The Bobby McFerrin Plan for Creating a Remarkable Business

Editor’s note: This article was Pamela Wilson’s first guest post on Copyblogger, published on March 25, 2010 — well before she joined our team as VP of Educational Content. Pamela had just completed Copyblogger’s flagship course, Teaching Sells, and was ready to expand her successful offline design business into new online territory.
I just returned from a Bobby McFerrin concert, and now I know how to run my new business.
No, this post isn’t about “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Bobby McFerrin is much more than that.
You see, I’m a little nervous. For 23 years, I’ve made my income the same way — in a service business, as a graphic designer. Clients come to me for design work. I create something for them, and bill for my time. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat for 23 years, and you have a career as a successful designer.
But that’s all about to change.
I’m venturing into new territory. I’ve started a blog. I’m putting together a course. I’m interacting with my readers. I’m supposed to let them guide me, respond to their needs, offer what they’re looking for, and everything is going to work out fine.
Except, I’m just a little terrified. How exactly is content marketing supposed to work? Who are these people I am serving, and how do I know it’s all going to come together?
And that’s where Bobby comes in
The first thing you notice when you file into the theater at a Bobby McFerrin concert is that the stage

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Creating Visual Content: The Favorite Tools and Tips for Non-Artists

You don’t have to be a trained artist to create stop-them-in-their-tracks images that boost your content’s effectiveness.
These days, you can find easy-to-use free tools that will allow you to create beautiful images for your blog, website, and social media.
This week on Hit Publish, host Pamela Wilson invited three Copyblogger experts to share their best advice for creating remarkable visual content.
Tune in to hear from host Pamela Wilson, Demian Farnworth, Chris Garrett, and Lauren Mancke as they discuss:

Why images “put the brakes” on readers, and why that’s a good thing
Which “off the beaten path” visual content creation tools you should start using today
Crucial tips non-designers should keep in mind when putting together images

Click Here to Listen toHit Publish on iTunes
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About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post Creating Visual Content: The Favorite Tools and Tips for Non-Artists appeared first on Copyblogger.

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The Powerful Resource You Always Have When Presented with Creative Challenges

In the fall of 2008, I had every aspect of running my online copy editing business carefully mapped out — but the unpleasant reality that callously illuminated my pretty little map was that there wasn’t much of a business to run.
I had a few clients to keep me busy, but I put way too much hope in my bare-bones website.
At the time, I thought that the mere presence of a website would make clients flock to me and graciously ask for writing help. I’d have a steady flow of clients who were happy to pay me substantial fees, and to pass the time between copy editing work, I’d recline comfortably, eat bon bons, and file my nails.
I was incredibly disappointed and frustrated not only because that scenario was not my reality, but also because I didn’t know the most effective ways to promote my online business.
I pressed on and remembered that a former co-worker once mentioned a blog about online marketing called Copyblogger.
Customize your content marketing
After discovering that content marketing seemed like a great way to promote my online business, I realized I had a lot of work to do.
What was I going to write about?
If I just copied what other freelance copy editors wrote about on their blogs, my writing wouldn’t stand out.
I didn’t want to invest time creating content that would just be ignored.
As I carefully studied all of the online content I consumed, I discovered that you can observe and implement

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What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know if Your Content Will Rock

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on June 29, 2011. We’re running it again today to honor DIY media and the endless possibilities for your business when you’ve built a loyal audience.
Ever had a great idea, and then started to doubt yourself?
Or maybe you’ve already executed on that great idea, but you’re hesitating to launch. Maybe it’s an article, or an ebook, or a new product or service.
How can you be sure it will work? Should you ask for feedback?
I’ll answer both of those questions in this article, but first I need to tell you a couple of stories from the nutty worlds of music and film.
Let’s start with a band called Wilco.
Wilco gets the shaft
In 2000 and early 2001, Wilco recorded a selection of songs for a fourth studio album.
Signed to Reprise Records (a subsidiary of Warner Music), the band was continuing to shift away from its “alt country” roots toward a more experimental alternative rock sound.
This made the folks at Reprise nervous. After a shakeup at the top executive level of the label, a guy named Mio Vukovic was assigned to monitor the progress of the new album and offer suggestions.
Let’s just say that Vukovic wasn’t much impressed with what he heard, and Wilco wasn’t much impressed with his suggestions. This resulted in the band being unceremoniously canned by the label.
Wilco negotiated its contractual divorce from Reprise. Part of the deal allowed the band to keep the master tapes and full

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How Neuroscientist Michael Grybko Defines Creativity

Have you ever wondered how prolific writers summon vast stores of creativity without seemingly breaking a sweat?
The Writer Files host, Kelton Reid, would like to introduce you to a guest segment where he enlists the help of a neuroscientist to give us a tour of The Writer’s Brain.
He has invited research scientist Michael Grybko — of the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington — to help him define creativity from a scientific standpoint.
He will help us pinpoint where exactly in the brain creative ideas come from, decide if you can teach an old writer new tricks, and test the theory that writers’ brains are similar to professional athletes.
In this 22-minute file, host Kelton Reid and Michael Grybko discuss:

How science is expanding our definition of creativity
Why memory plays such a big part in writing
Why you shouldn’t take your typing skills for granted
Where creative ideas come from
Can you teach an old writer new tricks?
Why staying curious is so important to creativity
Are prolific writers like pro athletes?
Why “write what you know” is good advice

Click Here to Listen toThe Writer Files on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post How Neuroscientist Michael Grybko Defines Creativity appeared first on Copyblogger.

