Content Marketing

Should You Use a Content Site Like MySmartBlog?

Blog, Blogging, Content Marketing, Marketing

Should you use a content site like MySmartBlog?

Hell no.

Here’s why.

“In some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.”

You know who said that?

Google did.

You know what they might do about it?

“In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”

It is the cardinal rule of content marketing: ONLY USE ORIGINAL CONTENT THAT DOESN’T APPEAR ELSEWHERE.

Google Chooses Which of the Multiple Identical Articles to Show on the SERPs

Google’s algorithm isn’t stupid. In fact, it’s smarter than a lot of people are. It’s only going to rank one — or maybe two — of the multiple copies of the same, exact content that dozens of websites have.

What is MySmartBlog Doing? (And Why Isn’t it Actually Smart?)

MySmartBlog gives the same content to multiple people in the same industry… and they actually charge people for it.

They’re selling people the same article, and those people think they’re doing themselves a favor by posting it on their websites.

Here’s an example of an article pushed out by MySmartBlog. See, dozens of people have it on their websites, verbatim:

Duplicate Content is Bad - Unique Web Copy


Unfortunately, like I said, there’s no way Google is going to rank all those pages. When you type in an exact-match for a partial title, only two of the sites are ranked:

Duplicate Content BAD - Unique Web Copy, Angie Papple Johnston

What Can Happen if You Use MySmartBlog?

Each person who buys this content is flirting with a Google penalty. Even if Google never hits them with a manual penalty, nobody’s ever going to see those posts through the search engines (and that’s one of the points of setting up a blog: to capture traffic from the search engines).

Here’s Google’s own Matt Cutts on article marketing and snagging content that everyone else is snagging, too:

Even in 2011, Moz called out article marketing (the same stuff that MySmartBlog is doing):

Should You Use MySmartBlog?

Here’s the deal.

Even if your own blog posts suck, you’re better off doing it yourself than you are using MySmartBlog.


Even if they’re terrible.

Original content (even with grammatical errors and a few typos here and there) beats the crap out of putting up one copy of one post that other people already have.

Don’t waste your money. Their base package is something like $100 per month… if you take 15 minutes and put together a terrible, awful, horrible, no-good, rotten blog post, you’ll be doing better than the people who are scammed into buying content from MySmartBlog.

How to Create a Google Alert to Monitor Your Online Presence

Blog, Content Marketing, Google, How-To

Want to keep tabs on your online presence?

Set a Google alert (or two, or three) for your name, your business name, or even something more general.

Here’s how.

How to Create a Google Alert to Monitor Your Online Presence

Transcript for Video on Creating Google Alerts to Monitor Your Online Presence

Hi! This is Angie Johnston with Unique Web Copy.

I just want to show you really quickly how to create a Google Alert so you can find out when someone is talking about you on the Internet.

So what you’re going to do is log into your Google account. You’re going to go to; that’s what you pull up.

And let’s say you want to create an alert with your name, which I’ve already set up for mine, but let’s just set one up for Angela Johnston (although, please don’t ever call me Angela). Then we’re going to hit “Create Alert.”

Now let’s say I want to adjust the frequency at which I get these alerts. What I’m going to do is go to the “Edit” button.

I only want to be alerted once a day. However, I can get alerted as it happens, which means as soon as Google crawls a website that has Angela Johnston on it, I’ll get an email in my inbox immediately.

Let’s do “as-it-happens.”

The sources we’re going to leave on “Automatic.” It could alert me only when it comes up in news, blogs, anywhere on the web, video, books, discussions, or a finance category. We’re going to leave it on “Automatic” so I get all the alerts.

Naturally, we’re going to leave it in English and “Any Region.” I don’t care if this comes up in India, in England… doesn’t matter. I just want to know when someone mentions Angela Johnston on the web.

Rather than getting “Only the Best” results, I want to see all of the results. So I’m going to change that to “All Results,” and then it’ll deliver a report to my Gmail account.

So here’s what happens when you get a Google alert.

I got one on December 27, which was yesterday, and it’s for another Angie Johnston. I’m certainly not a wedding and event planner, but that’s what happens–you’ll get that email in “as-it-happens” updates. So as soon as Google crawled the web and found this result that includes the exact-match term “Angie Johnston,” it let me know that it came up.

So I’m going to update the alert, and any time someone mentions Angela Johnston on the Internet, I’m going to get a Google alert about it.

