Tag Archive | "Transform"

How Adobe is Using AI to Transform the Customer Experience

Adobe has now integrated their artificial intelligence platform Adobe Sensei into Photoshop and most of their creative products. “Adobe Sensei is an AI and machine learning platform that deeply understands how our users work and delivers a lot of simple workflow that makes that magical moment happens in any of our applications,” noted Abhay Parasnis, CTO & EVP at Adobe. “What makes Sensei so unique is that Adobe is the only company in the industry that can marry art of content and creative expression and science of delight on a massive scale.”

“The key areas we focus on are content intelligence, computational creativity, and the experience which is related to understanding events related to how content is delivered,” commented Scott Prevost, VP Engineering of Adobe Sensei and Search in an Adobe explanation of the product.

“If I can go all the way from how I create content in the creative tool and then have the ability to personalize it at scale to Adobe Experience Cloud, then have the ability to measure it through analytics and feed the measurement back into the creative workflow, saying these designs work better, that actually is the holy grail in what customers tell us they want,” says Parasnis.

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO, recently commented on CNBC about how this is helping to improve the Adobe customer experience:

On the creativity side, everybody fears the blank page, so if AI can start to infer what people want to do in terms of using either Photoshop or one of our creative products and when you can speak to the computer and it understands and infers what you want to do and makes our products and tools more accessible, that’s a huge win. Then you can attract a tremendous amount of customers.

At the other end of the spectrum, when you have millions of customers hitting your website, the AI that we have on the Digital Experience Cloud being able to infer intelligence from the trillions of transactions and ensure that you get the right offer that was meant for you in real time, that’s something that humans cannot do.

Those are two really good examples at different ends of the spectrum of how AI enables our customers to do more with our technology.

The post How Adobe is Using AI to Transform the Customer Experience appeared first on WebProNews.


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Transform Your Business Website Using Our Free ‘Design 101’ Ebook

Is your current website design working for your business as well as it could be? You might know that it’s not, but don’t know where to start when it comes to a redesign. We understand that. Choosing a WordPress theme for your website can be a little overwhelming and leave you with lots of further
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Transform Your Content from Predictable to Provocative with This Bold Method

"Instead of pushing a single idea forward, there’s a sudden disturbance." – Sean D'Souza

Stop for a moment to think about a super-athlete.

A person who won 122 consecutive races and broke the world record four times.

That super-athlete is Edwin C. Moses, a man who completely dominated the 400-meter hurdle event and won every race in sight between 1977 and 1987. And then it happened. On June 4, 1987, in Madrid, Spain, Danny Harris beat Moses.

Objections in articles are like Danny Harris.

They bring in an unexpected element to one-sided content. Instead of the article pushing a single idea forward, there’s a sudden disturbance. Let’s find out exactly why objections are so powerful and how to use them in your writing.

So, why are objections so critical?

There’s the obvious reason why objections are part of content that deeply engages your audience: it’s called drama.

Most articles start off driving home a point and keep that sustained point of view until the end of the article. Such an article is almost like an Edwin Moses race: elegant and dominating, but a bit predictable.

When you insert an objection in your article, you create a counterpoint. You add a sense of competition and ignite some drama.

Drama alone is reason enough to make sure you put an objection in your article. But the second, and probably even more important reason, is balance.

When you solely focus on explaining and supporting your idea, you only provide one point of view. The moment an objection shows up, you play devil’s advocate.

Here are two examples that show how objections can work in your content.

Example #1: Speed-reading is a silly idea when learning

Let’s say your article is about speed-reading.

Sure, everyone seems to think speed-reading is a great idea. After all, most of us are falling behind on our reading, and speed-reading seems like a smart solution to that problem.

But the point of your article appears to be different from popular opinion … and you even suggest that speed-reading is like taking a photocopy: You read information but don’t retain it. The concepts are not well-massaged into your brain.

Now, instead of only showing that perspective, you can balance out your content by also discussing circumstances where speed-reading could be beneficial. You’ll support your point and demonstrate that you’ve thought of counterarguments.

See how objections give the article depth?

Let’s look at another example.

Example #2: Why it’s great to visit New Zealand in February (not December)

When you think of a country that’s green and clean, you tend to think of New Zealand. Fabulous beaches, super-friendly people, astounding scenery, and yes, rain.

