It’s been a wild few months At Angie’s Copywriting, but that hasn’t prevented the good things from rolling in. So, without delay, let me catch you up on the latest news before I share some of the great things I spotted this week:
The Latest News From Angie’s Copywriting
Angie’s Copywriting has grown substantially since I started it all those years ago. And within the next month or so, you’ll notice some more. Most importantly, you’ll soon notice big changes in the site structure and new copy to help bring it in line with what actually happens behind the scenes. You’ll also discover that emphasis will start to move away from basic content creation. If you want to know where it’s going, you’ll have to keep visiting the site or subscribe to find out.
There are numerous projects on the horizon to watch out for, as well. If you’re a Canadian local, be on the lookout for a series of courses, seminars, talks and presentations in the coming months. They’ll cover everything from choosing a domain name to optimizing sales funnels and copywriting. I plan to make some of them available online, but will have to wait to work out the details before I get more specific.
A number of books coming out in the next few months, including the next (well overdue) book in the Copywriting Master Class Series. I hope to have them all available for you on Kindle and Amazon, as well.
Lastly, I have some new websites set to launch in the very new future, which include full courses designed specifically for small businesses and site owners. Now, let’s get to some of the resources I spotted this week.
Angie’s Weekly Web Wanderings
The week started off with an interesting piece on the idea of using some basic human traits in marketing campaigns. It’s called “Telling Someone What to Do: Bad for Productivity, Good for Marketers?”, so go have a read. (Or just watch the funny video.)
In Amazing Tools, Tips and Software I Found Last Week, I shared some of the really neat tools I had come across. They’re not just for copywriting or content marketing, either. (The SEO template and one of the Windows programs were my favourites.)
There was also:
- How to Replace Posterous By Adding the Convenience to Your Own Site
- If You’ve Ignored AuthorRank, You Might Start Paying for It
- 2012 Social Media User Demographics Are In
- Pinterest For Marketers: The Idea Collection
Marketing and Content Resources You May Have Missed
There were plenty of other excellent posts and resources I spotted this week:
- 11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool — Responsive design has become like gold to site designers and owners. Everyone wants a design that adjusts to suit smaller smartphone and tablet screens. However, as this piece from Web Designs Hock explains, you might want to reconsider the idea of following this trend.
- 50 Things Every Content Marketer Should Know — Wordstream never disappoints. This is an excellent quick list of skills and tactics content marketers should be familiar with.
- A Quick Tool for Making Animated Gifs — If you need a quick animated gif, I discovered this tool that seems to work pretty well. They have a bunch of gifs already made up that you can download, as well.
- Measure Remarketing Campaigns With Return Visitor Segment, Time Lag Report and Campaign Parameters — Remarketing has become a popular way to increase conversions and get more from your PPC dollars. This tip helps you keep track of it all.
- 6 Lessons You Can Learn From Amazon’s Killer Email Marketing — Amazon has one of the best and most well-known email marketing campaigns on the Internet. GetVero pinpointed some important tips the rest of us can use and benefit from.
- Why Real Businesses Don’t Charge $5/Month — A fantastic look at pricing structures vs profits and why the best pricing model isn’t always the smartest choice.
- What to Put on the Home Page of Your Business Blog — Do you feature your latest posts on your home page? While this is ok in some instances, it isn’t the only thing you should have on your site’s home page. Michael Martine explains why.
- Yours VS Mine — From Dustin Curtis, this interesting post debates the use of “your” vs “my” when talking about the user’s things such as their profiles.
Hope you enjoy these resources and find as much value in them as I have. Until next time… May your words be friendly and your conversions plenty.
(Image Courtesy of Geralt.)
Before I get to the goodies, I wanted to share something a little personal with you. This week was a really weird and scary one for me. In fact, it still bothers me. Not only did I have to help an older man on the bus who had a series of heart attacks, but I also encountered a lady who just happened to go into labour while I was in her store. Finally, a man was bitten very seriously, several times by a dog.
I don’t want to go into details of the events, but I do want to take a moment to make three quick requests:
- If you see someone who needs help, for goodness sake do something. Someday it could be you. And if you’re too scared to do something, or don’t know how to help, at least have the common decency to stay out of the way of those who are helping.
