Friday

Content Marketing - 10 Tips on Creating Landing Pages That Boost Clicks and Encourages Sharing

What's the number one purpose of content marketing, if you're in business (and if you're a writer, marketer, author, solopreneur, or business owner, you're in business)?

To ultimately sell what you're offering.

To get to that point, you need to generate visibility, reader engagement, shareability, and increase your search engine ranking.

A major part of creating this 'sales stew' is the content on your landing page. According to a helpful article at BrandonGaille.com, there are at lease 10 elements of a landing page that "convert for content marketing."

The elements are:

1. The received value of what's being offered must exceed cost
2. Upsell must be relevant to the site's content
3. Nurture subscription leads to more information for the reader
4. Contextual content cross-sell: use more than one content format to sell
5. Use 'free to share' white papers as teasers
6. Subscription call-to-action (CTA) in infograhpic format
7. Social Sharing
8. Webinar or presentation free pass alongs
9. SlideShare presentations with subscription CTAs
10. Embed slide decks, such as SlideShare

To read the entire article with full explanations of these 10 elements, go to: 10 Landing Pages That Convert for Content Marketing

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Blogging – The 5 Most Popular Blog Post and Article Formats 
Is Guest Blogging Still an Effective Link Building Strategy?
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Wednesday

Freelance Writing - Don't Overspice Your Copy

Guest post by Will Newman

I wouldn’t be a copywriter if it weren’t for the computer.

You might be in the same boat. The computer has allowed me to get around my terrible typing skills. I’m a hunt-and-peck typist. So, sometimes – no, make that frequently – my fingers hit the wrong keys.

Thank goodness Word flags those typos.

The computer has also made editing orders of magnitude easier than it ever was on my clunky manual typewriter. Copy. Paste. Cut. Move. So much easier.


And, if I want to add a little visual spice to my copy, all I have to do is press a couple of keys, and my copy shows up italicized, boldfaced, or underlined. I can see immediately the visual impact these formatting options give my writing. If I feel I’ve emphasized the wrong phrase, I can change it with little effort. That’s a huge advantage over the “old way.”

A valuable tool or a crutch?

This last benefit is also its biggest disadvantage for you as a copywriter. It’s so easy to add emphasis, it’s tempting – oh, so tempting – to let formatting be the force adding excitement to your copy.

You want your reader to feel excited about a certain benefit, so you put it in boldface type. You want him or her to know your promise is important, so you bold that, too. Or maybe, for variety, you use italics.

This is like much of the copy I see from beginning copywriters. They use typographical emphasis to excite their reader.

This is backwards. Before adding any formatting to your copy, your words must be strong enough by themselves to grab your prospect’s attention and convince him or her to act. Your words should be enough.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid using boldface, italics, capital letters, and other formatting options. These formatting options add visual spice to your copy. Plus, if you use them correctly, your prospect can hear the emphasis in his or her head while reading the emphasized words. (An unvoiced auditory emphasis.)

Are there any rules for formatting your copy? No hard and fast ones, but here are some guidelines I follow …

Italics: Italics are a great way to add that unvoiced auditory emphasis I just mentioned. Use italics to cause your prospect’s mental voice to rise slightly like this: “Mario should not be allowed to speak when he comes into the coffee shop.”

When you read the sentence, additional visual and unvoiced auditory emphasis were added to the word “not.”

I don’t use italics for this purpose for more than two or three words in a row. I also avoid using it more than three or four times on one page.

(However, you still should use italics for the traditional purposes of specifying book titles, setting off extended quotes, or for headings and subheads.)

Boldface: Boldfaced text can add some unvoiced auditory emphasis, but it’s not as effective as italics for this purpose.

However, it does make your copy visually more forceful.

Boldfaced words jump off the page, so I use them to catch my reader’s attention before he or she’s even begun reading.

I don’t like using bold type for more than five words in a row. Any more than that is hard to read.

ALL CAPS: Using a long string of type set in all caps is considered yelling in the online world. This has now become the standard in most types of writing. Do you like to be yelled at? Of course not. If you use all caps, I recommend using them for no more than two or three words at a time.

More important, avoid long stretches of all caps copy, because it severely reduces readability. I’m sure you’ve seen the “End User License Agreements” when you buy software online. Did you ever wonder why they’re always written in all caps? Perhaps poor readability is a big reason.

