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What Can You Sell On Amazon

http://icometowin.com Want to know what can you sell on Amazon? In this video I want to share with you waht can you sell on amazon. Have questions email me keysha@keyshabass.com or connect with me on Facebook http://facebook.com/keyshabassfanpage



 
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Rainmaker Rewind: A Theory of the Universe of Nonfiction Books (and the Art of Creative Theft)

This week on Rainmaker Rewind, Pamela Wilson and Jeff Goins from the podcast Zero to Book explore the predictable structure of nonfiction books and what that means for your writing.

Pamela and Jeff also share their theories on “creative borrowing” and how choosing between the two main structures most nonfiction books follow can help you create a better, more cohesive presentation.

And as always, be sure to check out the other fascinating episodes that aired this past week on Rainmaker FM.

Zero to Book. Jeff Goins and Pamela Wilson share their thoughts on the world of nonfiction writing: A Theory of the Universe of Nonfiction Books (and the Art of Creative Theft) The Writer Files. Kelton Reid interviews New York Times bestselling author of The Nest, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney: How Bestselling Debut Novelist Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney Writes: Part One The Digital Entrepreneur. Brian Clark is going to start publishing articles on a site other than his own. Find out where: Brian Clark is Doing … What? Elsewhere. Brian Clark joins Travis Jenkins on The Entrepreneur's Radio Show to explore the factors that make Rainmaker Digital so successful: Brian Clark on The Entrepreneur's Radio Show Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer. Sonia Simone is going to be featured in a new documentary. Find out the details and more: Up All Night to Get Lucky: Sonia's in a New Documentary! The Missing Link. Jabez LeBret and Mica Gadhia discuss how to find vendors on LinkedIn and the best ways for others to find your business: LinkedIn and Vendors: Everything You Need to Know The Showrunner. Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor dive into the thought processes behind what they share on their podcasts and what they filter out: Beware: Authenticity Is Not Transparency Youpreneur. Chris Guillebeau joins Chris Ducker to talk about his latest book and why he wrote it after hearing from so many of his rabid fans that they had “won the career lottery”: How to Discover if You Were 'Born For This,' with Chris Guillebeau Copyblogger FM. Sonia Simone chats with Linda Formichelli about her new book and how it can help all of us fit a lot more great stuff into our lives: Self-Publishing, Side Hustles, and Doing It All: A Conversation with Linda Formichelli Unemployable. Brian Clark welcomes John Unger to the show to discuss the power of the perpetual side hustle: The Economics of Artistic Integrity And, one more thing …

If you want to get Rainmaker Rewind sent straight to your favorite podcast player, subscribe right here on Rainmaker FM.

The post Rainmaker Rewind: A Theory of the Universe of Nonfiction Books (and the Art of Creative Theft) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Membership Sites Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

Let's imagine you've published more than 100 articles on your website and you have 500 subscribers.

Many of those articles drive substantial traffic to your site, and you've published 12 guest blog posts on other websites. Those guest posts also drive traffic and help you gain subscribers.

About once a month, you get an invitation to be interviewed or sit on a panel. Due to the authority you've established, people in your industry look to you for advice, direction, and education.

Launching a membership site might be an ideal way to monetize your authority.

But what exactly is a membership site?

Watch our short, fun video about membership sites

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.

Here's our video for the definition of a membership site:

Animation by The Draw Shop

For those of you who would prefer to read, here's the transcript:

A membership site is a private, password-protected website that offers exclusive content and training and (often) the ability for members to interact with one another.

These members pay you either a one-time or a recurring monthly fee for access to the site. You can also build a free membership site, giving access to exclusive content or products in exchange for a prospect's free registration.

Or, you can offer a combination of free and paid levels within the same site, allowing your customers to upgrade their subscriptions according to their needs.

You've probably come across sites like these before - just like Authority, Copyblogger's content marketing training and networking community.

So, if you're an expert in something, and want to go beyond just blogging, creating a membership site can leverage your time significantly - and, if done right, can become a very sustainable digital business.

Share this video

Click here to check out this definition on YouTube and share it with your audience. You'll also find 11 additional Content Marketing Glossary videos.

Grow and serve your audience

If you'd like additional information about membership sites, visit these three resources:

Why Every Great Website is a Membership Site Why You Need a Membership Site 7 Tips for Creating and Running Your First Membership Site

And with the Rainmaker Platform, you can build powerful membership sites without all the hassles of technical development and management.

Learn more from the Content Marketing Glossary

We'll feature the rest of the videos soon, but if you'd prefer not to wait, you can watch all the videos now by going directly to the Content Marketing Glossary.

By the way, let us know if there are any definitions you'd like us to add to the glossary! Just drop your responses in the comments below.

The post Membership Sites Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video] appeared first on Copyblogger.

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6 Unscalable Tactics That Will Get You More Customers

The biggest problem most businesses have is getting more customers.

Business owners believe that if they could just find that one magic growth tactic, their business would be set.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of them will never find that tactic.

And while they're searching for that magic bullet, they're passing up on smaller, unscalable tactics that could be getting them a consistent stream of new traffic.

The confusion mainly comes from misinterpretation of the concept of growth hacking:

The only real condition to growth hacking is prioritizing customer/user growth above all else.

However, too many marketers seem to believe that growth hacking must involve rapid, viral growth that makes or breaks the company.

Sometimes, maximizing your growth potential means focusing on unscalable tactics. They cost more per acquisition but deliver customers when other tactics are failing.

These are best applied early on in a business, when scalable tactics (advertising, really high quality viral video campaigns, etc.) are not realistic.

I'm going to share 6 unscalable tactics that are often very effective for young businesses looking to grow. Probably, not all of them will apply to your business, but you should be able to identify at least a few you can try. 

1. Trialists rarely leave for no reason

It makes me want to bang my head against my desk.

via GIPHY

Some marketers are so focused on getting new customers that they don't realize that what happens after a signup or purchase is the most important factor behind growth.

Growth comes from creating a product that is as close to the needs and wants of your customers as possible.

You can't create that kind of a product going on intuition, without any actual customer feedback.

No feedback is feedback: If someone signs up for a demo or a trial or purchases something from you, that tells you something.

It tells you that:

They need a solution to a problem you're trying to solve. They like the sound and/or look of your product.

But if a customer stops using your product right after they start using it (particularly for software products), that's your feedback.

Their problem didn't just disappear. What happened is they concluded that your product couldn't help them sufficiently.

What's the point of getting new customers if you barely retain any of them?

On top of that, you need to absolutely thrill customers if you want them to recommend you to others.

The solution? Get feedback: As long as you collect email addressed when people sign up, you can contact them.

If a large portion of your new signups are disappearing on you, personally send them an email and find out how your product fell short.

The customer is still in “pain” because they haven't solved their problem, which makes them pretty receptive to outreach.

It's not scalable to email every single new customer you get, but this type of feedback is how you'll make your customers love your product. You could even survey a fraction of your customers and still get really valuable feedback.

You can also preemptively get feedback by sending your customers a welcome email, asking them how they found you and what they're hoping your product can do for them.

Here's how Groove did it with great success:

Try something similar, and you'll get a high response rate with great feedback.

2. Don't be afraid to sell one-on-one at first

I've started many companies at this point, and believe me, they weren't all successes at first.

It's a huge job to start a business from scratch. Getting customers is just one area, but it is indeed very difficult since you don't have your perfect product yet or any word of mouth in most cases.

Sometimes, you can throw money at advertising and get your growth off the ground.

Sometimes you can't. Whether it's because of your budget or because of your product, advertising isn't always a great option.

An option that I recommend is to have one-on-one conversations with your potential customers.

Where do you find them?

Forums Sites like Reddit LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites Friends in real life

Let me give you an example. Say you're selling a website builder. You could spend time on the startups and entrepreneur subreddits, forums such as Warrior Forum, and many groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

It will take time, but you'll come across questions and conversations like this one I pulled from Reddit:

Someone was looking for a website builder with search functionality.

Then, you can send the user a message. Something like this:

Hey, I saw that you were trying to create a search based website. I actually have a lot of experience with that sort of thing and even built a website builder for that specific reason.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about it. Just send me your email address, and we can hop on Skype or Slack or have a quick email chat.

Regards,

Neil

Note that everything in this message is about how you can help them, and not the other way around.

It's much easier to sell to someone when you have their full attention during a chat, and especially when you're actually providing them with additional help and guidance.

3. Make customers come back with a little extra effort

Like I said above, the customer experience after they try or purchase something is what leads them to become return customers and to start talking about your product to others.

One way you could make sure they end their experience on a high note, which will encourage them to talk about your business and come back, is with a handwritten thank-you note.

Unless your customers are very young, handwritten letters are typically perceived as a caring, personal gesture.

For example, this is a simple card that a Jawbone customer received:

When the recipient of the note posted the above photo on Twitter, this one tweet resulted in over 100 shares (at the time of writing).

While a card will take you a few minutes to write and send (if you batch them), it will return much more to you if do it well.

Could this be scaled? If you have thousands of customers, it'll be hard to write a real letter to each of them.

Some businesses, such as Bond and MailLift, offer services that will write the letters for you. You just need to provide the addresses and names:

Ideally, you don't want to be writing the same thing to each customer. So, while this is an option, it's not quite as good as writing your own letters.

4. Trade your product for something more valuable

I mentioned it earlier: it's tough to get customers for a new product with no customer base.

People want to see that others have had a good experience with something before buying it themselves.

Translated to marketing, this is social proof, primarily seen in the form of testimonials and case studies.

Both can provide assurance to potential customers considering buying from you and often have a large impact on conversion rates.

You have to give to get: Great testimonials or case studies are worth several times the cost of your product.

One option, early on, is to give away your product or service in return for a testimonial or case study.

The hard part is finding a way to actually get this offer in front of people.

It will depend on your product.

For some, you can simply make a forum post or Reddit thread and offer a few samples of your product (say 5-10) to any users willing to give you feedback. You can get their emails and go into more details later.

If that's not an option, you need to be more creative:

Offer it to anyone who contacts you with questions about the product. Install live chat on your website, and offer products to anyone who engages.

Actively reach out to customers if possible (say you sell a product for bloggers)

Most people are pretty receptive to trying something for free.

Once you've invested in these testimonials or case studies, you need to make sure they're effective. Luckily, I've written about it in the past:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Generating Clients by Writing Case Studies How to Receive Great Testimonials How to Effectively Use Testimonials 5. Have a broad market? Consider stickers…

I've mentioned Reddit a few times in this post as well as many of my other posts. Reddit is now one of the largest sites in the world.

Do you want to know how Reddit got off the ground?

In 2005, the two co-founders got $12,000 from Y Combinator.

That's $12,000 for the whole business, so not a ton to go around. They were left with $500 for a marketing budget.

They promptly spent that $500 on stickers of their alien mascot:

They plastered them in public everywhere they could and handed out the rest at events or to random people on the street.

Soon after, stickers started showing up on social media and other websites, and people learned about Reddit. The picture above is of Wil Wheaton in the background of a sticker.

I love this idea because you'll always stand out. Just make sure that your site or product is identified on the sticker and that it ends up in view of the people you're trying to target.

The Reddit stickers worked out well because they were placed on bus stations and buildings on college campuses. Reddit had a pretty broad audience, even at the start, but primarily focused on young, tech-savvy users (college students).

You don't necessarily have to use stickers. You could try:

Backpack or luggage tags T-shirts or hats Bracelets Glow sticks

Be creative.

6. Get out and speak

Speaking at events comes with a lot of benefits.

For one, it may lead to direct payment, which alone is highly rewarding.

But when you're first starting out, the biggest benefit is having an audience in front of you.

Most crowds consist of customers and peers (other businesses in your industry).

As a speaker, you position yourself as an expert-an expert with whom many people in the audience will want to do business.

If you have something to sell to those businesses, you'll almost always make some sales. More importantly, you can find ways to work together.

For example, a real estate agent could partner up with a home decorator. The home decorator could touch up houses for sale and leave business cards or pamphlets for people the agent shows the houses to.

The agent gets a better looking house to sell, and the decorator gets more customers. Win-win.

Where do you start if you want to speak at conferences? Unfortunately, you can't just jump in and speak at the biggest ones in your industry.

You're starting from the bottom, and you need to start with whatever experience you can get.

Focus on getting experience first so you can leverage it later to get speaking opportunities at bigger events. If you can get customers from these first few speaking gigs as well, that's just a great bonus.

To find a list of conferences actively looking for speakers, Google “(industry) conferences speaker proposal”:

Put in some decent effort into your proposals, and you'll get at least a few chances to speak.

Here are some quick tips on how to increase your chances of being invited to speak:

Stick to the requirements – Different conferences want to know different things about their speakers. Always read all the details they provide, and try to describe yourself according to them. Don't be a generalist – Never submit a proposal and call yourself something like a “marketing expert.” Instead, pick a specific area, e.g., “influencer marketing expert.” Your bio leaves a mark – You'll get a chance to submit a bio most of the time. Put emphasis on your most impressive professional accomplishments. Talk specifics – Part of a proposal is a topic you could speak about and a short description. Try to think of something unique that the audience would love. That way, no other speaker could fill your spot.

Apply to several conferences at the same time because they can take a little while to get back to you.

Conclusion

Scalable growth is sexy, but it's not always possible.

If your business is still struggling for customers, don't be afraid to use unscalable marketing tactics.

I've shown you 6 in this post, so you should be able to get working on at least one right away.

