How to Make Exceptional Communication Your Winning Difference

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote this tagline: “Remarkable business begins with remarkable communication.” That was a bedrock principle for me when I was starting out as a marketer. I still find it a bedrock principle of marketing, particularly content-driven marketing. This week, we got into a When, a Why, and a What for the kind of exceptional, empathetic communication that builds great businesses. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared her experience and advice on when to send article pitches and other “cold” (or at least not piping hot) requests by email. She also gives recommendations for when and how to follow up gracefully if you don’t hear back. Because email inboxes can be scary, scary places. On Tuesday, Loryn Cole explored why effective communication — with colleagues, employees, clients, or anyone else — is a lot like a growing garden. You can pull up […]

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What’s Really Broken in the ‘Content Marketing Playbook’

Sometimes it bums me out that we’ve become a culture of contrarians. Whether it’s Black Panther, 3D printing, or strawberry ice cream, there’s nothing so excellent that someone on the internet won’t tell you why you’re wrong for liking it. So sometimes it’s easy to miss the signals when a genuine problem does develop. And among the usual noise of “the thing you like sucks,” there’s been a fresh spate of articles on content marketing, talking about the “content marketing playbook” not working the way it used to. Unlike that guy who hated Black Panther (let’s face it, he was just wrong), there’s some substance to this. But it’s not something to panic over. In fact, it’s something to embrace. Does content marketing work like it used to? No. And this should come as a surprise to no one. If you aren’t familiar with Gartner’s Hype Cycle of Technology, you […]

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11 Ways to Stay an Alert Copywriter and Content Marketer (If Taking a Nap Isn’t an Option)

Well, this week was anything but sugarcoated. We got right into it. How do you stay motivated to do great work when you’re burned out, bored, or busy? On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared what to do when your eyes are tired from more than 15 years of professional proofreading. The technique she teaches works just as well for any proofreader, no matter how long you’ve been at the error-catching game. On Tuesday, Nick Usborne outlined five ways to keep your copywriting skills fresh. Nick has been a copywriter for 40 years, so check out the post to discover how he stays interested in his craft. On Wednesday, Belinda Weaver dished out five excellent tips for anyone who has non-negotiable time constraints. Managing your time like a pro can transform any seemingly stressful situation into one that builds confidence in your work ethic. And you need a strong work ethic if […]

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Sharpen Your Writing and Content Focus for Materially Better Results

Our culture glorifies being busy. But we don’t always glorify spending time on the right things. This week was about spending your time and effort intentionally. About getting more powerful results, without necessarily putting in a lot more hours. It’s not always easy to work on the right things over the familiar things, but it’s usually the way to make real progress. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman set out to help you sharpen up your content by focusing on one slice of your audience — the ones who read and take action. On Tuesday, Brian Clark shared his most important 10 secrets to becoming a better writer. This one has multiple formats that you can print out or even embed on your own site. And on Wednesday, I talked about some of the ways you can repurpose your existing well-thought-out content into new formats to reach your audience in new ways […]

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How to Improve Audience Engagement Without Writing 10 Times More Content

The answer to, “How do I get more engagement, more traffic, more search engine authority, more sales,” or more of anything else of what you want is often: “Publish more content.” But there comes a point when creating more content is a recipe for flat-out exhaustion. I had a fun conversation with copywriter and teacher Belinda Weaver last week, which you can check out on the Copyblogger FM podcast: How Copywriting Teacher Belinda Weaver Reenergized Her Email List for Massive Engagement. She had a great archive of blog posts, but they weren’t really doing much for her business or her audience. Robert Bruce, in a site review over at Rainmaker Digital Services, gave her some advice: Take that content, turn it into an ultra-engaging email sequence, and load up your autoresponder. (For more details on that, give the podcast a listen — Belinda shares lots of the details that made […]

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Fire Up Your Creative Courage and Reach Your Audacious Goals

It’s a funny thing — so many of the most gifted and capable people wrestle the hardest with impostor syndrome and self-doubt. And often, the biggest barrier between you and your ambitious goals is your own head. This week, we offered resources to get your confidence kickstarted and your creative brain humming. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored why the hardest working, most professional writers aren’t always the ones who jump into freelancing. (If this is you, you might be a lot better at it than you imagine.) On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson shared eight effective ways to bring powerful visual elements to your content — even if you don’t think of yourself as a “visual person.” This is a great way to add polish and impact to your work, and it’s easier than you think. And on Wednesday, I announced our new book club selection — Austin Kleon’s Keep Going. If […]

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Copyblogger Book Club: Stay Creatively Productive (Even on Crappy Days)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but keeping your creative confidence going is hard. Our friend Austin Kleon has one of those creative practices we all envy — a robust, consistent work ethic that’s paid off in a New York Times bestselling book and the kind of audience that would be a “cult following” if it wasn’t so darned … huge. His latest book, Keep Going, is really good, and I was lucky enough to catch Austin at a book signing in April. I knew Keep Going would be perfect for the Copyblogger book club. The book isn’t about making the creative life easy. “Everything got better for me when I made peace with the fact that it might not ever get easier. The world is crazy. Creative work is hard. Life is short and art is long.” – Austin Kleon, Keep Going It’s about … well, keeping going, even […]

