Tag Archive | "Needs"

Focus on What Needs to Happen

he-vincent-dignan

My guest today is a speaker, guerrilla marketer, and an entrepreneur.

He founded PlanetIvy.com and ScreenRobot. These two sites combined have received nearly 20 million page views without any paid marketing.

He is currently the founder of Magnific, a company that helps grow early-stage companies through a combination of rapid social media growth, guerrilla community management tactics, and growth hacks.

Magnific also beat out more than 1,500 other startups to be accepted into the prestigious accelerator TechStars London.

Now, let’s hack …

Vincent Dignan.

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The Must-Have Social Media Tool Every Content Marketer Needs

Are You Using This Powerful Social Media Tool Yet?

What if we told you about an ultra powerful, infinitely flexible social media tool that allows you to publish business-building content — text, audio, or video — without holding you to any arbitrary rules?

It’s a tool that fixes everything that’s broken about the existing social media sites, new and old.

It gives you an astonishing degree of freedom — to say what you want, the way you want to say it, and in the format that works best for you.

With this tool, no one can ever tell you your content is “overly commercial” or flag an image as “possibly inappropriate.” As long as you aren’t breaking the law, the rules are totally up to you.

You’re in control

You have 100 percent control over the look and functionality of your page. You can keep it simple or trick it out with hundreds of bells and whistles.

You have 100 percent control over what others can do on your page. The tool gives you the power to delete (or even modify) comments, block users, and report comments as spam so other users don’t have to deal with those pests.

You have 100 percent control over how commercial you want your page to be.

You have 100 percent control over how much content you post. In fact, what we’re calling your “page” could actually be 1,000 pages, 10,000, or more.

The tool includes powerful mechanisms for social connecting and sharing, so you can foster conversation and keep an eye on what your audience finds interesting.

And it’s simple to connect to an email list, so you can capture leads for deeper engagement.

What is this “hot new” social media tool?

This is starting to sound like one of those infomercials for a knife that “slices, dices, and juliennes baby vegetables.”

By now you might have guessed it … this “hot new” social media tool that corrects so many existing problems is nothing other than your own self-hosted website.

Wait, I thought social media was Facebook and Twitter?

Social media is simply technology that’s … social. It’s technology that allows for dialogue, interaction, and listening.

You’ll hold conversations on your website’s blog, just like you do in your favorite social media hangout.

It’s a bit like interacting with friends at a dinner party in your home versus meeting them at a restaurant. They’re both opportunities for interaction, and often the more private locale encourages a deeper level of communication.

And while networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can be useful places to broaden your audience, they can never be the foundation of an enduring content platform.

Even blogs that don’t allow comments have a social component. The definition of great content is content that’s shared, that’s talked about, that’s passed along … content that is, to borrow Seth Godin’s word, remarkable.

Most blogs capitalize on this by welcoming comments (and reading them carefully to see what’s going on with the audience), as well as facilitating social sharing over whatever the flavor-of-the-year site happens to be.

(That’s one of the reasons, of course, why you can’t build an enduring content platform on someone else’s real estate. Social networking sites get stale faster than Adam Carolla’s jokes.)

Your site is your centerpiece

Chris Brogan calls it a home base, or you can think of it as a hub.

Your own content-rich site, on a domain you own, managed with good content management software, is where you’ll put about 80 percent of your content marketing time and energy.

A site like this becomes a valuable business asset. Over time, it develops a reputation — both with human readers and with search engines.

It’s where you develop the ideas that will become your unique selling proposition.

It’s where you’ll foster the customer conversations that spark new product ideas.

It’s where you’ll optimize your content for both search engines and potential customers.

You know, you don’t have to call your content a “blog”

Some types of people read blogs, and some don’t.

If your potential customers don’t read blogs, there’s no reason in the world you have to call your content-rich, social-sharing-friendly website a blog.

Call it a resource center, content library, or radio show. Call it an Interactive Directory of Awesomeness for all I care.

Labels are important — so if you don’t want to call your self-hosted content hub a blog, think of something that will resonate better with your audience.

I promise, I won’t tell.

A few website-building tips

The Rainmaker Platform is the complete solution for digital marketing and sales that helps you focus on your business more and your technology less.