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6 Beautiful Ways Artificial Constraints Can Improve Your Creativity and Life

Like accumulating capital, hard work has its own momentum. If you want to master digital media, then produce it often.
Maria Popova, the woman behind Brain Pickings, publishes three substantial blog posts every weekday, typically about substantial books she reads. Each post is an elegant display of her ornate knowledge and polished creativity.
And when I was asked to host a show for our digital marketing podcast network, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Here was a chance to organize my work, tackle a new challenge, and consistently produce a new type of digital media.
Yet — I was warned — it was essential I dismissed any optimistic notions about the quality of my show.
During a kick-off call with the rest of the Rainmaker.FM podcasters, Robert Bruce, our overlord, said, “Your first 100 shows will be crap.”
It was meant to encourage us.
Of course, my first thoughts were, “I want to reach that 100 as soon as possible. I don’t want my show to be crap.”
And the best way to do that? Produce a short, daily show.
I did the math, and I knew I would reach 100 shows (four days a week equals 16 shows a month) in 6.25 months. If I’d gone the weekly route, reaching 100 shows would take me two years.
I can’t wait that long.
But with this aggressive schedule, I had my work cut out for me. Would I pull it off or be buried beneath the workload?
There was also another potential risk I was

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Jeff Goins on Creating Amidst Chaos

Today’s guest on Hack the Entrepreneur is a communicator, consultant, creator, and an entrepreneur. He is also a writer, speaker, and master audience builder.
Originally from Chicago, he then moved to Nashville after graduating from college and spending a year traveling with his band.
He has written four books, including his latest The Art of Work, and also teaches a popular online course called Tribe Writers.
Now, let’s hack …
Jeff Goins.
In this 30-minute episode of Hack the Entrepreneur, host Jon Nastor and Jeff Goins discuss:

Helping others become good writers
How to make yourself your smallest test market
The need to be authentic in your writing and work
Owning your identity and doing the work
Pivoting through obstacles and staying the course

Click Here to Listen toHack the Entrepreneur on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post Jeff Goins on Creating Amidst Chaos appeared first on Copyblogger.

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A Simple Content Marketing Strategy for Creative Folks

I promoted my business the wrong way for a long time.
Just like many designers and artists, I focused on building my portfolio, posting my work around the web, and waiting for feedback.
I quickly realized this approach wouldn’t take me very far. Why?
Because that’s what everyone else does. And you’re assuming people who aren’t design experts will recognize your creative work as superior.
Most people naturally want to buy from people they know and like. So, how do you display your work while making it easy for prospective clients to learn about who you are?
The conclusion is simple: content marketing.
How to use content marketing to sell your creative work
When I looked around, I saw that many well-known designers run popular blogs, and they teach, speak, and publish books — people like Jeffrey Zeldman, Cameron Moll, Vitaly Friedman, Luke Wroblewski, and Mark Boulton.
How could I improve my authority in the design community using the skills I already had? How could I become recognized as a remarkable designer?
That’s when I started learning about content marketing and how powerful it can be for all artistic and creative professionals: designers, photographers, illustrators, musicians — you name it.
The demand for experts who teach specific skills and share unique content in the creative and artistic space is huge.
The more you create and share, the better results you get. When you become an authority in your niche, more people follow your work, and you get more (often higher-paying) clients.
And if you sell your

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Solve Your Blank-Page Problem With This Visual, 3-Step Content Creation System

In the movie Amadeus, the creatively frustrated composer Antonio Salieri discovers pages of Mozart’s original, handwritten compositions and remarks, with utter anguish:
He had simply written down music already finished in his head. Page after page of it — as if he were just taking dictation.
When it comes to writing, do any of us know what that feels like?
Maybe once in a blue moon we are lucky enough to stumble into a Mozart-esque state of content creation — dropping perfectly formed prose into our blog or ebook without any struggle.
For most of us content marketers, this is not the case, even though we aren’t short of inspiration, ideas, or coherent thoughts.
Why? Because we’re writing backwards.
The problem with how we typically approach writing
The way most of us approach writing goes against how our brains are wired to think.
If you’ve ever stared at a blank page with that unforgiving cursor blinking-blinking-blinking in expectation, you might have already suspected this.
I had a complete “aha!” moment about this obstacle when I read Dan Roam’s excellent book, Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work.
Roam explains:
… throughout the eons of human development, our ability to think has evolved along two different paths. One path specialized in seeing the world as lots of little pieces, while the other path specialized in looking at the world as a whole.
Here’s where the light bulb really went on for me:
For words to express a thought, they had to be strung together in

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How Demian Farnworth (Copyblogger’s Chief Content Writer) Writes

Welcome to The Writer Files, a tour of the habits, habitats, and brains of renowned writers — from online content creators, to fictionists, journalists, entrepreneurs, and beyond.
Great writing is more vital and in demand than it’s ever been.
But sometimes writers get stuck — the right words don’t appear, we get distracted, or worse, lose interest in our work — and that’s when the solitary nature of writing can become a curse.
Host Kelton Reid is here to remind you that all writers have moments of doubt, feelings of ineffectiveness, and droughts where the words won’t flow.
For writers to stay productive, creative, and sane, sometimes we just need to take a look at how other scribes find ways keep the ink flowing and the cursor moving.
In this episode of The Writer Files, Kelton shares the file of prolific online publisher, Demian Farnworth.
Between the writing he does for Copyblogger, his personal blog, and his two podcasts that regularly land at the top of iTunes, he promises to “… deliver the essential writing advice you need to succeed online.”
In this 32-minute file, host Kelton Reid and Demian Farnworth discuss:

Why Demian loves The Writer Files interview series
How a poet learned to make a living online
Why you should treat your writing like music
Demian’s secret to his prolificness
Why you need to over-sharpen your axe
Three timeless ideas that lead to enhanced creativity
Why so many writers quit
A single word that will help you keep the cursor moving

Click Here to Listen toThe Writer Files

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