Shared ramblings/ findings

Friday, September 23, 2011

Want to Be a Better Marketer? Start by Becoming a Better Teacher

Want to Be a Better Marketer? Start by Becoming a Better Teacher:

image of one gold apple among regular green ones

Some of the world’s most masterful marketers are, first and foremost, master teachers.

You’re a teacher when you write a blog post that helps solve a tricky problem your audience is facing.

You’re a teacher when you lead a webinar.

You’re a teacher when you overcome objections on a landing page. When you troubleshoot with a client on the phone. When you craft a product, make a video, give a speech.

Understanding yourself as a teacher, no matter what your business, makes your business more profitable and more fulfilling.

As an entrepreneur, you know the importance of finding a need and filling it, of knowing your market, of writing compelling copy.

Yet it’s tempting to overlook an equally important part of the recipe: how you actually teach.

  • How you develop your content and deliver it.

  • How you connect with your students.

  • How you adapt to different learning styles.

  • How you take care of yourself so you can teach without burning out.

All these are as vital as what you teach and how you get the message out.

But because many of us don’t see ourselves as teachers, we skip learning how to teach. And then we wonder why our businesses falter or our energy drains away.

Some people are natural teachers … I’m not one of them

The Woman’s Comfort Book became a bestseller when I was 29 years old.

I was instantly thrust into a teaching role. I did workshops and keynotes because I was invited to and I wanted to sell books. I had zero idea what I was doing. I flailed about. I would waste days over-preparing, then collapse when my teaching didn’t go the way I’d imagined.

And if the students didn’t rave? I was crushed. I felt so ashamed and alone in my failures.

Then I started to befriend other “famous” teachers at places like Omega and conferences, and joy! I learned the secret of “successful” teachers: most of them felt the same way.

Many teachers fear they suck, most of the time

We were all making it up as we went along. Sometimes that worked. A lot of the time: not so much.

I started researching: What makes an effective teacher? How do I get better? What do I do about those students who never talk? Or the ones who never shut up? Why am I so exhausted after teaching? How do I know if I did a good job?

Over my years studying teaching and learning, I’ve discovered several keys to sustainable, fulfilling teaching:

1. Don’t try to be the expert — Be the creator of safety and context

Trying to be the world’s foremost expert (especially when I was the youngest one in the room) tripped me up again and again.

Yes, you have to know your topic, but that doesn’t mean you have every answer. Truly, you can’t. Let “I don’t know” become your favorite words.

Besides, what you know is far less important than your real job, which is fostering:

Safety: Helping your students feel safe enough to take in what you offer and to ask questions — they’re as afraid of not knowing as you are!

Context: Showing students how this learning can benefit their lives. It’s just like writing good copy — you have to sell them on why they should care.

2. Nobody anoints you but you

Would-be teachers often hold back and wait for someone to dump holy water on them and say, “Yes, you’re ready to teach now. You know it all!”

At the same time, seasoned teachers can burn out when they get tired of beating themselves up for not being “legitimate” enough or knowing enough (see #1).

Sidestep all that mess: give yourself permission to teach. Ground yourself in what you do know, keep learning, stay humble — but stop waiting!

3. Know thyself

It’s so tempting to think teaching is all about establishing a niche or finding that “perfect” market, and has nothing to do with who you are.

I’d so love that to be true! But knowing yourself, warts and shining talents, and being willing to be honest with yourself will do more to increase your effectiveness than anything else you do.

For example, I really want everyone to like me and think I’m smart. When I can face that, and not pretend it’s silly or beneath me, I am more present, supple, and able to focus on my students instead of my own neediness. It’s hard inner work, at times, but skip it and you — and your students — suffer.

4. The best teachers teach as part of their own learning

Of the dozens of master teachers I’ve interviewed — they teach everything from writing to meditation to 3rd grade — most make mention of this.

It’s not only about staying on top of your topic — “sharpening the saw” by perpetually improving your skills.

Nope. It’s way deeper than that. Their teaching is always in service to their own learning.

They remain lifelong students. Especially in the front of the room. Teaching well is a powerful opportunity to learn. Learning is a life-long, perpetual, constant cycle for them. What they learn feeds their teaching, and vice-versa.

