Monthly Archives: July 2016

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

I almost squealed with glee this week reading this stuff – my notebook is packed with awesome tips. Enjoy!

New Feature Alert: Facebook’s Latest Live Video Upgrades | Edgar

Targeting! *applauds*

So You Think You Chose to Read This Article? | BBC

Holy cow. The technology keeping up with social media trends and spitting out such specific information about what will work at what time for your audience is amazing. You might think you choose to read an article, but it’s likely someone’s posted it because a bot told them you’re the right reader at the right time.

Ranking #0: SEO for Answers | Moz

We used to covet the #1 spot in search – now it’s all about that featured snippet. So how do you get it? Moz reveals all!

A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction | QuickSprout

Because if you don’t catch a reader straight away (a bit like Pokemon, yeah?) they won’t stick around.

3 Secret Gmail Buttons to Guarantee Your Cold Emails Get Opened | Jeff Bullas

We’ve all been there – an email sent out of the blue and we never hear back. Well, no more!

coffee-cup-mug-desk

Take Back Your Time With These 10 Ready-Made Spreadsheet Templates (And Our Top Tips and Time-Savers) | Buffer

Buffer says “live smarter, not harder” and I love that – I also love their ready-made templates to help you keep on top of your working life.

How I Finished Writing My Book in 90 Days | Jeff Goins

Honestly, by the time we do work, life, perhaps study, the time we’ve got left over to write bigger projects like your next ebook, book, or ecourse, is ridiculously slim. I like seeing how other people manage it, and Sandy does so in 0nly 90 days! Amazing.

Notes on 6 Years of Blogging | Young Adventuress

A very human lookback on what blogging can bring – both good and bad.

The 18 Best Writing Tips You’ll Ever Read | Medium

It doesn’t matter how much you write, you’ll always want to know how to write better.

6 Tricks to Get More Traffic to Unpopular Blog Posts | Business2Community

We’ve all been there – we’ve written a post that fell flat. Love these ideas to revive it!

The post Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately? appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

What to Look for in a Professional Content Writer

how to identify a professional writer

Every business needs content. Not the bland, me-too nonsense that frequently clutters up our inboxes and feeds, but genuinely useful, interesting content.

Content that helps a business stand out amid the clutter and noise. Content that moves prospects closer to a sale. Content that can become a powerful differentiator for your company.

And businesses often have a tough time finding the writers who know how to create that type of content over time.

One of the reasons I think organizations struggle is that they don’t always know what qualities will make for a genuinely productive, profitable hire. And as you might guess, I have a few strong opinions about that.

So, here’s what I think you should look for when you need to hire a content professional to create the marketing that will move your business forward.

A professional content writer has a strong, confident writing voice

A strong, confident writing voice is essential.

Strategy, marketing, and persuasion techniques can be taught (that’s what we’re here for). Voice, on the other hand, develops over time and needs to come from within a creative, intelligent, sensitive human being.

While a solid writing voice can be developed over time (here’s how), your writer won’t ever get there without a lot of passion and commitment. Talent doesn’t hurt, either.

Look for a writer whose work is interesting, funny, smart, perceptive, and convincing. Look for someone whose writing you just like to read.

Some have it and some don’t. Insist on hiring the one who does.

A professional content writer has a solid grasp of spelling, grammar, and usage

Unless you have the bandwidth to add a content editor to your team, your writer needs to have a solid grasp of usage, spelling, and all those mundane issues that can make us look silly when we get them wrong.

Your writing candidates should get their feathers ruffled when someone uses it’s for its. Every writer occasionally makes a typo — but for a professional, that should be rare.

A professional content writer finds the intriguing angle

Well-crafted content is important — but if it’s not wrapped up in a fascinating package, it probably won’t get read or shared.

Strong content writers are capable and creative. They think about your topic in interesting ways. (Mainly because professional writers think about their topics all the time. Occupational hazard. Probably why we’re such odd birds.)

A pro knows how to deliver the usefulness that audiences need, but also wraps it up in unusual hooks and angles that will capture attention and engage curiosity.

A professional content writer understands the elements of content that sells

There are plenty of writers out there who can write a pleasing sentence or paragraph.

But a content professional also understands how content can move prospects smoothly down the path from stranger to interested prospect to delighted customer.

She understands headlines and why content gets shared. She knows what type of content works well in blog posts and what’s better saved for a landing page or an email message.

A professional content writer lives and breathes strategy. Which brings me to my next point …

A professional content writer can articulate why she’s using a particular content strategy

If you have a writer working for you, that person should be able to tell you precisely why she’s taken a particular angle with a blog post, video script, or white paper.

She can explain how your content program ties into your search strategy and why she’s using the number 8.4 in the headline, rather than rounding it up to 9.

