Tag Archives: Traffic

Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

On Monday, our good and wise friend Andy Crestodina showed the difference between optimizing for search engines and optimizing for social shares. He also gives us a nice piece of advice about how you can get really crafty and do both.

Proofreading might not seem exciting, until the day you publish a post with the headline Making that Shit into the Next Phase of Your Career. Don’t let that happen; read Stefanie’s Tuesday post.

On Wednesday, Brian Clark reminded us that search and social get all the attention, but it’s email that pays the bills. He explains why email is the most important content distribution platform you have … and reveals that my favorite analogy for how to treat your audience has always given him the jitters. (Do you agree with him? Let us know in the blog comments! …)

And earlier today, I posted our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for April. These are fun, creative exercises we do together as a community. Both of the prompts are practices that will make your content better, and get you making more of it.

On The Digital Entrepreneur, Bryan Eisenberg shared his insights with Sean and Jessica on how to leverage Amazon self-publishing to find new audiences and customers. If you haven’t encountered Bryan yet, he’s a bit of a marketing and persuasion guru/ninja/Jedi/grand master … but the kind who actually knows what he’s talking about. He understands Amazon on a deep level, and the conversation is filled with useful suggestions.

On Copyblogger FM, I talked about some “mindset hacks” that really will help you Do All the Things … and the popular self-help advice that could do your success more harm than good. On Unemployable, Brian and Robert shared their thoughts about building that wonderful thing: recurring revenue. And on The Showrunner, Jerod chatted with David Bain about transitioning from podcasting to hosting live digital events.

That’s it for this week … enjoy the goodies, and have a lovely weekend!

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on this week’s content

the best content doesn’t win. the best promoted content winsHow to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

by Andy Crestodina

Want to know how I find and correct errors in my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?3 Proofreading Pointers, So Your Writing Isn’t Shared for the Wrong Reason

by Stefanie Flaxman

Not all aspects of your audience are equalA Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content

by Brian Clark

Content Excellence Challenge: April Prompts2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The April Prompts

by Sonia Simone

How to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online AudienceHow to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online Audience

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick

Kelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production PodcastKelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production Podcast

by Caroline Early

5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work

by Sonia Simone

The Beauty of Recurring RevenueThe Beauty of Recurring Revenue

by Brian Clark

How Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part TwoHow Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid

5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor

The post Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience appeared first on Copyblogger.

A Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content

"Not all aspects of your audience are equal." – Brian Clark

Two weeks ago, my side project Further had one of its highest traffic days ever.

If you’re not familiar, Further is a personal development email newsletter in which I curate content from around the web. It’s basically whatever I find useful and interesting related to health, wealth, wisdom, and travel.

So what sparked the traffic? After all, the newsletter’s primary function is to send traffic to other websites.

  • Was it a significant social share from a relevant influencer?
  • Did I spend a fortune on a pay-per-click advertising campaign?
  • Had I caught a link in another personal growth newsletter?

It was indeed a link from a personal growth newsletter. Only thing is, the link was from me, in the Further newsletter itself.

Here’s what happened.

After adding the category of travel to the topics I curate for the newsletter, I also decided to test including original travel articles on Further.net to see what the response would be.

Long story short, I met a travel writer at a conference in Austin, which resulted in The French Riviera for the Rest of Us, an article that shoots down the myth that la Côte d’Azur is only for wealthy movie stars and international men of mystery.

I first built an email-based audience with curated content, so that when I moved to original content, it would get guaranteed traffic. In fact, that article got tons of clicks, because after two years of serving the audience, I knew it would be a hit with my subscribers.

Let me give you another example. After more than a decade, Copyblogger gets massive amounts of organic traffic every single day from search, social, and 150,000 RSS subscribers.

But when is our biggest traffic day each week?

It’s Thursdays, when we publish the Copyblogger Weekly email digest to more than 222,000 people. You’re getting the idea.

Audience means email

What we teach here at Copyblogger is simple — build an audience with valuable content before you start selling. And in some cases, before you even have a product or service to sell.

Now, the audience of an online publisher has multiple components — social platforms, search engines, YouTube channels, podcast subscriptions, RSS, and email. But not all aspects of your audience are equal.

Email is far and above the most valuable audience channel. Some people have known that all along, and others have made email a priority even though they have big crowds on other platforms.

