family coverage was $6,814 compared to just $5,264 for larger companies. The average general deductible for smaller firm employees was $2,120, compared to $1,276 for employees of larger companies. The cost of deductibles alone tends to be higher than year-long Direct Primary Care membership with none of the perks.

Direct Primary Care can reduce your firm’s healthcare spend by 15%-20% in a single year when combined with a transparent Rx program. Meanwhile, self-insured employers who implement a DPC program have saved as much as $260 per member per month.

Boston Direct Health offers special discounts for both families and businesses. With DPC, you save money by having direct access to your primary care physician, enjoy reduced costs of procedures, and get extra time with a private physician who helps you navigate away from your potential health risks.


Wait Times and Urgent Care


A study conducted by Merritt Hawkins, an AMN Healthcare company, found that the average wait time for a new patient to see a physician was 18.5 days. Among the largest US cities, Boston ended up having the longest wait time. To see a specialist, Boston residents have to wait an average of 45 days. To see their family doctors, the residents have to wait an average of 66 days.

One main problem here is that not all patients have 1.5-2 months to wait for their appointment. Many will instead go to the emergency room or urgent care to seek a faster solution. This results in expensive and needless bills for the patient.

A simple visit to urgent care without any sort of vaccination, procedure, or medication can range anywhere from $75 to $250 without health insurance. With insurance, copayment for urgent care is usually between $50-$150. If you haven’t met your deductible, it may cost more. ER visits tend to be even more financially damaging. Some insurance companies have estimated that an in-network urgent care visit can cost up to 80% less than an ER visit!

Members a DPC program enjoy same day/next availability, evading the process of waiting for their appointment entirely. Patients also enjoy unlimited office visits, no co-pays, and direct, unlimited communication via text, phone, email, or video chat. Outside of some procedures, medications, or labs, the only cost you incur by being a DPC patient is your membership fee.


Additional Savings


The CDC found that roughly 60% of US adults have a chronic disease and that 40% of them have two or more. Chronic medical condition management for common illnesses such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes, depression, and anxiety are covered in most DPC memberships, including at Boston Direct Health.

BDH members also save an average of 90% on labs. Routine diabetes lab work costs $37 as opposed to $200-$300. Typical labs ordered for a 40-year-old cost approximately $1,500 every year. At BDH, the amount is reduced to $137, with the difference being around the cost of a one-year membership.

Consultations for functional medicine, a systems biology-based approach that focuses on addressing and identifying the root cause of a disease, can cost $300 or more. It’s free with a DPC membership at Boston Direct Health.

Other membership benefits include (but are not limited to):

  • Sutures and stitches
  • Vaccines (provided at cost)
  • Lab draws (phlebotomy)
  • EKGs
  • Skin lesion removal/destruction (warts, skin tags, sun spots)
  • Skin lesion excision and biopsy (lab tests not included; provided at cost)
  • Incision and drainage of abscess (lab tests not included; provided at cost)
  • Ear wax removal
  • Breathing treatments (nebulizers)
  • Pap smears (lab costs not included; provided at cost)
  • Thrombosed hemorrhoid – removal of blood clots
  • Botox and facial fillers (provided at 20% off for members)


Redefining the Physician-Patient Relationship


Traditional doctors spend an average of 15 minutes or less with their patients. One of the key ingredients of quality care is the physician-patient relationship. It’s difficult to develop one when you spend 45 or 66 days waiting to tell your physician about your medical history in 15 minutes or less. Shorter visits increase the likelihood that patients leave with a prescription as opposed to physicians taking more time to determine the root causes of an illness.

Most traditional doctors dislike abbreviated visits, but they lack other options. A study by the American Medical Association that followed 57 US physicians in internal medicine, family medicine, orthopedics, and cardiology revealed that physicians spent 27% of their time seeing patients can 49.2% of their time doing paperwork for the electric health record. While seeing patients—for 15 minutes or less—they spend approximately 37% of that time doing paperwork for the electric health record as well.

