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10 Easy-to-Fix Content Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

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Content Mistakes

Over the past few years, content marketing has emerged as the answer to a lot of our online marketing challenges. And because it works, we all do it—but not all of us do it as successfully as we’d like.

Granted, there’s no fool proof marketing plan that guarantees success. The only guarantee we have is that we’ll make mistakes and hopefully, learn from them. Unfortunately, a lot of times we don’t even realize we’re doing something wrong…and that’s where the trouble starts.

Below are 10 easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes you may not even know you’re making.

1. Not Reusing Content Effectively

The beauty of content marketing is in its reusability. Just because you’ve written a blog post doesn’t mean its life expectancy is limited to that post alone.

Expand on the topic and write a short ebook, report or white paper on it. Turn it into a presentation, a podcast, or even a video. Better yet, invite an authority on the subject and interview them. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Editor’s note: You can also do the reverse and take other content, like ebooks and presentations and turn them into blog posts. For example, every year, we turn the presentations at NMX into several blog posts, like this one we published based on Dino Dogan’s session at NMX 2013.

2. Using Jargon

Using industry jargon is a big fat “no” in content marketing and most of us know it. But we still end up using it in our content. We forget that our audience might not have the same understanding of the subject that we do.

Sure, we live, breathe and sleep our respective niches – but our readers don’t.

So go through your existing content and weed out any jargon used in your copy and replace them with layman terms.

3. Ignoring Your Current Audience in Favor of Attracting a New One

This phenomenon used to be a classic customer service mistake but it’s found in content marketing too now. A lot of times, content marketers are so focused on gaining new readers/followers/subscribers that they ignore the ones they already have.

Find a balance between the two but always give more importance to your existing audience. After all, retaining an audience is a lot easier than attracting a new one.

4. No Email Subscription Option

Is your content marketing strategy too focused on social media? Do you measure the success of your content in terms of social shares?

If yes, then it’s time to step back and think about email subscription. Social shares are fleeting. Once someone shares your content, they’re gone. There’s no way to contact them again or even find out who they were in some cases.

Email subscription on the other hand gives you the foot in the door you need to make a lasting impression.

HubSpot does this brilliantly. They have visually appealing call-to-actions for email sign ups after every post they publish.

5. No Incentive or Bribe to Encourage Sign Ups

Here’s the thing. Folks who sign up for newsletters don’t do it because of your stellar content. Well some do, but they’re very rare. Most of them sign up because they want to receive something in return. Something they can only get if they sign up for your newsletter.

Jon Morrow used his free report “52 Headline Hacks: A Cheat Sheet For Writing Posts That Go Viral” to get 13000 email subscribers for his new blog before he wrote the first post.

Crazy, right?

Your audience is more likely to do what you want if you give them an incentive. So make them an offer they can’t refuse.

For even more tips, check out this post on getting more email subscribers.

6. No Automation in Place

Even if marketers have their email subscription and incentive in place to capture leads, your subscribers will forget about you if you don’t follow up.

Even if they think the free report/ebook/ecourse etc. they received was brilliant, they won’t seek you out unless you do so first.

Email auto-responders are the best way to do that. They keep your audience engaged even when you don’t have the time to talk to them. It also saves you hours and hours of time you’d otherwise have spent coming up with content ideas.

Spend time creating an auto-responder series relevant to your subscribers and then watch as they become more and more engaged with your content.

7. No Guest Blogging

Content marketing isn’t worth the time, money and energy you invest in it if you don’t have authority. One of the fastest and most effective ways to build authority is by guest posting on reputable blogs.

Find popular and well respected blogs in your niche and reach out to them for guest blogging opportunities. Plenty of popular blogs accept guest posts and even have guidelines listed for them on their website.

Want more advice on guest blogging? Check out the following posts:

8. No Branding

Your online marketing efforts can’t be successful until you get your branding right. And having a great logo, professional web design, and stellar content is all well and good but that’s not the whole equation.

