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You'll enjoy the 'by age 35' meme even if you have nothing saved for retirement


It was the MarketWatch article heard ’round the world.

In a January post, the finance website quoted a disturbing assertion from investment firm Fidelity: that by the time you’re 35, you should have saved twice your salary. Like, your salary, but doubled. Like, take your salary, and then make it two of those. Fidelity thinks you should have that saved.

It took a while for the internet to get wind of this. (Per Know Your Meme, people started to take note when MarketWatch repromoted the article.) But when it did, Twitter quickly issued its longtime distress call: “lmao.”

SEE ALSO: Why you love reading other people’s money diaries Read more…

More about Twitter, Memes, Finance, Social Media, and Culture

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248: 6 Places to Find Writers to Hire for Your Blog

6 Places You Can Find Writers to Help with Your Blog

As much as we’d all like to write posts for our blogs, it’s not always that easy. You may find you don’t have enough time to dedicate to your blog. Or you may lose your passion for the topic after writing about it for so long. So why not look for another writer who can help you out?

Always be on the lookout for people who:

  • Demonstrate knowledge
  • Seem genuine and generous in helping others
  • Communicate well
  • Put themselves out there and look for opportunities
  • Are interesting and different
  • Understand social media and online communication

Six places you can find writers for your blog:

  1. Guest Posters: If you have published guest posts in the past, take a look at them. How much traffic did they get? What was the quality like? How easy were they to work with? Did they go above and beyond with the post? If one of the guest posters stands out, contact them.
  2. Readership/Commenters: Look at the comments people leave on your blog, and contact the writers who know a lot about the topic, are genuinely helpful, and are well written.
  3. Commenters/Participants in Other Places: Check out comments people leave in other places, such as other people’s forums and blogs, Facebook pages/groups and podcasts.
  4. Magazines/Freelancers: Find people who already create paid content elsewhere, whether it’s as a freelancer or on their own blog.
  5. Word of Mouth: If you’re looking for someone, put the word out through friends, colleagues, business partners and others.
  6. Advertising: Use tips and tricks when looking to hire by advertising on the ProBlogger Job Board. If you’re willing to put a little work into going through the applications, you’ll usually find some gold.

Once you’ve found someone and they agree to help, do a trial run with them to get a sense of what they’re like to work with, their content, and how your audience responds to them.

Quote of the Day: “If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs.” – Anonymous

Links and Resources for 6 Places to Find Writers to Hire for Your Blog:


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Hi there friends, it’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger here. Welcome to episode 248 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse, as I said and I am the blogger behind ProBlogger, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create some great content on that blog, to grow your audience, and to build profit around it. Also, you can find more about what we do at

Now, in today’s episode, I want to talk about where to find writers for your blog, particularly where to find paid writers— those writers that you want to add your own voice and to help you to create more content for your blog on an ongoing basis.

I want to share with you the five places that I found writers for free without having to advertise for them at all. These are five places that are probably under your nose right now, they may be writers already in your network and it’s about how to unearth them. And then also, I want to share some tips of how to advertise for writers as well if you can’t find them within those free places that I’ve talked about.

You can find today’s show notes over at, where is a full transcript of today’s show as well as any links that I mentioned along the way as well.

Today’s show was inspired by Richard, who’s one of our listeners who sent in this question. He writes, “I’ve been blogging for three years now, and while my blog is making enough income for me to probably go full time with my blog. I also have a full time job that I love and don’t wish to leave. As a result, I’ve decided to look at hiring a writer or writers for my blog. To this point, I’ve only ever featured my own content and one of guest posts unpaid, and have no idea where to even start when it comes to finding writers. Where should I look for writers for my blog?”

Thanks, Richard, for the question, I appreciate it. Firstly, congratulations of building your blog to a point that you’ve come to already. I think it’s great that you have built to this level where you could full time but also I think it’s great that you’ve decided to keep your job. That must have been a tricky decision to make but one I do applaud. Because I do know that a lot of listeners of this podcast dream of going full time but also have work that they really love as well. So you can do both.

One of the ways that you can do both is to outsource aspects of your blogging—one of which is the writers. Onto your question, where do you look for writers? Some people are probably thinking that I’m going to just use this podcast to promote the ProBlogger job board. It is a place on ProBlogger where you can advertise for different roles that you’re looking to fill for your blog, including writing but also editing, marketing, copywriting, proofreading, that type of thing. We’ll certainly touch on the ProBlogger job boards later on in this episode.

I do suspect that Richard my not even need to advertise for a writer because it sounds like he might already have them under his nose. I started hiring people to write on my blogs and to edit my blogs quite a few years ago now. In fact, I think it was probably around 2005 that I hired my first blog writer and she also became an editor for one of my early blogs. It’s actually a blog that doesn’t exist anymore today; it was a blog about camera phones. Today we all call them smart phones but back then, I don’t even think that would existed. It was just this new type of phone that was coming out that had a camera in it and that seem to be the whole newby craze. I had a blog about camera phones.

The reason I wanted to hire someone for that blog was that I simply wasn’t passionate enough about that topic to keep the blog ticking over. And yet, it was doing reasonably well in terms of traffic and revenue from AdSense. I thought it was probably worthwhile hiring someone to keep that blog ticking over.

The first person I actually hired came about because that person had already contributed guest posts to the site previously. Richard mentioned that he has published guest posts on his blog in the past. That’s probably where I would be starting to look for someone to hire. The first place is in any previous writers that you have had. I’d be looking back of those guest posters and asking how do the post go in terms of traffic, what was the quality like, how was the guest poster to work with, we’re they easy to work with, did they submit content in a way that didn’t need much editing or was it a lot of to and fro, were they high maintenance or not, did they go above and beyond with the post as well, did they promote it to their own networks, did they reply to comments, how were they to work with and if one of those people stands out as being easy to work with producing high quality content, adding more to the content than just writing it, by going a little bit above and beyond, then that’s probably where I will be starting with.

Maybe one of those guest posters comes to mind as someone that you will love to have write in an ongoing way, and I’ll be reaching out to those previous guest posters. That would be the first place that I will look for and I can think of people that I’ve hired that started as guest posters. In fact, Darlene, who currently edits Digital Photography School, working part time for us, started as a guest post as well.

There’s been numerous times where that has been the progression. I love when that happens because it means you get a real feel for them, they get a feel for you, you understand their voice, they begin to understand your systems, and it is probably the most seamless way of finding a writer because they’ve already been doing it in some ways.

Ideally, that’s a great place to start and it may be that that’s the way Richard finds his answer. I know many of you listening to this don’t have guest posts already and that may actually be one good reason to bring them on but there are other places as well that you can look on your worn blog.

On Digital Photography School, I’ve made a couple of my earliest hires in terms of writers based upon guest posters but I’ve also hired one person who was leaving great comments on my blog. They actually had been regularly leaving comments that showed that they knew what they were talking about when it came to photography. That also showed that they were genuinely helpful in their comments and interested in helping people. They also showed by the fact that they’re writing fairly lengthy comments and communicating clearly that they were decent writers as well. I reached out to them to see if they would like to write an article for Digital Photography School.

The first article back then, it was probably back in 2006 or 2007, it was a guest post, it wasn’t a paid article, but it was a bit of a test to see how they would go with that format of writing and to see whether they were interested in writing. It went so well that I then offered them a once-a-month opportunity to write a paid article for us.

Maybe, there’s a comment around your blog that comes to mind. I know a lot of people don’t comment as much as they used to on blogs but maybe there’s someone of your blog who is demonstrating that they know what they’re talking about. They’ve got some expertise and they’ve got an interest in talking about that topic by the fact that they leave comments. That’s number two place that you might want to look.

