The Sophisticated Content Marketer’s 3-Part Plan for Using Templates

Some content marketers think about using templates like the herb cilantro. They either love it or hate it. But the extremes of love and hate present some issues. Those who love templates too often fall under the category of “quick fix” content marketers. They get excited about a gimmick or formula and implement it without much of their own research. Which produces disappointing results. And those who hate templates too often fall under the category of “hot mess” content marketers. They — dare I say it — create content that is too original. The kind that is difficult to understand and does not resonate with their target audiences. Which produces disappointing results. Now, sophisticated content marketers want to optimize their chances of achieving their desired business goals and, instead, think about using templates like sprinkling cracked black pepper on a Caesar salad: The right amount can greatly improve the content’s […]

Read more

Are You Making These Authority-Crushing Mistakes with Your Content?

Throughout the years, Copyblogger has been here to give you lots of advice on what to do to improve your writing, your content marketing strategy, and your business results. But on this short week, we also offered some advice on things you should probably stop doing. (And, of course, ideas on how to fix them.) On Tuesday, Data Analyst Loryn Cole explored some of the tired content “mashup” formats that are worth leaving behind — and shared her ideas for replacing them with fresh, original work that adds to the conversation. And on Wednesday, I talked about why we need to quit thinking of writing blog posts or podcast scripts as a “soft” skill. If the content on your site is fluffy or lacks strategic focus, that isn’t content’s fault. I presented three measurable ways you can use content to drive real business results. (This post is the first of […]

Read more

Why You Should Consider Scrapping This Unoriginal Type of Content

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. My personal resolutions always feel contrived, so several years ago I just stopped making them. But the new year can be powerful, especially on a social level. It’s a time of year we can all agree is about new beginnings — even if it’s a tad contrived. So, this year, I’d like to suggest a resolution for the entire content marketing industry: In 2019, let’s take a break from mashups. Like alcohol or sweets, mashups aren’t an inherent vice. Used responsibly, this kind of content can be fun and engaging, maybe even useful. But collectively, we’ve indulged too much. Mashups come in many forms, and content marketers aren’t the only group to abuse them. But there are two types in particular that we’ve allowed to overpopulate the internet, and it’s time for us to rein it in. Mashup Type #1: ShareBot 3000 This […]

Read more

24 Ways to Give Your Content an Eye-Opening Shot of Vitality

At this point in January, I like to think that the new year has just had its second cup of coffee. The holidays and those foggy first few days of the year are behind us. And our goals and intentions are starting to come into focus. But the desire to create exceptional work can sometimes lead to stress or even burnout. We want to avoid generic, lackluster content — but we can also use some routines and reminders to keep us on track toward The Good Stuff. This week, we covered 24 ways you can give your content a double-shot of vitality, without running yourself ragged. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman got us warmed up with 7 routines to nurture and protect our creativity. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid refilled our cups with 12 ways to get from the sad emptiness of a blank page to the rewarding warmth of a first […]

Read more

12 Methods to Get from Blank Page to First Draft

If you’re like me, after taking some time off from writing, you’re refreshed and champing at the bit to translate all of those great ideas you had into compelling content. Unfortunately, your email inbox is apocalyptic. You’ve got clients, comments, and coworkers clogging up your notifications, and that new diet-slash-resolution is already close to DOA. The reality of moving from the brilliant idea you had in the shower to a polished, professional piece of writing that will connect with your readers, is never as easy as we’d like it to be … But with the right mindset, tools, and a little help from your fellow scribes, you can get right back on track and go from blank page to first draft. Ideation always meets inertia Magical thinking won’t get words onto the page. In reality, the first draft of any piece of writing starts somewhere deep in the subconscious mind, […]

Read more

Best of Copyblogger: 2018 Edition

Once you know what you’d like more of in your life, you have to make decisions that will allow more of that greatness to show up. And that exciting process is also going to present new challenges, which is why Sonia recently asked: “What are the ‘nice-to-have’ problems you’d like to have in 2019?” For me, creative challenges are high-quality problems because they enable me to grow as a writer. Evolving isn’t always easy, but the end result is a sense of pride no one can take away from you. Guiding you toward more satisfying work The annual Best of Copyblogger edition is a curated collection of our top educational resources for smarter digital marketing and sales from the past year. The aim of this collection is to arm you with the most helpful techniques and tactics that you can put to use in 2019. Maybe they’ll help reveal the […]

Read more

Reach Your Outrageous Goals and Audacious Intentions for the New Year

This is the last Copyblogger Weekly for 2018! (But we do have a few year-end treats for you coming soon.) This week, our focus has been on reflection and inspiration — to get you moving toward what would make your life more rich and meaningful in the coming year. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman looked at the root of that nasty enemy of creative professionals everywhere — impostor syndrome. She also shared two ways to temper it, so we can create and share our work. On Tuesday, Claire Emerson (who has been doing a great deal of behind-the-scenes badassery for us at Copyblogger these days) shared the five key moves she made to transition from an unfulfilling corporate job to self-employed freedom. And on Wednesday, I talked about three different frames you might use to look at your 2019 goals, to shoot for a new year that brings inspiring gifts to […]

