How to Launch Your First Online Course!

Are you ready to create a course but don’t know where to start? Follow this simple process and you will get your course done in no time flat! 

Step 1: Define your Marketing Position 

Ever heard the story that if you have a day to cut down a tree you should spend 7 hours sharpening your ax and one hour cutting down the tree? That is exactly what this step is!

Before getting started creating 300+ power point slides and 20 fillable PDFs, make sure you identify WHO your course is for and what result (transformation) they are going to get or achieve after taking your course. Here are some questions you should be able to answer:

  • Who is our target audience?
  • Who is not our audience?
  • What are their hopes, desires, dreams?
  • What are their fears, frustrations, & pain points?
  • What results do they want? What transformation will your course give them?
  • Who are your competitors? 
  • What have they tried and why hasn’t it worked?
  • How can you solve the problem better?

Answer these questions in detail and everything else you do will be easier.

Step 2: Map Out Your Modules 

The biggest mistake in course creation is trying to teach too much.  You are an expert in your area and you have a burning desire to help people so naturally you want to give them all of the information they need to be successful. Unfortunately this is a losing proposition. If you give away too much information and create a 25 hour course, most people will never finish watching all of the videos, and even less will take action.

You can solve this by giving away just enough information to keep it high level, and use weekly live coaching calls to fill in the gaps. (Which can also be recorded, transcribed, and uploaded as bonus content to your members area!) 

A good structure I have found, is this: 

  • A course has 6 modules of about one hour each. 
  • Each module has 6 lessons of about 10 minutes each.

That means that a course will have about 6 hours total of content and it will be laid out in an easy to consume format! 

What I have found that is also very helpful, is to write out a bullet point for each lesson in a “sales language” format so that I can use those bullet points on the sales page. 

Step 3: Write Your Sales Page 

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the next step is not to record your course, but to write your sales page. This will help you to further narrow down what you are going to be teaching and make sure that the course you have in mind is actually an appealing offer. 

After writing your sales page you can add it to your site, let people know that it is currently closed but they can join the wait list, and start capturing leads. This is a great way to also gauge interest for a course before you go to all the work of building it!

Step 4: Record Your First Module or Pre-Training Material 

You don’t make money in draft mode! Get your first module done or pre-training material ready and then get ready to sell! If you are doing this for the first time and will be doing live coaching calls as you move through your course, you are going to be able to customize your training for your students. Each week let them know what you are going to be teaching the next week and ask them what their biggest questions are related to that topic. Guess what! You now have your lessons mapped out for you! Take their questions and incorporate them into your lessons and your content will create itself. 

Step 5: Time to Sell

Don’t let that course sit on your virtual shelf too long. Once you have done steps 1-4, get busy selling! 

What questions do you have about course creation? Let me know in the comments below!

Can Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans Strategy Really Build Me a Six-Figure Business?

Can Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans Strategy-blog

Recently, a colleague cited the research of Kevin Kelly and an article titled 1,000 True Fans. The premise of his research is very simple: If you develop a business based on 1,000 people who buy only $100 / year from you, you will earn $100,000 / year from these fans.

Could this marketing strategy work? What if I multiplied it by, say, 5,000 people?

A true fan was described as someone who gave their full support; they purchased everything that you created. There would also be a second tier of supporters that purchased some of your products.

And while this strategy could never work for large enterprises, like Nike, it’s certainly a viable option for the coaching industry, with proven case studies for musicians like Jill Sobule (he mentions her results in the article) also making a case for creative professionals.

How would I successfully execute the 1,000 True Fans Strategy?

“The Riches Are In the Niches” & Your Ideal Audience Will Sense Your Focus

A recent Blogging Tips article discussed the top 10 new blogging topics entering the market. In 2013 alone, 328,763 photography blogs popped up on the internet.

To be candid, niches are absolutely necessary to differentiate you from the competition. It’s not enough to simply have a photography blog these days. It’s imperative to have an “Animals Photography Blog,” etc.

When you consider your 1,000 true fans:

  • What is the glue that will draw your community together?
  • Where do they hang out? How can I reach this community?
  • What’s missing for them that you can solve with your product / service?
  • How do you speak specifically to them & what language do you use?
  • Who do they know that could be a second-tier connection for you?

Your Outreach Strategy Is Everything: Be Aware of the Best Ways to Implement Your Marketing Initiatives.

Kevin Kelly went on in his research to express the real differentiator of having true fans; you are required to reach out personally and touch them.

In a fast-paced digital world, we’re all being bombarded by marketing messages. What will make your messages special?