Your branding needs to be on every piece of online property you have your name on. That includes everything from the background and cover photos of your social media profiles to your email signature.

Here’s a tip not many people think of. If you’re investing in stock photos, get the right license and brand them as well. This way, when someone tweets, shares or pins your photo, folks will know at a glance who the content belongs to.

9. No Clear Call to Actions

The whole aim of producing, publishing and marketing content is to get people to take a specific action. Yet so often, we forget to include a call to action. We assume that since it’s a blog post, readers will comment. Or just because it says “free report”, folks will automatically sign up to download it.

If you want your readers to take action, you have to prompt them to do it. Figure out what action you want a particular piece of content to encourage and then spell it out.

10. Ignoring Smaller Tools and Tactics

Content marketing isn’t just about the big things like blog posts, newsletters, freebies and guest posts. It’s also about the small things you do to prolong the life of your content.

Don’t shy away from using different tools within your content that encourages sharing. Occasionally give away a freebie for the price of a tweet or a Facebook share. Include a “Click to Tweet” link in your blog posts, ebooks and other content to make it easy for people to share it.

Take a quote from your content and put it on an image to make it more share worthy. The Write Life does a great job of doing so in their posts. They then use those photos in their Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ updates.

What’s other easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes have you seen people make?

Image credit: Bigstock (altered)

No More Excuses: Top 10 Reasons to Start a Business Blog in 2014

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bigstock-Beautiful-woman-with-thoughtfu-29888243(1) A few weeks ago I taught a blogging webinar for consultants as part of a social media education series. At the beginning, I did quick survey to gauge the knowledge base. Not surprisingly, my audience ranked high on awareness and interest in social media, and also appeared savvy in running their businesses.

What I didn’t expect, though, were the reasons accomplished business owners didn’t have a blog: lack of confidence, worrying about that first step, not knowing where to start. See a theme here? It’s all about getting started. For all you “blogcrastinators,” 2014 is the year to launch your small business blog. With each passing day, you’re missing out on one of the best, easiest, and most fun ways to grow your business (yes I said fun). Not convinced? Here are the top ten reasons:

#10-Be an original: Blogging was the first social media: If you think showing your social media chops consists of retweeting other people’s ideas, reposting industry articles on LinkedIn, or asking provocative questions on Facebook, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Blogging is the granddaddy online social media provocateur, and in a larger sense, the hub of all social media network connections—so go be an integral part of it.

#9-Regurgitated content doesn’t help your business: All that social media you are blasting out might be interesting, but it doesn’t have your thumbprint on it. Why not take advantage of social media to its fullest? Even better, your blog will provide you with an ample, endless supply of content to use, repackage, and repurpose for other marketing. In other words, promote yourself first, others later.

#8-Add instant cred to your business: Want to impress a client, customer, or new prospect? That’s guaranteed when you mention your blog in conversation, include it on your email signature, or any other subtle PR move—people will automatically take your business more seriously. It tells the world that you’ve made the investment to reach, influence, and connect with your audience, and those perceptions help your business star rise.

#7-Create an “open space” for thought: One of the great things about blogging is that it will stimulate and trigger an amazing cornucopia of ideas. You’ll find yourself constantly scouring for interesting ideas to post (in a good way), getting inspired to tackle topics you wouldn’t have dreamed of otherwise, and feeling the push to research new topics of interest. Blogs provide a great venue for this. You have to experience it to believe it, but trust me you will.

#6-Win-win with the competition: Check out the blogs of your competitors and see what they’re writing about, their style, how often they post. Then make sure you are writing better and differently, with a style unique to your business. Stand out in the blog crowd. And of course when you’re pushing yourself to higher standards, it nudges everyone else to get on that higher ground too.

#5-Become a better writer: They say a habit takes three months to adopt: When you start blogging on a regular basis, I guarantee you’ll find that your writing becomes more crisp, focused, and better as time goes on. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, and nowhere else is that more true than the art and discipline of writing.

