My Number 1 Content Marketing Productivity Tip

Posted July 16th @ 5:46 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

My Tweet promoting Mike Murray’s excellent 54 Content Marketing Examples, Tools, Tips, and Resources, prompted many requests for me to share my favorite productivity tip.

Since my tip was too long to reduce it 140 characters, I’m posting one of my favorite articles that addresses the main aspects of my favorite productivity tip in greater detail.

Let me know if you find it helpful and would like to learn more about the topic.

Are You Tired of Last-minute Deadlines?

If you are, maybe you’re trying to do too much at the last minute!

Here’s an alternative to the continuous deadline-caused stress that undermines many marketing programs. It involves scheduling several short working sessions spread over several days.

Task-oriented versus project-oriented

The typical content marketing newsletter or blog post requires more than just writing. There are several steps (or tasks) involved.

When trying to do too much in a single, long session, fatigue quickly sets in—especially if you’re not seeing the results you hoped for.

Breaking your projects into smaller tasks that you address in short, i.e., 15 or 20 minute, working sessions reduces stress by replacing a big, hard-to-achieve deadline with a series of shorter, easier-to-achieve mini-deadlines.

6-steps to success

Here’s an example:

  1. Select the products you’re going to promote. Start Sunday afternoon, or perhaps, before going to bed Sunday evening. Select the topics and products you’re going to address in your next newsletter or weekly blog post. In addition, gather together literature sheets and links that you want to reference.
  2. Prepare the first draft as quickly as possible. The next day, commit to writing the first draft in a single session. Suggestion: set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes, and write as quickly as possible. Avoid self-editing while writing. See
  3. Edit your draft. Editing involves two steps. First, spend approximately half your time refining your headlines so they will engage your reader’s attention and attract search engines. Then, ruthlessly cut unnecessary words, break long sentences into two, or more, shorter sentences, and look for long words you can replace with short words.
  4. Enhance your words with graphics. Today, graphics are a necessity, not a luxury. Look for story-telling stock photographs that can attract attention and look for graphics, like the flow chart shown above, that reinforce your message. These graphics will also play an important role in promoting your content via social media.
  5. Schedule your project’s publication. Never publish your newsletter or blog post immediately upon completion. Schedule it for the next day. This provides a final opportunity to review your work and allows you to schedule your social media message promotion for maximum exposure.
  6. Promote your content. Content needs to be promoted, no matter how helpful or relevant it is. Use social media to promote your latest blog posts and email newsletters. Promotion also involves responding to comments tracking the results (calls, sales, website traffic, downloads, etc.) of your content.

Creating your own productivity habits

The above, of course, is not a universal panacea. It’s an approach for you to try as a first step to escaping deadline madness. There’s no “silver bullet” that will work for everyone.

Experiment and see what works best for you. Over time, you should be able to complete each of the above steps in 20 to 30 minute. In the beginning, you may need more time. But, overall, your efficiency will quickly improve.

You may also become comfortable working on more than one project at a time, i.e. scheduling time to prepare graphics for one project in the morning while promoting previously-published content in the afternoon.

Finally, analyzing what goes into newsletters and blog posts opens the door to delegating some tasks to others.

Will this productivity approach work for you? Comment below or share your comments via email and I’ll send you some of my other content marketing productivity resources. If you have a different content marketing challenge or concern, share it with using my 2-minute survey!

Serial Content at Work on the Content Marketing Institute

Posted July 6th @ 6:10 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Explore the power of serial content marketing at work in Jodi Harris’s recent Content Marketing Book of Answers: Strategy & Planning.

A serial content marketing strategy offers you two important advantages: it saves you time deciding what to write about and it breathes new life into “evergreen”content–blog posts that don’t go out of date.

Serial content background

I’ve written about serial content in two previous Content Marketing Institute posts:

Serial Content at work

In answering the first question in Jodi’s Strategy and Planning article, for example, she provides a link where readers can learn more:

Find more answers: If you want additional clarity on the content marketing process, as well as step-by-step guidance for managing its most essential components — CMI’s Back-to-Basics series is a great place to start.

The  link takes you to the portal page, at left, where you can access to all of the blog posts in the Back to Basics series.

Click here to view the page at higher magnification and explore the links.

Notice that some of the articles were written 2 years ago. But, because they contained timeless information, the series marketing approach allows the Content Marketing Institute to share the information with newcomers.

Use titles that sell

Another reason to visit the actual page is to examine the titles of the posts that make up the series, as well as the 3 and 4-line summaries that accompany each title.

Notice how each succinctly “sells” the topic and the benefits that readers will gain from reading the post. The titles and summaries also contain the keywords and phrases that prospective clients and customers may be searching for.

