Tag Archive | "You’ll"

5 Content Optimization Mistakes You’ll Wish You Fixed Sooner

So, what happens when someone clicks through to your website? Do you persuade them to stay and find out more…

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Why Everyone Hopes You’ll Be the Hero

I walked into the small, yellow audition room and stopped twelve feet in front of the cheap, plastic, fold-out table….

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50 Things You’ll Enjoy Reading over Christmas Break

Today, as the team gets ready to take a few days off for the holiday, we’ve put together a massive buffet of marketing, writing, and strategy advice for you. Monday’s post put the spotlight on our editorial team’s favorite writing, content, and marketing blogs. (As well as one that’s an example of a creator who’s
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[Updated] 7+ features you’ll only find in the new AdWords interface

Advertisers getting used to working in the new UI will find some bonus capabilities.

The post [Updated] 7+ features you’ll only find in the new AdWords interface appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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5 Content Optimization Mistakes You’ll Wish You Fixed Sooner

"Show your site visitors that you’re a match for them — faster." – Stefanie Flaxman

By now you know that — technical details aside — SEO is not separate from content marketing; it’s an integrated aspect of content marketing.

Optimizing your content for search engines is part of your craft and a skill you can strengthen with practice.

But even when you rank well for search terms your audience uses, the real test is what happens when someone clicks through to your website. As Brian wrote on Monday:

“There’s nothing worse than a quick bounce.”

To avoid a quick bounce, you need to focus on content optimization. Since you don’t want to miss any opportunities to connect with your site visitors, study this list of five common mistakes — and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Your visitors can’t tell if your content’s right for them

A row of four new houses that all look basically the same were just built on the street where I live. When a real estate agent starts taking potential buyers on tours of the houses, do you know what’s going to happen?

The potential buyers are going to examine the properties and make judgments about the differences they notice.

A woman is going to dislike the filigree on one of the front gates and select the house with the simple brown gate and extra large balconies. A man is going to love the house with the filigree on the front gate. Another woman is going to hate the house with the extra large balconies and prefer the house with additional living room space.

You get the point.

While these houses appear roughly similar from the outside, visitors quickly assess which property is right for them based on their personal preferences.

The same thing happens when people search for information about a topic. The websites that appear at the top of search results for a keyword phrase might all look the same at first, so visitors will quickly inspect your content to see if it contains the qualities that are right for them.

If your special qualities (your proverbial front gate with filigree, large balcony, or spacious living room) aren’t clear, you won’t convince the people you want to attract that you can satisfy their preferences.

How to fix it

Take 15 Minutes to Find Your Winning Difference

When you stop trying to attract everyone, it’s easier to attract those who recognize and appreciate your unique selling proposition (USP).

You’re right for some visitors and your competitors may be right for others. That’s okay.

Mistake #2: Your headlines aren’t specific

The quickest way to a quick bounce is a generic headline that could appear on any other website in your niche.

Typically, these weak headlines fail to offer a benefit, or the benefit could be so vague that it fails to capture the attention of the people who you actually created the content for.

They could also be boring.

How to fix it

Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines

If you immediately communicate details about why your content is helpful, you’ll grab the attention of people who need that kind of help.

Aim to infuse your headlines with the essence of your USP and show your site visitors that you’re a match for them — faster.

Mistake #3: You don’t edit

Plenty of websites have success publishing first-draft content. If rough drafts form a bond with the people you aim to serve … cool.

But if your content isn’t striking a chord with the people you want to attract and develop relationships with, you may need to push yourself further.

How to fix it

Discover Why Content Marketers Need Editors

Rough drafts often fail to effectively convey your messages. They may contain too much information or tangents that distract busy readers and make your content less useful.

Editing is about creating a content experience. Rather than expressing raw thoughts, you craft a thoughtful presentation that helps solve a problem. When you click on the link above, you’ll learn how to think like an editor.

Mistake #4: You don’t give visitors more opportunities to learn

Websites with a lot of content may still look like “brochure” websites if they don’t present a different angle or perspective that makes visitors think, “I like this specific approach to this topic.”

When visitors feel you offer them something they can’t find on other websites, they want to hear more from you and stay connected.

If you don’t anticipate a reader’s desire to learn more, he might bounce to other sites to see if they offer more resources.