  • Speak directly to your audience Let fans into your world with insider stories and pictures. While it seems shallow, people enjoy knowing about your life; it makes you relatable. Advice in Action: Oprah’s Favorite Things list is a coveted prize for many retailers. Google a few of the successes she’s created over the years.
  • Get vulnerable (while staying authentic to who you are) Opening up about painful, frustrating, or highly emotional journeys let your fans rally together to support you. Advice in Action: Gerald Rogers Facebook post about his divorce quickly went viral – earning him a spot on the Today show and a coveted pedestal as a relationship expert.
  • Give away special offers, like a signed copy of your book or tuition discounts The better the offer the more likely fans are to tell others that they won. Don’t forget to highlight the winner.  Advice in Action: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love recently raised thousands of dollars for a charity by having lunch with one lucky silent auction winner.
  • Make your marketing something people have to open You’ll want to make these offers valuable and time-sensitive. Don’t do them too often, or the buzz will wear off. Advice in Action: “The first five people to email me get an exclusive VIP virtual lunch meeting with me.”

You Can Go Deeper or Wider with Your Niche When Building a Community of Fans.

First, let’s discuss going deeper. The best way to picture this concept is as a funnel. At the top, you have the most superficial topic, narrowing down into specific niches:

  • What is Facebook & Why You Need It
  • Facebook Business Pages: Design & Strategy
  • How to Increase Your List by 1,000 Using Facebook
  • 25 Facebook Experts Give You Their Best Advice on Facebook
  • 38 Buttons on Facebook You Didn’t Even Know Existed
  • Exactly How to Create a Targeted Custom Audience Step by Step

At the top of our funnel, we’re giving basic information within a niche. We will build a highly targeted audience of fans who want to become experts in Facebook. This is the only targeted group we will attract since we have dug into advanced concepts very deeply.

Now, how can we go wider? Instead of being Facebook experts, we could be social media experts and choose to have a varied offering of multiple social media teachings.

In this instance, we’d teach Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ (while it’s still around), YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter, for example The net goes to a larger audience of social media folks.

How Does This Research Resonate With YOU?

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. As you know, our business mindset is one of the most difficult pieces of success for us to conquer.

What do you think about Kevin Kelly’s idea? Do you think this concept would, or would not, work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How Your Competitors Get Ahead of You…

You’re a smart person.

You have a business.  You have a successful business.  You have overcome challenges and learned what works and what does not.

Now is not the time to stop. Now is not the time to get comfortable.

Every day your competitors are advancing and if you do nothing, your business will left behind.

consistency road sign illustration design  

1. Constant, strategic change.

It is not the greatest, the smartest, the biggest company that is the most successful.  It is the fastest to implement. Money loves speed.  There are a million great ideas out there.  What matters is who is the fastest to market.

2. Consistent, strategic presence.

According to Business Daily News the average American spends 8 hours per week checking their email, 7 hours a week on Facebook, and 5 hours a week on Youtube.  This does not include searching for things on Google, reading the news, or any of the other myriad of activities done online.  When your prospects are online, whose ads do they see? Whose videos do they watch? Whose press releases do they read? Whose emails are they getting in their inbox each week? Your competitors are everywhere online.  Are you?

3. Compelling, strategic plan.

Your competitors have a plan.  They have a specific strategy on how to grow their business each year.  They have laid out what it takes to increase their market share each quarter.  What this means is that unless you too have a compelling strategic plan that you put into action, your competitors are going to be stealing away your clients each year. strategy2  

5 ways to keep up with the competition!

1. Study your Competitors and look for disruptions in the marketplace.

A disruption in the marketplace is an event such as a change in leadership, quarterly profit loss, or other significant event that could affect your competitors ability to service their clients effectively.  If you can identify a disruption, then that is your opportunity! One easy way to study your competitor is by setting a Google Alert on your competitors.  With a Google Alert you can always be notified immediately when your competitor publishes ANYTHING on the web.  Did they just submit a press release to launch a new product or service? You can know about it instantaneously! Step1-5competitors

2. Improve your online presence.

One way to stay ahead of your competitors is to make sure your company is everywhere your prospect is.  Content creation and content marketing is essential to make sure your competitors don’t leave you behind.  When working with clients of ours at StartRankingNow.com, I use a step-by-step process to figure out where clients should start with their content marketing strategy.  Basically if they have not passed “a”, they cannot go on to “b”.  Some of the things I look at are:
  • Blog and Social Media – Posting to your blog at least 2-4 times per week if not more and posting daily to the main social networks.
  • Email Marketing – Capturing emails and following up with the leads strategically by sending out 3-5 sales emails to new subscribers.
  • Content Marketing – Publishing new content such as Press Releases, infographics, guest blog posts, podcasts, interviews, ebooks, pictures, and much much more.  Create and publish 1-4 new high quality pieces of content each month.
strategy

3. Create a strategic plan.

It is not enough to just DO.  There must be a reason and purpose and plan behind everything you put into action online.  For example let’s say you have 4 core products that you want to promote throughout the year.  It is not enough to promote your business.  You need to promote each of the products strategically.  You need to create a plan.  A marketing funnel that will drive traffic, capture leads, and convert sales. make-things-happen There is a saying that goes: If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time. This is what goes on in a lot of businesses.  The business owner is so involved in just trying to get through the day to day stuff. They are busy working in their businesses not realizing that every day their competition is gaining new territory.  Before they know it, the phone stops ringing and it is only then that they decide to take a look at marketing. Don’t let the phone stop ringing. Are you ready to create a strategic plan for your business?  Isn’t it about time your brand was the one showing up all over the internet, and not your competitors?
  1. Click here to apply for a complimentary strategy session.
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Why Bother With Text When You Can Use Audio and Video?

content marketingWith all of the possibilities that audio and video have to offer, one might think that plain old text would be outdated.  But even though these things add a great deal to the Internet, there still is, and probably always will be, an important place for the written word.

