How To Create Evergreen Content: An Actionable Guide To Producing Timeless Blog Posts

No matter what anyone tells you, creating high-quality content is hard.

When outsourced, it costs a lot of money.

Being a niche marketer with limited resources, it makes sense for you to invest in content that brings in traffic and leads for years.

Content with a long life.

Content that’s always relevant.

Content that’s evergreen.

Publishing evergreen content means you invest your hard earned money in content creation once, and reap the rewards for years.

It means you won’t have to spend the rest of your life on a content hamster wheel churning out one article after the other trying (hopelessly) to compete with giant publications that invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in content creation, advertising, and traffic generation every month.

Sounds good?

In this post, I’ll tell you exactly what evergreen content is, how are some of the best marketers using it, and how you can replicate their success by creating timeless content for your niche site.

Keep reading!


What You’ll Learn In This Post

The difference between short-term and long-term content
The simple way to come up with timeless content ideas
How to get 100x return from your evergreen content
The various formats of evergreen content you can use


What is Evergreen Content?

Evergreen content, as the name suggests, is content that remains fresh, relevant, and useful for a long time irrespective of the seasonal trends and events.

It’s the kind of content that your readers will find useful the day you publish it and even if they refer back to it 12 months later.

In short, you can call it content without an expiry date.

For example, what do you think about the post in the screenshot below?


evergreen content belly fat

Source: Men’s Health


Losing belly fat is a topic people have been reading about for centuries and will keep searching for it even 2 decades from now.

A classic example of an evergreen topic.

But here’s another one in the screenshot below.

Do you think people will be interested in this topic 2 or 3 years from now?


Source: TheBestVPN


VPNs are useful for browsing the internet safely without compromising your privacy. Because of the recent privacy concerns about leading apps like Facebook, Twitter, and many others, people are increasingly looking for ways and tools to improve their online security.

I don’t think this topic is going out of demand any time soon.

In fact, here’s what a quick search on Google Trends shows, take a look at the graph for this search…


Source: Google Trends


Apart from the occasional spikes, the demand for this search term has slowly but surely increased over the years and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

These were two pretty good examples of evergreen content.

But here’s an example of content that’s NOT evergreen, study the headline in the image below…


Source: SocialMediaToday


I wrote this article about increasing Black Friday Sales for Social Media Today back in Nov, 2015.

Is it relevant today?


Was it relevant even 3 months after getting published?


Can you call it evergreen?


Got it?

Here’s a different example to get you thinking.

Do you think the post below qualifies as evergreen content? Think about it carefully.


Source: TheDogPeople


It doesn’t.

Why? Because it’s a seasonal topic that only picks up during winters every year.

Look at the screenshot below to find more proof of this, see how the searches peak and then drop…


Source: Google Trends


As you can see, the search trend for the last 5 years for the term “dog sweaters” shows that the search volume picks up only between October and December.

There’s little interest in the topic for the rest of the year.

Hence, it doesn’t qualify as evergreen content.

Okay, so now that I’ve described this part n detail, let me tell you why niche marketers in particular need evergreen content more than anyone else.


Why Is Evergreen Content Important for Your Niche Site

Why do people start niche sites?

What’s the dream they want to achieve?

The screenshots below of some of the discussions in NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind will help you understand this. Look what was said below…





The theme across all these discussions is pretty simple.

People want freedom.

They want to work less and earn more.

They want passive income (although nothing’s ever 100% passive)

This is the biggest motivation for most wannabe niche marketers.

You can’t achieve this dream if you have to create content all the time. Which is why evergreen content is so important for you.

Every time you publish an evergreen post, it becomes a long-term business asset that keeps on bringing traffic and leads on autopilot (with a little maintenance of course)

Which is precisely what you want.

Here’s how you can create such content.


To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…


The Process of Creating Evergreen Content for Your Niche Site

Creating evergreen content is more about mindset than the actual structure of your post.

You’ll create high-quality content as usual but with a long-term and set.

Here’s how you’ll do it.


1. Finding Evergreen Content Ideas for Your Blog

To create content that lasts for years, you must stay away from following trending news and instead come up with topics that generate consistent interest in your target audience.

Here are the best ways to find them.


Think of the Most Basic Questions of Your Audience

Start from the basics.

Think of the most fundamental questions of your audience.

Ask yourself why people come to your site?

What’s the biggest problem they’re facing?

What answers are they looking for?

What’s the situation they dread the most?

What’s their dream situation?

At this stage, I’d strongly recommend you to read our post about audience research since it has all the tips you need to uncover the real needs of your audience.

Needs that won’t change overnight.

Needs that won’t change for years.

But let me quickly share a few tips here.

The fastest way to find the most basic questions of your audience is Google Search

When you search Google for your main topic keyword, here’s what you see in the results. Look at this screenshot below…


Source: Google Search


“People also ask” appears just under the first two or three results. It’s a goldmine for anyone looking to understand the fundamental needs of their audience.

When you click on any of these questions and scroll down, this is what happens…



More questions appear.

And they keep appearing as long as you keep expanding them and scrolling down.

This alone should give you tons of ideas.

And remember, these are all high traffic and evergreen queries which is why Google has shortlisted them.

But that’s not all.

When you scroll down the search page, more ideas are waiting for you.



These are the top queries related to your main topic.

Look at them, “belly fat diet plan”, “foods that burn belly fat”, “how to lose belly fat naturally”

They’re all evergreen search terms that are not dependant on any events or trends.

People will have the same questions 5 years from now.

You can turn each one into an evergreen post.

If you need more ideas, use this amazing resource of unlimited questions on your topic. Look at all these results…


Source: AnswerThePublic


The snapshot above shows the search results for the term “lose belly fat” and the tool I’ve used is AnswerThePublic.

It gives hundreds of questions extracted from search engines that people are asking about your topic.

In my opinion, these two resources are enough to help you uncover long-term questions of your audience and turn them into evergreen blog topics.

But before you finalize any topics, validate their evergreen potential.

Let me explain how


Find Ideas With a Consistent Search Trend

The easiest way to find if a topic is evergreen or not is, once again, Google.


Source: Google Trends


Simply use Google Trends to see if there’s consistent interest in a topic.

What are you looking for?

Topics with a consistent search trend
Topics with an upward search trend


What are you looking to avoid?

Topics with seasonal search trends
Topics with a downward search trend


As the screenshot above shows, weight loss is a topic that people are always interested in.

See what this next screenshot shows…


Source: Google Trends


As you can see, the topic “marathon training plan” has a pretty consistent search interest.

Let’s look at another one. What do you think about this keyword in the screenshot below…


Source: Google Trends


Predictably, the searches for “valentines day gifts” only pick up once a year.

But weight loss, the first example I shared, is a pretty broad topic.

To create evergreen content around it, you’d need to use angles that drive consistent traffic.

For example, a post like “How To Lose Belly Fat Before Christmas 2019” will only be relevant for a few months. But a different angle, “6 Steps To Have a Flat Belly in 3 Months” will always be relevant and evergreen.

Okay, so once you find a topic with a consistent search interest, you finally need to see if it has enough traffic for you to target.

That’s pretty easy.


Analyze Keyword Search Volume

Log in to any free keyword research tool to see the estimated search volume of your topic keyword

For example, here’s the search volume Ubersuggest shows for the topic “exercises to lose belly fat”, study this closely…


Source: Ubersuggest


That’s a pretty decent search volume and shows that the topic has enough searchers for you to target.

Remember, we’re not doing keyword research here.

The objective is to verify the search demand for a topic that we’ve already seen is

in line with our audience’s core interest
has a regular Google search trend

This one seems to be right in the sweet spot so we’re good to go.


Analyze Your Competitors’ Top Performing Content

Last but not least, you can find evergreen topic ideas by simply having a look at the most popular content of your competitors.

There are three good ways to do that.

Run a Google Search for your topic and see the top ranking posts. See which ones are evergreen and try to find different angles that can help you add more value to that topic.

