Tag Archive | "Publish"

38 Ways to Boost Your Content Confidence … Every Time You Publish

The life of a content marketer is always intense. The deadlines, the flow of ideas, the juggling of writing, promotion,…

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3 Game-Changing Steps You Might Skip When You Publish

Processes are a part of any type of job — whether it involves data, gardening, or construction. Yet, the fun…

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How to Publish Regularly, Even If You Lack Writing Confidence

Recently, a writing student asked me about the dilemma of keeping to a publishing schedule, even when you can see all of the flaws in your own writing. How can we publish content every week, or even every month, when we still have so much to learn? Most of us run into this sometimes —
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7 Easy-to-Forget SEO Steps You Need to Consider Every Time You Publish

"Remember these elements to help more of the right people find your content." – Jerod Morris

“But I don’t really think about SEO very much anymore.”

That was my initial reaction when we all agreed that March would be SEO month here at Copyblogger. At which point, of course, I knew I’d have to write about it.

“Look, I just create useful content for people. Do that, get it read, get it shared, get links, have good hosting and fast page-load times … and productive search engine results will follow, right? I mean, what else is there to say?”

Turns out, plenty.

Keyword research is more fundamental to your content marketing strategy than you may think. Also, you may already be making fatal optimization mistakes. Plus, who knew SEO advice could be so … practical? (Including #8, which will punch you square between the eyes.)

I read those articles, rethought my position, and decided to examine exactly how much I actually think about SEO on a post-by-post basis.

And, turns out, plenty. (Whether or not I realized it.)

It’s easy to forget about the basic steps I’m going to outline below, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. Because the minute I stop doing them is the minute my content starts attracting fewer targeted visitors. Same goes for you.

So let’s start at the top, because the first one is by far the most important of the seven — and it will take me the longest to explain.

(Note: I’m going to use my site AssemblyCall.com as an example throughout this post. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which has all of the tools I’m about to mention built right in. And thank goodness, or I’d probably forget about them. StudioPress Sites has all of these tools built in, too.)

1. Be extra intentional about your SEO title tag

You don’t have to set an SEO title tag for each post. If nothing is defined in your post’s meta data, search engines will simply pull your on-page headline.

And if you’ve done your headline homework and know how to write good ones, chances are your headline can double as your SEO title without massive negative repercussions.

But is it ideal? That’s the question. (It’s not.) And if it’s not, why wouldn’t you take an extra minute to be more intentional with your SEO title?

Let me give you an example …

Here’s a recent post from AssemblyCall.com. Backstory: our resident expert bracketologist posted his final projections for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.41.43 PM

The headline follows the same simple and straightforward pattern that you see on all of our bracketology posts.

But here is the SEO title, set from the post edit screen inside of Rainmaker:

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.44.06 PM

You can’t see the full title, but here it is:

March Madness: Final Bracket Projections for 2017 NCAA Tournament by @AndyBottoms.

So why the differences?

First, because “March Madness” is an oft-searched term by basketball fans seeking this information — which I know from having done my keyword research. But the headline “March Madness: Final 2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket Projections” would look goofy and cluttered at the top of the page, especially on mobile.

Adding it to the SEO title allows me to get it into the search result, where it will have the most impact.

Second, I know that the first five to six words in an SEO title are the most important real estate. After that, people may not see the rest because it can get truncated in search results (as you can see in the screenshot).

So I rearranged the on-page headline to get “Final Bracket Projections” in before “2017 NCAA Tournament.” Why? Because the latter phrase is somewhat redundant with “March Madness.” But it’s essential that searchers know what, specifically, this post will tell them about March Madness, otherwise they won’t click.

This arrangement of the words balances the more generally searched terms with the essential specifics about the content — which is the part that actually drives clicks.

Third, notice the Twitter handle (@AndyBottoms) there at the end. Did you know that when people click the share button to tweet your post, Twitter usually pulls the SEO title, not the on-page headline? It’s true.

Since Andy is a known entity among college basketball fans for his bracketology prowess, I included his Twitter handle to add authority to the link when it’s included in the tweet text. Plus, he’ll be alerted when someone shares it and can retweet the share or reach out to that person.

Three small, subtle differences. All important. And each opportunity would have been wasted if I’d just been happy with the on-page headline and not considered the SEO title.

And here’s the fun part:

It took me way longer to type this, and for you to read this, than it did for me to edit the headline for the SEO title. I’ve been at this for a while, so it’s second nature at this point. So much so that I sometimes take it for granted.

If you haven’t developed this habit yet, take it seriously. Start doing it. And once it’s a habit, you’ll be creating usefully distinct SEO titles in less time than it takes you to floss.

2. While you’re at it, be strategic with your meta description too

You might as well take a minute to define your meta description. Typically, this is what shows along with your SEO title in search engine results.

