Your Audience Doesn’t Know What it Wants

Close-up image of a horse with its mouth wipe open, appearing to scream

If I asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses.

~ Henry Ford

Pretty witty quote, right?

You’ve probably heard it before. (Even if Ford never actually said it.)

I know I have.

But what I’ve been realizing lately is that I haven’t really been applying the essence of it to my own writing, let alone my online business’ product creation.

It’s actually a pretty funny scenario.

My first two posts this year were about starting a blog in 2014 and then asking my audience what blogging help it wanted in 2014.

The latter had over 200 comments.

But the thing that really interested me was the fact that 95 percent of the comments on those posts were about problems my audience was having … but not what solutions they wanted. They simply didn’t know, even when I directly asked them.

Turns out that’s my job.

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Announcing: A Breakthrough Resource for Your Content Creation

image of cardboard robot

Editor’s Note: Don’t worry, this is satire. :) But we do have a great resource if you need your own “RealWriter” — check out our page of Copyblogger Certified Content Marketers!)

Finally, after years of clumsy, clunky automated tools for “spinning,” scraping, regurgitating, and extruding low-quality content, we’ve found a solution.

This resource produces sharp, smart, audience-engaging content every time. Over time, it even calibrates itself to produce more effective headlines, to tailor content to the precise needs of your audience and customers, and to automatically generate semantically relevant alternative keyword phrases.

We’re calling this resource RealWriter — and if you don’t implement it for your content marketing program, you’re missing out.

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The Lede: Hangout Hot Seat with Brian Clark

Google Hangouts are an invaluably useful tool.

We’ve made mention of this before.

And if you’ve been listening to the New Rainmaker podcast, then you recently heard Brian and Robert discuss the concept of repurposing content — using the same content in multiple ways.

In this episode of The Lede, Demian and I put the usefulness and versatility of Google Hangouts on display and demonstrate how Hangouts can be used as part of a repurposing strategy.

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How to Use Visual Hierarchy To Create Clear and Easy-to-Read Web Pages

Image of a cave-like basement with perspective facing wall, with stairs descending into the frame from the left and a door wide open in the middle

Imagine you’ve entered a cave.

Your eyes slowly adjust to your surroundings and begin to make out the shapes and forms around you.

You see three doorways: they’re equal in size, and all the same distance from where you stand. How do you choose where to go first?

You’re frustrated, because you don’t have enough information to make a decision. All you can do is guess.

Now imagine you’ve entered a second cave.

In this one, there’s one large doorway before you. It says “Tours” and is wide and well-lit.

To one side, there’s a small doorway with a window in it that says “Tickets” above it. Next to it is a nondescript door that says “Employees only.”

In this cave you know exactly what to do.

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5 Ways to Rankle an Old-School Journalist

image of young journalist diligently writing while older journalist stands beside her looking dumbfounded

This is the first post in a series on native advertising. An introduction, if you will.

One that states from the start that there is controversy.

Why approach a series this way?

Simple: Native advertising is probably one of the least-known scalding-hot topics in the business world.

In fact, few business people can even define native advertising. And those outside of it are clueless it even exists (we’ve got the data to prove this — will share later).

Yet media research group BIA/Kelsey predicts that by 2017, brands will spend $4.57 billion on social native ads.

$4.57 billion is a lot of money.

How could there be so much enthusiasm and animosity for an ambiguous model?

Two words …

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6 Tactics That Turn a Blog Into a Business Engine

image of railroad engine from 1927

Somewhere, a business owner is writing a blog post.

She writes the headline first, pens a killer introduction, and makes her point with 892 carefully crafted words.

Satisfied, she hits “Publish” and waits for fortune to arrive with a roll of $100 bills in one hand and a book deal in the other.

This is the legend of the lone blogger who climbs the mountain of success one post at a time.

I’m not going to debunk this story.

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