How Running and Writing are the Same

I’ve recently began running on a (fairly) regular schedule. I try to run at least a couple of miles a day.

The result: I signed up for my 5K in a couple of weeks. Dun Dun Dun.

In doing so, it’s gotten me thinking. Running and writing are pretty similar. You can’t improve your time unless you consistently run. You can’t shake that “holy cow I feel like I’m going to pass out” feeling unless you consistently run. You can’t improve your health unless you consistently run.

My beast of a brother and I after he forced me into a work out at his gym's grand opening while he sat and watched... Cool.

My beast of a brother and I after he forced me into a work out at his gym’s grand opening while he sat and watched… Cool.

Writing is the same. If you want to improve your writing skills, it isn’t going to happen unless you consistently write. (I look like a total hypocrite because I have been slacking on my blog, but here is my attempt to get back on schedule.) You can’t shake that “holy cow how am I going to come up with this content” unless you are consistently doing so. You can’t become a decent/good/excellent writer without actually writing.

Running comes naturally and easy to some; others not so much. In my personal case, I’m one of those not so much people. I am trying to get over the “I feel like I’m dying” hump. I’ve committed to be determined and to push myself to become a better runner. It’s the same with writing. If you put your mind to it and are determined to make yourself a better writer, you will be. I’ve never heard of anyone getting worse at writing the more they practice. That can be applied to almost every aspect of life, but writing and running in particular stand out to me personally.

You can call yourself a runner, but without actually running on a consistent basis, you’re only fooling yourself. Same with writing. Excuse me while I go for a run.

A Content Post About Content Including Content

Content. Content. Content.

That’s the talk of the town, the town meaning the marketing world. And it’s for a reason.

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Gary Vaynerchuk nails it with this quote. Content is absolutely king but it wouldn’t be anywhere without it’s queen, marketing. Marketing is what guides and drives the content to the right places and to the right audience. Combining these two together makes for a pretty impressive monarchy.

Crafting new, unique and engaging content is extremely important and at the same time tends to be difficult. I’ve read countless blogs looking for the secret formula telling me how to create the best possible blog post. I hate to break it to you [and myself], but there’s not one. That’s the beauty of content marketing and the direction that it’s going. There’s no definitive answer of how to create the world’s best blog post. There are absolutely suggestions and educated guesses that should be followed and understood, but there’s no telling what crazy blog all of your Facebook friends will be sharing this week.

So get to writing, people! We’re already behind of tomorrow. 😉

 

Bold-Faced Living. Be Bold.

When someone tells you to be bold, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Skydiving? Chopping all of your hair off and dying it purple? Jumping off a cliff into a lake? Yep. All of those things come to mind.

BUT in those instances, you’re only bold for a second or minute or however long it takes you to dye your hair again. That’s great, but what if you lived a bold life? I mean challenging yourself daily to be extraordinarily bold.

Kevin Miller, Sr. Pastor at Hebron Baptist Church, talked about that this past Sunday. He talked about being bold for Christ and challenging yourself to live a bold faced life through God. He read some excerpts from Acts 4, which was ironic because that’s the next book of the Bible I’ll be reading after I finish Luke. Anyways- back on track. This got me thinking about how I can apply this idea to my life. Being bold for me and being bold for you are two different things.

Bold for me, means not being scared to reference Christ in my daily conversations. It means not doubting myself when it comes to professional and personal ventures and ideas. It means that if I have something set in my mind to do, I will make it happen, even if it’s not right away. My bold goal that is achievable every day, is to make someone smile each day.

I would be lying (and probably not someone working in the content marketing industry) if I said I didn’t correlate this idea with bold faced font. Reader’s eyes are immediately drawn to words in bold. People are drawn to boldness. Even if it’s negative, people are drawn to it. Don’t tell me you don’t look at an accident every time you pass one. Don’t tell me you’re not interested in the crazy local news story happening. You are. We all are. It’s bold.

Living boldly in a positive way will probably make me feel like a better human being and not just a bump on a log. I’m sure it will do the same for you. How can you be bold?

A Big Mistake of Content Writing

I was writing a couple pieces last week when my boss asked if he could share some insight with me. I intriguingly responded, “Please do,” as I crave all the advice I can get. 

“The biggest mistake you can make when writing content is assuming that people will actually read what you write all the way through,” he said.