Underlined copy: Underlining adds both visual as well as unvoiced auditory emphasis to copy. As with the other emphasis types, it makes copy more difficult to read, so use it sparingly.

I use underlining to draw the eye to copy on the page more than to put emphasis. I use it for larger stretches of copy than any of the other types of emphasis. But, to counter the readability issue, I underline just the individual words and not the spaces between them.

You can do this with MS Word by highlighting the copy, then pressing Control-d (or Command-d on the Mac) and specifying “Underline Words” or by pressing Control-Shift-W (or Command-Shift-W).

A word of warning: Underlined text on the web universally indicates a hyperlink. I recommend you not use underlining on web copy except for that purpose.

Too much spice spoils the cooking …

I’d like you to consider a non-copywriting example to guide yourself in using emphasis in your copy: If you love cooking, like I do, you know that too much spice can spoil good food (with the possible exception of Indian or Thai food). So, your first takeaway from today’s issue of The Golden Thread is to add spice to your copy sparingly.

But the big takeaway – as I said before – is this: Do NOT overuse any type of visual emphasis in your copy. Let your words carry the beauty and the impact of your idea.

Original article source: http://www.awaionline.com/2014/03/dont-overspice-your-copy/

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.

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MORE ON FREELANCE WRITING

Building a Profitable Information Product Business
7 Steps to Freelance Writing Success Through Positive Thinking
Ghostwriting – Content Rewriting

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P.S. Want more of this useable and 'authority building' information sent right to your inbox, along with updates on instructional webinars? Click the box below - it's all free:





Monday

Do You Still Need a Website as the Core of Your Online Platform?

By Karen Cioffi

Almost two years ago I wrote an article titled, “Do You Really Need an Author Website?” In that article I explained the need for a website and included a couple of statistics proving that need.

Since then, social media has exploded. It’s become more powerful than ever, and more and more people and businesses are using it as an integral part of their marketing strategy. In fact, social media has become so important that some are questioning the need for a website.

Are websites for marketing really a thing of the past?

Some might reason that you can blog on venues like LinkedIn. You can also publish articles on Ezine Articles and other article directories to generate visibility and authority.

If you’re selling a product or service, you can use social networks to do so by linking to your Amazon or other sales page.

Want to let people know about you and what you do? You can do that on your social network pages. You can even build your subscriber list through social media.

So, it’s not unreasonable for some to wonder about the necessity of a website.

But, if you decide to forgo the website or get rid of an existing one, think twice and even three times about it.

The benefits of a website.

While the social media sites, like Facebook, GooglePlus, and LinkedIn allow for just about everything you need to market you and your product/service, you’re at the mercy of these sites.

Pro internet marketer Sandi Krakowski has 800,000 connections on social media. And, she has over 1 million clients, which allows her to produce millions in revenue. She knows what she’s talking about.

In a recent email Sandi said, “If you don't have a website, listen to me very carefully, you own NOTHING online. You're homeless. You have no real estate, you are under the control of someone else's property and when push comes to shove, you my friend are in a big pickle!”

Did you notice she said you don’t have control with social media sites?

Think of it as renting space in a building. Or better yet, buying within a condominium development. You’re not in control. You’re at the mercy of their rules and regulations, their changes, basically, their whims. This is the same as using sites like Facebook and GooglePlus as your sole platform. You never know when or if changes will come that will render your social media page useless.

This is why you still need your own website.

If you use paid website hosting through sites like Bluehost, you own the site. It’s yours. You are in control of what you publish, how you publish, and so on. You can choose your own theme with the header dimensions and design you want. You can put ads and affiliate links on it with no problem.

Along with this, people trust bloggers. This gives bloggers influence and authority. It’s good marketing to have that authority, that influence go to your own site.

Bottom line, you still absolutely need your own website!

P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT!

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Recommended for You



UPDATE: Bluehost is now only $3.49 per month. Check it out today!

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Friday

Twitter Tools That Will Help You Boost Your Retweets

Today, content marketing and social media marketing go hand-in-hand. They are the perfect fit for the famous line in the old song "Love and Marriage:" You can't have one without the other.

The social element of networks like Twitter, Facebook, and GooglePlus, allow the writer/marketer to bring his content to the public, to his or his company's audience.

And, without content, there would be NO social networks, even if the content is simply friendly ramblings, it's still content.

To further this 'marriage,' there are tools that help spread your blog posts and other content and there's a great article at Social Media Examiner that gives five tools for Twitter that encourage retweets.

