Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Writer? Answer This Question to Find Out …

Image of Walt Whitman

Let’s say this:

You’ve been a graphic designer since high school, went to college, and got a degree in computer science. During that time you’ve dabbled in writing. You have a blog. You don’t publish frequently, but when you do, you get traction.

Or how about this:

You are middle-aged woman who’s been a successful CPA with a large firm for 10 years. While the pay is divine, you are not entirely happy. In fact, if pushed, you’d probably say you hate your job. You’ve been breaking out the journal before bed each night.

Here’s another one:

You own a business. It’s septic tank installation. One you inherited from your father. Septic tank installing is all you’ve ever known. But a little over two years ago you were involved in a tragic accident. And you think the story needs to be told.

Each scenario above is based upon a real-life conversation I’ve had with someone. I’ve changed the details to protect privacy, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you understand what I’m trying to do.

At some point in the conversation these people ask me: “Should I become a writer? Do I have what it takes?”

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AWeber Now Offering 7 Beautiful, StudioPress-Inspired Email Templates

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How do you design an email template that looks and feels like your own website design?

Sounds like it would be hard to do, doesn’t it?

You either need to be a whiz with code, or you need to find an email marketing service that just so happens to have templates that look and feel like your website. Not very likely.

Until now … because AWeber decided to do something about it.

Many of our StudioPress customers now have an email marketing option that will seamlessly extend their website’s branding into their email communication …

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35 Blogging Tips to Woo Readers and Win Business

black and white image from 1910 of three men with pipes looking toward the left edge of the image with intrigued expressions on their faces

Let’s not pussyfoot around it.

Blogging is a lot of work. Hard work.

Generate new blog post ideas. Write weekly content. Promote posts via social media and email.

At times, we all wonder whether our blogging efforts are paying off. Do we need to keep plugging away? Write more? Promote more?

The thought of quitting might even creep up now and then. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop worrying about your next blog post? And have some extra time to go out with friends? Or to read a book?

But the benefits of writing a business blog can be tremendous. Career-changing.

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It’s Time For Our Annual Summer Brake at Copyblogger

Image of a deck overlooking the ocean near some tiki huts, with a pelican standing near a laptop that lays on the deck

As we do each summer, the time has come to tap the brakes on our posting schedule.

We’re not turning off the free blog content spigot completely, not by a long shot. Just slowing down a bit.

Why?

Sonia summed it up perfectly in her summer post last year. So I’ll just let her tell you:

We spend a lot of time teaching people how to build smart, sustainable businesses with content. The kind of businesses that give us enough free time to have some decent work-life balance.

After all, working your own schedule, to suit your own life, is one of the biggest benefits of running a business, right?

Makes sense to me.

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The 5 W’s of Link Curation

When someone shares a link, and you click on it, and you are moved in some way by it — to action, to inspiration, even to tears — how do you feel about the person who shared it with you?

You likely feel equal parts appreciation and respect. If you’re honest, you might even feel a slight twinge envy. (Damnit, why didn’t I find that link to share first!)

It’s okay.

Being the clicker and the consumer is just fine. Content marketing is an ecosystem, and we all have to play multiple roles to keep it in motion.

But there is no reason you can’t be the link sharer more often. There is no reason you can’t consistently share useful links so that the appreciation and respect of an audience gets directed towards you.

To do this, all you have to do is understand the who, what, when, where, and why (plus the how) of link curation.

Which just so happens to be the subject of this week’s episode of The Lede.

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SlideShare Best Practices: How to Turn Written Content Into a Winning Deck

Title slide of Dave Paradi SlideShare deck

At the recent Authority Intensive 2014 conference, there was a lot of talk from the stage and amongst the attendees about SlideShare.

And with good reason.

SlideShare was the “quiet giant of content marketing” way back in 2011, even before being acquired by LinkedIn. Now? It’s one of the most influential social media platforms for businesses and big thinkers.

But while SlideShare has proven to be a great new medium for sharing content, many people are still asking how to get started with it.

In this article, I want to provide best practices for the simplest way to get started with SlideShare: turning a written piece of content into a SlideShare deck.

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4 Instances When Demonstrating Your Authority Can Be a Disaster

image of the Hindenburg disaster

It might seem blasphemous to say so on Copyblogger. But authority isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

Yes, it’s an important term around here, and the dust has hardly settled from the first Authority Intensive event. And yet I’m suggesting that you be be less authoritative … at certain moments.

Why?

You’ve worked hard to build an authoritative online presence by serving the needs of your audience, and delivering stellar content to help them solve their most pressing problems.

So why in the world would you give that up?

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Is Metagaming Silently Killing Your Marketing?

image of a surfer on the shore with his surfboard

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~ André Gide

Setting sail away from the safe harbor of best practices is a fear that we, as marketers, must learn to embrace.

Scary situations arise when you set foot in uncharted territory. In March, our company decided do just that, by “storming the gates” and completely removing our gated opt-in pages.

Resources like our 10,000+ word guide on The Art of Customer Loyalty were completely redone into an open style, with absolutely zero commitment to access.

Reactions were amazing in terms of their thoughtfulness and quality, but somewhat split in terms of evaluating the experiment: No more ebooks for lead gen? That’s like content marketing blasphemy!

Funny enough, Copyblogger recently saw a similar divide crop up when the team decided to test out removing their comments.

A whirlwind of opinions began to flurry around, but I noticed one startling trend: comments were made mostly on the basis of “best practices,” and not on what might be best for Copyblogger.

Online marketing, a field which benefits greatly from rigorous testing and thoughtful looks into a multitude of data, sometimes has to face the double-edged sword of best practices. Though they encourage tested tactics, what works for one may not work for all.

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How Often Should You Change an Advertising Message? (Way Less Than You Think)

image of a row of Absolut vodka bottles

In 1996, Richard W. Lewis, New York City ad man and executive at TWBA, wrote in his best-selling book The Absolut Book:

The Absolut Vodka advertising campaign has been running nonstop for 15 years, since 1981. This is remarkable because in the advertising business, campaigns can change as often as every year, as marketers attempt to keep their brands’ personalities fresh.”

More than likely you’ve run into one of these ads.

Absolut Clarity used a magnifying glass over the words “Made in Sweden” to bring attention to the fact that, unlike other imported vodkas, Absolut was not made in Russia.

Absolut D.C. was a bottle wrapped in red tape, because, you know, bureaucracy sucks, and Absolut is a great way to cope with that suckiness.

And Absolut Perfection displayed a glowing halo hovering over an Absolut bottle.

The ads made an impact.

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Why You Should Curate Content (And How to Do It Right)

Why are we doing a four-part podcast series about content curation?

Because it’s a concept that is easy to understand, but not always easy to execute. It requires commitment, strategic thinking, and that most precious of resources: time.

But when you do it right, and do it right consistently, content curation can be a foundational building block of your authority.

And if you follow Copyblogger, you know how important developing and maintaining authority is.

In the first episode of this series, Demian and I discuss what content curation is, the benefits of doing it, and provide an overview of how to do it effectively.

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