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Best of Copyblogger: 2017 Edition…

Catch up on our top picks for 2017

The task of selecting the top Copyblogger posts from 2017 is a bit like asking me to choose my favorite child.

Each post is crafted with care, and I value all of them.

But I rolled up my sleeves and devised a strategy.

In fact, this year was all about the power of the individual voice expressed through a winning combination of strategy and creativity.

That pairing is like love and marriage — you can’t have one without the other.

Well, you can. You just wouldn’t be a successful content marketer and copywriter, or supportive partner for your spouse. But I digress.

The creativity portion includes the innovative approach to your topic that helps you attract and grow an audience of interested prospects. The strategy portion includes the techniques that help you turn those prospects into customers.

If we were to ménage à trois this situation, I’d call the third portion digital business smarts.

So this year’s top Copyblogger picks are sharp lessons about strategy, creativity, and digital business to review as you prepare for 2018.

Additional specific exercises for getting more creative and productive can be found in all of our 2017 Content Excellence Challenge prompts. (I know I’m cheating by mentioning them too, but they’re too good to leave out.)

It’s time to grab a fresh Moleskine and start taking notes …

The Simple 3-Step Process for Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

"Make your ideal prospect view you as the only reasonable choice." – Brian Clark

This post is a five-for-one deal.

Brian Clark outlines the three critical steps to a winning content marketing strategy and then links to four in-depth tutorials on each.

Why Your Greatest Asset May Be Slowly Eroding (and How You Can Rebuild It)

"Are you addicted to distractions?" – Jerod Morris

If you know how to create an effective content marketing strategy — but don’t ever implement it — you’ll never get to reap the rewards.

Jerod Morris helps you focus on getting more meaningful work done.

7 Real-World Ways to Think Like an Artist for Better Content Marketing

"We make good sentences by starting with awful sentences." – Sonia Simone

What makes an artist’s life so interesting and rewarding?

Sonia Simone shares the benefits of adopting a more artistic mindset.

How to Turn One Content Idea into a Fascinating Four-Part Series

"Shift from publishing content to building anticipation for your next installment." – Stefanie Flaxman

A content series is a straightforward way to communicate your expertise in a format that is easy for your audience to consume and share.

Follow this simple guide to prepare multiple pieces of content in advance and meet your publishing deadlines — without getting overwhelmed.

5 Writing Techniques that Stir Your Audience to Action

"You’ve got to stir something in them before they’ll do something." – Brian Clark

Discover what you must do in order for your call to action to work.

Your goal is not necessarily to get someone to feel, but rather to want — and to act on that want. Brian reveals five ways to accomplish that.

The Wise Content Marketer’s Guide to Sensible SEO

"Some of us would rather eat a bug than try to figure out what 'headless crawling' means." – Sonia Simone

Ready to grow your audience?

Sonia explains nine powerful optimization techniques that content marketers can get really good at, without tech skills. Plus, the great rule of SEO.

How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

"The best content doesn’t win. The best promoted content wins." – Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina shows how to prepare your content for both search engines and social media platforms.

His techniques are powerful ways to attract more readers.

21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers

"All writers face this epidemic daily, and it’s not going away." – Kelton Reid

In today’s high-speed, meme-obsessed world, it’s easy to forget that there are learned mentors and teachers we can turn to for advice on how to beat entropy and regain our productive flow.

Over the last four years, Kelton Reid has interviewed more than 70 prolific, renowned, and bestselling authors. How do they stay focused and productive?

The Persuasive Power of Analogy

"The right analogy, at the right time, told the right way, may be exactly what they need to do business with you." – Brian Clark

Rather than a figure of speech, an analogy is more of a logical argument. The structure of the argument leads to a new understanding for your audience.

Persuasion comes from understanding.

3 Ways to Get What You Want by Doing Your Homework

"I can't tell you how many cold sales emails I get from people who demonstrate they have no idea what my company does." – Sonia Simone

When you approach someone without doing your homework, you send a clear message: You think your time is more valuable than theirs.

Increase your chances of getting a reply with Sonia’s smart research tips.

Quality Over Quantity: Repurpose Your Best Ideas and Distribute Them Far and Wide

"This is how you increase the likelihood of reaching new audience members with your best work." – Jerod Morris

Jerod’s tutorial will help you get more out of your top content.

His methods show how to work smarter, not harder, to reach new people.

Writers: Here’s Why You Aren’t Getting More Great Clients

"It’s a particularly good time to join our list of recommended writers." – Sonia Simone

It turns out that getting really good at putting words together doesn’t always translate to marketing our own writing businesses.

Sonia pinpoints two ugly problems that keep writers from making what they’re worth … and how to overcome them to retain more great clients.

Does Your Blog Need Editing and Proofreading?

"These tools help you evaluate your current publishing process." – Stefanie Flaxman

If your content isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be, you might benefit from a more substantial revision process.

When you treat your blog like a professional publication, you’re more likely to produce better content that is tailored to your audience’s preferences.

Your readers are looking for information on a topic from someone they like and trust … become the resource they’re looking for.