And yet, social and search get all the attention. It’s completely lopsided.

I have 185,000 Twitter followers. A tweet of Further content will get me around 20 clicks. Twenty bucks on a boosted Facebook post of the same content to 5,165 people who like the Further page gets even less.

But a link in my newsletter? More than 2,000 clicks from an email list of less than 7,500.

And sure, high search rankings are gold, Jerry. But as we recently discussed, if that traffic leaves without joining your real audience (i.e., email), what was it really worth?

Which brings us to the next big point. Email sells.

Email still converts best

When it comes to content distribution, email seems to be the forgotten hero. The focus is all on going viral on social and hitting that top ranking in Google.

But you may be better off just intently focusing on building the right list of email subscribers. Yes, those steady traffic blasts to your content can help with social and search, but they also drive what you’re really after — sales.

No matter how effective your social media and SEO efforts are, the place where prospects convert to customers and clients is still email.

Consider these stats:

  • Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. – Monetate
  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey
  • When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail, and more. – DMA

You know you need to build an email list. And search and social are indispensable for accomplishing that. But it’s also important not to chase traffic for traffic’s sake.

You only want traffic so you can sell more of your stuff.

Why content leads to the sale

You’re not going to build an email list of valuable prospects without the promise of valuable content. But once you get them on the list with your promise, why not just spam the hell out of them with your offers?

That approach seems to be back in vogue among the get-rich-quick crowd. But today’s savvy prospect is more likely to unsubscribe as soon as the pitches start, and then say ugly things about you on social.

The reason you continue to deliver valuable content beyond your initial promise is simple. You’re training people to open your emails and click on your links by being consistently amazing.

My esteemed colleague Sonia Simone thinks of this as treating your prospects like dogs (but only in the nicest way).

I’ve always been a bit squeamish about the dog analogy, but you get the idea. You want your emails to be not only opened, but anticipated.

Trust me, when the occasional offer comes, it will be viewed with a much more accepting frame of mind than otherwise. And that’s what you want.

The internet moves pretty fast. But email — the original “killer app” — persists as the backbone of it all.

In an upcoming article, I’ll walk you through how to approach building your email list. You’ll see that when it comes down to it, a smart content marketing strategy is primarily an email marketing strategy.

Image source: Frank Köhntopp via Unsplash.

The post A Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content appeared first on Copyblogger.

Don’t Get Flattened on the Attention Superhighway

"Lots of sites are desperate for traffic. But traffic is just the start of the story." – Sonia Simone

When we talk about content marketing strategy, it’s amazing how often people think that means:

Can I Haz Moar Peoples!!!

(English translation: How can I get more traffic to my site?)

That’s not new — the quest for eyeballs is as old as online business.

And it does matter. It’s important to have a critical mass of folks who know you exist. Ask anyone trying to get a business off the ground with an email list of 34 people, 8 of whom they’re related to.

You need a big enough audience to allow for a meaningful response when you try out a new content idea, or craft an offer for your product or service.

But there’s no shortage of online publishers with big audiences and tiny businesses. If all you do is stand on the Information Superhighway trying to flag people down, you’re going to get flattened.

Instead, craft a thoughtful, well-designed path. Lead prospects from the noise and clutter of the larger web to a sustained and valuable connection that solves the problems they care about.

Smart business isn’t about gaining a massive amount of attention. It’s about gaining the right kind of attention from the right people … and continuing the journey from there.

Copywriting formulas

When you want to persuade, it’s useful to take a look at the classic “formulas” of copywriting — because copywriting is simply persuasion that takes place (partly or completely) without the help of an individual human salesperson.

Most of these formulas begin with the letter A — which stands for attention. And that’s what most marketing strategy tends to focus on: how to get the attention of all those distracted folks zooming around the web.

The granddaddy of persuasion formulas is AIDA. That stands for:

Attention — Interest — Desire — Action

Back when copywriting was very, very hard, you had to do all of those steps with one piece of content, often something printed on paper and delivered by post.

Today, we get a lot more shots. We can handle each of those elements with individual content. Even better, we can craft multiple pieces of content to serve different functions.

So if you need to spend more time addressing a topic that interests your audience, you can craft a content series, or even an entire content library.

Another time-tested formula is P-A-S.

