Today I want to share something that’s been really useful for us, especially at Content Refined, to make proposals and contracts for clients. We had always done this in a pretty laid back way in the past – we would talk to the client over Skype or Zoom, and follow up with a recap of their needs via email. There might be some back and forth, and then we would send their payment link via email.
We still do some of that, but earlier in 2018 we started using this tool Qwilr to make things a lot more streamlined. One of our Project Managers, Mona, actually introduced us to this tool. It’s basically a drag-and-drop, intuitive document builder with awesome templates to work from. They have their own stock photography too, so you can switch up the backgrounds to make it more suited to your brand. The overall tone looks really hip, clean, and professional.
Now taking a closer look at each of those…
As to be expected, there’s a lot of subjectivity in the world of content creation. Everyone has different preferences for writing requirements, format and style of articles, publishing needs, etc. So this overview is a great way to let our clients know exactly what we do (and what we don’t do).
Full overview here:
This has been great to send out to people who have shown interest in our services, or who want to refer us to a colleague. It looks professional while detailing everything. Plus they’re directed to Laura to email any questions/hesitations or to book a call.
We do a lot of custom work for people who have particular requirements that differ slightly from our standard process. We’ve also started working on more long-term contracts for our clients, like 6 or 12 month commitments. So this sort of proposal is perfect for those as well.
They have an option where you can add an ‘accept’ button and/or a signature requirement at the end of the document for contracts.
We’ve been pitching the content upgrades more over the last few months, because it’s an offering that not many other content marketing companies are doing (especially at this level) so it really sets us apart. Then we started doing personalized cold outreach, so whoever was sending out the emails (Laura, one of the other Project Managers, or a Sales Rep) would have a proposal customized to them; it would include their bio, their contact info, and their booking link. Again, this is just a nice, professional, streamlined way to keep everything looking consistent with the Content Refined branding.
I’m not an affiliate or anything for Qwilr. I just wanted to share it with all of you guys because it’s been a great solution for streamlining some of these documents and proposals for us! What do you guys use to send out proposals and contracts, etc.? Let me know in the comments!
As Henry Ford once said: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
In this post, I go into detail about my continuous learning (lots of room for improvement!). Over the past 4.5 years I have listened to hundreds of audible books (have 300+ books in my audible). When a student at Nebraska State asked Bill Gates and Warren Buffet the superpower question, Gates answered, “Being able to read super fast.” And Buffett echoed him, adding, “I’ve probably wasted 10 years reading slowly.” To help with this, I often listen to my audiobooks on 2x speed so that way I can use the time I have to read these books more efficiently. It takes some time to get used to that speed but once you do it really helps get through books quickly.
Each month I like to pick out 5 books to read for that month . Sometimes I don’t get to all 5 but it helps when I finish a book to have another one lined up as sometimes it can take a while to choose one to read.
I also believe books are a great way to provide training for team members. I often recommend for them to read a book and then discuss at our weekly 1:1 on the key takeaways from it.
Since I tend to listen to quite a few audible books, I have a VA create and update a spreadsheet each month of my favour books with a link to cheat sheets to go with them so I can remember what I have learned from each book.
The practice of going back and looking at the cheat sheet for a critical book has been an efficient method of increasing retention on key books.
Here are a few of the books I like along with their synopsis.
Here is the spreadsheet I use to keep track of my favourite books and a the summary of each for me to brush up on… here.
START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life. I think of this as the hand-hand self defense for negotiation… best to set things up so these skills are not needed
Napoleon Hill, America’s most beloved motivational author, devoted 25 years to finding out how the wealthy became that way. After interviewing over 500 of the most affluent men and women of his time, he uncovered the secret to great wealth. By understanding and applying the thirteen simple steps that constitute Hill’s formula, you can achieve your goals, change your life and join the ranks of the rich and successful.
My recent new favourite is Traction! It feels like a combination of EMyth Revisited plus Scaling Up. Great for smaller companies looking to achieve high performance!