10 Easy Tips for Professional Audio Quality

"Your sound should be a 'welcome mat' that invites the listener in for what feels like a face-to-face conversation." – Toby Lyles

Toby Lyles of TwentyFourSound shares 10 pro tips to help your podcast stand out from the majority of the audio content available on the web.

Better recordings will strengthen your message.

3 Important SEO Steps to Take Right Away

"True masters of search engine optimization are masters of listening and empathy." – Jerod Morris

Jerod breaks down what you need to know about search engine optimization on the modern and future web.

He gives three simple steps that will help you maintain a smart, consistent SEO practice that delivers reliable results.

A Simple Plan for Managing and Completing a Content Project

"Think about where you could be one year from now if you start today." – Stefanie Flaxman

Here’s a proven plan you can adapt to any type of content project you’d like to finish in just a couple months.

In July 2009 I created it to write my first ebook, which was available for sale in mid-September 2009.

10 Often Overlooked Website Mistakes that May Harm Your Business

"Does your current website hosting company prevent or punish your success?" – Chris Garrett

Are you making one of these common business website mistakes?

Chris Garrett explains how professional businesses can operate smarter online to prevent frustration and wasted time.

How to Build Trust and Enhance Your Influence with Content Marketing

"Building trust is bigger than tactics — it’s your entire mission." – Brian Clark

Discover the art of disinterested goodwill.

Content marketers have an unfair advantage over competitors who don’t freely share valuable information.

The Most Powerful Writing Voice for 21st-Century Content

"How do you convey vulnerability without squandering your authority?" – Sonia Simone

For skillful writers, the right combination of authority and vulnerability has become the most effective voice on the web.

Sonia describes how to achieve that balance.

What’s Actually Stunting Your Productivity (It’s Not Multitasking)

"One scenario engenders calm and focus, whereas the other might spark a heart attack." – Loryn Thompson

Lately, a common theme in productivity advice is bashing multitasking. And studies have shown that trying to tackle different tasks simultaneously greatly reduces our cognitive abilities.

But what if there’s another type of multitasking — one you’re probably really good at? Loryn Thompson explores this topic and offers another reason why your daily productivity might not be at its optimal level.

Where to Begin When It’s Time to Edit Your Content

"If it’s not memorable, it’s not working." – Stefanie Flaxman

Smart editing considers the unofficial question going through every reader’s mind when they look at the beginning of an article: “Why should I care?”

These five strategies help turn your drafts into memorable presentations.

5 Steps to Website Security You Can Trust

"How can you protect your website from those who will stop at nothing to harm it for their own purposes?" – Jerod Morris

With WordPress, the power of the platform is also the reason that security holes can develop and be exploited.

Hackers, ransomware, and denial of service attacks are all concerns for modern business websites. Jerod’s simple ways to make your WordPress site secure relieve those worries.

How to Make a Living as a Writer When Creative Writing Isn’t Paying the Bills

"You shouldn't have to suffer or scrape by to do what you love." – Alaura Weaver

There’s a whole economy out there that needs creative professionals to spread ideas and inspire each other to action.

If you’re ready to turn your love of storytelling into a thriving writing business that
provides a consistent income, Certified Content Marketer Alaura Weaver’s guide is a must-read.

The Internet Is Not Your ATM

"The internet is profoundly indifferent to your desire to make money with it." – Sonia Simone

Getting sucked into cheap shortcuts always slows you down, because they don’t work. Then you just have to go back and do it correctly anyway.

Sonia knows that hopes and dreams about digital business can be beautiful things. But reality is even more beautiful.

30 Tips that Help You Become an In-Demand Freelance Writer

"Transform your writing services into a dynamic business." – Stefanie Flaxman

It’s perfectly natural to make mistakes on your business journey. Successful freelance writers adjust their goals, learn new skills, and move forward.

Here are helpful pointers to optimize your writing services.

Combine These 5 Research-Based Ingredients for Higher-Quality Content

"Before creating any content, ask yourself: How am I uniquely qualified to tackle this topic?" – Ronell Smith

Does your content meet your prospects where they are, with clear guidance to get them where they want to go?

Ronell Smith shares a proven process for assessing if your content will build authority, trust, and customer love — before you publish.

The Content Marketer’s Guide to Starting a Meditation Practice Today

"You build an invisible muscle called focused attention. Repetition is the key to strengthening that muscle." – Morgan Dix

Research shows that meditation can increase your focus and enhance your creativity, so if you don’t already meditate, you’ve probably considered it.

For many, the hardest part is starting … Luckily, we enlisted the help of Certified Content Marketer Morgan Dix. Morgan draws on his 22 years of experience meditating to help you launch a practical meditation habit that supports your creative work.

How to Improve Your Confidence and Conquer the World (or at Least Your To-Do List)

"I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was." – Muhammad Ali

As we look forward to 2018, Sonia gives us a taste of the growth mindset.

Growth mindset people have great confidence, because they know if something isn’t good today, it’s just a matter of putting in work and getting better tomorrow.

What are your 2017 Copyblogger favorites?

Did you love a post (or posts) I didn’t get to mention here?

Share the Copyblogger articles you found the most useful in the comments below.

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