The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing

Content marketing is a relatively new type of marketing that provides free media-type content to customers in exchange for their attention.

Unlike traditional advertising which interrupts customers to get noticed, content marketing provides content that customers want in exchange for permission to market a product or service.

If you’ve never heard of this concept, that’s ok. This article provides a complete introduction to content marketing by discussing the following points:

The fatal flaws of traditional advertising
An in-depth introduction to content marketing
The advantages that content marketing provides over traditional advertising
Tips on the best practices that will make your content marketing more effective

If you’d like to learn how you can benefit from content marketing, continue reading.
The Fatal Flaws of Traditional Advertising

First, let’s consider the fatal flaws of traditional advertising.

With traditional ads, companies create ad content that interrupts customers in the form of billboards, magazine ads, T.V. commercials, radio ads, etc. Each of these advertisements interrupts customers as they’re doing something else, such as watching a T.V. show or driving down the street.

The ads don’t provide any value to customers, and they don’t offer any inherent reason for customers to view them.

Instead, they interrupt customers at a time when hopefully they won’t be able to get up and do something else. An ad on a subway capitalizes on the fact that passengers can’t go anywhere, and companies hope people will read them while waiting for the next stop. A billboard interrupts drivers hoping they’ll pay attention long enough to get the message, without losing focus of the road.

Traditional ads rely on good placement, clever wording, and exceptional creativity to capture customers attention for a brief period of time. The goal is for the ads to be clever enough to capture a few seconds of attention that will hopefully be enough time to communicate the brands message.

It’s a difficult proposition that leads to three fatal flaws for traditional advertising:

Ads only capture customers’ attention for a brief period of time, if that.
Ads interrupt customers instead of providing something of value.
Ads end up being very expensive, especially if the campaigns are unsuccessful.

So is there an alternative? Is there a way to reach customers without interrupting them? Is there a way to engage people so that they want to hear your message instead of doing everything they can to avoid it?

Yes, and it’s called content marketing.
An Introduction to Content Marketing

Content marketing provides media-type content that customers want in exchange for permission to market a product or service to them. Here’s how it works:

With content marketing, instead of developing ads that interrupt customers, companies create content such as:

Blog posts
Podcast recordings (.mp3s)
White papers & downloadable guides
Infographics
Youtube videos that benefit customers and provide value

This value can be provided in two ways: as educational content and as entertainment content. In either case, customers have free access to content that provides value.

To give an idea of what this looks like, here are some examples of businesses that currently use content marketing very successfully:
Copyblogger.com

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http://blog.kissmetrics.com/guide-to-content-marketing/

Content marketing is a relatively new type of marketing that provides free media-type content to customers in exchange for their attention.

Unlike traditional advertising which interrupts customers to get noticed, content marketing provides content that customers want in exchange for permission to market a product or service.

If you’ve never heard of this concept, that’s ok. This article provides a complete introduction to content marketing by discussing the following points:

  • The fatal flaws of traditional advertising
  • An in-depth introduction to content marketing
  • The advantages that content marketing provides over traditional advertising
  • Tips on the best practices that will make your content marketing more effective

If you’d like to learn how you can benefit from content marketing, continue reading.

The Fatal Flaws of Traditional Advertising

First, let’s consider the fatal flaws of traditional advertising.

With traditional ads, companies create ad content that interrupts customers in the form of billboards, magazine ads, T.V. commercials, radio ads, etc. Each of these advertisements interrupts customers as they’re doing something else, such as watching a T.V. show or driving down the street.

The ads don’t provide any value to customers, and they don’t offer any inherent reason for customers to view them.

Instead, they interrupt customers at a time when hopefully they won’t be able to get up and do something else. An ad on a subway capitalizes on the fact that passengers can’t go anywhere, and companies hope people will read them while waiting for the next stop. A billboard interrupts drivers hoping they’ll pay attention long enough to get the message, without losing focus of the road.

Traditional ads rely on good placement, clever wording, and exceptional creativity to capture customers attention for a brief period of time. The goal is for the ads to be clever enough to capture a few seconds of attention that will hopefully be enough time to communicate the brands message.

It’s a difficult proposition that leads to three fatal flaws for traditional advertising:

  1. Ads only capture customers’ attention for a brief period of time, if that.
  2. Ads interrupt customers instead of providing something of value.
  3. Ads end up being very expensive, especially if the campaigns are unsuccessful.

