Tag Archive | "Craft"

How to Craft a Remarkable SEO Strategy for 2017 – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

From understanding the big-picture search trends to making sure your SEO goals jive with your CEO’s goals, there’s a lot to consider when planning for 2017. Next year promises to be huge for our industry, and in today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand outlines how to craft a truly remarkable SEO strategy to help you sail through 2017.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to this special New Year’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season and are about to have a wonderful New Year’s.

This week, we’re going to chat about how you can have a remarkable, amazing SEO strategy in 2017. The first thing I’m actually going to start with is not the broad-spectrum, strategic picture, which we talked a little bit here on Whiteboard Friday about, and I’ll reference some of those, but is actually understanding some of those big-picture search trends. What are the search engines doing? How is that affecting my strategy? How does that mean I should influence and affect my specific tactics for 2017? So I’ll walk through a few of these big ones. There are others, but I think these encapsulate many of the big things we’ve been seeing.

I. Understand the big-picture search trends

  • A huge rise in SERP features, meaning that Google is showing many more types of data and types of markup in the search results. We have, I believe, 17 that we record for Keyword Explorer, but there are another 7 or 8 that we do not record, but that we see in between 1% and 2% of queries. So there’s just a ton of different features that are going in there.
  • A rise in instant answers. This is especially true on mobile, but it’s true on desktop as well. Google is trying to answer a lot of the queries themselves, and that can mean they’re taking away traffic from you, or it can mean there’s opportunity to get into those features or those answers.
  • Intent > keywords: We’re also seeing this trend that started with Hummingbird and now, obviously, continued with RankBrain around intent, searcher intent being more important than keywords in how we target our content. This does not mean you can remove keywords from the equation. You have to understand what the searcher has typed into the engine before you can serve their intent, and very small variations in keyword structure can mean real changes in searcher intent. That’s a critical part of how we craft content for people.
  • The value of comprehensiveness has clearly been on the rise. That’s been true for a couple of years, but it definitely is a trend that continued in 2016 and we expect to continue into 2017. You can see a bunch of examples of research in that area, including some from Whiteboard Friday itself.
  • Multi-device speed and user experience, Google’s been harping on this for several years now, and I think what we are observing is that speed is not the only user experience element. Google has taken action against overlays and pop-ups. They’ve taken action, clearly, that suggests that there are some engagement metrics that are going on there, and that sites that have better user experience and that garner better engagement are doing better in the search results.
  • We’ve seen a bunch of trends around unreliability of Google data. That includes search volume data. It includes data in AdWords, around Google showing you which keywords are in there. It includes inaccuracies in Google Search Console, formerly Webmaster Tools, around rankings. My colleague, Russ Jones, has just put out a big piece on that showing, essentially, that if Google says you got this many impressions and this many clicks, that may be totally wrong and false, so be cautious around that.
  • Voice search, clearly on the rise. Not yet a huge trend in terms of an addressable market that search marketers can go after, but we’ve talked a few ways here on Whiteboard Friday and at Moz about how you can think about voice search impacting your results in the future and what types of content you might want to produce to be in front of voice searchers.
  • Machine learning and deep learning, Google has clearly made a shift to that in the last 18 months, and we’re seeing it affect the search results in terms of how they’re considering links, how they’re looking at keyword searches, and how they’re looking at content.
  • Multi-visit buyer journeys have always been important, but I think we are now seeing the trend to where not just search marketers but marketers of all stripes recognize this, and a lot of us are optimizing for it, which means that the competitive landscape now demands that you optimize for a multi-visit buyer journey, that you don’t just consider a single visit in your conversion path or in your optimization path, and that means, for SEOs, considering what are all the queries someone might perform as they come to and come back to my site.
  • Bias to brands, that is a continuing trend over the last few years. We’re still seeing it, and we’re seeing it even more so. I would say we’re seeing it even when those brands have not necessarily earned tons of links, which used to be the big dominating factor in the world of is a brand stronger than a non-brand. A lot of times that was about links. Now it seems that those are decoupled.
  • That being said, we’re kind of feeling an undiminished value of links. If you’ve built a brand, if you’ve done a lot of these things successfully, links are certainly how you can stand out in the search results. That’s pretty much as true in 2016 and ’17 as it was in 2011 and 2012. Only caveat there is that the quality of links matters a lot more.

So, knowing all those things, I think we can now craft some very smart SEO tactics. We can apply those to the SEO problems we face.

II. Map your organizations top-level goals to how your SEO efforts can best assist:

Step two is to map your organization’s top-level goals to your SEO tactics, and that can look something like this.

Here’s Zow Corporate, the opposite of Moz, which is hopefully not very corporate. Zow Corporate’s big three for 2017, they want to grow revenue with new enterprise customers, they want to lower their costs to get more profitable, and they want to improve their upsell to existing customers. So SEO can help with these things by — and this is a really smart framework — you want to take the things that your organization wants to accomplish at its executive or board level, and you want to show that SEO is actually doing those things, not just that you’re trying to rank for keywords or bring more traffic, but that you’ve mapped your priorities in this way.

