Copyblogger http://www.copyblogger.com Content marketing tools and training. Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:52:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page http://www.copyblogger.com/bye-facebook/ http://www.copyblogger.com/bye-facebook/#respond Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44720 Have you ever stared at something, knowing you’re doing everything right, but it still won’t … freaking … work? That’s how Copyblogger has felt about its Facebook page for quite some time. As of today, the page has 38,000 “fans,” but Copyblogger’s presence on Facebook has not been beneficial for the brand or its audience.

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

thumbs down

Have you ever stared at something, knowing you’re doing everything right, but it still won’t … freaking … work?

That’s how Copyblogger has felt about its Facebook page for quite some time.

As of today, the page has 38,000 “fans,” but Copyblogger’s presence on Facebook has not been beneficial for the brand or its audience.

Just over three months ago, Brian Clark reached out to me for some extra help on the page.

He thought that, given the success I have with my own Facebook page, several others I’ve managed for clients over the years, and the rapidly growing Your Boulder Facebook page I manage for him, maybe I’d be able to bring some life to Copyblogger’s Facebook presence.

Yep, I said. Let me at it.

Well, today I’m here to tell you that we’re deleting the account. This is the last day you’ll see the Copyblogger Facebook page.

If you’ve ever been frustrated with an aspect of your social brand presence, you’ll want to keep reading — because there are countless reasons why Copyblogger is killing its Facebook page.

Fan numbers mean jack

Here’s the first thing you need to know about social brand presences: Your fan and follower numbers mean absolutely jack. (Complete the phrase with the word of your choice after “jack,” if you feel so inclined.)

When I began managing the Copyblogger Facebook page, I ran into a few problems.

First, the page had an overwhelming number of junk fans. These are accounts with little to no personal status update activity that just go around “Liking” Facebook pages. They’re essentially accounts tied to “click farms” — ones paid pennies for every Facebook page they Like.

In other words, these fans are useless to your brand. Why? Because fake fans damage the visibility of your posts in Facebook’s algorithms.

I spent over a week cleaning up these junk accounts and also placed geographical limiters on the page to avoid accumulating any more of these fans. I’ve included a screenshot below so you can create settings for your own page as need be.

facebook1

Since Copyblogger never used paid ads to acquire fans, the entire team was shaking its collective head to figure out just where these useless fans had come from. What was in it for them to click on Copyblogger and give it a “Like?”

Remember those companies that promised to get Facebook fan page owners thousands of new fans seemingly overnight? The video from Veritasium explains why they’re the source of many brand page woes — even if you’re not buying fans or advertising for higher visibility.

It’s nine minutes of essential viewing to anyone in charge of a Facebook fan page. And that bit I shared about how fake Likes harm page engagement? You can find that at the 4:30 mark in the video.

But we cleaned up the page and blocked future fans from coming in from those sources.

Then it was time to take care of the legitimate fans we had earned …

Let’s talk about social media strategy

Before I came along, Facebook hadn’t been a brand darling for Copyblogger. And that’s perfectly okay. Not every social media outlet is an ideal fit for every brand.

Copyblogger has found value actively engaging with its community through Twitter and Google+. Since Facebook was never a preferred social media outlet, my job was to:

  • Evaluate the fans of the page.
  • Assess those fans’ content preferences and build a strategy based on those preferences.
  • Explore the possibility of creating a culture of regular, enthusiastic participation (which is what Copyblogger is all about — everywhere).

See, Copyblogger’s main focus is serving its audience. And if that audience wasn’t engaging on Facebook, then there was no real reason for us to pour energy into it. That’s energy we can put into other areas — ones you appreciate more.

Here are the types of posts we experimented with next:

  • Sharable Graphics: We used quotes from some of our most popular blog posts and turned those into graphics. We then linked to the blog. We found that people liked the photos but didn’t see any increase in clicks to the posts.
  • Forced Shares: My personal brand audience on Facebook loves Copyblogger. So I did some forced shares (read: I shared Copyblogger posts I love directly to my brand page). These were eaten alive, devoured, and reshared. While a smashing result, a brand’s Facebook strategy can’t thrive on someone like me sharing every blog post. The posts I didn’t force share just sat there with an average of six to seven “Likes.” Ew.
  • Questions: We asked the audience questions. Our most notable? Letting the Facebook audience ask the Copyblogger team anything they wanted. Out of 30,000 people, we received three questions. Pass.

These results prompted us to compare Copyblogger’s Facebook audience to other brands on Facebook. We began with ones we had first-hand knowledge of, like Your Boulder and my own brand page.

Comparing apples and Toyotas

As soon as we lined up the statistics side by side, it was clear that we were comparing apples and Toyotas. Oranges didn’t even show up on the radar.

Here are some comparable statistics:

facebook2

Whugga.

So, you may be saying, “But Erika, these are different types of pages. Different brands. Different audiences! How can data from one mean anything for any of the others?”

Simple. It shows Copyblogger that, despite good intentions, best practices, and having a slew of fans, Facebook might not be the best place to invest brand time and energy.

And don’t get me wrong — I love Facebook and it’s wildly successful for both Your Boulder (one of Brian’s projects) and my own brand. But I refuse to tell a brand that they should spend time on efforts that don’t pay them back.

Which is why Copyblogger is, today, saying farewell to Facebook.

How do brands figure out where to best spend their time?

Great question.

I’ve worked with diverse brands over the years ranging from a quirky, yet powerful cremation urn company (not a good fit for Facebook) to two internationally-known fly fishing manufacturers (awesome fits for Facebook).

The bottom line?

While sometimes, as William Faulkner said, you must kill all your darlings, a brand’s first responsibility is to know what’s useful to its audience.

We all might love Facebook for a wide variety of reasons, but that means jack if our audiences don’t interact with us on Facebook.

It’s not our job to tell our audience where we live. It’s to grow communities where they live.

copyblogger-facebook

The Copyblogger Google+ community’s statistics blow Facebook away by miles. Twitter is an amazing platform at both the brand level and for many of the individuals in the company (plus, you retweet posts like nobody’s business).

And we’re grateful.

Which is why Copyblogger is going to continue putting its energy into those outlets and the Copyblogger membership communities (free and paid).

We’re focused on your preferences

Leaving Facebook gives us more time and resources to focus on the places where you already love interacting with Copyblogger.

You’ve told us loud and clear that Facebook isn’t your favorite place to find us. We got the message.

So, here’s the part where I — as a trusted part of the Copyblogger family who is on call for various projects (and delightfully so) — get to say thank you.

Thank you for letting Copyblogger know where you live … and where you don’t.

Thank you for stopping by the page … and for sharing a Like every now and then.

And thank you most of all for helping one of my favorite brands in the universe grow. Because you’re vocal. You’re not afraid to say, “Hey, we live over here.” And you’re just as liberal with your praise as your critiques.

If half the brands I have the privilege of getting unstuck had an audience like Copyblogger, they’d be most grateful.

Which is why Copyblogger is ever so grateful for you.

So we’ll see you around the web — just not on Facebook. And we admit (begrudgingly) that we’ll miss those cute Facebook videos from BuzzFeed.

What are your thoughts on the decision?

Have you ever interacted with Copyblogger on Facebook? Will you miss the page?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts over on Google+ or at Twitter.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via MKHMarketing

About the Author: Erika Napoletano is bigger than a taco but smaller than an Airstream trailer. She works with restless brands and entrepreneurs to artfully create their NEXT. We all get stuck. Erika gets people UNstuck and on to the business of being awesome. She gave a widely popular TEDx talk about being unpopular. You can also see her work at American Express OPEN Forum, Entrepreneur Magazine, and her uncensored digital home, erikanapoletano.com.

The post Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/bye-facebook/feed/ 0 Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page facebook1 facebook2 copyblogger-facebook
5 Ways to Prevent Business Burnout When Your Inspiration Starts to Flicker http://www.copyblogger.com/prevent-burnout/ http://www.copyblogger.com/prevent-burnout/#respond Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=41802 In a space as fast-paced as the Internet, you know there are many tasks you “should” perform to reach more people with your story. You’re well-aware of other businesses with meteoric rises to fame and companies thrown into the spotlight seemingly overnight. In order to seize opportunities, you know you have to stay ahead of

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post 5 Ways to Prevent Business Burnout When Your Inspiration Starts to Flicker appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

fingers holding a lit match directly above a lit candle

In a space as fast-paced as the Internet, you know there are many tasks you “should” perform to reach more people with your story.

You’re well-aware of other businesses with meteoric rises to fame and companies thrown into the spotlight seemingly overnight.

In order to seize opportunities, you know you have to stay ahead of the game with relentless focus.