If you don’t get many comments, there are plenty of other places that you could be looking to find the people who do leave comments in other places. People are commenting all the time. They may not be commenting as much on your blog these days, but maybe there’s somewhere else in your presence online where they are commenting or in other people’s presence as well.

Perhaps, these are a few of the places that I found writers in the past. Perhaps, you would find them in a forum. I can think of people that I’ve hired who were forum members of my own forum when I had a forum on the topic of photography years ago.

Again, they were writing good quality content in the forum and I approached them and said, “Hey, would you like to write on the blog?” It was a fairly simple ask and in some cases, they transferred across and became writers of the blog.

I’ve hired people who’ve left comments in other people’s forums. There’s nothing to stop you going into someone else’s forum, becoming a member, and having a look at who’s the most useful member of that forum and reaching out to them. Maybe they could become a writer as well. The same is true on people leaving comments on Facebook Pages, particularly in Facebook groups. We hired someone relatively recently, about a year and a half ago now who is leaving good comments in a Facebook group that I owned.

They were contributing there and I was like, “Wow, they’re being so generous. They’re writing in such a way that they’re effectively writing articles in our group, why don’t they write some articles on the blog and we could pay them for that.”

Sometimes people leaving comments of other people’s blogs is a way you could start. If people are contributing useful, genuine, and generous information in different places, you should be reaching out to them and looking for opportunities to work with them. I’ve hired people have been interviewed as guest of other people’s podcasts, I”ve hired people who I have seen doing Facebook Lives of their own Facebook Pages.

Ultimately I’m always on the lookout for people who demonstrate a knowledge of the topic that I’m blogging about who seem to genuinely and generously be interested in helping other people, who communicate well, who seem to be putting themselves out there and looking for opportunities, who are interesting, who are a little bit different, maybe a little bit quirky, and people who seem to get social media and online communication.

I think we should all be in the lookout for those types of people. It’s not just we should be looking at for these type of people to become writers for us but all kinds of thing. I guess what I would say is if you see anyone who fits those characteristics; you may have in the back of your mind. They could become a writer for you. But who knows what else they may become?

Usually when I see that type of person, I just reach out and say, “Hey, I’d be interested to have a chat with you to see where at, what you’re interested in doing and to see if there’s a way that we could work together.”

Usually, my approach is usually fairly general. I might think that they could become a writer, but maybe something else might emerge from that kind of discussion. I try and go in open minded into that. It means I don’t have to get locked in to hiring them down the track, I’m not setting that expectation with them, but it also opens up other opportunities and maybe they could create something else for us. Maybe they could create a course for us. Maybe they could create an ebook for us, maybe they already have a cause of their own and we can become an affiliate for them. Or maybe they could become an affiliate for us.

Maybe there’s some other job in what you do that you could hire them to do. I remember meeting with one person who I thought might become a writer for me. It turns out that they actually were better suited to another role that I was looking for at the time and actually ended up managing part of my business down the track. Try not to go in too closed mind into these conversations.

Be on the lookout for good people. People who get your topic but also get communication and who are—good people with good values as well. There are a few different opportunities they are looking for previous guest posters. I’m looking for people who leave comments on my blog. I’m looking for people who leave comments in other places as well.

The other type that I hired, and this has been a less road but I have had some success with this, is looking at people who by creating content in other places, sometimes their own places, or also as freelancers as well.

For example, I can think of one person who I hired in the early days of Digital Photography School—actually it’s probably about a year and a half into the APS. I found her as a writer for my blog because I discovered her blog. She had just started; she was a brand new blogger. I can see even in her early posts that she was going places with her blog but I could also say they she just started, she didn’t have much readership. I reached out towards her, “Hey, I know you’ve already got your own blog but would you be interested in writing for us semi regularly as well as a paid contributor? I can see what you’re doing of your blog would really also be appealing to our readers as well.

This was perfect for us because I got someone who’s a great writer but it was also perfect for her because her blog wasn’t a point where she can go full time with it. But by me giving her some writing work, I did give her some income while she built her own blog. It also gave her some exposure as well because we also had a byline underneath all of her articles that promoted her blog.

Ultimately, her blog became so popular that she could no longer write for us anymore. But for the time being, it was a win-win interaction for us. Be on the lookout for other bloggers who may be bloggers who are just starting out or other bloggers who might be looking for another income stream as well.

The other place that I’ve found people to hire out for me is people who are writing freelance articles for magazines and other kinds of websites as well. I remember once, reading a photography magazine and really loving one of the articles and noticing that it was by an offer that I’ve never seen right for that magazine before. I did a bit of digging and I found this person on Twitter and said, “Hey, I loved your article on this particular magazine, how long have you been writing for them?”

I discovered that they were actually a freelancer. That was the only article that they’ve ever written for them and their business is just to write freelance articles. I reached out and said, “Hi, I’ve got this photography site, would you be interested in writing for us as well? We’d love something similar to what you did in the magazine.” That person became a writer as well. If they’re writing freelance for other publications, they probably also open to doing it for you as well.

The last place and this is probably where you should start is word of mouth as well and the thing has often what for me is when I just let people know in my circle of friends, in colleagues, my network, that I’m looking for writers. And, do you know anyone who’s good at writing about this particular topic and you’ll be surprised how many times that actually does unearth someone for you. That’s another place that I’d be looking.

Up unto this point I’ve been talking about free things that you can do. Word of mouth you can be looking for freelancers or bloggers who’s already writing on the topics. You can be looking for people who are leaving comments in public places, forums, Facebook groups; you can be looking of your blog at people who are leaving comments and also people who may have written for you before.

And then the last thing that you can do is to advertise. This will cost you some money or cost you some time but also in my experiences worked very well. In the early days, for me, it was all through the things are already mentioned. But since probably 2006, 2007, we’ve had the ProBlogger job board so I’ve used that myself when I’ve come to higher writers as well.

Obviously, I have a vested interest in mentioning this in this particular podcast, but every time we advertise for new writers for digital photography school of our job board, we get about 50, sometimes 60 or even 70 applications. We get a lot of candidates and I would say that every time we’ve advertised, we have found some gold. Not all of that 50-60 people are high quality. You do get some people who just apply for every job they don’t read the applications. But every time we’ve advertise, we’ve unearthed amazing people as well.

In fact, most times where we’ve advertise, we’ve ended up hiring five or six people, sometimes as many as 10 from that advertisement. You need to also just be aware that it takes a bit of work. You’re getting 50, 60 applications, you need to put a bit of time into sorting through those but it if you’re willing to put in that work, it can be well worth doing.

Now, one thing I would say is that over the years, we’ve refined the way that we processed the candidates. We’ve learned the more specific we are in the job advertisement that we put up, the better quality applicant we get. We really try and be as clear as possible as to the type of person we’re looking for, what qualifications they need to have and very clear about what we want them to send us in their application.

I have actually written a blog post a few years ago now on the process that we use and I’ll link to that, in the show notes today, but also go through in really quickly here as well. Generally, when we put up an ad on the job boards, we ask people to fill in a form so we might set up a Google form or we get them to apply through the job board itself. This is a new feature that we’ve got of the job board that people can actually put their application in through the job board, which does help us now.

We ask them to submit a lot of information. We want to know where they’ve written in the past, what they’re experiences with the topic. We often get them to submit some articled titles that they’d be willing to write about, which show us that they are willing to come up with content and take some initiative. We always ask for them to submit some samples of their writing, either to send us some Word documents that they’ve written, or send us to some links that they written online. Whether it’s their own blog or someone else’s.

