Shortcuts to content marketing

Shortcuts to Content Marketing

Over the past six weeks, I’ve been learning different ways to improve business. Not just mine, but every client business that I help as well. I went to the business improvement conference ‘52 Ways’ put on by Business Blueprint. Dale talked a lot about systems and clever online apps, i.e. shortcuts to success.

Apps for creating great content are helpful time-savers and shortcuts also keep the cost of content creation down, if we are judicious.

Yet you don’t want to be shortcutting your way to low quality and inconsistency. Those posting inconsistently and offshoring a lot of content creation/writing will find that the outcome of content marketing is poor…

Indeed, according to Content Marketing Institute, the professional B2B marketers feeling most successful have clarity on what success in content marketing looks like. The top two contributing factors of those who felt their marketing was more successful this year (2017) were:

  • Doing a better job with content creation and
  • Developing or adjusting the content strategy.

Documenting their content marketing strategy is also one of the markers of success.


Small Business Content Marketing

If you can’t afford an agency though, where do you go to get promotional images or written content? What shortcuts can you use? Do you know your brand voice? What about story? What persona am I selling to?

Why are we even creating the content? Is it to be a leader in the niche? Or is it more defined and your team wants to highlight a new offering in a subtle and persuasive way?

It is for all these reasons that an external freelance marketer can help your business soar. Rather than a hefty set-up and monthly agency fee, the freelancer can charge per hour, per project (for campaigns or static pages), or for amped up results, as an equity share (plus expenses).

Many stable small businesses have nobody with a background in permission-based marketing. So they go at content marketing with an advertising framework, expecting instant results. Traditional advertising is usually two simple steps:  advertise to attract customers, the advert begs them to contact the business or (if a larger business) sets the branding tone.

While content marketing and advertising online can go hand-in-hand very successfully, a planned content strategy in a longer-term tool that is best viewed as a four-step process.


One:   Advertise content (landing page) OR develop content that attracts web visitors.

Two:   Get permission to give relevant content to wonderful person in exchange for email.

Three:  Email with informative material (or perhaps call for a free appointment) to wonderful person to convince of your value.

Four:  Finally, pitch for a trial of your service or sell a related product. (Product related to all your lead magnets and emails)


So, you can see that there is more to this system – and there are a lot of little online steps to be set up too. At no point do you want pages (thank-you page, download page) and downloadables going up online, with no idea of whether they work.


Other Benefits of Using a Freelance/Contracted Marketer

If contracted over a longer period, the Freelance Marketer can build ideas through briefing, Brainstorming and content arcs. (Content arcs are monthly or quarterly themes that you can write about).

They can also bring their constant learning and knowledge of better apps to your business – rather than having a staff member struggle through learning a complex and expensive program.

So always get the best quality content and use the best person that you can find to do your content marketing.









Copywriter Confessions 1

Make Your Words Come Alive… Copywriter Confessions

Copywriter confession #1.   I confess I have written thousands and thousands of uncaring words:  words that persuade; words that strive to create authority, words that lure the reader into a promotion.

Then again, I have also written words that stemmed from the heart. These words are on my personal blog. Often I only post once I have learned a particular thing. Other smaller updates on Facebook or LinkedIn are top-of-mind and are intended to help or guide.

But I also read other people’s marketing copy. Much of it is familiar.

Copywriter confession #2.   I confess I was tempted to re-write the formulaic copy of another copywriter many times, but I stopped and re-read the USP (unique selling proposition) until my eyes swam with wavy lines. That USP will become like the main umbrella, off which many valid selling points of each service/product will flow. A strong framework holds an umbrella in a gust of wind.

How to Win Leads and Influence People

Swathed in keywords, the message is trotted out in urgent, conversational tones, like you the reader are a dear friend. The product a brilliant thing you really must try, but be quick because this offer is only available till the 25th. The coaching service a necessity, due its time-saving, stress-relieving nature… The business-boosting advantage of this service is way more useful than a cup of tea. Features, benefits, advantages: these are the copywriter’s utensils.

So go be a web copywriter, write the web afire with your keyword rich, benefit-laden copy.  Do not write what ‘comes to mind’. Do not re-write the meaningless jargon that is currently afloat in the marketing flotsam and jetsam.

Simple words, short words, easily-understood sentences: this is the only prose we need.

