Content Marketing Put a Man on the Moon, What Can it Do For You?

By Lisa Buyer

NASA not only put the first man on the moon, but pioneered the use of brand journalism, product placement, and real-time storytelling with the epitome of transparency and authenticity. Here’s what you can learn from marketing the moon. …read more

Source: Search Engine Watch

    

7 Creative Proofreading Tips To Transform Your Jaggedy Draft into a Polished Post

By Stefanie Flaxman

I don’t get it.

When you find an article that is helpful or empathetic to your situation, you want to comment on it and share it with your friends.

You probably do the same when you find an article that is offensive.

What do both of those scenarios have in common? You understand the message the writer intended to convey … or at least you think you do.

So chances are good that the writer proofread the piece with meticulous focus and a creative spirit.

Wait, creativity and proofreading can go together?

You better believe it. Here’s how …

Proofreading and creativity are not mutually exclusive

We take for granted that the blog posts we interact with or spread around online make sense to us. Even if we disagree with a blog post’s author or misconstrue his intentions, we have still comprehended the text well enough to form an opinion about it.

Articles we don’t finish reading or disregard quickly may be confusing and poorly structured — glaring errors are major turn-offs. We don’t take the writing seriously and we go elsewhere to gain knowledge.

Even though every detail of your writing needs to reinforce the authority you strive to establish with your content, I’ve heard many people say that proofreading is their least favorite part of writing.

When you write, you get to be creative and expressive; proofreading is boring and tedious.

Like most circumstances, however, your approach to proofreading shapes your results.

An activity is only as boring and tedious as you make it. You can easily turn proofreading into an important part of your creative process that also improves the quality and clarity of your writing.

Ready to turn your rough draft into a polished post that readers revere? Here are seven creative proofreading tips that help produce professional-quality writing.

1. Open with confidence

Do not hoard what seems good for a later place … something more will arise for later, something better. ~ Annie Dillard

In order to nail your opening, you need to paint a crisp picture for your reader.

As you proofread the beginning of your blog post, analyze your initial message and tone from a stranger’s point of view. If you didn’t write the words that introduce a reader to your work, would you be compelled to keep reading?

Communicate your most innovative thoughts promptly — while the reader has given you a chance to prove yourself.

2. Detach from your ego

Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

Proofreading is a slow practice — painfully slow if you’re doing it right.

Rather than reading at a normal pace, you need to thoroughly scan each word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph. Does every facet of your content support the surrounding text, as well as your main point?

When you take the time to assess your article’s clout, you’ll be able to spot the parts you need to cut out.

Don’t cling to excessive thoughts if they don’t fit.

3. Choose your words wisely.

Words are a lens to focus one’s mind. ~ Ayn Rand

There are words, and there are the right words.

When you finally produce the right words that match the vision in your mind, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” immediately plays on the soundtrack of your life.

Give yourself time to craft the final version of an article because choosing the right words is a process.

Word choice makes the difference between writing that is just okay and a persuasive work of art.

4. Correct language flaws

Half my life is an act of revision. ~ John Irving

Rough drafts are supposed to be messy.

There would never be a single piece of completed writing if implementing perfect grammar and usage were necessary the first time you flesh out ideas.

Language rules can be a bit stifling when you’re inspired to create, but when you proofread your content, it’s not just about you anymore.

To communicate effectively, revise convoluted phrases that confuse readers … because that’s all grammar is: a tool that enforces clarity.

5. Guide the reader carefully

Punctuation is to words as cartilage is to bone, permitting articulation and bearing stress. ~ John Lennard

Punctuation enhances the benefits of proper grammar by marking your words with pauses and subtle expressions that promote the flow of your text.

Highlight each punctuation mark in your writing, and evaluate if it complements the structure of the sentence and paragraph.

On the other hand, if your writing lacks punctuation, your article may benefit from inserting symbols that direct the reader and help organize your thoughts.

6. Compose with style

Style is the answer to everything — a fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. ~ Charles Bukowski

If you write as you speak in order to convey your personality, you’ll end up with tangents, non-sequiturs, and consistency errors that are forgivable in speech but detrimental to your written communication.

Style is a set of guidelines that keep the language in your blog posts uniform and effortlessly comprehensible.

For example, a proper term, such as “Copyblogger,” needs to be written the same way throughout your text—not also as “CopyBlogger” or “copyblogger.”

7. Keep your eye on the prize

The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with. ~ William Faulkner

To reconcile discrepancies between the blog post you wanted to write and the blog post you actually wrote, write your content’s objective in 20 words or fewer in a separate document.

What’s the one main takeaway you want readers to learn from your writing?

Proofread from your target audience’s perspective with your objective in …read more

Source: Copy Blogger

    

An Open Letter to YouTube

By Phil Nottingham

Dear YouTube,

I’d like to spend more money with you. A lot more money. My clients are spending significant amounts on on TV advertising, which is becoming increasingly expensive and the value is hard to quantify.