Give her a chance and she’ll talk your ear off about the structure of bullet point fascinations, benefits over features, and the call to action.

The people who revel in this stuff are the ones who create compelling marketing content that builds your business. Whether or not you find it exciting, your writer needs to.

She needs to be able to tell you why, so your entire organization moves in the same direction.

(And on your part, you need to take the time to listen to those explanations. Don’t hire a pro and then second-guess every move she makes. If you want great content, you need to give your writer the space to craft that greatness.)

A professional content writer has a commitment to quality and ongoing education

If content is important to your business, you need a professional, not an interested amateur.

And one of the hallmarks of the professional is commitment. Commitment to getting better over time, to staying on top of developments in the field, to a lifetime of learning.

Raw talent to write is important, and an understanding of strategy is important. But you also want to find someone who takes the profession seriously — as a profession — and continues to sharpen and refine his skills.

From search algorithms to social platforms to what types of headlines are performing well these days — professional writers need to stay plugged in to what’s changing in our profession.

A serious content professional also takes the initiative to become an authority in the topics he writes about. He interviews experts (some of whom might be within your company), performs independent research, pores over industry journals, and talks with customers.

You can find that level of dedication in a freelancer who specializes in your industry, or you can build a long-term relationship with a strong content generalist who takes the time to develop that depth of knowledge about your individual company.

What you don’t want is a pennies-a-word person from one of the cheap freelance sites. They simply can’t make the commitment to learning your topic the way a true pro can.

Where do you find these content professionals?

I cheated when I wrote this post — because I went to the guidelines for our Certified Content Marketer application evaluations.

These are the qualities we look for when we’re assessing the work of writers seeking our Certification — and these are the qualities you’ll find in the writers who earn that badge.

We have a whole page dedicated to them — some serving specific niches like real estate or healthcare, and others who write across several industries.

A member of the Copyblogger editorial team takes a close look at each applicant’s writing. (I’m on the evaluation team as well.)

We look for the qualities I talked about above: a great writing voice — first and foremost — paired with strategy, professionalism, and straight-up marketing chops.

If you’re looking for a serious content professional, this is where you’ll find her or him. But don’t wait too long.

The perfect writer for your business would love to get started making your content program more successful … don’t let her slip away to some other company.


If you’re a writer who wants to become a Certified Content Marketer, our training program opens to new students next week …

But you can get in early if you add your email address below.

The Certified Content Marketer training program helps writers position themselves and their offerings, so that they can build profitable freelance writing businesses.

Find out when our Certified Content Marketer training program reopens:

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on November 12, 2014.

The post What to Look for in a Professional Content Writer appeared first on Copyblogger.

Email Marketing: The Permission Question and the Deliverability Answer

Permission is something that is discussed every day with our deliverability customers. They are always asking questions around what is and what isn’t acceptable. Senders want to understand who they can email, and how can they grow that list each and every day. The list of places where marketers are asking for permission also seems to grow every day as well.

Let’s review the standards of permission that we believe are necessary to be successful.

We require an explicit opt-in to communicate with customers. This might be an eye-opener for some senders who have relied on implicit opt-in as the permission method of choice. Why the change? This change came from the evolution of ISP’s and how they look at engagement. They have upped the standards to a point where sending to implicit opt-ins at any volume levels will most likely result in the bulking or blocking of those messages. There are also the questions of specific country regulations that are trending on the explicit permission side (some countries have laws that regulate this sort of thing). If you haven’t yet spoken with your legal team, it’s past time to evaluate potential risk by sending to folks who didn’t explicitly opt-in.

What are explicit opt-ins? You give the customer an opportunity to enter an email address specifically to receive email. They are given an opportunity to check a box, tick a bubble, or otherwise move a permission lever in order to receive messaging. This does not include pre-check boxes, which we don’t recommend in any circumstance.

One of the newest permission questions to arrive on the scene concerns apps. We’re all downloading some type of app these days, whether we’re searching for Pokemon, or checking our email. As part of the sign-up process there are multiple methods for collecting email addresses. Some methods don’t require the email or give an unchecked box that the user can choose to fill out. Some just require the email address and sail through the sign-up with no options for marketing materials. We obviously feel strongly that the former method is the way to go. The backlash from people who wanted to play a game, but are now bombarded by marketing messages is not pleasant. We see high spam complaints, and low engagement coming from these recipients. These are both pretty bad news for deliverability.

The apps/permission question is very much like the debate around the abandoned cart email. We don’t believe that someone who visits a site for the first time, and puts something in a shopping cart without finishing the process has “signed-up” for email. It can be a controversial subject, but we know that senders who follow this practice generally see reduced deliverability performance.

