Here’s How Seth Godin Writes | Copyblogger

 

When Seth Godin talks, people listen.

We’ve been listening for years to this bestselling author of 17 books with a storied background in publishing, entrepreneurship, and online marketing.

 

It’s no coincidence that Mr. Godin writes like he talks, with conviction. And that his mission has always — in one form or another — been to dispel your fear of being remarkable.

 

Remarkable writing requires an evaluation of the Self, and Seth offers his wisdom to all of us about writing every day and letting go of your fear.

 

The status quo is something he’s fought to demolish, and he wants you to get out there and do the same.

 

Let’s flip through the file of Seth Godin, writer …

 

About the writer …

 

Who are you and what do you do?

 

My name is Seth Godin and I notice things, name them, and sometimes provoke people to make a ruckus. I’ve published 17 books as a solo author, started a few internet companies and I like to teach, sometimes via my blog.

 

What is your area of expertise as a writer or online publisher?

 

I was a book packager for 12 years, did 120 books in total for just about every publisher. For a year, I did a project as a publisher in conjunction with Amazon (see: Domino Project) and I’ve put a lot of free ebooks into the world, too.

 

My most recent project [The Icarus Deception] started on Kickstarter and ended up via Penguin in bookstores.

 

The most important thing to know is that my high school English teacher wrote in my yearbook:

 

“You are the bane of my existence and it’s likely you’ll never amount to anything.”

 

Where can we find your writing?

 

Squidoo.com/seth

 

The writer’s productivity …

 

How much time, per day, do you spend reading or doing research?

 

16 [hours]. I’m not kidding.

 

Before you begin to write, do you have any pre-game rituals or practices?

 

Getting through TSA security theater is a common first step.

 

What’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination?

 

The deadline focuses the mind, of course. The curse of the traditional writer is that the publisher wants a book no more often than once a year. So procrastination is part of the process.

 

But blogging? Once a day. Not every minute like Twitter, which provokes mediocre writing because there’s so much of it. But every day? Better write something, better make it good.

 

What time of day is most productive for your writing or content production?

 

I have no actual data on this, but I’m guessing the morning, because I’m a morning person. But if I’m tired, which is too often, I’m useless.

 

Do you generally adhere to a rigid or flexible writing system?

 

I’m supposed to have a system?

 

How many hours a day do you spend actually writing (excluding email, social media etc.)?

 

Do you mean typing? I don’t know, fifteen minutes. I can type fast.

 

Do you write every day?

 

Do you talk every day?

 

The writer’s creativity …

 

Define creativity.

 

This might not work.

 

Who are your favorite authors, online or off?

 

Brene Brown, Brian Clark, Cory Doctorow, Dan Pink, David Meerman Scott, David Sedaris, Dr. Seuss, Erle Stanley Gardner, Fred Wilson, Jared Diamond, Kevin Kelly, Kurt Andersen, Lewis Hyde, Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Frauenfelder, Mitch Joel, Paul Graham, Pema Chodron, Sonia Simone, Steve Dennis, Susan Piver, Tom Peters, Zig Ziglar. [in alpha order, with apologies to the 45 people I had to leave out]

 

Can you share a best-loved quote?

 

I’m really liking this one lately,

 

The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their validity. ~ Abraham Lincoln

 

Do you prefer a particular type of music (or silence) when you write?

 

If possible, I’ll listen to an LP of old jazz. Or a Keller Williams concert. But most often, it’s quiet.

 

How would you personally like to grow creatively as a writer?

 

Well, judging from a lot of what you read online, you’d think that some people have said that they’d like to take fewer risks, be more obvious and be less criticized. And to use more photos of cats. For me, I think it’s the opposite. Especially the cats.

 

Do you believe in “writer’s block”? If so, how do you avoid it?

 

This is a fancy term for fear. I avoid it by not getting it. Because I write like I talk and I don’t get talker’s block.

