Nobody Says It, But This is the Greatest Weightlifting Lesson I’ve Learned

You’ll never walk into the gym and hear someone say, “You should do something easy today.”

But after 10 years of training, I think embracing slow and easy gains is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned.

In fact, this lesson applies to most things in life. And it comes down to the difference between progress and achievement.

Let me explain…

The Difference Between Progress and Achievement

Our society is obsessed with achievement. This is especially true in the gym.

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else. Last week, a guy at my gym clean and jerked 325 pounds and made it look easy. My first question to him was, “What’s your max?”

I didn’t say, “How is your training going?” or “Have you been making progress recently?” but rather, “What is the absolute maximum weight you can do?”

My question was all about what he could achieve, not how he has progressed.

And you’ll find that mentality everywhere. Nobody is going to celebrate you for going up 1 pound per week. Everybody wants you to try for 10 more pounds right now.

Here’s the problem: a focus on achievement in the here and now usually comes at the expense of slower, more consistent progress. Achievement is so ingrained in our culture that we often ignore progress. (Of course, focusing on progress would ultimately lead to higher achievement, but it’s easy to dismiss that fact when you want to set a new PR today.)

I’m still learning to embrace this principle myself, but I’m getting better at it. And here’s what I’ve learned about training for slow progress rather than immediate achievement.

1. Slow Gains Add Up Really Fast

Here’s the thing about taking it slow: it adds up really fast.

Here’s an example…

I want you to go into the gym this week, pick your favorite lift (squats for example), and lift 1 pound more than you did last week. You are not allowed to do 2 pounds more. Only 1 pound.

Do you think you could do that? Most people would be like, “Of course. That’s easy.” And they’re right.

But here’s the funny thing: If you do that every week, then you’re going to add 50 pounds to your lifts in the next year. Stick with that for 2 years and you’re lifting 100 pounds more.

How many people do you know who are lifting 100 pounds more than they were 2 years ago? I don’t know many. Most people are so obsessed with squeaking out an extra 10 pounds this week that they never find the patience to make slower (but greater) long-term gains.

It all comes down to the power of average speed. The next two years are going to come and go. The time will pass anyway. Might as well be climbing the whole time.

2. Slow Gains Help You Handle Intensity Later On

For some reason, we think that starting easy and going up slowly is a waste of our time. It’s not.

When you start with easy weights (and I think this is especially important in the beginning), you build the capacity to do work. If you’re getting back in the gym after a long layoff, then I think that at least the first month of lifting should be easy.

For some reason, society has convinced us that if your heart rate isn’t above 150 beats per minute and you don’t feel gassed at the end of your workout, then you haven’t done yourself any good. I disagree. If you actually add a little weight each week and don’t miss workouts, then it will get hard enough, fast enough. Trust me.

Build a foundation of strength with easy workouts and a lot of volume. Do 1000 reps over the next few months and let your body learn how to move through space. Slowly go up each week. By this time next year, you’ll be able to handle the heavy weights with ease.

3. Slow Gains Foster Recovery

The body has an amazing ability to adapt — if you give it time to do so.

When you place a stimulus on the body, it will either find a way to handle it or die. In the case of weightlifting, your body will build muscle and bone tissue, and you’ll gradually become stronger. Small, consistent gains give the body just enough stress to grow and just enough time to recover.

But if you try to push the body too far, too fast, then it will find a different way to adapt. Namely, inflammation, injury, and stress. You might be able to add 10 pounds per week for a few weeks, but pretty soon it will catch up to you and you’ll be sitting on the couch trying to get healthy.

Hard, Hard, Hurt vs. Slow, Slow, Never Stop

If you want to get in shape, to get stronger, and to reach your full potential, then what is the most important thing of all?

Answer: not missing workouts.

There is nothing more important than building the habit of getting in the gym and not missing workouts. Stop trying to make up for the fact that you’re inconsistent by going harder when you’re there. Long-term progress doesn’t work that way. Instead, train yourself to not miss workouts and slowly add weight.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this: Are you just trying to put up a big number right now? Or are you really in this for the long haul?