So I could say SEO can help by identifying searchers that enterprise targets and influencers perform and then ranking for those. We can lower our costs to get more profitable by reducing the cost per acquisition. We’ll drive more traffic with organic search, thus reducing our dependency on advertising and other forms of marketing that cost a lot more. Those types of things.

III. Build a keyword-to-content map

Step three is to build a keyword to content map. We talked about this here on Whiteboard Friday. I’d urge you to check that out if you haven’t already. But the basic concept is to have a list of terms and phrases that come out of your tactics and your goals, that you build a map for and then show like, “All right, here’s how we’re ranking today. Here’s the URL which we’re ranking with,” or, “We don’t yet have a URL that’s targeting this keyword phrase, and thus, we need to build it,” and then the action required there and what the priority is.

IV. Break down the SEO efforts into discrete projects with ETAs and people assigned, ordered by expected ROI

You can also think about adding some additional things to your content-to-keyword map or to your project list by breaking down all the SEO efforts that you’re going to do to hit all these goals into discrete projects with a few thingsan estimated time of delivery, the people who are assigned to it, and an ordering based on the expected return on investment. You can be wrong about this. It’s okay to be, “Hey, we’re taking our best guess, thumb in the air. We don’t really know for sure, but we’re going to try. Here’s the project. It’s link building for the home page. It’s our number-one priority. The value estimate is high because we currently rank number two or three for our own brand name. It’s assigned to this person, to Rand, and the ETA is March 30th.” Great, terrific, and now I know. I’ve taken this from here and from my projects list. It’s part of my goals. It’s where I think I can have a big impact. Terrific.

V. Build a reporting/measurement system that shows progress and ties revenue/goals to clear metrics:

Then, step five, the last one here is to build a reporting and measurement system that’s going to show progress, not just to you internally, but to your entire team, or to your client if you’re a consultant or an agency, and that anyone can look at and say, “Ah! This is where they’re going with this. This is how they’ve done so far.”

So you want to take any tactic or any project and add the metrics by which you will measure yourself. So if we’re trying to rank in the top three for our competitor comparison searches, Zow versus whatever companies Zow’s competing with, and the metrics there are ranking first, then search volume, the traffic we get from it, the conversions, and the retention of those customers who’ve come through, now you’ve got a real picture of how your SEO efforts map up to these big-picture goals. It’s a great way to frame your SEO.

So, with that being said, I am looking very much forward to hearing how you’re planning your 2017 SEO strategy. If you have recommendations and tips that you’d like to see here or questions, feel free to leave them in there, and despite the holiday break, I will be in there to answer your questions as best I can.

Look forward to joining you again next week and next year for a wonderful year of SEO and Whiteboard Fridays. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How to Craft the Best Damn E-commerce Page on the Web – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

From your top-level nav to your seal-the-deal content, there are endless considerations when it comes to crafting your ecommerce page. Using one of his personal favorite examples, Rand takes you step by detailed step through the process of creating a truly superb ecommerce page in today’s Whiteboard Friday.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy all and welcome to a special edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Rand Fishkin. I’m the founder of Moz, and today I want to talk with you about how to craft the best damn ecommerce page on the web. I’m actually going to be using the example of one of my very favorite ecommerce pages. That is the Bellroy Slim Wallet page. Now, Bellroy, actually, all of their pages, Bellroy makes wallets and they market them online primarily. They make some fantastic products. I’ve been an owner of one for a long time, and it was this very page that convinced me to buy it. So what better example to use?

So what I want to do today is walk us through the elements of a fantastic ecommerce page, talk about some things where I think perhaps even Bellroy could improve, and then walk through, at the very end, the process for improving your own ecommerce page.

The elements of a fantastic e-commerce page

So let’s start with number one, the very first thing which a lot of folks, unfortunately, don’t talk about but is critical to a great ecommerce process and a great ecommerce page, and that is…

1. The navigation at the very top

The navigation at the top needs to do a few things. It’s got to help people:

  • Understand and know where they are in the site structure, especially if you have a more complex site. In Bellroy’s case, they don’t really need to highlight anything. You know you’re on a wallet page. That’s probably in Shop, right? But for Amazon, this is critically important. For Best Buy, this is hugely important. Even for places like Samsung and Apple, critical to understand where I am in the site structure.
  • I want to know something about the brand itself. So if this is the first time that someone is visiting the website, which is very often the case with ecommerce pages, they’re often entry points for the first exposure that you have to a brand. Let’s recall, from what we know about conversion rate optimization, it is uncommon, unusual for someone to convert on their first visit to a brand or a website’s page, but you can make a great first impression, and part of that is what your top navigation needs to do. So it should help people identify with the brand, get a sense for the style and the details of who you are.
  • You need to know where, broadly, you can go in the website. Where can I explore from here? If this is my first visit or if this is my second visit and I’m trying to learn a little bit more about the company, I want to be able to easily get to places like About, or I want to be able to easily learn more about their products or what they do, learn more about the potential solutions, learn more about their collections and what other things they offer me.
  • I also, especially for ecommerce repeat visitors and for folks who are buying more than one thing, I want to have this simple navigation around Cart. I don’t, in fact, love how Bellroy minimizes this, but you want to make sure that the Search bar is there as well. Search is actually a function. About 10% to 12% of visitors on average to ecommerce pages will use Search as their primary navigation function. So if you make that really subtle or hard to find or difficult to use, the Search feature can really limit the impact that you can have with that group.
  • I want that info about the shopping process that comes from having the Cart. In Bellroy’s case, I love what they do. They actually put “Free shipping in the United States” in their nav on every page, which I think, clearly for them, it must be one of the key questions that they get all the time. I have no doubt that they’ve done some A/B testing and optimization to make sure, “Hey, you know what? Let’s just put it in front of everyone because it doesn’t hurt and it helps to improve our conversion rates.”

2. Core product information

Core product information tends to be that above-the-fold key part here. In Bellroy’s case, it’s very minimalist. We’re just talking about a photo of the wallet itself, and then you can click left or right, or I think sometimes it auto-scrolls as well on desktop but not mobile. I can see a lot more photos of how many cards the wallet can hold and what it looks like in my pants, how it measures up compared to a ruler, and all that kind of stuff. So there’s some great photography in here and that’s important, as well as the name and the price.These core details may differ from product to product. For example, if you are selling a more complex piece of technology, the core features may, in fact, be fairly substantive, and that’s okay. But we are trying to help. With this core product information, we’re trying to help people understand what the product is and what it does. So wallet, very, very obvious. If we’re talking about lab equipment or scientific machinery, well, a little more complicated. We better make sure that we’re communicating that. We want…

  • Visuals that are going to serve to… in this case, I think they do a great job, but comprehensively communicate the positioning, the positioning of the product itself. So Bellroy is clearly going with minimalist. They’re going with craft. They’re a small, niche shop. They don’t do 10,000 things. They just make wallets, and they are trying to make that very clear. They also are trying to make their quality a big part of this, and they are trying to make the focus of the product itself, the slimness. You can really see that as you go into, well obviously, the naming convention, but also the photography itself, which is showing you just how slim this wallet can be in comparison to bulky other wallets. They take the same number of cards, they put them in two different kinds of wallets, they show you the thickness, and the Bellroy is very, very slim. So that’s clearly what the positioning is going for.
  • Potentially here, we might want video or animation. But I’m going to say that this is only a part of the core content when it truly makes sense. Great example of when it does make sense would be Zappos. Zappos, obviously, has their videos for nearly every shoe and shoe brand that they promote on their website. They saw tremendous conversion rate improvements because people had a lot of questions about how it moves and walks and how it looks with certain pieces of clothing. The detail of having someone explain it to you, as I’m explaining ecommerce pages to you in video form, turned out had a great impact on their conversion rate. You might want to test this, but it’s also the case that this content, that video or animation content might live down below. We’ll talk about how that can live in more of the photos and process at the very bottom at the end of this video.
  • Naming convention. We want price. We want core structural details. I like that Bellroy here has made their core content very, very slim, just the photos, the name, and the price.

3. Clear options to the path to purchase

This is somewhere where, I think, a lot of folks unfortunately get torn by the Amazon model. If you are Amazon.com, which yes, has phenomenal click-through rates, phenomenal engagement rates, phenomenal conversion rates, but you are not Amazon. Repeat after me, “I am not Amazon.” Therefore, one of the things that Amazon does is they clutter this page with hundreds of different things that you could do, and they built that up over decades, literally decades. They built up so that we are all familiar with an Amazon page, ecommerce page, and what we expect on it. We know there’s going to be a lot of clutter. We know there’s going to be a ton of call-to-actions, other things we could buy, things that are often bought with this, and things that could be bundled with this. That is fine for Amazon. It is almost definitely not fine for you unless you are extremely similar to what Amazon does. For that reason, I see many, many folks getting dragged in this direction of, “Hey, I want to have 10 different calls-to-action because people might want to X, Y, and Z.” There are ways to do the “might want to X, Y, and Z” without making those specific calls-to-action in the core part of the landing page for the ecommerce product. I’ll talk about those in just a second.

