Did you see that year that just flew by?
It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that Sonia Simone welcomed 2015 with My Challenge to You for 2015: Only Connect.
In that post, Sonia talks about how business success is about getting the “Big Thing” right.
What’s your Big Thing?
You’ll recognize it as the overarching reason behind your business. It’s your motive for wanting to connect with people online. It’s what gets you out of bed every morning.
When you’re clear about your Big Thing, the details tend to fall into place.
Get clear on your Big Thing, then dive into the details below
This past year, Copyblogger took a deep dive into the details of effective content marketing.
Choosing the “best” posts from this embarrassment of riches is impossible. I mean, really? How does one choose?
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. So, I loaded up on coffee and took a nice, long stroll through all the content we put together for you in 2015.
Thank you to our team and our readers
Before I share my list, I want to take a moment to thank Demian Farnworth and Stefanie Flaxman for their work on the editorial team this year.
Demian’s can-do attitude and epic content marketing skills made for some exceptional posts this year.
And Stefanie’s eagle-eyed editing instincts have polished every post below into its best possible form.
To all the guest writers whose work we published this year, thanks to you, too. You accepted our suggestions with grace, met our deadlines with style, and helped to spread the word. Great work!
I especially want to thank you, our faithful readers.
You’ve stayed with us and let us know your thoughts on social media, in emails, and even in person. We appreciate the time and attention you’ve given to our pages over the past year.
Pick a topic and jump-start your 2016
Want to brush up on a particular subject as you head into the new year?
Pour yourself a cup of your preferred beverage, pull up a chair, and start reading.
And be sure to come back for a visit on the first Monday of 2016. We’ve got some fantastic content lined up for you. And a few surprises, too! It’s going to be a great year.
By the way, have you signed up for our free Copyblogger Content Challenge yet?
Starting Monday, January 4, we’ll be teaching an enthusiastic group of several thousand people how to create solid cornerstone content for their websites. Join us!
Encouragement for your journey
Trolls, Unkind Words, and How to Know You’re on the Right Track
If you want your content to be remembered, you’ve got to be willing to take a stand, trolls be damned. Sonia Simone has some words of wisdom for you if you struggle with feeling exposed to unfriendly people online.
The Introvert’s Guide to Surviving an In-Person Conference
Fess up: are you one of the many self-proclaimed introverts who read Copyblogger? If so, this post is for you.
The Dangerous Myth of the Magical Tool
If you’ve found yourself thinking, “If only I had the right software, my business would be transformed,” please take a moment to read this post.
How Not to Be a Sleaze (or a Martyr) in Your Business
Sonia drops some wisdom with her usual combination of story and savvy in this post about finding balance in your business.
5 Things to Take Advantage of When You’re Starting Something New
Small is beautiful! Here’s why you should enjoy the early days of your business to the fullest.
Harness the power of email marketing
Beth Hayden has spent a hefty chunk of 2015 generously sharing what she knows about email marketing — and she knows a lot.
If you’re trying to understand how all the pieces of the email marketing puzzle fit together, take a look at the posts below.
- How to Choose a Solid Email Service and Build Your List on a Firm Foundation
- Your Top-to-Bottom Email Checklist: What to Include Before You Hit Send
- Email Newsletters vs. Content Notifications: A Head-to-Head Comparison
- How to Write a Heroically Effective Email Autoresponder Series
- How to Write Email Subject Lines that Make People Stop, Click, and Read
- 13 Tantalizing Incentives that Will Build Your Email List
- 4 Quick Solutions that Spawn Radical Email List Growth
Adaptive content: what it is, how to use it
You may have heard the term “adaptive content” a few times in 2015. As Demian Farnworth says, adaptive content means to “tailor content to a customer’s experience, behavior, and desires.”
Sound intriguing? Read the posts in this section to fully understand adaptive content and discover how to put it to work for you in 2016.
