For Courageous Content Creators Who Want to Do Epic Work

When I started blogging, a little over 10 years ago, one of my then-colleagues mentioned that she “didn’t have the software to read blogs.” Today, the landscape is a little different. Blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, and other content formats are being consumed at an astonishing rate — and an equally astonishing volume of new content is being generated to fill that demand. The content landscape isn’t some mythical blue ocean lacking in competition. It’s a teeming jungle — with plenty to eat, and plenty that wants to eat you. To make it in the content jungle, you need courage. The courage to stand out, the courage to get real about your values, and the courage to create over the long haul. This week, we’ve got fuel for your content courage. One reason creativity and self-expression are difficult is that we’re afraid someone will be mean to us over what we […]

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Why You’re Missing Out if You Save Your Best Content Ideas

Imagine this, if you will. An old woman, near the end of her life. Shivering in a fleabag apartment without heat in the winter. Walking four miles each way to the food bank, to carry home unmarked cans of mystery meat. Not even a cat to keep her company, because cat food is expensive. Then one day she dies, and the neighbors find $2.7 million wadded up in her mattress. It’s a natural human impulse to hold on to what we have. We figure we can handle whatever discomforts we might be facing now, and who knows how bad it could get down the line? So we hoard, saving up our riches for some mythical later time. What does this have to do with writing? Everyone who writes faces this at some point. We come up with a powerful idea, something we think will capture a lot of attention. This […]

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38 Ways to Boost Your Content Confidence … Every Time You Publish

The life of a content marketer is always intense. The deadlines, the flow of ideas, the juggling of writing, promotion, and business needs. To keep producing, you need to protect your content confidence. And this week, we shared 38 ways to do that. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman outlined 12 of the triple-checks we do at Copyblogger to make sure that every post goes into the world making an excellent impression. (I messed up #5 once and I was mortified. If only I’d had Stefanie’s checklist in front of me!) On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson showed us how to take a just-okay image and crop it so it tells a compelling story — and increases the immediate impact of your content. Smart images will help your good writing get the shares and attention it deserves. And on Wednesday, I talked about 10 ways to fall in love with your blog (or podcast, […]

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Bored with Your Blog? These 10 Tips Will Make You Fall in Love Again

Content marketing is a long game. In one way, that’s excellent — because all of your lazy or undisciplined competitors are going to drop out. In another way, it sucks, because we all have days when we’re lazy and undisciplined. In the early days, we can get by on adrenaline and enthusiasm. But as the months pass, we need some strategies to stay in love with that blog, video channel, or podcast. Here are 10 strategies I’ve found helpful when you don’t want to quit, but you need to get a little bit of the magic back. 1. Read outside your topic When you’re mastering a new subject, it’s only natural to immerse yourself in it. You’ll read, watch, and listen to content obsessively while you pick up nuances and new ideas. It’s a bit of a honeymoon with your topic … you can’t keep your hands off of it. […]

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7 Ways to Compliment Your Written Text Content with Online Video

Blog content works wonders if you know how to effectively promote it and rank it in the search results. The main problem is that most bloggers and content creators are simply focused on creating content and then not putting in the time, work, and effort to actually promote. This is a direct path to failure for many reasons, such as: Wasted time being spent on publishing 500-word articles Not having evergreen content you can refer to time and time again Scattering your SEO and link building efforts all over the place A better way to create content for your site or brand, is to make sure you are covering as much content as possible, while also staying niche specific and having a call to action in the process. It’s also best to publish content that has at least 1,500 words of content, and is something that you can refer to […]

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What It Takes to Launch the Next Great Blog, Podcast, or Video Channel

This week, we had some resources for any new, ambitious content-based project you want to get off the ground. (Or one you’d like to push forward in a big way.) As is our tradition at Copyblogger, the team took time off on Memorial Day to honor the sacrifices of those who have given their lives in military service, and to take time for family, community, and gratitude. On Tuesday, Brian Clark helped us get out of the overwhelm that comes when we’re launching a new blog — because there’s a lot to think about, and road maps are useful things. (Pro tip: You can use the exact same steps to launch a podcast, a YouTube channel, or any other big content-based project.) He spells out a three-step blueprint for a brilliant blog launch. One of Brian’s steps is to build relationships with other publishers in your topic — but this […]

