Copyblogger http://www.copyblogger.com Content marketing tools and training. Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Copyblogger Editorial Team’s 10 Must-Have Tools To Ensure a Smooth Workday http://www.copyblogger.com/must-have-tools/ http://www.copyblogger.com/must-have-tools/#respond Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=42074 When I’m not reminiscing about the days of card catalogs and telephone books, I’m busy looking for ways to make my workday easier. Luckily, for those who get nostalgic like me, you don’t have to completely abandon old-school routines to fit in the contemporary content marketing world. We now have the luxury of combining classic

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Lego holding a miniature iPad

When I’m not reminiscing about the days of card catalogs and telephone books, I’m busy looking for ways to make my workday easier.

Luckily, for those who get nostalgic like me, you don’t have to completely abandon old-school routines to fit in the contemporary content marketing world.

We now have the luxury of combining classic organizational methods with the latest technologies to stay on top of our crazy schedules and take our online businesses to the next level.

I decided to ask some of the smartest people around — the Copyblogger editorial team — about the tools that help them the most.

After contributing a few of my favorites as well, here are ten of the tools we use every day, both newfangled and old-fashioned, to help you discover even more ways to be productive.

Efficient email

1. AwayFind
Jerod Morris, VP of Marketing, gets a lot of email — so much email that if he wanted to stay at inbox zero, he’d never get any work done.

He checks and processes his emails twice a day, which gives him time to focus on other important aspects of his job. The only problem with this strategy is that he doesn’t want to ignore urgent emails that land in his inbox while he’s doing other work.

Enter AwayFind. The service can alert you via phone call, text, or push notification when you get emergency messages from anyone you pre-select, as well as when you receive certain keywords in messages (like “ASAP”).

Your AwayFind account has its own inbox, so you don’t get sucked into the email vortex when responding. And the service allows you to send an autoresponder to people not on your VIP list, so they’ll know you’ll get back to them during one of your email processing sessions.

The cost starts at $5/month.

2. Gmail’s labels, filters, and archive
Stefanie Flaxman, Manager of Editorial Standards, can’t concentrate without an organized inbox, so she uses Gmail’s free labels, filters, and archive to keep her email use efficient.

Her email process entails creating labels for common email topics and archiving messages after she’s attended to them. Then, if she needs to reference a certain email, she can quickly find it under its label.

For example, she uses the “Blog Posts” label to file emails she gets with blog post text scheduled to run on Copyblogger. When she’s ready to edit a post at a later date, she knows exactly where to find it — in her “Blog Posts” folder.

Filters allow you to automatically label email that meets certain criteria, or even set messages to bypass your inbox and land in a specific folder. You can send all of those board meeting minutes for that organization where you volunteer to a specific folder, or filter hate mail from that one person directly to the trash.

3. SaneBox
SaneBox is my solution for when my inbox runs amok.

For around $7/month (more with multiple email addresses, less with an annual subscription), it uses an algorithm to filter less important messages into a folder called SaneLater. Past behavior, such as when you open and respond to messages, informs the algorithm, but you can retrain it using rules you create.

I love SaneBox for when I’m traveling because it allows me to quickly scan messages sent directly to me, and not worry about the newsletters and marketing emails accumulating in my SaneLater folder until, well, later.

Traditional tools

4. Post-its
A fancy software tool doesn’t always trump pen and paper. Pamela Wilson, Director of Special Projects, says that Post-its are key to her productivity. She uses four-by-six-inch, lined Post-it notes ($12.99 for a five-pack) for her daily to-do lists.

“If my tasks don’t fit on one of those pages, I know there’s a good chance I’m overestimating what I can actually get done in a single day, something I’ve always struggled with,” Pamela says.

Even if you use a different project management tool, a list of tasks on a Post-it can help make your daily workload manageable without losing sight of the big picture.

Another bonus? Crossing an item off of a physical list may feel more satisfying than checking off a task in Basecamp — and you can always use software for long-term project management and Post-its for outlining each day’s tasks.

5. A kitchen timer
A tool co-founder and Chief Content Officer, Sonia Simone, can’t live without is a kitchen timer, which she says gets her to sit in her writing chair when she’s having trouble finding the right words.

Making yourself sit down and write for a set amount of time can help you put the finishing touches on an article that’s almost complete, brainstorm ideas and topics for upcoming posts, or even just get thoughts out of your mind as you work through an issue you’re not quite ready to write about publicly yet.

Or you can experiment with timed writing exercises to get your creative juices flowing.

The cost? Pick one up for around $7.99, or use the one that’s already in your kitchen. There’s a meditation timer you can use on your phone, as well.

6. Moleskines or other lined notebooks
No matter how sleek and sexy your new MacBook Air is, there’s something about regular, old notebooks with lined paper. Sometimes they help you express your thoughts and feelings more easily than typing away on a laptop.

Stefanie is fond of Moleskines, which she uses to work out ideas before going digital. And she’s in good company. Similar notebooks were used by the likes of Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway going back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

But if you don’t want to spend $12.95, any lined notebook will work. Use it to meet your daily writing goal.

Another bonus? You can write your little heart out at a cafe without worrying about finding a power outlet.

Writing and editing

7. Google Docs
Both Pamela and Sonia are big fans of Google Docs, which they use for everything from joint venture product planning to results tracking to co-authoring web content.

What’s so great about Google Docs? The web-based word processor works across platforms, so it can be viewed by anyone regardless of whether they’re on a Mac or PC. It also allows multiple people to collaborate on a document, creating and editing work in real time.

I’ve used Google Docs at conferences to keep track of tools and articles that speakers reference, and shared the link with other attendees via Twitter, using the event hashtag. It’s easy to share the link to a file, so you don’t have to worry about emailing or uploading to Dropbox.

There are multiple settings, so you can control who sees a document, and whether they can simply view it, edit it, or comment on it. Adding links and images is straightforward and simple.

Amazingly, it’s free.

8. Draft
As an editor, I’m a bit of an evangelist for Draft, and here’s why. When writers submit articles to me as Microsoft Word documents, I have to use the Track Changes feature to edit.

When my comments or questions for the writer are long, instead of showing up on the page, they show up on the side of the text in tiny comment boxes, and it’s very difficult for writers to know which comments relate to which sections of text.

If using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature makes you want to bang your head against the wall, consider Draft as an alternative. This beautifully designed app is incredibly efficient for collaborative editing.

If I add text to someone else’s document, the additions are highlighted in green. Deletions are highlighted in pink. Draft displays comments next to the appropriate section of text, and you can view multiple versions side by side.

The writer can accept or reject changes, and there is a version control feature — so you can go back to a previous edition, if needed.

Best of all, you can upload documents from Draft directly to WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and MailChimp.

Draft can be used for free, but you can support it by paying $3.99/month (or $39.99 annually). The paid version has a few additional perks, and proofreading, which Draft refers to as “editing,” is also available for an additional fee.

Content management

9. WordPress
WordPress obviously helps you connect with your audience online, but Chief Copywriter Demian Farnworth uses it as a writing instrument as well.

He likes to write drafts directly inside WordPress itself, even if he has to turn in a Microsoft Word document. Why? Because it helps him code the article with html. Later, he can simply copy and paste the coded text into any other file format.

It also allows him to review his draft on an actual web page to give him a better sense of how the published article will look.

“And now that WordPress has distraction-free writing, it’s approaching the simplicity of other platforms like Medium and Ghost,” Demian adds.

Prices for a self-hosted WordPress website with excellent hosting will vary.

10. Rainmaker Platform
Many of you already listen to the New Rainmaker podcast, hosted by Brian Clark and Robert Bruce. And many of you have also signed up for the New Rainmaker Training Course, which includes seven foundational lessons (audio and text formats), three webinars (with transcripts), follow-up lessons, and case studies. (The two week training course is currently free for a limited time.)

How do Brian and Robert easily manage all of these different components of their website, so that they have time to focus on creating episodes of their popular podcast? The Rainmaker Platform, naturally.

The Rainmaker Platform is a complete, turnkey website solution for serious content marketers and online entrepreneurs. It contains the tools to build a content-driven website without the hassle of finding hosting, battling to achieve solid SEO, dealing with maintenance, and performing upgrades. Rainmaker takes care of all of those time-consuming tasks for you.

You can actually do much more with the Rainmaker Platform, which also includes 27 different mobile responsive designs built on HTML5. Experience this brand-new online sales and marketing engine for yourself through the free trial.

Over to you …

When you find systems that work for you, they can help jumpstart your writing and provide peace of mind during your workday.

To share your favorites, including any helpful secret weapons we may have missed, head on over to Google+ to join in the discussion.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via ntr23.

About the Author: Yael Grauer is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in making complex topics accessible. Find her at YaelWrites.com. Get more from Yael on Google-Plus.

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The 7 Keys to List Posts that Are Worth Writing (and Reading) http://www.copyblogger.com/better-list-posts/ http://www.copyblogger.com/better-list-posts/#respond Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43769 A lot of smart writers can’t stand list posts. What’s a list post? It’s also known as a numbered list post, or a (shudder) listicle, and it’s a post whose headline features a numbered collection of things. This post, for example, is a list post. There are an awful lot of crummy ones out there.

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canvas painting of scattered numbers

A lot of smart writers can’t stand list posts.

What’s a list post? It’s also known as a numbered list post, or a (shudder) listicle, and it’s a post whose headline features a numbered collection of things. This post, for example, is a list post.

