Picking Neil Patel’s Brain: 41 Power Tips and 7 Favorite Tools


Picking Neil Patel's Brain: 41 Content Marketing Tips

I had the opportunity to see Neil Patel tonight in San Mateo (hosted by the Silicon Valley Innovation Center) with a colleague from Wrike. Neil is the co-founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg and blogs at QuickSprout. It was in some ways like tapping into his brain for 45 minutes – he really holds nothing back as he rapid-fires his way through his presentation and the questions that follow. Then he holds court and rapid-fire answers some more. That’s my kind of learning, so I’m all for it.

Here are my takeaways from Neil’s brain dump for startup marketing tonight in the Bay Area. Trivia question: Do you know in which city Neil lives? The answer is at the end of the post…

Fasten your seat belts!

  • A startup should start with a blog. That’s how Neil has successfully grown all of his businesses.
  • Wordpess.org is the platform of choice (no surprise there). It cuts out the dev time that no one can afford and it’s better than blogger or tumblr or many other choices out there.
  • Neil’s first blogging mistake was to blog about how awesome his company was (and no one cared or came). Don’t make this mistake.
  • Neil’s big lesson was that when he wrote about educational topics, he actually started getting clients. Follow this example. Develop content that teaches.
  • Don’t be afraid to teach too much. Humans are lazy so take advantage of that. Even if you show them exactly how to do something on their own, many of them would rather pay you to do it for them.
  • Be consistently awesome at a pace you can handle. Once you get good at that pace (e.g. 1post/week), increase it (e.g. 2 posts/week).
  • Create a conversation. Use words like “you” and “I” in your content. It works! (says Neil)
  • Dumb it down. Big words get less shares and interest.
  • Use headings in your content – about 3-5 per post.
  • Write long posts over 2000 words – those are the ones that rank on the first page of Google.
  • Wrap up posts with a conclusion. Some people will skim down, hit a good conclusion and then go back and read the post.
  • About 2 of 10 people who read your post headline will actually read the post.
  • Numbers and negative words in titles increase click through rates. Odd numbers work best.
  • Keep your title under 65 characters to avoid having “…” in the search engines.
  • Match your title and content (e.g. don’t “click bait”) or you’ll have low conversion rates.
  • 6 word headlines work best.
  • Avoid words with multiple meanings – keep it simple.
  • Power words attract people – strange, unique, powerful, essential
  • Don’t be perfect. Picasso and many barbers don’t sweat minor mistakes. Why should you?
  • Respond to comments or you’re a jerk. If you respond, people will be loyal to you.
  • Ask questions at the end of posts to get more comments (or why would people bother commenting?).
  • Write in a conversational tone.
  • Infographics still work really well. Great for backlinks.
  • For infographics, limit your word count, make it easy to understand, have 5 to 6 main points and make it flow.
  • Use Dribble or 99 Designs for designers and Odesk for research. To find good Odesk workers, pay a small amount to several people and keep only the best to do the full project.
  • The best time to post content is at 11am EST (in the US).
  • Emails will have the best CTR in early mornings because people check their email the first thing in the morning.
  • Social media sharing is best midweek around noon (if I caught this correctly…)
  • Follow this cycle for your content – build, measure, learn.
  • To break through search traffic plateaus, significantly increase the amount of content you post.
  • A one-month break required 3 months of intense blogging to get back to his old traffic levels.
  • LinkedIn Groups are great traffic generators.
  • You can have all of your employees share your content – choose one channel (e.g. LinkedIn) and they’ll be more likely to follow through.
  • Guest posts are a great way to build traffic.
  • When you link to someone, email them.
  • Expert round-ups are a great way to get content and get lots of shares by the contributors.
  • Webinars are a great way to generate leads. To sort out the prospects, he uses a check box that says something like, “I’m interested in trying out xyz software”.
  • Save 50% of the time for Q&A to have more human interaction.
  • GoToWebinar is the highest converting platform in terms of registrations – people seem to like the brand (per Neil).
  • Use Buzzsumo and search by keyword to see what content has a lot of shares in social media on a particular topic.
  • For competitive keyword research (and to target your competitors’ top keywords), use SEMRush.

Which were the most interesting points made by Neil?

Let us know in the comments!

Trivia Answer: We chatted briefly before he spoke and he told me he lived in Las Vegas. I and the others I was sitting with were surprised (like you may be). But he admitted that he spends most of his time in the Bay Area.