The Point

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Oct

In Loving Memory of a Blog [Back from the Dead] Infographic

It’s back from the dead.

Actually, it’s still dead. Huh?

What I’m trying to say is I have a new infographic for you. I’ve taken the “Eulogy for a Blog” post I originally wrote for Copyblogger (and republished here) and teamed with my friends at ClearVoice to create this haunting infographic. Enjoy.

Eulogy for a Blog infographic

[BTW, if blogging and content marketing haunts you, learn how a content marketing consultant can help.]

THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

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.

(more…)

Oct

How to Write a Lead Like a Professional Blogger

Write a Lead

 

Writing leads is a bitch.

But I just wrote a great one. How do I know? You read the second sentence. And now you’re on the fifth. I’m on a roll. You’re into sentence number seven and I love you for it.

The objective of the first sentence (often called the lead, or lede) is to get you into the second one. Some say the lead is the first paragraph and, as you must have gathered, its goal is to get you to read the paragraph that follows.

Of course, the headline ranks highest, so those that dole out writing advice tend to focus on it. I thought we’d focus on the lead today. When it fails you, your reader takes in only two lines. That’s a form of rejection no writer can live with.

So let’s get back to that bitch

At this year’s International Association of Procrastinators Conference (which was originally scheduled for last year), a poll determined the hardest part of every task is getting started.

Beginning a blog post is no exception. The challenge often thwarts the progress of the most successful professionals. Kristi Hines, professional blogger of the highest order, told me:

“For me, the lead is the most difficult part of the article to write. I’ve found that when I get stuck, the best approach is to write the rest of the article and circle back to it. By that point, I know exactly what I’ve covered in the article and that makes it easier to introduce the content. Otherwise, if I try to force the lead out first, I end up procrastinating on the whole piece.”

We have our first tip: skip the lead if it freezes you. Try to switch to defrost and just dive into the story. (more…)

Sep

How to Grade a Blog (Including Yours)

Blog report card

I failed. Big fat F. But I’m giving myself a redo. I’m the teacher. I get to make that call.

Actually, for growing my business as a content marketing consultant, I’ll give myself a passing grade. It’s going well, but new (and tough) tests keep coming. I don’t ace ‘em all.

I have a new client that’s moving forward fast and furiously putting the pieces in place—new WordPress site, HubSpot, enewsletter, social media, collateral, the works. And they’re making a good size commitment to fueling inbound marketing efforts with a steady stream of content.

To help accelerate my ability to direct a kickass content marketing initiative, my client has given me an assistant. And she’s a go-getter. I can’t even move fast enough to push her because she’s pushing me.

In an effort to help the team blast through some initial planning stages, she created the spreadsheet that ate Cincinnati. I asked her to make one of its many tabs a rundown of competitors’ blogs, or prominent blogs in the field. She did that. It was a long list.

So then I asked her to try to save me some time by checking them out and grading them. (I figure I’ll only dig into the A and B material.) She graded them. I checked out the blogs she gave good grades. They didn’t deserve A’s and B’s. She was enormously generous.

I was thinking she failed me, but realized I’m to blame. I didn’t tell her how to grade the blogs—what criteria to use.

I got busy thinking it through a bit and along the way decided this would call for a simple and decisive blog report card. I think it’ll be helpful to her/us. I’m hoping it’s helpful to you too.

The blog report card criteria

When you peruse this report card, you’re bound to find some of the criteria I’m laying down as subjective. So be it. To keep it simple, the score can be either 1 or 0, so you need to make the call for the subjective ones, like #1…

(more…)

Aug

Content Marketers that Walk It, Talk It & Get It Done

Mark Masters

Now here’s a chap who knows how to create content and repurpose it wisely. Meet Mark Masters of the ID Group in the U.K. His idea was quite simple: interview an extensive series of marketing leaders. I’m sure it took a ton of work, but he made it happen. I was thrilled to be included in a long list featuring Jay Baer, Joe Pullizzi, Ann Handley, Robert Rose, Doug Kessler, Marcus Sheridan, Lee Odden—and many more of my favorite authors, teachers, consultants, speakers—and probably yours too.

Mark took excerpts from his interview series, “Talking Content,” and created this roundup slide deck, “What I Have Learnt from Content Marketers Who Have Walked the Walk.”

