Get It All Now: Best of the Best Sale Is Open

If you’ve been reading the blog and listening to Copyblogger FM the past couple of weeks, you’ll know that we’re going in a different direction with our education platform. And yet, we still have a ton of current training products that are vital to your digital marketing and sales skill set. So what to do? We’ve decided to retire our current educational lineup next week … but not before making it all available to you one last time at a great, low price. Which you can take advantage of right now, because our Best of the Best of Copyblogger Sale is now open. To join our private education community for digital entrepreneurs, professional writers, and content marketers, just click the button below: Get the Best of the Best of Copyblogger “Copyblogger is the bible of content marketing.” – VentureBeat This is your chance to establish a strong educational foundation that […]

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The Simple Way to Get Everything You Want

I want to tell you a story about two women. One is my hairdresser and the other is my massage therapist. Of the two, I have a stronger connection with my massage therapist. I see her more often, she’s closer to my age, and well, there’s just a certain bond that develops when you get naked that often with a person. But my hairdresser once asked me to recommend her for a “best of” list our local TV station was running. She didn’t cajole, bribe, beg, threaten, or promise me a free haircut. She just said, “Hey, if you think about it, would you mind logging into this site and giving me a review? I like her, so I went home and did it. Took me about three minutes. A few weeks later, I noticed that my massage therapist had a banner over her business saying that she was mentioned […]

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Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking?

Whether you’re trying to solve a tough problem, start a business, get attention for that business, or write an interesting article, creative thinking is crucial. The process boils down to changing your perspective and seeing things differently than you currently do. People like to call this “thinking outside of the box,” but that’s the wrong way to look at it. Just like Neo needed to understand that “there is no spoon” in the film The Matrix, you need to realize “there is no box” to step outside of. You create your own imaginary boxes simply by living life and accepting certain things as “real” when they are just as illusory as the beliefs of a paranoid delusional. The difference is, enough people agree that certain man-made concepts are “real,” so you’re viewed as “normal.” This is good for society overall, but it’s that sort of unquestioning consensus that inhibits your […]

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Update Your Focus to Work Hard on the Right Things

Last week, I affirmed that “hard work is luck.” However, what if you work hard and aren’t seeing any progress or results? What if hard work just leads to you feeling disappointed and ready to give up? Before you actually do give up, it’s helpful to take a look at the activities that consume your time and attention. Why do some people who work hard succeed, and some don’t? I think those who “work hard and succeed” are open to a variety of pathways that will help them reach their goals. They are flexible and don’t have a fixed mindset about the work they should be doing or a rigid definition of success. In other words, those who “work hard but don’t succeed” might work hard on the wrong things and ignore other versions of success within reach. It’s not the most exciting truth, but we have to crawl before […]

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How Serious Writers Expand Their Audiences with Guest Blog Posts

Note: While we encourage you to explore guest posting to grow your audience, Copyblogger does not currently accept guest post submissions. But don’t worry, these pointers are useful for any publication. In my first edition of the Copyblogger Weekly, I mentioned a running joke Sonia Simone and I have: that she rejected the first guest post I submitted to Copyblogger. (If you’re not already subscribed to the Weekly, sign up here to get a short note from me straight to your inbox every Thursday.) Today, I’m going to share that story to shed some light on the delicate nature of writer-editor relationships. Let’s take it back to 2008 … When I began developing my personal guest posting strategy, Copyblogger sat atop my “Where I Want to Guest Post” list. Five years later, I achieved my goal. So, how did I spend the time between May 2008 and May 2013, when […]

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A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Content Each Week

Good morning, you epic article writer, you. That’s right, I’m talking to you. You publish content to attract new prospects, to build trust with them — word by word — so you can get down to business. And you do it in your slippers. Because shoes are optional in our world, right? Your shoes might be fuzzy, but your words need to be consistently remarkable. Consistently good content that builds an audience is the foundation of online business. But how can you make that happen? Well, one option is to drink lots of coffee and stay up late the night before you publish your post, stifling yawns and squinting to see your screen. But the better option is to spread out the writing and editing process over a few leisurely days, and write your post in stages without ever getting out of your slippers. Sound good? Quality over quantity That’s […]

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7 Steps to Grow a Blog Post

Sometimes it seems like writers are magicians, because we have the power to create something out of nothing. An important point to note about magicians, though: They don’t really do magic. 🙂 Instead, they study and practice specific behaviors until they can create that illusion of creating something out of nothing. And of course, all creative people do the same. We study and we practice our craft, making consistent improvements and (if we’re lucky) building habits that lead to more consistent output. Today’s post will help with the “consistent output” part. I don’t think I’m alone in finding Starting the hardest part of writing. We don’t know what we’re going to work on. We’re not sure what the structure will be. We don’t have the first sentence yet. The ideas are all running around in our heads like kittens with ADD, and we have no idea how to get them […]