AdWords has been a revelation for our digital media spend. Where once we were stuck to buying bespoke packages based on estimated impressions, real time bidding has allowed for a more efficient, targeted use of spend that means we can get our content in front of the right people at the right time. Alongside AdWords, Google Analytics has allowed us to track the performance and value of our adspend alongside our referring traffic from links, social media and organic search, meaning we can better understand our customer conversion funnels; and thereby create better ads which more directly serve user intent – meaning our money goes further and your users have a better advertising experience.

But, for some reason, we’re not there yet with video. The toolsets aren’t sophisticated enough, the tracking isn’t good enough and as a consequence, the content isn’t good enough and spend isn’t high enough. The majority of spend still sits with TV, where the creative fits in a tried and tested, broadly formulaic model. Therefore, with the little bit of online video advertising I’m working on, I’m just recycling formats made for TV, to fit into a pre-roll model that feels outdated, unnecessarily intrusive and increasingly ineffective.

If you could offer me a different model to this, an auction based, real time bidding alternative that allows me to break free of interruption ad breaks with the flexibility and accountability of AdWords, you can have all my money.

TrueView and AdWords for video are not good enough. The tracking is too low quality, the advertising options too limited and the quality of placements available not sufficiently exciting. However, with Chromecast bringing YouTube to the TV in a meaningful way and more and more people around the world holding a device capable of streaming video in the palm of their hand, I think you can get there.

I truly believe that with a few minor adjustments to your offering, YouTube can be the place where the biggest brands of tomorrow are built and the lion’s share of ad dollars spent.

So, without further ado, here is my relatively short list of requests…

Provide Full Integration with Google Analytics

While there’s currently some level of integration offered, the only pages we’re able to track are the channel pages: i.e.. http://www.youtube.com/user/DistilledSEO/videos & http://www.youtube.com/user/DistilledSEO/about, and this data is largely useless. What I really want is data on the traffic to video watch pages and playlists; pages where the majority of activity happens, and to be able to chop up and segment these views in exactly the same way as I do with traffic to my website. While YouTube Analytics offers a very broad overview of some of this data, it’s nowhere near sufficient.

Here’s what I specifically want to be able to do….

  • Segment demographic data against drop off rate and retention.

Right now, while YouTube Analytics will show me the age, sex and location of my viewers, I am unable to compare engagement and retention against these demographics. Until the available data is comparable, this is of limited value.

  • See the level of (anonymised) user data available in AdWords in GA.

I don’t care about keyword referral data, but I do want to know a bit more about the people watching my videos. You’re willing to offer this data in Adwords for video through the targeting options, so please make this data available in GA. Learning more about the interests and demographics of the audience I pick up organically will allow me to better understand who I should target for my AdWords campaigns, meaning I can then spend money more effectively, which will encourage me to spend more with you!

  • Provide full URLs in referring traffic report.

YouTube Analytics currently only shows details on referring sites and embedded players at a subdomain level. As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, having “Google”, “Disqus” or “plus.google.com” listed as top referrers isn’t terribly useful information…

  • Be able to accurately distinguish paid from organic referrals to my site from annotations & ad overlays.

It’s very frustrating to see people clambering for workarounds for what is a solved problem in all other areas of AdWords.

  • Be able to work out which videos have delivered referring traffic to my site and through which links (links in descriptions, annotations, ad overlays etc..).

This may be a caused by a site architecture problem – namely having all videos living on pages defined by parameters under the /watch subfolder… but, you’re Google! This isn’t tricky to fix! Having YouTube.com/watch listed as a referrer in GA is largely useless.

Allow us to add a rel=”canonical” tag to videos.

It’s extremely common that we’ll host a video on YouTube and then embed a video on our own site. While I think a lot of businesses take this as a default approach when they shouldn’t (i.e. with product videos) there are, nevertheless, completely sensible reasons for doing this – for example, with an informational video that we might create for a blog post.

In such instances, I want to be able to be sure the version of the video on my site is the one that will show up in the SERPs – not competing with the youtube.com instance and cannibalising rankings in the process. Just as I’m able to use the canonical tag to consolidate duplication across web properties I own, I’d like to be able to do this with my YouTube videos.

Are there any negative consequences of this for YouTube? Well, it means you’ll have to sacrifice consistently dominating Google search results, driving users instead occassionally to embedded versions of the video, rather than then video on YouTube.com. This may affect the amount of ads you can serve, …read more

Source: Distilled

    

How to Write Damn Good Sentences

By Jerod Morris

Well look at that.

Can you believe this is already the fourth installment in our 11-part series on the essential ingredients of a blog post?

Time sure does fly when you’re having pure podcasting fun … and churning out a new bite-sized episode each week.