Most people train in this cycle: hard, hard, hard, hurt.

I’d rather go slow, slow, slow, never stop.

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I’m an entrepreneur, weightlifter, and travel photographer in 20+ countries. Good things happen to me for no apparent reason.

Amazon Patents “Anticipatory” Shipping — To Start Sending Stuff Before You’ve Bought It

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Amazon’s plans for autonomous flying delivery drones are so last year. The ecommerce juggernaut is purportedly working on something far more dystopian: pre-shipment.

Amazon has filed a patent for a shipping system designed to cut delivery times by predicting what buyers are going to buy before they buy it — and shipping products in their general direction, or even right to their door, before the sales click even (or ever) falls.

Which really is one more step towards cutting out human agency entirely from the ecommerce roundabout. Why not have machines autonomously buy stuff from other machines and have a third set of autonomous bots deliver it — while the quaking flesh recipients who open the door meekly accept whatever packages they are getting in the hopes that yet more machines won’t decide today is the day to harvest their organs.

[Aaaand right on cue, the doorbell rings. It’s a delivery man, with — you guessed it — an Amazon parcel for me. This interaction should be entirely normal but there’s a distinctly sinister undertone, even though I’m 99.9% sure that the thing inside the box is something I ordered last week, not something Amazon thinks I’ll want to order next week. Or the thing I ordered a few minutes ago. But that, presumably, is exactly where Amazon is aiming to go.]

The patent, which was filed in August 2012 and granted December 24 last year, describes a method for what Amazon calls “anticipatory shipping” — with one pre-shipping scenario (of the multitudes detailed) being as follows:

…a method may include packaging one or more items as a package for eventual shipment to a delivery address, selecting a destination geographical area to which to ship the package, shipping the package to the destination geographical area without completely specifying the delivery address at the time of shipment, and while the package is in transit, completely specifying the delivery address for the package.

Amazon delivery patent

The anticipated location of packages might be determined by analysing various “business variables”, according to the patent. Data that could be analysed to determine customer demand for a particular pre-shipped package to help decide where to route it geographically could include historical buying patterns, preferences expressed explicitly via surveys/questionnaires, demographic data, browsing habits, wish-lists and so on.

The patent also goes on to discuss in detail various scenarios for “speculatively shipping” packages to destinations and how to re-route items based on proximity to potential customers —  and even how packages might remain in near continuous transit on trucks until a customer makes a purchase.

At times the language of the patent sounds as if Amazon is thinking of physical item delivery in the way a utility might approach supplying water or electricity to homes — by forecasting demand spikes and lulls, and tweaking its pipeline accordingly, but above all by keeping the stuff flowing (ergo having trucks constantly filled with packages in continuous perpetual motion).

Such a system would likely require an overhaul of its existing ecommerce inventory and time-management systems (assuming Amazon hasn’t already started deploying the apparatus to support anticipatory shipments) — to make them more dynamic and responsive. But that in turn may allow for better inventory management, as the patent notes

… speculative shipping of packages may enable more sophisticated and timely management of inventory items, for example by allowing packages to begin flowing towards potential customers in advance of actual orders.

And in those instances when the demand prediction algorithm fails, as well it must, the patent suggests Amazon could deliver the package anyway — as a gift to someone who hasn’t actually clicked to buy it yet, but who, its data analysis suggests, might quite like it — i.e. if the cost of returning/rerouting the item exceeds the cost of paying a surprise visit to a pre-customer.

Which could either be a great surprise, or hideously inappropriate — depending on how good an oracle Amazon’s algorithm turns out to be. Inappropriate like delivering a DIY Will pack to someone who has already died, say. Or kids toys to bereaved parents. Anticipatory algorithms are going to have to navigate plenty of human pitfalls if they’re not to end up clanging on the doorbell.

