5 Neil Patel Takeaways on Content Marketing

March 10, 2013

Neil Patel is the co-founder of metric company KISSmetrics. I recently attended a KISSmetrics webniar on content strategy that he gave. I found it because I was intrigued by the subject line in the email they sent me. “Don’t dump $1147 by deleting this email.

Normally I wouldn’t probably click on a subject line like that but I trust KISSmetrics and thought they probably really meant it so I went ahead and opened. Incidentally they shared the open rate of that email which turned out to be 37%.  Clearly they know who their customers are because marketers love their #metrics.

An important thing to remember about content marketing is that the landscape is changing. Now that people realize content optimizes, Google is changing things around a bit to verify authors and basically saying, “Yeah content is king but it can’t just be any content…it should actually be good.” Which is a point that Neil referred to several times.

Neil had a lot of great points that should drive your content marketing strategy, namely knowing who your customers are, where they hang out and how to engage them. But what I found really valuable in this webinar was the little resources and unscripted gems he dropped throughout the session which I’ll be listing in this blog.


So You’ve Got a Blog. Now What?

The easiest way to add a content marketing strategy into your marketing is by adding a blog. That’s step number one.

Patel suggests creating content that is unique but not newsy. The term “blog” sets a certain expectation before people even read the content. That’s why I usually suggest companies use the term “blog” when they implement one on their site. Avoid calling your blog “News” as that sets users up with the expectation that they’re going to be reading press releases or news coverage.

Neil suggested (and I agree) that you should use casual terms of “you” and “I” when writing blog content. One webinar attendee asked whether or not that’s always appropriate in certain industries suggesting that it might be too informal for some but Neil disagreed and gave examples of using this kind of language in both financial and insurance companies which typically are more formal.

Neil Patel Gem: KISSmetrics noticed that blogs over 2,000 words optimize the best.

He had a slide on being “consistently awesome” and tried to hit home the need to be consistent. He then said that he’s noticed on his Quick Sprout blog that when he’s not consistent it takes him 3 or 4 months(!) to get traffic back up to where it used to be. I myself am very guilty of inconsistency on the Happy Place Marketing blog and I identify with the challenge that people have when it comes to blogging on a regular basis. Part of the solution I provide for clients with this particular challenge is building brand ambassador programs that are built around content. Other solutions are guest blogging, editorial calendars for involving employees and..

Neil Patel Gem: Hire bloggers to create blog posts on any given topic. You can find bloggers on or Craigslist from anywhere from $10 – $200 per post.

I’d just like to note that not all Craigslist pools of talent are the same. It doesn’t hurt to look at the resources in bigger cities in the US because locality really doesn’t matter when you’re asking for a piece of content as long as they have access to the Internet and email. And hopefully it goes without saying that they should be able to provide examples of blog posts that they’ve written.



Infographics are a good source of content to produce. Attendees of the KISSmetrics webinar wanted to know how to get an infographic produced if they didn’t have access to a designer.

Neil Patel Gem: Patel recommended using designers from the web service, to create an infographic for you. KISSmetrics noticed that 6 points seemed to perform best for an infograph. As a metrics company I trust they tested this thoroughly so I’ll take heed of this advice).


Infographics should visually depcit something that is otherwise difficult to wrap your head around. A great example of this was KISSmetrics infograph demystifying bounce rate.

Bounce Rate Demystified via KISSmetrics

Bounce Rate Demystified via KISSmetrics

Keep infographics evergreen. Infographics that are not necessarily current event related (evergreen) do better and will attract leads for years to come. 

Neil Patel Gem: Use Reddit & Digg to find content that went viral in your industry and repurpose that into a visual content. I’ve never tried this strategy before but it’s a good idea.


Design for Conversions

Pop-ups on websites seem counterintuitive to good design but Neil said in reality users rarely complain and that he has seen good conversions come out of them.

This next point was interesting. Neil said that he (and many others) replicated a CTA box that the company 37 Signals had done. What he found is that it didn’t work at all for him. His point on this is that companies’ customers are different so what works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another. The only way to determine what works? Testing of course.

Optimize & improve Results via KISSmetrics

Optimize & improve Results via KISSmetrics
















I should stop and note here that the moderator of this webinar was Nemo from KISSmetrics. Nemo actually provided this next gem:

Nemo Gem: You can A/B Test for free by using the following tool

I haven’t used it before but it looks pretty slick. I have in fact used A/B testing from the KISSmetrics service, mailchimp and from one other service and I’m a big fan of this kind of testing.


Qualitative Measurement

Neil believes you should ask the people reading your content what type of content they would like to use next.

Neil Patel Gem: Try using the service Qualaroo to ask your readers questions.

Qualaroo is a customer behavior insight tool that does just that asks the people visiting your site questions. From the Qualaroo website, “Qualaroo makes it easy to collect insight in context to the user experience on your website. Apply insights to improve results.”

Neil said he’s used the service to ask his readers questions like, “What should we write about next?” and to find out who the readers are… “I’m a ….[offer three or four choices based on your target audience].”


Build Your Reader Base

One of the webinar attendees asked Patel how he built up his reader base.

Neil Patel Gem: Neil said that he used Odesk to hire someone to create a list of the top 300 most influential twitter users and bloggers in his target industry (in his case, marketers). He then manually began outreach to each one. He said he would send them a DM on Twitter that simply said something along the lines of, “Hey check out this post that I think your readers would love.” Out of 100 of those types of messages he said roughly 5 percent would retweet or respond.  He also mentioned that he offers a blogger outreach template on his Quick Sprout blog. I haven’t found the template yet so if one of my readers has please share it in the comments.

One thing to note if you direct message people on Twitter. Recently I’ve had several companies asking me to do something on Twitter (more than a simple RT) and I’ve responded back. I’ve never heard from those companies again which is kind of strange. If you’ve got an action item and someone responds it’s good form to follow through. Also, as a side note…I dislike automated direct messages, my advice is to avoid using them.

I’ve included the slides of the webinar below and included one important note after the jump.

Step-By-Step Content Marketing from KISSmetrics on SlideShare


I started this marketing operation in January and I have a number of new clients coming on board. I’ve used KISSmetrics in the past when I was working in house and like it. I’m now embarking on utilizing KISSmetrics for all my clients because measuring and content marketing is one of my priorities. So far their customer support has been really helpful in starting this process. And for what it’s worth this webinar helped push me over the edge to convert to being a customer so clearly offering things like free webinars and offering free slideshows do in fact work.

Has anyone used any of the resources listed in this post? Would love to hear some experiences.

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