Pappy and Harriets

Originally posted: http://bohobunnie.com/pappy-and-harriets-gypsy-junkies-fashion-blogger/

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Desert gypsy

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I had heard of this magical music venue in the desert for years before I was able to experience it for the first time just recently. Driving in from LA just in time to fit in a few shoots before dark, Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown was the first stop of the trip. LA traffic of course always adds hours to any trip but once you hit the dirt roads and the dark desert highways of Joshua Tree, it’s all worth it. I must say the desert is truly the place where I feel most at ease and connected to the universe. The stars, the cool, dry evenings and the expansive horizon is what I would love to experience every night. Desert wanderings call for gypsy threads and these sheer black pieces from Gypsy Junkies are welcome to join me in the desert any time.

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We rolled in on a night the bar was closed but did get to catch a set the next night. I’d love to perform at this place when I’m back from tour!

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I can’t get enough of this sheer maxi.

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Park at Pappy’s.

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Sheer Tank and Sheer Lace Maxi Gypsy Junkies / Leather Necklaces Gypsy Junkies / Eagle Cuff Boho Global

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Photography by Ashley Marie Myers

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How to Use Your Limitations to Create a Unique Selling Proposition

mo-limitations

We often think of limitations as weaknesses. In reality, they are strengths that will help differentiate your products/services in the market.

How do you target the right customers? Who are they and how do you attract them? Every marketer struggles with these questions. But the key to targeting the right customers is in understanding the limits of you and your products/services.

Every product or services has its limits. And while most people think these are weaknesses, the truth is that your limitations are a source of strength — if you know how to position them.

And by following the advice in this episode, you can easily assess those limitations and use them as part of what makes your product or service unique.

More importantly, you can use that unique quality to define who you should target.

In this episode, Sean Jackson and Jessica Frick go into detail about the “formula” for finding your target audience:

  • Why resource constraints are great to have
  • Why defining the ideal customer for your product is more about you than them
  • How your limits are actually strengths that will draw customers to you
  • And why being one-in-a-million is a huge marketplace

Listen to this Episode Now

The post How to Use Your Limitations to Create a Unique Selling Proposition appeared first on Copyblogger.

How to Identify Potential Guests for Your Show

sr-identify-guests

We’re back! And, we hope, better than ever. In our triumphant return to the mics for the beginning of Season 2 of The Showrunner, we tackle a listener topic idea that we’ve had percolating for a while and discuss the best methods for identifying potential guests for your show.

Here is the idea, submitted by loyal listener Chris Conner, who hosts Life Science Marketing Radio.

I know that it can be hard to find guests to sustain a podcast. Last week I came within an inch of having to do a solo show. Yikes!

But then I look around and realize I have other opportunities. The best source of guests for me have been 1) past guests, and 2) listeners who contact me. It works because my audience are the type of people I interview.

Maybe it’s worth a mention or a whole episode that interviewing the peers of your audience is a strategy to ensure a long-running show. Obviously HTE does this too so it’s not a new idea, but for folks starting out, it may be a consideration.

Chris’s suggestion — about interviewing the peers of your audience — is a smart strategy. It can lead to useful stories and lessons, because ostensibly your guests will naturally empathize and relate with your audience, and vice versa. Well said, Chris.

We take Chris’s suggestion to the next step and identify additional strategies for finding guests for shows, including:

  • Jonny’s “Barnes and Noble strategy”
  • How Caroline Early identifies guests for The Digital Entrepreneur and Unemployable
  • How Will DeWitt booked his biggest interview yet by simply doing something nice

Plus, we discuss the importance of balancing aspirational guests with “move-the-chain” guests, and we provide some useful wisdom on how to approach the possibility of bringing on a co-host.

All of this, and more, on the latest edition of The Showrunner.

Listen, learn, enjoy …

Listen to this Episode Now

The post How to Identify Potential Guests for Your Show appeared first on Copyblogger.