In the U.S. Amazon paved the way for carving a huge chunk out of the ecommerce pie by patenting the right to one-click buying, all the way back in 1999. That patent has stood it in excellent stead over the years, requiring other ecommerce players to license this method if they want similarly speedy checkout processes.

Pre-shipping has the potential to let Amazon do that again by taking the online buying process to the proverbial ‘next level’ — and some. Clicking buy and getting your stuff hours or minutes later would be huge. Albeit, in future it could well be a case of: Amazon users, be careful what you wish(-list) for.

(Via the Wall Street Journal)

Why Silicon Valley Can’t Find Europe

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Editor’s note: Sten Tamkivi has been a software entrepreneur for 16 years and spent the recent half of his career as an early executive at Skype in Tallinn, Estonia. Sten is now an Entrepreneur in Residence at Andreessen Horowitz. Follow him on his blog and on Twitter @seikatsu.

Go to Europe these days – to Berlin, London, Helsinki – drop in on any of the regional tech confabs and you will quickly see that the European startup scene is in the most bustling, vibrant shape it’s ever been. The potential is everywhere, and the energy is undeniable. Then you return Stateside, in my case to Palo Alto, and Europe isn’t just irrelevant among the tech industry power-set. It has virtually ceased to exist.

That is a mistake. Blame for the ruptured relationship lies on both sides of the Atlantic, but it is Europeans that have the power, and should have the motivation, to mend things.

I’m proud to be Estonian and European, but recently realized that very soon I will have been living in California for 10 percent of my life. I had a front-row seat to the first Internet boom as an exchange student at the super-wired Monta Vista High School in Apple’s backyard. I returned to the U.S. with some frequency initially as an executive with Skype, and later to pursue a business degree at Stanford. My latest perch in Silicon Valley today is as an entrepreneur-in-residence with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Let me give you a small taste of the way Europe was woven into the discussion at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Over the course of four quarters I heard one professor make one joke about short-term macroeconomic troubles in Greece. We also had a visit from a well-dressed and charming British banker in our private equity class. That’s it. No European startups, no cases of European success stories or failures. A joke and a banker.

Important Places

I’m not blaming Stanford. In talking to many people about my growing realization that the place of my birth simply didn’t matter to most people in the Valley, I began to understand that there is a mental hierarchy of “important places” for people building, investing in and studying tech companies in Silicon Valley. They exist in the following order:

1. Silicon Valley. Practically considered, the opportunity cost of venturing out of the bustling 30-mile radius of Sand Hill Road, whether you are an entrepreneur, investor or academic, is usually just too high.

2. The U.S. East Coast. Yes, stuff is happening in Boston and New York, but not so much that a once-a-month trip can’t cover most of it.

3. China. Massive tech companies do rise in China and go public in the United States, and Chinese investors have gobs of cash to invest in the Valley. There is a constant back and forth between both Pacific coasts. But it’s not just geography, and the historic manufacturing relationship that is stimulating this cozy dynamic. The Valley is looking more and more towards China for the next tech trends and expansion opportunities.

4. The rest of Asia. India’s diaspora links to the U.S. are strong. Southeast Asia’s growth is hard to miss, and there is interesting mobile stuff happening in Korea and Japan.

5. Latin America/South America. Markets in Mexico and Brazil are increasingly ripe for Silicon Valley tech, but the region is still a distant gleam for most companies.

6. Europe. Here is what I mostly hear about Europe: “I took my wife/husband to Paris last year for our anniversary, and we dropped by Rome. Great food, so much history, Europe is wonderful!” For vacation.

Rather than relying solely on my anecdotal examples of “important places,” I turned to LinkedIn. Mapping my network through the lens of the topic at hand, I can confirm that, while Estonia, the Nordics and Europe in general comprise a tightly knit blue blob, and Skype in Estonia (orange) and internationally (green) is an organism in itself, the Silicon Valley venture capital and serial entrepreneurship circles float as a distant burgundy cloud. And the international graduate student and teacher body of Stanford is even further out on the right.