Read more

3 Ways to Persuade People Thinking about Buying from You

You shouldn’t think about growing your audience. Actually, let me rephrase that: You shouldn’t focus on growing your audience. Especially if focusing on growing your audience leads to superficial goals, such as clicks and views … from people who are not the right fit for your business and will never buy from you. I think you should get better at converting the interested prospects who are already paying attention to your content. It can be a liberating notion that ties up the age-old content marketing challenge of how to serve your existing followers while attracting new people. Because serving your loyal folks will naturally draw more like-minded people to your content, rather than just anyone. Interested prospects are curious about what you offer because they think they might benefit from it, but you still have to persuade them. What do interested prospects actually look like and how do you create […]

Read more

Why You Should Think Twice about Writing How-To Posts

“Write what you know.” It’s an old adage you’ve probably heard before. And many bloggers and content writers have taken it very much to heart — myself included — and interpreted that advice to mean, “Write how-to posts.” I like to share what I know; I like to help people (and I like to be seen as the expert). So it’s no surprise that I’ve written a lot of how-to posts. So many. But relying on what I’m comfortable writing doesn’t always take the intended audience into account. And keeping the audience in mind for your content is vital, because getting it wrong can mean wasting a lot of time and attracting a lot of the wrong people. The problem with how-to content For a while, the prevailing wisdom in blogging-land seemed to center on being the expert; be useful and people will want to come to your site and […]

Read more

Happy Thanksgiving from Copyblogger! – Copyblogger

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the U.S.! If you’re taking some time off, have a happy and safe holiday — and if you’re into Black Friday shopping sales, don’t forget to check out our sweet deals on premium marketing education. This once-a-year sale ends on Monday, November 26 at midnight Eastern U.S. Time. We’ll be back with our typical content schedule next week … See you then! — Sonia SimoneChief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital Catch up on this week’s content How to Turn One Content Idea into a Fascinating Four-Part Series by Stefanie Flaxman It’s Black Friday Week on Copyblogger: Get Great Deals on Premium Marketing Education by Sonia Simone How Bestselling Sci-Fi Author Richard K. Morgan Writes: Part Two by Kelton Reid Read_more Related posts: It’s Black Friday Week on Copyblogger: Get Great Deals on Premium Marketing Education 12 Easy Tweaks that Could Lead to Outsized Improvement in Your Content […]

Read more

Make Headway on Your Book (Finally) With These Simple Tips

Brian Tracy has a few suggestions to help reignite motivation. November 19, 2018 2 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Take it from author and Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy: When you are dealing with writer’s block, you can find your creative flow again. His first tip is to continue writing, even when you don’t even feel like typing or picking up a pen at all. Commiting yourself to small goals will motivate you to keep going. The incremental steps of writing a small amount every day will make a big difference.  Moreover, editing should be saved as your last step. If you are constantly switching between creating and editing, it can break your focus and you may end up standing in your own way for making crucial progress. When you are within your specific writing space, make sure to eliminate all distractions. Make an effort to turn off all electronic devices […]

Read more

How to Turn One Idea into a Fascinating Four-Part Series

Be careful what you wish for … Once you’ve persuaded people to keep reading your content, you have to keep … producing content. And with the holidays coming up, do content creators ever get to take a break? Absolutely … if you know how to prepare and schedule multiple pieces of content in advance. Then you can keep your audience satisfied while you take the necessary down time that will allow you to recharge your creativity. To start planning your content so that you can meet your publishing deadlines without getting overwhelmed, we’ll start with the simple, small task of selecting one content idea. Learning how to write a series so that you can take a break also helps you evolve as a content creator, because you’ll practice shifting from merely publishing content to building anticipation for your next installment. Then we’ll break down that one idea into a fascinating […]

Read more

Your Story vs Your Product

When I speak or write about successful marketing, I frequently use the word “stories” when I describe the content that people are eager to consume. With content creation, it’s important to think of stories rather than simple product pitches. People love to share stories! Product information? Not so much. Related posts: How to Tell a Brand Story Through Blog Content How to Leverage Your Brand’s Story to Drive Sales Validating a Product and the Story of SumoJerky with Noah Kagan – SPI TV, Ep. 38 My Company Realized We Had No Idea How to Explain Our Product. So We Learned to Tell a Story. How to Leverage Your Brand’s Story to Drive Sales Prospects Will Ignore You Reciting a List of Product Features but They Like a Good Story Conditionally Removing the Featured Product Image & Styling Gap from a WooCommerce Product Detail Page Physical Product Experiment [PPE #5] – […]