So is there an alternative? Is there a way to reach customers without interrupting them? Is there a way to engage people so that they want to hear your message instead of doing everything they can to avoid it?

Yes, and it’s called content marketing.

An Introduction to Content Marketing

Content marketing provides media-type content that customers want in exchange for permission to market a product or service to them. Here’s how it works:

With content marketing, instead of developing ads that interrupt customers, companies create content such as:

This value can be provided in two ways: as educational content and as entertainment content. In either case, customers have free access to content that provides value.

To give an idea of what this looks like, here are some examples of businesses that currently use content marketing very successfully:

Copyblogger.com

Copyblogger Logo

Copyblogger is considered the premier example of successful content marketing. They provide daily, world-class internet marketing tips for customers via their blog. Instead of grabbing customers’ attention with ads, they create blog content that is valuable to their audience, in exchange for attention and the opportunity to market products at opportune times.

Copyblogger.com Great Content Example

One of the things that Copyblogger does very well is mostly providing valuable content and occasionally offering direct pitches for their products. They also include ads for their products above and below every blog post. The valuable content comes first and the sales pitch comes second.

copyblogger tools: Design Traffic & Conversion

Copyblogger also recently started offering a Thursday podcast series as another way to provide value to customers. Copyblogger has used all of this content to become a multi-million dollar per year company that spends 0% of their budget on advertising. 100% of their marketing comes from content.

River Pools and Spas

River Pool & Spa

River Pools and Spas is based in Ashburn, VA, and went from having no internet presence to becoming one of the top online resources in its industry. They rank in the top 5% of inground pool companies in the country, and they owe a lot of their success to the industry-leading blog they created. Leer más “The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing”

4 Post Headlines that are Guaranteed to Get Readers Excited

This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti.

So, your content marketing and blogging efforts are falling flat on their face, are they? Your posts must be terrible. They aren’t getting shared or read by anyone, so they must be garbage…

Or maybe you just don’t know how to catch people’s attention.

When it comes to creating highly popular, viral posts for marketing and blog promotion purposes, we all know that the cornerstone is amazing content and excellent information. We also all know the importance of getting traffic to our blogs in order to convert people over to subscribers and potential customers. That’s nothing new.

Image copyright Andres Rodriguez – Fotolia.com

But did you know that there are four ways to change your posts on-site to further fuel the viral fire?
Most likely, you are already writing awesome posts, and the only reason that they aren’t getting read is because nobody is enticed enough to click through.

Without a single additional guest post or traffic generating method, you can increase the virility of your blogs posts and content marketing efforts with the simplest of changes: what you name them.


http://www.problogger.net

This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti.

So, your content marketing and blogging efforts are falling flat on their face, are they? Your posts must be terrible. They aren’t getting shared or read by anyone, so they must be garbage…

Or maybe you just don’t know how to catch people’s attention.

When it comes to creating highly popular, viral posts for marketing and blog promotion purposes, we all know that the cornerstone is amazing content and excellent information. We also all know the importance of getting traffic to our blogs in order to convert people over to subscribers and potential customers. That’s nothing new.

Excited readerImage copyright Andres Rodriguez – Fotolia.com

But did you know that there are four ways to change your posts on-site to further fuel the viral fire?Most likely, you are already writing awesome posts, and the only reason that they aren’t getting read is because nobody is enticed enough to click through.

Without a single additional guest post or traffic generating method, you can increase the virility of your blogs posts and content marketing efforts with the simplest of changes: what you name them.

Creating headlines that nobody can resist

The biggest change you can make on-site to get your posts to go viral is to make sure people are actually clicking on them.

That sounds basic, but so few bloggers and content marketers pay close attention to post titles when, in reality, it can be the most important part of the post … at least when it comes to getting people to read it.

Your headline is your first impression, and if you don’t get it right, people are going to pass over even the most excellent of content—all because you lost them at the start. As a blogger or an entrepreneur, it is time for you to stop letting that happen.

So what are the four best ways to structure your titles to ensure your posts go viral?

1. The “intrigue” style headline

This is the headline that makes people do a double take when they read it. That makes them wonder, “What is this guy/gal talking about? How can that even be possible?”

Intrigue is one of the most effective ways of creating a viral post.

Imagine this… Leer más “4 Post Headlines that are Guaranteed to Get Readers Excited”

The Difference Between Building Authority and Talking About Yourself

Your content actually demonstrates your expertise, compared with a website or bio page that claimsexpertise. This is a crucial distinction, because it truly levels the playing field and allows anyone to come along and build authority that outpaces even recognized and credentialed experts in a particular niche or field.”