Sten Tamkivi Europe map

Those familiar with Granovetter’s theory about the strength of weak ties should feel a wave of joy here. Sure, there are benefits of weak ties, but then again, there are virtues to tight-knit communities talking to each other frequently, sharing the successes and learning from each other’s mistakes.

And that is exactly what is missing between the U.S. and Europe — a real bridge. So how do we build one, and what can both partners in constructing this connection hope to gain?

Let’s start with Europe.

Why the Hell Are You in Silicon Valley? And Don’t Say It’s the Money

Raising money tends to be the No. 1 rationale from founders when asked why they’re in the Valley. It’s also the No. 1 mistake people make. You will be far more successful raising seed and early-stage VC financing close to home, on whichever side of the Atlantic it may be.

Yes, the internationalization of the venture capital industry is well on its way, and one can draw quite pretty graphs of the increasing money flow across the globe. Bollocks. Here’s why you, European entrepreneur, aren’t going to get that money.

Looking at closed early-stage deals listings in Pitchbook, it is very clear that U.S.-based VCs invest in U.S. companies, and European VCs invest in Europe.

Tamkivi chart

In my experience, this mindset applies to institutional investors in a clearly structured way, but is a notable behavior even for private angels in AngelList. Investors believe that there is much more that they bring to the table than just money – but that ineffable “value” is hard to bring across long distances and multiple time zones. No matter how much the video calling has improved, board seats, hiring networks, corporate development efforts and just quick (unscheduled!) calls work much better in proximity. Raise your money at home.

Part of building a solid bridge with the U.S. is having a solid reason for being here, other than money. Selfies at Infinite Loop Drive and group pictures in front of Facebook and Google headquarters don’t count.

One good reason for touching down at SFO might be that it’s because the companies that matter in your space – the ones you want to compete with, learn from, partner with or steal bored employees from – are in Silicon Valley. Ditto for customers.

That said, you need to honestly evaluate decamping from Europe against your own personal strengths and networks. I am in the thick of things on Sand Hill Road. Yet that relative advantage doesn’t change the fact that I have been building software companies for 16 years in Estonia and worked mostly with teams around Scandinavia and in Prague or London. This is where the best engineers I know are. This is the core of my network. This is my actual unfair home-court advantage.

If anything makes me stay Stateside, it must far outweigh the strongholds I’m leaving behind. That applies to every European (indeed everyone wherever they are from) pondering a move to Silicon Valley.

Why Silicon Valley Should Love Europe Back

So if exchanging money for equity isn’t the way to create tighter bonds between Europe and the Valley, the question becomes: how can we build more non-financial ties between our scenes?

When building high-value ties in any network, the question should never be what you get, but rather what can you give to the other party? What can you help with? What can you teach? What can you spare? This tends to be true with your friends, your community, and your country –  and how you ought to think about transatlantic relationships.

If we Europeans can muster the confidence, and the U.S. can tone down its arrogance, Europe actually has a lot to give to Silicon Valley. Here are just a few examples.

Talent. Silicon Valley’s weakest spot today is finding enough good engineers and designers. The European contribution here in the simplest case is talent. The next level of complexity, but more sustainable for both sides, are development outposts across the pond. This could also take the form of M&A targets that Europe could offer – something that Meg Whitman in her eBay CEO days used to call “off-balance-sheet R&D” when buying up another innovative marketplace team in the Netherlands or Sweden.

What about making this a two-way street, and providing interesting-timed job adventures for early-career Valley experts? Why be the 3,481st guy in Facebook, when during a three-year stint in a cool European city you can be No.1 in the entire country in what you do? Yes, moving American hotshots to Europe can be a tough sell, but we did it successfully at Skype, and companies like Soundcloud are doing it again.

Sharing new models. For any European who has spent an extended time here, Silicon Valley can often feel surprisingly backwards. When it comes to online and mobile applications truly embedded in how people go about their daily chores, how they sign and exchange legal documents, how they interact with the government, how they do their consumer banking, how they receive services from their doctors and so forth, many places in Europe are light years ahead of what is widely available in the U.S. We can share those ideas and expertise.

