content

Struggling to Get the Attention Your Blog Deserves? See Why…

captainc2

captainc2

Struggling to Get the Attention Your Blog Deserves? See Why… You devote a ton of time every week writing your blog. You post it, sit back and anxiously await the traffic. Sadly, and often, the results are less than stellar. Why the fail? The answer actually lies deep within you. Think about your own blog-reading habits. What brought you to me at Captain Content’s blog?

When you read a blog and are compelled to visit it again and again what is it about this writer that keeps you coming back? Odds are it feels like the blogger is writing specifically for you. You’re being engaged. Your preferences and interests are being addressed and you feel that your opinion matters. The blogger isn’t writing about their business goals or what they will get out of your visit. This is the first step to increasing traffic to your blog. Identify who your true blue fan is and write specifically for him/her. Unlike my enemy Thanos who selfishly twisted Death’s words to become a despotic and cruel leader, an excellent blogger is not selfish. Captain Content is never selfish!

Would you keep visiting a blog where the theme is always the same? No. Why? Because repetition is B-O-R-I-N-G. Period. You visit this blog often because your takeaway is always something that is personally useful. So, when you throw on your blogging hat, you must continually seek out new information and present it in fun and evocative ways. Your blog should have a concise purpose to keep your readers engrossed and motivated.

Does your favorite blog ever feature a guest blogger? This strategy is brilliant in its simplicity. Guest blogging brings back an authoritative edge to the content. It makes your blog more shareable and trustworthy. Sleuth, The Curator and a few of my other Superhero staff frequently guest blog about their expertise. It creates quite a buzz and provides very credible content!

To paraphrase Captain Jean Luc Picard from TNG:

“Engage” them, my friends and write on! Captain Content

Content Is Power.

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mouse-160032_1280

CONTENT IS POWER So you’re kicking back and sipping on…well let’s say an appletini (my drink of choice.) The launch of your website was hot. It has the exact bada$$ look you wanted. Your site is loaded with amazing information about your business and the products and/or services you offer to humanity. It’s racking up the hits. Your bank account is flush. You are invincible!

Or are you?

Flash (no not my friend Barry Allen) forward a week or two, and you’re noticing that the visits to your site have diminished and revenue from the website is slacking. Like my man Superman facing a chunk of Kryptonite, a feeling of weakness and dare I say, helplessness, is slowly creeping into your psyche. Was it really worth the investment of time and money?

Absolutely! But, your website requires more than a “just-launch-and-see” strategy to maintain its success and deliver customers to your door.

The unique web power you seek Grasshopper will come from harnessing the power of your super-charged content! Frequently updated, relevant, fresh and fun content will enlarge (I’m talking HUGE!) your reader base and increase search engine optimization (SEO). Now I’m not talking about a simple tweaking like Professor Subtle might suggest. I’m saying get your ass in gear and boldly start adding new information about your business like a related blog about the industry. What’s new in your product or service line? By building up a stash of industry-related blogs your exposure will explode!

The objective is to invite and engage your readers by giving them the scoop that will help them make educated decisions. Give your readers a chance to provide feedback and reviews. Allow your posts to be shareable. Respond and interact often. Oh, and in today’s tech-savvy world, uncloaking in this manner provides access to your website across a plethora of platforms and devices. The world is literally a click away.

Take it from Captain Content, this strategy is exceedingly cost effective and the returns will be mind-blowing!

Don’t neglect the importance of the perfect branding and marketing strategy. Each requires research and an eagerness to receive and share information about your industry in general. Content marketing provides free advertising opportunities, which upshots lead generation and sales. If you aren’t sure how to keep your content fresh and exciting, need help with your branding and marketing strategy or don’t have the time or skill-set to keep it cutting edge, remember that Captain Content, and my crack team of Superhero content marketers, are here to help. Call us at 866-471-4748.

Captain, I’m Sensing Some Powerful Content!

