Almost Timely News, 17-July-2022: Behind the Scenes, What To Do When SEO Stops Working (7/17) :: View in Browser

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Almost Timely News, 17-July-2022: Behind the Scenes, What To Do When SEO Stops Working
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What’s On My Mind: Behind the Scenes

Every so often, folks ask what sort of gear and processes I use to create this newsletter and the other content I produce during the week, both for my blog and Trust Insights. Let’s take a tour behind the scenes. Where and when things are clickable, they are affiliate links, probably to Amazon.

Hardware

  • MacBook Pro M1, 2021 – the workhorse. This machine does it all, and it’s a good thing because I need it to do a lot of things, from intensive video editing to machine learning models.
  • Rodecaster Pro First Edition – the soundboard. A good soundboard and mixer makes life easier, especially for live streaming. If you want to sound consistently good, a soundboard is a necessity. The second edition isn’t as good a piece of hardware! It’s missing – bizarrely – a TRRS jack which you need if you want to hardware a phone into it. I don’t know why Rode did that, but it was dumb.
  • Shure SM7B microphone – yes, it’s that mic. But the sound is unbeatable and very, very distinct, and it works well with my voice.
  • Logitech Brio – the only 4K webcam that works reliably on a Mac.
  • Razer Basilisk X Hyperspeed – a Bluetooth mouse that just fits so nicely in my hand.
  • Bose QC earbuds – especially for livestreaming, these are great when you want to hear what your cohosts are saying but not be wearing a big headset.
  • Das Keyboard Mac – when you want that super clicky, super loud, oh so satisfying clicky keyboard, this is the one to get.
  • iPhone – there’s no better portable multimedia studio, honestly.
  • iPad – there’s no better platform for drawing, painting, and illustrating. The Magic Pencil especially lives up to its name.
  • Linode – the hosting company that provides hardware for me to run my marketing automation software on. Special disclosure: client of my company.
  • WP Engine – the service that hosts my blog, where the “read with your browser” link goes.

Software

  • Mautic – The backbone of this newsletter, free, open-source marketing automation software that sends this newsletter to you.
  • Joplin – Free, open-source app that is based on the markup language Markdown. It’s a sanity-saver. Everything is written in what’s effectively plain text, and then some special codes to handle formatting. Markdown is an incredibly flexible language that exports to PDF, ePub, HTML, etc. with ease, especially if you have pandoc and Calibre.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – the workhorse of multimedia. This suite has everything for roughly 50 dollars US per month if you get it on sale during Black Friday each year and buy the annual package. Within it, I use Adobe Premiere for all my video, Adobe Audition for my audio, Photoshop and Illustrator for graphics, and a ton of the Adobe mobile apps. Adobe Fresco on the iPad is mindblowing.
  • YouTube – to host the videos.
  • Libsyn – to host the audio MP3 files.
  • WordPress – the software that runs my blog.
  • Thunderbird – no mail client is better for storing email messages and making them accessible – and Thunderbird is free and open-source as well. There’s a plugin called Better Import Export that lets you export an entire mailbox of messages as a CSV, which means you can do intensive data analysis on it.
  • Million Verifier – the email verification software I use to clean my email list. There’s no better – and no better priced. It’s so good I wrote my own software to integrate with it.
  • Amazon SES – pay as you go service from Amazon that sends large amounts of email. Mautic pours all its email into Amazon SES, which then delivers it.
  • Gmail Postmaster Tools – a free service from Google that tells me about my reputation to Gmail addresses, which are like 50% of you.
  • MXToolboxemail marketing infrastructure software that tells you all kinds of technical details about your email marketing, like whether you’re on blacklists, whether your domain is set up correctly, etc.

The Process

Each week, this newsletter starts with this section. Usually on Friday nights, I’m mulling over what I want to write and looking in my inboxes to see if you’ve asked any questions that I need to answer either here or in daily video blog posts. If there’s something that’s timely and relevant, it goes in. This week’s content comes from a conversation I had with Dennis Shiao earlier in the week about counterintuitive email marketing techniques, and part of it is how I run my newsletter infrastructure.

