Be the Brainiac: Add Stats to Your Content

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Using Statistics in ContentFor the next couple of weeks, we’re going to go into some more specific detail about making your content more credible in the eyes of your readers. This week, let’s talk stats and next week, we’ll get into using thought-provoking quotations in your content.

Back it Up – Facts and statistics are used to back up claims or statements that you’ve made. For example, if you say that mobile marketing is growing then show how it’s growing with a statistic. It gives your content authority and credibility.

Write First, Insert Later – You can spend days researching statistics. Instead, write your content and identify places where you want to use a relevant fact. Then research for that specific information after you’re done writing. For example, if you’re looking for a statistic to demonstrate the growth in mobile marketing you might look up mobile revenue over the years or the number of people who shop from their mobile device.

The Original Source – When you find a relevant statistic, make sure it’s from the original source. You’ll likely find the same statistic quoted in several locations online. Where did the information originate? Who did the study? Who gathered the data and made it available? Occasionally, it can be difficult to find the primary source. There are clues. For example, if three of the websites that quote the source all link to the same website that may very well be your primary source.

Bookmark Good Resources – There are probably some resources in your industry that you can count on for reliable statistics. Industry publications are always a good source and they always cite their sources. Wikipedia also cites sources, and it can be a good starting point for some research. When you find a good source of industry related facts and statistics, bookmark it. Instead of endless Internet searches, you can head straight to your list of reliable sources.

By the way, if you need a good source of quotations sources, Alice has put some good resources together for you here in a PDF document (you’ll find quotations resources as well that will come in handy next week).

Beyond Print Content – In addition to sharing statistics in your written content, you can share them in video, via infographics, and as part of a graphic that you share online. Statistics also make great tweets.

If you’d like us to gather up the stats for you, we can do that as well. Just check out our research services here. That way, you can focus on the content and we’ll take care of those little details.

Put all this into practice by beefing up some of your existing content or sales pages with statistics. See what an impact they can make.

How to Proofread and Edit Your Own Content

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How to Proofread Your Own Work

You’ve written the perfect blog post or just completed your next ebook, but you’re worried that it’s not quite perfect. Every good writer will take some time to proofread and edit their content, but sometimes it’s not easy to check one’s own work. We’ve got some handy tips to help you do that or if you’d rather have us handle it, we can help you.

Let’s get started…

  • Pay Attention When Using Spellcheck – Your word processor’s spellcheck isn’t perfect. Quite often it’ll tell you to use “you’re” when “your” is the correct word and spelling. Rather than simply accepting all changes, which is tempting sometimes, pay attention to each change it recommends and make sure it’s correct.
  • Read it Aloud – Don’t rely on spellcheck alone. If you accidentally type “hat” when you meant “hit” spellcheck isn’t going to find that mistake. Reading your content aloud helps you not only find spelling errors, it will also help you identify sentences that are awkward or difficult to understand.
  • Know the Basics – Unless you’re a professional editor, you probably don’t have a comprehensive understanding of all of the grammar rules and that’s okay. Conversational content often breaks grammar rules. However, it’s always a good idea to understand the rules, at least a little bit, before breaking them.
  • Look Out for Those Tricky Words – There are words that people commonly misuse. We’re talking about “There, They’re, and Their” or “Too, To, and Two.” Keep an eye out for them when you proofread.

Read and edit for…

  • Clarity – Does your content say what you want and need it to say? Is it clear and easy to understand?
  • Style – Are you using words and language that your audience responds to? It’s often a good idea to avoid jargon and tech speak.
  • Voice – Do you use a consistent voice and is it appropriate for your audience? For example, if you want the piece to feel informal and conversational then you’d use the word “You” when talking to your reader.
  • Structure – Is your content easy on the eyes? For example, short sentences, subheadings and lists all help readers focus on the important material in your content.

Making proofreading and editing a regular habit will ensure you always put your best work out for your audience.

Wow Your Readers: Do Your Research

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Do Your ResearchIf you want to wow your readers with your content, all you have to do take some time to do a little extra research. When you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s happening out there, your readers see you as the authority in your subject. And when they think of you as an authority, they’re going to do more business with you.

That’s why it’s always worth it to take the extra time. Or, of course, if you don’t have the time as a busy entrepreneur, we can do the research for you - and then you can take that info and run with it.

But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, here are a few ways to do your online research…

Be in the Know: Reputable News Sources and Industry Blogs

Start by creating alerts with Google. Google Alerts allow you to get updates on content for subjects and keywords of your choosing. This can help round out your knowledge and various subjects, find new resources to subscribe to and even help you come up with new topic ideas.