#4-Get out of your comfort zone: It’s not often we get to email an industry expert to get an interview,  become an instant authority overnight by reading up on a topic voraciously, or whip up commentary post on anything we desire. Whatever path your blog takes, you will meet interesting people, learn about new things, and blogging will surely stand out as a unique, creative part of your business—and life.

#3 Become the master of your blog domain: Don’t drive yourself crazy with high expectations that you will be blogging on a daily basis—That is just not going to happen (feel free to prove me wrong though). Start your postings slow and build up—consider once a month or every other month. Then add in as you can. Posting every week on a certain day is a noble act, but only commit to what you can reasonably do. I advocate regularly and religiously, but not ridiculously.

#2-Cultivate a new way to express yourself: For those fearing the combo click of the keyboard with the white computer screen, you’ll be surprised at how you enjoy writing when it’s a topic you’re interested in, and even passionate about (here’s hoping you find your business at least interesting, otherwise you should find another lot in life). That’s not to say that some posts won’t be difficult to write, or get rewritten 20 times and you’re still not happy, but in the end, you will be proud of your accomplishments as a whole. That I know to be true.

#1-Your small gains can lead to big changes: I’m not sure what the attendees of my blog webinar did after that course I taught a few weeks ago, but I can only hope it pushed them to the next step of starting a blog, whether it was to check out blog templates, or commit to some topics to write about, and in some way ultimately get over their fears to begin a blog. Speaking from personal experience, having and nurturing my own blog for three years led to a regular monthly post here at BlogWorld and a cascade of blogging work for my own business. Ask any successful entrepreneur, anyone who has changed a habit, or any small business owner that started a blog—it’s totally worth it on all levels. So start 2014 with your blog!

What’s your excuse for not starting a blog? What’s holding you back?

Image credit: BigStock

12 Types of Content That Spread Fast

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12 Types of Content That Spread Fast

Everybody knows the more eyes that see your content, the better—That’s why it’s so important to craft content that spreads. Do you know what makes content shareable? Does your audience regularly pass along your email newsletter? Do they repost your status updates? Are you getting retweets? Knowing the difference between content that’s read and content that spreads is the secret to going viral. So to give you a leg up, here are the 12 types of content most likely to spread.

1. News: Breaking news is always attention-grabbing, if only because it’s new. People like to feel in the know. So give your readers something worth spreading by announcing a big change or update.

2. Memes: Memes are made to be spread. They may be photos, videos, tags, or other media, but they go viral quickly, making them the perfect social media tool. Wonder how a company or blogger can use memes to spread a message? Consider the following examples:

3. Photos: Beautiful, eye-catching, noteworthy photos do well on many forms of social media, from Pinterest to Facebook. In fact, according to some research, Facebook posts with an image generate 120% more response than posts without one. So to maximize your influence, post attractive images readers will want to share.

3. Photos with Text: Sharing a quote is powerful, but sharing a quote as an image is even more so. Overlay attractive photos with text you wish to share to maximize its power.

4. Infographics: Infographics take photos with text to the next level, as they showcase important statistics and/or research in an eye-catching way. Whether your infographic shows the top risk factors for a certain disease or the difference between organic and non-organic produce, if the information is relevant to your audience, they’ll be interested and want to share it.

5. Lists: From “5 tips to improve your golf swing” to “The 12 secrets to saving money on car insurance,” readers like lists. These resources typically attract attention and get shared.

6. How-To Articles: Everybody likes a good “how to” piece so write posts that show your audience, clearly and compellingly, how to do something. When your information helps them, they’ll want to tell their friends.

7. Vulnerable First-Person Stories: If you want to move people to action, touch their hearts. That’s the logic behind the power of vulnerable first-person stories on social media. When someone shares something vulnerable and raw, readers respond—just look at this blogger’s birth story that has over 3,000 comments and counting.

8. Negative Stories: It might seem unfortunate, but it’s true: People are fascinated by bad news. Write about the negative side of a topic, and watch how many people click to read it.