400 million customers. For most successful entrepreneurial ventures, there comes a day when growth needs to be found outside of the home market. And no matter how much the mobile handset makers talk about the next billion people coming online in Africa, and how lucrative the already-online billions of users in Asia are, the most common scenario for the Groupons and Airbnbs and Ubers of the foreseeable future is still to figure out their expansion strategy for the U.K., Germany and France.

Europe is still the rational next market for most U.S. rocket ships who are looking to find customers with above-average incomes and access to credit cards who live on infrastructure you can deliver your products and services to. Who better to help U.S. entrepreneurs crack Europe than Europeans?

Global skills. The value of understanding foreign markets does not stop with Europe, though. Far too much of U.S.-originated innovation is born in the form of English-language, iOS-only apps with hard-coded dollar signs. European entrepreneurs, especially those from the smallest countries, are much better trained at operating globally in multi-currency, multi-cultural markets. As a proof point, look at how the likes of Finnish Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (Clash of Clans) or Skypers in London or Tallinn and Evernoters in Zürich or Moscow have conquered the astonishingly tough Chinese and Japanese markets.

Security and privacy. In the post-Snowden days we’re living in, there is a new set of questions around the physical and legal location of users’ data and the regulations governing its privacy. Although the rules and behaviors driving this have been evolving in a U.S.-centric way thanks to U.S.-based Internet giants, if you look at where the users of the Internet live today, less than 10 percent of them are in the United States. And that share is declining.

It is obvious that nations other than the U.S. will have an increasing say in the governance mechanisms and regulation of the system with Europe at the forefront. And this is not just a government thing. The European tech scene can help its U.S. peers figure things out as private entities first.

If we Europeans can follow through with an approach of giving something unique and valuable, as opposed to just trying to get funding from the other side, I believe the European and Silicon Valley tech scenes have a shot at moving closer together. For U.S. players, this would presume paying a little bit more attention to the world outside. For Europeans, it’s mustering a bit more confidence in ourselves.

I am sure more non-financial bridges can be built. And as it has been shown by some VC investment-related research: Cold hard cash will eventually follow the international corridors where smart people are already on the move.

[Image: Shutterstock]

Early Stage Marketing

Hi. My name is Pedro. That’s me up there. The smiley one. Well.. the one with the shiniest head. I work as a dream catcher during the night and during the day I try making new startups grow at Forward Partners.

I don’t normally write serious blog posts because they are not very fun to read, however I will make an exception for today. I am hoping the topic will get you excited enough!

Step zero

So step zero here really means zero. Nada. Niente. Rien. You haven’t done anything, you have no idea where to start, who your customer is, how you should start or what you should to do.

The first thing about early stage startups is that they are not certain businesses until they have proven their model. i.e. can be profitable and scale in a certain timeframe.

In Forward Partners the timeframe from ideation to external funding rounds is around 12 months. These startups have 1 year to prove they can run and grow quickly. Marketing should be used to support the learning required from product development to find a product market fit.

Things need to happen fast and have to be lean.

Early stage startups have limited resources (people wise and moneywise), zero brand equity and little time to prove their assumptions and this limits marketing choices to only affordable channels (sorry boys and girls no TV ads for now).

In addition, feedback from customers development may lead to business model, product, marketing changes (new customers, types of device, locations, hours of day), new pricing strategies, promotions, channels/places, different communication creative (Message/Tone) etc..

This leads to ..

Point 2. We need frameworks and tools to quickly adapt/record/control businesses

Defining a 3 months marketing strategy when you are still figuring out the business is probably not the best of ideas. Therefore, as soon as you start having customer feedback from your interviews, you might want to evaluate how should you engage with your customers throughout the “awareness to purchase” funnel, identify the most important persona and storyboard, what is important for them (fears/dreams/hopes) and what are the main triggers that lead them to think about you.

