Friday, January 31, 2014

Infographic: The Super Bowl Ad Battle — TV, Facebook and Twitter


While many people will watch Sunday’s Super Bowl for the football, others will be more interested in the commercials.

Ampush, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, recently looked at the effectiveness of Facebook ads compared to television and Twitter, as all three will likely be in full force for the next few days.

Ampush found that Facebook ad campaigns drive more sales than TV and Twitter combined. The average Super Bowl ad is going for $4 million. Wonder what could happen if advertisers used that much money on Facebook or Twitter? Click below.

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Source: Inside Facebook

Infographic: The Super Bowl Ad Battle — TV, Facebook and Twitter

As Facebook approaches 10th birthday, Mark Zuckerberg opens up


On Tuesday, Facebook will celebrate a decade of social networking. The company’s Co-Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has recently opened up in candid interviews with NBC’s Today Show and Bloomberg Businessweek about the future of Facebook.

As Facebook matures into the double digits, it appears that Zuckerberg’s beliefs are changing. For instance, the new standalone apps (such as Paper) Facebook is developing may not require users to use their real name.

Zuckerberg spoke with NBC Today’s Savannah Guthrie about how Facebook has evolved over the past 10 years:

I remember really vividly, you know, having pizza with my friends a day or two after I opened up the first version of Facebook at my school. And, you know, I was just really excited that we were doing it at one school. And, you know, at the time I thought, “You know, someone needs to build a service like this for the world.” I always thought that was this incredibly important thing to have happen. But I just never thought that we’d be the ones to help do it. And, you know, when I look back over the last ten years one of the questions that I ask myself is why were we the ones to help do this? And I think a lot of what it comes down to is — we just cared more.

The full interview will run on NBC, Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Zuckerberg also offered an interview to Bloomberg Businessweek, who got a little more in-depth about the CEO’s plans for the future. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Zuckerberg is starting to embrace anonymity:

One thing about some of the new apps that will come as a shock to anyone familiar with Facebook: Users will be able to log in anonymously. That’s a big change for Zuckerberg, who once told David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, that “having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

At the time of Facebook’s founding, there was no such thing as real identity online. Facebook became the first place where people met one another as themselves, and the company was stubborn about asking users to sign in and share material with their own names. A Facebook account became a sort of passport to the rest of the Web, and with its success came new problems. No teenager wants to share insane party pics with a group of friends that may include his or her parents and teachers. And dissidents in parts of the world where speaking freely can be incriminating avoided the service in favor of alternatives such as Twitter, where real names are optional.

Former Facebook employees say identity and anonymity have always been topics of heated debate in the company. Now Zuckerberg seems eager to relax his old orthodoxies. “I don’t know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we’re at the point where we don’t need to keep on only doing real identity things,” he says. “If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden.” Paper will still require a Facebook login, but Zuckerberg says the new apps might be like Instagram, which doesn’t require users to log in with Facebook credentials or share pictures with friends on the social network. “It’s definitely, I think, a little bit more balanced now 10 years later,” he says. “I think that’s good.”

Image courtesy of Today.

Source: Inside Facebook

As Facebook approaches 10th birthday, Mark Zuckerberg opens up

Inside Facebook guide to the Super Bowl


As the Seattle Seahawks prepare to do battle with the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Sunday, let’s take a look at how the teams are performing on Facebook.

According to PageData, both teams’ Facebook pages saw massive jumps in likes after earning the NFC and AFC title games, with the Broncos adding 42,585 fans the day after they defeated the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks gaining 32,770 fans after beating the San Francisco 49ers.

Between the two teams, the Broncos have been the most talked about team in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, but the Seahawks are closing the gap. One of the biggest drivers of discussion hasn’t been controversial Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman or Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, but rather the largest city of Nebraska.

Here’s a look at key Facebook stats for the official pages of both teams, courtesy of PageData:

The Broncos have more fans overall, but the Seahawks are quickly gaining new fans. The People Talking About This metric is fairly close, as roughly 3,000 more people are talking about the Broncos on Facebook than the Seahawks.

The Broncos have also been the most buzzed about team on Facebook, at least according to the team page’s PTAT metric.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 9.49.52 AMWhile the Broncos were the most-talked about team (in comparison with the Seahawks) for most of the playoffs, Seattle’s fanbase shot back up in the days between the 2nd round of the playoffs and the NFC Championship game.

However, on Jan. 15, the Broncos shared a story where star quarterback Peyton Manning jokingly explained what he means when he shouts “Omaha” before several plays. The post has been shared more than 6,500 times, was liked by 33,301 people and generated more than 1,300 comments, giving the Broncos a nice boost in PTAT.

Most shared post of the playoffs



While the Broncos have been more popular on Facebook, Instagram data from Facebook shows that the #Seahawks hashtag has been used nearly 700,000 times, the #Broncos hashtag roughly 153,000 times. The hashtag #SuperBowl has been used a little more than 305,000 times this week.

Here’s a list of prominent players and official pages on Instagram:

Denver Broncos

Seattle Seahawks

  • Seattle Seahwaks (@seahawks)—318K followers

  • Russell Wilson (@dangerusswilson)— 432K followers
    • Seahawks QB; #3

  • Richard Sherman (@rsherman25)— 281K followers
    • Seahawks Cornerback; #25

  • Pete Carroll (@petecarroll)—54K followers
    • Seahawks head coach

Media/Brand Outlets

Top image courtesy of the NFL’s Facebook page.

Source: Inside Facebook

Inside Facebook guide to the Super Bowl

Make Money Promoting IMCreator Site Creator


Blogging is definitely my favorite method for creating web sites and blogs. It’s so easy to create a new domain, setup the hosting and install WordPress. Then you are ready to roll. You can also add in any custom features like plugins and themes to make your site look even better.

Still… this all may be complicating to someone who is just starting out and really just wants to get started with their own blog and doesn’t want to deal with learning FTP, plugins or how to setup WordPress themes and plugins. Granted, these are easy and simple to do for us, but can be quite overwhelming for someone starting out.

IMCreator is Dead Simple, Easy & Awesome

The best way to find success is to make something very SIMPLE and EASY to use, that people have a NEED for.

As of today, over 4,327,084 sites have been created through the easy site creator and their site has been mentioned on top news sites such as The Next Web, Venture Beat, CBS and The New York Times.

The process is crazy simple – especially for anyone just getting started.

  1. Choose a Template

  2. Start from Blank Page

  3. Access/edit all sites from backend

For the average and new blogger this is great because they don’t need to worry about the techie stuff and get too advanced.

I was able to throw this site design together in literally a minute or two. The system is really that easy to use and is great for anyone that never wants to touch HTML or get frustrated with their own site or blog.

Also be sure to check out my full review on at

How to Make Money with IMCreator’s Affiliate Program

Whenever a good product and service comes along, it’s always great to recommend it as a quality service. It’s even better if you can make some money in the process. IMCreator has just launched their new affiliate program and they are paying out $35 per sale for each new sign up to their site. If the volume and quality is there, they can go even higher.