It allows you to build your audience with articles, audio, and video, grow your email list faster, earn more with marketing automation, craft killer landing pages, start profitable membership programs, sell online courses and digital products, and much more.

If you opt for creating your website’s blog with a premium WordPress theme for SEO-friendly code, solid security, and professional design, make sure you also have a really good web host (this becomes increasingly important as you start to get more traffic).

And don’t be tempted to start your blog on anything other than your own domain. The few simple hoops you’ll initially jump through will amply pay off down the line.

Drive all of your traffic to your content hub

Spending time engaging with prospects on their favorite social media platforms?

That’s great … just make sure you’re sending them back to your website.

Publishing an ebook that includes groundbreaking advice?

Excellent strategy … be sure it’s loaded with plenty of links to great material on your website.

Putting out a traditionally published book — the kind made out of dead trees?

Include links to landing pages on your website designed to create lasting relationships with those readers.

If you focus your time and energy on driving traffic to your website (and then on to your email list and/or membership site so you can continue the conversation with your audience), you’ll be building an increasingly valuable asset.

How about you?

Do you have a content hub — a centerpiece for your content marketing? Do you call it a blog? Is it where you’re spending most of your time and attention … or do you get seduced into spending your days at the lastest shiny social hangout?

Let us know in the comments how you’re using your content centerpiece.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on June 20, 2012.

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The Content Marketing Continuum: How to Create Content to Meet Customers’ Needs

how to plan content that meets readers every step of the way

Content marketing can feel like a never-ending ordeal.

At the same time, we know content marketing is good for business.

Which is why we find the courage to approach that unnerving blank page week after week, always wondering what we can possibly write to convince our reader to become a customer.

Sometimes it feels like writing a sales page every day!

If you’re daunted by content marketing, today’s article should relieve some of your stress. You see, every piece of content doesn’t have to seal the deal and make the sale.

There’s a continuum to content marketing and no single article needs to span the entire spectrum.

Individual pieces of content don’t have to help your customer travel the entire journey from knowing nothing about your business to liking and trusting your business, to buying from your business, to eventually recommending your business (whew!).

Instead, break down the journey into smaller milestones and create content that meets them every step of the way.

Think about how individual pieces of content will take individual readers on one leg of their customer journeys.

Read on to discover how to take pressure off yourself (and your content) and think about your readers’ state of awareness before you write.

Pinpoint where they are by what they know

We’ve used the concept I’m about to share to think about and plan our content on Copyblogger this past year. And I’m exploring it in depth in my upcoming book on content marketing (read the first draft here).

Rather than expecting a single piece of content to do all the work for you, I want to encourage you to think about your content marketing as a body of work that your readers will search, discover, and consume on an as-needed basis.

Their needs will vary depending on how much they already know about your topic when they read a piece of content.

Let’s look at the main stopping points in your customer’s journey and go over the type of content that will meet her needs at each one.

Here are the three stopping points in the customer journey we’ll talk about below:

Discover the content marketing continuum so you can create content that meets your customer's needs every step of the way.

Get to know the content marketing continuum so you can create content that meets your customers’ needs every step of the way.

Beginner content: What is ___?

Your content will talk about a topic or set of topics. It will inform, entertain, and educate your readers. It will build trust and establish your authority.

Many visitors to your site will come in search of understanding and won’t be familiar with your topic at all. Your beginner content will explain it and define it for them.

The basic question beginner content answers is:

What is ___?

Smart content marketers ensure that their beginner content defines the topic in a way that positions their own website as an authoritative resource. Remember, at this stage you get to set the context, so use this content to benefit both your reader and your own business.

Use your beginner content to define your topic in a way that will serve your business goals.

Is this all too esoteric to understand? Let’s look at some concrete examples of beginner content.

If you write about organic gardening, for instance, your beginner content might sound like this:

  • Why Organic Gardening Is Better for Your Health
  • What Makes a Garden Organic?
  • Why Is Organic Gardening More Expensive than Traditional Gardening?

Beginner content explains, defines, and sets context for your topic.

Here are examples from our own Copyblogger archives:

Intermediate content: How do I do ___?

Intermediate readers already understand your topic. There may be fewer of them than there are beginners, but they’re enthusiastic, and that makes them excellent prospects.

The basic question intermediate content answers is:

How do I do ___?

