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What I’ve Learned Working In Finance For Six Years (Hint: It Applies To Everyone)

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I’ve been in the corporate world of finance now for more than six years. I get everyone from kids straight out of college, to older guys and girls that have been out of the workforce for ages, to people looking for a career change asking about the finance industry.

I’ve found the real lessons I’ve gained from working in finance are far broader than just one industry. Finance has taught me life skills and how to deal with people. While the startup world was fun, the finance industry gave me some extra skills.

Here’s what I learned working in finance:

 

1. The grass is never greener.

Over the years, many of my colleagues have left finance to start their own thing or join some new age fintech that apparently has all the answers – that is, until they come up against credit risk or accidentally fund terrorism through their products and services. The grass is never greener.

“Every company, whether it’s a large bank or one you started yourself, is going to have challenges. It comes down to which flavors of challenges you like the most”

Maybe you have to be really innovative in your career but don’t mind lack of funding or small travel budgets.

Maybe you have to work with really smart people but don’t mind being in a low budget office. The people I’ve met in finance that are always chasing greener grass never seem to find it.

At some point, we can’t avoid challenges or people we don’t like – they exist in all companies whether we like it or not. Learning to deal with these facts is how I’ve stayed in finance for six years and not given up on my career.

 

2. There are mediocre people everywhere we go.

In finance, like any industry, there are mediocre people. Some of them are uneducated; some of them lack critical thinking; some of them have zero sales ability; some are afraid of customers; some of them love a good company paid breakfast for no good reason. We can’t avoid mediocre people.

“What I’ve learned through my years in finance is that it’s not that people are mediocre or dumb; it’s that everyone has different priorities”

Some people want to leave at 5:01 pm to be with their kids and that’s okay.

Just because we don’t prioritize our career and our KPIs, doesn’t mean any of us are dumb because of it. There are many levels of intelligence within a company and all are acceptable.

I’ve visited a few unique and prestigious businesses in Silicon Valley where everyone is a genius and these companies spend half their time arguing who the smartest person is in the room rather than getting down to business and solving a real problem in the world.

 

3. There are good leaders and bad ones.

Don’t get emotional about it, just spend as much time as you can with the good ones. There will be leaders you encounter who are trying it out and who’ve been given a chance. There will be other leaders you meet that are born for the role.

Everyone has the right to step up and be a leader regardless of their ability.

My career in finance has been focused on getting around the good leaders. Sometimes you’ll have to work for a bad leader and the key is to suck it up, eat shit for a while, and then leave and work for a leader you believe in.

 

4. Your career is never going to be full of highlights.

I was on the homepage of our company’s website twice in one year. Many never get this chance ever in their career and it happened to me twice in one year.

Then there was a year after that where nothing happened. There were no big milestones, no punching the air and plenty of low points involving customers.

In finance, and in the business world, it’s never going to be a back-to-back show-reel of Instagram highlights where we win every day.

There will be periods of massive growth and then there will be months and even years where nothing happens – times where we show up for work each day expecting something big to happen and it doesn’t.

 

5. The need for a side hustle.

Our career can’t always be full of highlights, which is why we need a side hustle. Think of it like another avenue that we can use to kick goals, grow and broaden your skills. For me, outside of working in finance, it became social media and blogging. Over the last five years of my finance career, I’ve hustled my face off learning somewhat non-related skills that have nothing to do with finance.

Side hustles allow us to explore our wild side. Working in finance can be quite dry and without my side hustle, I may have succumbed to suppressing my emotions, wearing a corporate mask and dressing in a suit and tie every day.

Side hustles helped me keep it real. Some days I work in jeans and a t-shirt. Other days I wear the cliché suit. My side hustle helped me live a little and get some perspective on what the finance industry was really about. The answer? Like every business, finance is about people.

 

6. Once we understand people, we’re set.

People go through a range of emotions every day. Once we understand that what’s happening in business could be entirely down to the fact they’re human, and nothing to do with business, we see the business landscape differently.

We become more compassionate to stakeholders, we treat customers with kindness and we quit thinking that we’re a freaking genius that has all the answers and if only people would listen to us the business would make 10X the profits.

Business is about people and by understanding them we can see it for what it is. Our customers are also people, and our interactions with them become easier when we come to grips with this fact.

If I were to get you to learn one thing, it would be the basics of psychology. Most of the key points can be Googled for free but the value they bring will help whether you’re in finance or any another industry.

