Tag Archive | "Plus"

Google Plus Announces It Will Shutdown After Reportedly Compromising 500,000 User Accounts

Google recently announced that it is shutting down Google+, with the service expected to cease operating by Nov. 2019. The announcement came on the heels of a report that an API bug exposed the profile data of 500,000 Google users using 438 different apps. However, Google claims the issue had been resolved back in March.

The decision to phase out Google+ came after Google launched a review of third-party developer access at the start of the year. The review apparently proved what the company had already known—that consumers and developers are not that interested in the platform. The service reportedly has “low usage and engagement,” with the majority of user sessions lasting less than five seconds.

What Happens to Google+ Now?

Google+ users will have ample time to transition. The phase-out is expected to be completed by August 2019 and the company will be releasing additional information in the next few months on how to migrate data.

However, Google intends to keep Google+ open for enterprise customers. But it will be rolling out new features to keep its enterprise version more secure and effective.

Aside from announcing its phase-out of Google+, the company also said its other services will be receiving privacy adjustments. Some of these adjustments include changes to API that will curtail developers’ access to user data on Gmail and Android. The changes will also ensure that developers won’t be receiving call logs and SMS permissions. Contact and basic interaction data from the Android Contacts API will also be blocked.

Keeping Things Quiet

While the security vulnerability occurred several months ago, it was only revealed recently in a Wall Street Journal report which said the breach exposed information like name, age, gender, occupation, and email address of users who listed their profile as private.

In a blog post, Google explained its decision not to reveal the issue to users.

According to Ben Smith, Google’s Vice President of Engineering, the company did not find any evidence of anyone accessing the profile data. There was also no evidence that the API was abused or that any developer was aware of the bug. Google’s “Privacy & Data Protection Office” also evaluated the issue and decided that none of the “thresholds” they were looking for were met.

Experts say that there’s no legal requirement that obliges Google to reveal the security vulnerability. However, Google’s decision to keep things quiet and a memo shared to the Journal warning senior executives against disclosing the existence of the bug will undoubtedly raise privacy and security questions again.

[Feature image via Google]

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Our Top 10 Influencer Marketing Posts of 2017 Plus Thoughts on 2018

Top Influencer Marketing Posts

This year demonstrated an explosion of interest in influencer marketing bringing with it a sharp increase in attention as well as implementation successes and failures.

The mixed bag of advice for any shiny new object of marketing attention like working with influencers brings uncertainties, especially with rapid innovation, increased competition and self serving “influencer marketing experts” popping up on every digital corner.

As long time influencer content marketing practitioners, my team at TopRank Marketing has to anticipate the key questions marketers have around influencer marketing. Not only do we understand the questions, but we have delivered many of the answers in over 40 posts on the topic including B2B influencer marketing strategy, technology, influencer research and recruiting, influencer content collaboration, integration with SEO and social, influencer content promotion and performance measurement.

Working with influencers on content collaboration is something we do every day and not just for clients, but for ourselves. As a result, designing influencer content collaboration programs has become central to our B2B marketing solutions, right along with SEO, online advertising and CRO.

A BIG thanks to Ashley Zeckman, Josh Nite and Caitlin Burgess for their work on advocating best practices through their blog posts on this relatively new field for the B2B marketing industry.

Through actual experience, experiments and research, our team has advanced our approach to influencer marketing strategy, process, use of technology, measurement and best practices significantly over the past 5 years. In particular, the past 12 months has been like an accelerated Masters Degree as we’ve implemented programs for multiple Fortune 500 companies that were integrated with content marketing, SEO, social media and online advertising.

To help you ask and answer some of the important questions around influencer marketing for 2018, here’s a collection of some of our most popular blog posts on the topic.

Most popular influencer marketing posts in 2017:

influencer marketing 2.0
Influence 2.0 – The Future of Influencer Marketing Research Report 2017 – Lee Odden
To help marketers understand the major trends in influencer marketing, we partnered with influencer marketing platform Traackr to connect with enterprise level marketers and tap their experiences with influencer marketing budgeting, operations, and forecasts for the future. Brian Solis of Altimeter translated that research into an excellent guide called Influence 2.0.

Future Marketing Influential
5 Essential Insights on Influence and the Future of Customer Engagement – Lee Odden
This post distills the key messages from the Influence 2.0 report focusing on influencer marketing maturity, impact, goals, digital transformation, and integration. Expert quotes are also provided by Amanda Duncan of Microsoft, Dr. Konstanze Alex-Brown of Dell (client) and Amisha Gandhi of SAP (client).


20 Inspiring & Actionable Influencer Marketing Tips for The Modern Marketer – Ashley Zeckman
Strategy is great but most readers want tactics. That’s why this post focusing on 20 specific and actionable tips ranging from how to find influencers to how to recruit them to how to inspire them to promote the content your brand and the influencer collaborated on.


6 Influencer Marketing Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Journalists – Caitlin Burgess
In this post Caitlin draws on her experience as a Journalist to showcase the parallels to working with influencers. The advice in this post is very actionable and steps outside the usual list of tips for influencer engagement and collaboration.


Influencer Marketing: The Next Evolution – Josh Nite
This post is a liveblog by Josh of my presentation at Social Media Marketing World where I talked about what NOT to do as well as insights around the state of influencer marketing funding, the differences between B2C and B2B influencer marketing, what goals are possible when working with influencers and what areas of business are most impacted by influencer marketing.


2017 Trends for CMOs: Ignite Content Performance with Influencers
 – Lee Odden
As a hot topic that is also challenging for marketers to implement consistently with impact, content marketing is an area where many CMOs are looking for improvement. Enter the intersection of content and influence. This post outlines three fundamental influencer content engagement models to help senior marketing executives understand where they can have the most impact.