- Please, please, please get your first aid. And if you have it, keep it updated and make sure to practice it. You never know when you’re going to need it. Even if you’re in a crowd of people, it doesn’t mean anyone else will be willing to help, either.
- If you can, give blood. Lives depend on it, and someday it might be yours. I wouldn’t be here today if several people didn’t take the time to do so.
With that, let’s move on to some less depressing news…
(Image courtesy of Photozou.jp)
Facebook Pages Now With Administrator Roles and Scheduled Posts
About time, don’t you think? You’re now able to manage your Facebook Page just like a blog. Now, you can put each page admin in charge of the tasks you’d like them to care for, and you no longer have to worry about having too many cooks in the kitchen. And post scheduling? Not only can you spread out your content, but you can also target the regions and times that work best for you and your readers. Overall, I hope this will decrease the costs of SMM and help organisations better manage their pages.
On a side note, I find it interesting how much Facebook is becoming more of a platform and tool (like WordPress) than just a social network. Good move for the company, you think?
(Hat tip to Barry Carlyon for the link.)
You Can Now Do Browser-Size Analysis With Google Analytics
Browser-size analysis was a cool addition to Google Analytics, I thought. Not that it isn’t fun already, but this new feature will help you figure out what parts of your site show above the fold on various screens and devices.
This is probably a big yawn for most of you, but if you’ve been playing with mobile optimisation, or are trying to achieve a certain look with your website, this info is absolutely priceless. I’ve yet to have a look at it yet, so if you’ve played with it, let me know what you think.
Google also added the ability to split test via Google Analytics. I really like this, but this benefit wasn’t without a cost. Google Website Optimizer and some of it’s features are being shut off.
Google’s Authorship Markup
Rel=author has been around for a while, but adoption seems to be a bit slow. Now that it’s becoming more important, however, you might want to take a look at it. I know it can be a bit overwhelming when you first start looking at it, but Search Engine Land recently featured a post by Rick DeJarnette that I thought covered the topic nicely.
You’ll be happy to know it’s actually a lot easier to use than it looks at first glance.
Bio Is Changed (BIC) Tool
Another neat little tool I came across this week was Bio Is Changed or BIC. This tool watches your Twitter follower’s bios and lets you know when they change. This is pretty useless if you’re not using Twitter for business and lead generation, but if you’re using it to target specific people or businesses you’ll love it.
(Image courtesy of Blog Blond.)
Circl.es Online Dating
Gizmodo recently published a post about how a dating site is measuring desirability by email domain. This intrigued me, so I needed to dig a little further.
Admittedly, an online dating site isn’t something I’d normally discuss here (or anywhere, for that matter), but this one intrigued me. You see, instead of the usual process of filling out a long, boring profile (which can be pretty therapeutic) and matching it to other profiles, this one works with your Facebook profile.
Connect the site to your profile, and it mines the data on your page. Then, it matches the info it collected from your likes, etc. to others on the site. You can then visit their Facebook page and decide whether or not you’re interested. It’s sort of like an Internet geek’s dating hub.
I really love the concept. Not only is a Facebook profile often a fairer representation of you than how you see “you”, but I also see this as having tons of potential.
I’m thinking this would be great for matching VCs to start ups or freelancers to businesses. What I really think would be a great use for this software, however, is content delivery. Imagine the possibilities! I’m thinking it would be ideal for matching readers with content or online publications.
If I had the opportunity, I’d actually see about using the software to mine status updates in real time. This way, you could deliver content according to what that person is into at the time. Or, you could match their mood or daily routine to provide them with the information they may need or want at the time. Brilliant stuff!
As a side note, it certainly needs more users. Facial recognition for its images feature would be helpful, as well. Also, talking about smoking weed, linking to the FBI’s most wanted, or posting pics of you with your ex girlfriend are probably not great ways to get a date. Just sayin’…
Not a Post for Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia Sufferers
So Bad So Good published a fun post featuring the 7 Longest Words In The English Language. Admittedly, there’s absolutely no marketing or business value here, but you have to admit these words are pretty neat. I’m not even going to try to say or spell them, but I enjoyed it anyway. Did you know the longest word in the English language is… Well, you can read the post to find out.