We have found that the more information we can gather, the better because it does help us go back to the people who we think are high quality candidates. When we put our ad up, we promote that ad to our own network as well so it goes up on the ProBlogger job boards but then we Tweeted out on the Digital Photography School Twitter account, we put on our Facebook Page, because we actually want people who understand our side to apply for the job as well. Because often they are the people who turn out to be the best writers for us, people who have been readers and go, “Hey, I could write for them because I understand what they’re on about.”

Generally, when applicants come in, we give them a deadline, which all the applicants need to be in by this time. And then we go through a shortlisting process. We put them into three main categories. No, they are the people we immediately eliminate and we email them immediately and say, “Thanks for your application. We’re not going to progress with you at the moment.” They might be people who haven’t followed the instructions and we can they’re just applying to everyone. People who don’t communicate well in their application, it’s amazing how many people submit applications with terrible spelling mistakes and no attention to detail. People how perhaps English isn’t up to scratch, we want to hire people who are able to communicate naturally with their audience who are English speakers.

We have criteria there that we put people in the ‘No.’ then we have a ‘Maybe category’ and there are people that we think, “It’s not a perfect application but maybe we’ll be able to work with him as well and we do know that there are some people who’s communication skills maybe not quite out to scratch but we have an editing process. So we might be at a work with them. So they go in the ‘Maybe’ category, and then we have a’ Yes’ category.

Generally, what we do with the Maybes’ is wait to see whether we get enough people to hire from our ‘Yes’ category. We will go back to the people in the ‘Maybe’ and just say, “We need a little bit of time to process this, thanks for your application. We’ll let you know by this date.” Then we go back to the people who we’ve put in our ‘Yes’ pile. There’s usually 10-15 of these. We say to them, “Hey, we’d love your application. We would love to take this a little bit further and give you a trial.”

Basically, in that email, we outline how much we will pay them. We outline the kind of content we’re looking for, how much content we’re looking for—try and give them a bit of a feel for what it would be like to work for us, and then we outline the trial process which I’ll talk about in a moment.

And then we say to them, “Would you like to progress?” What we find that that point is that usually about 60%, 70% of people go “Yes, we would like to progress,” and maybe 10% or 20% sometimes up to 30% might go, “Yeah. You’ve described something that doesn’t quite fit with me right now, thanks.” But that will say no at that point. We’ve already whittled that down a little bit. Remember you’re into that trial period.

Trial period is basically as asking how ‘Yes’ candidates to submit an article that we can publish of the site. This is a paid article, we always pay them at this point, they’re going to put some time and energy into it so they should be rewarded for that, we pay them at the full rate that we pay our authors and we ask them to come up with a topic which we negotiate with them. We go back and forth of that because we don’t want them to submit something that’s really not a good fit for our site. We talk to them about that. We commission that article and we give them a deadline for that.

This whole trial process is one that creates a piece of content that we publish of the site. We look to see how that content goes over with our audience but what we’re also really looking to see how this author is to work with. Are they easy to work with? Are they submitting content in the format that we ask them to and following instructions clearly? Are they meeting the deadline? Do they have a gift in writing—those types of things as well. We will publish all of those pieces of content. It’s a bit of work at this point but we’re getting some content out of it as well, then we pay them, and then we make our choice based upon that.

There have been times where we’ve hired from this process five people at a time. There was once I hired 10 people from this process just from one ad of the job board as well. There’s been other times where we’re just been looking for one particular type of writer as well so we just hired them.

The trial process has really worked very well for us because it really does give us a feel for them. It also gives them a feel for us as well. There have been candidates who we’ve really liked and they’ve gone, “Yeah, I didn’t really enjoy this process.” I don’t really feel like it’s a fit for me.” I rather then discover that during the trial process then three months in the writing for us.

The keys I found is that when you’re advertising for a writer or going through any other process that you might want to go through, some of the other things I mentioned. It’s really important that you know what you’re looking for. You need to know how much content you want, the style of content that you want, the kind of topics that you want. The more information you can give potential writers, the better, because it gets their expectations right.

Communicate that really clearly through the ad or through the communications you have with people. The second thing is to really communicate really clearly with everyone who applies, and the people you end up hiring and also the people who don’t end up hiring. Because they may actually become readers, they may actually become guest posters, they may become collaborators, they may promote your site. You never quite know where these relationships are going to end up. Communicate as clearly as you can and yeah, get the process moving as well.

I hope that that has been helpful for you if you are thinking about hiring a writer of your blog. Hiring a writer can have many benefits for your blog. Obviously, it can help you to create more content which can relate to more pathways into your blog. The other part about having a new writer come onto your site is that it broadens the expertise that you’re able to have in terms of the content that you share. Me adding new writers into Digital Photography School back in 2006, 2007, I can produce more content which helped to grow traffic. It meant I can broaden the topics that I was able to write about.

Suddenly, I wasn’t just writing beginner articles, I was writing articles or publishing articles at an intermediate level because these other writers were at that higher level. Or they had expertise in different types of photography that I didn’t have which really helped me to serve my readers as well.

I think the other thing that is probably worth mentioning is you don’t want to just know what you’re looking for in terms of the type of content but also think about the voice of content as well and the values that you want your writers to have as well. To really try and hire people that complements your style but really get your values. This has been really important. There’s been a few times over the years where I’ve hired people who are great communicators but they had their own agendas and they had their own values that go right in with my own and that ended up not really helping build the brand that I was trying to build.

You want to be a little bit careful about those things. The other thing I would say is there may also be a case of having an extended trial period as well. We don’t tend to do this with our writers but I know a few bloggers who—when they’re hiring someone new, they will hire them for three months, and again, that’s like a trial period. At the end of the three months, things will be evaluated and then they work out whether they want it to be an ongoing relationship as well. That may be worth building into your process too.

I hope that’s helpful to you. I would love to hear your tips of how you go about hiring writers for your blog if you’ve done that. If you do want to check out the ProBlogger job board to advertise, it’s at You’ll find it linked to in the navigation area everywhere on ProBlogger.

If you’re looking to find a job, there are always jobs being advertised there as well at any given time. There’s usually about 90 jobs for bloggers, for writers, for copywriters, for marketers, for editors, for proofreaders, a variety of different types of roles there. Even looking now I can see people looking to hire bloggers for men’s grooming writers, lifestyle writers, someone looking for a bitcoin expert, people wanting for people to write about email marketing, people wanting to hire people to write about food. There’s a variety of different topics there as well.

If you’re looking to use the job board to hire people, we do have featured jobs as well as just noble jobs, the price to have a normal job, advertise the $70 for 30 days. But there is an opportunity there for a featured listing as well which gives you more prominence, which may be of interest as well.

Check it out if you are looking for a job or if you’re looking to hire people. It’s at There’s also an RSS feed for those of you and then an email alert for those of you looking for jobs there as well.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I hope you found these useful. You can find today’s show notes at

Before I go let me share with you one quote of the day. I don’t actually know who came out with this one, it’s one of those anonymous quotes but I think it really does apply to this topic of hiring people. Whether you’re hiring a writer, or whether you’re hiring a designer or whether you’re hiring something else in your life, I think this applies. “If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs.” I think it’s definitely true.

One of the things I would say about the ads that I sometimes see of ProBlogger job boards is that sometimes people pay a pittance, they pay not much at all and all they advertise—looking for people and they’re not really willing to pay much for the people that they’re hiring and the reality is that you’re going to get the kind of applicants for your jobs based upon that type of things.

