3 Ways To Make Readers Stop And Pay Attention To Your Writing

Even in a world where live-streaming video and podcasting are gaining popularity amongst knowledge consumers at a breakneck pace, there’s still immense power in the written word. Not only is reading still the preferred medium for consumption by many, but it can also be essential in cases where streaming connections aren’t practical or when consumers want to engage deeper with their content.

Let’s face it, you are reading this right now. That has to count for something, right? Right?!

Despite its importance, many people still have lackluster writing skills, or at least don’t ever bother into the intricacies that professional writers sweat over their perfection of day in and day out.

Today, we’re going to go over three ways you can make your writing more effective by increasing reader comprehension.

Be a factbacker.

One of the things that becomes quickly apparent when you start reading through successful blogs and publications is that research efforts are never an afterthought. When writing pieces which largely consist of your own opinion or which are based primarily on your own experiences, it’s easy to just ramble and say what you want to say without too much of a basis.

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to get used to infusing your writing with links to other sources that can back up what you want to say. If your goal is to say something completely new or put an unwritten spin on a topic (which is awesome, by the way!), then try and source some of the articles that got you thinking or that could help lead readers to your own conclusions. This push for credibility can really help the effectiveness of your messages.

Invent words.

What the hell is a fact-backer? I don’t know, I made it up! One of the greatest things Shakespeare and others like him did for the English language is add words to it. In fact, you’d be surprised at how many of the most common, normal-sounding words we use today were invented in the last few hundred years by a handful of creative minds.

Doing this not only makes people stop and really think about what they’re reading – you probably stop and try to figure out new words immediately when reading – but it also creates a mental association with your writing by forcing more engagement.

Get smart with formatting.

Finally, get spacey with it. Time spent reading a webpage increases with the general readability of that page, and a major contributing factor to this in the online space is how well your text is spaced out and formatted.

Unlike writing a formal article, let alone a research paper, writing for blogs and casual online properties should never exceed a couple of lines per paragraph. In fact, unlike in other forms of writing, it is perfectly acceptable for each sentence to be its own paragraph.

Beyond these three, it’s practice, practice, practice to get as good as you can at bringing concision and persuasiveness into your written words – good luck!

4 Of The Best Entrepreneurial Blogs You Can Start Reading Right Now

One of the best ways to learn anything in the internet marketing world is to get out there and take action. There is absolutely no substitute for finding out what works for your exact business model and personality than by experimenting and tweaking what you focus on based upon your results.

Having said that, the second best way to learn has to be from other companies and individuals who have been through the phase you’re at already, and have been kind enough to package their own lessons into easily consumed content for you.

Often, this comes in the form of a blog, where you can regularly get updated on whatever the topic that person or company has expertise in. For entrepreneurs, here are 4 that are especially awesome and go out of their way to deliver constant value to readers.

1. The Groove Blog

Honestly, this is one of the best transparency blogs around for entrepreneurs. Run by Groove CEO Alex Turnbull, the blog follows this customer support startup every step of the way as they journey to $500k per month in recurring revenue.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of insights to be learned from a company well on their way to hitting those ambitious numbers. The nice thing is that they share a lot of things that didn’t work as well, and provide the data to back up anything they say or recommend.

2. The Daily Egg

Crazy Egg is a product all about data, so it’s not surprising that the research that goes into posts on the Daily Egg (CE’s blog) are packed with awesome research. Plus, they have a great track record of securing some awesome guest posters, which help to flesh out the blog as an authority on a wider range of subjects.

As if all of that weren’t enough, the blog is one of Neil Patel’s projects. If you don’t know Neil, he’s one of the most prolific writers and content marketers around, and just about everything he touches is gold.

3. Swift Branding

A new player on the scene, Swift Branding is run by George Karboulonis over in Greece, and it’s got a good thing going for it right now. The blog does a great job of committing to providing as any useful resources, freebies, and guides for IM’ers as possible.

While some of the content is more general or entry level, there are some real gems as well, and George seems to have a knack for getting people to share their interesting stories with him in the form of revealing case studies.

4. Copyblogger

Finally, Copyblogger. Copyblogger has been around for a long time, and even has a now-rebranded media branch you can find at rainmaker.fm

While CB’s original focus was, no surprises here, copywriting, the team have really branched out over the last few years and broadened their topic reach without any falloff in quality.

How Internet Marketers Can Hit A Grand Slam With Guest Posting

Recently, content marketing has been all the rage. It isn’t that it’s only now that content marketing is starting to be effective, but more so that larger, more traditional media and advertising powerhouses are finally starting to take the trend seriously.

Content marketing, for several years now, has been the true language of the blogging community, and the businesses who were smart enough to narrow in on and take advantage of these networks.

Content marketing itself rests on one of the founding principles that most of you reading this will understand: providing value before asking for it.

Content marketing also has major crossover with “relationship marketing,” which is what we’re going to get into today. Specifically, those who have worked with content marketing have also found value in maintaining a blog or similar platform to regularly share content with and grow their audiences through.

Guest blogging is the act of posting on someone else’s blog, largely in the hopes of getting some attention and exposure for your own web property.

The problem, however, lies in how to reframe that goal in a way that it becomes mutually beneficial.

If it’s your first time trying to land a guest blogging gig, you need to understand that these relationships are all about leverage: What can you offer someone else? What are you getting in return? In order for your offer to write a piece for another blog (even if it’s really good) to be tempting, you need to make sure you frame it in the right way.

Here are a few steps you can take to massively boost your chances of successfully integrating guest blogging into your content marketing strategy.

