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How to Leverage People’s Search Behavior in Your Content Marketing

There are a virtually unlimited number of reasons people search topics online. If you take any 3 people searching for a topic, one of them could be doing research for a school paper, the second one could be comparing features for an upcoming purchase, and the third one could be thinking about starting a career…

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How to Create a Content Strategy that Supports Your Business Objectives

The first step in developing a content strategy is defining the heart of what you want the content to do for your business. These are your core business objectives. The second step is to decide how you will approach those objectives.  For example, if you have to go to Atlanta next Thursday (ie: your objective…

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The 2 Best Definitions for Content Strategy (and The Key to Making Sure You Have a Real Strategy and Not “Just Content”)

Let’s define content strategy. Content strategy is two things: First, it’s a process. Defined this way, content strategy is an ongoing planning process that uses content as the primary vehicle for achieving business outcomes.  Second, it’s a map. Defined this way, content strategy is a roadmap for how content will be created and deployed to…

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A Beginner’s Guide to Content Strategy (Useful if You’re a Visual Thinker)

The more I dive into content strategy, the more it reminds me of the Rubbermaid storage containers I have in the middle and bottom drawers in my kitchen.  The big drawers.  The ones where lids and sippy cups go to die (but occasionally come to life again when I’m in the mood for Spring cleaning.)…

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Direct Response Copy or Content Marketing, Which is Better?

It’s a strange experience when a direct response marketer dives deep into the world of content marketing. On the direct response side, there’s an approach that says, “Go for the sale. Get the click. Always be driving attention and action.” On the content marketing side, there’s the approach that says, “When people find information that…

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How a Direct Response Marketer Fell in Love with Technology (Despite Herself)

My background is in direct response marketing with an emphasis on brand messaging and market positioning. Generally, this means I set the direction and write the copy. But one time, after I wrote the copy, I discovered the client’s implementation team couldn’t do the next step of making the copy “go live.” I thought, “How…

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The #1 Mistake Content Marketers Make (and How to Avoid It)

You may have heard the phrase, “content is king.” But it would be equally accurate (and more useful) to say “context is everything.” Why? If you create great content but put it in the wrong setting, the content won’t get results. If you make this mistake, it creates a scenario where the writer goes down…

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What is “Content” Anyway?

Content marketing would be easier to understand if its core ingredient was less nebulous.  Any time I write an article about content I’m tempted to define content as: “You know, the ‘stuff’… anything you create that isn’t an ad.” But even that isn’t accurate because depending on who you talk to, an ad sometimes gets…

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What is Content Strategy? (For Online Communities)

Content Strategy gets defined in various ways but the easiest way to think about it is to imagine how the internet got started. Imagine a world of people excited about the opportunity to connect and share their ideas with people they’ve never met in person. Back in the day, this was a revolutionary idea. But…

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9 Persuasion Secrets of Powerful Ads Rediscovered in the Hidden Vault of Pulp Fiction Stories

Once upon a time, there were “pulp” magazines. Pulps were weekly fiction magazines printed on rough newsprint and sold for 10 cents an issue.    The paper was so rough you could see pieces of wood in the paper, and it wasn’t uncommon to get splinters from turning the pages.   And yet, these magazines…

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Is Your Topic Interesting Enough?

If you’ve defined the Core Topic of your community using the PLACE Method, you’re on the right track. The PLACE Method is a great way to start because it helps you choose a topic that either solves a problem or is something people are passionate about. The next step is to validate your audience’s level of interest,…

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3 Ways to Inspire Engagement Within Your Community

Some people assume that building an online community is a walk in the park. You choose a platform, sign up for an account, maybe design some pretty images on Canva with your brand colors and fonts… sounds simple enough, right? But once you get past these hurdles, you’re suddenly faced with the reality of finding people…

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How to Build an Effective Content Calendar for Your Online Community

Content is king and your community definitely needs a steady flow of it. After establishing your community layout, your next step is to create a content calendar. A content calendar will help you keep your thoughts and materials organized. But more importantly, it’ll keep your community members engaged and interested. Having a content calendar will help…

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4 Essential Steps to Structure Your Online Community

The initial steps of creating an online community boil down to a series of pretty clear steps… Identifying your Core Topic, assessing the level of interest in your chosen topic, and picking a platform are just the first steps you have to take before you actually get into structuring your online community. The structure or…

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5 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Platform for Your Community

If you’re all caught up with last week’s post, you’ve chosen a Core Topic and assessed your audience’s level of interest. This means you’re about to make a very important decision — where to host your new online community. While there are many options available, both free and paid, here are 5 questions to ask so you…

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