Monday

Yet Another Content Marketing Visibility Snafu – Google Changes its Search Results Appearance (no more Authorship photos and more)

In content marketing it really is ‘never ending.’ That goes for social media marketing also. The powers that be, in this case Google+ and Facebook, seem to want to make things more difficult for content marketers.

Okay, the Facebook (FB) change is about money. In the beginning of the year, FB changed their algorithm reducing your page updates visibility. According to Search Engine Watch, “Unfortunately this means that page owners are going to see a decrease in the distribution of their own text status updates they share.”

If you want to pay for additional FB page update visibility you can.

You can read more about the FB change at: Facebook Reduces Visibility of Page Updates

The New Change to Content Marketing and Social Media is Google’s Tweak

In the newest obstacle, Google will be removing the author’s ‘Google Authorship’ photo from their search results, along with her Circle count.

If you’re like me and spent time creating the best Google Authorship profile you could, knowing it would bring more visibility and please the search engine giant, you’ll be disappointed to say the least.

Part of that profile optimization was to include an image to help brand you and your business. Every time Google picked up your post link as a search results, your Google Authorship image appeared with it. It made your link instantly recognizable to those who are familiar with you. The searcher didn’t have to read the ‘fine print’ to see who the author was.

An example:


If you notice the Google search results above, from March 12, 2014, the ProBlogger LINK (at the bottom of the image) has the author’s image and next to that the number of circles he’s in. This gave the searcher immediate information about the author. This information might have been a determining factor whether the searcher clicked on that link or not.

Now, that will be gone.

As of today, June 26, 2014, the day I’m writing this post, the change hasn’t taken effect, but it’s coming. In a Google+ post by John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst, he said the change is to “clean up the visual design of our search results.” He didn’t mention when the change would come about though.

Is This a Smart Move on Google’s Part?

Eye-tracking studies found that annotations actually pulled the reader further down the 1st SERP (search results page) than results with no annotations did. So, images are a good thing – more results are seen and have a chance to be clicked on.

Once the Google change is live, we’ll see how it all pans out. I for one am annoyed at the work involved in creating my Authorship profile, adhering to Google’s instructions on how important the image would be.

There's Hope on the Horizon

Although your image and circle count won't be visible in search results, you can still rank with Google by writing fresh quality content that is helpful to your readers, and updating it regularly.

What are your thoughts on Google’s change to search results? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT!

Reference:
Google Removes Authorship Photos Google+ Circle Counts from Search Results

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If you're a small business, a solopreneur, a writer, or an author, you need to generate online visibility. The way to do this is to create updated content on a regular basis. If you do it right, it will: bring traffic, be reader and search engine friendly (and shareable), boost your expert authority, and increase your search engine ranking.

What does this mean for you? More customers, clients, MORE SALES!

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Friday

Great Insights from Top Books on Business

I love quotes. They can inspire, motivate, encourage, lift, and so much more.

Some of the most inspirational quotes are business quotes, such as "Chance favors the prepared mind." (Louis Pasteur)

I recently came across an articles with 53 quotes, or vital principles/insights, from some of the top books on business. Some of the authors covered are: Timothy Ferriss, Robert Kiyosaki, Steven Pressfield, Robert Cialdini, and Seth Godin.

You can read all 53 insights for yourself at:

53 Vital Principles from the Top Business Books (A Slideshare Presentation)

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Wednesday

The Ghostwriter - Help for Your Writing Needs

He's Invisible...He's Powerful...He Helps Writers...He's the Ghostwriter!

What’s the essential characteristic of a ghost? Invisibility.

Well, that’s exactly what a ghostwriter is…invisible.

And, the ghostwriter is a powerful tool and a huge help to writers who can’t seem to get their ideas into content or stories. Or, for writers who don’t have the time to write the articles themselves. Or, people who have a story to tell, maybe a memoir, and need someone to write it for them.

He's an even bigger, in fact he's a super-powerful tool for business owners and marketers who need to have an ebook to boost their authority and/or to give to potential clients or customers. Business owners absolutely need a book under their belt.