If you have any experience with unscalable growth tactics, I'd love it if you shared your creative ideas in a comment below.

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Blogging Isn't Dead

You can read (ironically) a blog post every day or so telling you that blogging is dead. They tell you to write into Facebook notes or into Medium or anywhere but on your own blog. They tell you that no one visits blogs any more. And whoever “they” is have lost tons and tons of opportunities over and over again while shifting between platforms while giving you that advice.

Blogging Is Not Dead

Blogging is alive and well. People create content of varying levels of value every day. There are dozens and dozens of posts created on some sites each day while other people have switched to a weekly frequency. But millions of new pages of content are created daily, no matter where you fit in the spectrum.

Continue Reading

The post Blogging Isn't Dead appeared first on chrisbrogan.com.

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Be a Better Teacher and Writer: 6 Teaching Techniques You Should Know

Marketing is a chance for education.

Sometimes, marketing takes the form of entertainment, but often, you get to assume the role of a teacher.

This is really powerful. You can become one of the few educational influences in most people's lives after they leave school.

Beyond helping your business grow, inbound marketing allows you to make a real impact.

Partly, that's why I'm still so passionate about it even after all these years.

Once you start thinking of yourself as an educator, you can become an even better marketer by learning from traditional teachers.

I'm going to show you 6 different teaching techniques you can use to make your marketing content even more useful to your readers. 

1. Use the “desire” method

You might already be using this method even if it's not intentional.

The “desire” method is all about getting students' attention.

Think of an average class, even at the university or college level. Most students don't want to be there.

They feel like they're learning something that probably won't be very useful and just want to know what's on the exam so that they can pass it.

One of the main reasons for this is because lectures are set up to teach about a topic, not to satisfy a desire.

For example, in a computer science course, you might have a lecture about sorting algorithms or asymptotic complexity.

Even if you have an interest in computer science, those titles alone won't get you excited about learning.

What happens in the first few minutes of those lectures?

More or less the same thing every time. It's usually a slide about “what you will learn,” which again just lists the specific things included in that topic.

The solution is to build desire: What if you started off with the benefits of learning the topic?

Back to our example about asymptotic complexity, which basically just classifies how fast an algorithm can run (how complex it is).

What if, as a teacher, instead of saying that your students will hear a lecture on “asymptotic complexity,” you say that they will learn how to “find inefficiencies in code and speed up their applications.”

That's already more attractive and speaks to what students really want to learn.

The intro slides could focus on how coders at Google use the concept of asymptotic complexity in their daily work. Or how a long-time coding problem was solved because someone found a way to reduce the complexity of the coding solution.

Using the desire method in your content: This concept is all about focusing on benefits to readers and customers. More so, it's about conveying those benefits in the headline and at the beginning of any content.

While many marketers don't know why they do it, this is the reason why having a benefit-driven headline is so important. If you're teaching something that will help your reader accomplish something, make it clear!

In addition, your introduction is your chance to show your reader what could be possible if they learned what you are about to teach. Cite statistics, case studies, personal experiences, and anything else that shows how great the results can be.

2. Games are more fun than work

Ask anyone whether they'd rather read a textbook or played a video game, and you'll get the same answer 99% of the time.

Educators have realized that students learn better if they are fully engrossed in a lesson, which happens if they are having fun.

That's where the concept of “gamification” came from.

No, you don't have to create a video game for your content, but there are ways to make your content more game-like and fun for readers.

Let's look at a few ways you could do this.

Example #1 – Quizzes can be fun: A quiz can be either fun or boring, depending on the topic.

Online quizzes draw engagement and grow in popularity when done right-that's a fact. A study of 100 million articles in 2013-2014 found that 80% of the most popular pieces of content were quizzes.

For example, the top one was: “What Career Should You Actually Have?”:

By framing it around fun careers (Oprah on the intro image), the creators drew people to the quiz.

When you create a piece of content, consider designing a quiz to go with it.

There are many free tools, such as Qzzr, that you can use to create a quiz. You just copy and paste the HTML code that it gives you into your content:

If you use WordPress, you could try the SlickQuiz plugin, which allows you to create quizzes from inside your admin panel:

Another benefit of using quizzes is that most people who take them will consider sharing their results with friends, bringing you additional traffic.

Most quiz tools include social sharing buttons on the results screen to encourage sharing.

Example #2 – The M&M's pretzel scavenger hunt: This was a fun but simple game that M&M's made in 2013.

The whole came consisted of one simple picture in a Facebook post.

The objective was to find the hidden pretzel man in the image. Even without getting any prize, Facebook users loved the simple game and shared it with their friends.

This game resulted in 25,000 new likes on the product's Facebook page plus over 10,000 comments and 6,000 shares.

Example #3 – How Heineken successfully used an Instagram game: During one of the biggest events in tennis, the 2013 US Open, Heineken created an Instagram account.

A new account was loaded with 225 pictures of people in tennis audiences.

To win the game, you had to follow clues in the pictures that led you to the final picture.

It was essentially a complicated scavenger hunt.

This game lasted only 3 days, but Heineken increased its follower count by 20%.

3. Start with pain

This tactic goes well with the desire method (from #1 above).

People are motivated in two main ways:

To get benefits To avoid pain

It's natural to want to get good things and avoid bad ones.

Focusing on inducing desire was about the benefits. It's achieved through showing what learning about your topic will do for your reader.

Here, though, you want to drill home what will happen if they don't learn from your content.

For example, if you write a guide to correct posture, you could point out that if the readers don't learn from your guide, they may develop poor posture, accompanied by back and neck pain and chronic discomfort.

Desire and pain can be used together, or they can be used separately.

Here are a few headlines that focus on benefits:

4 Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Link Building 5 Ways to Make Your Content Mobile-Friendly for Increased Traffic and Engagement

Here are a few that focus on pain:

7 Warning Signs Your Free WordPress Theme Is Sabotaging Your Blog Don't Get Left Behind: The 8 Most Effective Link Building Tactics For 2015

The same goes with your introduction. Pain, especially if the reader is already aware of it, is a great way to get their full attention.

If you illustrate the pain well, readers will pay close attention to your work, which will result in better learning.

4. Chunking works wonders

There's more to teaching than just getting the attention of your students.

You also want to teach your material in a way that maximizes how well a student learns as well as remembers what you taught.

That's where chunking comes in:

Chunking involves breaking up a complex topic into smaller “chunks.” Studies have shown that this improves short-term memory retention.

The classic example is phone numbers.

Most phone numbers consist of 10 individual numbers, for example: 2338223948.

If someone just read out those numbers, they'd be hard to remember. However, if you separate them into three chunks, it gets a lot easier: 233-822-3948.

Applying chunking to content: The main principle behind chunking is breaking down something tough to learn into smaller bits.

When it comes to content, you can use that in two ways.

First, divide up your content into smaller subsections by using subheadlines.

If you look through any of my posts, you'll notice that I have subheadlines every 200-300 words.

While there's no specific length you need to aim for, make sure the subsections don't get too long. If they do get long, break them up again into further subsections (usually h3 or h4 tags).

Next, you can apply chunking to paragraphs. It's hard to focus and learn reading long paragraphs.

You should have 2-3 sentences per paragraph maximum in almost all situations. You can see that I have short paragraphs like this one in all the content I create.

This is a simple change that makes a big difference.

5. Understand and use VAK

Something that educators need to understand is that not everyone learns the same way.

One popular viewpoint is “VAK,” which stands for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Or in regular terms: seeing, hearing, and touching.

Different people learn best in different ways. Some need to touch things to learn, while others prefer seeing.

However, the vast majority of people learn best when more than one (or all three) ways of receiving information are involved.

To illustrate this concept, let's go through an example.

Pretend you were teaching how to pump up a basketball. Here are examples of different ways to teach it:

Visual: Write a blog post on how to pump up a ball; you could include pictures. Or create an infographic, detailing the process. Auditory: Create an mp3 recording explaining the steps. Kinesthetic: Give a student a deflated ball and pump, and explain how to pump it up (would also include a visual or auditory explanation). Visual+Auditory: Create a video that shows you pumping up a ball and explaining how to do it.

As you can see, there are multiple ways you can teach a topic for each learning type.

In addition, you could create multiple forms of content for a single topic. For example, you could create a podcast narration of a blog post so that your audience could both read (visual) and hear it (auditory).

The takeaway here is to try to involve multiple ways of learning for all your content. If you can get your audience to take action (i.e., go find a ball to work on), you can involve kinesthetic learning as well.

6. Engagement leads to knowledge

Many studies have shown that the more engaged students are, the better they learn.

The term engagement covers a bunch of different concepts, but it usually refers to any time when a student is actively doing something while learning. Examples would be things like asking questions, talking productively with peers, thinking, and answering quizzes.

While some of the other techniques we've looked at are difficult to apply online, improving engagement is very possible-not only in your content but in other areas of marketing like social media and email.

For example, we've already looked at including quizzes in content, which is an opportunity for students to engage.

Additionally, you can change how you write content and the type of content you write in order to get more engagement.

Here are some other guides that dig into this topic in more detail:

7 Psychological Principles to Get More Engagement on Social Media How to Cut Your Bounce Rate in Half with Interactive Content 5 Engagement Metrics That'll Help Improve Your Search Rankings Conclusion

Being a teacher is a big responsibility, especially online, where you could be teaching thousands with your content.

By using the proven teaching techniques described in this post, you can help your readers learn better and take more action.

Ultimately, you'll make a bigger impact, which will also benefit your own business.

Many of these techniques can be combined, so use any or all of them-whatever applies to your content.

If you have any questions about how to be a better teacher, just leave them in a comment below.

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Rainmaker Rewind: A Process for Content Marketing Success

Rainmaker Digital's Chief Content Officer Sonia Simone knows a thing or two about content marketing.

Tune in to this week's episode of Copyblogger FM as Sonia navigates the best ways to organize your time and energy so you're able to consistently produce effective marketing materials.

And be sure to check out the other great episodes that aired on Rainmaker FM during the past week in this edition of Rainmaker Rewind.

Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer. Sonia Simone unpacks a four-part process to help content marketers consistently produce great content: A Process for Content Marketing Success The Digital Entrepreneur. Brian Clark and Jerod Morris welcome Sonia Simone to the show to share her secrets about digital entrepreneurship: Sonia Simone's Secret to Starting the 1,000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle of Building a Successful Business Unemployable. Brian Clark chats with Gary Vaynerchuk about setting the stage for bigger and better things down the road: Gary Vaynerchuk on Playing the Long Game Zero to Book. Pamela Wilson and Jeff Goins interview Chantel Hamilton, the first editor to work on Pamela's upcoming book. Chantel shares her “four circles of book editing hell,” a tongue-in-cheek look at the stages any great book goes through in order to come alive: The 4 Circles of Book Editing Hell (and How to Get Through Them) The Missing Link. Jabez Lebret chats with JD Gershbein about the principles of thought leadership on LinkedIn and how you can find your own competitive advantage: Find Your Competitive Advantage on LinkedIn Through Thought Leadership Youpreneur. Chris Ducker welcomes the Merrymaker Sisters to the show to talk about their entrepreneurial journey and how they managed to turn their hobby into a six-figure business: Earning 6-Figures in Less Than a Year, with the Merrymaker Sisters The Showrunner. Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor explain how to use the “Hell Yes” principle to create the best show experience for you and your listeners: Why the 'Hell Yes' Principle is the Key to Differentiation That Impacts an Audience Hack the Entrepreneur. Jon Nastor and Bob Baker explore the importance of finding your “one thing” and staying focused once you do: The Power of Constructive Impatience The Writer Files. Kelton Reid learns about the habits and habitats of a hyper-prolific fictionist, Dean Wesley Smith, in this fascinating interview: How Bestselling Hybrid Author Dean Wesley Smith Writes: Part One Technology Translated. Scott Ellis welcomes Joanna Weibe to chat about what split-testing is, how to use it, and other things you should be thinking about when it comes to optimizing your site: How To Use Split-Testing To Move Your Customer To Action And, one more thing …

If you want to get Rainmaker Rewind sent straight to your favorite podcast player, subscribe right here on Rainmaker FM.

The post Rainmaker Rewind: A Process for Content Marketing Success appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Suck Your Readers In: 4 Types of Openings for “Sticky” Content

The headline is the most important part of your content.

That's a fact.

What's the second most important part?

That would be your introduction.

Think of it this way: Your headline compels people to click on your post, but your intro draws them in to actually read the post.

And if you're sick of not getting a high level of engagement on your posts, this is likely one of the main causes.

Here's the simplest way to illustrate the effect of introductions on your content's performance:

Bad headline – Low traffic Good headline, bad intro – High traffic, high bounce rate, low time on page Good headline, good intro – High traffic, low bounce rate, high time on page

Always aim for that third scenario.

The sad fact is that most bloggers put very little effort into their introductions. They either quickly say what they're writing about, or they end up going on about things that don't entice the reader to read on.

It doesn't matter whether or not you fall into that category. What matters is that just about all bloggers could benefit from improving their introductions.

To help you do that, I'm going to show you 4 of the best types of openings that you can use in your content. You can always use at least one of these for any post you create. 

1. Embrace the fear of failure

A great introduction needs to connect with the reader emotionally.

As any copywriter knows, emotions drive action. In this case, the action we want is for the reader to continue down the page.

Fear is one of the strongest motivating emotions, and people are willing to go to great lengths to prevent that fear from coming true.

Let's look at a few examples, and then I'll show you how to come up with your own.