 

Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment (i.e. specific creative inspirations)?

 

I wrote my last book in memory of my mom. There are so many opportunities in our world, and so many things worth fixing — I can’t imagine wasting this moment.

 

Would you consider yourself someone who likes to “take risks?”

 

What’s a risk? Like most entrepreneurs, I don’t consider what I do risky. Kiteboarding is risky. This is my work and my art, and I’m going to do it for a long time, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll do it again, but better.

 

What makes a writer great?

 

It’s in the eye of the reader, no?

 

The writer’s workflow …

 

What hardware or typewriter model are you presently using?

 

Macbook Pro, Retina, 15, with external keyboard, roller mouse, angled stand, Aeron chair, coffee mug by Lori Koop and tea (herbal) from Samovar.

 

And chocolate. Sometimes from Vosge or Sweetriot, always dark, usually over 80%. And Hotel Chocolat, but only when I can get it fresh.

 

What software are you using for writing and general workflow?

 

Nisus! And Typepad. I use Google way more than I remembered I did in the old days. I do my illustrations and charts in Keynote, and use that for presentations as well.

 

Do you have any tricks for staying focused?

 

Fear of wasting the opportunity.

 

Have you run into any serious challenges or obstacles to getting words onto the page?

 

Never once. Often, I get into trouble finding the words in my head, though. I’ll frequently think about something for a year before I feel good about writing it down.

 

How do you stay organized (methods, systems, or “mad science”)?

 

Alas, it’s almost entirely a force of will. And email is breaking me.

 

How do you relax at the end of a hard day?

 

I cook dinner for the family, listen to my arcane stereo and play some bumper pool with my son. But I rarely have a hard day. I have the day I set out to have, and it’s work and I love it.

 

A few questions just for the fun of it …

 

Who (or what) has been your greatest teacher?

 

My dad taught me what it is to be generous and productive and connected. To stand up and own what you make, and to do it for others.

 

What’s your biggest aggravation or pet peeve at the moment (writing related or otherwise)?

 

After 25 years, the MacOS is getting sloppy around the edges when it should be going the other way. Flying wears me out. The TSA is a joke.

 

And most of all, the biggest thing, big enough that it’s not a pet, or even a peeve, is the media’s efforts to distract us from opportunities and urgencies by inflaming every small conflict into an epic game show.

 

Choose one author, living or dead, that you would like to have dinner with.

 

Well, if I have dinner with a dead author, he wouldn’t be very much fun, would he?

 

Most authors aren’t particularly good dinner companions, because they’re working so hard on the internal war of art that they don’t invest much effort in conversation. Michael Crichton, for example, was nearly impossible to talk to. Isaac Asimov, on the other hand, was a total hoot, and I loved hanging out with him.

 

With those disclaimers, and without bending over backward in search of the clever answer, I think I’d go with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Do you have a motto, credo or general slogan that you live by?

 

Hey, I’m in the motto business, with a sideline in credos. I think that having philosophical boundaries is a good idea.

 

What do you see as your greatest success in life?

 

Opening doors for people who will open doors for people.

 

If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go (cost or responsibilities are no object)?

 

Right here, right now. This is my choice.

 

What would you like to do more of in the coming year?

 

Find beginner’s mind more often.

 

Can you offer any advice to writers and content producers that you might offer yourself, if you could go back in time and “do it all over?”

 

Keep your overhead low, ship often, be generous, be patient. It’s going to be fine.

 

Please tell our readers where they can connect with you online.
I don’t want you to connect with me online. I want you to connect with other people online, to make a ruckus, to raise the bar, to join a community, found a community and lead a community! You don’t need me, pick yourself.

 

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

 

You’re on the right track. Persist. Make better art.

 

And finally, the writer’s desk …

 

Nothing says more about a writer than the space they use to create.

 

The revolution begins here.

 

In true Renaissance fashion Mr. Godin, in his perch above the Hudson River, proves to be an original, Rubik’s cube, exotic chocolate, Shepard Fairey print, and all.