So when it comes to creating content, there is palpable pressure and stress to get everything right.

If you feel a little frazzled by all of your content marketing duties, here are five ways to keep your cool and stay on track to meet your goals.

1. Don’t fret missed opportunities

Watch any TV talent show and you will always find a young contestant who tells the audience that the show is his or her “last chance” to become a superstar.

Time travel with me to the early 1960s when a 20-something Neil Diamond began his career writing songs for $50 a week.

From then on, day in and day out, he was a songwriter. He wrote hits, he wrote flops, he wrote songs that never saw the light of day.

There was no “one” chance, no “one” hit that defined his career, no “one” opportunity that would make or break him. Just a persistence that built a songwriting empire.

When I first wrote guest posts for Copyblogger, my submissions were pretty sporadic.

Months down the line, I found out one of my good business friends had been submitting posts with more frequency, roughly every six weeks, until she’d been asked to write as a regular contributor.

Doh!

I berated myself for not doing the same and wished I could have gone back and submitted more content.

Sometimes this happens. You miss the deadline for submission, find out guest posts are no longer accepted, or discover the blog you wanted to write for isn’t interested in the subject of your post.

I’ve learned that nine times out of 10 you can make a comeback. If a door closes, there might be another way in, or you might find a new opportunity somewhere else.

The key takeaway is that there is no one opportunity.

So if you miss out on something, don’t worry — keep writing, taking action, and looking out for your next chance.

2. Step away from the Internet

There is a common perception that business success online happens quickly. Even though news can spread in seconds on the Internet, business growth is a different story.

If you’ve been writing content without seeing the results you want, you may have not covered the issues and problems that are important to your readers.

You may need to spend a little more time promoting your content to new audiences. You may even need to study techniques for making content sparkle, stand out, and attract customers.

But before you plow into another tutorial, consider bookmarking it and spend time away from the Internet. Find local brick-and-mortar businesses and talk to the owners.

Ask them how they got started, how quickly their businesses grew, and how they became profitable. Chances are it took a lot longer than how quickly businesses seem to grow in “Internet time.”

Studying businesses that have grown steadily over years can be a great source of comfort and inspiration.

3. Distinguish between a lesson and a distraction

If you write and publish content online, you likely also read a lot online. Which means you probably get a ton of great ideas from your favorite blogs before you even finish your morning coffee.

While it’s important to stay current with the latest news and developments, too many distractions can impede your productivity. How do you find a balance?

A simple tip I stole from Mark Forster’s Do It Tomorrow is keeping a pad of paper by me whenever I work. If I want to learn more about a topic or have an idea I want to explore further, I write it down, forget about it, and get back to work.

When I had an idea during my workday before I adopted this method, I’d hit the Internet to investigate and fall down a rabbit hole for a good 15–20 minutes.

With this technique, you then have to review your list at the end of the day, schedule tasks that are worth your time, and scrap trivial items that are not relevant to your goals.

I found that a lot of my ideas wouldn’t actually move me closer to what I wanted. They were distractions, not lessons.

In addition to a productivity boost, you also reduce the stress from having all of those ideas swirling around in your head.

4. Stay positive despite criticism

Criticism escalates pressure. Just as talent judges can reduce contestants to tears, a social media stinger or an angry email can have you doubting yourself in no time.

At some point, someone is going to hate what you write and tell you. If you’re not careful, negative feedback can seriously dent your confidence and affect your writing. From then on, you might be tempted to play it safe.

But if this does happen, you can use it to your advantage.

Criticism is an opportunity to learn. Even if your critic has a bad attitude, consider if there is any merit to his or her claim. If so, you get to make a change and improve your content. Writer: 1, critic: 0.

Also, if the criticism sounds over-the-top angry, in my experience, it’s rarely about you. In five years, I’ve only ever had a handful of complaints about my content, but some of them have been real humdingers.

One was a lengthy email tearing me to pieces, and I’d like to say I didn’t take it to heart … but I did, and I thought about it longer than I should have.

It took a lot of patience and understanding to respond politely, but the following day I received an apology and an explanation that she’d been having a bad day and I just happened to be there.

You often remember criticism and forget kind words, which is why you should keep every testimonial, thank you note, and compliment somewhere you can access quickly.

The kind-word reminders won’t stop you from taking criticism personally, but they should be soothing antidotes to help maintain your confidence.

5. Produce one piece of content at a time

It’s easy to feel intimidated by content powerhouses that seem to have a never-ending archive of valuable materials.

But those archives weren’t created overnight; they were built one piece of high-quality content at a time.

You may have heard of the “Seinfeld productivity technique.” Comedian Jerry Seinfeld had a simple system for producing comedic content: write every day. He would place a red mark on his calendar every day he wrote, building up a chain of these marks with the one goal of not breaking the chain.

You don’t have to write a post every day — just find a way to keep showing up. Remember, even if your blog post isn’t immediately a smash hit, content you produce never goes to waste.

Each time you think about your audience — while jotting down ideas and writing helpful information — you fine-tune your skills, improve productivity, and build your authority.

You can do it, and it doesn’t have to make you crazy.

Your burnout prevention routine

What habits help you prevent burnout?

Do you have ways to deal with dips in productivity?

How do you stay focused when you feel overrun by tasks?

Don’t be shy — share your tips in the discussion over on Google+

Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this post, we suggest you also read How to Fix the Content Marketing Problem by Brian Clark.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via C/N N/G.

About the Author: Amy Harrison is a copywriter and content trainer. She provides workshops for businesses that need to write captivating content. She’s the host of AmyTV, an irreverent look at writing better content. As a Copyblogger reader, click here to get your free sales page and content writing gifts.

The post 5 Ways to Prevent Business Burnout When Your Inspiration Starts to Flicker appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/prevent-burnout/feed/ 0 5 Simple Strategies to Prevent Online Business Burnout
Want to Hook Your Readers? Apply These 10 Principles to Create Captivating News Stories http://www.copyblogger.com/captivating-news-stories/ http://www.copyblogger.com/captivating-news-stories/#respond Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43583 Writing well-structured articles that inform, educate, and entertain is not as easy as it looks. There are billions of webpages out there that contain poorly written, unimaginative, boring content. But those aren’t the descriptions you want associated with the media you produce, right? As all content marketers who want to grow their digital media platforms

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post Want to Hook Your Readers? Apply These 10 Principles to Create Captivating News Stories appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

group of reporters with cameras and microphones eager to interview a source

Writing well-structured articles that inform, educate, and entertain is not as easy as it looks.

There are billions of webpages out there that contain poorly written, unimaginative, boring content.

But those aren’t the descriptions you want associated with the media you produce, right?

As all content marketers who want to grow their digital media platforms know, audiences reward websites that offer special resources, whether they’re up-to-date blogs, in-depth ebooks, smart podcasts, or evergreen whitepapers.

There is, of course, a definite knack to writing well, especially about a newsy topic. And the print industry is particularly adept at understanding how to tell this kind of story.

Journalists are trained to write content that will hook readers from the first sentence and make them want to read on.

These journalistic principles can be adopted by content marketers to help engage their audiences.

Below are ten rules for writing a captivating story on a hot topic, whether in print or online:

  1. Begin with the most important facts first. The intro to every article needs to grab the reader’s attention instantly and summarize the story with around 25 to 30 words.
  2. Make your text thorough but succinct. The first few sentences need to include “who, what, where, when, why, and how.” Remember most people will not read more than 250 words before they start to skim. You should try to give them all the information they need as quickly as possible.
  3. Use the active tense. It is faster and uses fewer words. For example, “Argentina was beaten by Germany in last night’s World Cup final …” takes longer to read than “Germany beat Argentina …”
  4. Communicate what’s new or different. Why would the reader care about what you have to say? Why is it relevant to them? Is there a trend happening in pop culture or the world that you can incorporate? What are people talking about right now, and how does this tie in with what you do?
  5. Focus on human interest. While people may be interested in the latest political polls, a new cancer treatment, a food or product recall, or what the weather will be like tomorrow, if you can put a human face to the story, you will create an emotional connection that will draw readers in and keep them engaged.
  6. Avoid jargon. Every industry has its own language, including journalism. For example, do you know what a byline is? (The name of the author included in a box at the beginning or end of a story.) How about a NIB? (News in brief: short snippets of news, which run down the outer edge of a newspaper page.) Or a splash? (The lead story.) Think about the language you use — keep it clear, concise, and to the point.
  7. Write acronyms out in full in the first reference. Consider the following acronyms: ROI, ASBO, PCT, SATs, and FTSE. What do they stand for? Answers, respectively: Return on investment, Anti-social behavior order, Primary care trust, Standard Assessment Tests, and Financial Times Stock Exchange.
  8. Use quotes. It’s powerful to convey important thoughts with someone else’s words. However, when you quote others, make sure to get it right. Double check the spelling of your interviewee’s name, and make sure you don’t take quotes out of context in a way that distorts the person’s intentions.
  9. Keep it real. Although journalists often joke about never letting the truth get in the way of a good story, you should never, ever write something you know is untrue. We all make mistakes, but a mistake is very different from a lie.
  10. Have someone else proofread your work. Very few people can spot their own mistakes, so it’s wise to have a colleague double-check your work before you publish. Remember that the human brain reads words rather than letters, so if the first and last letter of a word are correct, we will often read it correctly, even if the others are jumbled up.