There are an awful lot of crummy ones out there. The celebrity sites make frequent use of them (These 17 Celebrities Used to Be Hot, etc.). In fact, all of the CRaP blogs use them liberally.

So it’s natural that a quality-focused content writer (like you) might try to avoid them. But that would be silly. And here’s why:

Smart marketers have always focused on underlying human psychological drivers. And those drivers change very little, if at all.

One of them, for whatever reason, is that we get a tiny bit mesmerized by numbers. When we see a number in a headline, part of our brains gets activated (what persuasion scholar Robert Cialdini calls a Click, Whirr response), and we’re that much more likely to take an action — like, say, clicking on that headline to check out the whole piece.

Take a look at the Popular Posts section to the right of this article. You’ll see lots of numbers.

Now did those posts become popular because they had a number in the headline? No. A number is a nice booster, but it’s not a substitute for strong writing, solid content strategy, or effective promotion.

And that’s the problem with how most people look at list posts. They start with the number in the headline — but that’s not the right place to start. Which leads to my first tip:

# 1. Don’t start with a numbered list

You may have received an assignment from an editor, supervisor, or client to “Write a Listicle on 10 Ways to Do Our Thing.”

Your very first order of business is to go to your favorite writing forum and bemoan the fact that the word listicle is now part of your life. I’m sorry. If we can figure out a way to burn this out of the English language, we will.

But let’s move forward.

Even if this is technically your assignment, the worst way to create a list post is to open your writing tool of choice and put the numbers one through 10 in there, then look for ways to fill them in.

It’s probably the fastest way. But it is not the right way.

You must begin with the itch that needs scratching. There needs to be a seed of a problem, an unanswered question, a fascination to know more.

Those seeds can only come from your audience. The seed of a killer list post for electrical engineers won’t work at all on an audience of Hello Kitty cosplay enthusiasts. (Although there may well be some overlap.)

Pro tip: Some of your best-performing list posts can come from strong, interesting, problem-solving content that you realize, after it’s mostly written, can be lightly re-organized into a numbered list.

#2. Understand what problem you’re solving

All good content starts with the same impulse: to solve a reader problem. (Even if the reader’s problem is boredom, which is the case for pure entertainment sites.)

As the content creator, it’s your job to understand those “itches” of your audience. You have to know what’s worrying them. You have to know what excites them. You have to understand what they’re afraid of, and what they cherish, and what they are unwilling to lose.

Human existence is full of problems to solve. Some of them are simple and some are so complex that they take a lifetime to untangle. Every collection of humans (in other words, every audience) has its own set of problems.

If you want a list of what kind of content to create, build a list of your audience’s problems. Answer those problems in your content, using numbered lists (and any other persuasion technique you learn) when they make sense.

Keep listening for problems, and keep researching more effective ways to resolve those problems. That, more than anything else, is what creates your authority in a topic.

#3. What makes it fascinating?

The cornerstone of good content is usefulness. But usefulness without interest is Wikipedia, and that’s already covered.

Boring content — even if it’s useful, and even if it’s “optimized” by whatever measure you choose — doesn’t succeed. It doesn’t get shared and it doesn’t get read. (Or listened to, or viewed.)

If you consistently put fantastic headlines on mediocre or boring content, all you do is train people that much more quickly to avoid your site.

Luckily for us, relevant problems are inherently interesting. If your target audience is people with celiac disease and you put a recipe for really good gluten-free baguettes in front of them, they’ll find you.

But a good content creator doesn’t stop there. We look for angles. Fascination elements. (You can learn more about fascination in Brian’s podcast interview with Sally Hogshead, published earlier today.)

A strong writing voice will elevate content from “moderately useful” to “must-read.” So will a compelling metaphor that makes the content easier to understand. And storytelling is the big gun — the one that makes your content unforgettable.

This is where the art comes in — and why writers who have the combination of killer and poet are the ones who enjoy the most success. The killer knows what kinds of content to create to move toward certain outcomes. But it’s the poet who creates something worth the audience’s time and attention.

Pro tip: Make time to write purely for pleasure. Screenplays, poetry, fiction — whatever way you like to play with words. Writers who know how to play with language also know how to fascinate.

#4. What’s the strategic goal?

Creating content just to get traffic and make advertisers happy is the hardest way to make a living on the web — and one you should get away from as quickly as you can.

Content marketing is a different game. It doesn’t just attract eyeballs; it exists to support a business — to attract new prospects, and educate and nurture them until they’re ready to buy.

Different types of content serve different purposes. Some content exists to find people who don’t know you yet. Others, to strengthen your relationship with your audience. And some content addresses objections and educates prospects on why you’re the best choice to solve their problem.

Even good writers can have a tendency to throw a bunch of content against the wall and see what sticks. That’s not a smart use of your time. Understand content strategy and why you’re creating every piece of content you write or record.

Pro tip: Take advantage of the excellent free resources that are available on content strategy. We happen to be pretty proud of ours — why not swing by and scoop up our free marketing course and library. Two books by Brian Clark — A Content Marketing Strategy that Works and How to Create Content that Converts — will be especially helpful to you as you work through your content strategy.

You can get the complete marketing library here.

#5. Make it scannable

Once you have something worth reading — that solves a worthwhile problem, is expressed in an interesting way, and has the spark of poetry to make it memorable — you’ll want to wrap it up in a way that’s pleasurable to consume.

Long walls of gray, tiny type are not pleasurable to consume. Neither are videos or audio with awful sound quality.

Sleek presentation and formatting won’t save mediocre content — nothing can do that. (Not even a terrific headline.) But they’ll make good content much more enjoyable for the audience.

Pro tip: Pamela Wilson wrote up an excellent, succinct guide to presenting text content in a way that’s more appealing to your audience — without dumbing it down in any way.

#6. Promotion still matters

Once you have something worth your audience’s time, it’s time to think about promoting it. Content promotion is a big topic — I wrote a whole ebook on it.

In the brief space we have here, I’ll just encourage you to take content promotion seriously. Develop a network of publishers in your topic, cultivate a reputation as someone who creates epic material, and remember that nothing sells itself. Even great content benefits from a bit of a push.

Pro tip: You actually should read my ebook on this; it will help you. It’s called Effective Content Promotion, and it’s also in that free members-only marketing library.

7. What’s the next step for the reader?

The tough part about content is, you’re only as good as your last great post.

So if you do the first six steps perfectly, and end up with a nice audience of fascinated readers who want to know more, you need to have thought through precisely what you want them to do next.

Usually, the right answer is to send them to even more smart, worthwhile content in the form of an email autoresponder.

But your call to action might be different. Your desired action might be to subscribe to a page, to register to vote, to get out and take a walk, to give our kids a hug, or just to click through to some more great content.

The important thing is to decide, before you publish and promote, what that next step for the audience is.

Pro tip: Clear, straightforward calls to action are a hallmark of the professional copywriter. Get very good at them.


What to do next

If there’s any doubt in your mind about what you should do next, let me take care of that for you. Go snag all of our free marketing education. You’ve got a comprehensive library of ebooks, so you can instantly delve into solutions to your most pressing marketing problems. That’s paired with a marketing course, delivered by email, that will keep you sharpening your skills.

Go grab all of the good stuff here.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Heather aka Molly.

About the author

Sonia Simone


Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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Keep Them Fascinated: How To Discover Your Winning Difference as a Content Marketer http://www.copyblogger.com/keep-them-fascinated/ http://www.copyblogger.com/keep-them-fascinated/#respond Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44471 You hear over and over that you need to be unique. To come at things with a fresh angle. To discover your winning difference. It’s all true. And it’s not just the “art of marketing” that dictates these things. It’s the science behind what fascinates us. You can try chasing trends by being a “me

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You hear over and over that you need to be unique. To come at things with a fresh angle. To discover your winning difference.

It’s all true. And it’s not just the “art of marketing” that dictates these things. It’s the science behind what fascinates us.

You can try chasing trends by being a “me too” marketer. The legendary players, however, come not from chasing what’s happening, but by running in a different direction.

Author and entrepreneur Sally Hogshead has committed her career to helping people discover their winning difference. And a content-driven approach to communicating that difference is amazingly powerful – because it makes you fascinating to follow — to the right crowd, that is.

This new installment of New Rainmaker takes you on a journey with Sally as she outlines what it takes to develop a fascinating and unique position in your market. The answer might surprise you.

In this 7-minute episode you’ll discover:

  • Why chasing trends is very bad for business
  • How to discover your winning difference
  • A broader (and important) definition of “creating content”
  • The content-driven approach to communicating your winning difference
  • What high performers do that others don’t
  • The business benefits of being fascinating
  • Why you shouldn’t focus on your strengths

Click here to listen to New Rainmaker Episode No. 13.

Or, grab it in iTunes and let us know what you think by leaving a rating there!

Image via Thomas8047

About the author

Brian Clark


Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

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The 6-Step Process to Building Better Relationships With a Data-Driven Approach to Outreach http://www.copyblogger.com/stronger-outreach/ http://www.copyblogger.com/stronger-outreach/#respond Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43396 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

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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.

Unfortunately, outreach campaigns often fail when content marketers only perform surface-level research.

Here are six essential tips for conducting thorough outreach research that creates a foundation for ongoing, strong relationships.

1. Review outreach fundamentals

Data-driven research helps you identify relationships that are mutually beneficial.