Auckland can get as much as 176 days of rain in a year. It’s not that silly drizzle that stays around all day. It’s there in all its fury, and then it’s gone. Even so, in New Zealand in February, the greenery starts to take on a tinge of brown, thanks to the scorching sunshine.

But let’s say you’re really keen for tourists to have a good time, and you make a case for why February is the right time to visit New Zealand, including points like how easy it is to book a rental car and Airbnb.

Well, what would someone who thinks February is not the best time to visit say? And how would you respond to that person who thinks another time of year would be more conducive to a fun trip?

Every article has two sides, and the moment you bring in objections, you create that sense of drama and balance.

Where do you add an objection in your article?

Most objections go toward the end of an article. Let’s say your article is about 10 paragraphs long. You’d want the objection to show up around the seventh paragraph.

However, there are also situations where you can’t wait that long to insert the objection.

If you think your article’s message is going to be met with instant disapproval, you’ll need to put the objection right at the beginning.

For example, your article’s headline could be about “how to get rid of all the emails in your inbox.” To most of us that sounds interestingly horrific, doesn’t it? Why would you want to get rid of the emails, painful as they can be?

In such a situation, the headline may pull in the reader, but they could be hesitant to accept your idea.

You could then add something like what you read above to your introduction:

“Why would you want to get rid of email? Email, as crazy as it can drive us all, is a vital form of communication. Just stepping in and wiping out all of your emails seems like a wanton act of madness.”

See what just happened?

The objection immediately addressed concerns that your headline might raise. As the article unfolds, you can go back to supporting the original concept of “getting rid of all your emails.”

Once you add — and counter — an objection right away, you can make your point without the haunting feeling that the reader is not quite on your side.

In most articles, you don’t need to add more than one objection, but in some cases, you may find that two or even three objections are appropriate. It’s your job to provide reassurance with your content and drive the prospect to action.

Take a tip from copywriters

When you read a well-written sales letter, you’ll always notice objections.

A good salesperson will also counter objections, often before the prospect has a chance to bring them up. This is a solid practice because we all have our own points of view.

We want to be convinced, but we are also inherently skeptical.

And when you aim to persuade with a sales page or an article, objections help you craft a stronger message.

If you don’t address objections, your prospect may become too skeptical and hesitate. That hesitation slows down — and may even derail — your persuasive efforts.

Yet, the moment you prove that you’re balanced in your approach, you bring in a huge dollop of trust.

Add some Danny Harris to your content

Edwin Moses was super cool.

Dominating a race for a solid 10 years is a stunning achievement. But after a while, his wins became predictable.

To bring drama and balance into your article, include the unexpected Danny Harris victory. It’s a way to keep your readers absorbed in your content from start to finish.

The post Transform Your Content from Predictable to Provocative with This Bold Method appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Europeans Using Solar Power To Transform Urine Into Beer




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For the second year in a row, a team of researchers at Belgium’s Ghent University is collecting urine at one of Europe’s largest festivals, Roskilde. The researchers are hoping that by the time next year’s festival rolls around, one of the country’s breweries should have plenty of recycled urine beer to pour out for adventurous drinkers. The first time around, researchers say the goal was to extract nutrients that could be used as fertilizer. According to an article last summer, more than 25,000 liters of urine were collected and the fertilizer that was produced from it provided nourishment to a barley crop. This year, the researchers were after another critical beer ingredient: water.

 

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How Google Beacons Could Transform Local Business

Columnist Chris Marentis believes that the future of personalized advertising is already upon us thanks to Google’s new, open BLE beacon format, Eddystone.

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3 Articles that Will Help You Transform Your Rough Ideas Into Refined Digital Content

Copyblogger Collection: From content strategy to content production

I’m a one-step-at-a-time kind of gal who likes to make progress without feeling a lot of pressure.

But when you embark on a new project, you often want to tackle every task all at once and inevitably end up feeling overwhelmed. It’s helpful to have a solid starting place and clear path to follow to keep anxiety from taking over.

To point you in the right direction, here are three handpicked Copyblogger articles from our collection that will help you:

  • Develop your content strategy
  • Plan specific types of different content to create
  • Implement classic tips from traditional magazines to produce print-quality digital content that hooks readers

As you work your way through the material, think of these lessons as a mini content marketing course.


13 Simple Questions to Help You Draft a Winning Content Strategy [Free Worksheet]

winning-content-strategy

You know you want to create focused content — with a clear purpose — not just a hodgepodge of articles, podcasts, or webinars. But how do you actually map out a content strategy that summarizes your goals and keeps you accountable?

In 13 Simple Questions to Help You Draft a Winning Content Strategy by Demian Farnworth, you’ll get a free worksheet with detailed instructions on how to get your content plan out of your head, so you’ll see a greater return on your content marketing investment.


How to Write 16 Knockout Articles When You Only Have One Wimpy Idea

knockout

I wrote How to Write 16 Knockout Articles When You Only Have One Wimpy Idea to help you brainstorm all the different types of content you can create to build authority.

If you’re stumped for ideas about how to execute the content strategy you’ve outlined, this article will invigorate your creative sensibilities.


Master These 10 Print Magazine Tips to Create Irresistible Online Content

print-content-quality

Demian is back. And in this article, he reveals the anatomy of great content.

Master These 10 Print Magazine Tips to Create Irresistible Online Content clearly defines why powerful media can emerge and populate everywhere — even when we are infested with a plague of dull blog posts, podcasts, and videos.

Discover these 10 vital lessons from print publishing that can help the content on your own digital media platform rise above a sea of mediocrity.

Accelerate your content marketing education

Use this post (and save it for future reference!) to accelerate your content marketing education without the panic that sets in when you’re out of your comfort zone.

This is doable. This is for you.

We’ll see you back here on Monday with a fresh article to kick off the week!

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Copyblogger Media’s Editor-in-Chief. Don’t follow her on Twitter.

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25 Ideas to Transform Ho-Hum Infographics into Something Extraordinary

illustration of a brain generating ideas

A few weeks ago here on Copyblogger, Demian Farnworth presented the infographic as the Salvador Dalí of content marketing — the most interesting person at the cocktail party.

More than just a superficial presence, an infographic is a significant asset pillar with diverse possibilities that help you grow your media empire.

Today, let’s equate the Internet to the world of pop music. In this case, infographics are The Beatles.

They’re irresistible. They create massive hits. At their best, they balance style and substance.

They can be relentlessly imaginative. And like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, they can communicate sophisticated ideas to a mass audience.

Yep, they’re lovable. How lovable?

The factoid below comes from a 2012 infographic by NeoMam Studios.

google-infographics

Even stories about infographics sizzle. I wrote “The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Infographics” and it climbed to the number one spot on my chart last year.

Before we brainstorm infographic ideas, let’s discuss why infographics work.

Why do we love infographics?

Here are 15 reasons I’ve assessed:

  1. They’re so webable. First, I must offer my theory and ask you to live with my funny new word. Although data visualizations exist in traditional media, they’ve exploded in the digital age because they perfectly suit new media and the devices we use to consume information.
  2. We’re visual creatures. The fun, interactive infographic, “13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics,” makes this case with powerful data points.

visual-creatures

  1. They simplify complex ideas. Infographics aid comprehension by pairing text with straightforward pictures.
  2. They’re easy to share. We love to share information we find valuable. It feeds our appetites for being conduits of wisdom. Creators and publishers of infographics encourage you to share their content and often simplify the process by providing code you can embed on your website.
  3. They’re familiar. The general recipe for infographics features ingredients we’re comfortable with: illustrations, icons, charts, diagrams, and captions. The familiarity speaks to us and obliterates any objections.
  4. They travel well. Infographics are multi-screen portable. They translate nicely to slides and also tend to work on paper.
  5. They’re fast. Up above, in Number Two, you see an interesting data point about how fast we’re able to process visual information. The process of reading takes time. Given our short attention spans, the speed with which we can absorb visual information makes infographics attractive.
  6. They’re less taxing. A related, but slightly different idea than the one above about speed is we give ourselves a little break when we digest information aided by visuals. We encounter a lot of information daily. We can only read so much. The data below comes from:
  7. information-overload

  8. People thrive on data. We’re drawn to data and proof points. I like this presentation from Juice, Inc. that explains how data drives exploration, understanding, presentation, discovery, motivation, learning, and above all, “doing.”
  9. They tell stories. A lot of infographics use storytelling tactics including characters, conflicts, problems, and resolutions. Stories hold our attention as we relate to characters and go on journeys with them.
  10. They promote branding. When infographics are republished, a brand travels with the image, which usually includes a logo and URL.
  11. People search for them. Because they’re so useful (and often entertaining), people search for infographics, as evidenced in the statistic presented above. Since search engines can’t index the content within an image, headlines often appear with the explicit label “Infographic”.
  12. People collect them. Do you do this? I sure do. I stash infographics for safekeeping on Pinterest and in my swipe files if I suspect I’ll want to reference them (or use them) again in the future.
  13. They dominate the page. I believe one of the many factors that make infographics appealing is they tend to dominate a webpage.
  14. They’re generally large and colorful. Unlike plain text, infographics defeat distractions and help us focus on the content.

Ready to create your own infographic?

Here are 25 infographic types, themes, and concepts:

  1. Process. Create an infographic to explain a process. They’re ideal for breaking down and simplifying a multi-step process that may otherwise appear intimidating.
  2. Comparison. These images may include sections such as: before and after, this vs. that, old way vs. new way, us and them, etc.
  3. Timeline. Infographics help illustrate the evolution of a subject matter.
  4. Roundup. Various types of roundups, such as quotes, reviews, favorites, etc. can be presented as a collection.
  5. Components. Just as it’s useful to break down a process into steps, you can decouple the components of just about anything to aid understanding, i.e., an engine, recipe, or team.
  6. Instructions. Use an infographic to simplify complex tutorials or communicate how to complete a task.
  7. Charts and tables. Simple charts or tables featuring icons or images representing a topic create visual interest.
  8. Categories. Take any category of interest to your audience and tell a story with an infographic. Check out one of my favorites, “The Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music”. Amazing.
  9. Study of a “universe.” Produce massive visual collections on: beers, bands, books, bikes, beaches, etc. Here’s The Ultimate Infographic on Infographics from Curata.
  10. Warnings. This popular article style tends to be irresistible. A list of dangers, myths, or mistakes is a powerhouse for infographics, too.
  11. Metaphor. I love it when an interesting metaphor presents a concept. I bet you do too.
  12. Résumé. Job hunting? The résumé as an infographic is such an engaging idea, services such as vizualize.me and kinzaa.com have sprung forth.
  13. Report. Research and survey results offer great value in traditional report formats, but the same information, or highlights from it, make compelling infographics.
  14. Product or service. You may not score a viral hit with an infographic that showcases what you sell, but you’re likely to have an engaging tool that presents your goods to potential buyers.
  15. Trend. Showcasing a trend in an infographic makes a newsworthy story even more fun.
  16. Past to present. This is another timeline idea that displays the history of a topic.
  17. Place or event. Any place (from a nation to a campground) or any event (from a war to a conference) can be summarized in an infographic.
  18. Guide. A rather obvious theme, I know, but any “how to” begs to be transformed into an infographic.
  19. Family tree. These can be downright intoxicating. You can use a tree, flow chart, or similar symbols to explain relationships.
  20. Cause and effect. You probably see a “this caused that” form of presentation more than you realize. It’s simple and smart.
  21. Biography. Perform a search for “biography of Steve Jobs infographic” and you’ll discover some amazingly creative graphics. Study them for inspiration.
  22. Story. Simple one here. Tell a story, like a picture book.
  23. Manifesto. This approach can be a stellar branding tool. Write a manifesto that defines what you stand for and have a great designer create an infographic that makes you proud.
  24. List. Don’t ignore this age-old, can’t-miss tactic for communicating fascinating, useful content.
  25. Acronym. Spell out an acronym or abbreviation, with pictures, of course, and you’ll have a double-whammy simplification of a robust idea.

Grow your audience with infographics

Which type of infographic will you make to reach and educate a larger audience?

Share your thoughts about incorporating infographics into your content strategy over on Google+.

Editor’s note: If you found this post useful, we recommend that you read How to Make Winning Infographics Without Risk by Demian Farnworth.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Saad Faruque.

About the Author: Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative and provides clients content marketing strategies that rock and creative that rolls. Barry also authors “Content Marketing Minds” at Social Media Today, and he was recently named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by Online Marketing Institute and one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. He recently released a comprehensive strategic workbook “The Planner for Growing Your Business with Effective Online Marketing.” If you would like a piece of his mind, visit his blog, The Point.

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15 Copy Editing Tips That Can Transform Your Content into Persuasive and Shareable Works of Art

Image of star being carved out of stone

What’s special about the compelling content you retweet, Like, bookmark, and email to your friends?

Those articles serve the audience, not the content creator.

Creative work that instantly captivates and holds an audience’s attention influences their lives.

Transcribing the thoughts in your head won’t always serve a purpose. You must construct helpful and manageable instructions for your audience — the reader will do something differently in her daily routine after learning about the information you share on a specific topic.

That’s easier said than done.

You obviously want to establish your website as an authoritative publication in your niche, but in order to cross that threshold you need to critically examine your cornerstone content.

Strengthening your ability to create content that spreads includes improving your editing skills. Editors transform basic text into powerful stories (in all media) that persuade people to take action.

Once you’ve written a draft, you’re still not ready to hit “publish” just yet. Here are 15 copy editing tips that help turn your articles, landing pages, webinars, and podcasts into shareable works of art.

Copy Editing Stage 1: Pre-revision rituals

  1. Walk away. Realistically evaluate your post’s urgency. Unless you must meet a strict deadline, take a break for at least a day after you’ve completed your post. New ways to modify your writing will become evident after you’ve created some distance from your initial creation.
  2. Release attachment. Forget that you wrote the content and consciously assume an Editor Mindset that’s free from your Writer Ego. As an editor, you have no problem evaluating and deleting to produce a more coherent and complete post. Proactive editing shouldn’t be devastating.
  3. Create a new document. Prepare to save everything you remove because writing consistent posts for your blog is a fluid process. Content that’s excessive or irrelevant for a certain post shouldn’t go to waste. Use those ideas as a springboard for your next article.
  4. Indulge a bad habit. Perform one fast, superficial reading to gratify the impulse to skim your text. Each subsequent reading should be a meticulous review of the text.
  5. Self-evaluate. As you lightly read your post, write side notes without changing the draft. If you didn’t communicate your intentions accurately, use these notes as an opportunity to record leftover ideas you thought you included but actually didn’t. You’ll use the notes in Stage 2.

Copy Editing Stage 2: Comprehensive cutting and pasting

  1. Summarize your goal. Write your straightforward aim in about 25 words, and then edit your summary until you have a succinct headline that includes the “Four U’s” of copywriting: ultra-specific, unique, useful, and urgent. Writers often assume that readers will quickly understand their main point even though they haven’t explicitly stated it.
  2. Avoid overwhelm. Weak sections may appear in final versions of blog posts if you don’t edit enough because reviewing the entire post in one sitting overwhelms you. For example, I edited this post in five different sessions. Begin with your favorite part to generate editing momentum.
  3. Pamper your audience. Ask yourself, “How does this information help my reader?” after each sentence. Each paragraph should satisfy an element of CMKR — provide Comfort, be Memorable, share Knowledge, or list Resources.
  4. Consider alternatives. Incorporate notes you made during Pre-Revision as you reorganize or combine sentences, shorten or lengthen paragraphs, or change the order of the text. If you often repeat a word, keep it in the most appropriate place, and replace it with synonyms in other instances.
  5. Eliminate questions. Use the “Fifth U” that pertains to editing the body of your copy: unmistakable. You never want your reader to guess or have the thought, “I don’t really follow. Is he trying to say ___?” If a reader strains to comprehend your message, she won’t have any motivation to share your writing with others.

Copy Editing Stage 3: Razor-sharp proofreading

  1. Don’t rush. Your content needs to be solid before you proofread. You’ll notice errors more easily when you’re not still rewriting and rearranging portions of your blog post. If you begin proofreading but find yourself copy editing too much, continue with Stage 2 until you’re ready for Stage 3.
  2. Be curious. Read slowly, as if each word is foreign to you. It’s time to scrutinize each word to make sure it’s the perfect fit for that sentence. A slow proofreading practice also helps you catch real-word typos, such as “my” instead of “may,” “through” instead of “thorough,” “most” instead of “post,” or “to” instead of “too.”
  3. Get mechanical. Proper writing mechanics ensure that your blog post is effortlessly comprehensible. A few grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes won’t necessarily ruin your reputation, but they may ruin great ideas by making them confusing.
  4. Value consistency. Create a style guide for your blog post that lists all proper names, terms, and phrases. Professional, polished writing doesn’t have inconsistencies such as varied capitalization or punctuation when referring to the same word. For example, if “Walmart” is the correct spelling, you should never also write “Wal-Mart,” “WalMart,” or “Wal-mart” within the same post.
  5. Categorize your progress. Stop proofreading a section of your text once you know it’s flawless and focus on weaker areas. Highlight the text in green if it’s completely proofread, yellow if it’s partially finished, and red if it still needs a good amount of your attention. When all the text is green, read your post one more time out loud. You should be able to read it without making any changes.

Adaptation is essential to effective communication

Editing improves your writing because language that impacts readers doesn’t always materialize immediately. Your concepts become more persuasive when you manipulate and craft your original words.

During in-person communication, you can rephrase your verbal speech if you observe a puzzled or clueless look on someone’s face. With writing, you don’t get the luxury of such feedback until after you’ve published. At that point, you don’t get another chance to explain yourself; a reader will simply stop reading.

How do your copy editing techniques differ from your writing practices?

Share your favorite revision tips in the comments below!

About the Author: Stefanie Flaxman is the creator of Revision Fairy. Get more from @RevisionFairy on Twitter and Google+.

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Build a Better Professional Network and Transform Your Business

Authority

Did you know there is a direct correlation between who you spend time with and what your life looks like?

True.

You tend to be happier if you hang out with happy people, more successful if you hang out with successful people, more pessimistic if you hang out with pessimistic people.

So if you’ve got some audacious goals and want to nudge them closer to reality, one thing you can do is spend more time with the people who have the qualities you want.

Business savvy. Well-balanced. Optimistic. Knowledgeable. And yes, successful.

If you want to uncover career-enhancing opportunities, rewarding projects, and a better life, think about the kinds of people you can start to surround yourself with. Because success rubs off.

How do you find these folks? Well here are some ideas about how to get started.

Understand that influential people can dramatically change your life

This has always been true in business, but the effect is hugely amplified by the internet. Success in the 21st century isn’t created solo. It’s built within a web.

According to Lewis Schiff, if you are connected to six highly-connected people (as most very successful people are), they each open up their networks to you.

A handful of good connections can open out to thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of new connections — and one chance encounter could do unbelievable things for you.

These might be the web’s “movers and shakers” — the powerful voices with big audiences.

But it can also be the perfect business partner, or the striking creative voice that gives a vision to your business. Your next business-changing connection could be a vendor, a client, or just a friend who’s really smart about marketing strategy and is happy to lend a hand.

We all have something to contribute, and we all have areas where we aren’t strong. A network lets you find your complements, so you can do more of what you’re fantastic at.

Focus on building an effective network — not a massive one

There are some people who seem to make a profession out of networking. And given the amount of time they spend socializing online, it’s tempting to wonder when they actually do any business.

Being social is great, but you don’t need the world’s most massive network. You need a few strong connections with people you feel a real resonance with. Sometimes you get really lucky, and those people have audiences that are on your wave length as well.

When you start building your network, focus at first on a few people — maybe five or six. Make yourself damned useful. Understand their work, what they’re passionate about. If they have an audience, find out what that audience cares about.

Pay attention — not in a phony, creepy way, but because you’re interested in what they have to say.

Go beyond social media

Most of us who work at Copyblogger Media met Brian Clark through social media.

We didn’t stop with chatting on Twitter about Phineas and Ferb, 80s music, and Fight Club, though. (Although that didn’t hurt.)

Social media is great for starting relationships, but when you get the chance, take things further. Trade emails. Go to conferences. Do projects together. Get into real conversations.

Copyblogger Media was born out of this kind of networking leading to partnerships, and it’s evolved into a bunch of bright misfits doing meaningful work together.

Don’t be creepy

One of the best ways to build a professional network is to be the kind of person other successful people want to be around.

Be helpful. Be confident. Know what you bring to the table — even if it’s mainly boundless enthusiasm. Contribute. Know how to give, and also know how to ask. Treat everyone with respect, whether they’re “influential” or not. And remember not to squee on your shoes when you meet your heroes! Being a fan is great; being a rabid fan is a little … scary.

The best kind of success — the kind I value — is measured primarily by the number of people you can help. Not by selling yourself short (that doesn’t help anyone), but by building something worthwhile and getting the word out. Making honest, real connections can help you with that. When you’re on a cool mission, the people who can help will find that attractive.

Discover where the influencers hang out

So where do you find this network? Well, you start by figuring out where they hang out.

Do they have a blog? What conferences do they go to? Where do they speak? What forums do they haunt? When do they hit the bars?

If you happened to be in Austin for South by Southwest interactive this year, I hope you made it to our party. It was a hell of a place to connect with bright people — online influencers, creative business minds, talented artists and writers, and an assortment of rock stars, ninjas, and (my favorite) goonies.

We like bringing smart, successful people together. It’s fun and it’s interesting, and we learn a lot from the connections that are sparked. We’re going to have some more thoughts to share with you on that very soon, so stay tuned.