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There’s nothing better than returning home from a long day of feats of content finesse, putting my feet up in my favorite lounge chair, and sipping on an appletini while I shamelessly marathon all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. You can imagine my dismay when, appletini at ready, I pulled up Netflix only to find that TNG had been removed from its databases. I was so upset that I instantly subscribed to Hulu, vowing never again to be lured into Netflix’s snares of treachery and deceit-- But, I digress. As I’ve been rewatching one of my favorite shows, I’ve grown rather fond of the Enterprise’s on-board counselor, Deanna Troi. Not only is she a very wise mentor, but her job also has a great deal to do with things that are intangible. As a half-Betazoid, Counselor Troi has innate empathic abilities that allow her to determine when people are lying, to understand people’s deep-seated emotional needs, and even to read the thoughts of some humans. Without Troi, tensions on the Starship Enterprise would always run high, leaving chaos throughout space.

The more I think about it, having empathic abilities like those Deanna Troi possesses would be of great assistance to any content marketer. As a writer, I often deal in the intangible--but unlike Troi, I don’t have the ability to sense the outcome or determine the reception for my latest blog. What’s more, without those abilities, content writing can be a scary thing.

All too often, I see writers and content marketers transforming their writing into something almost too concrete. Of course, no one is going to argue that it’s not important to utilize Google Planner for keyword research or to look back at your previous posts in Analytics to determine a good upcoming topic, but that’s not all there is to content marketing. All writers should ask themselves the following before they click “publish:”

  • Will my audience learn something new from my post?
  • Do I feel completely comfortable clicking “publish,” or am I breaching into new, uncharted territories?
  • Would I show my content to my coworkers with pride?
  • Would I email my content to my parents and friends with that same sense of pride?
  • Can my audience act on this content?

None of these questions have applicable metrics to back them up--they’re solely based on feeling and perception--and writing content with them in mind can be a little bit out of your comfort zone. Still, they’re crucial to ensuring your content is helpful and reader-friendly. Watch a couple episodes of TNG and hone your empathic skills. Think as your audience to understand what your audience might want and need through your writing. It may be difficult the first time you try, but as you get more comfortable, you’ll find you have the ability to boldly go where no writer has ever gone before!

Write on, Captain Content / @CaptContent

You Don’t Have to Be a Martian to Communicate Clearly

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galaxies-597905_1280

I had the opportunity to meet J’onn J’onzz, more commonly known as Martian Manhunter, this weekend at the annual Superheroes convention in [LOCATION UNDISCLOSED]. Beyond his towering height and appletini-green skin, this guy (alien? Martian? pardon my ignorance of intergalactic political correctness) is a striking and somewhat intimidating presence with a list of powers as long as I am tall. Unfortunately, he had to decline my offer to join the Contentinators since he had other duties to the Justice League, and I’m not quite ready to join forces with Superman, so we parted ways after the convention. Good thing he was happy to let me add him to my list of important contacts. “Wait, back up,” you say (or so I imagine), “you invited Martian Manhunter to join the Contentinators? How can heat generation, superhuman strength, and atomic vision help digital damsels in distress?” Well, my friend, you’re forgetting one of his most powerful powers--and my personal favorite--his telepathy. Time and time again, J’onzz has proven the importance of communication, acting as a sort of communications hub for the Justice League and sending out global messages that everyone can understand.

Having a telepath on a digital marketing team may be highly unlikely, unless you’re a superhero. However, in my meeting with Martian Manhunter, I got some insight as to how exactly he communicates clearly and effectively for all to understand. You can probably use some of his techniques in your own writing! Check out some of his tools:

•    Complexity Filter: Martian Manhunter has a special filter that allows him to weed out unnecessary words, and transform the hyper-specific ones into the common language. Stay away from the jargon in your deep content to help your readers better understand your message.

•    Condenser: As the old adage goes, “less is more.” While Manhunter doesn’t transmit the equivalent of a one-word text through his telepathic messages, he reduces the bulk of the content to keep the focus on the core message.