Example #1 – Use a common fear: Here's one of my own introductions:

The first 4 paragraphs focus on a common scenario: putting in a lot of work on a project (like a product or piece of content) and then finally releasing it.

If you're an entrepreneur, you know how terrifying this can be. Entrepreneurs have sleepless nights worrying about failing.

What if they hear “crickets” when they release their project? What if no one cares?

Anyone in, or nearing, this sort of situation is going to read the rest of the introduction at the very least.

Quickly look at that final line in the screenshot: “there is a solution…”

You use fear to grab your readers' attention, but then you need to transition that into a solution that they will achieve by taking action.

Example #2 – Does your reader feel like a failure? This one is going to sound kind of mean, but it's effective.

If your reader already feels like a failure, all you need to do is describe their biggest problem, evoking their fear of failure.

Here's an example from a Smart Blogger post:

Here, Carol Tice starts by calling out bloggers with low traffic and loyal subscribers.

If you're a reader of that post in that situation, it hurts to read it.

You start thinking about your low number of readers and get a sinking feeling that you will never get many more.

But you feel that only until Tice offers a solution, which is the whole point of her post.

How to write your own fear-inspired introduction: This type of opening is not only effective but also fairly simple to write.

Create it in three steps:

State the fear of failure (or cause of fear) – Do this in a straightforward manner. In my example, the fear was not knowing what would happen when a product was launched. Illustrate the fear – If you can describe the fear and make the reader picture it, do it. Sometimes it's simple. The image of “crickets” is all I needed to do to make readers picture no customers, signups, or attention after the release of their product. Transition to a solution – The whole point of hooking in a reader with fear is to give them the incentive to read your content. Your content needs to offer a solution to their fear. Write about how your content will help them.

That's all there is to it. You can start with a few notes for each part and then combine them together.

2. No one wants to be left behind

There are many ways to incorporate fear into your openings.

Fear of failure is a big one, but there's another big fear you should be aware of: the fear of missing out.

It's why many people buy lottery tickets, especially as a group. They don't want to be the one who misses out if the group miraculously wins.

When it comes to most content, the fear of missing out can be applied in a few ways:

Fear of being left behind – In niches like SEO, if you don't keep up with the latest information, you can become obsolete. Fear of missing out on fun – No one wants to miss out on a fun event or product. Fear of missing out on an opportunity – If something is only available or useful for a limited time (like content on certain topics), people will be more interested than they would be if it was always useful.

Here's an example (note the two parts boxed in red):

Just like in type #1, we use a similar 3-step process.

The first step is prompting the fear, which the first box begins to do. It mentions that some types of content are better than others.

In this case, marketers don't want to miss out on the best tactics because it means they won't get great results.

In the following two paragraphs, I amplify that fear. I explain that the content that most marketers produce isn't as great as they think it is and that they might be closer to an average marketer.

The second box alludes to the solution-certain types of content that are guaranteed to outperform what average marketers are making. I go on to expand on my solution before starting the post.

Again, it's the same 3-step process:

State the fear (or cause of fear) Illustrate the fear Transition to your solution 3. Use AIDA to captivate visitors

You may have heard of AIDA before.

It's one of the most famous copywriting formulas there is because it just plain works. It's incredibly versatile, and we can apply it to our openings as well.

First, what does AIDA stand for?

Attention Interest Desire Action

Typically, you'll address each point in that order.

To start off, you need to grab the attention of your readers. How do you do that? Typically with a bold or surprising claim.

For example, in a post on Backlinko, Brian Dean said that he analyzed over 1 million search results. That's a lot and pretty intriguing to most SEOs reading the post.

If you can use numbers-great, but they're not required. The only goal here is to catch the attention of your reader. It may be a sentence or two that seem unrelated at first to your topic.

Check out this intro from one of Jon Morrow's best posts:

The post is about being a better blogger, but you wouldn't know it from that opening.

However, he grabs your attention by doing something out of the ordinary: telling you (in great detail) that he's going to tell you something you're not going to like.

Even though I know what's coming (since I've read it before), I still have that feeling of needing to know what comes next.

Then, we move on to interest.

Interest is similar to attention, and you certainly need to maintain attention, but this is where you tie your attention-grabbing introduction to the subject of the post.

In Brian's article about SEO ranking factors, he included two parts to accomplish this:

Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings?

And…

With the help of Eric Van Buskirk and our data partners, we uncovered some interesting findings.

Brian knows that his readers want to know which ranking factors are most important. However, he doesn't give away all the answers quite yet, saying instead they uncovered some “interesting findings.”

Next, it's time to move on to desire.

This is where you make it really clear why your reader should care about your content, if they didn't already know that.

Here's an example from one of my posts:

Here, I make it clear that if a reader follows my advice in the post, they could double their writing speed.

Remember that your reader is already interested at this point. To induce desire, all you need to do is make the benefits of your content clear.

Now, what about action-the last part of the formula?

You can interpret and use it in two ways.

First, you could get a reader to take an action right at the end of your introduction. Maybe you want them to get a pen and paper or open a spreadsheet. Or maybe you want them to answer a question and come back to it at the end.

If this applies, go for it.

The action in this formula typically refers to the end of the content, though. So, in your conclusion, you should make it clear how a reader is supposed to apply what you just taught them.

4. Show me the money (benefit first)

Some readers just absolutely hate stories of any kind.

They want you to get to the point and do it fast.

If your audience has a lot of readers like that, consider starting off with the benefit of your content. But not just any benefit-the biggest one.

This is how you will attract attention, and if the benefit you promise is big enough, they will invest their time to read through your content.

For example, you could start an article about SEO basics by saying:

If you learn the basics of SEO, you could be making $3,000+ per month within 6 months.

Assuming you've got your audience right, they'll be glad to dig a bit deeper to find out if your claim is true.

After that opening claim, you then want to expand on and back up your claim. To continue the example:

I know this because I've taught multiple students to do so. I myself am an SEO who makes over $XXX,000 per month.

Now you have some credibility behind your solution.

Finally, you should close off your introduction by explaining how the reader will get to the solution.

In this case, something like this would work:

I'm going to show you the X SEO basics you need to know and then a step-by-step process to follow to start generating revenue.

At that point, most readers will be hooked.

To recap, the 3-step process for this type of opening is:

Start with your strongest benefit. Show why your claim is credible (since the claim needs to be impressive/slightly unbelievable). Explain how you'll help the reader achieve the benefit.

Keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily have to look exactly like that as long as all the elements are covered.

Here's an example of this type of opening from one of my posts:

The sentence in the first box only implies the benefit (ranking as well as Quick Sprout). I'm counting on the reader to be familiar with my site.

Shortly after, I say that I'll show the reader what they need to do if they want to rank like Quick Sprout. This is actually the 2nd and 3rd step all in one.

The claim is credible because I state that I'll personally show them the solution. Of course, I'm credible in this situation since I'm the one who built the site up.

At the same time, I've explained that I'm going to show them what they need to do. I explain a bit more right after that part.

Don't get hung up having a clear distinction between all parts of the opening-just make sure they are all covered in the right order.

Conclusion

Don't put tons of hours into writing an amazing post and then just slap on a weak introduction.

If you do that, too many of your readers will never make it down to the content that has the value.

Use these 4 types of openings to craft introductions that basically force readers to give your content a chance.

From there, I hope your content delivers.

Now, I have a question for you. Have you seen any great introductions lately? If so, do you mind sharing them in a comment below?

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How to Implement Kinder, Gentler Marketing: 4 All-Natural Truths

I have a love/hate relationship with a soap company.

About five years ago, I stumbled across their products online. They boasted rare and unique scents and naturally-sourced ingredients. They were irresistible (to me, anyway). And their prices seemed reasonable.

So, I placed an order. And that's when my troubles began.

I had to share my email address to complete my transaction. You know, to “receive an order confirmation.”

Within days, I found myself receiving marketing email after marketing email. Coupons. Special sales. New soaps. New scents. Free shipping.

I imagined their marketing department high-fiving one other and saying, “We've got one on the line. Quick! Reel her in!”

And you know what? The products I received were exceptional. They smelled amazing (I'm a sucker for a unique scent). So, I stuck it out for a while. But not forever.

Because I knew how wrong my experience was. I knew there was a better way to market your business. A kinder, gentler way - one that doesn't alienate the very people you want to nurture.

Time went on.

I sent dozens of their catalogs to the landfill - a new one came in the mail every few weeks.

Finally, I gave up. After placing a few orders, I contacted the company and asked them to please - for the Love of All that Is Holy - stop sending me catalogs. I clicked the unsubscribe link in one of their many emails and used the form on their site to let them know why I was unsubscribing.

Then, I stopped hearing from them.

Here we go again: relearning a lesson

A lot has happened in the meantime. Life went on, and I forgot about this company's overzealous marketing efforts.

A few weeks ago, when my husband asked me what I'd like for Mother's Day, I said, “How about a gift certificate to (The Soap Company in Question)?” And my husband - smart man that he is - got me the gift certificate.

And guess what? It started all over again. Within just a couple of weeks, I have received three catalogs.

I take full responsibility for the situation. I got myself back on their radar and now I'm paying the price. I do still love their products, but I wish they understood modern marketing techniques as well as they clearly understand the soap business.

It's obvious to me that they don't read Copyblogger. Because if they did, they'd know the four basic truths of modern content marketing.

Let's review them.

Truth #1: Content pulls; it doesn't push

Rather than blanket prospects in catalogs and crowd their inboxes with sales emails, modern content marketing offers valuable, helpful, and even entertaining information.

The information is so helpful that prospects purposely sign up to receive it. And they stick around when the content they receive is consistently useful.

Read these posts to learn more about creating content that pulls (and doesn't push): How to Attract, Nurture, and Grow the Business-Building Audience You Want 5 Remarkable Qualities of Effective Online Content 5 Ways to Get More of the Online Attention You Crave Truth #2: Content offers; it doesn't demand

Solid, effective content marketing doesn't stomp its foot and demand in a whiny voice that you pay attention to it.

Instead, it confidently offers a hand - the exact information you need, right when you need it.

One way modern content marketers do this is by using marketing automation.

If my soap company had sent me a little brochure about how to save money on laundry day (and a coupon for their laundry soap), I would have held on to that piece of content. I might have posted it next to my washing machine! It wouldn't have gone to a landfill like all those product catalogs.

Read these posts to learn more about making offers (not demands): Landing Pages: Turn Traffic Into Money How to Be a Copywriting Genius: The Brilliantly Sneaky Trick You Must Learn 6 Proven Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Call-to-Action Buttons

By the way, our Rainmaker Platform makes marketing automation a snap.

Truth #3: Content entertains; it doesn't annoy

One of the foundational truths about content marketing is that it must serve your audience if you want it to be effective (more on this below).

And one way to do this is to meet your audience - wherever they are - with content that is so compelling they want to consume it.

At Rainmaker Digital, we do just that with our podcast network, Rainmaker FM.

Podcasting isn't a requirement, but it's a great fit for those who are comfortable with audio - who are more comfortable talking than writing.

Read these posts to learn more about creating entertaining (not annoying) content: The Art of Being Interesting 22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don't Have a Clue [Infographic] 58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love Truth #4: Content is about the consumer, not the producer

Please repeat after me:

“I will resist the urge to constantly write about me, my offers, my company's history, our goals, our mission statement, or our new products. Instead, I'm going to focus on writing about topics that serve my prospects and customers.”

It's tough for traditional marketers to wrap their brains around this one. But your customers' #1 concern isn't you … it's them.

That's why, for example, if the soap company had sent me information about alternate ways to use their soaps (Perfume your pajama drawer! Hang one in your closet! Use it to repel mosquitos!), I would have stayed subscribed.

And an occasional offer woven into the helpful content wouldn't have fazed me one bit.

A highly effective technique for serving your prospects' and customers' ongoing needs is creating a series of cornerstone content pages on your website.

Cornerstone pages serve up foundational information that your prospects and customers need to understand your field of expertise.

Read these posts to learn more about creating cornerstone content pages that serve your audience: A Practical Approach to Using Powerful Cornerstone Content on Your Site Your Cornerstone Content Blueprint: Answers to 9 Common Questions 11 Essential Ingredients Every Cornerstone Content Page Needs [Infographic] True confession

Here's the painful truth: I spent the first part of my career creating exactly the kind of marketing materials my soap company is annoying me with now. Direct mail postcards. Sales catalogs. Promotional brochures.

But now I know there's a better way. A kinder, gentler way to market your business, serve your prospects and customers, and create marketing that is valued, not sent straight to a landfill.

That's the kind of marketing we teach inside our Authority program. To learn more about it, click the button below.

Learn to create kinder, gentler marketing
inside Authority

The post How to Implement Kinder, Gentler Marketing: 4 All-Natural Truths appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Rainmaker Rewind: Henry Rollins on Entrepreneurial Art

We have a special treat for you on Rainmaker FM this week …

Music legend and entrepreneur Henry Rollins joins Brian Clark on Unemployable to discuss how his career (including his role as frontman of Black Flag) has thrived due to a DIY-producer ethic, why he formed his own publishing company, and how he became a self-made media personality.

There's a lot of other great content on the network these days, so be sure to check out the rest of the shows highlighted in this week's edition of Rainmaker Rewind.

