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

images

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…

5 Easily Avoidable Mistakes That Cause Most Podcasts to Fail

why-podcasts-fail

Most podcasts fail. It’s unfortunate, but true. That might psyche out some potential showrunners before they even start. But savvy showrunners will recognize an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.

Obviously, there are many possible mistakes that can lead to podcasts failing. But there are some common ones that The Showrunner hosts, Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor, have seen over and over.

And what’s encouraging is that many of these mistakes are avoidable — simply by knowing what they are and knowing how to turn them into positives instead of negatives.

Read More…

How Our Obsession With Greatness Kills the Ability to Do Good Work

obsession-kills

The pressure to be great — well, so great that it cripples us — injects us with expectations that are typically unrealistic.

We spin our wheels trying to write that epic post. But we have a tendency to measure ourselves up so inadequately to those we admire — so much so that, in the end, we don’t write anything.

It’s okay to focus on being great, but not at the expense of being good. You can’t reach the summit unless you start at the base of the mountain.

Read More…

The Anatomy of a Hyperlink That Woos Readers

hyperlinks

Links are hugely important for the web.

In a macro, 30,000-foot way, links are the currency that help search engines evaluate the essence and quality of content. They help search engines determine the authority behind a web page.

On a micro level, though, from the reader’s perspective, links also serve as one more of these landmarks that stand out for the reader as she surveys her media landscape.

And when you have mere minutes to woo a potential reader, you do whatever you can to make your page stand out.

Read More…