•    Visualization Node: Manhunter’s brain is equipped with a special visualization node that allows the recipients of his messages to see his message through pictures as well as words. Keep your own content visual with metaphors and other devices.

•    Tonal Gauge: If Manhunter’s messages were sent out in super-stiff soundbytes, his recipients wouldn’t be as ready to tune in. Likewise, if his tone were too conversational (“Like, hey man, Earth’s gonna blow up or whatever”), it would be disregarded as a joke or fluke. Engage your readers with conversational tone, but maintain your position as an expert in your field.

•    Intergalactic Database: Manhunter has access to a constantly-updated database of every single fact in the galaxy (literally), allowing him to ensure his messages are accurate and timely. Always double-check your facts before posting.

While I highly doubt your brain is as advanced as Martian Manhunter’s (no offense), I definitely believe you have the ability to take these tools and utilize them within your content marketing efforts. So, now that I’ve met one of my idols, what’s my next project? Trying to get Martian Manhunter to submit a clear, concise, accurate message to Superman that Wonder Woman is MY lady.

Write on, @CaptContent.

4 Things to Avoid When Creating Deep Web Content

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keyboard

4 Things to Avoid When Creating Deep Web ContentAs the Curator, I’m responsible for analyzing, editing and producing mounds of relevant and engaging content. I take pride in what I do, and I enjoy curating the deep content of other digital writers.

What I do NOT like is reading the useless garbage that some would-be bloggers produce! While I let my mind digest millions of poorly worded pieces of content crap, I’ve actually put my fist through my computer screen, and the wall behind it, and the person sitting on the bench that rests outside my office wall. I’ll have you know that he was not harmed, just a minor concussion, and some stitches, and possibly some short term memory loss--his name is Bernard and we sometimes pass one another on the street, but usually he runs away. But that’s neither here, nor there!

Since I am so kind, I want to give my fellow writers some guidance in some of the things they should avoid in their blog posts.

Lack of editing--REVIEW YOUR WORK DAMMIT! It does not matter how much research you did, or how much time you spent writing your piece. If you do not edit it, at least 3 times--not 1, or 2, but 3-- then you risk publishing your work with silly grammatical and spelling errors. I don’t care what Word or Google Drive says with that silly red line, it is NOT always right. Check, recheck, and then recheck your work again. It also helps to get a second pair of eyes on the content to verify wording, and  remove minute errors that you may have missed. Poorly worded or incorrect grammar will damage your online reputation, and it annoys me when I see it!

Headings that lie. Your content’s heading is very important. Oftentimes, it’s what online information seekers use to decide what they will read. If your heading strays from the actual topic of your content, then your readers will lose interest and possibly be angry that you deceived them, and wasted their time. Your readers may lose their faith in you as a source if you bait them in with a heading that does not accurately describe the content.

Poor promotion of your content. You’ve created content that will bring a tear to my eye--not likely. You’ve posted it on the interweb, and now you sit and wait for interested viewers, right? WRONG! Your content is one tiny fish swimming in an ocean of words. Content promotion is important. Use social media, or send an email to subscribers to pique their interests.

Lack of SEO. Do not, I repeat, do NOT write your content for search engines. Your content is meant to engage people, not robots--they’re stiff, inorganic, and un-engageable. Poorly written content that focuses on the Google bots instead of humans will push your readers away. This does not mean you should ignore SEO--use it as a tool to help your readers find your content, but don’t rely on it.

By avoiding these common blogging errors, your content will soar above your local content competition. Use content to interact, and market your business, or online persona, in a productive way. I am sick and tired of reading poor content, so clean it up, or I WILL FIND YOU! And trust me, you do not want that--just ask Bernard! This is The Curator, signing out!

Your Friendly Neighborhood SEO

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super

Spider-Man seems to get a lot of negative press.  I recently picked up a copy of the Daily Bugle that featured the front-page headline: “Masked Menace Weaves Web of Lies!”  People fear the man in the mask.  Between J. Jonah Jameson’s threats and the police’s constant surveillance, Spidey seems like the bad guy more often than not.  Yet, in person, Spider-Man is quite the opposite of what the tabloids make him out to be.  He cares about New York, values his education, and goes out of his way to help complete strangers.