What’s the way around these issues? We would recommend the following method if you are required to email people gathered through one of these implicit methods. Send a series of 2-4 permission pass messages. Ask the person if they want to receive email from you. If they don’t respond, respect that permission. You’ll send less email, but the reality is that the messages you do send will probably be seen by your customers.

Don’t trick your customers, or feel like you've gained a customer by slipping that permission choice past them. The harm done by someone who is upset that they are being “spammed” is far greater than the few people that you might convert with liberal permission marketing policies.

Although we have covered the standards of permission necessary to be successful, you will definitely find that the Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide will get you on the right track for successful email deliverability. Download it today! 

Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide

Sorry to Say Marketers, But Pokemon Go is Shaping Your Future

Sorry to Say Marketers, But Pokemon Go is Shaping Your Future

Millions of people around the world are running around in circles, eyes glued to their phones as they try to capture small virtual monsters. I am, of course, talking about Pokemon GO. Since its release on July 5, the mobile game has grown to the point where it averages $2.5 million a day in revenue

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Hit Gold with Paid Advertising, Understand the Landscape, Solve Problems, and Create Staying Power

It’s already the last Thursday of the month, can you believe it? In the past four weeks we have heard from Katrina Munsell, Group Manager, Content Marketing at Microsoft; Lauren Goldstein, VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Babcock Jenkins; Jesse Noyes, Senior Marketing Leader at Kahuna; and Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group. If you haven’t listened in, you still have a chance to catch up on this month’s Content Pros guests.

Hitting Subscriber Gold with Paid Advertising

Michael Brenner is a strong proponent of using paid advertising to drive your content to broader audiences that may not otherwise go to your site. He is experienced in making a strong case to CMOs that paid is the best use of marketing dollars to elevate your content game.

Using his tips on how to frame the conversation, where to pull money to support the effort, and which platforms to approach first, even the most timid of marketers can change the mind of a stubborn CMO.

On this podcast, Michael shares the following with us:

  • How the rise of ad-blockers leads to reframing the conversation around content
  • Why a campaign mentality means focusing on short-term and hindering your content growth
  • Why measuring the ROI of paid activity means looking more closely at your subscribers
The Staying Power of Email

It’s easy to get caught up in focusing your time on learning the newest trends and apps. However, there is a familiar old friend out there sitting idle that, when harnessed correctly, can convert leads for you at a rate higher than just about any of those other social platforms.

Email, the stalwart of internet communication, is that best friend of content that you didn’t know you had. Katrina Munsell’s approach to crafting the perfect email has led to conversion rates of up to 50% and open metrics that are 11 times over rates from last year.

A few highlights from my conversation with Katrina:

  • Why email can be the best vehicle for your content
  • How focusing on the design of an email leads to better click through rates
  • How multiple clicks can lead higher conversions than single clicks
Content That Solves Problem

There is such a drive to produce content these days that it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and focus only on the content at hand with hardly a glance toward what’s next. However, in order to really move a business forward, its content needs to serve a purpose and solve a problem.

With over 15 years of experience, Lauren Goldstein has the skills and knowledge to help B2B marketers recalibrate their content to be more effective and engaging. She has helped businesses change the conversation and define the art of what is possible for their business buyer.

Learn from Lauren about:

  • How visuals lead to fulfilling content
  • Why great content and storytelling means keeping the business outcome front and center in your mind
  • Why bringing content to life means having a diverse set of viewpoints on your team
Understanding the Content Landscape

There is a new wave of multi-talented marketers entering the workplace and their arrival is fundamentally changing how marketing departments work from the bottom to the top. This rippling effect is requiring everybody to rethink their approach to marketing and organizational collaboration.

Jesse Noyes has experienced the evolving CMO first-hand, created departments that draw on the multi-disciplinary strengths of his employees, and mapped the origin of content throughout organizations.

Join Jesse to gain insight on:

  • Why the diversifying abilities of marketing professionals means a shift in the background and focus of CMOs
  • How good organizational structure leads to high velocity content
  • How collaboration between marketing operations, analytics, and sales leads to a decrease in departmental contention

The Digital Workplace Should Shape Up or Ship Out

The Digital Workplace Should Shape Up or Ship Out

Workplace technology still lags behind consumer technology trends — no surprises there.  But the impact this disconnect is having on employees should cause any business manager to take note.  A recent research collaboration between Dell and Intel backs up with data my own observations in the field that employees “are

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Oracle Acquires NetSuite for $9.3 Billion

Oracle Acquires NetSuite for $9.3 Billion

Oracle Corporation made its second largest acquisition to date today. It acquired cloud-based software provider, partner and customer NetSuite in a transaction valued at approximately $9.3 billion, or $109 per share in cash, Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle announced. Oracle's acquisition of NetSuite lands it a spot among the largest tech deals of all-time, where it

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