Unemployable. Henry Rollins joins Brian Clark for a second time to discuss music, entrepreneurship, and the art of self-promotion: Henry Rollins on Entrepreneurial Art Copyblogger FM. Sonia Simone dives into why focusing on email opt-ins is one of the most important content marketing practices: Content Marketing Best Practices: Getting Email Opt-Ins The Digital Entrepreneur. Brian Clark and Jerod Morris explain how you should be using social media to connect with your audience: Does Your Social Media Strategy Need a Mindset Shift? Hack the Entrepreneur. Jon Nastor chats with Paul Kortman about the transition from office life to entrepreneur life: The Reluctant Path to Becoming an Entrepreneur Elsewhere. Charlie Gilkey welcomes Sonia Simone to The Creative Giant Show to chat about marketing, careers, and digital business: Sonia Simone on The Creative Giant Show The Missing Link. Jabez Lebret and Steve Anderson discuss building authority and becoming an influencer on LinkedIn: An Influencer's Guide to Building Your Authority on LinkedIn Zero to Book. Jeff Goins and Pamela Wilson review the various means of publishing and identify which route is ideal for authors - especially first-timers: Artisanal Publishing and the Hidden Power of the Beginner's Mind The Showrunner. Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor explain how and why booking guests for your podcast is well-worth the sometimes overly complicated booking process: How to Execute Engaging Podcast Interviews Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer. Sonia Simone talks web traffic, sales pages, and the one element you need to master if you want your content to work: The Context of a Successful Content Strategy: The Harpoon and the Net Youpreneur. Chris Ducker shares the top five reasons why originality is so important in business and gives away one of the keys to long-term business success: How Being 'Original' Can Boost Your Business Faster than Anything And, one more thing …

If you want to get my Rainmaker Rewind picks of the week sent straight to your favorite podcast player, subscribe right here on Rainmaker FM.

See you next week.

The post Rainmaker Rewind: Henry Rollins on Entrepreneurial Art appeared first on Copyblogger.

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7 Types of Emails to Send Customers to Keep Them Coming Back

As everyone says…

You need to build an email list.

Email marketing provides the highest ROI for most businesses at $40 for every $1 spent (on average).

I'm sure you see a ton of content on a regular basis that shows you different ways to build that email list. Great.

But how much do you see that tells you how to interact with that list effectively?

I think it's safe to guess not much.

I wouldn't be surprised if you had questions such as:

What do I send my subscribers? How do I keep open rates high? How do I make my emails exciting?

While I can't show you all of that in a single post, I'm going to show you 7 different types of emails that most businesses can send.

These types of emails are emails that your subscribers and customers will enjoy getting, will interact with, and will help you build strong relationships. 

1. Exclusive offers make subscribers feel special (but which kinds are best?)

It's nice when someone, whether a close friend or a relative stranger, goes out of their way to do something nice for you.

As a website owner with an email list, you're hopefully somewhere in the middle of that friend-stranger spectrum in the eyes of your subscribers.

If you can do something for your subscribers that they really appreciate, it will do many important things:

Make them think more highly of you Make them more loyal (to stay a subscriber and to buy in the future) Make them more willing to reciprocate (if you ask for a share, referral, or something else).

The question then is: what can you give them?

For most businesses, an exclusive offer is the best thing they can give.

Let's go through a few real examples and then some more general situations.

First, you can offer a live event that only your subscribers are invited to. Not only will the event be valuable because it's live, but it will also be well attended because it's exclusive.

Bryan Harris often does this, so it must work well for him. For example, here is an email with an offer to attend a private mastermind:

He sends a few emails leading up to the event and one or two at the last minute. They aren't complicated-just a brief description of what to expect in the event.

What else can you offer subscribers? Another thing of value that doesn't cost you much, if anything, is early access.

Matthew Barby created a WordPress plugin and sent this email to his subscribers, giving them free access to it:

That's a pretty sweet offer. In reality, Matthew is also gaining his first group of users, which is another win for him.

If you're launching any big guides or tools, consider getting early feedback from your subscribers.

What else can you offer?

Discounts Secret products (like limited one-on-one consulting) Webinars A sneak peak at original research Free samples

Be creative. If you can think of any other ideas, tell me about them in a comment at the end of the article.

2. Give subscribers the gift of convenience

Take care of your subscribers because your list is one of the most valuable assets you own.

You can give value in many ways. Some may be big gestures (email type #1), but even small things go a long way.

If someone is on your list, that means they've already told you that they like your content (if they signed up from a blog post, for example).

However, just because they want to hear your thoughts and advice doesn't mean all your subscribers want it in the same way.

Typically, you'll email all your subscribers about any new content you create. When you do this, consider giving them alternative ways to consume the content. Make it as convenient as you can.

For example, Tim Urban created a long post about SpaceX. He then sent out this email to subscribers:

On top of the regular link that he had already sent his subscribers, he sent this email with two other options: a PDF version and an audio version.

It takes a fraction of the time to re-create the original content in a different form, but it adds a lot of extra value.

Nathan Barry offers another way to make your content more convenient.

After he hosts a webinar, he uploads it to YouTube and sends an email with a link to all his subscribers.

It's something that I know most subscribers really appreciate, and it also exposes his webinar to those subscribers who forgot to sign up for the event.

Convenience typically comes in the form of different mediums of content.

If you wrote a blog post, particularly a long one, consider emailing it to your subscribers with more than one version:

PDF a cheat sheet audio version video summary

Or if you created a video, reformat that into:

an e-book an MP3 download a video download  a cheat sheet/summary

You don't need to create all the formats. Just think about which ones your subscribers would like most and which make sense for the content you made.

3. Short value emails can be a nice change of pace

Think about your subscribers' email boxes.

Day after day, they get several emails from friends, families, and businesses they like.

What do most of the business emails consist of?

“Read our content” “Buy our stuff”

About 90% of business emails fall into these two categories.

And it's not that those types of emails aren't valuable to your subscribers-because they are, but some subscribers will get fatigued by them.

If you're looking to maximize your subscriber happiness as much as possible, consider sending emails that focus on nothing but teaching something interesting to your subscribers.

No links to your content or anyone's website.

No asking for replies-just a clear show of value.

Bernadette Jiwa is known for her story-telling talent.

She sends out this exact type of email I'm talking about on a regular basis. Sometimes her emails have links underneath, and sometimes they don't.

Here's an example of such an email (yes, that's the whole thing):

It's short but gives her subscribers an interesting thing to ponder, which helps them tell better stories (their goal).

It's a nice break from overwhelming amounts of content (which I may be guilty of myself).

4. Highlights need to be interesting

Email newsletters are nothing new.

Any email sent out on a regular basis that summarizes what's been happening on a site can be considered an email newsletter.

They're supposed to consist of highlights.

But like the name implies, they need to consist of the very best of your site.

Whether you have user-generated content or content produced by your writing team, highlight emails are an option.

However, make sure you're not including everything. But don't select content randomly either.

You should be giving previews of the most popular content on your site for that particular time period.

For example, Quora (the question and answer site), regularly sends users the most upvoted questions from their feeds.

Here's what it looks like:

I would guess that these are automatically generated by the most upvoted questions during the week.

5. One way to show that you really respect subscribers

One goal that every email marketer should have is to form deeper relationships with subscribers.

Admittedly, this is difficult. It's tough to break down that barrier over email only. You've probably never met your subscribers, and by default, they think of you as just another business.

Even if they like your business, most subscribers will still be skeptical about your claim that you care about them and not just their money.

One thing I encourage businesses to do is find employees through their email list.

I've done it before, as have many others. Here's an example of Ramit Sethi sending an email to his list while looking to hire for more than 10 positions:

When you do this, you make it clear that you think of them as people whom you respect and who you believe have valuable skills.

And it's good business too. Your subscribers likely have an in-depth understanding of your business and obviously think in similar to you ways (since they like you).

Even if someone doesn't apply or doesn't get hired, it's clear to them that you're looking to develop partnerships and relationships with people on your list.

It's one way to break down that barrier a bit and become more than “just another business.”

6. Don't fall victim to the “curse of knowledge” (deliver your best stuff)

Many bloggers suffer from the “curse of knowledge.”

The curse of knowledge is a fairly old concept. It basically states that it's hard to understand what lesser-informed people are thinking.

If you're an expert in math, it would be hard for you to even fathom that someone doesn't understand something like basic calculus.

It's the reason why some people are geniuses but absolutely awful teachers. Conversely, someone who just learned something can often teach it best because they understand the perspective of someone who doesn't know it.

Let's apply this to your subscribers and content.

Over the years, you might write hundreds of pieces of content. At that point (possibly present day), you're naturally going to assume that your average new subscriber is more informed than they used to be.

For me, as an example, it's easy to assume that every new subscriber understands on-page and off-page SEO as well as concepts such as white-hat and black-hat link building.

From that perspective, it's hard for me to send them my advanced guide to SEO because I'm assuming they already know everything in it.

Chances are, though, your average new subscriber won't change much over time.

And it's very likely that my average new subscriber could benefit from more general SEO knowledge before I get to the specific tactics I currently write about.

The autoresponder “crash course”: If you think that this is a problem, one way to fix it is with an autoresponder sequence.

Think of what an average subscriber knew even a year or two ago, and make a list of what they need to learn to get up to speed with the rest of your content.

Then, put together an autoresponder sequence that you send to all new subscribers, where you showcase your old content that teaches these basic concepts.

For example, if you sign up for Wordstream's list, a PPC optimization business, you'll get a few emails like this:

The guides are all older content, and the field may have advanced since it was written, but the fundamentals hold true, and new subscribers will greatly appreciate learning them.

The takeaway from the “curse of knowledge” is that you're probably giving subscribers a bit too much credit. Don't assume they've read every single post you've ever written-because they haven't.

Don't be afraid to send emails featuring the best of your older content.

7. Preview big events that subscribers will be interested in (be your own hype man)

You need to give subscribers incentives to open that next email.

There are many ways to do this, but one way is to build hype in advance.

Think about any popular TV show. They show previews for the next episode in commercials and at the end of episodes.

These get you excited, and you make sure you watch the next episode.

Brian Dean does a similar thing really well, but for content.

For example, he sent this email to subscribers:

In that email, he shared his story about struggling and then finally succeeding with SEO.

It's an interesting story that draws you in and makes you curious about the specifics of his success (building hype).

At the bottom of the email, he teases subscribers with bullet points that outline what he's going to show them over the next few emails:

Right at the end, after building that hype, he tells them to watch out for his next email in which he'll send the first post about how to succeed with SEO like he did.

You'd better believe that he had a fantastic open rate on that email.

You can do the same. When you're planning to publish a big piece of content or a new tool, first send an email that focuses on the benefits of it.

If possible, tie it into an entertaining story to suck in your subscriber even more. That will only add to the anticipation.

Conclusion

It's not enough just to build an email list-you have to use it effectively.

Emails are a great personal way to communicate with subscribers and customers.

Use as many of these 7 types of emails (where they make sense) to start building more meaningful relationships.

If you're having trouble deciding exactly what to send to your subscribers, just fill me in on your situation in a comment below, and I'll point you in the right direction.

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Find Your Readers: 6 Marketing Channels (and which ones to pick)

Creating great content is pointless…

…unless you're getting it in front of your target audience.

You do this by using any one of a number of promotional tactics to reach your target audience on a variety of platforms.

Most of these platforms can be grouped together, and that's where we get marketing channels. A promotional tactic can then be applied to most of the platforms in the channel.

For example, social media is a marketing channel, consisting of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Depending on whom you ask, you'll get different answers to the question of how many marketing channels there really are.

The number gets even more complicated if you consider that there are many offline marketing channels as well.

However, for most of us, the number of channels doesn't matter.

What does matter is that there is a handful of core channels that are by far the most effective digital marketing channels.

That's what this post is all about.

We'll go over the six main digital marketing channels you should at least be familiar with. On top of that, I'm going to show you how to evaluate each channel to determine whether it's worth your time.

The real power of studying channels: If you want to learn this stuff because you love marketing, that's great. But there's also a great practical reason for you to want to learn it.

Once you learn how to identify the best marketing channels for your business, you can study them and create content for those specific channels (and sites in them).

By targeting content towards a specific audience, you're much more likely to create something they'll love and want to read. 

Channel #1: Search engines (SEO) is the best place to start

There are very few websites that wouldn't benefit from search engine traffic.

No matter what industry you're in, some of your target customers are using search engines to search for something.

That doesn't mean you should necessarily spend all your time on SEO. It's not always the best channel, but it's one that you must research.

What you should be looking to do at this point is just some basic keyword research. Afterwards, you can do some more advanced keyword research with these resources:

5 Modern Keyword Research Methods to Uncover Hidden Gems Keyword Research – The Advanced Guide to SEO How to Use the Google Keyword Planner Tool for SEO

Here, we just want to see the general number of searches your target audience does every month.

For that, the Google Keyword Planner will work just fine.

Start by entering some broad niche keywords. For example, “content marketing” or “social media marketing” if you were starting a blog like Quick Sprout.

Look through the list that comes up, and see how many keywords have a significant search volume (at least a few hundred per month).

While you're missing out on a lot of keywords using this simplistic method, you want to see at least 50 keywords worth targeting.

If you don't know where to start when it comes to searching for keywords, find a close competitor in your niche.

Then, enter their URL in the website field of the keyword planner instead of typing in keywords.

If they have a WordPress blog, you can typically add “/feed” to the end of their blog URL to get a more complete set of keywords.

For example, instead of entering:

https://www.quicksprout.com/blog/

enter:

https://www.quicksprout.com/blog/feed

That will give you a set of really broad keywords, and you can enter any of those into the tool to get a list to analyze.

Channel #2: If you want readers fast, PPC (pay-per-click advertising) is the way

When you identify a marketing channel, you first want to make sure you can actually reach your readers through it.

