Tag Archive | "grow"

How to Grow an Idea into a Fruitful Product or Service

Let’s take it back … Way back … Before the internet was a part of creating your business. What steps…

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Optimizing Email Capture: 9-point checklist to grow your email marketing list by minimizing the perceived cost of opting in

Only 17% of marketers say their email list is rapidly growing. One inhibitor may be your email opt-in form and landing page. Read now and download the free PDF checklist (no form fill required, instant download) to get your email marketing database growing more rapidly.

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7 Steps to Grow a Blog Post

Last week I talked about how writers seem like magicians, because we have the power to create something out of nothing. An important point to note about magicians, though: They don’t really do magic. Instead, they study and practice specific behaviors until they can create that illusion of creating something out of nothing. And of
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Grow with Us This Week on Copyblogger

This week, we have three posts to help you grow in various ways — creatively, financially, grammatically. On Monday, Jerod Morris let us know that Digital Commerce Academy is now open for new students! This is the resource you need if you want to get a digital business off the ground — or make faster
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How Small Digital Publishers Can Grow Their Network and Save Time

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Being a small or startup publishing company is hard. The digital advertising industry is broken. Larger companies like Vox and Buzzfeed are some of the only online publications that can hope to monetize their content effectively. Smaller niche publications often have an even harder time attracting return visitors or getting people outside of their current active users to see their content at all. Already at a disadvantage, most small publications are also understaffed and underfunded. These publications can use content marketing and search marketing concepts within their online distribution strategy to better reach their audiences and to compete with bigger publications.

Platforms as distributors

Somehow, platforms have long been both the saviors and the destroyers of the digital publishing industry. Regardless, they’ve become a necessary evil for the content distribution strategy of almost all online publishing companies. There’s no real harm in trying out different ways to reach your audience, but don’t waste your time on a platform that isn’t growing your audience or enhancing its engagement. The usual contenders being Facebook and Twitter, there are a few more platforms that can be easily utilized towards helping you to reach your audience.

1. AMP

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project is a complex attempt by Google to make pages load faster on mobile devices, keep users on their platform, and to better engage with the publishing community. Many larger sites report a lot of success using AMP. Smaller publishers may be wary of trying out AMP on their sites, out of fear that it will further overwork their staff or that it requires an intense amount of web development knowledge. However, Google AMP is fairly simple to implement (more on how further down the page) if you’re using WordPress or another common content management system.

Companies using WordPress will have an especially easy time adding AMP to the list of ways they distribute their content. Both WordPress and Yoast have plugins available to put (and manage) your content into the AMP format. Medium is also in the process of allowing its users an easy way to designate AMP content. Here are a few things to keep in mind before publishing your content via AMP:

  1. Make sure it’s in article format. AMP is meant for blog posts and news articles, so don’t try to publish products or landing pages using Google AMP.
  2. Be conscious of the audience you’re publishing for when using AMP. Articles that appear in the Google AMP carousel in the SERP are usually topical and considered “news.”
  3. If your site is struggling with speed issues, AMP could be a part (but not all) of the solution, as it will help your articles load more quickly on mobile devices.
  4. If your site doesn’t use WordPress, implementing AMP might be a little bit harder than just downloading a plugin for your CMS. Find more out about that process here.
  5. Analytics tracking should be included in your overall traffic and segmented to show how much traffic comes from AMP. Find out more about AMP and Google Analytics here.

2. Medium

Medium is another platform that can help more users to see your content and stay on the page long enough to read it. Like any platform, hosting your entire site on Medium comes with the risk of giving your content to another entity rather than your own website. This is a concern because hosting all of your content somewhere like Medium means it could make changes to the platform that you may not like, or in severe situations shut down entirely (and take your content with it). It also has limited capabilities with on-page ads. However, there are some larger publishers that have been adopting Medium as their main source of content distribution. There are several benefits to doing this:

  1. Medium has a built-in audience of millions of engaged readers.
  2. Most of the content on Medium is high quality.
  3. Migrating your entire site to the Medium platform is actually relatively easy for both WordPress and non-WordPress sites. Be sure to keep in mind that hosting all of your content on a platform can be risky.