DPC patients get a full hour with their physicians and none of that time is interrupted by insurance paperwork. That time is spent developing the physician-patient relationship. This allows for physicians to firmly understand your medical needs, your passions and goals, and to have a vested interest in your well-being. Having a strong relationship with your physician can allow your doctor to provide more accurate advice on subjects such as nutritional counseling, lifestyle care, preventive care, and your overall medical well-being. There’s no putting a price on that level of care.


Learn More About Your Healthcare Opportunities


Whether you’re an employer, an employee, or somewhere in between, it’s essential to educate yourself about the difference between DPC and traditional health insurance to determine which—or both—best fits your needs.

One popular strategy utilized by members involves having a low-cost insurance plan with a high deductible. These members use DPC as a way to offset the cost that they would be paying via that deductible. DPC provides an innovative option that eases the stresses caused by our inefficient healthcare system. Learn more about how you can benefit from becoming a DPC member. 

Is Boosting Posts on Facebook Really Worth It?

We have all been tempted at least once or twice with the “Boost Post” button on Facebook. Any time you publish an update on your Facebook page, and any time one of your post’s gains traction, that navy blue button appears and gives you the option to reach a larger audience for a small fee. However, is merely a creative way to burn through your ad budget, or is boosting posts on Facebook worth it?

Yes… If done correctly.

With over 2.38 billion users now on Facebook and 1.56 billion of them logging in daily, breaking through the noise can be harder than ever before. Every 20 minutes:

  • 763,888 status updates are sent out
  • 1 million links are shared
  • 86 million photos are uploaded

Meanwhile, organic reach and engagement have experienced a steady decline in recent years. A post’s average organic reach is only around 6.4% of its total page likes, meaning that a lot of your content never even gets seen by their intended audience. Boosting posts alleviates this pain point and provides you with an opportunity to increase your reach. By knowing what posts to boost and how often, understanding the audience you’re trying to engage, and diversifying your content, you can crack the code of Facebook’s “Boost Post” option and seeing a significant ROI. 


Boost Posting Trade Secrets


Before delving into what to boost, examine the content on your page and make sure that it’s both relevant to your business and that the kind of engagement you are receiving is from the right types of leads for your business. Boosting posts won’t be nearly as effective with your current base if your audience isn’t interested in what you’re selling. Assuming that it is, or that you’re going to take corrective action to ensure that you’re reaching the right audience, you’re ready to start boosting.

In general, the best posts to boost are ads that are:

  • Visually effective
  • Have a link to your website or storefront
  • Marry education and entertainment, or “edutainment” (ex. how-to videos)
  • Suggest interaction without begging for it (ex. a restaurant posting a photo of their latest dish and asking what their audience is having for dinner)
  • Diverse in content: a mix of video updates, images, text, and links

These tend to be the posts that are already going to garner a lot of attention but have the potential for an even greater reach. No exact algorithm can determine the success with boost posting—especially since everyone’s business and following is different—but by testing out a variety of strategies using these kinds of posts, you’ll have somewhere to start.

Also, if Facebook itself suggests that you boost a post that has a link to your website, we recommend doing it.

While it may be tempting to boost a post right away, many experts suggest waiting a couple of days to allow the post to generate buzz organically. If it’s something that is receiving multiple likes, comments, and shares, odds are that it will continue to generate buzz if boosted to reach a broader audience.

You should also only boost a post—at the very most—once a week, and only for about a week, otherwise the content gets dated, and your audience may begin to ignore your content. Regarding costs, you can boost your posts for as little as $1 per day, and Facebook has a pretty involved ad budget section in their ads help center.


What to Boost


When boosting a post, Facebook offers you three options. Each one has its advantages based on the kind of content you’re creating.