They want to know how to use what they’re learning about your topic.

Use your intermediate content to help readers apply what you’re sharing to improve their lives.

Let’s see what intermediate content looks like in practice on our organic gardening website:

  • 3 Simple Changes to Help You Go Organic in Your Garden This Year
  • Organic Gardening Practices: Plan Your Kitchen Garden Today
  • Organic Weed Control: Easy (and Cheap) Fixes to a Growing Problem

Intermediate content takes the topic you write about and helps readers apply it to their own lives.

Here are examples of intermediate content from the Copyblogger archives:

Advanced content: How do I get better at ___?

Advanced readers understand the topic you write about and they’ve applied that understanding to their own lives. They’re still enthusiastic — so enthusiastic that they’re craving mastery.

They want to get really good at what you teach. This makes them the best prospects of all!

The basic question advanced content answers is:

How do I get better at ___?

Advanced readers are ready to push forward and become experts.

And again, this content may be for a smaller group of people, so you’ll have fewer advanced posts. But these articles have an important job.

Use your advanced content to help readers achieve mastery.

What does advanced content look like in the wild?

Here are examples of advanced content for our organic gardening site:

  • How to Increase Yields in Your Organic Vegetable Garden
  • Maximize Efficiency (and Minimize Weeds) in Your Small-Space Kitchen Garden
  • How to Plan and Plant an Award-Winning Organic Flower Garden

Advanced content shares insider tips and techniques used by experts. It helps advanced readers achieve mastery and gives beginner and intermediate readers something to aspire to.

Here are examples of advanced content from our Copyblogger archives:

Think about the content continuum as you plan your editorial calendar

When you’re planning your content, think about a mix of information that will serve beginner, intermediate, and advanced readers.

When you think about your topic, ask yourself: “When beginners land on my site, how can I define my topic so they have a solid grasp of it — from my point of view?”

Use your beginner content to establish authority in your field of knowledge and set it in a context that benefits your business.

When you think about your intermediate readers, ask yourself: “What can I teach them to do that will help them apply what they’re learning and see results?”

Intermediate content helps them make a palpable change. And that how-to information keeps their enthusiasm high.

When you think about your advanced readers, ask yourself: “What can I teach them that will help them achieve mastery?”

Advanced content — although its audience won’t be as large as beginner content — shows readers you are knowledgeable and trustworthy. Even beginners can read it and think, “I will need this someday and now I know where I’ll find it.”

Advanced content establishes your business as a long-term resource that will grow with your reader every step of her journey.

This might be the cure for content marketing writer’s block

The first step to creating any piece of content is identifying what you’ll write about. Some of us are struck by writer’s block at this point, unsure of what to serve up to our audience of readers.

Just stepping back from your topic of choice and seeing it from the point of view of a beginner, intermediate, or advanced reader should give you more content ideas than you can handle.

You will serve your readers well, and your writer’s block days might be over. :-)

Master content marketing inside Authority

Authority is our content marketing training and networking community designed to help you build the skills you need to profit online.

Put your name on the Authority interest list by clicking on the button below. We’ll let you know when we open our doors.

Join the Authority interest list

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An Introduction to the 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs

4 Essential Content Types - A Content Marketing Strategy Series

This week, we have something special for you.

We are going to publish a five-part content marketing series, with a new article in the series each day.

The series will focus on the four essential types of content every marketing strategy needs.

Let me explain why that matters.

What are the 4 essential content types?

Different types of content play different roles in your marketing strategy. They help your business in different ways. Here at Copyblogger, we’ve been successfully using these four types of content for more than a decade.

In this week’s series, we are going to walk you through these four different types of content and show you how to use them yourself. The content types are:

  1. Attraction
  2. Authority
  3. Affinity
  4. Action

Keep in mind that these content types are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes a piece of content can play more than one role. They can work together and complement one another.

In addition, although they all may have the same look, the same feel, and the same voice, they each serve different purposes. Because of that, they have different attributes, which we’ll talk about in detail in the week ahead.

A summary of the 4 content types

Attraction content helps you reach a new audience and get your message in front of new people.

But eventually you’ll want to convince those people to trust you as an expert, so you’ll need to provide Authority content.

Once you’ve established authority, your message will spread through Affinity content. Affinity content is how you build a community of like-minded people that share your beliefs.