If you are not willing to pay much, you’re not going to get a high quality applicant in most cases. Put a little bit of money there and you’re going to get someone who is going to produce something at a higher rate, I hope and not pay for that in the long run if you are going to publish rubbishy content on your content of your site, cheap content on your site, that is in the long run going to cost you a lot more. Pay a little bit more, and reward the writer and you will see the benefits of that in the long run as well.

Thanks for listening. I look forward to chatting with you next week.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at Podcast Motor who’ve been editing all of our podcast for some time now. Podcast Motor has a great range of services for podcasters at all levels. They can help you to setup your podcast but also offer a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at

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GDPR: What it Means for Google Analytics & Online Marketing

Posted by Angela_Petteys

If you’ve been on the Internet at all in the past few months, you’ve probably seen plenty of notices about privacy policy updates from one service or another. As a marketer, a few of those notices have most likely come from Google.

With the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) set to go into effect on May 25th, 2018, many Internet services have been scrambling to get in compliance with the new standards — and Google is no exception. Given the nature of the services Google provides to marketers, GDPR absolutely made some significant changes in how they conduct business. And, in turn, some marketers may have to take steps to make sure their use of Google Analytics is allowable under the new rules. But a lot of marketers aren’t entirely sure what exactly GDPR is, what it means for their jobs, and what they need to do to follow the rules.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a very broad reform that gives citizens who live in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland more control over how their personal data is collected and used online. GDPR introduces a lot of new rules and if you’re up for a little light reading, you can check out the full text of the regulation online. But here are a few of the most significant changes:

  • Companies and other organizations have to be more transparent and clearly state what information they’re collecting, what it will be used for, how they’re collecting it, and if that information will be shared with anyone else. They can also only collect information that is directly relevant for its intended use. If the organization collecting that information later decides to use it for a different purpose, they must get permission again from each individual.
  • GDPR also spells out how that information needs to be given to consumers. That information can no longer be hidden in long privacy policies filled with legal jargon. The information in disclosures needs to be written in plain language and “freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.” Individuals also have to take an action which clearly gives their consent to their information being collected. Pre-checked boxes and notices that rely on inaction as a way of giving consent will no longer be allowed. If a user does not agree to have their information collected, you cannot block them from accessing content based on that fact.
  • Consumers also have the right to see what information a company has about them, request that incorrect information be corrected, revoke permission for their data to be saved, and have their data exported so they can switch to another service. If someone decides to revoke their permission, the organization needs to not only remove that information from their systems in a timely manner, they also need to have it removed from anywhere else they’ve shared that information.
  • Organizations must also be able to give proof of the steps they’re taking to be in compliance. This can include keeping records of how people opt in to being on marketing lists and documentation regarding how customer information is being protected.
  • Once an individual’s information has been collected, GDPR sets out requirements for how that information is stored and protected. If a data breach occurs, consumers must be notified within 72 hours. Failing to comply with GDPR can come with some very steep consequences. If a data breach occurs because of non-compliance, a company can be hit with fines as high as €20 million or 4% of the company’s annual global revenue, whichever amount is greater.

Do US-based businesses need to worry about GDPR?

Just because a business isn’t based in Europe doesn’t necessarily mean they’re off the hook as far as GDPR goes. If a company is based in the United States (or elsewhere outside the EEA), but conducts business in Europe, collects data about users from Europe, markets themselves in Europe, or has employees who work in Europe, GDPR applies to them, too.

Even if you’re working with a company that only conducts business in a very specific geographic area, you might occasionally get some visitors to your site from people outside of that region. For example, let’s say a pizza restaurant in Detroit publishes a blog post about the history of pizza on their site. It’s a pretty informative post and as a result, it brings in some traffic from pizza enthusiasts outside the Detroit area, including a few visitors from Spain. Would GDPR still apply in that sort of situation?

As long as it’s clear that a company’s goods or services are only available to consumers in the United States (or another country outside the EEA), GDPR does not apply. Going back to the pizza restaurant example, the other content on their site is written in English, emphasizes their Detroit location, and definitely doesn’t make any references to delivery to Spain, so those few page views from Spain wouldn’t be anything to worry about.

However, let’s say another US-based company has a site with the option to view German and French language versions of pages, lets customers pay with Euros, and uses marketing language that refers to European customers. In that situation, GDPR would apply since they are more clearly soliciting business from people in Europe.

Google Analytics & GDPR

If you use Google Analytics, Google is your data processor and since they handle data from people all over the world, they’ve had to take steps to become compliant with GDPR standards. However, you/your company are considered the data controller in this relationship and you will also need to take steps to make sure your Google Analytics account is set up to meet the new requirements.

Google has been rolling out some new features to help make this happen. In Analytics, you will now have the ability to delete the information of individual users if they request it. They’ve also introduced data retention settings which allow you to control how long individual user data is saved before being automatically deleted. Google has set this to be 26 months as the default setting, but if you are working with a US-based company that strictly conducts business in the United States, you can set it to never expire if you want to — at least until data protection laws change here, too. It’s important to note that this only applies to data about individual users and events, so aggregate data about high-level information like page views won’t be impacted by this.

To make sure you’re using Analytics in compliance with GDPR, a good place to start is by auditing all the data you collect to make sure it’s all relevant to its intended purpose and that you aren’t accidentally sending any personally identifiable information (PII) to Google Analytics. Sending PII to Google Analytics was already against its Terms of Service, but very often, it happens by accident when information is pushed through in a page URL. If it turns out you are sending PII to Analytics, you’ll need to talk to your web development team about how to fix it because using filters in Analytics to block it isn’t enough — you need to make sure it’s never sent to Google Analytics in the first place.

PII includes anything that can potentially be used to identify a specific person, either on its own or when combined with another piece of information, like an email address, a home address, a birthdate, a zip code, or an IP address. IP addresses weren’t always considered PII, but GDPR classifies them as an online identifier. Don’t worry, though — you can still get geographical insights about the visitors to your site. All you have to do is turn on IP anonymization and the last portion of an IP address will be replaced with a zero, so you can still get a general idea of where your traffic is coming from, although it will be a little less precise.

If you use Google Tag Manager, IP anonymization is pretty easy. Just open your Google Analytics tag or its settings variable, choose “More Settings,” and select “Fields to Set.” Then, choose “anonymizeip” in the “Field Name” box, enter “true” in the “Value” box,” and save your changes.

If you don’t use GTM, talk to your web development team about editing the Google Analytics code to anonymize IP addresses.

Pseudonymous information like user IDs and transaction IDs are still acceptable under GDPR, but it needs to be protected. User and transaction IDs need to be alphanumeric database identifiers, not written out in plain text.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to take the steps Google has mentioned in some of those emails they’ve sent out. If you’re based outside the EEA and GDPR applies to you, go into your Google Analytics account settings and accept the updated terms of processing. If you’re based in the EEA, the updated terms have already been included in your data processing terms. If GDPR applies to you, you’ll also need to go into your organization settings and provide contact information for your organization.

Privacy policies, forms, & cookie notices

Now that you’ve gone through your data and checked your settings in Google Analytics, you need to update your site’s privacy policy, forms, and cookie notices. If your company has a legal department, it may be best to involve them in this process to make sure you’re fully compliant.

Under GDPR, a site’s privacy policy needs to be clearly written in plain language and answer basic questions like what information is being collected, why it’s being collected, how it’s being collected, who is collecting it, how it will be used, and if it will be shared with anyone else. If your site is likely to be visited by children, this information needs to be written simply enough for a child to be able to understand it.