How to Scale a Freelance Business

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On this week’s episode, we’re joined by Bill Erickson. Bill is a WordPress Developer, an entrepreneur, a husband, a father, a skier, an avid reader, a gardener, and a winemaker living in Georgetown, TX. He’s been developing with WordPress and contributing to the community since 2006.

Bill has written 20 WordPress plugins that have been downloaded 668,661 times and has spoken at 13 conferences regarding WordPress. Last, but certainly not least, Bill is a core contributor to our very own Genesis Framework project.

In this 40-minute episode Brian Gardner, Lauren Mancke, and Bill Erickson discuss:

  • Bill’s decision to become a freelancer
  • Transitioning from Thesis to the Genesis Framework
  • Building your brand and your business with shareable content
  • Using your website to prequalify potential clients
  • Scaling your business through efficiency
  • The importance of contracts
  • Building a work/life balance that works for you

Listen to this Episode Now

The post How to Scale a Freelance Business appeared first on Copyblogger.

Does Your Homepage Suck?

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In this episode, we go beyond theoretical concepts and provide practical examples of how to improve the most important page on your website.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

And in the online world, that means your homepage matters, a lot — from the first few seconds of your site loading to the way you structure every element on the page.

If you are trying to create an exclusive community online for your product or service, then this episode will give you everything you need to make a first impression that matters.

In this episode, Sean Jackson and Jessica Frick go into detail about how to structure the perfect homepage including:

  • Why the first three seconds matters and what you need to show immediately
  • How to go beyond audience targeting with messaging that makes a difference
  • Why testimonials are crucial and how to obtain them
  • The most important element of the homepage that you must include
  • Listen to this Episode Now

The post Does Your Homepage Suck? appeared first on Copyblogger.

Why Most Businesses Get Crappy Results from Content Marketing

Let’s start with a simple question…

How, exactly, does content marketing make money?

Because that’s the end goal, right?

You’re not hunched over your keyboard, racking your brain for attention-grabbing ideas because you enjoy it. You expect to get clients, sales, or some other tangible result for your business. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sometime in the future, all that work you’re putting into creating and publishing content had better pay off.

Except… what if it won’t?

What if your entire understanding of the way content marketing works is wrong?

What if all the time you’ve invested into creating content was, in fact, a senseless waste of time, never possessing even the slightest chance of turning a profit?

It would be a tragedy, and yet I believe that’s precisely what’s happening. Not just to you, but to millions of entrepreneurs around the globe.

Is it because content marketing is just a fad? Or worse, an elaborate hoax?

No. On the contrary, I believe the hype is totally justified. If you execute the right content marketing strategy in the right market, the results are breathtaking.

But that rarely happens. There are lots of reasons why, and I might eventually write a short book explaining them all, but by far the biggest reason why most businesses get crappy results is they completely misunderstand what content marketing is about.

Here’s what I mean…

Content Marketing Is Not about Traffic

I know, it’s heresy. Just saying that, I’m half expecting a mob with pitchforks to show up at my door.

But stick with me for a moment.

Over the last decade, I’ve created or helped create content that has generated over 200 million page views. What might surprise you though is the vast majority of that traffic was completely worthless. People came to the site, stuck around for a minute or two, and then left.

So yes, it’s an impressive number, but it’s also a meaningless one. In fact, all the numbers connected to traffic like pageviews and unique visitors are meaningless. They are what’s called “vanity metrics.”

To be completely transparent, I didn’t realize this until about halfway through my career. For the first half of my career, I thought traffic was the only thing that mattered. I measured it to the exclusion of everything else.

But then I noticed something peculiar:

A minority of the content was producing the majority of the revenue.

When I talked to customers about what influenced them to purchase, they brought up the same articles over and over again. Out of thousands of posts, maybe only 20 of them actually influenced a purchasing decision.

I began to wonder, “Was all that other content a waste? What if I had published those 20 posts and nothing else, saving myself literally years of effort?”

And that’s when I had an epiphany.

The One Metric That Matters

In the software world, there’s a concept called “The One Metric That Matters.”

