Tag Archive | "Smarter"

Join Us Live to Learn Smarter Ways to Sell with Webinars

When I first heard about “webinar hired gun” Tim Paige, I really was a bit skeptical. I’ve read and watched a lot of sales education, and most of it is a horrible fit for me. Either the tactics feel weird and manipulative (and I’m never going to get the personality transplant I’d need to implement
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Microsoft’s New Outlook Sports Smarter Features And Customization Options

On Tuesday, Microsoft launched its new Outlook.com beta, which sports a new design and comes packed with new features users might find useful. For instance, the search interface has been relocated, email attachments can be previewed and the new inbox comes with a ton of smart features designed to give users an easier way to tag useful information with their emails.

The redesigned Outlook.com may be activated by clicking on the “try the beta” toggle. Since the new features of the beta, which are still being tested and may be improved on depending on user feedback, might take some getting used to, Outlook users can simply revert back to the old format by clicking on the toggle again.

One of the more noticeable changes brought by the beta is the placement of the search interface, which is now located at the top portion of the inbox rather than the side. But the search interface’s change is more than mere aesthetics as email and people are now included in its search results.

Another interesting change in the Outlook beta is the conversations view. Files and photos in the conversations may now be previewed which makes it easier to take a quick peek into email contents while browsing through ones’ emails.

In addition, the new Outlook beta allows for a greater degree of personalization with the new options found in the conversations view, according to Tech Crunch. For instance, users can pin at the sidebar shortcuts to important emails. In addition, the inclusion of emojis and GIFs inside the new Outlook beta makes it easier to add some personal touch to one’s emails to close friends.

The new beta version also introduced a smart new feature called Quick Suggestion. Placing tags on emails regarding restaurant location, flight details, and even sports teams’ schedules is now a breeze with the new feature in place.

Of course, the purpose of the Outlook.com beta is to gauge customer reception and gain important feedback on the new changes. Things could still change for the better as the Outlook team announced that “based on your feedback we’ll iterate, improve, refine, or discard them.”

Want to try the beta version of Outlook right now? Follow the link: https://outlook.live.com/mail/#/inbox

[Featured Image by Outlook]

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The Myth Of “Being Everywhere” And The Smarter Path To Traffic

This is part one of a trilogy on the fundamentals of growing your blog traffic, when your goal is to make $ 100,000+ a year selling your own products and services. To get all the articles in this series, click here to subscribe to my FREE Blog Traffic Email course. I…

The post The Myth Of “Being Everywhere” And The Smarter Path To Traffic appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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96 Concepts that Will Make You a Smarter Content Marketer

read and learn from the Content Marketing Glossary

Have you ever been reading an article — say it’s on content marketing — and you spot a strange word?

You realize you have no clue what it means. It wouldn’t be so bad if the writer only used the word once, but the concept is central to his point.

I’m talking about words and phrases like:

  • Agile
  • Exit rate
  • Key performance indicator (KPI)
  • Native advertising
  • Owned media
  • Page rank
  • Unique selling proposition (USP)

Those are all words that you, dear content marketer, should know, since they are key parts of the art and science of content marketing.

Well, at least you want to appear well-acquainted with them. That way, when a client refers to “owned media,” you either know what he’s talking about or feel confident that you know where to look to find out what it is.

If that sounds like you, then we’ve got the perfect resource. Our new Content Marketing Glossary will help you quickly answer any questions you might have when it comes to content marketing.

Introducing Copyblogger’s Content Marketing Glossary

This glossary is not just for beginners.

See, even though we avoid using jargon in each piece of content we produce — and try to explain new or fuzzy words and concepts — sometimes you need a refresher or a more in-depth definition. The glossary is a quick way to find what you need.

Besides, I’ve been working in this industry for more than 15 years and I often stumble upon a concept and think, “What does that really mean?” The Content Marketing Glossary will help you find an answer.

There are currently 96 definitions of content marketing concepts, and we will update the glossary regularly.

But that’s not all.

12 key concepts illustrated with animated videos

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we also created animated whiteboard videos for 12 concepts. And then we enlisted Rainmaker FM overlord, Robert Bruce, to read the definitions. You’ll recognize his deep, fluid, and cozy voice.

You can watch each of these roughly 60-second animated videos:

  1. A/B testing
  2. Content marketing
  3. Cornerstone content
  4. Digital commerce
  5. Email marketing
  6. Infographic
  7. Landing page
  8. Marketing automation
  9. Membership site
  10. Podcasting
  11. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  12. Unique selling proposition (USP)

Content marketing mastery for you and your audience

Copyblogger-Content-Marketing-Glossary-LinksSo, are you ready to take your content marketing mastery to the next level? Then check out Copyblogger’s Content Marketing Glossary.

If you’d like to link to any of these definitions in your own content, there’s a specific link for each entry that you can use. Download our handy Content Marketing Glossary Links PDF (41 KB).

Keep it at your work station, and you’ll easily be able to look up a definition for yourself and also share it with your audience.

The post 96 Concepts that Will Make You a Smarter Content Marketer appeared first on Copyblogger.


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3 Resources that Will Help You Craft Smarter Landing Pages

Copyblogger Collection: show your prospects you have what they need

Chances are, it hasn’t been too long since you’ve had a miscommunication with someone — possibly a spouse, child, parent, or coworker.

You thought that person understood what you said, but he interpreted your message in a different way than you intended.

Miscommunications on landing pages occur when you think you’ve explicitly stated why a prospect should take action and that prospect isn’t convinced your call to action is the right step for him to take.

To avoid disappointing conversion rates on your landing pages, this week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that show you:

  • How to create a deep connection with your prospects and customers
  • How 26 fun rhymes will help you focus on your landing page goal
  • How savvy marketers write landing page copy

As you work your way through the material below, think of these lessons as a mini landing page course.


How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers

In How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers, Sonia Simone says:

If you intend to sell something — to ask for someone’s hard-earned money and irreplaceable time — you must begin by seeing (and honoring) who they are.

You’ll learn three key components that will help you create a bond with your prospect and express that connection with clarity.