The Internet was founded on text.  And while text is no longer the only thing you can find online, it is still what the Internet is based on.  It’s largely what the search engines use to determine whether a page is relevant for a given keyword, and it’s often what people want when they are seeking information that they can share easily.

Text is currently the only medium that allows for easy searching.  This is not only important to the search engines, but also for the average user.  This is starting to  change as technology advances, but currently you can’t type in a search term and skip to each instance of it on an online video or audio recording.  But if you’re on a web page and need to find a specific word or words, you can simply use your browser’s search function to go directly to it.

It’s also important to consider that there are people who use text-only browsers to access the Internet.  Those who are blind often use browsers that read the text on a page aloud, and if there is not sufficient text to describe what the page is about, they may seek information elsewhere.  In addition to this, there are users who do not have sound cards or speakers, rendering audio useless and video usable but silent.

There are many things online that need to be presented as text.  Doing them any other way just doesn’t make sense.  For example, you probably wouldn’t want to access your bank account information as an audio file.  And you might not benefit very much from your digital camera user guide being presented in video form, although videos showing specific picture taking and maintenance techniques might be helpful.

Text is still an important part of any web page.  Audio and video can great assets to your website, but in most cases they shouldn’t completely replace your text.  Text is still favored by many Internet users, and it gives the search engines more to go on when they index your site.

 

Text Can Be Portable, Too

laptopOnline audio and video are becoming easier and easier to take wherever you go.  They can be downloaded to watch later on your computer, or you can put them on portable audio and video players.  But text doesn’t have to be bound to the Internet or computer screen either.

When people find information that is valuable to them online, they often want to save a copy of it for later reference.  They can bookmark the web page, but subsequent changes may move or eliminate the information they want.  They can save the page in question to their hard drives, but few people do.  Making it easy for your site visitors to take your words with them is good for business.  Here are some ways to accomplish that:

  • Offer printer-friendly versions of popular pages.  Your site design may cause pages to print out poorly, especially if you use frames.  Making it easy for users to print pages that look like they should will allow them to easily archive information for future reference.
  • Consider putting certain information in PDF format.  This is the file format that is often used for ebooks and brochures, and it provides easy readability.  It prints out nicely if your users want a hard copy.  And there are now portable ebook readers on the market that allow one to save his ebooks and other PDF files and take them with him wherever he goes.
  • Provide options for mobile web users.  It is worthwhile for to set up mobile web pages and for, some businesses, text alert systems.  If your website offers up-to-date information such as news, weather, or account information, your users could benefit from mobile options.

The many recent innovations that utilize text indicate that it is still a medium that should not be ignored.  While it may not have the potential for personality of audio or be as visually stimulating as video, it is easy to transfer and doesn’t require any special software to use.

 

Audio and Video Should Complement Text, Not Replace It

work

One of the most important things to realize about audio and video is that at this point, they often don’t translate into money as quickly as text can.  Utilizing audio and video is more about making a name for yourself and building your brand than immediate monetary gratification.  It helps generate traffic to your website and boosts your business’s image.

Of course, there are exceptions. Popular videos participating in the ad revenue sharing program with YouTube can earn some decent money. YouTube is also always developing their technology for embedding links and other more interactive elements into videos.

In addition, you may find using video on a sales page increases your conversions and it can work as a very well in this regard.

But overall, text is so vitally important on any website.  Audio and video can enhance a website or sales letter, and they can go a long way toward convincing a visitor to become a customer or client.  But ultimately, it is usually text that seals the deal.  At the very least, text is the most effective way to instruct visitors on how to order or sign up.

Audio, video and text can work together to make your website nice to look at and listen to, as well as highly functional.  Each medium appeals to visitors in its own unique way.  Taking advantage of the multimedia opportunities available online can boost your site’s popularity while making it more useful.

27 Ways to Get Other People to Create Content For You

people

Getting other people to create your online content is one of the most painless ways to save time and ensure your blog, website and article directories are packed with top-quality, original content.

Let’s take a look at 27 different ways to make this happen.

1.  Pay Copywriters or Ghostwriters

A ghostwriter usually writes articles, blog posts, eBooks, white papers and reports, and a copywriter often specializes in sales and landing pages, as well as email series – though there is often no difference between the two.

A good ghost/copywriter will increase your site SEO value with professional, original writing – in your “voice”.

2.  Pay a VA

Many virtual assistants add copywriting to their services, so this way you can kill two birds with one stone, if you need an assistant too.  Just be sure to check what type of writing they specialize in.

