8 AWESOME Things You Can Tell People to Get You This Holiday Season

The question I’m hearing more and more now that we’re barreling through the holiday season is this:

“What can I get you?”

My answer is typically this: “Not a single thing. Let’s just spend time together.” BUT–sometimes that simply isn’t accepted as a legit response. So…if you’re having the same issue this holiday season (or for ANY occasion), here’s a list of some of my fave gifts for writers and readers. They’re affiliate links–but, that doesn’t increase your cost if you buy any of them. It just means I get a few coins tossed my way to help me keep doing what I’m doing.

1. Moleskin Cahier Journals

I keep a stash of Moleskin journals because I use them ALL. OF. THE. TIME. They’re perfect for journaling, jotting down ideas as they pop into your head, starting that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing, planning the year ahead for your business, and so many other things! There’s nothing like opening a new Moleskin journal. It feels like the possibilities are endless.

 

2. Le Pen Pens

A good friend of mine gave me two Le Pen pens a year or so ago and I absolutely fell in love with them. They’re my absolute FAVORITE pen when it comes to writing. (And, yes, I use them with my Moleskin journals!)

 

3. Pillowcases That Readers TOTALLY Understand

Pillows and reading go hand in hand. Am I right? Consider asking for a pillowcase that has the words to describe exactly how you feel about–well–words.

 

4. Cool Mugs with Cool Sayings 

A mug filled with tea, coffee, hot chocolate or any other fave beverage is a staple for writers and readers. And it’s even better when it has a cool saying on it.

 

5. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

This is one of THE BEST books about writing that I’ve ever read. I keep it close by in my office and I recommend it to anyone who’s even considering writing a novel.

 

6. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan and Edward Boches

If you want to become better at writing copy–this is the book to read. I’ve used Hey Whipple to teach students the art of copywriting for YEARS. It’s such a fun read. But, more than that, it provides the guidance and insight regarding what it takes to write great marketing copy.

 

7. T-Shirts That Tell It

I don’t know about you–but I LOVE a great t-shirt. There are tons of them with sayings that really fit readers and writers. For me? The one I’ve shown here gets it right.

 

8. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Great Content by Ann Handley

Finally, here’s another book I keep nearby in my office AND one I use in the classroom to teach students how to do content marketing RIGHT. This is an excellent resource for marketers, entrepreneurs, copywriters, or anyone else who’s creating content to connect with their audience.

 

Okay! So, I hope this list makes it a little easier for you give people an answer when they ask, “What can I get you?” during this holiday season. Of course, I don’t know about you, but I’d love to get any of these items no matter WHAT season it is! Have other ideas about what writers and readers might like? I’d love to hear! Leave a response in the comments!

SCML11: A Website Content Coaching Session

Figuring out how to present your business on your website can be HARD! This is something I work with clients on all the time. And, in this episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab, you’ll get to eavesdrop on a coaching session I recently had the pleasure of conducting with Tyler Inloes, owner of Five17Fitness.

During our session, we talk about things like:

  • The importance of getting the “hero” section of the home page right
  • Being clear about who your business is serving and what you’re offering
  • Describing the benefit of your lead magnet so that readers will be enticed to download it
  • Why you should have more uses of “you” rather than “me” or “us” or “we” in your website copy
  • Strategic use of video on a site
  • Talking about your offerings from a customer benefit perspective instead of a feature perspective
  • Addressing customer questions in ways that differentiate your business from competitors

It was a fun and interesting session, and–if you had a website for your biz–there are probably a few tips you can pick up from it. That’s my hope, anyway!

Take a listen and then let me know if you have any questions about your own site. Shoot me an email at michele@smarterwritinglab.com and we’ll set up a time to chat!

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SCML 10–Learn How to Write Your Book with Jennie Nash

Have you thought about writing a book? I’m not talking the next Great American Novel. Instead, I’m talking about writing a non-fiction book that focuses on your area of expertise. One that can serve as a powerful calling card, can help position you as a leader in your field, and can increase your ability to get the clients you want. If you have, but just aren’t sure where to start, then you’ll want to listen to this episode with book coach Jenny Nash. And, even if you haven’t thought about writing a book, you might reconsider after listening to what she has to share.