16 Stats that Explain Why Adaptive Content Matters Right Now
Demian leads off with a rallying cry: adaptive content matters because it offers your readers a better, more tailored experience.
13 Simple Questions to Help You Draft a Winning Content Strategy [Free Worksheet]
If Demian’s 16 stats about the importance of adaptive content got you fired up to use it on your site, this post will help you take the first step. We’ve created a free worksheet you can download and fill out to help you start using adaptive content strategies.
3 Adaptive Content Resources for Advanced Marketers
To implement adaptive content, you must fix your older content so it works well today, understand who’s on your site, and use marketing automation to serve up unique content experiences to your site visitors. Fortunately, Editor-in-Chief Stefanie Flaxman has gathered resources to help you do all three.
Need some inspiration? Read on …
Here’s How Henry Rollins Writes (Slightly NSFW)
Those of us who had the honor of seeing Henry Rollins speak at 2015’s Authority Rainmaker event in Denver won’t soon forget the energy and passion in his words. But how does he get those words onto paper?
4 Revelations that Drove Me to Quit My Job and Start a Business
Raubi Perilli shared a personal story about what it was like for her in the early days of her business (hint: it wasn’t all pretty, but it taught her many lessons).
Claiming Your Power as a Writer
Stepping into your full power as a writer means putting on your Big Person Underpants. Need details? Count on Sonia Simone to fill you in.
News we saw, news we made
Introducing Rainmaker.FM: The Digital Marketing Podcast Network
We like to comment on news that impacts content marketers. But, of course, it’s even more fun to make news. That’s what happened when we launched our Rainmaker.FM podcast network last March. That’s right: we didn’t just launch a show or two. It was (and is) a full-blown podcast network. Go big or go home, as we say around here. 🙂
Will Your Website Survive the Google Mobile Penalty?
This year, Google recognized the profound change that has happened in web surfing and began to penalize websites that didn’t display properly on mobile devices. Ahead of the change, Demian Farnworth offered some advice to help you prepare.
Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Blog
Every once in a while (on April Fools’ Day each year, to be precise) we like to make fake news. This year was no exception.
Why the Ad Blocking Panic Shouldn’t Scare Smart Publishers
2015 was the year that ad blocking software became widely available, which sent some online publishers into a panic. But not smart content marketers like us! Demian Farnworth explains why you can breathe easy about ad blocking software.
Copyblogger Media Rebrands as Rainmaker Digital
Name change alert! Our company officially outgrew its original name in 2015 and we debuted a new (more flexible and accurate) name: Rainmaker Digital. Brian Clark explains the decision in this post.
Is Podcasting Replacing Written Content Marketing?
Sometimes when you make news, your moves create more questions than answers. I wrote this post to answer the question people had been whispering to me when they thought no one was listening.
Introducing Digital Commerce Institute: Online Training Plus a Killer Live Event
2015 was a big year for us, and we wrapped it up by launching an entirely new web property this past fall: Digital Commerce Institute. If you’re working to master online business, head over to the Digital Commerce Academy and check out our offerings, which include next year’s live event, Digital Commerce Summit.
All things podcasting
We do this thing around here (you may have noticed). We experiment with new techniques and invite you along for the ride so you can learn at the same time we do.
That’s why you saw an abundance of posts about podcasting on Copyblogger in 2015. We were learning, and we shared what we discovered with you in real time.
Conduct Better Podcast Interviews with This Simple 6-Step Preparation Process
Jerod Morris shared the process he uses to prepare for his podcast interviews in this detailed post.
How a Podcast Is Born [Infographic]
Who better to explain the technical steps behind bringing a podcast into the world than our own podcast midwife … er, Director of Multimedia Production, Kelton Reid? It’s a complex process, but this infographic makes it easy to understand.
4 Copywriting Techniques for Engaging Podcasts and Audio Presentations
We republished this classic post in 2015 because once we found ourselves creating audio content, we saw Brian Clark’s advice here in a whole new light.
