We’re big on tradition here at Copyblogger. And I’m not just talking about that crazy Puerto Rican eggnog. (Who knew you could get that much rum into a seemingly innocent dairy-based beverage?)
Every year right before Christmas, we let you know that we’re taking the rest of the year off. And every year, we slip in a “Best of Copyblogger” post right before New Year’s, just in case you missed something juicy over the past 12 months.
Man, are we sneaky.
So here are the best Copyblogger articles from 2011, based on your enthusiasm and my own bias for content that’s going to get you what you want in 2012.
Here’s the winners, divided by category and presented in the order of my personal whim:
Creating killer content that builds your audience
Content marketing took a giant leap in 2011. 2012 is going to be a terrific year for businesses that understand how to create content worth reading, watching, and listening to. And a sad, sad year for those who still think that scraped, “spun,” or otherwise lame content is going to get them anywhere.
What’s the Difference between Content Marketing and Copywriting?
They aren’t the same thing, but if you’re smart you’ll use them together. Start here so you really understand what content can (and can’t) do for you.
The Two Essential Elements of Irresistible Content
There are only two elements your content absolutely needs to succeed. Get them right and everything else you do is gravy. Get them wrong and you will be broke, lonely, and funny-looking.
Why People Don’t Want the “Real” You
What you can learn from Brian’s Joy Division t-shirt, what Seth Godin meant when he told you to be a better liar, and why your “witty” drunk tweets just make people unfollow you.
109 Ways to Make Your Business Irresistible to the Media
Bet you didn’t know that traditional PR was one of the first forms of content marketing, did you? Well, it is, and it’s still important. Here’s how you can shape your story so a reporter will actually talk to you.
Copywriting and conversion that makes you money
Ever know anyone with a huge audience who’s still broke? That’s because content gets you love and attention, but you’ve still got to shake your moneymaker. That’s where copywriting and conversion come in. Put them together and you’ll be an unstoppable force. Much like the Borg, but with a better selection of snacks.
5 Landing Page Mistakes that Crush Conversion Rates
Landing pages are the pages on your site that get readers and customers to do what you want. Unless you screw them up. Here’s how to not do that.
Why Split-Testing is Like Sex in High School
First, if you didn’t totally get Brian’s “Essential Elements of Irresistible Content” post above, this headline is one of the better examples of the year. Second, unlike sex in high school, split testing is something you actually can and should do. Here’s a quick tutorial from Danny Iny.
The Strategy Behind the Copyblogger Redesign
We like to keep it meta here on Copyblogger. That means if you want to know what we’ve found works best to boost conversion, watch what we do. And listen to this podcast, where we explain why we made some of the changes we did to the site this year.
The Good Advice that Killed My Conversion Rate
Chris Garrett tells a scary story and shows you how to avoid his horrible fate.
The Art of Irresistible Copywriting
You can call it a trick or a tactic, but it’s how you get readers to actually read that all-important copy you’re writing.
Email marketing: How to click “send” and grow your business
Mobile, local, social, … email?
Yep, email. It’s still the most effective way to actually get people to take action and buy something, but only if you do it the right way. Here are some thoughts.
7 Steps to an Email Opt-In Page that Works
If you don’t get the opt-in, your email marketing fails before it gets started. Here’s how to get people to sign up for your list so you can send them brilliant things.
Meet the Lazy Marketer’s Best Friend: The Email Autoresponder
So what do you send those lovely readers after they opt in? You send them a well-crafted, strategic email autoresponder, is what you send them. This is how that works.
Better, smarter, faster social media marketing
Are Social Media “Experts” Worthless?
Why I don’t think all (or even most) social media experts should die in a fire.
The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing Efforts
Social media is an awesome tool for building your business. But when you build your entire marketing program on rented land, you’re risking a very dangerous scenario. Here’s what to do instead.
7 Quick Ways to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Social Media Marketing Workhorse
LinkedIn? Seriously? I know, I didn’t believe it either, but Lewis Howes makes a good case, and spells out exactly what to do.
Is Google+ The Ultimate Content Marketing Platform?
Google+ seemed like it went from “solution to all human strife” to “dead in the water” in about six weeks. Both of those assessments are off the mark. If you’re not including Google+ as part of your marketing mix, you may miss out on some significant benefits. Brian Clark explains why you should be on Google+ and what you should be doing there.
The Straight Dope on Facebook, Twitter, and SEO
This was the year that social networking and SEO blended into one huge, pulsating mass. Sort of like the monsters on the original Star Trek. I think this is the one that’s really into salt. Here’s how you can tame the beast, or at least convince it not to kill you horribly.
There is No ROI in Social Media Marketing
In which Sonia Simone and Copyblogger Media CFO Sean Jackson try to work out whether or not it’s meaningful to talk at all about ROI for marketing. Spoiler alert: Sean says no, Sonia’s still on the fence.
Building a business that gets you where you want to go
For all the risks and stresses of starting a business, we’ll still choose it over layoffs and bosses who make Dilbert’s look like a smart, enlightened guy. But before you can make your business work, you need to get your head on straight.
Would You Trade Boredom for Stress to Have Your Own Business?
Maybe this is the year you go out on your own and start a business. Or maybe it’s the year you talk yourself into staying in business. Here are my thoughts on why we make the jump, and what happens after we do.
The Cowardly Lion’s Guide to Conquering Your Entrepreneurial Fears
Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion you’d be really successful if you weren’t such a … chicken? The fearless Jon Morrow can help you follow the yellow brick road and quit being such a giant wuss.
The Single Word that is Stealing Your Future
And no, it’s not “Snooki.”
Advice for freelancers
We want this to be the year when your freelance business becomes freakishly successful and all of your friends secretly hate you because you start drinking fancy coffee and take two months of vacation in the Caribbean.
All of these are geared toward writers but can be deployed very effectively by graphic designers and web developers too. Remember, businesses all over the world desperately need smart folks to help them with their content marketing, both with writing and design. So step up, do great work, and go help those people out. It’s your patriotic duty as a citizen of the Clue-o-sphere.
5 Reasons Why All Freelance Writers Should Learn to Write a Sales Letter
Honestly, we shouldn’t have to talk you into this one. Sean Platt explains why you should put the time into learning this technique, so that many genuinely amazing things will happen in your business. Rainbows and unicorns sold separately.
5 Situations that Demand You Hire a Professional Copywriter
Hey copywriters, are you sick and tired of explaining to clients (again) why they need to actually pay money for a professional writer instead of using their nephew the unemployable English major? Here’s some ammunition for you. Use it wisely.
Want More Copywriting Clients? Here’s a Surprising Way to Find Them
Just because you write for the web doesn’t mean the internet is always going to be the best way to find your clients. One of the reasons they need you is that they don’t hang out on the social web like you do. Here’s a quick, easy-to-implement technique from Linda Formichelli that can quickly fill your client list.
We’ll have lots more for you in 2012. See you on the flip side!
About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Follow her on twitter and let her know about your favorite posts of the year.