Posted 04.09.2010

Develop a Unique Voice

…and the easiest way to do that is to be yourself. I can’t write like Seth Godin. I’d love to, but I can’t. Why? because I’m not him. I can either pout about it, or realize the beauty in that. Because I’m not Seth Godin, I have my own opinion to express. I was created uniquely me—and I’ll take advantage of that.

The second way? Express an opinion.
—Be willing to take sides. We’re so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. We want everyone to be our friend, to make everyone happy.

But, I think there’s a difference. I can have my opinion, have a spine, be willing to state my opinion, take responsibility for my thoughts without cutting someone else down. It’s my opinion that sets me apart from the next blogger. It’s my thoughts that make me different, that make my writing worth reading (if I can be so bold).


Posted 04.08.2010

Writing Content for your Blog

Develop a posting rhythm

I recommend posting 3-4 times a week. Post on the same days, too. (Obviously, I’m following my own advice note the sarcasm ). It’s hard. Blogging is hard. There are so many blogs that have been started with good intentions and quickly been abandoned that you need the consistency to tell your readers you’re not going anywhere, otherwise, they’re not going to take the time to invest in what you’re doing.

Coming up with content.

Based on a Problogger survey, the number one reason that people stop following blogs is because of (consistently) bad content. It has nothing to do with frequency and everything to do with quality. (I know, it seems to contradict my last point)

Fantastic. I’m not a copywriter. I hate English. Me too. So what do I do? I work at it. That’s all I can do. In the end, I think it’s worth the effort. I’ll get better. I’ll be, not only a better writer, but a better communicator. Build a bridge.

One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Brogan, has several great posts on his site about coming up with stellar content.

Problogger also has several excellent articles for getting started

Problogger also has a book: 31 Days to a Better Blog. This is a great place to start. At the end of 31 days, you’ll have a habit.

Quality over Quantity

Let’s be honest, as user’s we’re selfish. When we go to a site, we want to learn something. Even personal blogs that we’re reading. We want to learn something about the author. We want to build a relationship and stay connected. As a writer what does that mean? Write stuff that matters. Use this as an opportunity to make a difference, be someone of influence. Don’t copy what everyone else is writing. Find your own voice…and use it!


Posted 04.07.2010

Develop a Content Strategy That Builds up Your Brand

Your Content Strategy

The other week, I wrote a post, Content Might be King, in it I referenced Kristina Halvorson’s book, Content Strategy for the Web. In her book, she challenges her readers to only write content for your site that line up with your overall message. What are you trying to communicate? Does each post that you write line up with that strategy?

Your site should be more than a digital version of your brochure.

Be willing to let go of copy that you’ve written 2 or 3 years ago. Instead of accumulating more crap, develop something new and meaningful.

In her book, she walks through the process of doing a content audit on your own site. I did that for my own site. I created an excel grid with a row for each page of my site. The columns contain the title, the url, a brief summary, keywords and description for search engines, etc. At the end of the process, you should have a good idea of what message you’ve been creating. It’s a good look at the big picture.

Developing a brand.

Your brand is not something you create (directly). Huh? Your brand is a collection of what other people think about you. A lot of people operate under the misconception that their brand is a logo, business card, letterhead, and color palate. When I think of NBC, I don’t immediately think of the peacock. Instead, I think of all the drama they’ve dealt with iTunes and Hulu, Leno, Letterman, and Conan. How they’ve behaved in each of these situations shapes the way that people think about them: their brand.

What does this mean? Well, you’ve heard people make the challenge: decide what you want people to say about you at your funeral and then live a life that’s in line with your eulogy. Morbid, yes, but true. If I want people to think of me as someone full of integrity, then the only way I’ll achieve that is if I live that out. Telling lies, stealing, and cheating won’t get me there.

The same thing applies to my branding. If I want people to talk about how insightful my content is or how valuable my blog is, then I need to write posts that will provide them with the opportunity to say so.

Lately, I’ve struggled with this because I want people to think of me as a graphic designer. Yeah, I can code with the best of them, but I want that to be secondary. However, if I always blog about code snippets, people will think of me as a programmer.

Obviously, branding is something that must be built up over time. I can’t write one post about graphic design and *bam* Amy’s a graphic designer. I have to write monthly, weekly, and daily about graphic design for that to happen.