B2B Influencer Marketing Catch Up
B2B Marketers Are Way Behind on Influencer Marketing and Here’s the Solution – Lee Odden
One of the key insights from the Influence 2.0 study we did with Traackr and Brian Solis was the disconnect between B2B and B2C influencer marketing integration and maturity. This post outlines steps for B2B marketers to take so they can close that gap and realize the incredible potential of ongoing, integrated influencer marketing programs.

No BS Influencer Marketing
The No BS Approach to Influencer Marketing – Lee Odden
When Ann Handley asks you to do a webinar about influencer marketing for MarketingProfs, you say yes! This post outlines some of the BIG B.S. that’s being promoted around influencer marketing as well as best practices and advice based in actual experience and practice. When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, watch where you step.

Unlock Influencer Marketing ROI
The Key To Unlocking the ROI of Enterprise Influencer Marketing – Lee Odden
One of the benefits of writing for CMO.com is cross posting those articles to our own blog. This article outlines some of the strategic findings from the Influence 2.0 report we produced with Traackr and Brian Solis. Nothing gets a CMOs attention like a clear cut explanation around ROI. This post pulls out the ROI discussion from the Influence 2.0 report and highlights key insights.


Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing
 – Ashley Zeckman
For any company, big or small, that wants to create immediate value from working with influencers, the answer is almost always content. This post is a guidebook for a customer-focused approach to content that emphasizes collaboration with industry influencers and how to build promotable content. This post includes many of the influencer content best practices we use for our own influencer content projects at TopRank Marketing.

You many be interested to know that our overall most popular posts around influencer marketing were actually lists of influencers. Much effort is put into these types of posts and our community clearly finds them useful.

As trends go, influencer marketing or “influence marketing” isn’t going anywhere in 2018. The practice of influence in the marketing mix is only going to grow, mature and integrate. Some of the upcoming trends and changes to look forward to with influencer marketing in the coming year include:

  • Influencer marketing platform consolidation
  • Paid influencer marketplace(s) for B2B influencers
  • Increasing use of AI to improve qualitative insights about influencers, communities & forecasting performance
  • Increased platform level integration between influence platforms, content platforms and hopefully SEO data
  • Much better process and capability amongst sophisticated practitioners to tie influencer engagement with KPIs across the buyer journey including ROI
  • Growth of participation marketing – democratization of marketing content through a combination of employee advocacy, social community management, audience development, and working with internal/external influencers across the spectrum
  • Tighter guidelines from the FTC
  • Y2K level hysteria and subsequent underwhelming impact from GDPR compliance in the EU
  • More opportunists jumping on the bandwagon of influencer marketplaces with suspect popularity

For any kind of content a business creates and publishes to the world, there is an opportunity for collaboration with credible voices that have active networks interested in what those voices have to say. In many cases, far more interested than in what the brand has to say.  Greater and more relevant attention and engagement are core to the value brands can realize with ongoing influencer engagement.

What we need in the influencer marketing world is for the hype to give way to more examples of what actually works in terms of influencer engagement strategies, identification, communications, promotions and measurement. There’s not enough “walk the talk” amongst prominent voices, especially when it comes to best practices ongoing influencer relationship management.

Another major need is for faster and more qualitative tech innovation amongst the influencer marketing platforms. I for one would love to see AI used to connect the dots between public community and influencer social data and a brand’s dark data, web analytics, advertising and PR metrics to surface more effective prompts to engage influencers / communities in ways that will deliver on business results.

Influencer marketing platforms need to integrate with content marketing platforms to make workflow and influencer collaboration one with influencer CRM and reporting.  There is no greater intersection than content and influence (confluence) for brands to realize the value of influencer relationships in a way that delivers impact to the business. Platform integration will help make that combination even more powerful and scalable.

When it comes to influencer marketing and 2018, we are just getting started!

A HUGE THANK YOU to some of our top marketing and technology industry influencers that we’ve worked with in 2017!

  • Tamara McCleary
  • Shep Hyken

As we kick off 2018, the team at TopRank Marketing wishes you a very Happy New Year!


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Our Top 10 Influencer Marketing Posts of 2017 Plus Thoughts on 2018 | http://www.toprankblog.com

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15 Takeaways from Our Private Community (Plus Some Time-Savers for Writers)

Did you know we have a thriving private community of content marketers who get to sink their teeth into fresh, in-depth education every week? Well, we do — and this week we’re sharing insights from that community. On Monday, Jerod Morris recapped an epic answer he gave in one of our Authority Q&As recently. (As
Read More…

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How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

"The best content doesn’t win. The best promoted content wins." – Andy Crestodina

It’s as if they live in different countries: Searchlandia and Socialstan.

Search optimizers and social media marketers don’t get together a whole lot, at least not in the same piece of content. But there’s no reason they can’t peacefully coexist in one article, in one URL.

Imagine. One topic, one message, united in quality, but with two separate and equally powerful sources of traffic: search and social.

Is it possible? Can one post be optimized for both?

Yes. And when it happens, the traffic is greater than the sum of its channels.

Um. Actually, the traffic is equal to the sum of its channels. But we’re not here to do math. We’re here to create the right type of content that gets traction everywhere.

Optimizing for search

Let’s start with a rundown of search optimization.

Our goal here is to indicate relevance, not trick a robot.

After you’ve identified a target keyword phrase:

Use the phrase in highly visible places

Those places are the title, header, meta description, and body text (of course). Yes, the tiny, barely visible places are nice too — such as alt text and the file names of images — but they’re not as important as those primary spots.