Landing page pick-me-ups
The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages
Henneke came around with her usual sparkly prose and offered some memorable advice on creating effective landing pages. This one includes a checklist you can use when creating your own landing pages.
9 Landing Page Goofs that Make You Lose Business [Infographic]
Is your landing page lagging? Henneke helps you steer your way around common roadblocks that keep your landing page from performing as well as it should.
Practical how-to advice
5 Insider Tips to Make More Sales During Your Webinars
Beth Hayden shares a confession: she used to be terrible at making sales during live webinars. Then she tried the techniques she outlines here and everything changed (for the better).
Bundle Like a Boss: How to Put Together Irresistible Product Packages
If you’ve created more than one digital product, you’ve got the makings of a bundle on your hands. Read Ali Luke’s post for some innovative ways to package your products together.
The Traffic Light Revision Technique for Meticulously Editing Your Own Writing
It’s not easy to really “see” your own work after you’ve written it, which is why mistakes can creep in. Employ the method Stefanie Flaxman outlines here and you’ll catch all those blunders before you hit publish.
Content Marketing Is Easier When You (Partially) Delegate These 12 Tasks
Content marketing can be a slog — to make an impact you have to show up and do the work day in and day out. Fortunately, Charlie Gilkey wrote a post that shows you how you can delegate at least some of your content marketing tasks to others. It’s an innovative approach to delegation!
4 Ways to Turn a Mature Membership Site into a Treasured Resource Your Members Will Love
It’s a good problem to have: you’ve created a membership site, and you now have so much content on it, your members are feeling overwhelmed with your offerings and aren’t sure where to start. Debbie Hodge found herself in this situation and detailed exactly how she solved it.
Valuable downloadable resources
One of the aspects I’ve most enjoyed about joining the editorial team this past year has been the opportunity to brainstorm useful resources to create for you.
10 Ways to Piss Off David Ogilvy (Free Poster)
In this post, Demian Farnworth gathered some thought-provoking quotes from legendary copywriter David Ogilvy, and we put them together into a mini poster for you (complete with digital coffee stains).
The Credit Belongs to You
Jerod Morris didn’t need to twist our arms when he pitched this idea: the poster we put together contains one of the most inspiring quotes I’ve ever read. It’s guaranteed to put the wind back in your sails when you’re having a tough day.
11 Insights on Finding a Writing Voice Readers Take Seriously [SlideShare]
“Develop a recognizable writing voice.” Easy to say, but not so easy to do. Until you read the SlideShare we created for you. It’s chock-full of inspiration direct from the mouths of well-known writers whose voices are unforgettable.
6 Simple Exercises to Help You Write Better Short Sentences [Free Worksheet]
Content marketing requires a special type of writing. The best content marketers communicate their messages with shorter sentences. In this free worksheet, Demian Farnworth provides some guidance you can apply to your own writing.
Fun infographics that will make you a better content marketer
The Perfect Anatomy of a Modern Web Writer [Infographic]
If you read Copyblogger on a regular basis, then you either already write for the web or you aspire to. Either way, the infographic here will help you double-check to see if you’ve got what it takes to make it in the wild world of content marketing.
11 Essential Ingredients Every Cornerstone Content Page Needs [Infographic]
Cornerstone content pages form the foundation of an authoritative website. They share what you want to be known for. You’ll link to them frequently and may even put them in your navigation menu. It’s important to craft them carefully and this handy infographic offers tips.
How Do You Compare to Serious Business Bloggers? [Infographic]
Andy Crestodina interviewed business bloggers to gather the data in this comprehensive survey, and Barry Feldman put together a beautiful infographic to make the data easy to understand.
Content creation tips and techniques
A Simple Content Marketing Strategy for Creative Folks
Our Lead Designer, Rafal Tomal, brought us this post with his approach to content creation — it’s a method any creative person can use.
