Finally, Something New in RSS

I haven’t posted about RSS much lately, since there’s been very little going on.

But this week Gabe Rivera of TechMeme announced a very cool use of RSS—he pulls posts from his sponsor’s blogs via feed and displays them in the sponsor area.

Great content is the advertisment (as it should be).

That’s very cool, and there’s a lot more to explore in the area that Gabe is blazing a trail in.

Now today, Text Link Ads released Feedvertising, a free WordPress plugin that allows you to rotate sponsored advertising copy and links in your RSS feed. If you’re reading this via feed (or email) right now, look down at the bottom to see an example.

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The Importance of Social Media

There are so many things in this post by Chris Heuer that resemble my own thoughts lately, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes as I read. I’d like to think I would have written something like this eventually, but now I don’t have to and can simply continue working on pushing the vision into reality.

Give it a read. It’s fantastic from start to finish (hat tip to Brogan for the heads up).

While this represents only a small part of the overall scope of Heuer’s post, I found this snippet particularly relevant to what I’ve been working on lately:

As we have seen with reality television, the hybrid of overly produced “barely based on reality” does not hold sway with people for long. The deep human desire for genuine connections with the hero’s journey via Joseph Campbell will not tolerate gimmicks or fools for long. Genuine human drama, ‘How To’ content, insightful commentary, truly funny comedy, emotionally charged entertainment, engaging conversations, factual news of the world and stories well told will rule the day.

Emphasis mine.

I’ve been talking about Tubetorial a lot lately with people, as you might imagine. And most people instantly get it.

We try hard to make these video tutorials visually interesting while they also teach. We might even try to make you laugh (or at least smile) in the process.

But Tubetorial videos don’t look like overly-polished television productions for a very important reason.

And they never will.

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How to Attract Links and Increase Web Traffic – The Ultimate Guide

Links and traffic… who wants some?

The number of excellent resources that have come out since the beginning of the year on attracting links and building traffic has really mushroomed. Plus there are some timeless classics that are still very relevant today.

I think it makes sense to compile the very best in one handy location and share it, so here’s my entire collection. If I missed your link and traffic resource let me know and I’ll take a look.

Now, it doesn’t matter if you like the term “link baiting” or not. It’s the process that one goes through to attract links that matters, not whether you prefer to think of your content as bait for links. I like to think that creating content that increases web traffic and builds links simply falls under the general social media optimization marketing buzz phrase that is gaining in popularity.

So, here’s your ultimate “how to” guide to creating content that attracts links and drives traffic in the social media environment:

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5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post with a Bang

image of the number

What’s the second most important part of your blog post after the title?

Master copywriter Eugene Schwartz often spent an entire week on the first 50 words of a sales piece — the headline and the opening paragraph.

Just imagine how disappointed you’d be after crafting a killer headline for your post, only to lose readers with an opening that failed to carry the momentum. A great headline mixed with a lame opening is like inviting someone into your house, only to slam the door in their face as they approach.

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The Peril of Free Keyword Research Tools

So, let’s say you’re being a good Internet marketer and doing your search engine keyword research. You’re looking for new search trends that you can profit from.

Maybe you’ll start a brand new blog, or even develop an information product.

While poking around in the free Yahoo/Overture Keyword Selector Tool, you discover a phrase that is getting 173,359 searches per month. You think you’ve hit the jackpot.

Hopefully you verified that search count with a more reliable source before you started work, because it turns out that a more accurate accounting for that phrase might be closer to zero.

In the course of shooting an episode of my 7 Steps to Creating and Selling Niche Information Products series at Tubetorial, I happened across just that scenario.

Watch the video here to learn why you should never rely on the results from the Yahoo/Overture Keyword Selector Tool, or any other keyword research tool that pulls solely from Yahoo’s results. And there’s some other stuff in there about finding a strong topic for an information product, too. :)

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How to Overcome Skepticism

Tutorial Marketing

Many people think the main barrier to online marketing success is a lack of traffic.

But it’s really a lack of trust.

There’s a million ways to get traffic, whether you pay for it with money or pay for it with time.

But the question remains as to whether you can convert that traffic into actual sales.

Even when your offer is great, and your copy sings, and your order process is painless, one thing stands in the way of the sale.