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A 3-Step Blueprint for a Brilliant Blog Launch

Launching a brand-new blog is exciting. But it can also be awfully lonely for up to a year as you build readership, unless you plan to begin with a bang. So, here are my thoughts on doing just that. This strategy does not require you to have an existing audience to use as a springboard. In fact, I’m assuming you’re starting cold. The blog-launch blueprint consists of three steps: Cornerstone Networking Attraction 1. Cornerstone: Build your blog on a firm foundation Your cornerstone content is the foundation of your blog — the information any visitor needs to get the most out of following your blog. It enhances the user experience and should also be one of the primary search terms you hope to rank for. I suggest doing a series of posts tied together on a landing page, as I did with Copywriting 101 when I started Copyblogger in 2006. […]

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You Suck at Blogging: Here’s How to Fix That

Everyone and their mother have a blog on their website. This is probably why there are 1.7 billion websites on the web right now. 90% of those people don’t know how to write a blog (my estimation). And probably a good number think they do know how to write a blog. The question is, how many of those people are driving traffic with their content? Bad news is, you’re one of those people most likely. And you’re not seeing any traffic because of your blog. You’re probably thinking right now, “blogging is a waste of time. I’ve put in tons of time and seen few results.” Right now, we’re going to change your mind. Here’s how to stop sucking at blogs. 1. Be on Time You might think I’m talking about setting a schedule and sticking to it. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Consistency is key to building an […]

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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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When to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails)

It feels good when you’ve done your research before pitching an article idea to an editor: You know the publication’s audience. You know your topic offers value in unique ways. You know the editor’s content preferences and pet peeves. But you’re not done yet. Although hitting the “send” button on your email seems like an inconsequential step in your article-pitching process, pause before you take that action. That moment of excited impatience could spoil all of the important research you’ve just performed. Caution: avoid these days of the week Have you ever suggested a fun activity to a friend, significant other, or family member when they’re in a bad mood … and they immediately decline? Although they typically would love your idea, you’ve asked them at a time when they don’t want to be bothered. I compare that experience to submitting an article pitch to an editor on a Friday […]

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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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3 Examples of How to Promote Your Brand with Targeted Blog Content

Blog content works wonders if you know how to effectively promote it and rank it in the search results. The main problem is that most bloggers and content creators are simply focused on creating content and then not putting in the time, work, and effort to actually promote. This is a direct path to failure for many reasons, such as: Wasted time being spent on publishing 500-word articles Not having evergreen content you can refer to time and time again Scattering your SEO and link building efforts all over the place A better way to create content for your site or brand, is to make sure you are covering as much content as possible, while also staying niche specific and having a call to action in the process. It’s also best to publish content that has at least 1,500 words of content, and is something that you can refer to […]

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Every Audience Has This in Common (Use It to Stay Hyper-Relevant)

It doesn’t matter if you create content about minimalism or motorcycles. Every audience has these three sub-groups: People who read your content. People who read and share your content. People who take action on the advice you provide in your content. The sub-groups aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, those who apply your advice to their own situations obviously read your content — and they might regularly share it as well. In order to continually appeal to the people who are most likely to become your clients and customers, though, let’s hold a magnifying glass up to the “take action” group. Add a sophistication filter So, what are you going to write about next? It seems like a straightforward question, but it’s often challenging to narrow down your ideas and pick one you feel good about. Here’s where you can use the “people who take action on the advice you provide […]

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How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content

What’s so magical about the number three? It’s no accident that the number three is pervasive throughout some of our greatest stories, fairy tales, and myths. It’s also no coincidence that some of the most famous quotes throughout history are structured in three parts, nor is it surprising that the Rule of Three also works wonders in the world of comedy. It all comes down to the way we humans process information. We have become proficient at pattern recognition by necessity, and three is the smallest number of elements required to create a pattern. This combination of pattern and brevity results in memorable content, and that’s why the Rule of Three will make you a more engaging writer. Storytelling Have you ever wondered: What the Three Little Pigs, the Three Blind Mice, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Musketeers, the Three Wise Men, and the Three Stooges have in […]

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But What Are You Going to Do About It?