Or you could find the most frequently shared content your topic using this free tool in the screenshot below…


Source: BuzzSumo


You could also visit your closest competitors’ blog and look for their most popular posts manually, check out this post from SmartBlogger…


Source: Smartblogger


Many sites have a Popular Posts section like the one in the screenshot above.

If you look closely, three of the most popular posts in this screenshot have the year “2019” mentioned in the title.

Does that mean they’re not evergreen posts?


The actual content of the posts is going to be valid for 2020, 2021 and even 2025.

They’ve only used the year 2019 to make it look more recent.

Next year, they’ll change it to 2020.

It’s a practice most marketing sites use these days.

Okay so now that you know how to find evergreen topics for your blog, I’m going to share some quick tips for writing high-quality evergreen content in the next section.


To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…


2. Writing Evergreen Content for Your Blog

Once you’ve identified evergreen topics for your blog, writing the posts is not very different from any other content type.

Your job is to create a useful, actionable, and high-quality piece of content.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind.


Create the Best, Most In-depth Resource on Your Topic

You want your evergreen posts to stay relevant to your audiences for a long time so that they can keep bringing in traffic and leads.

For this, you must ensure that you create the most useful and in-depth resource on your topic.

How do you do that?

First of all, you need to find the top ranking content on your topic.

For example, let’s take the topic “how to run a faster 5k”

Here’s what I found when I searched for this keyword on Google, look at these search results…



All the articles ranking on the first page for this keyword have a word count of 800 to 1200 words.

To create an evergreen post on this topic that dominates the search results for years, you need to create a post that’s 10x better than anything currently available.

If the longest post on this topic is 1200 words, create an insanely useful guide of 4000 words with much more actionable advice, stats, and expert input.

That’s exactly the strategy Brian Dean has used to dominate the SEO niche which is one of the most competitive on the web.

Look at this resource he published on his blog. The opening line is worth paying attention to…


Source: Baclinko


There were dozens of high-quality guides about eCommerce SEO before Brian published this.

But he made this post 10x more useful, comprehensive, and actionable than anything published online.

As a result, he dominates most of the searches about eCommerce SEO and already has more than 11,000 social shares for this article.

And he’s likely to stay up there for months (even years)

Keep this example in mind when you’re looking to publish better content than your competitors.

If they’ve written a 2000 word post, you should publish 5000 words of useful content (not fluff)

If they’ve used 2 images, you should use 10

Add more data, more examples, more screenshots, and make it more visually appealing than your competitors’ content.

But there’s something else you need to do as well.


Write for a Complete Beginner

Evergreen content can be written for advanced users as well.

But it works the best for complete beginners because they’re the ones who search for such topics the most.

When you start writing a post, think of a complete beginner with basic questions.

Then with every section of your post increase the knowledge level so that by the end of the post your readers graduate to the next level

This HubSpot article is a great example of this, check it out in this screenshot…


Source: HubSpot


It starts with the very basics of content strategy and takes the readers towards the more advanced practices by the end of the post.

This approach benefits you in a couple of ways.

You’re able to give your readers a complete resource on the topic.
You’re able to rank for a lot of different keywords related to your topic since it covers everything from the basics to the intermediate/advanced concepts.

But there’s one more crucial thing to keep in mind while creating evergreen content.

I explain it in the next section


Write on a Narrow Topic for a Specific Audience

The most successful and effective evergreen posts are about very narrow topics that are targeted towards a well-defined audience.


Because by their very nature, evergreen posts are detailed and in-depth. But you can’t make an article in-depth if it talks vaguely about a dozen unrelated topics.

For example, an article that comprehensively covers one money making method is much better than a post that barely scratches the surface of a dozen monetization methods.

We’re almost done here, but there’s one small thing you need to remember when creating evergreen content.

Let me explain in the next heading.


Use Examples and Angles That Are Valid for Years

The language and the examples of your content have a huge impact on its life.

If you frequently use references to short-term events in your content or use angles with a short life, your readers would think your content is outdated.

Using phrases like, “last year” or “this Christmas”, and references to particular events for example “FIFA 2018 World Cup”, “Game of Thrones Finale” etc. can quickly make your content sound outdated even if it has relevant and evergreen information.

For example, see the screenshot below and tell me if this article still looks relevant.


Source: Relevance


It looks old, right?

The lessons in it might still be valuable, but the moment someone read the title, they’d assume it’s an outdated post.

Compare this with the article in the screenshot below and tell me what you think.


Source: YumYumVideos


This article is about the best animation companies out there but it doesn’t mention any year.

And even though the language of the title is neutral, the readers would always feel the article is still relevant to them.

So make sure your language isn’t timebound and is valid for years to come.


That’s it.

That’s all you need to know to create evergreen content.

But creating content isn’t enough, is it?

This is why in the next section I’ll share some tips on getting the most out of your evergreen content.


3. Getting the Most Out of Your Evergreen Content

By definition, evergreen content doesn’t require any maintenance or ongoing work.

But there are a few things you must do to keep driving traffic and leads from it.

Let me explain.


Update and Republish Your Content Periodically

Evergreen content doesn’t require any regular updates.

But it is imperative that you review it every few months to see if there’s any potential for improvement.

The topic of your post might be long-term but maybe you could update some of the stats used in it, the examples you’ve cited, the tools you’ve recommended, or the strategies you’ve shared.

It’s not going to be a lot of work, but even small updates can revive your posts and make them much more useful for your audience.

Here at NicheHacks, we regularly review and update our older content for any potential improvements.

And you’d be surprised to know that more often than not, the updated content brings in more traffic than the newer posts.

So don’t underestimate this part.


Promote Evergreen Content on Social Media and Q&A Sites

Evergreen content is much easier to promote on social media, Q&A sites, forums, and other relevant platforms.


Because people keep on asking the same questions again and again on different platforms and you can simply copypaste some of your content in response to their questions and link back to the original post if they’re interested in reading more.

Similarly, you could use a tool like Buffer to automatically share your evergreen content on social media every few days. You will always get engagement on such posts because the interest in those topics never goes away.

For example, a post about “how to start a blog” will get shares even 2-3 years from now.

On the contrary, an article about “Game of Thrones” isn’t likely to draw much interest in a few years because there would be no more hype of that show.


Use Internal Links To Keep Content Alive

Internal links can play a key role in not only driving more traffic to your evergreen posts but also in improving their search rankings.

If you notice, we use a lot of internal links in our posts on NicheHacks.

As a result, our older content keeps getting new readers through those internal links.

It keeps our content alive and helps our readers discover useful advice that they might’ve missed if it wasn’t for the internal links in our newer posts.


Build Backlinks To Stay on Top of Search

Backlinks play a crucial role in determining a site’s search engine ranking.

In fact, here’s what a study by SEMRush found so spend just a few seconds looking at this graph…


Source: SEMRush


The study shows that backlinks and the number of referring domains to a URL are among the top 5 ranking factors.

Creating evergreen content is just one part of the equation.

You also need to make sure that your content is fully optimized for search engines and has high authority backlinks pointing to it.

Building backlinks is an ongoing process so you’ll need to keep acquiring links to sustain your rankings.

Thankfully we have a lot of great advice about link building on our site that you’ll really find useful.


Create an Evergreen Content Hub on Your Site

And last but not least, a simple way to drive more traffic to your evergreen content is to create “Start Here” page, like we’ve done, that acts as an evergreen content hub.



It’s a simple resource page that lists all of our evergreen posts organized by topics and categories.

New readers and visitors regularly visit this page to find our best posts listed in an orderly manner.

It’s an easy way to keep your content alive.

You now know more about evergreen content creation than most people.

But have you seen it live on different sites?

Thankfully, there are several ways and formats in which you can create content that lasts for years.

Let me share a few examples in the next section.


Examples of Evergreen Content Format

There are dozens of formats marketers across different niches have used to create evergreen content.