Consider the first title, A Blueprint to Jump-Start Your Content Marketing Strategy. The 8 words and 60 characters (counting spaces between words) are enough to explain to you (and search engines) what the article is about.

In addition to the key phrase, Content Marketing Strategy, there are a pair of emotionally strong, descriptive words, Blueprint and Jump-Start. These arouse your curiosity.

Tips for effective summary statements

Each title is followed by a 3 or 4-line summary. These contain 40 to 50 words that reinforce the importance of reading the article.

The summaries teach additional lessons. In the first example, for example, the emphasis is placed on explaining the “Blueprint” metaphor.

In the next example, Effective Content Marketing: 5 Steps to Track Your Efforts,” the emphasis is on arousing your curiosity by discovering “through one process you can use you can use to understand how well your content efforts are working…” Note the simple, conversational language.

Tip: When analyzing examples like the titles and summaries on this page, copy and paste the text into a word-processed document, then use the highlighter feature to call attention to significant words and phrases.

Start with a content audit

If the concept of serial content appeals to you, you might start by exploring the blog posts that located in different categories of your blog. Note the topics that were strong performers in terms of conversions, comments, or social media conversations. This analysis may help you identify series topics where a strong content foundation already exists for you to build on.

In doing so, you may also discover topics where you already have a strong start on writing a book or ebook!

Share your questions about serial content below. Could a serial content approach could work for you? How could it benefit you? What’s holding you back? Respond below, via email, Twitter, or use this 2-minute survey.

Anne Janzer’s Writing and Self-Publishing Advice

Posted June 22nd @ 4:24 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

If you’re considering writing or self-publishing a book, you’ll find a wealth of ideas and tips in Anne Janzer’s experiences shared in the recording and transcript of our recent interview.

During a recent Published & Profitable interview, Anne Janzer, candidly shared her experiences and the lessons she learned writing and self-publishing The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear.

The Writer’s Process offers fresh insights, based on the latest cognitive psychology research into how a writer’s brain either works with them, or against them.

Last year, Anne Janzer successfully wrote and published her first book, Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn.

Highlights from my interview with Anne Janzer

During the recorded interview, Anne was very candid as she described her writing process. Highlights of the recording and transcript include:

  • First versus second books
  • Free writing and writing to discover
  • Drafting versus writing
  • Writing versus publishing
  • The role of blogging in book publishing
  • Finding the time to write and publish
  • How writing may change you and your business
  • The independent publisher’s mindset

During the interview, Anne shared a timeline of her activities. The timeline extends from the completion of her first book right up to the present. Although I’ve written over 40 books, I learned a lot from the interview. In fact, I’ve already started to integrate some of her ideas into my present publishing activities.

How to access the interview recording and transcript

Whether you prefer listening or reading, there is no charge for accessing either of the options described below:

Next steps

If you like what you hear or see, here are some additional resources to consider:

After listening to the recording or reading the transcript, Anne and I welcome your comments and questions. Add your comments below, or add them to Anne Janzer’s blog or her Contact Form.

Why It’s Time to Rearrange Your Writing Bookshelf {Author Interview}

Posted June 12th @ 3:45 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

If you’re like most authors, you probably have a bookshelf (or 2) filled with writing books by authors like Ann Handley, Steven King, Anne Lamont, and William Zinsser.

However, as you’ll discover during this Tuesday’s interview with Anne Janzer, you’re likely to have to rearrange your collection to accommodate this new classic.

Anne Janzer’s The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear, offers fresh insights based on the latest brain research.

Using simple, conversational language, The Writer’s Process addresses familiar problems like focus, procrastination, creativity, and productivity. Writer’s block is the term usually used to describe the paralyzing symptoms that can hold authors in hostage for months.

In just 20 short chapters, organized in 3 parts, The Writer’s Process shares fresh insights plus dozens of provocative ideas that can help you unlock the blocks that may be holding back your career or your writing and marketing progress.

What’s it like to write 2 books in 2 years?

If Anne Janzer’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you attended my interview with her last year, following the publication of her first self-published Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in an Age of Churn.

As you can imagine, writing 2 books in 2 years is a significant achievement!

During Tuesday’s interview, Anne will describe the lessons she learned and the challenges she overcame creating The Writer’s Process. But, we’ll address compare her recent writing experiences last year with her Subscription Marketing book.

How you’ll benefit from attending Tuesday’s interview

Anyone considering writing and self-publishing a brand-building book can benefit from my interview with Anne Janzer describing The Writer’s Process.

My interview with Anne Janzer takes place Tuesday, June 14, at 4:00 PM Eastern.

To attend:

  • Dial 605-475-6150
  • PIN 513391

All Published and Profitable friends and members are invited to attend. There is no charge. You’re invited to share this invitation with your friends and co-workers.