The truth about authority perception by humans or machines is what people say about you is much more important than what you say about yourself!

How do you get people talking? Have a point of view and let people know through content you publish on and off of your webiste. Use a blog, articles, guest blogging, commenting, videos, podcasts…the list is endless.

The key is creating content now. Imagine, you have been working your entire adult life building your business and developing a great reputation. Then, some upstart comes into your market and starts publishing content, doing webinars, and suddenly, they are the perceived expert in your niche. Not fun…

We will have a webinar on this shortly….stay tuned.


http://www.stumbleupon.com

131360868_56d0ebaa67

I recently read a great report called Authority Rules by Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger. It’s a well written easy to read piece that outlines 10 rules to building authority for your business and persona.

Building authority in the new distributed web is critical to the success of your Internet marketing efforts. Let’s look at the definition of authority for a minute to better understand why:

au-thor-i-ty noun: [1] A citation (e.g. from a book) used in defense or support; [2] the source from which the citation is drawn; [3] and individual cited or appealed to as an expert.

On the web, the way Google and other search engines see authority is through links from other sites to your site. How influential are those other sites and how many of them link to your site also play a big part in your perceived authority by search engines. So this concept of building authority is very important because while you build authority on the web, other sites will be linking to your site and your business will win search engine rankings (SEO). It becomes self perpetuating…very cool if you can do it. Leer más “The Difference Between Building Authority and Talking About Yourself”

Five Ways to Write Magnificent Copy

Most writing could be better.

Not just a little better — significantly better.

If you start out with a solid topic, a good knowledge of your audience, and a reasonable degree of writing ability, you’ll usually end up with a pretty good piece of writing.

But you don’t have to settle for “pretty good.” A little attention to the final details can kick “pretty good” to “magnificent.”

Whether you’re creating blog posts, special reports, sales letters, a video script, email autoresponders, or whatever else, you can take your writing up a level just by applying some simple principles…: [Más…]
1. Write drunk; edit sober

Now you don’t have to take this literally. I don’t really mean you should be downing rum as your fingers meander with increasing sluggishness and inaccuracy over your keyboard.

I’m looking at the principle behind this gem from Papa Hemingway. The principle which is absolutely vital to producing compelling copy that gets people reading and buying: you must sound real.

Persuasion is mostly a matter of education and building trust, and it’s hard to build trust when you write like a corporate drone.

Too many copywriters slip into an overly formal style because they think it makes them sound important. Bad idea. No one wants to read stiff, formal copy with all the personality of a fax machine.

Better to put too much personality in and have to edit it out later than not put enough in to begin with.

When you write, make sure you have some passion for your topic — and then just tell your reader what you want to say. Don’t self-consciously write. Just tell.

Enthusiasm creates reader involvement. Most writing has too little enthusiasm, not too much. But if you really feel you went off the deep end, you can always tone it down in the edit.

It’s hard to insert life into copy that never had any to begin with.
2. Sleep on it

If this isn’t the most important technique for improving copy, then it’s definitely in the top two after “learn to read and write.”

Simply put: You can improve any piece of writing by letting it sit overnight.

Look, I know you’re in a hurry. I know you’re really excited about what you just wrote. So am I.

I know you’re like a kid at Christmas and you just have to send it off right now to receive the praise and glory you absolutely deserve.

But don’t.

In the cold light of a new day, all writing seems slightly less marvelous and slightly more open to improvement.

With the perspective that a night away from writing will give you, you’ll see that what you thought was a flawless masterpiece could actually do with a tweak here and a sharp cut there. The changes you make at this stage are 80% of what you need to turn good copy into magnificent copy.


image of hands on keyboard

Most writing could be better.

Not just a little better — significantly better.

If you start out with a solid topic, a good knowledge of your audience, and a reasonable degree of writing ability, you’ll usually end up with a pretty good piece of writing.

But you don’t have to settle for “pretty good.” A little attention to the final details can kick “pretty good” to “magnificent.”

Whether you’re creating blog posts, special reports, sales letters, a video script, email autoresponders, or whatever else, you can take your writing up a level just by applying some simple principles…: Leer más “Five Ways to Write Magnificent Copy”

The Simple Tricks Experts Use to Always Get Paid For Their Time | Copyblogger


The Simple Tricks Experts Use to Always Get Paid For Their Time

by Laura Roeder

When I think about it, I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I was chatting with a woman with an interior design business about the changes she needed to make in her website. The conversation was going well — she loved all my ideas and was ready to rebuild her site.