We’ve already explained how to write a magnetic headline, discussed how to nail your opening, and (hopefully) convinced you about the importance of using persuasive words.

Today, we take it one step further.

Demian Farnworth imparts his vast wisdom to teach you what makes a good sentence a damn good sentence.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The importance of showing versus telling
  • Why you should trust your reader
  • How thinking about the 5 W’s (and the H) can help you write sentences
  • Active versus passive voice
  • Why reading Hemingway is one of the best lessons in sentence writing you could ever give yourself
  • Tips to improve your writing that you can implement today

Listen to The Lede …

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

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: How to Write Damn Good Sentences

Jerod Morris: You’re listening to The Lede, a podcast about content marketing by Copyblogger Media. If you want to get a content marketing education while you mow your lawn or while you fold your laundry, this podcast is the way to do it.

I’m your host Jerod Morris, and in this episode we resume our series on the essential ingredients of a blog post. You are going to learn about sentences, but not average or okay sentences … damn good sentences. And who better than the Duke of Damn himself, Demian Farnworth, to explain how.

Demian, I like alliteration and I like giving credit where it is due, and so I have a new nickname for you: The Duke of Damn. It’s one that you have earned with damn fine blog posts about how to write damn good copy, how to write damn bad copy, and of course, how to write damn good sentences — which is the fourth in our rundown of the 11 essential ingredients of a blog post. You are a master at the art of the sentence, which is why I want to do a lot more listening than talking on this episode.

So let’s start with the obvious question: What is the difference between a good sentence and a damn good sentence?

Showing versus telling

Demian Farnworth: It boils down to this: the difference between showing and telling.

A good sentence would tell you what’s going on in a particular action. So I might say, “She is crying,” versus something like “She sobbed,” or “She was trembling.” It’s simply the quality of — you have a concrete, specific image versus a sort of vague, ambiguous instruction. See, what you’re after is this goal of allowing people to use their imagination, and I think it comes down to this idea of being able to trust your reader, to trust them to use their imagination. And they will. I think there’s some confidence that comes in enjoying, embracing that idea that people are going to. If you say, “She wept,” that’s going to be more powerful than “She was over there and her eyes were wet with tears.” It’s a lot more powerful when it’s short and sweet, and it’s powerful like that.

But it’s not easy, right? I’ll admit that. It takes years of practice, but what you’re thinking about when you’re trying to show somebody, what you’re after, is being specific and concrete. And one way that I use to get to that point is to think through the five W’s. So you’re thinking of the who, the what, the where, the when, the why, and even the H, the how.

For example, you want to write a damn good sentence, so you would say, “In Istanbul, the bullfighter liked to drink vinegar because it made him angry.” So you’ve got a pretty specific, concrete idea that would allow you to get a vivid picture of what’s going on in that … there’s life to that … and there’s imagination. I know that just by saying the word “Istanbul” that people will get in their minds a sort of exotic, far-away, ancient city. There’s a lot of stuff that’s sort of swirling around, and that’s really the power of choosing the right words, choosing those powerful words, using those words that generate and paint that picture.

For the next part, in getting to that point of writing a damn good sentence, is this idea of creating images, and I kind of already did that. But here I want to talk more about something like this idea of the five senses. That’s what I kind of did in that previous sentence. But if you want to paint an image, you want to think through the five senses, also. So for example, that same sentence, I talked about, what is the weather like there? Is it hot? Is it cold? I imagine …read more

Source: Copy Blogger

    

How to Reduce Spam on Your Inbound Marketing Website

By Samantha Schultz Did you know that bots account for up to 61.5% of traffic, according to this study? This bot traffic occurs for a variety of reasons. For example, Google uses bots to spider the internet. There are also spambots, who act maliciously to add advertising links. Regardless, accounting for fake traffic and avoiding spam should be on every inbound marketer’s radar.

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Source: Social Media Today

    

How to Lose a Social Media Follower in 10 Days

By mleiter In honor of one of my favorite rom-coms, I made a list of 10 things that are sure to lower your social media follower count.While there are no set of rules for social media that one business should strictly abide by, there are certainly some things that will surely make you look like an amateur if you do them.

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Source: Social Media Today

    

Best Cities for Women Entrepreneurs [INFOGRAPHIC]

By maddiegrant What are the top 10 cities for women entrepreneurs? Weighing in at number 1 is Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital has the highest rate of women-owned businesses of the top 10 cities on this list. More than a third of the businesses in D.C. are owned by women, so new female entrepreneurs can find many peers and mentors.

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Source: Social Media Today

    

Socially Stephanie: All About Guest Blogging

By StephanieFrasco “Dear Socially Stephanie: I recently heard that guest blogging is a no-no. Do you agree? I’m not sure if I should focus my time on it.” This week, Socially Stephanie explains why guest blogging is under fire, why you shouldn’t be scared away from it, and how to do guest blogging right.

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Source: Social Media Today