And it’s this community who will be your best customers. But nobody will listen to you — let alone buy from you — unless you create Action content.

Sometimes these are discrete, standalone pieces of content. Sometimes they’re a blend of two of the types. Sometimes three. We’ve got examples that blend all four.

Why it’s important to master these 4 content types

Successfully using all four types of content on your website is what allows you to command larger fees for your services and charge more for your products.

It’s what gets people to link to your content (without you even having to ask).

It’s how you land guest posting opportunities you once thought were out of your reach.

It’s how you get influencers to share your content on social media.

Successfully using all four content types is also how you convince people to like you, trust you, and ultimately buy from you. But that’s not all. These people will not only become customers. They’ll become advocates, fans, and even, in some cases, friends.

Masterfully weaving together these four content types is truly one of the best ways to build an audience that builds your business.

I hope you enjoy this week of learning about the four essential types of content every marketing strategy needs. Stay tuned for my article about Attraction content tomorrow.

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11 Essential Ingredients Every Cornerstone Content Page Needs [Infographic]

11 Essential Ingredients Every Cornerstone Content Page Needs

Cornerstone content is the foundation of your content marketing plan.

It will help you establish a clear picture of the specific problems you can solve for potential customers.

As I said in Your Cornerstone Content Blueprint: Answers to 9 Common Questions, it can also help you achieve some even bigger goals, including:

  • Getting links to your website
  • Finding new readers
  • Attracting subscribers
  • Ranking in search engines for competitive keywords
  • Highlighting archived material

Accordingly, cornerstone content is vital for both seasoned bloggers and anyone launching a brand-new website.

In this article, we’re going to explain the 11 essential ingredients of a cornerstone content page and present everything you need to know in a handy infographic.

If you want to work on your own site’s cornerstone content with the help of the Copyblogger team, sign up for our Content Challenge below the infographic.

1. Keywords

The first step is keyword research.

A cornerstone content page will help you rank for keyword phrases in search engines.

Select 8 to 12 keyword phrases and create a cornerstone content page for each one.

Your group of keywords will also loosely define your area of expertise, which helps you build authority.

2. Headline

The headline for a cornerstone content page is built around a keyword or keyword phrase. Look at these examples from our own cornerstone content pages:

  • Content Marketing: How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business
  • Keyword Research for Web Writers and Content Producers
  • Landing Pages Turn Traffic into Money

Each keyword phrase begins the headline, but remember that the rules of good headline writing still apply.

Also, the headline that appears on the cornerstone content page can be different from the headline that appears on search engine results pages.

Let me explain.

3. SEO Title

Your headline is also a title tag that appears on search engine results pages.

Search engines want to offer relevant results, so write an additional SEO Title using language the searcher would use to find your content.

You want to speak to the prospective reader in his or her own chosen words.

Most content management systems, including the Rainmaker Platform, allow you to fill out an SEO Title tag.

4. Introduction

The top of your cornerstone content page should immediately draw in your visitor — and keep her reading.

Use short, engaging sentences that could:

  • Tell a story
  • Ask a question
  • Share a metaphor, analogy, or simile
  • Invoke the mind’s eye
  • Quote a statistic

5. Body copy

The body copy of your page should contain a blend of educational content and links.

The educational content gives your reader a broad understanding of the topic.

The list of links highlights other articles that expand on the topic in very specific ways.

This mix of information also gives search engines more content to filter and index.

6. Subheadlines

There are two types of subheadlines:

  1. An extension of your main headline.
  2. Mini-headlines sprinkled through the page.

Underneath your main headline, you can add a subheadline that provides another incentive for the visitor to keep reading, as well as more copy for search engines to index.

Additional subheadlines inserted throughout your text break up the copy, entice the reader with more benefits, and help search engines determine the topic of the page.

The same writing rules that apply to headlines also apply to subheadlines.

7. Media

A strong cornerstone content page will include other media formats like images, videos, and infographics that fascinate readers and encourage them to share the page.

Investing in a professional designer for certain types of media could make the difference between a winning cornerstone content page and a flop.

8. Bullet points

Bullet points are a killer way to draw the visitor’s eye to meaningful and persuasive copy.