After, you need to decide if it's ideal for your business. All channels have their strengths and weaknesses.

SEO, for example, can provide you with steady, high-quality free traffic. The downside is that it is hard to earn that traffic, can take a long time to get, and requires an upfront investment.

PPC, on the other hand, allows you to drive the same type of traffic (if you're using AdWords) from day one of publishing content. There are also many more platforms you can use other than search such as Facebook advertising, LinkedIn advertising, or even a small network like 7search.

The downside is that it's expensive, and if you don't have a solid conversion funnel in place, you'll end up wasting that traffic and losing money.

When can you use paid advertising? Another benefit of PPC is that you can use it for virtually any niche.

If there's search traffic, you can advertise on Google or Bing.

If it's most popular on social media, you can advertise there.

If you have a significant content promotion budget (on an ongoing basis), PPC is an option at your disposal.

However, if you don't already have a solid sales funnel, be prepared to lose money.

Your time should mostly be spent optimizing ads and conversion rates of your content (readers into email subscribers). From there, you'll need to determine the best way to sell to those subscribers.

Channel #3: You don't always have to compete with other blogs

If you're starting a blog, I sure hope there are at least a few other, remotely similar to yours, popular blogs that already exist.

If not, there probably aren't many potential customers reading blogs in that niche, and you're wasting your time. The one exception is if you're writing about a very new topic that has just started growing.

These blogs are usually seen as competition, but they don't have to be.

A reader is not an all-or-nothing asset. A reader can follow multiple blogs.

If you give blog owners an incentive, you may be able to get them to allow you to get your message in front of their readers.

How?

The main ways are:

Guest-posting – I guest-post on a regular basis and have written multiple guides to using it effectively. Here, the incentive is free content for the site owner. Of course, you need to make sure that your content is good enough to be worth it. Not all blogs allow guest posts, but many do. Joint content – For all my advanced guides (in the sidebar), I've gotten help from respected bloggers in each niche. They get publicity, and I get help with my content.

Sponsored posts – You can contact a blogger and offer to sponsor a post. These typically involve a few mentions naturally throughout a post. Joint ventures – You can even get involved with a product a blogger sells and help improve it. Their customers will see you in a very good light, and many will follow you because of it.

For now, you want to find as many of those blogs as you can.

It's pretty easy these days. Start by Googling a phrase like “top (niche) blogs.”

You'll probably find at least a few results, featuring long lists of blogs in your niche.

Write these down somewhere.

You can also head to Alltop, find your niche in the menu bar, and then write down the blogs that come up:

Traffic is king: There's no point in doing a guest post on a site with very little traffic. Even if your post is great, you'll only get a few readers from it.

Your next step is to estimate the traffic levels of each site you wrote down.

Visit each site, and look for:

Average number of comments on each post Average number of social shares How well designed the site is Whether the number of subscribers is listed anywhere

It's hard to know if a site has a lot of traffic, but if it's getting 5+ comments or 100+ social shares on each post, it has enough to consider partnering with.

Filter out all the low traffic sites. If you still have 20+ sites left to potentially work with, then these blogs are another channel you can target.

Channel #4: Can you be social?

Social media sites are usually hit or miss.

Some niches, like fitness, food, fashion, and even marketing to a degree, are highly shareable.

In order to use social media effectively, you need those extra followers and readers you get from “likes” and “shares.”

That's why you don't see a lot of asphalt companies or paper companies killing it on social media. It's really hard to create shareable content in those niches.

To see whether it's viable for your niche, you can use Buzzsumo, a tool I've mentioned many times before. Not only will it show you if your niche is popular on social media, but it will also tell you which social media sites to focus on.

Type your niche into the top content tool. If the results seem irrelevant, add quotation marks around your keyword:

In addition to the core keywords, I recommend typing in a few related keywords for more data.

You're looking for two things here:

Is content in my niche shareable? – If there are several pieces of content with over 1,000 shares, it's safe to say that your niche is viable on social media. Which network(s) is most popular? – You'll likely see that one or two networks make up 90% of the shares. In the case above, Twitter is the dominant source, followed way behind by Facebook and LinkedIn in most cases.

While there may be a few fluctuations, you'll see that there is a pattern when it comes to the most popular social networks. You'll want to focus on the most popular ones if you choose to use social media.

Channel #5: Forums are the backbone of the Internet

Forums have been around since the start of the Internet and continue to play a big part in most users' online lives.

While getting readers from forums doesn't scale very well, it can be very effective when your blog is new and you need that initial audience to write for.

On top of that, it's free-other than your time investment.

Here, you need to find out whether there are any popular forums. To do so, Google for “(niche) + forum.”

You need a minimum of one highly active forum. You want to see 100+ users a day making new posts.

Check out the first few results, and see if any meet that criterion.

You can usually scroll to the bottom of a forum to see how big it is.

Turns out, there actually aren't any good content marketing forums – bummer.

If you run into a case like this, you do have the option of expanding your scope (“marketing forums”), but it's usually better just to move on.

Channel #6: Q&A sites

Some might group question and answer (Q&A) sites with social media sites, but I think they're distinctive enough to warrant their own section.

The biggest Q&A sites are Quora and Yahoo Answers.

Just like forums, these don't scale well, but they can drive a good amount of traffic to your blog (if you include links in answers).

One bonus is that your answers will rank well in Google for long tail search terms (which are usually questions), which will send you consistent traffic in the future as well.

Head to Quora, and start typing your niche into the search bar. You're looking for a topic that is exactly the same as yours or close to it (click it):

Quora provides follower statistics on each topic page on the right. If a topic has a good number of followers (say 20,000+), it's active enough that you could focus on it as a marketing channel:

As a side note, here's my post on using Quora for marketing.

Conclusion

Now that you have a good grasp of the ways to determine whether you could use a channel for marketing, it's decision time.

Take a look at each channel, and first decide if your audience uses it (as I've shown you).

Then, consider the relative popularity of each channel, your budget, and your goals, and determine the top 1-3 channels.

You don't want to try to target too many channels at once. Instead, focus on one or two, and put all your resources into using them effectively.

If you need help doing this, I'm happy to try to point you in the right direction. Leave me a comment below with as much detail as possible, and I'll try to help out.

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One Skill that Will Take Your Writing from Good to Great

Halfway through the writing course, our instructor - not known for being one to sugar-coat - threw out a challenge:

“Send me a favorite piece of your writing and I'll critique it; I'll tell you whether or not it's any good. The only catch is, I'll be critiquing it in front of the entire class.”

A surprising number of us (bristling with hope and hubris I suppose) took up the offer. The ensuing session was, to date, the most illuminating experience I've had as a writer.

The key message we all took away?

Not that we needed to self-edit more tightly or have better ideas. It was this:

If we wanted to be truly great writers, we had to first write many, many words. And then we had to be willing to walk away from the majority of them.

Back to the session …

Find the single, golden line

The first thing our instructor did was throw most of our work straight on the scrap heap:

“Completely vanilla. If you have nothing new to bring to this topic, don't add to the noise out there in the world about it.”

Next came her response to a 1,000-word piece of text. From it, she identified a single, golden line - the seed of a big idea:

“Start again with just that line. Throw away the rest.”

A rambling 900-word tribute to someone dearly departed? Ruthlessly whittled down to 250 emotion-laden words that cut the reader to the core.

At the end of the session, our instructor told us not to feel dismayed. She applied the same ruthlessness to her own work; three out of four blog posts she wrote never saw the light of day.

This was revolutionary to me. Previously, I assumed that if I'd spent any amount of time writing and editing it, then the content was worth publishing.

After? I discovered the truth in her lesson and found that throwing away words made the difference between simply creating content and creating content that resonated deeply with the world.

I also found that while my “throwing-away-words muscle” was pretty weak initially, the more I used it, the stronger it got.

So, how do you exercise that muscle? These three activities helped me.

1. Make time each day to free write

As someone with limited time on her hands, I always felt pressure to make the most of my precious writing hours.

While I was making time to write every single day via a daily Morning Pages habit, I'd spend that time writing first drafts. (Not really in the spirit of Morning Pages!)

I decided to stop with the “first drafting” and instead use Morning Pages the way they were intended - as an exercise for writing 750 stream-of-consciousness words.

It was astonishing to see the incredible thoughts and ideas that emerged from that pressure-free environment; they were ideas I'd never have accessed without the time, space, and permission to write hundreds of words I might never use elsewhere.

2. Write first drafts longhand

I always used to type first drafts on my computer … and I also would edit along the way.

This is bad form: Editing as you write is not terribly efficient, but worse than that, I was extra reluctant to let those words go - even if I knew they weren't working - because it had taken so much effort to produce them in the first place.

So, I tried writing my first drafts longhand, and one of three things started to happen:

I was more willing to let an idea go if I realized I couldn't effectively communicate it. I'd start writing about one idea and then another, much better idea would emerge. I'd write my first draft at night and my subconscious would ponder it while I slept. The next day, my second draft was always infinitely better than if I had typed the first draft. 3. Give yourself time to do complete rewrites

I remember reading a post by Leo Babauta about the iterative approach he took to writing Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change.

He initially wrote what he called a “minimum viable book,” put it out in beta to a select group of readers, and gathered their feedback. Then, after a considerable amount of editing based on their feedback, he started again from scratch.

He started again from scratch?

That sounded like a nightmare.

But then I started giving myself more lead-time when I wrote articles.

Having considerable breathing space between each draft helped me see when I needed to start again in order to communicate an idea more clearly.

The key was, I now had time to do a complete rewrite instead of trying to edit the existing piece into something workable.

The path to great words

Many writers I know don't complete their final drafts until the last moment, fooling themselves into thinking they work better under pressure. I used to think that too.

And, certainly, I've always been able to produce work that is “good enough” while under pressure.

But I want certain content I write (like this article for Copyblogger) to be better than “good enough.” I want my writing to change how people think and move them to take action that makes their lives better or easier - or makes the world a better place.

For those pieces of writing, I make sure I set aside enough time to write thousands of words to start.

Because I know that's the surest path to the words I really want. The ones that are great.

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A Step-By-Step Process to Tell Compelling Stories and Improve Conversion Rates

I've noticed that there's something that scares most marketers.

We love our data.

Most marketers find it fun to review their traffic, engagement, and subscriber numbers. It allows them to test new things and measure their effect.

Data is logical.

But when it comes to content marketing, there's a component that doesn't always seem logical: storytelling.

I'm not talking about writing a fiction novel. I am talking about having the ability to write about even the most boring topics in a fun-to-read way.

It's something that many marketers, even good ones, struggle to do.

Do you also have trouble with this part of creating content?

I see you nodding.

I'll be honest: that's a problem. If you can't write persuasively, you'll struggle to get subscribers, traffic, etc.

The good news is that it's a skill that can be improved.

And if do it well, you can create content that sparks conversations across your niche. You'll find that dozens of blogs start mentioning and linking to your content with very little effort on your part.

Although this skill might seem like something abstract and impossible to improve upon, it can be translated into a proven process that you can follow. This makes developing it a lot easier.

In this post, I'm going to show you that process, step by step.

If you implement it, your content should produce more traffic, referrals, backlinks, and subscribers. 

Step 1: Identify and describe the problem (3 parts)

A story can be really interesting to you but completely uninteresting to someone else, depending on how it's told. That's because we care about different things and enjoy things in different ways.

When you're creating content, there are two places you can start:

The problem (that you intend to solve for your readers) Your readers

Either can work, but starting with your readers is the most logical place to begin.

The more you understand your audience, the more you can tailor your content to them. Ideally, you want to be able to answer questions such as:

What are their passions? What are their biggest problems? Whom do they care about most? What do they do for entertainment?

You can figure out some of this by doing some basic demographic and psychographic research.

The ideal way to figure out these answers is to talk face-to-face with some of your readers.

There are three ways to do this:

Know some people in your target audience in your daily offline life. Offer to take them out to lunch and talk to them. Ask email subscribers to answer a survey, or have a quick chat with them. Offer a small reward if they agree (even a $5 gift card could be enough). Host webinars. Not only are webinars great because they convert subscribers into customers, but they are also great because they give you a chance to actually talk with your most engaged readers.

Once you're having a conversation, you can ask most of those questions above although you should try to phrase them in a way relevant to your niche.

For example, since I write about marketing, I could ask questions such as:

Why are you learning marketing? What do you hope to accomplish as a marketer? How will marketing affect other areas of your life?

Analyze the answers from 10-20 different people, and you'll start to see patterns.

Next, identify the problem and the pain: Each piece of content should solve one specific problem. And all problems produce pain, which is where the emotion behind storytelling factors in.

If you understand the pain, you can explain the problem better than most readers can themselves. If a reader sees that you can do that, they'll believe that you have the solution.

All content and stories should start with the pain because that's how you draw in the reader.

Before you start writing, you should be able to fill in the blanks:

The problem I solve for my reader is ______________________.

And:

The reason my reader is motivated to solve this problem is because _______________(the pain).

Finally, you need to put that pain in the context of your reader.

For example, say you write about fitness. You identify that many gym-goers get wrist pain while bench-pressing. The pain is a clear physical one, and your reader wants to solve this problem.

But think of the difference in the pain for:

A casual gym-goer A high level athlete

For the casual gym-goer, the pain is annoying because it makes it harder to get into shape.

However, for a high level athlete, the pain isn't just physical-it's preventing them from improving and achieving important goals in their life.

