Are You Leaving Your Readers Out of the Conversation?

Build a Sticky BlogWe know that one of the most important words we can use in blogging is you, so our copy should be squarely focused on the reader. And we also know we need to identify just who exactly our prospective readers actually are.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to go through all of that and end up not speaking to those people after all? It sounds crazy, but speaking to the wrong “you” is a common problem throughout business communications, and blogging makes it an incredibly easy mistake to make.

The Danger of the Wrong “You”

Even when people know exactly who they are supposed to be speaking to, they often fail to tailor the message to match the audience. A great example comes from the book Presenting to Win by presentation coach Jerry Weissman.

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Link Baiting Goes Mainstream

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Here’s a new catchphrase in search-engine optimization these days: Link baiting.

The term may sound shady, but link baiting is an aboveboard tactic that calls for generating new or particularly interesting content on a Web site in hopes that a popular Web site links to it. Having well-ranked Web sites link to yours boosts your site’s search-engine results, because most major search engines — including Google and Yahoo — consider the number and “quality” of links when generating their rankings. And, having your site linked to a popular site likely will prompt other sites to link to your site as well.

Suppose, for instance, you’d love to have a blogger who’s well-known in your industry link to your Web site. You notice this blogger frequently highlights interesting strategies for funding a start-up business. So in hopes of piquing that blogger’s interest, you add well-written, interesting content to your site about new trends in start-up financing. Then you conveniently shoot an email to that blogger with a link to the post.

Good for the WSJ for actually getting it right. More than just great content, it’s strategic content that is also of very high quality.

And these days, it has very little to do with trolling and flame wars. Authority sites won’t squander reader equity to link to that garbage.

Via Marketing Pilgrim.

Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?

Build a Sticky BlogA classic business mistake is failing to understand who your prospect is, especially now that niche marketing is critical to success in an overly competitive environment. The same is true for commercial blogging when it comes to developing a unique content strategy.

Under the classical approach to developing a unique selling proposition, you would start by examining your product/service for a unique element that would separate you from the competition. And while differentiating your offer from what others are providing is the goal, it’s no longer the starting point.

When it comes to business blogging, you are seeking an audience before you seek the sale, and frankly, starting with the needs of the audience is essential to all forms of modern marketing. Assuming that what you offer, or even what your competitors offer, is in tune with the current needs of the audience is an invitation for disaster and an adversary of innovation.

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I’ll be on Rush Hour Later Today with Cameron and Neil of Pronet Advertising

In case you haven’t heard, Cameron Olthius and Neil Patel of Pronet Advertising have launched a new show on Webmaster Radio called Rush Hour. The program is dedicated to social media marketing and traffic strategies.

We’ll be discussing how copywriting figures into social media and viral marketing campaigns: writing good content, headlines, descriptions, calls to action and more.

The podcast airs live every Wednesday at 1 P.M. PST (4 P.M. EST) and is usually available for download shortly after. So check it out!

UPDATE: You can listen to the podcast here. Please pardon my cold… I felt lucky to be able to string sentences together.

Great Copy Ranges From the Specific to the Precise

The kiss of death when it comes to marketing communications is copy filled with general statements that fail to communicate anything meaningful. Non-specific copy is a red flag that signals puffery and a lack of substance, and yet it’s all too common. Dan Santow of Word Wise gives two great examples of common phrases that are employed to impress, but end up leaving the reader with little to work with.

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Links You Can’t Live Without

Here are a few notable things from the past week’s blogging activities:

What else cool happened this week? Drop a link in the comments, and you’ll win… a link in the comments. ;)

Differentiate Your Blog or Die

Build a Sticky BlogWhat’s the key to standing out in the crowded blogosphere?

More importantly, will standing out actually lead to long-term success?

Let’s take a stroll down marketing history lane to see if we can find some answers.

The Unique Selling Proposition

In 1961, a gentleman by the name of Rosser Reeves published a book entitled Reality in Advertising. In this book, Reeves revealed the secret behind his success as a copywriter and later as chairman of the Ted Bates advertising agency–the unique selling proposition (USP).

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Do You Digg This Headline?

One evening back in early January, I got hit by a flurry of incredulous instant messages wondering how we managed to get a certain Tubetorial video to the Digg home page. The video was about Akismet, the anti-spam plugin that helps bloggers keep their comment sections free from ads for porn and male enhancement products.

It’s not that the video wasn’t good or useful, because it is. What people where amazed at was the fact that something as “old news” as Akismet could get promoted to the Digg home page. This was not (for once) a “targeted” Digg from us… it just happened on its own, although the fact that a top Digg user submitted it certainly helped.

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SEO Copywriting Roundup

Although my SEO copywriting series is over, I wanted to point out some other great posts that can help you in this area before I move on to the next series.

Keywords: Roberta has a great post on determining relevant keyword phrases, and Jordan points to a free keyword research white paper that she says is worth a look.

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The 5 Immutable Laws of
Persuasive Blogging

Blogging is a great way to grow a business, promote a cause, or spread new ideas, because when you take an educational approach to marketing, you gain the attention and trust of people who might otherwise simply ignore old-fashioned advertising. Not only can those people become your customers or converts, they can also become your advocates.

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