3.  Guest Authors

This used to be a top way to get others to provide you with quality content – and it still is.  But you should know that Google is now penalizing overly-promotional “guest posts” and “guest posters”, so follow these three tips and you won’t be the guest poster in trouble – nor will your guests.

  • Call them “guest authors”.  Seriously!
  • Make sure their content is original and highly relevant to your audience
  • Get your “rel=author” tag and validate yourself with Google through your Google+ profile

 1-rel-author

Sure, it’s a pain to set up, but don’t neglect it. Your validation as a Google-recognized author is like gold in the SEO bank.

4.  Embedding Other People’s Material

Ask permission to embed slide shows, videos, .MP3s and other material on your site.  This can add richness and extra flavor, if you choose material that enhances and adds value to yours (as well as pleasing your visitors!)

 

5.  Testimonials

If you ever receive great compliments on your services or products, these become priceless recommendations (or “testimonials”) that you can put on your website or in sales letters for that relevant product or service package.

If someone posts a testimonial on a highly public forum, you can technically print it without permission, but always ask (you may get more than if you “sneaked” it in: E.G. a headshot provided and permission to use their full name).

6.  Insert Ads

Ads can bring income directly to you through your site, so choose blog themes that allow you to insert ad buttons and banners.

Avoid Google AdSense themes, however.  The quality of ads has noticeably deteriorated this year, and you cannot guarantee that your site won’t become tainted by adult or inappropriate material you don’t want.

7.  Comments

If you write a hot blog post, you’ll soon know it:  It will incite a flurry of comments.  Do put some screening in place for comments, however, so that you are not inundated with damaging spam.  The Akismet spam filter is a “must”; and it’s a good idea to set your comments options to require moderation on the first post from a poster.

2-comment-precautions

8.  Have it Transcribed

Running a webinar or teleseminar is a painless way to create content, but make the most of it by having it transcribed into text.

Then you can offer your transcription as your blog content for that day – or you can offer it as a bonus to a paid offer or signup.

9.  Create a “Round-up”

Another way to use other people’s content fairly:  Create a Round-up of snippets from different sources dealing with a single topics.  For example, “Top 10 Graphic Websites in 2013”; “Facebook Follies”.

 

10.  Public Domain Visual Media

While it’s always best to commission or take your own original photos, finding public domain graphics can be a quick and handy solution.  (Make sure they really are public domain, however!)

Here are three sources with multitudes of public domain photos and other visual media such as fonts and clipart…

 

 

11.  Free Resources

You can insert resources such as calculators and dictionaries on your website simply by copying code into your HTML, such as TheFreeDictionary webmaster tools, which allows you to select options such as “Word of the Day” or “Quote of the Day”, among other features.

4-quote-free-dictionary

Just make sure your free resource is from a reputable site, and there’s no hidden code allowing traffic mining.

This type of HTML resource formatting is a good choice when your host website doesn’t allow App scripts.

12.  Apps and Widgets

Better on blogs or websites written in .PHP rather than HTML.  You can find apps for quizzes, polls, surveys, quotes – all the features available as HTML resources – and more.  You can provide interactive, ever-changing content:  E. G. a widget that displays Twitter tweets.

5-twitter-widget

13.  Plug-ins

You can do much the same thing with plugins and there is a wide selection to choose from at WordPress.org.

You can also download commercial plugins such as the nRelate related-content plugin.

6-nrelate-plugin

14.  Press Releases

Reprint press releases relevant to your target market’s interests on your website.

 

15.  Intern Created Content

If you decide to take on an intern, one of her duties could be to create content for you.

16.  Regular Features

You can create daily, weekly or monthly features that rely on externally-driven content.  For example, regular “Guest Column” featuring different guest experts.

17.  Using Quotes

One quick way to produce an article:  Pick a topic and present “Top 10 Quotes About [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][your keyword]”.  Then run a quick search, picking the best quotes from quotes aggregation sites such as BrainyQuote and The Quote Garden.

Don’t select all your quotes from one site, however.  Mix and match.

8-exercise-quotes

18.  Content Curation

Another practice that is quickly becoming a trend:  Content curation – present content from aggregated sources.  As free curation site, Storify says, “Make the Web tell a story”.

19.  Templates

Templates may not be “content” as such, but they can help you quickly and instantly install or display content, doing the formatting part of the work for you.

And many WordPress themes incorporate widgets that add extra content to your site, such as blogrolls and archives.

You can get other templates too, to help fast-track your content creation. (E.g. review templates, blog post templates).

20.  Public Domain material

You can build a blog or even just a week of posts around material that is truly in the public domain.

 

21.  JV Partner Offers

You can insert ads from JV partners on your website – and free ones add special value.

Put them in a separate add banner or within your header.  Very often, your JV partners will do the rest (sign up, sales or download pages).

In fact, ask them to provide their ad, too.

22.  Reader Submissions

Invite readers to submit relevant written material to your blog, with the “prize” being publication (unless your blog serves professional writers, who would expect to be paid, of course).

Three popular types of writing you can invite:

  • Poetry
  • “Postcard” mini-writing contests
  • Asking for anecdotes regarding a specific topic:  E.g. “What is your most embarrassing memory about learning to ride a horse?”