People who like your page

If you are making a service announcement or boosting a sales-oriented update, selecting this category is right for you. These people are likely already familiar with your product and your page and will appreciate knowing about new services or product updates that they could risk missing out on otherwise. If you’re selling a house cleaner, for example, your page followers might be interested in learning that your product comes in new scents or forms. Choosing this category limits your ad dollars strictly to interested parties, maximizing the impact of your overall ad spend.


People who like your page and their friends

If you have a brick and mortar store or if your business has some geographic component, extending a post to people who like your page and their friends might be advantageous. Not only will you reach out to customers that are already familiar with you, but you could also attract new customers that you wouldn’t be able to reach without your posts being organically shared. Given that boosting posts in this category increases your risk of reaching the wrong crowd, it’s best to test out your campaign with a smaller budget first.


People you choose through targeting

This category is where things get interesting. You have the greatest chance of expanding your audience with this option (a most simplified version of regular Facebook ad targeting), and if you know what to post, you can see a high return. If a post is generating a lot of interaction via likes/comments/shares, it might be boost-worthy with this category. One blogger for Cleverpedia noticed that her post was getting some traction, so she boosted with specific identifiers for her target audience en masse, and reached over 3,400 people and got 70 click-throughs for only $9. Her scenario is more successful than what most are used to, but it’s also the results of some trial and error and knowing the audience. Speaking of…


Know Your Audience

When your ad budget is influenced by each potential engagement, knowing your audience becomes incredibly important. Research your target market thoroughly before even thinking about boosting posts. What are their pain points? What do they like/don’t like? Where do they hang out, and what inspires them? The better you know your customers, the more effective your campaign will be.


Why White Papers Are So Damn Good at Converting

Why White Papers Are So Damn Good at Converting


Ever since they originated in 19th century England, white papers have served as a relevant, influential form of content marketing. Other marketing strategies have come and gone, but white papers show no signs of going anywhere. Not only have they survived through the technological revolution, but they have also weathered the changes in how we consume content.

In this article, you will learn why white papers are so good at converting, how companies can improve upon their white papers, and what companies should be doing to deploy white papers in their content marketing.


Why White Papers Convert


White papers offer in-depth information about a problem in an industry that interested parties are looking to understand. They also offer a practical solution to this problem in the form of a product or service. They are meant to educate buyers through the Evaluation Stage by providing in-depth information on a specific subject, advocate for a solution, and make a company be seen as a subject matter expert (SME). As a result, white papers are ranked #2 in terms of the most influential content buyers read before making a purchase, just behind product brochures and data sheets.

When done well, white papers are able to make your brand more persuasive and bring about meaningful change as your platform and influence increases. They can boost your brand’s exposure within your industry, media, and other critical circles, and can increase your brand’s strategic visibility. By having a well-crafted white paper, your clients, customers, partners, and investing will feel more confident in your brand.

White papers have no time for fluff. They are carefully crafted documents full of quantitative data written in an academic format. They are the thick textbooks of marketing: They are not always the most fun to read, but if your company is looking to make a significant business decision, you are grateful that they exist because of the breadth of information they provide.

However, this doesn’t mean that the white paper hasn’t evolved in its own ways. Modern-day white papers are often filled with infographics, images and videos, and interactive content.

White paper designs and templates have also gotten more modern. Here are a few examples from Venngage that you may find useful. 


How Companies Can Create or Make Their White Papers Better


First, companies need to understand what a White Paper is and what it isn’t:


A white paper isn’t like a research paper, it’s like your graduate thesis or capstone project! It requires a lot of in-depth information complete with credible data to back up every one of your claims. By writing a white paper, your company is looking to become the SME of your industry. If a sentence that you have written or if the fact that you have inserted can be disproven, your credibility will take a hit, and your buyers will mistrust you.

Carefully plan your White Paper, and take your time writing it. This is a document that will be valid for your company for at least a year or two and then revised to remain relevant. Make sure that it goes the approval from your company’s most scrutinous of editors, and don’t consider it a completed project until you are 100% satisfied with it.