During the interview, you’ll gain a fresh perspective on writing and self-publishing. There will also be an opportunity to to ask Anne questions about The Writer’s Process and share your writing concerns at the end of the call. To make sure your questions will be addressed, submit them before the call as comments, below. Call in early and say hello before the recording begins!

Andrew Davis’s Content Marketing Writing Tips

Posted June 6th @ 6:13 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Click the image to hear content marketing expert Andrew Davis, Brandscaping author, share valuable career and writing advice.

Even if you were unable to attend last week’s interview with Andrew Davis, you can still listen to one of the most interesting interviews of the past few years.

Andrew provided a timeline of his career as an “endlessly curious” reader, the lessons he learned from his network television work with the Muppets and the Today show, and his agency’s pioneering experiences with content marketing.

These experiences prepared the groundwork for his Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships. Content marketers and authors will enjoy his candor as he described the deadline he was given–not negotiated–and how he met it.

Learn more about Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships at where you’ll find videos, excerpts, and other resources. In addition to the details about the book, the website from both a content and design point of view is a state-of-the-art example of the type of web sites that readers are looking for today.

From there, Andrew described the question that prompted him to write next book, Town Inc: Grow Your Business. Save Your Town. Leave Your Legacy. During his travels, he often noticed how cities and towns of approximately the same size, sometimes just 12 miles apart, were sharing radically different futures:

  • Town A might be enjoying economic prosperity, a busy downtown, and an enviable quality of life.
  • Town B, just a few miles away, however, might be in obvious decline, with declining population, vacant buildings, and a diminishing quality of life.

Andrew began studying the phenomenon, trying to isolate the variables–which he found were occurring throughout all regions of the United States.

Town Inc. is a book he wrote to inspire citizen activists to examine their town’s future and to play a role in breathing new life into their town based on the key variables he identified. This is a totally different book: it’s not an urban planning book, it’s not a geography book, and its free from the jargon and politics that characterize so many books about America’s towns and cities.

Instead, Town Inc. is a book anyone who cares can read and come away inspired about their town’s future.

Learn more about Town Inc. at

Note: Andrew Davis will be playing an active role at Content Marketing World in Cleveland. His scheduled events include:

Please share your comments and questions after you have listened to the interview recording.

Join Me As I Explore the 2 Sides of Andy Davis {Author Interview}

Posted May 27th @ 2:32 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Join me next Tuesday, May 30, when I interview Andrew Davis, content marketing author/keynote speaker, and catalyst for urban change.

Andrew Davis is a fascinating exception to the conventional wisdom, which advises experts to “find your niche and dominate it!

I discovered Andy through his frequent, Content Marketing Institute blog posts, blog posts, Claim Your Fame podcasts, and presentations. He is also an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program.

Andy also contributes a provocative Unsolicited Advice feature in the CCO (Chief Content Officer) Magazine. It’s always the first thing I turn to when the latest issue arrives.


To content marketers, Andy is best known as the author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships.

Brandscaping is based on a simple question, Who has your next customer as their current customer?

Brandscaping contains hundreds of case studies and lessons describing how firms, both large and small, out-marketed their competition using content-based partnership tactics.

To help you answer the question, Andy has organized the contents into three parts:

  1. The Paradigm Shifts
  2. Branding in the New World
  3. Content is Currency

The Appendix contains numerous resources, including 27 Questions to Ask Yourself which you can use to facilitate discussion when introducing Brandscaping to your clients and coworkers.

Town Inc.

Andy’s second bookTown Inc., subtitled Grow Your Business, Save Your Town. Leave Your Legacy, is a vital resource for informed citizens concerned about their hometown’s survival and quality of life.

It’s a thoroughly-researched and statistically-based book introduces a new approach that addresses a topic of growing relevance written from a historical, rather than economics and world trade perspective.

Town Inc. is a readable, story-based comparisons of identical towns in adjacent regions, one of which has a vibrant economy and attractive quality of life, the other with a stagnant economy and deteriorating quality of life.

It’s the perfect book to inspire citizens to Stake their Claim! a encourage appropriate action from unexpected community resources.

Why you should attend this call

As always, I want my conversation with Andrew Davis to uncover lessons and tips that all of us can apply to the pragmatics of content marketing and writing books that make a difference. But, that’s just the starting point.

More important, as I talk to Andrew next Tuesday, I’ll be looking for clues that will help all of us “stake our claim” (Andrew’s words) as thought leaders.

To attend this free call

My interview with Andrew Davis takes place Tuesday, May 30, at 4:00 PM Eastern. To attend, dial 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. All Published & Profitable friends and members are invited to attend. You’re invited to pass along this invitation. There will be an opportunity to ask Andy questions at the end of the call.