Here’s How Seth Godin Writes | Copyblogger.

Is EE’s Advocacy Programme Brave, Smart or Crazy? | FutureComms

I recently read about the launch of UK 4G mobile provider EE’s new ambassador programme, and was immediately intrigued. Advocacy and the power of online influencers is one of the continuing hot themes for the next few months, and this particular programme could be one to watch for a great example of either how to do it or how not to do it, depending on how it works out for EE.It’s intriguing for several reasons. It’s a brave move on the part of EE given not only the criticism it has already received from influential people, but also the social footprint and combined voice of the advocates involved. But the thing that really makes this programme stand out for me is the way it has come about. There’s a back story that involves a viral blog post, national newspaper interest and an association with influencer scoring platform Kred that really spices things up, and it’s worthwhile catching up on this by reading Andrew Grill’s original and updated post on London Calling.Given my interest in the programme, I wanted a bit more of an inside track as to the hows and whys, so I asked Andrew, the instigator, a few questions:How did your original meeting with EE come about? Did they invite you or did you approach them?I was contacted by their external PR agency about my blog post, so I asked to meet Olaf Swantee CEO of EE. For my first meeting at EE HQ I was greeted by Stuart Jackson, who now works in the CEO office, and also met with some key figures such as Pat Coxen, the EE Project Director who has overseen the entire technical and branding exercise; Mat Sears, Head of EE PR; and Tim Pritchard, who runs the digital team and is behind @EE on Twitter. I have also had three more follow up meetings with EE to formulate and activate the EE Advocates program.What was their reaction when you suggested the ambassador programme?Very positive: let’s do it and who do you suggest. I also proposed that those I selected should also be able to select one other person and give them the same benefits, thus extending the program to the advocate’s own networkHow did you choose your five person team? What factors came into play?All are personally known to me and represent a bread spectrum. Gabrielle Laine-Peters has strong social media ties and is a live blogger who is glued to her iPad, so a 4G version makes sense. When I first showed her the speed of 4G on my iPad, she was very impressed. Paul Clarke is a photographer, so a great use case of using 4G to get photos uploaded from the field. Neville Hobson is a well-respected tech blogger with great reach, and Ewan MacLeod is a recognised mobile blogger who tells it like it is. Neville and Ewan have already both posted positively about their EE 4G experiences.

What do you think EE’s expectations of the programme are?

To generate positive coverage via non-traditional channels, solicit feedback and diffuse initial influencer backlash.

How much of a risk do you think EE is taking implementing this at such an early stage in its development, and given the issues it’s had already?

They know as a well-established carrier that the existing issues of customer service, coverage and activation won’t go away. If anything, the problems faced are being raised to senior management faster than before. When I posted about SIM activation problems they quickly identified the process issue and fixed it. Had I not posted, it could have gone uncovered for much longer.

And do you think that EE truly understands that risk?

Yes, they know they have a lot at stake. But this is a ‘managed risk’ as Senior EE staff have met me and a number of the advocates, who have all been recommended by me, personally. I am, in fact, taking some of the risk in being in the EE advocate program itself as, if it fails, my brand will suffer. By brand is also at risk from the advocates I’ve recommended.

What’s in it for you (other than a free device)? Why would you want to be an ambassador for EE?

Having been in the mobile space from the last 22 years, I believe passionately about the benefits of mobile, and in particular new innovations such as 4G. Only by waking up mobile operators and placing a greater focus on customer service issues can the industry grow. Also I feel I have a duty to my London Calling readers to be a true advocate and get their problems fixed, so they keep reading the blog and believe in what I am saying.

In monetary terms, how do you think the programme will benefit EE?

It’s potentially millions. I estimate my blog post wiped £1m off their revenue, so being able to claw back that would be a start. Once The Telegraph picked up my blog post, visitors changed from social media types to large banks and FTSE100 companies (and this continues today). These companies probably read the Telegraph article and thought ‘let’s hold off switching our entire mobile workforce to 4G until they sort the teething problems out.