Jenny is the founder and chief creative officer of Author Accelerator, a book coaching program that gives writers the feedback, accountability and support they need to write their best books. Her own coaching clients regularly land top New York agents, national self-publishing awards, and book deals with houses such as Scribner, Simon & Schuster and Random House. She is the author of four novels, three memoirs, and one self-help book for writers. So, to say that she knows what she’s talking about is an understatement!

What You’ll Learn

In this episode, you learn a LOT about how and why you should consider writing a book about your area of expertise, including:

  • How to find a book topic that will grab the attention of your audience and provide value
  • The difference between having a blog and having a book–and why it matters
  • Why people still want material in book form
  • The level of authority you gain as the author of a book in your field
  • Using a book as a gateway into higher-priced product or service offerings
  • How a book can be used as a “calling card” to build your business
  • Getting over the idea that you’re not a writer
  • Using voice-recognition software to jump start the writing process

Cool Stuff We Talked About

Have questions? Have ideas for an episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab podcast? Just want to reach out? GREAT! Shoot me an email at michele@smarterwritinglab.com or leave a comment below.

SCML 09: Big Content Marketing Tactics for Small Business Success

If you’ve ever looked at the content marketing strategies and tactics of large companies and wondered if you could ever do something as amazing, the answer is a resounding YES! In this episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab podcast, Annie Zelm of Kuno Creative describes how content marketing approaches used by some of the large clients she works with can also be applied to growing a smaller business.

What You’ll Learn

Annie provided LOTS of fantastic and actionable information that focuses on:

  • Understanding exactly what customers are looking for when searching for products or services online
  • How to find out what’s driving traffic to your site and to the websites of your competitors by using tools like SEMRush
  • Why you should become a resource for potential customers about topics they’re interested in
  • The fundamentals of inbound marketing
  • Using social media to help identify topics your audience is interested in
  • What you can learn from individuals who DIDN’T become a customer (and why that’s so important)
  • The difference publishing blog posts on a regular basis can make to your business growth
  • How platforms like SlideShare can help you increase the reach of your content marketing
  • Why it’s worth investing (even a little bit) in video as a part of your content marketing efforts
  • The need to look at the long game in content marketing

Links to Cool Stuff We Talked About

Kuno Creative: Laura’s agency that focuses on “ending content chaos.”

Follow Annie on Twitter at @anniezelm

SEMRush

SlideShare

They Ask. You Answer. A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan and Krista Kotria (This is an affiliate link. By using it, you don’t pay a penny extra. But I get a very small–yet HUGELY appreciated–payment that helps keep this podcast going!)

Also, be sure to connect with me at Michele@smarterwritinglab.com and at The Smarter Writing Lab. I’d love to hear from you!

SCML 08: A Content Marketing Love Story by Mutual Rescue

My animals and a great love story. Two things I adore. That’s why the short films produced by Mutual Rescue drew me in like a moth to a flame. They tell the stories of humans and the shelter animals they adopt. And they do it in such a beautiful and moving way. In my opinion, these films are content marketing at its very best. And here’s why:

  • At approximately six minutes each, they’re engaging from start to finish
  • They harness the power of storytelling so perfectly
  • They have a clear and meaningful message
  • They accomplish the marketing goal of the organization in such an authentic and effective way

The first of the films was “Eric and Peety.” According to Carol Novello, co-creator of Mutual Rescue and president of Human Society Silicon Valley,  it’s been viewed more than 88 million times since its release in 2016. Here it is:

After seeing this, I knew I had to find out what the thinking and strategy were behind this film and the others Mutual Rescue has produced. And, thanks to Carol Novello, I now know. And you can, too. Listen to the podcast to hear all about it. I hope you’ll be as inspired as I was.

To find out more about Mutual Rescue, connect with the organization here:

Website: http://mutualrescue.org/

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SCML 07: Ending Content Chaos with Laura Creekmore

How can you determine if content marketing is right for your business? And, if it is, where and how do you get started–especially if you have limited resources? These are just a couple of the MANY topics I discuss with Laura Creekmore, owner of Creek Content and a widely-respected expert in all things content marketing. Her agency focuses on ending content chaos–and that’s what she helps us do through the advice and insight she provides in this episode of The Smarter Content Writing Lab.

What You’ll Learn

Laura graciously shared her expertise on SO many interesting topics, including:

  • The missed opportunity of NOT considering content marketing to grow your business
  • How you can learn about content marketing and start doing it without experiencing overwhelm
  • How content marketing can be used to effectively educate your audience about what you’re selling
  • Why content marketing isn’t about “sales with more words”
  • How content marketing can be used to turn you into a trusted advisor in the eyes of your target audience
  • The long-term benefits of a consistent content marketing effort
  • How matching your customers’ problems with your offering or product can help you shift your mindset about selling
  • The importance of being intentional about your content marketing efforts
  • Why you might want to consider bringing part of your personal story into your content marketing

Links to Cool Stuff We Talked About

Some of the following links are  affiliate links. By using them, you don’t pay a penny extra. But I get a very small–yet HUGELY appreciated–payment that helps keep this podcast going!

Creek Content: Laura’s agency that focuses on “ending content chaos.”

Follow Laura on Twitter at @lauracreekmore

They Ask. You Answer. A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan and Krista Kotria

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
by Ann Handley

Also, be sure to connect with me at Michele@smarterwritinglab.com and at The Smarter Writing Lab. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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SCML 06: Winning the Case for Content Marketing with a Law Firm’s Website

What type of content should a law firm’s website contain? That’s what we’ll be looking at in this episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab. We’ll look at a law firm’s existing site and explore ways to add new, more dynamic content that will help this firm attract more of it’s ideal clients.

What You’ll Learn

We’ll look at several different areas of the website and discuss the following:

  • How to use the “hero” section of the home page more effectively–including how to make it a stronger navigational element for website visitors
  • The use of video to make an about page come alive
  • How to use a blog (or vlog), webinars, white papers, etc. to establish thought leadership status
  • Using imagery to communicate more clearly about who you are and what you do

Links to Cool Stuff

Here are the links to what was discussed during the show:

The law firm where Nick works

Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC™: LOVE the videos on this law firm’s “Our Team” page!

Also, be sure to connect with me at Michele@smarterwritinglab.com and at The Smarter Writing Lab. I’d love to hear from you!

SCML 05: Jon Nastor, Host of the “Hack the Entrepreneur” Podcast

 

If you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast to help build an audience for your business–or even if you haven’t (yet)–then you’ll LOVE this week’s episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab! My guest is Jon Naster, host of the incredibly popular Hack the Entrepreneur podcast and co-host of The Showrunner podcast.

What You’ll Learn

Jon talks about a wide array of interesting topics, sharing things like how:

  • He came up with the engaging hook that has helped him EXPLODE the growth of his Hack the Entrepreneur podcast
  • He uses content marketing—including writing for various publications like Entrepreneur—to build his business and scale up his podcast
  • He’s using using content marketing to build trust with his audience and promote sales of his products
  • He balances podcasting and writing and product creation
  • The podcast is the reason he gets to write for such high-profile businesses and publications
  • The podcast has transformed his life
  • You have to be patient and consistent when it comes to building an audience
  • To get clear about the focus and purpose of your podcast before getting started
  • To repurpose content—and why you should do it
  • Entrepreneurs are using podcasts to funnel audiences into their businesses
  • To monetize a podcast directly and indirectly

He also describes the four things that are essential to building a successful podcast.

Links to Cool Stuff

Here are the links to what was discussed during the show:

Hack the Entrepreneur Podcast

The Showrunner Podcast

The 9-Step Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Podcast (FREE at The Showrunner)

The Showrunner Podcasting Course

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Also, be sure to connect with me at Michele@smarterwritinglab.com and at The Smarter Writing Lab. I’d love to hear from you!

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Kevin Appleby: Building a Consulting Biz with Content Marketing

In this episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab, we go to the lab to look at the website and content marketing for Kevin Appleby’s business–Appleby Consulting. We also take a look at Neil Patel’s post, 8 Content Marketing Tricks That Helped Dollar Shave Club Go Viral.

As always, drop me a line at michele@smarterwritinglab.com and visit me at The Smarter Writing Lab to learn more about how to write better to go further with your business.

FYI–Since this episode was recorded, Kevin contacted me and let me know that he’s in the process of making some fantastic changes that will optimize his main site–Applebyconsulting.co.uk.