You can't write a story to appeal to both audiences at the same time. That's why the first part of this section was so important.

With all this identified, you can move onto the next step, which is where you can actually start the story.

Step 2: Drive the pain home

Now you're beginning your content.

While you might want to remind your readers of the pain throughout your story, the intro is where you need to drive it home.

You want to use everything you've learned from step 1 and describe the pain your reader is facing in great detail.

Copywriters often call this “amplifying” the pain.

Let's look at an example. Here's the intro from an article on Smart Blogger.

I've highlighted a few different things here:

A common fear the readers of that blog have. Illustrating the pain and frustration his readers feel (describing why). Amplifying the pain by connecting this specific pain (little traffic from each piece of content) to a bigger pain (failing to get traffic and subscribers on the overall blog).

So, how do you do this for your own content?

There's no set formula, but to start, make a list of:

The problem The pains specific to that problem The bigger pains related to the problem

Remember earlier, our example problem was that our athlete was getting wrist pain in the gym.

At this point, you'd have some notes on your outline, like this:

The problem – You can't work out effectively and can't make progress in the gym. The specific pains – Sharp wrist pain every time you try to bench-press a decent weight. The bigger pains – If you can't work out, you can't achieve the level of play that you want. If you can't get rid of this pain, you'll see your teammates and opponents surpass you because they aren't limited by it.

Those three points come together really naturally from there.

After pain, offer relief: You've effectively “broken down” your reader. They're feeling the pain and worried about what happens if they can't solve the problem.

But now, you turn it around and offer an answer. You're the only one who understands their pain, and you know how to solve it. Why wouldn't they be interested in what you have to say?

Make your transition, just like in the example post from above:

There are two parts to this:

State your solution Give an optimistic example

In the case above, the author's solution to traffic problems was to leverage Slideshare. Then, he gave an example of Michael Hyatt getting 70,000 views on his content on Slideshare.

In our example, the solution might be to fix our athlete's bench-pressing technique. You could give a personal example or an example of a student who was able to get past their pain and add 50 pounds to their bench press within three months of implementing the solution.

Essentially, you're saying that you understand their end goal and now want to show them how to connect the dots.

Step 3: Craft a narrative

Now we're into the meat of the story.

It's time to not only give your solution but explain why it works. The more context you can give, the better.

For example, Alex Turnbull (Groove HQ blogger) wanted to write a post about improving conversion rates through design.

But to make it more compelling, he crafted a narrative-a before and after story. He went through the steps that Groove used to increase their conversion rates by 100%.

If you can give detailed examples throughout your solution, you'll make the story much more interesting.

However, it's not always possible, so focus mainly on providing the best possible solution for your reader and then add examples if possible.

Step 4: You can only be compelled if you believe in the story

Here's a part that many marketers miss.

If you did the first few steps right, your readers will read your content with an open mind. After all, you seem to really understand their problem and pain and claim to have a solution that works.

If you want your readers to be ready to take action at the end of your content or landing page, you need to give proof.

On landing pages, this is typically done with testimonials and case studies.

For blog posts, you do this with data and research throughout your story.

The more evidence you can provide to show that your solution should work for your reader, the more likely they are to take action.

For example, I wrote a post about “How I Generated $332,640 in 3 Months From Instagram.”

In this post, I outlined the strategy I took, but I also provided proof-a screenshot of the sales I made:

When you include proof like that, your reader will believe that your solution worked for you and thus might work for them too.

Want to make your story bulletproof? The key factor above is that the data and personal examples show that your story is true and that it worked in the main scenario you're writing about.

Sometimes, that leaves some readers with the question: “But will it work for me?”

That's where you need to pile on the evidence.

In that same article about using Instagram, I shared multiple examples (case studies) of other businesses using the exact same model to achieve great results:

The point is to remove as much doubt from readers' minds as possible.

Step 5: Inspire action and bring it home

Your story (content) is essentially complete at this point.

You've done the following so far:

Described the pain Offered hope of a solution Detailed your solution Backed it up with examples and data

As you know, simply reading a blog post alone is almost always useless.

The real value for the readers is in applying the information they learned from your posts.

Some readers are self-motivated and will figure out how to do that. However, many of your readers won't know what to do unless you tell them (or at least give them a hint).

You've probably noticed I end all my posts with some sort of a conclusion. In that conclusion, I include a call to action.

For example:

It's your chance to remind your readers of the main steps that they should take to apply whatever solution you showed them.

This is also an opportunity to include a call to action for anything further that might help them.

You might tell readers to try some strategy you laid out. And you can also include a call to action to sign up for a course you offer, subscribe for an email list, or download a content upgrade.

Conclusion

Truly compelling content inspires readers to act on your advice.

Making a big impact in your readers' lives will help you get more traffic and turn more of those readers into subscribers and customers.

While creative storytelling isn't the strength of most marketers, we're not trying to write a fiction masterpiece here.

Instead, you should aim to tell stories to intrigue readers so that they keep reading and then take action. If you follow the 5-step process I've shown you, you'll be able to do exactly that.

If you've read or written any great pieces of content lately, share them below so that we can all see more examples of compelling stories.

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The Secret to Powerful Products that Sell: Meet Tara Gentile, Creator of 'Quiet Power'

Tara Gentile is known for helping people grow terrific businesses - without sacrificing ethics or heart.

Tara works with “idea people” - people who have an idea that they want to turn into a product, program, or service, but who may not always see themselves as business owners or marketers. She helps her audience and clients find the right business models, craft marketing that resonates, and structure their businesses for profit.

She calls her approach the Quiet Power Strategy - and it's a complete reversal of a lot of the “cookie cutter” advice you sometimes see around digital business.

Listen and observe

A while back, Tara spoke with Rainmaker Digital CEO Brian Clark about how to thoughtfully observe your audience in order to strengthen your business.

Listen to Win: How Actionable Observation Provides Profitable Answers

Brian and Tara share a deep focus on listening in order to uncover audience interests, fears, and desires. When you master this, everything about your business starts to work better.

It's also the key to marketing that doesn't feel pushy or creepy - because you're speaking directly to the problems and concerns of your audience, using their own language. Marketing becomes a direct expression of audience empathy.

Listening is the key to building a business based on service rather than selfishness.

“I see [listening] as probably the biggest thing that's keeping people from creating marketing that works and products that sell easily … and sales processes that don't feel slimy.” – Tara Gentile

What do they care deeply about?

In Tara's world (and ours), the journey always starts with the deepest goals and concerns of the audience.

“How are you going to help them go from before to after?” – Tara Gentile

Tara's process unearths what she calls the Target Conversation. Who are the people having this conversation, and what are they actually talking about?

Most of the time, the road from their problem to the solution you offer isn't a straight line; it's a series of somewhat meandering connections. This sequence of relevant ideas will click with the people in your audience where they are right now - not where you wish they were.

Tara calls this step Connecting the Dots: starting with where they are today, then moving purposefully to the next dot … and the next, and the next.

In this way, you create a clear path between your audience's problems and your solutions.

Solving audience problems … even if you aren't a renowned expert

“Don't call yourself an expert … just be helpful. If you're two steps ahead of your audience on the journey, you're still a leader.” – Brian Clark

Tara and Brian share the conviction that a business that's built on solving specific audience problems is far more powerful than starting with a notion of some abstract “market.”

“When you look at real people with real problems - or with real desires - they've got blanks. There's something missing that isn't allowing them to accomplish what they want to accomplish … There's sort of a locked door between that before and after … And we've got insight into how to open it.” – Tara Gentile

Once you adjust your approach to focus your business's marketing and products on customer problems and the solutions to those problems, you've set yourself up for success.

How to approach writing a promotion

“My best tip for copywriting is to feed your customers' words back to them … They want to know that you've actually thought about what their problem is.” – Tara Gentile

First, Tara listens for the themes and language that come up again and again for her audience. Her promotional copy is then crafted to provide answers and solutions that speak to those specific issues.

She builds each sales page around a single key insight that's arisen from conversations with her audience and customers. That gives the promotion focus, connecting Tara's expertise directly to what's most important to her prospects right now.

Promotions crafted this way stand out from the general background of noise and clutter that we see every day on the web and in our inboxes.

“The opposite of quiet isn't loud; it's noise.” – Tara Gentile

Let Tara walk you through her process: 7 Ways to Listen to Your Audience

We're so happy that Tara will be joining us this October in Denver, Colorado at our live Digital Commerce Summit.

Here's what Tara had to say about the presentation she'll be teaching:

“It's time to stop guessing about what digital product to create (whether it's your first or your next). It's also time to stop wasting time and money building the wrong products (i.e. the ones people don't buy). Learn seven distinct ways to listen to your audience and build a system for turning what you hear into profitable offers. You'll never have to guess about what people want to buy again.”

Tara's process is applicable to any business - from selling a single ebook to running a multi-million dollar SaaS.

Join us October 13-14 for a carefully chosen curriculum that will give you the momentum you need to level up as a digital entrepreneur. Tara is just one of 15 speakers who have walked the walk. Over two days, we'll teach you how to take your digital project to the next level - or how to get something new off the ground.

Click here to get the details and snag the best price on your tickets.

We're looking forward to seeing you there!

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Get More Done and Boost Profits with This 3-Step Process for Hiring Help

Does your business card proudly proclaim “Content Marketing Professional, Chief Cook, and Bottle Washer?”

Now's the time to change that to simply “Content Marketing Professional.”

We often take pride in the fact that we're in charge of every aspect of running our businesses, from doing accounting to changing the light bulbs in the office.

But here's some shocking news, especially if you're new to content marketing and are still bootstrapping your way to success: Hiring help - outsourcing tasks you struggle with so you can focus on your strengths - will allow you to grow your business and your income at a crazy-fast pace.

Let's talk about how to go from “doing it all” to “doing only what you do best.”

Step #1: Determine what you don't need to do

Is there one aspect of your business that you despise - or that you're just not that good at?

Chances are, there's someone else who loves that task and offers it as a service.

And think about it: If you're doing your taxes, you're not polishing your prose. If you're cleaning your office, you're not sharing your content on social media.

Tasks you may want to delegate include:

Content formatting and finding images

Perhaps you love writing blog posts or email newsletters, but you don't have a lot of experience formatting your content or finding compelling images. Find someone who does, so you have the time to write more.

Editing and proofreading

Even professional writers benefit from editing and proofreading. The bigger and more complex the project, the more likely you'll want a second set of eyes on it. I hired a developmental editor for my new book, How to Do It All, and it ended up so much stronger after he took his red pen to it.

Social media management

Too busy creating content to share it on social media yourself? Hire a social media whiz to take care of it for you, so you have more time to do what you do best.

Interviewing

If you need to interview people for case studies, blog posts, or other content - and the idea makes you want to drive spikes through your forehead - there's no shortage of professional writers who will take this task off your hands.

Check out Copyblogger's Certified Content Marketers for experienced writers with a wide variety of expertise.

Graphic design

Unless you're an experienced graphic designer as well, consider hiring a design professional to create stellar ebook covers, custom blog graphics, and infographics.

Outreach

I hired a PR assistant to reach out to bloggers and other media outlets about my new book, and she's doing a much better job than I would have done. Not only that, you also add a layer of sophistication to your business when someone who represents you approaches big-name podcasters or reporters.

Tax prep and accounting

Take it from me - you will likely save more than you spend.

House cleaning

If you work from home, it can be difficult to focus on your work when you're preoccupied with the sticky kitchen counters and piles of unfolded laundry in your direct line of sight. Cleaning services help create an environment conducive to working (and earning).

Step #2: Decide you can afford to hire help

Hiring help may sound like a good idea for internet celebs who rake in millions by sending out a single email - but not for little old you.

I disagree, for several reasons:

Hiring help will enable you to work more, and faster

I've had months where I labored under 13 magazine deadlines, and that productivity has enabled me to make a damn good living as a writer. I could never have done that if I were attempting to transcribe 40 audio files in a month on top of researching and writing the articles.

In many cases, spending money equals making even more money!

Paying for help motivates you to only accept the highest-paying work

You'll have a good reason to stop entertaining lowball offers from prospects. For example, I hire a transcriptionist to transcribe my interview files. If I were writing $10 articles for content mills, hiring a transcriptionist wouldn't make sense - but I try to not accept assignments that pay less than $400, which is how I can afford this type of help.

Your helpers should pay for themselves

A business owner I know once told me that your job isn't to earn enough to pay for help - it's the job of the people you hire to pay for themselves. For example, if you pay a content marketer $500, they should bring in many multiples of that in terms of paid gigs or products sold.

It's not always about money

You may be able to find a local university student who wants to gain experience. Years ago, I found a proficient transcriptionist by contacting the English department at a college near me.

Believe me: I'm far from loaded, and I've been hiring most of the types of help listed above since the early years of my business. If I can do it, you probably can too.

Step #3: Find your pro

So, I've browbeaten you - er, I mean - you've decided it's time to hire pros to help you with certain tasks. Great!

Now, where do you find these people? And how do you know they're any good?

Before placing an ad or turning to bidding sites, ask around in your business community. Someone you've connected with on social media sites or in an industry forum may be able to recommend the perfect pro.

Whatever you do, don't make the mistake I recently made …

I tend to be overly trusting when it comes to hiring help because, hey, they're small businesspeople like me! I ended up getting burned to the tune of $6,500 because I didn't want to be a hard-ass and question the service provider about what they were offering, how it would work for my situation, and exactly how they were getting it done. (Expensive) lesson learned.