Types of News Consumption
My last brush with Poynter caused a long wordy rant about newspapers and paywalls, but I have to admit they’ve redeemed themselves somewhat this week with their post The 3 Types of News Consumption and How They Differ.
Not that this post is particularly valuable or informative, but it does have some interesting views from the general manager of the news aggregator News.me. I thought it was interesting how they see the three types of news items being consumed. Long story short: consider the types of content you publish and take time to investigate how users are reading that content.
I had a lot of good rants and brain dumps this week. There was the GM debacle and death of its $10 million Facebook ad campaign and the debate about blog spam and what to do about it. I also shared some of the tools I use behind the scenes to keep everything running, but there are a bunch I haven’t shared with you…yet…
We Trust Shared Content More Than Mainstream Media
Social Media Marketing.com.au published a post Monday that looked at a recent survey from Neilsen on consumer trust and content. According to this study, more than 70% of online consumers trust consumer reviews and word of mouth over trusted media and other sources. Combined with the struggle brands have to maintain consumer engagement, and this is becoming a huge issue.
The way I see it, this is placing even more emphasis on a company’s ability to produce link bait, reviews, and consumer-based content. Ads will have to get more interactive and move away from the stuffy, traditional marketing that says, “Here’s our product. Here’s how you benefit.”
The other problem? Check out the next article I enjoyed this week…
3 Reasons Why I Hate Newspaper Paywalls
If the trust consumers have in official media is declining, and newspapers are moving toward a paywall-based business model, I think it’s pretty clear that disaster is imminent. Don’t you think? Mathew Ingram makes some very valid arguments against paywalls, as well. This leaves me with one question: Has the Globe and Mail thought this through?
There are tons of other ways they could monetise their business. And what about increasing engagement? The more time people spend interacting with their site, the more time their friends will spend on the site, and the more opportunity the newspaper will have to make money. My fingers are crossed that the media will soon sort this out. Otherwise, there will be a horrific number of people out of work.
Don’t get me wrong. Paywalls can be a great thing. I’ve seen a number of projects people have done with the WordPress membership plugin Your Members, and some of them really are brilliant. But it has to be done right. If you’re going to use this method, you need to offer something that isn’t already widely available. And secondly, give your users a taste and make them WANT to see what’s behind the curtain.
**UPDATED** Poynter published findings of another crap study on paywalls. The study, performed by DigiCareers, included statistics like:
- 87% of respondents would sooner use free news sites over paid. — Well DUH! Given a choice between getting the same information for free or paying for it, which one would you choose?
- 82% said they’d go elsewhere if their favourite sites introduced a paywall. — Considering how well most people deal with change, is it any wonder?
- 52% of respondents would immediately leave the site if they encountered a paywall. — There’s no definition of paywall. With no context, this is based merely on perception.
My comment as follows:
My opinion here is similar to Ryan Sholin’s. I think a lot of people have a pre-conceived notion of a paywall. And considering how badly they’ve been done by a number of the big newspapers (and smaller ones), it’s no surprise that people are biased against them.
Of the many newspapers who have turned to a paywall-based structure, some have done exceedingly well while others have failed miserably. I think a lot this stems from misunderstanding paywallconversions. Many see them as being based purely on the content, and this just isn’t true. Sure, creating unique, quality content is important, but this only takes care of the interest portion of the sales process. A lot has to happen first. Trust, for example.Think about it: You click a link expecting to see a really great piece of content and are suddenly told, “Oh sorry. We lied. You have to pay us first.” Because you likely aren’t familiar with the site, you have no idea if their definition of “quality” and “valuable” matches yours.Then, there’s value. If the only option is a weekly, monthly, or annual subscription, you don’t know whether there will be more content that’s actually worth paying for. This is marketing 101. If I’ve never visited a site before, and the only option is to pay for a month’s worth of content, am I going to bother? Not likely. I’ll get the information some other way. But, the more I keep returning to a site, the more likely I am to give in and give up the cash.Another big error is targeting the wrong audience, expecting the wrong audience to pay, or failing to consider user intent. If I want to read an article purely for entertainment purposes, I’m not going to be as motivated to buy as I would be if I was using for research, for example.The failing of the newspaper industry has nothing to do with paywalls, in my opinion. It’s the fact that they’re putting a band aid on an unsustainable and poorly planned business model.