Forms and cookie notices also need to provide that kind of information. Cookie consent forms with really vague, generic messages like, “We use cookies to give you a better experience and by using this site, you agree to our policy,” are not GDPR compliant.

GDPR & other types of marketing

The impact GDPR will have on marketers isn’t just limited to how you use Google Analytics. If you use some particular types of marketing in the course of your job, you may have to make a few other changes, too.

Referral deals

If you work with a company that does “refer a friend”-type promotions where a customer has to enter information for a friend to receive a discount, GDPR is going to make a difference for you. Giving consent for data to be collected is a key part of GDPR and in these sorts of promotions, the person being referred can’t clearly consent to their information being collected. Under GDPR, it is possible to continue this practice, but it all depends on how that information is being used. If you store the information of the person being referred and use it for marketing purposes, it would be a violation of GDPR standards. However, if you don’t store that information or process it, you’re OK.

Email marketing

If you’re an email marketer and already follow best industry standards by doing things like only sending messages to those who clearly opt in to your list and making it easy for people to unsubscribe, the good news is that you’re probably in pretty good shape. As far as email marketing goes, GDPR is going to have the biggest impact on those who do things that have already been considered sketchy, like buying lists of contacts or not making it clear when someone is signing up to receive emails from you.

Even if you think you’re good to go, it’s still a good time to review your contacts and double check that your European contacts have indeed opted into being on your list and that it was clear what they were signing up for. If any of your contacts don’t have their country listed or you’re not sure how they opted in, you may want to either remove them from your list or put them on a separate segment so they don’t get any messages from you until you can get that figured out. Even if you’re confident your European contacts have opted in, there’s no harm in sending out an email asking them to confirm that they would like to continue receiving messages from you.

Creating a double opt-in process isn’t mandatory, but it would be a good idea since it helps remove any doubt over whether or not a person has agreed to being on your list. While you’re at it, take a look at the forms people use to sign up to be on your list and make sure they’re in line with GDPR standards, with no pre-checked boxes and the fact that they’re agreeing to receive emails from you is very clear.

For example, here’s a non-GDPR compliant email signup option I recently saw on a checkout page. They tell you what they’re planning to send to you, but the fact that it’s a pre-checked box placed underneath the more prominent “Place Order” button makes it very easy for people to unintentionally sign up for emails they might not actually want.

Jimmy Choo, on the other hand, also gives you the chance to sign up for emails while making a purchase, but since the box isn’t pre-checked, it’s good to go under GDPR.

Marketing automation

As is the case with standard email marketing, marketing automation specialists will need to make sure they have clear consent from everyone who has agreed to be part of their lists. Check your European contacts to make sure you know how they’ve opted in. Also review the ways people can opt into your list to make sure it’s clear what, exactly, they’re signing up for so that your existing contacts would be considered valid.

If you use marketing automation to re-engage customers who have been inactive for a while, you may need to get permission to contact them again, depending on how long it has been since they last interacted with you.

Some marketing automation platforms have functionality which will be impacted by GDPR. Lead scoring, for example, is now considered a form of profiling and you will need to get permission from individuals to have their information used in that way. Reverse IP tracking also needs consent.

It’s also important to make sure your marketing automation platform and CRM system are set to sync automatically. If a person on your list unsubscribes and continues receiving emails because of a lapse between the two, you could get in trouble for not being GDPR compliant.

Gated content

A lot of companies use gated content, like free reports, whitepapers, or webinars, as a way to generate leads. The way they see it, the person’s information serves as the price of admission. But since GDPR prohibits blocking access to content if a person doesn’t consent to their information being collected, is gated content effectively useless now?

GDPR doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility of gated content, but there are now higher standards for collecting user information. Basically, if you’re going to have gated content, you need to be able to prove that the information you collect is necessary for you to provide the deliverable. For example, if you were organizing a webinar, you’d be justified in collecting email addresses since attendees need to be sent a link to join in. You’d have a harder time claiming an email address was required for something like a whitepaper since that doesn’t necessarily have to be delivered via email. And of course, as with any other form on a site, forms for gated content need to clearly state all the necessary information about how the information being collected will be used.

If you don’t get a lot of leads from European users anyway, you may want to just block all gated content from European visitors. Another option would be to go ahead and make that information freely available to visitors from Europe.

Google AdWords

If you use Google AdWords to advertise to European residents, Google already required publishers and advertisers to get permission from end users by putting disclaimers on the landing page, but GDPR will be making some changes to these requirements. Google will now be requiring publishers to get clear consent from individuals to have their information collected. Not only does this mean you have to give more information about how a person’s information will be used, you’ll also need to keep records of consent and tell users how they can opt out later on if they want to do so. If a person doesn’t give consent to having their information collected, Google will be making it possible to serve them non-personalized ads.

In the end

GDPR is a significant change and trying to grasp the full scope of its changes is pretty daunting. This is far from being a comprehensive guide, so if you have any questions about how GDPR applies to a particular client you’re working with, it may be best to get in touch with their legal department or team. GDPR will impact some industries more than others, so it’s best to get some input from someone who truly understands the law and how it applies to that specific business.

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What Google’s GDPR Compliance Efforts Mean for Your Data: Two Urgent Actions

Posted by willcritchlow

It should be quite obvious for anyone that knows me that I’m not a lawyer, and therefore that what follows is not legal advice. For anyone who doesn’t know me: I’m not a lawyer, I’m certainly not your lawyer, and what follows is definitely not legal advice.

With that out of the way, I wanted to give you some bits of information that might feed into your GDPR planning, as they come up more from the marketing side than the pure legal interpretation of your obligations and responsibilities under this new legislation. While most legal departments will be considering the direct impacts of the GDPR on their own operations, many might miss the impacts that other companies’ (namely, in this case, Google’s) compliance actions have on your data.

But I might be getting a bit ahead of myself: it’s quite possible that not all of you know what the GDPR is, and why or whether you should care. If you do know what it is, and you just want to get to my opinions, go ahead and skip down the page.

What is the GDPR?

The tweet-length version is that the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is new EU legislation covering data protection and privacy for EU citizens, and it applies to all companies offering goods or services to people in the EU.

Even if you aren’t based in the EU, it applies to your company if you have customers who are, and it has teeth (fines of up to the greater of 4% of global revenue or EUR20m). It comes into force on May 25. You have probably heard about it through the myriad organizations who put you on their email list without asking and are now emailing you to “opt back in.”

In most companies, it will not fall to the marketing team to research everything that has to change and achieve compliance, though it is worth getting up to speed with at least the high-level outline and in particular its requirements around informed consent, which is:

“…any freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.”

As always, when laws are made about new technology, there are many questions to be resolved, and indeed, jokes to be made:

But my post today isn’t about what you should do to get compliant — that’s specific to your circumstances — and a ton has been written about this already:

My intention is not to write a general guide, but rather to warn you about two specific things you should be doing with analytics (Google Analytics in particular) as a result of changes Google is making because of GDPR.

Unexpected consequences of GDPR

When you deal directly with a person in the EU, and they give you personally identifiable information (PII) about themselves, you are typically in what is called the “data controller” role. The GDPR also identifies another role, which it calls “data processor,” which is any other company your company uses as a supplier and which handles that PII. When you use a product like Google Analytics on your website, Google is taking the role of data processor. While most of the restrictions of the GDPR apply to you as the controller, the processor must also comply, and it’s here that we see some potentially unintended (but possibly predictable) consequences of the legislation.