As a partner of IMCreator, you would earn a commission every time someone joins their site and upgrade to their premier hosting/access plan, which includes a domain name, email address, unlimited space and more.

IMCreator License

The IMCreator affiliate program is run through the HasOffers platform and currently has two payout structures:

  1. ‘Premium affiliates’ which allows you to get your own link and promote it however you wish

  2. ‘Promote templates’ that allows you to showcase our templates on your website refer users based on their favorite template.

There is also a huge demand for businesses and brands of all sizes to have mobile based web sites, and this is something IMCreator has also been working on. You can also promote their mobile based service at, while earning a commission on all referred sales in the process.

Some great benefits to working with IMCreator is that they will create any custom banners and landing pages to help you with your campaigns. If you are able to drive a lot of volume or want to build out your own co-branding site, they also offer a white-label solution that would no doubt increase conversions for your site.

To learn more about this affiliate program and partner with IMCreator right now, you can click here to visit their Affiliate Program sign up page.

Copyright © 2014 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact us so we can take legal action immediately.

The post Make Money Promoting IMCreator Site Creator appeared first on Blogging Tips.

Source: Blogging Tips

Make Money Promoting IMCreator Site Creator

How To Get Leads From Your 404 Page – Part 2

Secure Affiliate Marketing

Back on January 21, I posted an article on how to get email leads from your 404 page.

Everyone loved the idea, and the LeadPages service made it extremely easy to set up your own lead capturing 404 page. If you have’t set up a custom 404 page to get email opt-ins yet, I recommend you do it right away.

For part two of the post, I’ve going to show you the benefits of setting up an email capturing 404.

One of the great features LeadPages offer is stats tracking for all the pages you create. Once your custom 404 page is set up on your blog, you can log into your LeadPages account control panel, and see how it’s performing. These are my results over the past ten days (from January 21):

I’m pretty shock at how many people land on a 404 page. I really didn’t expect that over a ten day period, 1129 people would hit a page not found on my blog. That’s over 100 people a day that I was just letting slip through my fingers!

Now that I have my custom 404 page (see below) up and running, I’m capturing nine percent of them into my email list.

custom 404 page

Over the course of a month, this would mean an extra 300 email leads that I wouldn’t have had. In my industry, each lead is worth a dollar a month. That means adding an email capturing 404 page by LeadPages is worth an extra $300 a month to me!

If you’ve set up a lead capturing 404 page, I would love to see your results. Please post it in the comments.

Set Up Your Custom Lead Capturing 404 Page with LeadPages

Source: John Chow Dot Com

How To Get Leads From Your 404 Page – Part 2

Free Shirt Friday- Above All @AboveAllOffers

This week’s free shirt Friday comes from Above All Offers. On top of a shirt they sent me a customized ShoeMoney skateboard!

Above All Offers established in January 2011, has quickly become the largest and fastest growing affiliate network in the industry. Based out of beautiful Eugene Oregon Above All Offers serves clients from around the world and is well known for having the most experienced and dedicated staff of any affiliate network. They pride themselves on standing out and making sure our Affiliates and Advertisers succeed. They do this by being the first affiliate network with an entire staff that is available 24/7, even their accounting department is open and available for instant payment support.


If you would like to see your website or company featured on Free Shirt Friday click here.

Looking for an SEO service that won’t get you banned?

Source: ShoeMOney

Free Shirt Friday- Above All @AboveAllOffers

How to View Constraints as Blessings in Disguise

“What we need is to tell a powerful story on our thank you card,” I said.

The team unanimously agreed to the concept and in minutes volunteered me to lead that storytelling project. This happened in the volunteer marketing team meeting at Sankara Eye Foundation, which has helped perform one million free eye surgeries in India.

Sending a thank you card is an annual project at the non-profit. We send out tens of thousands of thank you cards to all the donors and, of course, ask for more donations in the same outreach.

The task was clear and the constraints were set: a powerful and engaging story had to be told on a single thank you card.

Constraints generally denote problems. There is a negative connotation to the word itself.

But that is not the only way to look at constraints.

They can be positives too. It just depends on how you look at them.

Touching (in more ways than one)

It took several days and at least a dozen iterations before I was happy with the copy and the design.

Here is how the final card looked:

The recipient could clearly feel the emotional appeal. The entire story was encapsulated in one single sentence:

YOU know the JOY of taking someone from

T H A N K Y O U (in Braille)


T H A N K Y O U (in English)

The Braille section was embossed to create the “touching” part, both literally and figuratively. We had to tell a story in line with the theme of eradicating curable blindness. The design above achieved that while acknowledging the past and future contributions from the recipients (donors).

The verdict? The card was a hit.

Not only did donations pour in, but there were requests for more cards to be printed because people wanted to keep them as souvenirs.

Mission accomplished.

Constraint turned into positive.

Constraints lead to growth

A few years ago, I realized that constraints were really blessings in disguise.

Embracing and internalizing this changed the way I look at writing and the way I look at life.

My biggest learning and growth came when I worked through the constraints along the way. Whether the outcome was a failure or a success, one thing was common: there was huge personal growth as a side effect.

I have dozens of examples, and I have chosen from the world of writing to make my point:

Writing a 50,000-word book … in 30 days

The first four books I wrote were based on fiction. A story of how my first book got published (and the constraints involved in the journey) is here.

My recent books are all related to some aspects of business. I always wanted to write another fiction book one day. Since a wish alone is not good enough to move the needle, no real progress was made.

In 2009, I heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) — a movement to help aspiring and veteran authors start and finish at least a 50,000-word book in the month of November. The 30-day constraint and 50,000-word limit were intriguing.

I signed up right away and made a plan based on daily word counts. The math was simple: if I wrote 2,000 words a day, I would be well ahead of the schedule. I stuck to the plan for the first few days and was happy about it.

A group of us met at a fellow author’s residence for a writing blitz. The first few minutes went by discussing where each of us stood on the word count. Most of us were in the same range, but the host said she was at 2,500 words.

There was silence for a moment.

Everyone felt she was running way behind, but before someone spoke the host continued, “But not to worry as this is my third book this month.”

Now total disbelief filled the room.

The host explained that she has a different approach to writing in November. Her trick was to set an even more aggressive constraint (say eight days to complete writing the book), then all of a sudden the earlier constraint (30 days) seemed like nothing big.

This incident reset my outlook on constraints, reminding me that constraints are relative. It was a big lesson to learn.

Long story short: I completed 55,000 words on November 19. As you can see, this was well in advance of the November 30 deadline.

Provoking thought … in 140 characters

I resisted using Twitter for a long time, thinking it was a total waste of time. I even told several of my friends that they were wasting time on Twitter.

“After all, what can you really say in 140 characters?” was my explanation.

In one such conversation, my classmate Navin Nagiah (currently the CEO of DNN Software) asked me a question back: “Raj, is it that Twitter is a waste of time or that you don’t have what it takes to make the most of what the platform provides?”

It made me think. A lot.