Of course, you should also subscribe to industry news sources and blogs. You can organize the alerts and newsfeeds in your email system by topic and date. A feed reader like Feedly can help you organize the blogs you follow.

Then you can reference the information when you need it. For example, if you’re writing a blog post on press release distribution you can head to your feed reader and search for recent posts on press releases.

Search It

They key to efficiently and thoroughly researching your topic with search engines is to use specific and detailed keywords. It also helps to write your content first and then go back and look for places where you want to add information to support your claims.

For example, if you’re working on a blog post about press release distribution you might want to know which of the top services offer social media release features. You’d search for that information specifically. It is the fastest way to find the information you need.

Add to that, when search for topic information, consider differing viewpoints that you find. If you can present different viewpoints to your audience and illustrate why your viewpoint is superior, you can create some very compelling content.

Locate Credible Statistics

Bookmark a few of the leading research organizations for your industry. For example, MarketingProfs and MarketingCharts.com are both good sources of data and statistics for those in the marketing industry. Infographic sites like Visual.ly are also good sources of statistics.

There are also plenty of government sources for statistics. For example, FedStats.gov can help you locate the stats from various government departments that would serve a variety of niches.

General to Specific

If you have no idea where to begin with your content, sometimes a general search of information can help you build the outline for your content. Once you have the framework for your material or if you already know the key points you want to make, consider writing the piece first. Then research for the key pieces of specific information you need to help strengthen your content and support your points. This helps you maximize your time.

The great thing about taking extra time to research is you’ll likely find fodder for future content as well. Where you might start researching for one blog or email, you’ll probably end up with enough ideas to create multiple pieces of content.

Free Outsourcing Content Guide

Thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, but have concerns? Download your free 21-page step-by-step guide that shows you how to save time and maximize your profits through content creation. There’s no charge, just a quick opt-in required and you can unsubscribe any time. It's a real eye-opener and completely simplifies the content creation process for any online business owner.

Click here to get yours.

5 Steps to High Converting Email Promotions

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Get Them to Click That Buy Button

If you’ve ever sent out a promotion and it was a big flop (who hasn’t?), this is probably going to be a very important message for you. If you want to get more people clicking on your links and taking action on your offers, we’ve outlined 5 steps for you.

So let’s go…

1. Write a Captivating Subject Line

Think of your “Subject” line as a headline. The goal is to motivate your subscriber to open and read the email, so it has to be appealing. The most effective subject lines ask a question, state a benefit, or spark curiosity. Shorter subject lines are more effective than longer ones. Keep it around 50 characters or less. (“From” lines are important too. If possible, the “From” line should include both your brand and name. Emails from named people are more likely to be opened than emails from “Info@…”.)

We talked about this in-depth about getting people to open your emails. If you missed that message, we’ve posted everything for you here. Your subject line is the very first step to creating high-converting email promotions for certain.

Now moving along…

2. Identify a Problem and Make a Promise

Your first paragraph has the task of keeping your reader’s attention and motivating them to read more. Assuming you have developed a relationship with your email list, you can begin with a brief and friendly sentence or two. This reminds your readers that you’re a real person and someone that they have grown to like and trust. Transition into discussing a problem that they might be dealing with right now and providing some value in the form of a solution or the promise of a solution. This solution should directly relate to the product or service you’re promoting.

3. The Body – Length Doesn’t Really Matter

The middle section of your email promotion is where you actually provide your reader with the information about your promotion. Focus on what benefits the reader will get by taking the desired action. If you state a feature, also state the benefit. The length of this section doesn’t really matter, it can be a single paragraph, or five paragraphs.

The important takeaway is that you’re providing value to your reader. (Consider testing and tracking various lengths with your audience. You might find that your prospects prefer long copy over short or vice versa.)

For example, a business coach that is promoting a time management system might provide a few time management tips before leading into the promotion. Or, that same time management coach might simply transition from the problem, not enough hours in the day, to the solution, a simple system that helps you automate your most time consuming tasks.

4. Your Offer

Wrap your offer into the end of your message. If the offer is limited in time or quantity, let your readers know that. Urgency motivates action. Explain the offer in detail and remember to highlight how the various features of your offer will benefit your reader. Consider sweetening the deal in some manner. Add a bonus report or a free consultation. If they’re leaning toward a buying decision, this bonus often locks them in and helps them feel more confident about their decision to buy.