So ask, ask, ask until you're satisfied, and don't be afraid of offending anyone. Professional service providers will clearly communicate what they offer and their terms of service - a topic that will be covered in an upcoming Copyblogger post.

Over to you …

Once you've hired the help you need, you'll be able to focus on your strengths, provide the most value to your clients, and generate more income.

Have you hired people to help you with your workload? Share your experiences in the comments below.


Need to hire a professional writer to help with your content marketing?

Browse Copyblogger's Certified Content Marketers.

If you're interested in getting certified yourself, the program will reopen to new students sometime soon. You can add your email to our waiting list below to be the first to hear about it.

Find out when our Certified Content Marketer training program re-opens:

The post Get More Done and Boost Profits with This 3-Step Process for Hiring Help appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Are You Cheap or Are You Exceptional? How to Price Your Services

The success of your service-based business will be built on the bedrock of how you answer this one simple question:

Do I want my services to be perceived as economical - or exceptional?

It seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? I mean, of course we want to be perceived as exceptional.

But positioning your offerings as exceptional is more difficult than it sounds. It takes guts, unwavering faith in your abilities, and an unflagging devotion to producing quality work.

I've lost count of how many times I've sat down with a fellow creative person and said, “Look, you have to start charging more money. Just do it!”

In today's post, I'm going to have that little chat with you, right here on Copyblogger. If you're a writer, designer, or any type of service provider, this article is for you.

Why is it so tough to charge what you're worth?

It seems like it should be easy. You want to charge more? Just charge more!

But in reality, being more expensive than the average service provider means:

You'll lose out on some business. You'll have to keep a straight face while people overreact to your prices. You'll have to continue to believe in yourself even when people look you in the eye and tell you you're being unreasonable. You'll need to navigate through potentially uncomfortable negotiation sessions.

The first “marketing tactic” many new service providers try is, “I'll be cheaper than everyone else!”

Bad idea.

Positioning yourself as the bargain service provider sets you up for problems that are way worse than having to sit through some tough negotiations.

The pitfalls of positioning yourself as the “bargain” service provider

Bargain service providers attract bargain-hunting clients. And bargain-hunting clients aren't your best clients. Actually, they're going to be your worst clients.

Here's why:

Bargain-hunting clients need education

Clients who buy services based on price don't usually know what they need. They go into the process of contracting a service without a firm grasp of the solution that will take care of their problem.

They expect you, the service provider, to help them develop (for free) the solution they'll pay you (a bargain rate) to create.

I ran my own design studio earlier in my career. It didn't take me too many sessions of sitting down with clients who'd never worked with a designer before, holding their hands through the process, and receiving their teeny-tiny checks to realize, “Gee, this would be much easier if the client already understood what I offer!”

Bargain-hunting clients don't appreciate what you bring to the table

Clients with a healthy budget for your services have developed that budget because they have:

Bought your type of service before, so they know what it costs Worked on projects using the assets you provide (copywriting, content marketing, design, coaching, etc.) Seen the value your service provides (that's why they have a budget for it!) All of the above

Bargain hunters, on the other hand, need to be “sold” every step of the way.

Wouldn't you rather be doing creative work than selling creative work? I know I would.

Bargain-hunting clients view your service as a commodity

Service-based businesses are people-based businesses. And no person I know wants their creative work to be treated like a commodity that is sold to the lowest bidder.

How to begin positioning your business as exceptional - not cheap

Getting the best possible price for your services starts with the right mindset.

The first person who has to be convinced you're worth what you're charging is you.

You must go into the pricing process with the firm belief that you provide a quality service. You have to be prepared to walk away if the potential client doesn't see the value.

Because after all, wouldn't you rather earn a nice living while serving fewer clients?

That's what we're aiming for here: quality clients who value your work - and are willing to pay for it.

Get your mindset right and the rest will fall into place.

What's the rest?

It's one thing to believe you're worth it, and it's another to price your service in a way that protects you from “scope creep.”

Scope creep is the inevitable growth in complexity and time spent on a project that happens when you don't carefully nail down exactly what you'll deliver, when you'll deliver it, and how you'll deliver it.

This is the first of three articles we're going to share on pricing your services. In the next article in this series, Stefanie Flaxman will teach you how to ask the questions and get the answers you need to precisely explain what your client is paying for. And she'll provide some guidance on how to handle it if your project scope starts expanding.

Then, in the final article in this series, Beth Hayden will appear on her white horse with simple steps for pricing your service that you can apply to almost any business.

Stick around: We'll be delivering this series to you over the next couple of weeks. We want you to have the confidence, techniques, and tools you need to earn the most you can from the work you do.

Some of our Certified Content Marketers have reported a little “problem”

We've noticed lately that some of the writers we've certified and are featuring on our Certified Content Marketers page have told us about this little issue they're having.

Since taking the Certified Content Marketers course, passing their certification exam, and getting featured on the page, their business has exploded.

They can't handle the volume of work they're bringing in.

Such a terrible “problem,” right?

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4 Effective Ways to Build Backlinks for a Brand New Site

Starting to build links for a new site is a lot like climbing a mountain.

You're starting from ground zero with a lot of enthusiasm, but when you realize you have to climb for days to get anywhere, that enthusiasm often turns to the feeling of being overwhelmed.

But when it comes to your site, the weather conditions, metaphorically speaking, are terrible as well.

No one can see you from above, so they can't help you out-you are on your own.

That already rules out certain link building (climbing) strategies.

This fact is nothing new.

But the advice for new site owners is outdated and just plain bad in some cases.

I recently saw multiple guides that advised building (and paying for) directory links and social media bookmarks.

That kind of stuff was useful over five years ago, but today, it is a waste of your time and money-resources that could be spent building links that will help you get immediate traffic and long-term search rankings.

Seeing those guides was the inspiration for this post because no one beginning a site should start off on the wrong foot.

I'm going to show you four ways to build links specifically tailored towards new sites.

These are the links that actually matter. If you get a few dozen of them, you will see an immediate impact on your traffic levels. 

1. Invest in a gift for the community

Almost every new business has the same problem: no one knows you. Even if you have a lot to offer, again, no one knows you.

One of the main objectives of the link building tactics we'll look at in this post is to get attention.

And there are many ways to get the attention of people you don't know.

The best way, in most cases, is to offer something of value-as big of a value as you can provide.

Here are a few options.

Option #1 – create a photo gallery: Any good blogger knows the importance of having great images in posts.

While some bloggers hire a designer for the most important pictures, it's inconvenient and not always affordable for less important pictures.

However, most bloggers would gladly exchange a link to a site for a free picture.

That's why I propose hiring a designer (or taking pictures yourself) and creating a free image gallery. Then, send out the link to the gallery to medium-top bloggers in your niche, explaining that they are free to use them in exchange for a link back.

For example, in the fitness niche, you could take pictures like these:

Spending a few hundred dollars upfront here will not only open doors to other bloggers but get you several dozen really good links.

A final important note is that you should create images around common points in your niche.

For example, if you were in the content marketing niche, you could create custom images for things that are often mentioned such as:

SEO tools SEO rankings Reader personas Inbound marketing The different marketing channels

And so on…

Option #2 – create a free tool: If you're interested in getting a ton of traffic yourself, on top of links, you can create something for your community of users rather than just bloggers. And that something is a tool.

Tools can be a great way to grow your site and earn backlinks at the same time.

For example, the keyword research tool Keywordtool.io has been linked to by over 3,880 unique domains. Honestly, that's a relatively simple tool to build or get built.

After a bit of time, you can get links (good ones) that work out to under $1 per link, which is amazing. Add all the traffic that you can also get on top of that, and you can see why tools can be a great thing to make.

The big drawback is that it will take some time to build the tool in the first place, especially if you can't code it yourself.

Additionally, you're going to have to promote the tool. Write posts about it in niche forums, subreddits, and on social media.

Option #3 – do original data analysis (or research): One option that I really love, yet almost no one does, is to do original analysis or research.

Look at any good data-driven post-for example, my post about how to win on Facebook.

What you'll see is that most posts link to someone else's research.

It takes a lot of time and effort to do original research, which is why it's much easier to link to someone else's research than to do your own.

You can take advantage of this by providing the research that bloggers in your niche link to.

In that above post, the research was done by Buzzsumo, and I simply analyzed the data that they sent me. Of course, I'm going to give them a few links for that, and it also opens the door for a great relationship.

Find an interesting question always asked in your niche, dig in, and do the research. When you're done, email the results to the top bloggers in your niche, and give them first dibs.

2. Study competitors, and learn from them

The toughest thing you can do is reinvent the wheel.

Your competitors have likely spent years building up their reputations and earning backlinks to their sites.

Many of these backlinks are from sites that you could also get a backlink from.

That's why competitor analysis is a great place to start for any new site.

Here's a simple 3-step process to follow.

Step #1 – Find your close competitors: The closer a competitor is to you, the more likely that their backlink sources would be appropriate for you.

If you know your niche well, you can likely do this off the top of your head. Otherwise, search for “best (specific niche) blogs.”

It's best to make a big list somewhere for later.

Step #2 – Find their best backlinks: This is simple to do now, thanks to tools such as Ahrefs and Majestic. Simply put in your competitor's domain into either tool, and search its database:

Next, find the “inbound links” or equivalent option to see a list of all their links:

If you want to see them all, you'll need a premium account. Both sites offer a trial period that you can take advantage of.

The links should be sorted by default in order of strength. Obviously, you want to go only after the best links (usually the top 20-30% of links).

From there, you'll have to visit each page and find the link:

Step #3 – Can you replicate the link? Here is where your marketing skills come into play.

Some links, like links from private blog networks, can't be replicated.

However, links from guest posts, forums, social networks, blog comments, etc. can be replicated. You can often get very similar links to those of your competitors'.

From there, you need to go after that link.

For example, if you see that your competitor wrote a guest post on a site, I strongly suggest you read some of my posts on guest-posting effectively and then apply that information to try to secure a post of your own.

Unfortunately, I can't walk you through this step in great detail because it differs for every type of link. However, you will get better at it as you gain experience.

As a final note, you should stay on top of your competitors. Check which links they are getting on a regular basis, say once a week or once a month. It's usually easier to replicate links that are more recent (rather than years old).

3. Forum links can have value

Let me start off by being very clear: most forum links are garbage.

Signature links and profile links rarely have any real value.

If you have a link on a page that no one visits or links to, your link isn't going to count for much.

But what about the most popular threads on a big forum?

These threads rank well in Google. They have a lot of high-quality, relevant content, and people even link to them on other sites.

Links, especially near the top of the page (like in the opening post), can carry a good amount of weight.

For example, Brian Dean used to post on the Warrior Forum when Backlinko was newer.

He would include a link to his content on the first line and then paste the rest of his post. Here's an example:

That thread got over 14,000 views and almost 100 replies. A decent portion of those viewers likely visited his website.

Also, because it was so popular on the forum, it has a lot of internal links pointing to it on high authority pages on the forum.

It also has 12 external domains pointing to it to give it even more authority.

Every forum has its own rules for posting content, but as long as you're not just dropping a link and saying “go visit my site,” you should be okay.

However, you need to genuinely put the time and effort into understanding what the users of your forum want and then give it to them. You need your thread to get popular if you want a good link.

No, these links aren't the absolute best and most powerful (from an SEO perspective) that you can get. But for a new site, a few relatively strong links from forums can help build a strong foundation.

4. If you want to burst onto the scene, guest-posting is a must

Most link building strategies for new sites are fairly slow.

They take consistent effort and deliver consistent results.

But you rarely get thousands of readers and hundreds of links within months unless you do them exceptionally well.

I consider guest-posting an exception to the rule. Even though you have to do it really well to get results, most bloggers have the ability to succeed with it.

And guest-blogging works for you even if you're brand new. If you have a good pitch, it doesn't matter what your name is.

When I think of guest-blogging to build up a new site, I think of Danny Iny, who is often referred to as the “Freddy Krueger of guest-posting.”

He got this nickname because he seemed to be everywhere when Firepole Marketing (now Mirasee) first launched.

His main strategy for getting traffic and links was guest-posting. He wrote dozens of guest posts and quickly took Firepole Marketing to the top tier of marketing blogs.

I won't go into guest-posting in detail here because I've done it multiple times before:

Guest-Posting on Steroids: A 4-Step Blueprint That the Top Guest Posters Use Advanced Guest Posting – The Advanced Guide to Link Building Why Guest Blogging is The Best Inbound Marketing Strategy (A Data Driven Answer) Make Your Mark: 9 Easy Steps to Become a Successful Guest Blogger

The one adaptation that you will have to make, since you're brand new, is not to start at the top.

Don't start by pitching to a site like Copyblogger or Forbes. Instead, find a few smaller sites that are more receptive to pitches.

Then, you need to wow them with your post and promote that post as well.

Once you can prove that your writing is great, then you can start pitching to bigger sites, citing your other successes as proof that you're a serious blogger.

Conclusion

Here's the reality: You're in a tough spot.

Building links for a new site is not easy, but if you're willing to put in consistent effort, it can be done.

I've shown you four of the most effective ways I know to build links for a new site. I encourage you to focus on just one or two of them until you've exhausted their potential.

If you've been in this situation before and have any creative link building ideas to share with others, I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

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Marketing Automation Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

Ever find yourself in a conversation with your boss or a client and she mentions implementing marketing automation?

Did you understand her request, or did the conversation grind to a halt because you're not familiar with the term?

If you fall into the second category, you're not alone.

Marketing automation is a hot topic these days, and its popularity has grown rapidly since 2013, but it can be tricky to define.

