Set the Strategic Goals that Drive Your Content Marketing

There are a lot of reasons why I dislike the term content marketing, but the most important one is that it’s vague. Are we talking about a YouTube “let’s play” gaming video? A clever tweet from a big brand? Or maybe a blog post or podcast episode? Because that word content is there, the content Read More… The post Set the Strategic Goals that Drive Your Content Marketing appeared first on Copyblogger. Read_more Related posts: How Successful Marketing Writers Plan Their Content Where Clickbait, Linkbait, and Viral Content Fit in SEO Campaigns – Whiteboard Friday Why Content Marketing Will Keep Growing Over the Years Marketing Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Building Moz – Whiteboard Friday How to Position Your Business for a Strategic Acquisition Why Informative Content Will Make You Think Content Marketing Doesn’t Work Content Marketing KPIs: Map Content’s Organizational Influence The Best Content Marketing Content This Week

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3 Areas of Focus for Consistently High-Quality Content

OK, I’m just going to say it. In today’s world, publishing second-rate content is a total waste of time. There’s no point in contributing to the growing pile of mediocrity. It wastes your time, and, worse, it wastes your audience’s time. Sometimes I’ll see a marketer complaining that: “I spent two years doing all of that blogging and email stuff and I never saw anything out of it.” And every time I’ve taken a closer look at their content, I’ve quickly seen why they never got traction. So much content suffers from little professionalism “leaks.” Errors that undermine the content’s authority, squander audience interest, and detract from business goals. It doesn’t take a very big leak to make it impossible to fill a bucket. And most of the time, these problems are completely fixable. You don’t need to be perfect Now, it would be a mistake to think you have […]

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How Successful Marketing Writers Plan Their Content

I never realized just how important it was to connect content with business goals until I had a particular conversation with a client. The client, excited to get started on blog content together, had a running list of topics for me to cover. But then something strange happened. When I asked for background information on their content objectives (like potential CTAs, a list of targeted SEO keywords, etc.), I got this response: “We don’t really have that stuff yet. We’re just kind of ‘winging it’ for now.” For me, this was a major red flag. This statement meant I’d need to pump the brakes and help the client get a few preliminary goals in place before I could dive into any project work. The reason: Without them, we’d both be spinning our wheels and wasting each other’s time. What happens when you don’t set business goals for content? Too many […]

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Easy Email Inbox: Reply to 3 Types of Messages (and Don’t Sweat the Rest)

When you run a content marketing platform, you’ll get other types of messages from your audience in addition to blog comments. You’ll get emails. Many people have a love/hate relationship with email. When it’s good, it’s really good — but when it’s bad, managing your inbox feels like a huge waste of time. But like the blog comment policy you can create for your community, you can also post guidelines about the types of emails you will and won’t respond to … Because as you continue to publish valuable content on your website, you’ll often find that a lot of the emails you receive aren’t actually from your audience members. The messages I’m talking about are essentially spam, but not necessarily from automated bots. Spam can be from actual people who mean well but lack an effective strategy. Spam can also be from actual people who are clueless. For email […]

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Become Ruthlessly Productive by Tightening Up These 3 Systems

Okay, maybe not “ruthlessly.” But we all have lots of things we need to get done, and that means we need smart strategies to work efficiently — without compromising quality. This week, we shared some adjustments you can make to your systems that will help you kick your productivity into a higher gear. If we’re going to put in the time, we might as well see great results. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman tackled an important task that tends to eat more than its share of time: managing blog comments. She outlined her system for keeping audience engagement, while limiting wasted time. On Tuesday, Loryn Thompson talked about constructing a better environment for productivity — and how to use activities that might look like procrastination to trick yourself into getting solid work done. And on Wednesday, I ran through a list of the essential elements you want to have in place […]

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The 10-Step Content Marketing Checklist

In the last few years, content marketing has become the marketing approach that all the cool kids are supposed to be doing. Coca-Cola is doing it, IKEA is doing it, Copyblogger has been doing and talking about it for more than 10 years now. So it’s a no-brainer, right? Except, uhhhh, what is it exactly, again? Even as the “think pieces” pile up, the term content marketing remains frustratingly vague. So here’s my definition. I’d say that content marketing is communicating with potential customers in a way that: An audience actually enjoys paying attention to, and that Demonstrates to that audience that you would be a good person to do business with. Combining those two “simple” factors can be a little tricky to execute, though. So today, I’m offering a checklist to make sure you’re building your content marketing on the right foundation. Just like nutrition, parenting, and the designated […]

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How to Architect Your Day to Be More Productive

