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There’s a huge volume of content marketing advice out there — but most of it only applies to certain sites. Pamela Wilson joins us to talk about “content lifecyles” of websites, and how to know precisely what to focus on for your site, depending on where you are today.

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Our one-time colleague Pamela Wilson literally wrote the book on content marketing — and she’s followed that up with a new book about mastering content strategy.

In this 25-minute episode, Pamela and I talk about:

  • The natural lifecycles that websites go through, and how to know where you are today.
  • Some recommendations for content-focused sites in the “middle years” (not too big and not too small)
  • Dealing with the intimidation factor when developing a content strategy

Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...

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Creating excellent content is expensive — in time, money, or both. Make sure your content marketing strategy is driving real business results.

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Too many businesses think of blog posts and podcasts as a “fluffy” nice-to-have. But content marketing can drive real business results — and if you’re going to put the work in, there’s no reason to settle for fluff.

In this 16-minute episode, I talk about:

  • Why the creative (some say “soft”) side of writing is critical to business results
  • How to break through content clutter and sustain an audience’s attention
  • 3 important KPIs (key performance indicators) you can drive with the right content
  • Ways to measure your content’s effectiveness (“it seems awesome” is not a business metric)
  • The powerful role content can play in the sales process

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Think you know what LinkedIn is all about? Today’s
conversation with Amber Naslund may get you seeing the platform in a new way.

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Amber Naslund is a writer, speaker, veteran content and social media strategist, and co-author of the best-selling The Now Revolution. She’s also the new senior content marketing evangelist at LinkedIn.

Once known mainly as “the site where you look for a job,” LinkedIn has evolved to become a sophisticated platform for business-oriented content.

In this 22-minute episode, Amber and I talk about:

  • What content professionals should start doing today
  • Content formats that are working particularly well on LinkedIn
    now
  • A few common blunders that can tarnish your reputation
  • Why Amber no longer follows the old LinkedIn advice to “only
    connect with people you know personally”
  • Amber’s advice on creating content that’s meaningful, not “fluffy”

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We often take it as a given that businesses should always grow — but is that really true?

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Writer, designer, podcaster, and software creator Paul Jarvis has a lot of experience with all kinds of business.

He’s written a thought-provoking new book called Company of One, about the assumption that “bigger is always better,” and how we can make more conscious decisions around business growth.

In this 23-minute episode, Paul and I talk about:

  • Some of the benefits to questioning business growth
  • Whether we can really thrive in a small company in a field that has giant competitors
  • The counterintuitive benefits to staying small

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The foundation you choose for your persuasive copy can make all the difference.

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I’m sometimes asked — do I think that high-priced copywriting courses are worth the money?

Often the answer is absolutely Yes. But it’s really important to make sure you’re building advanced techniques on the right foundation.

In this 17-minute episode, I talk about:

  • The “3+1” foundational success factors for persuasive copy
  • Uncovering the right angle to market products that are hard to sell
  • Two very different ways of using a popular copywriting formula
  • Using copy to create a “well lighted path” to purchase

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If marketing or content strategy plays any role in your professional life, you need to understand copywriting. Here are five of our most important bits of advice for writing that persuades.

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Persuasive copywriting is a big part of what Copyblogger is all about.

In this episode, I pull a few posts out of our archive, to focus on some of the most important elements of good copywriting. I’ll also give you a quick tip from each one right in the podcast … but to get the most out of this, you’ll want to read through the posts as well.

In this 18-minute episode, I talk about:

  • When to bring in a professional writer
  • Where to find a highly qualified writer if you’re looking for one
  • Why headlines matter so much — and how to get a lot better at them
  • How to keep attention in the few seconds after the click
  • Writing numbered list posts that won’t make you barf
  • The roles of emotion and logic in decision making (and persuasion)
  • The quickest way to make persuasive copy work better

Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...

The Show Notes
The Transcript

Sonia Simone: So glad to see you again, and welcome back to CopybloggerFM, the content marketing podcast.

CopybloggerFM is about emerging content marketing trends, interesting disasters, and enduring best practices, along with the occasional rant. My name is Sonia Simone, I’m the chief content officer for Rainmaker Digital, and I hang out with the folks doing the real work over on the Copyblogger blog.

Note: See the show notes for all the links!

When to hire a writer

5 Situations that Demand You Hire a Professional Copywriter

I wrote this post for two reasons — one, if you’re, let’s say, a business owner who’s good at writing, to let you know when you should bring in a pro. And two, if you are a pro, this is a piece you can send to clients or potential clients to let them know just why it is you charge money for what you do.

If you do need a pro, you may or may not know that Copyblogger actually has a certification program for content marketers. Their work is reviewed in-depth

So, if you are a writer or if you want to be a better writer, particularly for web copy, today I’m going to cover five points of focus for you.

#1: Get great at headlines

Copyblogger as a blog was known for headline advice from the very, very early days, for one reason: If the headline is weak, your content won’t get shared which means it won’t get consumed which means it won’t help you accomplish your goals.

When Brian started writing about that on Copyblogger, the environment was different. We didn’t have Buzzfeed, and overall we didn’t have the level of sophistication about the importance of headlines.

It’s so much more important now. You’re competing with a lot of people who are pros at headlines, and you have to be able to compete on that playing field.

We have a free ebook for you in the member library, go to MENU > FREE! MY COPYBLOGGER on the site.

It’s free, you should go get it, and you should spend the time between now and the next podcast practicing headlines. Even if you’re already great.

I’ll give you two to get started but don’t shortchange yourself, go grab the ebook.