We don’t need to ‘sell out’ to sell… just confess your previous writer sins and learn how to write from the heart.

Take your background, your paradigm, your life meaning to the art of copywriting. Where types of business writing are as many and varied as fine art: speeches, white papers, case studies, how-to articles, journals, industry news. Give those pieces authentic life and richness.

Learn How to Write Copy from Book Stories

Think of all the narratives, each with their own distinct voice. A compelling, real story and a present tense action and dialogue to tell it — how divine.  A powerful message of hope within a memoir. Same with your copy. One time, I wrote about the experience of receiving, opening and using the product as if I was the awaited user.

Headlines Sell

Headlines – make them catchy and to the point. Let’s find the best headline we can, the most intriguing. You already know that snappy book titles sell books, while headlines in web blogs or copy ‘sell’ the content.

See these books below to help you learn how to write headlines and copy.

Headlines that make you rich – by David Garfinkel

Handbook Publishing Support

Handbook publishing support

Recently we completed editing and typesetting of a Prenatal Yoga Handbook, mainly for yoga teachers. It contained over 81 hand-drawn illustrations that needed to be re-saved as smaller, grayscale format and inserted — as per the requirements of print on demand. Handbook publishing support is just part of what we do.

Regarding the final result, it was superbly finished and the tables came out nicely. The cover designed by Heather of Art & Design Studios was colourful and the whole thing stood out.

yoga handbook publishing support

What Type of Books/Handbooks Can You Make?

Handbooks for teachers are just one of many types of books you can get made with Print on Demand. Print on Demand books can be paperback (perfect bound usually) or hardback. It can also include high res photographs and be a different shape to usual, for those architectural or website design portfolio books.

If you think what your students or your clients really want to know, there is a book format for it. And you don’t have to put it in a binder and muck about!

  • How To books, like the Dummies series on complex topics. 200 – 300 pages.
  • Tips books, like my Power Marketing book, help people with different ideas and their pros/cons. 100 – 250 pages.
  • Your story plus learning examples. This style is great because it uses the power of story and yet readers can learn a lot from varied honest and raw anecdotes.
  • Experts tell all. Like the “Secrets of…” series, this is where you interview experts on a topic and follow a set structure so readers get key takeaways. Also good for offering a freebie bonus at the end of each section – e.g. an audio download, which helps the expert grow their own list. They like that!


Where Should You Distribute Your Handbooks?

Handbooks that illustrate various techniques are tuition guides for a niche audience. While large publishers don’t want a bar of such a select group, as a master, trainer or coach, you can distribute and sell the handbooks through:

a) your students

b) your other suppliers, e.g. associations you belong to, clubs you teach at, even the place that sells you the coffee you use at work!

c) offering to teach one simple element at relevant networking events, and sell them there

Think creatively about distribution, because just relying on the mass book retailers is not going to reach your niche audience as effectively. Your handbook needs to appear where no other books are being sold. Look what it did for Rich Dad, Poor Dad, who started selling the books in petrol stations, of all places!

You can get full handbook publishing support from me, Jennifer Lancaster, a book publishing coach.


Marketing Planning for Consultants

Have you ever done the revealing process of compiling a Marketing Plan?  If you do, you’ll discover what a difference it can make to your consulting business’s vision, plan, and future marketing strategy. (Get a Marketing Planning Template below).

People often overlook the most simple and helpful things in their rush to ‘get on with it’ and bring in some leads. If you’re presently stuck with poor website conversion, lost leads (due to wrong market fit), or dismal numbers from advertising, then going back to the planning and targeting stage is going to help you immensely.

The Government’s ‘My Business’ tools are handy—and the best part is, they’re free.  If you haven’t done a marketing plan or schedule yet, then take a look at the extensive Marketing Plan template and guide. In our forthcoming course Marketing for influencers, we provide a Marketing plan template, example, and message template.

A written Marketing Plan will help you see who your target is, your positioning and point of difference, and then in a Marketing Schedule, you can allocate time and money to the avenues that will attract that target the best.

Read Why Do I need a Marketing Plan? – Link to Template and Marketing Planning App.

What Could go Wrong if a Consultant doesn’t have a Marketing Plan?