 

7. We’re all constantly growing in secret.

I always thought that GM’s, CEO’s, etc, had it made. I always thought that they woke up each day and came to work with a killer instinct. The finance industry taught me I was wrong. The leaders we admire with those big job titles are just like you and me: they’re scared as F.

The difference is that the leaders we admire are growing in secret.

You think they have it made but when you get in their head, you realize that even with their success they suffer the same human pitfalls that you and I do. The difference is they embrace those pitfalls and take action regardless.

Even your heroes are fearful when they have to perform, but they do it anyway.

 

8. Your happiness doesn’t stay the same.

At the start of a new role in any industry, we’re loaded with energy. We come to work with new strategies and different ways to acquire customers. Then a few years go by and we become a bit negative. We see the same challenges over and over and the same people failing to take action.

This can lead to unhappiness in our career.

What working in finance has taught me is that there will be times we’re really happy with our role and other times where we are unhappy.

What we learn in the unhappy times helps us when we’re living through the happy times. If you expect to get into any industry and be blazing on fire for decades straight you’ll be sadly disappointed. One solution I’ve found is to change up my career and try new things.

Maybe you start in a sales role and end up working in product or risk. Maybe you work in customer service and end up in a strategy role.

Much of the unhappiness is tied to boredom and changing roles can help reboot our happiness at work.

 

9. Innovation is much harder than we think.

Geez, if there’s is one thing I have seen a lot of in many financial services businesses it’s innovation. So many companies have tried it and it never works. Sometimes it’s too much red tape that is put around the business or idea which ultimately suffocates the life out of any opportunity to innovate.

Other times it’s the wrong people that kill the innovation.

“Surprisingly, one thing that makes innovation really challenging is an abundance of resources”

Large businesses can afford to throw lots of money against the wall at innovation whereas startups can’t.

The limitations and budget restraints a startup has are often why they can be nimble and innovative. In the end, true innovation is damn hard. If it were easy, then many businesses would be more successful than they are.

The key is not to give up on innovation. It’s a slow process to embed innovation into the culture of a business and get results. True innovation requires a lot more failure than the leaders in the business world are often comfortable with.

It’s only by looking at what doesn’t work that we find truly innovative solutions.

 

10. It’s not about networking: it’s about helping.

Someone emailed me yesterday and said, “Hey I’d like to network with you.”

I thought to myself “Wow that sounds really silly!”

This idea that we have to network is stupid. What makes more sense is to build relationships just like we would with friends. Networking is focused too much on what we can get and what we will give in return. It’s transactional and it feels unnatural.

The subtle difference is that when we build a relationship with someone (instead of network with them) we’re not seeking anything from them. There’s no expectation and that’s where the magic lies right there.

 

11. We all experience bad publicity. It’s how we handle it.

Even monster success stories like Facebook have bad publicity. Working in finance can have some ugly moments. Not everyone is honest and there will be times where the business you work for or even your own business may face negative publicity.

No company or industry (including finance) is perfect. Businesses make mistakes just like humans do because ‘Business’ is just a label for a group of humans doing their life’s work.

Expecting the company you work for to be a perfect corporate citizen is a fantasy.

 

12. Listening to customers is not easy but it works.

Working in finance has allowed me to see my fair share of angry customers. For years, I tried to defend my position and this caused me to miss what the customer was saying.

After a while in finance, I learned that if you shut up and listen to the client, you learn much more. Sometimes they might yell at you for 30-minutes flat. Sit there and listen.

By listening, you get the chance to understand the problem fully and it gets your mind ticking with ideas. When people feel they are being properly listened to, they’re more receptive to the solutions you present for their problems.

It’s freaking revolutionary when you listen more. Not just in business but in life too.

 

13. What you have for lunch matters.

I was eating chicken nuggets in a bread roll for ages and it caused me to be sleepy in the afternoon. This killed my productivity and my desire to work effectively so I would cram all my challenging tasks into the morning.

Once I learned what a proper lunch was and began eating one every day, my energy, mood and productivity improved. I’m still getting better but what I learned is to monitor carefully what I eat if I want the energy to excel in my career. Bread, at lunchtime in particular, tends to suck away my energy later in the afternoon.

 

14. Kindness and compassion are superpowers.

Your humility separates you from the pack. Trying my best in my finance career to show compassion and be kind to people has helped me immensely. These two traits are rarer than you think.

In the business world, kindness and compassion are the glue that sticks all of the right opportunities together for you and presents them as a beautiful collage.

The reason I’ve had some cool opportunities (particularly of late) is that I’ve tried to be different instead of being like everyone else. I’ve questioned the way business works and experimented with kindness and compassion.

