Tag Archive | "keep"

A Farewell and Some Advice to Keep You Moving Forward

Well, our big news this week is that I’m going to be moving to a more solo career. The ultra…

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How to Keep Your Copywriting Skills Fresh

When I started out as a professional copywriter — exactly 40 years ago this year — I was full of…

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Creative Self-Care to Keep Your Writing Mojo Strong

We content marketers are strategic types — but we’re creative as well, and that creative side needs nurturing. This week,…

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How To Keep Your Remote Employees Feeling Connected

Video meetings, persistent team chat, and consistent in-person connections are all important for keeping a connected feeling with remote employees, says Lisa Walker, Vice President of Brand & Corporate Marketing at Fuze. “Remote employees will always talk about how they feel disconnected from HQ and disconnected from the company,” notes Walker. “That’s just one of the things you always hear from people who are remote.”

Lisa Walker, Vice President of Brand & Corporate Marketing at Fuze, discusses how to keep your remote employees feeling connected in an interview with Logan Lyles of Sweet Fish Media on the B2B Growth Podcast:

There is Just a More Personal Connection With Video

What’s really interesting in managing a distributed team is the importance of video meetings. We know that if a leader turns on video then the rest of the employees on the call will turn on video as well. You have to lead by example there. The nice thing about video is that you are seeing everybody. There is just a more personal connection when you are able to see everyone.

What I say to both managers and employees participating in video call is that it is all about creating the perfect frame. You don’t have to have a clean house, but you have to have a clean shot of yourself in the video. There is kind of a personal brand here. If you have a large team on a video conference from around the country or around the world, everyone has that opportunity to present a personal brand moment. You should be curating at least one good frame. There could be chaos around that frame but there is an opportunity for you to be consistent on that weekly team call.

Video Meetings Help Remote Teams Feel Connected

Every time that team call happens and that video flips on you know what you are getting from people. That’s what we are talking about in terms of work mode. You have to create environments where you can be productive. One of those important environments is video. I think it is really important as a manager to have those video meetings. In those video meetings when you get together, start with a few of those conversations that are more personal and then segway into company updates.

Remote employees will always talk about how they feel disconnected from HQ and disconnected from the company. That’s just one of the things you always hear from people who are remote. Make sure that you are getting ahead of things your team may be hearing about the company. It’s important that you give a very transparent company update when starting a video call. Then get into the team stuff. Just do those first two things off the bat to make sure the team is feeling connected.

Keep a Persistent Team Chat Going

Second, for me is chat. Some people do it over Slack. We obviously here do it over Fuze. There are lots of different tools out there. Keeping a persistent team chat going in that asynchronous communication is just a great way to have the team feel bonded. They will talk about personal and professional in that chat stream and that’s fine. For specific projects where it needs to be more formal, you can create those project chat streams that are separate.


Fuze Team Chat Platform

Bring People Together In Person

The third thing, which is the hardest, because it cost more money, is bringing people together in person as often as you can. For us, within the marketing team at Fuze, we do that twice a year at a minimum. We just did that this past week. It was wonderful. We had our sales kickoff and then we stayed together as a marketing team yesterday and had that time together. Make sure that you are finding those opportunities and making the case for budget if you need to.

The other thing that a lot of managers don’t do and is a potential missed opportunity is that when you are out in other cities meeting with customers or at a conference if you have an employee within striking distance, meet them. Even if there is no office there, take them to coffee or lunch. Take those opportunities, don’t just fly in and out. If you have employees in that region, find a way to go have a personal connection with them and meet face to face.

>> Listen to the complete B2B Growth podcast interview.

What is Fuze?

Fuze sees itself as part of the future of work movement. Digital technologies are generating significant opportunities for both people and companies alike. Employees are demanding consumer-like experiences to match technology in their personal lives, with greater flexibility on where and how they work. Work is personal and employees want the opportunity to choose their workstyles, schedules, and tools.

Fuze – Part of the Future of Work Movement

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Retail Demise Due to Rise of the Internet and Inability to Keep Up

The demise of many retail chains is due to the rise of the internet and the inability of some retailers to keep up, says long-time retail executive Gerald Storch. “The proximate cause of the demise of chains like Charlotte Russe, Gymboree, Payless, Toys R Us, and Sears is the rise of the internet and their inability to keep up that environment,” said Storch. “It’s the decline in physical traffic to bricks and mortar stores and the mall.”