Google is unsurprisingly seeking to minimize their risk (I say it’s unsurprising because those GDPR fines could be as large as $4.4 billion based on last year’s revenue if they get it wrong). They are doing this firstly by pushing as much of the obligation onto you (the data controller) as possible, and secondly, by going further by default than the GDPR requires and being more aggressive than the regulation requires in shutting down accounts that infringe their terms (regardless of whether the infringement also infringes the GDPR).

This is entirely rational — with GA being in most cases a product offered for free, and the value coming to Google entirely in the aggregate, it makes perfect sense to limit their risks in ways that don’t degrade their value, and to just kick risky setups off the platform rather than taking on extreme financial risk for individual free accounts.

It’s not only Google, by the way. There are other suppliers doing similar things which will no doubt require similar actions, but I am focusing on Google here simply because GA is pervasive throughout the web marketing world. Some companies are even going as far as shutting down entirely for EU citizens (like See this Twitter thread of others.

Consequence 1: Default data retention settings for GA will delete your data

Starting on May 25, Google will be changing the default for data retention, meaning that if you don’t take action, certain data older than the cutoff will be automatically deleted.

You can read more about the details of the change on Krista Seiden’s personal blog (Krista works at Google, but this post is written in her personal capacity).

The reason I say that this isn’t strictly a GDPR thing is that it is related to changes Google is making on their end to ensure that they comply with their obligations as a data processor. It gives you tools you might need but isn’t strictly related to your GDPR compliance. There is no particular “right” answer to the question of how long you need to/should be/are allowed to keep this data stored in GA under the GDPR, but by my reading, given that it shouldn’t be PII anyway (see below) it isn’t really a GDPR question for most organizations. In particular, there is no particular reason to think that Google’s default is the correct/mandated/only setting you can choose under the GDPR.

Action: Review the promises being made by your legal team and your new privacy policy to understand the correct timeline setting for your org. In the absence of explicit promises to your users, my understanding is that you can retain any of this data you were allowed to capture in the first place unless you receive a deletion request against it. So while most orgs will have at least some changes to make to privacy policies at a minimum, most GA users can change back to retain this data indefinitely.

Consequence 2: Google is deleting GA accounts for capturing PII

It has long been against the Terms of Service to store any personally identifiable information (PII) in Google Analytics. Recently, though, it appears that Google has become far more diligent in checking for the presence of PII and robust in their handling of accounts found to contain any. Put more simply, Google will delete your account if they find PII.

It’s impossible to know for sure that this is GDPR-related, but being able if necessary to demonstrate to regulators that they are taking strict actions against anyone violating their PII-related terms is an obvious move for Google to reduce the risk they face as a Data Processor. It makes particular sense in an area where the vast majority of accounts are free accounts. Much like the previous point, and the reason I say that this is related to Google’s response to the GDPR coming into force, is that it would be perfectly possible to get your users’ permission to record their data in third-party services like GA, and fully comply with the regulations. Regardless of the permissions your users give you, Google’s GDPR-related crackdown (and heavier enforcement of the related terms that have been present for some time) means that it’s a new and greater risk than it was before.

Action: Audit your GA profile and implementation for PII risks:

  • There are various ways you can search within GA itself to find data that could be personally identifying in places like page titles, URLs, custom data, etc. (see these two excellent guides)
  • You can also audit your implementation by reviewing rules in tag manager and/or reviewing the code present on key pages. The most likely suspects are the places where people log in, take key actions on your site, give you additional personal information, or check out

Don’t take your EU law advice from big US tech companies

The internal effort and coordination required at Google to do their bit to comply even “just” as data processor is significant. Unfortunately, there are strong arguments that this kind of ostensibly user-friendly regulation which incurs outsize compliance burdens on smaller companies will cement the duopoly and dominance of Google and Facebook and enables them to pass the costs and burdens of compliance onto sectors that are already struggling.

Regardless of the intended or unintended consequences of the regulation, it seems clear to me that we shouldn’t be basing our own businesses’ (and our clients’) compliance on self-interested advice and actions from the tech giants. No matter how impressive their own compliance, I’ve been hugely underwhelmed by guidance content they’ve put out. See, for example, Google’s GDPR “checklist” — not exactly what I’d hope for:

So, while I’m not a lawyer, definitely not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice, if you haven’t already received any advice, I can say that you probably can’t just follow Google’s checklist to get compliant. But you should, as outlined above, take the specific actions you need to take to protect yourself and your business from their compliance activities.

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YouTube’s new streaming music service to start rolling out this week

YouTube Music will include skippable and non-skippable in-stream ads.

The post YouTube’s new streaming music service to start rolling out this week appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Marketing Day: YouTube Music, B2B influencer marketing & Microsoft Audience Network

Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

The post Marketing Day: YouTube Music, B2B influencer marketing & Microsoft Audience Network appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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5 Things to Know Before Mark Zuckerberg's European Parliament Testimony

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is due to testify before members of European Parliament (MEPs) tomorrow, in an appearance that was confirmed by President Antonio Tajani on Twitter last week.

Zuckerberg is due to appear before the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), where he’ll likely be asked questions about protecting the personal data of EU consumers, as well as Facebook’s role in election processes and integrity.

The session — which is scheduled to begin at roughly 6:15 PM local time in Brussels (12:15 PM EST) — was speculated and predicted by many in the weeks leading up to Tajani’s confirmation.

In addition to some outlets reporting that such a meeting was in the works, several events took place soon before and after the announcement that indicated another appearance from Zuckerberg before legal officials, ranging from official statements on Facebook’s new initiatives, to changes within its organizational chart.

Before Zuckerberg makes his next official appearance, here are some key things to know.

5 Things to Know Before Mark Zuckerberg’s European Parliament Testimony

1. The testimony was originally scheduled as a closed-door session.

Shortly after Tajani’s announcement, Bloomberg reported that Zuckerberg’s initial appearance before EU lawmakers would take place behind closed doors, and that European Parliament would schedule a separate, public hearing with representatives from Facebook that may not necessarily include Zuckerberg himself.

While a secondary hearing has yet to be scheduled as of publishing this piece, Tajani announced this morning that Zuckerberg agreed to permit the session to be live-streamed — likely due to pressure from several parties, including MEPs.

In our own survey of 313 consumers in the UK — which was conducted prior to the announcement that the session would be live-streamed — 61% of respondents said that they believed the testimony should be public.

Verhofstadt has since reversed his statement on the matter, after the decision to cast the session. However, the degree to which the event will be “public” is arguable, as it’s not clear if members of the press or other concerned public parties will be permitted to attend.

2. Not long before the testimony was originally announced, Facebook’s executive org chart had a major shakeup.

On May 8 — just over a week before Tajani’s confirmation that Zuckerberg would be testifying before MEPs — Recode reported a major shuffle to its executive organizational chart, with changes made among the leadership at WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and the core Facebook app.

Here’s a visual peek at the overall changes:

In addition to the general re-org of leadership within existing Facebook teams and umbrella brands, a new team has been created to focus solely on privacy products, such as the Clear History feature announced at F8. 

When word of the executive shuffle first arrived, we anticipated that an official appearance from Zuckerberg could be imminent — especially with the creation of an entire division dedicated to one of the issues (privacy) for which Facebook has received the most scrutiny, and continues to answer the most questions.

But privacy isn’t the only topic for which Facebook has faced particularly heightened scrutiny — which brings up another important item to keep in mind going into tomorrow’s session.

3. The day after the testimony was announced, Facebook announced a partnership with the Atlantic Council for its election integrity efforts.

Facebook has also continued to receive criticism and questions about the weaponization of its platform by foreign actors to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Since then, consumer and authorities alike have been especially vigilant of the spread of misinformation and hate speech on the site, especially where divisive issues that often cause contention during election seasons are concerned.