But what I do want you to do here is:

  • Help people understand what is available. Quick example, you can select the color. That is the only thing you can do with this wallet. There are no different sizes. There are no different materials that they could be made of. There’s just color. Color, Checkout, and by the way, once again, free shipping.
  • I am trying to drive them to the primary action, and that is what this section of your ecommerce page needs to do a great job of. Make the options clear, if there are any, and make the path to purchase really, really simple.
  • We’re trying to eliminate roadblocks, we’re trying to eliminate any questions that might arise, and we want to eliminate any future frustration. So, for example, one of the things that I would do here, that Bellroy does not do, is I would geo-target based on IP address. So I’d look at the IP address of the visitor who’s coming to this page, and I would say, “I am pretty sure you are located in Washington State right now. Therefore, I know that this is the sales tax amount that I need to charge.” Or, “Bellroy isn’t in Washington State. I don’t need to charge you sales tax.” So I might have a little thing here that says, “Sales Tax” and then a little drop-down that’s pre-populated with Washington or pre-populated with the ZIP code if you know that and “$ 0.” That way it’s predictive. It’s saying already, “Oh, good. I know that the next page I’m going to click on is going to ask me about sales tax, or the page after I enter my credit card is.” You know what, it’s great to have that question answered beforehand. Now, maybe Bellroy has tested this and they found that it doesn’t convert as well, but I would guess that it probably, probably would convert even better with that messaging on there.

4. Detailed descriptions of the features of the product

This is where a lot of the bulk of the content often lives on product pages, on ecommerce pages. In this case, they’ve got a list of features, including all sorts of dimension stuff, how it’s built, what it’s made from, and what it can hold, etc., etc.

What I’m trying to do here is a few things:

  • I want to help people know what to expect from this product. I don’t want high returns. Especially if I’m offering free shipping, I definitely don’t want high returns. I want people to be very satisfied with this product, to know exactly what they’re going to get.
  • I want to help them determine if the product fits their needs, fits what they are trying to accomplish, fits the problem they’re trying to solve.
  • I want to help them, lead them to answers quickly for frequently asked questions. So if I know that lots of people who reach this page have this sort of, “Oh, gosh, you know, I wonder, what is their delivery process like? How long does it take to get to me because I kind of need a wallet for this trip that I’m going on, and, you know, I’m bringing pants that just won’t hold my thick wallet, and that’s what triggered me to search for slim wallets in Google and that’s what led me to this page?” Aha, delivery. Great job. You’ve answered the question before or as they are asking it, and that is really important. We want answers to the unasked questions before people start to panic in the Checkout process.

You can go through this with folks who you say, “Hey, I want you to imagine that you are about to buy this. Give me the 10 things in your head. I want you to say out loud everything that you think when you see this page.” You can do this with actual customers, with customers who are returning, with people who fit your target demographic and target customer profile but have not yet bought from you, with people who’ve bought from your competitors. As you do this, you will find the answers to be very, very similar time after time, and then you can answer them right in this featured content. So warranty is obviously another big one. They note that they have a three-year warranty. You can click plus here, and you can get more information.

I also like that they answer that unasked question. So when they say, “Okay, it’s 80 millimeters by 95 millimeters.” “Man, I don’t know how big a millimeter is. I just can’t hold that information in my head.” But look, they have a link “Compare to Others.” If you click that, it will show you an overlay comparison of this wallet against other wallets that they offer and other wallets that other people offer. Awesome. Fantastic. You are answering that question before I have it.

5. A lot of the seal-the-deal content

When we were talking before about videos or animations or some of the content that maybe belongs in the featured section or possibly could be around Checkout, but doesn’t quite reach the level of importance that we’ve dictated for those, this is where you can put that content. It can live below the fold, scrolling way down. I have yet to see the ecommerce page that has suffered from providing too much detail about things people actually care about. I have seen ecommerce pages suffer from bloating the page with tons of content that no one cares about, especially as it affects page load speed which hurts your conversions on mobile and hurts your rankings in Google because site speed is a real issue. But seal-the-deal content should:

  • Help people get really comfortable and build trust. So if I scroll down here, what I’m seeing is more photos about how the wallet is made, how people are using it. They call this the nude approach, which cleverly titled, I’m sure it makes for a lot of clicks. The nude approach to building a wallet, why the leather is so slender, why it adds so little weight and depth, why it lasts so long, all these kinds of things.
  • It’s trying to use social proof or other psychological triggers to get rid of any remaining skepticism. So if you know what the elements of skepticism are from your potential buyers, you can answer that in this deeper content as people get down and through this.

Now, all right, you might say to yourself, “These all sound like great things. How do I actually run this process, Rand?” The answer is embedded in what we just talked about. You’re going to need to ask your customers, your potential customers, your customers who bought from you before, and customers who did not buy from you but ended up buying from a competitor, about these elements. You’re going to need to test, which means that you need some infrastructure, something like an Unbounce or an Optimizely, or your own testing platform if you feel like building one, your engineers do, in order to be able to change out elements and see how well they convert, change out pieces of information. But it is not helpful to change things like button color, or to change lists of features, or to change out the specific photos when the problem is, overall, you have not solved these problems. If you don’t solve these problems, the best button color in the world will not help your conversion rate nearly enough, which is why we need to form theories and have hypotheses about what’s stopping people from buying. That should be informed by our real research.