The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work [Infographic]

landing-pages-that-work

You know landing pages are an important part of your digital business — but you probably wish they were a little more fun, right?

Steven Lowe has granted your wish in The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work. The infographic he created with the help of designer Lauren Mancke provides a rhyming landing page tip for each letter of the alphabet.

Since you want your readers to act because your products and services assist them with something they lack, this infographic will keep you on track!


The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages

landing-page-checklist

Finally, you can download and print the editable PDF we provide in The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages.

Henneke created this landing page checklist to bring the best landing page advice together in one place.

She walks you through each step of the landing page creation process — from writing persuasive copy to editing effectively and designing for clarity.

Accelerate your landing page education

Use this post (and save it for future reference!) to accelerate your landing page education in a fun, easy, and manageable way that will help you build your digital business.

This is doable. These articles are for you.

We’ll see you back here on Monday with a fresh topic to kick off the week!

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Copyblogger Media’s Editor-in-Chief. Don’t follow her on Twitter.

The post 3 Resources that Will Help You Craft Smarter Landing Pages appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Interview with Brian Clark: How Customer Experience Maps Help You Develop a Smarter Content Strategy

The Lede Podcast logo

Well isn’t this a pleasant surprise.

After we published the third installment of our three-part series on content strategy, Brian Clark informed me that he had the perfect follow-up topic for the next episode.

Sure, Mr. Clark, I think we can make room for you in the schedule. ;-)

Consider this a bonus fourth episode in the content strategy series — and it goes next-level.

Empathy is essential because it allows you to feel what your audience members feel, but what if you could get inside their hearts and walk a few steps in their shoes as well?

You can. Here’s how …

In this episode, Brian Clark, Demian Farnworth, and I discuss:

  • What is a customer experience map?
  • How customer experience maps and empathy maps help you develop an audience-first content marketing strategy
  • How to use a customer experience map if you have several customer personas
  • Getting started: Do you review the current customer journey or the ideal customer journey?
  • How do you get data to make a customer experience map meaningful?
  • The speaker lineup for the Authority Rainmaker 2015 conference
  • Why Henry Rollins is the perfect fit for the closing keynote at Authority Rainmaker 2015

Listen to The Lede …

To listen, you can either hit the flash audio player below, or browse the links to find your preferred format …

React to The Lede …

As always, we appreciate your reaction to episodes of The Lede and feedback about how we’re doing.

Send us a tweet with your thoughts anytime: @JerodMorris and @DemianFarnworth.

And please tell us the most important point you took away from this latest episode. Do so by joining the discussion over at Google+.

The Show Notes

The Transcript

Click here to read the transcript

Please note that this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and grammar.

The Lede Podcast: Interview with Brian Clark: The Next Step After Empathy Maps

Jerod Morris: Welcome back to The Lede, a podcast about content marketing by Copyblogger Media. I’m your host, Jerod Morris.

Over our last three episodes, Demian and I have been talking about content strategy. Specifically, we have discussed the importance of understanding your audience’s worldviews, mapping out a narrative with storyboarding, and using empathy maps to feel what your audience is feeling.

Consider today’s episode a bonus fourth installment of the content strategy series, and we have a special guest on hand to enhance the discussion. You may have heard of him. It’s Brian Clark.

All right, Brian. Welcome to The Lede. It’s always a pleasure to have you on the show, and even though neither Demian nor I have a voice with that voice-of-God quality like Robert Bruce, I hope you’ll still feel comfortable talking with us.

Brian Clark: You’re all right. Demian, I don’t know.

Demian Farnworth: I’m fired. (Laughter from everyone.)

Demian: I’m just here. I won’t go away.

What is a customer experience map?

Jerod: After our last episode on empathy maps, Brian, you told me that you had the perfect follow-up topic for us. So let’s dive in. What are customer experience maps, and how do they build upon empathy maps?

Brian: We’re a content-first, audience-first company, and a lot of people trying to get into content marketing have to reverse engineer that mindset. They have separate marketing teams, sales team, and then after the sale at the enterprise level, generally, they have a customer experience team.

The customer life cycle, here, is viewed from the brand’s perspective. What steps does the customer take in relation to the company?

It’s all completely disjointed, and the really forward-thinking CMOs right now at the enterprise level are trying to make it all customer experience.

A customer experience map is mapping segments of that whole life cycle, but it’s from the customer’s perspective, as it should be.

I got into this, and I found this really cool thing that customer experience people do when they’re trying to get marketing to use the same process, and we already kind of do this, but it’s a really interesting way to make it tangible for people.

I looked at a few examples of customer experience maps, and we’ll explain this a little bit more, but the first aspects that jumped out at me were “thinking, doing, and feeling.” They’re all the same elements of an empathy map.

Here’s an easy way to think about this: We talk about the buyer’s journey or the customer’s journey — they’re the hero. We’re the mentor. Our promise is to be helpful and to provide solutions. You empathy map in order to literally put yourself in their shoes.

And then a customer journey map is various segments of what people often do — from unaware potential customer to initial purchase. That could be one segment, an aspect of the overall life cycle or journey.

You understand what it’s like to be in their shoes from empathy mapping, and then from customer experience mapping, or customer journey mapping, you walk in their shoes, from their perspective, and understand the hurdles they face.

What challenges do they face? Where are points where they feel great, where you want to give them a good job, a high-five? All of those different phases.

How customer experience maps and empathy maps help you develop an audience-first content marketing strategy

We’ve been talking for years about buyer’s journeys, customer journeys — they’re the hero. We talk about Joseph Campbell and esoteric stuff that makes sense to us because we live it.

But the process of empathy mapping plus customer journey mapping is a process that allows you to make this very tangible and develop a content marketing strategy if you’re just getting started.

Remember that article Michael King wrote for us about filling the gaps in your content strategy?

He talks about customer experience maps in that article, and I went back to that after I kind of rediscovered the concept, and it’s solid. It really works.

Demian: In an article by Chris Risdon from Adaptive Path, he writes that the experience map is “an artifact that serves to illuminate the complete experience a person may have with a product or service.”

Now my question for you, Brian, is this: Why not a company? Why not a complete experience a person has with a company?

