Tag Archive | "Audience"

Having Trouble Reaching Your Audience? It’s Time to Get Radically Relevant

So, you may remember not that long ago — as in, last month — I was very keen on chatbots. I got a lot of inspiration from Andrew Warner over at Mixergy, who had helped me see some things that I hadn’t understood at all about the format. Fast forward a few weeks … and
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Why Great Content Alone Isn’t Enough to Build an Audience

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about creating content that earns your audience’s attention. Mark Schaefer swung by and left a comment — and he made a point that is dear to our hearts at Copyblogger. “Outstanding content is not the finish line, it’s the starting line.”– Mark Schaefer I told
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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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Quit Annoying Your Audience! Take 3 Simple Steps to Focus Your Content

Ever have a friend who tells stories that never seem to go anywhere? It sounds okay at first, then it spins off to a tangent about how they met their spouse, then we go into their first college dorm room, with a side trip to that deeply formative event that happened in third grade, then
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SearchCap: Google featured snippets, Bing Ads audience segmentation & link building

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Capture and Hold Audience Attention with a Bold Proclamation

Quick Copy Tip

If you’ve studied copywriting, you know the purpose of the headline is to get people to click and start reading. And your opening copy needs to continue that momentum all the way to the offer or conclusion.

One way to do that is to make a bold, seemingly unreasonable assertion in your title or headline. A proclamation so jarring that the right person can’t help but keep reading, listening, or watching to see where you’re going with it.

As far as I can tell, copywriter John Forde (whose site tagline is, not coincidently, “Learn to sell or else …”) was the first to define the Proclamation Lead:

A well-constructed Proclamation Lead begins with an emotionally-compelling statement, usually in the form of the headline. And then, in the copy that follows, the reader is given information that demonstrates the validity of the implicit promise made.

This type of lead works for both sales copy and persuasive content. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Forde illustrates the Proclamation Lead with a direct mail report that is ultimately selling an alternative health newsletter. Written by Jim Rutz, the piece immediately startles and tempts the prospect with a bold statement:

Read This Or Die

Today you have a 95% chance of eventually dying from a disease or condition from which there is already a known cure somewhere on the planet. The editor of Alternatives would like to free you from that destiny.

The copy continues not by jumping to the offer, but instead by backing up the proclamation. In the process, the piece systematically removes the objections raised in the reader’s mind about the scientific validity of the bold assertions.

If you feel that example is a little too “direct marketing” for your audience, consider this from respected best-selling author Austin Kleon:

Steal Like an Artist:

10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

It’s the exact same technique for a completely different target market. The intent is to startle people interested in becoming more creative, while concurrently tempting prospects to further explore what Kleon means by “steal.”

The first example is copy designed to make a sale. The second example is content (a book) that is the product itself. But the reason why both “sell” is the same.

The key to these bold headlines and leads is the immediate emotional response provoked by the assertion. More importantly, that emotional trigger leads to immediate motivation to investigate further — and that’s what every copywriter aims to achieve right from the beginning.

That’s because implicit in the proclamation is a promise. In the Rutz and Kleon examples, you’re promised that you’ll learn about hidden cures to common diseases and the way creativity really works, respectively.

How do you come up with these types of bold beginnings? John Forde says they’re found via research, not conjured up out of the ether — and I agree.

For example, people often assume creativity comes from introspection, perhaps during long sessions of gazing out the window.

But if you research how artists throughout history actually work, creativity is much more about starting with something already out in the world — often the work of someone else — and making it into something new.

Austin Kleon discovered that truth, and then boiled it down to its shocking essence. After all, it was Picasso who famously said, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.”

That said, the proclamation approach is not always the right one for every situation. For example, I could have titled this article:

Read This Unless You Want to Starve

But that would have been lame, so I didn’t. There are plenty of other headline and lead approaches that also work well, so that headline wouldn’t be accurate or appropriate.

