How to Spot the Weakest Part of Your Blog Post (and What to Do About It)

a close-up image of a man looking through binoculars

What does a rough draft of a blog post have in common with all the other blog posts by all the other content creators in your niche?

Too much.

I’m sure you’re aware that there are countless other writers musing about the same ideas you are, and in similar ways.

The goal of a typical first draft is to transform your scattered thoughts into a cohesive article that explains a topic to your target audience. But why should readers choose your content over another writer’s work?

If you don’t take the time to revise your rough draft in a way that shows you are an authority, and that you have a solution that isn’t available anywhere else, they won’t.

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What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

sign saying Keep Calm and Don't Spam

There’s a new piece of legislation in Canada — known as CASL — that has some content marketers rattled.

It goes into effect on Tuesday, July 1, and it’s a wide-reaching attempt to regulate electronic communication (email, but also texts and social media conversations) that’s commercial in nature.

As usual when you’re talking about change on the web, there’s a lot of flutter and noise around the issue. But if you’ve been following email marketing best practices, it isn’t as scary as it might seem.

First things first: I am not your attorney and I can’t give you specific advice about whether your business’ particular email practices are in line with the new law.

But I can share with you what I’ve learned while researching it for our own business, and provide some general reassurance. Despite some nosebleed-steep potential fines, the law overall is very much in line with what good content marketers are already doing.

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What if Author Rank Never Happens?

Authority

Editor’s note (8/28/14): Google has completely dropped all authorship functionality from the search results and webmaster tools. Other than the authorship markup code that’s now worthless, what changes should you make to rank well in Google?

As this article from April 13, 2013 sets forth, nothing at all. The message is aimed at the mythical Author Rank, which was supposed to be the outcome of Authorship, but the point is that what would have worked under Authorship is what already works. Enjoy.

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We recently concluded an entire series of articles by our own Demian Farnworth on the topics of Authorship, Author Rank, and Google+ for the online content creator.

It was a smashing success, which indicates that writers and other online content creators are excited about these topics. And you should be.

But let’s be clear – as best as anyone can tell, Author Rank has not been implemented yet. And that means there’s some chance it may never become an algorithmic aspect of the way Google ranks web pages.

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How to Curate Knowledge, Turn it Into Wisdom, and Build Your Audience

Your audience expects a lot out of you.

As well as they should.

Which is why if you want to build a business you need an audience. But you can’t have an audience if don’t have authority. And you can’t have authority unless you have wisdom.

You need wisdom that enables you to paint the big picture while making obtuse concepts clear.

You need wisdom that inspires you to draw connections that other people in your niche don’t see.

And you need wisdom that empowers you to make connections and build relationships … so you can lead.

How do you gain this wisdom? By making a consistent habit of curating knowledge.

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6 Steps for Writing Simple Copy That Sells

image of zen stones stacked on top of each other

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

That’s what Leonardo da Vinci said anyway.

And four centuries later, Steve Jobs agreed. Actually, Jobs more than agreed. He flat-out stole it.

So here’s the question: What does plagiarized advice from the 16th century have to do with marketing copy in the 21st?

The simple answer (pun intended) is everything.

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The 8 Types of Images That Increase the Psychological Impact of Your Content

Close-up images of old school cameras

The importance of using images in blogging goes far beyond “looking nice.”

It’s actually deeply psychological.

For one thing, your brain (and your reader’s brain) is better at processing visuals than text. In fact, 90 percent of the information that our brain gets is visual, and it processes that information 60,000 times faster than text.

And visuals, when they complement your text, help your message connect: 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than to text.

Read on to learn about the eight most effective types of images, and where to find them online.

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A Sobering Lesson on the Value of Compromising Your Creative Ideas

David, Dannis, and Bobby Hackney -- the brothers who formed the band called Death

Mollie Politzer was 32 years old when she got sick.

She was in the hospital for months, and when her condition eventually worsened to the point of death, her rabbi was called in. The rabbi arrived and proceeded to change her name.

He did this to fool the Angel of Death — so that when the Angel of Death came, he wouldn’t know who she was.

It worked …

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How Successful Writers Curate Ideas

The blank page.

Writer’s block.

Newer writers often claim to fear both of these. We’ve all been conditioned to do so. (I admit: I still do sometimes too.)

But as I’ve studied writers, successful writers, I’ve found that most of them have found ways to overcome the trepidation of the blank page, and most don’t even consider “writer’s block” to be a real thing.

So what is it that separates these writers from you and me?

Two traits, I’ve found:

  1. They have found a way to channel their fear into productivity.
  2. They have a system for recording and recalling ideas.

And make no mistake, number two has a huge impact on number one.

Because if you know that you always have a catalog of great ideas to fall back on for those days when you wake up with nothing fresh in your head, it completely removes that fear of the blank page from the equation.

So how do you do it?

How do you create, maintain, and use that catalog of great ideas?

That is the subject of today’s episode of The Lede.

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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

studiopress-themes1

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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