The constraint immediately seemed like a challenge — an open invitation to test my creativity.

After a few days, I started writing a book using Twitter. It was my own collection of tweets to make people think, each with the hashtag #ThinkTweet.

It took longer than I thought to come up with 140 ThinkTweets, but it was worth the effort. It made me think about and rewrite the same idea multiple times before I posted it on Twitter. It was a lesson in learning how to say a lot in a very few words.

The book, titled ThinkTweet (foreword by Guy Kawasaki), was published in partnership with my friend Mitchell Levy.

Today, we have more than 75 books in the series, all in the format of ThinkTweets on various topics.

Teaching life and business lessons … in 50-word stories

I teach storytelling for startup entrepreneurs. I thought it would be good to have a set of stories through which I can explain the fundamentals of storytelling.

Mini sagas are stories that are told in exactly 50 words each, not a word more or less. Dan Pink revealed the concept to me in his book, A Whole New Mind.

So I started writing mini sagas not just for the sake of writing them, but with a purpose: to teach the craft of storytelling.

I fumbled. I fell down and got bruised everywhere because it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

Finally, I found an approach that made writing mini sagas a breeze.

Here are a couple of examples:

The Deal

The sales team in a startup was jazzed after a great customer presentation. The startup VC had a prior relationship with the customer. He called the customer and asked if he would buy the system from them. The customer politely responded “No way. The meeting was only for market research.”


It was a good year for John. His hard work had handsomely paid off albeit with sacrifices on the family side. When he told his friend Bob that he had many reasons to be happy about the year, Bob asked – “Why do you need a reason to be happy?”

The above mini sagas have all five elements of a good story: exposition, conflict, rising action, resolution and denouement.

And these mini sagas — thanks to the constraint of their format, not in spite of it — became valuable tools in helping me teach storytelling to startup entrepreneurs

A 5-step plan for seeing constraints as blessings

So how do you learn how to take a constraint and turn it into something that works for you instead of against you?

Here are five steps that will help:

1. Alter how you view constraints.

The majority of people whine and complain in the face of constraints. So it is easy to get carried away and join the majority.

The problem with whining and complaining is that it simply gives you a license for inaction.

The moment you begin looking at constraints as challenges and opportunities presented to you, your world will be different.

2. Have a beginner’s mind.

First, a definition of the beginner’s mind (from Wikipedia):

Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.

Constraints present new territories that you have not traveled before. Without an open mind, the journey gets rough.

With an open mind, you will start noticing possibilities that you didn’t notice before.

3. Practice effectuation.

Effectuation, according to Darden professor Saras Sarasvathy, is “a logic of thinking, discovered through scientific research, used by expert entrepreneurs to build successful ventures.”

In the insightful paper What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial?, Prof. Saraswathy outlines his research on the major difference between the mindset of the entrepreneurs and the mindset of others. Quick summary:

  • Others will identify a goal and look for resources to help them reach the goal.

  • Entrepreneurs identify all the resources they have and look for goals to reach with those resources. This kind of thinking is called effectuation.

While Prof. Saraswathy was referring to this in the context of entrepreneurship, effectual thinking is useful for anyone who is trying to get something done.

4. Keep iterating.

You have to start somewhere. Just know that the first iteration of whatever you create will be not up to the mark.

But without creating the first version, there is no possibility of creating the second version.

The journey has to begin, and you will go through several iterations before you are finally happy with what you have produced.

5. Get good help.

Last but not the least, getting good help is not a sign of weakness.

If and when you need help, it is important to drop your ego and ask for a favor, or do some kind of a barter and get the help you need.

How about you?

And now I turn it to you …

What current constraint in your life or career can you flip into a blessing or opportunity?

Flickr Creative Commons Image by Michael May

About the Author: Rajesh “Raj” Setty is a serial entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He currently serves as president of WittyParrot, is an award-winning teacher at the Founder Institute, and has authored 13 books. You can read his blog and follow him on him on Facebook or Twitter.

The post How to View Constraints as Blessings in Disguise appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Source: Copyblogger

How to View Constraints as Blessings in Disguise

Former Facebook France Director appointed to Social Moov board


Social Moov, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, announced that Damien Vincent joined their board to manage activities and development worldwide.

Vincent is formerly the Sales Manager and Director of Facebook France.

He expressed his excitement in a press release:

This is a great honor to join Social Moov’s team, an expert and dynamic company within Facebook’s ecosystem. I look forward to contributing to Social Moov strategy, to its international expansion and development of new products to better meet the agencies and advertisers’ needs.

For more than four years, Vincent acted as a Facebook ambassador, helping agencies develop their Facebook marketing strategies when the site was emerging to the general public. Previously, Vincent worked for an advertising start-up, was Business Development Manager of AOL, and Sales Manager of MySpace France.

Source: Inside Facebook

Former Facebook France Director appointed to Social Moov board

Online Marketing News: Top Vine Brands, Analytics Trends, Google DeepMind, Pinterest Gives GIFs, Google Dumps Smartphones

How Do Colors Affect Purchases? – For retailers, shopping is the art of persuasion. Though there are many factors that influence how and what consumers buy, a great deal is decided by visual cues like color. When marketing new products it is crucial to consider that consumers place visual appearance and color above other factors such as sound, smell and texture. KISSmetrics

Pinterest Gives the Gift of GIFs, Recipe Search – Pinterest news this week includes the launch of a new recipe search feature for special dietary requirements, personalized home pages (still being tested) and functionality for GIF images. ClickZ

Twitter Launches Card Analytics to Let Publishers Monitor Impressions, Clicks – The dashboard shows impressions, URL clicks, and app installs of a publisher’s tweets and mentions by other users, as well as easy ways to measure favorites, retweets, and follows. If Twitter can teach publishers how to create better content, the service as a whole will become more informative, engaging, and, ideally, money-producing. Here’s a video that explains the features in more depth. TechCrunch

Google Scoops Up Artificial Intelligence Firm DeepMind – The acquisition follows a series of purchase made this month including Android development company Bitspin, along with Nest Labs, and Impermium. DeepMind founders describe the company’s technology as combining machine learning and systems neuroscience to build general-purpose learning algorithms. MediaPost

Facebook News Feed Tweak Downplays Text Updates From Pages – The latest News Feed algorithm tweak will likely be good news for users, but could prove to be another headache for brands. A Facebook spokesperson says that they will start showing more text status updates from users in the News Feed, but it will downplay the number of text status updates from Pages. The change was based on an observation that Facebook users respond better to text posts from other users than they do from Pages. Mashable

Apple’s Next China Challenge Comes From Local Smartphone Rivals – China’s brands are likely to do well as demand grows for inexpensive smartphones. “Cheap devices are not the attractive segment that normally grabs headlines, but IDC data shows this is the portion of the market that is driving volume,” said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Business Week

