Content is King. Or is it?

Is content king?

To me, that seems like a silly question. “Content is king” is a metaphor, but apparently not a very good one.

A good metaphor creates instant understanding. Given the amount of confusion and debate, the phrase “content is king” is not doing all that great a job in the instant-understanding department.

I think it’s smarter to say that content is indispensable. It’s what people go online to find, and it’s what Google loves. There are only a few online marketing models that don’t require valuable content, and those few are getting tougher by the day, and result in no long-term assets. Continue reading “Content is King. Or is it?”

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The Seven Magic Tricks of Blogging

Magicians are skilled manipulators of perception. They can make people think something is moving when it isn’t or see things that aren’t there. Diverting attention this way and that, they can hide cards and rabbits or make objects appear from thin air.

Blogging is a little bit like that, depending on who writes it. Diverting attention with a little smoke and mirrors often draws readers inwards towards a certain conclusion or believing in what the author wants them to.

Now, don’t get me wrong – blogging isn’t evil. Not at all. But brilliant blogging is a bit like magic. Maybe a bit more than we’d like to admit.

Which means it’s tricky. Here are seven magic tricks of blogging. Continue reading “The Seven Magic Tricks of Blogging”

Blogger’s Block? Here’s How to Beat it

Too many of your posts start with an apology for not having been around of late? The joy you first brought to blogging now a distant memory?

Looks like a case of blogger’s block. Don’t worry… there is a cure.

It’s largely a matter of making friends with your creative mind. The reason so many of us find this difficult is that our education has trained us to respond to problems only with linear, rational, conscious thought.

Willpower, discipline, and good old-fashioned work may squeeze another blog post out of you but to produce words effortlessly, to connect with the joy and optimism and inspiration which makes it all worthwhile, to be as good as you can be, you need to know how to nurture abstraction and your hard-working subconscious.

First off, stop focusing on your block and start thinking about establishing flow. Flow is that delectable condition where all we writers have to do is turn up at the page and get ‘em down. Below are nine tried-and-tested methods – four daily practices, five writing practices – for keeping in flow, not just for the next blog post but for the rest of your writing life. Continue reading “Blogger’s Block? Here’s How to Beat it”

Your Right to Be Wrong

For a long time I used to think being “right” was a big deal. I had to say the right thing at the right time, know the right people, read the right books, live in the right neighborhood…

I did all this not because I wanted to, but because I thought it was a prerequisite for success.

If you want other people to respect you, then you have to look and sound a certain way, right? Makes sense, if conformity is all you’ve ever been taught.

What no one tells you is the price you must pay for this. Yes, conformity gains you a certain type of approval from others, but it comes at the cost of losing your sense of self.

You have to systematically search out everything that’s a little bit “off” about you and bury it as deep as you can. You know that you can’t get rid of it — it’s a part of you, after all — but maybe you can hide it so deep that no one will ever see it, so that a world that only respects the “right” will never realize how “wrong” you really are.

Maybe, just maybe, you can fool everyone until you’re in a position of power and no one’s opinion matters anymore. Then you can be free. Right?

Umm… no. Continue reading “Your Right to Be Wrong”

The 5 Most Powerful Words in the English Language

 

If you think about it, writing is just like building a house. You need the right tools, the right equipment, the right set of skills.

You need to first have a design, to follow a blueprint. Then you build your house. Brick by brick. Word by word.

And there are certain words that hold more sway over us than others. You might be surprised to find that these “power words” don’t seem … well, all that powerful.

This speaks to just how efficient they are. Simple language is an often overlooked aspect of writing words that matter.

I also believe that it’s important to know WHY these words are powerful, and how they influence the person who is reading them, so as to best use them.

Continue reading “The 5 Most Powerful Words in the English Language”

What You Must Know About Subheads

Sometimes it goes like this: you hook your readers with your headline, and captivated them with your opening.

But somewhere along the way something awful happens…

You reader has lost interest in your blog post and is now barely scanning through, wishing to reach the end as soon as possible.

No reason to panic. There is a way out of this. Continue reading “What You Must Know About Subheads”

Reciprocity

Imagine you’d just decide to send out a lot of Christmas cards early in the month of December — to complete strangers.

What would happen?

Nothing? Maybe a few confused phone calls or letters?

Most likely you’d receive a great deal of Christmas cards in return, from people who don’t even know you.

A university professor actually performed this exact experiment back in 1976, and although he expected to get some responses, he was actually amazed by the number of return cards he received. Continue reading “Reciprocity”