You’ll Read More Than This Headline, Right? Tips from a Copywriting Class

You’ll Read More Than This Headline, Right? Tips from a Copywriting Class

This month, I took a course called Effective Copywriting. I learned a lot in the class, and would like to share a few copywriting tips. Who knew commas could be this exciting? Punctuation is powerful! Commas and other punctuation marks can dramatically change the meaning of a sentence. For example: A woman, without her man, is nothing. A woman, without her, man is nothing. The lesson here is to remember your commas. They make a sentence, and they make a sentence make sense. The following, shared by the course instructor, demonstrates how omitting commas can create a monster. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Spend Your Time on the Headline The recommendation to spend as much time writing your headline as the body copy isn’t intuitive. Why should you spend so much time on a handful of words? Well, look at your reading habits. When was the last time you read an article all the way through? Compare your article to headline ratio. More likely than not, the ratio favors headlines. So, if an article’s headline is all you and most people read, put the time into writing a stellar one. Read Differently People read in many different ways. We skim, we read aloud, we read slowly, and we read quickly. To check for grammatical errors and copy quality, reading differently is key. I never noticed I read differently when editing. I read very, very, very slowly; and sometimes, I start editing at the end of my copy, finishing at the beginning. The copywriting course made me aware of my editing process, and for that, made me a better writer....
Get Inspired for Writing a Blog Post: 6 Ideas

Get Inspired for Writing a Blog Post: 6 Ideas

Did you know that Google gives your website more authority when you post fresh, engaging content? More authority in Google’s eyes means a higher ranking in search results. One way to get new content on your site is to publish blog posts on a regular basis. Whether you’re a veteran blogger or just starting out, here are 6 ideas to inspire your writing process. 1. Changes in your Business: Have you recently hired a new staff member or moved locations? These ideas are great topics to share with your readers while keeping your content current. 2. Changes in your Industry: Has there been a new invention, discovery or product in your industry? A new app that alerts skiers how many vertical feet they’ve skied is a prime blog topic. 3. News Features: Newspaper, magazine or online articles about your company translate into an easy blog post. Simply summarize the article, insert a photo and a link and you’re done! 4. FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions: Is there some aspect of your business that customers ask about over and over again? This is a perfect idea for a blog post. Customers can help themselves to your published knowledge on the subject. 5. Media Mentions: Were you just rated as one of the top coffee roasters in Denver? Or did your gallery exhibit opening garner a reference in a socialite’s column? Media mentions practically write their own blog. See #3 above. 6. Tips: Are there a few handy-dandy tips that your customers would love to hear about? Tricks that you use every day or save lots of time are particularly useful. If you’re...
The Era of Cautious Guest Blogging

The Era of Cautious Guest Blogging

As Google has trained an ever more watchful eye on links in guest blog posts, it is clear that this is the era of cautious guest blogging, for some at least. While some blog authors have opted to continue, or to begin, an honest outbound linking strategy in guest blog posts in an effort to avoid a knock in the search engine results pages (SERPs), other blog authors have taken a defiant position through inaction, feeling something like an infringement on free speech. Though identifying spammy outbound links in guest blog posts may be easy on some websites, Google’s spam crusade has pummeled a few innocents along the way, one example (depending upon your opinion of the guest blog post’s quality, of course) being the manual penalty handed down to Doc Sheldon for what Google deemed a questionable outbound link. The penalty has since been remanded following a lively discussion of the matter in the SEO community. Even though guest blog posts have been made out to look like the villain, such a characterization is not entirely accurate. It is true that they have been over-exploited to a certain extent. However, it is highly encouraged to continue sharing the thoughts and opinions of guest authors on a blog for the benefit of the blog’s readership. According to a recent blog post written by Sheldon for Search Engine Watch, for blog owners who want to play by the rules, all outbound links in a guest blog post should be nofollow. This way, the relevant links are still in the post, still available to the audience for further exploration, but their...
Indirect Audience Outreach through Influencer Marketing