When I sat down to write this post, I drew a blank. I knew what I wanted to write about, but the words just weren’t there. My head was empty — a smooth, cavernous zilch. So I answered some emails. And then I went to the gym. After the gym, I headed for a coffee shop, which is where I sit now, hammering out this post. It might seem like I was procrastinating — and in a way, I was. But these procrastinatory steps were actually some of my tried-and-true tricks for getting my mind in the mood to write. An unavoidable part of being a writer is that inspiration doesn’t always come through for us. And no matter how hard you try, you can’t force it. But here’s a secret: Even though we can’t force inspiration, we can learn to set the table for it. How environment influences your […]

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Try This System to Manage Your Blog Comments Faster (and with Less Stress)

I think the best way to introduce the topic of this post is to remind you that my favorite word is No. At the risk of sounding no-fun, I like rules. If you’re in a position to set rules for any given situation, they can help you reach solutions to issues faster and avoid future headaches. And you are in a position to set rules for the online community you build with your website’s content. Setting rules for your digital home isn’t strict; it’s a smart way to set yourself up for success. Preserve your time for your most important work We’re always looking for more time to spend on the projects we deeply care about. But we often get tied up performing other necessary tasks, such as monitoring, evaluating, and responding to blog comments. The good news is, you can preserve a lot of your energy by establishing communication […]

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3 Resources for Creating More Courageous Content

Sometimes, we’re fearless with our writing and content. We know what we want to say, and we pour it onto the page with passion and courage. Other times … not so much. Nerves or a lack of confidence can keep you from publishing excellent work. This week, we’ve got three resources that will get more courage into your content. On Monday, our Gangster Rockstar Ninja Smartypants Data Analyst Loryn Thompson wrote about how to take some practical, simple steps to actually use your data to make better decisions for your content. If the whole idea of “data-driven marketing” makes you want to flee, Loryn will show you how to start learning more about your audience — without freaking out. (It involves something you might not associate with data-driven marketing: your intuition.) On Tuesday, our friend Nick Usborne dropped by to share seven things professional writers can learn from that rarest […]

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How to Publish Regularly, Even If You Lack Writing Confidence

Recently, a writing student asked me about the dilemma of keeping to a publishing schedule, even when you can see all of the flaws in your own writing. How can we publish content every week, or even every month, when we still have so much to learn? Most of us run into this sometimes — and it can turn into an ugly case of writer’s block. We have a real desire to serve an audience with our work, but unhelpful perfectionism holds us back. So let’s knock that one out before we start talking about how to get comfortable clicking Publish — even if you’re not a “great writer” yet. Maybe you’ve seen Ira Glass’s famous quote about what he calls the gap: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have […]

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7 Copywriting Lessons from a Really Good Conversation

The easy part of this process is following the seven lessons below. It’s much harder to find a good conversation. The sad truth is, most of us are terrible at holding even a half-decent conversation. We’re in too much of a hurry. We’re too anxious to get our own points of view across, and we tune out when the other person talks. But just occasionally, we’ll find ourselves taking part in a really, really good conversation. We not only listen to the other person, but encourage them to dig deeper and develop their thoughts further. And they do the same for us. A great conversation is a collaborative effort. It’s a deeply creative activity. It’s also incredibly bonding and rewarding for the people involved. If and when you’re fortunate enough to have one of those conversations, there is a great deal you can learn from them … about copywriting. Lesson […]

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The Practical Steps that Help More Marketers Use Data

Everyone knows that if you want to be a savvy modern marketer, you need data. Agencies tout their expertise in data-driven marketing, big brands herald a new age driven by big data trends, and it’s standard practice to have Google Analytics set up on your website. But let’s get real. You might have Google Analytics on your site, but how often do you check it? You might know the last email you sent had a 40 percent open rate, but what does that mean for your business? What do you do with that information? The ability to collect and analyze huge amounts of data has undoubtedly transformed our society. But many marketers simply don’t have huge amounts of data. The average marketer’s data are small, imperfect, and unpredictable. In our world, the algorithms, statistics, and trends that drive big data discovery just don’t apply. To get the most out of […]

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How ‘Serious Games’ Can Unlock Your Success as a Writer

This week, we dug deep into getting serious as professional writers — and how sometimes, the key to doing that is turning more of your professional habits into games. One of the most common problems writers face is difficulty coming up with ideas. But on Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored why “good ideas” don’t always produce great writing … or happy writers. She also narrowed down how to develop your ideas into thoughtful work that truly serves your audience. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid outlined five things that only serious writers do — informed by interviews and advice from more than a dozen highly successful professional writers. You can take this post as a blueprint for building your own seriously effective writing habits. And on Wednesday, I flipped the script slightly and asked our team about the professional games they play as writers. When something is boring or difficult, you can grit […]

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Become a Writing Champion by Turning the Hard Stuff into a Game