9. Research: Facts and figures are sharable because they’re hard to refute—Nothing proves a point faster than cold, hard data. Share studies and statistics when they’re relevant to what you do, and your audience will be listening and sharing.

10. Video: If there’s one thing YouTube has taught the world, it’s that people love video. The most shareable videos are attractive, thought-provoking, and unique.

11. Problem Solvers: This type of content goes back to knowing your audience: What do your followers need? What problems can you help them solve? When you provide an actual solution to a problem, you can bet they’ll appreciate it—and that they’ll want to spread the word.

12. Posts That Mention Other Bloggers: When you post a roundup of favorite links from across the Web, you do more than give your readers resources—You promote other bloggers who will often, in turn, promote you. Bloggers like to let their readers know where they’re mentioned—so mention them in your content, and they’ll want to pass it around.

What do you think? Have you tried all of these content types already? What have you found as a result? Could implementing these ideas help push your content farther into the world? Why not give them a shot?

24 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Content Curation

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Brilliant Bloggers is a bi-weekly series here at NMX where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every other week, we’ll feature a brilliant blogger, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Content Curation

Special thanks to Joel Zaslofsky for suggesting this topic!

The number of people who understand the value of online content is growing, and thus, content curation is becoming a more important topic. Pinterest, which is my personal favorite social network, is build on this idea of curating the content you like best, and each Brilliant Bloggers post here on the NMX blog is a form of content curation. If you start hunting for it online, the idea of better ways to manage content pops up time and time again.

True content curation isn’t just about bookmarking a link so you can come back to it later. It’s about organizing the content you enjoy in a meaningful way and, in many cases, being able to share the content you’ve curated. Content creators need to be involved in this conversation as much as possible, since it is easier for your content to be seen by the right people if it is curated and shared correctly. That’s why so many food, wedding, and fashion sites suddenly found that not only does Pinterest drive traffic, but it drives the right type of traffic – people who are more likely to become regular readers.

Be part of the conversation. Check out the links below about content creation and consider writing your own post with thoughts on how we can, as an entire world of Internet users, curate and share content more effectively.

Brilliant Blogger of the Week:

gianluca The Content Curation Guide for SEO by Gianluca Fiorelli

This post from Gianluca is from about a year ago, but it is still extremely relevant. And don’t let the title mislead you – although he wrote it with SEO in mind, it gives a good general overview of content curation complete with tons of tools to use for discovery and creation.

In addition, I highly suggest you follow up by reading his Social Media Curation Guide as well, which is a more recent addition that adds many more resources to Gianluca’s first post.

Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter at @gfiorelli1 and check out his website for more blog posts and information about his SEO services.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

  1. 3 Essential Content Curation Best Practices to Boost Content Marketing Performance by Lee Odden (@leeodden)
  2. 4 Content Curation Tips You Can Take from Brand Success Stories by Pawan Deshpande (@getcurata)
  3. 5 Cool Content Curation Tools for Social Marketers by Aidan Hijleh (@Benchmark_Aidan)
  4. 5 Tips for Great Content Curation by Steven Rosenbaum (@magnify)
  5. 5 Ways to Use Content Curation for Marketing and Tools to Do It by Susan Gunelius (@susangunelius)
  6. 7 Top Tools for Content Curation by JD Lasica (@jdlasica)
  7. 8 Ways to Discover Valuable Social Media Content by Andrea Vahl (@AndreaVahl)
  8. 12 Attributes of a Successful Content Curation Strategy by Heidi Cohen (@heidicohen)
  9. 23 Ideas for Content Curation by Danyl Bosomworth (@SmartInsights)
  10. 55 Content Curation Tools To Discover & Share Digital Content by Shirley Williams (@williampearl)
  11. Best Apps for Content Curation by Jennifer Good (@jennifer_good)
  12. Content Curation – 5 Ways to Succeed…Eventually by Jay Baer (@jaybaer)
  13. Content Curation: Definition and 6 Tool Options by Tom Treanor (@RtMixMktg)
  14. Content Curation: Find Time or Find Help. by Deana Goldasich (@goldasich)
  15. Content Curation Primer by Beth Kanter (@KANTER)
  16. Content Curation vs. Content Creation: Finding the Right Combination by Christina Walker (@chwwalker)
  17. Curated Content Delivery Formats: Beyond News Portals and Magazines by Robin Good (@RobinGood)
  18. How Do We Define Content Curation? (Weekly Q&A) by Ann Smarty (@seosmarty)
  19. How to Curate Content Like a Pro by Bob Geller (@rgeller)
  20. Is Social Content Curation The Next “Better” Thing? by Kelsey Jones (@wonderwall7)
  21. The Difference Between Content Curation and Link Spraying by Erica Ayotte (@inthekisser)
  22. The Right Way and Wrong Way to Curate Content by Blog Bloke (@BLOGBloke)