How about you?

Ever made a connection that’s made all the difference in your business or your life? Let us know about it in the comments.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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How to Transform Yourself from an Underpaid Copywriter into an Authoritative Content Producer

image of superhero kid

You probably know that business and marketing are moving in a new direction. You know that it’s based on producing high-quality content that attracts an audience and nurtures prospects.

And you might know that, increasingly, the author is going to be at the center of it all.

There will always be anonymous copywriters grinding out words for pennies.

But now there is a very potent option for decent writers to start re-inventing themselves as content producers. In other words, as highly qualified, valued professionals who are forces to be reckoned with.

So as 2013 kicks off, it’s time to make a decision.

Will you stick with the old path, grinding out dull copy for dull websites representing dull companies? Or will you venture onto the new path and see where it can take you?

It won’t come as much surprise that I would encourage you to do the latter. This is a great moment to reinvent yourself — or, rather, re-package yourself, taking your strengths and wrapping them up in a great new presentation.

Why choose the path of a content producer?

Well, you might be attracted by factors like more money, more freedom, more prestige. There’s nothing wrong with any of those — they’re all very pleasant.

But you may also find that you’re more fulfilled when you play to your own strengths and start doing work that only you can contribute. For me, that’s the deeper pay-off, and the one that remains more satisfying. You might find the same.

So how do we get there? Today I’m going to talk about some of the first steps on the road to becoming a content producer in the age of authorship.

Column A: Identify your resources

The first thing you must do is figure out what you already have going for you.

If you can write something another person wants to read, you have a giant head start. Most people can’t. And, I’m sad to say, that includes a lot of people who make a living as copywriters.

Authorship of great content isn’t about producing correctly-spelled verbiage for a brochure website. It’s about writing words that attract, entertain, inform, and engage.

You may have some resources and assets you haven’t considered. For example, you might:

  • Know how social media works
  • Be able to write high-quality audio scripts
  • Have good design skills and a good “eye”
  • Have friends with larger audiences
  • Have a good sense of humor
  • Know how to produce decent-looking video
  • Know a lot about a subculture or a niche topic
  • Understand copywriting and content strategy
  • Be passionate and enthusiastic

The hardest part of this exercise is recognizing strengths and assets that you take for granted. This week, spend some time writing down all of the assets you might be able to bring as a content creator. Include time and money, if you have any.

Column B: Identify your constraints

Even if you’ve got a lot of brilliant qualities, there are going to be important aspects and elements of content production that you don’t have. You need to be painfully realistic about what those are.

For example, you might:

  • Have no patience for social media and no desire to figure it out
  • Feel intimidated about writing for the spoken word
  • Have no design skills
  • Not yet know anyone who’s built a larger audience
  • Be entirely humor-impaired
  • Be clueless about video
  • Be confused about how to make your writing serve a business purpose
  • Not feel you know enough about any given topic to create valuable content
  • Be out of time, money, enthusiasm, or another “must-have”

Figure out how to make up for any important Column B deficits

Here’s why you’re re-inventing yourself as an authoritative content producer and not just a writer or even a content creator.

As gymnast and powerlifter Mark Reifkind once said, “Work on your weaknesses, but compete with your strengths.”

First and foremost, market what you’re great at. Put it front and center, and make sure your audience knows exactly what you specialize in. And don’t forget to add in those Column A assets. You may take some of them for granted, but they just might be the deciding factor for your customers.

Second, use your creativity and energy to fill in any important gaps from Column B. You don’t have to master everything on the list I gave, but be honest with yourself about any deficiencies that are holding you back. You know what they are.

Often, you’ll fill in key gaps by working closely with another person who has complementary strengths.

That might mean you hire someone. It might mean you develop a network of freelancers with skills that mesh well with yours. It might mean you simply barter your expertise — your great writing on a white paper or some cornerstone content, in exchange for a good-looking site header and some advice on your site’s look and feel.

What if your constraint is that you can’t write?

Remember, authorship is at the center. If words aren’t your thing, you must find someone who can use language to get a desired reader response.

Oddly enough, many of those people hang around here at Copyblogger. Look around and find bloggers or other online writers who have a voice you enjoy. Expand your network of writers, and discover people you enjoy working with who can help you fill in that deficit.

And stay tuned, because we have a few nifty new resources coming for you in 2013 that will help you make those connections.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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