Let’s say you don’t have a written marketing plan and someone offers you directory advertising. You flounder and then decide to pay for a feature profile, after all, you need a good start to your marketing. But if you haven’t done some research about your buyers (how they buy) and also allocated a marketing budget, you could be tipping out much of your annual budget on one unproven tactic. The audience of the directory might be too broad, too price conscious, or simply not aware of your sector.

If you don’t know your target market intimately, then you are pretty much firing off a gun in all directions… hoping to hit the person who wants your offering. (Look at doing our Niche Marketing email course, it’s totally free).

In Marketing, Positioning Counts

Everything in the plan is tied to another key element. As an example, in determining your market position, you decide on fairly high end, because in your market research you heard several times that business users just cannot get the sort of proprietary information and advice you have, and if they don’t then it costs them thousands (research linked to value and positioning).

To reach business users that have this problem, think about how they would find you. They don’t tend to flick through the Yellow Pages in pursuit of solutions, in fact they may not look on the web either. Yet speaking at a business seminar and offering your book will give a solution to this ‘hidden problem’ direct to a ready audience. (You can also ask questions and the interaction can uncover further pain points).

Thus you could tie this business target market to marketing tactics, and allocate a small budget for sponsoring a seminar (or talking for free at an alliance’s forum).

In my book Power Marketing, I advise business owners to think about what underlying message you are giving with your marketing. Malcolm McLaren said, “The medium is the message”. If using QR codes, you are implying that only people with smartphones are important to you. This would be the wrong medium if you wanted to reach the over 60s homeowner market, for example.

Find Gaps in Competitors’ Offerings

A lot of business proprietors tend to pitch themselves directly against competitors, but this is a poor strategy. This is because it may exacerbate price comparisons (and price wars) rather than pushing your value and unique qualities.

In your plan, you might analyse around four or five competitors. But how should you do this?

When I was writing website copy, I would do a Google search for a client’s best local competitors. Getting a brief, I noticed it was rare that any small business owner has already analysed their competition and could easily share their customer pain points, their point of difference, their strengths and weaknesses. Yet a copywriter cannot write engaging copy without knowing the client business’s differentiation.

Or in plainer language, you cannot get to their hearts and minds without knowing what’s important to the target customer!

It’s also common sense to look at gaps/weaknesses in a competitor’s strategy or products. It helps you differentiate your own business and then form marketing messages to prospects. That said, remember not to use the competitor research phase to ‘copy’. Find gaps and innovate.

You Can Charge More

A final point is, once you have got clear on your vision, researched competitors, know your target buyer intimately, and positioned your business well with high-quality marketing collateral (and you can deliver on promises) then you will be able to charge ‘In Demand’ rates. When your solution is in demand, and rare, then your rates can correspondingly go up.


Book Review – Everyday Ways to Win in Office Life

Some of us have worked in offices, others are stuck in one right now, trying to deal with the unwritten rules and weird personas all around us. If this is you and you have some time to read on the commute, I think you’ll have a laugh at Everyday Ways to Win in Office Life.

As I recall my corporate office jobs (thanks ResMed), I find myself nodding my head and smiling to the witty observations the author makes. There are helpful parts as well, such as how to deal with certain ‘manager types’ in typical offices. When you’ve had a really bad day because a senior manager has swooped down to give you a project with a yesterday deadline, because apparently they told you about it at a meeting that you weren’t even in, then you’ll find some solace in his description and advice for “the seagull”.

This ebook certainly does make me less envious of the office crowd.

Read Martin’s ebook, now available on Amazon at

About Martin Hadfield

Martin has spent many years working and observing life in the office environment in both public and private sector organisations. After sharing some of his eccentric observations with the captive audience in his office, Martin realised that people spend most of their time working in offices without even understanding their environment or trying to make it better.

So, now Martin is on a mission to encourage the everyday employee to think more about seeking happiness in the office, a place where we all spend so much of our time.

Book Promotion with PromoCave

Earlier on, we talked about how authors need to get book listings, like on BookLife (post here). Today’s discovery is Promocave, which not only lets you list and promote your book for free, it also helps us authors with a webinar about Amazon SEO (1 hr 36 m), among other training topics.

Author Jorge Olsen gives a new insight into keywords, categories, and how Amazon advertises on behalf of authors. You can also advertise inside Amazon, but here we focus on free avenues.