So, how can digital marketers apply these rules when they write a piece of content or break an industry-related news story?

Let’s take the subject of self-publishing as an example.

Lead into the story with 25 intriguing words

Can you hear the death knell echo over the world of traditional publishing? It’s making way for a new dawn — the rise of self-publishing.

Answer pressing questions immediately

Online businesses, such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, have made a huge impact on the traditional publishing market by increasing competition among self-published authors.

These changes may have flung open the door of opportunity — allowing more writers to share their stories and giving readers access to more books than ever before — but they also signify that the traditional publishing industry is in turmoil.

The 2013 merger of two of the world’s largest publishing houses — Penguin and Random House — is additional proof.

In the past, the path to a book deal for an aspiring author entailed writing a book proposal and sample chapters. With or without the help of an agent, these materials would then be sent to a publisher.

If the publisher was not interested, the author would either get no response or, after a long wait, the transcript would be sent back unopened or accompanied by a letter of rejection.

Now, various tools for self-publishing have taken down these barriers for authors. Bestselling self-published authors have also helped remove the negative stigma associated with self-publishing.

Since writers have become millionaires by publishing their own ebooks, traditional publishers now fight for popular writers, instead of the other way around.

Quote a source to establish authority and support claims

One such author is Holly Ward, who publishes under the name H.M. Ward. She self-published her first book, Damaged, as an ebook on Amazon and became a number one bestseller in the new adult genre.

Speaking about her success and why she chose to go down the self-publishing route, Holly said:

“The literary market is in a state of flux, and [self-publishing] allows me to try new things that aren’t really conducive to publishing traditionally. It also gave me freedom from a system that’s in the ‘adapt or die’ phase of life. With ebooks on the rise and brick-and-mortar stores such as Borders closing, self-publishing is a good place for me to be.”

Add details

So what does the future hold for traditional publishing?

According to Nielsen BookScan, most publishers report an average of 2,100 submissions per year, totaling 132 million submissions, but they accept less than one percent of them for publication.

Out of the 1.2 million titles tracked by BookScan in 2006, almost 80 percent sold fewer than 100 copies, 16 percent sold fewer than 1,000 copies, and only two percent sold over 5,000 copies. Due to this trend, the mega-publishers now select fewer debut authors and less fiction.

Craft a satisfying conclusion

Substantial discounting by online stores and supermarket chains has had a significant affect on traditional publishing too, forcing many specialist book chains and independent booksellers to close up shop. Consequently, traditional publishers have less outlets to sell their wares.

It would, therefore, appear it won’t be long before the final nail will be firmly hammered into the traditional-publishing coffin — making self-publishing the future for aspiring writers.

Put on your press hat

The print industry may be dying, but journalism certainly is not.

Journalistic principles can be applied to digital marketing to help you stand out as an authority.

I truly believe the art of storytelling is as relevant today as it has ever been; the platforms may have changed, but the delivery is the same.

What tactics do you follow to create compelling stories with your content?

Let’s continue to sharpen our journalistic skills by discussing additional tips over on Google+

Editor’s note: To see additional examples of journalistic skills applied to content marketing, read Demian Farnworth’s series on native advertising, starting with this post: 5 Ways to Rankle an Old School Journalist.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Philippe Moreau Chevrolet.

About the Author: Julia Ogden is Head of Content at Zazzle Media, a data-informed, content-led digital marketing agency, based in the UK. A former newspaper journalist, with more than 20 years experience in the regional press, Julia understands the value of creating quality content to help build a business’s online presence and ultimately increase revenue.

The post Want to Hook Your Readers? Apply These 10 Principles to Create Captivating News Stories appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/captivating-news-stories/feed/ 0 Want to Hook Your Readers? Apply These 10 Principles to Create Captivating News Stories
25 Ideas to Transform Ho-Hum Infographics into Something Extraordinary http://www.copyblogger.com/25-infographic-ideas/ http://www.copyblogger.com/25-infographic-ideas/#respond Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43811 A few weeks ago here on Copyblogger, Demian Farnworth presented the infographic as the Salvador Dalí of content marketing — the most interesting person at the cocktail party. More than just a superficial presence, an infographic is a significant asset pillar with diverse possibilities that help you grow your media empire. Today, let’s equate the

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post 25 Ideas to Transform Ho-Hum Infographics into Something Extraordinary appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

illustration of a brain generating ideas

A few weeks ago here on Copyblogger, Demian Farnworth presented the infographic as the Salvador Dalí of content marketing — the most interesting person at the cocktail party.

More than just a superficial presence, an infographic is a significant asset pillar with diverse possibilities that help you grow your media empire.

Today, let’s equate the Internet to the world of pop music. In this case, infographics are The Beatles.

They’re irresistible. They create massive hits. At their best, they balance style and substance.

They can be relentlessly imaginative. And like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, they can communicate sophisticated ideas to a mass audience.

Yep, they’re lovable. How lovable?

The factoid below comes from a 2012 infographic by NeoMam Studios.

google-infographics

Even stories about infographics sizzle. I wrote “The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Infographics” and it climbed to the number one spot on my chart last year.

Before we brainstorm infographic ideas, let’s discuss why infographics work.

Why do we love infographics?

Here are 15 reasons I’ve assessed:

  1. They’re so webable. First, I must offer my theory and ask you to live with my funny new word. Although data visualizations exist in traditional media, they’ve exploded in the digital age because they perfectly suit new media and the devices we use to consume information.
  2. We’re visual creatures. The fun, interactive infographic, “13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics,” makes this case with powerful data points.

visual-creatures

  1. They simplify complex ideas. Infographics aid comprehension by pairing text with straightforward pictures.
  2. They’re easy to share. We love to share information we find valuable. It feeds our appetites for being conduits of wisdom. Creators and publishers of infographics encourage you to share their content and often simplify the process by providing code you can embed on your website.
  3. They’re familiar. The general recipe for infographics features ingredients we’re comfortable with: illustrations, icons, charts, diagrams, and captions. The familiarity speaks to us and obliterates any objections.
  4. They travel well. Infographics are multi-screen portable. They translate nicely to slides and also tend to work on paper.
  5. They’re fast. Up above, in Number Two, you see an interesting data point about how fast we’re able to process visual information. The process of reading takes time. Given our short attention spans, the speed with which we can absorb visual information makes infographics attractive.
  6. They’re less taxing. A related, but slightly different idea than the one above about speed is we give ourselves a little break when we digest information aided by visuals. We encounter a lot of information daily. We can only read so much. The data below comes from:
  7. information-overload

  8. People thrive on data. We’re drawn to data and proof points. I like this presentation from Juice, Inc. that explains how data drives exploration, understanding, presentation, discovery, motivation, learning, and above all, “doing.”
  9. They tell stories. A lot of infographics use storytelling tactics including characters, conflicts, problems, and resolutions. Stories hold our attention as we relate to characters and go on journeys with them.
  10. They promote branding. When infographics are republished, a brand travels with the image, which usually includes a logo and URL.
  11. People search for them. Because they’re so useful (and often entertaining), people search for infographics, as evidenced in the statistic presented above. Since search engines can’t index the content within an image, headlines often appear with the explicit label “Infographic”.
  12. People collect them. Do you do this? I sure do. I stash infographics for safekeeping on Pinterest and in my swipe files if I suspect I’ll want to reference them (or use them) again in the future.
  13. They dominate the page. I believe one of the many factors that make infographics appealing is they tend to dominate a webpage.
  14. They’re generally large and colorful. Unlike plain text, infographics defeat distractions and help us focus on the content.

Ready to create your own infographic?