Brian: I think that’s the goal of the customer experience map, except that again, going back to this kind of enterprise terminology, which is weird for people to hear from us, but customer life cycle, again, is from the brand’s perspective. It’s the entire thing.

Instead of a funnel, the customer life cycle is what’s replacing the traditional sales funnel. Because it doesn’t end at the transaction. We know that. Remember how we represent our view of our audience with concentric circles?

Coldest, out there at the edge, is social media, all the way in to the red-hot center, which is customers. Repeat and recurring customers are at the very center. That’s how we view audience.

They don’t stop being our audience when they buy, right?

The audience-first mentality and the customer experience, holistic view of marketing all the way through customer service are completely congruent.

It’s just that we use content, when a lot of enterprise customer experience people do not. And I see it as a perfect match.

In customer experience, they talk about touch points and moments of truth, where you interact with the customer and you’re either going to fulfill your brand promise or you’re going to fail.

We do that with delivering our products, our services, and our support, but we also do it with content.

With the Rainmaker Platform, for example, when you complete the design phase of building your site, you’re congratulated with the affirmation, “Good job. Here’s what to do next.”

Or if you get hung up trying to build a membership site, then you’re prompted to go look at the membership site building guide. That’s within a SAS environment, and that’s customer success, which is a discipline that’s related.

But again, isn’t the success of our customers and clients the goal?

Whether we’re providing hands-on service, or we’re selling products and we want them to buy more, or we’re doing something recurring, customer success is the goal.

We’re going to talk more about this, and Demian, I want you to write the magic customer experience post that is better than the Adaptive Path post. Which is going to be tough, because that’s a great post.

Demian: It is a good post.

Brian: It really is.

How to use a customer experience map if you have different customer personas

Demian: What if you have more than one ideal customer? What if you have several persona profiles?

What if a customer first get exposed to us through social media. Then they go into the posts. They subscribe. They get a few e-mail newsletters, and they say, “Oh my gosh! This is a great little community here.”

Then they join Authority. Maybe they come to the Authority Rainmaker event, and they end up becoming a Rainmaker.

But then you have another type of customer — the StudioPress guy, who comes to it from a totally different path. If you have multiple persona profiles, how does somebody then go about with the experience map?

Brian: Well, that’s a good point because just within our company, our customers range from the StudioPress design-oriented person to the content marketing freelance writer, or someone who might go to our certification program versus maybe a pure entrepreneur.

But go back to the empathy mapping process. You have to look at those segments. Do you take it to buyer personas next?

You know who’s going on that particular journey, and if their experiences are that, the path is different for sure. We know that. But if the experience of the path is different based on who that person is, then I think you have to take that into account.

See how tangible that is compared with these very esoteric, philosophical principles? You really have to take it down and you go step-by-step, and you’re forced to think about what they’re thinking right now. What are they doing?

Is this a challenge? Is this a motivating moment, or is this a success moment already? How do we make them all into success moments?

Demian: Say someone has three ideal persona profiles, and they invest the time to create these experience maps.

How did someone make this experience map not philosophical and esoteric? In other words, what’s the take-away? Why invest all of this time into experience maps? What should they be walking away with?

Brian: I think when we talk to some people about The Hero’s Journey and the prospect as Luke Skywalker, you’re Obi-Wan. Some people get that right away. They just get it, and they run with it, and they start mapping.

They effectively do the same exercise on their own, and I think other people are like, “Okay, I get that conceptually, but what do I do with it now?”

I think we’re at that spot where people get it conceptually but they need a process.

And you know me, for years I’ve been trying to get people to do things like I do, and as Sonia likes to point out, I’m a big freak.

I do a lot of stuff in my head that other people don’t. Even when I write, I don’t really do the typical first draft.

I kick a lot of stuff around in my head, and then I come to you guys and I’m like, “Okay, here’s what we’re doing,” and you guys are like, “What?” (Laughs.)

So even in our case, this is a process where it’s a collaborative effort where we can all sit down together, and I might have gotten started, and we’ve got a rough outline, but then you fill in the gaps and you’ve got this very concrete process.

And I think any organization, from the single solo freelancer who does content marketing strategy and implementation all the way up to an agency, or a software company like us, can really get some serious insights by following these processes.

Empathy mapping came from the design world more than the marketing world, and customer journey mapping has been typically used after the sale instead of part of a holistic, integrated marketing experience.

What we bring to the table with our philosophy is this whole idea of “it’s an audience.”

Whether you’re a prospect, or you’re a customer — a transactional customer, a repeat customer, a recurring customer — you are all part of an audience.

It’s kind of like the group hug thing. The ones nearer to you are obviously more intimate, and the Twitter people out here, you’re like, “Come on in! Come on in!”

With the concentric circle approach, each step is an act of conversion — a greater degree of belief that you are the solution to the problem.

Getting started: Do you review the current customer journey or the ideal journey?

We did that short, little podcast with Tom about what belief really means and how it precedes trust. Both internally, but also from a teaching perspective, I think we’ve got processes now.

And it’s funny because we discovered empathy maps as a way to explain something important, and we’ve discovered customer experience maps as a way to make use of what we find out about people, and I think we will start using them in-house and get it out of my head.

Jerod: For people who want to take the next step and start doing this, specifically this journey mapping, where should people look first — what is the journey now or what the ideal journey is?

Do you need to have two of these different maps so you can see where you are, see where you want to go, and then obviously start to make the changes that you need to get there? Where is the first place you should look?

Brian: That’s an excellent question, because you have to be honest and see what the journey is from their perspective right now, and you may not like what you see. But if you don’t figure that out, how can you fix it?

Once you see it from their perspective, then you have the ability to fix it through content, through better customer service or product or service improvement. The initial map is designed to identify reality and then alter it to benefit them, which benefits you.

You don’t just map it out and that’s it, because often you’ll find that’s not the greatest experience for people.

Demian: What does that actually look like? Is it a drawing? Is it a story? Should they have a five-foot poster on their wall of this experience map? Is it design? Is it just words?