Four of the tools are WordPress plugins; the fifth one is the website Click to Tweet.

To read the entire article and learn what the other four tools are and how they can help your content marketing on Twitter, go to: 5 Twitter Tools to Increase Retweets.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing – Take Blogging Up a Notch (It’s more than just writing text)
Your LinkedIn Company Pages – Where to Promote Your Products and Services
Outsourcing Articles as Part of Your Marketing Strategy – Is It Right For You?




Monday

Become a Niche Powerhouse - Build Relationships with Your Audience and Subscribers with Content Marketing

Part 1 of this three-part series discussed finding a niche and working it. Part 2 discussed finding your audience and building your list. Now, it’s on to establishing relationships with your audience and subscribers.

This element of niche building actually goes hand-in-hand with finding your audience.

To find your audience you need to search them out and share valuable information. To develop a relationship and create trust, you need to continue to offer valuable information on a regular basis.

Part of your marketing strategy should be to genuinely want to help your subscribers succeed. You should want to help people by giving them the answer to their problem or question. 
So, how do you build a relationship with your audience, your subscribers, and leaders in the industry?

Simple. Through content marketing.

Blogging - Providing regularly scheduled content on your website should be the foundation of your content marketing strategy and the first rung in your relationship building tactic.

Keep your blog posts focused and give your audience ‘useable’ information.

The Freebie – Your ethical bribe is the primary tool that will ‘hook’ the visitor into becoming a subscriber. At this point, you will be able to develop a stronger connection.

Since you took the time to find a ‘doable’ niche and searched for your audience, you know what they want . . . what they need. Your content and especially your freebie should define their want or need and provide the solution.

Email Marketing – This is an essential element of turning a subscriber into a customer/client.

You need to set up an autoresponder series, beginning with the Welcome Message, that establishes you as the go-to person in your niche.

After the automatic email series, continue to provide valuable information on a regular basis. This cultivates trust and authority, and leads to sales.

Article Directories – Publishing on article directories, like Ezine Articles, is an excellent strategy to broaden your visibility and increase your audience. This allows you to develop new relationships.

If you provide valuable information that’s actually useable, news sites may very well pick it up. This in turn leads to even more visible and a larger audience.

Guest Blogging – This is one of the most powerful article marketing strategies when used to create authority and credibility, create connections, increase your audience, and build relationships.

The important factor when guest blogging is to query major blogs in your industry or niche. Take the time to get acquainted with the type of articles the blog publishes and then pitch an article.

One of my favorite adages is, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, don’t be intimidated, just go for it.
Using all these strategies helps build authority and credibility. This in turn, makes you more valuable to your audience and helps strengthen your relationships.

Becoming a niche powerhouse through these strategies will help you build a successful business.

P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT!

To start at the beginning, read Part One: Become a Niche Powerhouse – Find a Niche and Work It

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Blogging - Website Visitors, Visits, and Pageviews
Online Marketing with Grassroots Visibility (2 Fundamental Elements)
Blogging - 4 Major Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Blog Posts




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Friday

Content Marketing – What Does RSS Stand For?

According to Search Engine Watch (SEW), “RSS is a method of distributing links to content in your web site that you'd like others to use. In other words, it's a mechanism to ‘syndicate’ your content.”


So, it's an important part of your content marketing strategy.

Interestingly, I did a search for “RSS.” I wanted to verify what the acronym stood for and found an article by SEW that provided the answer to my question.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication,” “Rich Site Summary,” and “RDF Site Summary.” I learned something new. I didn’t realize there are three versions of it.

The version I’ve seen used most frequently is “Really Simple Syndication.”

To find out lots more about the RSS Feed, including its origin, read the SEW article for yourself: “Making an RSS Feed.”

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

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Monday

Content Marketing – Take Blogging Up a Notch (It's More Than Just Writing Text)

A large part of your content marketing strategy should be blogging.  Marketing studies found that people trust bloggers more than companies, including social media sites, such as Facebook. This gives bloggers a great platform to inform, engage, and sell. It gives bloggers influence.

Along with influence, blogging has five primary benefits:

1. If your content is ‘quality,’ it will catch the attention of the search engines and help get you on one of the first SERPs (search engine results pages).
2. Ranking well with Google will increase your visibility and help bring traffic to your website.
3. Ranking well generates reader trust and gives you authority.
4. Blogging allows you to create a connection with the reader.
5. The trust and authority generated though blogging will lead to better conversion (people clicking on your call-to-actions).