5. Your Call to Action

Don’t forget to tell readers exactly what they need to do right now to take advantage of your offer. Include a link that they can click on. It should take them directly to the payment page. This is also a great place to include a PS. Your PS can remind them that the offer is limited or to take action now so they receive the bonus. (Some people have found that an additional “buy” link in the middle of their message works well. It may be something to test with your audience.)

And of course, don’t forget to FOLLOW UP. If you just send one email, you’re missing out on a lot of potential income. People may have missed the first email, didn’t have a chance to check the offer or just need a nudge to take action. So always, always, always follow up.

How to Develop Successful Email Marketing Habits

A big part of email marketing success, comes from making it a regular habit. The more you work on growing and nurturing your list, the better your results. To ensure you develop those great habits, be sure to join Alice for the 30-Day Email Marketing Challenge. She’ll whip you into shape in no time.

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How to Get People to Open Your Emails

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Get Them to Open Your EmailYour email subject line has a very important job, but at the same time, it’s a very simple job.

That job is to get people to open your email. That’s all it has to do. It needs to pique your subscribers interest, so they open up. It doesn’t necessarily have to tell them what your email is all about or create world peace. It just needs to get them to open up.

Here are 10 ways to work your subject lines for better open rates:

1. Use Numbers In The Subject Line. One of the most effective tips for grabbing attention is to use a number in the subject line or headline. For example, “3 Tips to Live a Better Life”, “5 Mistakes You’re probably Making Right Now”, and so on. You can place the number anywhere in the headline. For example, “How to Increase Your Savings by 10%”, or “How to Win Big. 5 Lottery Secrets”.

2. Add Urgency. Now you probably know that using phrases like “Act Now,” and “Limited Time Offer” are a surefire way to trigger the SPAM filters and they tend to get deleted rather than opened. Instead, try softer approaches to urge your readers to open the email. For example, “I’m shutting this one down,” or “3 Days until the biggest sale of the year.”

3. Make a Promise. Demonstrate the value of opening the email right in the subject line. If the email is about saving time, then tell your readers in the subject line. For example, “How to save an hour, or more, a day.” If you’re offering a coupon or promotional offer, say so in the subject line. “I’ve never offers such a deep discount before.”

4. Ask Questions. Questions get people involved. They are intrigued and want to know the answer. For example, “Are you making these gardening mistakes?” or “Don’t you hate it when…” and fill in the blank.

5. Keep it Short. Your readers are only going to be able to see the first couple of words of your subject line. Try to keep it to fewer than 50 characters. One short sentence should capture your message.

6. Get Personal. People don’t like to see their name in the subject line every time, but it’s a great technique to use sparingly when you really want to get their attention. In the revers, you might try including your name or your information in the subject line. For example, “How I Recovered from the Biggest Mistake of My Life.” or “Julie’s Closets Reveals our Best Organization Tips.”

7. Consider Trends and Keywords. What’s hot in your industry right now? Capitalize on it and include the phrases in your subject line (as long as it’s relevant to the email content.) For example, when the 4-Hour Work Week was published coaches, assistants, time management software and anyone who thought they could, attached themselves to that concept and hot phrase.

8. Use Emotions. You know what your readers are feeling and what they want to experience. Use that information to craft subject lines that they can relate to. For example an organizing expert might use the following subject line, “Want to have the closet of a debutante?” Or, “If you get frustrated by _______, open this email.”

9. The “How To”. The “How to” approach isn’t a new trick, however it still works provided that what you’re telling your audience how to do is relevant and interesting. For example, “How to frost a cake,” isn’t particularly compelling. “How to frost a cake that makes Martha Stewart proud” is more interesting.

10. Track the Data. Whatever technique you use to increase open rates, test and track the results. You won’t know what your audience responds to unless you take this extra step. Pay attention to what they like and craft subject lines you know your audience will open. You can also split test different subject lines to learn what your unique subscriber base responds too and build on those test results.

The key thing is to experiment and try different things, so you know what works. Add to that, your subscribers will probably respond to the variation as well. If they see the exact same thing each time, they may become desensitized, so keep working at it and grow those open rates.

Oh and remember when we mentioned Alice’s 30-Day Email Challenge a little while back? When you join here, you get all kinds of swipe files and handy tools, including a subject line swipe file that will come in handy when crafting your emails.

Go ahead and get started with the 30-Day Challenge. We’ll be back next week with some email conversion tips for you, so you can sell more stuff.

Free Outsourcing Content Guide

Thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, but have concerns? Download your free 21-page step-by-step guide that shows you how to save time and maximize your profits through content creation. There’s no charge, just a quick opt-in required and you can unsubscribe any time. It's a real eye-opener and completely simplifies the content creation process for any online business owner.

Click here to get yours.

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