Oft-Overlooked Ways to Connect with More Prospects

This week, we talked about forming stronger relationships with prospects. Someone may know you, but do they like you enough to remain an engaged member of your audience? On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman kicked things off by asking that very question. Be sure to try her simple exercise for uncovering what makes you likable and crafting Read More…
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Do Content Writers Really Need to Think about SEO?

In my experience, creative writing pros have an endless appetite for writing advice. How to add more color and texture to your writing, storytelling techniques, endless discussions about the serial comma and finer points of usage. Elements like copywriting and conversion strategy? That tends to start to divide people up. Some writers want to pick Read More…
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Boost Your Search Engine Visibility with Our Free ‘Smart SEO Steps’ Ebook

As you develop your traffic and conversion strategies this year, knowing how to appeal to your human audience while optimizing for search is vital. Luckily, Rainmaker Digital CFO Sean Jackson wrote an excellent free guide that you can download right now — and you don’t even have to enter your email address. There’s no silver Read More…
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37 Ways to Rock Your Content

Sometimes, content marketing is a numbers game. And this week on Copyblogger, we have lots of ideas for well-defined, specific actions you can take to improve your website and create some excellent content.
Specifically, we have 37 ideas.
On Monday, Stefanie kick-started our week with a nifty little process to turn one lonely content idea into four strong posts. (These could, of course, be blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, or whatever content form rocks your world.)
On Tuesday, Jerod contributed three steps you should take right away to improve your site’s SEO.
And on Wednesday, I added 10 ideas for bringing the sizzle back when you’ve lost that loving feeling for your content. Because it happens, my friends, it happens.
Over on Copyblogger FM, we published an encore presentation of my podcast episode on the 10 quality signals that search engines look for on your site. These not only make your site look better, they actually … make your site better.
Jerod wrapped up our list on the Sites podcast, with 10 goals that make content marketing meaningful.
There you have it: 37 specific steps you can take to have more fun, create better content, and reach more people. Which one are you going to try first?
That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday.
— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on this week’s content

How to Turn One Content Idea into a Fascinating Four-Part Series
by Stefanie Flaxman

3 Important SEO Steps to Take

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3 Important SEO Steps to Take Right Away

What if we’re thinking about SEO all wrong?
You won’t be shocked to see such a question posed on this site — one that harbors posts in its archive with headlines like SEO is Dead and What if You Could Simply Eliminate SEO from Your Life?
Don’t get me wrong: we’re not anti-SEO.
Heck, we were recently awarded a U.S. patent for the Content Optimizer we developed that now powers the SEO tools bundled with our premium WordPress hosting.
We’re just anti some of the misguided notions and incomplete narratives about SEO that masquerade as good advice.
And one of the most fundamental mistakes I see people make is not fully appreciating the full breadth of each of the three terms that comprise S-E-O: Search. Engine. Optimization.
Notice the placement of that first period after “Search.”
It’s time to think beyond traditional notions of “search engines”
It’s easy to group the terms “search” and “engine” together. And for a long, long time, it made sense to do so.
When we used to discuss “search engine optimization,” we were mostly talking about searches typed into Google, perhaps Bing, or (going back further) Yahoo.
But now it’s 2017.
The new search
Gone are the days of only typed searches. People now conduct more and more searches with voice commands. A recent article on Forbes, 2017 Will Be the Year of Voice Search, makes a compelling case.
And who knows what will happen when we all have chips implanted in our brains that can read our thoughts. We

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Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

On Monday, our good and wise friend Andy Crestodina showed the difference between optimizing for search engines and optimizing for social shares. He also gives us a nice piece of advice about how you can get really crafty and do both.
Proofreading might not seem exciting, until the day you publish a post with the headline Making that Shit into the Next Phase of Your Career. Don’t let that happen; read Stefanie’s Tuesday post.
On Wednesday, Brian Clark reminded us that search and social get all the attention, but it’s email that pays the bills. He explains why email is the most important content distribution platform you have … and reveals that my favorite analogy for how to treat your audience has always given him the jitters. (Do you agree with him? Let us know in the blog comments! …)
And earlier today, I posted our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for April. These are fun, creative exercises we do together as a community. Both of the prompts are practices that will make your content better, and get you making more of it.
On The Digital Entrepreneur, Bryan Eisenberg shared his insights with Sean and Jessica on how to leverage Amazon self-publishing to find new audiences and customers. If you haven’t encountered Bryan yet, he’s a bit of a marketing and persuasion guru/ninja/Jedi/grand master … but the kind who actually knows what he’s talking about. He understands Amazon on a deep level, and the conversation is filled with useful

