Tag Archives: content marketing

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

My writing journal for Thursday, October 9, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Got a great start this morning. The mystery novel is gathering steam, and I managed 2,200 words. I had to force myself to stop. I’m very pleased, but I try to avoid getting too excited, and telling myself that this novel will be EASY. Huh. You can have a run of great days, and then a run of horrible days, in which the words come slowly.

I try to convince myself that easy or horrible, it’s just another writing day — but I can’t help smiling.

On to the two nonfiction books. I manage 1,200 words. I’ve got the books planned in Scrivener, with complete outlines. I’m not writing them straight through. I write whatever I want to write. I’ve no idea why some books get themselves written this way, but they do.

Sometimes you can write from go to whoa, starting with the introduction, and writing each chapter as it comes. Other books insist on being written in little pieces. Part of one chapter, and then part of another. It’s not my preferred method of working, but I’ll take whatever comes, as long as the book — or books, in this case — get written.

After giving Honey her breakfast, I skim through email, and write a few responses while I eat my toast. Then I look at my schedule for the day. I managed to get a little writing done last night, but I’m still behind on what I wanted to do this week. Firstly, there was Monday’s rush copywriting project, and then yesterday the meetings ran longer than they should have done.

Next, I outline a couple of content marketing projects which developed from the meetings. There’s more content than I can manage on my own, so I need to tee up a couple of writers. I write a project brief, and send out a slew of messages to colleagues to gauge interest. I’d like to get these two projects out the door within a couple of weeks, but that depends on how many writers I can find who can handle the material, and slot it into their schedules.

Next, a couple of blog posts completed, and published. One of my own, on an easy exercise for story beginnings, and the other a post on a client’s blog.

Time for my walk.

Back again. More client blogging, then it’s time for lunch, while browsing social media.

I’ve got a mile of phone calls to return, so I do that. Next, a stream of email messages from clients and students.

Stop thinking, keep doing

One of the most common things I tell students is: “you’re over-thinking this.”

Many (all) of my students could be doing better if they’d stop second-guessing themselves and started deciding. And would charge more. We talked about procrastination.

Indecision is form of procrastination. Some of my students have a mile of unfinished work on their hard drives – they just can’t “ship.” This is one of the reasons I developed Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits.

Some writers can’t/ won’t ship because they want to be guaranteed success. I can guarantee this: you need to fail your way to success. If you’re unlucky enough to be successful (yes, I said unlucky) instantly, you’re in big trouble. Instant success teaches you nothing. Failure, on the other hand, teaches you plenty. No one likes failure — and yet, failure is inevitable. It’s more valuable than success, because you’ll learn from it — the most valuable thing you’ll learn is that failure is OK.

Some words of wisdom on failure from Business Week:

“The only barrier to failing fast and failing cheap is your ego. You must be willing to fail, fail, and fail again if you are going to win in today’s competitive marketplace. Remember, even if you’re falling flat on your face, at least you’re still moving forward.”

Stop thinking. Decide. Create. Move forward. Whatever you’re doing, do it. Worry later — for ten minutes — then get back to doing and creating.

Enough advice… :-)

Onward with a full afternoon of on-going copywriting projects for clients, as well as working on my new website. I’m starting to see daylight, thank heavens. I’ve created a plan, and need to carry it out.

More phone calls before the end of business, then my daily review, and the day is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 52: Traffic From Ebooks

Writing Journal 52: Traffic From Ebooks

My writing journal for Friday, October 3, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another busy day ahead; a meeting this morning, which cuts into my day. Not to worry.

Happy days — I’ve finally settled on a sleuth for the mystery novel who’s perfect for the series. I wrote a long screed to the client, putting my case for this sleuth, so we’ll see what the verdict is on it. Words: 2,600.

With that load off my mind, I focused on completing the book proposal for the memoir. I’ll do a little more on it tonight, then I’ll send the draft off over the weekend. Words: 1,500.

Breakfast for Honey. I have breakfast while writing a bunch of email messages.

Then, it’s time to prep for my meeting. I organize my schedule for the day, and try not to think about everything I need to do. Action, rather than thinking about it, is the key.

I’m back. The meeting was great, and I managed to pop into the library to do some fact checking for the book proposal, and for another project.

A client asked about ebooks for her business. She’s got an ecommerce store, and is getting fewer sales because traffic is shrinking. Paid advertising isn’t helping as much as she’d like.

She’s wondering about content marketing, and how ebooks play into that. So, let’s look at it.

Traffic from ebooks, and the rising tide

Traffic is hard to get in 2014. In 2015, it will only be harder. A tsunami of content flows onto the Web each day: millions and millions of pieces of content.

Many companies are using content marketing today. It’s the new big thing but it has challenges. Many, many challenges. Why content marketing fails for many who try it is explained in this excellent slide deck from Moz, Why Content Marketing Fails.

Basically, here’s how it works. You post content. You get recognition. You build trust. People remember what you’re selling and when they have a need for it, they may buy. As Rand points out in the slide deck, you fail, fail, fail… and then you succeed.

