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Fresh Stories I’ve Bookmarked This Week

My Daughter's Pretty Feet

My Daughter’s Pretty Feet

You can’t lead and pour into others if you aren’t taking in a steady diet of life-building content yourself. Here are some stories I’ve bookmarked lately, some on marriage, others on leadership, and a few on communications and design. Read what you like.

If you’ve read or written something lately that we need to see, post a link below.

Seven Ways Twitter Will Improve Your Preaching and Teaching

John Calvin published 22 volumes of commentaries on the Bible and Martin Lloyd-Jones published 9 volumes on Romans alone. What if you could remove all of the non-essential language, antiquated stories, and strip all of that knowledge down to some bite-sized, transportable truths? There is certainly room for argument against such condensation of historic works, but we have to realize that we live in a society inundated with more information in a day than Calvin consumed in a year.

In other words, the ability to be succinct and concise is worth gold when communicating truth in today’s culture. And Twitter helps. The ability to write volumes of words is impressive, but possibly not as impressive as the ability to take a deep and complex theological truth or spiritual application and package it in 140 characters or less.

[Read more…]

Content Marketing Is the Marketing That Matters

Content MarketingRemember when Bubba was running through the list of potential shrimp dishes with Forest? Marketing could be handled the same way. Let’s see, there’s email marketing, attention marketing, social media marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, print marketing, traditional marketing, new media marketing, permission marketing… and on and on we go. Which one matters most for we who are blogging for income? Ultimately, content marketing matters the most.

We need reliable hosting, a uniquely branded design and identity, and robust publishing features. We should be building a mailing list and distributing our content in all the right directions. But at the end of it all, we’re ultimately leading people back to a destination that ought to be worth their time. We’re always concerned with getting people to spend their money on something so that we can profit from our blogging efforts, but where our concern should really lie is with motivating readers to spend their time interacting with our content.

So building a great blog begins with producing great content. It continues as people read, consume, and share that great content, and it ends when decisions are influenced by that great content. The question remaining is, what kind of content is best for content marketing?

Great Content Grabs a Reader’s Interest

Effective content marketing starts with the title, and the style of your title will depend on the personality of your blog. I’m annoyed by article titles that use all lowercase letters (that’s why it’s called “Title Case” after all), but I recognize that one or two words in all lowercase letters sometimes fits the artsy and poetic nature of some blogs. More common perhaps is the approach of giving emphasis to keywords. A well-crafted article title ultimately says “HEY! I’m what you’re looking for! You need to read me!”

Great content entertains. That is not to say it doesn’t have a much deeper purpose, but it entertains in that it attracts and holds the attention of the reader.

Great Content Meets a Reader’s Need

Why is it that “how to” posts always skyrocket in popularity? Why are tutorial sites so successful? It’s because they position their content near the point of pain or need in the minds of their readers.

This is not true only of “how to” articles though. It’s also true of articles that encourage the discouraged, connect the disconnected, and inform the uninformed. It’s true of articles that report news people are eager to learn about and articles that honestly review products and services the reader is on the fence over purchasing.

Having solutions goes a long way when it comes to popularity.

Great Content Moves a Reader’s Will

I’m not referring to playing Jedi mind tricks on anyone or using shady marketing tactics. I’m simply saying that the content of a great blog post (as opposed to that of a great short story or novel) should be designed with the resulting action in mind. What should the reader do next? Great content not only answers that question, but spells it out and makes the action apparent and easy to take.

If you want the reader to comment, to share the article, to check out a related post, or even to look at a product for a potential purchase, you should use the content to move the reader’s will toward that decision.

Great Content Motivates a Reader to Share

It’s the social web. We have a thousand sharing options when it comes to content. We can distribute articles through RSS feeds, email lists, content aggregation services, social networks, and microblogs. The issue isn’t having the space in which to share great content, it’s having the content ready to share when the time comes.

I often find myself giving advice to organizations who are launching blogs or online publications for various purposes. Most of the questions tend to revolve around platforms, costs, and editorial calendars. But I always interject these basic thoughts that often get overlooked: Make it simple. Make it social. Make it sharable.

How would you complete my list? What else goes into the making of great content?

photo source


Your Guide to Great Copywriting and Content

An Illustrated History of Media Content

Nice plug for the Taptu mobile news aggregation app, but a pretty neat illustration nonetheless. I like how they move from imagery to distribution via print to broadcast via new technologies and finally back around to social news aggregation. Since the days of Adam and Eve, news has spread best through the crowd and through relationships. Now that the web is maturing, we’re figuring this ancient principle out again.

An Illustrated History of Content

Hat tips to The Next Web and Philip Sheldrake.

The Three Rules of Content Marketing (via @junta42)

1. You Are a Publisher

Simply defined, a publisher delivers on the informational or entertainment needs of the reader in whatever format in which the reader wants to engage.  A traditional publisher does this to generate sponsorship revenues or get people to pay for content. The non-media brand does this to ultimately sell more products and services. More and more companies, like ours, do both.

Publishing is hard work, but also mandatory for today’s companies.  Believing that you are a publisher is the first rule.

2. Dream it, Do it! 

Innovation is a new way of doing something, or new stuff made useful. As publishers, we innovate to solve our customers’ pain points. Every day, every minute. The innovation happens not because of the content, but the affect it has on the reader. That’s true innovation.

3. It’s Not About You

Successful publishing is all about the reader…your customers. If you are not solving their pain points with relevant and compelling content, you are adding to the noise, the clutter.

Read the full article at blog.junta42.com

These three rules are absolutely true, but you need to read the full article.