Gerald Storch, CEO of Storch Advisors, and an innovative retail executive, formerly CEO of Toys “R” Us and Vice Chairman of Target, discusses why some retailers are failing while others are thriving in an interview on Fox Business:

Retail Comp Store Sales Up 6 Percent During Holiday

Retail sales have been very strong this holiday. Of course, there are winners and losers. The winners are the people who are doing it right, who are mastering the internet and who are driving value to the customer. You see 4.2 percent out of Walmart, almost 6 percent out of Target, over 7 percent out of Costco, and about 18 percent in the US out of Amazon.

I put out an index called the Storch Advisors Index and the volume weighted comp store sales gain of major chains in the US was 6 percent for the holiday season. Of course, there were some poor performers but that’s because they are not keeping up with the consumer. Whether it’s JC Penny, Sears, Macy’s, Kohls, some of those are becoming yesterdays.

Gov. Report Showing Retail Sales Down is Absurd

I know the folks at the government work hard to collect that data but I think there’s something missing there. The world has changed. First of all the internet has happened and I think that makes a big difference. There is no way, if you look at those numbers it says the internet was down in December. Only a report from Washington could say that. That’s ridiculous. It says the internet underperformed department stores for December. Absolutely absurd.

Why can that be true? Actually, the raw data said that sales were up about 9 percent in December. But then they applied a negative 10 percent seasonality discount because it was December. I’m not sure that discount factor was correct. Among other things, both Cyber Monday and Black Friday fell in November this year and they were huge as we saw by all accounts. There is something a little wonky about that report. I choose to put it on the side and say it’s not typical about what’s really going on in retail right now.

Retail Demise Due to Rise of the Internet and Inability to Keep Up

The proximate cause of the demise of chains like Charlotte Russe, Gymboree, Payless, Toys R Us, and Sears is the rise of the internet and their inability to keep up that environment. It’s the decline in physical traffic to bricks and mortar stores and the mall. The origin though comes down to the fact that all of those companies have one thing in common, hedge funds and private equity put huge leverage on those businesses.

So at a time when the world changed and the internet happened, they had to invest huge sums in the internet and they had to make their stores more beautiful than ever. You can only do that with money. All these firms were leveraged right before, bang, this retail apocalypse happened. They had no money to make any difference. It didn’t matter if you had the best management in the world. The management at Charlotte Russe is pretty damn good. But they couldn’t do anything about it because they didn’t have the money to spend. Walmart did have the money to spend. They’ve been spending it and that you are starting to see in the results.

Walmart and Amazon Battle it Out

You have Walmart buying a lot these ecommerce companies to get stronger in ecommerce. Then you have Amazon buying the bricks and mortar. Why did they do that? One reason. To keep up with Walmart in grocery. Grocery is the ultimate perishable, food. It has a lot of waste. Grocery is already around the corner from everyone’s homes. You have to ship them from the stores. Walmart has the stores to do it and they are proving it now. Groceries is one of their best performers in the latest quarter.

Amazon was looking at how do we beat Walmart in grocery? Grocery is a huge market and one of the last ones that Amazon hasn’t conquered. They thought, well, we could try to ship it from wholesalers and centralized locations. They started that way and it does not work. So they bought Whole Foods so they could be around the corner from people’s homes. That’s why they are expanding Whole Foods. They may be the only grocer in the country that is adding locations, all so they can ship to your home.

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3 Types of Action that Stir Up the Desire to Keep Reading Your Article

Think back to the last time you were at an event where speakers gave presentations. Typically, some sessions fly by…

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You Need Both of These Skill Sets to Keep Your Audience Coming Back for More

When I’m not performing my typical duties as Rainmaker Digital’s Marketing Technologist, I’m cooking up a storm in my kitchen. Amidst the rhythmic chopping of fresh produce, the clashing of pots and pans, and the roar of boiling water, I realized that my two roles have a lot in common. They both require a balance
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Four key holiday paid search trends to keep an eye on

Columnist Andy Taylor shares data that can help predict trends in the e-commerce and retail space this holiday season. Advertisers, take note!

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3 Lesser-Known Copywriting Techniques that Keep Readers Glued to Your Content

keep their eyes on your content

Let me ask you this …

Roughly how many articles do you think you’ve read about writing better headlines, subheads, or even opening sentences, for that matter?

A ton of ’em, I bet. After all, smart marketers know those are all valuable lessons.

But here’s the thing:

Don’t assume that copywriting techniques can only improve your content by helping you grab people’s attention.

There’s a smorgasbord of content-writing tips that can be borrowed from sales copywriting that go beyond crafting headlines and subheads.

Here are three lesser-known copywriting tactics designed to not only snatch your audience’s attention, but to also keep them gobbling up your every word.

1. Qualify your readers (they’ll love you for it)

I bet you’ve heard this adage before:

“If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.”

Yet, a lot of bloggers — especially those writing for multiple personas — don’t always qualify their readers for specific types of content.