5. Self-care really does matter

As someone who has written volumes (literally!) about self-care, I find it highly adorable that this has been the hardest thing for me to learn.

I thought teaching meant serving myself up and giving everything to everybody. When I found myself schlepping baggage at one of my own retreats, I started to rethink that.

What do you need to feel your best when you teach? If that’s a cup of tea and Twitter turned off while you write, great. If it’s a day alone before and after an event, and (gasp!) a massage, make it so.

Teaching is a high calling to be of service (yes you can make money while being of service, but that’s another blog post) and teaching is a transmission of your energy and heart to another’s.

If you are called to teach, in whatever capacity, you owe it to yourself to give thought and attention to how you can best do that. You don’t have to flail and fail, I promise! Instead, learn how to teach. And then teach so you can learn.

About the Author: Jennifer Louden is a best-selling author with almost a million copies of her six books in print and she teaches an on-line program with Michele Lisenbury Christensen called Teach Now. It’s only open for a short time, so go check it out today!


How to Make Your Writing Real

How to Make Your Writing Real:

image of landscape

In this day and age, substance matters.

What you say must be meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract.

Your content must solve real problems and satisfy real desires.

So why should it matter how you say it?

The reality is, how you say it has always mattered, and it matters even more today.

For content marketing, it’s basically the difference between success and failure.

You’re in a battle for attention. A headline that doesn’t specifically convey a compelling promise results in content that is too often simply ignored.

Beyond that, your copy has to hold that precious attention, sentence by sentence, until the conclusion.

Even the appearance of your content on the page matters when trying to make a substantive point.

Finally, the way you convey information, no matter how independently valuable, affects everything from clarity to engagement to retention at a psychological level. Your ideas and advice must stick in people’s heads for you to succeed.

In short, how you say it is what you say.

Here’s an example:

If someone asks you what’s for dinner, you can stick with the substance:

Tonight we’re having pasta for dinner.

Or you can add a bit of craft and style to make it more tangible:

Tonight we’ll enjoy a dinner of tender linguini, topped with a homemade marinara sauce featuring vine-ripened tomatoes, fragrant basil, and fresh oregano straight from our garden, accented with just a hint of garlic and red wine flavoring.

Same basic information — we indeed will be having pasta for dinner.

Is one more enticing and memorable than the other?

Let’s look at another example.

Popcorn is bad for you

The book Made to Stick gives us the case of Art Silverman, a guy with a vendetta against popcorn. Silverman wanted to educate the public about the fact that a typical bag of movie popcorn has 37 grams of saturated fat, while the USDA recommends you have no more than 20 grams in an entire day.

Instead of simply citing that surprising — if dry — statistic, Silverman made the message meaningful by making it real. He said:

A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn contains more artery-clogging fat than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings — combined!

Ummm … I’ll go ahead and skip the popcorn, thanks.

Make the benefits tangible

Yes, substance matters. Your content must be more than just relevant — it’s got to be meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract.

But never forget that it’s the relevant and tangible expression of that substance that creates meaning.

People have to get connected with your content in the first place before they comment, share, buy, or recommend your products or services.

Make your messages as real to people as possible, and you’ll find that content marketing has a payoff way bigger than the investment. Really.

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Google+.


49 Drop-Dead Gorgeous Reasons You Should Run Your Website on WordPress

49 Drop-Dead Gorgeous Reasons You Should Run Your Website on WordPress:

image of StudioPress logo

Yeah, you can pick up a theme to bolt onto your WordPress website just about anywhere these days.

But why would you go just about anywhere to find something that’s so vital to your work? This is 2011 after all.

Your website should be stunningly designed.

It should make performing the basics of good SEO very simple.

You shouldn’t have to worry about things like state-of-the-art security, hassles with manual updates, or wondering if the underlying code of the theme you’re using is silently undermining all your work.

Oh, and it’d be cool if all of the above was found in one place. In 49 unique variations to choose from. Right?

Well, check this out …

Our StudioPress team has done the heavy lifting for you when it comes to website design, search optimization, and security.