If you’ve ever run into him on the streets of New York or witnessed his heroic deeds, you probably got to hear his famous catchphrase: “Just another service provided by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!”  To ease the raging tabloid tempest, Spidey wants to deliver a comforting, personable message to every person he meets.  He’s not a villain--he’s simply misunderstood.

In much the same way, local SEO seems to be misunderstood.  With evildoers like SinSEO in our midst, it’s easy to see why; you hear more about black hat techniques and Google’s subsequent punishments than you do about the benefits of a well-structured SEO plan.  But a number of business owners are missing out on the fantastic opportunities that a local SEO campaign can present.  When it comes down to it, any company that earns business from local clients should have a game plan in effect.  Here are just a few of the ways local SEO can benefit your business:

  1. Make a Name for Yourself.  You can have the flashiest neon sign and a man in a chicken suit dancing in front of your store, but that won’t make most people walking or driving by take notice of who you are and what you do.  Creating a local online presence for your company helps ensure you’re there when your customers really need you.
  2. Be Found.  When you need to find an auto repair shop, do you drive (or walk) around until you find one, or do you search for a nearby location with the best reviews?  Statistics have demonstrated that local search has increased by about 58% in the last few years.  With positive reviews from your customer base, potential clients are sure to see you as their knight in shining armor.
  3. Stand Out.  It seems like everyone’s online these days, but in truth, this isn’t the case.  Only about 10% of business owners have claimed their Google Places pages, which is Google’s local directory.  Claiming your listing is simple, and since it is a Google-based service, Google pays special attention to its users within search rankings.  Claiming your listing alone will put you ahead of the other 90%.
  4. Go Mobile.  You probably already know it by now, but users across the world are increasingly relying on their mobile devices for internet searches.  Take out your phone right now and do a web search for “Chinese food.” See that convenient map of nearby locations? You could be near the top with a solid SEO strategy.

So, it turns out that local SEO isn’t so scary.  By finding relevant local directories, claiming your Google Places listing, and managing customer review sites, you should be well on your way to establishing a firm footing in your local online market.  Instead of shying away, just remember all the great services provided by your friendly neighborhood SEO.

Beyond Bruce Banner: The Science of Content Creation

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macbook-336704_1280

One of my best superhero buddies, Dr. Bruce Banner, is among the best-known super scientists out there.  Day in and day out, he labors away at experiments, tweaking a gene sequence here, splicing an atom or two there.  He’s made some really great progress over the years, and of course, he’s had a few catastrophic failures.  Historically-noteworthy radiation accidents aside, Bruce is a man of science to the core who values the scientific method just as much as I do.

“As much as YOU do?” you may ask, just as Bruce did the other night, snickering into his appletini.  “That’s nice, Cap.  Have fun blogging about local businesses while I finish up on my gamma radiation experiments.”

I didn’t bother arguing with him at that moment, since our appletinis were the only green I cared to see; but whether you believe it or not, content creation is a careful and precise science that requires a good deal of research, the right set of tools, and a great amount of brain power.  Just as you can’t throw chemicals willy-nilly into a solution and expect the experiment to work (or expect to live another day, for that matter), you must carefully construct your content for it to do its job.