By that, I mean:

Make it clear who your content is for — and who it is not for.

Why’s it important to do this?

Two reasons:

  1. You’ll create a stronger bond with your target audience. People will be more likely to keep reading if they feel confident that what you have to say is tailored to folks just like them. We’re naturally more inclined to consume content that is highly relevant to our situation or how we see ourselves.
  2. You won’t frustrate readers who aren’t interested. Readers may feel misled if they read 500 words only to realize the post doesn’t apply to them.

It’s pretty easy to qualify your audience, too.

Copywriters use “ideal for” statements to let prospects know they’ve got an offer that’s perfect for them, and they work just as well in content.

Don’t be shy about pinpointing who will benefit most from your content.

2. Agitate your reader’s pain — in a good way

As copywriting legend Dan Kennedy put it:

“… people are more likely to act to avoid pain than to get gain.”

That’s why the copywriting formula Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS) is so powerful:

  1. Problem: Identify the reader’s problem.
  2. Agitate: Stir up all the painful emotions connected with the problem.
  3. Solve: Give them a solution.

It gives you a surefire way to craft targeted, emotional copy that pulls in the right audience.

Now, a lot of content marketers are great at bringing up the problem and delivering the solution. But it’s the agitating part that’s often overlooked.

So, how do you “agitate?”

Rather than jumping right into the solution, first paint a picture that shows the full consequences of your reader’s problem. Make ’em feel it on a raw, visceral level.

That way, they’ll fully understand why they must keep reading your content. And that’s good for them and for you.

Now, the trick is figuring out how much to agitate the problem.

You may be able to make the reader’s pain feel visceral with a sentence or two. Or, sometimes it could take more time to ensure the audience really understands the scope of their struggle — but once they do, you’ll have their unwavering attention when you trot out the solution in your content.

3. Plant “seeds” to keep the pace

This one’s fantastic if you write long-form content.

Every writer is bound to have a few slow spots in their content where the reader’s attention might wane a little. Why’s that a problem?

Because the moment that your pace “lets up” in your writing, there’s a risk that your reader will get distracted and abandon your post. Probably forever. But there’s a simple way to fix this.

By using what copywriting legend Joe Sugarman calls “seeds of curiosity,” you’re able to give readers an incentive to keep going.

Here’s how it works:

Add a short line at the end of a paragraph that entices the reader to continue on to the next paragraph.

You can be very explicit with your “seed” by using phrases like:

Let me explain.

Stay with me here.

Read on to find out.

… or you can take a more subtle approach instead.

A few ideas:

End with a question

I planted a “seed” in the second paragraph of this section by asking: “Why’s that a problem?”

This encourages folks to keep reading because when we see a question, our brains naturally want to know the answer. It works particularly well when you want to transition into an explanation.

Here are some more examples:

Why do I say this?

What does this mean for you?

Why should you care?

Hint at a benefit or solution

Folks will keep reading if they know there’s a payoff coming.

For example, I set up a problem at the beginning of this section and then hinted at a solution with the line: “But there’s a simple way to fix this.”

You can also try these:

It’s easier than you think.

Here’s the secret:

But there is a solution.

Warn of a threat

The human brain is hardwired to respond to threats. Even the slightest hint of danger snatches our attention.

You could write:

A word of caution:

And it gets worse.

But there’s a problem with this.

Those are just a few ideas to get you started.

The important thing to remember when using this technique is that your “seeds” should always feel natural — never forced. Their job is to quietly transition the reader from one sentence to the next.

The intersection of copywriting and content marketing

There are loads of other direct response copywriting tactics that’ll keep your readers glued to your content.

But no matter which techniques you use — whether you’re writing a blog post, sales page, or an ebook — you first need to understand your target audience.

Know their problems. Their fears. Their dreams.

That rule is essential for both content marketing and copywriting.

Which copywriting techniques do you use when writing content? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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5 Powerful Ways to Keep Building Authority Once Your Content Has Matured

Mature content

You’ve launched. You now have loads of content on your blog. You’re happy with the growth and the traction you’ve gained. Your audience is growing — not as fast as you’d like, but you’re meeting goals.

Things are looking up because you’ve created authority with what seems to be a solid and loyal audience. But the rush of new content ideas is slowing, and enthusiasm (both yours and your audience’s) is cooling.

You’re worried about sustaining the momentum while deepening your authority and influence with your audience. And there’s a really good reason why this is a significant concern.

According to Colleen Jones, the demand for evidence of your credibility diminishes as your authority grows. In other words the more people learn to trust you, the less they depend upon investigating your every claim.

This is what a solid reputation does.