Another way to utilize Medium’s built-in audience is to republish your content onto the platform. Medium allows for its users to write content on their platform and then canonicalize to their own website (that’s not on Medium). This allows small publishers to pick which content goes on Medium (much like a social media platform) in order to make sure it’s targeted to Medium’s user-base.

3. Google News

Google News is a section of the search engine results page that focuses entirely on timely news content. In order for many websites to be featured in this specialized SERP, they have to go through the application process and get accepted into the Google News program. After acceptance, the site has to follow and keep a specific set of meta tags up-to-date, only posting timely content designated for the platform. Find out more about how to get accepted into Google News here.

Utilize content marketing tools

Outside of monetization, the number-one hurdle that most small publishing companies face is being understaffed and overworked. One way to remedy this is using tools that help diminish the workload involved in managing content-heavy sites. Here are a list of tools that can help small publishers cut down on their tasks:

1. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is editorial calendar software that minimizes time spent keeping track of all of the posts you want/need to do on any given day. It’s designed for both small and enterprise companies, but is better suited for smaller ones due to its all-in-one approach. CoSchedule allows you to plan your posts in advance and set a time for when to post them on social media platforms, all in a single tool.

2. BuzzSumo

Ideating different pieces of content for your site takes a significant amount of time. Utilizing a tool like BuzzSumo could help you to come up with a ton of different article concepts based on what’s trending on different social media platforms.

3. Canva

Having a small team usually means that your graphic designer is extremely busy (or nonexistent). Making quick graphics and supplementary images for your posts can totally be done utilizing Canva, without bogging down your graphics team with more work than it can handle (plus, there’s a free version).

Focus on your niche

Find your niche and build your audience. Obviously, this is easier said than done. But, it’s extremely important as a small publisher to be filling a void or taking a different perspective in the already overflowing content funnel of the Internet. Find your unique voice and the people that want to hear it. Sticking to your publication’s brand or niche will in turn build you a specialized audience. This allows prospective advertisers to better target and then convert using your content.

Don’t always focus on quantity, but quality

Similar to the last point, in addition to not overstretching your genre, don’t overstretch your posting frequency. Rather than posting more times per day just to meet an imaginary quota, it’s better to create fewer posts of higher quality. Moz did a publishing experiment that illustrates the complexity of publishing frequency and content quality. Pay more attention to what your users want rather than what you assume Google does.

Summary

Being a small publishing company is hard. Most small publications find themselves understaffed and overworked trying to catch up with much larger companies.The best way to try to compete with larger publishing companies is to keep your focus small and to use external applications. They’ll help you save time and make creating easier. Utilize all of the platforms that work for your audience — not just all of the platforms available.

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3 Ways to Become More Generous and Grow Your Audience

“What could you give your ideal prospect that would really improve her life?" – Beth Hayden

Giving to your audience is one of the foundations of any smart content marketing strategy.

To grow your audience and get better results for your business, it might be time to expand your content beyond blog posts, podcast episodes, or newsletters and find more ways to be truly generous.

The idea is:

Don’t hold back, don’t be stingy, and don’t cut corners. Just give, and give freely.

Looking to become a “giver,” rather than a “taker?” Let’s talk about why generosity works and how you can give your audience more value.

Why giving generously works

You might be thinking:

“How in the world does giving generously help my business grow?”

Generosity works when you’re marketing your business because it:

  • Pulls people toward you and your message. Instead of chasing down prospects and begging them to pay attention to you (with advertising or other traditional marketing methods), you attract your perfect customers and clients to what you give away. They come to you.
  • Establishes you as a go-to expert and trusted advisor in your field. When people know you are a giver — and they like what you give away — they recognize you as someone who can be trusted and relied upon.
  • Helps you get more referrals. Giving generously puts you in front of your audience regularly — which means they will remember your company name when they need (or someone they know needs) a product or service like yours.
  • Gives you the opportunity to interact without pitching. This one is big. If you don’t give generously, your options for conversations with your customers are limited to one extremely limited theme: SELL, SELL, SELL. That’s boring and aggravating for your audience members, and uncomfortable for you, too.