What exactly is marketing automation?

Watch our 60-second video about marketing automation

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.

Here's our video for the definition of marketing automation:

Animation by The Draw Shop

And for those of you who would prefer to read, here's the transcript:

Marketing automation refers to software used by people and companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing workflows by automating repetitive marketing tasks.

In other words, it performs certain manual marketing tasks for you. Night and day. Rain or shine.

Here's an example of how it works:

Imagine someone downloads one of your ebooks. Marketing automation software will capture the contact information from the form, segment that lead based upon the information it gathered, and then send them an appropriate series of emails over a prescribed time.

Share this video

Click here to check out this definition on YouTube and share it with your audience. You'll also find 11 additional Content Marketing Glossary videos.

Learn more from the Content Marketing Glossary

We'll feature the rest of the videos soon, but if you'd prefer not to wait, you can watch all the videos now by going directly to the Content Marketing Glossary.

If you would like to learn more about marketing automation, visit these three resources:

Marketing Automation: How to Do (Much) More With Less 4 Ways to Identify Site Visitors (and Why It Matters) Deliver the Right Piece of Content to the Right Person at the Right Time

By the way, let us know if there are any definitions you'd like us to add to the glossary! Just drop your responses in the comments below.

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Multiple Streams of Income from Your Digital Business: Meet Joanna Penn, Creative Entrepreneur

Joanna Penn is known for being an unusually multifaceted author.

Not only does she write thriller novels under the name J.F. Penn, she's also a nonfiction writer, copywriter, teacher, and content creator … and she's the “chief marketing officer” for her own career.

And her marketing superpower? Being able to see the myriad business possibilities that a single book can unlock … even for fiction (which most people mistakenly believe is the least profitable form of writing).

Joanna has sold books in 74 countries, as well as created courses, audiobooks, and other profitable models for writers.

“As a creative, you're creating intellectual property assets that can earn you money for the rest of your life and 70 years after you die.” – Joanna Penn

Business skill … or creativity?

In a recent interview with Rainmaker Digital CEO Brian Clark, Joanna revealed that she has no patience with the myth that creativity and profitability are mutually exclusive:

“I got really annoyed by the fact that I'd wasted 13 years not being creative because people said to me, 'You can't make a living out of this.'”

(You can pick up the full interview here: Inside the Lucrative World of Self-Published Ebooks)

Joanna knows that business itself is creative - and that business skills can help creative folks like writers earn a good living from their work:

“If you learn the business as a separate skill - as you also have to learn the craft - you can actually do both … Business is creative.”

Joanna isn't just a wizard at unlocking business potential with her writing; she's also implemented a variety of business models that keep her writing business profitable.

She teaches what she's learned to other writers - with practical insights and clear models that writers can use to make a terrific living doing what they love.

If you'd like to hear from a creative entrepreneur who:

Sees the full business potential in every piece of writing, from a novel to a business ebook Has mastered the art of building many revenue streams from a single creative work Keeps an eye on emerging trends as well as evergreen models Has built her business with as much creativity as she applies to her fiction, and Wants to teach all of that to you …

… then don't miss her live presentation at the Digital Commerce Summit.

Creating Intellectual Property Assets: How to Turn One Ebook Into Multiple Streams of Income

Joanna's session, Creating Intellectual Property Assets: How to Turn One Ebook Into Multiple Streams of Income, will teach you how to turn a single piece of work into multiple streams of income and reach customers around the world. Whether or not ebooks are part of your business model, the lessons Joanna has to teach will apply to every digital business.

Join us October 13-14 for a carefully chosen curriculum that will give you the momentum you need to level up as a digital entrepreneur. Joanna is just one of 15 speakers who has walked the walk. Over two days, we'll teach you how to take your digital project to the next level - or how to get something new off the ground.

Click here to get the details and snag the best price on your tickets.

We're looking forward to seeing you there!

The post Multiple Streams of Income from Your Digital Business: Meet Joanna Penn, Creative Entrepreneur appeared first on Copyblogger.

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The Advantages Of Solar LED Lights

Supplanting your energy source and picking vitality lessening lighting choices can have an immense effect to your expenses and even offer you solid lighting particularly for your open air needs. There are such a large number of lighting options and sunlight based LED lights are a portion of as well as can be expected pick. This is on the grounds that they are financially savvy, as well as don't require an excess of vitality to serve your necessities. Sun based LED lights use assets at an abnormal state, making them exceptionally useful when utilized as a part of various sources. You remain to appreciate various advantages when you select these lights for your utilization and they incorporate the accompanying.

1. Driven enlightenments are more viable

This is on account of the lights produce directional light bars superior to anything fluorescents. The lights likewise have low lumen yield appraisals making them perfect alternatives for open air light applications. Their aspect makes them very dependable notwithstanding amid dim sky days.

2. Sun powered LED lights have upgraded effectiveness

LEDs and sun powered cells share loads of attributes like they both require adjusting and sorting for execution to be upgraded. Sun powered LED lights need to adjust resistors since they are all around designed. They enhance light levels and current streams and this enormously enhances the general framework effectiveness.

3. They can be calibrated to address client issues

They are programmable and can be calibrated not at all like their ordinary lighting partners. They won't just convey the light where it is required, however will likewise convey at once and levels that are required. This has diminished the sun oriented board size furthermore the battery limit by a colossal rate. You can choose a lighting profile that works for your application. You can likewise have custom profiles introduced to coordinate your undertaking nature and size when utilizing sun based LED lights.

4. You will appreciate developed battery runtime

Most galaxies today have tended to battery drops that are normal with the frameworks. When you pick a sunlight based LED light that is deliberately organized, you will appreciate highlights tending to framework cost, siting issues and board size to ensure that your definite needs are fulfilled. At the point when the framework operation is guided by the precise needs, you have nearby, then you can make certain to appreciate expanded run time of the battery making them entirely dependable.

5. You show signs of improvement execution even in icy climate

Sun powered LED lights and sunlight based cells offer enhanced execution, effectiveness and even lifetime administration amid colder temperatures, making them profitable contrasted with other light sorts whose lifetime and execution drop amid colder atmospheres like DC fluorescent. A sun based LED light can last up to ten times longer as DC fluorescent in these frosty situations making it more dependable.

Sun powered LED lights come in various styles and outlines and in addition sizes, making it workable for you to pick the lights that are most suited for your open air needs. It begins by considering the lighting prerequisites you have in your space before then selecting the best lights.

Sun based LED lights are unquestionably worthwhile yet you should likewise guarantee that you get your lights from dependable sources to appreciate all the advantages.

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The Price of Digital Commerce Academy Goes Up Today

The day I first told you about last week is now here.

It's Friday, May 27, 2016 … which means that the price you will pay for an annual investment in Digital Commerce Academy goes up today at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time (6:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 7:00 p.m. Central Time, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

The current price is $395 per year. That's still our early adopter introductory price.

Today at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, the price will go up to $595 per year.

The crazy thing about the price is that when we start selling the full courses that are inside of Academy on their own, we'll charge $495 per course. So the current annual price ($395) is less than the price of one course - and you get immediate access to all four courses.

Plus, you get access to all of the courses we add in the future, plus all of the weekly case studies and coaching Q&As, as well as the community. And it's a fact … current members tell us that these aspects of Academy are even more valuable than the courses!

To get started with Digital Commerce Academy right now, so you can lock in the low price (for the lifetime of your account, even when the price raises again, which it will), click the button below:

Digital Commerce Academy
Build the Digital Business of Your Dreams
If you're interested in creating digital products, please don't hesitate. Your first step will never be this affordable again.

So take this step (before the price goes up), or keep hoping and wishing you'll someday have the digital business of your dreams, instead of doing what you probably already know you should be doing … which is actually building it.

We're here to help you with the how, which can sometimes be tricky without a proven plan and some ongoing guidance. We know. We've been there.

I hope you'll take us up on this offer to help.

Click here to learn more about Digital Commerce Academy and join today.

Take action today. Lock in the low price. Then take your next step by digging into the course or case study that is most appropriate for you at this moment.

There's zero risk with our no-questions-asked 30-day refund policy. Try Academy out and see what you think:

http://digitalcommerce.com/academy/

I'm looking forward to interacting with you inside Digital Commerce Academy!

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Landing Pages Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

You've probably heard us talk about landing pages a lot around here.

There is a good reason for that.

When executed correctly, a landing page is a powerful tool that helps you gain new subscribers, sell your products, and more.

But what exactly is a landing page?

Watch our short, fun video about landing pages

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.

Here's our video for the definition of a landing page:

Animation by The Draw Shop

And for those of you who would prefer to read, here's the transcript:

A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result. Think of a golf course … a landing page is the putting green that you drive the ball, or prospect, to.

Once on the green, the goal is to put the little white ball in the hole in the grass. Likewise, the goal of the copy and design of a landing page is to get the prospect to take your desired action.

The goal could be to sell a product. It could be to get email newsletter sign-ups. It could be to download an ebook. Watch a video. Sign a petition.

The variety of landing page goals is endless, but the important thing to remember is to have one goal per landing page.

One page, one goal. Nothing more.

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Click here to check out this definition on YouTube and share it with your audience. You'll also find 11 additional Content Marketing Glossary videos.

Learn more from the Content Marketing Glossary

We'll feature the rest of the videos soon, but if you'd prefer not to wait, you can watch all the videos now by going directly to the Content Marketing Glossary.

If you would like to learn more about landing pages, visit these three resources:

Landing Pages: Turn Traffic into Money The Savvy Marketer's Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages 3 Surprising Stages of Successful Landing Pages

By the way, let us know if you have any definitions you'd like us to add to the glossary! Just drop your responses in the comments below.

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How to Calm Your Content Anxiety in 5 Simple Steps

It was an early morning of coffee, loud music, and blasting the internet with everything I could muster.

I had already published a few articles on my website, skipping the draft process. Then I scrambled to share them on every social media network and group chat that I could think of.

Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Slack channels, Facebook groups, email newsletter(s) - you know the drill.

It was a copy/paste nightmare, but that's what the “experts” had told me to do. The familiar phrases of “Content is king!” and “Blog every day!” were among the many maxims running through my mind that morning.

We are often told that your frequent presence online is vitally important. More interaction, more connection, more conversion.

This is partially true, but experience has taught me that excessive presence damages both your authority and your own personal fulfillment.

More content is not always better content

I was on a content-production rampage during this particular reinvention (yes, I've done this “online thing” quite a few times, and from scratch). Yet, I was just as internally frustrated as when I wasn't producing any content at all.

The problem - obvious now in hindsight - is that more does not always mean better.

It's the most basic of truths, known by everyone you've ever met, yet contrary to the mainstream teachings of many online “gurus.”

Instead of wasting your time with fruitless effort, here are five steps that will help calm your content anxiety and safeguard you against our shared tendency to believe frequency trumps quality.

Step #1: Adopt the “One-day-queue” rule

Slowing down might sound easy, but it's far from it.

If you're like me, your typical routine is to go from inspiration to creation to production in the same morning (thanks to that gallon of coffee).

That habit makes sense when you're passionate about your project. Unfortunately, it may stunt your capacity to produce meaningful work for your audience.

Instead, live by what I call the “one-day-queue” rule:

When you are inspired, resist the urge to create and publish on the same day.

This includes blog posts too  -  don't rush to publish an idea that you haven't fully developed.

Hold back to ensure you're publishing the most relevant, useful content.

Step #2: Work with an editor

If you write any type of content, working with an editor should be a priority.

Your editor can shield you from your own impulsiveness and prevent you from publishing a post on your blog or sending your email newsletter in a fury.

When you get in the habit of having someone else review your content before you publish, you're forced to slow down your process.

Editors also don't have to be expensive. If you ask a friend, coworker, or family member, he or she might even review your work for free to support you.

An “editor” who has an eye for polished content will help you craft your best work - and any cost will  be money well-spent.

Step #3: Schedule social media updates

This is quite difficult for me because I impulsively tweet a lot, but scheduling your social media updates helps you practice something I like to call “funneling your impulse.”

What do I mean by that?

Let's say you're scanning - you guessed it - your Twitter timeline, and you get an idea for a tweet.

Instead of satisfying the urge to post that tweet immediately, funnel your impulse through a filter by scheduling it for at least 10 minutes in the future.

In that time, you might rethink posting that tweet and therefore have time to delete or rephrase it.

That's an option you wouldn't have had if you just impulsively posted the tweet.

Step #4: Learn the art of observation

Simply observing may be difficult for some creatives, but it's undeniably required.

Discovering and examining your audience's needs will help you serve them better.

Spend more time watching and less time building.

Don't build for the sake of production; build for the sake of creating a solution.

Solve your audience's problems, and you won't have to shout so loud.

Step #5: Focus on the entire process, not just the product

I once mentioned in a newsletter email on mobile-first design that web designers should focus more on the process than the product.

It's understandable that we have a natural tendency to be preoccupied with that glorious finished product - part of the process, even.

But our motivator can often become a distraction and we neglect other important steps.

Aim to balance the time you spend on your marketing efforts and creating your products.

Better content, at a manageable pace

Following these guidelines has allowed me to craft high-quality content at a more regular pace, and with less effort.

I don't write a blog post and publish it the same day, or blast out an email prematurely, just to find several typos in each of them the next day.

Instead, I feel confident knowing that the content I do publish (or cancel) has been carefully reviewed.

In turn, those who follow me receive better content, read articulated and refined writing, and experience an overall stronger presentation.

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