The Point

Author Archive

Feb

12 Word Power Pointers for the Marketing Content Writer

 

Word Power (1)

If it’s “word power” you’re hoping to achieve, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, by the late Gary Provost, is the ultimate manual. It’s the best writing guide I’ve ever read.

If you read my stuff, you know the subject is near and dear to me. If I can give you pointers to improve your writing, you know I will. It’s my job to improve your word power. I can do if for you, with you, or consult you on it.

Provost’s book, published in 1985, includes a chapter titled. “12 Ways to Give your Words Power.” Who doesn’t want that? Here they are:

  1. Use short words
  2. Use dense words
  3. Use familiar words
  4. Use active verbs
  5. Use strong verbs
  6. Use specific nouns
  7. Use the active voice
  8. Say things in a positive way
  9. Be specific
  10. Use statistics
  11. Provide facts
  12. Put emphatic words at the end
    Word Power list

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Feb

How to Edit Copy [Content Matters Episode 22]

Content Matters Ep 22

A ton of content creators make one, or two, big mistakes when they write copy:

  1. They publish first drafts
  2. They edit as they write

In this edition of Content Matters, Andy and Barry make a case why these two mistakes compromise the quality of your content and slow your production.

Listen to “How to Edit Copy [22]” on Spreaker.

In this (highly stereophonic) episode we cover:

  • When’s the right time in the writing process to edit?
  • Why the first paragraph is often disposable
  • How to edit online copy to appeal to scanners
  • The value of “incubation”
  • A long list of things to axe
  • Our copywriting pet peeves
  • How to inject energy into your copy
  • Why you should “cut that out”

In the cheese & mousetrap segment:

  • Barry explains why to not write like a journalist
  • Andy makes a case for writing your call to action in first person

Resources mentioned in this epsidode:

On the next episode of Content Matters:
The power of collaborative content

Listen to any or all of the Content Matters podcast episodes and share your thoughts about the program on iTunes. 

Feb

How to Go Big with a Small Digital Marketing Budget [Repurposing FAQ Too]

SMALL DIGITAL MARKETING BUDGET (2)

Your digital marketing budget isn’t big, but your aspirations are.

I hear you. As a content marketing strategist, writer and creative director, I get this question all the time…

“How can we create great content on a small digital marketing budget?”

Along a similar line, I know every time industry research is published I’ll see “lack of budget” ranking among the top challenges.

Top content challenges

Okay, so your budget’s an issue. I’m obliged to address it. I do so in conversation nearly every time I discuss content planning with a new client. I’m about to share with you a version of my answer. It could surprise you.

Care to guess what I say? Might it be…

Go to a writer brokerage or freelance finder website and find a low-cost writer? Task internal employees (non-writers) with the writing? Forgo strategy. Forgo design. Forgo promotion?

No. No. No. No. And no. (more…)

Jan

Website Navigation Matters [Content Matters Episode 21]

Content Matters 21

Could something as basic as your website’s menu bar actually have a meaningful effect on your visitor’s experience? .

Listen to this edition of Content Matters as Andy and Barry discuss how website navigation can effect traffic, conversion and user experience.

Listen to “Website Navigation Matters [21]” on Spreaker.

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Jan

Lead Magnet Ideas, Titles and Templates to Capture More Leads

 

Lead magnet ideas titles and templates

I’ve been bringing you lessons about lead magnets because they’re critical for growing your email list.

I’m not done yet. I’m going to bring it in this one by offering a litany of ideas for lead magnets with titles and templates you can easily adapt to capture more leads from your website.

A quick review, if you missed the prior posts (and offers)…

I’m putting all this effort into helping you create and promote lead magnets because I feel so strong about the need to grow your email list and put the power of email marketing to work. Let’s face it: social media’s a bit slippery to rely on for lead generation and ranking on search is damn difficult for most—especially if you’re an early stage content creator.

Should either search, social, advertising, or any channel succeed in driving traffic to your site, you still lose the battle when visitors come and go without joining your list, getting in touch, trying or buying your product.

The bottom line is you need to give your visitors a reason to give you the keys to their inbox.

And that reason is…? Ultra-strength content… the keeper kind.

You need to offer content that beams from the screen the magic power it takes to get people to type their email address.

This is an exercise to help you crank out killer lead magnets

Our lead magnet creation class shall now commence. I’m glad you’re here. You’ll want to take notes, brainstorm with me, and definitely download the free Lead Magnets Template Kit.

The goal is to inspire powerful lead magnet ideas—featuring compelling titles and attractive covers—that go from being mine to being yours, in a short span of time.

The session will feature:

  • Lead magnet titles that have converted at a high rate for my company and clients.
  • Additional great lead magnet ideas from around the web.
  • Variations on the ideas to help kick start your next lead magnet.
  • And little in-article workshops or brainstorms to ignite the creative process.

(more…)

Jan

Content Marketing Talent: How to Fill Key Positions and Scale

Content Marketing Talent

 

Content marketing is about people.

Almost every company is doing content marketing. Why? It works. Done well, content marketing promises to increase traffic, leads and sales while reducing marketing costs.

But does it work for every company who does it? Definitely not. And so content marketing really isn’t for every company. Content marketing is for companies committed to employing the best talent and deploying effective tools.

This in-depth article focuses on cultivating content marketing talent, the asset you need most to achieve success in content marketing.

It takes a team

If you’re new to content marketing, you’ll quickly learn the practice demands serious resources. Try to do it as a one-man band and you’ll soon discover it calls for time and talents you don’t have. You need to assemble a team.

