The Lede: Hangout Hot Seat with Brian Clark

Google Hangouts are an invaluably useful tool.

We’ve made mention of this before.

And if you’ve been listening to the New Rainmaker podcast, then you recently heard Brian and Robert discuss the concept of repurposing content — using the same content in multiple ways.

In this episode of The Lede, Demian and I put the usefulness and versatility of Google Hangouts on display and demonstrate how Hangouts can be used as part of a repurposing strategy.

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How to Use Visual Hierarchy To Create Clear and Easy-to-Read Web Pages

Image of a cave-like basement with perspective facing wall, with stairs descending into the frame from the left and a door wide open in the middle

Imagine you’ve entered a cave.

Your eyes slowly adjust to your surroundings and begin to make out the shapes and forms around you.

You see three doorways: they’re equal in size, and all the same distance from where you stand. How do you choose where to go first?

You’re frustrated, because you don’t have enough information to make a decision. All you can do is guess.

Now imagine you’ve entered a second cave.

In this one, there’s one large doorway before you. It says “Tours” and is wide and well-lit.

To one side, there’s a small doorway with a window in it that says “Tickets” above it. Next to it is a nondescript door that says “Employees only.”

In this cave you know exactly what to do.

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5 Ways to Rankle an Old-School Journalist

image of young journalist diligently writing while older journalist stands beside her looking dumbfounded

This is the first post in a series on native advertising. An introduction, if you will.

One that states from the start that there is controversy.

Why approach a series this way?

Simple: Native advertising is probably one of the least-known scalding-hot topics in the business world.

In fact, few business people can even define native advertising. And those outside of it are clueless it even exists (we’ve got the data to prove this — will share later).

Yet media research group BIA/Kelsey predicts that by 2017, brands will spend $4.57 billion on social native ads.

$4.57 billion is a lot of money.

How could there be so much enthusiasm and animosity for an ambiguous model?

Two words …

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6 Tactics That Turn a Blog Into a Business Engine

image of railroad engine from 1927

Somewhere, a business owner is writing a blog post.

She writes the headline first, pens a killer introduction, and makes her point with 892 carefully crafted words.

Satisfied, she hits “Publish” and waits for fortune to arrive with a roll of $100 bills in one hand and a book deal in the other.

This is the legend of the lone blogger who climbs the mountain of success one post at a time.

I’m not going to debunk this story.

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5 Ways a Minimum Viable Audience Gives You an Unfair Business Advantage

Image of Stadium Crowd

Startups aren’t “real” companies, according to retired entrepreneur and author Steve Blank. At least not in the way we usually think of the concept of a “company.”

Startups are instead temporary organizations on a mission to find a scalable business model. Once that business model is found, a “real” company is born to execute on it.

For many years, Steve Blank has been a mentor to Eric Ries, whose book The Lean Startup took the entrepreneurial world by storm in 2011. If you haven’t read Eric’s book yet, you should as soon as possible.

For now, let’s dig in deeper on the meaning and origin of “lean” in the context of business.

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3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

image of Voodoo Doughnuts sign

The line, even on the bitterest winter nights, extends out the door and down the block.

The neighborhood could charitably be described as “gritty” — known for marijuana dispensaries, tattoo parlors, and bars. (And those are the legal businesses.)

The walls are Pepto-Bismol pink, graced with a black velvet painting of a stern-looking Pam Grier. The place smells like … well, like a doughnut shop — that delicious yet faintly disgusting scent of industrial fryers.

The menu on the wall is illegibly tiny (even for 20-somethings on glaucoma medication), but everyone just pulls it up on their phone anyway. They take cash and only cash, and the cute tattooed employees at the cash register are friendly, if not necessarily efficient.

They’ve taken something ordinary (you might even call it a bit boring) and turned it into an enduring craze.

And yet, everything about the place turns off 95 percent of their potential customers.

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