How to Create Exquisite Subheads

Sorry.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you know all that work you do to drive people to your blog posts?

All the content optimization (don’t you say SEO!), all the agonizing over your headline, even the nitty-gritty of your word choice and sentence crafting?

Yeah, well, most people aren’t going to read those words and sentences.

Certainly they’re not going to read the ones at the end, possibly not even the ones in the middle.

Unless you do this …

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5 Ways a Minimum Viable Audience Gives You an Unfair Business Advantage

Image of Stadium Crowd

Startups aren’t “real” companies, according to retired entrepreneur and author Steve Blank. At least not in the way we usually think of the concept of a “company.”

Startups are instead temporary organizations on a mission to find a scalable business model. Once that business model is found, a “real” company is born to execute on it.

For many years, Steve Blank has been a mentor to Eric Ries, whose book The Lean Startup took the entrepreneurial world by storm in 2011. If you haven’t read Eric’s book yet, you should as soon as possible.

For now, let’s dig in deeper on the meaning and origin of “lean” in the context of business.

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3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

image of Voodoo Doughnuts sign

The line, even on the bitterest winter nights, extends out the door and down the block.

The neighborhood could charitably be described as “gritty” — known for marijuana dispensaries, tattoo parlors, and bars. (And those are the legal businesses.)

The walls are Pepto-Bismol pink, graced with a black velvet painting of a stern-looking Pam Grier. The place smells like … well, like a doughnut shop — that delicious yet faintly disgusting scent of industrial fryers.

The menu on the wall is illegibly tiny (even for 20-somethings on glaucoma medication), but everyone just pulls it up on their phone anyway. They take cash and only cash, and the cute tattooed employees at the cash register are friendly, if not necessarily efficient.

They’ve taken something ordinary (you might even call it a bit boring) and turned it into an enduring craze.

And yet, everything about the place turns off 95 percent of their potential customers.

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The Critical Thing You Need to Earn Targeted Traffic – Today, and into the Future

Image of Television News Crew

There is nothing new under the sun. What was old, is new again. It’s all been said and done before …

Those adages are true in your university philosophy class, and just as true when it comes to your media strategy.

If you’re working too hard trying to keep up with every new tactic and technology and social network that bubbles up online … and wondering what the essential asset is in building an audience, then this episode of New Rainmaker is for you.

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SEO is Dead: Long Live OC/DC

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I want to let you in on a little secret …

I really hate the term “SEO.”

This may come as a surprise to many since I am the resident SEO guy at Copyblogger and very active in the SEO community.

But for the past two years I have felt that the entire concept of SEO, while an important part of online marketing, had a very “spammy” connotation.

The term too often aligns our work with unprofessional practices like link buying and web spamming for article placement.

And with the recent issues around the SEO effort of Rap Genius, and the resulting negative impressions about SEO with the wider public, I have made it my mission for 2014 to eradicate the term SEO once and for all.

Yes, SEO is officially dead. Not the practice, but the term.

But what term should take its place?

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Why Are You Still Skeptical That Pinterest Can Work For You?

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Pinterest may bug you.

What with all the images of Italian sunsets and glamour pics of Ryan Gosling.

But so what?

Pinterest, with its 70 million users, is driving an avalanche of referral traffic to websites and blogs.

Right now, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ … combined.

And contrary to popular belief, maybe contrary to even your belief, that traffic is converting … because many pinners use the site specifically for product and content discovery. (Get ready for some compelling stats about this in a minute.)

This makes Pinterest a powerful tool for ecommerce.

So if you’ve been ignoring Pinterest, you’re late. But there is still time to catch up — and you should.

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13 Damn Good Ideas from 13 Dead Copywriters

Image of David Ogilvy with number 13

Advertising is an ancient art.

In the Babylonian sea ports, merchants hired barkers to announce the arrival of wine, spices, and fabrics.

Citizens in Greece hung “Lost” posters in hopes of being reunited with children, jewelry, or slaves.

And elaborately painted signs (billboards) sprung up throughout Pompeii to announce plays, carnivals, and races.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be. The history of advertising is full of the tools, tactics, and strategies you — as online marketer — still use.

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How to Write Killer Bullet Points

Keep your readers running down your page like water on a slide.”

Wouldn’t you like your copy to have that effect?

Of course. Who wouldn’t?

And while writing great sentences and using persuasive words are essential elements for making it happen, don’t overlook the importance of bullet points.

Because well-crafted bullet points make your copy more readable.

And they allow you to do something else that is very important, as well.

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8 Ways a Digital Media Platform is More Influential than “Marketing”

Image of Red Stripe Logo

Imagine this scenario.

Two attorneys are chatting against the beautiful tropical backdrop of the Cayman Islands. The elder lawyer suggests to the young rising star that he “grab a Red Stripe,” which leads to the selection of the Jamaican-brewed beer from an ice-cold fridge.

So simple … but it’s a powerful association between the “good life” and a particular brand of beer. Did it work?

Within a month, sales of Red Stripe in the United States increased by over 50%. Within a few weeks of that, the company collected a $62 million payday by selling a majority interest in the brewery to Guinness.

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Make It Rain: LinkedIn and the “Media not Marketing” Model

Jason Miller Authority Intensive

Congratulations to Copyblogger’s Brian Clark and Robert Bruce on the New Rainmaker podcast.

Episode 1 was so compelling that I almost walked into oncoming traffic on my walk to work the other day.

Episode 2 made me even more of a believer, though perhaps even less safe.

In anticipation of the forthcoming Rainmaker Platform, Brian asked me to write this article to offer some ideas about promoting it on LinkedIn. While certainly savvy, today’s “Sophisticated Marketers” still have a thing or two to learn about using LinkedIn.

Namely, how to take full advantage of its brand new functionality.

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