They can serve several functions:

  • List benefits of an offer
  • Arouse curiosity to keep the visitor reading
  • Explain data and proof
  • Tease what’s coming next
  • Dish out the chapters in a book or modules in a training course
  • And more!

9. Conclusion

An effective conclusion feels like the click on a box being shut. There are no loose ends.

In addition, a good conclusion culminates in a persuasive call to action. All the copy that precedes the conclusion was driving towards this appeal. So craft it carefully.

And don’t be afraid to repeat the call to action more than once.

10. Call to action button

Every cornerstone content page you create has a goal: to get people to act.

You may want to drive traffic to your cornerstone content page to ask visitors to:

  • Join a content library.
  • Subscribe to an email newsletter.
  • Start a free trial.
  • Download an app.

Remember: you don’t have to wait until the end of the content to include a persuasive call to action.

In fact, include call to action buttons early and often to show readers what you’d like them to do.

11. Social share buttons

You can’t only rely on search engines to drive traffic to your cornerstone content pages. Particularly if a page is new, you’ll need to jumpstart the process.

Post your cornerstone content on social media and encourage people to share it.

Add big and bold social share buttons at the top and bottom of the page or use a scrolling sidebar that moves down the page as the user does.

A winning cornerstone content page at a glance

Copyblogger-11-Essential-Ingredients-Cornerstone-Content-Infographic

Embed this cornerstone content infographic

Want to publish this infographic on your own site?

Copy and paste the following code into your blog post or web page:

Now you can evaluate your cornerstone content pages at a glance and be sure they have every element they need to deliver the results you need.

The Copyblogger Content Challenge

Join us in January 2016, and discover how to create useful, powerful cornerstone content for your website. You’ll get access to:

A free email course that walks you through how to create your cornerstone content.

A private forum where you can ask questions about the content challenge and share links to content you’ve created.

An educational webinar about cornerstone content — exclusively for content challenge participants.

Everyone who participates in the challenge will also receive an invite to join us inside Authority, our advanced content marketing training program, to continue their content marketing education. The doors to Authority will open up for one week only.

Discover how to create cornerstone content pages that boost your authority and help build a solid relationship with your prospects. Join us in January for the first Copyblogger Content Challenge!

Enter your Email:


About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Chief Content Writer for Rainmaker Digital

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How to Adapt Your Media Content to Fit Your Customer’s Needs

mn-adapting-content

How can you adapt your content in real time, so that your visitor sees exactly the right message for him?

Find out in this episode of The Mainframe.

In the second part of the three-part Adaptive Content series, hosts Tony Clark and Chris Garrett discuss:

  • Tactics you can implement today that will make your visitor’s experience better
  • Why your content should be constructed like a choose-your-own adventure
  • How browser cookies are failing you, and what to do instead

Click Here to Listen to

The Mainframe on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

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

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Why Every Podcast Needs an Email List

sr-podcast-email-marketing

The smartest showrunners know that their podcast is only the first step in building a deep, meaningful relationship with an audience.

The next step, one that should never be overlooked, is building an email list so your most engaged listeners can take the next step in connecting with you.

In this episode, Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor provide an overview about email. There is a lot to cover.

After Jerod regales you with a funny story about the hiccup that happened to him during his Authority Rainmaker presentation, he and Jon dive deep into the following topics:

  • Why Jon thinks he is doing email wrong (and why Jerod disagrees with him)
  • The importance of being human in how you approach your email subscribers
  • The benefits of building a base of email subscribers as you grow your show
  • What is more valuable: an email subscriber or an iTunes review?
  • How email played a huge role in the initial launch of The Showrunner Podcasting Course
  • What you should do when people hit “Reply” on your mailings (if you really want to build an audience)
  • Why you should view your email schedule like your podcast schedule
  • The two roadblocks to email registration that you need to remove with your site design and copy

Click Here to Listen to

The Showrunner on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

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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Solar Power Battery – The Answer To Our Energy Needs




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All solutions solar battery real needs rather little power. With the change of solar energy quickly in the future trend, many people are excited about safe source of energy for the environment always efficient have many concerns.

How solar panels and how much you need? What is the cost of making the use of solar energy? Exactly how this can really work?

Solar batteries are required if you need an electrical system that operates with wit and profitable. This battery bank is actually a number of batteries that are connected together within a cell system, made to preserve the power of the sun is just no sun.