Once I’ve got the idea, I write it down in Joplin. I keep a folder of half baked ideas and usually pull from that; this column was two sentences as a reminder of what I was going to write.

After that, I extract the rest of the newsletter from various Trust Insights systems – we have content curation software I wrote that puts together pretty much the rest of the newsletter, with supervision.

Once the content is fully baked, I record the video for it, then edit it in Adobe Premiere and Adobe Audition. After that, I export the video, export the audio, load the video to YouTube, load the audio to Libsyn, and copy/paste this Markdown right into WordPress. I use a special editor in WordPress that can directly accept Markdown without converting it, so putting this newsletter up as a blog post takes literally seconds. It’s so convenient.

Next, I handle and process new subscribers, unsubscribes, and bounces from the previous week, washing new subscribers through Million Verifier and exporting all my bounces from Thunderbird. I do this by hand with some code I wrote because I honestly don’t trust the bounce handling of any software. Those who know the detailed technical aspects of email marketing know that mail servers can be configured a bazillion different ways and don’t always send back the right error codes. I prefer to do it myself so that I know it’s being handled correctly. I do not advise that anyone else do this unless you love, love, love technical email marketing.

After that, the newsletter gets loaded into Mautic, I update the subscriber lists and unsubscribes, and it goes out the door. These days, it takes about 6 hours to send one issue of the newsletter to about 230,000 folks, which is why I usually start sending it around 9 PM on a Saturday night. That way it’s in most people’s inboxes no later than 9 AM the next day in most timezones.

So that’s the behind-the-scenes for the Almost Timely newsletter. I freely admit that it’s counterintuitive and overly technical in some spots. Sometimes that’s because I’d rather do things the hard way on purpose so I can see what’s really going on under the hood, and sometimes that’s because I’m cheap and would prefer to run my email marketing as inexpensively as possible. I literally could not afford to send this newsletter any other way with what other email service providers charge.

Hopefully, this gave you some ideas about how you manage your own newsletter and email marketing, and maybe introduced you to some new tools, too.

Share With a Friend or Colleague

If you enjoy this newsletter and want to share it with a friend/colleague, please do. Send this URL to your friend/colleague:

https://www.christopherspenn.com/newsletter

ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the new Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I would recommend the livestream I just did on what to do when SEO stops working. We had a lot of fun with it.

Skill Up With Classes

These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Premium

Free

Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

Advertisement: Google Analytics 4 for Marketers

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What makes this different than other training courses?

  • You’ll learn how Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio form the essential companion pieces to Google Analytics 4, and how to use them all together
  • You’ll learn how marketers specifically should use Google Analytics 4, including the new Explore Hub with real world applications and use cases
  • You’ll learn how to determine if a migration was done correctly, and especially what things are likely to go wrong
  • You’ll even learn how to hire (or be hired) for Google Analytics 4 talent specifically, not just general Google Analytics
  • And finally, you’ll learn how to rearrange Google Analytics 4’s menus to be a lot more sensible because that bothers everyone

With more than 5 hours of content across 17 lessons, plus templates, spreadsheets, transcripts, and certificates of completion, you’ll master Google Analytics 4 in ways no other course can teach you.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: Ukraine Humanitarian Fund

If you’d like to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has set up a special portal, United24, to help make contributing easy.

Donate today to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund »

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Advertisement: Google Search Console for Marketers

Of the many tools in the Google Marketing Platform, none is more overlooked than Google Search Console. Marketers assume it’s just for SEO, but the information contained within benefits search, social media, public relations, advertising, and so much more. In my new Google Search Console for Marketers course, you’ll learn what Google Search Console is, why it matters to all marketers, and then dig deep into each of the features of the platform.

When you’re done, you’ll have working knowledge of the entire platform and what it can do – and you’ll be ready to start making the most of this valuable marketing tool.

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Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MAICON, August 2022, Cleveland, OH – use code PENN150 for $150 off any conference ticket
  • Content Marketing World, September 2022, Cleveland, OH
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston
  • Heapcon, November 2022, Belgrade, Serbia

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn


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