How to fix it

Add a Tantalizing Incentive that Will Build Your Email List

Ideally, you want to have so much great content that when visitors land on your site they’re frustrated that they don’t have enough time to consume it all in one sitting.

They’ll have to make a note to come back. Now the question is:

Do they sign up for your email list so they don’t miss any new content?

Make signing up for your email list a no-brainer by providing an incentive that is a perfect match for their needs. Your email list could also offer exclusive content the public doesn’t see.

Visitors will feel like they hit the jackpot that day on their journey.

Mistake #5: You don’t empower visitors to make a purchase

Information is … information. It doesn’t spark the buying process.

If you don’t give visitors a taste of what it’s like to do business with you, you won’t convert prospects to customers.

How to fix it

Educate to Convert Your Prospects

When you convince your website visitors to keep up with everything you publish, you’re able to build the relationships that will build your business. And the right balance of content and copy helps your prospects imagine what it’s like to buy from you.

Demonstrate why your product or service will give them the transformation they desire.

Optimize your content to grow your audience

Here’s a suggestion:

Assign each of the mistakes above to a day next week, Monday through Friday, and spend a couple hours each day identifying where you might make those errors and how you can fix them. By the end of the week, you’ll have a wealth of new ideas about how you can improve going forward.

What’s your process for producing exceptional content that impresses your website visitors? In the comments below, let us know how you stand out.

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4 Surprising Ways You’ll Profit from Building an Online Course

surprising! what you'll learn when you build an online course

I had no idea what I was getting myself into back in the fall of 2009.

The only thing I knew for sure was that I was feeling antsy.

I had been running my design and marketing business for almost two decades. Over almost twenty years, I had helped every kind of client with every kind of project. Truth be told: I was getting a little bored.

And boredom, as far as I’m concerned, is Enemy #1.

Up to that point, my business was strictly offline. I had a web presence, but it was a brochure site. You know, a “here’s what I do and here’s how to contact me” website with no content, no audience-building component, no connection whatsoever with the people who landed on its pages. Old school.

The thrill was gone from my current career. Something had to change. So I started searching.

And exactly one Google search later, I landed here on the pages of Copyblogger.

It just so happened that I stumbled onto these pages in the weeks leading up to the launch of one of the early versions of Teaching Sells, the online course that taught online course building. It’s the product that helped establish the company I now work for.

I signed up for Teaching Sells as soon as the doors opened. And I dug right into the materials. All five months’ worth!

As I watched the videos and did the worksheets, I filled a folder full of notes. I worked overtime to consume every lesson. I asked and answered questions in the forum. I attended Q&A sessions. I was all in.

But it’s what happened after taking the course that changed my career and my life.

Here’s what happened after I took the Teaching Sells course

I built my online presence from scratch after taking the Teaching Sells course. Everything — from my brand name, to my website, to my blog content, to my opt-in offer, to my first course — was born from what I learned in the course materials.

Once I knew my ultimate goal was to offer online education, I was able to reverse engineer my online presence to attract an audience of readers who would become my students.

It worked like a charm. My only complaint? I wished there was a more compact way to learn what I learned. And now there is (more on that below).

It turns out that teaching still sells, now more than ever. The online education market is growing. New technologies like simulation-based teaching, cognitive learning, augmented reality, and bot-based tutorials are engaging people of all age groups and interests.

Back when I first learned about how to create online education, there was a stigma surrounding learning this way, as if it “wasn’t the real deal.” How could web-based learning possibly replace the back-and-forth interaction of a classroom?

Now we’ve realized that we’re just scratching the surface of how computing power can augment and improve our educational experiences. The sky’s the limit.

Are you in? Because in today’s article, I want to share four not-so-obvious advantages of creating online courses. These are benefits I’ve experienced personally.

And they offer compelling reasons you might want to explore creating an online course in the near future.

1. You’ll discover that adult learners become loyal customers

When you empower someone with information that allows them to do something they’ve never done, or work more efficiently, or enjoy life more … they’ll never forget you.

It’s the ultimate top-of-mind awareness for your business and your brand.

Believe it or not, I still meet people who thank me for courses they took from me four, five, and six years ago. That’s remarkable!