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Join the Copyblogger Renaissance to Pursue the Career You’re Meant to Have

If you told me 10 years ago that one day I’d be taking over writing Copyblogger’s weekly newsletter from Sonia Simone, I’d have said: “In what fantasy world? I don’t know her, and she didn’t review the guest post I submitted.” (True story.) But I believe four simple words: Hard work is luck. Long story short, Sonia and I did eventually connect and have had a great working relationship for the past five years. I’m honored she passed the baton keyboard to me and I now get to talk with you every week, in addition to the other posts I write on the blog. This week, we took Monday off to observe Labor Day in the United States. On Tuesday, Brian Clark talked about why he’s returned to Copyblogger. He shared behind-the-scenes stories about the company and what we have in store going forward. For even more details, check out […]

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The Content Crossroads: Supernatural Success at the Intersection of Ideas

Do you know what happens down at the crossroads? Legend has it that Robert Johnson — the most famous of the Delta blues musicians from the 1930s — took his second-hand guitar and went down to the crossroads in the middle of the night. When the young plantation worker returned home, his guitar skills had taken a quantum leap. The overnight improvement in Johnson’s playing wasn’t just significant; it was supernatural. Something strange happened down at that crossroads. Word got around that Johnson ventured to the crossroads to meet the Devil himself, and sold his soul to become the best blues guitarist who ever lived. Sure enough, less than a year later, Robert Johnson was the king of the Delta bluesmen, and created, played, and sang the greatest blues anyone had ever heard. Johnson is now known as the “Grandfather of Rock and Roll,” and has influenced artists ranging from […]

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Ask MarketingSherpa: Finding and hiring content marketing writers

We frequently receive questions from our email subscribers asking marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in a one-to-one email communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of these conversations here on the MarketingSherpa blog so they can help other readers as well. If you have any questions, let us know.   Dear MarketingSherpa: What factors should I consider when hiring a content marketing writer? Do you have any recommendations for content writing services or other ways of finding content marketing writers? We produce a lot of content internally but are aiming to scale by outsourcing. We’ve used a few providers in the past (freelance writers and an online writers’ marketplace, for example) and currently use a content writing agency, though I’d welcome any other suggestions.   Dear Reader: From our limited experience, there is no content writing service that is head and shoulders above the rest for every […]

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A Farewell and Some Advice to Keep You Moving Forward

Well, our big news this week is that I’m going to be moving to a more solo career. The ultra capable Darrell Vesterfelt will be taking over my partnership interest in Copyblogger Media. It’s a huge step for all of us, but it also feels like a natural evolution. It helps a lot that I think Darrell is going to crush it. 🙂 But Copyblogger has never been about only one person. (OK, apart from those very early days when Brian kept it all afloat himself.) And we still have advice and strategies for you! On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman helped us through a painful moment — when a prospect chooses a competitor over our solution. And she explores the ways we can build trust in our prospects, becoming a complete package that they prefer over any other option. On Tuesday, Robert Bruce talked about a brutal problem that writers face […]

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The Art of Finding Ideas

Every writer who has ever lived has lusted after ideas. Where are they, how do I get them, and how do I keep them coming? If you’ve been writing long enough, you know that — like Solomon — there is nothing new under the sun. Try as you might to sweat them out of your head or pull them gently from the stars above, there are no new ideas. So, relax. But the page is not going to write itself, is it? Where then do we turn for ideas that work, ideas that move, ideas that persuade? In short, we “steal” them. The moment you free yourself from The Cult of Originality, you realize that original ideas do not come from within. They are given to us, from without. A writer should not look inside, but outside, at external sources, stories, events, and emotions. If you’re offended that I’d suggest […]

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Why Your Prospect Chooses Your Competitor

You had trouble sleeping again last night. Up until the time you got into bed, you were looking at their Twitter feed, their YouTube channel, and their website. It’s your competitor. You’re completely preoccupied with everything they do … and for a seemingly good reason. Their customer base seems to keep growing and they keep expanding their offerings, while you’re just trying to keep your head above water. You constantly ask yourself: “What will it take for my business to be viewed like theirs?” While it’s natural for that question to arise in your mind, it may stifle your progress if you’re thinking in terms of duplicating their marketing efforts. Prospects don’t want to see a carbon copy of another business and you don’t want to obsess about competitors anymore, so I’m going to show you how you can immediately become energized about and sharply focused on your own marketing […]

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Changes You Can Make in 10 Minutes for Exceptionally Effective Copy