Here are 25 infographic types, themes, and concepts:

  1. Process. Create an infographic to explain a process. They’re ideal for breaking down and simplifying a multi-step process that may otherwise appear intimidating.
  2. Comparison. These images may include sections such as: before and after, this vs. that, old way vs. new way, us and them, etc.
  3. Timeline. Infographics help illustrate the evolution of a subject matter.
  4. Roundup. Various types of roundups, such as quotes, reviews, favorites, etc. can be presented as a collection.
  5. Components. Just as it’s useful to break down a process into steps, you can decouple the components of just about anything to aid understanding, i.e., an engine, recipe, or team.
  6. Instructions. Use an infographic to simplify complex tutorials or communicate how to complete a task.
  7. Charts and tables. Simple charts or tables featuring icons or images representing a topic create visual interest.
  8. Categories. Take any category of interest to your audience and tell a story with an infographic. Check out one of my favorites, “The Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music”. Amazing.
  9. Study of a “universe.” Produce massive visual collections on: beers, bands, books, bikes, beaches, etc. Here’s The Ultimate Infographic on Infographics from Curata.
  10. Warnings. This popular article style tends to be irresistible. A list of dangers, myths, or mistakes is a powerhouse for infographics, too.
  11. Metaphor. I love it when an interesting metaphor presents a concept. I bet you do too.
  12. Résumé. Job hunting? The résumé as an infographic is such an engaging idea, services such as vizualize.me and kinzaa.com have sprung forth.
  13. Report. Research and survey results offer great value in traditional report formats, but the same information, or highlights from it, make compelling infographics.
  14. Product or service. You may not score a viral hit with an infographic that showcases what you sell, but you’re likely to have an engaging tool that presents your goods to potential buyers.
  15. Trend. Showcasing a trend in an infographic makes a newsworthy story even more fun.
  16. Past to present. This is another timeline idea that displays the history of a topic.
  17. Place or event. Any place (from a nation to a campground) or any event (from a war to a conference) can be summarized in an infographic.
  18. Guide. A rather obvious theme, I know, but any “how to” begs to be transformed into an infographic.
  19. Family tree. These can be downright intoxicating. You can use a tree, flow chart, or similar symbols to explain relationships.
  20. Cause and effect. You probably see a “this caused that” form of presentation more than you realize. It’s simple and smart.
  21. Biography. Perform a search for “biography of Steve Jobs infographic” and you’ll discover some amazingly creative graphics. Study them for inspiration.
  22. Story. Simple one here. Tell a story, like a picture book.
  23. Manifesto. This approach can be a stellar branding tool. Write a manifesto that defines what you stand for and have a great designer create an infographic that makes you proud.
  24. List. Don’t ignore this age-old, can’t-miss tactic for communicating fascinating, useful content.
  25. Acronym. Spell out an acronym or abbreviation, with pictures, of course, and you’ll have a double-whammy simplification of a robust idea.

Grow your audience with infographics

Which type of infographic will you make to reach and educate a larger audience?

Share your thoughts about incorporating infographics into your content strategy over on Google+.

Editor’s note: If you found this post useful, we recommend that you read How to Make Winning Infographics Without Risk by Demian Farnworth.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Saad Faruque.

About the Author: Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative and provides clients content marketing strategies that rock and creative that rolls. Barry also authors "Content Marketing Minds" at Social Media Today, and he was recently named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by Online Marketing Institute and one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. He recently released a comprehensive strategic workbook "The Planner for Growing Your Business with Effective Online Marketing." If you would like a piece of his mind, visit his blog, The Point.

The post 25 Ideas to Transform Ho-Hum Infographics into Something Extraordinary appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/25-infographic-ideas/feed/ 0 25 Infographic Ideas That Transform Your Customary Content Into Magnetizing Hits google-infographics visual-creatures information-overload
How to Stand Out in a World of Dull Podcasts http://www.copyblogger.com/smart-podcast/ http://www.copyblogger.com/smart-podcast/#respond Mon, 13 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=43843 Think about this for a moment. Your favorite podcasts. This American Life. WTF with Marc Maron. Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income. Every single one of them started at the bottom. Every single one of them started in obscurity. Every single one of them started without an audience. It’s hard to believe. Over 25 years ago, at

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post How to Stand Out in a World of Dull Podcasts appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

black and white cityscape

Think about this for a moment. Your favorite podcasts.

This American Life.

WTF with Marc Maron.

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income.

Every single one of them started at the bottom. Every single one of them started in obscurity. Every single one of them started without an audience.

It’s hard to believe. Over 25 years ago, at age 19, Ira Glass was an intern at NPR, and a terrible writer. It took him, he confesses, eight years to learn how to effectively structure a story. Now he hosts a show with nearly two million weekly listeners.

Marc Maron was a late-30-something comedian, twice divorced, holding the record for most guest spots on Late Night with Conan O’Brien as his only claim to fame when he started his podcast — a somewhat desperate gig considering the fact he’d just been fired from his job.

He now regularly boasts the number one podcast in comedy on iTunes.

As a “Job Captain” at an architecture firm in Southern California, Pat Flynn loved his job and enjoyed life. Until he got laid off. That event, devastating for sure, turned out to benefit Flynn.

He decided to work for himself and launched a podcast, which has become a top-ranked business podcast on iTunes featured in the New York Times.

Three people. Three podcasts. Three success stories. All from normal people like you.

Life before podcasts

In the past, when we were young, restless, and abrupt, we all started with a blog, perhaps one that was free. Or we bit the bullet and bought a paid version, something like Typepad.

Every day we dutifully published a post — sounding off on the circus called politics, or sharing our everyday traumas, or teaching others a new skill.

Blogs were a boon for both the shy and the verbose. Then, around 2004, along came the podcast. Now we could use audio to share our opinions, dramas, and skills.

Former MTV host Adam Curry, smitten by the new technology, doubled down on podcasts. In fact, he launched iPodder.org, a platform that allowed you to easily subscribe to shows.

But alas, the idea was before its time and quietly boiled away in the background. Seems even with an app like iPodder.org, downloading episodes was still a clunky process.

We weren’t ready for podcasts until smartphones — with the ability to stream or download on the spot — saturated the market.

Introducing the rebirth of podcasts

Once the technology caught up with the concept, podcasts took off again. So much so that audio is now a foundational content format that provides you with the opportunity to tap into large distribution networks like iTunes and Stitcher.

See, if you only write on a blog, you are invisible to the audiences on these other networks.

But if you start a podcast, you become visible to these large networks, and you can also enhance your podcast’s visibility by publishing the transcript online. And why not do this when audio is relatively cheap to create. How cheap?

Jerod Morris and I produce The Lede podcast with a couple of decent microphones through Skype or Google Hangouts. Jerod edits with GarageBand, a free app from Apple. We then publish to iTunes and Stitcher. The cost is in our time and a small fee for the transcript. Everything else is free.

The one thing your podcast must have

Perhaps you’ve reached a stage in your life where you are ready to do something for yourself. You have a story to tell. A business idea you want to cultivate. Opinions about music that must be heard.

If you don’t have an audience, consider building one with a podcast. Your finished audio product will give you text to publish on a blog, too. (Just keep in mind that once you churn out the transcript, it’s best to polish it up for readability, since transcripts often aren’t publication quality, or even proofread.)

The beauty of this approach is that you create two pieces of content that honor two different learning styles — in half the time. Anyone who can speak can do this. But there is one thing your podcast must have: structure.

Rambling is a no-no. There are only a few people in the world who can go off script and keep a podcast interesting. And while it may seem they are off script, the truth is they just prepared intensely for the podcast.

Howard Stern, for example, can get away with it because in reality he doesn’t ramble. His experience and preparation carry the interviews right along. The same goes for world-class interviewers like Katie Couric, Jim Lehrer, and Dick Cavett.

Preparation is everything when you create media. It not only serves your audience, who does not want to listen to a rambling mess (no matter how authentic you think it is), preparation also serves you.

Giving your podcast structure and order makes it easier to convert into other formats. As Brain Clark said:

Many, many people are able to create fantastic content and create audiences and end up with content that can be repurposed into other formats by doing audio interviews.

But it can be tough to get the right people on your show, especially when you’re just starting out.

How to get superstars on your show

Most people in your industry with even a smidgen of reputation will be happy to jump on an interview. Doing an interview for a podcast is the equivalent to the academic world of logrolling: “I’ll give you a nice blurb about your book if you do that for me.”

It’s the trading of favors. The interviewee gets exposed to a new audience (the interviewer’s) while the interviewer gets exposed to a new audience, too. More than likely, the interviewee will share the finished product with her social media crowd.

Money is never discussed; money is never exchanged.

But when you go up the food chain, the game changes. Industry leaders have floods of requests from analysts, reporters, and podcasters. Everyone wants a piece of their time. But no one seems to have a budget.

Giving our time freely for interviews is an odd phenomenon in an economy where it is assumed we trade time for money. If you want something from me — my time, my experience, my results — you will have to pay me for that.

No one bats an eye at this expectation (unless you charge outlandish fees). As we all like to say, “I have a family to feed.”