Given the importance of this document, the amount of time it may take to put together all of the relevant information, and the writing skills necessary to create a well-crafted White Paper, many companies find that their best solution is to outsource writing one.


This is what should be included in every white paper:

  • Market trends and changes in your industry that make your product necessary (without actually selling your product)
  • Statistics, expert testimony, and quotes from industry professionals
  • Fully explore what your target audience’s key challenges, more so than a web page or brochure would do
  • Create a list of things to consider that is well-rounded and thoroughly discusses the problem at hand, potential solutions, and market drivers
  • At the very end, pitch why your product can help your audience. *Note: this isn’t the bulk of your white paper, merely the last page or two.


What Companies Should Be Doing to Market Their White Papers


Once a white paper is created, it should be marketed, so that leads in the later stages of the marketing funnel can evaluate them during their buyer’s journey. Here are a few ways to do just that:

Direct Email Campaigns and Newsletters: Email has an average  ROI of 122%, which is more than four times higher than other marketing formats like direct social and social media. Feature your white paper in your newsletter or as a downloadable PDF in your next e-mail marketing campaign.

Free Gift: Promote your white paper as a ‘free gift’ or ‘downloadable content’ on your website. If you want to get something out of it in return, offer your white paper as a gift that someone gets when subscribing to your site or e-mail list

Press Releases: Promote it as part of a press release complete with a link to your white paper, landing page, or site where the white paper is easily accessible. Press releases are submitted to search engines, social platforms, and industry journals and allow for a broad reach and more potential leads. On average, press releases generate traffic that is 38.9% less expensive than comparable traffic from a PPC campaign.

Reach Out: Contact influential bloggers, editors, and industry experts who work with or cater to your target market and pitch your white paper to them.

Social Media: 83% of B2B marketers use social media as a content marketing vehicle. Promote your white paper on your various platforms, again offering it as an ‘extra’ or ‘gift.’

Utilize Your Sales Team: Give it to your sales team to help them further nurture leads.


No matter what you are selling, a white paper is an excellent addition to your content arsenal. Not only does it make you appear to be an SME, but just about 2/3rds of B2B marketers actually use them, which gives you a significant advantage over your competitors that don’t. Keep that in mind for the next time you are spearheading a marketing campaign.


6 Ways to Measure the Success of Your Marketing Campaign

Companies both small and big have access to the world’s most influential marketing tool: the internet. The web helps level the playing field, giving advantages to companies who know how to use it. A small business with a tiny marketing budget, but a successful marketing campaign can outshine its much wealthier competitor.

The average business spends 12-13% of their revenue on marketing. A single marketing campaign can influence millions of people around the world. If done effectively, you can enjoy significant ROI from that campaign.

But how can you measure if your marketing campaign is successful? What qualitative and quantitative data do you need to determine whether the value of money and time you spent on this campaign was worth it?

Here are 6 ways to determine exactly that:


Goal Setting for Your Marketing Campaign


Before launching your successful marketing campaign, create a list of goals for yourself or with your team. How many impressions are you seeking to make, and how many leads would you like to generate? Are you looking for an increase in revenue, and if so, by how much?

Make sure you are setting tangible, attainable goals for yourself. Keep your expectations high, but be realistic. First-time actors aren’t expecting to win an Oscar. They’re just hoping to land a second, more promising gig. Your success measurement should be in terms of you, not Apple, Starbucks, or Walmart.

With a list of tangible goals in mind, it’s time to check out your quantitative data.


Keywords and Domain Ranking

You can use Google Analytics or any comparable search engine marketing tool to analyze your site’s traffic to determine where you were before and after the campaign. There are four types of web traffic: organic, social, referral, and direct.