The ghostwriter is kind of like a superhero of the writing world. He lifts you up and helps you create what you don’t have the time, energy, or skill to do yourself.

He's a writer who will write a story, article, blog, email copy, book, or other form of content for someone else. He is a modest guy, and takes no recognition for his feat. The individual who hires him gets all the credit for the finished product. The ghostwriter gets paid for his services.

In other words, the ghostwriter can be a ‘dream fulfilling’ or ‘business boosting’ superhero.

Okay, maybe not a superhero, but you get the idea.

Moving quietly behind the scenes, the ghostwriter can lift you up and help you create what you can't or don't want to do on your own. He can help turn dreams into reality.

Wait. Maybe she is a superhero!

What Can She Do?

  • Do you need to drive traffic to your site? 
  • Do you need optimized content for your blog or website?
  • Do you need an ebook, report, slideshare, video, or other content to increase your authority?
  • Do you need to boost your search engine ranking and conversions?
  • Do you need an ebook or report or other to offer your customers/clients or employees?
  • Do you need an ebook or report or other written for the ethical bribe to your email list opt-in? 
  • Do you need content for a product guide or product description?
  • Do you want to create an ebook to offer for sale?
  • Does your story need a makeover?
  • Do you have a story outline, but don’t know where to go from there? 
  • Fiction, nonfiction? Short story, long story? Essays? Speeches? White pages?

NO PROBLEM. There are ghostwriters to write in any niche or industry.
 
How Does It Work?

The client (individual hiring the writer) may provide an idea, an outline, draft, a keyword, or topic. Or, he may need a piece rewritten. The ghostwriter does his homework and accomplishes what is requested.

It should be noted that in some instances ghostwriters do receive some recognition or credit. This is something the client and writer decide upon. The cost of the project may be less if credit is given. But, most often the ghostwriter remains anonymous.

In other instances the ghostwriter may reduce his fee for a percentage of the profits from the finished product.

Is Ghostwriting Popular?

According to the article, “What is a Ghostwriter?” by Gary McLaren, “Statistics are hard to come by since many people don't want to reveal that their book or other content is ghosted. But, some industry estimates suggest that up to fifty percent of all non-fiction books are ghostwritten.”

Interestingly, what’s becoming very popular for ghostwriters is article writing and content marketing. Business owners and marketers know the importance of posting valuable and well written content on their websites on a regular basis. In these cases, the ghostwriter needs to know about SEO, keyword optimization, engagement, and shareability.

A couple of famous ghostwriters are:

Barbara Feinman ghostwrote, It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us by Hillary Clinton.

H.P. Lovecraft was a ghostwriter for Harry Houdini.

A.E. Hotchner ghostwrote the autobiographies for Doris Day and Sophie Loren

Hiring One

Obviously, it may be difficult for a ghostwriter to obtain testimonials from clients, so when looking for one you should ask for samples of his writing in addition to testimonials.

Sources:
http://www.arthistoryclub.com/art_history/Ghostwriter
http://www.worldwidefreelance.com/ghostwriting.htm
(Unfortunately, these original post links doesn’t seem to work any longer)

P.S. Like this post? Please share it!

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Monday

Email Marketing - Two Power Tips to Optimizing Your Email List Opt-in for Better Conversion

In a prior article, I discussed the bare-bottom basics of email marketing. It’s about understanding the value of your subscribers and offering a really, really helpful freebie.

Along with appreciating subscribers and offering a great freebie, in order to get subscribers on your email list you need to word your opt-in text just right.

Today’s audience knows they can get just about anything they want online. They know marketers are vying for their ‘golden’ email address. And, they have way-too-many emails already in their inbox and are wary of adding yet another email to it. This puts you at a disadvantage.

So, the question is “Why would someone sign up for your email list?”

The first answer to this question is what NOT to do. You don’t want to mention your newsletter and you don’t want to say, “Sign up now.”

According to Marketing Experiments, words such as ‘open’ and ‘sign up’ are known no-nos. The can be perceived as there being an unwanted ‘catch.’

Making the tiniest change in your opt-in copy, or even a change in the opt-in tone, can offer big benefits.

In line with this, you need to get your opt-in copy just right.

