Tag Archives: content

Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips To Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the mood to write a blog post? Although I love blogging, half the time I’d rather be reading – or doing something else undemanding. If you allow it, procrastination can kill your blog. For hobbyist bloggers, that’s okay. It’s not okay if your job or your livelihood depends on writing more content.

Check out these three blogging tips for those times you’re just not in the mood.

1. Get Inspired by Google Suggest – Tip Toe Through the Alphabet.

Google’s the savior of recalcitrant bloggers. Hie yourself off to Google, and enter a topic – any topic. Add the letter “a.”

google suggest

As you can see in the image above, I entered “blogging”, plus “a.” I haven’t anything to say on blogging away debt, but I could create a post on any of the other three ideas, even if I wasn’t in a blogging mood.

2. Write a List of Words. Use Them in Your Blog Post.

Challenge yourself. Write a list of words – any words. Author Ray Bradbury used nouns:

These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.

You can use any words you like. Example: summer, drizzle, sly, sky blue, river, petunia… Now write a blog post, and include those words. Or not, your choice.

Writing a list of words primes the pump. You’ve given the logical side of your brain something to think about. Before you know it, the creative side of your brain gets in on the act, and you’ve written a blog post.

This exercise works well if you need to create your editorial calendar for the month.

3. Temper, Temper – Think About Something That Annoys You.

Got a temper? Me too. I’ve calmed down over the years, but I can create a list of annoyances which get me into a temper without any effort.

Think of something which annoys you. No, don’t blog about that. Use the energy and make a word list. Anger is just energy, and you can direct it anywhere you like. Direct that anger into creating a blog post. Tip: keep your post positive.

So there you have it. Next time you’re not in the mood, try one of these blogging tips. They’re fun.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photopin cc

Business Blog Tips: Fresh Traffic From Older Content 3 Ways

Business Blog Tips: Fresh Traffic From Older Content 3 Ways

You love your business blog, and it’s an essential marketing tool. However, you’re missing out on traffic. Google’s serving up personalized content, and if content isn’t fresh it’s dead. Although you have great content, it’s unappreciated, because no one sees it.

Here’s the key to making the most of older content – plan to revisit and revive it. It takes less time to polish older content than to create brand new material.

Let’s look at how you can turn older content into a traffic generator.

Tip: while you’re revising, update your calls to action (CTA).

1. Revise older content, and republish it.

How much content do you have? I have several thousand posts on some of my blogs, so this year I’m making a concerted effort to bring back older content that’s appropriate and valuable for my audience today. If your blog’s older than a few months, your visitors will completely miss the content you published when your blog was brand new and you had little traffic.

While you revise, you can add new content as appropriate. If you’ve changed your mind about something in the original post, create a heading: “Updated in 2014”, then add your new information and insights.

Add internal links as appropriate to fresher content. If you’re using WordPress, consider using a related posts plugin.

2. Create new content, linking to your older content.

Keep a list of the content you’ve freshened. You’ll get story ideas from it. Then, when you create the new content, quote and link to your older content.

If you have posts you’ve written in series, turn them into ebooks, and offer them as downloads. One of my blogging friends has been collecting her series posts into ebooks, which she offers in EPUB and MOBI format, as well as in PDF. Here’s a comparison of ebook formats; they tend to be confusing. In a nutshell: MOBI’s for Amazon’s Kindle, EPUB is for everything else.

3. Create roundup posts, linking to older posts.

Large blogs which post multiple times daily offer round-up posts on a specific day of the week. Consider doing a roundup once every couple of weeks, or once a month, going forward.

You can create roundup posts at any time that it’s worthwhile for your readers. If you’ve been getting lots of questions about something you’ve covered before, create a roundup post on the topic. For every person who asks a question, ten others will have the same question.

A “this time last year” roundup post brings back content today’s visitors haven’t read; you can create these kinds of posts if you’re too busy to create new content for your blog.

Your business blog is an asset; so are its archives. Make the most of them.

