For a me-too business, stories can be the great differentiator.

Undifferentiated suits

I have this dream.

My new client has a product or service with an amazing point of difference.

There is something unique about it. It has something none of its competitors possess. It’s amazing. It’s incredible.

Oh joy!

And then I wake up.

It’s incredibly rare that we have the opportunity to work on promoting a product or service that is significantly different from its competitors.

Mostly we have to work with very minor points of difference. Sometimes there is no point of difference at all.

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3 Ways to attract quality inbound links to your website or blog.

backlinks and inbound links for websites

When it comes to attracting more traffic to your blog or website, everyone is all over search engine optimization, content marketing and social media.

These are the hot tickets.

Optimize for the search engines!

Spend more on content marketing!

Go viral through social media channels!

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on these three areas. They are all important.

But that doesn’t mean you should forget one other area of activity that is just as valuable to online marketers.

Link building.

Link building means attracting inbound links to your site from other relevant and high-value sites.

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If you can’t find a story to tell… borrow, steal or create one.

 

Stories in books

A while back I wrote a post about how selling is giving way to storytelling.

The thing is, “selling at people” just isn’t a good fit online. Nobody wants to be interrupted and sold at when they’re looking at their tablet or smartphone. That’s why tens of millions of people use adblockers.

Soo… if the traditional, hard-nosed sales approach is no longer welcome, what can marketers do?

First off, they can get serious about content marketing.

The delivery of great content, across all devices, will do about 80% of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting prospects ready to make a purchase.

Just because people don’t want to be exposed to hard-hitting sales pitches doesn’t mean they’re not interested in reading or viewing great content related to your products or services. They are.

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Master the headline, and you master the page.

 

Course on how to write better headlines for content marketers

Any sales copywriter will tell you the headline is the most important element on the page.

If you don’t get the headline right, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the page is, because nobody will read it.

Copywriters know this. And online content writers need to understand it too.

David Ogilvy, one of the greatest copywriters of the last century, used to say that once you have written the headline you have spent about 80 cents of every dollar your client will spend on that ad.

Put another way… 80% of your visitors read the headline, but only 20% will read the body of the page.

He made his observation about writing ads.

But you can say the same – and do the same math – when you look at the creation of content online.

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Online, you’re often writing headlines even when you’re not.

Online headlines on mobile device

I know, today’s headline is a bit of a brain-twister.

Here’s what I mean…

There are places online where we write headlines, and are fully aware that we’re writing headlines.

Examples include the headline you might write for a website’s homepage. Or at the top of a blog post. Or on a review page. Or on a sales page or landing page.

These are the places we expect to find headlines.

But how about an email subject line? Is that a headline?

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If you want people to remember something, tell them a story.

The story of Noah's Ark

A few months back I wrote about how telling stories can influence people’s feelings.

In fact, writers of all stripes have been using stories to tap into people’s emotions for centuries.

Well… it turns out that as well as evoking strong emotions, stories are also a powerful tool to help us remember things.

A few days ago I was listening to the Tim Ferriss Show podcast. His guest was Stephen Dubner, one of the authors of Freakonomics.

In response to a question about the power of stories, Stephen came up with some interesting numbers.

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