Jorge doesn’t mention this, but don’t forget the Amazon rule: you cannot use a particular ‘keyword’ when you have that word in your title or subtitle. (More about Amazon Keywords and Categories on our blog).

Promocave, with its 150,000 authors, also has a discussion forum for members, which is another place to ask peers your questions. You can use to find readers and build your author platform. It states: “Submit your book, videos, articles, blog posts and other content and our social engine will promote the book FREE to up to 3 million potential readers per day.”


Scribd is another place to check your book listing. (See Smashwords).

Quick Book Listing Tips

Don’t skimp on your author bio and author photo, as well as on your book cover. So, if your photo file is tiny (20 – 100 kB) then it ‘s probably not good enough resolution. If you get a professional photo, maybe even holding your book, it reflects well on your professionalism. (Support local photographers).

Remember, readers don’t care much about why you chose your genre… they more want to know that you’re an authentic writer. Particularly with non-fiction, life experience counts and your story and motivation should be apparent in your author bio.

Promocave also offer a custom researched book promotional package, including proven search-engine optimisation and Amazon optimisation techniques.

Book Promotion with Social Profiles

For free, authors can set up a LinkedIn Company Page (as Jorge suggests), Facebook Page (just for the Book), and use the Author Marketing App installed inside a Facebook Page to help people bounce from the page right to the Amazon book buy page.

I hope you get infinitely more book sales with this independent book promotion site review.



Rank on Amazon – Keywords, Categories

Over the holiday season, I was researching how to rank on Amazon for clients’ books and my own books. I have discovered things you can do with keywords, categories, and even the annual program Amazon Advantage to improve rankings. That said, Amazon isn’t everything and every avenue. In fact, it’s just a start.

I found this very useful but long excerpt, How to Use Categories to Drive Book Sales. Basically, we can elect to choose the two most specific, in demand yet less competitive categories — books with similar content to ours. Here is a little more about why you want the Kindle Best-Seller ranking and how to get it.

Choosing Keywords

Self-Publishers can also select 7 Keywords that relate to their book’s content. When you are considering keywords, think about novices to the field and how they search. Tools like Google keyword tool and just doing many searches on Amazon in your topic field can help you choose better keywords… Even using your affiliate (Associates) account to search top-ranking books can help you to identify titles which are current sales winners.
Firstly, understand that people are not going to usually type in your exact book title (unless they are your cousin), so this is why keywords help readers find your book. I write money books. But if I choose “personal finance” as my keyword/category, I’m up against the likes of Dave Ramsay, Suze Orman, etc… in a very competitive arena.

Next, realise that you cannot jam lots of keywords in your book description and title, and suddenly rank way up there. Actually, putting the keyword in the title is against Amazon’s terms, as is inserting statements like “best”, “on sale”, “new” or “limited offer”.

Lesser-Used Categories

Your first two keywords will be the doorway to your chosen categories (the ones you have researched as low competition but relevant). Imagine you’re writing a book “Prosperity Consciousness” and so the keywords of ‘prosperity’ and ‘success’ naturally befit that title, however Amazon says you cannot choose ‘prosperity’ because it’s in the title. So go ahead and choose ‘success’, ‘abundance’ or another well-used synonym.

You can then categorise your book under “self-help : spiritual” and “kindle store: non-fiction: business and money: personal finance” because keywords open up related categories. (You can see the categories in this top-of-the-listing book here)

Kindlepreneur teaches a three step way to unlock rare, ‘secret’ Kindle categories. He also teaches you how to combine your Amazon internal keywords with SEO-style keywords, which are not restricted on Amazon. This can help your book rise to the top of a less populated search or topic, although you still need book sales (-;

You need to be a Jedi Knight with keywords if you want to use them well for marketing your books, so listen to Kindlepreneur and other Jedi masters.

It seems I’ve gone on long enough on keywords and categories, so next time we’ll unplug Amazon Advantage and the drawcards of that program.

Content Writer or Copywriter – What’s the Difference?

When people want to get content written for their website, they believe they want a content writer. But starting with the word content is deceptive. Content could be blog news, media releases, free reports/guides, PDF brochures, or it could just mean the main website pages.

More than just what the writing is, the difference is focus.

A copywriter writes with the sole point of attracting, interesting, stirring a desire and creating action from their words. While the verbiage has to be lively and grammatically OK, it’s more important to be relevant to the reader’s desires than it is to be formal and use superior English grammar.