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, and on Twitter: @angee

Blogging Tips: 5 Easy Tips To Simplify Your Business Blogging in 2014

Blogging Tips: 5 Easy Tips To Simplify Your Business Blogging in 2014

Love blogging or hate it, it we’re all looking for tips which will simplify our blogging. Although I’m in the “love” camp, I have lots of other writing I need to do, so I look for shortcuts.

Here are my top tips to help you to blog more effectively in 2014, so that you can turn your blog into a powerful marketing tool for your business.

1. Before you start writing, decide what you’re selling.

We discussed thinking about conversions, rather than traffic. Ideally, each blog post you create will have a call to action. If you ask your visitors to do something, some will.

Way back in 2004, when blogging started becoming mainstream, commercial blogging was frowned on. A little of that “content for content’s sake” mindset remains. You don’t need to blog with a “buy this!” mindset, but you do need to include a call to action.

Tip: each month, look through your list of posts, and edit your calls to action. Your business and marketing goals change over time. Update your blog posts to reflect this.

2. Batch-create, always.

If you’re creating a blog post, you might as well create two. Or more. Here’s the key to batch-creation: always have blog posts in draft form.

This simplifies business blogging, because your brain hates unfinished tasks:

After starting a task, your brain will be more enticed to finish it to its “conclusion.” You also tend to see that it’s not as big a mountain as you initially imagined, and that the work involved in completing this task won’t be so terrifying after all.

Here’s how this works. Let’s say you’re writing a blog post. Create a list of keywords for the posts, as you usually do. Then in addition to the article you’re writing, begin another couple of articles.

As the old saying goes, “well begun is half done”. Just writing working titles, and a couple of sentences for each draft, helps you to conquer procrastination.

Add the drafts to your editorial calendar. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you complete the posts you’ve started.

3. Before you create, decide how you’ll get more value from each blog post.

You can get more value from a blog post by: using it in a short report or ebook, creating a podcast or video from it, or by using it in your company newsletter.

4. Write fast, edit at leisure.

Writing and editing are two separate mental processes. If you try to combine these two processes, you’ll get frustrated, and will decide you hate blogging.

Batch-creating comes into play again. Give yourself 20 minutes to write a quick draft. Use a timer. I like Repeat Timer Pro. Then spend ten minutes adding content to a couple of your draft posts.

You can edit your posts another day, or later in the same day. I always say that professional writers expect to write cr*p, because they know they can improve on what they’ve written. You write to discover what you think. Just get something written, and let your subconscious mind do the grunt work.

5. Get out of your office: use your camera.

Your cell phone camera is an amazing blogging tool, so get out of your office, and wander around, snapping some photos.

It doesn’t matter much what you photograph. Your photos act as triggers to your inspiration. You can use them on your blog, or not, it’s up to you, but if you frequently find yourself thinking: “I don’t know what to blog about”, take photos. Your images will inspire you.

Try these simple blogging tips. They work. You may discover that you love blogging too. :-)

write a book book coaching

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Creator? Make Sense Of Google AuthorRank – New, Free Tool

Content Creator? Make Sense Of Author Rank – New, Free Tool

If you’re a content creator, you’re aware of Google’s AuthorRank. It’s a way to build your authority online. To assess your “authority,” do a Google search for a piece of content you’ve written. If your image pops up next to your content in the results, you’ve got authority, in Google’s eyes.

All you need to do to get the magic image is join Google+, then associate your name with your content.

There’s a lot of discussion about whether or not Google takes AuthorRank into account in its search algorithm. And if it doesn’t yet, will it take it into account in the future.

In a sense, it doesn’t matter. As Mark Traphagen says:

I’m convinced that if you’ve properly set up Google Authorship; and you’re creating memorable, well-targeted, authoritative content; and you’re building effective networks of fans and key influencer relationships to help spread it, you’re well in position for whenever “AuthorRank” comes calling.”

Got AuthorRank? Find out with this free tool.