The idea is, every business has a single number that matters more than all others. Depending on your type of business, it might be monthly recurring revenue, time on site, friends referred, or something else entirely. The bottom line though is you have to figure out which number matters most, and then focus on it relentlessly.

Still with me? Okay, so here’s the difficult question:

In content marketing, which number matters most?

Your knee-jerk reaction might be, “Well duh, revenue.” If content doesn’t result in revenue, then it’s worthless to your business, right? So, the common sense answer is to focus on a metric like revenue per visitor. Publish content that makes money and nothing else.

As it turns out though, that’s wrong. Here’s why:

If you publish an article today, you don’t really have a firm grasp of how much money it will make you for months or even years. It’s what experts call a “trailing indicator.” By the time you can measure it, it’s too late to do anything about it.

So, what’s the right metric? If you’re running a business, what can you track and improve on a daily basis that will produce a corresponding increase in revenue?

It took me years to figure it out, and the answer might surprise you. Certainly surprised the hell out of me. It’s not page views, unique visitors, the size of your email list, revenue, or any sort of complicated ratio combining them.

In fact, it’s not a metric I’ve heard anyone discuss, so I had to create an entirely new framework to explain it. Let’s dive in.

Why Some Content Marketers Make Tons of Money (and Others Don’t)

Suppose for a moment that you are in a real estate brokerage firm in San Francisco, and you wake up one morning to discover you rank #1 on Google for the term “san francisco real estate,” sending you hundreds of hot prospects per day.

You’re obviously going to make a ton of money, right?

Well, not necessarily. For instance, what if…

  • Everyone visiting your website takes one look around and concludes you are a moron? Or worse, a huckster?
  • You fail to gather their contact information?
  • You do gather their contact information, but you never follow up, and they forget about you?
  • Nobody can figure out why they should work with you instead of your competitors?
  • Even if they do decide to work with you, you lack the persuasiveness or authority to convince them to act?

Any number of things can derail the sale. Properly used though, content can actually solve each of the above problems. For instance, continuing our real estate example, it can:

  • Build trust with website visitors, making them far more likely to reach out to you about representing them.
  • Give people an incentive to hand over their contact information, e.g., to access “premium” content like an e-book about where to find the hottest deals in town.
  • Remind prospects of your existence, so when they are ready to list their property (or purchase one), your company is the first that comes to mind.
  • Separate you from your competitors, both in the tone of your marketing and through embedded examples that demonstrate how your company is different.
  • Build trust and authority, so when you do approach prospects about representing them, they will be far more likely to both agree and respect your expertise.

In other words, content isn’t just about traffic. It affects every stage of the sales process, and the content marketers who are making the most money are the ones who leverage it for that purpose.

And what’s more, they track the actions of prospects at every step.

A Simple Way to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Content

Here’s a simple question that brings everything I’ve said into perspective:

After reading your content, how many people take the next step?

For instance, going back to our real estate example, your first goal is to get someone to visit your company’s website. Perhaps you do that by publishing a blog post that might be interested in, and then sharing it on Facebook.

From there, what’s the next step?

Well, you want to capture their contact information, so you can build trust and authority with them over time and eventually convince them to become a client. Next, you might put them in an email sequence sending them some of your best blog posts, or perhaps a video or two. And so on.

We can put the whole process into a simple table:

/* info (hed, dek, source, credit) */
.rg-container {
font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
font-size: 16px;
line-height: 1.4;
margin: 0;
padding: 1em 0.5em;
color: #1a1a1a;
}

/* table */
table.rg-table {
width: 100%;
margin-bottom: 0.5em;
font-size: 1em;
border-collapse: collapse;
border-spacing: 0;
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table.rg-table * {
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border: 0;
font-size: 100%;
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text-align: left;
color: #333;
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table.rg-table thead {
border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd;
}
table.rg-table th {
font-weight: bold;
padding: 0.35em;
font-size: 0.9em;
}
table.rg-table td {
padding: 0.35em;
font-size: 0.9em;
}
table.rg-table .highlight td {
font-weight: bold;
}
table.rg-table th.number, td.number {
text-align: right;
}