It turns out these two traits make people see me in a weird way. It’s almost like these two traits make me more human.

Kindness and compassion are about seeing the best in people before making assumptions that they’re out to screw you. Kindness and compassion are about believing in the power of the human species above all else.

 

15. Taking off the mask is freeing.

For the first half of my career in finance, I wore a mask. It’s hard to admit but it’s true. I used corporate language like “revenue targets” and “customer value proposition” and took a notepad to meetings to look smart. I wore the nicely ironed suit with the cute little cufflinks.

I said hello politely to everyone and was graceful. When it came to social media, I promoted the company and supported my colleagues. I told people I liked what they did even when I didn’t.

I did all of this because I thought that being fake and wearing a mask of bravery and perfection was what you had to do to succeed. I thought that’s how business land worked.

I found that all of this acting became exhausting and it was incongruent with who I really was. Deep down, I was an entrepreneur and a highly creative person that wanted to express himself.

After a string of bizarre situations – like narrowly missing cancer and seeing a few people close to me like my grandma pass away – I decided to throw away the mask.

I started dropping the odd F-Bomb. I told people politely when I didn’t like their idea. I became brutally honest with clients and stopped telling them what they wanted to hear.

All of this led to the real version of me being on display. Some people liked it and others weren’t interested.

“Either way, you can’t keep faking it till you make it at work every day because eventually, you’ll fall down from all the BS and wonder whose life you’ve been living for the last six years”

 

16. Scheduling holidays in advance provides additional motivation.

Let’s not pretend we’re 100% motivated each week at work. Some weeks will suck and that’s normal. Booking holidays in advance gives me a permanent memory of yet another thing that’s great about life: taking breaks.

The first half of my finance career involved almost no holidays. Not only did I become burnt out, but I also didn’t have as much to look forward to. Then I began booking in holidays to New Zealand, the USA and Japan. My motivation changed. I’d work harder leading up to holiday time so that I could take an even bigger break away from it all.

Holidays became like a reset button for my finance career and they gave me something else to aim for other than boring old KPIs.

 

17. Working really long hours means there’s a problem.

There have been a lot of times I’ve encountered people in finance working their butt off. I used to think it’s cool; now I see it as a problem.

If you’re working long hours, there is a problem. You’re either unproductive, distracted or under-resourced. All of these issues can be resolved and working stupidly hard is not the answer.

“Productivity is the opposite of working long hours”

 

18. You’ll have to speak in front of others.

That’s why I tell everybody to get their arse to Toastmasters and learn how to speak without having a thousand Ums and Ahs between every word. Public speaking is a basic form of communication and mastering it is how you get across your ideas, visions and tell phenomenal stories.

No matter your speaking ability in front of others, it’s time to improve it.

 

19. Most people have no idea about business so don’t feel so bad.

Yep, that’s the truth! All these people you meet in business that sound like they know what they’re talking about often don’t. They are just regurgitating something they heard or read which they thought was right.

We all pretend like business is an art and so many times it’s not what it’s made out to be. The science of business has more to do with life skills than anything else. Most books about business try and overcomplicate something that isn’t that hard.

“The greatest challenge and complexity with business is understanding its simplicity”

 

20. Change is guaranteed. Why not embrace it?

And here’s the final thing I’ll say: whether you work in finance like me or in another industry, change is guaranteed. One of these will happen to you:

–    Your industry will be disrupted if it hasn’t been already

–    Your company will go through a restructure, merger or be acquired which may cause you to lose your job

–    The business you are a part of could fail

–    Or a natural disaster or manmade event like a GFC could screw with your career

Change is guaranteed in your career so rather than avoiding it, what I’ve learned in finance is to embrace it. See the fork in the road as the greatest gift you’ve ever been given.

Welcome change with open arms otherwise it will be the kiss of death to your perfect, cookie-cutter career in whatever.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Matt Swintz

    May 7, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks, Tim!

    As someone who is relatively early on in my professional life, I really appreciate this wisdom.

    #1 is a big part of my life because it seems like there’s always something better I should have done.

    #10 sticks out as well because I have always felt awkward trying to “network”. Your thoughts here echo the book Never Eat Alone where they talk about being a connector and helping people as opposed to what networking is typically thought of as.

    I really enjoyed this article!

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Success Advice

Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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Success Advice

5 Essential Skills to Drive Success in Every Niche

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There are many people who don’t have the courage to launch a business in a niche as they think they don’t have the right skills and experience to obtain success. While there are specific skills which determine the success in every niche, there are also some general skills which ensure success in any business you would try.