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Creative Self-Care to Keep Your Writing Mojo Strong

We content marketers are strategic types — but we’re creative as well, and that creative side needs nurturing. This week, we offered tips and practices for creative self-care, so you can keep producing extraordinary work. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared five unconventional ways to meet your deadlines — and banish the “flaky creative” stereotype for good. On Tuesday, Claire Emerson outlined 10 ways to make progress on your big projects — even when paying gigs or daily obligations seem like they’re gobbling up every second of your time. (I’m a big fan of the second item on Claire’s list — it seems like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in how you approach those intimidating projects.) And on Wednesday, author Karl Staib swung by to suggest a creative self-care 30-day challenge — using a practice you might not associate with professional productivity. On the podcast, I […]

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How to Meet (and Exceed) Your Creative Content Goals

Why is it so hard to produce good content? Because creative work is uniquely draining … and uniquely rewarding, too. Smart writers know that the right creative practices will keep you motivated and productive. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about mastering the part of editing that has nothing to do with grammar, spelling, or punctuation. It’s the thoughtful, human element that no app can ever hope to reproduce. On Tuesday, Stefanie joined us again to talk about six behaviors that build trust when you work with a creative team — including making one another’s lives easier and even listening to the voices inside your head. And on Wednesday, I wrote about 10 business goals that take good content and turn it into good content marketing. Because if you’re going to put the work in, you might as well get the results you’re after. I’ve got more strategy for you on […]

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10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing

Ever wonder why content marketing works so well for some businesses — but doesn’t seem to do anything at all for others? Curious about why some content that seems great doesn’t do anything to build a business? “Content is king” has been an online cliché for years now, but it’s not true. It’s never been true. Content all by itself — even terrific content — is just content. It may be entertaining. It may be educational. It may contain the secret to world peace and fresh, minty breath, all rolled into one. But it has no magical powers. It won’t transform your business or get you where you need to go, until you add one thing … Content marketing is a meaningless exercise without business goals. What makes content marketing work? To make content work, you need to understand your marketing and business goals. Then you can create content that […]

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Creating ‘Craft Content’ for Remarkable Business Results

The term “craft” is a modern trend indicating something that’s been put together with care, appealing to select palates. In… Continue Reading The post Creating ‘Craft Content’ for Remarkable Business Results appeared first on Copyblogger. Read_More Related posts: Is Creating Online Tools Better Than Writing Content? Thoughtful Elements of Distinguished Content Marketing Ten Expert Tips for Creating a Viral Content in 2018 3 Resources for Creating More Courageous Content Using Empathy and Connection to Craft More Powerful Content Craft a Deliciously Effective Content Marketing Strategy with a Farm-to-Table Approach 4 Ways to Craft Content that Earns Audience Attention How This Woman’s Remarkable Life Helped Her Demystify Business for Underserved Entrepreneurs

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3 Ways Thoughtful Writers Use Tone to Build Loyal Audiences

“I don’t like your tone.” You’ve heard the adage, It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. (Actually, if you want to get your message across, you should pay careful attention to both what you say and how you say it.) When we communicate with our fellow humans, tone of voice helps us convey meaning. That’s what allows my son, in the time-honored tradition of 13-year-olds, to infuse his monosyllabic agreement to take the dog out with a rich sense of suffering and forbearance. But text has to work harder. If you use the social web at all, you probably see someone put their digital foot in their mouth virtually every day by making poor word choices. Add to that the fact that there’s a political or potentially controversial subtext that can be attached to almost any statement, and it starts to feel like a minefield out there. […]

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Serious Writing Advice for a Foolish Week

I may be the last person who really enjoys April Fools’ Day … maybe because I was already a fan of taking a moment to fact-check what you find on the internet. Copyblogger has a long tradition of celebrating the first of April with a bit of nonsense. Stefanie Flaxman stepped up this year with her announcement of our new content publication app, Pooblíche. I still think “If your content’s rubbish, it won’t let you publish” is our best tagline ever. On Tuesday, Brian Clark talked about using the Rule of Three to make your writing more memorable and engaging. (Note to self: Use the number three for my next list post.) And on Wednesday, we returned to shenanigans with a republish of my April Fools’ Day post from 2014, Announcing RealWriter. Over on the podcast, Robert Bruce joined us again to chat about a cornerstone practice that too many […]

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Announcing: A Breakthrough Resource for Your Content Creation