There are several consistent, fundamental components of outreach execution:

  • Time
  • Data
  • Conversations
  • Relationship Maintenance
  • Value-Add

But one element is especially easy to neglect: Using data to hyper-target potential relationships.

When you perform outreach correctly, you form a mutually beneficial relationship.

2. Assess your value-add

The first question you should ask yourself when working on outreach is: “What’s your value-add?”

Notice the phrase “your value-add” rather than “their value-add.” This slight mental shift is an extremely important part of outreach.

You need to offer valuable information, including, but not limited to:

  • Original data and studies. Provide proprietary industry or consumer data, or studies in the form of stand-alone content.
  • Unique expertise. How can you help through Q&A sessions, live blogging, interviews, etc?
  • Exclusive resources. To appeal to a publisher or blogger, offer an information page that complements their research or interests.
  • Supplementary help. To initiate a relationship, present the assets you can contribute other than content.

3. Identify potential relationships

I heard somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. I find it extremely comforting that we’re so closely connected.

But building meaningful connections is not easy. You have to find the right six people to make the right connections.

Some teams fail because they search Google to find relevant publishers or bloggers — that’s basically busy work.

The best place to start is with the actual data from your website or your client’s website. Review:

  • Backlinks and mentions. Backlinks help you find authors or publishers who have covered you in the past. Mentions reveal discussions about your brand.
  • Competitors’ backlinks. Take advantage of tools like Majestic SEO to dig through their backlinks and mentions. Since you have similar audiences, use these sources to create a list of publishers or bloggers to contact.

Once you have a list of author and publisher websites, you should also mine:

  • Backlinks of the publishers’ websites. This will help you identify who shares their content.
  • Backlinks of those backlinks. This will help you identify their extended audience.
  • Authority metrics on the publications. Determine domain authority, citation trust, and citation flow scores of both small and large websites to help you decide who to work with.

The goal at this point is to make a large list that you can whittle down with the tools listed at the end of this post.

4. Learn about authors

Notice I wrote “authors” — not publishers, not the editorial staff. Authors.

Since you’re going to build relationships with authors, take time to understand them. Find out:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • Where did they go to school?
  • Where do they write?
  • What topics do they love to cover?
  • What are their interests outside of their industries?
  • Are they active on one particular network over another?
  • What are their temperaments?
  • What topics or brands do they love or hate?
  • How well does their content perform socially and organically?

In the screenshot below, I’ve pulled an example that shows basic data about an author who writes for The Next Web. You see URLs of posts he wrote for the specific publication, social metrics, and organic metrics, such as number of referring domains and backlinks.

Author Data Example

The data gives an overall view of whether or not the content performed well, or if specific topics resonated with the audience. Next, I usually check out comment engagement.

There are multiple tools that you can use to aggregate this information. BuzzSumo has quickly become my favorite tool because it allows you to view metrics and segment your search by types of content, specific authors, or URLs.

BuzzSumo Search

BuzzSumo also allows you to view metrics about other posts from that author, and SharedCount is a tool that quickly pulls social metrics. I use Majestic SEO to pull backlinks and referring domains.

BuzzSumo Authors

5. Make your cold market warm

Relationships always start out cold, but that doesn’t mean they can’t quickly become lukewarm with a little bit of effort.

You can find ways to genuinely connect with different authors, even if you don’t have any type of potential collaboration in mind.

Focus on building relationships that are both personal and professional:

  • Connect through social networks and blog post comments.
  • Share their content that you find interesting.
  • Talk about non-business topics.
  • Meet in real life at a conference or event — just make plans ahead of time so you are not relying on happenstance.

6. Drive success

Once you collaborate on a project with a particular author or publisher, your job isn’t done. Contribute to the success of the content.

Different techniques and strategies depend on individual situations, but here are a few examples.

Share across relevant networks
Find specific communities interested in the content produced from your collaboration. Do you know other authors who may want to share the content?

An author may find it useful to reference your research in an upcoming blog post or in a round-up post she shares with her audience or email list.

Paid social
You can boost a post on Facebook after you share the link. It’s inexpensive, and it helps get more eyeballs on the post, which can also result in more shares or organic links. 

Below is a screenshot of an example from one of my own previous local campaigns.

Facebook Boost Example

Discuss future collaborations
Suggest other ways you may be able to contribute content. When you provide unique value as an expert on a topic, you help the author with his or her editorial calendar.

What not to do

Relationships are delicate, so I’m going to arm you with several crucial tips to make sure you keep your relationships strong:

Don’t ask for multiple links
Some authors work for publications that have strict guidelines regarding links in content or author bios. Be respectful of that. Links should provide extra value and, of course, be relevant to the content.

Don’t cut off communication
Avoid a “said it and forget it” relationship. Remember what I said about building a personal and professional relationship. Treat it as such, and don’t neglect or end a relationship after a promise has been delivered.

Don’t offer multiple publishers the same article
This should be self-explanatory, especially if you promised exclusive content. Be careful not to break trust.

Don’t assume you know their audience
If there’s anything authors or publications hate, it’s having an outside party claim that their own content is perfect for a publication’s audience. If appropriate, reference other posts on their website that are similar to your proposed topic, but make sure you let them decide whether or not it’s the right fit.

Tool recommendations

I am a tool freak. I use a lot of them.

For the sake of not overwhelming you, I’ll share some of the key tools I use when putting together outreach research:

  • Majestic SEO — backlinks, backlink volume and metrics, mentions, and topical exploration.
  • NerdyData — a source code search engine that is limited without a paid subscription, but fun for sleuthing backlinks and mentions.
  • Open Site Explorer — backlink and mention exploration tools.
  • SharedCount — a free way to pull social metrics on bulk URLs.
  • BuzzSumo — social metrics for content and author sleuthing.
  • BuzzStream — an outlet for relationship building and PR.
  • Meshfire — tracks conversations and recommends who to follow and engage with to broaden your social relationships and opportunities.

[Editor's note: And don't forget, Scribe allows you to do in-depth keyword and social research right from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard.]

As a bonus, I’ve also put together an outreach research spreadsheet you can duplicate. 

It’s not an extensive tracking system, but it’s a great starting place that you can customize as you perform your own outreach research.

Over to you …

Have your current outreach techniques produced successes or failures?

How do you ensure that your relationships are mutually beneficial?

Let’s go over to Google+ and continue the discussion!

Editor’s note: If you found this post useful, we recommend that you also check out 5 Ways Listening to Community Data Can Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy by Shannon Byrne.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Douglas Sprott.

About the Author: Selena's (caffeine induced) data-driven research and diverse execution experience allows her to create custom organic search strategies to help clients reach their goals. You can find her speaking at conferences, training, advising businesses, or focusing on SEO strategy consulting, content strategy, and social activation for events with her company, Orthris. You can contact her through her personal website, or via @selenavidya on Twitter.

The post The 6-Step Process to Building Better Relationships With a Data-Driven Approach to Outreach appeared first on Copyblogger.

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7 Reasons You’ll Want to Start Your Free Trial of the Rainmaker Platform Today http://www.copyblogger.com/future-of-rainmaker/ http://www.copyblogger.com/future-of-rainmaker/#respond Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44314 Last Monday, we publicly launched the Rainmaker Platform. It’s a complete website solution for content marketers and Internet entrepreneurs. With Rainmaker, you can: Create powerful content-driven websites on your own domains. Build membership sites and online training courses. Sell digital products like software, ebooks, and more. Perform sophisticated online lead generation. Optimize your content for

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Last Monday, we publicly launched the Rainmaker Platform. It’s a complete website solution for content marketers and Internet entrepreneurs.

With Rainmaker, you can:

  • Create powerful content-driven websites on your own domains.
  • Build membership sites and online training courses.
  • Sell digital products like software, ebooks, and more.
  • Perform sophisticated online lead generation.
  • Optimize your content for search engines and social networks.
  • Absorb cutting-edge tactics and strategy with included training.
  • Avoid a patchwork of plugins, themes, and complicated code.
  • Forget about upgrades, maintenance, security, and hosting headaches.
  • Take your content to WordPress at any time you choose.
  • A whole lot more …

We’ve had a large group of paid customers putting it to the test and giving us feedback since April. They got a special deal to do so, and now that we’ve evolved the Platform to version 2.0 thanks to them (their rave reviews are here), we’re giving you just a few more days to get the very same deal.

In a nutshell: Until this Friday, October 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm Pacific, you get our very best price on what Rainmaker is today, with everything it will become included at no extra charge.

Let me outline for you what those coming features are in 7 easy steps. ;)

1. Advanced Reporting and Analytics

The way you see your business growing and changing each day will become even more useful in the near future. The Rainmaker Platform’s analytics and reporting functions will evolve with more advanced reporting options for those who want them.

You’ll be able to drill down into the stats that you really want to see, and slice and dice your preferences from within the dashboard itself. That means creating simple, at-a-glance views of the specific metrics you want (such as demographics, or specific segments of your customers and prospects).

This is exciting stuff, because you’d normally need a third-party tool to accomplish what we’re planning for analytics. For those who sign up this week, however, it comes standard with Rainmaker.

And yes, podcasting stats are on the way. Soon, you’ll be able to see how your podcast is performing, without the hassle of separate hosting and stats packages. We’ve got a few more ideas on the near horizon for Rainmaker Podcasting that we’re not quite ready to talk about (but you’ll get upgraded to). Just remember, we’re podcasters too, so you can bet we’re motivated to make this the best and easiest podcasting solution on the planet for entrepreneurs.