That prompted Facebook to release its first-ever Community Standards Enforcement Report, which includes a preliminary inventory of rule-violating content and the action Facebook took on it between October 2017 to March 2018.

But it also led Facebook — whether strictly for appearances or out of genuine concern over the weaponization of its platform — to partner with outside experts to boost its election integrity efforts, which Zuckerberg is likely to be questioned on by MEPs.

To help combat “fake accounts – the source of many bad ads and a lot of misinformation,” Facebook has partnered with nonprofit Atlantic Council, whose mission includes “stimulating dialogue and discussion about critical international issues in the Administration, the Congress, corporate and nonprofit sectors, and the media among leaders in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Americas.” 

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab — the primary team partnering with Facebook — released a statement about the collaboration, in which it elaborated on that mission. Specifically, it pointed to the importance of closing the “information gap between governments, tech companies, and media in order to solve for challenges like disinformation.”

It was an interesting statement to make the day after it was first revealed that Zuckerberg’s session with MEPs would be a closed-door one, limiting the very transparency between governments and tech companies to which the statement alluded.

It also came after a recent and repeated refusal from Facebook of requests from UK Parliament for Zuckerberg to appear — which is another key item to note before tomorrow’s session.

4. UK Parliament has requested an appearance from Zuckerberg repeatedly — and Facebook has continued to decline.

On May 1 — just over two weeks prior to Tajani’s announcement — House of Commons Culture Committee chairman Damian Collins issued an open letter to Facebook UK Head of Public Policy Rebecca Stimson, stating that “the committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for [Zuckerberg] to appear when he is next in the UK.” 

In response to that letter, Stimson wrote a response on May 14th indicating that “Mr. Zuckerberg has no plans to meet with the committee or travel to the UK at the present time.”

Zuckerberg’s resolve to not appear before UK Parliament raises several questions. While other Facebook executives have undergone questioning from the committee, like CTO Mike Schroepfer, Zuckerberg himself has steadfastly refused to appear, despite committing to back-to-back U.S. congressional hearings, as well as tomorrow’s testimony before MEPs.

So, why the resistance to testifying before UK MPs?

One possible reason is that Zuckerberg’s appearances before U.S. lawmakers were voluntary — as will be his testimony before MEPs — whereas UK Parliament has reached the point of issuing a formal summons.

“It’s not entirely clear why Zuckerberg is resisting appearing before UK members of parliament,” says Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social media editor. “We know that the tone from the UK has been a fairly vindictive one, and we also know Zuckerberg (and Facebook) doesn’t want to open the door to negotiation and questioning from every governing body. They want a free and independent Facebook, which means answering the bare minimum number of questions necessary to keep it that way.”

5. The testimony is taking place three days before the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the EU.

This Friday — three days after Zuckerberg’s scheduled testimony before MEPs — the GDPR comes into force in the EU, marking a major shift in European data privacy laws and consumer rights.

Whether the timing was deliberate is somewhat speculative, but it appears to be slightly more than coincidental — at least on the part of European Parliament. Facebook has received criticism for its approach to the GDPR, and Zuckerberg has frequently evaded questions about how he would apply similar protections to non-EU consumers, or backpedaled on previous answers to them.

Many wonder how these imminent regulations — which are much stricter than those, if any, in the U.S. — will influence MEPs’ lines of questioning tomorrow, and if those questions will reflect the tougher nature of European laws than those in the U.S.

The general consensus seems to be that, yes — they will. When we asked 302 consumers in the UK if they believe MEPs will be harder on Zuckerberg during tomorrow’s hearing than U.S. lawmakers were in April, 48% responded with “yes.”

UK_Do you think members of European Parliament will be tougher on Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony tomorrow than U.S. lawmakers were_302

In a survey of 303 U.S. consumers, meanwhile, 53% of respondents had the same answer.

US_Do you think members of European Parliament will be tougher on Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony tomorrow than U.S. lawmakers were_303

“My sense is that the big difference between the EU and the U.S., is that consumers in the U.S. kind of don’t care,” says HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick. “We just assume we’re being taken advantage of, and are okay with it.”

The heightened level of concern among European consumers, meanwhile, could be reflected in a tougher line of questioning from MEPs tomorrow.

“Consumers in the EU care. They want proper notice and controls, and they want companies to be held to account if they violate their data privacy,” Dick continues. “So my expectation is that EU Parliment will be far tougher on [him] than the U.S. Congress was.”

We’ll be following tomorrow’s testimony. According to a tweet from Carlo Corazza, a spokesperson for Tajani, the event will be live-streamed on European Parliament’s website

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How to Use Buzzsumo & Sprout Social to Amplify Your Social Strategy

Buzzsumo is a great tool for analyzing how well content performs on social media. Not only is it useful to check your own content performance, but it’s possible to analyze your competitors and overall content in your industry.

Simply plug in a keyword or website, and Buzzsumo will show you the most socially shared piece of content related to the keyword or from the website. As you can imagine, this is powerful data for social media and content marketers.

In this guide, we’ll break down how to use Buzzsumo to amplify your brand’s social media and content marketing efforts, as well as how to combine it with Sprout Social to take your publishing and analytics to the next level.

Find the Most Socially Shared Content

Whether you’re trying to find content to share, or looking for new content creation ideas, Buzzsumo is a great place to start.

Buzzsumo shows you content that has the most shares across Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and Pinterest. Once you know what content has resonated with people in your target audience, you have a better idea of what to create and share.

First, do a search for keywords or topics relevant to your industry. For instance, let’s say you’re an email marketing SaaS company. A topic of interest for your audience is probably how to build an email list. So we’ll do a search on Buzzsumo for “email list building”.

Note: Use “quotes” in your searches if you want look for exact phrases.

Buzzsumo Content Research

And just like that, we have a list of popular articles from around the web to use as inspiration for our own content.

We could also schedule these articles to be shared on our social profiles, which is possible through Sprout.

Once you find an article that looks promising, click the link to open it up (we always recommend reading content before sharing it on social). This piece from Problogger looks good.

buzzsumo search result

Then, you can use Sprout’s browser extension to add it to your queue, schedule it manually or publish immediately.

share article with sprout social

Repeat this process as many times as you want and fill up your social media calendar with plenty of curated content.

If you want to just use the content ideas as inspiration for your own posts, simply save the articles you’re interested in to a project in Buzzsumo.

save article in buzzsumo

That way you’ll have a running list of content ideas to refer to when you’re planning out your blog calendar.

Discover & Engage With Relevant Influencers

By now, we don’t have to sell you on the value of influencer marketing. With brands averaging a $6.50 return for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, it’s a no-brainer.

influencer marketing roi

However, just paying the biggest influencer you find to promote your new product or service won’t guarantee success. The “secret” to a successful influencer marketing campaign is to work with the right people.

A teen Instagram star that makes slime may have millions of fans, but are they your target audience?

Probably not.

That’s when Buzzsumo comes in handy. Use the influencer marketing search to find relevant influencers to connect with and build relationships. Search by keywords in a user’s Twitter bio, or the content they’ve shared.

Keeping with our email marketing software example from earlier, we’ll do a search for popular digital marketers that we could potentially work with. Specifically, we’re looking for influencers that shared an article about email marketing recently.

buzzsumo influencer search

Note: We did a phrase match by using quotations to rule out irrelevant Tweets about emails in general. That’s a great way to target your search.