If this isn’t obvious, just ask yourself:

If you were building a new search engine today, would an image file name be a major search-ranking factor?

Probably not.

Include words and phrases semantically connected to your phrase

You see words and phrases semantically connected to your phrase everywhere when you use search engines.

They’re suggested in the search box as you type. They’re in the “related phrases” at the bottom of the search results page. They’re in the other high-ranking pages.

Now work these words into your copy. This is the key to semantic SEO:

Target the topic, not just the phrase.

Go wide and cover related topics and phrases, so Google has more reasons to believe that your content is relevant.

Answer all the questions related to your topic

Find the questions that are related to your topic and answer them with your content.

You’ll find these questions in Quora, AskThePublic.com, LinkedIn Groups, and even your sent email folder.

Greater depth means a greater likelihood of ranking.

Optimizing for social

You’ve indicated your relevance, gone wide across semantically connected phrases, and gone deep into the answers that your reader is hoping to find.

Now that your content is rankworthy, let’s make sure it’s shareworthy.

We’ll focus on headlines first, since they’re such an important factor in social optimization. They’re critical.

Think of it this way:

Articles don’t get shared, only headlines do.

Our goal here is to trigger a social interaction. The advice below is more about psychology, so it’s a bit less prescriptive and a bit more fun.

Choose unexpected words

You always want to avoid creating boring content. That advice is especially true for social media.

After all, your potential reader is on social media looking to cure their boredom, right? We need to trigger their interest with some unexpected words.

  • Short, simple words will pop off the page.
  • Delightful words will squeak past the other headlines.
  • Direct words will skewer them before they scroll past.
  • Negative words kill it in social media
  • But be careful with long words — the circuitous path through the frontal cortex is too slow

Readers scan quickly, so we need some stopping power. That one, extra word can disarm, charm, and twist their arm.

Pique curiosity

Take a look at the headline below. It was one of the top three most shared headlines on Copyblogger over the last year:

One Skill that Will Take Your Writing from Good to Great

Does it make you wonder what that skill is? Me too. It’s hard not to click on it. And what gets clicked often gets shared.

Headlines that trigger curiosity and fascination are great for social media.

Fascination is one of the two most important qualities of compelling content. What’s the other? You’ll have to click here to find out.

See what I did there?

Add numbers

Here’s another one of the top 10 most shared headlines on Copyblogger in the last year:

21 Juicy Prompts that Inspire Fascinating Content

Numbers in headlines have always correlated with clicks and shares. There are at least two reasons why:

  1. Numbers are a clue that the content is scannable (low investment).
  2. Numerals stand out among letters in a line of text (high prominence). This gives them a big advantage in fast-flowing social streams.

Don’t break your promise

Your headline is a promise. Clickbait is a broken promise, a lie.

Everyone who sees your headline in their social stream does a split-second cost/benefit analysis. They think, “Is this worth the click? Is this worth two seconds of my attention?” The headline’s job is to tell them, “Yes, it’s worth it.”

Be specific. Let the reader know what they’ll get, what they’ll learn, and why it’s important. Give them a reason to stop scrolling. Look closer. Click.

Once they’ve clicked, you’d better keep your promise. Your job now is to meet or exceed their expectations. All the depth you added while optimizing for search will help.

Customize your images

If your content has no featured image, or a weak one, it has less stopping power in social streams.

Two main elements make images more likely to be clicked:

  1. Faces. We are hardwired to look at faces. It’s no wonder you’ll see them on virtually every cover of every magazine in the checkout aisle.
  2. Text. Since your image appears in a social snippet, it’s a chance to make that promise we talked about. It’s a chance to indicate the benefits of clicking. So put a benefit of reading the post (possibly the headline itself) on your image.

YouTubers learned these tactics years ago. Look at any popular YouTube channel and you’re likely to find both faces and text within the images in their custom thumbnails.

Collaborate (a social approach to writing)

If you want someone to share your piece of content, invite them to contribute to it.

An ally in creation is an ally in promotion.

Adding contributor quotes from experts both improve the quality of the piece and increase its social reach. If contributors are invested in an article, of course they’ll share it.

It’s also more fun to make things with collaborators. Content optimized for search includes keywords. Content optimized for social includes people.

The battleground for search and social tension: headlines

Images, answers, contributors, depth … most of the aspects of search and social optimization can easily coexist side-by-side, but there isn’t much interaction between them.

The exception is the headline.

So, how can a headline both indicate relevance for search and trigger emotion for social? Can you satisfy citizens of both countries? Yup.

Here are examples of headlines optimized for both channels:

  • Collaborative Content Marketing: 5 Ways to Make Friends and Rank Like a Champ
  • How to Launch a New Product … and Make Your Mom Proud
  • 10 Competitive Analysis Tools (and Tips for Spying on your Competitors)

Notice that in each example the target keyword phrase is near the beginning. They often use numbers and trigger words. Colons and parentheses allow you to add more benefits and details.

Here’s a template for search-friendly and social-friendly headlines:

keyword + colon + number + specific benefit and/or trigger words

For example:

Website Navigation: 7 Best Practices, Tips, and Warnings

Does it work? Search for “website navigation” and take a look.

A powerful way to attract more readers

Wherever you’re from — the land of search or the land of social — you’ll attract more readers if you optimize for both.

And you’ll push yourself to write better in the process.

The best content doesn’t win. The best promoted content wins.

