Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Old Man and The Pen

"You can outlast the other guys if you try." – Seth Godin

This is a simple story about the life of a particular writer, and how he ignored the one thing about his craft that would have given him everything he truly wanted …

A young man in his late twenties decided to become a writer.

At the beginning of the pursuit of his craft, he sought out all the writing advice he could find. He attended writing workshops, went to many parties of a literary nature, drove far into the woods seeking the wisdom of writing retreats, and read countless books on writing by countless other writers.

After several years of this, he began to despair. He seemed to have found the correct knowledge, and a few seemingly valuable contacts along the way, but he hadn’t yet written anything of consequence.

He felt very validated by a number of his very nice friends in his Thursday night writing circle, but he couldn’t keep down the horror in his gut that something was going terribly wrong.

He was having a good time. There were the parties, the drink, the pills, and the long conversations about art and writing.

Then, somewhere in his mid-thirties, the not-so-young-anymore writer looked around and realized that he had wasted many years. This confused him, because his entire circle of friends were “writers” after all.

He had a decision to make.

On a particularly starry Thursday night, the phone rang — like it did almost every other night of the week — at 11:03 p.m. Pacific Time. Only this time, he didn’t answer it. It rang again, and again, and four more times before midnight. He did not pick it up.

Instead of going out with his “writer” friends, that night he just sat at his desk and stared at a blank sheet of paper. He did manage to get 133 words down before sunrise. It was a bad feeling to have accomplished so little — while also missing out on the booze — but it was a much better feeling than anything he could remember in years.

So, he did not answer the phone on the next night, or the next. Instead, he stayed in, staring at blank pages and slowly filling them up with words. And then he just … kept going like that … for another 42 years.

A few weeks before his death, a reporter asked the old writer for the secret to a great literary career.

The old man held up a worn Bic pen and said, “If there is a secret, it’s in here somewhere, swirling around in all that black ink. It spills down on the page, and something happens, or it doesn’t, and you spill more and more of it to try to find your way.”

“What if I use a keyboard instead of a pen?” the reporter asked.

“Don’t get cute with me kid, same damn thing,” the writer said. “Slow and steady.”

The old writer had not become famous or particularly wealthy; he hadn’t won any international awards or even made a single bestseller list. Those things, he said, were not up to him, not in his control, or yours. But, over the course of many years, he had built an unimpeachable reputation, a vast audience, and a very good living.

He could not say what had become of his old “writer” friends, but he was grateful that they had eventually driven him straight into the arms of his chosen craft.

“You can outlast the other guys if you try. If you stick at stuff that bores them, it accrues. Drip, drip, drip you win.”
Seth Godin

Image source: Eli Francis via Unsplash.

The post The Old Man and The Pen appeared first on Copyblogger.

Day Two: How to Fill in the Details of Your Winning Piece of Content

A System for Easily Publishing Consistently Great Content - Pamela Wilson on ProBlogger.net

This is part three in a series on Content Marketing Strategies from Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System.

If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, Day 2 might be a good day to drink an extra cup. You’re going to write a lot today, so do whatever it takes to go into the day with your energy high.

Need to catch up on the rest of the 4 Day Content Creation System? Here are the previous posts: 

The first thing to do on Day 2 is to review the headline and subheads you wrote the day before. You’re seeing them with fresh eyes now — do they still make sense? Do they sound intriguing? Do you feel excited about writing what’s missing? (If so, that’s a good sign.)

If you see weaknesses in your basic structure, take some time to fix them before you start to write. Reinforce your structure so it’s strong enough to support the words you’re about to hang on it.

Once you’re happy with the headlines and subheads, it’s time to fill in the details.

Ready? Set? Write!

Write Your First Draft … Fast

I know this sounds ridiculous, but I want you to think of your Day 2 work like a race. And there’s a good reason for this.

On Day 2, your goal is to write the first draft of your article. This is a stage where you might get stuck: after all, writing a first draft feels like actually writing your content.

And it is, but I want you to keep it in perspective at this stage.

What you’re writing is a messy, junky first draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It won’t seem polished.

What it needs to be — by the end of Day 2 — is done.

Done is way more important than perfect at this stage. Remember: no one is going to see this except you.

So write, write, write. Do not go back and edit. Don’t attempt to polish and perfect what you’ve written. Write forward, not backward.

Day 2 Tips

Write your first sentence. My book contains a whole chapter on writing compelling first sentences. I know — overkill, right? But the first sentence is an important transition element that will pull your reader from your headline into your content, so don’t skimp on this handful of words.

Write your introduction section. Your introduction section is equally important. Your reader is making a decision about whether he or she should spend time reading the rest of your article. Your introduction section should sell the benefits they’ll gain from reading your content. Review the Introduction chapter for help with this section.

Fill in under your subheads. You’ve thought through your content structure and written compelling subheads. Now fill in a first-draft version of the text that will go beneath each subhead to explain the point you want to make. See the Main Copy chapter for guidance.

Write your summary. Wrap it all up with a summary that refers to your main points and shows your reader the journey they’ve taken. The Summary chapter will help you write this part.

Add a call to action. Remember, all content includes a call to action, even if all you do is ask for comments. Think through this important interaction and get more information about how to effectively write it in the Call to Action chapter.

Remember at this stage, don’t sweat the details.

