Don’t Like Native Advertising? Start Paying for News.

633408166_51157f74acLately, there’s been a lot of discussion about one of the newest advertising tactics in the journalism world: native advertising.

You might have seen it yourself, if you’ve felt the need to click one of BuzzFeed’s “10 Reasons Why You Should…” list articles.

You’ll have a series of copyright-infringing GIFs, generally stolen in some capacity from other websites, and, at the top of the article, you’ll see that it’s sponsored by Jack Daniels. Or JetBlue. Or whatever.

The idea is that people reading the article will start thinking BuzzFeed isn’t the only company that can put together some fun GIFs to help people avoid reading anything meaningful. That association will, in turn, benefit the brand.

The BuzzFeed / brand relationship is a dubious one at best, but investors are convinced – that’s part of the reason that BuzzFeed just got another $50 million in funding. The real issue for people, though, is that other publications – like The New York Times – are publishing “native advertising” content, too.

This is turning out to be a huge revenue generator for news publications and a great way to build brand awareness for the company. But when branded content starts flowering in every crevice of a news outlet’s website, it becomes more difficult to decide which is good to eat and which is a poisonous, subjective berry.

Continue reading “Don’t Like Native Advertising? Start Paying for News.”

Music, Writing, and Art in the Age of the Optional Purchase


In the summer of 2010, when I started my first job, I listened to about six hours of Pandora a day. The ads were an annoyance, but I sat through them because I loved the songs that Pandora found for me.

I knew that there was such a thing as “Pandora One,” but, like most millennials, I scorned the idea of paying for something I knew I could get for free.

Yet Pandora persisted. Hours and hours a day, it brought me amazing bands I never would have otherwise heard.

A few months in, I took the $32-a-month plunge. And I’ve never looked back.

Why did I buy something that was so optional? More importantly, how can any creative person ever hope to get compensated in the age of the optional purchase?

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A Blog About eBooks, Now Advertising an eBook About eBooks

ForestSince around October, I’ve been talking a lot about the future of books and the future of eBooks.

I’ve made a guide about how writers should blog in a way that gets people to read your stuff.

I’ve also talked about how building a platform and an audience is crucial to getting anyone to actually buy your eBook in the first place.

It’s time to put my hypothesis to the test.

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Is the Final Draft Dead?

contentmarketingblogging2I wrote a lot of this in my car, because I have a smartphone, so now I can talk sternly to it and, magically, those incantations are turned into text.

I’ve tried this method to write blog posts before, but it never quite works because swerving through rush hour traffic isn’t the most conducive environment for good writing. If you can call speaking into a phone “writing.”

But this is my experiment, because I recently read a blog post proclaiming that the “days of working on a blog post in drafts for the last week” are now dead.

That’s right. The final draft is dead. So what does that mean?

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How to Set Up Google Authorship on WordPress… and Why All Writers & Bloggers Need It

Don’t feel like you’re out-of-the-loop if you haven’t heard of Google+ — practically no one uses it.

Sure, there are some reports about a surge of users for Google’s social network, but that’s mostly people who have been tricked into using it by accidentally clicking the wrong button on YouTube or Gmail.

The average Google+ user spends 12 minutes a month on the site.

Google knows that, but they’ve found a new way to get people to use Google+.

This year, Google is going to create a whole new kind of category: social search.

That means if you’re a writer or a blogger without a Google+ profile, your stuff will never, ever, show up in Google’s results. Ever.

Continue reading “How to Set Up Google Authorship on WordPress… and Why All Writers & Bloggers Need It”

How to Get Your Creative Stuff to the Top of Search Engines

howseoworksMy friend, Tim, had a problem with search engine optimization (SEO).

The problem, as with most things on the internet, was with Google.

He’s in Doze, an up-and-coming band that recently released their first EP.

No matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t find Doze using Google. Pages upon pages of other imposter bands with the word “Doze” showed up instead, whether you typed “Doze band” or “Doze band boston.”

So, I decided to help him out.

Here’s how we got Doze to be the first three results in “Doze band boston” and the fourth result for “Doze band” in one week:

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[GUIDE] How to Use a Blog To Show Off Your Creative Work

getreadersblogguideWhen it comes to blogging, nothing is ever easy.

Creative people who are blogging as a way to show off their work have it even harder.

You can upload as many art pieces and short stories as you want, but it seems almost impossible to get the kind of traffic you want.

In many cases, your pieces may get no traffic at all.

So, let’s fix that.

Continue reading “[GUIDE] How to Use a Blog To Show Off Your Creative Work”

Why Instagram Selling Your Photos is a Lot Worse Than You Think


Let’s be fair: it’s not clear if Instagram is actually going to sell user photos anymore.

And if you’re not on the Instagram train, let’s be clearer: Instagram is a mobile-based, photo-sharing service that’s popular because… well… it makes your photos look like they were taken in about 1975.

Recently, the terms of service for Instagram changed to include this hefty line, among others: “…a business or other entity may pay us to display your… photos… in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

Instagram has since decided that so blatantly selling user photos may not be a good idea, but it’s obvious in what direction the social network (now owned by Facebook) is moving:

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Content Marketing: Selling Your Masterpiece by Giving Another One Away

contentmarketingsampleIf you’ve heard of content marketing before, you know it’s not rocket science.

It’s a lot like when stores give away free samples. You try enough of something to find out you like it, then you buy it.

How you actually give the sample is the most important part.

Businesses often offer free guides that require emails or lead people somewhere else (like a product page), if the company is curating content the right way.

When it’s time to buy a product, the customer chooses the business that has already been offering them help on the subject.

Content marketing has been something of a quandary for creative people. Your creativity is your content, so how do you market that?

Well, here’s how:

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The Future of Content Marketing is Self-Curation

curateyourcontentEveryone knows there’s a lot of stuff on the internet.

In fact, 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years.

This makes it incredibly important for you – from company to individual – to curate your own content.

Last week, I talked about how this means taking all your best stuff and arranging it in a way that caters to your audience.

Because if you don’t curate your content, it doesn’t matter how much content you’ve even made: people simply don’t have the patience to search for that golden Stuff.

I recently found someone who had perfected these gingerbread trail gymnastics. Let’s take a look at how she curates her content:

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