  • Organic – Organic traffic comes from unpaid listing on search engines and directories, like when you type keywords into a search bar, and a link comes up.
  • Social – Social traffic refers to traffic coming from your social media platforms or networks.
  • Referral – Referral traffic is measured by link building, or when someone visits your site after being on a different site.
  • Direct – Direct traffic is most commonly the result of someone physically typing in the URL to your site, or by clicking an untagged link from an email or on a Word or PDF document.

Analyzing the web traffic you had before and after a marketing campaign will show you how influential your campaign was on all four of these different avenues. You can also input your domain and see the total change in traffic. This will further help you measure your success.


Analyzing Web Traffic

Google Analytics also allows you to figure out how many new and return visitors you have. Google Analytics also allows you to track your visitors by demographic.

You can track new vs. returning visitors under the audience > behavior tab on Google Analytics. This information won’t be 100% accurate, because the same new user can access your site on their mobile device, laptop, and tablet (and if they clear their cookies, they are considered a new user again). Still, it’s a helpful source to determine if your marketing campaign is influencing new people. Return visitors are people who have already accessed your site and are browsing it again.

New users can you help determine if your social and referral traffic works. Odds are most of your new users are coming from one of those two sources. If you don’t see a significant increase in new user traffic, you will want to rethink your marketing strategy for future campaigns.

You can also find demographics under the audience tab. All these can be important, depending on which demographics your campaign hopes to influence.



Links built and inbound links are measured on Moz’s link explorer. The number and quality of links you have will increase your domain authority score. This makes it easier for people to find you organically.

Off-site content strategy can play a significant role in your marketing campaign. According to Forbes, any link you embed in your content will pass authority to your site. Using Moz’s link explorer, you can determine how many links you’ve built and how effective they are.

Inbound links are also relevant. The more times your site is linked as a point of reference, the higher your domain authority will rise. Moz’s link explorer allows you to identify a site’s influence and the inbound links to a page. It also helps you with several other analytics that could be useful in your marketing campaign.


Social Media

Social media offers several other ways to analyze the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. You can track the number of new followers you acquired on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. You can also view the levels of engagement on each of your posts.

Social media traffic also allows you to determine how many new email and website subscribers you have after running a campaign. All this information will help you decide whether you ran a successful marketing campaign.


Value of Time and Money

The final way to analyze a marketing campaign is to determine how much time and money you spent on it, and whether it was worth it. Keep a spreadsheet that lists all your advertising costs, including labor, to get an estimate of how much you budgeted for this campaign. Also, make sure you kept track of how much time you spent on this endeavor. What other projects or opportunities could you have been exploring instead of working on a marketing campaign?

Upon its conclusion, while you analyze your links, web traffic, social media, keywords, and domain authority, use this spreadsheet and compare it with the results. Compare it against your initial goal and decide whether you ran a successful marketing campaign.


The Importance of Marketing Campaigns

Businesses that don’t market themselves get lost in the Google algorithm abyss. Their websites predate the 2016 election, their links are dead, and their only social media link is to their MySpace account. Your campaigns won’t always be as lucrative or rewarding as you want them to be. However, with each attempt, you’ll better understand how to improve and prepare for future campaigns. If your marketing campaign beats out larger, more profitable competitors, you know you’re on the right track.

How do you measure your marketing campaigns, and what has worked for you in the past? Leave a comment below.

How to Use Topic Clusters to Nurture Leads

Topic clusters provide a simple, highly-effective way to nurture leads with more content. Not only is the information that they provide tailored to their buyer’s persona, but they also give every blog, article, and any other content in your cluster an SEO boost in the process. This shows your lead that you’re not only an expert in your product’s market, but you’re the expert that’s going to make them a satisfied customer.


How Topic Clusters Work


Cluster marketing strategy sounds more complicated than it is. Basically, instead of writing one blog post or article about an idea, you’re writing on the main topic and then several other posts closely related to that topic that shares the same hyperlinked keyword. You don’t usually use the same keyword in some other cases, but with topic clusters, you’re putting all of your eggs into one carefully researched basket (the basket that you’re most confident will allow customers to find you or your product) and providing leads with easy access to FAQs that they may have.

