Happy Thanksgiving!

Illustration of a Turkey

The Copyblogger Media crew are taking advantage of today’s U.S. holiday to eat way too much pie, watch sports, and navigate complicated conversations with family (thank goodness for this pro tip from Tim Siedell on twitter yesterday):

Whether or not you celebrate, enjoy a quiet day on the web … and consider entering our essay contest for fun and some very cool prizes. Here’s how:

How to Enter Copyblogger’s First-Ever Essay Contest

See you next Monday!

Content is a Verb: A Challenge for Freelance Writers

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“Can you content my website?”

Here’s the thing you need to know when clients ask you to create content for their websites.

They don’t just need this asset called “content.” Because content marketing is more than a collection of text documents to be cut and pasted into WordPress or an email program.

It would be delightful if we could just write a whole bunch of words and call the job done. But (with the glorious exception of the email autoresponder) the real world doesn’t work that way.

Content is a noun — a set of files you send the client. But it’s also a verb — a collection of actions you deliver over time.

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Get this Marketing Cornerstone Right … Or Go Home

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If you’re marketing a product or service, there’s one thing you absolutely need to get right.

Your writing voice might not be that awesome. Your call to action might need some help. Your big idea might be … not so big.

But if you can get this one down, you’ll do all right. You may not thrive, but you’ll live to sell another day.

On the other hand, if you get it wrong, no amount of brilliant marketing can help you.

What is this terrifyingly important factor?

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7 Things the Great Copywriters Wish You Knew

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We sometimes talk about web copy and content like they’re the same, but they aren’t — they complement each other, but they also serve two distinct purposes.

Copy, traditionally, is what we use to make the sale. To use Albert Lasker’s phrase, it’s salesmanship in print (or pixels). Its aim is to persuade.

Content does everything else. It attracts an audience, engages their sustained attention, demonstrates your ability to solve their problems, and paves the way for an eventual purchase.

Content marketing is the new cool kid in advertising– because the web lets us use content to accomplish so much with relatively limited resources.

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5 Ways to Protect Your Entrepreneurial Confidence

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I know I told you your audience was your most important business asset. And I stand by that — if we’re talking about something that exists outside of yourself.

But there’s an internal, mental asset that you need to develop and protect if you’re going to do all the rest of it. (Develop your audience, produce top-notch content that solves real problems, make compelling offers, grow and sustain a great business.)

Business coach Dan Sullivan has said that as business owners, our greatest duty is to protect our own confidence.

Because the reality is: the most successful rockstar ninja business badass you know — that one who seems fearless and unstoppable — has days when their confidence wobbles.

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Three Online Marketing Shortcuts that Take Too Long

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Sometimes people hear online marketing and their common sense flies out the window. They start thinking there won’t be any work (there will), there won’t be any expenses (a lot lower than standard offline advertising, but not zero), and that customers and clients will be magically transported to your business by flying Internet monkeys (that would rock, but sadly, no).

“Don’t take shortcuts, they take too long.” That’s something I say at least once a week, whether it’s to a colleague or one of our brilliant Authority members.

I first said it in the context of smart search engine optimization, where the tricks, games, and tomfoolery of a certain style of SEO have been systematically whacked by Google — leaving site owners to start from scratch.

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