This is important when you start a podcast. While interviewing industry players can help you build a body of work, it probably won’t lead to any breakthrough. In fact, it often leads to a humdrum echo chamber.

Your breakthrough won’t occur until you snag that talk with an unreachable industry authority. Then people will pay attention. And, more than likely, pay money for the content.

A classic example of the value of great content

Let me give you an example of why this actually makes a lot of sense.

great-content

Two guys who paid $100,000 for the rights to Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich, before it landed in the public domain, started Guthy-Renker – a powerhouse direct response company and pioneer of ethical infomercials with $2 billion a year in sales.

You are probably saying to yourself, “That’s a classic book. Everyone has read it. They probably drained their life savings for that. What a stupid gamble.”

Truth is, not everyone has read it. There was still a huge, thirsty market for Hill’s ideas. With those rights in hand, Guthy and Renker created an infomercial starring Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton.

They made $10 million off that one commercial.

Clearly, it was a smart move and money well spent. Given that, paying an expert a reasonable hourly fee to provide you with content seems like a smart move, too — one way to distinguish yourself from the ordinary crowd of podcasts.

Here’s the magic of this approach

Once you have great content and the rights to use it as your intellectual property, which is what Guthy-Renker did, you could:

  • Give it away as an asset pillar.
  • Put that content behind a paywall as part of a content library.
  • Use the transcripts to create an ebook you can sell.
  • Send interviews monthly as part of a private members email newsletter.
  • Create a video tutorial.
  • Design an infographic around the ideas discussed in the podcast.

And so on.

Your turn

The hard part is getting people on your show if you don’t have an audience. But once you have an audience, people will ask you if they can be on your show.

How do you prompt the catalyst? What do you have to do to hit that breakthrough — to crack the top 10 on iTunes in your category?

Paying a few rock stars to appear on your podcast might just do the trick.

The lesson of this article is that paying for great content is worth it down the road.

That’s because as long as you obtain the rights to your audio, which can be accomplished with a very simple release guests should sign if you pay them, then you can use (and monetize) the content however you choose.

That’s a smart strategy in a world full of ordinary podcasts.

Whom would you like to have as a guest on your podcast?

How would his or her expertise serve your audience?

If you don’t currently have a podcast, what’s stopping you from starting one?

Share your thoughts over in the discussion on Google+ …

And if you would like to learn more about this approach to podcasting, check out our New Rainmaker course — a two-week training opportunity that will teach you how to create the type of media your customers will love.

Click here to register for the free course.

About the author

Demian Farnworth


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

The post How to Stand Out in a World of Dull Podcasts appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/smart-podcast/feed/ 0 How to Be Smart in a World of Dull Podcasts great-content
Authority 2015: Daniel Pink, Sally Hogshead, and Punk Legend Henry Rollins http://www.copyblogger.com/authority-2015/ http://www.copyblogger.com/authority-2015/#respond Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44638 This last May, we held our first live event. Authority Intensive featured a personally-curated group of speakers in a single-track format to a sold-out house, with an emphasis on the fundamentals of design, content, traffic, and conversion. I must say, it was a personal highlight of this crazy adventure we’ve been on since I started

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post Authority 2015: Daniel Pink, Sally Hogshead, and Punk Legend Henry Rollins appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

This last May, we held our first live event. Authority Intensive featured a personally-curated group of speakers in a single-track format to a sold-out house, with an emphasis on the fundamentals of design, content, traffic, and conversion.

I must say, it was a personal highlight of this crazy adventure we’ve been on since I started Copyblogger back in 2006. The privilege of having Seth Godin, Ann Handley, Darren Rowse, Joanna Wiebe, Bryan Eisenberg, and many other of my industry favorites speak at an event we hosted was both amazing and humbling.

So naturally, I have a really high bar to exceed for the next show. Let me know what you think about this keynote group (which is just for starters).

Bigger, Better … Smarter

As Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction would say, “That’s a bold statement.”

The feedback from the first show, which sold out months in advance, was phenomenal. The cool thing for me was that I got to choose the speakers and introduce each of them, simply as a fan – and the audience got all the benefit.

You can see the highlights from last year here. In reality, however, all 2014 really did was embolden me to take my fan boy aspirations to the next level.

And that’s what I’ve done, starting with our 2015 keynote speakers:

Daniel Pink

Dan is the serial New York Times bestselling author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. And don’t forget Dan’s first bestseller, Free Agent Nation, which featured yours truly from my earliest days of content marketing in the late ’90s.

Back in 2000, I was thrilled to meet Dan at the Magnolia Cafe in Austin to be interviewed for his first book, and now I’m exceptionally proud to welcome him as the opening keynote of Authority 2015. I can assure you that after his presentation, you’ll never look at “selling” the same way again.

Sally Hogshead

Sally is the bestselling author of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation and her latest How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination. Sally rose to the top of the advertising profession writing ads that fascinated millions of consumers, and she now specializes in measuring how people perceive the way you communicate in order to find your winning difference.

Sally’s presentation will focus on how to identify your unique positioning as a content creator. And the cool thing is that she believes the greatest value you can add is to become more of yourself.

Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins — lead singer of seminal punk pioneers Black Flag, then later heading the breakthrough Rollins Band. Author and founder of his own publishing house, and an enthralling spoken-word artist. And then, naturally … print, film, radio, and television personality.

So other than being the coolest thing ever, why is Henry Rollins speaking at a content marketing conference? Because content marketing is do it yourself media, and Henry has done DIY media in a way that makes us all look like slackers.

Black Flag recorded, financed, and distributed their own records, set up and promoted their own shows, and created their own merchandise. Henry published his own books (nearly 30 at last count) on his own imprint, and toured the world multiple times as a spoken-word artist under his own initiative.

And then he said “why not” to the world of traditional media. With all due respect to the late James Brown, Rollins remains the hardest working man in modern show business, and he will absolutely get you fired up about your own new media efforts.

Here Comes the Rain …

In 2015 the event is called Authority Rainmaker, for obvious reasons. And we’ve changed venue to the magnificent Ellie Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver, Colorado, to accommodate a larger audience.

There will once again be amazing food, fantastic parties, and exceptional networking. And naturally we’ve got some amazing hotel deals for you as well.

Best of all is the Super Early Bird pricing you can take advantage of right now. Don’t wait to pay more, or worse, get left out when it sells out:

Reserve your spot at Authority Rainmaker 2015 today.

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 Authority 2015: Daniel Pink, Sally Hogshead, and Punk Legend Henry Rollins appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/authority-2015/feed/ 0 Authority 2015: Daniel Pink, Sally Hogshead, and Punk Legend Henry Rollins
Build Your List and Make Your Audience Love You with Recurring Content Events http://www.copyblogger.com/recurring-content-event/ http://www.copyblogger.com/recurring-content-event/#respond Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44559 You know the drill: another day, another piece of content to connect with your audience. You churn out post after post, social media update after social media update — typing, typing, typing all the way. It reminds me a little of this classic Dunkin’ Donuts commercial. We’ve all felt like Fred the Baker from time

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post Build Your List and Make Your Audience Love You with Recurring Content Events appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

family watching television

You know the drill: another day, another piece of content to connect with your audience.

You churn out post after post, social media update after social media update — typing, typing, typing all the way.

It reminds me a little of this classic Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.

We’ve all felt like Fred the Baker from time to time — dragging ourselves to our keyboards to create yet another readable, but forgettable, post.

What if you could break the “time to make the donuts” cycle with an information-packed piece of content that readers would line up (and sign up) to consume?

Enter the content event

Content events aren’t blog posts, podcasts, newsletters, infographics, social media posts, or email newsletters.

Content events share a few things in common:

  • They happen on a specific date
  • You send out an invitation to attend
  • You gather RSVPs
  • You offer some kind of “replay” of the event
  • You follow up with attendees when the event is over

The most important characteristic of a content event is that it’s delivered live — like the upcoming Authority webinar, How to Create a Recurring Content Event that Builds Your List, which occurs this Friday, October 10 at 11:00 a.m Eastern Time.

Click here to register for this Authority master class

Content events create a level of excitement and engagement that goes beyond everyday content consumption.

Because they happen at a specific moment in time, both delivering and attending them feel like a special occasion.

Three types of content events

There are three events that qualify as live content events, and I’ve listed them below in order from simple to complex:

  • Live teleclasses
  • Live webinars
  • Live presentations

If you’ve never hosted a content event before, start with a teleclass. The technology is easy to manage, and you don’t have to create any slides.

Instead, you can focus on:

Deciding on the date for the event, and the technology you’ll use.
Find a date and time that works for your audience, and sign yourself up for a teleclass service. A good one to try if you’re just starting out is FreeConferenceCallHD.com.