Solar battery chargers are around each size and same type of batteries. Backup battery solar power are often used inside properties.

Batteries show that the individual is necessary to keep worrying about whether or not you are able to turn the device into a different country or abroad or even on vacation. Portable solar battery chargers are already an essential advantage adventurous type of people.

Portable solar products are commonly used to recharge electronic devices, electric batteries outside the network, RV, same vehicle, sleds and boat batteries.

The smooth surface allows solar panels outside the network transportable integrated in the back and is hiking bags designs provide portable power source for off-grid power.

Portable solar battery chargers have already been of vital help photographers outdoors and also outdoors type of person. Solar battery chargers offer wonderful to use at home positives.

Solar battery chargers are a good idea! If we had a better battery and of course the whole process of solar energy would be even better. Solar battery chargers are the best choice for portable solar power needs because they have different levels of energy to meet all needs.

Solar battery is compatible with many solar gadgets. Designed for use to familiarize students and / or university amateur with the principles of functional dom cells and practical applications of solar cells.

Solar battery chargers are an excellent example, giving you the ability to charge batteries without having to pay for extra power and even worry about pollution. Solar Battery Maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity of cells, and make the initial cost of solar battery efficient.

Deep cycle batteries for automobiles endless, the most commonly used in solar power systems, species require minimal stress tests and analysis of fluid to provide electricity reputable over a long period of time.

Solar battery chargers have left their mark in terms of mobile phones. People now come through them can communicate with anyone in the world, anywhere, anytime.

And speaking of security: solar battery cell can be harmful, such as a car battery, and should be treated with care. According to statistics, there are thousands of serious accidents that involve substantial stacks years.

Improve efficiency, however, and some solar days are really the means of energy production options. Effective deployment related to distributed storage requires that utilities always know the status of each cell can be imposed, and then have the ability to send a chance to remote grid from necessary.

Shane Green had been involved in a series of intensive research in solar energy. The use of a solar battery, in fact it can break its dependence on fossil fuels and other pollutants that cause energy sources and save money on energy bills. Read and learn more, visit the Green site about solar battery.

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Why Bad Linkbait Needs to Die: How Linkable Assets Deliver 10x More Value

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

I hate bad linkbait, and it floods my inbox. Bad linkbait wastes our time, money, and our audience’s attention.

On the other hand, I love creating linkable assets. I also love searching the web for linkable assets and sharing them with others. Before we go any further, let’s define what we mean by linkbait, bad linkbait and linkable assets.

Linkbait: Website feature, usually content, meant to attract links for the purposes of SEO.

Bad Linkbait: Content that attracts links without adding additional value. One of the hallmark characteristics of bad linkbait is that it often rehashes the work of others, without creating anything new.

Linkable Assets: Content or features characterized by a high degree of practical utility or emotional engagement. Linkable assets often attract links over time due the high value they offer.

The SEO problem with bad linkbait

Bad linkbait is not only less effective, but it often has very real SEO consequences down the line in terms of types of links earned and the relevance of the content. In extreme examples, we’ve seen instances of poorly executed linkbait leading to Penguin-style Google penalties.

While there is no single type of bad linkbait, the following characteristics are often defining hallmarks:

  1. Temporary spike in linking followed by a quick drop-off
  2. Meant to be scalable and easy
  3. Off-topic or marginally relevant content
  4. Visitors not likely to return
  5. Rehashed “Top 10″ Lists
  6. Infographics without the “info”
  7. Controversy for the sake of controversy
  8. Commercial anchor text controlled by creator

The reason bad linkbait sucks so much energy is that you get almost no return on investment for the effort you put into it.

An example seen all the time is an infographic that is only marginally related to the subject matter of the website, such as those that Rand discussed in last week’s Whiteboard Friday. Imagine a plumbing company that makes an infographic called “10 Most Horrific Water Deaths Ever.”

  • The SEO company convinced them that the keyword “water” is related to plumbing, and this will help them to rank if they can get the infographic distributed widely enough. Maybe it will, but not nearly as much as if they created something truly new that was actually related to their core business.
  • The links they earn spike when they are actively pouring money and effort into sharing, but stop almost immediately after that.
  • The plumbing website has no other content about “horrific water deaths,” so the topic is only marginally related.
  • The links all have the same anchor text due to the widget used to embed the infographic. Google’s Penguin algorithm picks this up and penalizes them for “water” related keywords.
  • After 2 weeks, traffic trickles to almost nothing. The SEO company moves onto the next infographic.

