The Point

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Apr

In Loving Memory of a Blog [A Eulogy]

EULOGY

Dearly Beloved,

We gather here today to honor the memory of our friend, Web Log.

That was his birth name.

Most knew him simply as Blog.

Blog’s life was tragically cut short at a very young age. I’m saddened to say, he never really hit his stride or had the chance to grow up to enjoy what might have been his prime.

When Blog was born he was full of hope and vigor. He dreamed of being an educator. He loved having an audience, though our friend Blog had to settle for a very small one.

Those of us who knew Blog well, knew he was not a patient man. Though many admired Blog because he was a self-starter, he was often cautioned about rushing into things.

I suspect if Blog were here today, he’d tell you he would have been wise to have been more deliberate about planning.

Again, though we honor Blog’s spirit, like all of us, he was deeply flawed.

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Mar

Sharpen Your Storytelling Skills to Earn the Audience’s Attention

 

storytelling skills

Inbound marketing focuses on the power of pull. You  do everything possible to anticipate the needs and wants of your buyers. You then invest heavily in different messages and media to get clicks, appear on whichever rectangular piece of glass flickers before the prospect, and command their undivided attention for a spell. And you usually fail.

We are all hopelessly distracted. It’s not a disorder — it’s the new world order.

Can I have your attention, please?

Whichever methods we put in play with our marketing, we’re powerless unless we’re able to get a prospect to pay attention. It doesn’t come easy. As long as we’re online, on earth, and in a media-centric society, there will always be a shiny object scattering, shattering, and battering our focus.

Okay, when you practice inbound marketing for a while, you start getting good. You figure out how to write a headline cursors and fingers are magnetically attracted to. But a click is nothing more than a click until you, the messenger, truly click with your customer.

You either get remembered or forgotten.

I’ve been tossing that little homegrown axiom out there for years. The gauntlet I’m laying down here: Your goal is to be remembered.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

As you know, it’s damn hard to be remembered for what you wrote or said. And who needs another impossibly lofty goal? The goal, then, is to say or do something memorable by sparking an emotional response.

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Feb

5 Delusions that Derail Online Marketers

My friends, would you please welcome to The Point, a friend, amazing writer, and the 8th wonder of the web… 

Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing.


5 delusions

Is your online marketing going swimmingly?

Do you know exactly what to do to grow your business further?

Or do you sometimes despair when you think about all the opportunities you don’t have time for?

So many opportunities exist to market ourselves online.

And there’s so little time.

How do you keep sane when every guru says something different? And every expert tells you to try something new?

Below follow 5 common beliefs that might be sabotaging your success. Avoiding these pitfalls will help you stay on track, avoid dead end roads, and save your energy to have more fun. (more…)

Feb

Rock and Roll Content Marketing—Featuring 11 Legends

Face it content marketers, it gets harder every day to get noticed. Everyone is strumming away at this content marketing thing, but a sea of sameness prevails. Very few have truly unique tunes, so it gets perpetually harder to get people to … well … tune in.

Elvis content marketingAllow me to take you back in time — starting in the mid-50s and then moving on through the decades that followed — to examine 11 legends of rock and roll.

Why, you ask?

Each epic act I’ll introduce built a timeless brand based on a signature style. And I believe, from these rock icons, you’ll be able to extract insights and ideas for creating bigger hits with your blog posts, ebooks, videos — pretty much any kind of content.

So, are you ready to rock?

 

Here’s a version of this story as a SlideShare.

The story starts in Memphis.

There was this kid from Tupelo, Miss. who came to Memphis to get a recording contract. The magic didn’t happen instantly.

In 1954, the young crooner, named Elvis Presley, was given the chance to audition at Sun Records. The label’s owner, Sam Phillips, was looking for a new and fresh sound. He later admitted he wanted a white boy who sounded like a black bluesman.

Elvis nearly blew it. He sang a Bing Crosby hit and a country standard. Phillips wasn’t hearing what he hoped to. He suggested Elvis and his backing band take a break. During that break, Elvis picked up a guitar and began belting out an unconventional take on a blues tune called “That’s Alright Mama.”

Phillips was transfixed. He asked Elvis, “What are you doing?” The reply: “We don’t know.” Sam told them to do it again. He rolled tape. Elvis sang frenetically. His inflections were odd — but compelling. He shook his hips and danced with abandon. He sneered.

They made a record together, and rock and roll was born.

What happened? Musical forms collided. Country got the blues. The result was a crazy new sound.

In the years that followed, Elvis reeled off an amazing string of hits. One of them was “All Shook Up.” The song title describes his legacy. Elvis shook up the music industry.

Can you create content that shakes things up? I suggest you try.

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Jan

Talking Guest Blogging and Email Marketing with Adam Franklin [Video]

I was recently interviewed by Adam Franklin of Blue Wire Media. It was a great conversation where I shared some of my experiences with landing guest posts on authority sites, calls to action and email marketing.

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Dec

Our 13 Most Popular Posts of 2013 and Why Readers Responded

most popular posts

Noooooo! Not another year-end listicle of greatest hits. Wake me when it’s over.

But wait. It’s not quite that simple.

