How to Take the Guesswork Out of Content Marketing

Authority, our advanced content marketing training program, is open to new members this week only.
Why should you care? Read on.
Here’s the harsh truth about any marketing: there’s no magic switch you can flip to turn it “on” and make it start working immediately.
Marketing with content is no exception to this rule.
Content marketing results happen slowly, and they happen over time.
If you do it right, you’ll create content that continues to send you new prospects and customers for many years after you created it.
If you do it right is the operative phrase here.
Content marketing reality check
Too often, your content marketing efforts look like this:

You set out to create content that attracts leads to your business. It sort of works.
Then you hear about some new content marketing technique that promises to “revolutionize your business.” Maybe it’s infographics. Or SlideShare. Or webinars. Or Facebook ads. Or even marketing automation.
So you set out to learn this new thing. Because it’s #amazing. Right? It’s the thing that’s going to transform your business!
While you’re learning the new thing, the old reliable things are stagnating. That solid, effective content you could be creating gets ignored and abandoned.

Here’s the truth:
When you don’t know what really works, every new content marketing technique that comes along is a distraction.
Every new tool takes time and energy to learn.
In the meantime, you’re guessing at what will work. You don’t have time to investigate every claim, so you take a guess at what you want to try

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A Practical Approach to Using Powerful Cornerstone Content on Your Site

We’ve been talking about cornerstone content a lot lately.
Not sure what cornerstone content is? Here’s a quick explanation:
Website owners use cornerstone content to answer the fundamental questions their newest prospects have. Cornerstone pages are informative, instructive, and they help your prospects understand the foundational information needed to interact with your business.
Cornerstone content pages answer those cocktail party questions. You know the ones I mean, right?
They’re those questions you get asked at a cocktail party right after you tell someone what you do:

How does [your business] apply to me?
Why did you get into [your business]? What motivates you?
How can I get started with [your business]?
What do I need to know to be smart about [your business]?
How can [your product or service] help me?
If I’m just learning about [your field of expertise], what do I need to know first?

In this post, we’re going to cover how to use cornerstone content on your site and invite you to join us for free cornerstone content education we’ll offer next month.
You heard that right: free cornerstone content education! If you can’t wait to sign up for that, scroll to the bottom of this post and get your name on the list.
How to make cornerstone pages into content stars
We recommend you set up cornerstone content as a page on your site, not a post. There’s a good reason for this.
You’ll want to grant cornerstone content pages “most-favored content” status. You don’t want them to get lost in the mists of

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Why a Hot Seat Is Shockingly Good for Business

Back in 2004, the heat was on for me and my little marketing and design studio.
In those days, I was a single mom with a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old, and I desperately needed my business to produce.
And by that, I mean produce profit. I needed money, honey — to support my family, run my household, and build my business.
I knew it was time to ramp up my efforts. My business was successful, but it was time to take it to another level.
Around that time, I started hearing about mastermind groups.
And now, when I look back, I recognize that joining a mastermind group profoundly changed my business for the better, especially because of one specific exercise these groups do.
That’s what I’m going to share today. Because earlier this month, we began doing something similar inside one of our communities at Rainmaker Digital.
Mastermind groups around every corner
You know that thing that happens when you’re interested in something and all of the sudden you start seeing mentions of it everywhere?
It’s called frequency illusion, and that’s what happened to me with mastermind groups. Everywhere I looked, I saw mentions of them.
But every mastermind group I found met in person, either early in the morning or later in the evening. And those were both times of the day when I had to be on Mom Duty. Attending a meeting outside the home wasn’t an option.
And yet, I was convinced that a mastermind group was what I needed.

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3 Resources to Help You Become a Professional Content Marketer

Professional content marketers think like students.
They study all of the content they consume with a critical eye, looking for ways to learn from smart techniques that others use.
But how do you know what works right now in content marketing and what doesn’t?
This week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that will show you:

How to become a well-paid writer
How to form a professional support network
How to craft cutting-edge content ideas that grow your business

As you work your way through the material below, use each lesson as an opportunity to refine the way you approach content marketing.