Below are 5 essential skills you need to drive success in every aspect of your life:

1. Ambition

When you launch a new business, you need to be prepared for difficult moments such as fighting the competition and winning your target audience. Moreover, if you follow some successful entrepreneurs, you should keep in mind that they also faced difficulties and continue to experience them. So, how does a successful entrepreneur get over all the difficulties?

The essential skill you need to possess is called ambition. Set small and clear milestones in your development plan and use your ambition to go over each difficulty and finalize what you had in your mind. It doesn’t matter how hard the path is going to be. Visualize your target and put in all the efforts to achieve it. Staying organized and scheduling each step to get things done are some of the techniques you can use to achieve success.

2. Listen to those around you

While listening to your instincts is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is not enough. As your business develops, you will have an entire team to manage and lead to success. Therefore, you cannot be a successful leader and have success in every niche unless you learn how to listen to the people around you.

You should listen to your employees and discover what they are expecting from you. This is the way to follow if you want to keep your team motivated and help them give the best of themselves.

On the other hand, you will need to listen to your customers to improve your products and services and provide excellent customer support. By listening carefully to the voice of your customers, you will be able to stand out of the competition and ensure their loyalty towards your brand.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Courage

When you decided to become an entrepreneur and build your own business, it means you are a courageous person. Courage will help you harness the power of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel a specific action will bring more success to your business.

Apart from doing intensive research on your ideas and developing the exact steps you are going to follow, you will need the courage to implement them. Not all the ideas will turn out to be successful.

Regardless, you will have something to learn from each success or mistake and this will help you move your business even further. When you have the courage to follow a path which is not very familiar to you, this is going to be the moment when you will widen your horizons and exceed your limits to achieve success.

4. Creativity and imagination

If you already implemented your idea and you see that it works, you most probably think that you don’t need to change anything to achieve more success. You need to keep in mind that customers’ preferences change and your competition is waiting for your mistakes to “steal” your clients.

Therefore, you need to use your creativity and imagination to improve your products and services to meet your customers’ expectations. What is more, creativity can also mean that you are open to talk to new people and use their experience to improve something in your business.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

5. Continuous learning

If you want to drive success in every niche you will need to show a willingness to learn. You need to stay updated with what happens in your niche and what your customers expect from you.

Education is not only something for school. It is a lifelong process, and you should be open to seek knowledge and improve your skills with every opportunity. An efficient trick is to stay close to people who are already successful in your industry, ask their opinions on various subjects and learn from their experience.

The above five essential skills will help you build a successful business in every niche. A true leader is ambitious, knows to listen to the people around him, and is always open to learning from others.

No matter the size of your business, you will need to be creative and use your imagination to improve your products and services. These skills will help any leader develop new skills, stand out of the crowd, and strengthen his position on the market.

What skill do you think is most important to be successful in life? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

5 Key Investment Principles from Warren Buffett

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Warren Buffett is a mentor for a lot of traders. Why shouldn’t he be? After all, his investing principles have earned him the title of the world’s greatest investor. His way of working is a little contradictory to many others in the arena of online trading. He doesn’t invest the way it’s depicted in the popular media. He is the kind of investor who likes buying and holding.

Buffett has taught us that once you buy a stock, hold it no matter what. Forget that there is a recession in the economy or it is at its boom. Whether it’s good times or bad, you’re supposed to hold onto the stock.

Buffett doesn’t just buy stocks for the sake of holding them. He buys them for a specific reason. When those reasons no longer exist, he sells the stocks. He not only looks for good prices but sound management and a competitive advantage. He shared his opinion that companies such as IBM, Sears, and GM are great but they cannot stay competitive for long. Therefore, these companies shouldn’t be a part of your portfolio.

Why not learn from the pro himself and invest the right way? Here are 5 key principles to begin with:

1. Invest In What You Know

Before investing in a stock, it is very important to understand what a company does and how it makes its money. Ever wondered why Buffett has always avoided investing in tech stocks? It’s because he does not completely understand their business model. He sticks to what he knows.

This also explains why he prefers investing in Berkshire’s stocks. It represents a diverse mix of stocks such as utilities, banking, and insurance and consumer products. All of these are businesses that Buffett understands very well. No wonder he has invested a significant amount of money here.

“Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.”  – Warren Buffett

2. Before Buying a Stock, List the Criteria

It makes sense to buy stocks on the basis of criteria, right? After all, you’re ensuring that you don’t end up investing in something unfavorable. You could be searching for stocks in a certain industry with a set price to earnings ratio.