The infographic below features some of the most common evergreen content formats. Do any of these content types surprise you?


evergreen content formats

Source: Brafton


Let me quickly share a few examples of different evergreen content types.


List of Tools and Resources

List the most useful tools and resources for your audience.

The Top 10 Marketing Books of All-Time
Enjoy the Best 200+ Internet Marketing Guides on the Web
22 FREE Top-Rated Online Marketing Certifications & Courses To Make You a Better Internet Marketer


Ultimate Guides

Write ultimate guides that cover all the fundamentals of your topic

Beginner’s Guide to Juicing – Everything You Need to Get Started
The Ultimate Guide To Running a Marathon


How-To Posts and Step by Step Tutorials

Posts that practically guide readers to perform a certain task

How To Easily Make Videos and Start a YouTube Channel
12 Steps to Writing a Well-Researched and High-Quality Blog Post


To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…


List Posts

Compile timeless tips into one giant list post

9 Easy Ways To Put Your Baby To Sleep Now
23 Little-Known Ways to Impress a Woman
Internet Marketing Glossary – 100+ Concepts Simplified So That Even Your Granny Gets Them


History of a Topic

Time travel with your readers and tell them the history of a topic

The Evolution of SEO Trends Over 25 Years
The History of Content Marketing – An Essential Guide


Expert Round-Up Posts

People never get tired of expert advice.

10 Retail Experts Share Their #1 Tip for Marketing and Growing Your Store
11 Financial Experts Share The Best Money Advice They’ve Ever Received


Case Studies

Case studies are among the most popular content types with the longest lives.

How This Man Lost Almost 400 Pounds in 3 Years
Case Study: How an eCommerce Store Generated 41k Emails From 1 Contest


Inspirational Posts

Posts that evoke emotion and motivate people, never get old

How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World
On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas


These examples are enough to show you the wide range of formats you can use to create timeless content.

The only thing left now, is for you to take action.


Are You Ready To Publish More Evergreen Content?

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be

Evergreen content becomes a business asset every time you publish it.

With every published post, you’ll drive more traffic and more leads with less amount of work.

Content about trending topics and important events has its place, but evergreen content is the foundation on which every successful niche blog is built.

Have a question about this article? Feel free to ask in NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind Group.

The post How To Create Evergreen Content: An Actionable Guide To Producing Timeless Blog Posts appeared first on NicheHacks.

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How to Add a Privacy Policy in WordPress

Are you looking to add a privacy policy to your WordPress site? A privacy policy tells your visitors what information you collect when they visit your site. In this video, we’ll show you how to add a privacy policy to your WordPress site!

WordPress has a built in template that you can start with by logging into your site, going under Settings, Privacy and it should bring up a page with the option to either select an already created page or create a brand new page. Either choose a page or create a new one to begin setting up your privacy policy.

If you’re creating a new page WordPress will bring you to the page where you can begin to edit each section based on the specific needs of your site. It will act the same as any other page in terms of publishing options that you can use.

With that page set up, you now want to give your users a method to display it. You could either add it to a menu or if your theme has a footer widget area, add it to your footer for your visitors.

If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.

Feel free to take a look at the written version of this tutorial here:

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Create Keyboard Shortcut to Compress Files & Folders on macOS

There are so many times when you have to compress (zip) a file or folder on Mac to send or share but the only way to do so is through the tedious right-click > Compress “file or folder”. That’s because, unfortunately, macOS does not support a native keyboard shortcut to compress files yet.

However, where there’s a will, there’s a way and the way here is to create a keyboard shortcut to compress files and folders yourself with any combination of keys you prefer. Just take a look at the following steps to know how to do it.

Click the Apple logo (top left corner of the screen), select System Preference.
apple logo > system preferenceapple logo > system preferenceNavigate to Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts.
navigate to app shortcutsnavigate to app shortcutsClick the + (plus icon).
plus iconplus iconChoose Finder from “Application:” dropdown menu.
Enter Compress for “Menu Title:”
finder compressfinder compressClick the input box beside “Keyboard Shortcut:” once, and record your preferred shortcut keystroke. (Suggestion: Use Shift + Command + C, or Option + Command + C)
Click Add to finalize your shortcut.
keystroke addkeystroke add

That’s it! Select any file or folder on your Mac, execute the command, and it will be compressed immediately.

The post Create Keyboard Shortcut to Compress Files & Folders on macOS appeared first on Hongkiat.

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5 Historic Freelancers Who Changed The World, Vol.2

We’ve already talked about the likes of Ray Kroc, Walt Disney, Alfred Nobel, Ernest Hemmingway and Charles Dickens and how they were some of the historic freelancers who have changed the environment they were born in.

They’ve outdone themselves, grown larger than life, moving and shaking the lives of milions with their inventions, business ideas and vision, through freelancing.

Rather than being about business, wealth or prestige, this is about creating history by adding value to the lives of as many people as possible. Andrew Carnegie had an inborn networking gift, which he used to create a legacy that disregards time through different businesses, dozens of libraries and powerful charities.

The same can be said of Bill Gates, Aaron Montgomery Ward and Sam Walton. To these men, being a freelancer means more than being self-employed. It means training your mind in self-responsibility, discipline and work ethic.

Upon securing these qualities, you’ll be able to take responsibility for increasingly large numbers of human beings.

That’s the greatest gift you can give yourself and mankind. That’s when the legacy begins.

Andrew Carnegie
Business Consulting/Networking Freelancer

The story of Andrew Carnegie is a true “rags to riches” story if there ever was one. Carnegie, who was to become one of the richest men in the world, was born in Scotland in a weaver’s cottage (pictured below) with only one room. His meteoric rise almost makes you forget how slow it all began.

andrew carnegieandrew carnegieImage source:

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” – Andrew Carnegie

In 1848, his family moved to America, hoping for a better life. Carnegie, age 13, ended up working as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread for a cotton mill. The job was 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Andrew was a freelancer, not by choice, but by circumstance. He had nothing to sell but his time, wherever he could. At 15, he became a telegraph messenger boy.

Networking Genius

In his free time, he would visit all the important Pittsburgh’s businesses, and try to make acquaintance with their owners. He’d speak to them about the other important businessmen he knew in town, and try to make connections.

This “business consulting” aspect and the fact he worked harder and faster than all the telegraph boys (he was able to translate signals without having to write them down) got him a promotion as telegraph operator. He was then recruited by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as an assistant/telegraph operator. Carnegie was 18.

He quickly advanced in ranks and became friends with the president of the company, Thomas Alexander Scott. Thanks to his strong networking abilities, Carnegie was given access to the inside circle. Thomas helped him with his investments, amongst which were also shady, insider trading ones.

Innate Ability to Influence

His ability to influence people allowed him to slowly create a working capital, by investing smart and mingling with the movers and shakers. It was this same innate ability which allowed Carnegie to arrange a major business merger between Woodruff’s and Pullman’s companies, when he was only 25.

Although he would become the richest man in the world, help create the largest company in the world (the US Steel Corporation) and was on the better end of the largest ever personal commercial transaction: $480 million, Carnegie had this to say about wealth:

“Man must have no idol and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry! No idol is more debasing than the worship of money! Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately; therefore should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character.”

Bill Gates
Coding Freelancer

Gates is the symbol of Microsoft, and you can’t work on a computer without using some piece of software created by him or his employees. The worldwide impact Bill Gates has is unquestionable. Although he was frequently listed as the richest man on Earth, Gates comes from a middle class family in Seattle.

At 13, he managed to sell some of his things at the school’s rummage sale and bought himself computer time on a General Electric monster (no, there weren’t any PCs back then) and a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal to use the machine. He taught himself BASIC and became able to program the system.