Problem — Agitate — Solve

This one doesn’t start with A, but it does kick off with a compelling audience problem, which inherently tends to grab attention. Agitation means getting into the problem in a deeper, more emotionally resonant way … and then the business can step in to solve the problem.

These are good formulas, and they still have their place. But in a content marketing environment, they tend to dramatically underestimate the complex role of those middle letters.

What happens in the middle?

Attention strategies are fun to learn about. Potent headlines, exciting images, killer hooks.

But when you’re working on a landing page, a video sales letter, an infomercial, or a 15-second radio ad, the middle can be the toughest part.

The middle starts to look like actual work.

You’re cultivating the relationship. That means a significant part of the “middle” of your content marketing is about offering value generously and being a decent human.

You nurture the relationship with the audience by offering:

  • Interesting educational material that helps them do things they want to do
  • Content that shows your audience who you are and what you believe
  • Opportunities for small, low-risk commitments, to test the waters and experience what you have to offer

Where are the rough patches?

Most paths have some rough spots — places that aren’t as easy to navigate.

When we’re talking about your content marketing path, these include the objections your audience will have to moving forward with your offer. These are things like:

  • It seems expensive.
  • It seems complicated.
  • It seems like it only works for other people.
  • It seems hard to get started.
  • It seems like a long time before I’ll see results.

A smart, well-structured content path will include work that speaks directly to these objections.

You might tell stories that show the audience how someone else wrestled with the issue. Or offer clear, simple explanations of product features — perhaps an infographic or explainer video — to show how your solution overcomes the problem.

If I were going to write a persuasion formula

If I wanted to craft a persuasion formula for the 21st century, what would it look like?

I’d need to start by knowing who I wanted to speak with. What do they care about? What kinds of problems could I help them with? So the first letter might be K for Knowledge or E for Empathy.

From there, I think I’d go to Connection rather than Attention — simply because attention today is so fleeting. I’d try to spark a moment of connection instead, to have some chance of a more enduring relationship.

In my experience, building connection usually combines speaking to a problem the audience cares about and speaking from a position of shared values.

That kind of principled problem-solving constructs a content path that is marked by Usefulness. What kinds of content could I create that my audience would find valuable? What problems could I solve? Is there some “low hanging fruit” I could help my audience pick?

What Objections could I address? What risks could I manage for my audience?

Along the path, I’d try to craft some introductory Offers that helped people try my ideas out for themselves. In other words, some inexpensive ways they could pick up products or services — maybe even free products or services — that would help them get something they want.

If there were key Beliefs, assumptions, or convictions that the audience needed to adopt to go further, I’d also talk about those. For example, at Copyblogger, we believe it’s unacceptably risky to put your entire business on a platform someone else controls, like Facebook or Tumblr.

I’d use my useful content path to make the Case for my solution to my audience’s problems — keeping an eye open for the audience’s responses and desires, not just my own assumptions about what they need or want.

Along the path, I’d remember to Ask for the audience’s action on a more significant offer and Measure how they respond.

Put another way, I’d measure their Engagement by seeing if there’s a product or service they feel ready to buy.

Did they like the offer a lot? Did lots of folks complete the transaction? I’d Iterate and craft more offers like that one. Did they hate it? Did just a few or no people take me up on the offer? Again, iteration would lead me to put something together that was better aligned with the audience’s desires.

Finally, I’d work on Sustaining the relationship. It’s great to do business once — but it’s more satisfying (and makes better business sense) to create long-term relationships in which the audience and the business grow together.

To that end, I’d make a commitment to Delivering value over time and keep looking for new ways to serve that audience.

That leaves me with something like ECUOOBCAMEISD. Hm.


OK, how about ECUBED?

  • Empathize
  • Connect
  • Useful, make myself (Yoda-talking I am)
  • Beliefs, speak to
  • Engage audience action by making an offer
  • Deliver value over time

I definitely had to massage a few things to come up with a decent acronym. So, how would you tweak it?

Let us know your thoughts and suggestions on what this kind of “formula” might look like in the comments. :)

The post Don’t Get Flattened on the Attention Superhighway appeared first on Copyblogger.

Getting Traffic and Leads Is Harder Than Ever, Though Not Impossible

Getting Traffic and Leads Is Harder Than Ever, Though Not Impossible

Nearly seven in 10 marketers rate generating traffic and leads as their biggest challenge, according to HubSpot's 2016 State of Inbound Report. It’s an ironic predicament, considering that people today consume more content than generations past thanks to the web and the growth of smart devices.