Awareness to Decision (purchase) funnel

You should define clear goals for each iteration of your product and understand what KPI are you trying to move. At this point marketing and product decisions are very interconnected and it is of your best interested to record assumptions, tests and what drove you to make the decisions. Last, but not least…

Point 3. Stick to things that you can track, win fast and that you can turn on/off.

Right, you have your first assumptions you want to test with an audience so you want to drive traffic to your to test page/app. You shouldn’t start by creating a 600 word blog post everyday for 10 days to start getting organic traffic in.

  • It is hard to scale fast using SEO, Content and PR. Also, it is not something you can simply turn off if you have a problem or want to pivot on the product side.
    However, you should always be aware of best practices since these will affect the future of your organic rank and paid search quality.
  • It is also hard to build brand equity quickly, although you need to recognize its importance for trust and future sustainability. I.e. you don’t want to build a bad brand either by not caring.
    This is an important one. The more you engage with early customers the more you understand which messages are working and which elements of your product you should be promoting.
  • Finally it is hard to build on word of mouth or “member get member” schemes before you have a good enough product that people are proud of and would like to share with their friends. However, do understand that each business has its own customer dynamics; hence this might prove to be an important channel in the future, so you need to deliver a somewhat acceptable experience from start. The “virality” piece shouldn’t be discouraged; ideally we should build excitement here, especially of what the product could be.

So, unlike “normal businesses” where you could probably focus on a medium/long term strategy immediately and work on usual channels knowing they would sooner or later deliver results, with early stage startups you will have to pick and test a handful of channels in a small timeframe and evaluate results.

Although each business is different we have found that a good starting point can come from 3 types of channels:

  1. Direct comms. —  Engage with your target customers directly by focusing websites/newsletter/places that they tell you they normally hang around or use. This is where we can harvest this information. So rather than websites, it’s direct communications.
    If it is a (hyper) local business more offline means of gathering information, such as attending networking events and conferences might have faster cut through.
    emails, newsletters, display, forums, (local) communities, meet-ups, specialty blogs, etc..
  2. Quick reaction paid channels  — These are great for customers that you really know or that are actively searching for a solution that you provide, especially for small incremental innovations in commodity businesses that people understand.
    Don’t forget that the further away your proposition is from the keywords you are bidding on or the more innovative your business is the more expensive converting/educating a person will be. Highly targeted social, means cherry picking your customers from social platforms and targeting them directly.
    Examples: Search, display, targeted social
  3. Referrers/Affiliates/Partnerships  — These are great if what you are offering something people don’t need to be “educated about” and that you can issue promotions/vouchers associated with it (free delivery, X% discount, adding something extra to the basket for “premium brands”).
    This type of relation might cannibalise your direct sales and good “partners” will remind you of this. They will also only allow your “promotion” to be available for a limited time period and you should have a similar offer on your site. Bad deals where you commit to tens or hundreds of vouchers and customers don’t return can cost you your company. Be aware of the type of deal you are making. In an initial stage you want to have limited exposure and make sure you can pause your “promotions” at any given time.
    Examples: Affiliate websites without setup fees, complementary assets (think you sell a shipping service.. who sells the boxes?), authorities in your business

Channel Prioritisation

As you move forward and get the first few reference customers in you start figuring which channel to use at which point of the awareness to decision funnel. This will also enable you to understand which way to take the brand, segmenting your customer base, etc..

And that is it.. my first post on Medium. So if you want to read more from me, need any more insight about your particular idea or like my shiny head get in touch I am always happy to help!

Adios amigos!


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Digital Business and Entrepreneurship. Making life a Good Thing! Marketing @ForwardPrt, cook at home! Tweet me in PT, ES or EN

5 Ways SEO Can Teach You About Better Copywriting

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of ranking well in Google, here’s what it can teach you about Copywriting.

In SEO good Copywriting is a superpower.

First, a tad of backstory. I’m the son of a writer (novelist, poet, screenwriter, songwriter and actor) so I grew up subliminally learning a ton about writing. I had no idea I had learned so much about the psychology of writing until I landed my first job as an SEO consultant for a fortune 500 oil conglomerate when I was 17.

I was writing headlines that would be seen by millions of people at the push of a button. It was instant feedback, with data to back up my reasoning. Writers (or copywriters) typically have to put out work for proofreading to get feedback before it goes live, then it’s in a vacuum of success or failure. They typically have to cater to the emotions of people (editors) who may not even be their target audience before their work can go live — thus alienating their reader. They don’t know what kind of engagement their work will have until it goes live, then all of their work will be for naut until they hone their approach on the next go-around (which for novelists could take years). The copy I was writing had to entice social sharing, as is crucial to any form of online copywriting success. And ultimately the more output of content I had, the greater input of traffic I recieved for my clients.

So, when I started SEO I didn’t realize that I would fall in love with writing, because I was learning to write methodically and with data-driven practices that I could iterate on the fly. It seems to almost amplify your rate of success in writing, whereby you can learn to write “successfully” (and by successfully, I mean with a wider readership and larger engagement than normal) faster.

Every SEO should study copywriting, it is ultimately the skill every SEO needs to have — paired with an analytical approach to content.

SEOs are now the copywriters of the 1950’s. We are the Peggy from Mad Men, we are Don Draper without the misogyny (most of the time).

SEOs need to study the arts of Ogilvy, DDB and so many other ad agencies of that period that put out grade-a level copy — a subject that Copyblogger often harps on (which is also one of my favorite blogs ever, it taught me an unimaginable load about the marriage between SEO and Copywriting).

Onto the point.

The 5 things that SEO gave me that fundamentally made me a better Copywriter.

1. Instant Feedback and Real-time Iteration

In SEO you post a title, a headline or a blog post and you know if it was a failure or a success within 24 hours (or earlier sometimes). It’s instant feedback, telling you if your work was up to snuff or has gone down the drain. The beauty is though that we have tools to test this work, and can make on-the-fly iterations to improve this content — which can make content that wasn’t a success very successful in minutes.

2. Clear, Targeted Headlines Directed to a Defined Audience

Before each and every headline in SEO comes a goal to aspire to. We have a set amount of “keywords” to target or a direct motive following every post — whether it be sell more items, get more traffic, get more shares, build domain authority for a certain keyword or what-have-you. The point is that every headline we write is clearly targeted for organic search prominence, and at the direct audience that will be searching for those terms. In Google you want to be as clear as possible, as simple as possible to make sure their algorithm is picking your site up properly, which makes for idiot-simple headlines.

3. Engagement is Paramount

In Google time-on-page, page-views and click through rates are paramount to ranking higher. If you have a user click on your listing or content and then immediately hit “back” it counts as a “bounce” and works against you in the organic SERPs (search engine result pages). This means that engagement is paramount, you have to entice your reader, you have to make them entertained. The headline must be catchy, the hook must be addicting and the copy must be like crack for the eyes.

4. Enticing to Share is Fundamental To Success

The more people share your posts the more successful they will be. With social ranking factors developing it is even more important to have social shares on your content, just from a search standpoint (obviously it’s incredibly important for general exposure. So enticing your readers to share your content is absolutely fundamental, we want our viewers to share our content to their circles, to let their friends know about us and have the industry we’re targeting talking about us. This is why SEOs have such a focus on “great fucking content” — because that’s what we need to entice shares.

5. The More The Output The More The Input

The more content we put out, and the higher the frequency — the better Google sees it. Google loves a constant refresh of content on your website, so writing often and posting quickly is a great trait to adopt. It’s tough for creatives to just put out a ton of content, going against our natural nature for perfectionism. The beauty though is that if you’re an SEO, you don’t have a choice. You have to publish, you have to launch — things has to be posted regardless of if they’re perfect or not. The more output the more input you get (output being content, input being visitors).