SEO for ecommerce pages

SEO for ecommerce pages is based on only a few very, very simple things. Our SEO elements here are keywords, content, engagement, links, and in some cases freshness. You hit these five and you’ve basically nailed it.

  • Keywords, do you call your products the same thing people call your products when they search for them? If the answer is no, you have an opportunity to improve. Even if you want to use a branded name, I would suggest combining that with the name that everyone else calls your things. So if this is the slim sleeve wallet, if historically Bellroy had called this the sleeve wallet, I would highly recommend to them, “Hey, people are searching for slim wallet. How about we find a way to merge those things?”
  • Content is around what is on this page, and Google is looking for content that solves the searcher’s problem, the searcher’s issue. That means doing all of these things right and having it in a format that Google can actually read. Video is great. Transcripts of the video should also be available. Visuals are great. Descriptions should also be available. Google needs that text content.
  • Engagement, that is going to come from people visiting this page and not clicking the back button and going back to Google and searching for other stuff and clicking on your competitor’s links. It’s going to come from people clicking that Checkout button or browsing deeper in the website and from engaging with this page by spending time on the site and not bouncing. That’s your job and responsibility, and this stuff can all help.
  • Links come from press. It can come from blogs. It can come from some high-quality directories. Be very careful in the directory link-building world. It can come from partnerships. It can come from suppliers. It can come from fans of the product. It can come from reviews. All that kind of stuff. People who give you their testimonials, you can potentially ask them for links, so all that kind of stuff. Those links, if they are from diverse sets of domains and they contain good anchor text, meaning the name of your actual product, and they are pointing specifically to this page, they will tremendously help you rank above your competition.
  • Freshness. In some industries and in some cases, when you know that there is a lot of demand for the latest and greatest, you should be updating this page as frequently as you can with the new information that is most pertinent and relevant to your audience.

You do these things, and you do these things, and you will have the best damn ecommerce page on the web.
All right, everyone, thanks for joining us. We’ll see you again hopefully on Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines

answer these questions to write better headlines

Last week, when I wrote about how to become a writer, I forgot to mention something about why you’d want to be a writer.

Writers are communicators. If you’re proud of your ideas, you want to be able to communicate them clearly and precisely.

Headlines are your first opportunity to present your message to the audience you want to reach. The language you use should appeal to those people and make them want to find out more.

To review the next headline you write from the perspective of an editor who is focused on audience engagement, here are three simple questions you can ask yourself.

A guide to finding the right words

Once you’ve written a draft of your headline and article (or you’ve recorded a podcast episode or video), use the questions below to ensure your headline is the most effective it can be:

  1. Who will benefit from this content?
  2. How do I help them?
  3. What makes this content special?

The answers to these questions most likely won’t produce the exact headline you’ll use. Rather, they’ll help mold your headline draft into a persuasive message that reaches and connects with the people you want to attract to your content.

To keep the process of infusing your headline with meaning and fascination simple, I recommend answering each question in one to two sentences.

If you need to write more, recognize your opportunity to fine-tune your goal for the content before revisiting these headline questions.

Let’s look at the important information each question will help you cultivate and how the answers will transform your headline.

1. Who will benefit from this content?

As Brian wrote yesterday:

“The point is to bond strongly with someone rather than boring everyone.”

When you define your audience, you can review your headline to make sure you use language that intrigues those individuals.

For example, your target audience may be marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate.

If your headline only says, “10 Tips to Beat Procrastination,” you can look for ways to add words that will attract marine biologists. And you don’t have to explicitly announce, “Hey marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate, this content is for you!”

You could try:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

(A black marlin is one of the fastest fish.)

2. How do I help them?

People don’t necessarily wake up in the morning excited to read content.

The promises that certain pieces of content make to expand people’s understanding or knowledge of a topic persuade them to read content throughout the day. The content may even change their lives.

Your tips might help marine biologists accomplish tasks faster, and if they can accomplish tasks faster, they’re less likely to put them off.

Here, you can add another benefit to the headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

3. What makes this content special?

You may now realize that while a lot of other articles focus on “beating procrastination,” your content is special because it shows how to simplify and organize your daily marine biology to-do list so that each task is manageable.

Now you’ll want to revise a few words from your original headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

Custom-tailored headlines for your content

We started this exercise with the headline:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination

The final result is:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

If you’re a marine biologist with a tendency to procrastinate, which headline would you click on?

The post Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to Craft a Marketing Story that People Embrace and Share

how to create a memorable marketing story

You’re telling a story.

Whether you know it or not, or intend to or not … you absolutely are.

Everything you do to market your business is another paragraph, page, or chapter in the story people hear from you. And the story people hear is the one they act (or don’t act) on, and repeat (or don’t repeat) to others.

Now, it’s not necessarily fatal if you’re not aware you’re telling a story, and you’ll never completely control your story anyway. But purposeful storytelling is the mark of the great novelist, screenwriter, and playwright — and purposeful marketing stories are a sure sign of a great content marketer.