Brian: It’s a design. It’s a visual mapping strategy. Again, I confess that even when I get things out of my head, I do it in narrative format because that’s the way I think, and I’m not saying you can’t do it that way.

But it’s collaborative and a visual experience you get everyone to look at on a whiteboard. In the show notes, we’re going to have a couple of great examples that we found in the last few weeks.

They’re great examples of customer experience maps that actually worked in the real world, so people will understand.

But it’s striking that I’ve never seen anyone mention empathy maps used in conjunction with experience maps, and yet they are completely congruent. One is a person, and one is the path.

How do you get data to make a customer experience map meaningful?

Jerod: In Chris Risdon’s article, he mentions that you need both qualitative and quantitative information data for this map to truly be meaningful.

He uses the example of Rail Europe surveying 2,500 people. And for us at Copyblogger, we can do a big survey like that because we have a big audience. We have a survey coming out in a couple of weeks.

But for the single guy or the small agency that doesn’t have that built-in audience, it can be a little bit intimidating to think about the cost to do that research.

How can they get the quantitative data, then, that will help them make this journey map meaningful?

Brian: I think for the most part that’s going to be something you incorporate into your service offering, and then you tap into the client’s customer base. That’s typically how it works.

But you mention a pretty smart thing, because we’re talking about using this for your own marketing.

For example, for content marketing freelancers, consultants, or small agencies, what you do to get clients is exactly what you do for clients except, obviously, the context of the strategy changes from you to them.

When you don’t have that initial audience, you have to dig deeper.

The great thing about doing this type of work is even if you don’t have that direct access to an audience yet, you can still go out and research, and you almost have access to too much information.

Look at the work Lee Odden and Jay Baer have done, and they both have those business models. There’s a lot of best-of-breed information out there that you can extrapolate from, so that’s what I would do.

But once you get going and have direct contact with an audience, there is no better method than going directly to them.

And you know, we do a lot of listening more than we do asking because sometimes you can figure things out that you might not have found out if you asked.

Demian: And Brian, this is your case with Copyblogger.

Maybe it’s your story that is the customer experience, because a lot of the products we have built are because of your experience. If you’re just the solo freelancer or small business owner, you can start with your own story.

And that will mirror a lot of experiences already out there as far as that product, and that will resonate and attract that audience. So that’s a good place to start, too.

Brian: That’s an interesting point, because that’s another variation of The Hero’s Journey. You have the reluctant hero, which is you. “I learned this, and I didn’t really want to share it, but I felt like I should,” and then they become the hero and you become the mentor.

Look at the entire body of work of Star Wars, even though it’s painful to look at the prequels. Originally, Yoda was Obi-Wan, the mentor, and then Obi-Wan went on the journey, and then he became Skywalker’s mentor.

That’s a good point. It doesn’t apply in every context, though it happens to apply in ours.

Jerod: Well, as usual with these Lede conversations, the 20 minutes have absolutely flown by. Demian, I’ll actually give you the pleasure of asking the final question, if you’d like to.

Authority Rainmaker 2015

Demian: All right, so let me set this up.

In May 2015, we’ll have Authority Rainmaker 2015 — our second conference, our second live-gig public conference.

I think it’s safe to say the first one was a success. We sold out 400 tickets five months before the event. People who were there loved it. We loved it. So it was a good success.

My question for you is, last year’s keynote speaker was Seth Godin. This year’s closing keynote speaker, I think, is pretty peculiar. It’s this guy named Henry Rollins, right?

Can you explain why you chose Henry Rollins for this event? What does the spoken poet, punk rocker, aggressive, angry guy have to tell other content marketers and business owners?

Brian: Well, thanks for the question, Demian, because no people in the company who don’t know why Henry Rollins is there get to come. So we just saved ourselves a plane ticket right there. (Laughter from everyone.)

Demian: Can you explain the choice to the audience, then? I know. (Brian laughs.) Not only am I fired, but I’m prohibited from the conference now.

(Brian and Jerod laugh.) “Just write content for us, Demian, that’s all we really care about.”

Brian: It’s all working out perfectly. (Laughs.)

Demian: Yeah.

Brian: That’s actually a good question. So of course Henry is our closing keynote. He’s the guy who will kick you in the ass on the way out the door and make sure you go do the work, considering the things you’ve just learned.

We also have Daniel Pink, who will be our opening keynote, and Sally Hogshead, who has done amazing work with her fascination and positioning studies — all of these great things that are relevant to content marketing.

I wanted Henry to close, number one, because I’m a big fan, not just from his Black Flag days.

In the ’80s I heard Black Flag, and I was like, “Who are these angry people? I like this!”

But that was about it. I became a bigger fan later with the Rollins Band and then with his spoken word career, and when he started his own publishing company.

Black Flag basically produced their own records, put on their own shows, and went on their own tours. These were the original DIY media people. And that’s another way to think about content marketing.

You’re not getting a deal with a media company, you are a media company to the degree that you’re making and gauging content and building an audience.

Henry did all those different things pretty much on his own, and then he went to mainstream radio and television and film afterwards.

To me, he’s just the epitome of a guy who works hard — he’s generous, he’s true to himself, he’s the epitome of authenticity.

Who better to hear from after you’ve ingested all of this amazing information to make sure that you go off and do the work? And that’s really what we’re hoping for. But we’re just about to announce the full lineup.

We’ve got people like Danny Sullivan. Ann Handley is the only non-company person who’s returning because we’ve just got to have Ann. Bernadette Jiwa, Michael King, Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute are other speakers.

We’ve got a really strong show from the educational standpoint. We’ve got some really strong, on-point in the traditional sense, keynote speakers, and then we’ve got Henry, who will beat you up if you don’t go do it.

Demian: Is there any connection between the Black Flag logo and the Rainmaker logo?

Brian: I don’t know. You tell me, Demian. (Laughs.) We may have to do a visual demonstration of that at the conference.

It’ll be like a video introduction with the Rainmaker logo bars going down, and then it’ll shift to the Black Flag logo, and we’ll go, “coincidence?”

Now here is the actual, honest truth: I told Rafal, our brilliant designer, “Here’s the name, and I need a logo.” I did not tell him anything else.