Virante has created a free Author Rank tool, currently in beta. You can use the tool to discover how you, and your content, appear to Google. Here’s Virante’s Author Rank Tool FAQ to help if you have questions.

Just enter your Google+ account ID, and click GO. You’ll need to wait a couple of minutes to get the results. Be sure to save the page.

In a month or two, you can use the tool again, after you’ve created more content. As the tool’s page says: “The easiest way to increase one’s AuthorRank is to write better content on better sites.”

I tried it. I love the “themes” at the bottom of the stats.

Here are mine:

Themes

Computers/E-Books: 3

Business/Marketing_and_Advertising/Internet_Marketing: 2.53

Arts/Writers_Resources: 5.5

Arts/Literature/Horror: 4.45

That’s how Google sees me, according to the tool. To be seen as an authority on those topics, or on others, I’ll need to produce more good content in the areas in which I want to boost my authority.

Is the tool accurate? Who knows. It doesn’t really matter, because Google hasn’t said that it takes AuthorRank into account in its rankings. However, the tool does give you a sense of how you appear to Google, and that’s extremely valuable.

, and on Twitter: @angee

27 Million Pieces of Content Are Shared Daily: How Will You Survive The Content Craze?

27 Million Pieces of Content Are Shared Daily: How Will You Survive The Content Craze?

Are you creating content for your small business? If you are, you may be happy with the increase in traffic, but are you happy with your conversion rates?

You create content to grow your business, so it’s essential that you create that content with conversions in mind. We discussed growing your content to support your marketing goals well over a year ago. It’s even more important now, because the competition for attention is so much greater.

Think about the flood of content which spills onto the Web each day. KISSmetrics reports:

According to a 2012 study by AOL and Nielsen, 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared every day. By now, the mantra of “content is king” has been relentlessly drilled into our collective heads – but more isn’t always necessarily better.

(Read the article, it gives you some great ideas for getting ready for 2014.)

Yes, that’s 27 MILLION pieces of content – in 2012. Within a few weeks, 2014 will be here, so that research was 12 months ago. It’s scary to think that that 27 million might be 50 million pieces of content per day by now.

Think conversions, rather than traffic.

Measuring the effectiveness of your content via traffic is easy, so that’s what everyone does.

Instead, consider measuring via conversion rates, rather than traffic.

If you do that, you’ll start thinking differently about your content.

In her excellent KISSmetrics article, Sherice Jacob predicts that companies will measure content by conversions in 2014:

Success will be measured according to the metrics that matter for that particular industry – whether it’s number of downloads, order volume, quality leads or a combination of those criteria.

Content is for your customers: what’s in it for them?

You’re creating content for your customers, aren’t you? Sad to say, most companies are not.

Look at the “Current Trend: What Type of Content is Created Most?” graph in Sherice’s article. You’ll see that well over half the content that companies created was about news and current trends, or about the company itself.

Why? Because creating that kind of content easy; it’s an ego boost, too. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Occasionally.

But when you talk about yourself you can’t expect great conversions. Your content is for your customers. I talked about WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”) in yesterday’s article on headline copywriting, and said:

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about your ideal customer (or your email recipient, your blog’s readers, etc.) Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them.

Measure by conversions in 2014.

Create user-focused content in 2014, and measure by conversions. It’s the only metric which counts.

What to do now: check your content.

Take a look at the content you’ve published in the past 12 months, especially your “greatest hits.” Is the content customer-focused?

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

5 Great Free Content Marketing Tools You Can Use Now

5 Great Free Content Marketing Tools You Can Use Now

Information is the new advertising, because content (knowledge) engenders trust. A recent report from Nielsen found that when consumers found a new product via an online search, 67% of respondents were more likely to buy it.

That’s wonderful, but creating content takes time. And good tools. So let’s look at five great free content marketing tools which will help you to create content, and promote it.

1. Editorially: speedy content creation and collaboration

Content creation takes time. It takes even more time when others are involved.