Sure, search engines sometimes take liberties and pull their own excerpt from inside of your post for the meta description — usually when the search result is generated by a keyword that is not in the meta description but appears elsewhere in your content.

But we can’t worry about that. We’re worrying about the results we can control.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 3.42.34 PM

See how I used the phrase “NCAA Tournament bracket projections” in the screenshot above? I did this to ensure that the “NCAA Tournament” part was visible in the search engine result, since the addition of “March Madness” to the SEO title had pushed “NCAA Tournament” toward the cutoff point. (Remember from my first example?)

I also wanted to include the phrase “field of 68,” which is a tertiary phrase that might draw some search interest.

The meta description is important because it’s your second chance to include important keywords that might not make it into your title tag.

In hindsight, I probably could have been even more strategic with keywords in this description. I had more real estate available. But I was also trying to balance my tone and connecting with the audience — because, remember, the meta description often auto-populates when someone shares your post on Facebook.

This was a good opportunity to display some gratitude to the loyal audience members who had kept up with Andy’s daily updates throughout the previous week.

And don’t forget: optimizing for humans is optimizing for search engines. ”</p

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Should You Publish Guest Blog Posts on Your Website?

what you need to know before you publish guest posts

“Come sit down, Child. Gently put your hands on my crystal ball,” I say, directing you into my dimly lit fortune teller studio. I’m wearing a Stevie Nicks-inspired black lace shawl and gold hoop earrings.

“You’d like to know if you should publish guest blog posts on your website, yes? Let’s ask.”

My long, blood-red fingernail taps on the glass, as a thick fog swirls underneath the surface of the orb for several minutes.

“Looks like I can’t help you. Good thing you paid in advance.”

And with a swift kick in the rear, you exit the studio without an answer.

My crystal ball couldn’t help you decide whether or not you should publish guest blog posts on your site because it depends on a number of specific circumstances.

This post will help you focus on the factors you need to consider before you start running a multi-author publication. (Who knew an article could provide more guidance than a crystal ball?)

If “multi-author publication” sounds advanced, don’t worry — we’ll get started with Editor-in-Chief 101.

Editor-in-Chief 101

If a financial accountant helps you keep an accurate record of your finances, as the Editor-in-Chief of your website, you’re a content accountant.

It’s your responsibility to publish accurate content that is beneficial for your audience. You set and manage your audience’s expectations and actively craft the best experience for them.

When you first create a content-driven website, the platform may just be an outlet for your own writing, as you educate readers who are interested in learning about your area of expertise.

But as time goes on and you’ve built authority and an audience, you have an opportunity to offer your readers a new experience.

You may want to expand the type of content that you publish by bringing in other voices to your digital publication.

Here are 15 questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not you should publish guest blog posts on your website:

  1. Will content from other writers help my audience learn more about the topic I teach?
  2. How can I produce more value for my audience?
  3. What topics would I want guest writers to cover?
  4. Could new content from other writers expose my website to a wider audience?
  5. Would I be able to offer writers more exposure?
  6. Am I able to offer guest writers any financial compensation for articles I publish?
  7. Am I looking for established experts or simply other perspectives?
  8. Will I publish writers’ drafts, or will I edit guest blog posts?
  9. Should writers format their articles to fit my publication’s style before they submit them?
  10. What rules will I have regarding hyperlinks in guest blog posts and author bios?
  11. Should I set a word count limit?
  12. Am I looking for text blog posts only or other types of media, such as infographics, SlideShares, or audio content?
  13. Will I allow writers to submit images to accompany their articles?
  14. What process will I establish for collecting and reviewing guest blog post submissions?
  15. Are there certain types of content I won’t publish, and why?

Your website represents your business, and your editorial standards will help ensure that your publication reflects well on your organization.

Editorial standards

Whether or not you publish guest blog posts on your website, you should aim to produce valuable, useful, high-quality content.

Editorial standards are essentially rules that help you establish authority and uphold your reputation as a trustworthy resource for your audience.

Many print and digital publications — including Copyblogger — don’t publish the exact drafts that writers submit. Instead, editors adapt articles so that they fit the publication.

(Keep in mind that a writer’s version of a final draft is rarely an editor’s version of a final draft.)

When you edit a guest blog post, your goal is to maintain the writer’s voice and point of view while shaping it to be an article that a reader would expect to find on your website.

If you decide to publish articles other than your own, you may not want to heavily edit the content, but here are fundamental editorial standards that are important for any content you publish — simplified into the Three F’s: Fitness, Fact-checking, and Formatting.

1. Fitness

The way someone writes on his or her own website may not fit with your publication, but if you value the information the person can teach your audience, you can revise the content accordingly to fit your editorial tone and style.

To provide supplementary information to the content your guest author provides, you may want to hyperlink text in your guest blog posts to relevant cornerstone content pages and other articles on your website — just as you normally would when you write posts.