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about content curation? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Brilliant Blogger Topic: Vine

I’d love to include a link to your post in our next installment– and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Ten Reasons Your Blog Needs a Podcast

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Okay, I have to admit it: After attending NMX 2013, I kind of want to start a podcast. About what, I don’t know, but the podcaster presence there rocked, and the Podcast Awards was one of my favorite parts of the whole show. I’ve been involved in podcasts in the past, but I never realized just how much I miss it.

I think that many bloggers out there could benefit from and would really enjoy having a podcast – and I’m not the only one with this opinion. At NMX 2013, Peder Aadahl, Dustin Hartzler, P.J. Jonas, and Jenn Swanson spoke on this very topic, with their panel presenting ten reasons why every blogger should have a podcast. Here are their ten reasons

  1. Podcasts can help you attract a new type of follower, expanding your audience beyond your current community.
  2. Podcasting often helps you improve your speaking skills, which allows you to get more speaking gigs and opens other opportunities to you.
  3. You can build loyalty with your voice that you don’t get with text, as it makes it easier for people to connect to you and trust you.
  4. Podcasting is not as hard as you think!
  5. With a podcast, you get the opportunity to talk to others in your niche, which helps you become a master of your subject.
  6. Podcasts are easy to consume, since you can listen in the car, at the gym, etc.
  7. You can recycle some of your best written content ideas by recording a podcast about these same topics.
  8. Podcasts allow you to tap into a new community.
  9. Having a regular podcast helps you improve perceived credibility.
  10. You can make money with a podcast.

To their reasons, I would add one of my own: podcasts are fun! When I used to be part of a video game podcast with a few friends, recording together was one of the highlights of our week.

If you still aren’t convinced, I recommend checking out the entire presentation at NMX University via our 2013 Virtual Ticket, which also gives you access to this and dozens of other sessions, including a number of presentations that will help you get started podcasting.

Bloggers, have you ever considered podcasting? Podcasters, what reasons can you add to this list?

There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills: Finding Hidden Content Treasures for Your Blog

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After blogging for a year or two, you likely have a rich library of evergreen content. Your blog is just bursting at the seams with these high-quality posts, but what gets the most attention? Whatever you’ve posted most recently. Some of your best content might never see the light of day again.

This content is gold. Older blog posts can be absolute treasures, helping you create new content and drive new readers to your blog. You just have to dig it out, dust it off, and repurpose it in the best way possible.

The Inspiration Bank

Since new content often gets the most attention, maybe it’s time to repurpose some of your old content into brand new posts. I keep a list of the very best posts I’ve ever written, and this is my inspiration bank. Even posts that are timely (i.e., not evergreen) can be part of your bank. What was most popular in the past and why? How can you replicate that success? Think about the topic matters you’ve covered and consider doing an update on them to create a brand new post for readers.

For example, let’s say you’re a political blogger. You probably covered the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections pretty closely. A year from now, it probably seems like those posts aren’t relevant – but they are! Posts that discuss candidates’ promises or predictions from yourself and others can be turned into excellent follow-up posts on the topic.