If you just want to say, “Steve Jobs invented the world, and then the rest of us came along,” that’s fine… Let’s be realistic, who came up with “File/Edit/View/Help”? – Bill Gates

White Hat Hacker

He was so good at it, he and 3 friends managed to hack another such system, the PDP-10 belonging to the Computer Center Corporation (CCC), through the same terminal and obtain free computer time. When the CCC finally noticed, they banned the students from their machine. Gates offered to sell his coding expertise, and find other bugs in the CCC’s system. He would get more computer time as part of the deal.

Bill Gates had officially become a coding freelancer.

bill gatesbill gates

Image Source:

He went on coding as a freelancer for Information Sciences, Inc., creating a payroll program in Cobol when he was 16. At 17, he was writing the computer programs for class distribution amongst students.

The same year, he and his close friend Paul Allen, created a business venture called Traf-O-Data, a real-world “traffic analytics” tool, which failed miserably. Undeterred, he and Allen contacted a major company, MITS, who at the time was producing a computer based on the Intel 8080 CPU.

ms spawning placems spawning place

Image source:

Gates told them they were finalizing a software capable of running on the machine. In reality, there was no software, the duo were flat out lying. Nevertheless, MITS president Ed Roberts agreed to meet them, and so they started writing the code they lied about. The meeting was a success, and Gates came up with the name “Micro-Soft” for their company.

Aaron Montgomery Ward
Copywriting/Newsletter Freelancer

If Aaron Montgomery Ward were alive today, he’d probably be the king of sales letters. He’d also rely heavily on newsletters for selling his products, seeing how he is the creator of the mail order business. Until Ward came along, nobody had thought of that. His debut into business was a modest one.

He started out working at 14, stacking brick in a kiln. No glamour here. He moved on to sales, selling general items. In 1865, he became a freelance salesman, selling goods on a commission for Case and Sobin, a lamp house.

aaron montgomeryaaron montgomery

Image Source:

“Even if the customer has to wait for delivery, they will make purchases via mail order if they can save money.” – Aaron Montgomery Ward

Moving on to dry-goods selling for Field Palmer & Leiter in southern communities, Ward came up with the idea of direct mail sales as a means of cutting costs and making the salesmen job easier.

His plans were bold. He wanted to bring manufactured products to everybody who lived in the countryside. After much criticism from friends, in 1872 Ward created the world’s first general merchandise mail-order catalog with 163 products listed, writing all the copies himself.

Sam Walton
Sales Freelancer

Walmart is the largest public corporation in the world, topping Shell and Exxon in 2013. It employs 2.2 million people, with a revenue of almost $500 billion. This powerhouse was started by freelancer/entrepreneur Sam Walton.

Walton was born on a farm in Oklahoma. While in his teenage years, he started working in order to support his family. He would milk the family cow and deliver the milk to different customers in the area. Walton became a freelance milkman from a young age.

sam waltonsam walton

Image Source:

“High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton

He moved on to newspaper routes and selling of magazine subscriptions to scrape through a living, through the years of the Great Depression. In college, he worked different sales job and many unusual ones, such as waiting tables in exchange for meals. Sam Walton is the definition of a hustling freelancer.

At age 26, and after taking a loan of $20,000, he bought his first retail store. After growing to a few dozen stores, he opened up the first Wal-Mart (now marketed as Walmart) branded store in 1962 and never looked back.

Know of more historic freelancers who have changed the lives of millions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The post 5 Historic Freelancers Who Changed The World, Vol.2 appeared first on Hongkiat.

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Hone Your Hiring Process

Whether you’re an employer or a job seeker, the hiring
process is often not as easy as we’d like it to be. Many of us have been on
both sides of the table and, if we’re being honest, have had some not so great

Did you ever go on what seemed like a successful job
interview only to be ghosted by a hiring manager?

Or maybe you had a promising phone call with a potential
candidate who never showed up to their in-person interview?

There’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to hiring and
mistakes are made all of the time. Fortunately, our very own Director of People
and Culture, Sophia Lopez, is an expert in this department. And she’s shared a
few of her best tips to help you really hone your hiring process.

The Biggest Mistakes Job
Seekers Can Make in An Interview

Not unlike dating, job interviews can be nerve-wracking and
awkward for both the employer and the candidate.

First impressions have the power to make or break a
potential future relationship, and that’s why it’s extremely important to pay
attention to key mistakes.

There are a few interviewee faux pas Sophia has witnessed first-hand.

For one, an interviewee should never ever ghost their
potential future employer. Not showing up for a scheduled interview and then
waiting several days to contact the company is not only rude, it’s also disrespectful
of everyone’s time and could be an indicator of poor communication skills. Let’s
be honest, no one likes to be ghosted in any capacity.

(RELATED: 11 Tips to Hire Freelancers Without Losing Your Mind)

Another pretty obvious no-no is leaving trash behind after
an interview. If your interviewee doesn’t clean up after themselves or take the
initiative to ask where the nearest trash can is, that’s a pretty clear indicator
of bad habits that could hurt your company down the line.

The Biggest Mistakes Employers
Can Make in The Hiring Process

Of course, employers aren’t without their faults either. The
interview process is a two-way street.

Job candidates can tell a lot about a company by the way
they are treated during those early interactions. Sophia notes that employers
should be conscious of the way their interviewees perceive the company from the
second they walk in the door.

One of the big mistakes she has seen employers make is not
being prepared for the candidate’s arrival—not knowing who is coming in or
when. A lack of preparation never looks good on anybody, but especially the
people that are supposed to be the professionals conducting the interviews.

Another thing employers should keep an eye on is
consistency. If they are not consistent with each interviewee (asking the same
questions, etc.), it’s very difficult to judge candidates side by side.

How Employers Can Prepare for
a Successful Interview

Now that we’ve talked about the mistakes employers can make,
let’s go through some of the ways companies can better prepare for an upcoming

Sophia says one of the biggest ways you can help yourself in
the interview process is to be prepared. Know your workflow from the very start—which
team members will need to be present at each level of the interview, what
questions will be asked. It’s also important to engage your candidate. Be
respectful of their time just as they are of yours.

Little things like greeting the candidate by name as they
walk in the door or asking someone from HR to visit with the candidate while
they are waiting to be interviewed can make all the difference.

Remember, you’re trying to sell them on your company as much
as they are trying to sell themselves as a potential employee.  

How HR and Hiring Managers
Can Better Support Each Other

The hiring process should never be a one-person job—it’s a
collaborative effort. As Sophia says, HR and the hiring manager should be
working in tangent.

Often times, it’s assumed that HR owns the entire process
start to finish, but this isn’t an efficient organization for your team and can
lead to one department feeling overwhelmed and potentially hiring the wrong

On the other hand, if hiring managers are left to their own
devices, they could be a company liability as they typically aren’t aware of
all of the recruiting legalities that an HR person would have to know.

Needless to say, open communication and teamwork are the
best ways to make sure that everyone is on the same page throughout every stage
of the hiring process.

The Importance of Culture

When it comes to hiring the right candidate, employers should not solely be focused on skillset. Though skillset is extremely important, the right personality fit is also a big component.

Knowing someone’s values and goals and making sure those
align with your company focus ensures a beneficial future relationship.

When Sophia uses the term “fit,” she doesn’t mean to say,
“like us,” because it’s important to value diversity and inclusion in the
workplace. Different perspectives can certainly enhance your company overall.
In this sense, “fit” simply means they understand the company mission and are
willing to work toward the same goals. 

(NOTE: Have a marketing team? Let us train and equip them for you! Check out our customized trainings, and level up your marketing team in 90 days—60 if you hurry!)


Data-Driven Recruiting

Over the past 10 years, the hiring process has changed
dramatically. Now more than ever, we have readily available data at our finger
tips to help us find candidates more efficiently.

Whether you want to know the diversity of your candidate
pool or how many applicants are repeats who continue to engage with your site,
there is a wealth of information for employers out there.

Analytics can also be used to prove that your methods of
recruiting are effective for your environment. Sophia explains that the
recruiting process is essentially marketing to potential candidates. It’s
important to give them the same experience they should expect from your company
right off the bat.