2. More Designs and Landing Page Templates

You may have noticed that there’s been a slight change in how we’re developing design themes lately. We call it the “Rainmaker First” philosophy.

Brian Gardner, Rafal Tomal, and Lauren Mancke are always hard at work designing and developing new themes and landing page templates, but now our (and their) focus has shifted to supplying our Rainmaker Platform customers with the best one-click web design in the world.

There are currently 27 design themes and 15 landing page templates (not including the new custom landing page builder) available to Rainmaker customers, and there are many more on the way.

And no, this does not mean we are neglecting our beloved StudioPress customers. In fact, this philosophy will end up benefitting everyone in the end. As these Rainmaker designs are tested and used in real-world online business situations, they’ll only get better.

3. Social Media Posting and Scheduling

This is a big one, and a no-brainer. Very soon, Rainmaker customers will be able to — from within the Rainmaker dashboard — post and schedule updates, links, photos, and other content to their social networks.

Your Rainmaker site is the home base of your business, and the importance of using social networks to attract an audience and send them back to your home base is undeniable. We think social media posting and scheduling tools have become a necessity for the savvy online publisher, but they should be integrated into your website platform with your daily workflow.

4. Integrated RSS Reader

So, the ability to post and schedule social media updates from your Rainmaker dashboard will be cool, but how do you find intriguing content from other sources to share with your audience? And how do you manage the very real potential for information overload?

That tool used to be Google Reader (RIP), but now, for our customers, it will be the Rainmaker Reader. This coming integrated RSS reader will be the place you’ll be able to strategically track your industry feeds, find great content to share, and glean inspiration for producing your own content.

5. Curation-to-Content Tools

Want to easily manage and publish a curated topical newsletter? Want that link from your RSS reader dropped into an existing post? How about effortlessly sending it out to your social media accounts?

The Rainmaker Curator will — with the click of a button — allow you to easily port the great content you find via RSS directly into a new or existing article you’re writing for your own audience. This will become an invaluable tool in your broader editorial role as a content marketer.

6. Serious Learning Management System

The first product ever launched off of Copyblogger, Teaching Sells, shows people step-by-step how to create sophisticated online training courses, along with the business models that power them. And since 2007, people have begged us to give them the turn-key platform that allowed for content creation, membership management, marketing, and all the other technological tasks that go with running a legitimate online business.

We’ve built that platform with Rainmaker. But we’re creating course creation tools that constitute a true learning management system — one that will help you with the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of e-learning education courses or training programs.

What does that mean? Effortlessly create a training course without a developer, optimize your course content based on student behavior and feedback, run quizzes and surveys, and drip out your content (either paid or free) exactly as you want to, and more.

7. And Yes, Marketing Automation

This is one of the most important technology applications that you’ll ever put in place for online marketing. And finally, it won’t cost you a ridiculous amount of money like the current solutions.

Marketing automation is not just about saving yourself from repeated tasks, or the drudgery of unscalable growth. Beyond those obvious benefits, its primary functions are:

  1. To vastly improve the experience of your prospects and customers
  2. To intelligently, and eventually effortlessly, grow revenue and profit
  3. To make more of the traffic you already have without chasing more

Rainmaker Marketing Automation will allow you to tag, add, delete, and manage customers or prospects from your various email lists, build specific interest lists based on real-world actions on your site, nurture leads in a way that’s sensitive to their inbox, give you powerful suppression functionality, and much more.

You can use Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, Aweber, or the other popular email services we’re in the process of adding. Or you can choose the integrated add-on Rainmaker email service we’re working on right now. Either way, Rainmaker Marketing Automation will go to work for you in previously unimagined ways.

What’s the Catch?

Only one catch – you’ve got to start your free trial before 5:00 pm Pacific time this Friday, October 3rd, to get this deal. But if you do, you’ve got this deal for the life of your account once you decide Rainmaker is for you.

That means your price never increases even as we continue to improve, update, and manage the technology that powers your marketing platform. Which is nice.

After this Friday, Rainmaker as it is today becomes the Standard plan. The version of the platform that contains the features discussed above will become a more expensive Professional plan.

Also after Friday, the free trial will be reduced from 30 days to 14. And finally, right now we’re providing a monthly billing option, which we’re considering eliminating in favor of only quarterly and annual billing.

Got it? Cool …

Take the Rainmaker tour and start your free trial to lock in the deal.

About the author

Brian Clark


Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

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How to Make Winning Infographics Without Risk http://www.copyblogger.com/asset-pillar-infographic/ http://www.copyblogger.com/asset-pillar-infographic/#respond Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44010 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

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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.

Research suggests that publishers who use infographics grow in traffic 12 percent more than those who don’t. This is because an infographic, unless it’s completely awful (and they exist), will more than likely go viral.

businessinfographics

These posters full of facts, catchy images, and sexy fonts catch the eyes of just about everyone, including journalists, which drives engagement and links.

A good infographic gives people permission to preen. It gives them a sense of pride to share something damn cool on social media (from Twitter to Facebook to Pinterest), or more importantly, on their websites.

But infographics are not without their drawbacks.

The flaws of infographics

For starters, Google can’t index the content in your infographic. This is a problem that is true for any image (including video). Crawlers are just not sophisticated enough to sniff out the words. With video you can get around this obstacle by sharing the transcript.

With an infographic, however, it’s a little more complicated. But I’ll explain later.

And not surprising, Google has a shaky relationship with infographics. Last year, Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting sat down with Matt Cutts to talk about, among other topics, infographics.

Here are some of Cutts’s comments about bad infographics:

  • “They get far off topic.”
  • “The fact checking is really poor.”
  • “Often the link goes to a completely unrelated site, and one that they don’t mean to endorse.”
  • “The link is often embedded in the infographic in a way that people don’t realize, vs. a true endorsement of your site.”

And yes, Cutts did say, “I would not be surprised if at some point in the future we did not start to discount these infographic-type links to a degree,” but he also said, “Any infographics you create will do better if they’re closely related to your business, and it needs to be fully disclosed what you are doing.”

In other words, get the infographic right and it can be a boon for your business. The traffic alone is worth it. But I’d like to argue that you leave a ton of attention, traffic, and money on the table if you stop at that.

There is so much more to do with our little darling of the content marketing world.

Let me show you what I mean.

The infographic as an asset pillar

I want you to think of the infographic like a pillar — a pillar that reaches back in the past and extends into the future. It reaches back to revive old content and extends forward to create more content.

In his video tutorial, Jesse Noyes, senior director of content marketing for Kapost, states the importance of “creating a content process” where you choose ideas, outline clear goals, assign project owners, and produce supporting assets.

What I’d like to offer you is that an infographic is that process. As an asset pillar, it is a ready-made process. But everyone misses this.

Here’s the typical way most people approach infographics:

  • Hunt down the sources.
  • Combine the content.
  • Design the layout.
  • Publish to much fanfare.
  • Go into outreach mode.
  • Move on to the next infographic.

As you might expect, the shelf life of each image gets shorter every day. It’s an arms race that can exhaust even the most productive teams.

Instead of nursing this myopic view of infographics, what you need to do is consider the type of content you are going to create next.

This might mean you:

  • Write a series of posts.
  • Record a podcast series.
  • Design a SlideShare presentation.
  • Create a typography video (like this one on content marketing).
  • Publish an ebook.
  • Syndicate articles.
  • Produce an email autoresponder.
  • Or all of the above.

Derivative content from your asset pillar is part of the idea creation stage in your process.

And here’s why this is important. Studies show that the top three challenges facing marketers are time, producing enough content, and producing content that engages.

challengescontentmarketers

If you could reduce the time spent generating ideas, you’d have more time for execution.

That’s what can happen when you view infographics as asset pillars.

The power of repeating yourself

There is something peculiar you ought to notice about successful infographics …

You don’t have to share groundbreaking material.

You can cover old territory. This is what we call publishing around a “solved problem,” as Gregory Ciotti defines it.

Take our 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs infographic. This has been Copyblogger’s most popular post in 2014. And there is nothing groundbreaking about it. The material answers questions that have been answered long ago. It’s a common theme — that will never die, that will never lack an audience.

Great producers know this about evergreen themes, and don’t shy away from it. A few years ago, Men’s Health magazine was supposedly busted for copying their covers. Yet, Editor-in-Chief David Zinczenko said that it wasn’t a mistake. It was part of a deliberate branding strategy.

One look at four of their covers and you can quickly figure out what they wanted to brand.

menshealth

Their emails didn’t vary (at all) from these themes either.

I guess there is some truth to the old adage that men have a one-track mind. Whatever.

menshealthemails

Here’s the lesson. Because of audience turnover:

  • You will always have a market for evergreen topics.
  • You should never overestimate the sophistication of your market.
  • You should always assume nothing about your content.

So don’t be afraid to hang evergreen themes on an infographic. As Brian Clark said in a recent New Rainmaker webinar, “The hardest thing to do with content marketing sometimes is to repeat yourself.”

Here’s a good example of what I mean.

My favorite infographic in the whole world

It is this one on death.

deathperspective

This is the quintessential infographic. It has taken complex data and made it visually appealing. It’s simple and concise. You get what’s going on very quickly. And if you think there is one topic we’ve beaten like a dead horse, it would be death.