To satisfy all elements involved in those five benefits, your content needs to be engaging – it needs to be likeable. It also needs to be attention grabbing and interesting. If it’s not, your readers will move on to other blogs with more engagement and interest.

So, how do you create an engaging blog, a blog that will keep readers coming back?

Make it Trustworthy

One of the primary ways of creating an engaging and interesting blog is to make your content, original, reliable, and up-to-date. You want your readers to know they can get trustworthy and useable information through your blog.

To do this, you need to use reliable and high-ranking sources. You should also reference those sources. This will help increase the readers’ confidence in you and your content.

Mix it Up a Bit with Screen Shots, Images, and Infographics 
Along with original content, you need to incorporate visual elements.

You should use screen shots, images, and infographics to break up straight text and make the content more appealing.

These aids also help with clarity and reader understanding.

For examples of using these techniques, check out:

4 Super-simple Steps to Using Screen Shots in Your Blog Posts
Innovative Marketing Using Images
Create an Infographic

Use Video and/or SlideShare

Another strategy to use to make your blog more interesting is to use video and SlideShare presentations. Both these strategies also promote conversion.

According to SocialMedia Today, “Landing pages that included videos see an 86% increase in conversions.” (1)

Based on this statistic, you should definitely be using video on your website and in your blog.

In regard to SlideShare presentations, they also have great engagement elements that translate into conversions. While video is especially powerful, SlideShare has its own marketing power.

SlideShare is a LinkedIn company and offers great engagement and interest. Wikepedia notes that SlideShare is a ‘slide hosting service’ that allows you to upload PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF, and other presentations to its site. Once uploaded, the presentation can be embedded on any site, including YouTube. (2)

The difference between it and video is audio. SlideShare doesn’t have audio.

For examples of using video and SlideShare presentations, check out:

Writing and Marketing – Evaluate Where You Are
Article Marketing – Optimize Your Blogger Blog Posts

Using all these strategies in your blog posts is an effective way to build your brand and online platform. If you’re not blogging yet, get started today.

I hope you found this information interesting and helpful. Too advanced, not enough, just right? I’d really love to know, so please leave a comment – good or bad.

P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT!

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JUST FOR YOU

While you will need a graphic designer for some of your content marketing projects, for your blog post images you shouldn't. In fact, I'll go a step further and say 'you absolutely don't.’

And, you don't need to pay $2 per image on image services sites, like Big Stock. All you need is Logo Creator Software.

I design all my own images with Logo Creator. And, if I wanted to I could sell them on one of the image services sites or I could set up shop over at Fiverr.

Just check it out for yourself: LOGO CREATOR




IF YOU LIKED THE POST, PLEASE SHARE IT!

Friday

How Do You End Your Emails?

If you’re like me, you don’t quite have the 'end' or sign-off to your emails down pat.

Do you use “Regards?” Do you use “Sincerely?”  Do you use “Cheers?” Do you use whatever pops into your head?

I’ve tried a few different endings or ‘sign-offs’ to my emails, even “till next time.” But, none really seemed to feel comfortable or natural.

And, there is also the factor of who you are emailing. Is it a friend, an acquaintance, a business associate, a client – who you’re emailing matters also. Another relevant aspect is the nature of the email - Is it formal, informal, promotional, informational, or other?

It’s easy to see there are a few things to think about when signing-off.

I did narrow it down to “Regards” when emailing or replying to someone I don’t know. But, getting a handle on all the other types of emails was important . . . at least to me.

There were many emails that I didn’t include a sign-off. I just ended it with my name. So, it was definitely on my mind and I began to take notice of how others signed-off.

Then I happened upon a helpful article about email endings at PRDaily.com and it gave me lots of ideas.

While I still don’t have a ‘set’ sign-off, I do limit mine to the following, depending on the situation:

  • Have a great day
  • Have a great weekend
  • Have a good one
  • Hope this helps
  • Thanks
  • Thanks a bunch

Check out the PRDaily email sign-off article for yourself!

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

Powerful Email Messages That Actually Lead to Opens and Conversions (The Autoresponder)
Blogging – The 5 Most Popular Blog Post and Article Formats (Part 1)
The Evolved SEO Marketing – Content Discoverability and Socialization (the top 3 strategies



Monday

Become a Niche Powerhouse and Build a Successful Business (Find your audience and build your list)

This is Part 2 of the three-part series on becoming a niche powerhouse and building a successful business.