If you’re using email to collaborate on content, you know the challenges and frustrations. Editorially takes the hassle out of content collaboration. Basically it’s a plain text editor. You write using Markdown syntax, which takes you two minutes to learn.

Benefits:

  • You can invite people to collaborate on a document, or you can work alone. If you want someone’s opinion, just highlight some text, and click the New Discussion button.
  • There’s a versions timeline, and you can save a new version, with or without notes, at any time.
  • With just a click, you can send a document to Dropbox, or WordPress.

Editorially makes content creation fast and easy.

2. MozBar: X-ray Web pages to improve SEO

MozBar is a free SEO (search engine optimization) extension for the Firefox and Chrome browsers. There’s a paid update, but for casual use, the free version is all you need. It’s a wonderful tool: you can X-ray a Web page.

You can read the extensive tutorial to discover MozBar’s functionality, but I use it primarily to discover what’s missing with a Web page, by looking at the page elements, and checking the link data. You can check the headings, the meta data, alt text, and more. The link data shows you what authority the page has, and how you might improve it.

3. socialmention: track keywords and mentions

Socialmention is a real-time social media search and analysis tool. You can use it to search for keywords in blogs, bookmarks, videos and elsewhere, or you can opt to search everything. You can also use it to search for companies, products, or anything else you need to track. For example, if you’re promoting a product, you can check who’s talking about it, and where.

Once you’ve run a search, you can add the RSS feed to your news reader, get an email alert (like Google Alerts), or download a CSV file so you can analyze the data.

4. Buffer: share your content at the best times

You need to share your content on social media. Buffer’s a hassle-free way. Not only can you share on Twitter, you can share on LinkedIn, and Facebook and Google+ pages. Once you’ve shared, you can track analytics from the toolbar.

5. Evernote: your office in your pocket

Content creators and marketers store and track a huge amount of material. Evernote keeps you organized, so that you can access your information wherever you happen to be, on any device.

Premium members can even turn any content in Evernote into an instant presentation; it’s ideal for meetings, and whenever you need to share information quickly.

These five tools are powerful, and they’re free. They’re perfect for small business, and will help you both to create content, and to promote it.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Creativity Rules: Copywriting and Content Tips to Build Your Audience TODAY

Creativity Rules: Copywriting and Content Tips to Build Your Audience TODAY

We’re living in a new world; a world in which information is marketing.

If you’re new to marketing via content, you may be wondering how it works. Or indeed, if it works at all.

Content marketing works for many businesses, in the form of “native advertising” (also known as “sponsored content”.) Companies are relying on content:

It is usually labeled advertising (sometimes clearly, sometimes not), but if the content is appealing, marketers can gain attention and engagement beyond what they might get for say, oh, a banner ad.

It’s rumored that for some content, click through rates are as high as 20 per cent, compared with the click through rate for banner advertising: 0.1 per cent.

Marketing by using information can build your business

Will content marketing work for you? It worked for “Sales Lion” Marcus Sheridan, who famously used content marketing to build his swimming pools business. From the New York Times article on Marcus Sheridan’s content strategy:

Q. Once you wrote a blog post, how much time did you spend promoting it on Twitter and Facebook?

I didn’t. Dude, that one article on price has never been tweeted. It’s never been Facebooked. I’m not saying social media doesn’t help, but it’s nowhere near what people think. The only metric that really matters is total pages viewed. Here’s a statistic for you: If somebody reads 30 pages of my River Pools Web site, and we go on a sales appointment, they buy 80 percent of the time. The industry average for sales appointments is 10 percent. So, our whole marketing campaign revolves around getting people to stick around and read our stuff, because the longer they stay on our site, the greater the chance they’re going to fall in love with our company.

Tips you can use to build your audience (and business) today

I’ve compiled some articles into a free report, Creativity Rules: Copywriting and Content Tips to Build Your Audience TODAY. Add your email address to the form in the sidebar. You’ll receive the report in your email Inbox.

