How the Perfect Article Is Framed by White Space


White space sounds like a design issue. So why should you, dear web writer, care? Because words matter.

Imagine a statue. An aged bronze sculpture of a young girl, possibly eight years old, in a long dress.

She stands about 50 inches … roughly four feet tall.

Her head is cocked to the left, a pensive, sad look on her face. Both elbows are pinned to her side and her forearms stretch upward, her palms open to the sky, a bowl in each hand.

As if she is feeding the birds. You probably recognize this statue.

Read More…

What’s the Difference Between a Professional Writer and a Content Marketer?

the difference is strategy, perception, and a higher pay grade

I’ve been a writer for a long, long time. I’ve written something every day for around 30 years now. (Okay, I took about a week off when I had a C-section.)

I’ve been a content marketer since 2004, even though we didn’t call it that back then.

These days, I’m a Chief Content Officer — a job title that didn’t exist just a few years ago.

I love and respect writers, and I know a lot of them. Some are successful, some are struggling.

And I have some thoughts on what can make the difference.

Read More…

‘Try It from a Different Angle’ and 2 Other Game-Changing Editing Lessons from a Shoddy Vacuum


What are you refraining from doing that could dramatically change your content?

For your online business to produce your desired results, you may need rethink your strategy to provide the best experience for your target audience.

If you think a task is too difficult, this might be the time to try it anyway.

Read More…

The Best Articles Always Have This (and a Great Headline)


Everything up to now — all these markers that flag a reader to come in for a landing — traded in words.

But not the next element. And curiously enough, it’s probably as important and powerful as the headline.

Remember the episode of Rough Draft about the headline experiment involving Google Reader?

Remember how host Demian Farnworth said he learned that trick from Robert Scoble, who claimed to be able to “read” 1,000 blog posts in a very short period of time?

Well, it was the headline and the image that got him to stop and pay attention to the blog posts he was actually going to read.

But not just any image.

Read More…

Master These 10 Print Magazine Tips to Create Irresistible Online Content

Is your content good enough for print?

Fans of the Internet love to mock print magazines.

They love to gloat and preen as the gate to Big Media’s kingdom has been thrown open — and the gatekeepers are torn from their thrones and tossed in the moat (the pockets of their blazers stuffed with rocks).

We watch from a distance as the city burns to the ground. Like there is nothing redeemable about these institutions.

That’s unfortunate. Because they actually have a lot to teach us.
Read More…

6 Beautiful Ways Artificial Constraints Can Save Your Creativity

how to use limitations to boost your creativity

Like accumulating capital, hard work has its own momentum. If you want to master digital media, then produce it often.

Maria Popova, the woman behind Brain Pickings, publishes three substantial blog posts every weekday, typically about substantial books she reads. Each post is an elegant display of her ornate knowledge and polished creativity.

And when I was asked to host a show for our digital marketing podcast network, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Here was a chance to organize my work, tackle a new challenge, and consistently produce a new type of digital media.

Yet — I was warned — it was essential I dismissed any optimistic notions about the quality of my show.

During a kick-off call with the rest of the Rainmaker.FM podcasters, Robert Bruce, our overlord, said, “Your first 100 shows will be crap.”

It was meant to encourage us.

Read More…