Solve Your Blank-Page Problem with This Visual, 3-Step Content Creation System
Kelly Kingman stopped by with a solution that uses tangible objects to get you past the blinking cursor on a blank page. Break out those markers and sticky notes!
6 Easy Ways to Adapt Your Writing Style to the New World of Content Consumption
Effective online content has a look and style that makes it easy to consume. If you’re a long-time writer (and even if you’re not), becoming aware of what works best on the web will make your ideas easier to consume.
How to Survive and Thrive as a Corporate Content Marketer
Susan Daffron shared her front-line observations about life as a corporate content marketer in this witty, informative post.
The Single Best Way to Create Hit Content in Record Time
Over the past year, we’ve deliberately combed our archives and brought back evergreen content we wanted to highlight once again. In this post, Demian Farnworth outlines exactly how we go about republishing our best information.
Why Content Marketers Need Editors
Published just this week, Stefanie Flaxman’s post makes a compelling case for the role of an editor on any content marketing team. Plus, you’ll get content marketing inspiration from some bottles of nail polish. Really!
What Is Content Marketing?
And finally, the Mother of All Content Marketing Posts. Buckle up and click that link.
Tips for making the sale
How to Pre-Sell Your Product by Offering Tantalizing Samples
Sean D’Souza facilitates sales by offering samples of his information to whet his prospects’ appetites. Read on to discover how to use this technique yourself.
3 Simple Copywriting Techniques to Get Your Customer ‘Beyond’ the Buy Button
The “buy” button can seem like a huge hurdle to get your site visitors over. But with the techniques Amy Harrison outlines in this post, you’ll be armed with copywriting tips that will make it easy.
Building a memorable brand
How to Create a Visual Brand and Fight the Dark Forces
Only Rafal Tomal would watch Star Wars and think about branding! In this post, he builds an analogy that will help you keep your visual brand on track.
The Transformative Effect of a Well-Built Brand Statement
How you talk about your business changes how people perceive it — and even how you feel about it. Craft a brand message that resonates with the simple exercise outlined in this post.
How to Fully Engage Your Readers’ Brains with Images
Images are an important part of any content strategy, and this instructive post shows you how to choose and use them on your website.
This year, we’ve highlighted some of our amazing customers in a series of posts called The Hero’s Journey. You’ll meet Belinda Weaver, Darren DeMatas, Michaela Clark, Chris Healy, Lindsay Barto, Amy Butcher, and Chris Hargreaves.
More to come in the year ahead!
Best resource-rich posts
Have you noticed what Stefanie Flaxman does for you every Friday?
She reaches into the Copyblogger archives to put together mini “courses” for you on a variety of content marketing topics. The posts below are especially good. Pay attention on Fridays and take some time to read Stefanie’s Copyblogger Collection posts.
- 3 Resources to Help You Draft Winning Content Ideas
- 3 Resources to Help You Become a Professional Content Marketer
- 3 Resources to Help You Get Smart about Your Social Media Content Strategy
- 3 Resources to Help You Become a (More) Productive Content Marketer
- Indispensable Writing Lessons from 3 Historic Creative Thinkers
- 3 Adaptive Content Resources for Advanced Marketers
- 3 Resources to Help You Write Thought-Provoking Content that Gets People Talking
Funniest post images
Don’t get me wrong: every one of the posts below contains valuable information. You’ll learn a lot from them. Once you stop giggling over the post images.
Conquer Content Shock with Illegitimate Ideas
Demian Farnworth explains why sometimes you’ve got to step way — way — outside the box to get noticed. Warning: once you see this image, you cannot unsee it.
The 5 Words that Are Key to Podcast Monetization
Jon Nastor weighs in on how to monetize that podcast you work so hard to put together (and keep your dog entertained).
Don’t Panic, but This Article Was Written by an Algorithm
Will machines replace writers? Demian Farnworth asks this provocative question, and based on the image, I suspect the answer is a resounding “no.”