The great Ben Franklin tells us, “The wise man doesn’t know the answer to every question. … But he knows where to find answers that can be found. … Now, where the hell did I leave my keys?”
OK, so maybe it wasn’t Franklin. But you get the point. We all can use a hand from time to time.
That is especially true for the writer types among us. We’re known (among friends and families, anyway) for our roller-coaster rides with confidence and the love-hate relationship we have with our work. We all can use resources to help us improve our skills, boost our confidence and just remind us that we’re not alone in the B2B wilderness.
Thankfully, there are dozens of places to turn to for help. Here are 5 you can put to work for you today.
Note: I’m in no way compensated or otherwise in cahoots with any brands mentioned. But I am open to the idea…
Why: Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, Stephanie Flaxman, et al., show you how to create valuable content that attracts attention, drives traffic, and builds businesses. Free information on the Copyblogger blog helps you get started mastering content marketing so you can use it in your own business, or for a client. Authority, Copyblogger’s advanced content marketing training program, teaches you the most-effective content marketing techniques out there, so your content attracts and converts. Their Certified Content Marketer program takes it a step beyond with training for professional content marketing credentials.
The big sell: The Certified Content Marketer program is a very comprehensive online course that really gives you an inside look at what you need to know as a self-employed content marketer/copywriter.
Endors-o-rama: I’m an Authority member and a Certified Content Marketer, and I can’t say enough about the stuff you learn from the Copyblogger crew AND the sense of community among members. Membership ain’t cheap, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
Why: Ed Gandia is a business coach and strategist for ambitious business writers and copywriters. His secret is that he studies successful freelancers and breaks down the habits, strategies and techniques that allow them to create the business they want. His popular podcast introduces you to marketing big-shots and regular hard-working folks who have figured out what works best for them. He offers real-world advice for writers at every stage of their development.
The big sell: Business coaching services, tailored to your current situation, (writers with a monthly income of $2K or less, $3-5K, $7K+, etc.)
Endors-o-rama: Ed’s podcast is a must-listen regardless of your experience level. He offers piles of free resources, which you can study and stuff into your swipe file. Once you opt in to receiving his emails, you save and study his emails, which offer textbook examples of low-pressure nurturing campaigns, nudging you to this course or that.
3. Copy Hackers
Why: Copy Hackers is run by Joanna Wiebe, whose niche is “conversion copywriting.” (As in copy that converts prospects into customers). So in the content marketing / copywriting continuum, Copy Hackers is definitely in the copywriting (sales/email) end of the house. You can sign up for Tutorial Tuesdays, a weekly 20-minute (or so) primer on a topic relevant to digital copywriting.
The big sell: The company offers a slew of online courses designed to help you write more persuasive, believable and usable copy so you can boost your website and email conversion rates.
Endors-o-rama: The free Copywriting 101 online course is a great introduction to the content and style of presentation you’ll find at Copy Hackers. Wiebe is sharp as a tack and she ‘splains things in simple language. Copy Hackers also backs Air Story, a blogging/copywriting software that “combines your notes with a powerful outliner-slash-document.”
Why: HubSpot Academy calls itself the leader in inbound marketing and sales education. Since 2012, the academy has been on a mission to transform the way people and companies grow, offering online training in the form of courses, projects, certifications, and software training.
The big sell: Ultimately, HubSpot’s big sell is the HubSpot CMS. The more training you get on the principles behind the software’s design, the more you’ll use it and the bigger fan you’ll become.
Endors-o-rama: My content got supercharged over a six-week period, as I enrolled in the FREE Content, Inbound and Email marketing online courses.
Why: Usborne’s premise is that people want to sidestep the hyped-up, aggressive, high-pressure sales pitches of the past (so well illustrated by Dan Ackroyd, so long ago.) Folks are creating products and services that matter, and they want to promote their work in a way that is transparent and honest. Conversational copywriting gives these marketers exactly what they want and need. Usborne says that conversational copywriting “… is a powerful way to make the sale… without hype, manipulation or exaggeration. And it works.”
The big sell: A self-paced course comprised of 21 video lectures, plus bonus materials. After teaching you the foundational skills of conversational copywriting, Usborne walks you through several real-world before and after examples.
Endors-o-rama: If you have a background in journalism, you’ll find Usborne’s approach appealing. Sure, you still apply the time-tested principles of marketing and persuasion. But you present them in simple words, short sentences and a conversational tone. It’s a writing style that I enjoy most, and the one I find most effective.
OK, What Am I Missing?
Great resources are meant to be shared. (So share away!) This list is just a start. What are your top go-to sites or podcasts? Where do you turn to religiously for insight into your industry or profession? Drop a comment below.
Greg Reid is a freelance B2B content marketer and copywriter based in Portland, Maine. To see his portfolio, please visit http://www.ScribblingMadly.com.