Education has that effect — it can transform people’s lives. And people whose lives you transform become loyal, devoted customers.

2. You’ll develop your position (and that will help later)

Creating a course is hard work. If you want to do it right, you spend time laying the groundwork for your course with some fundamentals first:

  • You find a market of “hungry learners”
  • You develop a unique approach for your course
  • You define a learner profile so you fully understand who you’re serving
  • You identify the benefits of knowledge — how your learner will grow from what you’ll teach them
  • You spell out learning objectives for your course

All this before creating a single lesson!

But here’s the thing — the time you spend defining your market, your position, and the knowledge you’ll convey will benefit you in so many ways. In a very sneaky way, you’ll be:

  • Pinpointing a target market for your content and confirming demand
  • Uniquely positioning your brand
  • Understanding what motivates your ideal customer
  • Creating selling points for your course
  • Writing marketing copy you can use on sales pages and in emails

Doing the work of building your course will put you well ahead in your marketing efforts.

And working through the fundamentals will help you write better content that draws new people to your website and your offerings.

3. You’ll learn All The Things

A full-blown online course is not a Minimum Viable Product. Not even close.

The biggest mistake I made was to tackle putting together a fully functional online course as my first product.

(It’s embarrassing even to type this.)

But looking back, I have no regrets. Putting together a full-fledged online course forced me to learn All The Things. Things like:

  • How to write effective content that attracts the right audience
  • How to accept payments for online products
  • How to position, launch, and generate ongoing sales for a digital product
  • How to put my paid content behind a secure paywall
  • How to allow members to communicate with each other and with me
  • How to create, present, and host online video content
  • How to build a community around my teaching

When I look at that list, it’s pretty daunting. Thinking about doing all these things may push you well beyond your comfort zone.

Learning to create a full-featured online course is like attending a digital content bootcamp.

The good news? After creating a full-blown online course, creating other types of digital content will seem easy. You’ll have an impressive skill set that will serve you well as you create, set up, and sell other online products.

4. You’ll know your topic better than ever before

Want to really master a topic? Teach it.

There’s nothing like codifying your expertise and teaching it to others to cement certain concepts in your own mind.

You research information, synthesize what you’ve learned, and then express it in your own words. This process builds your understanding and deepens your grasp of your topic.

One word of caution: sometimes teaching a topic can lead to knowing so much about it you begin to lose touch with what beginners need to know.

This is the dreaded “curse of knowledge,” and it separates you from your newbie students. Stay in touch with your audience, understand their needs — no matter where they are in relation to your topic — and focus on how you can help them.

Doing this will help you create a better course and allow you to create better offers in the future, too.

A new (updated) course about building online courses

I’m happy to share that Teaching Sells, the course I took that set my career on a brand-new path, has evolved into something even better.

It’s leaner, faster to consume, and has the most up-to-date information about what works in online education right now.

And it’s taught by the originator of Teaching Sells, our CEO Brian Clark. Brian poured what was best about Teaching Sells into this new course and added a healthy dose of what he’s learned since his early days in the online education market.

The course, Build Your Online Education Business the Smarter Way, will soon be available as a standalone product.

To learn more about the online education market, I urge you to sign up and attend Brian’s upcoming free webinar that’s happening on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Click the button below for easy (and free!) registration.

Free Webinar:

How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

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Why Learning to Write Is the Toughest and Best Thing You’ll Do

why better writing is worth the effort

Trigger warning: I’m about to list some terms that might give you nightmares. Do you remember these?

  • Gerunds
  • Participles
  • Sentence diagrams
  • Split infinitives
  • Absolute modifiers

Just talking about them might cause you to flash back to middle school. You’re sitting in a sweaty classroom, listening to the chalk squeak as your teacher writes the definition for each term on a dusty chalkboard.

You, in the meantime, are mentally calculating how many minutes are left before lunchtime.

Here’s the thing about learning to write: It’s not about the terms above. Yes, you need to be aware of them. But if you think learning to write well is about mastering grammar, you’re missing the point.

Learning to write goes beyond masterful handling of the parts of speech. They’re just the paper that wraps the gift.

Today, we’re going to cover what writing well really looks like and why it might be the hardest and best skill you’ll ever master. It’s the gift that keeps on giving: read on to learn why.