But in order to keep that momentum and deepen that influence, you’ve got to adjust your content strategy to reflect the new demands of your audience.

Let’s explore five ways to do that.

1. How does your audience find your content?

This is one of the most important questions you’ll ever answer when it comes to your content. You might think you know this answer, but don’t take it for granted. Crack open your Google Analytics and dig.

Naturally, one of your biggest drivers of traffic will be search engines. And Google will probably be the main source.

However, don’t settle. Keep digging. You might discover that Bing is throwing you a nice number of readers. Or you might discover it’s some niche search engine. Try to find out why. There might be an opportunity you can leverage.

The second biggest source of traffic will probably be social media.

But which sites: Facebook? Twitter? StumbleUpon? Reddit? LinkedIn?

Make sure you know the difference between links you share on social media versus those shared by your audience. You want to get a handle on how shareable your content is.

You can look at the analytics of your social media traffic by using tools like Bitly or Buffer.

Third, measure the traffic you get from people who type in your URL. This is what Gawker calls branded traffic, and it’s a good thing. It means you’ve captured mind share.

Closely related is the amount of traffic you get from people who type in a specific headline. This is another version of branded traffic, and equally important because it helps you identify those pieces that people like and share so you can create more of these winners.

Finally, look for sites that send you a lot of traffic. This traffic may come from sites where you published a guest post, or from a site that syndicated one of your old articles. If you are getting a lot of traffic, then clearly the topic was a winner. Generate more content like that.

2. Can you fix old, broken, and neglected content?

There are a number of good reasons why you shouldn’t ignore old, broken, and neglected sections of your website. Updating content keeps your site fresh, and enhances the user experience.

But what exactly should you do with this content? You have four options for fixing each piece:

  • Leave it alone
  • Redirect it (301)
  • Delete it (404)
  • Improve it

To learn more about this topic, read A Brief Guide to Fixing Your Old, Neglected, and Broken Content.

3. How does your audience take action?

This depends on your stage of business development. For example, in the early months of the Copyblogger blog, Brian Clark did nothing but publish new content. Slowly he added ebooks and newsletters to the mix before he offered his first product — Teaching Sells.

Now our company has a complex suite of offerings that include:

You may not have such an elaborate group of offerings (yet). But you still need to understand what your audience is doing with the content and products you have. Are they:

  • Sharing your content on social media?
  • Leaving comments?
  • Subscribing to your blog updates?
  • Joining your email newsletter?
  • Buying your products?
  • Recommending your products?
  • Abandoning their shopping cart?
  • Complaining on review sites?
  • Writing reviews on their own sites?
  • Taking these actions at a specific time?

Spend some time looking at all the ways your audience interacts with and uses your content and products. Look for patterns, problems, opportunities.

4. What are the most-common audience questions and comments?

Look at the comments on your blog. Fish through your customer service email bag. Search through your membership site forum.

Look at the questions people are asking and comments people are sharing. Create an Excel sheet and keep track of the common questions and comments.

You are basically after two things:

  1. Confirmation that your old content assumptions were true and you solved relevant problems.
  2. Evidence that those assumptions and problems have shifted.

In other words, has the makeup of your audience changed? Are people running into new problems? Are you seeing a pattern in their comments?

This is a great opportunity to anticipate needs and develop new content that continues to build your authority in the eyes of your audience. They will see that you’re paying attention to their needs, and pay you back with their attention. And referrals.

5. How will emerging trends affect your content?

Looking to the future can be a great source of content ideas. This is why it helps to stay on top of the relevant publications in your industry, keying in on trends. Pay attention to what influencers are saying and read those annual prediction articles.

Tackling emerging trends is an approach I’ve used on Copyblogger a number of times. In 2013 it was Google+, 2014 it was native advertising, and in 2015 it is adaptive content.

The great thing about this approach is you get to establish yourself early as an authority on these topics if and when they go mainstream. And yes, sometimes these predictions will fail to come true. Or, as was the case with Google+, they come true, but then for whatever reason fall out of favor. It’s a small price to pay for building authority.

Besides, research proves that people will continue to listen to people who make bold predictions — even if their track record isn’t perfect. I guess we like backbone.

The long game

You might be happy with the current results of your content marketing, but don’t rest on your laurels. You didn’t get to this point by taking the easy route — and you’re not going to exceed your current results without working hard.

And here’s something to encourage you: it takes about two years for your content marketing to take you from slow, steady audience and authority growth to a sharp, upward trajectory.

In other words, it will get better. But you’ve got to stick to it, adjust, and keep publishing.

You ready for the challenge? Let us know on LinkedIn.

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Content Writer. Follow him on Twitter or The Copybot. In the meantime, subscribe to his podcast: Rough Draft

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