Is the programme something that you see EE expanding in the future?

EE has its own market segments it’d like to tap into, so yes I believe the programme will expand. Personally I’d like to see this model working in more companies, powered by Kred of course!

So there you have it. A brand in trouble, if you believe some sources, reaching out for help among the very communities that have been leading the backlash. Brave? Stupid? Or extremely progressive and intelligent? I’d love to hear your thoughts below, and if you have any further questions for Andrew, please leave them and he’ll answer them for you…

via Is EE’s Advocacy Programme Brave, Smart or Crazy? | FutureComms.

The Digital Advantage: How Digital Leaders Outperform their Peers in Every Industry | Publications | Capgemini Worldwide

New digital technologies like social media, mobile, and analytics are advancing rapidly on the economic landscape. These innovations are used widely by consumers and employees alike. Facebook has more than 1 billion users. There are more than 6 billion mobile phones. Employees often have better digital solutions at home than they do at work, and many customers are more technology savvy than the people trying to sell to them.

Executives in every industry – from media to electronics to paint manufacturing – face a bewildering array of new digital opportunities. They are paying attention, but they have few signposts to guide them. Most stories in the business media focus on fast-moving startups like Zynga and Pinterest, or on a few large high-tech firms like Apple, Google, or Amazon. Unfortunately, to many leaders, stories of these nimble and innovative firms just do not make sense for traditional companies that are older, larger, and burdened with inflexible legacies.

We decided to find out what fast-moving digital innovations mean for large traditional companies. In two years of study covering more than 400 large firms, we found that most large firms are already taking action. They are using technologies like social media, mobile, analytics and embedded devices to change their customer engagement, internal operations and even their business models. But few firms have positioned themselves to capture the real business benefits. Our research points to a real “digital advantage” to those that do.

Digital maturity matters. It matters in every industry. And the approaches that digitally mature companies use can be adopted by any company that has the leadership drive to do so.

Download the report

 

via The Digital Advantage: How Digital Leaders Outperform their Peers in Every Industry | Publications | Capgemini Worldwide.

How to increase Pinterest traffic and direct it to your site – The Next Web

While its popularity has evened out over the last few months, Pinterest is still carrying a lot of the momentum it gathered at the beginning of the year. Considering that it drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined and had 23 million unique visitors to the site in August, its ability to direct more traffic to your site has rightly gotten businesses and brands interested in the service. On top of that, the introduction of business pages makes it obvious that Pinterest wants them to get involved.

There’s a process to everything though and like all things, you will have to put the time and effort into it before you start seeing results. Here we will focus on the ways you can improve the content you’re posting, how you can use Pinterest to direct traffic to your site and ways you can optimise it for SEO purposes.

Improving your content

Be original

Repinning is a great way of building up new followers, but to be truly influential, you need to pin your own content regularly and before everyone else. In your communities, keep an eye out for content that has already been posted to see what people like and look for content that haven’t been pinned yet. If you become a source for original content, you will have a greater chance of getting repinned and obtaining new followers.

Pin videos

Pinterest is a very visual site, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t pin videos on your boards. It’s good to mix up your content a little and provide these links, just to see how exactly your followers react to it. You can only pin videos from YouTube and Vimeo, but considering the former has 72 hours of new video uploaded every minute, this won’t be limiting.

Spread out your pinning across all boards

It’s never a good idea to focus all of your attention on the one board. For one, it’s will overwhelm those following your board and it will neglect those following your other boards. Even if it’s a board that you can’t find much content for, it’s better to update it every so often than to leave it dormant so take the time to update your boards at least once a week so to keep things fresh. If finding content becomes difficult, change the title to something more general so it becomes easier to find content to pin.