23.  Reader Photographs or Artwork

Another type of contest people enjoy:  Original artwork or photograpy.

Not only does featuring the results give you lots of free content, it also increases reader engagement and interest.

24.  “[Something] of the Day”

Another type of reader-driven content that increases engagement:  “[Something] of the Day” features.

Try:

  • Tip
  • Word
  • Quote
  • Horoscope
  • Thought
  • Photo

10-photo-of-the-day

 

25.  Recipes

You don’t have to be running a cooking blog or website to invite readers to share their favorite recipes, if your demographic is female.  In fact, all you need to do is post an appetite-stimulating photo and a post that gets your readers salivating.

It’s like the Pet niche: Just as people love nothing more than writing in about their particular, unique, cuddly pet so do many love sharing their favorite recipes.

26.  Retrospectives

Feature your own or others’ most popular past articles, photos, stories or other content.

Done right, this tactic can help build and strengthen your online community by making readers feel they have a “say” in your site.

27.  Run a Themed Site

Creating a themed site entirely from reader-driven content (like accepting reviews for example) can be a virtually painless way to provide high quality, unique content as a background for displaying ads.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Profitable Webinars Made Easy

webinar

Webinars are a profitable and popular way to disseminate information to a lot of people at one time. It’s just like an in person seminar except that it’s performed over the Internet. You give presentations just like you would in person with slides, handouts, and other companion information. It is essentially a web based seminar. You can teach a class, deliver a lecture, conduct a workshop, and host an interactive Q & A event via webinar.

1-audienceThe technology allows event hosts to deliver their information to multiple locations at the same time because the attendee simply needs to be able to sign on to a computer terminal with Internet access to participate in the event.  Usually attendees can participate in a variety of ways from chatting in a chat room, to raising their hand electronically to speech, by using a microphone.

If you have a lot of information you want to disseminate to a number of individuals or groups but don’t want to spend a lot of money doing it, a webinar is your answer. Participants can join from anywhere, home, work, any country — as long as they have a computer and an Internet connection they can join.

They are economically feasible for small or large groups. What’s more, they are secure, in that unauthorized people cannot enter the webinar. In most cases the participants only have to download a small program to help them access the event, have ear phones with a microphone, the special link or password to join, and they are in.

 

Why Have a Webinar?

Many reasons for having webinars were mentioned above, but let’s get specific. Hosting a webinar can advance your business to the next level. It can jump start and excite affiliates, and customers alike. Face it, events are fun but they can be expensive and hard to plan. Webinars can be planned from the comfort of your home office, or from any location with computer access and an Internet connection.

 

Lead Generation

Webinars are an effective way to generate more leads. But you’ll need to book speakers that excite your target audience. A targeted topic will also help draw both speakers and attendees. By providing targeted content through a webinar platform with planned speakers you will position yourself to become a thought leader who provides credible, valuable and usable information about your niche.

To generate leads with a webinar you’ll need to ask for information at registration. That information should be sent to an email marketing mailing list segmented for potential webinar attendees. In this way you will be collecting leads via your webinar sign up process. By marketing the webinar, you’re marketing your email list.

 

Earn More Money

2-presentationAnother great reason to host a webinar is to make more money. Even if your initial goal is to get more subscribers, with more targeted subscribers you’re going to generate more income in the long run. But, if you charge for your webinar you could make more money in an hour than you thought possible. Imagine if you sold the hour for just 10 dollars each. If just 100 people attend the webinar you will have earned 1000 dollars for the hour. Granted you have to spend time developing the event, but imagine if you perfect the event and create a series conducting weekly webinars. How will that add to your bottom line?

 

Advance Content Marketing

The other thing that webinars do is simply disseminate content in a new way. From one hour long webinar you can create a year’s worth of content all from one event if you set it up right. Just get four to six speakers, record the event, then repackage the event in multiple ways to generate almost unlimited content all year long.

Once a webinar is over you can break it down to shorts that you use in your email marketing blurbs or as an eCourse. You can also transcribe it and create an eReport out of the event. Some people are creating Kindle books out of webinar materials. The sky is the limit with the amount of and different forms the content can take from just one webinar event.

 claim-business-facebook

Customer Satisfaction

Sometimes your goal is simply to improve customer satisfaction over a product. You might invite only people who have bought your product or service to a webinar that is exclusive to them. Your goal in this case is perhaps to conduct a Q & A to help customers utilize a product or service more fully.

Your objectives for having the webinar can be more than one of the above, but it’s better if you focus on just one or two objectives in order to create marketing materials that work. Determining objectives and setting goals indicates what metrics to study when deciding whether your event was a success or a failure. Having metrics to look at will assist you in perfecting future webinar events by identifying what works and what doesn’t work. By doing so, you’ll be able to develop a best practices manual for webinars of your own that is fully targeted to your unique market.