I started getting excited, thinking I had found my next project. I was already putting together her proposal in my head. Then she uttered those dreaded words …

“I’d love to take you to lunch and pick your brain sometime.”

I didn’t know what to say or do. I felt my face turning red and I stammered out an excuse about getting back to her when I checked my calendar.

Requests for “brain-picking” are rampant in any business, and they’re never fun if you’re the one whose brain is being picked. It used to happen to me so much that I found myself becoming resentful.

Every time I spoke with someone new I heard a little voice in the back of my head saying “Ugh, I bet they’ll never hire you, they just want a bunch of help for free”.

That little voice was not very helpful for landing clients

If you’ve ever been in this situation, there is a way to turn this around. There is a way to handle these situations with grace and without frustration.

There’s even a way to make those freebie requests go away — or, even better, turn into paying clients.

It is your job, and your job alone, to set appropriate boundaries and clear up what you’re happy to give for free and what you charge for.

That might be hard to hear. But if you want to move through these situations with grace (and encounter them less often) you have to stop placing blame — and start making it a policy to get paid for your time.

Sound impossible? It’s not. Here’s how:

1. Take full responsibility

The most important thing you can do is stop being angry at the prospect for asking.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. If you were given the choice between getting a new computer for free or paying for the same computer, you’d pick free every time — and you’d never think about the company who doesn’t get paid for the sale. Why would you?

I know free is my favorite price for everything.

It is your prospect’s prerogative to ask for your time for free. Let me say that again — it is their prerogative to ask.

In fact, they’d be missing a golden opportunity if they paid for something when they didn’t have to. You can’t blame the prospect for taking the smart route.

You’re also missing the subtle compliment that goes with being asked for advice.

When someone asks you for your time for free, be grateful that they view you as someone who can offer valuable advice. Gary Vaynerchuk constantly says how grateful he is to get thousands of emails a day — he doesn’t take it for granted that every one of those people thinks that he is worth taking time out of their life to write to him.

Everyone asking for your time is already “sold” on you to a degree — they must be or they wouldn’t be asking you for more! Instead of viewing them as a dead-end cheapskate, see them as someone who is so invested in you that they’ll either be a potential client or a source of referrals.

2. Clearly establish your service offerings

Sometimes people ask you to work for free because you haven’t given them anything to buy.

When I offered web design I didn’t have any packages for ongoing support. I charged clients a per-project fee, and considered the project done when the client signed off on the design.

Invariably, people would contact me after the project was officially “over” with some tiny request — things that literally took 5-10 minutes of my time. Crafting a new invoice for this small request seemed silly, yet all of these requests were starting to seriously eat up my time.

I started to feel like I had to provide free service for life for each one-time purchase, and I felt like people were taking advantage of me when they asked for these small favors.

Looking back, I can see that they weren’t taking advantage of me. The issue was mine. I should have had a clearly-defined ongoing support package to offer in response to those requests.

That would have made things clear — either you had purchased my ongoing support or you hadn’t. As it stood, everyone was in the grey zone.

If you don’t like people asking for your time for free, but also don’t have any sort of well-defined offer in place to charge them for that time, the blame falls squarely on you.

vía The Simple Tricks Experts Use to Always Get Paid For Their Time | Copyblogger.

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How to Blog Like Bond. James Bond.

When it comes to being a badass, few can hold a candle to good old 007.

Calm, cool, and collected under pressure, Bond is known as much for his seductive personality as he is for his incredible ability to get himself out of any situation in one piece.

What he isn’t known for is writing a successful blog.

But everyone’s favorite fictional, womanizing secret agent has more to do with writing killer copy and running a great site than you might think.

Here a few things you can learn about great blogging from everyone’s favorite snappy dresser/sex addict/paid assassin.
Know exactly who you are

From the specific type of drink he orders (martini, shaken not stirred) to the unique presence he commands when walking into a room, James Bond always knows exactly who he is (yes, I realize I sound like an American Idol judge, but it remains true).

When you’re dealing with James Bond, you know what you’re going to get. If you’re a psychopathic villain bent on world domination, you don’t want to find out that Bond is on your case because you’re most likely going to end up dead.
Readers should know exactly who you are within minutes of coming to your site.

