The Power of Believing You’re an Artist

In How to Feel Good as a Writer: an Origin Story, I wrote, “It’s not our job to know all of the whys, whats, and hows of the future. It’s just our job to do the work.” “Doing the work” before you reach professional status in a creative field is often self-directed. Because it’s in Read More…
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3 Ways to Create ‘Next Level’ Content

This week, we offered concrete ways to make your content more memorable, more compelling, and more attractive to your audience. The three blog posts and podcast episodes I highlight below each give easy-to-implement advice that can transform your work. On Monday, Loryn Thompson kicked us off with a post about respecting your audience’s intelligence and Read More…
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Beyond BuzzFeed: How I used quizzes to generate 10,000+ qualified leads

“Mom, can I have $5 to buy a comic book and some chips?”
And by “comic book” I meant unwholesome magazines filled with smutty novel excerpts, make-out tips and, QUIZZES.
Oh my, the quizzes.
They’re the REAL reason I bought magazines (before BuzzFeed took over the quiz universe).
Tell me…
… do you remember taking any of these quizzes from Seventeen Magazine?

Are You Paranoid? (ummm, yes, I’m fourteen – the whole world is out to get me)
Is It Really Over? (Pretty sure it never even began, except in my head)
Do You Play Mind Games? (That’s how I

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Quit Annoying Your Audience! Take 3 Simple Steps to Focus Your Content

Ever have a friend who tells stories that never seem to go anywhere? It sounds okay at first, then it spins off to a tangent about how they met their spouse, then we go into their first college dorm room, with a side trip to that deeply formative event that happened in third grade, then Read More…
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Transform Your Business Website Using Our Free ‘Design 101’ Ebook

Is your current website design working for your business as well as it could be? You might know that it’s not, but don’t know where to start when it comes to a redesign. We understand that. Choosing a WordPress theme for your website can be a little overwhelming and leave you with lots of further Read More…
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Five Strategies for Slaying the Data Puking Dragon.

If you bring sharp focus, you increase chances of attention being diverted to the right places. That in turn will drive smarter questions, which will elicit thoughtful answers from available data. The result will be data-influenced actions that result in a long-term strategic advantage.
It all starts with sharp focus.
Consider these three scenarios…
Your boss is waiting for you to present results on quarterly marketing performance, and you have 75 dense slides. In your heart you know this is crazy; she won’t understand a fraction of it. What do you do?
Your recent audit of the output of your analytics organization found that 160 analytics reports are delivered every month. You know this is way too many, way too often. How do you cull?
Your digital performance dashboard has 16 metrics along 9 dimensions, and you know that the font-size 6 text and sparkline sized charts make them incomprehensible. What’s the way forward?
If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, and your inner analysis ninja feels more like a reporting squirrel, it is ok. The first step is realizing that data is being used only to resolve the fear that not enough data is available. It’s not being selected strategically for the most meaningful and actionable insights.
As you accumulate more experience in your career, you’ll discover there are a cluster of simple strategies you can follow to pretty ruthlessly eliminate the riffraff and focus on the critical view. Here are are five that I tend to use a lot, they are easy to internalize, take sustained passion to execute, but always yield delightful results…
1. Focus only on KPIs, eliminate metrics.
Here are the definitions you’ll find in my books:

Metric: A metric

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Fix This Writing Mistake to Engage Readers with the Right Challenges

In college, there are three kinds of classes. First, there’s the blow-off classes, where 80 percent of your grade comes from fill-in-the-blank worksheets. To pass, all you really have to do is show up. Then, there are the classes taught by “real hardasses.” These classes kept you up well past midnight, flipping frenetically through flashcards, Read More…
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Advice and Resources for Success as a Creative Professional

This week, we talked about some of the joys — and pitfalls — of the professional creative life. Your friends don’t get what you do, sometimes you don’t completely “get it” yourself — but when it’s working, the rewards can be glorious. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored the peculiar (and sometimes hard to understand) nature Read More…
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