Boost the Relevance of Your Content with Benefits and Features

One cool thing about being a content marketer is that you tend to become an expert in your topic. You probably know an awful lot about your business, your project, or your subject matter.
In fact, you might actually know too much about it.
It’s called the curse of knowledge. Because we research our topics deeply and spend so much time writing about them, we tend to understand the technical specs inside and out. We have a great grasp of the under-the-hood details that make the thing work. And we think customers want to know all about those details.
But most of your potential buyers? They don’t care.
What have you done for me lately?
To be effective, marketing needs to show exactly what the offering does for the person buying it.
The features of your offer are what make it work. The benefits are the results it creates for the customer.
What transformation does your product or service empower? What does it allow the customer to become that she isn’t today?
Jimmy Choo high heels aren’t coveted because they’re comfortable or well-made. (Even though devotees believe they are.) Women buy them to feel confident and gorgeous.
Hybrid cars aren’t popular because they’re fuel-efficient, money-saving, or environmentally friendly. The real benefits are feeling virtuous and smart, with the warm, fuzzy glow that comes from believing you’re saving the world.
Your content and copy will never be truly relevant to your audience until you translate your features into customer-focused benefits.
The five-minute feature check
Quick, take a

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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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Bored with Your Blog? These 10 Tips Will Make You Fall in Love Again

Content marketing is a long game.
In one way, that’s excellent — because all of your lazy or undisciplined competitors are going to drop out.
In another way, it sucks, because we all have days when we’re lazy and undisciplined.
In the early days, we can get by on adrenaline and enthusiasm. But as the months pass, we need some strategies to stay in love with that blog, video channel, or podcast.
Here are 10 strategies I’ve found helpful when you don’t want to quit, but you need to get a little bit of the magic back.
1. Read outside your topic
When you’re mastering a new subject, it’s only natural to immerse yourself in it. You’ll read, watch, and listen to content obsessively while you pick up nuances and new ideas.
It’s a bit of a honeymoon with your topic … you can’t keep your hands off of it.
But honeymoons don’t last forever, and an obsessive focus on only your topic will quickly become boring for you … and for your audience.
Recognize when it’s time to turn your attention outside your topic. In the past year, I got a bit obsessed with urban sketching — and that sparked hundreds of insights about creativity and the artist’s mindset.
We recently decided to add a puppy to our household, and my obsessive immersion in research on puppy training is already giving me ideas about persuasion and shaping audience behavior.
Focusing outside your topic will make you smarter inside your topic.
It will also keep you

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

Sometimes it’s really helpful to prepare multiple pieces of content in advance.
You might be:

Launching your website and need to have articles already published on your blog
Taking a vacation and need to have your content scheduled before you leave
Looking for new ways to execute your content marketing strategy

But how do you plan your content, create it, and meet your publishing deadlines without getting overwhelmed?
Let’s start with a simple, small task: selecting one content idea.
Then we’ll break down that one idea into a fascinating four-part series. The process I’m going to share is a straightforward way to communicate your expertise, in a format that is easy for your audience to consume and share.
Shift from publishing content to building anticipation for your next installment
The example I’m going to give will demonstrate how to produce a four-part blog series, but you can adapt the guidance to produce podcast episodes or videos as well.
When you do, you shift from merely publishing content to actively building anticipation for your next installment.
Content marketing and copywriting work so well together because copywriting helps you stir something in your audience so that they’re invested in the content you produce.

If you produce one piece of content a week, the installments below will give you four weeks of content, but they could also publish four consecutive days in a row or every other day. See what works for you.
Installment #1: Establish your authority
Here’s where you select your content idea.
Let’s pretend you run

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Better Content, Better Websites, and a Little Inspiration

On Monday, Brian Clark kicked off a new series of quick copy tips. These are short, powerful techniques that can make your copy more persuasive and get you to your goals faster.
This time, Brian taught us about the Proclamation Lead — a way to cut through the clutter and start your content with a bang. If you’re struggling to make your content stand out, or you just want a potent way to get your message across, give it a try …
On Tuesday, we welcomed our colleague Chris Garrett back to the blog. He wrote about 10 rather sad business website mistakes he recently saw over and over again while he conducted some site critiques — and solutions that will make things better.
And on Wednesday, I asked our editorial team to share their favorite quotes about writing. If you need a little dose of inspiration, there’s a lot to choose from there.
On the Copyblogger FM podcast, I talked about when to go negative with your content — and when to keep things sunny and light. Positive and negative messages both have their place in a smart content marketing strategy, if you deploy them at the right times.
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

Capture and Hold Audience Attention with a Bold Proclamation
by Brian Clark

10 Often Overlooked Website Mistakes that May Harm Your Business
by Chris

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7 Classic Quotes to Inspire Your Writing

Writing is a glorious and rewarding experience, a noble craft, one of the most satisfying ways you can spend your time — at least, while your clothes are on.
Except for the days when it’s horrible.
Maybe that’s why writers love quotes about writing. They help remind us of those lofty aspects and give us courage to get through the crummy parts.
For your inspiration and encouragement, here are some favorite quotes on writing from our editorial team.
Brian Clark
Brian gets us started with one of the classics:
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
Robert Bruce
If there are two things Robert loves, it’s David Mamet and morbid references. His favorite quote combines the two:
“Having spent too many years in show business, the one thing I see that succeeds is persistence. It’s the person who just ain’t gonna go home. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to go home. This is what I’ll be doing until they put me in jail or in a coffin.” – David Mamet
Stefanie Flaxman
Stefanie’s favorite is an artful bit of philosophy:
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anaïs Nin
Chris Garrett
This one has been attributed to Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot, Cicero, and others, but it turns out it was originally written by Blaise Pascal. “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la

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