Don’t Stop at Diversity

We all know how important diversity is when it comes to
vetting potential employees, but that mindset shouldn’t stop at the hiring
process. Having a constant strategy in place for openness and inclusion within
the day-to-day operations of your company is vital.

At DigitalMarketer, we embrace a level playing field and
equal opportunity for every employee. Not only do we commit to this verbally,
but we show it in the work that we do and the actions we take to make sure
everyone on our team feels included.

Obstacles to Creating a Diverse

Unfortunately, there are a few obstacles when it comes to
creating a diverse workplace. Time and cost are 2 of the biggest barriers when
recruiting new employees.

There are a number of great job boards out there that
advertise their diverse candidate pools, but these platforms often come with a
cost and most companies are under budget restraints when it comes to recruiting.

Employers also have to weigh in the time investment costs of
both the interviewer and candidate. Finding ways to justify these costs is just
one of the challenges a recruiter may face when trying to diversify their workplace.

DigitalMarketer’s Hiring

At DigitalMarketer, we have a pretty thorough hiring process
that helps us find employees who are truly the right fit for our company.

First, a potential candidate is given a phone screening with
Sophia. If they pass this stage, an in-person interview is scheduled with the
hiring manager and director of that specific department. Depending on the role,
a candidate may also be assigned a small project to complete and return to the
hiring manager.

After this round, a panel interview will be conducted with
the department director and 3 other individuals who the candidate would
potentially be collaborating with. Finally, directors will often have dinner
with the candidate to see how they interact in public.

Throughout every stage of the hiring process, Sophia
contacts the individuals who have not been chosen to move forward. We all know
just how frustrating it can be to go through a multi-round interview process
and then never hear back from the employer. “We like to be the recruiters that
we wish we had while we were in it,” Sophia says.

The Most Valuable Traits for
Job Seekers

Here at DigitalMarketer, there are certain traits we value
in our potential employees. The first and perhaps most important being “give a

Every person who works at DigitalMarketer should be
motivated to be here. They should be excited about their work, our mission, and
our different core values.

Another valuable trait we look for in a candidate is a team
mentality. Everyone at DigitalMarketer is a team player and has that “mutually
beneficial” mindset. It isn’t just about the individual, it’s about everyone
being successful in what we do.

Lastly, hunger is a quality we need to see in our employees—hunger
to learn and dive in headfirst to every challenge that comes their way.

We hope Sophia’s tips helped you feel at least a little less overwhelmed by the hiring process and that you feel confident in vetting your potential new team members. Take a deep breath, and hire on!

(NOTE: Have a marketing team? Let us train and equip them for you! Check out our customized trainings, and level up your marketing team in 90 days—60 if you hurry!)


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Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Have you been to a stadium concert lately? The big ones touring the country tend to pull out all the stops. It’s not just a singer on stage — they are usually supported by a giant jumbotron as backdrop providing flashy visuals, along with fog machines, laser lights, platforms rising out of the ground, special guest cameos… the works. 

Why is this? Because the bar has been raised. When fans plunk down the big bucks for tickets to see Drake or Carrie Underwood or The Rolling Stones, they expect more than seeing their favorite artists performing on stage. They expect an unforgettable experience that stirs all the senses.


In content marketing, we see a continuing shift toward delivering full-on experiences. This emerging focus is evident in the steady growth of the term “content experience” in Google Trends over the past 10 years, and is now reaching a fever pitch as technology enables unprecedented sparkle and scintillation, while the shortening attention spans of our audience demand it. 

The theme for this year’s Content Marketing World extravaganza, as well as our interactive preview and the series of blog posts wrapping up today, all lead back to this crucial edict: elevating experiences and wowing the crowd. The good news is that there are endless ways to creatively approach this initiative, and today we’ll draw inspiration from CMWorld speakers who will be taking the stage next week in Cleveland to offer up some memorable experiences of their own.

The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth
3 Expert Tips on Stepping Up the Content Experience
#1 – Create Serial Content
It’s tempting to think about high-caliber content experiences in terms of pageantry and spectacle, but there are many simpler elements at play. Your audience wants content that it can contextualize, compartmentalize, and reliably look forward to. There’s a reason that almost every big Hollywood release these days is a spin-off, sequel, or reboot — viewers thrive on familiarity. For this reason, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says serial content, steeped in quality and consistency, is a must.

“This aids in recognition and findability and taps into the truism that multiple exposures are often needed to drive behavior,” Jay explains. And he says another key is making this serial content as easy as possible for your audience to get to.

[bctt tweet=”Ask yourself how your information and insights can be accessed with a minimum amount of effort or hassle for the consumer. – @jaybaer on minimizing content friction #CMWorld ” username=”toprank”]

There are any number of ways to serialize your content. Maybe it’s breaking a big idea up into a series of blog posts, dissecting various components. Maybe it’s a run of videos mirroring the format of a TV season. And of course, podcasts are gaining fast popularity as an inherently serial form of content. 

At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about serial content. You can reliably find our Digital Marketing News roundups (both blog and video) every Friday. Recently we’ve been running a Trust Factors series, examining the vital topic of trust in marketing from various angles. And in fact, you’re reading the final installment of a four-part series right now! Check out the previous “Wow Your Crowd” entries below: 

Wow Your Crowd: How Content Planning Sets the Stage for Unforgettable Experiences
Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections
Wow Your Crowd: How Influencers and Media Integrations Can Add Pizzazz to Your Content Act

#2 – Use Tools and Technology Thoughtfully
There are so many eye-catching technologies out there offering new ways to package and deliver content. But don’t be blinded by bells and whistles. Add-ons like interactivity only make sense if they actually serve a meaningful purpose. 

“The key for brands is to not just pursue these programs for the sake of doing it, or to ‘be cool,’ but to have a clear purpose and value-add,” says SAP’s Amisha Gandhi

For example, when scrolling through the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth experience created by TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute, you’ll be able to play games like shoot-the-duck and bop-the-clown. But these interactive gamification elements weren’t just thrown in for the heck of it; they’re meant to play up the midway/carnival vibes of the asset (and this year’s CMWorld conference).

[bctt tweet=”A memorable experience goes a long way. – @AmishaGandhi on raising the bar for content experiences #CMWorld” username=”toprank”]
#3 – Measure and Optimize
The trouble with all this talk about content experiences is that they can feel difficult to quantify and report on. I mean, how do you measure audience delight? What is the ROI of someone grinning with glee while bopping clowns on their browser?

To some degree, the benefits of a great experience are intangible, at least in the short-term. But we can still measure the impact by connecting consumption metrics with bottom-line results. 

“I think of content marketing metrics in two dimensions: Business outcomes (how content is contributing to the business) and engagement metrics (a proxy for how much the target audience likes the content),” says Chris White of Capital One. 

He breaks them down like this: 

Engagement Metrics: 

Total view time
Percent of target audience (in relation to total viewers)
Scroll depth
Bounce rate 

Business Outcomes

Brand awareness/consideration
Remarketing audience size
Web traffic
Customer behavior (e.g., retention, adoption rate, referrals, etc.)  

If you’re getting it right with customer experiences, you’ll see growth across all of these metrics over time. From our view at TopRank Marketing, engagement metrics and business outcomes (or proof of ROI) are among the seven essential elements for content marketing performance dashboard. Also included: benchmarks, goals, real-time KPI monitoring, traffic trends, and breakdowns by topic/persona.

[bctt tweet=”Every initiative is paired with a specific business outcome to evaluate performance. Although we keep tabs on engagement metrics, they do not dictate success by themselves. – Chris White of @CapitalOne on measuring content performance   ” username=”toprank”]
Experience Is Your Content Differentiator
Turn content experience into your competitive advantage. Create things that amaze your audience and leave them yearning for more. Utilize new trends and tech when appropriate to elevate your content. And, at all times, validate your efforts by measuring the right things and letting your customers dictate your direction.

Is it silly to think about content marketing on the same terms as stadium concerts? I’d say it’s silly not to. 

