Strategy, Structure and Sequence (How To Create Continuity Between Your Content and Your Community)

Here is a little sneak peek into some of the stuff we’ve been working on in the Content Community Continuum Affiliate challenge this week…..

And a “blog hijack” (or a “Content Intervention” as I’m planning on calling it  for the TV show coming out this Fall – check your local listings) where I’m taking one of our particpants and trying to illustrate create content using the clip and snip SEO strategy I’ve been preaching for what feels like forever.

This is a project Terry has been working on for a while  – that I put about 45 minutes in “Intervention” time overall thus far – in trying to help Terry breathe new life into her blog – and sell an affiliate product that she has some PASSION for – as outlined in the notes below.

(this is taken from our community blog as posted on Monday night of this week)

I’m hoping that this helps YOU see how to clip and snip content – helps you understand the THINKING behind  my SEO ethos of “Google Likes Sites That Like Other Sites Google Likes” and in general, most importantly, helps reinforce the idea that I’m a pretty super guy, have an usually large spirit and would be the sort of person you’d like to have over for Thanksgiving, or special occasions, if we lived closer.  (my Shrink told me that clearly stating ones real motivation is very freeing – so I’m going to experiment with that a little bit here, just because statistically, according to the Clickbank heat map/eye chart product I just wasted 77 bucks on, the odds are about 94% of you didn’t read that sentence anyway)

You can read the whole post below – the specific affiliate program we promoted in month one of the challenge has been redacted – in fairness to those who paid to participate.

Our first Challenge demonstration volunteer is Terry.

She is promoting the ******** offer……..but ALSO is trying to sell a novel writing software program as an affiliate.

She has 2 sites set up to accomplish this – and has written a bunch of articles as well.

Her 2 sites are:


  1. (this is a blog she set up to sell the software)
  2. (this is a review style page set up to sell the software above, along with 2 competitors, in a traditional 3 review set up we’re also using for the ********** offer – Terry is using a BLOG (the flexibility theme) to emulate our static landing page, which is a perfectly fine set up as well)


Terry’s articles are here:

I started *tweaking* this last night….and I’m going to demonstrate some of the techniques we’ve covered in the challenge on HER blog, and with her content – rather than with mine.  (with the hope that it helps illustrate, compare and contrast the content strategy she’s been using thus far, with the the one that I would use instead)

I hope you’ll be able to extrapolate this approach for your OWN stuff as well – as that’s obviously the goal.


I’m going to break this down into 3 very simple “segments”:


This is the exact approach I use in my own business – for creating content for my own blog – my own affiliate campaigns – and for just about any project I work on anymore.

I find – that when I clearly understand, and lay out each piece of the puzzle within the framework of the 3 elements above, the chances of getting where I want to go are exponentially higher.  (and provide far less fodder for distractions that keep me from getting there)

Because this is so straightforward – let’s start with STRATEGY.

The strategy here is clear.

Terry wants to sell the Marshall Plan Software Writing Program.

If she can’t – she’d like to sell her 2 secondary offers – as described on her 3 review page below:

Terry is also using adsense on her writing blog – so she has a chance to monetize her efforts a bit – EVEN if folks don’t buy anything she has to suggest.

Now – I’m going to make a quick disclaimer:

I know nothing about this niche.

I know very little about Terry.

As a matter of fact, the one thing I know about Terry TODAY –  that I’m very embarrassed I didn’t know YESTERDAY when I told you I would be working on “HIS” niche and project – is that Terry is a “SHE”!

(OOOPS……thank god for EzineArticles Author pics…..or I would have been digging myself a bigger and bigger hole with each update – thanks for laughing at this, Terry!)

So I have no idea why Terry is promoting this offer -whether it’s a profitable market – or whether it’s a profitable product.

As a MERCENARY affiliate play – i.e. – picking products because they offer excellent monetization opportunities – it’s not a product I would have picked to promote.

BUT – based on Terry’s excellent and extensive content on novel writing – my assumption is that this is in fact a MEANINGFUL market for her, and therefore, a very reasonable way to monetize her passion for novel writing.

The STRATEGY then is hyper clear:

Sell affiliate products in the “how to write a novel” niche.

More specifically – sell the Marshall Plan Novel Writing Software program.

Let’s look at STRUCTURE – and then – over a series of short posts – we’ll look at how I’d change this in an OPTIMAL way – using the Content Community Continuum framework – (something that Terry isn’t really doing) and how I’d change up the things she IS doing now.  (and what I’ve already started to do)

– The REVIEW page – for this sort of project is fine.  (Essentially – a ONE page landing site with 3 reviews – the same general thing we’re doing with the challenge landing page, only Terry is using a blog to emulate our static review site)

– Terry has 1 blog – (themarshallplanblog above) that she has used to create VERY detailed – very text heavy – very effort intensive content.

IMPORTANT:  In MY system, I’d make this a Q AND A style blog – catering to the community of authors, writers, and frustrated novelists – an emotive, expressive YET probably somewhat introverted community of folks who – and I’m only guessing here – but WOULD find a certain amount of comfort in finding an ONLINE community of other authors who were having the same experience of trying to write their first novel – their first bestseller – their first artistic expression, etc.

A Q and A blog that focused on answering COMMON questions within the novel writing universe – in my view – would be a great way to target and include and build real rapport and relationship with this audience, and of course, in the  process…….use  this accumulated good will to ethically recommend an affilaite product (the software) that could genuinely help them accomplish their goal.