You can also use this kind of “updating” technique to produce high-quality guest posts. With guest posts, people are often more likely to visit specific posts you mention in the text rather than a general link in your bio at the end.

Build Your Mailing List

Old content – or should that be gold content – can also be extremely helpful in building your mailing list. Instead of writing a free ebook from scratch, are there post series that could be combined, edited, and formatted into a short ebook to give away in exchange for mailing list sign-ups? Or, you might be able to expand upon a post, breaking down your advice into more detail so you can turn the post into a longer format giveaway.

You can also look to see which posts were most popular and then offer a free webinar or e-course on the topic. Use your older posts as a jumping off point for this kind of education. It’s much easier than starting from scratch.

Reshare Instead of Repurpose

If a post is truly evergreen, repurposing it might not make as much sense as simply resharing it. The key is to share it with a new audience. For example:

  • When you first published the post, were you active on Pinterest or Google+? If not, share them with these communities.
  • Have you ever shared the post with your mailing list? Maybe it’s time to promote it in one of your newsletters.
  • Was the post shared at a certain time of day? Change things up and share it at a different time of day to hit different time zones.

Breathe some new life into that old content!

Of course, to have great evergreen content in your library, you have to be adding new evergreen content to your blog regularly. For blog content creation tips, check out our upcoming Blogging Track at NMX in Las Vegas 2013!

Photo Credit: Bigstock

How to Make Your Free Ebook More Valuable

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The problem with free ebooks is that everybody has one. Even when you create high-quality content that you could easily sell, it can be hard to entice readers to download it if they already have ten other recently downloaded ebooks just waiting to be read. So, while it’s important to write an ebook that people want to read, you can also go one step further and make your ebook even more valuable with supplemental content and special features.

I’ve written several ebooks, including The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, and Videos with Pinterest and The Ultimate Guide to Blog and Podcast Sponsorship for NMX and numerous other ebooks for my own websites and for clients. Let’s take a look at what I’ve learned about making free ebooks more valuable.

Video is Hot

Not everyone has the time (or makes the time) to read a 100-page ebook, even if the information is extremely valuable. Some people instead prefer video (or audio), and since fewer people are creating video resources, you can really stand out from the crowd by creating them. A good example is this video series about podcast sponsorship we created in conjunction with our ebook about sponsorship.

If you aren’t comfortable being on camera, consider creating a video using this scribing technique or even a simple voice over. You can also make use of video others have put online by finding videos related to your topic and compiling them into one playlist. You have less content control this way, but it’s an option that allows you to present video without actually creating video yourself.

Check It Off Your List

People like to be able to take action after reading an ebook or guide, so giving your readers a way to easily do that is a great added resource to your ebook. This can be in the form of a checklist or workbook. You’ll want to make them easily printable, leaving space for your readers to write if they’d like to do so.

The point is to give your readers guidance with really actionable steps that they can check off their lists so they’re implementing what you talked about in your ebook. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a printable. Another example is this five-part Pinterest series that outlines specific steps to take over the course of five days.

Follow Up with GOOD Paid Products

The point of any free product for your readers is to follow it up with something that benefits you, like a paid product. However, if you’re going to follow up the gift with a hard sell, make sure your paid product makes sense. I don’t want to download your ebook about email marketing and then have you try to sell me an ebook about editing podcasts. Those two things aren’t really related. Instead, if you get me to download your ebook about email marketing, follow it up with a paid e-course that goes into further detail about the topic. That’s something that I’ll be more willing to buy if I enjoyed your free ebook.

Three Steps To The Art Of The Tease

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Photo Credit: Tiom

When you want your listeners to stick around and listen to what you have to say, you need to give them a compelling reason.Your listener needs to anticipate what is to come later in the show. You need to excite them. You need to tease them.

Anticipation is a key feature to storytelling. Your story should build just like a good plot builds in a movie. You need to make your audience anticipate the content that is on the way.