A lack of trust.

You can thank your marketing predecessors for that.

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I am a Shameless Attention Seeker

Did you know there are two Technorati Top 100 lists?

One is the list determined by the number of blogs that link to another blog. That’s the Top 100 we’re all familiar with.

But there’s also a Top 100 list that is determined by readers. When you vote for a blog as a “favorite” that vote counts towards making the reader Top 100 (thanks for the tip, Rand).

So I went and checked it out, and Copyblogger only needs about 30 more votes to break the reader Top 100.

Some people have suggested I set up a “tip jar” to take donations. I would never do that.

But I will ask for you to boost my ego. :)

So, if you enjoy Copyblogger, why not vote for me as a Technorati favorite here?

UPDATE: You people rawk. But I need 10 more votes to make the top 50. Only 16 days till my birthday — come on, reach deep! :)

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The 9 Most Important Words for Business Bloggers

Some people think it’s all about “how you say it.”

Others think it’s all about how many times a week you post.

Both groups are wrong.

What you say matters more than how you say it or how many times.

Before you’ll succeed with a business blog, you need to truly understand a simple 9-word sentence offered by old-school copywriting genius Rosser Reeves (as channeled by Gary Bencivenga):

A gifted product is mightier than a gifted pen.

Your “product” is what you offer, whether goods or services, and the overall substance of that offer. Whether you want to call it your USP or your big story, it still needs to be solidly in place before you’ll ever have a truly effective business blog.

You can’t tell compelling small stories with your posts if your big story sucks.

Let’s look at it another way.

If I give you a hand-scrawled note riddled with typos and grammatical errors that tells you that the other side of the paper contains the winning lotto numbers, and this is the ticket, you’re highly receptive to that message, right?

But the most dazzling sales pitch ever about the latest fall line for women at Neiman Marcus will never matter to me one bit.

If you’re about to start a business blog (or if your current one is going nowhere), stop, take a step back, and ask yourself this:

Why should anyone care about what I’m blogging about?

That’s another 9-word sentence that makes it perfectly clear that painting a cow purple is not the same as owning a purple cow.

What you say will determine if you can sell at all.

How you say it will determine how much you can sell.

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Don’t Sell… Teach

In the beginning, people spoke with one another directly in the local marketplace, and the merchants taught those people about the value of their wares.

And as things began to be sold one to many, and the brand was born to assure buyers of quality and consistency, publicizing that brand to lots of people was all that was necessary.

But it was soon not good enough.

And Claude Hopkins said, “Let us sell with scientific advertising,” and there was systematic testing for determining which words worked best when selling a product.

And Hopkins saw that testing was good, as it increased advertising response and efficiency.

And David Ogilvy said, “Let us sell image, not product,” and behold, there were television commercials that focused on brand image, not features or benefits.

And Ogilvy saw that selling brand image was good, because it told people stories bigger than the product itself.

And Raymond Rubicam said, “Let us hire this Gallup fellow, and sell based on demographic profiles,” and the separate worlds of scientific advertising and brand image would eventually become melded together into one powerful force.

And years later, many, many advertising agencies saw that it was good, and so did Nike.

And Seth Godin said, “Let us not interrupt, but instead sell by permission,” as smart marketers began to realize that the Internet was somehow very different from other media.

And Godin saw that permission marketing was good, because consensual relationship selling, mixed with tested copy and demographically-targeted stories, boosts response significantly.

But then something happened.

People began to efficiently speak with one another directly in a virtual marketplace.

And they refused to be marketed at, as they were as media savvy as the marketers themselves (and often more so).

And permission and trust were harder to find online, as they had been abused.

And so some random guy, who doesn’t even belong on the same page as those above, said “Let us not sell, but instead teach,” based on his experience using educational copywriting to begin relationships that lead to sales.

And so he wrote a tutorial series called Tutorial Marketing, about a strategy that places a blog at the very center of your online marketing efforts, since good tutorials not only sell, but also attract vital links and traffic as well.

And you’ll be the one who determines if it’s good, right?

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Leave it to a Brit to say it best:

New York still remains the greatest city in the world. That must really bug America-haters everywhere. 

Thanks, Hugh.