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How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

It’s as if they live in different countries: Searchlandia and Socialstan.
Search optimizers and social media marketers don’t get together a whole lot, at least not in the same piece of content. But there’s no reason they can’t peacefully coexist in one article, in one URL.
Imagine. One topic, one message, united in quality, but with two separate and equally powerful sources of traffic: search and social.
Is it possible? Can one post be optimized for both?
Yes. And when it happens, the traffic is greater than the sum of its channels.
Um. Actually, the traffic is equal to the sum of its channels. But we’re not here to do math. We’re here to create the right type of content that gets traction everywhere.
Optimizing for search
Let’s start with a rundown of search optimization.
Our goal here is to indicate relevance, not trick a robot.
After you’ve identified a target keyword phrase:
Use the phrase in highly visible places
Those places are the title, header, meta description, and body text (of course). Yes, the tiny, barely visible places are nice too — such as alt text and the file names of images — but they’re not as important as those primary spots.
If this isn’t obvious, just ask yourself:
If you were building a new search engine today, would an image file name be a major search-ranking factor?
Probably not.
Include words and phrases semantically connected to your phrase
You see words and phrases semantically connected to your phrase everywhere when

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Content Marketing Advice, with a Side of Snark

So today is April 1, which usually means we’ll try to feed you some stupid joke that will just make you roll your eyes when you realize the date.
Not this time, internet.
Brian kicked things off on Monday with three ways to get links that you haven’t heard 20 million times from people whose websites have no links. Plus he gets a little snarky, which you never want to miss.
On Tuesday, our friend Jon Nastor showed us how we can actually get listeners for our podcasts. It’s a useful thing to know, since the #1 question on the minds of new podcasters is: “For the love of all that is holy and good, is anyone ever going to hear this thing?”
And on Wednesday, Loren Baker helped you figure out why your site is slower than a slug on Xanax … and how to fix it. Seriously, there’s moss growing on that thing.
Moving to the podcasts: On The Showrunner, Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor discussed sponsorships and affiliate marketing. On Copyblogger FM, I considered the fine balance between being precise with usage and grammar … and just being an annoying jerk. And on Unemployable, Brian Clark talked conversion optimization with Talia Wolf. “Conversion optimization” is another way of saying, “People will actually buy what you are selling,” so don’t miss that conversation.
That’s it for this week … enjoy the goodies, and watch out for April Foolery!
— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on

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6 SEO Friendly Tips to Improve Site Speed on WordPress Blogs

In the world of SEO, user experience on websites has always been a factor, as has the time it takes for a site to load.
However, with the use of mobile devices surpassing desktop use (in most consumer-facing industries) and the wide adoption of broadband, people expect sites to load instantly.
Long gone are the days of waiting 10 seconds for a site to load.
If a page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, users will instantly hit the back button and move on to the next result.
Accordingly, Google officially started paying attention to site speed and declared its importance as a factor in rankings.
In order to keep up with Google’s site-ranking measures, WordPress blog users need to know exactly what they can do to improve their own site speed.
Remember when Google rolled out AMP (accelerated mobile pages)?
They now serve up publisher content in a simplified Google hosted experience that renders superfast. I like AMP from a user perspective because I know that AMP content will load incredibly fast on my mobile device, but as a publisher:
I’d rather speed up my blog and attract traffic directly to my site than have users stay on Google.
If you use StudioPress Sites or the Rainmaker Platform, your site will already load quickly. However, adding ad scripts, featured images, tracking codes, 301 redirects, etc. will slow down the loading of a site and increase demand on your server/hosting company.
Here are six simple

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