Your story is similar to a vacation you are planning to take. The fantastic anticipation for the trip is almost as pleasurable as the trip itself. You can’t wait for it to arrive. You want your listener to feel the same way about your story.

When your listener can’t wait for the story to arrive, you have created some great content with a powerful tease. Your listeners will get more enjoyment from your show when they get the tease payoff more often. The pleasure of the “oh wow” factor will be increased. The joy of anticipation will keep your audience coming back for more.

There are three steps to creating an effective tease.

1. Intrigue me.

When you promote content that is coming up later in the show, you must give your audience an intriguing reason to stick around. It isn’t enough to simply say, “A great story about this weekend is coming up.” Few will stick around for the payoff. The tease lacks stickiness. It doesn’t hook the listener.

A creative tease produces anticipation. Instead, use something like, “You’re never gonna believe what I found in the attic this past weekend. My world is about to take a wild turn.” With that statement, your imagination begins to work.

What could it be? A wasp nest? An antique? A structural problem with the house? Imagination is the magic of a creative tease. Stir the imagination of your audience to truly engage them with your content.

When possible, intrigue by incorporating the listeners world. “This weekend, I discovered a way to save $100 a month on my grocery bill by changing one thing in the way we shop. I’ll tell you how you can do it too.” It answers “what’s in it for me” for your listener.

2. Give them 80%.

To create an effective tease, give your listener 80% of the story while leaving out the most important 20%. It is similar to giving the setup for a joke without providing the punchline. Lead your listener right up to the line, but make them wait to step over.

The key to an effective tease is to withhold the most important 20%. Let’s use our previous example of the attic weekend. I could say, “You’re not gonna believe it, but I found a $25,000 antique painting in the attic this weekend. I’ll tell you what’s on it coming up.”

This is a perfect example of withholding the wrong 20%. Who cares who is on it. If it’s worth $25,000, it could be a painting of the sky. It wouldn’t matter to me. I’d only be asking where I could sell it.

Twenty-five thousand dollars is the most exciting piece of information in the entire story. That is the piece that I need to withhold to create some excitement. To properly tease, I need to say, “In the attic this weekend, I found an antique painting of Napoleon. You’re never gonna believe how much it is worth.” You are more likely to stick around to see if I can retire on my winnings when I set it up in this fashion.

3. Make it impossible to search online.

You want your listener to keep listening for the payoff to your set up. If I can simply search on Google for the answer to your tease, there is no reason to keep listening. I can just look it up and be done with it.

You need to get creative to make your tease unsearchable.

Let’s say I have a story about Joe Celebrity getting drunk at High Profile Bar in Las Vegas over the weekend where he got arrested for assault. I could say, “Another movie star got arrested this weekend after he got in a fight with a customer at High Profile Bar in Las Vegas. I’ll tell you who it is coming up.”

Celebrity name is part of the correct 20% I’m withholding. However, I can look this story up on Google in a heartbeat. If I search “Arrest High Profile Bar Las Vegas” the chances are good that I will find the story in the first few search results. The tease isn’t effective. It is too easy to search.

To make the tease more powerful, make it impossible to search. “Another bar fight over the weekend landed another celebrity in jail. The story is coming up.” This tease makes it much more difficult to search. If you entered “celebrity bar fight weekend” in Google, 70 million results show up. It will be much easier to wait for my payoff than to begin searching 70 million Google entries.

The three steps to powerful teases will help you begin to engage your audience on the way to building powerful relationships. Use the three steps to entice people to listen to the episode. Then, use them again during the introduction of the show to get listeners to enjoy the entire recording.

You’ve worked hard to create your content. A lot of effort has been exerted on your part while writing and recording your show. Make your content intriguing by using these three steps to intrigue your audience.

When you use the art of the tease, your listeners will spend more time with your show. The increased frequency of the tease payoffs will help your audience enjoy your content more. When your show is more entertaining, it becomes more engaging. When you truly engage your audience with your content, you can begin building powerful relationships. That’s where trust and influence with your listener begins.