The post How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Check Out The New EJ Blog Design, Plus My Product Launch Formula Bonus

The New EJ Blog Design Is Live. Do You Like It? Plus My Product Launch Formula Bonus… Way way back when I just started out online in the late 1990s, I did all my website designs myself.  I taught myself HTML from a textbook, which led to many late nights…

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Moz Local Now Syncs with Google My Business (Plus, a Sweet Free Tool!)

Posted by dudleycarr

[Estimated read time: 4 minutes]

Until now, I was confident that developing a software service had never been compared to assembling furniture from Ikea (no Google searches were done to prove this assertion).

Believe it or not, we unlocked this achievement while working on the Google My Business API. The piece of “furniture” we constructed? We built the recliner that allows you to sit back and have your locations automatically imported from Google My Business to Moz Local. And like most things built with tools meant for hands far smaller than the average human hand, we’re proud of the end result and excited to announce this amazing (and comfortable) feature today in Moz Local!

Taking a step back, we looked at our fine construction and realized that there were a number of spare parts laying on the floor. We took those Google My Business API spare parts and built Moz Local’s new My Business Console. In furniture-speak, it’s like a nifty baby gate that actually allows adults to operate it without reading the instruction manual. In seriously-tell-me-what-this-thing-is terms, My Business Console gives you fine-grained bulk permission management for Google My Business.

Sync locations from Google My Business to Moz Local

Importing locations from Google My Business into Moz Local can now be done with a single click. This fancy feature replaces the CSV upload process that’s been a part of Moz Local since day one.

Although Moz Local has always accepted CSVs exported from Google My Business, the process was still quite manual and thus more cumbersome and error-prone than it needed to be.

Users can setup the import process via the Add Listings button in your Moz Local Dashboard starting today!

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.21.16 PM.png

Moz Local’s new free tool, My Business Console!

My Business Console works with your Google My Business account and lets you, as a Google My Business owner, audit, add, and remove managers in bulk. For brands, agencies, and franchises that have hundreds of locations and dozens of GMB Business Accounts, permission management either gets in the way of collaboration or potentially exposes capabilities to people who shouldn’t have them.

Can’t wait? Check it out now!

Today, there are two ways within Google My Business to collaborate with others. You can add a person as a manager on the Business Account, giving them owner access to all locations in that account, or you can add the person as a manager on each location. The former provides a ton of power to whomever you add; the latter is mind-numbingly tedious to do.

With My Business Console, you can easily choose to audit/add/remove people in bulk, either at the Business Account level or at the Google My Business location level, allowing you to dial just the right level of sharing. Easy permission management, coupled with visibility across lots of locations and business accounts, should allow groups to better collaborate on location data.

Before we dive into how it works, a couple of really important things about My Business Console:

  • First, it’s completely free now and forever for businesses small and large. Just like with our Check Listing functionality, we believe in providing important and accessible tools to help the Local community.
  • Second, since this is a free tool, you do not need a Moz account. You simply log in with the Google account that you’d like to use to manage your locations.

So, how does it work?

First, you log in using your Google account from the My Business Console homepage.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.38.46 PM.png

There are two primary views: Locations and Managers. The “locations” view shows all of the locations that you have access to in Google My Business for your Google account.

Here you can quickly see which managers can modify a location:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.30.01 PM.png

To add or remove managers, you need to be the owner of a location. You can use the handy toggle to see exactly which locations those are:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.32.33 PM.png

Adding a user to two locations requires selecting the locations and then clicking the “Add” button:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.35.55 PM.png

The “managers” view shows all managers across all locations. This view is primarily to remove a person without having to find all of the locations containing that manager. Removing a person with a single click is necessary when that person leaves an organization.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.37.31 PM.png

Similar to location management, it’s easy to add and remove managers for your business accounts. Adding a manager to a business account will automatically give them access to all the locations under that account.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 1.19.54 AM.png

Try My Business Console out for yourself and let us know how we can make it even better:

No manual required!

Have more questions? Check out the FAQ.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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What Is a Content Library? Plus Answers to 9 More Questions about This Innovative Lead Gen Approach

how to create a content library

In May 2013, a small company with fewer than 40 unusual employees made a historic lead generation move that resulted in stunning lead generation results. (I stress “unusual” in a good way.)

The company with those odd employees, of course, was Copyblogger Media (now known as Rainmaker Digital). The story of what happened follows.

The historic move:

Up until that point, Copyblogger had been offering an email newsletter to attract and capture email subscribers. Pretty standard in the online business world.

We wanted to up the ante.

So we launched My.Copyblogger.com — a free membership site, where people sign up to access (at the time) 15 free ebooks and a 20-part email course.

Think of a content library as a password-protected source of premium content that you can access once you register with your email address.

That’s essentially what a “content library” looks like. But how did it perform? Let’s look at the results to see.

The historic results:

According to the case study by Marketing Sherpa,

  • Through the first seven weeks, the free subscription page averaged a 67 percent conversion rate.
  • The first week’s growth was 300 percent bigger than the best week of growth for Internet Marketing for Smart People (a previous Copyblogger 20-part email course) — closer to 400 percent, if you include new paid subscribers.
  • The most visited page on Copyblogger at the time was behind the paywall — with almost a third of all traffic logging in after arrival.

Those are some substantial results, particularly in such a competitive space as content marketing.

Now, I can’t promise you the exact same outcome, but I can promise you that a content library will, at the very least, increase the number of subscribers you capture.

The key, as always, is to build trust first by providing a ton of value before asking for anything in return.

If that concept is new to you, then you can review how to build the know-like-trust factor.

In the meantime, let’s dig a little deeper into the common questions surrounding lead generating content libraries.