What to give away

Wondering what you should give to your audience?

There are the usual content marketing possibilities, like blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, webinars, and ebooks. These are all great choices.

Also consider giving:

  • Live presentations, or hosting group discussions and Q&A sessions
  • Short consultations, if you’re a service provider
  • Introductions to other helpful people in your community (or in your strategic partner network)
  • Advice and support in social media groups, like Facebook or LinkedIn groups
  • Lists of recommended resources, tools, websites, and blogs

Think about your perfect client or customer and ask yourself:

“What could I give her that would really improve her life?”

With some creativity, you’ll be able to create high-value resources that don’t hurt your business model.

The three methods below will help you become extraordinarily generous.

1. Don’t err on the side of caution

Chris Garrett’s article, How to Decide Which Content to Sell and What to Give Away for Free, answers a lot of common questions about this topic.

The entire article is helpful, but what I like best about the post is that Chris advises content marketers to not be concerned about giving away too much:

“People worry about this issue of which content to sell and what to give away for free.

And yes, it involves a lot of subjective judgment.

But the good news is that I have yet to find someone who has given away too much.

I don’t believe it is possible to be too helpful or too generous … provided you manage your time and energy, and that people know you are in business.”

Don’t be afraid to give generously on a regular basis. No matter how much you give away, there will still be people who need implementation advice or additional products and services.

Before you sell to your prospects, they must see you as an authority — and giving freely helps you achieve that.

2. Try content curation

Your prospects — regardless of what niche or industry you’re in — are most likely swimming in a giant river of content. They need someone to help filter out the noise and gather the best resources, tools, and content on a particular topic.

That’s exactly what smart content curators do. They pick the most useful articles, videos, and podcast episodes on the web and compile them together into an easy-to-consume format (like a blog post or email newsletter).

When you publish your curated content regularly, people will learn to count on you as a reliable source of up-to-date, useful information, and you’ll become their go-to person for that topic.

Ryan Hanley’s weekly newsletter is a great example of how to practice smart content curation. Each week, Ryan sends his subscribers seven important articles on content marketing that he’s selected, along with a little insight of his own to help people understand and integrate the information in the articles.

For more advice on curated email newsletters (and a decision tree that helps you assess if curating content is right for you), check out this Copyblogger article and infographic.

3. Adopt a policy of generosity

Adam Grant, author of the extraordinary book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, said:

“Givers see interdependence as a source of strength.”

The way I look at it, we all want our businesses to grow stronger. If you adopt an attitude of generosity with your prospects, you’ll be positioned to grow stronger and more profitable.

Seek out opportunities to improve your prospects’ lives.

Always ask yourself, “Is this something my community would find useful?”

For example, you can shine the spotlight on a community member who is making great progress or collaborate with a strategic partner on a project that benefits your audience.

Gather your ideas in a computer file or notebook, so you always have a list of content options to pull from.

Become a radically generous content marketer

As content marketers, we already provide value for our audience members. But taking your giving game up a notch could help spark new breakthroughs for your business.

So ask questions. Pay attention. Stay open. And keep giving, over and over and over again.

Your prospects lives will improve dramatically, and so will yours.

Ready to discover what a winning content marketing strategy actually looks like?

Check out our new series that walks you through the Who, What, and How of focused and effective content marketing:

The Simple 3-Step Process for Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

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The Proper Way to Grow an Audience on Medium

content-syndication

What does a boy band pop group called Jerod Morris and the Sponge Bags have to do with content marketing? More than you might think.

In this episode of The Lede, hosts Demian Farnworth and Jerod Morris introduce you to the perfect illustration for understanding content syndication.

Content syndication is nothing more than circulating the same article, video, or podcast across multiple pubs. For example, Demian could take a Copyblogger article he wrote and try to get it published on Business Insider, Fast Company, and Huffington Post.