The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living

A sustainable career as a writer seems like an urban legend to many people:
Non-writer: What do you do for work?
Writer: I’m a writer.
Non-writer: No, what do you do for work?
Writer: I’m a writer.
Non-writer: Huh?
Well-paid writers who work in content marketing do exist, and there’s something special about their traits, abilities, and strengths.
Sonia Simone shares The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living to help guide you along your journey to becoming a professional writer.

How to Earn More Money (and Keep Your Sanity) by Developing a Professional Support Network

When Beth Hayden quit her day job to start her own business, she was naturally apprehensive about the unknown.
However, the support and encouragement she received from her network of media professionals gave her the confidence she needed to move forward.
In How to Earn More Money (and Keep

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Your Last Chance this Year to Join Our Community of Professional Content Marketers

This week will be the your last chance this year to join Authority — our private community of content marketers.
We’re going to be moving to limited enrollment periods, so that the Authority team and I can put all of our focus on giving our community members the best experience we can.
But before we talk about the details of that — let me connect the dots if you don’t happen to quite know what Authority is.
So what is Authority, anyway?
Authority is a community of content marketers that promotes and celebrates excellence.
Who are these content marketers? Well, lots of them are business owners who have taken the reins for their own marketing — even if they outsource some or all of the actual writing and content creation. They know they need an in-depth understanding of the strategies that work for real-world businesses with real bills to pay.
We also have many, many freelance writers in our community. They use Authority to stay on top of the skills that in-demand writers need to position themselves at the top of the heap.
And we have plenty of serious bloggers and podcasters, who are taking the next steps and turning their interesting content into sustainable (and enjoyable) businesses.
Finally, we have a solid group of savvy professional content creators who work in organizations (also known as “day jobs”), who know they need to stay sharp to keep advancing in their field.
It’s a large and diverse group — but what they have in

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Test Drive Rainmaker Platform to Get Free Access to More than 230 Hours of Included Training

It’s been almost a year since we launched the Rainmaker Platform, which provides a complete managed website solution for content marketers and digital entrepreneurs. And as is customary for us, we’ve given our absolute best deal to the thousands who have joined us so far.
One of the truly generous aspects of the current offer is including our Authority training community free of charge — a $399 annual cost otherwise. Membership in Authority delivers an astounding amount of value:

More than 230 hours of on-demand content marketing education
Weekly events like webinars and Q&As hosted by our team of experts
An interactive forum for networking and asking questions specific to your work
Exclusive discounts on essential tools and live events
Discounted access to the Copyblogger Content Marketing Certification Program

So it would be crazy to just give Authority memberships away for free … right? Well, that’s what we’ve been doing for Rainmaker Platform customers.
You might have already guessed that’s not going to be the case any longer. So, if you’ve been considering Rainmaker, you’ll want to give serious consideration to getting started in the next week.
Were we too generous with Rainmaker?
The value of the Rainmaker Platform has always been clear:
Add up what you would spend on each of the individual components included in a single Rainmaker Platform account — hosting, security, design, landing pages, marketing automation, membership gateways, and much more — and the cumulative monetary cost would be much higher than the single quarterly or annual fee you pay for

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Claiming Your Power as a Writer