Finally, after years of clumsy, clunky automated tools for “spinning,” scraping, regurgitating, and extruding low-quality content, we’ve found a solution. This resource produces sharp, smart, audience-engaging content every time. Over time, it even calibrates itself to produce more effective headlines, to tailor content to the precise needs of your audience and customers, and to automatically generate semantically relevant alternative keyword phrases. We’re calling this resource RealWriter — and if you don’t implement it in your content marketing strategy, you’re missing out. RealWriter offers some incredible improvements over earlier content automation solutions. RealWriter is optimized to create content that audiences care about RealWriter uses advanced algorithms including RealEmpathy, RealResearch, and RealListening to craft content that actually makes your audience more engaged and helps them develop positive emotional associations with your company. In fact, regular use of RealWriter can create a 743% lift in your audience’s connection, enjoyment, skin tone, cardiovascular fitness, […]

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Does Your Content Spark Joy? Try These Handcrafted Tips for Quality Content

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger. She writes about content marketing strategy here, and about creativity, the craft of writing, and creative productivity at Remarkable Communication. If you like audio content, you can hear Sonia’s takes on marketing and business on the Copyblogger FM podcast. Read_More Related posts: A Potent New Content Tool and the Power of “No” Thoughtful Elements of Distinguished Content Marketing Are You Making These Authority-Crushing Mistakes with Your Content? 3 Areas of Focus for Consistently High-Quality Content Why Strategy Is Key for Generating Backlinks with Quality Content Spark Your Next Breakthrough Copy Insight with Systematic Listening The Only Thing More Important Than Quality Content 12 Easy Tweaks that Could Lead to Outsized Improvement in Your Content and Writing

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Craft a Deliciously Effective Content Marketing Strategy with a Farm-to-Table Approach

If you’re in the mood for a special dinner and you have a farm-to-table restaurant in your city, it might be one of your favorite options. The farm-to-table movement promises locally sourced, fresh, delicious things, prepared with care and served enticingly. I’ve recently started using “farm-to-table” to describe my approach to content marketing, and here’s why. Great ingredients No matter what kind of food you like, from a fancy restaurant to a great taco truck, excellent meals start with excellent ingredients. For copywriters and content marketers, there’s no more valuable ingredient than a profound understanding of your potential customer. That’s why great copywriters and smart businesspeople are obsessed with their audiences. It’s really hard to create a delicious meal without fresh, delicious ingredients. And it’s almost impossible to put together a high-converting content marketing strategy unless you’ve collected lots of fresh, delicious customer details to inform the words you put […]

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21 Recommendations for Spending Your Content Marketing Time Wisely

One enduring challenge with content marketing is how quickly it can turn into the content treadmill. This week, we’ve got 21 recommendations for specific ways you can make your content marketing do its job — without consuming every minute of your time. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared seven content projects you might take on if you were handling marketing for your local coffee shop. (The post also features both Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen quotes. #ftw) On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson came by to help us avoid the perils of cringeworthy stock photos in our content. (You know the ones. Who is that lady, and why does eating salad make her laugh?) Pamela will help you choose imagery that feels natural, that evokes the right emotional reaction for your audience, and that avoids the whole “people in suits jumping in the air” cheese factor. And on Wednesday, I answered a question […]

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10 Things Your Content Marketing Strategy Must Include

With last year’s sale of our StudioPress division, I found myself with something I hadn’t seen in a long time — bandwidth. And to my surprise, what I really felt called to do was work with clients again, sharing what I’ve learned over the last decade as Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer for Copyblogger Media. One great thing about client work is you immediately see themes and recurring motifs come up in conversations. We’ve talked on the blog for years about the benefits of taking the time to create an in-depth, documented content marketing strategy before jumping into writing. And when I bring this up in conversations, I notice that the immediate follow-up question is nearly always: “Er, what does an in-depth, documented content marketing strategy actually look like?” Here are my recommendations for 10 elements that make sense in a solid content marketing strategy. You may have additional thoughts, […]

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Tactics and Strategies that Help You Look (and Think) Like a Pro

This week, we’ve got a bunch of tips, tactics, and strategies to help you get more out of the work you do behind that keyboard. While the promise of the internet seems limitless, the reality is that you still have to make meaningful connections and help potential customers understand your worth — just like every brick-and-mortar business does. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman outlined the process of going from idea to useful product or service and on to a viable business. She shows how to use content to experiment and test ideas, as well as to connect with the audience that will go on to become your most loyal customers. If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, you know that expectation doesn’t always match reality. Expectation might be 9–5 and business casual, but freelancers know that some days it’s 5:00 p.m. before you have time to put on pants. Fortunately, whether or […]

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Copyblogger Book Club: Master Content Strategy

You might have noticed that we tend to be pretty big on content marketing strategy around here. “Throw a ton of content onto the blog and hope someone likes it” is not a strategy. “Publish a bunch of listicles based on what we think our keywords probably are” is not a strategy. Even publishing tons of content that people love is not actually a strategy. (Although strategy is a good way to get there.) Many businesses, large and small, know that “content marketing is a thing,” so they bring on a writer to throw together some posts and wait for the magic results to happen. If you’ve tried this out, you know that it’s a long, long wait. Our one-time colleague Pamela Wilson knows a ton about solid content marketing — she even wrote a book about it. And her newest companion book is just as powerful. It’s called Master […]

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