Working on a compelling event name.
It’s essential to write an irresistible event name. Don’t be afraid to make a big promise and use a title that creates curiosity.

Pinning down your goal for the event.
Do you want to attract more people to your email list? Or do you want to offer a product or service after your presentation? Or do you simply want to communicate solid information and build your authority? (Why not aim for all three?)

Writing a series of invitations to the event.
Create a separate email list for the event, and as people sign up, set up your subsequent emails so they don’t go out to people who are already on the attendee list.

Preparing a follow-up email you’ll send after the event.
Have an email ready and waiting that you’ll use to deliver the replay of the event.

Assembling the material you’ll present.
Include an introduction, an overview of the information you’ll cover, a few main points, and a summary of the lessons taught during the event. If you want listeners to take a specific action, include a call to action at the end.

The basic preparation steps for a webinar and a presentation are similar: focus on your goal, invite attendees, present, and follow up.

Maximize your content event results

To boost the number of attendees at your content event, try a multi-pronged promotional strategy:

  • Email marketing, to invite current members of your email list to attend
  • Blog posts, to reach a wider audience
  • Social media posts, to reach friends of your followers

To boost your attendee numbers even more, consider:

  • Asking colleagues with similar audiences to mention your event to their followers
  • Buying social media ads to get your event in front of more people
  • Writing guest posts with an invitation to the content event in your bio blurb

Don’t be shocked if you spend as much, or more, time putting together the promotional materials for your event as you do putting together the material you’ll teach during the event itself!

Running a content event is like planning a dinner party. You spend days — maybe weeks — planning, prepping, inviting, and following up on invites. The event itself comes and goes relatively quickly.

But if you do it right, the effects of your content event will be felt for a long time. And your audience will appreciate that this time you went beyond making donuts.


Discover how content events build your list

During this Friday’s Authority webinar at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, we’ll take a detailed look at how to plan, structure, and follow up after an event so you enjoy the lasting positive effects content events offer.

How to Create a Recurring Content Event that Builds Your List is free for Authority members. You just need to log in to Authority to sign up.

Not a member? Try Authority risk-free to get exclusive webinars like this one nearly every week of the year, along with ongoing networking opportunities, discounts, and education.

See you Friday, October 10 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern!

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Paul Townsend.

About the author

Pamela Wilson


Pamela Wilson is Director of Special Projects at Copyblogger Media. Follow her on Twitter or Google+, and find more from her at BigBrandSystem.com.

The post Build Your List and Make Your Audience Love You with Recurring Content Events appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/recurring-content-event/feed/ 0 Build Your List by Creating Special Occasions for Your Readers With Recurring Content Events
How to Ignite a Feeling in Your Audience http://www.copyblogger.com/lede-ignite-audience/ http://www.copyblogger.com/lede-ignite-audience/#respond Tue, 07 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44070 Articulating the goal of content marketing, a wise man once wrote: You lift prospects out of their ordinary worlds and invite them to consider a journey that ultimately leads to a transaction. Easy to say. Not so easy to do. We know that to lift our audience members out of their ordinary worlds we need

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post How to Ignite a Feeling in Your Audience appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

The Lede Podcast logo

Articulating the goal of content marketing, a wise man once wrote:

You lift prospects out of their ordinary worlds and invite them to consider a journey that ultimately leads to a transaction.

Easy to say. Not so easy to do.

We know that to lift our audience members out of their ordinary worlds we need to tell a compelling story — a story in which the audience member sees himself or herself in the role of hero while we play the role of mentor.

But how do we get from Point A (the concept) to Point B (the actual story that takes an audience on a transformative journey that results in a transaction)?

You’ll find out on this week’s episode of The Lede.

That wise man I mentioned above? He’s here to explain how.

It’s a technique you’re surely familiar with … but are you using it?

In this episode, Demian Farnworth and I discuss:

  • How to use storyboarding to create engaging content
  • Why storytelling makes you stand out from your competition
  • The single most important part of a good story (that many people forget)
  • How to uncover a narrative
  • Why it’s important to stay open-minded about your hypothesis
  • What the storyboarding process actually looks like, step by step

We’ll also provide videos about storyboarding for you to check out next.

Listen to The Lede …

To listen, 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 us a tweet with your thoughts anytime: @JerodMorris and @DemianFarnworth.

And please tell us the most important point you took away from this latest episode. Do so by joining the discussion over at 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 Podcast: How to Ignite a Feeling in Your Audience

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

At the end of our last episode, I suggested that you grab the free New Rainmaker content library while it’s still free. It’s seven lessons and three webinars by Brian Clark that teach you how to generate a flood of new business with the power of your digital media platform.

Let me give you that link again: It’s newrainmaker.com/register. Don’t procrastinate, because at some point this won’t be free anymore.

And speaking of generating business with a digital media platform, it all starts by having the right content strategy in place. Which is what Demian Farnworth and I are in the midst of talking about here on The Lede.

Here is part two of our three-part series on content strategy.

In our last episode, we discussed the importance of identifying and understanding the worldviews of your audience. What does your audience believe about the world? And more importantly, why? And what can you do with this information?

Today we take the next step. Once you are able to empathize with your audience, you are ready to connect with your audience. And within the context of content marketing, that means connecting in a way that gets your audience to know you, to like you, to trust you, and ultimately to buy from you.

In other words, in the words of Demian Farnworth in fact, you want to ignite a feeling that inspires a commercial transaction. You want to, as Demian wrote on Copyblogger, “lift your prospects out of their ordinary world and invite them to consider a journey that ultimately leads to a transaction.”

But I suppose I can stop quoting Demian now, since he’s on the other end of the line, and let him speak for himself. So Mr. Farnworth, it all sounds great, but how do you do it? How do you bridge the gap between understanding your audience and igniting a feeling within them?

Create engaging content with storyboarding

Demian Farnworth: Igniting a feeling that inspires a commercial transaction. That’s content marketing at its best. You have a prospect who’s hell-bent on finding what she wants and she has an agenda, and that agenda probably doesn’t include you, so you have to create content which engages her.

You have to create a series, a blog series, that answers her most pressing needs or satisfies her curiosity, and you have to do it in a manner that appeals to the way she thinks, feels, and acts.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, ultimately: storyboarding.

It’s a gentle, non-threatening way to open up the relationship, one where you respect your prospect, and ultimately your prospect recognizes and respects your authority, and then she eventually, ultimately, views spending money with you as a sound investment.

So we talk about storyboarding. We talked about the worldview. We talked about the idea of understanding who your audience is, understanding your customer, and how she thinks about the world. That’s the big picture. And so with this, we’re going to create a narrative which relates to her, which resonates with her.

And a lot of times, probably any fan, any reader of Copyblogger, has heard us use the term “Hero’s Journey” before. It’s a framework that we use that basically says every great marketing story has a hero, has a goal, has an obstacle, has a mentor, and ultimately has a moral.

And The Hero’s Journey, that framework, is really an abbreviated version of Joseph Campbell’s idea of The Hero’s Journey that he wrote about in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. So the question you have to ask is why is this important? Why use this framework and not another one?

Jerod: Can I back up for one second, Demian?

Demian: Yeah, go ahead.

Jerod: The Hero’s Journey, which you’re right, that’s something that we’ve used so often on Copyblogger. And in that framework it’s very important to understand who the hero is.

Within that framework, and within this context of content marketing that we’re talking about, who is the hero in that journey?

Demian: The hero is the customer, right? The idea with The Hero’s Journey is your customer is the hero. She has a goal. She wants to see a better version of herself, but there is some obstacle that is keeping her back from that goal.

You, as the business, then have to come in as the mentor and guide her towards that. Help her to overcome or teach her to overcome those obstacles to reach her goal, as Sonia so elegantly positions in her article on this topic.

She says that it’s important that you don’t do it for her. It’s important that she struggles through the obstacle herself. You just give her the tools.

Obi-Wan Kenobi did not defeat the dark side; he just introduced Luke Skywalker to his goal, what he needed to do. So the business is the mentor, and you teach them, and the moral is basically telling them what they need to do next.

Why storytelling makes you stand out from your competition

Jerod: So if I may play devil’s advocate here for a second: Why do we have to go through all of this? We’re selling widgets, or we’re selling some kind of course, or we’re selling this, that, or the other. Why can’t we just give people the features? What they’ll learn? Kind of tell them the facts.

Why do we have to go through all of this storytelling and all of the defining heroes, and doing all this stuff to, like you said, ignite that feeling?

Demian: Here’s what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with an idea called content shock. It was Mark Schaefer who kind of framed that idea, but it’s not a new idea. He didn’t come up with this, and it’s not something that’s new to content marketing.

