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Anonymous Textline Failure?

Last year I set up Focus, which is a dedicated company culture and company strategy consultant. 

My mission is to: fix the broken world of work. 


Many people have had negative experiences in business and they typically come down to two key elements, the workplace and the people. Unfortunately, businesses just don’t have the time or right management in place to address these issues.

I have worked in:

  • The best environments where you feel empowered and you win every day.
  • The worst toxic cultures and you feel helpless and no one should feel like that at work.

In most businesses, the more senior you become, the more disconnected you tend to become from the day-to-day. 

What people are feeling, what they are doing and what hurdles they are facing. 

In some instances, I was lucky to be close enough to colleagues to hear what the issues were, what problems they were encountering and how the team were feeling. 

No one is ever trained or prepared to be a business leader and fix every problem.

It is important to call out I love coaching and mentoring and part of the deal when you continue to help ex colleagues after leaving is you become known to provide “therapy” to colleagues years after leaving. 

🧠 Brainwave 🚀 or Brain Fart 💨 ?

In a brainwave, during the first lockdown, I mapped out issues people faced, from the most junior to the most senior members of companies. 

The most common issue that kept coming back in my spider diagram was the leadership and important decision-makers were “too busy”, too unapproachable or disconnected from the day to day to understand that the strategy was broken or the culture was failing. 

The business person in me knew there was an opportunity to help junior to senior members of companies with an anonymous way of getting in touch with me.
No one junior to mid-levels wants to email from their work email address that their company has issues and could be traced back. 

Often senior leaders do not want to be the first person to speak up or speak out against the consensus, sad but true. 

More than an unanswered agenda item

Even more common, sadly, company culture and strategy are agenda items on the ELT agenda or the MT agenda, they are often nudged down or deprioritised while firefighting other issues.

The Marketer in my head kept suggesting that people will want to contact the right person or people to help, particularly with company culture, so I created the anonymous textline, (a simple process really I brought a new virtual number, added to my mobile), where I do not use the name or number of the person who has reached out but some unique identifier and enough background to highlight the issue and the company would benefit from listening and creating conversation around the issues they were facing. 

I promoted out as a content marketing rather than advertising, I promoted via my newsletters, I tweeted, I shared on LinkedIn, I shared to industry leaders and waited for the flood of texts to come in. 

The flood never came. 

The honest truth, I have received 3 text messages in nine months:

  • One was too early for the company to tackle
  • Another was an agency that needs help but cannot sign off the budget due to corona
  • And the other wanted me to cold call without any information as they were in a unique place at the company. 

Why this story?

Some times the best idea even with decent distribution can be too early especially in a pandemic while everyone is just keeping their heads above the (troubled business) water, it can be too subtle, it can be mistimed or misplaced or it can be too easy for people to reach out for help.
Sometimes friction does help.

Or potentially a good idea needs to be made great by investing huge amount of paid advertising behind it to make it hit the critical mass. 

In life you can hit home runs, more regularly you have to stop, review, tweak and go again. 

In marketing and growth being prepared to go a few more rounds helps you standout and win vs other competitors who are short term thinkers, so the lesson is to deliver a great product offering or feature, be prepared to tweak, test and iterate and iterate again

So yes, the above actions is what I am going to do. 

I live, learn and hopefully going to liberate a number of company’s struggling.

FWIW: The anonymous textline number is +447480064060


My Digest Articles

A friend of my Ed Vinicombe has launched his new start up The Digest and it’s a content great platform around inspiring content and content to make you question what you are doing and how to improve. I have written a number of articles for The Digest and here are my first round of articles for you to read.

Start your own venture
My top 10 tips if you are looking to develop your own venture or go out on your own ? 10 tips on starting your own venture

Here are my tips on free blogging platforms ? Free blogging and publishing platforms you and your business can choose from

Content Marketing
In typical marketing style here are my top 5 content marketing predictions My top 5 content marketing predictions and the trends you should leverage in 2016

Business advice articles
My personal favourite article The simple 21 questions you should ask to understand your audience(s)

The task every manager should do The manager breakdown task

You know I love podcasts but here are my top podcasts My secret advantage: podcasts

The list of business books you should read The business books that helped my career


The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing. The Content Marketing Documentary

If you are into marketing and want to understand content marketing, this documentary from The Content Marketing Institute is definitely for you and in my personal opinion it’s a must watch and share for you and your business.

