7 Ways to Find a Topical Market that Will Fuel Your Digital Commerce Business

closeup of hands holding a map

Before you get down to business online, you need to find the topic(s) and market(s) that can support that business.

And, after answering your questions on digital sharecropping and content curation, that’s exactly what Brian and I get into on this week’s episode of Rainmaker FM.

Listen in and check out the seven-part process for finding the topic market that can fuel your online business …

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The 6-Step Process to Building Better Relationships With a Data-Driven Approach to Outreach

golden retriever puppy running alongside an English bulldog

Outreach is the art of connecting with bloggers or authors and building relationships through social media, email, or other online channels.

It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

Earlier this year, I spoke about this topic at Authority Intensive, sharing the insights I learned while down in the trenches — building outreach teams from scratch, and seeing them lose opportunities to gain substantial visibility because of a lack of data-driven research and improper targeting.

Truly effective outreach is based upon deep research, relationship-building skills, and a fundamental understanding of SEO

To form the relationships you want, you need to customize each outreach campaign.

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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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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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3 Lessons Learned From a Titan of Copywriting

typewriter centered on a desk with a telephone and pad of paper and pen

I was on the phone earlier this week with copywriting legend John Carlton and we were ranting about all sorts of topics.

(You know, like you do when you’re on the phone with John Carlton.)

He made the observation that the next “big thing” in marketing may not be in the areas of whiz-bang technology, but rather in the blocking and tackling techniques of adept career direct marketers.



That’s not to say that technology won’t continue to move at the speed of light. But certain methods just don’t change.

Great writing still rules. As they say here at Copyblogger, The writer runs this show. And those who spend more time storytelling and less time figuring out the next big “Ninja technique” will be the winners for the long haul.



Ninja techniques create revenue events. Great copy and creative approaches create businesses.

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Empathy Maps: A Complete Guide to Crawling Inside Your Customer’s Head

two men sitting on a bench outside a diner, a woman leans against a wall next to them

Jack Ungulate is a strange bird.

When he drinks beer, he licks his index and middle finger, swipes the bottle opening, and then pauses, with the bottle raised to his mouth, before turning it upside down.

Each time, every time.

He also has a routine with his steel-toe boots. The left one must go on first, then the right. But he takes them off in reverse.

And then there’s his ritual when buying large ticket items like a car: he sends his wife to the lot while he sits in the garage, waiting for her to call.

When people talk to him about saving for his children’s college fund, he quickly cuts them off to inform them there is no fund because he’d prefer to cultivate a sense of ownership by encouraging them to pay their own way through school.

He enjoys the scowls that appear on their faces.

As he methodically replaces a defective steam gauge on a heating system, he thinks about his father and why they never talk. Then he contemplates how he’s going to break it to his own son that he won’t be able to make it to his kayak competition that evening because he has to cover a co-worker’s night shift.

The overtime, however, will go towards their trip to Cancun in April. That should ease the sting.

Clearly, Jack is not so much strange as he is just complex. Like most humans. And all of your customers.

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