Use secret boards

If you’re preparing a new board and would much prefer to populate it first before revealing it, Pinterest’s new secret boards is what you’re looking for. You don’t ever have to publish these boards so you can use it for other purposes such as bookmarking links and if your account is used by more than one person, you can use it to share links and ideas among yourselves.

Also, if you were running a competition on the site, you can arrange boards first before revealing them and prepare boards in advance if the competition requires more than one. Think outside the box and you will find a number of uses for them.

Download a browser plugin

The Web is vast and the chances of you coming across content that you want to pin is quite high. As you’re not going to be on Pinterest 24/7, browser plugins are a handy way of pinning content without having to access your account. If you’re a Chrome user, Pin It and Pin Search are handy plugins and if you’re a Firefox uer, Pinterest Right Click is all you need. Alternatively, you can settle for Pinterest’s own ‘Pin It‘ button, which can be downloaded directly from the site.

Keep your descriptions short and sweet

While your descriptions can go up to 500 characters, the chances of people reading the entire description (unless it’s a competition) is slim. This is especially true when you consider that only a small portion of that description will be visible when you’re browsing boards. It’s best to keep descriptions short and sweet so that both the image and text is easily visible. The description should be used for placing keywords that will help users find your content.

Driving traffic to your site

Add Pin It buttons to your site

The easiest way to get any site content shared is to install a widget on your site. Don’t underestimate the power a Pin-it button has in getting your content out there, but before you rush off and add one, you need to determine whether adding such a button is beneficial for you. If your site has a number of different widgets, it might be better to remove one first and replace it with the “Pin It” button so you don’t clog up your site.

Pin up blog posts

Like any social media site, you shouldn’t go overboard when posting your own content. The focus should always be on providing good content for your users that they can share with their followers and friends. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t slip in one or two of your posts every now and again. Make sure the topic of your blog post matches the board you’re pinning it up to and don’t overdo it, people don’t mind such content appearing so long as it doesn’t dominate their feeds. Ensure that the image you’re using is of high quality as it is the first thing users will see.

Verify your website

If your page is popular with users, it’s a good idea to verify your website so that people can find your site through your Pinterest page. Currently, your website is hidden away as a globe icon, which not many people would realise is a URL button. Getting your site verified can help boost your site visibility and improve your SEO efforts. The process can be a little daunting for those who aren’t tech savvy, so if you’re not feeling confident, you should ask someone with basic HTML skills or your web designer to do it for you.

For those undaunted, start by going into settings, and scroll down to the section which allows you to enter in your website. Here you will see an option to verify your website. Click this and download the HTML verification file, making a note of the code at the end of the file. You will then need to upload the file onto your web server at the root folder as http://www.yourwebsite.com/pinterest-xxxxx.html. When that is done, return to the verify page and press the “Click here” link to verify your website.

Alternatively, you can add a meta tag which you can add to the head of your index.html file. Once that is done, return to the ‘Verify Website’ page and click on step two to complete the process. This feature is only available for top-domain addresses (home page addresses) like www.simplyzesty.com. Addresses like www.simplyzesty.com/facebook won’t work as it’s a subfolder.

Monitor your analytics

If you use a service like Google Analytics, then you should definitely monitor how much traffic it generates for your site. You should have a good idea of what content works, but don’t expect traffic to jump up immediately when you’re starting off. Experiment with the type of content you’re posting and monitor the results through repins, comments, and the amount of traffic redirected to your site.

SEO optimization

Write your own descriptions

Most images that you pin will provide you with a brief description of the page. While this is fine, sometimes it doesn’t quite explain what it is you’re pinning. You’re better off removing the text provided and providing your own summary. Pinterest give you 500 characters to work with so unless you’re running a competition, you shouldn’t really need more than 350 characters for a pin.

Use hashtags

Just like Twitter, hashtags are a handy way of categorising your content, but much like the microblogging site, it’s better to only use one or two hashtags to describe your content. You should use general terms when creating your hashtags so that it’s easier for people to find your content when they’re using the search bar.