It covers:

  • the history of marketing
  • the point that marketers took content to marketing
  • the development of non branded content
  • the evolution from blunt marketing to telling stories
  • the true impact of technology and the opportunities it has made for marketers
  • the power shift from marketing to many to marketing to your actual audience
  • content marketing ROI
  • the move to video and interactive content
  • how to put your customers first
  • the education you will need to cover to move your brand into a dedicated content marketing brand
  • what the future might hold

The documentary includes thoughts from content marketing thought leaders such as Julie Fleischer, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose, Ann Handley, Scott Stratten, Jay Baer and Mark Schaefer.


Content Marketing Podcast with Render Positive

I was invited to be interviewed for Render Positives third video podcast. I really enjoyed their original podcast with ad legend Rory Sutherland (definitely check out his interview) and was great to be involved in this podcast.

My interview was just over an hour (kindly edited by the RP team) and covers:

  • Content marketing and my love for it
  • Becoming a “habit” in 2015
  • Social Media and the impact it has
  • Creating KPI’s, tracking campaign success for content marketing
    • How to win/borrow budget from other teams
    • What I think should come to market in 2015
    • My desire for content distribution app
  • My thoughts on top publications including VICE, Daily Mirror and Daily Mail
  • The future of apps
  • “New and popular” Social Networks:
    • Why instagram and Pinterest are great social networks and why they are going to be important for businesses this year
    • How to use Snapchat as a business and why you can
  • Behavioural Economics


As this was the first time I have been involved with a video podcast it was a really interesting experience and hope you enjoyed the video, if you would like the full transcript please jump over to the render positive post.

Please let me know what you think or if you agree with any of my points.

If you did not already see it my latest conference deck from #SearchLondon might really interest you.


Search London Organic Marketing Trends Deck

I was kindly invited to speak at the first #SearchLondon of 2015. The theme for the event was “trends in search in 2015” and had Googler Pierre Far as the second speaker. Pierre’s deck was named Google Indexing in 2015 and was really interesting for the tech SEO in me. It is always interesting to see/hear how Google employees answer questions, especially from SEO with potential issues. With my deck I wanted to cover off two main parts:
1. 2014 across all of organic marketing covering SEO, content marketing, social media and apps,
2. 2015 – I took a look in my crystal ball and offered my thoughts and predicted upcoming trends for 2015.
  • The slides you might want to skip to if you are in a rush:
  • Slides 4 – 25 2014 reviewed with commentary
  • Slides 29 & 30 for SEO trends
  • Slide 31 – What you should be doing for SEO in 2015
  • Slides 33 – 39 for social media trends and predictions (with a challenge for businesses)
  • Slides 43 – 53 for content marketing trends
If you would like to download my deck click the following link: Upcoming Trends for Organic Marketing in 2015 If you do not like emoji’s this deck probably was not for you but please let me know (through comments below or over on Twitter @dannydenhard) how your predictions match up to mine and if you agree or disagree. Final thought, where are you impacted here and where does your business want to position themselves? Final thoughts to consider in 2015
If you get chance definitely sign up to the next Search London event, the founders Jo and Tim are great and it is always good to support a smaller conference.

My Favourite Podcasts

As many people who know I am a bit of a podcast geek and listen to too many per week. I am often asked what podcasts I would recommend so here are my go to listens.