So why not tell your story on purpose? Here’s how.

1. Know your audience

The battle is won or lost, right here. Put me up against the greatest writer in the world, and if I understand the audience better, I will kick his or her ass every time when it comes to connection, engagement, and conversion.

What do you need to know? You need to know whom they admire, and what they aspire to, despise, fear, and cherish.

Instead of sitting around dreaming up content you guess people might react favorably to, you tell an educated story based on one or more archetypal individuals who represent the whole.

Understanding your audience at such an intimate level makes creating buyer personas important. It also helps you be a part of the market you’re speaking to, which results in a more authentic story and easier leadership of the community you form.

Research doesn’t sound sexy, but it’s the foundation of any smart marketing plan. The more time you spend understanding the people you’re talking to, the better story you’ll tell them.

2. Select your frame

When you know your audience well, what you’re really tuning in to is the way your people view the world. And when you understand the worldview your prospects share — the things they believe — you can frame your story in a way that resonates so strongly with them that you enjoy an “unfair” advantage over your competition.

Consider these competing worldviews, framed differently by simple word choice:

  • Fitness Enthusiast vs. Gym Rat
  • Progressive vs. Moonbat
  • Businessman vs. The Man

These are extreme examples, and you can cater to audience beliefs and worldviews without resorting to name-calling. For example, the simple word “green” can provoke visceral reactions at the far sides of the environmental worldview spectrum, while also prompting less-intense emotions in the vast middle.

Framing your story against a polar opposite, by definition, will make some love you and others ignore or even despise you. That’s not only okay, it’s necessary.

You’ll likely never convert those at the other end of the spectrum, but your core base will share your content and help you penetrate the vast group in the middle — and that’s where growth comes from.

3. Choose your premise

The premise is the way you choose to tell the story so that you get the conclusion you desire. It’s the delivery of the framed message with dramatic tension and one or more relatable heroes so that your goals are achieved.

  • It’s the hook, the angle, the purple cow.
  • It’s the difference between a good story and an ignored story.
  • It’s the clear path between attention and action.

It’s important to understand the difference between the beliefs or worldview of your audience (the frame) and the expression of that belief or worldview back to them.

Think about your favorite novel or film … the same information could have been transmitted another way, but just not as well. In fact, stories have been retold over and over throughout the ages — some are just better told than others.

The premise is essentially the difference between success and failure (or good and great) when it comes to copywriting and storytelling.

Content marketing as storytelling

“Marketing succeeds when enough people with similar worldviews come together in a way that allows marketers to reach them cost-effectively.” – Seth Godin

That’s exactly what content marketing allows you to do. In fact, it’s the most cost-effective (and just plain ol’ effective) online marketing method ever devised when done properly.

Even better, people aren’t just coming together. They’re coming together around you.

You’re telling a story.

Why not make it remarkable?

Discover a home for content marketers who tell remarkable stories

At Copyblogger, we’ve found that when you build your online presence slowly and carefully, you create a long-lasting asset — an audience of people who want to hear from you, who need your help, and who trust you implicitly.

That investment in your audience pays off in a long-term business that increases in value over time.

Authority is a home for people who create content that’s helpful, entertaining, and engaging in order to attract an audience to their products and services. It’s our flagship program that teaches you how to build your online authority the “Copyblogger way.”

This week, you can get the advanced training and support inside Authority for our previous low price of just $ 399/year.

Click the button below to get in now before the annual price goes up to $ 595 on September 16, 2016.

Join Authority

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on December 2, 2010.

The post How to Craft a Marketing Story that People Embrace and Share appeared first on Copyblogger.


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3 Articles that Will Help You Craft Smarter Landing Pages

Copyblogger Collection: show your prospects you have what they need

Chances are, it hasn’t been too long since you’ve had a miscommunication with someone — possibly a spouse, child, parent, or coworker.

You thought that person understood what you said, but he interpreted your message in a different way than you intended.

Miscommunications on landing pages occur when you think you’ve explicitly stated why a prospect should take action and that prospect isn’t convinced your call to action is the right step for him to take.

To avoid disappointing conversion rates on your landing pages, this week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that show you:

  • How to create a deep connection with your prospects and customers
  • How 26 fun rhymes will help you focus on your landing page goal
  • How savvy marketers write landing page copy

As you work your way through the material below, think of these lessons as a mini landing page course.


How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers

In How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers, Sonia Simone says:

If you intend to sell something — to ask for someone’s hard-earned money and irreplaceable time — you must begin by seeing (and honoring) who they are.

You’ll learn three key components that will help you create a bond with your prospect and express that connection with clarity.


The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work [Infographic]

landing-pages-that-work

You know landing pages are an important part of your digital business — but you probably wish they were a little more fun, right?

Steven Lowe has granted your wish in The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work. The infographic he created with the help of designer Lauren Mancke provides a rhyming landing page tip for each letter of the alphabet.