Alternatively, you can view it here.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Marketing: Top 10 Creative Ways To Use Info Products in Your Business

10 Creative Ways To Use Info Products in Your Business

Content marketing is HOT for a simple reason. It’s cost-effective. You get an awful lot of bang for your content marketing buck.

If you’re thinking about using content for marketing, you may confine your ambitions to blogging, and Facebook pages. While there’s nothing wrong with that, consider broadening your horizons, to info products.

Blogs and social media pages have a big challenge: they’re ephemeral. You can create a wonderful, traffic-generating blog post, which gets a trickle of traffic for years. While it’s valuable, and can do a great deal for your business, it’s still just a blog post.

A book on the other hand is a book. Suddenly you’re an author. At a more humble level, a white paper or a report is a product. It’s a discrete entity. It’s not that I have anything against blog posts and the like. Heaven forbid. I’ve been blogging since 2000, and loved blogs while other businesses were still scoffing at “online journals.” A blog’s wonderful, but info products are entities.

Let’s look at creative ways you can use info products in your business.

1. Demonstrate expertise: become a thought leader

Want to become a thought leader in your industry? Write a book. Seth Godin is the pattern card for thought leaders in marketing. The man’s a genius, no question. Authors are respected.

No time to write a book? Hire a ghostwriter, or write a white paper, report or short ebook.

2. Generate income opportunities

You can generate income from info products in many different was:

  • Offer them as inducements to sign up to a mailing list;
  • Sell them on Amazon or the Web;
  • Create online classes and courses;
  • Attract traffic and links.

3. Get more traffic (Google isn’t the only search engine)

Speaking of traffic: Google isn’t the only search engine which sends you traffic. Aside from Yahoo and Bing, consider that Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube are search engines which can send you traffic.

Podcasts and videos are popular info marketing tools for this reason: traffic.

4. Generate more leads

As we’ve said, a blog post is just that. Hundreds of thousand of blog posts are created each day.

If you create an info product however, it’s something for your site visitors to download, pass around, and keep.

5. Build your brand

Info products build your brand. Produce a book, and you’re an author… an authority. Produce ebooks, or a magazine, and you’re a publisher as well as a business person.

As 2014 speeds towards us, many more businesses will use info products like magazines to publish regularly to build their brand. I love Twitter, but a tweet has a life span measured in seconds. Every info product you create builds your brand now and in the future.

6. Become an author: build reputation

We’ve mentioned Seth Godin. He’s an info product powerhouse, who understands marketing and publishing. His reputation rests on a sold foundation of books.

7. Create ebooks to enhance sales

In the early 1990s, if you strolled into a bookshop, you saw brick-sized software manuals stacked to the ceiling. Yes, they were necessary. I can remember reading my Lotus Agenda manuals as if they were holy writ.

Those manuals were also content marketing. Businesses displayed those manuals on bookshelves.

Nowadays you don’t have to kill a forest. You can use ebooks to enhance your sales. Think about what you wish your customers knew about your products. Create a downloadable ebook to tell them.

8. Create workbooks to help customers get more from your products

Most products lend themselves to a workbook or two.

Selling T-shirts? Create a workbook which shows customers how to draw their own designs onto your T shirts. Then create a contest for the best designs.

In real estate? Create a workbook/ journal/ app to help your clients to move house.

9. Create white papers and reports to inform

Your business produces a mass of research and stats. Use that information to create white papers and reports.

Tip: get creative with this. If you can’t stand to read your own white paper, your customers won’t read it either. Use straightforward language, and don’t be boring.

10. Create videos and podcasts to entertain (and inspire)

Your videos and podcasts are info products. By all means upload them to YouTube. Don’t stop there however. Make the most of them by compiling them into downloads on your own website, where your customers can find them easily. Info products you create to teach your products also promote your products – and they’re info products in their own right.

Techsmith for example does an amazing job with their tutorial videos as you might expect from a software company devoted to helping their customers to create images and videos.