In late 2014, content development director Michele Lynn of Content Marketing Institute wrote:

Each year we track the challenges marketers are having with content marketing in our research. This year, one challenge was far more pronounced than it has been: finding trained content marketing professionals. This challenge has seen a 320% increase for B2C marketers over the past year.

According to research conducted by Kapost, fewer than 20% of content marketing teams comprise six or more people. Almost half of the respondents in their survey had teams of 2-5. The same research reports 83.7% of companies find hiring for content marketing talent difficult.

Content marketing is full of trials. First and foremost, you need the right people onboard. Let’s look at who they are, the talents they possess, and how to get the best in the business to join your team.

(more…)

Dec

32 Ways a Digital Marketing Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

A lot of clients—marketing professionals and business owners—get in touch and ask me to help plan, write, and create websites, eBooks, and blog posts. That’s far from a complete list, but three common requests.

On the other hand, a lot of clients reach out to me without a specific task list in mind. They know they want to grow their business. They know they want to produce traffic, leads and sales. And they think they need the help of digital marketing consultant.

They’re right, but their question is often oh-so-broad: “How can you help me?”

Shwew. My answer could be any number of things and at that point, not having the benefit of knowing where their digital marketing currently stands, I’m seldom able to quickly deliver a perfect answer.

I certainly don’t want to blurt out a specific digital marketing tactic… “YouTube is the answer” or “An email campaign will make rain for you.” That’d be reckless.

A digital marketing consultant should recommend tactics based on needs identified from a carefully considered audit. I’m a strategist. I’m a copywriter. But I’ve been doing digital marketing since it existed, so there are a substantial number of ways I can help you grow your business through digital marketing.

Here they are.

The list won’t magically nail an effective strategy, but my hope is it’ll provide some answers to the “How can you help me?” question and give us lots to talk about.

 

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Dec

How to Make Your Website More Effective

make-your-website-more-effective

Search “how to make your website more effective” and the winner of the search engine sweepstakes is…
5 Free Ways to Make Your Website More Effective NOW.

Good stuff. It’s a guest post on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income site by Sarah Peterson of SumoMe. She says to make your website more effective you should:

  • Reduce decision fatigue
  • Capture the audience’s attention with strong taglines, images, and specific language
  • Present social proof
  • Audit and optimize the technical stuff
  • Move your opt-in offers higher up on the page

These are good suggestions. Thanks Sarah and Pat.

Want to make your website more effective with design? A strong post from Peep Laja at ConversionXL recommends:

  • Create a visual hierarchy based on objectives
  • Make the things you want visitor’s to click bigger and easier to get to
  • Use great visuals that comply to the rule of thirds
  • Use white space
  • Simplify

More good stuff and lots of cool examples and explanations of design principles.

Now I want to share my suggestion—just one, one big one.

The way to make your website more effective is…

Make your website more generous.

Simple, right? Be like Santa. Make a list and check it twice.

What goes on that list? Like Santa’s list, it should contain the things your people want you to produce. They’re probably not going to write you letters or sit on your lap and tell you, but you need to find out what they want somehow.

You need to know precisely what challenges your audience face and give them solutions.

Give, give, and give some more and what you get is a more effective website. (more…)

Dec

A Lead Magnet Promotion Checklist to Build Your Email List Faster [Free Checklist]

lead magnet promotion checklist

Much has been written about creating lead magnets. This is not the case for promoting lead magnets.

In my post, What is a Lead Magnet?, I offer a definition of the phrase, explain the purpose, offer advice for creating them and detail ten types that have proven effective for helping digital marketers build their email list. Check out the lead magnet article here if you haven’t already.

And now, stick around for the much needed sequel about lead magnet promotion. I’m going to give you 30 ways to build your email list faster.

When is a lead magnet not magnetic?

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few years consulting clients on how to use lead magnets.

Sometimes clients engage me to promote them, but usually not. Usually, we move on to the next one. That’s a problem.

Your lead magnet, much like any content you create and offer, isn’t effective until the audience of prospective buyers you covet discovers it. Limited exposure equals limited magnetism.

I take great pleasure in delivering juicy lead magnets, eBooks especially, to clients. But sometimes a painful revelation follows. I’m told the results have been disappointing. The lead magnet isn’t converting as hoped.

Is the lead magnet, itself, to blame? I think not. Is the issue the landing page, pop-up or form where it’s offered? It’s possible, but unlikely. The problem is the promotion—or lack of it.

A vital part of your lead magnet strategy must be to increase its exposure. You need to put it in the path of potential buyers and make it clear you’re offering a solution to a problem they face.

In my lead magnet trainings, I offer a long list of ways to promote lead magnets. So here you go: a promotion checklist to ensure your lead magnet does indeed help you build your email list fast.

 

Promote lead magnets on your website

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Dec

Do Backlinks Still Matter?

do-backlinks-still-matter

True or false? Backlinks are the holy grail of search results.

The confusion remains. The speculation continues. And the research keeps pouring forth. The more you read this stuff, the less clear you are on the answers.

See, anyone can publish their take on SEO ranking factors. The search results themselves may be our best measure of credibility, unfortunately. Search engines are pretty amazing, but they’re definitely not lie detectors.

Even so, I asked Google for the answer. Or I should say, I asked Google to show me the top ten results for my question. I’m going to show you what I found, reflect on how much of what I read matters, and close with my opinions.

FYI: the data I present in the “numbers” for each search result come from:

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-1-52-31-pm

  • MozBar—for links and domain authority (DA)
  • Buzzsumo—for social shares (which excludes Buffer and many popular networks and isn’t always up to date)

Here are the first five results on my SERP (search engine results page). (more…)