Effective Copywriting and Infomercials
I’ll admit that I had to chuckle when I came across Heather and Laura’s post on how you can improve your copywriting by watching infomercials. I frequently do the same thing. Well, I don’t watch a lot of crappy late night TV. (My TV doesn’t even work.) But I do spend a lot of time watching ads and spotting good advertising.
Not only do I enjoy a creative ad, but I also love seeing the various techniques in action. I’ve gotten some great material from ads other people have done. I’ve even considered taking pictures of the great ads I see and explaining why I like them. Thankfully, my busy schedule doesn’t allow me to get started on yet another project and I am able to put aside these more entertaining pet projects in favour of more profitable ventures. Anyway, I digress. Have a read (or watch Heather’s video) and make notes. This post is another example of how super sharp this lady is.
Did you come across any really good copywriting-based info this week?
I love a good link. You know the kind…they irritate you, inspire you, entertain you, or just get you thinking. That’s what I’d like to do here. As an added bonus, it’s the perfect opportunity to share the neat things I’ve found throughout the week. Ready?
SEO and Content Publication
I came across two great business-type links this week. The first is Matt McGee’s post on the downside to publishing content at specific times of the week or day. I published my thoughts on AngieNikoleychuk.com, but overall, it’s a good, quick read, if you haven’t seen it yet.
The second is from Monica Wright. She did a guest post on Raven Tools that addressed the worries non-SEO site owners often face when they start working with an agency or SEO professional. Again, she brings up some really important points and gave some really good tips that should help you get more from your SEO dollars. This is never a bad thing.
Internet and Website Security
ARS Technica covered a story on the .secure TLD. In it, the author introduced readers to a security researcher who just received $9 million dollars. And what is he going to do with this kind of money? Why, create a private area of the Internet for organizations like banks and governments, of course. This left me with quite a few questions, but you can read more about that on AngieNikoleychuk.com.
What If Your Copywriter Had a Dark Side?
On the fun side, I discovered a great site called The Depressed Copywriter. If you like good ads and Internet memes, this is the perfect site for you. While some of them are creepy, or just plain wrong, some of them are absolutely brilliant. They got more than just a few chuckles out of me.
3 New Tools For Creating Better Stuff
I enjoy Problogger, and I love trying out new tools, so this post by Neil Patel was right up my alley. (I’ve been following him on Twitter for quite some time. Super smart fella with some brilliant 140-character revelations, but I digress.) In the post, Neil recommended IFTTT. I’ve looked at this tool a few times during the past few months and have considered using it in a number of different ways. I think it has amazing potential, but I just can’t seem to sit myself down long enough to have a play with it.
I already use the last tool Neil recommends regularly for keyword research, but the second tool he suggests is the answer to my prayers and a fantastic alternative to the now-missing Google Lists and Google Wonder Wheel.
If you want to know what these tools are, you’ll have to read the post for yourself. It’s called 3 New Tools That Can Help You Create Better Content, Convert More Readers, and Conquer Higher Search Rankings. (Dear Neil, you need shorter headlines. On a side note, it worked. lol)
Speaking of tools, I’ve been looking for ways to easily manage multiple WordPress sites. Today, I came across InfiniteWP. It’s free at the moment, but I see there are premium addons coming. At first glance, it looks slick and easy to use, but I was wondering if any of you have tried it?
Anyway, that’s it for my wanderings this week. Cheers!
A Guide For Canadians Moving To the UK or Brits Moving To Canda
There are some huge, notable differences between our two cultures. They might not seem like much, but boy do you notice them when they’re gone! (SarahCarling, this post was inspired by you. In it, I’ve included all the big things you’ll need to know.)