Quality Blog Content: It’s Not What You Think

Author:

Quality Blog Content “You have to have quality content on your blog to succeed.”

“Search engine optimization only works if you have quality content.”

“Content is king.”

How often have you heard people say one of the above phrases or another version that essentially boils down to the need for high-quality blog posts if you want to succeed as a blogger? The word quality is throw around more often than any other, and justifiably so. I fully agree with the advice that, as a blogger, you will live or die by the quality of your content.

But what is quality?

One of the main problems I see in blogging world right now is that few people actually define what constitutes quality content. So let me ask right now: What is quality blog content? I personally don’t think there is a single, all-encompassing answer, but if you aren’t asking yourself that question, I wonder: how can you honestly be providing true, quality content?

What Quality is Not

I think we need to be disillusioned about the true definition of quality content as it relates to blogging. What comes to mind when someone says quality blog content to you? I’ll tell you my knee-jerk reaction:

  • Quality content is well-researched.
  • Quality content is written artistically and with care.
  • Quality content is original and interesting.

That’s my knee-jerk reaction…but I’m not sure it’s correct. At least not entirely.

If your blog needs quality content to be successful, and quality content is well-researched, artistic, created with care, original, and interesting, I have to ask: Why are there so many popular blogs online that do not have any of these characteristics?

I’d like to suggest that quality is not the same online as it is in the print media world. In fact, I think the definition of content quality online is still evolving.

What Quality Really Is

So if quality isn’t any of those things I’ve listed, what is quality content?

I’d like to suggest that quality content is this: Content created that will help you reach your overall blogging goal.

We’ve been talking a lot about goals here on the NMX blog recently. Last week, I asked, “Are Your Blogging Goals Realistic?” and before that, I posed the question, “Are Your Actions Aligned with Your Online Goals?” As a blogger, you probably have (and should have) several goals, but if pressed, what is the single thing you hope to accomplish with your blog? Is your goal to…

  • Sell a product?
  • Raise brand awareness?
  • Position yourself as an expert?
  • Educate your community?
  • Entertain readers?
  • Promote a cause or idea?
  • Enjoy the blogging process?

Any of these are justified goals, and most bloggers will point to more than one. But what’s your one general, most important goal? In order to create quality content, everything you write has to be created with that one goal in mind.

Quality in Action

To illustrate how this works, I’m going to use two very different blogs as an example. The first is celebrity gossip blog TMZ, and the second is social media blog Social Media Examiner. Very different blogs, right? But in their respective niches, they are both extremely popular.

TMZ’s goal is to entertain readers. You don’t go to TMZ for education, and they aren’t really trying to sell anything. Readers visit TMZ as a guilty pleasure, to pass the time, and to satisfy the natural curiosity we have to know how celebrities live.

Social Media Examiner isn’t about entertaining readers. This site is all about education. Yes, they sell products, and I’m sure they certainly want to be seen as experts in the social media field, but overall, this site is about educating their community.

Forget about niche, if you put content from TMZ on Social Media Examiner, readers will absolutely not think it is quality. The opposite is true as well. TMZ readers would not be happy if they started blogging in the same style as Social Media Examiner.

The Subject Nature of Quality

To everyone reading this post, the choice may seem simple: You’ll take Social Media Examiner over TMZ any day, am I right? But we’re an insular community in many respects, and what we like isn’t necessarily what others like. A lot of people use the Internet not for work, but for relaxing when they get home. The last thing they want to read online is educational content. They want fun. To them, Social Media Examiner may seem extremely low quality because the posts are long and boring.

In other words, quality is subjective.

It’s important to remember that why you’re throwing around advice that writing quality content is important. What’s quality in one niche or even to one blogger might be drastically different in another niche or to another blogger. So before you point to someone and say, “You content is not quality” and more importantly before you give advice about how to create quality content, it’s important to step back and ask whether or not the content is aligned with the goal of the blog.

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