July 28, 2015

5 More Inspired Ways to Develop Content Ideas


Here is more inspiration as a follow-up to 5 Inspired Ways to Develop Content Ideas. That list had suggestions that you can do in minutes while sitting at your desk. This list of inspiring quotes requires you to get out from behind your desk.
“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better.”  - Sidney Sheldon
#1. Swing by your local library and run your hand along a row of books. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and poke around for ideas by scanning book titles in the stacks.
“I've found that many of the greatest ideas surface in bars because that's where many people cultivate inspiration.”  - Herb Kelleher
#2. Off you go to your neighbourhood bar... or coffee shop or... . Take a notepad and pen. Listen to what people are talking about. Ask people for their opinion on something about your business or industry. Write down, record the answers, or even live stream them.
"No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind]."  - Napoleon Hill
#3. Make a brainstorming date with a colleague. I guarantee that, if you spend just one hour a month brainstorming with a like-minded friend, you won't have a shortage of content ideas.
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” - Bruce Lee
#4. Interview someone special. It could be an expert in your industry, a customer, a supplier, a collaborator or anyone else touched by what you do. The interview itself will make for great content and you will also get lots of ideas for future articles.
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”  - John F. Kennedy
#5. Go for a walk! Get away from your desk and get your heart pumping. Science has shown that repetitive physical activity switches our brains into a different mode and we're more likely to have ah-ha moments.

July 20, 2015

Slice Words to Save Money


If you're beating around the bush, you're wasting time and possibly money. Neil Everton of Podium Media and Communications Coaching suggests we look at our writing with a critical eye and ask: "Am I prepared to pay $1 for every word I've written?"

Unproductive words and phrases abound. I've written before about wimpy phrases to avoid; here are some slightly pretentious ones to also slice out.

“Due to the fact that...”
Use “because” at the beginning, or rearrange the sentence to use it in the middle.

“For the most part...”
Eliminate this one completely without changing your meaning.

“In my opinion...”
Use “I think” or eliminate it all together. I'm already expecting your opinion if I'm reading your writing.

“On a regular basis...”
Save $3 here by using “regularly” or “always” at the end of the sentence instead.

“The first step is to...”
Chop out 4 words and simply use “first”.

Using more words doesn't mean you'll get read more - likely the opposite. Forget those 1000 word essays from high school. Writing great content is about keeping the words that do the work and eliminating the rest. How much money can you save on your next article?


July 13, 2015

A Great Newsletter is like a Gift


It’s opened with anticipation.

It’s personal and speaks to your recipient.

It’s about your recipient’s wants and needs, not yours.

It’s appreciated because it brings something of value.

It’s attractively packaged.

It’s delivered directly to your recipient.

photo by HalinaV / Flickr

Click to Tweet this Article

July 8, 2015

A Blog or a Newsletter

"Which should I start first - a blog or a newsletter?" I swear I've heard this question a hundred times. Not that there's anything wrong with that - it's a great question.

Consider this: "Do you want to just write or do you also want to be read?"

If you want to write to build a resource of information for clients and colleagues, and perhaps to help your SEO, a blog is a great way to do it. But if you want to be read lots, you have to put your writing in front of people on a regular basis.

A blog and a newsletter aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, they make a great team. You can tweet up a storm but, if you really want to build a regular following, you need to deliver it to people.

Being partial to newsletters, I'll tell you to start there first. But then to eventually take your newsletter articles and put them on a blog. And you can always do it the other way around - blog and then send your blog posts out by email. (I do a combination of both.)

Don't let indecision stop you from doing either. Pick one, do it well, and the other will fall into place more naturally.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder July 8, 2015

Click to Tweet this Article

July 4, 2015

2 Reasons to Share your Newsletter Archive


Phew, your newsletter is done and sent. But that shouldn't be the last anyone sees of it. With the online version of your newsletter you can have readers anytime - not just when it gets published and not just those it gets emailed to.

#1. Use it as a Resource

If your newsletter is informational and useful beyond today, it can become a valuable resource, sort of like a blog.
  • Occasionally share a link to your archive as a post on your social media platforms.
  • Add it to the Resource page on your website if you have one.
  • Put a link to it in each newsletter issue - "Read past issues."
  • Place a call to action and link to your archive in your email signature.

Some newsletters just aren't as useful as a resource; perhaps you already publish the info on your blog or website, or it is time-sensitive. There's still a good reason to share your newsletter archive.

#2. Use it as an Example

The more clearly someone understands what they are signing up for, the more likely they will be to subscribe. Somewhere near your sign-up form include a link to your archive with a call to action: "Click here to check out our past issues." or "Click here to see what you'll be getting." or "Click here to see what you've been missing."

Get the most out of your newsletter by taking it beyond the emailbox. As a resource and an example, click here to see our newsletter archive.

photo by Aureusbay / Flickr

Click to Tweet this Article