All Those Dang Buttons! AKA “Y’all Are Nuts”
First of all, Brits have buttons for everything! If you want to enter a business, you simply walk in like you normally would. If you want to get out, however, well good luck buddy! It’s got to be a marketing ploy to keep us Canadians in the store longer. You press the button for the door and nothing ever happens…nothing opens, there’s no sound, nothing. Odd. To make matters worse, they seem to get some sort of perverse pleasure out of making you look for the stupid button. It’s almost like a treasure hunt fetish.
In Canada, the only time you have to press a button is if you’re in a wheelchair, and even then, we reward you for finding and using the button by automatically opening the door for you. We don’t want to stress you out too badly though, so we usually make them jumbo and in a shiny silver colour, or we make them a bright shiny red. Some of them even light up!
If this sounds like a minor detail to you, let me tell you my story…
During ThinkVis, I had snuck back to the flat to have a shower and wake myself up. I got into the flat just fine. (Their door handles are all funky too, now that I’m thinking about it. You can’t tell whether you should push or pull.) I had a shower, and I was feeling a lot more awake, so I figured I’d better hurry back to the casino.
I called the cab, gather my stuff, and headed to the elevator. I got down to the main floor, and I nearly killed myself by running into the door. First, it was a pull door, not a push like it looks. Secondly, I forgot about the stupid button on the wall, so I went to push and it didn’t move.
I eventually get myself out of the building without anyone too many people noticing and managed to find my way out to the waiting cab. I get in, tell him I need to go to the Alea Casino. When he asked where that was, I knew I was in for an interesting evening.
Never fear, however, he did manage to get me to the casino, albeit the back. Rather than walking all the way around this big building, I figure I’m going to be smart and get in the exact same way we had gotten in earlier that morning.
No big deal, right? Go in the door, take the elevator to the second floor, and go straight over to the double doors where everyone would be gathering and enjoying a few drinks.
Well, I get in the building no problem, get into the elevator, go to the second floor, and just before I got out I thought ‘gee, I wonder if I can remember which direction the double doors were in.’ I was so proud of myself when I managed to find them right off! Score for me! (This will make sense when I get to my next story.) Push on the door and nothing happens. Well! What the hell?!?
Ok, stay cool. Maybe you were wrong ‘chuk. Maybe you got off on the next floor up last time? Get back into the elevator, go up a floor, get out, and score! I find the double doors leading to the conference. Imagine the bad words that came out of my mouth when I realized that door didn’t open. Let’s just say the words sounded a lot like ‘what the firetruck’.
I’m starting to panic a little, but I figure there were 2 more floors I could try…and I did. Imagine my stupidity when I realized after 5 or 6 trips in the elevator that I wasn’t pressing the freaking button all the way over on the right side of the doors! Like, waaaaayyyy over there. How the hell am I supposed to know that I have to look for a stupid button to open the door?!?! I composed myself and pretended nothing happened.
You’ll be glad to know that I eventually started to remember to look for a button, but part of me always took a deep breath each time I pushed one. You just never know if you’re pushing the button for the door or if a trap door is going to open up underneath you and you’ll be transported to Australia or something. Besides, why the heck would you try to keep me IN? I promise you that’s the first time someone has tried to keep me indoors.
Y’all are nuts.
I Just Want Food!
You’ll notice there’s a huge difference in the menus in our respective countries. As a Canuck, I go into a restaurant, order what I want, and the food magically appears. The UK was a very different story. I wasn’t sure what most of the concoctions were, although I’m sure they were all mouth-wateringly tasty. In most instances, I couldn’t figure out how to say them even if I was going to try them!
I figured it wouldn’t matter what I chose to eat because it was all new to me, so I either closed my eyes and picked a spot on the menu or ordered whatever someone else was having. Besides, some of them might have been saying cheeseburger, but because they have such a heavy accent, it was virtually impossible for my simple Canadian brain to translate.
Let’s Take a Drive
Once you arrive in Canada, you’ll quickly understand how much land we have and how small our population is. This also means that my idea of a quick three-hour drive to the city is very, very different for a Brit. To them, 3 hrs is like going clear across the country. It IS going across the country in some instances, and it’s just far too busy, complicated, and downright expensive to do on a regular basis.
Now, you wouldn’t think this would be an issue, but it does really mess with your planning and internal scale. You’re never quite sure what Brits see as reasonable and what they don’t. I drive three hours to go to the nearest major city for a break. Over there, it’s just not done.