1. What’s a “content library?”

You’ll hear sales and marketing people refer to a content library as a bank of all the content assets owned by a company that is placed in a central, internal portal so other departments within that company can access that content.

That’s not what we are talking about here.

Yes, a content library is a bank of content, but in the way we will be using the phrase, it is full of resources that your audience can access once they register with an email address.

In other words, the public can access these resources, which makes this type of content library a lead generation tool.

2. What type of content goes into a content library?

You could include:

  • Ebooks
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Audio seminars
  • Podcast episodes
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Tutorials
  • Data and analysis reports

And more.

The trick is to offer enough value that prospects view signing up for your content library as a no-brainer — an insane bargain.

See Question 5 for some examples of ways you could structure your content library.

3. What makes a content library better than a conventional email newsletter?

When you offer more resources for the same price (in this case, an email address), you are naturally going to get better results.

Our case study is one such example.

With a content library, you are likely to elevate more of your visitors into an ongoing relationship — in other words, a content library will help you convert more prospects into solid leads.

But not just any type of lead.

See, the main difference between a typical email newsletter and a content library offer is that with the content library, you can now identify your site visitors, which ultimately helps you convert more leads into sales.

Let me explain.

4. What’s the difference between an email sign up and website registration?

In both cases, it’s true that the prospect gives you an email address. With a sign-up, you have permission to send that person email — namely, your email newsletter or latest published blog posts.

With a content library registration, you give your prospect access to a site — access to exclusive resources like ebooks, videos, webinars, forums, and more.

In the first situation, the content marketer is throwing stuff at the prospect. In the second, the content marketer is inviting you to his place — which is loaded with useful resources.

And like I said before, when people visit your site as signed-in members, you can customize your promotional messages, which leads to higher conversions.

5. How many resources should you put into a content library?

There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.

However, you need to include more than one piece of content. Don’t forget: you are trying to create a sense of great value.

For example, a content library with two, five-page ebooks is not going to suggest high value. But four 50-page ebooks and seven 30-minute training videos, however, will suggest high value.

Here’s another way you could structure your content library:

  • 30 exclusive podcast episodes
  • 10 articles
  • 3 worksheets

As you can see, the numbers of ways you can structure your content library is limitless. Which leads us to our next question.

6. Do I give access to all the content at once?

The short answer is to start by giving away a large amount of content to create a sense of high value.

The ebooks in the original My.Copyblogger content library ranged between 31 and 142 pages — and there were 15 ebooks, plus a 20-part email course.

However, you can start small and build as time goes on.

For example, make the promise of adding more content once a month (or the frequency that works for you).

That strategy has a number of benefits.

It brings all those members back to your site every time you release a new piece of exclusive content.

In other words, you don’t need all the resources in place before you launch.

If you only have four ebooks and two podcast episodes, you can launch with that offer. But as you add more resources, don’t forget to update your content library’s promotional copy and alert your members.

7. How do I get people to my content library?

If you already have an email list in place, then promote your content library to that list.

With My.Copyblogger, an announcement was sent out to our general email list, and because there were 15 ebooks, there were 15 unique email promotions sent out, each one customized to that particular topic.

We sent out one of these emails a week, usually on a Friday.

Depending on the number of resources you have, your campaign might end up lasting two or three months.

Before sending each email, suppress the email addresses of people who have already registered, so those members of your community aren’t annoyed by seeing the same pitch multiple times.

If you don’t have a list (or want to continue promoting the content library after you’ve finished the campaign to your email list), the next step is to create high-quality, tutorial-type blog content that leads to a promotion of the content library.

Once people are on your site because of this high-quality, tutorial-type blog content, give them an opportunity to register.

Here are four useful ideas:

  • Include a footer at the end of each blog post that encourages visitors to register for your content library.
  • Add a sidebar that appears on every page of your website.
  • Create feature boxes that appear in the header of your website.
  • Use pop-overs and pop-ups (yes, there is a difference).

Learn more about these strategies in Beth Hayden’s article, 4 Quick Solutions that Spawn Radical Email List Growth.

8. Won’t content that requires a registration hurt SEO efforts?

No.

True, the content behind the registration wall won’t get crawled or indexed by Google (or any search engine for that matter).

However, search “copywriting” on Google and you’ll see that Copyblogger ranks at the top of the first page of search results. The rest of the topics in our content library are also on the first page of Google for terms like “content marketing,” “landing pages,” and “SEO copywriting.”

And every single one of those pages is what we call a cornerstone content page — which drives social and search traffic to register for the content library on My.Copyblogger.

9. Do I have to call it a “content library?”

Nope.

You can call it whatever you want to call it.

Here are my ideas for different industries like health, fashion, and cooking:

  • The Cross-Fit Foundation
  • 8 Beautiful Wardrobe Basics
  • Your Wok Recipe Essentials

It’s a good idea to mention in the description copy that this is a library of resources — and be very specific about what is in it.

You want to give your prospect the sense that there are some really juicy resources behind that registration wall.

10. Does this mean I’m starting a membership site?!?!

I added all those question marks and exclamation points because what most people say immediately after asking that question is … I’m not ready for that!

You get a real sense they are scared out of their wits.

If that’s you, relax, because registering people as members doesn’t mean you’re suddenly running a full-fledged membership site.

It just means people are joining your community.

However, if you achieve critical membership mass, a nice touch to your content library would be to offer a simple forum where your members could chat, share ideas, and ask you questions.

Our Rainmaker Platform enables someone who is dumber than a bag of bricks when it comes to coding (like me) to set up a password-protected content library — plus a forum — by simply grunting and pointing (like I do).