This can be really helpful if you want to know when someone’s talking about your company, your law firm, your real estate business, and particularly your name. That’s what really keeps you in the loop about when you get mentioned on the web.

That’s about it, and if you have any questions, you can call me at 808-542-5975.

Thanks for watching. Have a great day!


How Many Words Can Fit in a Tri-Fold Brochure?

Blog, Brochures, Content Marketing, Copywriting, How-To, Marketing


How Many Words Can Fit in a Tri-Fold Brochure?

If you’re creating a brochure for your business, it needs to reflect the professionalism and high quality of service you provide.

That means you need to hire a writer who knows exactly how many words can fit in a tri-fold brochure (and a bi-fold, and a single-page flyer… you get the picture).

At most, a tri-fold brochure can fit 350 words. On the low end, you’ll have about 200 words.

Why Only 350 Words?

Consider this: people who pick up brochures want to see photos, and they need the information to be “scannable” — just like it is on your website.

You’ll need headers, pictures, and text that’s large enough to read.

That means you really need hard-hitting copy. It needs to be clear, concise, and targeted toward your ideal audience so you get the most impact. Your graphic designer will help you with the layout once you have the right text; with a brochure, the layout and graphics are just as important as the copy is.

Brochure Copy - Hire a Brochure Writer

Why EVERY Business Needs to Know its Customers

Blog, Content Marketing, Marketing

Like me, you’re in business – and if you’re smart (like me), you know that you need to know your audience.

Why would you waste time barking up the wrong tree?

Every Business Needs to Know its Customers

I got an email from someone who was way off the mark. I don’t know why he was way off the mark; chances are that he bought an email list or hired an idiot as his content marketer.

Naturally, I took out the links to his website – but here’s the text in blue (and my take on what’s wrong with it in red):

Hi, (Hi, who? Me? You don’t even have the time or tools to automatically personalize your marketing materials?)

Successful entrepreneurs are infinitely fascinating to me. (Why is this all about you? That’s not how you market.) I find that they’re all courageous risk-takers balanced by good business sense, and I love learning what makes them tick. For my website, [his website], I’m starting to explore areas of entrepreneurship that are often overlooked. (You, you, YOU! You lost me – when you intrude on my inbox with a sales pitch, and this isn’t my throwaway email that I use to sign up for junk, you should make it all about me right off the bat. That’s how you connect with your customers.)

Because many real estate agents work for real estate companies, we don’t often think of them as entrepreneurs. But they certainly are. Needing the same mix of business sense, sales skills, and penchant for risk-taking to be successful as every other entrepreneur. (Yes, real estate agents are great. They’re hard-working, smart, and connected – but why are you telling me this?)

I was hoping you might be open to being interviewed for a guest article. (I’ve been interviewed for articles before, which was great, but what do you want me to talk about?) My hope (Why are you using the word hope again? Sounds weird and forced.) is that you would answer the questions below for me, then I’ll do a write up on you and your career achievements for you to post on your website. (On my site?!) I would just ask that I be able to include a link to [his website] in the bio I include with my article. (AHA! You want a free backlink from a strong website. Not a chance, home skillet! What he’s proposing is actually a badly orchestrated dance with Google, who says it’s one form of a link scheme.)

Here are the questions. If you have the time, please send me your responses, and I’ll get started on the piece:

-Why did you decide to go into real estate? (Wait, wut?)

-What do you love about being a real estate agent in your area? (Hang on – I’m not a real estate agent.)

-What’s your proudest career moment as a real estate agent? (I had a real estate license in Michigan for a year. Know how many homes I sold? None. I’m not a Realtor(R)… I’m a writer.)

-In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge real estate agents face and what do you do in your own career to overcome it? (Dude, I’m not a Realtor. I write for Realtors.)

Of course, if you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you! (No, I don’t have any questions. None, because your email clearly does not apply to me. But you’d know that, and you wouldn’t have sent it, if you knew your audience.)

All the best,


[His website] [His address]

Phoenix, AZ 85041
[His email address]

Why would any self-respecting business owner let that escape with their name on it?

This is terrible marketing. TERRIBLE. Swing and a miss! Not a regular miss, either. Like a serious miss.

Do everyone a favor: know your audience or hire someone who does. If you don’t, you look stupid and waste your resources at the same time.