These 5 points are essential to successful copywriting, and they make or break SEO success. SEO taught me about all of these things and actually subliminally made me fall in love with copywriting. I would suggest that every copywriter try to adopt these principles, they will be more successful, learn to enjoy their work more and ultimately become better copywriters and simultaniously better marketers.

Internalize this and always remember this quote from David Ogilvy (the king of copywriting and marketing in the 50’s):

“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

I’m a content marketer and SEO consultant, having worked with brands like Best Western, Holiday Inn, MFG & Baker Hughes to boost revenue through clever content and organic search. I’m also a freelance consultant for hire.

I’d love it if you shared this post and chat with me on Twitter!

Further Reading

The Poetry of SEO

 — In SEO and inbound marketing, the big buzzword of late has been ‘content.’ Everybody is concerned with developing and marketing great con…

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Marketer, blogger, and creative. Startup, design & self-improvement enthusiast. A self-critic and hopeful optimist. Consultant for hire.  —  @snsmth

A New Way to Manage and Optimize Facebook Ads

Press releases are no fun. When I was a tech blogger I received dozens of pitches from startups everyday. Each of them was almost always missing a key component: a story. My goal with the Collection on Medium is to reinvent the press release by telling our story in each and every post, starting with this one.

My name is Andrew Torba, CEO of I Co-Founded Kuhcoon with my best friend and CTO Charles Szymanski in 2011 with the mission of making social media marketing as fun and painless as possible. We started out as an agency helping brands from around the world create, manage, and monitor social media ad campaigns and communities. During this process we realized four major problems with social advertising that we wanted to solve.

1. There was no mobile app on the market for Facebook Ad management on the go.
2. Optimizing ad campaigns is difficult. We calculated that we were wasting roughly 30 percent of our ad spend budget every month trying to “figure out what works.”
3. Small and medium business owners, freelance consultants, and agencies do not have an affordable third-party software solution for optimizing paid media campaigns.
4. There is confusion among advertisers about the several different types of ad offerings and which of them will work best for their brand.

We believe in the power of social advertising and are certain that it is the most cost-effective form of paid media on the planet. Our objective is to make it easier for brands to realize this potential and for current advertisers to optimize their campaigns from the palm of their hand.

This needs to be simple. This needs to be mobile.

Say Hello to Kuhcoon’s Simple Social Ads Tool.

Create, manage, monitor, and automatically optimize all of your Facebook ad campaigns for proven higher returns per advertising dollar.

Elegant. Intuitive. Automated.

Our vision for this product was to make it intuitive enough for small businesses and agencies to understand, but powerful enough to create custom solutions for enterprise partners. Enterprise software is often very clunky. It tends to have a huge learning curve that takes hours of training to understand, if it’s ever understood at all. We think this is silly. Our goal is to help our users easily create optimized paid media campaigns on Facebook that provide the best possible results for every marketing objective.

What exactly does “optimization” mean? In our case we are analyzing the best times/days of the week to run ad campaigns, automatically starting and stopping campaigns to prevent ad rot, and adjusting bids in real-time as they fluctuate. These are automated optimization solutions that would be impossible to replicate manually, trust us we’ve tried it. The bottom line is: our optimized campaigns will save you time and money.

A comparison of two completely identical campaigns. The top one is optimized the bottom one isn’t.

Perhaps the biggest problem we wanted to solve was the lack of mobile apps on the market to manage Facebook ad campaigns. For this reason and more, our team built a beautiful mobile experience that mimics the look and feel of Facebook’s native applications. We want our users to feel comfortable managing their ad campaigns from the palm of their hand and we saw no better place to start with design than Facebook’s native mobile app.

A captivating, familiar mobile experience.

Our goal is to build the best paid social media optimization product on the planet. Start optimizing your campaigns today and don’t be afraid to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook, we are always happy to help and chat!

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Co-Founder and CEO of @Kuhcoon. Lover of Wisdom. Geek. Weight Lifter. Introvert. Bitcoiner. @Coindesk Contributor. Hebrews 11:1