Is there an easy solution? Take the same amount of time and money spent to create 2-3 pieces of mediocre linkbait, and spend that energy creating a truly remarkable linkable asset.

How linkable assets deliver 10x the value

The great thing about linkable assets is that, when successful, they take on a life of their own and the SEO benefit can grow to 10 or even 100 times what was originally anticipated.

Good linkable assets earn repeat visits and traffic over time. Links aren’t pushed but earned in unexpected places with natural and topically relevant anchor text. Plus, when you publish valuable content actually related to your core subject matter, you help establish yourself as an authority on that topic, and more likely to appear in search results for topically relevant queries.

Because good linkable assets often earn a greater variety of links spread over time through value instead of aggressive link promotion, they are less likely to ever earn a Google penalty.

Examples of linkable assets include this worldwide guide to etiquette, this online salary calculator or even Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History.

Questions used to help identify linkable assets:

  1. Does it create something new?
  2. Does it make something easier?
  3. Is it likely to be used again and again?
  4. Does it reveal new insight or knowledge?
  5. Does it create something beautiful?
  6. Does it evoke a strong emotional response?
  7. Does it provide practical value?

Can linkable assets also be linkbait?

The most successful linkable assets possess the better qualities of fine linkbait. In fact, for SEO benefit, it’s essential that your linkable asset invoke a strong emotional response or be perceived as having high practical value.

This is the “sweet spot” in the middle that combines the best marketing value of linkbait with the added value of linkable assets.

Linkable assets: exemplary examples

Visual assets

Rand mentioned a good number in his recent Whiteboard Friday Why Visual Assets > Infographics, so I wanted to list a few more that offer high practical value and succeed in earning natural, highly-topical links.

Can an infographic act as a linkable asset? Yes, when it meets the requirements defined above.

This excellent Radiation Dose Chart infographic created by xkcd not only inspires awe but has been linked to thousands of times due to people wanting to share its practical utility.

Which Local Review Sites Should You Try to Get Review On? by LocalVisibilitySystem.org displays a ton of knowledge in a succinct and successful format.

Moz’s Web Developers SEO Cheat Sheet provides a visual asset we’re quite proud of.

For pure visual appeal, this Cheetah infographic by Jacob Neal is one of my all-time favorites. It stretches the boundaries of visual design and I found myself reading every word as a result.

Tools

ShareTally – Similar in function to SharedCount, ShareTally gives you a free and quick overview of important social metrics for any URL. This is one you bookmark.

Creative assets

Robby Leonardi’s Interactive Game Resume feels like playing a game and has led Robby to win multiple design awards.

Data sharing

Everyone has data if you look hard enough. Done at scale, the results can be truly outstanding.

The (not provided) Global Report aggregates data from over 5000 websites to display near real-time reporting of Google’s (not provided) keywords worldwide.

Studies

One of our favorite email providers, MailChimp, recently studied email subject line open rates. This graphic explores the effect of including a subject’s first and last name across various industries.

Moz’s own Search Engine Ranking Factors is consistently one of the most popular studies we publish.

Videos

Look no further than Wistia’s learning center for best practices on producing videos for your business. Check out this one they made on advanced video SEO with they guys from Distilled.

Endless possibilities for linkable assets

You can turn any unique knowledge into a linkable asset without shooting a video or adding fancy graphics. Think of folks like Seth Godin or Patrick McKenzie who regularly share their valuable thoughts with the world.

The key is to deliver the content in both a valuable and emotionally engaging way. If you are a talented writer, this is probably your best avenue. If not, then thinking outside the blog post box may be required.

What are your favorite examples of examplary linkable assets? Let us know in the comments below.

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The 5 Things Every (Great) Marketing Story Needs

Image of Little Girl Reading a Story

Here on Copyblogger, you’ve seen us talk many times about how to tell a terrific marketing story.

Why? Because stories are fundamental to how we communicate as human beings. Tell the right story and you can capture attention, entertain, enlighten, and persuade … all in the course of just a few minutes.