Well-written ideas are easier to circulate

You’re reading Copyblogger. And you probably read paper books, ebooks, news sites, long posts on social media, and more.

When we want our ideas to spread, we start by making them look good in writing.

With the surge in popularity of podcasting and the widespread use of visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and even YouTube, you might wonder if the written word matters as much as it used to.

But most podcasts and videos start out as words in one form or another. They begin life as a written outline, a thoroughly-planned script, or notes on an index card.

When you’re a proficient writer, those first-draft-quality notes will do a better job getting your ideas out of your head and into a new format.

Jerod Morris, co-host of both The Showrunner and The Digital Entrepreneur podcasts, starts 75 percent of his episodes with some type of written outline. Written outlines help you plan, pace, and express your information.

And any medium will benefit when you write well.

That headline you want to add to your Pinterest image? That quote for the image you plan to post on Instagram?

When you know how to write well, you can count on finding the perfect words more easily and expressing them in a way that’s compelling and gets noticed.

Your ideas stand a better chance of spreading when they’re well-written.

Writing builds discipline (and not just for writing)

Here’s the worst-kept secret about becoming a better writer: To get good at it, you have to write — more than you think and on a regular basis. And you’ll need to keep it up for longer than you may expect.

You may find that in order to keep your writing chops in the best possible shape, you need to write almost every single day.

Our own Sonia Simone, for example, has written something every day for thirty years, with the exception of a short stint in the hospital while she recovered from major surgery. (We’ll let that one slide.)

There aren’t too many things in life that promise the kind of return that writing on most days will give you. (More on that below.)

And the discipline you’ll build from steadily working to improve your writing will build your character.

You may even find yourself looking around for more to write about once you’re in the habit of writing most days.

Clearer thoughts are born from your writing structure

The process of writing clearly usually involves starting with some sort of basic outline.

But since “outline” is another one of those scary words from English class, I want to offer you the phrase I use to describe the initial stage of writing — building the backbone.

Building the backbone refers to the process of working out the basics of the idea you want to express by deciding on a topic, then hashing out the underlying structure of how you’ll present your information. It forces you to bring your ideas into focus and clarify them so they are strong enough to support the concepts you’ll hang on them.

There’s nothing like figuring out your supporting arguments to help you clarify your ideas.

This process can spill over into many other areas of your life.

Structuring your thoughts before you share them in writing will get you into the habit of structuring your thoughts before you share them anywhere else as well. It will help you clarify your message and put it into a form that’s easier to understand.

How can you become a better writer?

Start with the posts below. They’ll cover the basics and help you establish a strong writing habit that you can use to structure and share your ideas.

You can also download and print out this poster (3.3 MB) to help motivate you to write on a regular basis.

And consider joining us inside Authority: it’s where people who want to become better writers get weekly education, support, and encouragement so they can get there faster.

Become a better writer 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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What Is Creativity? 21 Authentic Definitions You’ll Love [Free Poster]

inspiration - how creatives define creativity

She was an odd mix of soft skin and rowdy in the mouth.

And by that, I mean she was bright, chirpy, and quick with the quirky jokes, ribbing it with the best of them, but prone to fits of sobbing at the first sign of disagreement.

I needed to be cautious. To curb my Neanderthal-like love for hurling abuse at editorial outlaws. Not to mention, she was new.

The woman who sat in the chair opposite my desk in a book-lined office was one of the most promising writers in our creative department. The problem was, she was late on her first deadline. Really late.

I took a deep breath.

“I gave you an extra week. Help me understand why I don’t have that article yet,” I said.

She shrugged and cracked a smile. I waited for an answer, but nothing.

Then I said, “Eh, yeah. So, about that deadline?”

She looked down at her hands, then looked at me in the eyes, the smile gone.

“You know how it is. The inspiration just hasn’t hit yet.”

I nodded and fidgeted with a hangnail.

“Actually … I don’t know how it is.”

That’s when her lower lip began to tremble and her eyelids started blinking rapidly.

Common creativity myths

“The inspiration just hasn’t hit yet” is one among a long line of myths about creativity. Here are four more:

  • You are born with it.
  • You have to be right-brained.
  • It falls into your lap.
  • You’ve got to be a little mad.

Perhaps you’ve run into some of them. Perhaps you’ve even fallen for some, too.