Continue reading...

Getting More Traffic, Links, and Shares to Your Content


“Help! No one is reading my content!” We have some thoughts …

Whether your site is big or small, we all want more engaged visitors who are reading, watching, and listening to our content.

In this 23-minute episode, Sonia talks about:

  • The smartest place (usually) to send paid traffic
  • How to generate the “signals of quality” that search engines use to rank good content
  • The keys to making content more shareable
  • Connecting your content with someone else’s audience
  • Why I’m not a fan of purging non-buyers from your email list

Listen to this Episode Now

The post Getting More Traffic, Links, and Shares to Your Content appeared first on Copyblogger.

What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting?

are you writing copy or creating content?

From a traditional marketing standpoint, the answer to the question in the headline above is simple.

Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers — and customers into repeat buyers.

Copywriting gets a reader to take a specific action. Sometimes that’s making a purchase, but it can also be subscribing to your email list, signing up for your content library, or calling you for more information.

Content marketing is blogs, podcasts, and email autoresponders.

Copywriting is sales pages, ads, and direct mail.

Two different critters, right?

Well, not if you’re doing it right.

Content without copywriting is a waste of good content

There are some blogs out there with seriously good content — and only a few readers. (Maybe yours is one of them.)

If you’re writing great articles that people would love to read, but you’re not getting the traffic you want, the problem may be ineffective copywriting:

  • Your headlines might be too dull. When your headlines are boring, they don’t give people any reason to click through to the rest of your writing.
  • Your headlines might be too cute and clever. If this is the case, you’re simply showing how smart you are without communicating any reader benefits. If your headlines are too dull or too clever, learn how to write magnetic headlines.
  • You haven’t explicitly thought about how your content benefits readers. Just like a product has to have a benefit to the buyer, your content has to be inherently rewarding to readers or they won’t come back to your website.
  • Your content isn’t building any rapport or trust. You can always get social media attention by being a brat, a pest, or a train wreck, but attention doesn’t translate into subscribers or customers.
  • You haven’t leveraged any social proof. It’s tricky to show readers your blog is a cool place to hang out when you don’t have lots of readers yet, but we have a few tips for you.
  • You don’t have a clear, specific call to action. A call to action lets people know what you want them to do next.

Remember, copywriting is the art of convincing your reader to take a specific action. And yes, it’s still copywriting if it takes place in a podcast or video … if you’re doing it well.

The thoughtful use of copywriting techniques on your blog will get readers to subscribe to your content, opt in to your email list, and share your great articles with other readers. That’s how you build a large, loyal audience.

Copywriting without content is a waste of good copy

So, is copywriting everything? Will the effective use of copywriting techniques propel you automatically into the ranks of the world’s most popular blogs?

Sadly, no.

If you do a brilliant job packaging and marketing crap, all you do is efficiently get the word out about how bad your crap is. Not the result you’re looking for.

Smart marketers still need to keep these principles of great content marketing in mind:

  • Be generous. Generosity is sexy. When your free content is so valuable that it makes you a little uncomfortable, you know you’ve got it right.
  • Produce enjoyable content. Only ad men like advertising. If your content looks like an ad, it will be overlooked or thrown away. Make your “advertising” too valuable to throw away by wrapping it in wonderfully beneficial, readable content.
  • Attract the right people. Content marketing helps your SEO efforts, but don’t make the mistake of writing for search engines. Always write for people first, and then make your content search-engine friendly so new readers can find you.

And, of course, always remember the first rule of Copyblogger.

Really good content is unsurpassed at building rapport, delivering a sales message without feeling “salesy,” and getting potential customers to stick around.

That’s why many of the sharpest copywriting minds now favor a “content net” approach. They combine strategic copywriting with great content to get the best of both worlds. Which is exactly what Copyblogger’s been teaching readers for the past 10 years.

How about you? How are you using content and copywriting to get more traffic and then convert your site visitors into fans and customers?

Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on January 11, 2011.

The post What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting? appeared first on Copyblogger.

5 Ways to Get More Traffic with Content Marketing

using content to drive traffic

It’s the question I get asked more often than any other when I’m talking with business owners about content marketing strategy.

