13 Timeless Lessons from the Father of Advertising

In 1962, Time magazine called David Ogilvy: “The most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” During his years as an advertising executive and copywriter, Ogilvy created some of the world’s most successful and iconic marketing campaigns, including the legendary Man in the Hathaway Shirt, plus notable efforts for Schweppes, Rolls-Royce, and the island of Puerto Rico, among many others. Ogilvy was one of the pioneers of information-rich, “soft sell” ads that didn’t insult the intelligence of the prospect. Ogilvy’s successful advertising campaigns demonstrate how to persuade prospects, influence readers, and create memorable, evergreen content. But “The Father of Advertising” also has plenty to teach us about productivity, branding, research, and ambition. Let’s look at some things David Ogilvy had to say, and what we can learn from each of them. On creativity and creative process “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker […]

Read more

Why Your Friend with a Creative Job Isn’t the Village Idiot

It happened again. You were out to dinner with your Writer Friend, and the waiter came over to see if you needed anything. This led to a short, friendly conversation with him. As he walked away, your meal companion apologized for reaching into her purse to get her phone. She opened her Notes application and explained: “I have to jot that down. What he said was so perfect for something I’m working on. It just gave me a bunch of ideas.” You sat back and took a sip of your Syrah while thinking: “We’re supposed to be having a relaxing dinner. The last thing I’m thinking about right now is work. She’s not doing real work anyway. It’s annoying that she calls it work.” The nonsensical nature of creative work can bewilder onlookers. But is creative work that much different from other types of work? The development of a creative […]

Read more

How to Beat the Boring Content Blues in 30 Days

Have you ever reached a plateau with your content? You come to a point where you have a predictable amount of traffic, that traffic creates a predictable level of response (comments, clickthroughs for your product, number of backlinks, whatever), but your response doesn’t seem to budge past that point. It’s fun climbing to that spot, but less fun to get stuck there for weeks or months on end. I’m going to share a painful secret with you. It isn’t your layout or your banner. It isn’t your SEO. It’s your content. Specifically, your content has become flat and routine. You’ve found a modest audience that likes you, but your ideas and your writing aren’t sharp enough to pull in, energize, and keep new readers. Over 30 years as a professional writer, I’ve developed a method to take my writing to a stronger, deeper level. I originally got this process from […]

Read more

Smart Choices that Lead to Impressive Content and Copywriting Results

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling That Albus Dumbledore was a pretty wise fellow. And you’ve probably experienced that some choices you make accumulate into rich, productive experiences … and others tend to roll up into a doughy ball of disappointment. There are a million ways to write copy and content — but the choices you make and the priorities you set will determine the results you see. This week was all about how to make the smartest possible choices when you sit down to write. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman uncovered the magic of a micro audience. She highlights the choice of action over perfectionism, and making the decision to treat a small audience as a priority, even before you see the big wins that will come when that audience grows. On Tuesday, Loryn Cole explored the […]

Read more

The Professional Dangers of Subterranean Creative Regret

When I was a teenager, I was a prolific poet. Not a good one — not even close — but I didn’t care. I didn’t plan on showing my work to anyone. I wrote simply because I loved it. I spent hours in my room, at a park, or even those quiet moments at school, pulling words out of my head. I edited and honed, and sometimes put those words to music. In college, I managed to keep up the habit for a while, but by the time I graduated, poetry had been crowded out by more “important” pursuits. At first, I didn’t miss it. I was so busy chasing my new career, I forgot entirely how much I used to love writing poems and songs. But a few years into my post-college life, I started to feel something was missing. Some spark, some creativity, had seeped away. I wasn’t […]

Read more

For Courageous Content Creators Who Want to Do Epic Work

When I started blogging, a little over 10 years ago, one of my then-colleagues mentioned that she “didn’t have the software to read blogs.” Today, the landscape is a little different. Blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, and other content formats are being consumed at an astonishing rate — and an equally astonishing volume of new content is being generated to fill that demand. The content landscape isn’t some mythical blue ocean lacking in competition. It’s a teeming jungle — with plenty to eat, and plenty that wants to eat you. To make it in the content jungle, you need courage. The courage to stand out, the courage to get real about your values, and the courage to create over the long haul. This week, we’ve got fuel for your content courage. One reason creativity and self-expression are difficult is that we’re afraid someone will be mean to us over what we […]

Read more

Why You’re Missing Out if You Save Your Best Content Ideas

Imagine this, if you will. An old woman, near the end of her life. Shivering in a fleabag apartment without heat in the winter. Walking four miles each way to the food bank, to carry home unmarked cans of mystery meat. Not even a cat to keep her company, because cat food is expensive. Then one day she dies, and the neighbors find $2.7 million wadded up in her mattress. It’s a natural human impulse to hold on to what we have. We figure we can handle whatever discomforts we might be facing now, and who knows how bad it could get down the line? So we hoard, saving up our riches for some mythical later time. What does this have to do with writing? Everyone who writes faces this at some point. We come up with a powerful idea, something we think will capture a lot of attention. This […]