Terry is using a “normal” blog for this.

I DID make some simple (yet I still look at as “structural” changes to her blog last night – I changed the theme she was using (within the options I had in her admin area) to a “thinner” and what I think is a cleaner layout – blue hyper links (rather than the darker ones her old theme displayed) which SHOULD help click through rate – and which of course, means more visitors click through from her blog to the offer – which we hope translates into more sales)

NOTE:  THIN is definitely “in” when it comes to stimulating clickthrough rate – and this is one of the biggest reasons why “skinny salesletters” remain so popular – AND effective – I can tell you from first hand experience, the BEST “CTR” I get on my own blog (even my Karmic site) is when I use a thin, no sidebar set up…….I just hate the way it looks on my personal blog – so unless I’m selling something, I “err” on the side of artsy – which rarely works for selling stuff..:-)

She has written extensive and detailed posts on both the Marshall Plan Software, and on writing a novel – and everything that goes into developing characters, a plot, etc.  (I’m assuming she wrote this – and didn’t take this from the vendor – or affiliate materials)

All very good content – but my sense is that this effort hasn’t been very rewarding – and isn’t helping to sell the software.

Terry also had a very long essay and review on the primary product set as “sticky” – at the top of the blog – meaning that every post that was added AFTER this one (she had written that post in February) was “buried” below the fold – giving the casual observer – or niche enthusiast and Terry’s ideal “Community” the impression that NO new content had been added to the blog in 4 months.

(even though it was……’d have to “hunt” and dig to realize that there was new content)

I changed this last night – so that the latest POSTS were the most recently displayed content  – and then quickly added 2 new “clip and snip” , keyword rich titles with links to OTHER writing resources around the web.  (The Google likes sites that like OTHER sites Google likes strategy)

Here is a screen shot that shows EXACTLY my “thinking” in picking content to clip and snip – and the way I try to use very keyword friendly titles that have a little bit of “curiosity” – while including SEVERAL variations of keywords that are important in the niche.

(NOTE – for those reading this on my blog here – simply click on the image at the top of the post to see the full “picture” and the underlying idea I expressed in the screenshot text – and then follow the rest below)

Which I then – in less than 5 minutes – turned into THIS blog post for Terry.

I then repeated the same thing, HERE:

(using the search query “how long does it take to write a novel”)

(another very targeted long tail phrase that people who DO want to write a novel would be looking for – but are also – presumably – looking to EXPEDITE the process of doing so – and would benefit from a software program that promises to do EXACTLY that)

Please notice that I’m CLIPPING content – adding my own introductory remarks – AND – (always!) LINKING to the offer from my introductory thoughts.

This is one of the BEST places to get quality outgoing links to your affiliate program that folks WILL click on, and are not obnoxious – and can be worked into your post with elegant ease.  (as I tried to do with Terry’s posts in the 5 minute window I gave myself for each one)

Make sense?

*****END of Affilaite Challenge Blog Post******

Anyway – that’s a little glimpse into how I do that – if the clipping and snipping stuff has got you flurfufuled – which is Yiddish for confused and ready to give up.

And, if your appetite for achievement is getting bigger and bolder –

The next Content Community Continuum Challenge is going to start in roughly 10 days……..on or about July 1, 2011.

It’s being radically re-worked for COACHES, consultants, teachers, mentors, infopreneurs and PASSION professionals who want to sell meaningful products and services that make a difference – and CONTRIBUTE to the world in wonderful ways.  (as this is what motivated me to create this system in the first place……and where it works BEST)

If you have something to sell –  yourself – an existing product – or an old idea begging to be nurtured back to life……this is the challenge for you.

Details to Come…….or email me HERE for Advanced Notice & I’ll fill you In!




  1. Hi Ian.
    This is a belt and braces comment just in case this email somehow doesn’t get through – I’ve deleted the email address for security, but it’s the one that’s attached to this comment. Here it be…
    Hope this gets through Ian.

    I’ve been on your list for a while now, and was mighty miffed that somehow I never got the invite to the Challenge (I’m reckon it was a spam filter issue). Could you send me any other offers to this, my main email account where I have made sure you are whitelisted?
    That’s it!
    Hope to hear from you soon
    Jeff P

  2. Wow Ian, you really give away a lot of great stuff here. And it really helps clarify questions especially giving away the site for us visual learners (like me 🙂 It’s one thing to read something on paper, but completely different to see it first hand.

    I take it that Terry has been trying to sell this for over 6 months now? Probably off and on it seems? Please let us know how much better her sales are after implementing all of your coaching.

    I also want to add some pretty useful tools I’ve been using lately for my sites…

    #1) wordpress plug-in called Pretty Link. You can assign a cloaked link to an affiliate link and track how many clicks they get. Hard to explain, but you can search for it and install it and check it out. Works well to see which links are getting clicked the most.

    #2) wordpress plug-in called “seo searchterms tagging 2”. Now this is my fav tool I’ve found in a loooong time for us doing SEO. It tells you the exact keywords people are typing into search to find your site. Sure, you can use analytics but it’s much simpler when you just login to your dashboard and see the stats.

    The reason I like that plug-in so much is that I can see all the different long-tail searches people type. I rarely get the same keywords twice for some of my larger sites. Even better is I can see the QUESTIONS people are typing in to find my pages. So you can see why I really like it!

    Anywho, looking forward to the next challenge.

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