But these aren’t just myths. They are also excuses.

They are excuses we use to avoid doing the work because we fear rejection, criticism, and failure.

I get it. I’m also an odd mix of roughneck and delicate soul.

I remember thinking to myself in an introductory-level college poetry class that no one dare criticize my work. Of course, I had no shortage of harsh comments for my fellow poets.

Call it overcompensation for a deep insecurity. Grossly exalted view of self. A freaked out perfectionist. Whatever the source, it was crippling my creativity.

I eventually learned my lesson. Creativity comes at a price.

But what exactly do we refer to when we talk about creativity?

Creativity explained — by science!

Michael Grybko, neuroscience research scientist and engineer from the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington, is pals with Kelton Reid, Rainmaker Digital’s VP of Multimedia Production and host of The Writer Files podcast. Michael’s been on Kelton’s show a number of times.

Naturally, the episode I want to focus on now is about creativity. So, Mr. Grybko, what is creativity?

“In science, we define ‘creativity’ as an idea that is novel, good, and useful. It’s a little broader than the Oxford Dictionary’s definition, where it’s just the ability to create, because that doesn’t really say much. You can create something and it’s not very useful or it just won’t work well.”

Did you get that? According to Mr. Grybko, creativity is “an idea that is novel, good, and useful.” Fair enough. But Michael’s not done.

“Pooling from this wealth of knowledge we store in our brains and making connections between different ideas, we have to solve a new problem, or create, write a new novel — that’s what science looks at when we study ‘creativity.’ Just to drive home the point, this is very much a function of the brain. There’s no need to invoke all that folklore into this. It’s our brains doing what they do.”

“It’s our brains doing what they do.” I love scientists! They spoil all of our mystical fun. (Just kidding.)

Anyone can be creative, not just a privileged few

Mr. Grybko is simply explaining that anyone can be creative. Not just a privileged few.

No more excuses, Class.

This got me thinking: How would non-scientists respond to this question? What about a punk rocker? What would he say about creativity?

What about a popular non-fiction author? A digital entrepreneur? A marketing dissident?

Fortunately for you, we have answers!

The Writer Files (which started as a regular column on Copyblogger) has gathered thought-provoking responses to the question, “What is creativity?”

20 more original definitions of creativity

You can read the full interviews by clicking on each person’s name. And don’t forget to download the free poster at the end of this post.


“Seeing the intersection of seemingly unrelated topics and combining them into something new.” – Brian Clark

“Starting with nothing and ending up with something. Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in.” – Henry Rollins

“Building universes out of nothing.” – Danny Sullivan

“Tapping into your soul and your intuition and allowing them to guide what you make.” – Bernadette Jiwa

“Giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing.” – Daniel Pink

“Going to unexpected places.” – Shane Snow

“Living in possibility and abundance rather than limitation and scarcity.” – CJ Lyons

“To me, creativity is seeing and communicating ideas in ways that are unique, compelling, and unexpected.” – Lee Odden

“One part inspiration, one part motivation.” – Ann Handley

“Creativity (n): a word people use when they want to sound smart talking about a really abstract subject. Me? I prefer to avoid abstractions.” – Jon Morrow

“The strange partnership between a human being’s labor and the mystery of inspiration.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

“Seeing something that doesn’t exist and then making it so.” – Hugh Howey

“The ability to connect the seemingly unconnected and meld existing knowledge into new insight about some element of how the world works. That’s practical creativity. Then there’s moral creativity: to apply that skill towards some kind of wisdom on how the world ought to work.” – Maria Popova

“Just making something. It might be something crummy or awkward or not ready for prime time. If you make something, you are creative.” – Sonia Simone

“Taking what’s in front of you and everybody else and making something new out of it.” – Austin Kleon

“Creativity brings good things in the world that otherwise would not exist. It’s a noble act of pushing back darkness and giving hope to despair.” – Jeff Goins

“Creativity is expressing your ideas in a full-contact, full-color way. It is using as many senses as possible to express an idea. It is the zone from which great, useful things are created.” – Pam Slim

“Seeing patterns that others don’t and effectively communicating them.” – David Meerman Scott

“Copying smarter.” – Lisa Barone

“This might not work.” – Seth Godin

Interesting responses, right? Lots of fun. But we aren’t finished yet …

Get the “What Is Creativity?” poster

copyblogger-what-is-creativity-posterWe created a two-page poster with all the responses that you can download (922 KB), print, and hang near your desk for inspiration.