Then he came back with that. And I sent him the Black Flag logo, and said, “Rafal, this is my favorite graphic design of all time, and you just made this.” And he was like, “I’m good.” (Laughter all around.)

He’s getting cocky! (Laughs.) Rafal’s been in America too long. He’s starting to get cocky. He’s been hanging out with you guys.

Jerod: Oh, that’s awesome.

Demian: Well, I’m looking forward to hearing about the event after it’s over.

Brian: (Laughs.) We’ll let you come, Demian.

Jerod: I’ll send you a postcard.

Brian: Don’t worry.

Demian: I’ll follow you guys on Twitter. (Brian laughs.)

Jerod: And for anyone else who is interested, Go to AuthorityRainmaker.com to get all the information about the conference.

The super early-bird price is still in effect, too. So I wouldn’t wait. Go check that out, and get all the details because it is going to be a great event.

Brian, thanks for coming on the show with us. We appreciate it, and hopefully we can have you on some future episodes as well.

Brian: Yeah, no problem at all, and we’ll be talking about customer mapping in a little bit more detail. If this didn’t make total sense, don’t worry, of course we will elaborate.

Jerod: Demian’s got a great post coming out on it soon.

Brian: Exactly.

Jerod: All right, everybody. Talk to you guys soon.

Brian: Bye.

Jerod: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Lede.

To get more information about Copyblogger’s 2015 conference, which features keynote speakers Henry Rollins, Daniel Pink, and Sally Hogshead, go to AuthorityRainmaker.com. The super early-bird pricing is still in effect, so don’t wait.

If you enjoyed this episode of The Lede, please consider giving the show a rating or a review on iTunes. We always appreciate it when you do.

And finally, since a few of you have asked me on Twitter, be sure to bookmark Copyblogger.com/lede to access new episodes every two weeks, plus the show notes and transcripts for each episode.

Demian and I will be back in two weeks with a new episode. Thanks for listening. Talk to you soon, everybody.

# # #

*Credits: Both the intro (“Bridge to Nowhere” by Sam Roberts Band) and outro songs (“Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart) are graciously provided by express written consent from the rights owners.

About the author

Jerod Morris

Jerod Morris is the VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter or . Have you gotten your wristband yet?

The post Interview with Brian Clark: How Customer Experience Maps Help You Develop a Smarter Content Strategy appeared first on Copyblogger.

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The Myth Of “Being Everywhere” And The Smarter Path To Traffic

I may make enemies of some of my fellow bloggers by saying this, but it has to be said…

The current best-practice idea that you need to “be everywhere” in order to build traffic is bad advice.

It’s bad advice because most people follow it at the wrong stage of their business development and lack the capabilities to pull it … Read the rest of this entry »

The post The Myth Of “Being Everywhere” And The Smarter Path To Traffic appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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7 Ways to Get Smart(er)

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In the marketplace of products, services, and content, life is like a crowded New York City street … your prospect is one of seven million people stiff-arming thousands of messages competing for her attention.

She has her own agenda … and that agenda doesn’t include you, your product, idea, or your latest dumb link-bait article.

To earn her attention you need to get drastic. And the best way to do that is with a seductive hook.

What are some of the best tips for finding those incredible hooks (and becoming a lot smarter in the process)?

A couple weeks ago Brian Clark and I covered this topic in an Authority webinar called How to Find the Seductive Hook.

We explained that the best way to find a hook is simply to be relentlessly curious about everything. Then someone asked if it was better to be a generalist or a specialist.

In order to answer that question, we had to back up a bit and eat our words. See, we’d just gotten done telling everyone that you needed to be a generalist. What we should’ve said — specifically — is that you need to be a specialist in your field of expertise.

Get specific, then get free

Nobody is going to listen to Matt Frazier (The No Meat Athlete) unless he is an authority in exercise and plant-based diets.

Nobody is going to listen to Marcus Sheridan unless he is an authority on swimming pools.

And nobody is going to listen to Pam Slim unless she knows early stage entrepreneurship.

Outside the boundaries of your specialty, however, all the world becomes (and should be) your oyster. Satisfy your curiosity until the cows come home, building that bank of creative ideas. Be a generalist with everything except your area of expertise. Just go where your interests take you. Learn about what you love.

And to help you get started on that path, allow me to show you exactly how I do it.

1. Obsess about one subject once a year

Each year I try to buckle down and master a topic outside of my field (I use the word “master” loosely).

This year I chose classical music. I even went as far as vowing never to listen to any other type of music except classical (no half-measures with me).

I’m also reading three pages a day out of a classical music textbook. And plan on reading five or six books about classical composers. I’ve already unearthed one idea from the book The First Four Notes, which I used as an opening for a recent Copyblogger article titled How to Nail the Opening of Your Blog Post.

In the past, I’ve spent a year studying the American Civil War, the Spanish Flu of 1917, Theodore Roosevelt, and science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.

2. Listen to podcasts

Whether you are moving the lawn, sitting by the pool, or humming along the subway, pop in some ear buds and catch up with the latest podcasts that pique your interest.

Here are some of my personal favorites …

This is all about the accumulation of facts. Strange and curious facts. Facts that will inform your fascination headlines, and separate them from the clutter.

3. Follow clever people on Google+

Anybody who tells you that Google+ is a ghost town has simply not put in the effort.

Like Chris Brogan said:

It’s like your refrigerator. If it’s empty, that’s your fault.

In fact, there are lots of really smart and clever people to follow (or, put in your refrigerator).

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield (the guy who sung “Space Oddity” in space) is the poster child for content marketing on Google+. And astrophysicist and professor Brian Koberlein recently wrote a five-part series on how the universe has changed.

Then there are philosophers, economists, and psychologists on Google+ … people sharing substantial and intriguing ideas.

For free.

4. Take an online class

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) offered by prestigious universities like Yale, Oxford, and MIT have changed the face of education.

You can sit in on Paul Hunt’s Hannibal lectures at Stanford. Or experience  Hubert Dreyfus’ UC Berkeley seminar on Existentialism in Literature & Film. You can even learn intermediate Chinese.