The Instagram Rule of 11 – The number 11 represents a simple but important tipping point. Once you earn 11 likes on Instagram for a photo that you’ve posted, the service shrinks down the likes from a list of your friends’ handles to a number. For many users, this simple milestone is important. In a study MRY conducted on Millennials’ technology behavior, respondents noted passionately the need to reach this number. Apparently, there’s an Instagram “rush hour,” which takes place when people are commuting home around 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ClickZ

Google Ends its Motorola Misadventure – In an attempt to mimic Apple, acquiring Motorola was a failure. Phones such as the Moto X have not performed spectacularly; at the same time, Google’s ownership of Motorola irritated other handset makers, such as Samsung Electronics. Google also wanted to get its hands on Motorola’s deep patent portfolio and to neutralize the threats Motorola was making against Google and other members of the Android world. While they succeeded in avoiding an all-out Android legal disaster, they paid a price – selling Motorola for $9.6 Billion and effectively saying goodbye to the smartphone business. Forbes

4 in 10 Top Retail Brands Using Vine – Also of note, adoption of Pinterest has grown from 78% in to 89%, reports 8th Bridge, putting the visual platform on par with Twitter. Separately, 54% of retailers either already use (13%) or plan to use (41%) social login within the next year. If those plans materialize, retailers should be collecting a lot more social data; currently, the analysis finds that only 27% are collecting customer likes and only 2% are asking for a customer’s friend list and the friends’ likes. Marketing Charts

How the Top 100 Brands Use Twitter – Audiences for brands grew by 20% in Q4 2013 and brand tweets that included pictures and content links generated the most engagement. The average number of followers for the top 100 brands is 870,000, however 58% of the top brands have over 100,000 followers. Read the research as well as ways to increase engagement from Simply Measured.eConsultancy

Report: State of Mobile Advertising – The fourth quarter of 2013 closed yet another year of impressive growth for mobile advertising. In the smartphone OS race, Android is now the leader over iPhone. Within the quickly-growing tablet market, Apple still maintains a significant lead, but Android is staking its claim, and tablet impressions are on the rise. Read more insights and trends to watch for 2014. Opera MediaWorks

10 Web Analytics Trends for 2014 – Two trends that captured my attention are 1) Google compensating for ‘not provided’, e.g. If not showing the exact search phrase, perhaps they can expose search phrase categories or better integration with Web Master Tools; and 2) Better tools for integration with third party data. Since 2013 was the year of Big Data, 2014 may be the year we see web analytics platforms help site owners to have a more 360 degree view of their prospects and customers. What trends do you see ahead? Mashable

Google Adds a Knowledge Graph Popup to Search Results – The popup adds more information about certain search results, which sounds like it should be good for searchers. While this extra information could be good news for site owners, the popup also adds up to three extra links to the search result that don’t go to your website. Since it is Knowledge Graph data, the popups rely heavily on Wikipedia, which also may not necessarily be a good user experience, depending on how you feel about Wikipedia. Search Engine Land

New Data: 50% of Companies Use More Than One Marketing Automation Solution – Even if a lot of companies are using more than one marketing automation software solution, there’s really no one reason to explain it all. But, some might be spending way more money on multiple marketing automation solutions than they probably need to. Be sure to read the comments which are particularly insightful. Hub Spot

Facebook Ads Drive 60% Increase in Sales Revenue – Brands and companies are now being encouraged to concentrate on paid ads for their Facebook marketing strategies and forget the free channel of running a Facebook page. The latest report from Kenshoo seems to bolster the belief that this change in direction means Facebook’s becoming a more ad-driven marketing landscape, rather than a content driven one. eConsultancy

Foursquare Vulnerability Exposes 45 Million Users’ Email Addresses – According to a penetration tester and hacker, Jamal Eddine, an attacker could and did extract email addresses of all 45 million users just by using a few lines of scripting tool. Basically the flaw exists in the invitation system of the Foursquare app. He reported the flaw to Foursquare’s Security Team, and they have finally fixed the issue. The Hacker News

Report: Marketing Emails Opened on Mobile Devices Continue to Climb – Sixty-five percent (65%) of marketing emails were opened on mobile devices during the last quarter of 2013 up from 61% for Q3, most likely attributed to seasonal holiday shopping. Apple mobile devices beat out Android mobile devices for usage by a significant percentage, 50% vs. 14%, respectively. Marketing Land

Paid Search Advertising Accelerates in Q4 2013 – Paid search advertising increased significantly in the fourth quarter of 2013, driven by the use of Product Listing Ads and mobile devices during the holiday season. Smartphones and tablets also drove the paid search gains. (See above.) ClickZ

New Data: 9 Revealing European Content Marketing Trends to Watch – Curious about the state of content marketing in Europe? Take a look at this SlideShare and some recent data to find out about our content marketing compatriots in Europe and their marketing efforts. HubSpot

Social Sites Nipping at Facebook, Adobe Says – Facebook remains the gorilla in social media, but retail-friendly networks could soon spell trouble for the company. Twitter’s share of referred visits to retail sites grew 125 percent year-over-year, and Pinterest sent 89 percent more shoppers this year than last, according to Adobe’s Q4 2013 Social Media Intelligence Report, which analyzes social media. ClickZ See also ‘Tumblr No. 2 in revenue’ at Adweek from the same report.

Clickbait bites. Downworthy is Actually Doing Something About it – Marketers, publishers, and anyone on social-media should take notice: the backlash is officially here. One developer has had it with sites that post hyperbolic headlines promising to blow your mind and change your life. She has created an antidote to the rampant click-bait with a Chrome browser plugin, appropriately called Downworthy. Inc.

From the Online Marketing Community

On “What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Content for Links? The Wrong Answer Could Cost You,” Jay Baer said, Exceptionally rich insight here, Lee. I hope this post gets the attention it deserves because this distinction will define our industry for the next 24 months.

On “Podcasting: Storytelling for the 21st Century – Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices,” Loz James said, Great post Nicolette. I love podcasting and get more listeners to my podcast than visitors to my blog – which is great as they’re both doing well. It’s the idea of connecting directly with people so you can help them that appeals to me – and on a personal level you can learn so much and have some fascinating discussions with your guests.

Bill Freedman said, Podcasts are great. I’m a regular consumer. Your article is thorough and well written. Nonetheless, I’ve chosen not to put podcasts in my marketing mix. Not now at least. Why? It is hard to build a podcast audience and keep them coming back. What’s more, my favorite podcasts: The Moth, Planet Money, Leo Laporte, This American Life, Harvard Business Review, all started with a strong non-podcast brand and audience before adding a podcast to their mix. Add to that professional on-air talent and high quality production. Podcasting is easy to do, but very, very, very hard to do well enough to attract and maintain an audience. My belief is that it is easier to build a video channel than a podcast channel. But that is a different topic for a different day.

John Trader said, Nicolette, great article! I absolutely love the idea of providing an email address at the conclusion of the podcast for people to submit questions and then scheduling a subsequent podcast to answer them! I made podcasts a regular part of my marketing strategy in 2012 and have seen very positive results thus far. I need to take your advice and write more of an outline than a narrative when I speak so it doesn’t sound so scripted. That’s definitely a weakness for me. Thanks!