We filtered the results to only show individuals, not businesses or people not in the industry. The more you refine your results, the more targeted your list will be.

buzzsumo influencer search results

Now we have a list of people to engage with on social and build relationships. Don’t just automatically add everyone Buzzsumo suggests to your list. Manually go through and look for the people who are the most relevant if you want the best results.

Also, try not to get caught up in the follower count. Buzzsumo gives you other relevant metrics like Instagram authority score, the average number of Retweets they receive and how much authority their website owns.

When you find a relevant influencer you want to add to a list, click the “Save Influencer” button to add them to a specific list.

add influencer to list

Or export the entire list to a CSV file if you’d like.

Ok, so now that you have this huge list of influencers, what next?

It’s time to start interacting with them.

Remember, most influencers get inundated with emails from people asking them to share content or link to their website.

A good way to separate yourself from the pack is to start out by engaging with them on social. Whether it’s sharing their content, mentioning them or replying to their Tweets, the goal is to make them familiar with your brand.

We suggest using Sprout’s VIP list feature to weave these influencers into your strategy and make sure you’re consistently engaging with them, especially when they mention or tag you.

Here’s how to do it.

First, export your list of influencers from Buzzsumo–find them under the Project tab.

Buzzsumo Export Influencers List

Then in Sprout, simply copy the list of Twitter handles from the CSV and paste it into the VIP list. Don’t forget to label the users in the list something relevant in order to stay organized.

Sprout Social VIPs list

Accounts in your VIP lists will have a little identifier letting you know what list they’re in.

sprout social vip contact

Whenever you see their tweets pop up, reply to them as soon as possible.

There’s a lot of talk about how to do influencer marketing at a high level. But Buzzsumo and Sprout Social give you the tools you need to actually implement your strategy on a day-to-day basis.

Uncover Content Ideas Your Audience is Craving

Want a creative way to come up with ideas for social media content? Find questions people ask about your industry and create content answering them.

One of Buzzsumo’s newer features is the Question Analyzer. Just enter a topic or keyword and Buzzsumo will find questions from forums, e-commerce sites and Q&A sites. The questions are also grouped into smaller categories/topics.

Here are some of the results we got from a search on email marketing:

buzzsumo question analyzer

Based on this info, we might make a Facebook video like “5 Tips to Run an Email Campaign for Startups (That Actually Make Money)”.

Go through all the questions and look for some common themes. For instance, we saw several questions in our search related to open rates and conversions. That could easily be made into a series of Tweets or videos about email marketing benchmarks.

Once you’ve come up with your content ideas, use Sprout to schedule all your content at intervals that make sense. For example, you might create a series where you make an Instagram video answering a frequently asked question every day.

sprout social monthly calendar view

Want even more content ideas? Try out Sprout Social’s Content Suggestions feature. With Content Suggestions, you find the latest content by industry, with the most social shares.

content suggestions screenshot

Between Buzzsumo and Sprout Social, you’ll never have issues finding ideas for content to create or share.

Stay in the Know With Competitive Analysis

Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing is a good way to get inspiration and see what’s working (or not working) for them. Buzzsumo’s monitoring tools allow you to see mentions of your competitors on social. When there are sudden spikes the number of mentions a competitor is receiving, it’s a sign there’s big company news or they’ve done something that went viral. Either way, it’s a good idea to stay on top of it.

To get started, head over to the Monitoring tab in Buzzsumo and fill out as much information as you’d like.

buzzsumo competitor monitoring

Once you’re all set up, you’ll get a dashboard that’s regularly updated with the choice to receive instant email notifications or a daily report.

Buzzsumo Competitor Report

While you don’t have to obsess over every little thing your competitors do, it’s helpful to see how they’re trending and stay on top of any major changes.

Another helpful competitive analysis tool in Buzzsumo for social media marketers is the Facebook Analyzer. Use the Facebook Analyzer to get insights into the top performing Facebook posts by topic or page.

facebook analyzer buzzsumo

Just search for a keyword or page, and Buzzsumo will show you the top posts. Sort by comments, interactions, likes or shares. Wrap your search phrase in quotes like we did if you only want to see posts with the exact phrase. Otherwise you might get some irrelevant posts in your search results.

In addition to finding the top posts, it’s easy to switch over to the Analysis tab and see the most popular post types, length, posting time, engagement types and more.

buzzsumo facebook content analysis

We all know some of the biggest challenges of Facebook marketing are:

  1. Sharing content that resonates with your audience
  2. Getting your content seen

The Facebook Analyzer helps on both fronts. For instance, in the screenshot above, we see that posts with 50-100 characters get substantially more engagement than other lengths. And videos outperform images, links and giveaways.

If we look at the “Time Posted and Average Engagements” section of the report, it becomes clear that the best time to post about this topic is in the early morning.

Time Posted and Average Engagements

Combine the data you get from Buzzsumo with Sprout’s suite of competitor analytics to get a full picture of how you stack up against the competition.

Sprout's Facebook dashboard allows you to analyze the performance of your compeitors

Let’s say you wanted to do a direct comparison of your brand’s Facebook page and specific competitors. You’d use Sprout Social’s Facebook Competitor report to compare sent messages, audience growth and other metrics.

sprout social facebook competitors report

Combining Sprout Social and Buzzsumo gives you sweet intel into what’s popular in your industry on social, as well as how you stack up against competitors.

Never Miss Another Brand Mention

When an influential blogger mentions your products or you’re featured by a major news site, you probably want to know about it.

In addition to monitoring you competitors, Buzzsumo also monitor mentions of your brand around the web.

The process is pretty similar to the one for finding mentions of competitors. Simply head over to the Monitoring tab and create a new alert. Choose “Brand Mentions” as the type of alert.

buzzsumo brand monitoring

Next, fill out all the info. If your brand name is similar to another company or a bit generic, use the inclusion and exclusion filters to narrow it down. For instance, a company called “Sprout” might want to exclude the word “social” from their search to avoid getting notifications with “Sprout Social” mentions.

buzzsumo brand name monitoring

In addition to setting up a daily email report, Buzzsumo also gives you a dashboard with all the newest mentions of your brand.

buzzsumo brand monitoring dashboard

Buzzsumo is great for monitoring brand mentions across the web, but you need to closely monitor mentions of your brand on social media as well.

That’s where Sprout Social comes in.

Sprout’s social media monitoring tools let you track your brand name, keywords and hashtags across multiple social channels and profiles. And you see all of the incoming messages in a single inbox.

Sprout Social Smart Inbox

In addition to monitoring individual Tweets and Facebook posts mentioning your brand, we also have some pretty cool social listening features.

This is great for when you want to gain market insights, gauge sentiment around a particular social media campaign or just get a broader view of how people feel about your brand on social.

sprout listeners emotional response

Buzzsumo & Sprout Social FTW

As you can see, Buzzsumo is a great tool for sourcing content ideas, spying on competitors, finding influencers and more. When you combine it with Sprout Social, it’s even more powerful.

Even though we’ve given you quite a few examples of how to use the two together, we’ve only scratched the surface. Sprout Social has plenty of other helpful features like an image asset library, advanced listening, custom reports and more. And Buzzsumo has Reddit analysis, a trending content report, backlink analysis and other awesome features we know you would use.

The best way to see it all is to jump in and get started.

Already a Buzzsumo customer and want to give Sprout a try? Sign up for a free trial here.

Are you a current Sprout Social customer, and want to take advantage of some of the Buzzsumo features we mentioned? Learn more here.

And if you’re unfamiliar with either, sign up for both. You won’t disappointed!

This post How to Use Buzzsumo & Sprout Social to Amplify Your Social Strategy originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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