Here’s what I like about the way Techsmith handles its tutorials: they’re entertaining, and informative, as well as being inspiring.

So there you have it – ten creative ways to use info products in YOUR business.

Discover my info product creation service.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Writing to Grow Your Business: 5 Easy Tips to Get It Done

Writing to Grow Your Business

Got a blog and social media accounts? If you have, you’re cleverly using content marketing to promote your business.

Content marketing helps your business by stretching your marketing dollars. However, it has an unfortunate drawback: someone has to create all that content… and that means writing.

Perhaps you’ve discounted content marketing because you hate writing.

If so, these five easy tips will help you to get it done.

1. Batch-create: “a thousand forests …”

Emerson said: “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn,” so when you think “content”, think BATCHES. Every piece of content you create can grow, and grow again. For example, I could use each of these five tips to grow additional articles.

Batch-creation is fun. You can:

  • Write two or three or more articles if you’re writing anyway. (I wrote this article while I was writing this one.)
  • Write a collection of tweets while you’re writing an article. (Use a spreadsheet to keep track of when you posted your tweets, and an URL shortener.)
  • Compile a collection of articles into an ebook, or a Pinterest pinboard, while you’re writing an article.
  • Add article ideas to your content calendar. I added a couple of ideas to my content calendar, while I was writing this article.

2. Trash into treasure: use what you already have

You’ve got a treasure trove of content you’re ignoring:

  • Responses to customer questions. Check your email – within five minutes, you’ll have a mass of content you can repurpose into blog and social media posts.
  • Business photos. Every phone’s a camera now. Click away! Chances are you’ve got hundreds, if not thousand of images you can use. Image poor? If you snap two images a day, at the end of the week you’ll have ten images you can post wherever you choose. (Don’t forget the caturday hashtag on Google+, if you’ve got a cat.)
  • Marketing collateral. White papers, polls, questionnaires, and more. Shake the dust off these materials, and use them as seeds for fresh content.

Browse your computer and your company’s library. Turn that trash into treasure.

3. Take the drama out of writing: it’s just talking

Can’t write? If you can talk, you can write. Instead of sitting down to “write”, pretend you’re writing an email message to a buddy. Chat away. When you’re done, delete the “dear Fred”, or whatever salutation you used, and you’ve got content.

Alternatively, use a voice recognition app.

4. Prepare, then write. Like cooking, writing’s all in the prep

Imagine you’re cooking a meal. What do you do? You get a recipe, shop for the ingredients, prepare the ingredients (peel the potatoes etc), and then you start cooking. If you’re cooking a stir fry, getting the ingredients ready takes longer than cooking.

Consider your content calendar as being like your shopping list. Then prepare the ingredients: I prepare the coming week’s content on Sunday afternoons by writing drafts. I use Trello to organize the research and graphics for blog posts.

By the time I’m ready to write (cook), it’s easy, because all the prep is done. If you combine batch-creation with prep, you’ll double the amount of content you create.

5. Take time to think: court your Muse

When did you last sit down to think? On my freelance writing blog, I talked about the value of musing in writing more and more easily:

At least once each day, allow yourself to sit in a quiet place, and think. This is not worry time. Choose something pleasant to think about. You can think about a current project, or about your goals — or about anything else.

The word “muse” comes from the nine Muses, Greek goddesses of inspiration.

9 Muses of inspiration

The nine Muses

When you muse, you reflect on something: musing has a lot in common with daydreaming. Bring your subject to mind, and allow your Muse to inspire you.

So there you have it. Five tips to help you to get your business writing DONE.

Get help with your writing

Got questions about your writing? Get help.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Brandopolis: How the world’s biggest brands make their mark online:

“Brands are thinking more and more like publishers, complete with editorial calendars and content that is specifically designed to be great without overtly promoting the brand. Luxury brand Louis Vuitton has a gorgeous arts and culture website called Nowness that does not mention Louis Vuitton on a single page – not even the About page.”