A content writer is looking to fill a brief of writing news, blog posts, supporting content, and usually writes with keywords in mind. They must also proofread their work.

While this may be a large assumption, based on my past experience with keywords, employers who know little about sales conversion generally look for a ‘web content writer’. People who are inbound marketers and creatives look for a ‘copywriter’ as this classification was always used in the advertising industry for the past sixty or so years.

The Language of Content Writing

Focussing now on content marketing for lead generation, we also talk about lead magnets, special reports, bait pieces, lead capture offers, white papers, free ebooks, freebies — basically they are all the same thing.  My favourite sources of inspiration for this are: GKIC (Glazer-Kennedy) newsletters and some of the inbound marketing software ebooks, of which I have about 100!

LeadPages has a great demo video where they trialled a simple Tools list as an opt-in. Bit of a shame for a writer, because tools lists are short and simple, but for some markets, the ‘sign up’ numbers rule! Some people want a good apps/tools list because they are in a hurry.

In other markets, like complex business products, you would offer either a demonstration video/DVD or an easy to understand, nicely laid out white paper.

Why not think about what lead magnet piece would work for your business?



Why is the Power of Words important?

More than 20 years ago I found out that some words have more powerful emotional resonance than others. These ‘power words’ are often used by copywriters — usually in headlines — to induce a subconscious reaction.

Copywriting is any writing that persuades or influences. I wanted to use powerful words in client sales copy and other writing, and so, Power of Words was born. (At

Although this Unbounce article on power words believes that ‘easy’ and ‘bargain’ are both power words; these never appeared in the original list of the most powerful English words by the psychology department at Yale University. Here are the 10 power words:











* The no.1 most powerful word found in studies

Also worth a mention, when you want to write a sparkling headline, include one of these:

HOW … as in How to (solve a problem you have)



Why I Turn Your Business Writing on its Head

The reason that I turn most business writing around and take out many of the we’s (if meaning ‘the company’), is because everyone is most interested in themselves. If you want to sell more widgets or sign up more subscribers, then speak directly… using ‘you’ or ‘your’. Don’t bother with puffery, jargon, and longer words than any news report; just use plain, conversational language.

If the writing is friendly, understandable, and it contains at least one call to action, then we as copywriters have done our job. At the end of the day, people buy from those they like, not those they can barely understand.

By the way, your organisation can learn the art of copywriting… an art that will keep on paying the business bills. Just call me on 0403 125 038 for a consultation in or near Redcliffe, Qld.




Sales Conversion Principles

Understanding sales conversion principles is a necessity in any profitable business. This is because if you understand which types of media and messages get a good response, you can focus more on these and save by culling the non-performing avenues.

Plus, once you get beyond a simple solo operation, tracking all print ad responses, social media activity and email mailout responses can be a little daunting.

Some questions you should ask yourself are:

Where are my main clients coming from? Specifically, what percentages are from referrals, advertising, and content… and what medium has proven the best for us?

Which ads and articles just aren’t working? Let’s remove or edit these. Perhaps try a new headline in newspaper/print ads instead of the service name. Try a call to action that contains a juicy offer. A copywriter (such as myself) specialises in writing powerful headlines, copy and offers. That’s the kind of copy we talk about; not the kind where you are infringing on others copyright!

Learn more about sales conversion principles and sales funnels in ‘Power Marketing: An Aussie Guide to Business Growth… eBook on sale 19 August 2015.

To learn what advertising works by tracking your incoming phone calls, there are various systems on the market. One of these is called Xnum by MondoTalk.

To learn what works regarding your website visitors and contact form, Google Analytics has many of the answers, or set up a goal first to work out the actual visitor to $ conversion result. The system ‘CrazyEgg’ is an alternative way to spot web visitors’ movements.

To learn what works in email marketing, a system such as MailChimp or Infusionsoft can let you how many people opened and clicked on your emails.

Even LinkedIn has tracking tools. You can see who has visited your profile and articles, and how many have contacted you, with more information shown when you become a premium user.

So, getting to a “Yes” may take many different forms. But if you have got the tools to track costly advertising, article writing and website content, then you are way better off than the person who is just scattering out flyers and re-ordering advertising that they hope is working.


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