So, exactly what IS the science of content creation?  Does it involve beakers, bunsen burners, and boron?  Not exactly.  Here’s a brief overview of my scientific method:

  1. Strategize.  Before your pen even hits the paper (or your fingers hit the keyboard), it’s important to understand your purpose in generating your content.  Are you informing your customers of an upcoming event?  Reaching out to new audience members?  Who are you targeting, and why?  You and everyone on your team should know these objectives like the backs of their hands.
  2. Gather Materials.  Just as in a lab experiment, when generating content, you should collect the tools and materials you’ll need to make a great piece.  Google Analytics can help give you insight as to what your audience responds to the most.  Social data can fill you in as to trending recent topics.  Make sure all your sources are credible.
  3. Sanitize Your Station (a.k.a. push your junk to the side).  Believe it or not, the state of your surroundings can affect whether you create good content or GREAT content.  Find a clean, comfortable space--not too comfortable to avoid an impromptu nap--and fill it with nothing more than ideas and positive thoughts.
  4. Detail Your Procedure.  Determine which keywords and writing styles will best achieve your writing goals.  Find a few solid quotes to sprinkle in, if applicable.  Create a basic outline of your main points.
  5. Perform the Experiment.  My favorite step!  It’s time to put all that preparation into action.  With your thorough research and detailed outline, you should have no problem writing an engaging, informed piece.
  6. Clean Up.  Always leave yourself a little extra time for editing.  It can be helpful to have an extra set of eyes at this point.  Sleuth always helps me proofread--that guy can spot a misplaced comma from miles away.

Admittedly, it can be difficult to treat a creative activity as a process, but once you get started, you’ll find that your writing is much cleaner and easier.  Bruce may never believe that I’m a scientist, but you and I know the truth.

Write on, @CaptContent

The Constant Battle Of Good VS. EVIL SEO.

Don’t Let Ultron Touch Your SEO

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villian

It’s funny how something created for good can come back and bite you.  Hank Pym and the Avengers have been fighting Ultron for years now (what version are we on?  Ultron-18?), even though he started as Pym’s attempt to create highly intelligent robotics.  Pym called me up and asked for my help as a consultant to research new weapons that pierce through adamantium, but it’s still been a tough battle to fight.

While trying to find ways to solve the problem, I realized just how much the Avengers/Ultron struggle parallels that of The Contentinators/SinSEO.

Believe it or not, the Black Hat Boss started out as a good guy.  In the late 90s, you could find him happily stuffing keywords into every empty space on a website--back when it was an effective way to improve Google rankings.  But as the internet marketing world expanded, Google began introducing updates that frowned upon SinSEO’s tactics, turning toward highly targeted, well-written content as the new ruler of rankings.  Instead of adapting, SinSEO became embittered and fled to Deceptor Marketing.  And here we are today.

I’ve seen countless individuals fall victim to SinSEO’s empty promises because they’ve noticed his quick results.  Eager to take that top spot in the search engines, they allow him to get his greasy fingers all over their websites--stuffing keywords in every crack and crevice, farming links, duplicating content and hiding search-friendly text on every page.  Sure, he’s gotten a number of people to the top this way, giving them their fifteen minutes of fame, but that’s where it stops.  The instant Google’s bots discover his dastardly deeds, they penalize or ban these sites, leaving their owners in a virtual black hole.

If Ultron were SinSEO, I would be able to tell the Avengers exactly how to defeat him: through the use of organic SEO.  Google’s Matt Cutts said it best when he advised, “Don’t think about link building – that limits you to a certain mindset. Think about compelling content and marketing. As soon as you think, ‘My job is to build links for search engines,’ you’re really cutting off a lot of avenues.”  Focus on assisting your customers through original content, and the rankings game won’t be so difficult to play.

When you create content for your site, ensure the following:

- Your content establishes you as an expert in your industry. - You’re not simply regurgitating a colleague’s or competitor’s message. - Your content is specifically geared toward your company’s audience. - Your keywords are worked in naturally. - Your content is created for your customers, not for the Google Bots.

Pym should have known that designing a supremely intelligent robot like Ultron could bring along devastating consequences.  Don’t follow his example.  Stop the battle before it starts by avoiding the beastly bots of black hat SEO.

Need help with your web content? Be sure to call one of my Superhero Content Creators today: 866-471-4748.

Write On, Captain Content @CaptContent

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Lost In The Digital Sea.