In the end, what really matters is that members of your community — even if what you offer them is free — benefit from content that’s tailored to their customer journeys.

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Chief Content Writer for Rainmaker Digital

The post What Is a Content Library? Plus Answers to 9 More Questions about This Innovative Lead Gen Approach appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Your Most Valuable Intellectual Property (Plus, How to Compensate Partners)

un-intellectual-property

We’re all in the intellectual property business now. But as business people, how much do we enforce our rights when others infringe on them?

Creative freelancers are thought of as service providers, but what they’re really selling is their copyright in the work product they create for clients. This has special implications on both sides of the transaction.

But the true area of confusion that persists is copyright when it comes to web content. Is attribution okay? What about a link? Maybe a disclaimer?

Copyright law is strict in favor of creators, and yet, a more laissez faire attitude often makes better sense. There are other IP rights, however, that you should defend with a vengeance.

In this episode of Unemployable with Brian Clark, Brian discusses:

  • The critical importance of work for hire agreements
  • The misunderstanding of content syndication
  • How to crucify a content infringer (and why you shouldn’t)
  • What to do if someone sullies your brand
  • The protect it or lose it aspect of trademark
  • Listener Question: How much equity should you give a partner?

Click Here to Listen to

Unemployable with Brian Clark 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.

The post Your Most Valuable Intellectual Property (Plus, How to Compensate Partners) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Check Out The New EJ Blog Design, Plus My Product Launch Formula Bonus

The New EJ Blog Design Is Live. Do You Like It? Plus My Product Launch Formula Bonus… Way way back when I just started out online in the late 1990s, I did all my website designs myself.  I taught myself HTML from a textbook, which led to many late nights…

The post Check Out The New EJ Blog Design, Plus My Product Launch Formula Bonus appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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A Warts-and-All Guide to Kickstarter: What Works and What Doesn’t (Plus Where We Royally Screwed Up)

Image of papers strewn about on a lawn

You have your big idea, and now you need funding.

Your idea is awesome — the kind everyone will immediately understand and get excited about.

The world will see how amazing the idea is, and funding will rain down upon you.

But guess what? It won’t.

These are the lessons we’ve learned so far while promoting our own in-progress Kickstarter campaign. It’s been very successful … but that’s happened in spite of some serious blunders on our part.

So, warts and all, here’s what has worked well versus where we’ve screwed up.

Lesson #1: Your idea won’t sell itself

A few months ago, after releasing a rather popular self-publishing guide called Write. Publish. Repeat., we were flooded with reader requests.

They understood that self-publishing success came from producing multiple quality titles and arranging them in product funnels linked by smart calls to action. But they didn’t get exactly how we wrote as much and as fast as we did.

We’d published 1.5 million words in 2013. For us, that was simply a matter of going to work every day … but thanks to the undying myth of the muse, it seemed closer to magic for many.

We love telling stories, and we want to write as many as we can. Fans of Write. Publish. Repeat. wanted a follow-up that distilled our process, but we weren’t in a hurry to write another nonfiction book.

So we came up with what we thought was an amazing idea: why not show them our process instead?

The resulting project — Fiction Unboxed, in which we vowed to write a novel totally exposed, showing every tiny step of the process — was unlike anything we’d ever seen.

We planned to post raw words each day as they were written, before so much as a glancing edit. We would share our story meetings and emails. We’d hold nothing back. 

It felt daring. Revolutionary.

But we had plenty on our plate, and only wanted to conduct our “writing performance art” if the world wanted to see it. If the project funded, we’d do it. If not, we wouldn’t.

To us, that last bit was trivial. Once we told the world about the project, they’d see our idea, be blinded by its brilliance, and not care how we launched it.

We were half-right.

Which brings us to lesson #2.

Lesson #2: Count on your tribe

If you want to see something that’s equally amusing and sad, go to Kickstarter and sort the projects by “End date.”

Scroll down and you’ll see a handful with only a few days or hours left in the campaign, with virtually no funding. Some without a dollar pledged.

These are projects launched without a tribe.

One thing we did right with Fiction Unboxed was to count on our tribe: listeners to our Self-Publishing Podcast, readers of Write. Publish. Repeat., fans of our fiction, and audiences gathered before our move into full-time publishing.

We spent weeks before launch discussing our plans, teasing the project, crafting bonuses for our earliest backers, and building anticipation. We spent a month writing helpful, shareable posts on our blog, running contests, and building a dedicated list.

By launch day, our tribe was almost as enthusiastic as we were, and fully funded the project in 11 hours.

Relying on our tribe’s interest and their enthusiasm to share it is the single smartest thing we’ve done so far. It’s where those “hours to go with no funding” projects failed.

There’s a myth that Kickstarter is a magic place where if you build it, they will come … but it’s not true.

Statistics say that less than a quarter — and probably closer to 10 percent — of your total funding will come from the Kickstarter community. You can increase your exposure within Kickstarter if your project has a lot of momentum (ours has an unusually high percentage of in-Kickstarter funding), but in general traffic’s up to you (good thing you read Copyblogger).

kickstarter-percentage

Kickstarter is a marketplace, not a mystical land of free venture capital.

If you don’t already have an audience interested in buying what you’re selling, you have work to do before considering any kind of crowdfunding.

Lesson #3: Don’t pay for promotion unless you’re certain it’s worth it

It’s easy to put a finger on the promotional avenues that haven’t worked for us.

Here’s the metric: if we paid, it failed.