Continuous learning through books is about expanding your ability to learn by regularly upgrading your skills and increasing your knowledge. I never really have time to sit down and read so I solved this problem by listening to my books when I am in the car (without the family) or on long bike rides. There have been many great lessons that I have learned from these books that I have applied to my companies from the way the organization is made up to simple strategies we use when executing projects.
If you are a big reader/consumer of knowledge do you have any hacks for increasing retention?
It’s been a while since we’ve had a post like this. Your opportunity to join the team!
Over the past couple of months we’ve been sharing some more info about Content Refined. That business is in an interesting place right now, because we’re 2 successful years in and can now really find some solid footing for the future. We’re always trying new marketing initiatives, which will continue as we keep growing and building.
What we are most excited about is scaling a unique strategy to identify our ideal audience and a new offering we have already seen substantial product/market fit with!
We are seeing a lot of success and scalable potential in these Pareto Content Upgrades, which is what I went into detail about a couple weeks ago. I won’t go fully into the details again, but it’s really beneficial for clients to have their existing content worked on and improved for consistent and higher rankings. So we’ve developed a B2B-focused service offering based on that need. This high demand, systematized through our processes (which are proven to be effective), will allow Content Refined to continue to scale in the field that we know best: content marketing.
We’re at the point now where we have the processes, we have a system worked out, but we need help to scale. We are looking for someone to fulfill an enterprise-level sales role for this offering. So, if you want to get involved, or you know someone who would be awesome for this position, please check out the job description below and send a note to our acting Business Manager, Laura Day, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ContentRefined.com is a growing content marketing company (HQ in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada) specializing in results-focused content marketing.
We are accountable to our clients for results and not just words!
Our unique focus on using data to predictably create content that will perform well for our clients is an exciting opportunity for an enterprise/B2B focused digital marketing sales rep.
We are looking to capitalize on recent success with a new system/offering and aggressively grow the business.
The role we are looking to hire for is an outside sales rep to take a proven strategy and grow it.
We look forward to hearing from you if you think you might be a fit!
Please email your resumé and cover letter to Laura Day at email@example.com.
It’s good to have a few trusted keyword research tools under your belt. Our teams at Content Refined are currently using two in conjunction: SECockpit by SwissMadeMarketing, and Ahrefs. We started using Ahrefs a while ago when SECockpit stopped returning results in certain fields and niches (i.e. we stopped getting results for cbd oil related keywords). Ahrefs has a ton of detail in their results, and I really like the way that they suggest alternatives.
So here are the basic steps for using Ahrefs to determine whether a keyword is competitive. For our purposes, we are looking for a few key metrics:
These are the tried and true metrics that Content Refined usually sticks to (unless there’s a unique site that needs something slightly different). We’ve talked about this before in an article about SECockpit. For that article the monthly search volume filter was set to ‘over 1000’. We’ve since found that over 500 is a valuable metric with more opportunities for a lot of sites.
For Ahrefs Keyword Research, follow these steps in this order:
I love finding new strategies and tricks for finding the best competitive keywords in any niche. For Content Refined we also go back once or twice a year and run some data analysis to see which tools are working the best. We did that last year around this time, and are currently in the process of running a new set of data analysis (I’ll be sure to share the findings for you guys).
Keep me updated about what tools and strategies you guys are currently using in the comments below!
I am excited to share a post like this… it has been awhile since I shared a detailed data driven tip on a new strategy that drives IMPRESSIVE results!
The team at ContentRefined has been doing some very impressive work lately performing what we are calling a Pareto^2 Content Upgrade and making the articles pop in terms of rankings and traffic.
This strategy is all about taking what is already working (your 20% of articles driving 80% of your sites traffic) and applying advanced tools/strategy at the right leverage points to make them perform even better!
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Here is the procedure ContentRefined uses to further apply this principle with content marketing and shared for you to use on your sites! As always if you want to do it yourself we show you the results and the exact steps… however, if you want to have the team at ContentRefined upgrade some of your most important articles then contact them here.
Book a call with Laura here and receive a free consultation/report to identify which of your pages are the right pages to apply the Pareto Upgrade to!