For free.

Whatever suits your fancy. There are over 725 free online courses to choose from.

5. Watch NOVA

Or Discovery … or the History Channel.

Amazing documentaries on topics as far-ranging as the ghosts of Machu Piccu to using robots on farms abound on these channels.

There are endless opportunities to satisfy your curiosity.

6. Run a TV series marathon

No, you don’t have to get off your couch, this kind of marathon can be done from the comfort of your rear.

Scratch out four hours a night for an entire week, choose a TV series you’ve always talked about watching from a provider like Netflix or Amazon … and then veg.

Don’t just pick the latest and popular series like Mad Men (have not seen one single episode by the way) or Breaking Bad.

Reach back into the archives and bone up on Arrested Development or Twin Peaks (David Lynch FTW!).

7. Create unique music playlists

Spotify has completely changed the way I listen to music.

What is it … ten million songs available … free? And while it can be time-consuming, culling certain songs or albums into a particular playlist can really boost your creativity.

This is another passive approach, but I’ve found the sheer experience of new and esoteric music changes the way I think about things. And you can always try to put a playlist together that tells a story.

Your turn …

This post is not unlike one I wrote a couple of years ago called 10 Surprising Books That Can Transform Your Writing. My goal wasn’t so much to convince you to read those particular books, as it was to get you to expand your mind. To wade into some strange dimensions … by reading wide.

Same holds true here.

You don’t have to follow precisely in my footsteps to get smarter. My point is that you should explore — and explore widely. Who knows where you might find a powerful metaphor to illuminate your current project? Or an incredible angle for your book launch?

You won’t know if you don’t go looking.

P.S.

If you’re interested in becoming a smarter online marketer, grab your free MyCopyblogger membership right now.

About the Author: Demian Farnworth is Chief Copywriter for Copyblogger Media. Follow him on Twitter or Google+. Then visit his blog to read his Education of a Writer series.

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Smarter Internal Linking – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by dohertyjf

Hey there SEOmoz readers! This week we are talking about what I like to call "Smarter Internal Linking". Rand mentioned internal linking a few months ago before Penguin even hit, back when we were still calling it the "over-optimization penalty". A few months later, we can see the potential effects that Penguin has had and the factors causing them.

So how can we be smarter in our internal linking? How can we target our important pages so that they are able to rank well for competitive terms, yet not be in danger of being slapped by algorithm updates? This is exactly what we are talking about in this video, including a few pro-tips I've picked up doing SEO in the competitive travel industry, especially in regards to microsites and ccTLDs.

Enjoy, and I'd love your comments below!

Video Transcription

Howdy, SEOmoz fans. My name is John Dougherty. I'm from Distilled in New York City, out here in Seattle for about a week, for MozCon. I came out here a couple days early, and SEOmoz was happy enough to let me shoot a Whiteboard Friday for you.

This is a topic that I've been thinking about a lot recently. It's the topic of internal linking. Today, in a post-Penguin world, we need to be careful about how we're linking to the other pages on our websites, both internally and externally.

Internal linking is a factor in Penguin, from what we've seen. I've been digging around on a lot of travel sites recently for a client, and I realized that sites that are in competitive niches, such as travel – there are a bunch of others that you can think of that we all may or may not have worked in at some point – that use a lot of internal links, site-wide footers especially, point to here site-wide footers in order to drive targeted anchor text deep into their site.

The problem I've been noticing here is that when you have a set-up like this, this is a beautiful little webpage that I drew for you, with a little URL bar, and I guess this is Chrome because we've got the extensions there, maybe a map here. You've got some text, and you've got your different products through here. It's just going to be an e-commerce site, or it could be a travel site. Here are sidebar links. So this could be your categories, what have you. But then often here, in the footer, there are links that say, "Atlanta Hotels, London Hotels, New York Hotels," and they're on every single page of the website. If you have a site that has 200,000 product pages, you have 200,000 links saying this. One term, two-
word term, key term, pointing back to that page. Something is going to look a little bit suspicious, right?

What I've been seeing here, as I've been going through, doing some competitive analysis, is I look at their search visibility using a tool. I use a tool called Search Metrics Essentials. I look, and a lot of them, their traffic is going up. It's ticking up.

Get to the Venice update, which happened back end of March or the beginning of April, which basically prioritized local content. This especially affected the travel industry, so category pages weren't ranking quite as well. They were bumping up the most well-linked-to individual hotel pages, what have you. Traffic dropped for most of them. Almost every single travel site I've seen, traffic dropped. It happens. Google made an algorithm change.

Then they take tick along, and we get to the next algorithm update, Penguin. Every single site that I've seen that has site-wide links like this, boom, dropped. Most of them have recovered a little bit. They've started ticking back up, but almost every single one has dropped. The sites that didn't, that are not linked this way, might have seen a little bit of a dip, but by and large they were good.

So what's going on here? The only thing I can think of, when it comes to internal linking, that I can see on these sites was these site-wide footers. They're also doing this externally. A lot of these brands, especially, have microsites, individual hotel sites that are linking back using the exact same footer as is on the main website. Same terms on every single page on those sites. Multiply this by four thousand, five thousand, ten thousand, once again, you have thousands upon thousands of links saying these terms. This is a problem.

Today I want to talk about smarter internal linking. How can we link to our important pages in a smarter way? I have a few points for you. How can we be smarter? This is the question we should ask ourselves. How can we be smarter about our internal linking?

Question number one: Go back to the user. What would the user expect to see? Google wants to reward a good user experience. They want people to be able to find what they want to find as quickly as possible. So I always start with the user. What is a person going to expect to see? Then, from an SEO perspective, I think, "Which pages are the most competitive?" You go and you do your keyword research, maybe use SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty tool. You look at the SERPs. You figure out which sites are ranking. You look at all the links that they have. Which ones are going to be the hardest to rank for? Especially if you're working in-house, you probably know what this. You probably think off the top of your head, "Oh yeah, I know this keyword." This one is going to take a lot more, not only external links, but also internal.