(Credit — Funny enough, if you follow the credit for this photo, you’ll discover the photographer noticed the same things I did about driving in the UK in an earlier post.)
Their road systems are all screwed up too, and I don’t just mean driving on the wrong side of the road or their odd infatuation with roundabouts. In Canada, most communities and roads are divided into a general straight line, which then makes square parcels of land. Of course, we still have rivers and all sorts of other things to contend with, but they usually work the same way.
In the UK, it’s just wherever they happened to fall. Walking around Leeds, it was instantly apparent that I’m going to need GPS and a map if I’m ever going to find my way around. Roads change names at will; they stop and start it the oddest of places and sometimes they’re for cars, sometimes they’re not for cars. How can you tell?!? It’s like giving me a strawberry cheesecake blizzard, walking away for an hour and telling me I wasn’t supposed to eat it when you get back. It’s cruel!
My personal favourite is the narrow little road that looks like the right one until you get past the point of no return. They put up large pillars that look wide enough for you to go through, but aren’t. If you did think you could make it between those posts, don’t worry. You can tell from the dark BMW paint on either side that you weren’t the only one who tried.
Every time I turned around, I wasn’t sure where I was. Everyone else seemed to know though, so I just went with that. I figured worst case scenario I’d have to phone Tim and Carolyn to come pick me up. You can totally hear that phone call coming right?
Me: I’m lost. Come find me?
Carolyn: Where are you?
Tim (in the background, of course): You mean to tell me she’s lost AGAIN?
Me: I don’t know! There’s stone buildings and a big ol vine over there.
Carolyn: What’s the street name?
Me: I don’t know! You guys don’t have normal street signs. They’re always hidden on a building somewhe…Oh hey! Look! A Starbucks! I’ll just have one of those till you find me.
My other issue, and one I KNOW Sarah is going to have, is accents. As soon as I open my mouth, it’s like saying ‘She’s an idiot. She’s Canadian’. Of course, I prove them right when I do something stupid or am simply not aware of seemingly common things, but that’s not the point.
My personal favourite situation: they speak quickly, using strange words you’ve never heard in normal conversation, while facing the opposite direction. There is a solution, but it doesn’t always work. It also requires the help of a local.
You see, Tim and I had this worked out. As soon as he’d see that blank ‘huh?’ look on my face or I’d get that ‘Are you serious’ look, he’d jump in with some sort of explanation or just repeat it so I could translate it back into Canuckian. It wasn’t foolproof because sometimes our blank look makes us look like we’re deep in thought, but it helped 9/10 times.
The next little thing I noticed occurred to me after visiting the grocery store.
The Trick To Getting In a Grocery Store With a Cart
In the UK, they have huge revolving doors that look a lot like old-people flingers. If you close your eyes and imagine an elderly lady about to be flung by a slingshot laying on its side, you’ll get an idea of what these are like.
So Sarah, I’ll give you one of the most valuable pieces of information you’ll need while buying food:
- Get your grocery cart first. (You might better know them as a ‘trolley’, which over here means a car that runs on roads, but looks like a train. San Francisco is famous for them…Is it San Francisco? Well, never mind. The US is a different country, fyi )
- You’ll find that you’ll either need to insert a quarter or looney into the slot at the front and push the giant key thing in the front.
- When you get to the door, use the cart to push open the door, if the doors don’t automatically slide open. There’s none of this Macgyver diving out the door before it closes on you so you don’t have to make another revolution.
All goofing around and oddities aside, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. My unique, natural ability to demonstrate my freakishness made it feel like home…or rather ‘home’ with enough surprises to ensure your day is going to be interesting.
Dealing with everything really isn’t so bad.
Sarah: If I could give you one piece of advice, I’d tell you to pay attention to all the little things around you and embrace the differences. See it as an adventure exploration and you’ll do fine. Wishing you all the best!
Other Posts In the Series:
A Canadian in the UK: An Introduction (Part 1)
The Official “Think Visibility” Conference Coverage (Part 2)
A Day Spent In Leeds (Part 3)
Visiting Harrogate and York (Part 4)