Top 10 Copywriting Information Sources

Close up on tha hand of young woman writing down on a paper using smart phone and notebook –

 

Whether you use video, audio or text in your web marketing, you still rely on words. Compelling words are what attract web visitors, get them on your mailing list and get them to buy your products. The art of compiling compelling words is known as copywriting and it is an essential skill for any online business. If you’re looking for copywriting information, here are top 10 sources for you.

 

Site #1: Which Test Won 

1-which-test-won

http://whichtestwon.com

A very informative and real-world blog by Anne Holland. Each week, Anne posts two versions of an advertisement or sales piece so that readers can get guess which performed better. After you guess, you can click through to find detailed information on which test won and why.

 

Site #2: John Carlton

2-john-carlton

http://www.john-carlton.com

John Carlton is a long time copywriter who refers to himself as the “most ripped-off writer on the web.” In short, people steal his approaches because they work and he readily shares them. His blog is very colorful, thought-provoking and may sometimes offend, but is usually at the top of the list for people serious about learning copywriting.

 

Site #3: Michel Fortin

3-michel-fortin

http://michelfortin.com

With a background in sales and working as a copywriter to big Internet marketing, Michel has plenty of real-world experience and test results under his belt. Michel often refers to himself as an “avid tester” and is constantly tracking and testing copy to improve conversions. Thankfully, Michel is very open about sharing those results on his blog, in speaking engagements and more.

 

Site #4: Marketing Experiments

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http://www.marketingexperiments.com

Marketing Experiments specializing in conducting research and testing to optimize marketing results. Website visitor can get access to a huge library of test results and read the blog for free. A podcast is also available.

 

Site #5: Ben Settle

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http://bensettle.com/blog

Ben Settle is a no-nonsense marketer that focuses on teaching the power email marketing. With praise from Gary Bencivenga, Ken McCarthy, Brian Clark and Ray Edwards, you know he’s someone worth listening to. Visitors can sign up to get a daily email marketing tip and get other helpful advice.

 

Site #6: Gary Halbert

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http://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com

Unfortunately, Gary Halbert passed away several years ago, but his “The Gary Halbert Letter” still remains on the web and serves as an invaluable resources for copywriters and business owners. Click on “View our Newsletter” archive to be treated to a treasure trove of great writing and thought-provoking advice.

 

Site #7: Bob Bly

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http://bly.com

Robert (Bob) Bly is a freelance copywriter with over 30 years of experience and plenty of client experience. Many know Bob from the 70+ books he has written, but plenty of great advice is to be found on his blog.

 

Site #8: Karon Thackston

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http://www.marketingwords.com

Karon Thackston is a no-nonsense freelance copywriter whose forte rests in teaching copywriting and SEO to others. Her straightforward, no-nonsense advice makes the complicated seem simple.

 

Site #9: David Garfinkel

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http://world-copywriting-institute.typepad.com

If you’re looking for someone who not only know what they’re talking about when it comes to copywriting, but also knows how to explain it, look no further. While David’s blog is not always updated frequently, you’ll find plenty of gems there.

 

Site #10: Perry Marshall

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http://www.perrymarshall.com

While Perry Marshall isn’t someone we immediately think of when think of “copywriting,” he certainly has plenty to offer in this area. As the leading Adwords and pay-per-click advertising expert, you can find great advice on his blog. Visitors to his website can download free guides, read articles and check Perry’s speaking schedule.

Top 10 Content Marketing Mistakes

content-marketing-mistakes

People use the Internet as a problem solver, as entertainment and to find information. Content is the perfect way to provide this to your target audience through blog posts, articles, reports, email and more. Content is definitely one of the easiest ways to reach your target market of buyers with little to no cost out of your pocket… as long as you do it right.

Simply publishing content and hoping that the sales will start flooding in just isn’t going to work. Content marketing requires a solid plan and approach to be worthwhile for your business.

One way to start moving in the right direction is to avoid many of the common content marketing mistakes. This guide will take you through 10 of these mistakes and make it easier to get content to grow your business.

 

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Promote Content

content strategiesIf you’re like many content publishers, you take great pride in your work and painstakingly create awesome content for your readers. But no matter how great our content is, if we don’t actively promote it then we’re cutting our opportunities short.

When you publish any content, make sure you put in as much effort into spreading the word as you did to creating it in the first place.

  • Share your content with your mailing list.
  • Announce your content on your social media accounts.
  • Redistribute your content to other websites.
  • Ask friends in your niche to share your content.
  • Make sure you have social sharing options for the readers of your website.
  • Provide affiliate links to your content, so your affiliates can share it too.
  • Use paid advertising options to promote your content even further.

The important lesson here is that creating content is only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to work to get people to read it.

Mistake #2: Failing to Reuse and Repurpose

If you’ve been publishing in your niche for a while, you’ve probably created a ton of content and covered a wide variety of topics. The great thing about all the work you’ve done is that you can use it over and over again. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time you create new content because you’ve already done a ton of the legwork.

Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Articles can be bundled up into a special report and given away freely, as a bonus, or even sold as part of a product.
  • If you have a report, it can be broken up into articles and redistributed.
  • Submit your content to print publications like newspapers, magazines and local newsletters.
  • Create a video or slide show presentation out of your how-to articles.
  • Have your audio and video materials transcribed into written format.
  • Build on existing content by expanding certain points, introducing new ideas and more.
  • Share older popular content with new members of your audience.

There’s no sense in letting your hard work just fade away. Keep your content working for you instead.

Mistake #3: Missing Call to Action

call-to-actionFor many, content creation is a labor of love. We love the topics we cover and are passionate about our subjects. We just hope that somehow that passion will turn into profit. We’re told that if we create content, people will see us as experts and they’ll buy our products and use our services.

But here’s the problem with that idea.

If you don’t tell your readers about your products and services, they aren’t going to know they can buy them.

Each piece of content should have a purpose and a call-to-action. Whether it’s to get a quote for your roofing services or an opportunity to get a free crochet pattern, it doesn’t matter. Content should always have a purpose and you should know what that purpose is.

 

Mistake #4: Not Understanding Your Target Market

Having a deep understanding of your target market is key to content marketing success. If you don’t know what makes your readers tick, how can you possibly create the content they’re looking for?

An understanding of your target market can come in a number of ways:

  • Keyword research that shows you what people are searching for in your subject area.
  • Paying attention to blog and social media comments.
  • Asking your readers questions. What are they concerned about? What do they want to know?
  • Consulting published market research, but understanding that this is just a start point because your unique audience may have different interests.

Know who you are marketing to and the right topic ideas will be easier to find.

Mistake #5: Creating All Your Own Content

We’ve already established that content marketing isn’t simply about creating content. There’s plenty of planning and marketing involved outside of what gets typed on a screen.

The most successful content publishers get help with their content and rarely write it all themselves. Guest writers can add fresh and new perspectives to your website.

When you get help in creating your content, you can focus more on getting results from your content.

 

Mistake #6: Lack of Relevance

Have you ever signed up for a mailing list and then scratched your chin at some of the stuff the list owner sent to you?

no-relevance

For example, you sign up for a mailing list about work at home and suddenly the owner sends you offers for weight loss products. Sure, we can make the connection between working at home and weight loss. After all, those of us who work at home can attest to the fact that getting enough exercise and maintaining one’s weight can be an issue, but it’s not what we signed up for when we subscribed.

The more relevant you can be, the better your results will be in the long term. Your readers will know what to expect and you will continue to grow your understanding of what your audience really wants. Be relevant. Every time.

 

Mistake #7: Not Prioritizing Content

There are many options when it comes to content publishing. You can write and distribute articles. You can blog. You can email your list. You can post a video to YouTube. The possibilities are nearly endless.

But one thing becomes quite clear – different methods will work better for you than others. It’s important to focus on those methods and make them a priority.

There’s no sense in trying to juggle too much and do everything in a mediocre fashion. Figure out where you really shine and put your focus there.

Mistake #8: Not Sharing Other People’s Content

blog3It’s natural to stay focused on one’s own content. After all, we’ve taken the time to create the content and it has been designed to promote our business. However, there are a couple of benefits to sharing other people’s content.

First, by sharing content with your audience, you can be seen as a valuable resource for great content. Introducing your readers to new perspectives and ideas is a good thing.

Second, by sharing you’re forging relationships with your fellow publishers. If you readily share content, people are more likely to share yours.

Take the time to find some useful content for your readers and share it via email, on your blog or through your social media accounts. Make it a habit and see what happens.

 

Mistake #9: Not Interacting With Your Audience

There’s no getting around it. Today’s web is interactive and our readers expect interaction. As a content publisher, you should be prepared to respond to comments, answer questions and engage your audience frequently.

This doesn’t mean that you have to open yourself up to answer phone calls and individual emails every day. That’s not a good use of your time. But do be available through the content channels you operate on. There is no such thing as a one way conversation.

 

Mistake #10: Quantity over Quality

sample-pic1It’s true that more content gives you more opportunity to be seen, but focusing on quality means your content can go even further. Take time to produce more detailed content. Make it more visually appealing. Publish it in a variety of media. Take the time to do things well.

When you do things well, people will recommend your content. They will come back for more.

If you instead publish thin and barely helpful content, they won’t tell anyone else and they sure won’t be back for more.

If there’s anything that’s clear from these 10 content marketing mistakes, it’s that you need to put your focus into what works and to put in a complete effort to reap the full benefits. Publishing content…even great content…simply isn’t enough to grow your business. There are many pieces to the content marketing puzzle, but once you put them together, the results can be amazing.

8 Post-Penguin Link-building Tactics

linkbuildingIn many ways, the Google Penguin update really tossed up a lot of what the internet marketing world thought they knew about SEO. Many old link-building tactics, such as buying .edu links, mass blog comment posting or article directory submissions not only lost value, but could actually come back and hurt your rankings.

Today, the search engine game has more and more become about getting real, genuine backlinks back to your website. Low quality backlinks have lost massive value, while high quality backlinks are gaining more weight.