Buffett never makes the price of the stock the sole criteria of his buying decision. Sometimes, great companies end up taking a price dip because of the market situation. However, holding onto these stocks could still turn out to be favorable.

3. Be Aggressive During Tough Times

Generally, it’s not recommended to time the market. But if you’re a long-term investor, you’ll be fine no matter when you buy. This means that even during the tough economic times, you shouldn’t settle down. Keep on looking for opportunities. This is what Warren Buffett does because he knows that things will eventually turn around.

Buffett is known for capitalizing on opportunities during and after the great recession. Bank of America investment is one of the best examples of this. In his latest annual letter, Buffett said that “dark clouds will fill the sky almost after every decade. But it certainly will rain gold.” So don’t despair, keep on investing.

4. Don’t Worry About the Day to Day Market Movements

Along with other tips, Buffett also said that you must only buy a stock if you are comfortable holding on to it in case the stock market shuts down for a decade. Since you are holding onto the stocks for 10 or more years, there is no point in losing sleep over the minor swings.

Ignore the headlines about the trade wars, the government shutdown, and other chaotic news. Instead, you focus on learning the potential growth of your company over the course of time. The fact is, stock prices keep on changing, but it’s not significant if the company’s business still has a bright future.

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.” – Warren Buffett

5. Buy Buffett’s Stocks

Buffett keeps everything simple when it comes to investing. If you don’t want to do the guesswork and research to figure out which stocks to buy, simply invest in the stocks Buffett already owns. But, make sure you understand the business. Buffett discloses his holdings publically each quarter. He has capital in companies such as Wells Fargo, Apple, and Bank of America. To keep things simple, you can buy the shares of Berkshire Hathaway itself.

Warren Buffett hasn’t been successful all by himself. He has a team of investors who help him do legal work and give him investment tips. He’s also a part of an advisor network because he understands that an investor needs all the help he can get. It’s amazing that a billionaire like him still listens to others.

Now that you know how to invest like Buffett, it’s time you prepare your investment strategy. These principles are not hard and fast criteria, they are simply a discipline strategy all investors should stick to. Along with these, you can use math, technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and even stock charts to make a decision. You may not end up a billionaire, but you will avoid losses and make more profits than your fellows.

Which one of the 5 key investment principles from above resonated with you most? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

How to Build a Website That Outranks the Competition

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Create a concrete presence within the niche you compete by employing an effective content strategy. Your strategy should:

  • Establish expertise, authority and trust through the content you produce on and off site.
  • Focus on the client. All of the content you produce should have the client in mind in order to maximize the value you’re offering.
  • Implement an editorial calendar for the content your company will produce

Enhance your websites SEO with long-form evergreen content

Long-form content is in-depth pieces of content in which the length is arguably an average of 1200 words or more. When visitors read long-form content it increases the time they spend on your website. Google pays close attention to dwell time because it is a direct indication of how useful a website is to a user.

When we refer to evergreen content we refer to articles that provide value to readers for an indefinite amount of time. These types of articles contain fully developed ideas, in depth analysis or teach a specific skill. They come in a variety of forms but most notably are checklists, how-to guides, interviews, infographics or case studies. If written and optimized correctly, an evergreen post to a company blog will generate positive signals to search engines and contribute to a website’s performance.

Web pages with data-driven, resourceful content can encourage visitors to return to the site. When visitors find value in your content, they’ll share your pages and even feature your content on their own websites.

Returning visitors, longer and dwell time are signs of authority, expertise, and trust which are very important ranking signals that will push your site upwards in the search results. Evergreen content contributes to all of the criteria above.

By producing content that stays current for the foreseeable future, you are investing in the growth of your company. Websites with evergreen content attribute a large percentage of their organic traffic to older blog posts that continue to provide value to readers for an indefinite period. The average return on an evergreen post is 30% on traffic approximately three or four months after the post is published.

“Good content is not storytelling. It’s telling your story well.” – Ann Handley

Here are 11 effective ways to structure evergreen content:

1. Lists & Checklists

Creating a top numbered list is an easy way for people to digest content. The titles are instant hooks if the topic is relatable to the reader because a person immediately understands what they’re getting before reading the article such as “Top 10 Ways To Lose 10 Pounds In 30 Days.”

Including numbers in your titles tend to catch a reader’s eye. It also opens the door to optimize articles to show up in position zero. Google has favoured numbered lists in their featured snippets (position zero) in an effort to make searching for answers easier and more efficient.