We’re counting down the days until the grand experience unfolds at Content Marketing World 2019 on Sept. 3, 2019 in Cleveland. Before then, you can find plenty more guidance on taking your programs to the next level in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth.

The post Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Record Your Command Line Sessions with Asciinema

If you’ve ever looked up how-to videos on YouTube then you’re familiar with the poor quality of those videos out there. Sometimes you’ll find videos recording the whole screen with tiny CLI windows, other times the CLI is just too blurry to read.

With asciinema you can automatically record all your terminal sessions with 100% zoom and save the videos locally.

Need to teach someone how to perform a certain task? No problem. Wanna release your own how-to vids on YouTube? Piece of cake. Thanks to asciinema’s recorder.

asciinema cli recordingasciinema cli recording

The project works like an installable applet where you can download the files or install them dynamically using Homebrew. Note this only works on OS X, Linux, and BSD so it’s not compliant with the Windows CLI.

The recording feature runs on a series of keyboard shortcuts to stop and save a recording. While you’re inside the terminal just enter asciinema rec and you’ll call the recording function immediately.

Do your thing, record what you need, then CMD + D to stop recording. It’s super easy to use and if you’re already comfortable with the command line you should have no trouble with this recorder.

Videos are actually hosted on the asciinema website so you can browse through a library of previously-recorded videos to see what’s out there. It’s also a great way to share your clips with others and embed them into your site.

But you can also download your videos and re-upload them to popular video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and DailyMotion.

example video page asciinemaexample video page asciinema

To get this running check out their documentation page and follow the instructions.

You can also dig into the docs to find common commands, everyday usage for recording, and properties for your own asciinema config file.

Terminal lovers around the world rejoice! This is one of the best CLI recording tools on the web and you can install it for free with one command.

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Will Twitter Succeed in Defeating Trolls? The Stakes for Marketers

“I’m addicted to you, don’t you know that you’re toxic?”

I can guarantee this will be the first and last time I ever open a blog post with lyrics from Britney Spears, but the pop star’s 2003 tribute to perilous romance seems to perfectly encapsulate my relationship with Twitter — and I know I’m not alone.


I love Twitter. It’s easily my favorite social network. I’ve been active on it for almost a decade, and during that time I’ve had countless enlightening conversations (mostly about baseball and marketing), become friends with people I never would’ve encountered otherwise, and wasted more time than I’d like to admit scrolling mindlessly through my feed.

Twitter has some great perks — bite-sized content, real-time updates, tailored experiences — and these serve to strengthen its appeal as a marketing channel. But even as an avid fan, I can’t deny that it has also been fraught with negatives. At times, the platform can feel like a cesspool for abusive behavior, fake accounts, and bots deployed with the sole mission of harassing real users.

Recently, the company announced new measures in its continuing effort to improve the civility of discourse on Twitter while cutting down on fraud and abuse. Let’s take a closer look at these ongoing changes, and what they mean for social media marketers.

[bctt tweet=”I love @Twitter. It’s easily my favorite #socialnetwork. But even as an avid fan, I can’t deny that it has also been frought with negatives. – @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]
Teeming with Trolls
In May, Twitter released a statement acknowledging the existence of “troll-like behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation on Twitter, particularly in communal areas like conversations and search.”

“Fewer than 1% of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse,” wrote Del Harvey and David Gasca. “While still a small overall number, these accounts have a disproportionately large – and negative – impact on people’s experience.”

The veil of anonymity that Twitter allows can be a good thing: it enables folks with sensitive public images to maintain a discrete social presence, and also facilitates hilarious fictional accounts like @KimKierkegaard, a mashup of reality star Kim Kardashian and 19th-century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and @dog_feelings, which lives up to its name.

But of course, there are obvious downsides to this low barrier of entry. It’s all too easy to create a faceless and essentially untraceable account for whatever purpose one desires. Too often those purposes are nefarious. This rose to a head during the 2016 election and has become an increasingly prevalent sore spot for the platform.

As bots and empty handles became more pervasive, certain individuals began developing methods to game the system and inflate follower counts, creating a “fake influencer” epidemic and shaking marketers’ faith in the authenticity of their audiences.

“We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey lamented earlier this year, “or our inability to address it fast enough.”

While the company’s response has not been as rapid or forceful as some would like, Twitter is taking action.
Purging and Learning
Most conspicuous among these initiatives has been “The Great Twitter Purge,” a systematic effort to sweep out fake and suspicious accounts. Data obtained by the Washington Post showed that more than 70 million accounts were suspended in May and June alone, at the expense of the company’s stock.

(Incidentally, the aforementioned Britney Spears was among the hardest-hit by the purge in terms of lost followers, and plenty of high-profile marketers saw their numbers drop as well, though the industry has generally approved of these actions.)

More recently, Twitter announced partnerships on academic projects addressing two primary areas of concern:

Echo chambers, and the ramifications of algorithms that filter content representing like-minded perspectives. A group led by Leiden University’s Dr. Rebekah Tromble “will analyze the echo chamber effect, and provide options on how to limit such impacts,” per Social Media Today.
The effects of exposure to a diverse array of viewpoints and backgrounds. This can be the natural sacrifice in the “echo chamber” dynamic referenced above — how costly is it?  “Evidence from social psychology has shown how communication between people from different backgrounds is one of the best ways to decrease prejudice and discrimination,” says Oxford’s Miles Hewstone, who will be among those spearheading the study.

It’s interesting to see Twitter taking forthright accountability for its broader implications in society. But what about the marketing implications?
What Twitter’s Moves Mean for Marketers
Twitter has always been a somewhat tough nut to crack for marketers, and the network’s diminishing reputation in the face of these controversial issues appears to be causing some businesses to further back off.

The 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner showed Twitter losing ground, with 62% of marketers using it in their strategies compared to 68% in 2017. Meanwhile, the latest Sprout Social Index finds Twitter fourth on the list of most-used channels for ads at just 13%.

While it’s pretty simple to incorporate as a social media marketing tactic — schedule those short-and-sweet messages and fire ‘em out — the visible impact isn’t always there. It’s not uncommon to see brands with tens of thousands of followers getting only a handful of likes and responses to most of their updates, and clicks can be hard to come by.

When you’re pumping out tons of content and garnering minimal engagement, while also converting a relatively tiny fraction of users into buyers, it’s easy to see why many marketers haven’t found the juice to be worth the squeeze.

But these latest maneuvers from Twitter seemingly will only help.

If you saw your company’s following on the platform take a hit over the past few months during the purge, you’re not alone. But ultimately, it’s nice to have a little more confidence that you’re actually broadcasting to real people. As we’ve long been saying around here: quality trumps quantity.

Initial data backs up this hypothesis: Twitter reported an 81% increase in ad engagement during Q2 2018 compared to Q1 as it implemented its cleansing procedure.

TopRank Marketing Social Media Strategist Meg McDougall suggests that we’ll likely see a resulting rise in Twitter’s notoriously low CPMs, but advertisers will essentially be paying for the same number of eyeballs because fake accounts and their false impressions are being eliminated.

While it’s not clear what fallout we’ll see as a result of these new exploratory research initiatives, the shift is bound to be positive for marketers. Any reduction in the “echo chamber” algorithm could potentially grow your exposure to wider and more diverse audiences.

[bctt tweet=”While it’s not clear what fallout we’ll see as a result of @Twitter’s new exploratory research initiatives, the shift is bound to be positive for #marketers. – @NickNelson #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”]

If the net outcome of these efforts is that Twitter users (even if there are less of them) become more engaged and active on the platform, that’s obviously going to help with content traction, both organic and paid.

“Any change that is made on social media in the interest of end users is ultimately valuable for marketers,” says McDougall.