Indirect Audience Outreach through Influencer Marketing

Moz’s Whiteboard Friday from January 24, 2014 was about influencer marketing, a strategy in which audience engagement occurs in an indirect manner. ( On a side note, the Moz Whiteboard Friday video blog series is informative, educational, and a fun way to wrap up the work week.) Now, back on topic, influencer marketing is a tactic that, at its heart, involves a middle man – the influencer. As mentioned in Rand Fishkin’s Moz video, many internet marketers might be wondering, “Why don’t I just reach out to my target audience directly?” Frankly, that is a fair question to ask when considering the efficacy of influencer marketing. A story might better illustrate why influencer marketing might come in handy in certain situations. Say I am preparing to open up a community gardening space this spring, and to get the word out, I have set up a website and social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. My target audience is individuals who enjoy gardening. However, when considering the vast landscape of the internet in its current form, it may seem a challenging task to find and engage with potential community gardeners. And this is exactly where content marketing and influencer marketing converge and come into play. My target audience in this example have certain interests that they most likely follow online. The key here is to find out how they get that information, and if those sources, also known as influencers, are valuable marketing collaborators. More likely than not, my target audience engages online with local gardening supply stores. Therefore, to reach out to them, I could create a piece of...
Avoid Corporate Claptrap, Tap into Human Emotion to Build Brand Awareness

Avoid Corporate Claptrap, Tap into Human Emotion to Build Brand Awareness

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) held a webinar on December 18 about content strategy called “Roundtable: 5 Tips for Maximizing the ROI of Your Content Marketing Strategy”. The roundtable panelists were Joe Pulizzi of CMI, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, and Steve Rotter of Brightcove. These three content marketing gurus began the webinar by discussing the findings of a recent study conducted by Pulizzi and Handley, for which they surveyed B2B companies about their content marketing efforts in order to uncover the field’s direction. The panelists showed surprise that the top content marketing goal for B2B companies is brand awareness, with 82% of respondents identifying it as a driving factor behind content marketing efforts. Additionally, 74% of respondents to the Pulizzi and Handley case study pointed to lead generation as an important reason for investing in content marketing, and 71% selected customer acquisition as a goal. The panelists threw out guesses as to why most B2B companies would select building brand awareness as one of the most important content marketing objectives. They pointed to the dearth of data around brand awareness as the reason why most companies have a strong brand awareness mission. With a lack of information to analyze and draw upon to calculate future strategies, it makes sense that B2B companies feel lost in the dark when it comes to building brand awareness, and thus keep it as a top priority when engaging online audiences. Acquiring a handful of Facebook likes on a business page or even a few retweets of a particularly thought-provoking Twitter message do not necessarily correlate with stronger brand awareness. Yes, it does mean...
webShine at SES San Francisco Session Summary Two: Two Useful Tips from Three Speakers

webShine at SES San Francisco Session Summary Two: Two Useful Tips from Three Speakers

Earlier in September, I made my way from Colorado to California for SES San Francisco. Since returning to Aspen, I have been reviewing my notes from the conference sessions, digesting the information, and searching for unique and exemplary advice. In this second installment covering the SES conference, I highlight three different sessions, with a focus on social media, website engagement, blog post writing, and content marketing. Mel Carson, Brand Ambassador at Majestic SEO, spoke on day one of the conference in a session titled The Marriage of Social & PR: Making It Work for Your Brand. Though his presentation was full of useful tips, there were two recommendations I found to be the most insightful. Carson spoke about the importance of context. As content marketers, taking into consideration context is hugely important in maximizing the reach of any one single piece of content, whether it be a blog post or a tweet. Carson suggested thinking about where your audience is, what they are doing, what mood they might be in, and what device they are using when engaging with one of your blog posts, videos, or social media messages. Taking even a few minutes to consider context will draw you closer to your audience and their needs, and as a result, may lead to a stronger content marketing campaign. During his presentation, Carson shared a slide showing that, in the morning, there is a significant increase in internet activity as people catch up on news, email, and other information. It is wise to experiment with publishing times for social media and blog content. Though, according to Carson’s data, the...