Who Will Amplify This? And Why?

You’ve created a stellar email newsletter, but few subscribe. You’ve launched an intriguing podcast, but listeners are nonexistent. You’ve published an exceptional blog post, a compelling research report, a remarkable webinar, a top-notch video, a stunning visual… but the audience just isn’t showing up. In my experience, four root causes are to blame: You’ve produced something of low qualityYou’ve produced…

SparkToro’s Year One Retrospective

On April 23rd, 2020, at what felt like the worst time to start a new business in a hundred years, SparkToro launched for the first time. The world’s attention was anywhere but on a new software product, yet Casey and I felt we didn’t have much of a choice. We needed revenue. We needed to learn from real customers. And,…

NEW in SparkToro: Content and Profile Text Insights

What does your audience talk about online? How do they describe themselves? What hashtags do they use? Prior to social media aggregation software, answering these questions was a maddeningly manual, lengthy process. Unfortunately, most of those products are exorbitantly expensive, enterprise tools. After SparkToro’s launch last year, we were somewhat shocked to find: A) How valuable these text insights were…

When Choosing Marketing Channels, Visualize the Curve

Business Owner: “We’re launching a new company/website/campaign and want to buy ads that can get us some customers. Once that’s working, we’ll invest in content and SEO.” Marketer: “So, no one’s heard of your brand, and you don’t have any existing digital marketing, but you’d like to start with ads, then invest in content and SEO?” Business Owner: “Yup! That’s…

SparkToro Now Has 50% More Podcasts

The Short Version: Every SparkToro search you perform now contains far more podcasts. That’s because we’ve made more connections between podcasts and their (or their host’s) social profiles, and also because SparkToro’s podcast index has grown substantially, to more than 600,000 unique shows. If you’re building Lists in SparkToro, you’ll also find that more than 80% of the podcasts in…

One Customer Feedback Email Changed Our Startup’s Trajectory

Building a new company means constantly managing one’s emotions. The high highs of days when everything’s golden inevitably give way to the low lows when you’re certain it’s all doomed. At the end of February, Casey (my cofounder) and I were in that latter boat, nervous about how signups for our 10-month old startup had slowed to a trickle. Here’s…

In 2020, Two Thirds of Google Searches Ended Without a Click

In August of 2019, I published research from now-defunct clickstream data provider, Jumpshot, showing that 50.33% of all Google searches ended without a click to any web property in the results. Today, thanks to new data from SimilarWeb, I’ve got a substantive update to that analysis. From January to December, 2020, 64.82% of searches on Google (desktop and mobile combined)…

Marketing Personas Are Almost Always a Boondoggle (but they don’t have to be)

Boss: “We need marketing personas for each of our customer targets.”You: “Got it. What problems are these personas meant to solve?”Boss: “You know, um… Strategy. Targeting. And, uh… give ’em fun names like Workin’ Wendy and Stay-at-Home Steve, or something.”You: “Oh god, not again…” A few years back, I worked on a 6-month project to collect survey, interview, and industry…

The Paradox of Content Marketing to Beginners vs. Experts

Over the last 20 years, I’ve done a lot of educational content campaigns, both for my own companies, and to help others. But it’s only recently that I’ve come to grok the odd paradox of how certain types of content earn reach, amplification, and success with the people they’re meant to engage. Here’s the problem: Broadly helpful “Beginners’ Guide” content…

The Secret Is… There Is No Secret.

This is a blog post about spaghetti alla carbonara. It is also a blog post about the perfection of simple things. And about the remarkable effort required to perfect a craft, even a very simple one. And, finally, it’s about all that is wrong with the phrase: “The secret to great X is…“ Those six words have a terrible, seductive…