How could this be a good thing? Easy. It broadens your reach and exposure to new audiences without demanding you invest more time in creating new content.

You can do the same thing on new social media sites, too, like Medium and LinkedIn. These platforms give you a publishing opportunity without the gatekeepers at big media sites.

But there are risks involved. Hosts Demian Farnworth and Jerod Morris focus on Medium first.

In this 22-minute episode, Demian Farnworth and Jerod Morris discuss:

  • The number one reason Demian failed on Medium
  • The curious 130-year history of content syndication
  • What you need to do to actually grow a responsive audience on Medium
  • Publishing on Medium: the good, bad, and ugly
  • The man who figured out how to make Medium work

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Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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At Five Years Old, Bing Has Come Far Yet Has More To Grow

Microsoft’s Bing search engine has turned five this week. There are good reasons for some birthday celebrations at Microsoft. The company has created a solid competitor to Google, grown its market share and created a search platform for other Microsoft products. But when it comes to…



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How to Attract, Nurture, and Grow the Business-Building Audience You Want

image of an audience at a concert, with a weird stuffed animal rising above the masses

I got a great question last week after my presentation at our live Authority Intensive event in Denver.

What do I do if I feel like I’ve outgrown my audience?

I think a lot of business owners run into this.

Maybe the owner has personally and professionally grown a lot, but the customer base is still very much made up of newbies. Or maybe the topic isn’t as exciting as it used to be.

But there’s something that fascinates me about content-based businesses (online or off, actually). And the single most commonly used word I’ve heard business owners use to describe it is spooky.

Let’s start with the very sound marketing practice of visualizing one single, perfect customer for your business. If this isn’t something you’ve done yet, it’s probably the most important single action you can take to improve your marketing. And it will only take you about 20 minutes.

Once you know who you serve, you talk to that person and only to that person. In other words, every word of your content marketing program — your blog content, email content, advertising, and social presence — is written with that one individual firmly in mind.

This makes your marketing and content feel more intimate, because you’re using the language of individual conversations — which is what works in web content. It makes your writing easier and tends to loosen up writer’s block. And that intimate tone will help your “perfect customer” feel very comfortable.

But those aren’t the only reasons to do it.

Your customers shape your business

Business decisions get made to solve problems and open up opportunities. Usually a lot more of the former than the latter.

When you don’t do any work to define your customer, you have to create a lot of policies and processes to deal with people you shouldn’t be dealing with in the first place.

  • Time-wasters and energy vampires
  • People who can’t afford your service or don’t get enough value from it, so they’re always battling you on price
  • Negative people
  • Mean people
  • People whose personalities are incompatible with yours (maybe they’re flakes and you’re a stickler for detail, or vice versa)

You get the idea.

Some of them might be perfectly nice. But they’re not right for you. And when you have customers who aren’t right for you, they invariably become a gigantic pain in the ass.

When you know exactly who your customer is, you shape your product and service so it’s exactly what she wants, the way she wants it.

So you’re not the main force shaping that business. She is.

But you do, of course, play a pretty important role.

If you want a different audience, be a different leader

If your audience isn’t giving you what you need (spiritually, economically, grammatically … whatever), it’s because you’re sending out the wrong messages.

Maybe you’re holding back on saying what you genuinely believe, because you worry about losing people or hurting some feelings.

Maybe you’re shaping your business around “what theoretically sells” instead of actually observing the (most valued) members of your audience and figuring out what they want from you.

Maybe you’re listening to the wrong audience — to the peanut gallery and not to the ones you truly want to help.

I know business and marketing coaches who never, ever mention the word “work” because it keeps people from buying. Around here, we figure it keeps the wrong people from buying — and saves bandwidth for the awesome ones who will actually do something with what we offer.

If you’re attracting people you don’t want — let’s say they’re angry, or frivolous, or passive — look for that anger, frivolity, or passivity in your own content. Not only in your “official” blog and email content, but also in how you interact yourself on your social networks.

Your customers shape your business

Who you are — as a business — is shaped by who you serve.