Before you go, don’t forget to answer the question, “What is creativity?” Drop us your thoughts in the comments section below. We would love to hear your answer.

Here’s the cool thing: If we get a wide variety of answers with different points of view, we’ll take them and create another blog post and poster. So, let us know what you think.copyblogger-what-is-creativity-poster-2

P.S. Remember the timid writer in the introduction of this article? The one on the verge of a meltdown over a missed deadline?

Yeah, there was some major weeping and gnashing of teeth that day, but she got the picture and finally turned in the late assignment.

More importantly, she continued to respond well to my critical confrontations, eventually becoming a prized writer — what I call a “pit bull on paper.” I’m very proud of her!

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7 Reasons You’ll Want to Start Your Free Trial of the Rainmaker Platform Today

Last Monday, we publicly launched the Rainmaker Platform. It’s a complete website solution for content marketers and Internet entrepreneurs.

With Rainmaker, you can:

  • Create powerful content-driven websites on your own domains.
  • Build membership sites and online training courses.
  • Sell digital products like software, ebooks, and more.
  • Perform sophisticated online lead generation.
  • Optimize your content for search engines and social networks.
  • Absorb cutting-edge tactics and strategy with included training.
  • Avoid a patchwork of plugins, themes, and complicated code.
  • Forget about upgrades, maintenance, security, and hosting headaches.
  • Take your content to WordPress at any time you choose.
  • A whole lot more …

We’ve had a large group of paid customers putting it to the test and giving us feedback since April. They got a special deal to do so, and now that we’ve evolved the Platform to version 2.0 thanks to them (their rave reviews are here), we’re giving you just a few more days to get the very same deal.

In a nutshell: Until this Friday, October 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm Pacific, you get our very best price on what Rainmaker is today, with everything it will become included at no extra charge.

Let me outline for you what those coming features are in 7 easy steps. ;)

1. Advanced Reporting and Analytics

The way you see your business growing and changing each day will become even more useful in the near future. The Rainmaker Platform’s analytics and reporting functions will evolve with more advanced reporting options for those who want them.

You’ll be able to drill down into the stats that you really want to see, and slice and dice your preferences from within the dashboard itself. That means creating simple, at-a-glance views of the specific metrics you want (such as demographics, or specific segments of your customers and prospects).

This is exciting stuff, because you’d normally need a third-party tool to accomplish what we’re planning for analytics. For those who sign up this week, however, it comes standard with Rainmaker.

And yes, podcasting stats are on the way. Soon, you’ll be able to see how your podcast is performing, without the hassle of separate hosting and stats packages. We’ve got a few more ideas on the near horizon for Rainmaker Podcasting that we’re not quite ready to talk about (but you’ll get upgraded to). Just remember, we’re podcasters too, so you can bet we’re motivated to make this the best and easiest podcasting solution on the planet for entrepreneurs.

2. More Designs and Landing Page Templates

You may have noticed that there’s been a slight change in how we’re developing design themes lately. We call it the “Rainmaker First” philosophy.

Brian Gardner, Rafal Tomal, and Lauren Mancke are always hard at work designing and developing new themes and landing page templates, but now our (and their) focus has shifted to supplying our Rainmaker Platform customers with the best one-click web design in the world.

There are currently 27 design themes and 15 landing page templates (not including the new custom landing page builder) available to Rainmaker customers, and there are many more on the way.

And no, this does not mean we are neglecting our beloved StudioPress customers. In fact, this philosophy will end up benefitting everyone in the end. As these Rainmaker designs are tested and used in real-world online business situations, they’ll only get better.

3. Social Media Posting and Scheduling

This is a big one, and a no-brainer. Very soon, Rainmaker customers will be able to — from within the Rainmaker dashboard — post and schedule updates, links, photos, and other content to their social networks.

Your Rainmaker site is the home base of your business, and the importance of using social networks to attract an audience and send them back to your home base is undeniable. We think social media posting and scheduling tools have become a necessity for the savvy online publisher, but they should be integrated into your website platform with your daily workflow.