For example, let’s say your company sells car air fresheners. Your main topic should cover necessary information about car air fresheners and how and why customers should buy car air fresheners from your company.

Next, you write about several subtopics involving car air fresheners. These subtopics must be pertinent to the product(s) you’re selling and what your target customers are likely to type in Google. If you stray away from that, you won’t be helping your lead make a purchase decision.  

Examples of subtopics for car air fresheners might include popular car air freshers, new air freshener scents, air freshener sprays, and natural car air fresheners, to name a few. As your writing posts for your subtopics, make sure that they’re using the same keyword as your main topic (car air freshener, perhaps?) and linking each of your subtopic posts to your pillar article. Now anytime someone looks up one of these subtopics; they will have a direct link to your main article that connects them to your company.


Creating a Topic Cluster


Before creating any content, you have to ask yourself three questions:

  • Why am I creating this?
  • How am I creating this?
  • What am I creating?

Because topic clusters involve creating multiple pieces of content, these questions become much more complicated. You’re researching five to ten interrelated topics as opposed to just one, and each of them has to be pertinent to nurturing your lead. Here is how you do it:


Research your target market.

Before even reaching out to your customers, do a keyword search on your subject to make sure that it’s relevant. You can do this using Kwfinder, Google Adwords, or a similar program. If it’s not generating enough traffic, then creating a topic cluster would a waste of your time. Find keywords for your subject or product that will be competitive, but not broad enough to where it will get lost in the Google abyss.


Determine your lead’s core problems.

You are trying to convince your lead that your product is a solution to their problem. However, no problem comes with a singular answer. Different leads may need your product for various reasons and need to determine why your product is better than that of your competitors. Surveying your buyer personas will provide you with multiple topics that are pertinent to write about.


Create a blueprint for your clusters.

By identifying the needs of your customers, you have a list of ideas that will form the foundation of your topic cluster. From this list, you need to group like-minded concepts that could become the subtopics for your main idea. Next, run keyword searches for next of these concepts to determine their SEO relevancy. For an extra boost, use SEMrush to compare your topics with those of your competitors and find keyword gaps that will make you stand out.


Narrow down your list.

At this point you should have:

  • A list of ideas from customer surveys and other investigative research. From there,
  • A group of core concepts from this list that could become subtopics, and
  • You have run keyword searches on these ideas to determine their relevancy.

Now it’s time to compare the quantitative data from your keyword searches with the qualitative feedback you have from the needs of your customers. Create a weighted ranking system to find the best cross-sections that answer the questions “what customers are searching for” and “what searches are most relevant to your company,” and the best five to ten ideas from that should form the subcategories of your topic cluster. 


Analyze and refine.

Once you’ve created your topic cluster, keep track of the posts that customers are being drawn to and see these subtopics are leading them to the central pillar and turning them into buyers. If a couple of topics are proving to be ineffective, revert to your list of cluster ideas and repeat the process. No work is ever perfect, but you can make improvements over time.


More Research, Bigger Payoff


Cluster marketing strategy requires much more work than a singular blog post. However, when done well, topic clusters can exponentially increase your web traffic. Instead of having one post on one topic, you can have five posts linked to a single topic that can be found in five different ways. Think of it in terms of casting a net. Instead of using a net that is 1×1, you now have a net that is 5×5.

The leads that you’re trying to nurture now have:


  • Access five times the amount of content that your product or company has provided
  • A significantly better chance of coming across a thread to the web you’ve woven with your topic cluster
  • More confidence that your product or company can provide the solution to their problem


Experts believe that topic clusters are the next evolution of SEO. With an algorithm that’s as competitive as Google’s, claim your competitive advantage now by weaving a topic cluster web that’ll capture the leads in your niche.