So which pages are the most competitive? You need to prioritize those, but not the way that I just showed you. The third point is think about your taxonomy. Think about the page types on your site. I've drawn out here a little site architecture for you, right? We start with our home page, and then this is another page type of ours, the category. Then we have the product, and then we have the product details. If we're keeping with the hotels example, it's going to be your home page, domain.com. Your category, domain.com/londonhotels, or language/londonhotels, what have you. Product, so this is going to be a hotel page. Product detail, this could be like amenities for the hotel or something like that. It's a subpage of your product page.

Obviously, these are going to be your most important pages. They're higher in your site architecture. They're going to be more useful to the users. These are going to be the ones Google wants to serve up for the competitive search terms. We link to as many of those as we can off the home page. If you have a thousand of them, how are you going to be able to do that? If you have hotels in every single city in the United States, there's no way you can link to all of them from your home page, nor would you want to. You're diluting your link equity basically irreparably.

Here's another category page. This guy's sad. He's like, "What's going on?
I'm getting no love at all." Then he's got product pages underneath there, who are also getting no love. I'm not going to link. First of all, this isn't going to be my most competitive term. This is probably going to be like second-tier competitiveness. I'm not going to link to this guy.

Let's say this is London, this is Atlanta, this is New York, this is Boston. I live in New York, and there's a New York-Boston feud going on, so we'll make Boston second-class. If you're from Boston, I apologize. I love you guys. But I don't want to link to the Boston page, necessarily, from the individual London product page. But it will make sense for me to link to Boston from New York, from Philadelphia, etc. It's the same thing. If this is Atlanta, and this is New York, I don't necessarily want to link to it. London and New York, I don't necessarily want to link to an individual New York hotel page, but I may want to link to the New York hotel page from Boston and vice versa. We're joining these two up. Or if I know I need to prioritize Boston a little bit, I'm just going to link to it from New York, because that has more link equity going to it, because it's more of a direct line from the home page.

Be thinking about some creative ways that you can do this, some creative ways that you can link between your different page types and your important pages.

Some that I've seen, that are working, especially in the travel industry right now, are sidebars. Once again, these are not site-wides. Most of them are doing it in the form of popular products, popular locations, trending locations, something like that. A lot of them I think that they update them semi-frequently. If I was doing it, I would update them semi-frequently. Keep the main ones. Keep London and Boston, etc. Keep your very competitive ones. But then you can switch them as other keywords become competitive. If you know people are going to New York for Christmas, you can switch that out, and you can prioritize that page for a while to get that ranking right before the Christmas holiday hits.

Here's a little pro tip for you, something that I've seen working. This isn't necessarily internal linking. It's like quasi-internal linking. Think about your ccTLDs. If your company is in the U.S. or in the U.K., in France, etc., think about how you can use the ccTLDs to link back to these pages from the relevant page on that ccTLD. So you've got domain.co.uk/londonhotels with UK English. Domain.com/londonhotels with U.S. English, think about how you can link from this page, from this London hotels page, back to this page. You're still driving the targeted links. You could do it through an image. I've seen some sites doing it with all of the countries down in the footer. On that UK page, if you mouse over the US, it says "London Hotels," pointing back. Super-smart way to do it. They don't do that site-wide, and so they're able to drive those targeted links back from a different domain. Those are going to be very valuable for them.

One last thing that I've mentioned briefly at the beginning here was beware of your microsites. Beware of your microsite site-wide links. If you have sitewides on your microsites, as well as on your main site, this is exactly the kind of thing that Google can easily figure out. They can see everything. They can see the code. They can see the way that it's structured. They can look at the Who Is information. Of course, we can do things to try to finagle and try to trick Google, but those are only going to last for the short term. So think about building for the long term. Microsite site-wides are not really working anymore, from what I've seen, so beware of these. Think about the taxonomies within these as well. You can still link. Think about these the same as you would think about your ccTLDs, linking to the relevant pages back on your main website.

Now I want to get a little bit bluebird for you. I want to think a little bit big. If I were Google, what would I do if I were Google? If you were Google, what would you be wanting to see? How would you want people to structure their sites? How would you want people to link? What kind of content would you want on there? How should people link between all of that? Google wants the best user experience. If I'm trying to serve the best user experience, I'm not necessarily going to have a travel guide on another page. If I have a London hotels page, why I'm not going to have a travel guide that I'm sending people all around? It's bad from a user experience. It's bad from a conversion experience, etc. I'm going want all of that right there.

If I were Google, I'd be looking to rank sites that are like a London hotels page that also has a travel guide on there. I saw one site doing this recently. I was like, "Light bulb brilliant." Put your travel guide there on the page. You get links saying London hotels travel guide, London hotels, hotel travel guide. You can also link to the travel guide internally so you're not just using London hotels to link to it. That's the kind of thing that I would want to be rewarding, if I were Google.

In summary, I hope this Whiteboard Friday has been helpful to you. I hope I've given you some things to think about when it comes to internal linking. Feel free to tweet at me, doughertyjf on Twitter. Email me, my email is on the Distilled website. Once again, I'm John Dougherty from Distilled New York City. It's been a pleasure. Please leave your questions and comments down below. Thanks.

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How to Create Smarter Content Using Semantic Keyword Research

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Ever hear two people arguing and then someone dismisses their differences like this: “Well, that’s just semantics”?

What the person means by that is the difference boils down to “just” a difference in the meaning of the words. In other words, the meaning of a word isn’t all that important.

Really?

For serious SEO professionals (and marketers), the specific shades of meaning of a word can make a world of difference. That’s why modern search engine optimization has gone beyond basic keyword research into synonym creation, semantic search optimization, and further into semantic themes.

It might sound a bit complicated, but it isn’t really. So let’s explore — what does semantic keyword research mean for your online marketing efforts?

Here’s a short guide to help you create content that attracts links, builds page authority, and ultimately rises in the search rankings by using semantic-themed keyword research.

Let’s start at the beginning

What does the word semantics mean?

The dictionary defines semantics as:

Semantics is about how somebody or something interprets a particular word.

From a search perspective, users have a very clear goal in mind when they search using a specific word.

Imagine someone searched using the word “lemon.” Do they mean the fruit? The tree? A car? The color?