  • Make your headlines clear. Cleverness, puns, and confusion won’t get clicks.
  • Make sure the person can see a benefit of clicking. Sometimes it’s dumb, like “Which of the 7 Dwarfs are you,” and sometimes it’s smart, like 10 Ways to Build Authority as an Online Writer. But let people know that the content on the other side of the click will be worth their time and attention.

Bonus third point: Actually make the content worth their time and attention. Don’t put great headlines on crummy content that fails to deliver on the promise.

#2: Start strong

This has always been important advice, but it’s extra important now because people’s attention spans are so fragile and finite today.

Brian Clark has a dandy classic Copyblogger post with five strong, proven ways to get the party started quickly. You’ll be able to use them again and again, and you’ll start seeing them in the content that captures your attention.

My #1 tip on this is, on the Copyblogger blog, we use a More tag. That means you get a teaser, then you click the “More” link to read the full post.

Whether or not you use this on your own site — put an imaginary “More” tag on your content after the first few lines. Be honest with yourself — would you click? What could you do to create a stronger desire there?

#3: Don’t fear the numbers

A lot of good writers shy away from the proven techniques like the numbered list post, which is now called by the most horrible noun ever coined, the Listicle.

Please can we stop using that word ever. It’s writer abuse.

But, numbered list posts can be some of your strongest work, and they still do get more shares and reads. I wrote a post on this, but I’ll give you just one tip from that post:

Don’t start with an arbitrary number and then find points to fill in. Instead, write out what’s important to know about the topic, then assign the number.

If it turns out to be a weird number, like 17 or 6, that can be great. Excellent professional copywriters know that weird numbers often work better to capture attention. “10” is boring. “13” is interesting. “25” is boring. “27” is interesting. It feels less padded, less arbitrary.

Also, make your last number a call to action that moves to whatever your goal is for the post.

#4: Emotion, then logic

Good persuasion always combines emotion and logic. You need to get into the emotional benefits of doing what you’re trying to persuade them to do, then justify it with logic.

This is old-timey copywriter stuff, again. The interesting thing is, it’s very much validated by neuroscience. We actually, physiologically do make decisions first with what we think of as “emotions.” But if we can’t give ourselves logical reasons — justifications — to move forward, there’s a real possibility we’ll balk, because that creates fear and uncertainty.

Again, I’ve got two posts for you with some more details.

#5: Call to Action

This one is a favorite of mine because it’s so fast to fix, and it can make such a difference.

If you want your audience to do something, tell them exactly what to do. Clearly, simply, and succinctly.

Again, sometimes good writers will shy away from this because it “sounds like an infomercial.” It sounds commercial because when you’re paying millions of dollars for infomercial spot, you have to make sales.

You don’t have to be cheesy, but you do need to be direct. Don’t hint around and let them connect that last dot. Ask for what you want.

And yes, we have a post for that! It’s called How to Be a Copywriting Genius: The Brilliantly Sneaky Tip You Must Learn.

And on that note, it’s time for me to make an “Ask” — it really helps the show when you give it a review or a star rating on iTunes, so if you’re an iTunes listener and you feel moved to show us some love there, that really helps us. And a big thank you to everyone who has already left us reviews and ratings, it’s so appreciated.

See you next week!

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“The big distinction here is to see confidence as an ability that you keep getting better at.” – Dan Sullivan

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Ever have a wobble in confidence? Ever have trouble moving forward with a project, because you’re just not sure you’re good enough to create value?

In this 15-minute episode, I talk about:

  • The real source of confidence (it isn’t empty “gold stars”)
  • Why strengthening your weaknesses isn’t always the best way to improve your confidence
  • A quick, powerful technique that will help you see the value you bring to others
  • Thoughts on clearing your head from the social media funk
  • The “measuring stick” that fosters confidence and creative growth

Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...

The Show Notes
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The lines between content and copywriting, and why you want to make yourself the “Chief Empathy Officer” for your audience.

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Today I wanted to talk about some distinctions that have been on my mind lately — the differences between crafting content and writing copy for conversion, and how much of ourselves to put into our marketing writing.

In this 15-minute episode, I talk about:

  • The differences (and similarities) between content and copy
  • How to write about your own experiences without being self-centered
  • Why we can’t get away with “feel bad” marketing any more
  • Getting real about audience problems — without blaming or bullying

Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...

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Sometimes the difference between success and frustrating failure is just a question of mindset.

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Carol Dweck’s book Mindset hit me like a brain-bomb some years back, and from time to time I like to share the love.

In this 16-minute session, I talk about:

  • The two mindsets that control how you react to adversity
  • When the myth of innate talent can give you a wicked case of imposter syndrome
  • How to become more creative (or more strategic)
  • The ingredients for improvement in virtually any field

Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...

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Happy Halloween week! Today we’re talking with Rebecca Tracey about entrepreneurial fear — how it holds us back and what we can do about it.

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I’ve been talking this month about entrepreneurial fear — on the blog, in our private content marketing community, and today on this podcast. Today, I invited Becca Tracey to talk about the fears that hold us back. Becca is a coach who specializes in helping new solopreneurs to clarify their business ideas and move forward.

In this 20-minute episode, Becca and I talk about fears including:

  • What if it doesn’t work?
  • What will other people think?
  • I’m overwhelmed and can’t figure out what to do next

Becca also shared some of her most powerful tips for working through the “stuck spots” caused by fear.

Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...

The Show Notes
  • If you’re ready to see for yourself why more than 201,344 website owners trust StudioPress — the industry standard for premium WordPress themes and plugins — swing by StudioPress.com for all the details.
  • Our editorial team talked about their writing fears this month on the blog
  • Becca’s program Uncage Your Business is open for enrollment until November 2, 2017 (not an affiliate link)
  • Lately I’ve been spending more time on LinkedIn @soniasimone — feel free to drop me a question or note there, or right here in the comments
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