As you assess the fitness of a guest blog post, you’ll check to make sure the article offers consistent, focused advice. You may need to delete text that goes beyond the scope of the topic and distracts readers from the main point. If an idea is tangential and doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the post, it’s better to cut it than risk confusing readers.

Also, while you might welcome other opinions on your site, content within a guest blog post may become problematic if it contradicts or disagrees with a practice that you regularly teach your readers. Look out for those red flags.

2. Fact-checking

Since your loyalty is with your readers, you need to verify that you’re presenting them with correct information. To start, check:

  • Hyperlinks. Do all hyperlinks go to the correct sites, and do you feel comfortable directing readers to those sites?
  • Sources. Does the author support his or her points with information from trustworthy sources?
  • Potential logical fallacies. If conclusions are deduced from research, is this valid information to present to your audience?
  • Numbers. Do the numbers in a post match the source of the information? For example, the author may have accidentally transcribed “62 percent of people,” when the source of the information says, “65 percent of people” or “32 percent of people.”
  • Spellings. Names of people, businesses, products, locations, and publications should all be double-checked.

3. Formatting

Think about a print magazine that you read. While it may offer many different voices from a variety of writers, each article looks like it belongs to that print publication. The same concept should be applied to your digital publication.

For example, if you always publish articles with short paragraphs of one to three sentences, it will look strange to a regular reader if you publish an article with long paragraphs of five to ten sentences that can be tedious to read on a screen.

Even though a writer may have submitted a draft with long paragraphs, it’s your job to adjust the text to match your standard formatting.

Coming soon: how to collect and review guest blog post submissions

If you decide you want to publish guest blog posts on your website, the next article in this series will outline best practices for collecting and reviewing submissions from potential writers.

You’ll also hear from other members of the Rainmaker Digital team about their experiences working with guest authors — I won’t be consulting my Magic 8 Ball. ”</p

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3 Resources to Help You Publish the Content Your Audience Wants

copyblogger collection - meet your audience's desires

“Oh no. We have to toss them out,” the bartender said with a sour look on her face as she removed a thin, black straw from her mouth. Four intricate cocktails she just made were lined up in a row in front of her.

“All of them?!” her coworker asked.

“Yep. When I taste-tested them, I realized I added too much Fernet-Branca.”

And down the drain the cocktails went.

A couple months ago, I sat a few feet away from this interaction and observed the bartender acknowledge her mistake, even though it was costly. She then produced the proper cocktails before presenting them to her customers.

Although it was arguably not fun to admit she had mixed the drinks incorrectly, she realized it was more important to maintain her audience’s trust and deliver the cocktails they ordered.

Her goal was to serve them what they wanted — and that is the essence of effective content marketing.

Are you willing to change course, if necessary, to deliver the right type of content to your audience? This week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that will show you:

  • How to absolutely, positively know if your content will rock
  • How to avoid 11 common blogging mistakes that waste your audience’s time
  • How to follow the one, irrefutable law of podcasting success

As you work your way through the material below, think of the following lessons as publishing guides for meticulous content creators.

What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know If Your Content Will Rock


Any fans of the band Wilco out there? Brian Clark is one of them.

In What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know If Your Content Will Rock, Brian shares a story about a turning point in the band’s career.

If you’ve ever wondered how you’re going to move forward when circumstances don’t turn out the way you planned, you’ll want to check out this fascinating article that will guide you toward your next step.

11 Common Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Audience’s Time

Time Concept

Henneke says:

“We live in a world full of cheap information. At the push of a button, we can get our eyes on far more ideas, blog posts, and news stories than we could ever possibly consume.”

Remember those words every time you write to help ensure your content provides unparalleled value for your readers. If it doesn’t, push yourself creatively and refine your work. Your audience will thank you.

Review Henneke’s 11 Common Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Audience’s Time when you’re ready to strengthen your current blogging routine.

The One Irrefutable, Universal Law of Podcasting Success


In The One Irrefutable, Universal Law of Podcasting Success, Jerod Morris asks if you’re willing to show up reliably over time for your audience.

He says:

Showing up isn’t half the battle. It’s not 90 percent of the battle. It is the battle.

It’s the battle for audience attention — that grueling war of attrition in which attitude always triumphs over aptitude.

And your attitude is revealed by when you show up, how you show up, and how long you show up over time.

It’s simple to say. It’s hard to do.

Which is why the rewards are so great for those who stick it out.

You’ll never know what could happen until you make and honor a commitment to your audience.

If you didn’t make the correct cocktail, toss it out

Every time we produce a new piece of content, we each have the opportunity to toss out a poorly made cocktail in favor of a delicious treat someone truly wants.

Study this post (and save it for future reference) as you continue to fine-tune your content strategy.

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Google +1 Button Let’s You Publish To Google +

Yesterday Google announced they have enhanced the Google +1 Button to allow users of Google +, the social network, to publish directly from the +1 button to Google +…

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