Read more

Bored with Your Blog? These 10 Tips Will Make You Fall in Love Again

Content marketing is a long game. In one way, that’s excellent — because all of your lazy or undisciplined competitors are going to drop out. In another way, it sucks, because we all have days when we’re lazy and undisciplined. In the early days, we can get by on adrenaline and enthusiasm. But as the months pass, we need some strategies to stay in love with that blog, video channel, or podcast. Here are 10 strategies I’ve found helpful when you don’t want to quit, but you need to get a little bit of the magic back. 1. Read outside your topic When you’re mastering a new subject, it’s only natural to immerse yourself in it. You’ll read, watch, and listen to content obsessively while you pick up nuances and new ideas. It’s a bit of a honeymoon with your topic … you can’t keep your hands off of it. […]

Read more

Fire Up Your Creative Courage and Reach Your Audacious Goals

It’s a funny thing — so many of the most gifted and capable people wrestle the hardest with impostor syndrome and self-doubt. And often, the biggest barrier between you and your ambitious goals is your own head. This week, we offered resources to get your confidence kickstarted and your creative brain humming. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored why the hardest working, most professional writers aren’t always the ones who jump into freelancing. (If this is you, you might be a lot better at it than you imagine.) On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson shared eight effective ways to bring powerful visual elements to your content — even if you don’t think of yourself as a “visual person.” This is a great way to add polish and impact to your work, and it’s easier than you think. And on Wednesday, I announced our new book club selection — Austin Kleon’s Keep Going. If […]

Read more

Copyblogger Book Club: Stay Creatively Productive (Even on Crappy Days)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but keeping your creative confidence going is hard. Our friend Austin Kleon has one of those creative practices we all envy — a robust, consistent work ethic that’s paid off in a New York Times bestselling book and the kind of audience that would be a “cult following” if it wasn’t so darned … huge. His latest book, Keep Going, is really good, and I was lucky enough to catch Austin at a book signing in April. I knew Keep Going would be perfect for the Copyblogger book club. The book isn’t about making the creative life easy. “Everything got better for me when I made peace with the fact that it might not ever get easier. The world is crazy. Creative work is hard. Life is short and art is long.” – Austin Kleon, Keep Going It’s about … well, keeping going, even […]

Read more

Creative Self-Care to Keep Your Writing Mojo Strong

We content marketers are strategic types — but we’re creative as well, and that creative side needs nurturing. This week, we offered tips and practices for creative self-care, so you can keep producing extraordinary work. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared five unconventional ways to meet your deadlines — and banish the “flaky creative” stereotype for good. On Tuesday, Claire Emerson outlined 10 ways to make progress on your big projects — even when paying gigs or daily obligations seem like they’re gobbling up every second of your time. (I’m a big fan of the second item on Claire’s list — it seems like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in how you approach those intimidating projects.) And on Wednesday, author Karl Staib swung by to suggest a creative self-care 30-day challenge — using a practice you might not associate with professional productivity. On the podcast, I […]

Read more

Snub Your Next Deadline and Read This Instead

“Creative people are flaky.” That statement gets my blood boiling a bit, but I do understand where the sentiment comes from. When distractions are useful in order to ultimately make insightful connections for your job, the line that separates work and goof-off time often gets blurred. And having frustrating experiences with creative people who are “not reliable in performance or behavior” perpetuates the flaky stereotype. But who benefits from that belief? Non-creative people. Responsible creative people drive healthy competition “I’m not creative, but I’m responsible.” Those who think they’re not creative thrive off of the division of creativity and responsibility. It gives them a reason to feel superior and boast about their follow-through skills that greatly serve work teams. A creative person who demonstrates responsibility is a threat to those people. If a creative person is also responsible, a non-creative person has to bring something else of value to the […]

Read more

How to Meet (and Exceed) Your Creative Content Goals

Why is it so hard to produce good content? Because creative work is uniquely draining … and uniquely rewarding, too. Smart writers know that the right creative practices will keep you motivated and productive. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about mastering the part of editing that has nothing to do with grammar, spelling, or punctuation. It’s the thoughtful, human element that no app can ever hope to reproduce. On Tuesday, Stefanie joined us again to talk about six behaviors that build trust when you work with a creative team — including making one another’s lives easier and even listening to the voices inside your head. And on Wednesday, I wrote about 10 business goals that take good content and turn it into good content marketing. Because if you’re going to put the work in, you might as well get the results you’re after. I’ve got more strategy for you on […]