[bctt tweet=”Any change that is made on #socialmedia in the interest of end users is ultimately valuable for marketers. – @megnificent_” username=”toprank”]

For a Twitter fanatic and marketer like myself, these developments are roundly encouraging. What’s your take? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Want to learn more about the present state of Twitter and social media marketing at large? Check out these posts from the TopRank Marketing blog:

7 Examples of Brands Mastering Twitter for Social Customer Care
From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch
Will More Tweet Space Equal More Value for Your Twitter Audience?
Best Practices for Choosing Effective and Captivating Social Media Visuals
What All Marketers Can Learn from Fast Food Giants Crushing Twitter

The post Will Twitter Succeed in Defeating Trolls? The Stakes for Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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8 Contract Clauses You Should Never Freelance Without

Do you have a contract when you begin a freelance project? If not, then you should. Working without a contract is an invitation to be taken advantage of.

A contract helps streamline your work around a schedule as well as all those clarified details of what was agreed between you and the client. More importantly, it prevents you from double work and headaches down the line.

If you started freelancing without a contract, I bet it wasn’t long before you felt that you needed one. Maybe a client reneged on their payment or asked you to revise your work so many times that you wished you had a contract with a clause that charged for revisions. All it takes is that one client.

The fear of contracts

We know the importance of contracts but we’re just so intimidated by them! Unless you’re a legal writer, it’s natural to fear drawing up the document we know as the contract. But here’s the thing: Using simple language is the best way to avoid confusion. You don’t need a lawyer to draft a contract. You just need to know what works for you.

So grab a paper and pencil (or open up a Word document) and begin drafting your first contract. Don’t miss out on any of these clauses because you really, really shouldn’t freelance without them.

1. Pricing/Rates

The most important thing to ensure sustainability in your services is to make your rates clear. Put them down in writing during the initial stages of the project. Do you charge by the hour, or by a complete project? Make sure your client is agreeable to the way you charge them, so they wouldn’t dispute and withhold payment thereafter.


If you’re charging by the hour, include a minimum and maximum work-hour clause. “Project Red won’t take less than X hours and no more than Y.” The X is for your security – you’ll get paid for these hours even if you finish early. The Y is for your client’s security. He won’t have to pay for more than Y no matter how long it takes for you to finish the job.

2. Single Point of Contact

Oh boy! This clause is a lifesaver. If you’ve ever worked with a client where you had two or more people giving you feedback and requesting changes, you will know that this is necessary.

By including the ‘single point of contact’ clause, you’re limiting your communication to one person. All the feedback and revision requests need to go through that one person – whether your client is a solo-prenuer or a manager in a big firm.

The larger the team that deals with you, the more internal conflicts they have to iron out. Having a single point of contact saves you from confusion and double work. You don’t have to waste time and energy trying to satisfy three points of contact (a.k.a. people with authority to make changes) with different ideas of what they need.

3. Payment/Invoicing

Spell out a payment schedule in your contract. Do you want it to be half now, half after payment schedule, or with 3 installments of 40-40-20? Some freelancers prefer 50-25-25. Everyone has a reason for their preferences. Personally, I prefer to be paid in 3 installments on bigger projects. Usually 40% upfront, 40% when I send the first draft and the final 20% when I send over the finished copy.


How you get paid also needs to be included in the contract. Do you accept payment via direct deposits, checks or PayPal? How long a grace period do you give when receiving payment? Some organizations issue payments a period of time after they receive the invoice. Make sure you have ironed out all these kinks before you start work.

Related: 10 Tips To Invoice Your Freelance Clients Professionally

4. Revisions and rewrites

We’ve all had a client or project where we just can’t seem to get what they want right due to various reasons. It could be that the client is confused or fickle-minded, or a perfectionist – one who can never be satisfied no matter how many revisions you do.

The worst kind is the one who changes the entire focus or direction of the project, halfway through the timeline. All prior work poured into the project could become useless, and you will be starting from scratch but without a revised deadline.

Instead of spending much of your time revising, rewriting, redesigning, recoding etc for hours, a clause in your contract can make this a painless procedure. Offer a number or free revisions/rewrites and then charge for any more the client wants to be done. This would at least reduce the client’s inclination to make changes as he likes, and start doing revisions that are only necessary. Most freelancers offer 2 free revisions, 3 at most depending on the nature of the work they offer.

5. Kill Fee

Sometimes, for reasons beyond our control, a project gets canceled after you’ve started working on it. For freelancers without a contract, it might mean that they won’t get paid for the work they have already done until the notice of cancellation.

A kill fee clause saves you from being the disadvantaged party in case a project gets axed. It makes sure you’re paid for how much of the work already done since you have spent your time and effort on it, both of which could be spent on other projects that you may have on the side.


Different freelancers charge different kill fee. Some have an elaborate stage-by-stage kill fee schedule. Others charge a flat 50% and some charge as low as 25%. It depends on what seems fair to you – the point is to deliver some form of compensation on the work that has been done but won’t be put to use.

6. Copyrights

Depending on the kind of freelancing you do, there are different copyright options available. Freelance writers have the most copyright options such as first serial rights, print rights, electronic rights, etc. For most freelancers though it boils down to owning the rights until the final payment is made.

Copyrighting your work is a must if you want to avoid having a client run away without paying for your work or use it without permission. On the other hand, It’s also a form of protection for your client. If they have made full payment, they have already bought the copyrights from you, hence they know, and should expect to not find the work done anywhere elsewhere.

7. ‘Scope Creep’

A ‘Scope Creep’ is exactly what you think it sounds like. It refers to that nasty little bugger who seems innocent at first but grows into a monster fast. Imagine a client who pays on time and appreciates your work. It’s the perfect client, right?

However, after some time the Scope Creep will start saying things like “Hey, we were going through the work and realized that this will be even more awesome if xyz was added to it. Can you include that too?” You say, “Sure, it won’t take long, I’ll just quickly add that in.” And that’s how it begins.

During the course of the project, this will keep repeating, and over time it will accumulate to a point where you’re doing more work than you signed up for and you’re not getting paid for it!


A scope creep clause is your protection against it. Reserve your right to adjust the rates of the project should the scope of the job, or amount of work you have to do is increased significantly. This way the client knows that they are liable to pay extra for any additional requirements they want to throw in.

8. Deadline

No freelancer signs on a project without a deadline. A deadline is necessary. A lot of times, freelancers can set their own deadlines; other times the work is time sensitive so the client sets their own deadline. Either way, getting it down in writing is a security measure for both you and your client.

For the client, this prevents the freelancer from delaying the completion of project. For the freelancer, it allows for a change in the deadline in case the client does not get back with the required feedback/information/approval in time.

Having deadline will also allow you to schedule your future work even before you start working on them. This ensures that you don’t take in two projects that need to run simultaneously and yet still be able to keep your working schedule filled, giving your income a bit more stability.


Now that you know which clauses to include, it shouldn’t take you long to draft out a simple contract. Contrary to what you might think, this contract doesn’t have to look like a legal document. In fact, you can collect all the emails you’ve exchanged with the client, transfer the results of your discussions into the document, hammer out all the details, and compile them.

Both you and your client should acknowledge that you have both read and agreed to the contents of the contract, sign it and each keeps a copy for future reference.

Have I missed anything? Is there another clause that you think one should not freelance without?

The post 8 Contract Clauses You Should Never Freelance Without appeared first on Hongkiat.

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Kindness as Currency: How Good Deeds Can Benefit Your Local Business

Posted by MiriamEllis

“To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.” – Taisen Deshimaru, Buddhist philosopher

A woman stands in a busy supermarket checkout line. The shopper in front of her realizes that they don’t have enough money with them to cover their purchase, so she steps in and makes up the balance. Then, when she reaches the checkout, her own receipt totals up higher than she was expecting. She doesn’t have enough left in her purse.

“No problem,” says the young clerk and swipes his own debit card to pay for her groceries.

A bystander snaps a photo and posts the story to Facebook. The story ends up on local radio and TV news. Unstructured citations for the grocery store start crackling like popcorn. National news takes notice. A scholarship foundation presents a check to the clerk. When asked how he felt about it, the clerk said:

“Personally, I think it’s undeserved attention. Because she did something so good … I felt like it was my responsibility to return the favor.”