Yet, this is appealing.

If you were a journalist, you could use this infographic for a series of articles. In one quick glance you could map out your production for the next six months.

Let’s say you focus on “People who died during historical events.” Your list of articles might look like this:

  • World War II – civilian deaths
  • World War II – military deaths
  • Deaths from Khmer Rouge policies
  • The Black Death
  • 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

And that’s just the right side of the infographic.

This infographic is an asset pillar.

How your high-value content can be repurposed over time

When you have evergreen content packaged up in an infographic, it will probably be your most popular format. It will be more popular than the original blogs. It will be more popular than the SlideShare presentations. Or the podcast series.

Here’s an example.

The most successful infographic on Copyblogger is one about grammar goofs.

The content of that post came from three old posts that Brian Clark had written. We took good content from the archives and brought it back to life — all themes that have been covered countless times.

And while the social production we squeezed out of those original blog posts wasn’t too shabby, the infographic not only launched through the stratosphere, it completely and utterly entered another dimension.

grammargoofs

Viral seems too weak a word.

If we were smart (which we are, but we’re just as pressed for time and resources as everyone else), we’d get some more mileage out of that infographic by flipping it into a video, podcast, and SlideShare. (I guess now I know what will be keeping me busy for the next two months.)

In fact, we did do this with our 11 Essential Ingredients infographic. That post combined 11 different articles from the past, summarized the lesson from each article, and then linked back to those articles, driving even more traffic down that path.

But we weren’t done.

Squeezing more out of your content

After we published the 11 Essential Ingredients infographic, Jerod Morris and I used those 11 ingredients to hammer out a podcast series where we expanded upon each ingredient.

In our preparation for each podcast, we brought more research to the original discussion. In a sense, this allowed us to update each article. We added value to the ongoing conversation.

In fact, at the end of each article, we could say, “Hey, this article was great, but you should listen to the podcasts for more information.”

And eventually we flipped the infographic into a SlideShare presentation, giving us even more reach from that original asset pillar.

Next in line is an ebook, then a landing page, and so on.

Flip a podcast series into an infographic

This idea flows backwards, too.

Where the two above examples reached back into the files to create an infographic (and then reached forward to hand you the podcast), we are going to do the opposite with our content curation podcast.

First, we recorded and published the podcast series. Next, we’ll flip that series into an infographic. And from there I have a handy list of topics to write on in the future.

(Seems like I’m going to be pretty busy until the end of the year. At least there’s job security in asset pillars!)

This is nothing more than an idea package with the infographic serving as the centerpiece. The asset pillar. And the life of the party, so to speak.

Another reason you should embrace this approach

It involves reaching the widest possible audience with an idea by presenting that idea in as many learning styles as possible.

Learning styles boil down to three categories.

1. You prefer to read
Believe it or not, people do read online. It’s just rare, and when they actually do read, you can’t expect people to consume every single word. Maybe the first ten. A little more if the article is really good.

Farhad Manjoo hammered this point home hard with You Won’t Finish This Article.

Schwartz’s data shows that readers can’t stay focused. The more I type, the more of you tune out. And it’s not just me. It’s not just Slate. It’s everywhere online.

Yet, while the pool of people who like to read online might be small, it’s essential to honor their learning style. It just makes sense to present evergreen content in as many learning styles as possible.

For example, there are people who prefer to scan a transcript rather than watch an 11-minute video.

And while people may not read that 1,000-word missive on the lessons you learned while hanging out at Machu Picchu, they will bookmark it for later use.

Even if they don’t read every single word of your blog post, they might when it becomes an email course or ebook.

Furthermore, another segment of your audience will want you to expand on a point you made in an infographic. Pointing to relevant content (or writing it if you don’t already have it) will get that job done.

2. You prefer to hear
Hearing may not only be a preferred style of learning, but audio has the added benefit of “eyes free” content.

audiodigitalmarketing

You can listen to books, podcasts, lectures, sermons, or college courses while you ride the train to work or carefully cast a plug near a rock in a trout stream. Your body is one place while your mind is somewhere else.

Give people this choice and you will extend the life of your ideas.

3. You prefer to see
And finally, many of us prefer to see.

visualcontent

The same logic influences the trend of sharing more and better images for your blogs posts.

But of course, this is where the infographic really shines.

It takes data and makes it simple, beautiful, and fun (see the section above on the death infographic).

All in your asset pillar.

Your digital building blocks

While most people would agree that infographics are sexy little assets, I’ve also demonstrated that it’s safe to say they are also workhorses. Tireless beasts of burden who easily overcome any limitations they might have.

The bottom line is you’ll always need to educate people on the fundamentals because there is constant turnover in your industry and in your audience.

Every two years you’ve got a whole new crowd who doesn’t know what you’ve done before. In addition, those who master the basics will move on to your advanced content and courses.

But — and I don’t care who you are — we always need a good reminder of what we once knew. We just might need it in a different way. Maybe a new perspective. Perhaps with a different angle, hook, or voice.

You can do this without having to reinvent the wheel, doubling down on more resources, or wasting your time coming up with original ideas every time.

Let us know on Google+ how you plan to use infographics to display your fundamental content, as well as create different types of media from the content in your infographics.


How to build your own online empire out of cornerstone content …

To learn how a content asset pillar like an infographic fits into a broader online media strategy that will help you develop your audience, register for the New Rainmaker content library — a free (for now) series of podcasts and webinars in which Brian Clark distills the most important lessons he has learned about building a successful online business.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via La Tête Krançien.

About the author

Demian Farnworth


Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media's Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

The post How to Make Winning Infographics Without Risk appeared first on Copyblogger.

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http://www.copyblogger.com/asset-pillar-infographic/feed/ 0 The (Really) Cool Thing People Aren't Telling You About Infographics businessinfographics challengescontentmarketers menshealth menshealthemails deathperspective grammargoofs audiodigitalmarketing visualcontent
The Lede: Are You Overlooking This Cornerstone of a Smart Content Strategy? http://www.copyblogger.com/lede-worldviews/ http://www.copyblogger.com/lede-worldviews/#respond Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43504 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

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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.

In this episode, Demian Farnworth and I discuss …

  • How content strategy begins with knowing your audience — not just on a statistical or demographic level, but intimately
  • What worldviews are and how to identify them
  • How Jerod Morris’s worldview of cooperation differs from, say, Niccolò Machiavelli’s
  • How worldviews differ from personas (it’s an important difference)
  • How worldviews should influence decisions when starting a business
  • What a real-world example of discovering an audience’s worldview sounds like

And, of course, how to put your audience first. (We wouldn’t have it any other way.)

Listen to The Lede …

To listen to The Lede, you can either hit the flash audio player below, or browse the links to find your preferred format …

React to The Lede …

As always, we appreciate your reaction to episodes of The Lede and feedback about how we’re doing.

Send me a tweet with your thoughts anytime: @JerodMorris.

And please tell us the most important point you took away from this latest episode. Do so by joining the discussion over on Google+.

The Show Notes

The Transcript

Click here to read the transcript

Please note that this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and grammar.

The Lede: Many People Overlook This Crucial Fundamental of a Smart Content Strategy (Do You?)

Jerod Morris: Welcome back, everybody, to The Lede: A podcast about content marketing by Copyblogger Media. I’m your host, Jerod Morris.

We took a hiatus over the summer, but we’re back, and quite happy to be back. If you are a new listener, welcome. We appreciate you tuning in, and if you’ve been listening for awhile, thank you very much for your support and for being here, ready and waiting, for new episodes.

As long-time listeners know, our goal with each episode is to deliver a bite-sized chunk of useful advice that you can take action on as soon as you’re done listening to improve your relationship with your audience and grow your online business.

To kick off our return, Demian Farnworth and I are going to talk about content strategy. It will be a three-part series, and it begins with this episode: Exactly where you would expect a Copyblogger series about content strategy to begin, with the audience.

It seems like it has been an eternity since we did our last episode, but it’s actually only been a few months. I’m excited to welcome Demian back as we get going here with the next season of The Lede. How are you doing, Demian?

Demian Farnworth: I’m doing fine. Hello, everyone. Glad to be back. Three months seems like a long time, so it’s exciting to get back and back into the groove, and hear you roar a few more times, Jerod.

Jerod: Yes. I’m sure that you’ve been studying up on your pop culture references during the downtime, right?

Demian: That’s right. That’s right.

Thank you for listening

Jerod: I do want to say, really quickly, before we jump into today’s topic: Just how much we appreciate all the kind words and comments that we’ve gotten from people who listen, who have been asking when the episodes were going to come back.

Getting your kind words definitely has motivated us and gotten us excited to get back with it, so we just want to say thank you to everybody out there for those.

Demian: Yes. Thank you.

Jerod: And with that, let’s get started. We’re doing a three-part series here on content strategy, and this is the first part of that series.

What is a worldview?

Jerod: And if you follow Copyblogger, it won’t surprise you that the first element of our content strategy series is going to cover knowing your audience, and not just knowing your audience from a statistical or a demographic level, but knowing your audience intimately.

Knowing what they stand for, what they live for. In other words, understanding their worldviews. And Demian, you wrote a great article about this a few months ago that will certainly be linked in the show notes, and I want to break apart some of the ideas that you talk about in that article, and so let’s just start with that big picture.

What is a worldview, and also how is a worldview different from a persona?

