About the author

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Rainmaker Digital. Get lots more from Sonia on her podcast, Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer, or come hang out with her on Twitter.

The 5 Areas of Focus to Launch Your First Digital Product

5 steps to digital product creation success

You may have noticed that we’re pretty excited about digital commerce around here. And we’re not alone.

The web provides an unparalleled way to launch a business — small or large — with very manageable levels of investment and risk.

But you won’t launch a new business by thinking or reading about it — you have to take action. At this point, I’ve seen hundreds (maybe thousands) of folks build viable businesses around an online product or service, and I’ve noticed five areas of focus that are crucial when you’re getting started.

Here’s what they are:

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The 7 Essential Elements of Effective Social Media Marketing

plug in to social media essentials

By now you know it’s a bad idea to be a digital sharecropper and build your business entirely on someone else’s land (like Facebook, Tumblr, or any other third party you don’t control).

But you may be asking yourself, “What type of social media marketing should I be doing?”

How are savvy businesses using social media effectively to find more customers, boost their reputations, and make more sales?

Here are the seven essentials that will turn your social media marketing from an annoying time-waster to an effective bottom-line booster.

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A 7-Point Plan for More Shareable Content

how to create content people want to share

Content marketing is a beautiful thing, a great way to build an audience and grow your business.

That’s if your content is actually getting found by the folks who might buy your product or service.

Most of us would love to have more people reading, listening to, and watching our content. We buy traffic or try the latest “Get people to actually pay attention to you on Facebook” strategy. And those can be helpful.

But one of the smartest things you can do for your content is to make it easier and more fun to share. Even better, as long as you’re starting with high-quality work, you can do it without spending a lot of time or money.

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How Not to Be a Sleaze (or a Martyr) in Your Business

Don't take shortcuts; they take too long.

Don’t take shortcuts; they take too long.

I first wrote that advice in a post about site quality as an SEO strategy for content marketers.

It sprang back to mind when we lost the incomparable Yogi Berra last week. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do Yet Another Blog Post with Yogi Quotes (this is a good collection, if you’re looking for one).

But there’s something about that “so wrong, it’s right” Yogi logic that seems to be a constant in business and in life, and I thought I’d write about it.

So what does that initial advice mean, anyway?

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Authority: Our Community of Professional Content Marketers

Get Inside Authority - Doors close to new members in 1 week

If you’ve found this page, you probably have some questions about Authority — our private community of content marketers.

We bring new members into the community during focused enrollment periods, so that the Authority team and I can put all of our focus on giving our community members the best experience we can.

But before we talk about the details of that — let me connect the dots if you don’t happen to quite know what Authority is.

So what is Authority, anyway?

Authority is a community of content marketers that promotes and celebrates excellence.

Who are these content marketers? Well, lots of them are business owners who have taken the reins for their own marketing — even if they outsource some or all of the actual writing and content creation. They know they need an in-depth understanding of the strategies that work for real-world businesses with real bills to pay.

We also have many, many freelance writers in our community. They use Authority to stay on top of the skills that in-demand writers need to position themselves at the top of the heap.

And we have plenty of serious bloggers and podcasters, who are taking the next steps and turning their interesting content into sustainable (and enjoyable) businesses.

Finally, we have a solid group of savvy professional content creators who work in organizations (also known as “day jobs”), who know they need to stay sharp to keep advancing in their field.

It’s a large and diverse group — but what they have in common is a commitment to learning and growing, and constantly getting better at what they do.

When the “same old” ideas aren’t cutting it any more

You probably already read quite a few marketing blogs, or maybe you listen to marketing podcasts. I do, too.

Free sites are a wonderful resource. They can absolutely give you a solid foundation in the fundamentals.

But at a certain point, you need material that’s a little more focused and a little more advanced.

You have questions like:

  • Email, blogs, podcasts, white papers, social, SEO — how do the pieces fit together? (Join Pamela Wilson and I for our Authority session on “connecting the dots” for your content strategy)
  • How can I market myself when I’m so busy doing the work I get paid for? (Certified Content Marketer Megan Williams shared a rock-solid action plan in a recent session)
  • How do I get started with metrics? And what do I do once I get the ball running? (Jessica Frick and Copyblogger partner Tony Clark have you covered)
  • What’s going on with SEO? What’s different today, and how should I prepare for the future? (Brian Clark tackled this head-on with me in an extended Authority master class)
  • I feel like my wheels are spinning — how can I figure out what to work on next? (You can go through Pamela Wilson’s process on How to Be Your Own Business Consultant, or sit down with us for a deep-dive “hot seat”-style consultation)

These are a tiny handful of the sessions covered in more than 230 hours of marketing education and advice — with more added nearly every week of the year.

You need high-quality education if you’re serious about developing your skills as a content marketer. But there’s another piece of the puzzle.

Face it: Normal people don’t get you

Creative folks aren’t always understood by all of those … normal people out there. (Some of whom you may be related to.)

And creative entrepreneurs and businesspeople? We’re even weirder.

Authority is a community of people who understand exactly why you’re so excited about that killer guest post you just placed, or the conversion rate on your latest white paper, or an uptick in your email opt-ins.

They understand the ups and the downs, because they’ve been there, too.

In late 2015, we’ve been focusing on boosting the community elements of Authority, creating more content that’s focused on the real-world successes and challenges of our members. We’re sharing what works, and what doesn’t, in today’s environment.

That means educational content that’s more meaningful and applicable to the situations you face every day. All wrapped in a supportive community that will lend an ear on those tough days we all face from time to time.

What’s the next step?

If you want to join our private community of content marketers, you’ll want to get onto the wait list, so you’re notified about the next enrollment session.

If you want to get smarter, more strategic, and more effective as a content marketer, we’d absolutely love to have you with us.

Join us for:

  • Master classes on key elements of content marketing
  • Q&A “mini consultation” sessions to answer virtually any business question you may have
  • In-depth and ultra-supportive “hot seat”-style Authority Business Coaching calls, where we look at what’s working, and what needs improvement in one member’s business
  • “Behind the Scenes” sessions from community members who have solved the problems you face

And, of course, instant access to our archive of more than 230 hours of marketing advice and strategy.

Click here to learn more and to get connected with Authority.

Claiming Your Power as a Writer

Embrace the power and magic of the writer's life

Do you remember the first time you spoke the words?

I’m a writer.

It’s a little like getting that letter of acceptance to Hogwarts.

It’s exciting and intriguing. Maybe a little scary as well.

Of course, your parents think you’ll end up living in a van by the river. You think you might end up living in a van by the river.

And there may be some marketing involved. That’s a little weird to think about.

The actual life of a professional writer isn’t always as fascinating or as sexy as people think. But that’s okay. You don’t have to ruin the magic for everyone else. In fact, I want you to own it.

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