How to Be Authentic

Do people really want the real you? All of it?

The answer will, of course, depend on the audience and the forum.

If you are writing a blog about drug addiction, telling your most horrifying stories is a prerequisite. Your audience will expect it.

If, on the other hand, you are writing a blog to support your tax preparation business, you probably want to keep most of your tales of woe out of it — no matter how “real” they may be.

Being “authentic” means being genuine. It means having an honest conversation with your audience. Within reason.

So how do you know what is too much you, how much is not enough, and where the sweet spot is?

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The Smart Way to Use Other People’s Audiences to Build Your Own

image of tiny stuffed animal and little toy people arranged to look like the animal is addressing the group

In the beginning, there was no audience.

Yet the overlords demanded that one be created.

The wizard came forth and cast great spells and the audience was conjured out of thin air, and the content marketing campaign was begun.

If only that was all there was to it!

Unfortunately, we have no wizard to conjure an audience for you, the kind of audience that can give you an unfair business advantage. So you must build one for yourself.

How do you do that?

That’s also simple in concept …

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53 Freelancing Mistakes That Are Costing You Clients, Cash, and Credibility

image of a foggy forest with a yellow caution sign pointing the way to safety

I don’t know about you, but when I started freelancing as a writer, I made a ton of mistakes.

And by “a ton,” I mean everything I did was pretty much a disaster.

Thankfully, you can fix mistakes. And contrary to popular belief, making mistakes is a good thing — provided you learn from them.

But if you’re thinking, “Great! As long as I learn from my mistakes, it’s all good,” I have to tell you something … and you won’t like it.

You may not even know you’re making a mistake.

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5 Tips for Turning Drab Information Into a Tantalizing Tutorial

Reading Man Detail, George F. Fishman's 1991 Mosaic Faces Of Flower Avenue (Silver Spring, MD)

Sigh.

Ever read a tutorial that was sooooo boring your mind kept wandering off?

Or perhaps you even fell asleep?

Tutorials can be mind-numbingly dull.

But why?

Why are many how-to articles so monotonous and drab?

With a little effort and a few simple tricks, even the most boring topic can be turned into an inspirational tutorial.

When you share your expertise in an enchanting way, your authority rises quickly. People will love sharing your content. And they’ll be knocking on your door to learn from you.

Sound good?

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Is Native Advertising Ethical? (It Depends On Who You Ask)

image of mountainous wilderness with varying shades of light and shadow

Let’s see.

A dubious six-page insert in the Denver Post appears one Sunday.

You flip through it and see articles like “Reclamation helps balance environment and energy needs” and “Colorado environmental regulations serve as model for rest of the U.S.”

The section is labeled “Advertising Supplement to the Denver Post” and looks, design-wise, somewhat different from the rest of the Post, but clearly intended to look like a Post article.

Yet it isn’t.

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How to Close With Style

This week on The Lede, we take one more big step in our podcast journey through the essential elements of a blog post.

By the way, did you know that this podcast series is based on the most shared Copyblogger post of 2014? It is — and if you haven’t checked out the infographic for yourself and shared it yet, rectify that here.

On this episode we analyze number ten: how to close with style.

And much to my delight, I got to kick off the festivities with a dramatic reading of one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies.

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How I Wrote Three Books in Three Years

image of a row of books with human-like bookend

Writing a book can be a long, hard slog.

The “miserable” parts of the experience have been documented over and over again. Or just ask any author on a book deadline — or let the thousand-yard stare speak for itself.

Not all of us can have an entire corporation behind them churning out novels, taking the stress off, after all.

And though authors are unquestionably helpful to each other, they don’t always give the best advice. Think how many times you’ve heard this old trope: Just put your butt in the chair and write. It’s true, but that doesn’t help you right now, does it?

I don’t want to give you advice like that.

I want to show that there is a way to publish prodigiously while baking the marketing into your work.

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Here’s How Lee Odden Writes

image of Lee Odden with Authority Intensive colors and branding

He’s appeared in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the New York Times.

He’s presented in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, and New York City.

He is a fixture at annual events like Content Marketing World, Social Media Marketing World, and BlogWorld Expo.

His list of keynote addresses is equally impressive:

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Is Native Advertising Even Profitable for Brands?

vintage image of a man looking at bags of gold

Desperate for new revenue streams, publishers are turning to native advertising in droves.

They are handing over valuable real estate on their web properties to brands that are looking for new ways to drive traffic and build awareness.

And they are charging a premium for this space.

Examples of these native ads run from the advertorial to sponsored content to interstitial ads on mobile phone apps. And options are multiplying. As is the money spent.

The question brands must ask (even though there is no simple answer) is: are we getting a positive return on the dollars being spent on native advertising?

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What Net Neutrality Means For Your Business, and Why You Need to Act Now to Protect It

image of street at night with one lane going fast and the other slow

You’ve probably seen a lot of buzz around the web about an impending threat to what’s called “net neutrality.”

Those of you who tend to steer clear of drama or politically-charged hyperbole might have avoided this conversation, because the arguments around this issue tend to be filled with language like “scumbags,” “prostitutes,” and “two-faced, split-tongued, double-talking, backstabbing cowards.”

And those are the polite remarks.

But if you live in the U.S., the threat to net neutrality is something that could negatively affect your business, and there are some things you need to understand.

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