March 5, 2015

It’s Time to Talk About Content

It's time to talk about content


 Let's talk.

It's been a while but it's time to talk about content.

And so: I think you should build a business around your own content.

Why would I say such a thing?

Well, you may not have thought of it in these terms, but if you write a blog, or review a book on Amazon, if you pin pins on Pinterest, or post updates on Facebook, then you’re a content creator.

And you can leverage that content to build your own content business.


 We’re all in the media business now


We’re all content creators now. We’re all publishers, too.… Read the rest

Start a Content Business

How To Start a Content Business

What do you need to start a content business? Well, three things: 

A problem.

An audience.

An income. 

You see, building a business around content is kind of like a three act play:

Act OneYou show people how to solve a problem.

Act TwoYou build an audience around that solution.

Act Three:You generate income from the efforts.

And that’s more or less the sum of it.


Erm, no. Wait. Obviously we need more details.

OK. But as we proceed, don’t get distracted from the three act model.… Read the rest

Writing techniques


Writing techniques from the best writers

 Writing techniques are memes. They evolved over time as the best solutions from the best writers to the common problems of writing.

 If you plan to start your own contest business, there are techniques that will help you do it better: The right choice of writing techniques makes you more productive, more persuasive, more effective in your writing.

But since these memes, these writing solutions, are neither taught in school nor widely understood, I will show you here how learning  writing techniques brings a high return on your time investment. In fact, I believe the right writing techniques (unlike, for example, the study of grammar) can mean life or death for your writing. Read the rest

The most expensive lesson in writing

The most expensive lesson in writing

In writing, preparation is not production.

I don't remember when I first heard the expression "preparation is not production" but the failure to see the difference has been the most expensive writing mistake of my life. 

It was a mistake that was chronic and mostly invisible. Even after I realized I was doing too much prep and not enough writing, I still found excuses - I actually accepted the myth that "90% of writing is procrastination". Little did I know I was under the control of a secret power...

'The secret power of idleness'

The preparation versus production distinction is not a new one.Read the rest

Why Stephen Fry gets it wrong on grammar

 If you're interested in writing, this Stephen Fry video is worth 6 minutes of your time. 

First of all, there's the amazing musicality of the audio. Injecting music into your writing is a powerful writing technique – as I have argued  - and I think Fry proves the point. By the time you’ve listened through, you’ve learned a great deal about how to interest and entertain your reader through musical prose. (It’s always a good idea to read aloud what you have written to know how it sounds.)

Secondly, Fry rightly puts the grammar pedants in their place. He asserts that most of what the grammar busy-bodies have to say about usage is irrelevant nonsense.Read the rest

Neil Strauss’s key to writing: Assume that no one cares

In an excellent video interview (below) with Tim Ferriss, NYT best selling author, Neil Strauss offers his key to good writing. Let me paraphrase a superb writing technique:

As you begin to write, assume that no-one cares.



Clueless writers assume that there's something inherently interesting in whatever they write. But the experienced writer assumes no such thing. He knows he must leverage reader interest at every point and go to whatever lengths it takes to grab and hold that interest. Strauss has written 7 NYT best-sellers.

 There's no shortage of writing techniques that allow you to appeal to reader interest, but Strauss's goes right to how you conceive and create any piece.Read the rest

Writing Techniques #2: Distinctive writing



We begin our second episode of Remarkable Writing Techniques with a lesson in distinctiveness from Dada artist, writer, and general fruit-bat, Kurt Schwitters. On the face of it Schwitters' sound poem, "Ursonate", doesn't make sense, but  I think that it's an excellent illustration of  the need for distinctiveness.

iTunes link for podcast archive and subscription.

 A writing lesson from the back of a motorcycle

(3:15 mins.) We follow that with more on writing distinctiveness – this time from the back of a  Triumph Bonneville. Except that this one doesn’t just concern writing: Distinctiveness is more than a writing technique.Read the rest

How to make your writing more distinctive

Distinctiveness is as important to your personal or corporate brand as design or presentation, yet the skill of written distinctivenss is widely ignored. I have a solution for you.

This month's - soon to be released - podcast will cover the question of distinctiveness in some detail. In the meantime, here's a Slidshare presentation on that writing technique: How to make your writing more distinctive.


The transcript on Slideshare is a bit jumbled, so here it is:

1. How to make your writing distinctive.

2. Distinctiveness is essential across all aspects of your personal brand: From your design and image, to your ideas and the way you approach your content...… Read the rest

Vary your sentence length to make your writing more interesting

I want to show you a remarkable writing technique that connects Jack Black with Alexander the Great. It comes with an example from one of America's finest writers - Saul Bellow.

But let’s look first at a way to guarantee that your writing is dull, monotonous, and guaranteed to go unread. Here's the easiest way how:

   Make every sentence the same length.

Good writers know that varying the length and patterns of their sentences makes the writing more musical, easier to read. That's what I want you to see.  So, by the time you finish this post, you should be able to apply the technique.… Read the rest

Writing techniques: Episode #1

SmallerIn this first podcast on remarkable writing techniques, I look at 4 things:

1. (Begins at 4:00 mins.) A simple but powerful writing technique that gets people to read and keep reading anything you write: How to create anticipation and suspense in your writing.

2. (Begins at 18:00 mins.) Why writing in recent years has become a very big deal. In the connected economy the opportunities for those who can write are astonishing. Never before have we seen these types of opportunities.

3. (Begins at 29: mins.)  'How to be an extremist.' These are a few ideas from my upcoming course on writing like Seth Godin.… Read the rest