How Award-Winning Journalist Adam Skolnick Writes


Sometimes word nerds just need a place to talk shop, and that’s the intention of today’s episode of The Writer Files. Host Kelton Reid asked award-winning journalist Adam Skolnick to join him for a guest segment called “writer porn.”

Adam is an award-winning, globetrotting travel journalist, which is kind of a rare thing these days. He is the author and co‐author of 25 Lonely Planet guidebooks, and has written for publications as varied as the New York Times (for whom he won a big award from the Associated Press Sports Editors last year), ESPN, Wired, Men’s Health, Outside, the BBC, and Playboy.

He recently finished his first narrative nonfiction book based on his award-winning New York Times coverage of the death of the greatest American free diver of all time, titled One Breath (slated for publication in January).

Kelton and Adam talk about how a page-one New York Times story became a book, the secret literary legacy of Playboy magazine, debunking Jack Kerouac’s prolificness, and tips and tricks to staying focused when you’re working on multiple projects across multiple timezones.

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Michael Hyatt on Building a Media Platform and Becoming a 10-Year Overnight Success

Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the U.S. In fact, Hyatt has been involved in the traditional publishing business his entire working life.

Not the typical profile of a do-it-yourself blogger, right?

And yet, in 2012 when Thomas Nelson was acquired by HarperCollins and Michael left his executive role, it was his 8-year-old blog that opened the door to an exciting and vibrant new chapter of his life. A blog that he toiled over in frustrating obscurity for many of those foundational years.

It was the blog that provided the launch pad for his New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. And it was the book that opened the door to his membership program Platform University. Seems like we can learn a few things from this guy about building our own online marketing and sales platforms.

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Want to Hook Your Readers? Apply These 10 Principles to Create Captivating News Stories

group of reporters with cameras and microphones eager to interview a source

Writing well-structured articles that inform, educate, and entertain is not as easy as it looks.

There are billions of webpages out there that contain poorly written, unimaginative, boring content.

But those aren’t the descriptions you want associated with the media you produce, right?

As all content marketers who want to grow their digital media platforms know, audiences reward websites that offer special resources, whether they’re up-to-date blogs, in-depth ebooks, smart podcasts, or evergreen whitepapers.

There is, of course, a definite knack to writing well, especially about a newsy topic. And the print industry is particularly adept at understanding how to tell this kind of story.

Journalists are trained to write content that will hook readers from the first sentence and make them want to read on.

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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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Traditional Advertising Works Great …

There are a few businesses out there that are making smart use of traditional advertising … and a whole lot of businesses throwing their budgets away.

Maybe your agency is smart enough, cares enough about spending your money wisely, and is dedicated to measuring the real impact of the dollars spent.

On the other hand, maybe not.

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Introducing The Lede: A Copywriting and Content Marketing Sheet

The Lede |

Welcome to The Lede.

Every week I’ll be digging up and linking to stories, news, and opinion relevant to online marketing and copywriting.

Email, social media, innovation, SEO, productivity, mobile, conversion, publishing, and everything in between.

No commentary, just a fast, single page of headlines that you can grab, scan, and squeeze for all they may (or may not) be worth.

All right then, on with it …

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