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Here's your weekly dose of sticky content tips.

8.11.17

The Remarkable Power of Finishing

As a journalist, I became a finishing expert. I wrote and published about 80,000 words a year. At first, finishing a story was a huge challenge. It took me a whole day to write 700 words and more time to do the interviewing and research. I just couldn’t say goodbye to a story until I thought it was perfect.

And you know what? It was never perfect. Every story needed some editing. Sometimes my editor asked me to get more information, or check a fact, or clarify my meaning. Sometimes I’d been so busy getting the words right that I added up some numbers in the story incorrectly. Huh!

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1.11.17

Is your content sparking conversations?

Have you ever said ‘Good morning’ to someone who didn’t respond? It’s an unsettling feeling of sorrow, even indignance when a generous, warmly-intended communiqué is ignored. There’s a parallel on our content marketing program: if we put time and effort into creating our content, and sending out our e-newsletters, what happens if we get little or no response?I see content marketing as a three-step process: we start with content, create a conversation, and this leads to connections – or, more in commercial terms: conversions.

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25.10.17

Write like you are at a dear friend’s funeral

I was at a memorial yesterday (goodbye, dear Jacqui), watching projected photos of my friend’s life, and listening to stories about her. We laughed a lot and felt our hearts crack open, as each of the speakers described Jacqui in all her specialness. And I was struck by the effortlessness with which each of us can craft a powerful story when it really matters.

Most people started their speech in the simplest and time-honoured manner, introducing themselves, and their relationship to Jacqui. Then they listed the qualities in Jacqui that had meant a lot to them with funny and poignant stories to illustrate these characteristics. And then they summed it all up and said farewell to her. Each speaker added a little to the whole picture of Jacqui and the various sides of her – mother, colleague, daughter, sister, friend – and filled in blanks for those of us who, like me, had not seen her for a while.  Read More

 
11.10.17

How to avoid the pitfalls of my super-simple blog formula

Do you feel uncomfortable with the mere suggestion that it is possible to write a blog to a formula?  Many writers do.  It’s like painting by numbers or using a colouring book instead of just drawing freehand.  It’s an automatic creative fail, isn’t it?

I want to let you in on a secret here.  Creative people work to formulas.  At least, that is where they start the creative journey.  The wildest abstract painter – Jackson Pollock, the artist who painted the image for this blog – started by learning to draw live models, a tried and true step that every artist takes on the path to self-expression. (click the link, to see one of his early life drawings)
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27.9.17

Time to Write: Lessons from Officeworks’ Content Marketing Campaign

I was fascinated to see the stationery shop, Officeworks, launch a marketing campaign called Time to Write. As a content marketing campaign, which combines the benefits of information for consumers and sales opportunities for Officeworks, it’s pretty good – but not faultless. I thought I would unpack it for my Sticky community as an example of what you might do, and not do, in your own blogging campaigns.

Let’s be clear: I don’t spend my time and money blogging just because I love you (even though I do). I blog because in order to build a community of interest (that’s you) in my ideas and approach, to build my reputation as an author’s mentor, to establish my credibility and authority, and to find clients.

So I am not going to chuck rocks at Officeworks for a campaign designed to sell notebooks, pencils and pens. Their commercial focus is not a problem in my view. Setting that aside then, let’s unpack the campaign.    Read More

 
13.9.17

Some Apps that Help with Writing (and Some to Avoid)

Professional writers have wings. Hacks. Apps. Tricks. When you write for a living, you want to get past the barriers – fear, the first sentence, the blank screen – as fast as possible so you can meet your deadline. Knowing this, app developers are out there trying to help us. Don’t you just love ’em!  I’ll include some I use, some I’ve heard about and haven’t tried, and some I’ve discovered in writing this story. If you try them, please tell me what you think of them.  Read More

 
30.8.17

The Sacred Pause

In minutes, I am heading for my weekly restorative yoga class. In this class, I become my opposite. Not doing, being. Not rigid, yielding. Not active, passive. Not striving, but surrendering. When I walk in, I lie down on my mat, the first thing I take is a big breath and sigh. Aaaah, home. It is time to pause.

Podcaster, author, and Buddhist meditation teacher Tara Brach has a lovely name for the moment we desist from our relentless activity: the Sacred Pause. I am learning to understand the power of the sacred pause. It is the moment of reflection that gives us choice. The choices I make after a pause are, without fail, better than those made without stopping. We need only think of an email we wish we had not sent or some words we cannot take back to conjure up some examples of times when we regret not pausing.   Read More

 
16.8.17

The cure for doubt is not faith; it is curiosity

I’ve made a living from doubt (I’ll explain shortly). I’ve frolicked in its bounty and have cried under its lash. Doubt can be cruel and merciless, and hold us back. It can be the burning sun in a waterless desert. It can be an icy wind that whips away our cloak of confidence. We want to run from self-doubt (I am sure that is not just me). We want to bathe in the cool, clear waters of conviction. But conviction is dangerously beguiling. US President Donald Trump has risen to power by promising rubbish with great conviction.  Read More

 
8.8.17

Your readers really are judging you: What can you do about it?

It’s not good news, is it? A big part of my professional life is spent encouraging thought leaders to get their ideas down on paper in book form, publish them, and send them out into the world: something about which many of them feel diffident, to say the least. And now, here I am, pointing out that whatever you put out there in writing (blog, book, white paper) will, in fact, be mercilessly judged by your readership.  Read More

 
2.8.17

Why I cannot work with every thought leader who wants to write a book

Every thought leader who writes a book needs help. A buddy. A fellow traveller. A book is too big a project to be tackled alone. And let’s face it, it’s not so much fun on your own. I liken it to climbing Mount Everest. Every author I have worked with goes through a crisis of confidence somewhere on the way to the summit. Some only metres from the top!  Read More