Sure, professional writers spend a lot of time on our craft. As we should. But it’s also nice to have a few fast tweaks to make your content and copy a lot more effective. This week, we offered three ways to make your persuasive writing work a lot better … without spending a zillion more hours on it. In fact, you can implement all three of these tweaks in about 10 minutes, every time you publish. (You can also spend a little more time and really make them sing … it’s up to you.) On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared a foundational technique every content marketer should be using — strategically managing your internal content links. It seems simple (and it is), but it has outsized benefits for the time you put in. Typical time investment: 3 minutesPayoff: Improved authority, significantly better audience experience, SEO benefits On Tuesday, Brian Clark reminded […]

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The Brilliantly Sneaky Trick You Must Learn

Are your readers doing what you want them to do? Are they signing up for your email newsletter, registering for your membership site, or downloading your ebook? If not, you need to learn a master craftsman’s copywriting secret. This technique acts like a remote control to get your readers to take action. Press this “magic button” and you’ll see your results improve dramatically. The secret, masters-only technique to compelling your readers to act is to … Ask them. Annoyed? Think I’m pulling your leg? There’s nothing magical or tricky to getting someone to do something just by asking them, right? That’s completely obvious. And most copy doesn’t do it. Which is why most copy gets weak results. Persuasive writing needs a strong call to action The advice to “always ask them” has been turned into a heroic-sounding marketing term called the call to action, as if trumpets were sounding and […]

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Inbound Marketing: Do you care about the quality of your brand’s content?

If I had to break down the world of content marketing into two groups, it would be these: Those who care about the quality of their content And those who don’t Ouch. Seeing those words in writing, my statement is a little harsh. So let me try to rephrase: Those who only see content as a means to an end And those who view content as an (often free) product that should have value in and of itself To further refine this split, we could say there are two content marketing approaches we can simply label: Of course, every piece of content offers some level of value. You need a certain level of consistent production for even the most high-quality content. And there are shades of gray between the two extremes. That said, I’ve noticed more and more of a focus on the “high quantity/means-to-an-end” approach as the content marketing […]

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Little-Known Ways to Write Fascinating Bullet Points

Oh, those magical bullet points. What would blog posts, sales letters, and bad PowerPoint presentations be without them? Bullet points are so common because readers like them. But typical bullet points are kinda lame … kinda like this one. So let’s start making our bullet points downright fascinating. Bullet point basics Before we get to the graduate level, we’ve got to nail the basics. So, here are the five cardinal rules for general bullet points that convey your points clearly: Express a clear benefit and promise. That’s right; they’re mini-headlines. They encourage the scanning reader to go into the real meat of your content or go forward with your call to action. Keep your bullet points symmetrical, if possible, meaning: one line each, two lines each, etc. It’s easier on the eyes and therefore easier on the reader. Avoid bullet clutter at all costs. Do not get into a detailed […]

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One Ridiculously Easy Addition to Enhance the Power of Your Blog Posts

The overall aim of your blog is to help your audience with the issues they struggle with while also educating them on what they need to know to do business with you. That’s too much responsibility for just one article, so each blog post you publish can be thought of as a piece of your content marketing strategy puzzle. And how do you connect those puzzle pieces to keep readers engaged with your story and on your site for longer? Internal links: a strategic way to connect your content I often advise writers to be selective about the hyperlinks they include in their blog posts. While links allow you to cite external sources and provide more background information on certain topics, articles that make sense without clicking on a bunch of links are naturally easier to read. That said, linking to your own content is an opportunity to showcase your […]

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When It’s Time to Get Serious about Your Content and Copywriting

We write a lot about the importance of creativity in content marketing. Generic, flavorless content has very little chance of getting noticed in the sea of content that’s generated every day. Pros know that creativity needs to be harnessed to professional discipline. Creative work is work, and it calls for a serious mindset. And when your creative work is directly tied to a company’s revenue (and the grocery bills and mortgages of everyone who works for that company), there’s no time for self-indulgence. This week, we offered three posts about the power of creative discipline. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about how people perceive the writing life, and what it’s actually like. While from the outside, professional writers sometimes look a little fuzzy, working writers know what it’s like to keep wrestling with a piece when everyone else has gone off to hit Happy Hour. On Tuesday, Beth Hayden shared […]

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Meet the Lazy Marketer’s Best Friend: The Email Autoresponder

No one loves blogs more than I do. They’re a great way to attract an engaged audience, develop trust and rapport, attract links, and stake your claim in search engines. I love blogs. But like babies and kittens, two other things I love, they’re also a lot of responsibility. Blogs take time. You’ve got to write terrific content that stands out from the general noise, promote it intelligently, and cultivate reader relationships. And that’s in addition to everything else you do in your business, from producing your product to getting your taxes filed. That’s why there’s another content marketing tool that I always recommend having in place — ideally before you write your first blog post. It’s the email autoresponder. What is an email autoresponder and why do I want one? An autoresponder is just a sequence of email marketing messages that gets sent to subscribers in the order and […]

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