Part 1 discussed how to find a profitable niche and how to ‘work’ it. This article is about finding your audience and how to build your list.

Find Your Audience (build your list)


Finding your specific audience before you promote your service or product is a sure way to guarantee sales.

The reason for having an audience before trying to sell is simple – if you have the audience, they’ve already willing signed up to your mailing list and are interested in what you have to offer. In addition, they’ll actually be able to tell you what they want and need. This affords you the opportunity to create specific products and services focused on those wants and needs.

To find an audience, search for your topic and see where people are talking about it, then join in the conversation. Answer questions or concerns, lead people back to your website and your opt-in.

Providing your target market with engaging, informative, or entertaining content is a solid strategy to building an audience. Be sure to use social media to share your content – this helps bring traffic your site and helps build your list.

To keep track and measure the health of your audience just take a look at your mailing list. Your mailing list is a primary gauge, obviously the more subscribers the better.

The more people opting into your mailing list, the more influence and authority you’ll have, this should translate into a boost in your bottom line.

Side note: This holds true for authors also. If you approach a publisher with a book idea or a book already done and tell that publisher you have a mailing list of 10,000, 20,000, or more, that ‘house’ will take a second and third look at your book or proposal. It could even be the determining factor as to whether you’re given a contract.

How to Build Your List


Finding your audience is important, but if you don’t get them to sign up to your mailing list, there’s little chance you’ll get them to buy from you.

The basic strategies to build your list are:

1. Article marketing

Write engaging, valuable, shareable, and optimized content. Post regularly to your blog, publish with article directories, and get involved in guest blogging.

This is inbound content marketing and funnels in traffic through the social media and groups you share that content with.

2. Your Ethical Bribe (the opt-in lure)

 While it’s essential to get traffic to your site and/or landing pages, it’s even more important to turn that visitor into a subscriber.

The most common freebie to offer is the ebook. It can be a compilation of articles you’ve written on a particular topic or it can be some new information.

Other items you can use as an ethical bribe include:

  • An instructional video
  • An instructional podcast
  • A combination of video, podcast, and PDF
  • A free consultation
  • A free lesson in one of your e-course or workshops
  • A special report
  • A weekly inspirational or instructional email

You have lots of options. Find what works best with your audience.

What items do you use for an ethical bribe? Please leave your answers in the comments.

I hope you found this information interesting and helpful. Too advanced, not enough, just right? I’d really love to know, so please leave a comment – good or bad.

P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT!

To read Part One, click the link:
Become a Niche Powerhouse – Find a Niche and Work It (Part 1)

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

Website Ranking – Basic Metrics (Elements)
Is Guest Blogging Still an Effective Link Building Strategy?
4 Super-simple Steps to Using Screen Shots in Your Blog Posts

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PPSS Want more of this useable and 'authority building' information sent right to your inbox, along with updates on instructional webinars? Click the box below - it's all free:




Friday

Your LinkedIn Company Pages - Where to Share Your Products and Services

In a recent update notice, LinkedIn noted that it would be “removing the Products and Services tab from all Company Pages” on April 14th. The content there will still be okay, but you won’t be able to add new items.

If you have a LinkedIn Company Page, you need to know how you can still promote your products and services through LinkedIn.

Using Updates

The first way is to use your Updates option. Updates not only appear on your Company Page, they also appear in your followers’ feeds. This has the potential of your updates becoming widespread.

In addition, updates are in real-time, which means your followers will see it in real-time. And, you can use videos to further enhance your content and engage your readers.

Using Showcase Pages

As the name indicates, Showcase Pages are in place to create visibility for your products or services. These pages allow for conversation and they can be easily found through your company page and search.

To read more, check out LinkedIn’s article,Retiring the Products & Services tab from Company Pages.”

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Blogging Smart
Blogging – The 5 Most Popular Blog Post and Article Formats (Part 1)
Outsourcing Articles as Part of Your Marketing Strategy – Is It Right For You?

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Want content marketing tips and strategies, plus a free report on how to optimize your website? Get free access to the Article Writing Doctor's newsletter:  CLICK HERE.

Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor
Prescription for Your Content Marketing Needs
Content Writing Training for Small Businesses and Health Professionals

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