In the process, if only for a moment in time, an everyday supermarket is transformed into a rescue operation for hope in humanity. Through the lens of local SEO, it’s also a lesson in how good deeds can be rewarded by good mentions.

Studying business kindness can be a rewarding task for any motivated digital marketing agency or local brand owner. I hope this post will be both a pick-me-up for the day, and a rallying cry to begin having deeper conversations about the positive culture businesses can create in the communities they serve.

10+ evocative examples of business kindness
“We should love people and use things, but sadly, we love things and use people,” Roger Johnson, Artisan

As a youngster in the American workforce, I ran into some very peculiar styles of leadership.

For instance, one boss gruffly told me not to waste too much time chatting with the elderly customers who especially loved buying from me…as if customer support doesn’t make or break business reputations.

And then there was the cranky school secretary who reprimanded me for giving ice packs to children because she believed they were only “trying to get attention” … as if schools don’t exist to lavish focus on the kids in their care.

In other words, both individuals would have preferred me to be less kind, less human, than more so.

Perhaps it was these experiences of my superiors taking a miserly approach to workplace human kindness that inspired me to keep a little file of outbreaks of goodwill that earned online renown. These examples beg self-reflective questions of any local business owner:

If you launched your brand in the winter, would you have opened your doors while under construction to shelter and feed housing-insecure neighbors? If a neighboring business was struggling, would you offer them floor space in your shop to help them survive? Would your brand’s culture inspire an employee to cut up an elder’s ham for him if he needed help? How awesome would it be if a staffer of yours had a day named after her for her kindness? Would your employees comp a meal for a hungry neighbor or pay a customer’s $200 tab because they saw them hold open a door for a differently-abled guest?What good things might happen in a community you serve if you started mailing out postcards promoting positivity? What if you gave flowers to strangers, including moms, on Mother’s Day? How deeply are you delving into the season of giving at the holidays? What if, like one business owner, you opened shop on Thanksgiving just to help a family find a gift for a foster child? You might wake up to international fame on Monday morning. What if visitors to your community had their bikes stolen on a road trip and your shop gifted them new bikes and ended up on the news?One business owner was so grateful for his community’s help in overcoming addiction, he’s been washing their signage for free. What has your community done for you and how have you thanked them?What if all you had to do was something really small, like replacing negative “towed at your own expense” signs by welcoming quick stop parking? What if you, just for a day, you asked customers to pay for their purchases with kind acts?

I only know about these stories because of the unstructured citations (online references to a local business) they generated. They earned online publicity, radio, and television press. The fame for some was small and local, for others, internationally viral. Some activities were planned, but many others took place on the spur of the moment. Kindness, empathy, and gratitude, flow through them all like a river of hope, inviting every business owner to catch the current in their own way. One easy way for local business owners to keep better track of any positive mentions is by managing and monitoring reviews online with the New Moz Local.

See your online presence

Can kindness be taught in the workplace?

In Demark, schoolchildren learn empathy as a class subject. The country is routinely rated as one of the happiest in the world. At Moz, we have the TAGFEE code, which includes both generosity and empathy, and our company offers internal workshops on things like “How to be TAGFEE when you disagree.” We are noted for the kindness of our customer support, as in the above review.

According to Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki, people “catch” cooperation and generosity from others. In his study, the monetary amount donors gave to charity went up or down based on whether they were told their peers gave much or little. They matched the generosity or stinginess they witnessed. In part two of the study, the groups who had seen others donating generously went on to offer greater empathy in writing letters to penpals suffering hard times. In other words, kindness isn’t just contagious — its impact can spread across multiple activities.

Mercedes-Benz CEO, Stephen Cannon, wanted employees to catch the kindness bug because of its profound impact on sales. He invited his workforce to join a “grassroots movement” that resulted in surprising shoppers with birthday cakes, staff rushing to remote locations with spare tires, and other memorable consumer experiences. Cannon noted:

“There is no scientific process, no algorithm, to inspire a salesperson or a service person to do something extraordinary. The only way you get there is to educate people, excite them, incite them. Give them permission to rise to the occasion when the occasion to do something arises. This is not about following instructions. It’s about taking a leap of faith.”

In a 2018 article, I highlighted the reviews of a pharmacy that made it apparent that staff wasn’t empowered to do the simplest self-determined acts, like providing a chair for a sick man who was about to fall down in a long prescription counter line. By contrast, an Inc. book review of Jill Lublin’s The Profits of Kindness states:

“Organizations that trade in kindness allow their employees to give that currency away. If you’re a waitress, can you give someone a free piece of pie because the kid at the next table spilled milk on their foot? If you’re a clerk in a hotel, do you have the authority to give someone a discounted rate because you can tell they’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?”

There may be no formula for teaching kindness, but if Zaki is right, then leadership can be the starting point of demonstrative empathy that can emanate through the staff and to its customers. How do you build for that?

A cared-for workforce for customer service excellence

You can find examples of individual employees behaving with radical kindness despite working for brands that routinely disregard workers’ basic needs. But, this hardly seems ideal. How much better to build a business on empathy and generosity so that cared-for staff can care for customers.

I ran a very quick Twitter poll to ask employees what their very most basic need is:

Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents cited a living wage as their top requirement. Owners developing a kind workforce must ensure that staff are housing-and-food-secure, and can afford the basic dignities of life. Any brand that can’t pay its staff a living wage isn’t really operational — it’s exploitation.

Beyond the bare minimums, Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2019 Survey of 7,300 executives, HR experts, and employees highlighted trending worker emphasis on:

Flexibility in both hours and location to create a healthy work/life balanceEthics in company technology, practices, and transparencyEquity in pay ratios, regardless of genderEmpathy in the workplace, both internally and in having a positive societal impact with customers

It’s just not very hard to connect the dots between a workforce that has its basic and aspirational needs met, and one possessing the physical, mental and emotional health to extend those values to consumers. As I found in a recent study of my own, 70 percent of negative review resolution was driven by brands having to overcome bad/rude service with subsequent caring service.

Even at the smallest local business level, caring policies and initiatives that generate kindness are within reach, with Gallup reporting that SMBs have America’s happiest and most engaged workers. Check out Forbes list of the best small companies of 2019 and note the repeated emphasis on employee satisfaction.

Kindness as currency, with limitless growth potential
“I wanted a tangible item that could track acts of kindness. From that, the Butterfly Coin emerged.” Bruce Pedersen, Butterfly Coins

Maybe someday, you’ll be the lucky recipient of a Butterfly Coin, equipped with a unique tracking code, and gifted to you by someone doing a kind act. Then, you’ll do something nice for somebody and pass it on, recording your story amongst thousands of others around the world. People, it seems, are so eager for tokens of kindness that the first mint sold out almost immediately.

The butterfly effect (the inspiration for the name of these coins) in chaos theory holds that a small action can trigger multiple subsequent actions at a remove. In a local business setting, an owner could publicly reward an employee’s contributions, which could cause the employee to spread their extra happiness to twenty customers that day, which could cause those customers to be in a mood to tip waitstaff extra, which could cause the waitstaff to comp meals for hungry neighbors sitting on their doorsteps, and on and on it goes.

There’s an artisan in Gig Harbor, WA who rewards kindnesses via turtle figurines. There are local newspapers that solicit stories of kindness. There are towns that have inaugurated acts-of-kindness weeks. There is even a suburb in Phoenix, AZ that re-dubbed itself Kindness, USA. (I mentioned, I’ve been keeping a file).

The most priceless aspect of kindness is that it’s virtually limitless. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be quantified. The Butterfly Coin idea is attempting to track kindness, and as a local business owner, you have a practical means of parsing it, too. It will turn up in unstructured citations, reviews, and social media, if you originate it at the leadership level, and share it out from employee to customer with an open hand.

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