Wow. I knew this all along, but I have never really processed it or heard it from someone else’s point of view. It got me thinking. If I completely dive in and target what I’m writing to the people who may actually read it, then it will be content that does it’s job. They may even read it all the way through. 

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The other day I googled, “How to make a boring topic interesting.” I found some really great ideas and tips, but something stood out to me above all of that. The guys at Copyblogger, who if you haven’t noticed I think are amazing, addressed this issue. They said that “there are not boring topics, only boring writers.” Well that’s a nice slap in the face. Key word being nice, because that’s exactly what I needed to read. Anyone can write an article on organic milk. A great writer can write an article on organic milk and make it fun, interesting and engaging. 

It all ties together into what my boss said to me. If I can picture myself in someone’s shoes and figure out who would search a so-called boring topic or who would actually see my headline and stop to read it, then that’s enough in itself for it to be a good piece of interesting, engaging content.

Four Reasons to Include PR in Your 2014 Marketing Budget

So true!

Garrett Public Relations

If you’re thinking about your marketing budget for 2014, don’t forget to include PR. Why, you may ask, should I include PR? Here are four good reasons:

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1)      PR can be leveraged in a number of ways across the marketing spectrum. It can be used to feed social media, to approach prospective customers, to position you as the expert in your field, to raise the visibility of the company, and more.

2)      PR is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools around. Look at what you’re spending on company T-shirts and coffee mugs and maybe reallocate some of those dollars to a press release or some media outreach. Start small and see what the results are.

3)      PR paves the way for your sales force. It validates why your product or service matters. Imagine your salesperson walking in to meet with a prospective customer who’s already read about your company…

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Why It Should Be Short

Yo check it out! The dudes at Copyblogger are awesome and created an essay/blog contest. Get this- the post can only be 250 words! Seems crazy, but that’s how they can separate the good and bad writing. Keeping it short, sweet and to the point is key in this instance. 

ImageI think that’s true for a lot of blog posts. In my experience and opinion, shorter blog posts get more engagement and traffic because it doesn’t take an hour to read. Sometimes more detail is necessary, but from what I’ve seen- most people read the headline, open the post (if they are intrigued) and find the bolded bullet points to get the gist of the idea. If they are compelled further, then they’ll read the entire thing. 

Keep it short and simple. It makes your writing more conversational and leaves room for guided interpretation. 

Started From The Bottom, Now We’re Here

Okay, excuse the Drake reference. But it totally works in this case. Here’s why:

Sometimes it’s easy to feel low on the totem pole and it’s hard to forget how far you’ve come. In my case, 6 months ago I was doodling on my notes in class- dreaming about the day I will be working instead of sitting in class. That day is here and I don’t want to spend my time day dreaming anymore.

Wishing your career to the next level makes you forget about the process of getting to where you want to be. One awesome piece of writing or one really good review won’t make you get there. Working hard every single day will set you apart from those who spend their day counting down until 5. I’m not working for the weekend. I’m working to become a better writer, employee and person and I challenge you to do the same.

We all start at the bottom of somewhere; whether it’s your class, your career, your team or your organization. What makes you different is what you choose to do while at the bottom in order to get you not at the top, but where you dream to be. 

 

It’s Time to Break Up With Your Insecurity

IMG_2543Writing can be overwhelming and at times, unsettling. You spend hours working on something just to have it returned with details about all the changes that should be made. That’s not ideal, especially when you are trying to do your best.

Something that I have to remind myself of all the time is that when someone comes back with suggestions or just isn’t happy with the direction my piece is going, to remain confident and to throw any slight insecurity I may have out the window. Releasing your insecurities will make your life in general AND when it comes to writing a WHOLE lot easier. 

One of my old college professors, who had a big impact on my career, used to tell us that when we were giving a presentation to the class to keep your confidence in the forefront of your mind because the audience wants you to succeed. Nobody wants to watch someone stumble over their words, get lost in their thoughts, or have a complete meltdown [as interesting as it may be].

It’s the same with writing. Readers want to be entertained. They have gotten so far as to reading your post; so keep them hooked with your confidence and security in the fact that you are capable of doing so. It’s time to break up with your insecurity and stay focused on your confidence so that the dreams of your past WILL be the reality of your future.