And it’s the question we see most often from new members in our Authority Q&A sessions.

“How do I get more traffic?”

There’s more — a lot more — to content marketing than traffic.

But if you can’t attract a critical “minimum viable audience,” you’re finished before you get started.

Here’s how to use content to get the attention of those all-important prospects — the men and women who are in the market to buy what you have to sell.

The content conveyor belt

Before we start talking about traffic, we need to talk about your overall content marketing strategy.

Smart marketing is “salesmanship in print” (or, these days, pixels), to use the classic copywriting definition. And as any good salesperson will tell you, a sale progresses through predictable, natural stages.

First, you have to attract the attention of that prospect. That’s the piece we’re going to talk about today. No matter how brilliant your sales sequence, if no one knows you exist, you’re going to fail.

Then you have to engage that person’s interest. This is a particularly risky moment in today’s web environment, with millions of distractions competing for our attention.

As you keep delivering strategic content over time, engagement starts to turn into desire for what you have to sell. Whether it’s a product, a service, a charitable cause, a political candidate, or even an idea … we all have to spark this desire in our customers.

When it’s time to make a sale, you put on your copywriter’s hat and provide the opportunity for your prospect to take action, turning a fan into a customer.

Finally, smart content marketers won’t stop there — they’ll create ongoing customer-focused content so that buyers make repeat purchases and refer you to their friends.

Let’s talk traffic

All of that sounds very inviting, but if you’re still struggling to build an audience for your content, it’s still in the realm of theory.

So, let’s get you some audience members.

Strategy #1: Guest posting

Guest posting helps content marketers find a larger audience and build authority within their areas of expertise.

Smart guest posters create the best content they know how to create and look for publications that have thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of readers.

Intelligently send those new readers back to your site, where you’ll have additional terrific content to share with them.

Strategy #2: How-to videos

What do your customers want to know how to do?

Dye their hair pink? Take better portrait photos? Make dinner their kids will eat?

Successful businesses are based around solving customer problems. Figure out some problems that lend themselves to how-to videos.

Launch a series on YouTube on how to solve a problem that interests your customers, and make sure it’s extremely easy for viewers (and potential customers) to find by labeling your videos with specific descriptions.

The more competitive your topic, the better your videos have to be. In crowded topics, differentiate yourself with an interesting personality, a more effective technique, better production values, or all three.

Use YouTube videos for entry-level tips and strategies. For more advanced advice, send them to your site where your content discusses your products and services.

Strategy #3: Q&A series

Q&A sessions are inherently interesting, and they’re a great vehicle to show off what you know. You can use webinars, teleseminars, or whatever tool is most comfortable for you.

Q&As don’t just encourage engagement; they’re also a strong traffic builder because they’re easy for your fans and network to promote.

They’ll give you the opportunity to collect topics for future content.

When you write about your audience’s questions, you’ll be writing the type of content that gets shared — the type of content that attracts traffic.

Strategy #4: Professional networking

Once you have a content-driven website on your own domain, you’re ready to start a little professional networking.

You earn the trust of other content marketers in your niche the same way you earn the trust of readers: be nice, be relevant, be interesting.

Get to know the people who are creating innovative content at all levels — small, medium, and large sites.

Don’t start or participate in artificial schemes to promote posts. Instead, share the content you truly think is cool, and explain why. Be friendly and pay attention. It’s called social media for a reason.

If you struggle financially, upgrade your social skills. Money flows through people. – Steve Pavlina

Strategy #5: Get real

Explore the possibilities of finding traffic in the offline world. (You know, the part of your life that isn’t Facebook or Twitter. I realize this is a weird idea.)

Attend an in-person conference where you can meet new people in your industry, as well as potential clients or customers.

If you’re selling business-to-business, pitch articles to trade journals and business newspapers.

However you find them, entice those offline readers to your website and offer a tantalizing incentive to join your email list or a heroically effective email autoresponder sequence.

Speak directly to the people you want to attract

Remember, content marketing only works if you create content that’s both entertaining and useful for your audience.

Make it user-friendly. Make it clear.

Write about the problems your potential customers care about.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on March 20, 2012.

About the author

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Rainmaker Digital. Get lots more from Sonia on her podcast, Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer, or come hang out with her on Twitter.

The post 5 Ways to Get More Traffic with Content Marketing appeared first on Copyblogger.