  • We spent hundreds of dollars on a split-test Facebook ad campaign. It brought us nothing.
  • We laid out $ 500 for a single press release through legitimate recommended channels. It totally flopped.
  • We paid for a “Thunderclap” — a service that concentrates Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr messages from supporters and broadcasts them all at once in a critical-mass burst. Despite having a supposed social reach of almost 1.1 million people, it only spammed those who already knew about our project.

All of those services were recommended by people we trust. Every day, we’re also pitched by predators who say they’d love the opportunity to get our campaign in front of millions of eyes.

We could have — and should have — saved all that money. Our loyal tribe and those they’ve told have done all the work that actually matters.

Lesson #4: Lead with the big idea, not the funding model

We were so excited about the idea behind Fiction Unboxed in the beginning that we overlooked a surprising stigma about the platform we’d used to launch it.

To us, “our Kickstarter project” was a handy way to describe what we were doing. When we told people — knowing for sure that they’d be as giddy about the idea of live-writing a novel as we were — that’s how we opened the conversation: “We’re doing a Kickstarter project called Fiction Unboxed.”

BIG mistake.

“Our Kickstarter project” comes with serious baggage.

No matter how cool your project or how value-packed it might be, many people will hear “Kickstarter” and see you standing with your hand out. It looks like begging … and for much of the funding duration, we’ve felt like beggars despite knowing better.

It seems like everyone is crowdfunding something these days. Many people didn’t want to share our project with their tribes because if they did, they’d have to talk about everyone else’s, too.

What we learned — too late, in many cases — is that we should have led with the big idea instead of its funding model.

Rather than saying, “We’re doing a Kickstarter project,” we should have said, “We’re going to write a book in a month and let the world watch! … And oh, by the way, it happens to be funded through Kickstarter.”

Doing so could have given the project a lot more juice and kept us from feeling like panhandlers. It would have allowed influencers to see the idea for what it is, rather than getting instantly turned off by the platform.

Lesson #5: Be careful how you spend your social capital

Much to our embarrassment, we failed on this one for half of the funding period. It wasn’t until we went to Authority Intensive in Denver when we finally caught on and started doing it right.

We both have a highly unscientific method for determining whether we’re promoting something correctly: if we feel slimy, we’re probably doing it wrong; conversely, if we feel enthusiastic and excited, we’re probably doing it right.

We felt kind of slimy for the first two weeks of this promotion.

Marketing, done right, shouldn’t be a zero-sum game. It shouldn’t involve favors or obligations. Your prospects should be as happy to hear about your product or service as you are to tell them about it, and people asked to promote you should be thrilled to tell the world.

That’s how it’s supposed to work.

You only have so much social capital. If people like and respect you, congratulations. You have a valuable commodity, and you should treat it with care.

But every time you ask for something unbalanced — something where the other person is doing you a favor rather than joyously participating alongside you — you’re spending social capital.

Because of our failure to understand that many people view crowdfunding as charity rather than commerce, we spent social capital like running water. Without realizing it, we were asking our networks to promote something they didn’t want to promote because we’d failed to provide an angle to excite them.

By contrast, promotion was warm in Denver, stemming from natural dialogue. We talked about what we were doing. Some people got excited about Fiction Unboxed and became eager to share or participate.

It wasn’t an “ask.” It was a discussion. Networking done right.

To everyone we nagged about “promoting our Kickstarter” (as funding rather than big idea) or joining our worthless Thunderclap, we’re sorry. We promise to discuss and give more in the future, and obey our guts when it feels like we’re asking instead.

Lesson #6: Add massive value. Then, add more

You can’t treat a crowdfunding campaign like a Ronco rotisserie, setting it and forgetting it. You have to keep interacting with your backers, fuel their enthusiasm, and keep adding things to the project for them to get excited about.

This, I’m happy to say, is one of the things we’ve done well.

We’ve maintained so much enthusiasm among our backers, in fact, that many act as if this were their campaign rather than ours. There’s even one guy, Mgon, who we can count on leaving a Kickstarter comment, Tweeting, and Facebooking within seconds of a large pledge. This is fantastic.

There’s a danger that crowdfunding can look like charity (despite Kickstarter’s prohibiting charitable projects), but the very best way to combat that impression is to give as much as you possibly can.

Backers should always get much, much more than they’re paying for.

We’ve found two ways of adding value to be highly effective:

Way #1 to add value: stretch goals

Once you hit your project’s funding goal, you can and should add some higher “stretch goals.” Hit those stretch goals, and everyone wins even more.

Our first (after hitting the $ 19,000 project goal) was at $ 25,000. When we hit it, we promised to create a video on how we use Scrivener writing software to plan our books — something our audience had been asking us incessantly about — and to add that video to all backer rewards at $ 39 and up. Those backers didn’t need to pledge more to get it; they just received it for free.

Then, thanks to a partnership with Literature & Latte, hitting our $ 35,000 stretch goal gave a free copy of Scrivener software (to keep or give away) to everyone at $ 89 and up.

Way #2 to add value: surprise gifts

These are bonuses you simply announce and add to backer rewards without requiring stretch goals to be hit. It’s a way to both reward backers for being awesome and to sweeten the pot.

So far, we’ve added a small book to the $ 1 level and up, a big book to the $ 39 level and up, plus a writing critique to our “full participation” level at $ 297 and up.

Lesson #7: Be flexible

We didn’t screw this up — but we almost did, and definitely had to find a way to work around it.

Our first snag had to do with the structure of backer rewards.

Once someone has claimed a reward, you can’t change that reward level within Kickstarter. This meant we couldn’t add any of the new rewards mentioned above to the sidebar, which is where people look when deciding whether to support your project.