For Your Aural Pleasures:

Work Related:

Slightly more educational:

If you like something more deep, longer and entertaining Joe Rogan Experience is a great listen, if you do not like swearing or sports sometimes it might not be for you but I personally love it –
Check out my favourite recent podcast by Joe Rogan with UFC commentator, ex US Marine Brian Stann –


If you are into sports and sports banter definitely check out The Magic Sponge by Jimmy Bullard, Rob Beckett and special guests – 

Don’t judge me before you listen but the new Buzzfeed Internet Explorer podcast is really funny and well worth a listen to over on Soundcloud. Take a listen to Internet Explorer

Listen to my favourite so far:




My Content Marketing Predictions for 2015

Throughout my content marketing workshops and training courses this year, a number of CMO’s and business leads have asked me for my top content marketing predictions for 2015, so I wanted to put together my dedicated list for 2015 and beyond:

  • Audio
    • The rise and re-rise of podcasts will continue (thanks to serial) with supporting information and timelines being created to increase the desire for guided audio
    • Snackable content has been coined in 2014 but dedicated snackable content should raise in 2015 again, Soundcloud, stitcher, iTunes and unamo have all helped in this and allows very busy people (and the non readers) to stay on top of their favourite content. I expect this to continue to increase and the quality being extremely high.
  • Gifs: Use of gifs will increase and businesses will actively want to create more compelling and educational gifs (or should). Education, pharma and anything financial should look to create gifs to help educate and entertain your audiences.
  • Long form content: a large number of people are predicting death of long form however I have seen if content is of high standards or written particularly well people will spend the time to read and enjoy the piece and increases the likelihood of reading other articles and coming back to the site. I expect this to continue especially with larger sites ramping up their writing staff and improving their editorial guidelines. Sites such as the Verge, Medium and even Buzzfeed have really raised the bar and expect this to continue in 2015.
  • Video: I don’t mean long YouTube videos or really funny vine videos but video content that is interesting and answers questions very quickly. I think everyone wants to go into video but have been scared of costs or the message they want to put across, however there is no excuse in 2015 not to be able to produce good quality content for low costs.
  • Collaborative efforts: like what works in music, writing and now popular YouTube videos I see many companies and writers joining forces and creating great collaborative content and far ahead of the typical “boring” B2B content.
  • Mobile first content: we all know every year is the year of mobile however 2014 was the year mobile usage was the primary device for over 50% of users, there are two folds to mobile first IMHO:
    A. Improved mobile experience – has to happen and all good business leads will be forcing their teams to create and improve the experience on mobile.
    B. Mobile first – I think there will be many businesses and publishers will look to create mobile first content (so works on apps first, then their sites). Just remember 84% of time is spent on mobile apps over browsers.
  • Shorter social infographics: Infographics used to be expensive and became a SEO tactic, smaller much cheaper infographics. Infographics built for links will still happen but SEO and marketing teams need to understand infographics rarely generate top links you need or want.

As you might have noticed some of these predictions (or tips to some) are challenges to marketing departments and business as much as predictions.

For the wider industry I put together a quick deck highlighting where I think content marketing as an industry content marketing should (will) go into 2015 (hint expect expansion and structural change):

Happily let me know (in the comments or over on Twitter) what your predictions are for 2015.


Where content marketing is going in 2015

Content marketing has had a great 24 months or so, the last 12 months in particular has seen some the best content marketing to date and really has increased the status quo.

I got in touch with 12 industry leaders (ranging from agency leads, directors of their own firms, publication heads and designers) and asked them a series of questions to help people understand what they are doing, how they measure success, where challenges are in 2015, what their top recommendations are and what their top actionable tips are for the next 12 months.

Here are the finders and recommendations, you can also find it on my LinkedIn today.

If you would like a download of this to read offline please click the download button via Slideshare.

Let me know what your predictions and actionable tips are below.


The State Of Organic Search Going Into 2015

Something that many people want to know at the end of each year is what is the state of play within your vertical. I created six questions that I would question myself and then (as you do) asked these questions to 13 of the smartest minds in organic search/SEO, ranging from independent consultants, to heads and directors of departments to agency heads.

It turned into a 8k word monster resource and below is the embedded (and downloadable) version from slideshare.
If you would like to read it on my LinkedIn Pulse please find it here.

A massive thanks to: Dan Sharp, Patrick Hathaway, Simon Penson, Kevin Gibbons, Barry Adams, Matt Beswick, Paddy Moogan, Carl Hendy Stacey Cavanagh MacNaught,  Justin Butcher, Paul Rogers, Michael Briggs, Stephen Kenwright for being involved and answering the questions so honestly and providing real insights to the readers.