Demian: That’s a great question. A great way to start. A worldview is, basically, a descriptive model of how you see the world, and it answers some pretty basic questions like, what should we do next? What is true and false? How should we attain our goals?

There’s a philosopher named James Sire. He wrote a book a number of years ago called The Universe Next Door, which is a quote from the E.E. Cummings poem.

In The Universe Next Door, he identifies seven basic worldviews, and these are typically like Deism, or Naturalism, Existentialism, New Age, and Post Modern, and these are the things that people — they don’t develop these ideas about their world systematically.

It’s not like you sit down and say, “I want to be a Post-Modern Existentialist.” Rather, it’s something that develops within us through how we’re raised and the household in which we’re raised — it’s influenced by our friends, our education, our experiences. It can be influenced by a book that you read as a youngster.

And the thing to remember, too, is that worldviews develop in one direction, and they become very difficult to change as you get older. So the thing to remember as an advertiser is that you’re not after trying to change somebody’s worldview. You’re simply trying to get in alignment with their worldview, if that makes sense.

Identifying worldviews

Jerod: So, for example, me personally. I have a worldview that the most important part of communication is being audience-focused. Focusing on the person who you’re talking to.

And that has developed because of sales training I received in my first job after college, and reading Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and joining Copyblogger, and learning that training.

So when you talk about how that systematically develops, is that what you mean? That I’ve developed that worldview, and now it’s much more stringent in my mind, harder to change, but if someone is trying to tap into me or sell to me or communicate to me, they need to understand that and communicate to that part of me.

Demian: Right. So what you describe, I would say that’s atypical. Most people, when they learn that they have a worldview to even begin with, because I would say most people don’t even realize they have a worldview until they come across this idea of worldviews.

Then they realize that, “Oh, this is how I think and not everyone else thinks that way.”

What you’ve done is that you’ve identified this. This is important to me, and so I’m going to pursue this path. Your worldview is not so much communication, but it’s the importance of people. You put an emphasis on people.

So you’re actually — what’s above the communication part is this idea of how you view how the world works, right?

The world is not a world of competition, but it’s one of cooperation where you have to get along with people, and the best way to get along with people is to communicate clearly with them, to listen to them, to understand what they need to hear from you. So all that is created through a worldview.

For instance, Stephen Covey — have you read his book, Seven Habits?

Jerod: Yes.

Demian: In that, he has the view of trying to understand first before you communicate, and a lot of this is people-centric. He has a certain worldview, and that’s why he would come up with these sort of habits. He would see that world.

Machiavelli, who wrote the book The Prince, which was satirical and in some sense a social criticism, but he had a different worldview. He saw the world as one of competition.

Of course, he was dealing with the world of politics, but that was completely different. So in that sense, as an advertiser, as someone who’s trying to resonate with you, understanding how you view and how you think is important.

It’s part of the process of coming up and discovering what your worldview is. Because again, it’s going above and beyond just the fact that communication is important to you.

Why is communication important to you? That really comes down to when we emphasize the point that communication is important to you because you realize cooperation is good, and you realize people are good. It’s nice to have community.

Why is that? It’s because you view human beings as being decent people who have and deserve certain rights.

So you want to be able to deliver that, and you want to be able to help people and inspire people. And that’s all built around your worldview.

Worldviews versus personas

Jerod: So how would you contrast that, then, with personas?

Demian: Okay. So a persona is another tool, and really like I mentioned in the article, a persona helps you figure out things like the buying behaviors. Why do they shop at high-end versus a Walmart? What are their certain attitudes that they have about shopping? What are the certain attitudes they have about politics?

A persona sort of helps you fill out demographics, psychographics, of your particular audience. What the worldview does is tell you why they believe that.

It’s useful information both ways, and what I think happens at this stage here — I’ve heard this as I was moving through these three different articles, and we were talking about worldview, then we were talking about empathy map, and we were talking about story telling — and some of the complaints were, “Well, that just seems like a lot you’re throwing onto people. First you tell me ‘worldview,’ and now it’s ‘personas,’ what else am I going to have to deal with?”

The point being is that you should be doing all of it. You don’t have to do it all at once, you should be developing personas. If you develop a worldview, you’re going to develop part of the persona. If you develop a persona, you’re going to key in, and you’re going to know what kinds of questions to ask when you’re developing the worldview.

So you might say, let’s focus on a persona right now. Then you create the persona, then you work from that for a period of time. Then you tweak and change the persona based on your experiments, and you then turn toward the worldview.

What is their worldview? Then you figure that out, and then you go and run your marketing for a few months or a few years, and then you stop again.

You might create an empathy map at that point. So all of this, the goal is, like you said in the beginning, is understanding your audience. You as an advertiser should have a growing and growing, over the years, knowledge base of who your customer is.

It’s just like a marriage. You’re constantly figuring out who that person is so you can have a great relationship with them, and the same thing with your audience and using personas and worldviews.

The worldview’s role when starting a business

Jerod: Let’s say people are going to start a site or start a business. Should they be sitting down and trying to define these worldviews in the beginning? Is there a better process to get some kind of data, like the demographic information you were talking about earlier?

Getting that, and then saying “Why?” And continuing to try and dig the “why?”

What’s the process? When should this start, and is there a correct order that it needs to go in?

Demian: I wouldn’t say there’s a correct order. I think it’s helpful. It depends on your personality, too. I think for me it’s always been — let’s say, for example, that you want to start a blog.

You have an idea, and you have a direction you want to go. And then, of course, you could sit down and think, “Who is going to be my audience?”

Well, you probably have a hunch, and you could write that hunch down, and you could maybe sort of script out a nebulous kind of idea of who your audience is. And then go and start writing a couple of posts, or building the audience, and seeing how your interaction with the community is changing your view of the audience. Because it will change.

Every successful marketer and advertiser understands that. They think they know their audience, until they actually interact with them, and then they realize that they’re asking certain things and are looking for certain things, and they want certain things. So it’s really kind of a trial-and-error process, like the scientific method. You have a hunch, you go out there and test the hunch.

How does your hunch stand up to reality? If it’s completely blown out of the water, then you reengineer the way you think about your audience based upon reality, and then you continue more.

Say you’ve run this blog for several months, and then you can sit down once you have that audience. Because here’s the thing you can’t have: You can’t do a worldview without having an audience first, because it’s part of the process of getting that worldview.

Like conducting one-on-one interviews. If you don’t have an audience, you can’t do the interviews. Or reading the comments on your blog. If you have a hunch of who your audience is, you can go and study Amazon reviews.

But certainly, once you have an audience, you can create a survey with Google Docs or Survey Monkey, and ask them the specific worldview questions.

I gave you a list in that article. You can create a survey and ask those questions once you have that audience. Even if you only have 100 people. And if you get 15–20 people who respond, you’re going on something, and you can tweak it based upon that.

Of course, you can eavesdrop on real-life conversations or if you actually have a business and customer support, you can analyze your support mails, or review your testimonials.

In essence, it’s monitoring your audience on the social web and across forums.

A real-world example of discovering your audience’s worldview

Jerod: And here’s kind of a real-world example for that, because I was thinking about this as we were prepping for today’s episode. Kind of how Primility.com has evolved over the past few months, right? My side project.

Demian: Mmm-hmm.

Jerod: So when I started that, I had an idea for the content. How balancing pride and humility can help you in your life. And I had an idea of who might read that and who might be attracted to that, but over the course of the last three to four months, as you said, from comments, and from e-mails, and from conversations, that understanding of the audience has really evolved.

So I jotted down a few notes here. I kind of did this just as practice, like “let me try and define the worldview of a Primility reader really quick …”

Demian: That’s great.

Jerod: And you tell me if this is what a worldview is — if it isn’t digging deeply enough, whatever. But here are just a few of the notes that I jotted down.

“Primility readers believe they are capable of achieving more tomorrow than they did today, and they believe that the key factor that will allow them to do this is their own mentality and attitude.

“In other words, they take personal responsibility and accountability for everything that happens to them. So they are always seeking methods of self-improvement to give them that margin of improvement from one day to the next, building a better life in this way, brick by brick.

“They also believe that success means more and tastes sweeter when it involves lifting other people up, not just themselves.”

Is that a worldview, or does that not go deep enough?

Demian: No, that’s perfect. That’s absolutely perfect because some of the things that you said within there, for example, taking responsibility for their actions and realizing that their success is really sort of on their shoulders, involves a worldview that emphasizes individuality, but it also emphasizes hard work, and it emphasizes that there is opportunity out in the world that anybody can succeed, which in contrast, you know, some people might have a victim mentality, and have almost the opposite sort of mentality.

Like a fatalistic mentality: “I can never do anything, why resist the world and the bad luck that always comes upon me?” So yeah. That’s perfect.

The continual process of tapping into a worldview

Jerod: So as we kind of wrap up this first episode — man, the time goes quickly. I forgot how fast the time goes when we do these.

Demian: Yeah.

Jerod: So what is one take-away? Obviously, this is part of a three-part series. We’re going to talk about empathy and building empathy maps, and storytelling.

So what is one action item that you think people can take away here in terms of worldview that can help them, as soon as tomorrow, communicate better with their audiences?

Demian: Well, I think to do just what you did with your audience. Just sit down and think about — what do I know about my audience, and pooling the resources if you have them to help them sort of write that out.