Oh sure, one reason I’ve created it is I believe there is a ton of value in these articles and if you missed any, I’m hoping my resurrection of them will help you learn some useful online marketing lessons.

However, I have an even more important agenda. I want to share with you my thoughts on why these posts performed so well. If I succeed in doing this, my hope is you’ll get all kinds of useful insights on how to make your blog posts and content more magnetic, earn more social shares and open more doors.

The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Infographics

My most viewed post of 2013 speaks to why infographics are so popular and can be so valuable to your content marketing efforts. It also discusses various ways I created four popular infographics with a modest budget and moderate design skills.

The article’s headline promises a simple lesson on a timely and popular topic and the piece itself offers a tutorial, several examples of effective infographics, and a short list of what you need to create them. Readers appreciated the simplicity—and honesty—of the lesson.

The Most Effective Online Marketers Focus on One Thing

This post was popular on Copyblogger and then performed great on my blog. In it, I recognize the many important components of online marketing (including a quick quiz), but explain the one thing great marketers focus on regardless of the forum or media: the customer.

Notice these top two stories offer a major superlative, “most.” There’s great magnetism in this headline style. I believe readers recognized the lesson was fundamental and common, but often misunderstood. After pointing out the need to focus on ”you,” I deliver 9 tips for doing so effectively.

HEADLINES: A 9-Letter Cheat Sheet for Writing a Winner Every Time

“HEADLINES” was only published a few weeks ago and shot to the third spot fast. The post breaks the word “headlines” up into an acronym where each of the nine letters kicks off an easy-to-apply (and remember) headline writing tip.

Again, a superlative is at play in the headline. It guarantees success. Who doesn’t want that? The subject itself is critical to online marketers. It’s clear a lesson will be given and “cheat sheet” obviously suggests shortcuts are included, so this one fires on multiple cylinders.

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Dec

Catch Rock and Roll Content in Vegas January 4

Dec

How Does One Guy Produce So Much Content?

so much content

I get this question a lot. In my blogging bible it says, “Thou shall answer your customers’ questions in your blog posts.” I’m going to give it a try with the hope that some of the way I do things might help you produce more content, if that’s one of your goals.

But let’s be clear about the “more” thing. More content only furthers your cause if it’s great content. Don’t take this for granted. Great is great. More is simply more.

The consultants who spew ideas about hitting certain marks and producing in volume are mostly full of it. They’re the same people droning on in their blogs with the same old tips and points of view as their peers.

I created this rule and play by it…

Don’t count characters. Make your characters count

Preamble complete. Here’s how I manage to produce a steady stream of blog posts, guest posts, offers, slide decks, infographics, images, interviews, podcasts, webinars, videos, eBooks, and well, you know, content. (more…)

Dec

HEADLINES: A 9-Letter Cheat Sheet for Writing a Winner Every Time

headline

The most important line you’ll write for your blog post or any type of content is the headline.

Advertising pioneer David Ogilvy once reported only 1 in 5 will make it past your headline into your copy. Though I don’t have a modern day update on the percentage, I suspect, given the immense volume of content available to the active web surfer of today, the percentage of readers that click through to your story is far lower.

In a recent article from SEO technology company Conductor, they report:

A day in the Internet shows that 2 million blog posts, 294 billion emails, 864 thousand hours of video are created daily. Each day also brings 400 million tweets.

That’s a lot of competition for your attention. The obvious result is tons of great content is ignored. Your challenge is to quickly engage readers and inspire clicks with headlines that suggest your articles are useful.

In an effort to help you understand a variety of headline approaches that perform well for bloggers, I’ve created a cheat sheet that spells out nine tips based on the word H-E-A-D-L-I-N-E-S.

Following each tip, I offer two examples. The first example comes from ideas for a would-be blog about pets (simply because my cat and dog are loving on each other as I write this). The second example draws from my area of expertise, online marketing. (more…)

Nov

Cranberry Sauce, Content Marketing and Giving Thanks

 

cranberry sauce

I must have been in my mid to late 30s when one Thanksgiving afternoon my sister-in-law, Teresa, asked “Where is the cranberry sauce?” I explained cranberry sauce is a weird and unnecessary thing to put on turkey.

Teresa, who somehow got the nickname “Bird,” wasn’t having any of that. She insisted we bike around the corner to the PW Market and snag a can of the essential ingredient of a Thanksgiving dinner. She also insisted I try it.

Fruit on my bird? Sounded gross. But it tasted great. I rarely eat turkey now without cranberry sauce. In fact, now I even make my own  secret version of cranberry sauce, with a kick.

No doubt, sometimes I learn slowly, if at all. I’m stubborn.

Now I can tell a similar story about online marketing.

See, I had been in the copywriting game for over 20 years with a general disdain for the idea of blogging. I thought, ehnh… I rarely read them, so what’s the big deal?

Then I read “Inbound Marketing,” the great book by the two founders of HubSpot. It sort of got me on my bike and headed to the market again, if you will. A mind-boggling amount of reading about online marketing followed. And then I decided I was going to create a WordPress site, start blogging, get active in social media, and climb (or crawl) my way up the content marketing ladder, make my presence known, and share what I’d learn with anyone who cared to learn.

It worked. Or maybe I should say, it’s working.

But I didn’t do it alone. (more…)