/* media queries */
@media screen and (max-width: 600px) {
.rg-container {
max-width: 600px;
margin: 0 auto;
}
table.rg-table {
display: block;
width: 100%;
}
table.rg-table tr.hide-mobile, table.rg-table th.hide-mobile, table.rg-table td.hide-mobile {
display: none;
}
table.rg-table thead {
display: none;
}
table.rg-table tbody {
display: block;
width: 100%;
}
table.rg-table tr, table.rg-table th, table.rg-table td {
display: block;
padding: 0;
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table.rg-table tr {
border-bottom: none;
margin: 0 0 1em 0;
padding: 0.5em 0;
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table.rg-table tr.highlight {
background: none;
}
table.rg-table.zebra tr:nth-child(even) {
background: none;
}
table.rg-table.zebra td:nth-child(even) {
background: #efefef;
}
table.rg-table tr:nth-child(even) {
background: none;
}
table.rg-table td {
padding: 0.5em 0 0.25em 0;
border-bottom: 1px dotted #ccc;
text-align: right;
}
table.rg-table td[data-title]:before {
content: attr(data-title) “:A0”;
font-weight: bold;
display: inline-block;
content: attr(data-title);
float: left;
margin-right: 0.5em;
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table.rg-table td:last-child {
padding-right: 0;
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table.rg-table td:empty {
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table.rg-table .highlight td {
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}

Type of Content Indicator of Success Metric
Blog Post Headline Prospect Clicks Link Traffic
The Blog Post Itself Prospect Reads It Time on Page
Free E-book Offer Prospect Subscribes Via Email Opt-In Rate
First Email Subject Line Prospect Opens Email Email Open Rate
First Email Body Copy Prospect Clicks Link Email Click Through Rate

Conceivably, the table would continue with dozens of steps until the prospect finally makes a purchase. In each step, you’re measuring the success or failure of your content by its ability to influence the prospect into taking action. The metrics in the right-hand column are simply a way of measuring whether or not readers are moving through the process.

In other words, the metrics themselves are not important. The action is.

If you’re publishing lots of content and getting tons of traffic, but no one does what you ask them to do (e.g., actually reading the post), then your content is worthless. The opposite is also true. If you publish content, and not many people read it, but those who do read every word and happily proceed through your funnel, then your content is quite valuable.

This thinking leads to two simple maxims:

  1. The purpose of content is to create influence.
  2. The purpose of marketing is to convert influence into action.

If you build a massively influential brand, but you never ask anyone to do anything? Well, you’re not going to make much money.

If you are constantly asking people to do things, but you have no influence? Well, you’re not going to make much money in that case, either.

In other words, you need both content that creates influence and marketing that asks the prospect to take the next step. Sadly, the reason why most businesses get such crappy results from content marketing is they have neither. The content they publish doesn’t build any influence with their readers whatsoever, and they never make it clear to the reader exactly what the next step is.

On the flipside, a small number of businesses (like Smart Blogger, I’m proud to say) release content that builds influence with millions of people around the globe. They also combine that content with marketing that slowly but surely moves prospects toward a purchasing decision.

The result?

Millions or even billions of dollars in revenue. If you think I’m exaggerating, ponder this:

The reason Oprah is a billionaire is because her TV show creates massive influence with tens of millions of people, and then she monetizes that influence by showing viewers advertisements that prompt them to take action. She’s a content marketer, just like the rest of us. 🙂

The bottom line:

Stop obsessing over your search engine rankings, share counts, the size of your email list, or any of the normal metrics. Sure, it’s all interesting, but none of it matters unless you inspire the reader to do something. Not with one post, not by demanding they do what you want, but by creating a flow of content that subtly nudges them down the path to victory.

Is it hard?

Yes, but it works. If you can master creating content that generates influence, and then you back up that content with marketing that converts influence into action, you’ll have built a “machine” that prints money for years or even decades into the future.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to constructing such a machine:

  1. Map out the process prospects follow before deciding to buy from you.
  2. Create content for every stage of that process that builds their trust in you.
  3. Create marketing that follows behind the content, asking them to take the next step.
  4. Measure the success or failure by your ability to get the prospect to take that step.
  5. If the process breaks somewhere, as it certainly will, improve the content and marketing in that stage until you can get the prospect to take action.