Since you want your readers to act because your products and services assist them with something they lack, this infographic will keep you on track!


The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages

landing-page-checklist

Finally, you can download and print the editable PDF we provide in The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages.

Henneke created this landing page checklist to bring the best landing page advice together in one place.

She walks you through each step of the landing page creation process — from writing persuasive copy to editing effectively and designing for clarity.

Accelerate your landing page education

Use this post (and save it for future reference!) to accelerate your landing page education in a fun, easy, and manageable way that will help you build your digital business.

This is doable. These articles are for you.

We’ll see you back here on Monday with a fresh topic to kick off the week!

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Copyblogger Media’s Editor-in-Chief. Don’t follow her on Twitter.

The post 3 Articles that Will Help You Craft Smarter Landing Pages appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Email Personalization: Craft forms with purpose

In this brief video from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, see how to implement effective email sign-up forms to tailor personalized email content for your subscribers.
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How to Craft Compelling Copy

Image of MyCopyblogger Copywriting Marketing Icon

There’s no easy way to say this … online marketing can be hard.

It’s hard to get attention. It’s hard to get people to subscribe to your email newsletter. It’s even harder to earn the kind of trust that turns a reader into a paying customer.

You’re probably all too familiar with the frustration this situation breeds. You’ve probably felt the sting of your very best ideas being ignored … your email subscriber list stagnating … your products flopping.

You might try to comfort yourself with the notion that everyone is flailing online. But you’re smarter than that.

You see certain people and companies rise above the noise. Their ideas are getting heard — and shared. Their email newsletters are growing at ridiculous rates. And they never seem to have a problem creating a product that their audience loves.

What gives?

The difference boils down to this: The marriage of content that serves your audience and direct-response copywriting — the art of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action.

Over the years successful online content marketers have harnessed the power of copywriting so people pay attention to their ideas and respond to their offers … and essentially do what they want.

Would you like to learn how to write compelling copy … and experience this type of success online?

Then here’s your chance.

Grab a free copy of our ebook Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy to learn the basics of writing great copy that actually sells.

In addition, to answer the tons of other questions that online publishers like you ask, we’ve built a training resource called MyCopyblogger.

When you register (at no charge) you’ll get instant access to nearly 100,000 words of proven marketing training in fourteen high-impact ebooks, plus our completely revamped 20-part Internet marketing course.

Take a quick look at what’s waiting for you in MyCopyblogger right now …

  • Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy
  • How to Write Magnetic Headlines
  • How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines
  • Content Marketing: How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business
  • The Business Case for Agile Content Marketing
  • A Content Marketing Strategy that Works
  • How to Create Content that Converts
  • How to Effectively Promote Your Content
  • Content Marketing Research: The Crucial First Step
  • How to Build Authority through Content and Google Authorship
  • Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business
  • Keyword Research for Web Writers and Content Producers
  • Landing Pages: How to Turn Traffic into Money

Inside these ebooks you’ll find the very same tactics, strategies, and processes that allowed us to build Copyblogger Media from a simple blog into a content-fueled software and training company with 100,000+ customers.

So, if you are ready to go beyond just sharing your ideas online and actually get that attention and profit boost you’ve always dreamed of, then start the journey of learning how to write compelling copy today. Sign up for MyCopyblogger , and take advantage of months of valuable free marketing education.

Free Registration

About the Author: Demian Farnworth is Chief Copywriter for Copyblogger Media. Follow him on Twitter or Google+. Then visit his blog to read his Education of a Writer series.

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How Doctor Who Can Help You Craft a Timelessly Engaging Marketing Message

image of eleventh dr. who

You may not think the apex of cool is a multi-colored scarf. Or a bow-tie. Or both.

Unless you’re a Whovian, of course.

Doctor Who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, and as the “most successful” science fiction series of all time (in terms of its overall ratings, DVD and book sales, and iTunes traffic).

The show has earned acclaim for imaginative stories, creative low-budget special effects (although these have improved over time), and its pioneering use of electronic music.

As Doctor Who builds towards its highly-anticipated and climactic 50th anniversary year (and 14 big, blockbuster-movie episodes) things couldn’t be brighter. Why? Because sci-fi fans are cool like that?

Nope. It’s not just the genre. It’s the storytelling.

It’s the triumph of good over evil. It’s the life and death plots. And it’s because weeping angels are just, well … fascinatingly scary.

Obviously, the writers of this show know what they’re doing. Here’s what you can learn from them about developing timelessly delicious content.

1. Be your audience’s hero

The Doctor is a god-like hero.

And not just as metaphor, but as one we can see and understand. He loves humans more than all the other creatures in the Whoniverse. He would die for us, if it came to that.

The bottom line? The Doctor is over-the-top helpful. He cares. And he does whatever it takes to save the day.

Your content needs to be the same. Your audience is struggling with real problems — sometimes they might even be the life-and-death serious kind.

Help them!

