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The Secret Sauce Of A Great Blog Post

by · January 17, 2013

People are wired to connect.  Neuroscientists have discovered that there is a part of our brains in the prefrontal cortex that helps us tune into other people, making the connections that are necessary to create relationships that help us survive.

How does this little bit of neuroscience have anything to do with blogging?  Because the most successful blog posts are those where the writer has tuned into something that the reader is experiencing.  This affects that part of the brain, generating an emotional connection with the reader.


The Pursuit of Writing

by · November 30, 2012

I’m a writer. The day I figured out that was the best way to describe the essence of what I do, my craft, my calling … life made more sense.

Sure, I can blog. I can write a book. I can write silly emails to friends (and sometimes do for fun). It manifests itself in multitudes of ways, but regardless of what other labels people want to put on it, I’m best described as a writer.


Does Compelling Art Sell?

by · August 27, 2012

Watching the promotional video for a friend’s new product recently, I found myself really engaged. It was a beautiful piece with vibrant imagery. Whomever produced the video worked hard and the finished product was well worth watching. It was compelling, visually. It was a piece of art.

Great art alone never sold anything

But nothing in the piece told me what the product was, why I might use it or how I can even buy it.

Great art serves a purpose. But great art alone never sold anything. For that, you need great copy.


Death to Bot Talk: Tips On Voice In Writing For The Web

by · January 26, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Suzanne Norman, director of brand at Emma, an email marketing and communications company.

The bot problem

Let’s face it: most companies write marketing copy for the web and email that reads like it was written by a robot.

And nobody likes bots. (See: spambots, twitbots, fembots, that 80s movie with Emilio Estevez where all the semi-trucks come to life.)

photo by davedehetre

I spot this kind of writing all the time in email marketing campaigns — that’s the realm I work in — but it’s just as rampant in every other digital medium.


7 Steps for Overcoming Writer’s Block (And Writing A Brilliant Blog )

by · November 23, 2011

Don’t you hate writer’s block? You know you have brilliant ideas, but there’s that damn blank screen staring at you when you sit down to blog. Nothing happens. The brain’s in idle. Frustration begins to creep in. (Remember Jack Nicholson in The Shining?)

Many people struggle with writing. But I believe anyone can write and blog with the right approach. It’s not brain surgery, but it does take some work.

First, get over the idea that you have to write a blockbuster blog every time. We find in our training that many corporate bloggers are by nature analytical and perfectionists, which creates a lot of extra agony. It’s great to hit a home run, but mostly this is about hitting lots of singles and doubles.


How Social Media Makes You A Better Writer

by · August 25, 2011

I’ve always considered myself a good writer. I got straight-As in high school English and literature classes, and have been writing a lot in nearly every one of my jobs since college. I can write anything for business: proposals, status reports, white papers, strategy documents, and anything else you can throw at me. It comes pretty easily, when I’m motivated; even when I’m not, writing is never a chore. I think I’m pretty good with grammar and spelling, and I know the difference between Sentence case and Title Case, among other writing fine points that many, many of my colleagues (even superiors) don’t really understand.


The Importance of Writing Well For Social Media Content

by · May 2, 2011

There is no question that social media tools and platforms shape the way people, schools and businesses work, but social media has created a new form and route to channel information. In this new information age, for all its high-tech gadgetry, success is writing based.

Yet, there have been raised concerns over the fundamentals and quality of writing today. In the heart of the digital age, the concept of writing, especially to young adults, seems flat-out antiquated. Having grown up with laptops and iPads, many of them struggle to remember the last time they sat down with pen and paper; the last time “they wrote” in a traditional sense of the word.


Sometimes It’s Okay To Shut Up

by · October 7, 2009

I sat down to write a blog post one day last week and ran into a rare conundrum. I couldn’t think of a good topic. Luckily, writer’s block and I don’t know each other well. I’m a wordy bastard. It just comes naturally, I guess.

After thinking a bit about what I might draft in that fit of writer’s limbo, I decided I would jot down some notes on what to do when you have writer’s block. The one note I came up with was, “Sometimes, what you don’t write is as important as what you do.”


The Ethics, Or Lack Thereof, Of Ghost Blogging

by · August 21, 2009

Blogging for Cats
Image by Vicki’s Pics via Flickr

“What do you think about ghost blogging?”

It was a simple question from someone in the crowd for a recent talk I gave. I answered honestly, but carefully. It didn’t matter. I was essentially speaking to a room which included 10-20 people who currently get paid to blog for people or companies as those people or companies. Unless I said I have no problem with it, I was doomed.