Between our in-house StudioPress themes and our newly-built, StudioPress-approved, Theme Marketplace, we’ve got 49 stunning WordPress themes for you to lay on top of our rock-solid Genesis Framework for WordPress.

And, as always, there’s more going on over there than I can keep up with.

I’ll write more later about all the powerful plugins, the free (and growing) graphics library, etc.

For now, check out these two hand-made theme designs from the workbench:

Scribble down a little note, or much more

image of the Scribble theme for WordPress

Sometimes it’s personal.

Sometimes it’s business.

Either way, you need a place that’s yours to get it down.

Click here to straighten out your website with the Scribble theme.

Every company is a media company

image of the Magazine theme for WordPress

Small business or large, you’re in the game.

Suburban, exurban, urban, or rural, you’ve got the opportunity to speak to the world.

We talk a lot around here about content and media. Take a step toward dominating your industry with this killer 21st century printing press.

Click here to setup your publishing empire on the Magazine theme.

Meanwhile, over at the StudioPress Theme Marketplace …

We introduced the StudioPress Theme Marketplace to you last month, and have since doubled the number of approved third-party themes available.

Ummm, there’s going to be no stopping this little shop.

Below is just a taste of what’s going on (and what’s coming) over at the StudioPress Theme Marketplace

What will your grandchildren say?

image of the Legacy theme for WordPress

We often think about the Internet (and what we do with it) as ephemeral. What if you thought different?

You may not be writing War and Peace, but you definitely want your best stuff out there in the wild.

Click here to leave your mark with the Legacy theme.

Legacy was designed by Wes Straham.

Style is the answer to everything

image of the fashionista theme for WordPress

Come on, it’s time your content got the same treatment as those folks in the fashion industry.

You may not be in a professional makeup chair for three hours every morning, but your website can be in the equivalent. Ready for your closeup?

Click here to get your style on with the Fashionista theme.

Fashionista was designed by The Genesis Ninja.

56,459 people take WordPress further with StudioPress

OK, here’s the short version:

Our Genesis Framework from StudioPress empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress.

With search-optimized code and functions, 49 turn-key designs, and unlimited support, updates, and websites you can build, Mashable calls Genesis the “best of the best” among premium WordPress themes.

56,459 online publishers trust Genesis to provide a solid foundation for their sites.

Whether you’re a novice or an advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the rock-solid infrastructure to take WordPress places you never thought it could go.

Get Genesis (and one, or all of the 49 themes) right here.


playing with your food...

playing with your food...:





Andrea-bricco-food-photography-4 this beautiful series of plated food vignettes photographed by Andrea Bricco and styled by Casa de Perrin... — Joy

{photos by Andrea Bricco, via Rue Magazine's preview anniversary issue}

How to Turn a Milk Jug into a Sandwich Box

How to Turn a Milk Jug into a Sandwich Box:

Before you toss your next plastic milk jug into the recycling bin, you just might want to turn it into a sandwich/lunch box. No need for a lunch box? Could be a cute gift box. Stuff we need to make one include a 1-gallon milk jug, marker, … Continue reading on

The Computer Dilemma

The Computer Dilemma:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

US Debt Crisis Simplified

We all have heard about the US Debt crisis on the television.  They're look very complicated for someone who doesn't have any knowledge in financial area.

 I found this image where it just simplified the US Debt Crisis .

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Geeky Lunch Bag Art From An Awesome Dad

Geeky Lunch Bag Art From An Awesome Dad:

What you see above (and in the huge gallery on the next page) is the awesome Lunch Bag Art made by a dad in San Diego, California. Since at least 2008, he’s been drawing these during his lunch break to use for his kids’ pack lunches. Not since the “Wave at the Bus” dad have we seen a dad’s geeky artistic project as awesome as this. These are way cooler than all those drawings my dad used to put in my lunchbox of him frowning and holding a positive pregnancy test.

Below is a collection of our favorite geek-related bags out of the almost 500 pictures at the Lunch Bag Art tumblr.

[Hat tip and the mystery bag from the back of the fridge to GorillaMask.]

Awww, poor teacher. Did the classic comic strip hurt your pwecious feelings?

Quick, somebody hand me some diamond ammo.