Tip #1 – Write effective opt-in copy

A great article over at Boost Blog Traffic recommends telling the potential subscriber exactly why they should give you his email address.

This will take some thought.

Think carefully about what you offer and why it’s important to others. How can you help them?

Can you help them build an online platform? Will this help them grow their business? Maybe you can help by providing fresh and relevant ongoing health content or give tips on products that you know work. Maybe you have a service or product that will help them earn more money. What is it you’re offering?

After you brainstorm a while write down several different opt-ins that let the reader know what you can do for her. Be specific: Get more clients; Grow your business; Build an optimized website. Then add something like, “I can help” or “Let me show you how.”

Then, instead of using “sign up,” use “join me for weekly updates and tips that will help bring your business to the next level.”

Show the benefit in your opt-in copy. Give them their motivation.

Tip #2 – Make opting in easy.

While you should have a specific opt-in landing page, to make it super-simple and easy for your readers to opt-in include your email sign-up form at the end of each post.

It’s your helpful content that brings the readers to your site, to your blog posts, make use of this fact.

Internet Marketing for Business Owners suggests adding an ending paragraph to your posts that leads in to what you can do for the reader. “Don't have your sign-up form at the top of the page or in the sidebar where people might glance at it as they're reading the information they came to your site for (at least don't have them ONLY in those places).”

There you have it, two super tips to optimizing your email list opt-in for better conversion. Add them to your email marketing today.

Definitions:

Conversion is the process of getting readers to click on your call-to-actions.
Your call-to-action is want you want the reader to do. It might be to sign up for your mailing list (your opt-in), it might be to buy your book or product, it might be to take part in a survey, or it might be some other request you're making. 

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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Friday

25 Amazing Tools for Learning, Learning, Learning

The internet is busting-at-the-seams with information, a lot of it free.

There are websites that offer unbelievable tools for you to learn just about anything: coding, tech stuff, playing a guitar, health strategies, content marketing . . . it goes on and on and on.

I found a great article at Lifehack.org that gives a list of 25 amazingly useful websites. I'm sure they'll be at least one that you'll want to explore.

My favorites are #12, Project Gutenberg (provides thousands of free books you can download) and #13, Codeacademy (provides free tutorials on coding basics).

Check out all 25 links at:
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/25-killer-websites-that-make-you-cleverer-2.html

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Monday

Email Marketing – The Subscriber Email List Bare-Bottom Basics

The subscriber email list has been called ‘Golden.’ And, it is. It’s the foundation of building relationships with your audience, building trust and authority, and selling what you’re offering.

This list is so important that everyone selling something online uses an email service, like iContact or Aweber, to manage their subscribers. The email list is BIG business.

Unfortunately, most people today are inundated with email. With many, it’s to the point that they dread having to open their email inbox. This makes building a list more difficult. It also makes keeping a list more difficult.

So, how do you do it right? How do you garner that email address and keep your subscriber happy enough to stay with you?

Ah, the ‘golden’ question . . .

Let’s start at the very beginning.

Email marketing is an element of content marketing.

Your goal is to get a reader, a member of your audience, to subscribe to your mailing list which is usually in the form of a newsletter (but, you don’t really want to mention a newsletter).

To subscribe to a marketer’s email list is to give him permission to email you with relevant information and possibly promotional content.

This is the bare-bottom basics of email marketing. It’s all about the email address.

What you need to remember.

While every marketer needs that email address, there’s a real person attached to it.

You’re not dealing with an address, you’re dealing with people. People who are investing time and possibly money with you in the hopes of gaining usable knowledge or to get a product you’re offering in order to move forward in their endeavors or maybe to make money.

In other words, the people graciously giving you their email address want help. They want YOUR help. By accepting them into your list, as a respectable email marketer, you are obligated to fulfil the promises you made to them to get their addresses.

These promises may be niche related information, tips, ideas, tools, resources, physical products, and so on. Make sure you deliver what you promise.

Your list is precious and it’s made up of precious individuals. Appreciate them and respect them.

But, before you get subscribers, you need to have something of value to give them in exchange for their email address.

So, what will be a good offer?