If they don’t have an audience, if they just have an idea, sort of think through the ideal person with whom they’re trying to communicate.

So the take-away for that, yes, is to sit down. Do that same exercise. How long did it take you to do that?

Jerod: Obviously, the research went over the course of three or four months.

Demian: Sure.

Jerod: But it took me a few minutes of just free-flow writing.

Demian: Right. So if you’ve been doing this for years, then again, you probably have it in your mind but you’ve just never sat down and sort of codified it, in that sense.

For you, it’s taken a couple of months to learn your audience, then once you sit down — and if you don’t have that, sit down and forecast what you want your audience to look like?

That may change as you watch the people who gravitate, because again, you could be presenting ideas and attract an entirely different crowd, and you have to be okay with that because you’re going down the path you want to go along.

Is the audience the right people you want to attract? Is that who you’re trying to reach?

And so through that experience you come to realize who your audience is, and that view of who they thought they were will, obviously, change. You have to be okay with that, though, too.

And you might even be surprised by who your audience is, but again, you’re not actually trying to change that worldview. You’re actually just trying to tap into that.

Jerod: Okay. One more quick follow-up to that. So obviously, this was in my head. I obviously had an understanding of this. Why is it important to write it down? If I already kind of know it, and I’m gaining this knowledge over the course of time, why is it so important to codify it, to write it out?

Demian: I think because it helps you focus. For me, I think having it out on paper helps to kind of focus and center all your energy on that thought, to say, “This is it, this is what it is.” If you never do that, you’re not going to lose or anything like that. But I think it’s helpful just as an exercise.

“Who is my audience?” And it’s an exercise, too, in the sense of what kind of content, what kind of product can I create for them? If you sit down and you write that out, that’s probably at most two or three paragraphs. You might be full of different ideas and directions in which you can go with content or products.

Jerod: All right. Perfect. Well, Demian, awesome to get back on the horse here with The Lede, and looking forward to doing the rest of the series, and then the many exciting episodes that we have planned beyond that.

Demian: I’m looking forward too, Jerod.

Jerod: All right. Talk to you soon, man.

Demian: Hey, buddy. Take care.

Jerod: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Lede. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider giving the show a rating or a review on iTunes, or pass it along to a friend or colleague. We’d greatly appreciate it.

Put your audience first

And if you want to dig deeper on the topics that Demian and I discussed in this episode, and that we will discuss in the future, I highly recommend that you go sign up for Brian Clark’s free New Rainmaker training course. It is a two-week course sent to you via e-mail that includes seven lessons and three webinars.

Now, at some point, this won’t be offered for free anymore, so it would behoove you to head over to NewRainmaker.com/register as soon as you can to get your hands on this valuable, free education series that shows you step-by-step how to move beyond marketing and embrace the power that comes from building a true audience asset.

We’ll be back in two weeks with another episode of The Lede. Until then, keep learning and keep putting your audience first. Talk to you soon, everybody.

*Credits: Both the intro (“Bridge to Nowhere” by Sam Roberts Band) and outro songs (“Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart) are graciously provided by express written consent from the rights’ owners.

About the author

Jerod Morris


Jerod Morris is the VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter or . Have you gotten your wristband yet?

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Introducing Rainmaker: The Complete Solution for Content Marketers and Internet Entrepreneurs http://www.copyblogger.com/introducing-rainmaker/ http://www.copyblogger.com/introducing-rainmaker/#respond Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43871 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

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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.

We all agreed to come together to build something bigger than we could build separately. And just like that, we were a new venture of 15 people who had to quickly learn to work together if we were going to accomplish our goals.

Today – as a growing group of 42 – we’re revealing the result of our combined efforts. While four years may seem like forever in Internet time, it seems to have all worked out perfectly.

During those four years, we built the parts of our ultimate vision while we grew revenue. Because we’ve never taken venture capital, we had to operate like a real company – one that provides value to paying customers while patiently executing on a larger goal.

  • First we worked to make StudioPress the go-to source for WordPress design.
  • Then we launched a premium WordPress hosting division called Synthesis to make sure we had the infrastructure aspect down cold.
  • Scribe has rapidly evolved from simple SEO copywriting software into the patent-pending suite of audience optimization tools it is today.
  • We created sophisticated “no-code” development tools that power our own membership areas, lead generation, and digital sales engines.
  • And then we did the hardest thing – created a website deployment system that allowed for amazing ease-of-use combined with maximum security and performance.

Everything we built was for our own use first, with WordPress at the core. We are, after all, doing the same work to build our business that our audience and customer base does – so it makes sense that we built tools good enough for our own use.

Since inception, our goal as a company was to take those parts and fuse them into a complete solution for content marketers and online entrepreneurs.

A solution that our own editorial team of poets and misfits could use to build anything they want … without worrying about technology.

Not because we needed something to sell. Instead, a solution we’ve used ourselves to build a $10 million-a-year company out of a simple blog, and by practicing what we preach.

Today, we’d like to invite you to check it out, free of charge.

Okay, great. So what’s the Rainmaker Platform anyway?

Great question. Let me give you the bullet points first.

With Rainmaker, you can:

  • Create powerful content-driven websites on your own domains.
  • Build membership sites and online training courses.
  • Sell digital products like software, ebooks, and more.
  • Perform sophisticated online lead generation.
  • Optimize your content for search engines and social networks.
  • Absorb cutting-edge tactics and strategy with included training.
  • Avoid a patchwork of plugins, themes, and complicated code.
  • Forget about upgrades, maintenance, security, and hosting headaches.
  • Take your content to WordPress at any time you choose.

It’s been battle-tested by over 1,000 tough customers over the last five months, and now it’s ready for you to test drive – at absolutely no charge.

What can I build with Rainmaker?

Another great question. Let me give you some concrete examples of sites you can build.

Copyblogger.com alone gets over 500,000 unique visitors a month without advertising. It’s essentially a static home page, a blog, a collection of landing pages, and a combination free/paid membership area, which includes a forum in addition to all sorts of scheduled and archived content.

You can build a site just like Copyblogger with Rainmaker.

Or, let’s look at StudioPress, which sells hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars in digital products every month. It’s essentially a collection of sales pages with a blog, a checkout process, and a protected area for delivery of the purchased products.

You can build a site just like StudioPress with Rainmaker.

Want to build an online training course, powered initially by a podcast, like at New Rainmaker? Whether for lead generation or as the product itself?

You guessed it … New Rainmaker is built on Rainmaker.

And if you want a custom design like any of those sites, you can do that as well on Rainmaker. But the $10,000 to $30,000 (or more) in development work some would charge you just to build the bones of the site is off the table, which is nice.

Plus, a full suite of podcasting features. Research, outreach, and optimization tools. 27 cutting-edge, future-proof HTML5 responsive designs. And much more.

In fact, Rainmaker does way more than I’ve mentioned here. But you need to experience that for yourself with the free 30-day trial.

So what’s the deal?

You’re on absolute fire with these questions.

The essence of the deal is simple – try Rainmaker for 30 days at no charge and see if it works for you. Cancel with the click of a big, easy-to-find button if you decide to move on.

But the deal is actually much sweeter than that.

As I mentioned, for the last five months we’ve been running a pilot program for Rainmaker. We offered the best deal you’ll ever see in exchange for feedback from real, paying customers.

For the next two weeks, we’re offering you the same special deal that the people in our Pilot Program got. Rainmaker is already at version 2.0 thanks to the feedback from these brave souls, which means you get the same incredible deal, but with a vastly improved initial experience. And even that will continue to get better.

What do you get, specifically?

  • All current Rainmaker features
  • Monthly billing option
  • Professional and prompt support
  • Customer-only affiliate program
  • Our best price, locked in for the life of your account

Plus, at no extra charge as they are released:

  • Additional reporting and analytics
  • Additional themes and landing pages
  • Social media posting and scheduling
  • Improved learning management system
  • Integrated RSS reader
  • Curation-to-content tools
  • Marketing automation

One catch – you’ve got to start your free trial before October 3rd to get this deal. After that, the advanced features will become part of a more expensive plan, and other benefits such as the length of the trial and the monthly billing option will go away.

I’ll write more about these upcoming features in the next week or so, because they’re really exciting. But go ahead and check out everything Rainmaker does right now at no charge.

About the author

Brian Clark


Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

The post Introducing Rainmaker: The Complete Solution for Content Marketers and Internet Entrepreneurs appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Here’s How Shane Snow (Founder of Contently) Writes http://www.copyblogger.com/writer-files-shane-snow/ http://www.copyblogger.com/writer-files-shane-snow/#respond Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43371 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.

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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.

His credentials

By trade, Shane is a journalist. He has written for Wired, Mashable, and Fast Company and occasionally contributes to publications like the Washington Post, The New Yorker, and New Scientist.

He received his master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

He has also been invited to speak at Columbia University, SXSWi, BlogWorld, Social Media Week, and Search Marketing Expo, among others.

In 2012, Shane made Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 and the Silicon Alley 100 Coolest People In New York Tech lists.

And let’s not forget that he was valedictorian and class president at Bonneville High School in Idaho.

Naturally, he’s not one to squander time.

From journalist to entrepreneur to author

Shane moved to New York City in the back half of the last decade to rub shoulders with some amazing tech editors. In the bargain, he hobnobbed with some severely ambitious people — entrepreneurs who accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.