Do you remember the first time you spoke the words?
I’m a writer.
It’s a little like getting that letter of acceptance to Hogwarts.
It’s exciting and intriguing. Maybe a little scary as well.
Of course, your parents think you’ll end up living in a van by the river. You think you might end up living in a van by the river.
And there may be some marketing involved. That’s a little weird to think about.
The actual life of a professional writer isn’t always as fascinating or as sexy as people think. But that’s okay. You don’t have to ruin the magic for everyone else. In fact, I want you to own it.
No matter what kind of writing you do, the practical elements matter. If you actually meet your deadlines, you’re a rare and valued unicorn, and your clients, colleagues, and editors will love you.
But in addition to practical stuff, there’s the slight of hand.
The magic.
Yes, the world wants you to be a commodity
When you start out as a professional writer, you might think the landscape looks pretty bleak. Traditional journalism and publishing are struggling, and their writers are paying the price.
And we’ve all seen the cheap freelance websites, where clients can buy words that are churned out for pennies.
The work coming from those sites might be stiff, stilted, awkward, or downright ridiculous, but some clients just want words to fill up their websites. It’s a lousy strategy, but there’s not much we can do about

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The Real Value of Creating Value

Today’s guest on Hack the Entrepreneur is the co-founder and CEO of GroundMetrics, a unique technology startup in oil and gas exploration.
He began his career in business management and was a strategic marketing consultant. He then co-founded and ran CarCode Corporation, which was acquired by a major toll road management company in 2009.
In 2012, he won the Gold Award at the World’s Best Technology Competition, and the San Diego Venture Group’s Business Plan and Quick Pitch Competition awarded him second place.
Now, let’s hack …
George Eiskamp.
In this 28-minute episode, Hack the Entrepreneur host Jon Nastor and guest George Eiskamp discuss:

The positive effects of being an avid learner
Why you should become blissfully naive
How to become an expert in your field
The benefits of being wrong fast and making adjustments to fix it

Click Here to Listen toHack the Entrepreneur on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital commerce and content marketing podcast network. Get on-demand digital business and marketing advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post The Real Value of Creating Value appeared first on Copyblogger.

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How to Earn More Money (and Keep Your Sanity) by Developing a Professional Support Network

My house was packed with more than 40 women, and we were all chowing down on casseroles, salads, and brownies.
In February 2012, I hosted a potluck dinner for my networking and professional group, the Boulder Media Women (BMW). BMW is a group of more than 400 female media professionals who get together on a regular basis for happy hour events, group coffee dates, and potluck dinners.
BMW members are all associated with media in some way — we’ve got content marketers, freelance writers, authors, magazine editors, and graphic designers in the group.
On the night of my potluck on Leap Day 2012, I was getting ready to make a big, exciting announcement. I took a deep breath, stood up on a chair, and clinked my glass to get everyone’s attention.
“I have an announcement to make, everyone,” I said. “I quit my day job today, and I’m striking out on my own!”
The roar of support and approval that came from the crowd still rings in my ears today. I will never forget it.
Get the support you need to make big changes
For years, the members of BMW had offered advice, support, and encouragement as I planned my escape from cubicle nation.
They knew exactly how difficult it was for me to quit, and they were there to celebrate with me when I finally took the leap.
Knowing I had a supportive and encouraging network of freelancers, business owners, authors, and consultants made me feel like I

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A Lesson in Authority from a Wooden-Legged Civil War Soldier

Anybody out there know who Cyrus Trask is? Anyone?
You won’t find out who Cyrus Trask is if you eyeball a list of country singers. No. You can only find out who Cyrus Trask is by reading John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden.
John Steinbeck describes Cyrus Trask as the father of Adam and Charles Trask. Cyrus is the patriarch. The family stud.
He’s a daunting man who lies “so convincingly about his military heroics during the Civil War that the government appoints him to a powerful position in the Army administration.”
But he was never in battle long enough to acquire any real-world experience.
He went on a rampage to become an old soldier. He re-fashioned who he was and became a national hero and authority.
It’s also a beautiful story about how you as a writer can develop authority. Authority in your voice. Authority in your content. Authority in your domain.
In this 6-minute episode of Rough Draft with Demian Farnworth, you’ll discover:

People with authority have energy
People with authority have swagger
People with authority have substance
The downside of being an authority

Click Here to Listen toRough Draft on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post A Lesson in Authority from a Wooden-Legged Civil War Soldier appeared first on Copyblogger.

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