Over in our Killers and Poets Facebook group, we’ve been talking about a quote from my friend Susan Garrett. Susan is a multiple worldwide champion in the sport of dog agility. She’s also a brilliant animal trainer and runs an incredibly successful business. Different versions of this quote have inspired many of her friends and customers: “Champions in any field make a habit of taking things that other people find boring or uncomfortable and turning them into a game for themselves.”– Susan Garrett It’s a riff on another quote about getting tough and doing what others don’t want to do. Which is great and all, but most of us … don’t really feel like doing boring or uncomfortable stuff. But figuring out a game that we want to play every day? That sounds like a lot more fun. This week, I asked our writing team about the elements of their […]

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5 Things Only Serious Writers Do

Whether you’re a pro content writer, fictionist, screenwriter, academic, poet, stateswoman, or bard-preneur (h/t Sonia Simone), you’ve likely experienced anxiety or elation about any number of the habits we all have in common. Authors of all stripes share a deep connective tissue that compels them to congregate in coffee houses and taverns — across the globe — to tell one another stories of their travails over a beverage or two. We all have our varied neuroses, methods of madness, well-worn manuals, muses, writer porn, and incantations that we feel grant us the strength to face the glaring blankness of the page. But there are five fundamental things that set serious writers apart from the rest. Only serious writers: 1. Show up regularly.2. Get started, no matter how inspired they’re feeling. Showing up is an undervalued talent. You could be a word-counter, time-blocker, Pomodoro technician, or an edge-of-your-seat procrastinator … all […]

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3 Reasons Why Good Ideas Are a Real Threat to Good Writing

Ahh, the elusive “good idea.” Writers spend a large amount of time thinking about them and looking for them. It’s an undeniable part of the creative process. So why would I consider them such a pervasive threat to good writing? The answer is simple. Good ideas are just part of what it takes to produce the kind of writing that provokes interest from an audience. And quite often they lack substance. A good idea might be confusing when it’s translated into words. Or it might not be useful for other people. Or it’s not actually an accurate representation of your beliefs. Let’s look at three scenarios where good ideas can stifle your best work. Scenario #1: Good ideas can produce too much excitement This is definitely my editor side talking, but I’m not into “excitement.” It’s too entangled in expectations for my taste. And it can cause an otherwise smart […]

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Create Content Success with a Cohesive Content Experience

One of my favorite things about content marketing is the ability to create an experience. Instead of buying a single ad, you can use different kinds of content to do different work strategically. This week on Copyblogger, we shared ways content can create an experience for your audience and help you strategically move people in alignment with your business goals. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman highlighted a question someone should ask when they encounter your content: “Who is this?” (And then, how to make them delighted to uncover the answer …) On Tuesday, Brian Clark looked at how to use two key elements to hook your audience with content that connects to what they care about. And on Wednesday, I talked about how to take the attention and interest that Stefanie and Brian wrote about, and turn it into a sustained relationship that advances your business goals. Over on Copyblogger FM, […]

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The Content Path: Moving from Attention to Action

We work so hard to get attention. We craft our headlines to make them irresistible. We strive to display enticing images that make a great first impression. If we’re Copyblogger readers, we think about finding that perfect balance of meaning and fascination that will pull our audience right into our content. But what do we do with attention once we get it? One of my favorite aspects of content marketing is the way we can use content to pave a comfortable path for our audience to move toward a purchase. Attention matters — because if you can’t capture it (and keep it), nothing else happens. But once you have the audience’s attention, it’s time to invite them to walk with you a little way — on what is sometimes called a content path. Make this a good place This is where the “clickbait” writers fail. If this piece of content […]

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How to Hook Your Ideal Prospect with Content that Connects

When it comes down to it, “content” is simply information. And in an age of information (and opinion) overload, your content can contain incredibly valuable information and still be easily ignored. This is the opposite of the “clickbait” problem. In that case, you have a compelling headline that leads to worthless information. The ideal scenario is to have a great headline (effectively a promise to the prospective reader) that delivers on, and hopefully exceeds, the expectations created by the headline. Ultimately, what you say (the information) is the most important thing, because the wrong information is simply not meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract. But how you say it is still indispensable in an environment overflowing with information — both of high and (too often) low quality. Great content boils down to two essential elements: meaning and fascination. Meaning relates to how well the information addresses the problems […]

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Get More Subscribers by Provoking People to Ask This Question

Immediately after getting an idea for a content project, many content creators become preoccupied by the existing competition: “It will be extremely difficult to stand out.” If that sounds familiar, I’m hoping you’ll change your mind by the time you finish reading this post. To start, think of the last time you heard a song you loved, but you didn’t know the singer or band performing it. Who is this? It could be music that plays during a television show or the closing credits of a movie. It could make your ears perk up when you’re switching radio stations in your car. You don’t just simply enjoy listening; you now have a mission: Find out who performs this song. And once you find out, you might also research: Which album the song is on Where the singer/band is from How many other albums they have This could lead to: Listening […]

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