All this idea of content shock is that we have so much information coming at us it’s become a cliché, almost. But this has been true throughout history: We always have more information than we can consume, and so we’re kind of flooded with all of this information.

So your job is to stand out within that content shock, within that information, and so you have to create a narrative. You have to create your marketing story that people recognize, because the thing is, people can — there are so many smart people out there who have pretty much already presented the facts in a pretty straightforward manner.

They said, “This is what you need to know, and here’s how you do it.” So if you’re coming in behind that, the market’s already saturated — you have a commodity. Well, you have to build a story around that commodity in order to rise above the noise and get noticed.

For example, I wrote a series on native advertising, and I noticed as I went through all my research that there were a lot of very smart people who already kind of covered the topic, but they simply just presented the facts.

I needed to figure out a way to present the information we were going to give to our readers through a story, some sort of narrative, so that they saw themselves as the hero, they saw the goal, they recognized the obstacle, and we helped them overcome that obstacle.

Then we told them what to do next. And so that’s why it’s important to have some sort of framework.

If you don’t use The Hero’s Journey, and there are lots of storytelling arcs out there that you can get a hold of and use — as long as you have some sort of scaffolding, that’s important. As long as you’re telling some sort of story, and the scaffolding helps you tell that particular story.

Jerod: So you’re saying that even though there is so much content out there — it seems like 10 billion blog posts published every day — there is still a way to be heard above the noise if you do something new, something compelling, something that has some kind of narrative arc or something that grabs an audience member.

You’re saying you can still make a difference and get your content seen and read and respected if you do that?

The single most important part of a good story (that many people forget)

Demian: Absolutely. I mean, think about Copyblogger. Brian Clark kind of entered this field back in 2006. He didn’t share anything original. What he was teaching wasn’t original. It had been taught before. He just took it and presented it in a different format, in a story that the audience he wanted to attract recognized and that resonated with them.

For example, that audience was those who were both direct-response copywriting killers, but plus the poetic misfit side of things. That’s why he used a lot of references to Depeche Mode, to punk rock, to Nirvana, to Boston, all these cultural references, which brought what he was doing above what had already been said.

And we can all do this, and it’s the same thing. A lot of what really happens, how this happens naturally for people, is presenting their personality, and presenting their own story.

And people hear that story, and then they say, “That’s a lot like my story,” and so they come around, and they get very interested in what you’re doing.

Jerod: Storytelling to me is interesting because I think it’s actually more simple than a lot of people think, but it’s not as easy, necessarily, as people may think. So talk about this process of telling the story, and how you organize it to tell it in a compelling way.

Demian: Right. Storytelling is difficult because really, we think that we have a character, and then the common mistake people have is they forget the conflict part of it. The princess who becomes the great ballerina is not a story; it’s an observation.

What you have to do, though, is create a story in which there is a conflict that is meaningful to your customer, to your audience. So the process that I use, and I try to teach other people to use, is this idea of storyboarding. But what it really begins with is this idea of who is your ideal audience. And it always begins with that.

Discover your ideal audience

You will hear us probably sound like a broken record. It’s the only song we will ever sing. But you have to know your audience before you do anything, and in the next episode we’ll talk about some ways to understand this audience, including using what we call the empathy map.

But first, discover your ideal audience. Then form your hunch. As you’re sort of picking up and learning about your audience, you’ll begin to know them. You’ll begin to think about them. You’ll start to sort of make predictions about who they are and how they respond to certain things, and then what you need to do is then form your hunch.

Sort of create a theory about who these people are. Then you need to go do some research, right, and figure out if your hunch is true.

For example, when I was doing the native advertising series, I had a hunch that most people in the marketing world — even in the marketing world — didn’t know what native advertising was. So I had to do some research, and I searched in search engines, did topical keyword research. I conducted a few interviews.

But ultimately, the main source of all that information came from a survey that we did in which we had over 2,100 respondents telling us, basically, what I figured was true — that not a lot of people knew about it.

So you gather that information about your audience, form your hunch, then you pull all your resources together, and then you create a narrative.

Uncover a narrative through storyboarding

So this process looks like this: This is where the storyboarding idea comes in. You pull your resources together, you make Post-it notes. If you have a large whiteboard, put those on the whiteboard, or use a dry-erase marker. Create this list of categories.

Start to systematically work through your notes, putting all this information on the board. And then from that, you need to create a narrative. Now, the interesting thing is, and this is where the storyboarding idea comes from. The storyboarding is basically creating the movie before you actually even create the movie.

This was a technique actually developed by Disney in their animation films, and Andrew Adamson, who is the director of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Shrek 2, said that storyboarding is an expensive writing tool because you are going through every single scene and creating the movie, right?

You’re creating the animation. Creating the short video. But really, ultimately, what it is — it’s a really inexpensive production tool. Because when you storyboard something, this comes all down to preparation. If you storyboard something, you’ll learn whether it’s a viable idea before you ever actually put any real, heavy-duty money into it.

So you create the storyboard, and you don’t have to be a great artist to do this, either. Just simple sketches to help you work through that. The idea of storyboarding really, in our sense if you’re creating, say, a blog series, is just saying: “Okay. How is all of this information going to fit in the long run?”

Because when I was doing that native advertising, and that Google+ authorship series last year, I had a ton of information and I had to sort through it and make it meaningful.

It had to have some sort of meaningful sequence work through it so people could relate to it, and people could view it and recognize it as something that’s been repackaged and repurposed in a new way, and a more interesting way, hopefully, too, ultimately. Because that’s what you’re after — that story.

And so you create this narrative, and then you ultimately find the hook. And I’ve said this before: The hook for the native advertising series was this idea of the old guard journalist fighting against this new advertising revenue, but it’s actually an old story.

And in the Google+ series, it was this idea of Hunter S. Thompson: The idea of not wanting to fall into obscurity, but using writing to put a stamp on the world. To put your own little dent in the universe, and Google authorship could have helped do that. They’ve since pulled that, so it’s a moot point.

But find the hook, and then you can repurpose this content ultimately, and we’ll talk about this later in future podcasts too. But we’ll ultimately repurpose that content, so you’re creating this narrative, and once you have this narrative and you figure out how, say, this blog series is going to roll out, then you can think about what’s next.

How am I going to create that infographic? All right. How about a podcast series? How would that look? And almost all the work for those other formats is done for you. So it’s really easy.

People might think there’s a lot of preparation behind doing this storyboarding thing, but the thing is, once you do the early work, you can kind of relax after that because a lot of the work is already done for you for those other formats, for which you can then roll off the content.

Stay open-minded about your hypothesis

Jerod: So a couple of quick comments here. Number one, I want to go back to what you said about forming your hunch, because I think it’s very important.

You start out with this hunch, this hypothesis, but as you go through you also have to be open-minded to the fact that you may be wrong, and it’s okay. You, and your post on this, which we’ll link in the show notes, quote Brian Clark when you said:

You effectively need to grill yourself on your own assumptions and expectations of how you think this particular idea or industry or content marketing approach is going to go. Then you need to effectively try to disprove yourself. There is no fault or crime in being wrong, as long as you find out you’re wrong before it’s too late.

So I just want to underscore that point — how important it is to be open-minded and to let the research tell the story, as opposed to just trying to tell the story you want to tell, even if what you’re finding out is suggesting something else.

The storyboarding process, step by step

And then the other thing that I want to ask, Demian, as we start to wrap this up, is about your process when it comes to storyboarding. You know, I’ve seen the picture of your big whiteboard, kind of just the mad scientist writing everywhere, and all that.

So what exactly is your process, and maybe what can you suggest to other folks who are listening, about how to actually go about doing this actual process of storyboarding?

Demian: For the online research, I save a lot of my notes on Evernote. I’ll be reading articles, and I will copy selections from those articles, save those to Evernote, and just do that over as much research as I possibly can.

If I’m reading a book, I’ve got into the habit of making notes in the book. I’ll put little ticklers there to show me where to go back, and then I’ll actually go back to that book and then copy those lines out into Evernote so I have a list of the quotes out of that book.

Then I take all that information and I sit down at my laptop in front of my blank whiteboard, and then I just start systematically writing out these notes, trying to piece them together.

Because you’ll come across, with the native advertising series for example, there were several themes that kept coming up, but there were some things that would lead me astray. So I had to see the patterns and create categories on the board, and then take that information.

From one article, if they were saying “X,” I would take “X” and put that underneath “Category A.” But in the same article they were saying “B and Y,” and I’d take that and put that under “Category B.” To systematically do that, and to try to fit things into categories.