Content marketing has been part of the Web since there was a Web. Now there’s a fancy name for it, but it changes nothing about the way it works. It’s all about trust and recognition, and being persistent until you succeed.

So, how does traffic from ebooks play into that?

I tell my students: be everywhere. Spread yourself around. The more people who hear your name, the better. Amazon is a search engine too. So are the other ebook retailers. iTunes has a search engine. And YouTube.

Someone sees your name in your ebook description on Amazon, and remembers it. If they read your ebook, you’re lucky, but the point is — Google indexes Amazon.

Content marketing and SEO

You have a website. You’re on Twitter, and Facebook and Google+. And now you’re on Amazon too. Google indexes ALL that, and as Rand points out in his slide deck, the rising tide of SEO lifts all boats. So, you’re building a profile, as someone who’s here, there and everywhere, and Google takes notice.

You just keep going and going, and your “everywhere” thing grows. You get more traffic, and make more sales. Along the way, you make connections, which also help.

That’s how you get traffic from ebooks. You’re on Amazon, and everywhere else, too, and your boat (profile) is lifted everywhere. That’s the macro point of view.

On a micro level, what the hey — you may sell a few ebooks AND get traffic. Remember to put your URL and info in the front and back matter of your books. :-)

It’s late afternoon now. I spent a busy afternoon on several copywriting jobs which grew out of my meetings this week. I also assessed my content calendars for clients’ blogs.

Finally, a quick overview of today’s activities and word count, and a longer review of what got done, and what didn’t get done this week. And that’s it for another day.

Oh woe, oh junk folders…

Before I forget. I posted a quick note on the freelance blog about Team Up. Several people mentioned that they found the ezine messages in their junk folder, and were upset about potentially missing out, since it’s the final coaching program for the year. We’ve extended Team Up enrollments until this Sunday to help.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Content Marketing Done Cleverly and Well

Content Marketing Done Cleverly and Well

Bored with content marketing? Me too. Then something comes along and gives you fresh inspiration, not only because it’s done so well, but also because it’s so clever.

Mind you, it probably helps that I’m such a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. :-)

In her article, What’s the Formula for E-book Success? Ann Handley says:

One of the tenets of my new book is this: Good writing is like good teaching.

That’s so true. If you want to make anything you’re writing better, ask yourself whether readers are learning anything. And yes, it applies to fiction too. The best fiction takes you on an emotional experience, and you learn from it. In the 1980s, Arthur Hailey wrote blockbuster novels which took readers behind the scenes of an airport, a hotel, and other places they knew, but didn’t understand – and didn’t want to understand. Hailey made them fascinating, and writers have continued that “learning” tradition.

Consider Dan Brown’s books. Or check out the bestseller lists today. THE MAGICIAN’S LAND, by Lev Grossman tops the hardcover fiction list. I’ve no idea what it’s all about, but reading the description, it sounds like Harry Potter-like.

Consider too, the 50 Shades trilogy: erotica for people who don’t read erotica. It’s introduced erotica to a completely new audience, by teaching. At least I think it informs readers on mild BDSM. I haven’t read it, although I do read erotica occasionally.

Content marketing: all teaching, all the time is boring

If you’re bored with your content marketing, your readers will be too. Don’t stop teaching in your content, but do consider teaching in new ways. I’m sharing my writing journals for example.

Ann interviews Lee Odden in the article I’ve linked to above, and here’s Lee’s amazingly clever slide deck on building an audience strategy for content marketing.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Are you in a content marketing rut? You create and post a set number of items to your website, your mailing list and social media accounts regularly. You’re proud of yourself, as you should be: consistency counts, and your content assets will grow.

You get traffic reliably, but you’re not seeing the jumps in traffic you’d like, not even when you post stellar content. You’re falling into a content marketing rut, and don’t know how to get out of it.

Try one or two of these three ways.

1. Try a new format.

Content comes in many formats. If you’re producing text content, with the occasional slide deck, why not turn some of that text content into audio, or video? Jing is free, and easy to use. You can post your videos to YouTube, and find a completely new audience.

Other formats to consider:

  • Q and A: you get a stream of customer service and other questions each week. Why not develop some question and answer content from great questions people ask? If one or two people have asked a question, hundreds of others may want answers too.
  • Tutorials: I love foodie blogs. I’m in awe of some of the wonderful content they produce. Food p0rn, indeed. Grab some ideas for tutorials from food or other blogs which use the tutorial format.
  • Micro content: you don’t always have to produce content which takes hours to create. Post a link, or a quote, or a fun piece of information.
  • Quizzes. Why not create a quiz each month? I love quizzes, and search for them in magazines. Your quiz doesn’t need to be confined to topics about your industry. Consider a seasonal quiz, or a trivia quiz.

2. Take it on the road: offer your content to new venues.

Please don’t wince. I know that Matt Cutts has taken a big stick to guest posting. But he’s not talking about genuine ghost blogging. He’s talking about link-hunting.

Find a couple of websites on which you’d like to see your content. Don’t worry about the links. Think about branding, and relationship building.

If any of your clients have a blog, offer them some great content which would appeal to their audience.