On “25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know According to LinkedIn,”Tia K said, #nailedit – This listed many of the top experts that I follow! But also a few others I definitely need to start watching :) Downloading the e-book now.

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

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Online Marketing News: Top Vine Brands, Analytics Trends, Google DeepMind, Pinterest Gives GIFs, Google Dumps Smartphones |

Source: TOP Rank Blog

Online Marketing News: Top Vine Brands, Analytics Trends, Google DeepMind, Pinterest Gives GIFs, Google Dumps Smartphones

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Buy a Blog?

Flippa and SEDO are some premium platforms from where you can buy a blog. Buying a blog could be a good investment, depending on reason for such a purchase. There is no singular manual to fit all blog purchases. You need to use discretion. Here is my simple guide to buy a blog.

5 Measures to Buy a Blog

They are:

  • Web Hosting & Domain:

Check the WHOIS records of the domain. Usually, you don’t need to pay additional hosting and domain charges while buying as the cost is inclusive. The seller usually helps to transfer the blog on your server and change the domain credentials.

  • Google Penalty:

Before you buy a blog, check whether the blog suffered any Google penalties. If yes, check what the blogger did to recover from those penalties. There is not much scope in buying a penalized blog as you have spend some time recovering it and you might not want to invest that much time.

Alternately, if interest still persists, ask the blog owner to take steps to remove penalty and once done, you can takeover.

  • Verify Statistics:

There is hardly any blog that doesn’t use Google Analytics (GA). Ask the blogger to give you admin access and login with your Gmail id to passive income like traffic sources, goals accomplished, traffic volume, page views, unique views, daily traffic potential and so on.

There is no benchmark that a blog should have a certain amount of traffic to make it sale-worthy. The benchmark depends on your pre-requisites.

  • Check Monetization:

Some people buy a blog because it’s a good source of passive income. Just place all variety of ads and start earning. Or, you could be an active blog seller, that is, a person who buys, improvises and sells the same blog at a higher price and makes a passive income. If you fall under these categories, check out the various monetization methods used by the blogger. It could be Google AdSense, InfoLinks, and BuySellAds, paid blog posting, affiliate earning and more.

Nonetheless, you could also consider buying a blog that is not generating any revenue currently but has much future potential.

  • Social Presence:

It is good to buy a blog with credible social media presence. Check out the blog’s reach via Facebook page fans, Twitter followers, Pinterest pins and Google+ followers. Make sure the social stats are legitimate and not fake. A blog with social presence has higher brand value.

These were the five basic metrics. Their importance depends on your necessities. After you buy a blog, announce it on the homepage. Further, the blog might be multi-authored. Don’t delete their presence by transferring content rights to your name.

Copyright © 2014 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact us so we can take legal action immediately.

The post How to Buy a Blog? appeared first on Blogging Tips.

Source: Blogging Tips

How to Buy a Blog?

Facebook ads in 4Q better than ever — but are they relevant enough?

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a goal for ads on the site: someday a post from Target will be as timely and relevant as your best friend’s vacation photos. While this may seem crazy at first, Facebook’s advertising offerings are getting better, as evidenced by record ad revenue in Q4.

Facebook released its Q4 earnings and usage stats Wednesday, showing an incredible $2.5 billion in revenue — $2.3 billion of which came directly from advertising. In Q3, Facebook pulled in $2 billion total and in Q4 2012, that figure was $1.5 billion.

However, Zuckerberg thinks Facebook ads can be so much more, and he’s not thinking in dollar figures.

He believes that someday, the ads within News Feed can be as timely and relevant as posts from friends and pages the user has liked. Zuckerberg discussed the company’s advertising mission in Wednesday’s earnings call:

Last quarter I talked about our efforts to grow our business through improving the quality of our ads rather than just increasing the quantity. Our goal is to reach a point where the ads are as relevant and timely as the content your friends share with you.

To do this, we’ve put a lot of effort into measuring people’s sentiment around our ads and seeing how people engage with them. We do some of the broadest surveys in the world. We survey more than 35,000 people every day to see how we’re doing, and we use the results to drive our product development.

Our approach is working. In the second half of 2013, we saw an improvement in sentiment about ads on mobile, even as volume grew during that period. We also saw sentiment on desktop remain stable. Interestingly, even as the volume of News Feed ads has grown, clickthrough rates have also remained stable.

Relevant has been one of Zuckerberg’s favorite words, but it’ll be difficult to see a News Feed in which ads are truly relevant. When a user sees a post from a coworker, relative or friend — there’s no selling aspect. It’s just a friend sharing a funny photo or linking to an interesting story. The relevancy is in the real-life connection that may have happened before Facebook was even a thought.

When there’s a Facebook ad in News Feed, even if it’s not commercial in nature, there’s still an aspect of selling that usually turns a user off. While more users are clicking on Facebook ads (and revenue, revenue per click and clickthrough rates show this), it may not be possible for an ad to be nearly as relevant as an authentic post from a real connection. A News Feed ad is still seen by many as an intruder, like someone who butts into a conversation or posts an ad flyer on the community billboard.

That disconnect (and the fact that there are plug-ins such as Social Fixer and Adblock) is why ads will likely never reach the relevance of a post from a real life connection. Many users like brands and even love them, but Starbucks or Walmart doesn’t have the same kind of real-life cache of a friend. While Facebook ads may continue to improve, full relevancy seems to be an impossible goal.

Though full relevancy will be hard to achieve, the ad offerings from Facebook are rapidly improving. Many advertisers, marketers and Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers were excited by Wednesday’s news.

Joe McCormack, CEO of Facebook PMD Adquant, weighed in on Facebook’s Q4 ad performance in an email to Inside Facebook:

Over 2013, our customers averaged triple digit ad-spend growth on Facebook. The growth that we saw on our platform is in line with what Facebook announced today. We think this is attributable to the major improvements Facebook made to their ad platform on a monthly basis over the past year. Additionally, our customers are very excited about Facebook in 2014 and plan increasing their ad investment in this upcoming year. We think this is the clearest sign yet that Facebook has successfully made the transition since IPO, from being in an exploratory phase where they were not yet sure where their revenues would come from, to building a robust business with a quality set of products.

Molly McCarty, Social Account Manager for 3Q Digital, sees a bright future for Facebook ads:

Looking ahead, I think we can expect budgets to be strong across the board. With the recent changes to Facebook’s advertising platform – including a much-needed improvement to the ads interface and the introduction of powerful new ad types late in Q3 – and the continual improvement of the algorithm, I fully expect performance to continue to be strong. I think it is safe to say that 2014 will be a year of positive changes for Facebook that will continue to reinforce Facebook as a leading platform for online advertising.

Readers: What did you think of Zuckerberg’s statement that Facebook ads could be as relevant as a post from a friend?

Photo courtesy of Courtney Rundles.

Source: Inside Facebook

Facebook ads in 4Q better than ever — but are they relevant enough?