And then after I have all that information, and I’ve double-checked and gone through all my sources, I will then look at the board and think about how this is going to flow.

What’s the narrative flow? What’s the story behind this? What’s the obstacle? I try to think of what the hero is thinking. What is the goal behind the native advertising? What’s the goal behind Google+? Why should anybody — why should our customer care — for that matter?

So I start asking these questions and thinking about how I, as a mentor, how us, Copyblogger, as a mentor, can then help walk people through this new information and help them navigate this new information.

And then from there, on the board, I will start moving things around, and I’ll either erase things, or put arrows, or sometimes there’ll be sticky notes that I can just move — whatever process.

I like to draw. I’m a tactile learner, so I like to use my hands. I like the feeling of having a dry-erase marker in my hand and marking things on the board, and sometimes drawing, sort of picturing what I’m doing.

So I have this flow, I have this picture, this sort of blossoming story that’s unfolding before me, and it’s a big mess at first. But then slowly, over time, I can kind of move that and sculpt it into a single, flowing outline — that’s what this eventually becomes.

From this case, it was a blog series. You can do this for individual articles, you can do this for a podcast, you can do this for a video. The storyboarding helps in any of those formats.

Additional resources: storyboarding videos

Jerod: You know, doing a podcast about storyboarding is kind of an ironic choice, because it’s such a visual activity. And we have three or four videos here that we’re going to link in the show notes that people can watch about storyboarding.

Any final thoughts about those videos to guide the listeners as they watch them?

Demian: Yeah. I would just say I found the purpose of storyboarding, the history of it, interesting, but the thing to take note is — this is, again — that this idea of storyboarding helps you in whatever you’re creating — whether it is a video shoot, whether it’s a podcast series, or an infographic.

It can help you outline how that looks. A lot of these are short. They’re anywhere from two to 13 minutes. So take your time, look through them. It’s just helpful.

And I think the other thing, too, that’s helped me in the past is I’ve read a number of books on the act of actually writing a novel, or writing a screenplay, and there are a number of books out there on doing that you can pick up.

The point is trying to develop a sense of how a story works. What makes a story work are the conflicts, the emotions, and finding out what those building blocks are and working from there to form your own marketing story.

Jerod: Well, thank you as always for your insight, Demian, and we will talk in a couple of weeks for part three of the series on content strategy.

Demian: Looking forward to it, man. Thank you.

Jerod: Thank you very much for tuning in to this episode of The Lede. We sure hope that you enjoyed the episode, and that you’re enjoying this series. And if you did, and if you are, we hope that you’ll consider leaving us a rating or a review on iTunes.

And don’t forget, you can listen to The Lede on Stitcher as well. Just go to copyblogger.com/stitcher, and it will redirect you to The Lede page on Stitcher.

We’ll be back in two weeks with the third and final installment in our series on content strategy, and we’re actually going to be taking a step back, because we’re not done learning about our audiences yet.

In fact, there is one specific strategy for getting to know our audience that we haven’t even covered yet, but that is invaluable. What is it? Tune in to our next episode to find out.

*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?

The post How to Ignite a Feeling in Your Audience appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/lede-ignite-audience/feed/ 0 How to Ignite a Feeling in Your Audience
The Rainmaker Reseller Program: Come See What All the Fuss Is About http://www.copyblogger.com/pubcon-2014/ http://www.copyblogger.com/pubcon-2014/#respond Mon, 06 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.copyblogger.com/?p=44379 Content marketing works. This is no longer up for debate. Granted, there are no shortcuts. You have to publish useful content that stands out above the noise, you have to do it consistently over the long haul, and your content strategy needs to place you into a particular kind of role relative to your audience.

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post The Rainmaker Reseller Program: Come See What All the Fuss Is About appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

Welcome to Las Vegas sign

Content marketing works. This is no longer up for debate.

Granted, there are no shortcuts. You have to publish useful content that stands out above the noise, you have to do it consistently over the long haul, and your content strategy needs to place you into a particular kind of role relative to your audience.

When you do all of this, content marketing works and you give yourself an unfair business advantage.

But there’s one major problem with content marketing.

Guesses?

The problem with content marketing

Creating spectacular content — the kind that gets heard above the din — requires time, effort, and resources. (Just like everything else.)

Which means that if you want to get more out of your content, you have to put more time, effort, and resources into your content creation.

And if you put more time, effort, and resources into your content creation, then you take time, effort, and resources away from something else. Inevitably, that something else — most likely your primary business model — is going to suffer.

See the problem? It’s a big one for an online businessperson.

  • You want to dive in and write a new ebook for lead generation … but you also have to factor in the money and time it will take to add the functionality to your website to sell the ebook or use it for list building
  • You’re pumped to start producing that podcast your audience would love … but you can’t deal with the production details (and how the hell do you get all the meta information to iTunes, anyway?)
  • Your email newsletter is popular with a small group of subscribers … but you don’t know the first thing about designing a landing page to take it to the next level

See what I mean?

On one side is content, and on the other is technology and development — a constant battle for your time, effort, and resources.

Unless … perhaps you could find a way to lessen the time, effort, and resources necessary to manage the technology and development aspect of your content marketing.

You could really make it rain then, couldn’t you?

The next level

Now imagine this: Instead of being one person with one or a few sites, you are the person or agency that other people go to as a development resource for the tool that solves the aforementioned content marketing conundrum.

That’s a model that can truly scale … if you have the site deployment and management infrastructure in place.

Because, again, it all comes down to time, effort, and resources.

The more time, effort, and resources you have to expend on repeated tasks like migrating changes from a staging site to a live site, the less time, effort, and resources you have to provide value-add work for your current clients and, of course, acquire new clients (which means more revenue).

So there are questions you’ll need the right answers to. Questions like:

  • Is there a convenient staging environment that can be linked to a live site?
  • Is there a way to create design and configuration templates?
  • Is it possible to manage the access levels different members of your team have for different sites?

Find the tool that solves the problem with content marketing, and the reseller program that solves the infrastructure problem, and you’re two giant steps ahead of the game.

Read on. I’ve got an announcement you’ll be interested in …

What’s all the fuss about?

Unless this is your first visit to Copyblogger, you already know that Rainmaker is the solution to the content marketing quandary I laid out above.

It simplifies a content marketer’s world by allowing you to do more with WordPress with less hassle and less cost (the time, effort, and resources I mentioned above).

But it gets better.

Under wraps until now, the Rainmaker Reseller program will make its first public appearance tomorrow in Las Vegas. (Britney Spears, please move to the side stage.)

At 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, after I take a select group of Copyblogger friends and curious invitees on a tour of the Rainmaker Platform, we will lift the veil on the Rainmaker Reseller program. The people in that room will get a sneak peek at the fabulous technological features, plus first dibs on the limited space available for the initial beta launch.

If the Rainmaker Platform empowers a content marketer to make it rain (and it does), then the Rainmaker Reseller program enables a web entrepreneur to create a downpour. I’m excited to explain how.

So if you’re in Las Vegas for PubCon, send a tweet to me (@JerodMorris), Jessica (@renewabelle), or Sean (@seanthinks) — or just look for us. We’ll get you an invitation to the presentation.

And did I mention that we’re giving a full year of Authority ($399 value) and a ticket to our 2015 Authority Rainmaker conference ($1,500+ value) away? If you make it into the room, you’re entered.

Hope to see you there.

If you’re not at PubCon, don’t worry. We’ll be releasing more information soon about the Rainmaker Reseller program. For now, watch this interview Brian Clark did with Carrie Dils. It will whet your appetite for what’s to come.

One more thing …

Before I go, I feel duty bound to implore you not to miss what’s coming on the blog this week.

We have a new episode of The Lede tomorrow, a killer post about creating recurring content events by Pamela Wilson on Wednesday, and an article about creating a memorable podcast by Demian Farnworth on Friday.

Oh, and on Thursday … Brian Clark will reveal who the keynote speakers will be at the 2015 Authority Rainmaker conference. You won’t want to miss this — let’s just say a dream is coming true for Brian next May.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via James Marvin Phelps.

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?

The post The Rainmaker Reseller Program: Come See What All the Fuss Is About appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/pubcon-2014/feed/ 0 The Rainmaker Reseller Program: Come See What All the Fuss Is About
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

[ Continue Reading... ]

The post The Copyblogger Editorial Team’s 10 Must-Have Tools To Ensure a Smooth Workday appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>

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.

The post The Copyblogger Editorial Team’s 10 Must-Have Tools To Ensure a Smooth Workday appeared first on Copyblogger.

]]>
http://www.copyblogger.com/must-have-tools/feed/ 0 The Copyblogger Editorial Team's 10 Must-Have Tools To Ensure a Smooth Workday