3. Experiment. Then create a case study.

Create an experiment – any kind of experiment you like. Set the parameters of your experiment. Then conduct it. Keep regular notes. Everyone loves case studies. You think you know what the results will be, but you may be surprised.

Announce your experiment, and its parameters. Tell readers how the experiment’s going, as it progresses. Ask readers to help, if possible. When the experiment’s over, announce your results.

It’s easy to fall into a content marketing rut. Challenge yourself to get out of it by with new content formats, and new venues.

Want more content marketing ideas? Create better content faster

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Curation and Blogging: 4 Easy Strategies To Use Now

Content Curation and Blogging: 4 Easy Strategies To Use Now

Content curation is a simple way to develop fresh content for your blog and increase your though leadership in your industry. Useful as content curation is however, if you overdo it, it can overwhelm your blog, so that your blog loses its focus. Don’t let that stop you from curating – read our first strategy below for a way to get around this.

Let’s look at four easy strategies you can use to make curation a part of your blogging activities.

Strategy 1. Use content creation tools: share freely and often.

Curation’s hugely popular, and many marketers make it a primary online marketing strategy. There are many tools you can use. I like Scoop.it, and use it for several of my clients.

When you create a topic on Scoop.it, you can curate freely, because your link collections don’t live on your blog. Of course, comment on each link you add, and add some of your links to your topic, to give your blog a little more visibility.

Strategy 2. Quote from others’ content when you write your own.

This strategy takes a little more time, because you’re pulling quotes from others’ content when you create your own. The quotes may support an argument you’re making, offer an additional insight, or give the latest news on the topic you’re covering. I used this strategy in an article on guest blogging.

The Digital Reader does this well, posting a “Morning Coffee” blog post every day which is a collection of links.

You can create a Best Of link collection each day, or once a week, or even once a month. Consistency’s the key to using this form of curation, so that your readers know what to expect. They’ll visit your blog to see what’s new in your industry.

Strategy 4. Outline or excerpt important content: add your own point of view.

Many blogs use this form of curation. They outline a news story, or an article, and then add their own short commentary. Blogs like The Passive Voice excerpt extensively.

If you’ve created a blog to cover important news in an industry, this strategy will work for you.

When you’re excerpting, be aware of fair use. Popular blogs can excerpt extensively, because they’re driving traffic back to the source. If your blog is new and isn’t getting a huge amount of traffic, be courteous, and request permission before you excerpt more than a paragraph or so from someone else’s content.

Should you use social media for curation?

The challenge with curating content on social media is gaining sufficient benefits from it. Generally speaking, you’ll get better results when you curate on your own blog, and then promote the post on social media.

However, if you’re building your Google+ circles, and want to create a mix of content in your stream, definitely curate. Beware of posting naked links. Add your own commentary, or outline the content, so that readers get the gist.

In summary, content curation adds value to your blog. You can use these four easy strategies with confidence.
Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Creation Ideas: 3 Fast and Easy Resources

Content Creation Ideas: 3 Fast and Easy Resources

Looking for content creation ideas? Coming up with fresh ideas for new content can leave you feeling like a hamster on a wheel. You’re running and running, but staying in the same place.

I know the feeling. Not only do I create content for clients, I also create content for my blogs.

Let’s look at my current favorite content resources. They inspire me, and they may inspire you.

Upworthy: clever headlines count.

You’re busy creating content. Who has time for headlines? You, that’s who, otherwise your content won’t be read. I visit Upworthy solely for the headlines.

How about this one:

Here Are Just 3 Of The Smaller Lies SeaWorld Makes Its Employees Tell Its Guests

Or this one:

2 People Described The Same Person To A Forensic Artist And This Is What Happened

Great stuff. When I read headlines like that, they inspire me to lift my game. No matter how dull the topic, a great headline gets attention.

Keep in mind that your headline can be separate from your page title, which is developed for search engine optimization (SEO.)

Heidi Cohen always does a great job developing SEO-worthy page titles, and headlines.

Totally Delicious: discover great content ideas you can use today.

I used to be a Delicious fan and used it for years as a bookmarking website. Then Yahoo bought it, and it died.

Delicious is back. Explore the Discover option. Delicious finds links based on your interests. In Discover, click the Manage Your Subscription link, and add a keyword. You can add as many as you like. Then click the Subscribe button. You’ll now get links for that keyword in your feed.

You’re sure to find some content ideas within a minute or two.

Google News: news from everywhere, about everything.

I’m a news junkie, so I check Google News at least once a day, sometimes more often.

Just enter a keyword into the search query box, and you’ll get the latest news which mentions that keyword. You’ll notice that when you enter a keyword, Suggest gives you the option of searching News, or the Web.

At the bottom of the page, you’ll see:

Stay up to date on these results:

Create an email alert for content creation

If you wish, you can create an Alert for the keyword you entered. If you create an Alert, you’ll get fresh content ideas delivered to your email Inbox each day.

So there you have it. Three resources for content creation ideas. I’m sure you’ll find these resources as inspiring as I do. Happy hunting… :-)

Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee