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 www.brandscapingbook.com 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 www.townincbook.com.

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.

Free Twitter #Hashtag Tracker Drives Blog Post Traffic

Posted May 23rd @ 6:29 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Discover how Twitter #Hashtags can promote your content and attract new followers.

Click the image to download this free Mindjet MindManager Twitter #Hashtag Tracker mind map template. It contains over 450 Twitter #hashtag links for you to explore.

Use #hashtags to build your list, attract new followers, and discover others to follow.

How #hashtags can boost your online visibility

#Hashtags help you target your marketing messages to those who are looking for content like yours. They can help you:

  • Attract new followers. Include #hashtags when when promoting articles, blog posts, and upcoming events on Twitter. Use them when Replying and ReTweeting others. Use them to attract the attention of others who are looking for specific topics. Use them to boost attendance at your events.
  • Locate new influencers. Discover new sources of ideas, tactics, and tips. Save time by locating subject area experts and respected thought leaders in each area. Search for Twitter #hashtags targeting different writing and marketing-related topics. Gain greater access to more information and build lasting relationships with thought leaders.

Immediate access to specific topics and tasks within categories

You can for broad topics, like #business, #marketing, #writing, and #visualthinking. Or, you can dig deeper and search for specific ideas, tasks, and topics associated within each category.

Working with a large mind map

The first thing to do after downloading and opening the Twitter #Hashtag Tracker mind map is to select the center topic, and collapse it. The easiest way to do this is to use the Windows CTRL+D keyboard shortcut. At this point, you can breathe easier because all that’s visible are the 12 primary topics, i.e., #Business, #Marketing, #VisualThinking, #Psychology, etc.

From this perspective, we can see how mindmap topics logically relate to each other, making it easy to locate desired information.

Step 1: Locating #Hashtags

To better understand how topics relate to each other, let’s explore #marketing #hashtag.

Select the #marketing topic by clicking on it, then expand it by clicking the + sign.

The #marketing topic expands, revealing 14 subtopics related to marketing, each with its own #hashtag.

Each time you expand one of the 14 subtopics, it  reveals more resources for you to explore.

Step 2: Select the contentmarketing #hashtag

For example, let’s explore the various subtopics associated with #contentmarketing.

When you select it, 7 content marketing #hashtag categories appear, i.e., #blogging, #branding, etc.

Numbers follow some of the #hashtags. These numbers display the number of other #hashtags associated with the topic.

Note: when you create #hashtags, do not include spaces between words. Only the first word counts.

Step 3: Explore with greater precision

To dig deeper, let’s assume you’re looking for #hashtags appropriate for promoting a blog post you recently created or curated. Select the #content #hashtag. This will reveal 14 #hashtags for content related topics.

The ability to target specific topics can enhance the effectiveness of your content. The more specific you are, the more likely your content will resonate with your readers. This will pay off by increasing your followers. Using the appropriate #hashtags also makes it more likely to be noticed by the content creation or curation leaders you’re looking for.

Leveraging what you’ve just learned

The above provides just an example of how much easy-to-access on a mind map.

I created the example with Mindjet’s MindManager. MindManager has been the most popular mind mapping software program for several years.

Mindjet offers MindManager for smartphones, iPhones, Macs, and Windows computers.

If you’re new to mind mapping…

Discover for yourself how easy it is to manage ideas and information in a visual environment.

  1. Download the free 30-day trial version of Mindjet’s MindManager.
  2. Then, download  the #Hashtag Tracker Mind Map template. Download the template from Biggerplate, the world’s largest library of mind mapping templates

Working with the Twitter #Hashtag Tracker as an example, you’ll become comfortable navigating a mind map by selecting topics to expand or collapse. You’ll also be able to adding and deleting #hashtag topics and dragging them from location to location.

Contact me for additional mindmapping resources and training.

3 Important Content Marketing Lessons from The Content Formula

Posted May 16th @ 6:35 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

The Content Formula, by Michael Brenner and Liz Bedor, is a “must read” for content marketers.

It does more than just share valuable advice on an often ignored aspect of content marketing.

It can also help content marketers enjoy greater publishing success and return on investment.

Here are three of the The Content Formula’s most important lessons.

Lesson 1: Start with a short title and a long subtitle

A short title permits the use of a large type size. This attracts the reader’s eyes and immediately communicates what the book is all about. Titles containing a few, short words are best.

This works especially well when the two words in the title are of similar length, as in The Content Formula. (Both Content and Formula contain 7 letters.)

Notice that the least important word, i.e., The is smaller than the other words in the title. This places more emphasis on the more important words.

Why subtitles matter

Subtitles are as important as titles to a book’s success.

The Content Formula, by itself, doesn’t tell enough of a story to “make the sale.” The subtitle, Calculate the ROI of Content Marketing & Never Waste Money Again provides more information. It describes the book’s approach and the benefits readers will gain from the book:

  1. What’s the book about? Calculating ROI (return on investment)
  2. Who are the intended readers? Content marketers
  3. How will they benefit? They’ll never waste money again

Subtitles do more than reinforce titles, of course. Subtitles provide space for inserting search engine friendly keywords and phrases. These help readers locate your book when searching online, looking for blog posts and reviews.

“Magic” words and phrases

Effective titles and subtitles do more than just communicate the facts. The best titles use emotion to reinforce facts and turn interest into desire.

Suppose the subtitle read: Calculate the ROI of Content Marketing & Save Money. The title communicates the same information, but doesn’t resonate on an emotional level.

But, substituting Never Waste Money, reinforced with Again, generates urgency for action.

Lesson 2: Choose a simple structure and be concise

The Content Formula’s structure simplifies the topic to a few steps makes it appear more manageable.

The route to “never wasting money again” involves just three steps:

  1. Part One: Build the Business Case
  2. Part Two: Find the Budget
  3. Part Three: Measure the Business Case

Note the comfortable “logic” to the process.

In addition, short, imperative verbs, Build, Find, and Measure, introduce each step. This “tone of voice” reflects confidence and commands respect.


Selectivity is the key to a book’s effectiveness. There’s virtue in selectivity and conciseness.

What you leave out is as important as what you include.

If you include too much information, readers may overlook your book because it appears too long and will take too much time to read.

There’s no need to communicate everything about your topic or addressing a market niche.

There’s a lifetime ahead of you to share more information. You can provide more details blogging, speaking, or during interviews. The book is your opening act; there’s more to come!

A forty dollar, 300-page book may not help you achieve your goals as well as a twenty dollar, 110-page book

Lesson 3: Provide a complete solution

The Content Formula’s most important lesson is to not just write a book, but create a tool, like a workbook.  A workbook bridges the gap between information and reader action.

Many share helpful information, but few make it easy for readers to use the information. As a result, after reading the book, readers don’t pick it up again until they return it to the office bookshelf.

The Content Formula is a welcome exception. It contains tools that reinforce its message and encourage immediate action. The tools include:

  • Detailed instructions. The Content Formula outlines the steps Michael Brenner followed at a leading software provider. The subdivisions within each chapter describe specific tasks for you to perform. The text that follows explains the importance of each step and the goals you hope to achieve.
  • Space to take notes within each chapter. It’s one thing to read a page or two of text. The Content Formula provides space to take notes while you’re reading. Handwritten notes summarizing important points increase comprehension and retention.
  • Formulas for calculating specific costs. Content marketing success involves numbers based return on investment. These numbers are necessary to justify investment and to make informed decisions. You’ll understand the true costs and benefits of Brand Awareness, Brand Health, and Conversions. Many content marketers approach these topics from a subjective point of view.

Content Formula Cheat Sheets

The Content Formula ends with a Summary that guides you as you craft your own content formula. There are there are 10 Steps and 10 Calculations. Each contains space for you to immediately take action.

10 Steps

The 10 Steps starts with a two-page review of The Content Formulas’s key ideas. There is a one paragraph overview of each step, often stated as a question. The next sentence or two describes its relevance and suggests a next step. For example:

  • Question 4. What percentage of the traffic on your website comes from early-stage search? What percentage of the content on your website answers early-stage customer questions?
  • Question 7. How big is your content subscriber list? Every subscriber to your content marketing program provides reach, engagement, and the potential to convert to real sales.

The following ten pages provides space for you to address each topic, one topic per page.

10 Calculations

The 10 Calculations follows the same format. There is a two-page review of key questions, followed by space for calculating to address each question.

At first glance, the questions appear easy. But answering them requires the calculations introduced in earlier chapters. (Luckily, the calculations follow each question.) For example:

  • Question 5. What is the Value of Our Repeat Visitors? (Website Advertising Dollars Divided by Ad-driven Traffic) times Repeat Visitors.
  • Question 8. What is the Content Marketing Cost Per Lead? Content Marketing Costs divided by Content Marketing Leads.

Again, there are ten pages for you to start assemble the data needed for the calculations.


The Content Formula describes how to make better decisions based on return on investment.

It also  shares engagement ideas and tools you might consider for future books or white papers.

To learn more, visit www.thecontentformulabook.com. You can follow Michael Brenner on Twitter and the Marketing Insider Group. You can also follow Liz Bedor on Twitter and her Liz Bedor website.

If you’ve already read The Content Formula, share your comments below or on Amazon.

Content Marketing Creativity from an Artist’s Point of View

Posted May 9th @ 5:44 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

At a time when the role of content marketing creativity, craftsmanship, and strategy are being discussed in blogs and podcasts like Jay Acunzo’s Unthinkable.FM and Jason Miller’s The Miles Davis Approach to Content Marketing Strategy, I was reminded of the words of photorealism painter Richard Estes, quoted in Richard Estes’ Realism:

I think the popular concept of the artist is as a person who has this great passion and enthusiasm and super emotion. He just throws himself into this great masterpiece and collapses from exhaustion when it’s finished. It’s really not that way at all. Usually, it’s a pretty calculated, sustained, and slow process by which you develop something. The effect can be one of spontaneity, but that’s part of the artistry.

I think the real test is to plan something and be able to carry it out to the very end. Not that you’re always enthusiastic. It’s just that you have to get the thing out. It’s not done with one’s emotions; it’s done with the head.

As someone who has been inspired by Richard Estes’s paintings throughout most of my life, I find both inspiration and peace in his words.

The context of the words

What’s fascinating about Richard Estes’ paintings, as you can explore in the above book, or at numerous locations online) is the relevance of his words in the context of the intricacy of his images, which often include reflections and reflections of reflections.

  • What is his message to you?
  • How do you feel about his words?
  • What is he saying about deadlines versus “minimal viable product” and topics like “getting it shipped?”
  • Is content marketing a form of art?
  • What do these words mean to you, if you’re an author writing a book?

Share your comments below. Is this a content marketing creativity or productivity topic you’d like to see addressed more often from an artistic points of view?