If you have products and services for lazy people, that’s who will show up. And if you have products and services for smart people, they’ll show up too.

Use your content marketing to put out — at high volume — what you want to get back.

Even in the sea of Internet noise, you’ll find the ones who resonate. Just as good, you’ll royally turn off the ones who don’t fit. Which is exactly what you want and need to do.

The distinction between connection and marketing gets fuzzy

Yes, there is a difference between the content that opens up that audience connection and the content that makes the sale. (If you want to know what that difference looks like, take a look at this free ebook, in which Copyblogger founder Brian Clark maps it out for you.)

But when you’ve uncovered your exact perfect person and then you shape the business around what she cares about, selling becomes a form of connection and service.

And you don’t kill yourself building extraneous stuff that doesn’t really float your perfect person’s boat. (In other words, stuff that won’t create a connection or a sale.)

You’re making an offer of help, rather than “asking for the sale.” You don’t need to out-yell the Sham-Wow guy, because the product itself is doing the shouting for you:

I’m the perfect product! I’m exactly what you’ve been looking for! I’m going to help you and make your life better and you’re going to be so glad we found each other. Embrace me, you madly gorgeous perfect customer, you!

When connection and selling come together, even though it’s a lot of work, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels completely absorbing and interesting and you wish you had more hours in the day so you could do more of it.

How about you? Are you attracting the audience you want? What do you think it is in your message that’s most responsible for that?

Let us know here in the conversation over on Google+.

Note: Some parts of this article were originally published on my Remarkable Communication blog.

Want more insights from Authority Intensive?

For those of you who are members of our Authority education and networking community, Jerod Morris and I are going to be unpacking our juiciest takeaways for you this coming Friday. All who attended the Authority Intensive live event are also welcome. (Check your email box for the invite.)

We’ll be getting into:

  • The most powerful lessons we learned from Seth Godin’s and Darren Rowse’s keynote addresses
  • Tom Martin’s tough truth about the perils of chasing the click
  • The one-two conversion punch Joanna Wiebe talked about (everyone was buzzing about this talk)
  • Annie Cushing’s key insight about assisted conversions, which might change how you think about your advertising
  • And lots more about networking, content, strategy, and being an insanely kick-ass marketer

(I might even talk about what it was like filming that Matrix-influenced video with Brian that opened the event.)

Just like you do every week, hit the Member Home page for information on how to register for the session. And if you’re not an Authority member yet, you might want to check it out. We offer fresh, in-depth education and guidance nearly every week of the year, as well as networking, discounts, and more.

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A quick action you can take to keep fighting for net neutrality

A few weeks back, we told you what net neutrality means for you and your business. More important, we told you why you need to protect it.

If you’re reading this the day it was posted (May 14), then you may have noticed the page loading “slowly,” accompanied by a pop-up window explaining that this is what the Internet could become if Comcast, TimeWarner, and friends get their way. We did this to prove a point, and all it took was a simple script, which you can get here and add to your site too.

Even small actions matter, so tweet this post with the #StopTheSlowLane hashtag or read and tweet this from the New York Times: “Defending the Open Internet.”

About the author

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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How to Push “Send” and Grow Your Business

Image of MyCopyblogger Email Marketing Icon

Twitter. Google+. Facebook. Tumblr. Pinterest.

These (and many others) have become the darlings of social media. The press loves to rave about their features, droning endlessly on about upgrades, acquisitions, VC rounds, and user numbers.

Though you can gain a lot of good market information and make valuable connections from participating in social networking sites, don’t expect to sell much. The dismal conversion rates for social media pitches make sense — people are there to socialize, not buy.

When you run a real business, you need to get back to the old-school tool that even the social networks rely on when they actually need to do business …

Email.

But how do you build an email list in a world that’s tweet, like, and pin crazy?

To answer that crucial question, we’ve published a free ebook called Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business. And 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.

Stop sending your invaluable future customers to social networking sites that can pull the rug out from under your business at any moment … sign up for MyCopyblogger today, and take advantage of months of valuable free marketing education.

Free Registration

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on .

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