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home-office-336378_1280

Every second of every day, millions of new pieces of content are being added to the Internet.  Some good, some great, some amazing, some repulsive.  Content is truly what makes the digital world go round and clearly, content marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your target digital audience.  But how can you create amazing content that will not get lost in the digital sea?  

10 Tips To Rescue Your Content From Being Lost At Sea.

Name It & Claim It. First and foremost, if you can't write, don't. Don't force it, don't dread it, don't get all freaked out about it.  If you can't write, hire someone who is a copy writing expert.  Writing shoddy copy can hurt you more than it can ever help you.

It Takes Personality. No one wants to read boring nonsense, EVER. If you are an attorney, financial consultant, plumber, rodent control specialist, undertaker, etc., it's still imperative that your content captures the essence of your brand and excudes personality.

Mix It Up. Add images / photos to your blog. Add compelling videos. Create amazing graphics to illustrate your story. Keep it coming.

Don't Stop. So many folks give up when they don't sell a million units as a result of their latest blog post or social media tweet.  Remember, content marketing isn't about selling as much as it is about connecting and establishing relationships with your prospects.  Don't give up.

Be A Giver. Your content needs to FEED others.  It needs to connect with them on a human level and leave them with a takeaway.  You don't need to give away the farm, but know this: if your website visitors don't find what they are looking for because you didn't want to share, they will simply go to your competitor and find it there.

Human Touch. Again, content marketing isn't about SELLING.  It's about connecting with humans.  Great content evokes human emotion and touches people. Great content triggers a response, whether it's to share the content or comment / engage.  Connecting with human beings should be your focal point.

Sharing Is Caring. If your content is worth sharing, your SEO may suffer.  Google, and the other search engines want to know that your content is written for humans and shared by humans. Make sure that your content is easily shared through social media sharing tools on your website.

Be Unique. PLEASE don't go steal ideas from other companies.  Your users deserve unique.  They expect unique.  Unique will get your content found, talked about it and noticed.

LOVE Your Content. If you wouldn't be proud to put your name at the bottom of your content, don't even bother hitting that publish button.  People notice when your passion comes through your words, they also notice when you don't give two cents.

Be Transparent. Your audience has a BS detector. They know when something isn't quite right or when they are being snowed / lied to / bamboozled, etc.. Hiding things from your audience, particularly if your brand comes under fire can be a recipe for disaster. The truth will always set you free.

The bottom line: create amazing and reap the benefits.

Thanks for reading.

When Your Content Sucks.

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malcontent

I've seen it before friends.  Copy remorse.  You've gotten that website nearly 90 percent finished.  You're ready to go live.  You're excited to go live.  You've dumped butt-loads of cash into this marketing masterpiece, but something just doesn't feel right.  You put the brakes on.  You've got cold feet.  You can't quite put your finger on it right away, but something is amuck. Then it hits you. And it hits you hard.  Your COPY SUCKS.  You've tried to read it through. You can't get through the first sentence, or the second, or even the third.  This doesn't represent your brand, your baby, your masterpiece of a company one bit.  The site will not launch. The show will not go on until your copy represents and speaks to your audience.

Sure, it was cheaper to hire that guy who emailed you and offered to write your web content for pennies on the dollar.  Sure, he was quick, it was easy and he knew your name when he spammed you.  But. (And this is a big BUT....) He is not connecting with your customers.  He doesn't understand your market.  He doesn't know what an editorial calendar is. He doesn't even know what the term ROI means.  This guy could be killing your business before YOU even get a chance to communicate with your prospects.

Friends, your business is too important to hire shoddy copywriters.  The digital planet is becoming more and more polluted with sinister, evil, boring, non-engaging content on a daily basis.  Don't fall victim to evil content.  Copywriting is NOT the place to shave a few dollars off. It's important to you. It's important to your customers. It's important to the search engines.  It's important to me.

If your content needs rescuing, call me: 866-471-4748.  My league of hand-picked Supererhero content writers is here to breath life, passion, engagement and relevancy into your web content, blog content and social media content.