Earn Big Bucks with Flights and Hotel Reservations

Secure Affiliate Marketing

I’ve always said that it is better to spend your money on experiences than it is to spend your money on physical things. Don’t get me wrong. I like buying new toys as much as the next guy, but I find that I extract a lot more enjoyment when I travel. And I still want to find the best deal on flights and hotels.

Everyone is always searching for a bargain, so why not capitalize on that trend by joining a travel affiliate program? One such program is Travel Payouts, providing you with all sorts of tools to help your visitors find the best deals on flights and hotels. And then, you can earn a sizable commission. Let’s get started with today’s review and get a closer look into what Travel Payouts offers.

The Travel Affiliate Program

In short, Travel Payouts is a travel affiliate program. As you can imagine, what this means is that post an appropriate link or form to your website, blog, social network page or whatever other property you have on the web. When a visitor completes a sale, you earn a commission.

Travel Payouts provides search engines where visitors can look up the best prices for their travel needs. Jetradar handles all sorts of international flights between all sorts of international destinations, Hotellook scours through over 250,000 hotels in 205 countries to bring up the best prices, and Aviasales takes care of flights in Eastern Europe with offers from 728 airlines worldwide.

How Much Money Can I Earn?

The travel industry is potentially very lucrative, but how much of the pie are you receiving? For each sale that you refer through Travel Payouts, you’ll earn up to 70% of the income that they receive.


The actual payout will vary, of course, but Travel Payouts says that the average payout for each airline ticket sold is $9 and each hotel reservation generates an average of $20 in commissions. Your mileage may vary (no pun intended), but some of the top partners earn thousands of dollars each month. This can be earned via your website, but also when you post links to their mobile apps. For the latter, you earn commissions on reservations made during the first year.

You also earn 5% of the income generated by any new partners that you refer to the affiliate program.

Dashboard and Tools

Unlike many other affiliate programs where you have to wait for approval or speak to an affiliate manager before getting started, approval with Travel Payouts is instant. You don’t even need to confirm your e-mail address. After registering for the affiliate program, you are directly immediately to the main dashboard.


Here, you’ll find all of your at a glance information about earnings. You get the vital data about visitors, searches, clicks, bookings, earnings, pending profit, click-thru rate, cost-per-click and so on. You also get detailed analysis of each submitted form, plus access to a myriad of reports.


Rather than simply providing you with a basic text link (which they also do), Travel Payouts offers a broad range of affiliate tools. You can embed a form like the one above on your website, customizing the colors and some other options. This way, visitors to your site can search for deals immediately and you can earn your commissions more quickly.


Some other tools include widget maps where visitors can see the lowest prices between destinations and even a white label option where you can brand the travel search engine yourself, as well as API and SDK for mobile apps. There are also a number of banners available, though they take on the appearance of forms. If you’d like, you can generate specific text links for specific destinations and tickets too. It’s all quite robust.

Earn 90% Commissions!

By default, you earn 70% of the income generated by all the flight ticket sales and hotel reservations that you refer through Travel Payouts, but if you register with special promo code JOHNCHOW, you will earn 90% of the revenue for your first three months. You will need to activate the promo before March 1 to be eligible. As long as you meet the minimum threshold of $50, monthly payouts are issued via your choice of Webmoney, Yandex, bank transfer, ePayments or Paypal.

Source: John Chow Dot Com

Earn Big Bucks with Flights and Hotel Reservations

Facebook announces Paper — iPhone app available Feb. 3


Facebook’s rumored reader app, Paper, is coming to iPhones on Feb. 3, the company announced early Thursday morning. Paper is somewhat comparable to Flipboard, in that it’s a way for Facebook users to discover news and share it with friends on the social network. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in Wednesday’s Q4 earnings call that more standalone apps from Facebook are in the pipeline, and then the company launched one less than 24 hours later.

In a highly visual manner, users can scroll through the top stories of the day and see what stories their friends are sharing and talking about. These will include news stories from sources such as CNN and Huffington Post, as well as news from friends, relatives and other connections.

Developed by a team of about 15 people, Facebook is launching Paper first for the iPhone, and then will see what kind of feedback the app gets before considering rolling it out to Android or other devices.

Facebook described Paper in a blog post:

Your Paper is made of stories and themed sections, so you can follow your favorite interests. The first section in Paper is your Facebook News Feed, where you’ll enjoy inspiring new designs for photos, videos, and longer written posts. You can customize Paper with a choice of more than a dozen other sections about various themes and topics—from photography and sports to food, science and design. Each section includes a rich mix of content from emerging voices and well-known publications.

The app looks like a vastly improved version of Facebook Home, where readers can scroll through stories and posts from friends. Users can tilt the phone to see high-resolution panoramic photos, as well as zoom in to see details. Full-screen auto-play videos will also be a part of the app too. When a user wants to share a story through Paper, they will be able to preview before posting.

Much like Flipboard (or Pinterest), users can also curate “sections,” for categories of news they like and want to read. For instance, a user can have a special section for sports news, or news about a specific topic or country, and Paper will provide stories fit for that interest.

Facebook also released a video showing what Paper can do:

Introducing Paper from Facebook on Vimeo.

Readers: What do you think of Paper?

Image and video courtesy of Facebook.

Source: Inside Facebook

Facebook announces Paper — iPhone app available Feb. 3

Is Driving Traffic to Your Website Driving Customers Away?

The vast majority of digital marketing seems to be focused on creating content and experiences for customers with the ultimate measure of success being increased traffic to the company website, leading to leads and sales.

It’s a reasonable approach, since company websites typically provide the kinds of information that explain what a company does, the products or services they sell and some means for collecting inquiries or conducting transactions.

But here’s the problem with that in 2014 and beyond: Consumer trends towards content discovery, engagement and interaction have evolved way beyond the common corporate website or online store.

Buyers can get the information they need to decide on a vendor or make a transaction from any combination of devices; smartphone, tablet, computer or web destination; social network, blog, microsite, industry publication, document hosting service.

While marketers are elevating their multi-channel marketing and integrating across owned, earned, paid and shared media channels, the focus is almost always to drive traffic back to the company website to transact.

Driving website traffic is an approach most marketers have taken for years. It’s what’s comfortable according to our processes and skills. It’s easiest to measure too, since we control what’s measured on our own websites.

But is visiting the company website or online store what customers really want?

Do they really want to go to the corporate website to get more information after watching a cool video about a product? Do they really want to leave their favorite social network after getting a recommendation from friends in order to make an inquiry with a business? Does it really matter whether a customer becomes aware, interested and inclined to transact because of experiences on or off the company website?

Does marketing to drive all traffic to a website for lead generation and transaction actually drive customers away?

As a consumer or B2B buyer yourself, I’m sure you’ve experienced a situation where you’re watching a video, reading content or interacting on a social network and you had to go through a few hoops to get to a corporate website or online store to transact. Or more commonly, you see something interesting from a company posted to a social network and you have to visit the company website to see any detail.

Maybe you’ve experienced the alternative – you came to the conclusion to dig deeper into a service or company and were able to do it right there where it was discovered – not on the corporate site?