4. Integrated RSS Reader

So, the ability to post and schedule social media updates from your Rainmaker dashboard will be cool, but how do you find intriguing content from other sources to share with your audience? And how do you manage the very real potential for information overload?

That tool used to be Google Reader (RIP), but now, for our customers, it will be the Rainmaker Reader. This coming integrated RSS reader will be the place you’ll be able to strategically track your industry feeds, find great content to share, and glean inspiration for producing your own content.

5. Curation-to-Content Tools

Want to easily manage and publish a curated topical newsletter? Want that link from your RSS reader dropped into an existing post? How about effortlessly sending it out to your social media accounts?

The Rainmaker Curator will — with the click of a button — allow you to easily port the great content you find via RSS directly into a new or existing article you’re writing for your own audience. This will become an invaluable tool in your broader editorial role as a content marketer.

6. Serious Learning Management System

The first product ever launched off of Copyblogger, Teaching Sells, shows people step-by-step how to create sophisticated online training courses, along with the business models that power them. And since 2007, people have begged us to give them the turn-key platform that allowed for content creation, membership management, marketing, and all the other technological tasks that go with running a legitimate online business.

We’ve built that platform with Rainmaker. But we’re creating course creation tools that constitute a true learning management system — one that will help you with the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of e-learning education courses or training programs.

What does that mean? Effortlessly create a training course without a developer, optimize your course content based on student behavior and feedback, run quizzes and surveys, and drip out your content (either paid or free) exactly as you want to, and more.

7. And Yes, Marketing Automation

This is one of the most important technology applications that you’ll ever put in place for online marketing. And finally, it won’t cost you a ridiculous amount of money like the current solutions.

Marketing automation is not just about saving yourself from repeated tasks, or the drudgery of unscalable growth. Beyond those obvious benefits, its primary functions are:

  1. To vastly improve the experience of your prospects and customers
  2. To intelligently, and eventually effortlessly, grow revenue and profit
  3. To make more of the traffic you already have without chasing more

Rainmaker Marketing Automation will allow you to tag, add, delete, and manage customers or prospects from your various email lists, build specific interest lists based on real-world actions on your site, nurture leads in a way that’s sensitive to their inbox, give you powerful suppression functionality, and much more.

You can use Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, Aweber, or the other popular email services we’re in the process of adding. Or you can choose the integrated add-on Rainmaker email service we’re working on right now. Either way, Rainmaker Marketing Automation will go to work for you in previously unimagined ways.

What’s the Catch?

Only one catch – you’ve got to start your free trial before 5:00 pm Pacific time this Friday, October 3rd, to get this deal. But if you do, you’ve got this deal for the life of your account once you decide Rainmaker is for you.

That means your price never increases even as we continue to improve, update, and manage the technology that powers your marketing platform. Which is nice.

After this Friday, Rainmaker as it is today becomes the Standard plan. The version of the platform that contains the features discussed above will become a more expensive Professional plan.

Also after Friday, the free trial will be reduced from 30 days to 14. And finally, right now we’re providing a monthly billing option, which we’re considering eliminating in favor of only quarterly and annual billing.

Got it? Cool …

Take the Rainmaker tour and start your free trial to lock in the deal.

About the author

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

The post 7 Reasons You’ll Want to Start Your Free Trial of the Rainmaker Platform Today appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to Find More Content Ideas than You’ll Ever be Able to Create

Image of Medical Drawing of Human Brain

You’ve probably heard this writing advice before: content is king, write 500 words a day, and commit to a regular posting schedule.

It’s frustrating advice because it’s so damned correct that it almost hurts.

The “secret” to enjoying success online has always been about producing great content. But that creates an uncomfortable problem for the small business owner aspiring to dominate his or her industry:

How on earth are you supposed to keep dreaming up great ideas to write about?

A plethora of well-known tactics will ensure you become a writing machine:

  • You should always keep a notebook with you to jot down your ideas when they strike so you can remember them later.
  • You should do as Hemingway did and finish every writing session mid-sentence so you can effortlessly pick up where you left off.
  • And on, and on, and on …

And all of that is good advice. But what if it’s finding ideas to write about in the first place that poses the problem?

Read on, because we’re about to dive deep into the psychology of content marketing success. 