If you find a counterintuitive truth that’s relevant to your persuasive aim, however, you might just see if you can turn it into an almost unreasonably bold assertion that works wonders. But remember, don’t steal specific copy approaches (in the artistic sense) unless you’re sure you can perfectly tailor them for your audience or prospect.

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3 Ways the ‘Cruise Ship’ Model Invites Your Audience Aboard

"We didn't feel like customers. We felt like family." – Will DeWitt

Recently, my wife and I went on our first cruise.

Even though we didn’t have an inkling of what to expect, we now have what we’re calling “Cruise Fever.” We plan on being repeat customers for the same cruise line — and wouldn’t even consider another.

Why?

It’s all due to the completely satisfying experience we had from the moment we stepped foot on the ship to our final moment aboard. The cruise line earned our loyalty by instantly pulling us in and retaining our attention in unique and entrancing ways.

Here’s how you can use the “cruise ship” model to help build your own loyal audience.

1. Provide top-notch customer service

When we arrived on board, we had so many questions.

  • Where is our room?
  • When do we eat, and what meals are included?
  • Where is the pool?
  • What should we do if there is some sort of emergency?

The cruise line understood that most people were going to have those questions, and they used that foresight to create an easy-to-read, but comprehensive, information packet.

But that was just the first day.

For the remainder of our trip, the cruise line continued its excellent customer service with friendly faces and warm smiles. They made us feel at home for the duration of our time with them.

We didn’t feel like customers. We felt like family.

If we ever needed something, we felt more than welcome to ask for it. Whether we were poolside, in our stateroom, or at the bar, the staff was polite and professional … without feeling “corporate.”

You should also anticipate the questions your audience and customers are going to have. By doing so, you can address them from the get-go and reduce any uncertainty first-time visitors to your site may have … which ultimately leads to more sales.

To implement this approach on your website, you could:

2. Offer a variety of content

From the moment we woke up to the time we went to bed, there was never a dull moment.

In fact, there were so many things to do, it was impossible to actually do them all in a single day. So, we had to pick and choose which activities were right for us.

Did I really want to sit around and play bingo? No, I would have felt a little bit out of place in that room.

Learn how to salsa dance? Ehh … I’m kind of clumsy with my feet, and I didn’t want to embarrass my wife like that.

Go watch some bigger-bodied men partake in a belly flop competition? Now we’re talking!

The point is, what appeals to some may not appeal to others.

To reach the highest number of potential customers, it’s wise to have a wide variety of content available on your site.

Mix things up a bit. Instead of just having a blog, consider adding other forms of content to your site like a:

Don’t give your prospects a dull moment that prompts them to look for someone or something else. Make it easy and fun to keep consuming your content.

3. Keep your guests full to the gills

It’s rare to find yourself hungry while on a cruise. There’s a buffet for both breakfast and lunch, and a nightly three-course dinner.

But it’s not just the quantity of the food; it’s also the quality, and trust me: this was top-notch cuisine.

You better believe that if the cruise line only had fast-food, we wouldn’t have been excited for each and every meal. Instead, due to the high quality, we found ourselves daydreaming from time to time about our next meal.

That can be the experience your audience has when you consistently create excellent content. They gorge on what’s in front of them and — as soon as their plate is clean — impatiently await more.

When you publish exemplary content that has your audience eagerly awaiting your next piece, you become their only reasonable choice.

Land ho!

The cruise line now has two recurring customers because of their excellent service, abundance of activities, and delicious meals.

By applying these lessons I learned while on vacation, you can create unforgettable experiences for your audience.

Now go … set sail and stand out from the competition.

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Bing Ads piloting in-market & custom audience targeting

Bing Ads is actively working on building out its audience targeting capabilities.

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Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

On Monday, our good and wise friend Andy Crestodina showed the difference between optimizing for search engines and optimizing for social shares. He also gives us a nice piece of advice about how you can get really crafty and do both.