According to an email list mistakes article at Boost Blog Traffic by Paul Jarvis, the ‘freebie’ or ‘gift’ is now a dime-a-dozen. You need something of REAL value to spark interest on your audience’s part.

Jarvis suggests you analyze your blog stats to determine which posts are the most popular. This will help you choose a topic or information that your audience will be responsive to.

This is a great idea and one you should use.

The opt-in gift itself can be anything you think your audience would appreciate. It might an ebook, a how-to video, a podcast, a screen-sharing how-to webinar, or some other useful content option. Whichever you choose, pack it full of value, with immediate useable information.

In the past I’ve always offered ebooks, but I’ll soon be changing things up a bit. People love visuals, especially if it’s showing you step-by-step how to do something.

Final note: Keep your subscriber happy by keep all your content on topic. Your website content, blog posts, your freebie, and your emails need to be relevant to your niche. If someone subscribes to your email list it’s because she wants topic related information. And, that’s what you should be giving.

Get started building your subscriber email list today.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

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Friday

Social Media Marketing - Twitter Follow Limits

As a writer/marketer, it’s important to make connections. The more ‘relevant’ connections the better.

Part of these connections should be through social networks, such as GooglePlus, Facebook, and Twitter.

Being able to share your blog posts, as part of your content marketing efforts, with those connections is how you bring traffic to your website, boost your authority, and increase your ranking.

Interestingly, and VERY annoyingly, I’ve been notified by Twitter that I am at my 2000 follow limit.

Twitter had a “Click Here” link to find out what’s going on and it lead to a page that offered this information:

Every account can follow 2,000 users total. Once you’ve followed 2,000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow. This number is different for each account and is based on your ratio of followers to following; this ratio is not published. Follow limits cannot be lifted by Twitter and everyone is subject to limits, even high profile and API accounts.

What to do if you've hit a follow limit:
If you've reached the account-based follow limit (2,000 users), you’ll need to wait until you yourself have more followers before you can follow additional users. Follow limits are system-wide; Support cannot remove or adjust your follow limits.

To follow one or two additional users, unfollow a few accounts you're currently following. Please note, however, that regularly following and unfollowing many accounts at a time is a violation of the Twitter Rules and can result in account suspension.

I’m following about 100 more than are following me, so I guess I’ll have to take time out and review those I’m following. I’ll have to delete those who aren’t following back, but be sure to do a couple a day, so I’m not in violation of the Twitter Rules. More headaches.

It’s a shame Twitter imposes this following to follower ratio limits. How many Twitter accounts are you following?

If you want to read Twitter's ‘Follow People Limits,’ read here:
https://support.twitter.com/articles/66885-i-can-t-follow-people-follow-limits#

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Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor and Online Platform Instructor

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Wednesday

Content Writing - Boost Your Copy with Subheadings and Make Them Pack a Wallop

Subheads: Now the Rest of the Story

Guest post by Will Newman

[In a prior article on content writing,] we discussed why subheads are important.  Today, a quick lesson in how to make them as strong as possible.

There’s not a lot to this – as long as you understand what makes strong, compelling headlines.

First, a “cheat” for writing strong subheads …

One of the core secrets of writing powerful headlines – in fact, possibly the most important one – is to write many headlines before you make your final choice. If you follow this simple strategy, you’ll have a head start or “cheat” on writing your subheads.

All those dozens of headlines that aren’t quite good enough? Use them for subheads, if they fit properly. Many of them might not be appropriate. But, if they’re based on your big promise and major benefits, many of them will be appropriate.

You’ll have to tweak them, of course. But you’re a good copywriter, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

What your subheads should do …

As we learned [in the prior article] our subheads should carry the Golden Thread through your promotion. (More about the Golden Thread next week.) This means all your subheads should relate to your Big Idea, big promise, or major benefits. I don’t mean they have to overtly restate those ideas, but they must connect with them.

For this reason, your subheads should not act simply as transitions between paragraphs. It’s okay to use them for that purpose if, in doing so, you tie them into the Big Idea, big promise, or major benefits.

