Blogging Isn’t Dead

Chris Brogan 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.

Advertisements

Rainmaker Rewind: A Process for Content Marketing Success

Rainmaker FM rewind

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.

Copyblogger FM - A Process for Content Marketing Success

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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)
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.

4 Effective Ways to Build Backlinks for a Brand New Site

seo

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:

image05

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.

image08

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.

image07

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.”

image03

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:

image00

Next, find the “inbound links” or equivalent option to see a list of all their links:

image10

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).

image02

From there, you’ll have to visit each page and find the link:

image09

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:

image06

That thread got over 14,000 views and almost 100 replies. A decent portion of those viewers likely visited his website.

image04

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.

image01

I won’t go into guest-posting in detail here because I’ve done it multiple times before:

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.

Marketing Automation Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

content marketing glossary - what is marketing automation?

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:

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 Marketing Automation Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video] appeared first on Copyblogger.

Multiple Streams of Income from Your Digital Business: Meet Joanna Penn, Creative Entrepreneur

joanna penn - author, speaker, and digital 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.

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

suck

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:

image06

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:

image03

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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):

image05

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:

  1. State the fear (or cause of fear)
  2. Illustrate the fear
  3. 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.

image00

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:

image01

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:

image04

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 actionthe 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:

  1. Start with your strongest benefit.
  2. Show why your claim is credible (since the claim needs to be impressive/slightly unbelievable).
  3. 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:

image02

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?

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

market without annoying your prospects and customers

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):

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):

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:

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:

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.