What happens on page 50?

i-flip-flap-184343_1280Writing a novel? Make sure to heat the seats first.

This post by Paula Munier in Jane Friedman’s blog gives some great advice for writers on how to move your reader into the story.

She likens it to using a remote car starter and heated seats before you begin a journey on a cold winter day:

“Every reader starts a story cold, and you want to warm the reader up to your story as quickly as possible,” writes Paula Munier in Jane Friedman’s blog. “You want the reader to slip into a warm seat in a hot story with a blazing beginning and take off for parts known only to you, the writer.”

According to Munier, there are three literary devices that will help you achieve this:

  1. Start with a scene that introduces your story idea. (Think “Jaws” and how that opening set the story for the book without a scrap of dialogue.)
  2. Start with the scene that foreshadows the story idea. (Munier gives the example of Sleeping Beauty and the fairy’s curse.)
  3. Start with the scene that sets up the story idea with action. (Princess Leia hiding the plans for the Death Star in R2-D2 is a classic example.

My favorite piece of advice in this post is “Turn to page 50.” Munier believes that most beginning writers take too long to warm up the story, and it doesn’t usually get going until around page 50 (or about 15,000 words). Turn to page 50, and see what your characters are doing. THIS might be the right place to start for a story that compels your readers to come along.

 

A Multi-Channel Worksheet That Might Really Work

For a lot of local businesses, taking the “big picture” ideas of multi-channel marketing and parsing them down to realistic action items can seem impossible.

I ran across this worksheet from Marketo this morning (thanks to Content Marketing Institute for sharing the link) and I believe this could really help. If you’ve got a small (or non-existent) marketing team, this could be a good way for you to make some headway.

And if you have any questions about the process as you work through it, don’t  hesitate get in touch. I’m happy to give you my input.

Here’s to happier multi-channel marketing!

 

How to Writer Better Content for your Audience, Faster

How do you generate quality content, without resorting to clickbait, and do it fast?”

That’s the question posed by Gareth Bull of the Content Marketing Institute in his piece, “How to Writer User-Oriented Content More Quickly.”

That is the million dollar questions, isn’t it? If we could easily and quickly create great content that really engages, a huge barrier toward reaching our marketing goals would be squashed. For the businesses that I deal with, the issue is always resources….not enough time, not enough people, not enough ideas…yet we know we have to do it.

So what’s the secret? Bull uses a six-step process that starts with creating content outlines to help organize the flow.

“If you want to kill your credibility, all you need to do is to create disjointed content that doesn’t flow,” he explains. “Although it doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you’re writing about, your audience will remember how disorganized the text is and not the great points you made.”

From there, he recommends developing a “standard operating procedure” that turns the task of content creation into repeatable process. He also advocates hiring researchers to help find good content to curate. (A good writer can also do this for you.)

Of course your content needs an actionable takeaway…make sure you give your reader something they can DO with the info, some new way of solving their problem they may not have articulated yet. It’s also good to link to other useful info so they can dig deeper (like the links in this piece.)

And finally, he advises, don’t reinvent the wheel.

“Your market might be oversaturated with great material. You can provide your audience unique content by improving on that great content with your own words,” he notes, explaining a term called “skyscrapering” to improve your offerings.

Bull is spot on with all of this, and it’s similar the process i follow for my own content, and for my client work. Don’t be afraid of your content creation. With the right process, and the right help, it becomes as natural as any other part of your business.