I think the demand by customers for off-site engagement is only going to increase. If digital marketers stick to the “drive website traffic” as the only means to move customers along the sales cycle, then those who do optimize for customer experience wherever the customers are, will win. An integrated marketing approach is necessary to optimize for customer experience.

That’s what optimization is all about: making it easy for customers to do what you want them to do. That means empathy with their journey and refining the experience across the customer journey – wherever it may take palce.

This doesn’t mean the end of the corporate website or blog. But I do think it means a few things worth considering:

  • Companies need to step up the content and engagement value created on company websites. If there is substantial social network and community engagement already, then integrate off-site content through social hubs and curation

  • Marketers need to account for prospect and customer engagement off site just they do with on-site engagement

  • Investments in content, engagement and transactions in off-site environments need to be tested and ramped up where appropriate

  • Marketers need to evaluate tools, services, widgets and platforms that support content publishing, promotion, transaction and measurement off-site

What do you think?

Do your marketing activities focus exclusively on driving traffic to the company website or online store? Are you testing or implementing off-site content, engagement and transaction functionality? What embeddable ecommerce tools have you seen or used within social networks, content artifacts or videos?

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Is Driving Traffic to Your Website Driving Customers Away? |

Source: TOP Rank Blog

Is Driving Traffic to Your Website Driving Customers Away?

Is a Sponsorship Right for Your Blog?


Monetizing a blog gives the blogger additional incentive to keep on writing. In fact, sometimes it is the only incentive that drives the blogger. Most new blogs rely on pay per click advertising as a way to add some monetary reward for all the blogger’s hard work but this method has drawn some criticism. Many find ads to be tacky and disruptive to the blog; then of course there is the risk of being penalized by Google if a blog has too many ads in the wrong places.

Some experienced bloggers have issues with running these ads on their site for other reasons. Some don’t like having so little control over what ads are displayed while others see it as a waste of time since most visitors are blind to these types of advertisements so the click or conversion rates are extremely low.

Finding the right alternative

Instead of advertising, some bloggers have turned to a couple of fund raising tactics used by public broadcasting stations across the country; relying on sponsorships for funding.

Anyone who has listened to National Public Radio or seen any shows on the Public Broadcasting Station knows that programs here are ”brought to you by…” That organization that brings the content to the air is the show’s sponsor. They pay a bit of money up front to cover the costs in return for a bit of name recognition. Since there is no advertising, the message of their sponsorship is not watered down.

Finding sponsors

Of course finding a sponsor is not going to come without doing some work; some real work. For one, not many organizations are going to shell out money for a blog that has a small reach. They are paying for their name to get out there and they expect some results. Before even considering approaching possible sponsors make sure that your blog:

  • Contains great content – good is not good enough.

  • Is not filled with advertisements – potential sponsors don’t want the competition.

  • Has an active readership – spark discussions with your readers through the comment section.

Once you have built a solid audience, you can start working on finding sponsors whose message coincides with yours.

Learning from the best

To find sponsors turn to other bloggers who use this method of monetization, but don’t neglect the experts in the field. Check out different non-profit sites like the local NPR or PBS stations; or even national organizations like Unicef. These organizations derive much of their funding from sponsorships and often hire experts who know how to obtain them. Incorporate some of the things you see them doing in your plans.

When you have narrowed down some potential partners, approach them with a plan of how you can help them, what is expected of them and how long the relationship will last. Spell out everything from the very beginning so that the relationship is not soured. Soon enough, sponsors will begin seeking you out with the hopes that they too can establish a relationship with a solid site that delivers on what they promise.

Copyright © 2014 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact us so we can take legal action immediately.

The post Is a Sponsorship Right for Your Blog? appeared first on Blogging Tips.

Source: Blogging Tips

Is a Sponsorship Right for Your Blog?

Boo! How to Make a Ghost Blogger Work for You


Recently, at a seminar for coaches, the presenter admitted that when she was finally able to delegate her administrative tasks to her first virtual assistant, she cried.

She wasn’t crying at the caliber of her achievement – even though having your first employee is, in fact, a huge achievement – she cried because she finally realized how hard she was working every single day to make her business successful.

When you get to the point in your small business where you need to start delegating tasks you don’t have the time for, ghost blogging is one of the easiest marketing tasks to get off your plate. (And one that drives traffic consistently to your business.)

And working with one good writer who can mimic your brand messaging and get to know your personal style, can make a huge difference in your company.

Here’s the only advice you’ll ever need to find yourself the perfect ghost blogger:

Find a voice that matches your brand

Writing voice is personal and very unique. It’s important to choose someone that closely matches the way your audience perceives you.

If you’re funny, look for someone who can be funny. For very conservative topics, you should choose a writer that will always make well-researched, intelligent points.

Understand what’s trainable and what’s not

Writers are unique in that some skills can be taught, but most can’t. You can easily help a new writer create better headlines and blog titles. Grammar is also something many editors teach their writers.

But what about how to engage an audience? When you review your ghost blogger’s portfolio, does it make you want to keep reading?

You can’t teach someone to be interesting, write with passion, or hook a reader into their work.

If you want to turn an audience into raving fans, choose a ghost blogger that inspires (or offends, or angers, or interests – it doesn’t matter as long as people get passionate.)

Establish a style guide (or hold hands for a few blogs)

Your ghost blogger probably doesn’t know you – and you don’t know them. Take the first few weeks to carefully edit their work and give feedback.

You’re shooting to establish your brand in the correct way. You want to make sure you’re marketing the company image consistently. Think about:

  • How you want headlines to look (The Dog Jumped vs The dog jumped)

  • What words shouldn’t be used

  • Buzz words in your industry

A style guide also allows you to swap out or hire multiple bloggers for your business. While you need to put some time in upfront to develop a guide, a consistent style shows your commitment to professionalism.

Copyright © 2014 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact us so we can take legal action immediately.

The post Boo! How to Make a Ghost Blogger Work for You appeared first on Blogging Tips.

Source: Blogging Tips

Boo! How to Make a Ghost Blogger Work for You

A 3-Step Formula for Captivating Your Audience With a Few Opening Lines

You’ve worked so hard.

You’ve written an incredibly helpful post.

You know your audience will be delighted, as your tips are easy to implement and you’ve proven they work.

You’ve tweaked and polished until you found the perfect headline. It grabs attention. It arouses curiosity. It’s powerful. You’re happy.

But then a nagging doubt creeps in …

What if your opening is so boring that nobody reads on? What if your opening sucks and everyone clicks away?

The thought can paralyze even the most experienced bloggers.

You can do it

As writers, you and I are battling for attention in a distracted world.

We need to work damn hard to captivate and then keep our readers’ attention. We need to mesmerize them so they ignore the emails popping up. We need to hypnotize them so they don’t hear their phones ringing.

Sometimes it may feel like an impossible task. How can we pull readers into our blog posts so they keep reading?

Well, it might be easier than you think.