Stories are memorable and shareable — and those are two of the most important aspects of the very best content.

So we can all agree that stories matter … but how do you tell them?

What, specifically, makes for a good marketing story?

Today I want to share five critical components with you, and talk about how they fit into your marketing and your business. We’ll start, as every good story does, with the hero …

1. You need a hero

All good stories are about someone (even if that someone is a professional monster or a talking toy).

The biggest mistake businesses make is thinking that their business is the hero of the story. This is prevalent among a lot of insecurity-based advertising (“buy our toothpaste or you’ll die friendless and alone”), but it makes for a selfish, easily ignored marketing message.

To tell a compelling content marketing story, your customer must be the hero.

And what defines a hero? The hero of the story is the one who is transformed as the story progresses, from an ordinary person into someone extraordinary.

In other words …

2. You need a goal

Good businesses are about solving customer problems. To put it another way, they’re about customer transformation.

You need to understand where your customer-hero is today, and where she wants to go.

What transformation is she seeking? Does she want a health transformation, a relationship transformation, a wealth transformation, a career transformation?

  • What will she physically look like when the transformation has taken place?
  • What will she be able to do that she can’t do now?
  • What will she have?
  • What will she believe?
  • What new connections or relationships will she have?
  • Who will she be?

Until you understand your customer-hero’s goal, you don’t have a marketing story, you just have a collection of anecdotes.

3. You need an obstacle

If transformation was easy, your customer wouldn’t need your business.

Obstacles are what make stories interesting. The gap between where your hero is today and where he wants to go is the meat of your compelling story.

There are often external obstacles to your customer’s eventual victory, but the most interesting ones are nearly always internal.

What’s keeping your customer-hero from attaining his goal? What external elements are standing in his way?

More important, what emotional and psychological roadblocks has he created himself? What inner limitations must he overcome to achieve his prized goal?

4. You need a mentor

If your customer is the hero, where does that leave you and your business?

If your customer is Luke Skywalker, you’re Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re the wise mentor who can provide essential information and tools that allow the hero to attain his goal.

As Jonah Sachs points out in his interesting book Winning the Story Wars, one difference between an empowering marketing message and the old-fashioned, insecurity-based toothpaste ads, is that you emphasize that your hero’s journey results from her own effort and work.

Your business doesn’t exist to swoop down and solve all of her problems for her. That would infantilize your customer, which is ultimately unsatisfying all around. (Having a bunch of neurotic crybabies for customers just isn’t that fun.)

Your business exists to guide, coach, mentor, and help.

5. You need a moral

When you’re telling a marketing story, it’s always wise to explicitly spell out the moral of your story.

So yes, use stories to show people just like your customer-hero overcoming obstacles and attaining their goals.

Show how your business can mentor and guide customers to become better versions of themselves.

Show how customers can overcome external and internal obstacles to gain what they’re searching for.

But then circle back around and spell it out. Let the audience know what they should do next, or what their main takeaway should be.

The most subtle and sophisticated stories leave it to the audience to figure out the moral of the story. But the audience for those stories isn’t consuming them in the sea of distraction that is the open web.

Don’t be afraid to spell it out. Be clear and direct. Clarity is golden.

Bonus: You need the truth

There’s one more element of your story marketing tool kit that’s more useful than ever.

In an age of unparalleled digital transparency, you can make amazing wins just by telling the truth.

[19th century copywriter] John Powers had given us all we’ve ever really needed to know. Be interesting. Tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth, change what you’re doing so you can. In other words, live the truth. ~ Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs

Marcus Sheridan created a surprising business advantage for his pool business by simply dedicating his content marketing to answering customer questions — including those that were “inconvenient.” (Like “how much will this cost?”)

It takes courage (and finding that courage can be something of a hero’s journey of your own). But the more honest you can be about your business, about who you serve and the problems that you solve, the more loyalty you will find.

Every story needs a spark of something remarkable, so it can be remembered and shared. And in the world we live in today, honesty can be one of the most remarkable story elements of all.

More storytelling resources on Copyblogger

Storytelling is an art, and a little research (and practice) on your part will be well rewarded.

Here are some more ideas for you on the art and science of telling a good story:

How about you?

Do you use stories in your content? What do you see as the most important elements?

Let us know in the comments …

About the author

Sonia Simone

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

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