We don’t know.

Hopefully, they’ll expand their search query to something like “How to avoid buying a lemon.” Even in that case, it’s not absolutely clear if they mean the fruit, tree or car. We’ve eliminated the color, but that’s it.

This is where semantic search comes in. Search engines have developed complex algorithms that allow them to understand that the best way to interpret this term is “how to avoid buying a lemon car” … in other words, a car that’s defective or of poor quality.

That’s something most 6th graders can understand, which is the highest level of intelligence for search engines, and you should understand it that way, too.

How to create “core” keywords

The work of effective semantic keyword research begins with defining your core term/s.

This is basic SEO stuff, but let’s not breeze over it — we want to build a solid foundation for the following two levels.

Using our example above, “how to avoid buying a lemon,” we would develop a list of core keywords and phrases that were relevant to that search. Just using the Google Keyword tool, I came up with this:

Notice how closely the keyword phrases are tied to our intended meaning? This means that Google recognizes the typical meaning of the phrase. There isn’t much deviation — no one is trying to avoid buying the yellow citrus fruit when they type that phrase in.

So our core keywords could look like this:

  • “avoid buying bad car”
  • “prevent buying bad car”
  • “avoid purchasing defective automobile”

The variation of the core words run between “avoid,” “buying,” “bad,” and “car.” We’ll dump those into what I’ll call our “core basket bucket.”

How to create “supporting” keywords

As you build this semantic theme, your next step is into the circle outside of your core terms. These are your supporting keywords, the ones you sprinkle into your content, meta sets, and headers.

For the phrase “avoid buying a lemon,” the supporting keywords would look like this:

  • “buying from a used dealer”
  • “battery life”
  • “good alternator”
  • “fan belt condition”
  • “dead battery”
  • “alternator died”
  • “broken fan belt”
  • “engine oil leak”
  • “mechanic checkup”

Do you see the feeling you are trying to create with these supporting terms?

You’re developing a piece of content that not only explains what can happen when you buy a car from a used dealer, but also some related topics, like how it feels when the car breaks down, and a list of things to look for when buying.

You are being instructive and practical. And the content naturally addresses the problem in its entirety — you’re not glossing over the topic.

And we’re not finished yet …

How to create “stemming” keywords

Now it’s time to step into the outermost circle of our keyword research, with keyword phrases that emphasize issues not directly related to the search. But because we are trying to predict the search, we need to think about these things.

Don’t forget that the search engine is trying to do the same thing.

For example, why is the user typing in “avoid buying a lemon”? The most obvious answer is they are a buyer and they are thinking about buying from a used car dealer or someone who is selling a car personally.

Of course, you can create two pieces of content that address both of those possibilities. But which one will the search engines deliver to the user on the SERPs (search engine results pages)?

It’s hard to know, but it’s probably going to be the most comprehensive, most authoritative piece … even if your user doesn’t need all the information. That means you need to write comprehensive content … which is where the “stemming” keywords come in.

These keywords are building a larger picture behind “avoid buying a lemon.” They’re getting to the real question the searcher is trying to answer.

Here’s what I mean:

  • “consumer used car rights”
  • “consumer law”
  • “used car buying rights”
  • “used car law”
  • “consumer protection agencies”

At stake here is what the user can expect his or her legal rights are, and actions they can take if they do buy a lemon and it dies.

That’s the underlying theme.

What to do with these keywords

Notice that you haven’t written any content at this point … you’ve just built three buckets of keywords.

From those buckets, you can create a rough outline. In fact, let’s build two:

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon from a Used Car Dealer

  • Definition of a lemon
  • Definition of a used car dealer
  • Things to inspect on a used car
  • When a lemon dies
  • Your legal rights
  • Who to approach and how

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon from a Private Seller

  • Definition of a lemon
  • Definition of a used car dealer
  • Things to inspect on a used car
  • When a lemon dies
  • Your legal rights
  • Who to approach and how

Keep in mind: the content within each section will have to vary to avoid duplicate content issues, and to work well for the human readers who are always your primary focus.

You will receive greater relevance weight and authority when you define terms absolutely, the way a Wikipedia or Dictionary.com does.

In addition, this research will be useful when it comes to building links to the site.

When will the authority and links come?

It is very difficult to predict for certain whether a page will become authoritative on a topic, and attract high-quality links. But, like forecasting weather, you can study the elements behind successful pages. And unlike the weather, you can apply those elements to your own work and improve your chances for a good ranking.

Here’s what we know: great keyword research alone won’t do the trick.

It’s a great start — and can help you build content architecture that leads to authoritative pages — but it’s not a silver bullet.

So here are the things you can control:

  • The core, supporting, and stemming keyword collections
  • The content architecture of the page
  • The comprehensiveness of that content
  • The usefulness and readability of that content
  • The promotion of that content
  • The measurement of users’ reaction to the content
  • The adjustment of the content based on user reactions

Of course what’s out of your control is other people’s reaction. Will they view it as authoritative? Will they find your writing compelling? Will they link to it? You create the best-possible content to try to influence those factors, but ultimately they lie outside your hands.

Follow the advice I’ve laid out here, however, and you will have a better chance of influencing reader reaction in a positive way, ultimately getting search engines to recognize your content as a relevant and significant contribution to the web.

Don’t forget to write for humans first

All of this sounds a bit technical. But after you’ve done your keyword prep, when you finally sit down to write, be sure you’re writing in a natural way that doesn’t smack of spam.

When done properly, SEO copywriting should never sound robotic or stiff.

Write for humans first, then gently tweak for optimization. Get in the habit of reading each article aloud to make sure your keywords are included in a natural, reader-friendly way, and read sites like Copyblogger for pointers on writing voice and other elements of high-quality writing.

Your final step is to read your content to another person and get their reaction. If they think it sounds spammy or awkward, rewrite it. Nothing will flush your work down the drain faster than a spammy article. It pays to get it right.

What do you think of this semantic-based approach to building authoritative web pages? Let us know in the comments …

About the Author: Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics and an SEO consultant. He also blogs at Quick Sprout.

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