Don’t just tell someone vaguely what to do. Give them actual steps to get it done. Use a tutorial, a template or a video; or at least make sure you point them to the exact resources where they can get what they need.

2. Love your TARDIS

The TARDIS (which stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) is the Doctor’s super-vehicle.

A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and any place in the universe.

And if that weren’t special enough, it’s a living, organic being — created especially for the Doctor, himself.

The bonus? Because a TARDIS’ interior space exists in a different dimension from its exterior, it appears bigger on the inside.

Your website is your TARDIS.

It’s your vehicle or platform for delivering all that juicy content across the web. Its interior size is limited only by your imagination, and can have as many rooms as you need to tell your story.

You should know your site like the back of your hand, and keep it properly maintained.

3. Be timeless

Time Lords have a non-linear perception of time that allows them to see everything that was, is, or could be at the same time.

They’re extremely long-lived, routinely counting their ages in terms of centuries. The Doctor claimed in at least one episode that Time Lords could live “practically forever, barring accidents.”

Create cornerstone content that isn’t bound to any particular timeline.

Focus on telling the truth — not telling what’s true now. This makes your content “evergreen” and relevant long after other types of content have ceased to be relevant.

Tell stories with real characters. Don’t forget to include detailed portraits of the villians and aliens you’re battling on behalf of your audience. Help them find the courage to take a stand against evil — in whatever form it takes in their lives — and you’ll go home safe and happy at the end of the day.

4. Regenerate and repurpose

Time Lords also have the ability to regenerate their bodies when their current body is mortally wounded. This process results in their body undergoing a transformation, gaining a new physical form.

Once you’ve poured your heart, mind and soul into your blog post, it would be a shame to let it languish in your site archive, collecting dust.

Here are 11 ways you can breathe new life into that single blog post:

  1. Record a podcast — Narrate your blog post as is, or invite an appropriate guest to discuss one aspect of the content in more depth.
  2. Create a white paper or special report — If the post itself isn’t too long, you may need to supplement with data and/or images. These are great as a downloadable gift or enticement for list-building.
  3. Create a video — Record yourself delivering the content highlights for a short video (2 minutes or less). If necessary, you can record an entire series and deliver them as part of an opt-in list-builder.
  4. Create a slide presentation — Find a series of strong images, and use them — with or without music — to present your ideas in a slide presentation. Upload the slides to slideshare.net and then embed on your site and share via social media channels.
  5. Deliver a webinar or in-person presentation — Use your slide presentation for this and add your special report as a handout.
  6. Article — Revise the post so that it speaks to another subset of your target market. Submit it to an article directory like eHow, or to Squidoo.
  7. Guest posts — Revise the post to meet the needs of another blog’s audience and submit as a guest post. Be sure that the blog knows your submission is based on your original post.
  8. eBook — Package together with 7 to 10 similar themed posts, write an introduction and a summary wrap-up paragraph, and save as a PDF. EBooks can be used for free promotions, or as introductory products.
  9. Audio Book — Narrate your eBook and record as an mp3 or series of mp3 files.
  10. Inspirational Quote — Pull a quote or two and use as a Tweet and/or other social media share. Include a link back to your post. You could also create some swag (like a t-shirt or a bumper sticker) if the quote gets a lot of positive response.
  11. Infographic — Create an infographic using the data or steps outlined in your post. Pin to Pinterest and include embed code for ease of sharing.

Once you’ve exhausted the new lives of your blog post, consider pulling everything together into one signature info product or class. Who says you only get 11 lives?

5. Make friends with technology

The Doctor has a gadget he never leaves home without: his sonic screwdriver.

This complex piece of technology — a portable device that allows him to do everything from pick locks to perform medical scans and control other devices remotely — is more than just a fancy tool. It’s another vehicle that facilitates the Doctor’s mission.

You have one, too. It’s called a smart phone. Make sure you understand all the nifty things it can do for you and how your content looks and acts when viewed on its lovely little screen.

People are shifting away from their clunky laptops and desktop computers to read and engage on the web. This means your site needs to work properly on a mobile device — or your content is dead in the water.

This is the journey of a lifetime

It might only be sixty minutes of wildly dramatic adventure, but during that time, Doctor Who manages to capture your attention, involve you in the storyline, and hook you into wanting more.

The secret? A three-dimensional look at the lives and morals of aliens and humans — both good and evil. Doctor Who writers create raving fans because they tell meaningful stories that entertain us at the same time. This, above all else, is your mission, too.

So whether you’re a Third Doctor fan or a Tenth Doctor fanatic, the Whovian recipe has some time-honored ingredients that can help you cook up your own timelessly fascinating content.

Best way to begin? Decide on a destination, check your instruments and take off!

About the Author: Tea Silvestre is a sci-fi geek, a marketing coach and the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How thinking like a Chef can help you build a solid business.” You can follow her musings on Twitter at @teasilvestre. Learn how she regenerated her blog content into a published book when you take her free e-course: “From Blog to Book in 9 Simple Steps“.

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