We asked our podcast co-host and artist Dave to create a vivid, colorful infographic to slot into the page’s main copy, where we could make changes. We added a starburst to the project image to draw the eye to new and changed rewards, and made the existence of new rewards and stretch goals obvious at the top of the column of text.

Our second snag had to do with the structure of our stretch goals.

We’d originally set two: a bundle of Self-Publishing Podcast transcripts at $ 25,000 and the “How We Use Scrivener to Plan Stories” video at $ 35,000. Our backers were very excited about the latter but didn’t care at all about the former, and the project started to stall.

So we apologized for being obtuse, responded to their requests, and gave them both rewards at $ 25,000 instead of making them wait. As long as we gave more than we’d promised rather than less, everyone stayed happy.

The last adjustment we had to make was the largest and most challenging.

We’d planned an “in-person weekend story workshop” for backers at $ 5,000 and up, but we hadn’t described it. As the project evolved, we needed to fully explain the idea, flesh it out and detail its value, and offer a less expensive option for those who were interested but unable to handle the price tag.

It was too much for the Kickstarter page copy, so our solution was to create a Premise sales page, then link to it prominently in Dave’s rewards infographic.

For every one of these changes, the most important thing we did was to communicate, communicate, communicate. Backers needed to know what we were doing to keep up with the rapidly shuffling cards, so we posted regular Kickstarter updates to keep them informed.

Lesson #8: Be patient

After a meteoric first day, progress slowed.

We’d reached our funding goal and that was fantastic, but we’re ambitious guys and had plenty of other things we wanted to create for backers if the project funded highly enough to justify our time.

At first, to address the slowdown, we began hatching a bevy of guerrilla ideas to throw gasoline on the project’s reach. Then we realized that running a Kickstarter campaign is a marathon, not a sprint.

We’re no strangers to product launches and knew a three-day launch to be absolutely exhausting. But this isn’t a three-day launch. This is a 30-day launch. And in its middle we’ve already had time to breathe, attend a conference, and write this blog post — all while the clock continues to tick.

Most Kickstarter projects follow a predictable pattern. You’ll get a burst of activity at the beginning (especially if you have a tribe and can send initial traffic) and a burst again at the end. In between, however, your progress will be much slower because it’s human nature to wait until the last minute.

Plant seeds, then give them time to flower. You can and should spread the word throughout the project, but you’ll wear out your fingers refreshing the page if you don’t learn to chill out and let time pass.

We have.

funding-progress

Lesson #9: Understand that everyone will be counting your money for you

There is, in our opinion, a significant (albeit understandable) flaw in the Kickstarter funding model. Not only will everyone who visits the page know how much money you’ve made … but they will see it displayed as the metric that appears to matter most.

In other words, a Kickstarter page has a way of yelling, “Look how much we have! Give us more!”

As a message, that sucks.

You’re not asking for a handout. You’re selling a product that, if you follow our advice, is fat with value. You want a customer’s focus to be on what they will get, not what you have made. Yet all crowdfunding platforms stamp that big number front and center, telling your backers that it’s the most important thing on the page.

It’s not what matters most. But if you run a campaign, understand that you will encounter some people who have a problem nonetheless … and that only increases once you meet your goal and the question changes from “Help make this happen” to “Help us get more than we asked for.”

There’s nothing you can do about this, and the skew in perception has given us serious doubts about whether we’ll use crowdfunding in the future. When you sell a product, it should only matter whether a buyer is getting what he or she paid for — or, ideally, much more.

There are really only two ways to deal with any criticism you may get or that you may feel in the air around you:

  1. Communicate with and give to your backers, keeping in mind the hundreds or thousands of people who are delighted by what you’re offering.
  2. Make your stretch goals astounding, thus making it clear that if you’re getting more, you’re going to give more, too.

So at Fiction Unboxed’s $ 50,000 mark, we promised to create a comprehensive set of research documents that describe the “world” of the novel we write during the project, thus giving every backer (even at the $ 1 level) a way to write in the shared story — and, if their work is good, to gain the extra momentum that comes with playing to a pre-existing fan base.

The idea of meeting that one as a worthy goal had our backers clamoring from the start… and caring more about what they got than what we made.

Lesson #10: Do your homework and get good advice

We’re smart guys, but we’re not smart enough to wing it on a project of this size.

We love systems (they’re how we can write as fast as we do), but systems aren’t born out of nothing. Our systems have always been refined by the simple addition of work + improvement … and in many cases, a lot of that improvement comes from talking to people who know more than we do.

We were fortunate to have a lot of great advice on this campaign, from several accomplished and knowledgeable crowdfunding experts. If you want your campaign to fund (or ideally, to overfund) and have access to experts, take their advice.

Failing that, you’ll at least need to do some research. Look at other Kickstarter projects in your space (publishing, film, music, etc.) and study the highest and lowest performers, see what they did wrong, and what they did right. Look through your network and find someone who launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, or helped to guide one. Ask questions.

Even if you are amazing at what you do, you can always learn from others who’ve done good work in the same area.

Which, by the way, is how we hope aspiring writers continue to feel about Fiction Unboxed until the end of the funding period on May 21.

Have a question or comment? Join the discussion over at Google-Plus.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Gregory Gill.

About the Author: Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt are the creators of Fiction Unboxed, in which they’ll demystify storytelling by writing a novel in front of the world. You can find them on their Self Publishing Podcast with David Wright or at their publishing imprint Realm & Sands.

The post A Warts-and-All Guide to Kickstarter: What Works and What Doesn’t (Plus Where We Royally Screwed Up) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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