Read more

How to Make Yourself Indispensable to a Creative Team

Yesterday, I mentioned the makings of a successful creative team that runs like a well-oiled machine. As the creative-strategic hybrid model becomes more pervasive in modern content marketing, there’s a great opportunity for creative people who produce outstanding work on demand. Whether you’re an employee of a company or a freelancer, your skills and sensibilities can make you an important collaborator instead of someone who can easily be replaced. And there’s a reason why I’m emphasizing “creative” here, and not just any team of colleagues. Creative work confuses onlookers The creative process tends to not look like “work.” A full-time writer’s day has the potential to baffle someone from another field. Even the most nonjudgmental soul might conclude: “That person’s not really working, right?” But underneath the surface, that writer is performing all of the steps required to make connections that are more interesting and thought-provoking than what their audience […]

Read more

Creating ‘Craft Content’ for Remarkable Business Results

The term “craft” is a modern trend indicating something that’s been put together with care, appealing to select palates. In… Continue Reading The post Creating ‘Craft Content’ for Remarkable Business Results appeared first on Copyblogger. Read_More Related posts: Is Creating Online Tools Better Than Writing Content? Thoughtful Elements of Distinguished Content Marketing Ten Expert Tips for Creating a Viral Content in 2018 3 Resources for Creating More Courageous Content Using Empathy and Connection to Craft More Powerful Content Craft a Deliciously Effective Content Marketing Strategy with a Farm-to-Table Approach 4 Ways to Craft Content that Earns Audience Attention How This Woman’s Remarkable Life Helped Her Demystify Business for Underserved Entrepreneurs

Read more

Permission to Slow Down – Copyblogger

A few months ago, I had the immense good fortune to get invited to display my first motorcycle project at a popular show where I live in Portland. Just finishing the bike was a huge accomplishment for me, so this invitation to the show was a dream come true. In the weeks leading up to the event, I stressed over the details. I worried that people would see through the glossy paint and realize I didn’t actually know what I was doing. But when the show finally arrived, it was better than I could have imagined. People who had followed my build online sought me out to congratulate me, and I met several builders I admired. At the show, I started to see my build for the achievement it was. But, in my conversations with these other enthusiasts, they kept asking this one question, a question that made my stomach […]

Read more

Why the Term ‘Experimental Art’ Makes Me Laugh

All of the definitions of “experimental art” that I could find were pretty vague. Which was great, because they supported my position that the term “experimental art” is a bit laughable. Since I don’t have a concrete summary that explains what experimental art is, let’s look at the definition of the word “experimental”: “Serving the ends of or used as a means of experimentation.” Doesn’t that describe all art? Next, let’s look at a couple of synonyms for “experimental”: “exploratory, investigational” Doesn’t that describe all art? Now let’s look at the adjective “avant-garde,” which some might use interchangeably with “experimental”: “Favoring or introducing experimental or unusual ideas.” Doesn’t that describe all art? And finally, let’s look at a couple of synonyms for “avant-garde”: “innovative, inventive” Ask it with me now: Doesn’t that describe all art? Well, art worth talking about anyway That’s why I find the term “experimental art” redundant. […]

Read more

How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content

What’s so magical about the number three? It’s no accident that the number three is pervasive throughout some of our greatest stories, fairy tales, and myths. It’s also no coincidence that some of the most famous quotes throughout history are structured in three parts, nor is it surprising that the Rule of Three also works wonders in the world of comedy. It all comes down to the way we humans process information. We have become proficient at pattern recognition by necessity, and three is the smallest number of elements required to create a pattern. This combination of pattern and brevity results in memorable content, and that’s why the Rule of Three will make you a more engaging writer. Storytelling Have you ever wondered: What the Three Little Pigs, the Three Blind Mice, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Musketeers, the Three Wise Men, and the Three Stooges have in […]

Read more

Need a Breakthrough? Find the Right Balance of Creative and Strategic Thinking

For the marketing writer or business owner in 2019, deciding between strategic and creative is a luxury we can no longer afford. Giving rein to our creative individuality will set us apart and help us stand out in the vast sea of content. But we also want to be purposeful and strategic about how we’re spending our time. This week, we offered three posts that will nourish your creative side — while giving your strategic brain room to develop creative ideas into powerful strategies. Stefanie Flaxman started us off by talking about how damaging rigidity can be to creative work (like writing, marketing, or running a business). She turns “my way or the highway” to: “My way, or we could take the scenic route. Let’s open ourselves up to the best option.” Check out her post to help you find more creative flexibility — while staying true to your vision […]

Read more

Creative Business Kryptonite – Copyblogger

Idea generation to project execution follows the same trajectory as a piece of writing, from first draft to final draft. And what do your first draft and final draft have in common? Sometimes, not much. Yet, your first draft was a necessary part of your writing process. So, it doesn’t make sense to get discouraged, or give up, if an idea doesn’t work out. But it frequently happens, and it stops worthwhile creative projects from coming to life — in the form that they were meant to be in. Overcome “my way or the highway” In middle school, I had a hardline teacher who introduced us to the idiom, “My way or the highway.” Yes, sir. But if you want to work in a creative field, you have to laugh at that concept and kindly dismiss it. The original version of your idea won’t likely work out. It’s not that […]

Read more
1 2 3 4