Over on Beyond the Rhetoric a while back, I blogged about some common sayings that annoy me. Words matter. For example, it really bugs me when people say something like “it’s my Friday” on a Wednesday. Sorry Irene. Just because you work a non-traditional schedule doesn’t mean you get to rename and redefine the days of the week. If that were the case, as a self-employed freelance writer and professional blogger, every day of the week is both my Monday and my Friday. And another one of those phrases that really bothers me (but for a completely different reason) is “it is what it is.” You’ve surely heard it. You may have even said it yourself; I know I have. But it bugs me, because it perpetuates this diea that you’re just a helpless and hapless victim. That life is simply something that happens to you and you’re just a […]

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A Profoundly Simple Lesson from the 34th US President

Before you head off to Google who the 34th President of the United States is, I’ll just go ahead and tell you here. It’s Dwight D. Eisenhower. His predecessor to the highest office in all the land was Harry Truman and he was followed by John F. Kennedy in 1961. He served as a five-star general and his time as President was largely dominated by the Cold War, as well as the Korean War. No, you haven’t accidentally stumbled across some blog about US history, but I thought it was worthwhile to provide just a bit of context into what we’ll be talking about today. And what we’re going to talk about is a strategy for handling all the things that you want to do with the limited time and resources that you have available to you. Dwight D. Eisenhower is often quoted as saying, “I have two kinds of […]

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How to Split-Test Your Lead Magnets for More Opt-ins

It’s important that you regularly test different elements of your website to make sure it’s optimized for increased conversions and boosted business. A/B split testing your lead magnets will show you what consumers respond to and what they don’t care for so you can streamline the customer experience. Split testing is when you show consumers two different versions of an optin to see which one converts more visitors and receives more clicks and interactions. For your lead generation strategy, you need to make sure you split test your lead magnets to see what’s bringing in eager subscribers and what’s turning them away. Let’s go further in-depth on how you can split test your lead magnets so you get better results. 1. Know your audience Before you can jump in and start creating different variables of your lead magnet to test, you need to know how your current visitors are interacting […]

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What to Expect In Your First 15 Days of Blogging

Day 1: Make Sure Blog Setup Before Launching Launching your very first blog can have you on the edge of your seat. This is a very exciting time and it’s natural to want to jump the gun and post your content as soon as it’s ready. However, you need to ensure that you’ve included a few necessities before you officially post your website for the world to see. Your website should include an About Us page as well as Contact Information section. You’ll also need to pay attention to the design. WordPress can help set you up with a free themed design that will assist you to add a little flair to your site. Once your site is up and running Feedburner is a fantastic tool to help you keep track of your RSS feed and Google Analytics will track the number of readers who visit your site. Take time […]

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8 Best WordPress Plugins for Affiliate Marketers

Out of all of the ways to work online, affiliate marketing is perhaps one of the most lucrative ways to make some serious cash. Essentially, affiliate marketing is when an online retailer pays another website when they bring sales their way. For example, if you decide to work on an affiliate program through Amazon, you’ll review/discuss products available on their website and provide a special link. When your readers click your special link and make a purchase, you make some of the money that comes in from their purchase. After you create a series of strong landing pages, it can become a rapidly growing money machine. There are some people that make residual money for years after they review a product. When you’re creating your website, it’s important that you use the best plugins that blend seamlessly with an affiliate marketing strategy. We have 8 of the best plugins for […]

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Why You Should Never Doubt the Value of Human Curation

For better or for worse, we live in the age of the algorithm. Remember when you used to log into your Facebook account and you’d be presented strictly with a reverse chronological view of your “news feed.” And when you “liked” or “followed” a business page, you’d be shown every one of their posts in the same way that you’d see all of your friends’ posts in that same reverse chronological view? Those days are gone. Remember when you’d go over to YouTube and the front page would be populated with content from your subscribed channels? That page still exists, but it’s not at the front anymore. Instead, you’re shown videos and channels that the algorithm *thinks* that you’d like. And that can be a good thing for discovery, but much like the Facebook algorithm, it’s also how you fall deeper and deeper into an echo chamber. You keep being […]

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