Proofreading might not seem exciting, until the day you publish a post with the headline Making that Shit into the Next Phase of Your Career. Don’t let that happen; read Stefanie’s Tuesday post.

On Wednesday, Brian Clark reminded us that search and social get all the attention, but it’s email that pays the bills. He explains why email is the most important content distribution platform you have … and reveals that my favorite analogy for how to treat your audience has always given him the jitters. (Do you agree with him? Let us know in the blog comments! …)

And earlier today, I posted our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for April. These are fun, creative exercises we do together as a community. Both of the prompts are practices that will make your content better, and get you making more of it.

On The Digital Entrepreneur, Bryan Eisenberg shared his insights with Sean and Jessica on how to leverage Amazon self-publishing to find new audiences and customers. If you haven’t encountered Bryan yet, he’s a bit of a marketing and persuasion guru/ninja/Jedi/grand master … but the kind who actually knows what he’s talking about. He understands Amazon on a deep level, and the conversation is filled with useful suggestions.

On Copyblogger FM, I talked about some “mindset hacks” that really will help you Do All the Things … and the popular self-help advice that could do your success more harm than good. On Unemployable, Brian and Robert shared their thoughts about building that wonderful thing: recurring revenue. And on The Showrunner, Jerod chatted with David Bain about transitioning from podcasting to hosting live digital events.

That’s it for this week … enjoy the goodies, and have a lovely weekend!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


the best content doesn’t win. the best promoted content winsHow to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

by Andy Crestodina


Want to know how I find and correct errors in my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?3 Proofreading Pointers, So Your Writing Isn’t Shared for the Wrong Reason

by Stefanie Flaxman


Not all aspects of your audience are equalA Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content

by Brian Clark


Content Excellence Challenge: April Prompts2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The April Prompts

by Sonia Simone


How to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online AudienceHow to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online Audience

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


Kelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production PodcastKelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production Podcast

by Caroline Early


5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work

by Sonia Simone


The Beauty of Recurring RevenueThe Beauty of Recurring Revenue

by Brian Clark


How Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part TwoHow Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


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Podcasters: Stop Looking for an Audience (and Let Them Find You)

"What if you could spend 10 minutes doing one simple task and get new listeners for years to come?" – Jon Nastor

“Three … two … one … Ready or not, here I come!”

My daughter Sadie hides anxiously behind the living room couch, while her best friend is searching, calling out her name, and trying to find her.

Hide-and-seek, a game played out millions of times.

If you don’t know, hide-and-seek is a popular children’s game in which any number of players conceal themselves in the environment, to be found by one or more seekers.

The hiding is not what makes it fun.

Kids will play for hours and hours when they continually find each other. When one of the children stays hidden for even five minutes too long, the others quickly lose interest.

It is a quest fueled by the moment of discovery.

Hey podcaster, stop hiding behind the couch

Now let’s think about why thousands upon thousands of content marketers, business owners, hobbyists, and fans start podcasts. More often than not, it’s to build an audience around a topic they love.

They start with enthusiasm and determination, only to quit after 10, 12, or 20 episodes (the number doesn’t matter, the quitting does).

Listeners couldn’t find their podcasts, so they quit. Like Sadie hiding behind the couch, when no one finds us, the game ceases to be fun and we quit.

Podcasts need to be actively optimized — not only to help you build an audience and authority, but also to help you stay motivated to not quit.

The search begins

The consensus amongst podcasters is that since Google can’t index audio, you can throw your standard SEO practices out the window.

It is true; Google can’t listen to or index your podcast episodes. It is also true, and more pertinent to this discussion, that Google is not where people go to find podcasts.

Where do people search when they want to find a new podcast?

  • iTunes
  • Google Play
  • Stitcher
  • iHeartRadio
  • YouTube
  • Spreaker
  • SoundCloud

These are “alternative” search engines — directories where people search for podcasts.

It’s not accidental when podcasts rise to the top of the directories. We need to understand our audiences and anticipate what they search for just like we do when we write, but with a slight twist.