In addition, Google is placing more emphasis on person to person relationships. In other words, social media relationships are beginning to play more of a part in search engine rankings.

It’s safe to assume that Google Penguin won’t be Google’s last big tossup. As search engine technology and especially the AI technology that was developed for Panda evolve, we can expect more big changes to roll out. More likely than not, these changes will further deemphasize low quality linking and prop up high quality linking even more.

So in the post-panda world, what can you do to build more backlinks and build your rankings? Read on.

1) Guest Blogging

One fantastic way to build links to any website is to write guest blogs. What’s amazing about guest blogging is that not only do you get high quality links back to your website, but you also get to put your content right in front of real people in your industry.

There are a few different ways to write guest blogs. The easiest way is to head over to MyBlogGuest.com and find other blogs in your industry who want your content.

This is fantastic for links, but most high quality, high traffic blogs won’t be advertising for guest posts this way.

Instead, you need to approach them directly. Try to build a relationship with them by commenting on their blogs and interacting with them over Twitter. Build high quality content on your own website.

Then, when you think you can provide something of value to their audience, send them a message directly with your proposal.

 

2) Help a Reporter Out

One of the best ways to get in contact with reporters who need stories is Help a Reporter Out (HARO.) This is a free site where reporters who need sources go to post what they need.

Sign up for their newsletter. Anytime a reporter requests a source in your area of expertise, contact them. Get in touch and let them pick your brains about the topic.

This benefits you in a few ways. First, they’ll often link to your website right then and there. Make sure you ask them to make the link active, as often newspapers will just write your site in text without linking.

Second however, you build a relationship with that journalist. If you keep doing this, you’ll soon have a small rolodex of press people who’re in your debt. When you next launch a creative or edgy product, you can get in touch with them and manufacture your own press blitz.

3) Contact Your Commenters

If you run a blog, discussion board or website that has any kind of social interaction, chances are other people who also have websites are going to contact you.

Whenever you receive a comment from someone who says they love your site, get in touch with them. See if you can arrange some sort of backlink deal with them.

These people already love your content. Getting them to agree to have you write a guest post or even give a free link back to you on a relevant page shouldn’t be too difficult.

Nicole speaking4) Build Real Relationships

Go to conferences and cultivate real, genuine relationships. Meet people face to face and engender goodwill.

A lot of people will link to you if they like you and you ask. In fact, for many high profile individuals that’s the only way you can get them to link back to you.

People with massive twitter followings or blog followings are very rarely going to link to you if you just ask them out of the blue. They don’t know you and receive a dozen such requests every day.

On the other hand, if you meet them in person, have a good conversation and develop a rapport, there’s a very good chance they’ll do you that favor. That’s how you get the PR5 and PR6 backlinks – Through real personal relationships.

5) Social Bookmarking Websites

Getting your content to the front of a social bookmarking website like Reddit, Digg or StumbleUpon is a fantastic way to drive tons and tons of traffic your way. If you’re making this a genuine goal of yours, make sure your server is setup to handle the traffic.

If you do manage to get your post ranked highly on a social bookmarking site, you’ll see tens of thousands of people flooding into your website. Don’t be alarmed if the bounce rate is much higher than usual or the time on site much lower. The quality of traffic from these sites tends to be lower, as people on these sites click many links in a short period of time.

The real value you’ll get from getting on the front of a social bookmarking site is through the links you’ll build. If you land on the front of reddit, you’re going to get dozens or even hundreds of backlinks in a matter of hours or days. These will help your rankings for the rest of your site’s life.

6) Build a Strong Social Media Presence

Google is paying more and more attention to social media. Already Google +1s carry a ton of weight. If someone +1s any of your content, there’s a great chance that your site will be popping up very often in the search results.

Create a popular fan page. Be active on Twitter. Get Google +1s. If you’re not already active on social media, now is the time. The time for webmasters to “wait and see if it matters” is over.

Experts have said it. Web stats have said it. Users have said it and now the search engines are saying it: Social media matters. Today, not only will it drive visitors, but it’ll drive rankings as well.

Social media links might not matter in the traditional PageRank passing sense, but having a strong social media presence will still certainly help your rankings.

Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz
Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz

7) Do an Interview

Find experts in your niche and interview them about the subject.

When you do this, the expert will often link to you. Other people will link to you. It’ll be fantastic for search rankings, for Twitter, for Facebook, for your email list and for building traction all around.

Again, the key to getting people to agree to be interviewed is to build personal relationships. Either that, or build relationships with key networkers who can introduce you to other influential people.

8) Start a Video Series

Videos are a fantastic way to both get new visitors and improve your relationship with your old ones.

Start a video series and publish it regularly. Get people in the habit of receiving content from you. People who love your content will watch and share your videos regularly. Keyword optimize your videos and there’s a great chance that you’ll rank highly on Google or YouTube.

These are nine linkbuilding tactics you can use today to generate real, genuine links that post-penguin Google will love. What’s more is that these linkbuilding tactics will almost definitely survive the next Google update, and the one after that. These links aren’t built on quick-fix solutions, but actually get you real endorsements from real people.