These business owners had a profound influence on Shane. So, in 2010, he decided to become an entrepreneur himself.

Enter Contently — a business with a mission of “building a better media world for publishers, creators, and consumers.” And if that wasn’t enough, Shane also wrote a book while running his fast-growing company.

It’s called Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success (released September 9, 2014).

I think it’s safe to say that Shane is a model and inspiration for those of us who want to build a career or business around publishing online. Reading his story can easily arouse a little ambition.

But lest you think Shane is all work and no play, take a peek behind the curtain to discover how he relaxes, his unorthodox hiding method (so he can write), which two dead writers he’d love to have dinner with, and more.

About the writer …

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Shane. By day, I help run Contently, which I co-founded in 2010. By night, I attempt to commit journalism and, occasionally, urban exploration.

What is your area of expertise as a writer?

In descending order: Technology. Business. Media. Science. Pizza.

Where can we find your writing?

Journalism: shanesnow.contently.com

Blog posts: linkedin.com/today/posts/shanedsnow

Book: sha.ne/Smartcuts

The writer’s productivity …

How much time, per day, do you read or do research?

I spend more time reading than probably anything else. Unfortunately, most of it’s email. I try to read something every night before bed, and I’m always reading while on the train. Research happens in bursts. Or on neurotic impulse, like when you decide you need to know now how they get the caffeine out of tea to make decaf.

Before you begin to write, do you have any pre-game rituals or practices?

I usually try to find a place where I can be alone. Sometimes in public is the best place to hide. I also try to write immediately after exercising, as I find some of my best ideas pop out then.

Do you prefer any particular music (or silence) while you write?

I listen to a single song on repeat over and over again to simultaneously create psychological movement and white noise. Currently, I’m about 500 plays into Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” and am considering finding a new track.

How many hours per day do you spend writing (excluding email, social media, etc.)? When is your most productive time of day?

Between two and 20 hours, depending on the day. Usually early morning or late night. Or late night turning into early morning.

Do you write every day or adhere to any particular system?

When I was working on my book, I wrote every morning from 6:00 a.m. to
8:00 a.m, and every evening from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. for 12 months. Otherwise, I usually just schedule a few hours depending on the writing project. Saturday is almost always a marathon writing day.

Do you believe in “writer’s block”? If so, how do you avoid it?

I haven’t experienced it. But I also write nonfiction. The story is already there. You just need to find it and tell it. Fiction seems really hard.

The writer’s creativity …

Define creativity.

Going to unexpected places.

Who are your favorite authors, online or off?

Jon Ronson’s writing makes me so jealous I want to quit. And I would kill to have lunch with Oscar Wilde.

Can you share a best-loved quote?

Prepare to put mustard on those words. For you will soon be consuming them along with this slice of humble pie, that comes direct from the oven of shame, set at the gas mark ‘egg on your face.’ ~ Richard Ayoade

How would you like to grow creatively as a writer?

I’m jealous of writers who have distinct voices. I’d like to develop that.

Who or what is your Muse at the moment (i.e., specific creative inspirations)?

Ryan Gosling. Okay, that’s a joke. But I like the guy.

What makes a writer great?

One of my favorite editors, Paula Span, used to say, “Great writing speeds you along.” The best writers in the world are those who can whisk you through
1,000 words in what feels like 10 seconds, or 100,000 words in 30 seconds.

The writer’s workflow …

What hardware or typewriter model do you presently use?

There are about seven antique typewriters laying around my house right now. All seafoam green. But I write on various Mac devices.

What software do you use most for writing and general workflow?

Evernote for research and drafts. Google Docs for docs. Various surfaces for notes, including the whiteboard wall to the right of my desk. At present, there is a paper plate on my desk with notes all over it from an inspiring conversation in my office kitchen. My co-founder, Dave, recently called it, “The Plate of Knowledge.”

Do you have any tricks for beating procrastination? Do you adhere to deadlines?

No. Though I hear amphetamines help. Too scared to find out. Deadlines are sacred, so I try to file early whenever possible.

How do you stay organized (methods, systems, or “mad science”)?

My favorite system for reporting is to record interviews in Rev (in-app or upload to Rev.com), which sends audio out for automatic transcription, and then to beam that directly into Evernote.

When I write notes, I make little checkboxes next to action items that occur to me during a meeting. I periodically go through my notebooks and check off the boxes, usually when it’s way too late.

How do you relax at the end of a hard day?

Sleep.

Just for fun …

Who (or what) has been your greatest teacher?

I had a high school teacher named Mr. Lemons who cared so much that it had a really big impact on me. When his wife got cancer, he shaved his head so they could be bald together. Everyone should love people the way that guy did.

What do you view as your greatest success in life?

Being a good person. Hopefully I’m not failing too badly at that.

What’s your biggest aggravation at the moment (writing related or otherwise)?

Editors who assign stories and then don’t get back to you for months after you file. Makes me want to lose my mind. And yes, this is happening to me right now.

Choose one author, living or dead, that you would like to have dinner with.

Oh man, I said this already. But I’m going to use this as an excuse to pick a second: Douglas Adams. That would be an amazing dinner.

If you could take a vacation tomorrow to anywhere in the world, where would you go (cost or responsibilities are no object)?

I’d probably go back to O’ahu, where I used to live. Go surf with friends, then for a swim at Cockroach Cove.

Can you offer any advice to fellow writers that you might offer yourself, if you could go back in time and “do it all over?”

Read as much as you possibly can when you’re young.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

My first book came out September 9. It’s called Smartcuts, and you should totally get a copy or something. :)

Please tell our readers where they can connect with you online.

On Twitter, @shanesnow, or ShaneSnow.com

And finally, the writer’s desk …

Every serious writer builds a shrine of some sort with which he hopes to entertain the Muse, whether it entails selecting the perfect table at a coffee shop or carving out a quiet nook in his home.

Shane’s just happens to be out in the open — with a well-worn and used appearance. This is where he has poured out the sweat, blood, and tears to run a business and publish a book.

image of shane snow's writing desk

And we are grateful. Many thanks go to Shane for taking time out of his busy schedule to find the words!


If you’d like to read more scribe wisdom …

Check out The Writer Files archives.

If you’ve already subscribed to Copyblogger via email or RSS, the next installment will be delivered to you just like the rest of our content.

If not, go ahead and subscribe right now so you don’t miss a post.

And if you’d like to join in the discussion about our featured writer Shane Snow, head over to Google+.

About the author

Demian Farnworth


Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media's Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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Which of These New WordPress Themes is Right For Your Audience? http://www.copyblogger.com/new-wordpress-themes/ http://www.copyblogger.com/new-wordpress-themes/#respond Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43768 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

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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?

Choose the design that best serves your audience

If you run a church website, there are design elements that fit your needs that won’t fit a food blogger’s goals (and vice versa).

If you run a school website, you want to make different design choices than a real estate agent.

And if you have an offline business, then your web design needs to align with your business objectives. The design choices made by an online business will differ, perhaps drastically.

Over the course of the last year, our StudioPress design team has released six themes that fit each one of these examples.

The important similarity between all six: they are all child themes for Genesis 2.0, meaning they are built on HTML5, mobile responsive, fast, and secure.

The differences will let you make the best possible choice for your audience.

So assuming you know who you’re designing for, let’s run down each of these six child themes that have been released this year. One of them will probably be right for you. (And if not, I guarantee one of these will be.)

Outreach Pro: the theme for churches

A church’s web presence is vitally important and can serve many key functions — from making sermons available online to generating awareness and support for worthy causes.

Outreach Pro gives churches the ability to reach out online and easily be reached right back.

outreach-screenshot1

Check out the Outreach Pro demo here.

Daily Dish Pro: the theme for food bloggers

The goal for any food blogger is to present content like it’s the most appetizing dish at a reader’s favorite four-star restaurant.

Daily Dish Pro is designed to do exactly that.

daily-dish

Check out the Daily Dish Pro demo here.

Education Pro: the theme for schools

Schools need to convey a lot of information online, and they need to do it with simplicity and flexibility.

Education Pro was designed with this in mind, and helps schools present everything from idyllic scenes to admission and curriculum information.

education-pro

Check out the Education Pro demo here.

AgentPress Pro: the theme for real estate agents

Real estate agents can’t just put up a website and expect to build a business. They need to clearly display listings with eye-catching imagery in a mobile-responsive way that will impress visitors.

Visitors appreciate these details that help build the know, like, and trust factor — a vital component when the business transaction is as pivotal as buying or selling a house.

agentpress-pro

Check out the AgentPress Pro demo here.

Enterprise Pro: the theme for your brick-and-mortar business

Even offline businesses need to be online. (You know this.) And a business website built on Enterprise Pro is a bright, engaging online communication hub for customers and prospects alike.

In other words, it’s much more than just an online business card.

enterprise-pro-screenshot

Check out the Enterprise Pro demo here.

Centric Pro: the theme for your online business (and more)

Last, but certainly not least, is Centric, which fulfills the single most important purpose of a website: it draws your reader in and leads him down the page.

All you have to do is define the purpose and provide the calls to action. Centric does the rest.

centric-pro

Check out the Centric Pro demo here.

Which one is for you?

So … which theme is the right fit for your audience?

Let us know by sending a tweet to @copyblogger (and don’t forget to include the #genesiswp hashtag).

About the author

Jerod Morris


Jerod Morris is the VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter or . Have you gotten your wristband yet?

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