Identify blogs in your weight class or just above it. Look for blogs in your market than have similar audiences and are getting some social engagement and shares on their posts, but who are not yet massive.

Make contact in a helpful way. Do not just blurt out that you want a guest post and try and pitch cold via email. Instead, leave insight comments over a few days and interact with the blog owner on twitter or another social platform. Share their content to show you like it.

Make a careful pitch by asking permission via one of these platforms to reach out via email. Once you have the greenlight, send an email with your idea, and highlight why it would be well-received by their audience and what you will do to help share the piece and grow their blog.

Write something truly amazing. If you get the honor of having a guest post pitch accepted, do it justice and get invited back by really creating something special. Whatever time you put into researching and creating your own posts, double it. Go above and beyond and make an infographic or embedded slideshare to help out that kind of thing.

Promote like your life depends on it in order to get the blog you’re working with the biggest return possible and show that partnering up with you was worthwhile.

Simple, yep. Easy? Well, you’ll be putting in some work, but it’s nearly always worth your time.

What It Means To Be An Entrepreneur In 2016

In the online marketing space, there seems to be a false equivalency between the “freedom of quitting your 9 to 5” and “being an entrepreneur.”

More appropriately, there’s the misunderstanding that becoming an entrepreneur won’t mean putting in many, many more hours than 40 per week; this is especially true if you’re hoping to ever be able to replace, let alone exceed, the salary you made in your previous ‘normal’ job.

Not everyone’s cut out for it, and that’s ok.

If you are one of the brave few who’s going to go it alone or has already started working from home or on your own business full time, well, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

#1) Being an entrepreneur means more discipline than ever before.

Working for yourself, “being your own boss,” etc. all sound pretty sweet, but they also mean that you’ve got to really be on top of things.

Organization and discipline need to be far above average to succeed as an entrepreneur.

You will spend long hours starting at a computer screen, even on the activities you aren’t that excited about doing, so make sure you can keep yourself in line.

#2) Being an entrepreneur means sacrificing ‘you’ time.

Not only will you need the discipline to keep hacking away at important tasks, you’ll also need to change your mindset to include less ‘you’ time.

As you look at people who have become famous for their entrepreneurial spirit and success, you’ll notice they don’t often subscribe to the same personal reward system that the rest of us do.

For example, you’re worked 9 hours today already, so you should reward yourself with a beer and an hour of your favorite show, right? It sounds great to me, but top tier entrepreneurs are going to shun that time in favor of getting more done.

#3) Being an entrepreneur means managing others.

Whether you’re after “work from home” freedom or want to build a company that someday hits the Fortune 500, you will need to interact with and manage others. Whether their regular employees in an office, or freelancers completing online contracts, smart entrepreneurs know that the biggest key to their own success is the people that they associate themselves with.

Not only that, it’s how they interact with those people. Make sure you’re ready to make the swap from being the one who asks questions to being the one who is constantly asked for direction. Can you keep sane balancing your own tasks with the needs of others?

#4) Finally, being an entrepreneur means leveraging.

Starting out on your own is scary, and so the quickest (and most comfortable) way of growing fast is learning to network with other people who have already been through what you’re going through.

Find out what you’re good at that others aren’t and use that skill to barter early on. Maybe you evaluate someone’s website for SEO for them, and they give you advice on your marketing funnel, etc.

Whatever you have to do, be scrappy and don’t stop working until you’re where you want to be (then build something new).

SEO’s Outer Appearance Finally Resembles Its Inner Working

Were you involved in the online marketing world back in 2010? Earlier?

Ever as recently as a couple of years ago, actually, the strategies that were considered surefire paths to SEO domination were completely different from what they are today.

Interestingly enough, however, Google was saying the exact same things about how you should try and rank a website then as they are now: Provide detailed, relevant, helpful content, network naturally with others, and Google would notice.

Unfortunately, their desired reality just wasn’t the case for most marketers. Hitting the top of search results meant putting in the hours to create backlinks, make sure the anchor text of your links matched the phrases you wanted to rank for, etc. These practices were considered spammy by Google, but they worked and so people kept right on doing them.

Now, however, Google has finally caught up with its own mantra, and since early 2014 those adhering to old school link building practices are probably walking away a little disappointed.

For Google, it’s a win. For us marketers, it makes things more complicated, but it’s a win as well.

Right now, SEO is actually simpler than it has ever been, but it’s not easier. That is to say, there’s a lot of work involved, but the work you put in is more valuable to all parties involved now.

In fact, pages are ranking fairly easily for many website owners now, provided they do a great job of providing content. A key component now is Google’s paying attention to social media cues when determining how much of a buzz a page is creating, and therefore how many people find it interesting and useful.

Right now, you can create a page and be ranking on Google within a couple of hours, provided your piece catches social media fire and gets shared around.

Of course, that means you’ve got to come up with something really good.

Honestly, though, this can only serve to elevate the level of content that gets produced, as webmasters will be able to spend more time focusing on creating really useful, interesting content for their sites instead of focusing on the post-care SEO of creating countless backlinks.

In order to win, then, you need to be onboard with this new thinking. In fact, if you’re still working within the old framework of SEO, you’re likely going to see more problems than benefits. Sites are constantly being penalized and thrown into the SERPs abyss because they have tried to game a system that has always been about staying one step ahead of those trying to game it (and a goal they’ve finally achieved).

Will SEO professionals still have specific strategies you can take to give your site a leg up? Absolutely.

Will they work? Probably, but you need to think of SEO best practices these days as a side dish, because there is no longer a substitute for the main dish of hard work creating genuinely awesome pages for Google to crawl.