Here’s an important consideration if you use subheads for transition: Some of your prospects will scan through the promotion by reading only the subheads. They’ll then go back and read the rest of the copy without reading the subheads. So, if you use a transitional subhead, make sure you use a similar (but different) transition in the first sentence of the next paragraph. That way, your reader won’t miss anything.

4 “simple” qualities to make your subheads sing …
Your headlines and all other “special” copy – text box headlines, callouts, and the like – must adhere to the Four U’s. This is especially true for subheads.

I could talk about the Four U’s at length. But they’ve been discussed elsewhere a great deal. (Let me know if you want me to do so here, in a future issue.) So I’m just going to go over them briefly.

When you write this special type of copy, make sure it is:

1. Unique:
Your prospect is bombarded by hundreds of advertising messages every day. He’s “seen it all.” So, make sure you state your subheads differently than he’s used to. Or focus on a benefit or aspect of your big promise he hasn’t heard yet.

2. Urgent:
Your subhead should have a sense of urgency that pushes your prospect into reading the next paragraph. This is one reason not to use them solely as transitions. (Boring!) Instead, make them exciting. You can do this by invoking the next “U.”

3. Ultra-specific:
Use real numbers, real names, and real ideas. This helps your prospect see what you’re saying in pictures, at an emotional, rather than a strictly intellectual, level.

4. Useful:
Your subheads (and all other special copy) should provide your prospect with a glimmer that he’ll gain something useful in his life if he keeps reading. What this is depends on your big promise and your prospect’s core complex (his beliefs, hopes, dreams, needs, and desires).

Should you make all your subheads adhere to the Four U’s? Wouldn’t three be enough? Push yourself. If you’re able to get three out of four, force that fourth one into place. Your subheads will be stronger, more compelling … and more successful! And so will you.

I’ve spoken a lot about the Golden Thread in the past two weeks. Next week we’ll look at it in much greater detail.

Until then, keep writing … and keep reading.

Will Newman

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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Monday

Content Marketing - The Purpose of Blogging

Blogging is a must-do content marketing strategy. While this is a fact, bloggers have their own style and process.

In a video with Tim Ferrisss, the author of NY Times best seller The Four Hour Work Week, he discussed his blogging habits and thoughts on what works and what doesn’t.

To start, Tim believes you blog to gain access to an audience. He doesn’t have a focused topic - he pretty much blogs about what’s on his mind. That’s why he titled his blog, Experiments in Lifestyle Designs.

Here are some highlights from the video.

Testing and analytics

Tim also feels strongly about testing and analytics. He’s found that the best times to post are 7AM PST and 6PM EST. The best days for comments, trackbacks, and going viral are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Note here that while these times and days work best for Tim, you need to test them for yourself.

You need to use text

Video and audio are important marketing tools, they add engagement to your blog posts, but it text that has sticking power and gets indexed by the search engines.

This is not to say you shouldn’t use video, but use it as a bonus, as a means of greater understanding or more engagement.

And, on a personal note, I prefer text. It allows me to skim read and find the information I want without having to watch a 60 or 90 minute video.

RSS and social media

Most people are on social media and follow people and companies they like or want to learn from. This is why Tim says RSS isn’t as relevant as it used to be. Sites like Twitter are taking the lead and becoming more important for allowing your audience to find your posts.

The subscriber opt-in

We all know that having a subscriber opt-in is the only way to create an ongoing relationship with your audience. Tim knows this also. His opt-in is in the upper right-hand corner and it’s titled: 7 Reasons to Subscribe.

These are some of the basic tips on blogging with Tim Ferriss. There’s lots more. You can watch the entire video, How to Build a High Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself, at:
http://fourhourworkweek.com/2009/06/29/how-to-build-a-high-traffic-blog-without-killing-yourself/

Paying-it-forward by helping

Keep in mind that one of your primary reasons for blogging should be to help others. To do this, you need to know what your audience is looking for. What do they need to succeed? What do they want or desire?

Supply the answer to these questions and you’ll have a huge audience . . . and a loyal audience. As you learn something new, that’s relevant to your blog, share it with your audience.

Zig Ziglar notes that, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Let this be your motive for blogging.

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