Read more

12 Easy Tweaks that Could Lead to Outsized Improvement in Your Content and Writing

We often write about big, strategic changes you can make to give your writing more power. But this week, we went micro. The posts offered 12 simple hacks that can have an outsized impact compared with the effort involved. On Monday, Stefanie built on her post last week about writing strong introductions. This week, she proposed three ways you can stimulate your audience’s interest so they want to keep reading. Try them in your next three pieces of content and see how they can improve your engagement and readability. On Tuesday, Nick Usborne talked about five habits we can strengthen that make it easier to sit down every day and write well. They range from the very simple (don’t get too perfectionistic about your headline before the piece is written) to the profound (listen to that small voice in your head that says, this isn’t right yet). And on Wednesday, […]

Read more

Become a More Confident Writer with This 10-Minute Hack

Are you producing the volume and quality of work that you want to? Do you feel confident about your work every day? And are you certain that your content resonates deeply with the audience you want to attract? Most of us have days when we don’t feel 100 percent good about one (or all) of those questions. What if I told you there was a 10-minute hack that could: Radically improve your productivity, Shrink impostor syndrome, and Make your content more magnetic to the audience you want to attract? Would you want to know more about it? If this sounds kind of ShamWow, I sympathize. But there’s a simple, easy mindset intervention that’s well supported by psychological studies. And it’s well worth a few minutes of your time to find out if it will work for you. According to one scholarly review of the research: “Timely affirmations have been shown […]

Read more

5 Practical Tips on the Craft of Copywriting

This post is about the practice of writing. It’s about developing habits that make it easier to sit down and write well. It’s about finding simple ways to make your writing a whole lot better … whether you’re writing a sales page, an email, a blog post, or a social media update. Tip #1: Write the first draft of every headline as a placeholder I’ve watched copywriters spend hours trying to write the perfect headline. Draft after draft after draft. They obsess over every word, believing they can’t move forward with the body text until the headline is perfect. But … the deadline is approaching … and their headline still isn’t done. Pressure, pressure, pressure! I take the opposite approach. I throw down a first draft of a headline and then dive into the body text. I don’t care how crappy the headline is, so long as it’s pointing more […]

Read more

3 Types of Action that Stir Up the Desire to Keep Reading Your Article

Think back to the last time you were at an event where speakers gave presentations. Typically, some sessions fly by and others quickly make you think: “Now’s a good time to go to the bathroom and get a snack.” While a number of factors cause those two scenarios, a common reason for the Bathroom-Snack train of thought is that the speaker didn’t make their presentation audience-focused. The words they chose to lead with may have been relevant and informative, but they didn’t stir up the desire to keep listening. Content is also a presentation. And how you shape that presentation determines whether someone wants to learn from you … or from someone else. “Action” in our content introductions can take a variety of forms, but they all stir up the desire to keep reading. Let’s look at three of these “Action Types.” Action Type #1: An unusual point of view […]

Read more

Writing Nuts and Bolts: Fast Starts, Mindful Tools, and Remarkably Improved Habits

This week, we had a nuts-and-bolts focus on getting more of the right things done in your writing and business life. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman reminded us of the soul-crushing boredom that arises in our poor readers when we force them to wade through endless paragraphs before we get to the good stuff in our writing. There is a better way! Stefanie walks you through how to get a faster start: In Search of Better Introductions On Tuesday, Loryn Cole talked about how we can approach digital tools in a more mindful way, and really think about their purpose in our lives. How Wrenches Changed the Way I Think about Digital Tools And on Wednesday, I announced our new book club selection for November — James Clear’s Atomic Habits. We hope you’ll join in the conversation and start working on the habits that will serve your goals and create a […]

Read more

In Search of Better Introductions

Pause. I couldn’t watch another minute of the movie. It was a 10-hour flight, though, so I had to find something else to do … Fidgeted in my seat a bit. Let out a loud sigh to see if it would get my boyfriend’s attention. Nope. He was heavily involved in watching Tomb Raider (2018) and eating our last airplane meal with a spork. We were on our way home from two weeks in Japan, and my writer instincts must have then sensed I’d be back to work soon. Because I had this idea next, related to a classic writing tip: Go back to the movie you were watching and see if you paused it at 20-minutes in. The 20-minutes-in theory Since I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last, fickle airplane movie watcher, I returned to In Search of Fellini and had two options on my screen: […]

Read more

5 Ways to Implement Business Casual Communications

When I first entered the workforce upon graduation from university, my Wall Street job meant that I wear a suit and tie with polished shoes every day. But gradually, over the several decades since, dress codes for men and women began to relax, first with casual Friday and later with casual every day. I’ve noticed a similar trend in communications over roughly the same time period. Thanks to social media, many people and organizations have gradually adopted a more casual approach to business communications. I think this is an important development. Related posts: 5 Ways to Implement Business Casual Communications Move Over, 'Business Casual.' There's Another Kid on the Block: 'Startup Casual.' 3 Ways to Scale and Grow Your Blog Business Faster 5 Ways Your Business May Not (But Should) Be Taking Advantage of Facebook Marketing 4 Easy Ways to Get Publicity for Your Business What Is Business Casual? Here […]

Read more
1 2 3 5