How to Make Winning Infographics Without Risk

portrait photo of Salvador Dalí gesturing with his hand

The infographic is the Salvador Dalí of content marketing. By far the most interesting person at the cocktail party.

Who can compete with the thin, longhorn mustache decorated with forget-me-nots? The anteater curled at his feet?

His closest peer, the video, dozes near the crackling fire … slippered feet propped up, face buried in a white beard.

The podcasts, hovering in the shadows, laugh at all his jokes in between sips of sparkling wine.

And the blog posts? Yeah. The blog posts go home to weep themselves to sleep.

The infographic holds court. He is the darling of the content marketing world. For good reason.

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The Lede: Are You Overlooking This Cornerstone of a Smart Content Strategy?

The Lede Podcast logo

Yesterday, Brian Clark published a highly anticipated answer to a question that’s been on a lot of entrepreneurial and marketing minds.

If you missed it, that question is: Isn’t it time for more power and less hassle from WordPress … without breaking the bank?

The answer is yes, of course, and he provides the solution — a turnkey, hosted platform for content management that is already providing the technological engine for many smart content strategies across the globe.

But technology is just technology. It will do its part reliably, but you have to do yours too. That’s why Brian released the New Rainmaker content library well before the platform … and why the library is still available for free. He wants you to have the knowledge to actually make good use of the tools — which, after all, is the Copyblogger way.

That is why we are kicking off the relaunch of The Lede with a three-part series on content strategy, starting today.

And we begin with an element of content strategy that often gets overlooked … but that is crucial to understanding your audience intimately enough to influence it.

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Introducing Rainmaker: The Complete Solution for Content Marketers and Internet Entrepreneurs

Four years ago this month, Copyblogger Media was born.

Up until that point, I had launched several businesses off of Copyblogger, with several smart partners. Each of those individual businesses were killing it and had me involved, but those smart individuals weren’t collaborating with each other … because why would they?

The five of us convened in a Denver conference room – the first time the group had ever met in person. In just three hours, we worked through the seemingly impossible task of merging five companies into one new entity, with everyone’s equity interest and responsibilities in place.

How was that even possible? In short: shared vision.

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Here’s How Shane Snow (Founder of Contently) Writes

Image of The Writer Files Logo

If you are going to run a company around a slogan like “Tell Great Stories,” or rally your troops by adopting the Native American proverb “Those who tell the stories rule the world,” then it pays to build an environment that fosters great writing.

Large photographs of your favorite writers covering one wall is appropriate. As is a collection of your favorite books along another wall.

And that’s just the environment Shane Snow has created for the employees of his company.

Shane is the co-founder of Contently, a high-end brand publishing firm. In fewer than five years, Contently has courted the likes of Coca-Cola, GE, Walmart, and Google as clients, providing both software and creative talent to help satisfy media objectives.

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Which of These New WordPress Themes is Right For Your Audience?

Image of Genesis framework on three different devices

Is your website’s design the right fit for the audience you want to attract?

I urge you to do more than simply nod and say “yes.”

Really think about it.

Who are the people who make up your audience? What are their worldviews?

And what specific design elements will allow your visitors to have a human experience on your website — the kind that lays the foundation for them to know you, like you, trust you, and ultimately join your audience?

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Follow This Superstar’s 7-Step Example to Dominate Your Industry

black leather platform heel crushing a cupcake

I woke up like this. I woke up like this. Flawless.

After listening to “Flawless” five times, Evette went to the mirror, and told herself the lyrics in the Beyoncé song were true.

She believed it. She internalized it. She embodied it.

Ready to dominate, Evette strutted over to her computer to fire off a blog post. A post that would enable her to claim her rightful place atop her industry.

The same way Beyoncé dominates her industry.

You’ve met an Evette before, right?

Someone who thinks she’s so flawless, all she has to do is show up and everyone will bow down to her.

But it doesn’t quite work that way. Not for the Evettes of the world. And not even for Beyoncé.

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Why You Must Not Ignore The Call to Adventure

closeup of hands holding a map

The following is an excerpt from Chris Guillebeau’s new book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.

In ancient myths, most quests were ones of discovery or confrontation.

A kingdom was under siege, so it required defending. A minotaur in a faraway land guarded a magic chalice, and only the hero could wrest it back.

Happily, real-world quests offer more possibilities than storming castles and rescuing princesses, and with some exceptions modern-day quests can be placed into a few broad categories.

Travel is an obvious starting point.

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5 Ways Listening to Community Data Can Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy

rainbow over a neighborhood of houses

When talking about content marketing, discussions often focus on decisions about topics, headlines, platforms, and distribution.

But how much do you consider the data that supports these decisions?

I’m not talking about demographics, like age, gender, or location — although those matter, too. Rather, I’m talking about the answers behind qualitative questions:

  • Who are your community’s influencers and why?
  • Which events are your community members attending?
  • What will be your first touchpoint with your community?
  • Where is your community getting their information and news?
  • Where is your community having meaningful conversations?
  • How do you choose which headline will resonate best with your audience?

Gathering this type of intelligence will allow you to develop a stronger content strategy with better results and deeper relationships.

One of the best (and most efficient) ways to conduct this research is by listening to current and potential customers on the web and social media.

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Permission to Kick Ass: Granted

portrait of a grizzly bear

What if you discovered that your own words and thoughts were wreaking havoc on your chances for success?

They might be.

What you say about what you do makes a difference.

It makes a difference in your own mind. And it makes a big difference in how people view your work.

At some point, you have to decide if you want to be at the top of your field.

Does that sound like too audacious of a goal?

I’d like to propose that you consider it. That you eliminate “I’ll try” from your vocabulary. That you make it your aim to be the best, to surpass the competition, and to go for the top prize.

I propose that you make it your goal to do great things.

Not to expend great effort.

It’s OK to want to be the best. And as long as you don’t step on anyone else to get there, it’s the optimum goal you can have.

Let’s kick some ass. Ready?

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The Key Element of 21st Century Persuasion

The Key Element of 21st Century Persuasion

Back in the 1950s, a bedridden man faced certain death from inoperable, terminal cancer.

Tumors the size of oranges had invaded the man’s neck, groin, chest, and abdomen. The patient’s only hope was a new experimental cancer drug called Krebiozen.

Three days after the initial treatment, the man was out of bed and joking with his nurses. As treatment continued, his tumors shrunk by half.

Ten days later, he was discharged from the hospital … the cancer was gone.

That’s pretty amazing in itself. The more amazing thing is that Krebiozen didn’t actually work.

We’re back for the fall season of the New Rainmaker broadcast, this time looking into the unstoppable power of belief, and what it means for doing business in the 21st century.

In this episode you’ll discover …

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