Generating consistent (and usefully great) ideas for your audience is a murky science — even self-confessed “good writers” suffer from writer’s block. For small business owners who know they need to blog, that same block manifests itself through a little voice that glumly speaks up when you stare at a blank page:

I have nothing to say.

Wrong. You have far more to say to people than you realize. It’s just a matter of pulling it out of the deep recesses of your unconscious mind. 

You’ll never run out of fantastic ideas to write about when you understand how your brain ticks. Want to know the best way to delve into the content goldmine of your intuitive mind? Treasure is buried deep, so play therapist with yourself now and then, and ask the deep and meaningful questions that unearth it. 

Here are three questions that come right from my psychotherapist playbook — they’ll take you straight to the richest vein of content ideas that are already waiting right inside your own mind …

1. What questions is no one in your industry willing to answer?

If you want great content that magnetically attracts your audience’s attention, just answer this question. 

Every time you realize there’s a question no one in your niche dares answer, you can be the person who finally does. Your audience will thank you for it, and your competitors will be left in the dust as you slaughter their sacred cows.

For example, the swimming pool industry used to revolve around contractors visiting prospective houses to pitch them a “quote” — usually with aggressive sales tactics. Not one of those contractors would answer the question of how much the construction of a pool really costs … unless they stood right in front of you.

Then one pool installation guy named Marcus Sheridan discovered the magic of the internet.

Marcus published an article that answered that question precisely, breaking down the formula for pricing out swimming pool installations. He shared with the entire world and instantly became number one in search engine results, thanks to thousands of people searching for that very answer.

No one else was willing to answer that question. But Marcus was, creating viral content that leapt ahead of the competition. 

Swimming pools may not be your thing, but your industry has its secrets. Expose all the closet-dwelling skeletons you can find and you’ll never run out of incredible content ideas. 

2. What does nearly everyone disagree with you about?

This one comes to you from Peter Thiel, billionaire founder of Paypal and super-smart Facebook investor. He uses this question to get entrepreneurs thinking about world-changing business ideas … and it works.

The question is designed to mine your brain for disruptive and uncomfortable ideas that challenge the status quo. By answering it, you’ll water the niggling seeds of doubt you have about concepts commonly accepted as fact in your industry.

Soon you’ll have grown a full-fledged content rebellion that says otherwise, and readers will flock to your flag.

Your audience will instantly identify you as rebel who doesn’t hold anything back. Question the unquestionable, and everyone pays attention — just like when I wrote a post about Why Lifestyle Design Will Make You Miserable

Don’t be afraid that adopting a strong controversial stance will make you look stupid. You don’t even always have to be right. In fact, being bold and occasionally wrong wins you a lot more attention than being boring and always right. 

In the event that someone vehemently contradicts you, simply thank them for contributing and remind them that dialogue makes us all smarter. After all, a public argument is fabulous publicity.

3. What do you believe will happen in the future that other people consider impossible or unlikely?

As a teacher in your chosen industry or niche, you have a depth of knowledge that your customers are in awe of.

Demonstrate that knowledge by becoming “futurist for a day,” making bold predictions about the future of your industry. 

Your readers (like all humans) are horrifically paranoid about missing the writing on the wall. They don’t like to be late to the party or left behind. So put that writing out there for them, and you’ll win their interest.

Examples of these types of content ideas going viral are countless. Wired Magazine built a global media brand out of predicting the future. Not every prediction will be correct (in fact, most aren’t), but using your expertise to write bold and interesting opinions about the future of your industry will get attention.

When you offer a prediction that makes your reader proudly tell dinner guests what to expect in the next few years, you’ve got yourself solid gold for an article. 

Don’t lose yourself by getting too “meta” …

All the copywriting principles laid out on Copyblogger are truer than ever. The questions above are simply designed to tap into the mother lode of great article ideas that already exist within you

The basics still matter. Writing magnetic headlines, building irresistible narratives, and focusing on good writing are still important.

But by continually asking yourself the three questions above, you’ll get great ideas flowing. And, you’ll have an unlimited source that you can craft into brilliance.

So get to it, your audience is waiting …

About the Author: Peter Shallard is The Shrink for Entrepreneurs. Check out his business psychology blog and follow him on twitter.

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