In the past two years I’ve studied hundreds of blog post openings and I’ve found a simple 3-step formula that almost guarantees your opening paragraph will be hypnotic.

Sound good?

Lesson from a master seductionist

Let’s look at a quick example first.

It’s from a post by Jon Morrow:

Ever feel like all of the “good” topics in your niche have already been worn out by more popular blogs?

A post about getting more blog traffic or living more frugally may be interesting the first time you read about it. Maybe it’ll even catch your attention the fifth or tenth time you see it.

But what about the 50th time? Or the 100th? Doesn’t it get a little … tired?

Sure, you can go to the content crossroads for new angles and spins, and it works … for a while. If your niche is super crowded, eventually it feels like even the devil couldn’t find you a new angle. And you start to wonder: how are you supposed to stand out, writing about the same old stuff?

You’d think it would be impossible, but it’s not. You just have to be a little sneaky …

Can’t resist the urge to read the remainder of Jon’s post? Just click here. But please do come back to learn how to write an opening paragraph that’s as seductive as Jon’s.


Step 1: Empathize with your reader’s struggle

Jon starts with a killer question that addresses you, the reader, directly: Don’t you feel like all the good topics have been taken?

He pulls you into his post because he seems to know exactly what you’re struggling with. And he empathizes with your feelings.

As a reader you find yourself nodding your head in agreement with Jon’s points. Yes, I do feel the good topics have been worn out. And yes, I do get a little tired reading so many posts about the same stuff. And yes, of course, I do wonder how I can stand out in a crowded niche.

When readers start nodding yes, they get into an almost hypnotic state. They can’t help themselves — they have to continue reading, because they feel the post is written especially for them, to solve their problems.

Have you noticed how often Jon uses the words you and your? This is how he makes you feel he’s speaking to you directly.

This type of blog post opening only works if you know exactly what your reader is struggling with. You need to understand the problems he’s facing and you need to offer specific help to solve them. Your opening paragraph will immediately fall flat when a reader thinks I don’t have this problem; this is not for me.

When you start writing your opening paragraph, picture yourself writing to one person only: an imaginary friend, your younger self, or your favorite reader. When you act as a personal coach for one reader, you find it much easier to picture and describe the scene in which your reader is struggling.

You also avoid using a condescending tone, because you’re talking to a friend, a real person. Your writing immediately becomes more conversational, more empathetic, and more seductive. Your writing draws your readers into your post because they feel you understand them and you’re going to help them.

Step 2: Promise your reader a benefit

Why would readers make an effort to read your blog post and follow your advice? Why would they care?

The answer to these big why questions is what Chip and Dan Heath call a destination postcard. A postcard shows your reader where he’s headed: a wonderful holiday with white beaches, sunny weather, and delicious cocktails; or a life where your reader is not struggling anymore with problems like living frugally, finding a good blog topic, or writing an opening paragraph.

In the example above, Jon hints at your destination: you can stand out even if you write about the same old stuff. Jon promises you that he’ll help you. You just need to read his post.

Your opening paragraph opens up a gap between where your reader is now (how to write about the same old stuff) and where he’d like to be (you can stand out even if you write about the same old stuff).

As a blogger, you address your reader’s struggles, empathize with him, and then promise him you’ll help.

Your reader doesn’t want to waste his time reading your post because so much other content is waiting to be read or watched. Your reader wants to be sure that he’ll get something out of your post.

So, you have to tell him his destination: either his problem will go away, or he’ll become smarter or happier once he’s read your post.

Step 3: Provide reassurance

You’ve now learned the two most important steps of writing an opening paragraph.

You know how to empathize with your reader and you know how to promise something good. Now, there’s one more potential issue you need to address.

Quite often as a blogger you touch on issues that seem far too big to solve in just one 1,500-word blog post. Can you really learn how to stand out when writing about the same boring old stuff by reading Jon’s post? Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?

This doubt may put readers off. But Jon takes it away. He reassures you that it’s not impossible, you just have to be a little sneaky …

We’re all a little lazy. We love solutions that are simple, straightforward, and seemingly effortless. So when you’re reader starts thinking this sounds too difficult or too much work, you have to reassure him that you’ll offer a simple trick, a secret tip, or an easy formula.

Of course, you can’t just promise it in the opening … you need to deliver it with the rest of your blog post.

Now, let’s have a look at how to apply this formula to your writing.

The 3-step formula in action (plus a bonus tip)

When you next write an opening paragraph, think about your ideal reader. Picture him struggling with the problem you’ll address in your blog post.

Your ideal reader should be so real that you can see him huffing and puffing, and pulling silly faces because he doesn’t know how to solve a problem.

Last year I wrote a guest post about email marketing -— it was the most shared Copyblogger post in 2013. To write the opening paragraph for this post, I imagined one Copyblogger reader sitting behind her desk getting frustrated with email stats:

  1. I empathize with her frustration

  2. I promise her a destination where she’d be happy with her email stats

  3. I reassure her that writing engaging emails doesn’t need to be too hard

I applied the 3-step formula as follows:

We’ve all been there …

You’ve carefully crafted an email. You’ve polished each sentence. You’ve racked your brain for the very best subject line.

You hit publish with a sigh of relief. That’s done.

But when you look at your email stats, you notice that the opens aren’t as good as you’d hoped, and the click-throughs are disappointing. It’s depressing.

Does it feel like a big challenge to get people to open and read your emails? And then to go on to click through?

It doesn’t really need to be so hard. You’re about to learn the most important advice I’ve found for writing emails that get opened, read, and clicked.

This opening paragraph uses one extra trick: it starts with a super-short sentence.

Short sentences are easy to gobble up in one bite. They don’t require any effort from your readers. They only require a glance, then your reader can move on to the next sentence.

By making it so easy to read the first sentence, your opening becomes more seductive. Readers effortlessly glide to your second sentence and then on to the next sentence.

That’s how you seduce readers to keep reading. That’s how you get them to yearn for the tips and tricks you’re promising them.

The art of seducing your readers

You might think you’re a blogger.

You might see yourself as a writer.

But to pull your readers into your posts, you need to become a psychologist.

You need to sneak into the minds of your readers so you know exactly what they’re struggling with. You need to understand their feelings of frustration, worry, and despair.

Writing a good blog post means simply persuading a reader that this post is for him, that you’ll share your best advice to help him, guide him, and comfort him.

And once you’ve given him your best advice, you only need to kick his butt to get him to implement your tips.

So, come on. You can do it. Go write a seductive opening for your next post! :-)

Editor’s Note:

This blog post is based on a chapter of Henneke’s upcoming book Blog to Win Business. Sign up to her list so you don’t miss the book launch.

Flickr Creative Commons Image by doug88888

About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent marketer and copywriter on a mission to weed out boring business blogs. Join her free Enchanting Marketing newsletter to learn how to write fascinating blog posts.

The post A 3-Step Formula for Captivating Your Audience With a Few Opening Lines appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Source: Copyblogger

A 3-Step Formula for Captivating Your Audience With a Few Opening Lines