 

Here’s the complete interview I did with Mark.

And stay tuned below for links to additional interviews I chosen to share because Mark got into “storytelling” with these guests too. (more…)

Jul

How Publishing Crappy Content Ruins Your Rankings

content farm

Lessons from (and confessions of) a former content farmer.

This is a guest post from Erik Devaney of HubSpot, aka @BardOfBoston, pictured above ;-)

Ever stumble across a poorly written, vaguely comprehensible article with a title like, “How to Cook Atlantic Pygmy Octopus on a Weber Grill” or “The Best Types of Blue Flowers for Japanese Rock Gardens”?

Chances are, an article like that came from a content farm: a website that publishes thousands upon thousands of crappy articles, all for the sake of ranking for as many keywords (and keyword combinations) as possible.

If you want to think about them in terms of actual farms, content farms are like giant, multinational agriculture corporations. Corporations like these can have thousands of employees, hundreds of different products, and they often use genetic engineering in order to optimize those products. Likewise, content farms can have thousands of writers, hundreds of different verticals, and they often use black-hat SEO tactics (especially keyword-stuffing) in order to optimize their content for search engines.

Of course, genetic engineering is a tad different from SEO. Yet both are frequently viewed as ways to “game the system,” and often carry with them negative (and unnatural) connotations.

It should come as no surprise then to learn that Google is not a big fan of content farms. And just a few years ago, they made these feelings known to the world with the release of their Panda update.

(more…)

Jul

Personal Branding: Power Tips for Getting Your Online Brand In Line

Personal branding tips

Let’s talk about you. You’re a brand. Do you know how to develop your personal brand?

As an online marketing consultant and writer, I found myself answering a ton of questions about building and developing a personal brand. So I did a lot of reading on the subject as well as reflecting on many of the effective tactics I’ve used since establishing Feldman Creative in 1995 and focusing on content marketing since 2011.

I organized these ideas into the infographic here, “The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding.” Then I was invited to do a Google+ Hangout with Google+ master Martin Shervingon of Plus Your Business. Martin used the infographic as the agenda for a in-depth conversation we had on the subject of personal branding. You’ll find the video below as well as a transcript.

Enjoy it. I hope you pick-up and apply some useful tips. (more…)

May

30+ Need-to-Read Resources on Online Marketing

online marketers need to read

 

You’ll want to check these blogs, authors, resources—all top notch.

My Google Alerts alerted me to a resource list for online marketers produced on ExploreB2B by Dr. Susanna Gebauer, an internet marketing and energy regulations expert (fun combo, no?) hailing from Germany. I’m flattered the list included yours truly. It’s a strong line-up of marketers that I’d recommend you check out. It even introduced me to some writers in the field who are worth getting to know. I’ve republished it so you can get to know them too.

Bragging rights? I’ve actually written for 10 of these awesome marketing leaders. 

***

Dr. Susanna Gebauer wrote:

Recently I was asked to recommend some German blogs on Content Marketing. As I myself mainly read English blogs I admit I had to search around – and failed miserably as German blogs worth reading on this subject seem to be few.

Today I present the best English language blogs and outlets I know about Content, Social Media and Online Marketing – feel free to tell me what I missed.

This is a list of blogs I read and would recommend. The list is in no particular order and the numbering implies no rating.

1) Copyblogger:

They do not only talk about content marketing – they live it. That is one of the best recommendations you can get: people who successfully use content marketing to market their own business. Meet Brian Clark of Copyblogger on Twitter or Google+.

2) Marketo:

Marketo offers a Marketing automation software, they help you sort through all your contacts to always have the right message for the right people to turn prospects into customers. On their blog they write about Marketing Automation, Social Media, Content Marketing, Email Marketing and Sales.

3) Marketing Profs:

Ann Handley of Marketing profs and her team provide you with vast collection of information on all things marketing.

4) Hubspot:

Hubspot itself is an inbound marketing software that “helps to attract customers and convert them into customers”. On their blog they publish about a variety of marketing topics including content marketing and social media.

5) Kissmetrics:

Kissmetrics was one of the first blogs I followed as they provide us with a good mix of content around different marketing topics. They focus on providing helpful information: tips, how-tos and studies.

6) Content Marketing Institute: (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)