My predictions for 2015

To indulge myself a little I answered my own questions below. Please let me know what you think or if you disagree.

Q. With the number of high profile changes and algorithm updates in 2014, what do you think the most important thing will be to achieve success in 2015?

Holistic marketing, it is something a number of people have suggested over the last few years however it is even more important in 2015.

Links definitely still have their place, high value / high authority links will always be a key component in marketing but gaining them and gaining the desired links will be even more difficult in 2015.
Quality digestable (more than just sharable) content is going to be essential across all verticals and sites, companies have to raise their content status quo, there is no real excuse for boilerplate or low quality content into 2015.


Q. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015?

I would typically say gaining links but the biggest challenge for most businesses will be the ability to ensure their sites are working technically well and serve the best experience for users across all devices and cross browsers.
Over the last two years we have been challenged monthly by Google, the biggest challenge is keeping ahead of the curve and really delivery a great experience that pleases Google, keeps your bosses and clients happy by hitting aggressive targets and ensuring it helps long term success.


Q. Thinking about how you think your industry or clients industries are going, what’s the best piece of advice that you give all clients or perspective clients in coming weeks/months? 

Always be (optimising) marketing, always be auditing, test wisely and never stop improving user experience. Being static definitely is not enough, the need for instant information, answers and answering different questions from a single visit/session is essential and you can only do this by improving, analysing and testing.


Q. What do you predict will be the biggest change / or hardest hitting change will in 2015?

I think there will be a huge change in 2015. The influence of “Google Now” really is evident and answering questions and commonly asked queries within SERP’s is an indication of what is next. I predict the SERP’s to get a material facelift which will upset marketers and tools providers alike.
On an international scale Yandex introduced a completely new way of analysing sites I expect these types of activities to roll out across the other major international search engines.
Google has been aggressively pushing their app over the last six months and that’s a personalisation play and a play to move away from SERP’s as we know it, this trend is likely to continue. Alongside the app I see voice search becoming an important factor for many, especially as the way we search via voice is fundamentally different to how we search through text.
In 2015 the search versus discovery fight will be really interesting to watch.


Q. What’s your biggest prediction for organic marketing in 2015 and why is it important? 

Cross device happiness; making users happy across all devices is going to be essential. Cross device tracking is in its infancy and Google has a long way to catch up with Facebook. I can only see personalisation being taken to the next level and answers will become more personalised as Google want to be your personalised assistant/advisor.


Q. Lastly, if you were Google what would you do to improve quality and search results? 

I personally would address the increasing trend of locking content behind a question for users, it is a short sighted tactic from publishers however it is really annoying and typically seeing large sites rank with a really bad user experience.
I would look to reward sites that offers great experiences across all devices and apps, I think Google has the right data via tracking codes, Android and data collection via its apps (across other operating systems) to make a seamless personalised experience and reward sites them for this.


Catch My Training At The Content Marketing Show & BrightonSEO

I recently announced I was hosting the content marketing training at BrightonSEO, I am also hosting the ecommerce content marketing training again for the upcoming Content Marketing Show.

Both events are going to be held in Brighton.

BrightonSEO Info:
LOCATION: Brighton Dome
DATE: September 11, 2014
TIME: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

The Content Marketing Show:
LOCATION: Old Ship – Kings Rd Brighton
DATE: November 4, 2014
TIME: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

The last ecommerce content marketing course I hosted (In July) was a great session, the training had a very strong and diverse group, attendees were from large in-house teams and agency side.
So if you would like dedicated ecommerce content marketing training sign up to The Content Marketing Show, or if you would like wider Content Marketing training sign up to BrightonSEO.

Remember Rough Agenda events are always great, especially the training sessions before the main (free) events.

If you would like anymore detailed information on either course please click the relevant logos below:

BrightonSEO content marketing content marketing show


Alternatively if you would like personalised or professional content marketing training or advice, please enter your details below form and I would love to help you and your business develop:

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