Just get your thoughts down, and don’t edit anything. You have a full day reserved for editing, and you’ll do a better job editing if you leave some time between the writing stage and the editing stage anyway.

Whew! That was a lot of work in one day.

It’s time to walk away from your content. Once you’ve written your first draft, you can feel satisfied that you’ve gotten your thoughts down.

Do something else and get a good night’s rest because you’ll need fresh, rested eyes to do the next day’s work!

Pamela Wilson is a 30-year marketing veteran and is the author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience. Find more from Pamela at Big Brand System.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

The post Day Two: How to Fill in the Details of Your Winning Piece of Content appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Day Two: How to Fill in the Details of Your Winning Piece of Content

A System for Easily Publishing Consistently Great Content - Pamela Wilson on ProBlogger.net

This is part three in a series on Content Marketing Strategies from Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System.

If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, Day 2 might be a good day to drink an extra cup. You’re going to write a lot today, so do whatever it takes to go into the day with your energy high.

Need to catch up on the rest of the 4 Day Content Creation System? Here are the previous posts: 

The first thing to do on Day 2 is to review the headline and subheads you wrote the day before. You’re seeing them with fresh eyes now — do they still make sense? Do they sound intriguing? Do you feel excited about writing what’s missing? (If so, that’s a good sign.)

If you see weaknesses in your basic structure, take some time to fix them before you start to write. Reinforce your structure so it’s strong enough to support the words you’re about to hang on it.

Once you’re happy with the headlines and subheads, it’s time to fill in the details.

Ready? Set? Write!

Write Your First Draft … Fast

I know this sounds ridiculous, but I want you to think of your Day 2 work like a race. And there’s a good reason for this.

On Day 2, your goal is to write the first draft of your article. This is a stage where you might get stuck: after all, writing a first draft feels like actually writing your content.

And it is, but I want you to keep it in perspective at this stage.

What you’re writing is a messy, junky first draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It won’t seem polished.

What it needs to be — by the end of Day 2 — is done.

Done is way more important than perfect at this stage. Remember: no one is going to see this except you.

So write, write, write. Do not go back and edit. Don’t attempt to polish and perfect what you’ve written. Write forward, not backward.

Day 2 Tips

Write your first sentence. My book contains a whole chapter on writing compelling first sentences. I know — overkill, right? But the first sentence is an important transition element that will pull your reader from your headline into your content, so don’t skimp on this handful of words.

Write your introduction section. Your introduction section is equally important. Your reader is making a decision about whether he or she should spend time reading the rest of your article. Your introduction section should sell the benefits they’ll gain from reading your content. Review the Introduction chapter for help with this section.

Fill in under your subheads. You’ve thought through your content structure and written compelling subheads. Now fill in a first-draft version of the text that will go beneath each subhead to explain the point you want to make. See the Main Copy chapter for guidance.

Write your summary. Wrap it all up with a summary that refers to your main points and shows your reader the journey they’ve taken. The Summary chapter will help you write this part.

Add a call to action. Remember, all content includes a call to action, even if all you do is ask for comments. Think through this important interaction and get more information about how to effectively write it in the Call to Action chapter.

Remember at this stage, don’t sweat the details.

Just get your thoughts down, and don’t edit anything. You have a full day reserved for editing, and you’ll do a better job editing if you leave some time between the writing stage and the editing stage anyway.

Whew! That was a lot of work in one day.

It’s time to walk away from your content. Once you’ve written your first draft, you can feel satisfied that you’ve gotten your thoughts down.

Do something else and get a good night’s rest because you’ll need fresh, rested eyes to do the next day’s work!

Pamela Wilson is a 30-year marketing veteran and is the author of Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience. Find more from Pamela at Big Brand System.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

The post Day Two: How to Fill in the Details of Your Winning Piece of Content appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

‘The CMS Industry Is a Mess,’ Marketer Christopher Justice Says

'The CMS Industry Is a Mess,' Marketer Christopher Justice Says

(Second of a two-part series.) Christopher Justice thinks the content management industry today "is a mess" — and "everyone is fighting for table scraps." "The interfaces are getting old. They are non-responsive, they don’t work 100 percent on mobile. They don’t support modern computing principles. They are challenging to deploy.

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What’s Next for Headless CMS in 2017?

What’s Next for Headless CMS in 2017?

(Ed. Note: Forrester's latest Wave for web content management emphasized the cloud and headless deployments. But what's the big deal with headless platforms — and what can we anticipate happening next?  In this two-part series, two industry experts — Petr Palas, founder and CEO of Kentico, and Greg Luciano, director of services at Built.io — explain why they think headless is the way to go and predict what's likely to happen next.) I’ve been asked

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Microsoft Teams and Yammer: Why the Two Are Fundamentally Different

Microsoft Teams and Yammer: Why the Two Are Fundamentally Different

Microsoft Teams launched three months ago. Ever since, many people have found it difficult to understand the difference between Teams and Yammer, and to establish where each platform fits in the Microsoft collaboration ecosystem. Several thought-leaders have offered their advice on the matter.

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Catching Up With Veteran Digital Marketer Christopher Justice

Catching Up With Veteran Digital Marketer Christopher Justice

Christopher Justice never seems to stop moving. From early roles at the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI to later positions at IBM, Joomla, Magnolia and Jahia, he has solidified his reputation as an sales and marketing technology leader with a broad skillset and an appetite for opportunity.

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