Build up links

Search engines rate your site based on the number of backlinks you have built up. When you’re implementing your SEO strategy, include links to your site in some of the description. What happens is that when these pins are shared, it creates a back link which bumps up your SEO ranking. Over time, you could see your site’s SEO ranking rise because of this.

Just in case, you should check to see if ‘Search Privacy’ is switched on as this could be preventing your profile from appearing on search engines. Turning it on means that your profile won’t be found if someone tries searching for it on Google or Bing.

Articles & guides

A number of other articles and guides that will help you out with your Pinterest marketing:

This article is published in association with SimplyZesty, a digital marketing agency.

How to increase Pinterest traffic and direct it to your site – The Next Web.

31 Ways To Get Smarter In 2012 – according to Newsweek

31 Ways To Get Smarter In 2012 – according to Newsweek

New Year – new beginnings and apart of using speed reading to know more here are 31 tips collected by Newsweek and backed up by scientific research. Most of them you probably know by now but some might surprise you. Summary of all the top tips to get smarter in 2012 and here’s the link to further explanation if you need it.

1) Play Words With Friends

2) Eat Turmeric

3) Take Tae Kwon Do – or anything physical: dancing, tennis, etc

4) Get News from Al Jazeera – can make you more open-minded

5) Toss your smartphone – at least for a weekend

6) Sleep. A Lot. – especially when you’re learning a lot

7) Download the TED app – the best library of talks on almost everything

8. Go to a Literary Festival – research suggests that reading novels will make you smarter

9) Build a ‘Memory Palace’

10) Learn a Language – Michel Thomas tapes are excellent start for beginner Spanish, German, Italian, French

11) Eat Dark chocolate – of course! yummy

12) Join a Knitting Circle – surprise here

13) Wipe the Smile Off Your Face – we suggest smiling to get into a good state (endorphin effect) but frowning apparently makes you more analytical and sceptical

14) Play Violent Video Games – not sure here, there must be better and more peaceful way – who sponsored this study

15) Follow these people on Twitter: Economic genius Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel), online show host Jad Abumrad (@JadAbumrad) and author Colson Whitehead (@colsonwhitehead).

16) Eat Yogurt (probiotics)

17) Install SuperMemo (a flash card program)

18) See a Shakespeare Play – engages your brain more actively than most texts. Check the summaries of all Shakespeare plays

19) Refine Your Thinking

20) Hydrate – drink more H2O

21) Check out iTunes U

22) Visit your local Art Museum

23) Play a musical instrument – I wonder if Garage Band counts

24) Write by Hand – this one is very interesting since we type so much. Other studies suggest that by committing in writing to a goal/task we increase the chances of accomplishing that goal/task. The second best way is to tell somebody about your commitement.

25) The Pomodoro Technique – this mysteriously sounding technique is just a simple management technique of working in 25 minutes sessions (in speed reading we suggest 20 minute working sessions because basically you can and Parkinson’s law states that the task expands to the time available)

26) Zone Out

27) Drink Coffee – to boost short-time memory and keep depression at bay

28) Delay Gratification – key habit of successful people and builds executive functioning

29) Become an Expert

30) Write Reviews Online

31) Get Out of Town

We personally would add three more tips (3R – or three qualities if you like) that will ensure you become smarter this year and beyond:

1) Reflection – reflect on the day’s learnings (what you’ve learned which builds your knowledge and what you should unlearn to build your wisdom, according to Lao Tzu) – keeping a daily journal or diary will help with these – according to the tip 24 ideally written by hand

2) Relationship – everything from quantum bits to learning a new language to encounters on the street depends on the mastery of this

3) Resilience – one study suggests that the act of listing your many identities (father, mother, surfer, British, Buddhist, driver, speed reader, etc) will build your resilience.

via 31 Ways To Get Smarter In 2012 – according to Newsweek.