That’s it. Content marketing in five simple steps.

Next up: world peace. First though, I need to take a nap. 😉

About the Author: Jon Morrow is the CEO of Smart Blogger.

5 Ways Strategic Bullet Points Make You a Stronger Content Marketer

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Bullet points make you a stronger content marketer?

Absolutely, if you’re good at writing them. In fact, being a master at writing exceptional bullet points is one of the most important copywriting skills around, second only to headline writing.

The goal of strategic bullet points is primarily to keep people reading. You’re highlighting easily digestible bits of important information, which keeps your reader’s attention focused and breaks up dense pools of text.

The downside is that if you write weak, boring bullet points, you give the reader an express invitation to leave. People scan content to decide if they want to keep reading, but also as a way to justify not reading.

So let’s write some better bullet points.

1. External fascinations

These types of fascinating bullet points are usually found in sales copy for information products and membership sites, and they function like headlines that prompt a purchase or other action.

Also known as “blind” bullets, they hint at the content of a product or service and create curiosity without revealing the actual substance.

You can also use these bullets to prompt an opt-in or subscription tied to a free report, audio, or video.

Here’s an oft-cited example from ace copywriter John Carlton:

“The amazing ‘Towel Hanging’ trick that increases the strength of your erection … plus your lovemaking stamina … allowing you to supercharge your love life in a very short time! (You have to experience these kinds of ‘rocket-burst’ orgasms to believe they’re possible! See page 139.)”

I don’t know about you, but that got my attention.

2. Internal fascinations

Internal fascinations are pretty much identical to external, except they’re designed to persuade people to continue reading the content they’re currently reading.

If you have a long article that you want to sell people on reading all the way through, you might lead with some teaser bullet points that captivate the imagination.

For example:

By reading this article you’ll learn:

  • 3 counterintuitive activities that will improve your business
  • How to turn your process into a product you can sell
  • Why you’re not normal, and why that’s a good thing

3. Bullet chunking

Extracting bullets out of compound sentences helps you drive home a point while also increasing the usability of your content. Attention spans are short for sure, and reading dense paragraphs of text on a computer screen is still nowhere as easy as in print.

Don’t forget to begin each bullet point with the same part of speech and maintain the same grammatical form.

Here’s an example.

Fascinating bullet points are great for:

  • Drawing people back into the copy they skimmed
  • Prompting the download of a free offer
  • Causing the click of a link
  • Driving subscriptions to your website
  • Triggering the purchase of your digital product
  • Initiating a new client relationship

4. Authority bullets

Authority bullets are used to recite the data and proof that support your argument.

You want this information strongly presented in order to bolster the credibility of your content and your level of authority as a subject matter expert. As with all bullet points, try to turn dry, factual information into interesting reading if at all possible.

Here’s one approach.

Don’t believe me when I say reading is an uncommon activity? Check these facts:

  • 58 percent of the U.S. adult population never reads another book after high school
  • 42 percent of college graduates never read another book
  • 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year
  • 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years
  • 57 percent of new books are not read to completion

Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.

5. Cliffhanger bullets

Cliffhanger bullets tease and foreshadow what’s coming up next or in the near future.

You can close an installment in a content series with a cluster of teasers that have people looking forward to the next installment, which can also spur subscriptions. You can also use cliffhanger bullets to lay the groundwork for an upcoming promotion, launch, or special content event.

Check this one out …

Next week on Copyblogger:

  • Discover how to ruthlessly cut words from your copy to make more sales
  • Learn two essential elements of irresistible content that can dramatically transform your website
  • Find out three simple questions you can ask yourself to craft better headlines

See you then?

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on July 14, 2008.

The post 5 Ways Strategic Bullet Points Make You a Stronger Content Marketer appeared first on Copyblogger.