* When you visit Copyblogger, you know you’re going to learn how to write great content that builds both your business and your reputation.
* When you visit The Art of Nonconformity, you expect a point of view that challenges the status quo. You also learn very quickly that author Chris Guillebeau has made it his mission to visit every country in the world.
* When you visit Man Vs Debt.com, you know you’re getting a guy trying to destroy his debt.
* Spend three minutes on any of Gary Vaynerchuk’s sites and you feel like you’ve known the guy for years.

Your reader should know not only who you are but also what you’re providing within just a few lines.

It took me nine months of writing every day before I finally found the right “voice” and felt confident enough to use it. Once I finally embraced my personality and injected it into each post, my site really caught on with new readers and became much more enjoyable for me to write.


by Steve Kamb | //copyblogger.com

image of martini glass

When it comes to being a badass, few can hold a candle to good old 007.

Calm, cool, and collected under pressure, Bond is known as much for his seductive personality as he is for his incredible ability to get himself out of any situation in one piece.

What he isn’t known for is writing a successful blog.

But everyone’s favorite fictional, womanizing secret agent has more to do with writing killer copy and running a great site than you might think.

Here a few things you can learn about great blogging from everyone’s favorite snappy dresser/sex addict/paid assassin.

Know exactly who you are

From the specific type of drink he orders (martini, shaken not stirred) to the unique presence he commands when walking into a room, James Bond always knows exactly who he is (yes, I realize I sound like an American Idol judge, but it remains true).

When you’re dealing with James Bond, you know what you’re going to get. If you’re a psychopathic villain bent on world domination, you don’t want to find out that Bond is on your case because you’re most likely going to end up dead.

Readers should know exactly who you are within minutes of coming to your site.

  • When you visit Copyblogger, you know you’re going to learn how to write great content that builds both your business and your reputation.
  • When you visit The Art of Nonconformity, you expect a point of view that challenges the status quo. You also learn very quickly that author Chris Guillebeau has made it his mission to visit every country in the world.
  • When you visit Man Vs Debt.com, you know you’re getting a guy trying to destroy his debt.
  • Spend three minutes on any of Gary Vaynerchuk’s sites and you feel like you’ve known the guy for years.

Your reader should know not only who you are but also what you’re providing within just a few lines.

It took me nine months of writing every day before I finally found the right “voice” and felt confident enough to use it. Once I finally embraced my personality and injected it into each post, my site really caught on with new readers and became much more enjoyable for me to write. Leer más “How to Blog Like Bond. James Bond.”

Tools and Resources for Grammar, Copywriting, Spelling and More

So much of the web is based around written content that it’s important for anyone who works online to have a good grasp of language, including grammar and spelling. But it’s not always easy to find reputable sources that can teach us these things if we didn’t learn them in school (or retain them for long after). Below are over thirty great resources for learning more about grammar, vocabulary, copywriting, and more. If you have more resources you’ve found helpful, please share them in the comments!

Grammar Resources

The resources included here will help you perfect your punctuation and refine your word usage. Some are very practical and down-to-earth while others inject a fair dose of humor into the learning process.

When to Use I.E. in a Sentence
This is a fantastic comic from The Oatmeal that explains exactly how and when to use i.e. in a sentence, complete with angry gorilla.


By Cameron Chapman

So much of the web is based around written content that it’s important for anyone who works online to have a good grasp of language, including grammar and spelling. But it’s not always easy to find reputable sources that can teach us these things if we didn’t learn them in school (or retain them for long after). Below are over thirty great resources for learning more about grammar, vocabulary, copywriting, and more. If you have more resources you’ve found helpful, please share them in the comments!

Grammar Resources

The resources included here will help you perfect your punctuation and refine your word usage. Some are very practical and down-to-earth while others inject a fair dose of humor into the learning process.

When to Use I.E. in a Sentence
This is a fantastic comic from The Oatmeal that explains exactly how and when to use i.e. in a sentence, complete with angry gorilla.

Whentouseie in Tools and Resources for Grammar, Copywriting, Spelling and More

How to Use a Semicolon
The semicolon is probably the single-most misused punctuation mark out there. This comic from The Oatmeal will show you how to properly use them.

Howtouseasemicolon in Tools and Resources for Grammar, Copywriting, Spelling and More

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling
This is another great comic from The Oatmeal that talks about 10 commons words a lot of people misspell, and how to remember the proper spellings.

10wordstostopmisspelling in Tools and Resources for Grammar, Copywriting, Spelling and More Leer más “Tools and Resources for Grammar, Copywriting, Spelling and More”