Why you should submit your show to podcast directories

What if you could spend 10 minutes doing one simple task and get new listeners for years to come?

We need to find audience-building strategies we can leverage. Repeatable steps we can take upfront, yet will continue to provide us with new listeners for months and years to come.

The way to do this is simple: submit your show to podcast directories.

As with most things, how you use podcast directories will change and evolve with your show. A brand-new show will benefit from a different strategy than a podcast that has been around for 50+ episodes.

  • New podcasters: Focus on one or two directories to maximize early exposure. Use iTunes and Stitcher to start.
  • Veteran podcasters (50+ episodes): Submit to as many podcast directories as possible. Here’s a list to get you started.

Optimize for discoverability

As podcasters, we value audio over text. The reason is simple: we are more comfortable behind a microphone than we are behind a keyboard.

Our thoughts and ideas flow when we speak, and we stare impatiently at a blank page when it’s time to write.

Don’t fight it. It’s what makes us podcasters.

It also stops us from being found.

There are a few places where words matter in podcasting. Not a lot of words, but they are essential to help listeners find your show.

For our discussion today about optimizing for discoverability, we are not going to get into anything involving extra work. Yes, having transcripts for your show can be beneficial, but we are focusing on tasks you already must do for your podcast — but doing them with a purpose.

How to win the name game

Deciding on a name for your show can be a fun and creative process, but we need to stay focused on our goal of discoverability.

Here are three things to keep in mind when naming your show for discoverability:

  1. Know your audience. Who are they, where do they listen, and how can your show help them?
  2. Use their words, not yours. How would a listener describe your show to a friend? Use those words.
  3. Stand out. Be bold and clear.

Next time you’re on the subway or at a coffee shop, look at how fast people scroll up and down on their phones.

Your name needs to effectively communicate your show’s purpose, and it needs to do it in seconds.

A good name isn’t easy to find, but never sacrifice clarity for creativity.

Craft a better show description (your elevator pitch)

Where a show description is displayed varies from directory to directory. Currently, iTunes still generates the majority of all podcast downloads. So we will focus on iTunes when discussing show descriptions.

A show description is the block of text displayed on your podcast page within iTunes. More importantly, it is the main place where you get to tell iTunes and potential listeners what your show is about.

Here are three ways to optimize your show description:

  1. Choose the right keywords. Include the words and phrases your audience uses.
  2. Max it out. iTunes has a 4,000-character limit — use every last one.
  3. Call to action. Listeners will read your show description, so explain what they should do next.

Think of crafting your show description the same way you would think about writing your next blog post.

Keywords matter, but not more than other important elements that help you create a compelling case for a potential listener to download and subscribe to your show.

Write captivating episode titles

Content marketers and copywriters stress over their headlines more than any other part of their work. It makes sense when we understand how a headline can make or break an article.

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy

The title of your episode is your headline. It is the single most powerful way to make people stop scrolling and listen to an episode. So don’t treat episode titles like afterthoughts.

Here’s how to write better episode titles:

  1. Don’t mislead. The goal is to attract listeners, not make them despise you for wasting their time.
  2. Be specific. What is the single most useful benefit your episode will provide? Yes, be that specific.
  3. Consistency is key. Number your episodes or don’t. Include your guests’ names in your titles or don’t. Either way, be consistent.

Writing great episode titles takes practice. When you get stuck, you can jump-start your process with these smart headline-writing tactics.

Make noise from behind the couch

When you listen to kids playing hide-and-seek, you will notice all of the noises they make — laughter, whispering, and yelling — all signals that will help them be found.

We need to make noise, get noticed, and be discovered.

Creating useful content on a consistent basis is essential if you want to create a remarkable podcast.

Your usefulness stems from your passion and knowledge.

Podcasting is hard, but having your show discovered by new listeners on a consistent basis will keep you motivated through the dips and struggles.

You started a podcast to build an audience. Don’t hide it from listeners.

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