Give your list a captivating title to amp up the excitement and get a higher click-through rate such as “Top 5 Reasons Companies Succeed At Marketing.”

2. Best of Lists & Product Reviews

“Best of lists” is a timeless form of evergreen content because it can be updated to remain current. For example, the list “Best SEO Tools and Software” can be updated annually and the post maintains the traffic that has been built up from returning visitors by keeping the same URL intact.

3. Ultimate Guides & “How To” Guides

Ultimate guides serve as evergreen content because they are comprehensive, instructional manuals that teach the reader something actionable. Whether your guide is geared towards beginners or readers with advanced knowledge of a topic, the manual should provide a reader with something they can walk away with and apply immediately.

An ultimate guide should provide step by step, detail oriented advice or instruction on a specific topic. “How To” guides are one of the most popular types of evergreen content because they teach people a skill or give them a way to solve a problem.

4. Expert Opinions or Round Up Articles

Grouping a number of experts together that express similar ideas on a topic can make for a powerfully convincing argument. Using quotes and facts from different sources doesn’t leave much room for rebuttal when you are proving a theory.

5. Statistics & Infographics

Collect a number of statistics that will shock and awe your audience and title it “10 high octane statistics about evergreen content.” Statistics can be listed in point form, but combining your stats into an infographic is an enjoyable way to get readers to digest a piece of content that is primarily facts and figures.

Creating content in this format encourages a large number of shares that can equate to backlinks. Facts, figures, and percentages are always what writers look for to include in their content so attribution will amount to more websites linking to your page.

“What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

6. Historical Articles

Writing about the history of a specific person, place or event can be a large-scale effort that readers find interesting. Create a timeline of events and take your reader on a journey of any major developments in chronological order. Historical articles have a particular fan base that enjoys reading about real historical events.

7. Q & A Interviews

Developing an in-depth interview on a person of interest is another option for creating long-form content. Quotes or dialogue can be used to progress through the material covered in a single article. Incorporating video is also a great way to promote user engagement. Include the transcript so search engines can read the entire dialogue for SEO purposes.

When a person is an expert in a specific niche, the interview becomes evergreen since there’s no need to update the content when it is all related to the expert opinion of one person of interest at the time of the interview. Whether their opinion changes over time or not, the interview itself is a standalone event.

8. Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes quick-fire questions and answers are a great way to bring up the understanding of any given topic. Structure the content with each question being a progressive stepping-stone from the last.

Frequently asked questions can get a lot of interest if the questions are phrased in an easy to read manner considering there will be a lot of consecutive questions. Make the article more engaging by researching forums and come up with the most common objections and concerns people have regarding a specific topic.

9. Case Studies

Case studies demonstrate your expertise and build authority. This type of content provides readers with first-hand experiences, a story, and hands-on data. Case studies can prove a theory or illustrate how you found a solution to a problem. The best part of case studies is you have first hand data with all the evidence to back it up.

10. Optimize your content and drive up your click-through rates

Long-form, evergreen content will rise to the top of the search results for multiple keywords if it is optimized correctly. Load your article with LSI keywords throughout to enhance the key phrases for which you want people to find on your website.

You can also structure your article to be more likely to show up for position zero by incorporating the tags and list formats. Ask questions most likely to be asked by your potential viewers and tag them as titles.

Tag the answers as titles as well or use a list format if its more suitable and easier to read for the user. There is no guarantee Google will select your snippet for position zero but employing the criteria to be eligible for the featured snippet will at least make your page a candidate for selection.

11. Maximize your audience through high authority websites

Producing evergreen articles is not limited to posting on your website. Market your ideas to well-known blogs that publish related content. There are high authority sites that have a large readership to which you gain access to if they agree to publish your article. The referral traffic you receive from these sites is made up of excellent candidates for your business.

Being published on an authority site gives your company credibility and in most cases a backlink. Guest posting builds the authority of your website allowing you to push your way to the top of the search results. The accumulation of quality backlinks from reputable sites will boost your search visibility to another level and drive more prospects to your website.

Long-form, evergreen content is a strategy that is working across the board to increase traffic and conversions. Implement this marketing strategy to influence key metrics on your website that result in positive ranking signals for the search engines.

The expertise you demonstrate through on site and off site content will give readers the confidence to invest in your services. The investment in creating quality, lead-generating content contributes to the long term growth of traffic and new clients.

Have you thought about building a website to sell products or a blog? What’s the best advice you can give to someone who wants to build a competitive website? Let us know your thoughts below!

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