Things Writers Need to Stop Worrying About

As writers, we often worry about things that aren’t really warranted. This keeps us from never starting or continuing with our writing. Some writers worry about their craft and the writing process. Others worry about the business side of writing. This constant worry hinders you into moving forward. Here are five things you should let go of as a writer.

1. Idea stealing is one of the biggest concerns many new writers have, especially when they talk about it on social medial platforms or in the self-publishing arena. Let’s face it, ideas are a dime a dozen but when it comes down to it, it’s the value of the writing that sets you apart.

Stay on the safe side, if you’re worried about idea stealing, by being careful who and where you share your work with. There are legal steps you can take if they don’t comply. Remember no two stories will ever be the same because we all have different views and experiences.

2. It might be difficult to ignore negative talk from critics and others. It’s going to happen. No matter how good your work is, there will always be some who don’t like it. You might get criticism from well-meaning friends, family, or fellow writers. You’ll get advice on your work, your titles, the cover, and every area of your work.

Don’t waste your time worrying what everyone else thinks, though. The ones you want to please are yourself and your ideal readers or fans. You do have to learn to accept criticism. Some will be good, and some will be bad. Just use the good, to make your work better and shrug off unhelpful bad reviews and criticisms.

3. When you worry about your book not hitting the bestseller list, you’re forgetting the reason for initially writing your book. Sure, it’s a privilege to be on this list, but most authors won’t ever be on it. Even if you do hit the list, it doesn’t necessarily get you much. Your book, if it’s well written, will get you authority and credibility in your niche without the bestseller list label.

4. Making the first draft or first book perfect is a big worry that causes many writers to not finish. This hurdle trips up writers when they think their work won’t be good enough or the first draft must be perfect even before it goes to the editor. It won’t be perfect; that’s the beauty of the first draft and editing.

So just write and forget about making it perfect. That means you don’t edit the beginning, middle, or the end of the book before you’ve finished writing it. It means stop waiting on others to validate your writing.

5. Many writers worry their work isn’t totally original. You’ve probably heard the saying, “There’s nothing new under the sun”. It’s almost impossible to invent a new idea. The storytelling techniques, the themes, character types and other elements of storytelling have been covered in some form over the many decades of publishing. However, you can make the way you tell your story unique. Put your own spin on the idea with your writing style, your expression, and the types of characters you use.

Most novice writers, as well as many experienced writers fall into the trap of worrying. They all worry over their skill, the publication process, or about making their book perfect. They worry about critics or becoming a bestseller. But if they put everything into perspective and realize that none of these things matter So, stop worrying and just write.

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How Good is ‘Good Enough’ When It Comes to Writing

“I believe that basically you write for two people; yourself to try to make it absolutely perfect; or if not then wonderful. Then you write for who you love, whether she can read or write or not and whether she is alive or dead.” – Ernest Hemingway

Writers are known to be perfectionists. We strive to make every scene, every word and piece of grammar perfect. But we should be striving for good as perfectionism keeps us from completing. So how good is “good enough” when it comes to writing?

While you should always be honing your craft, you don’t necessarily need to beat yourself up with perfectionism. There are ways and tools that can help you create good pieces.

Good writing is good enough when it evokes emotion. It’s good enough when it connects things. Good writing is good enough when it tells a story the reader relates to. This is how you know you writing is good enough.

Good writing is free of misspellings, doesn’t have a lot of grammar issues and it flows well, meaning it’s not choppy and doesn’t jump around. Good writing gets the point across without rambling. Good writing tells the story in a cohesive, logical way.

Writers are notorious for judging themselves against other writers. These other writers have better vocabularies or have slicker prose. They seem to be the best of the group. It makes others believe they have to have a formal education and be perfect in their writing.

So how do you break away from the perfectionism?

  • Shift your mindset to one that believes that good enough is okay.
  • Learn to stop. Don’t overanalyze your work.
  • Become comfortable with imperfection. You will make mistakes. It’s okay to miss some of them.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other writers. Set your own bar and reach for it. Try to do better than your last written piece each time.
  • Strive for your best, not perfectionism.

Fill your story with emotions, describe your characters with details, let your creativity run free and then let the writing be good enough to let the piece be finished.

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Create Seasonal Based Plans and Products

When you’re blogging, it’s important to make your plans in advance for the content that will appear on your blog. This needs to be based on the season as well as the products and services that you plan to promote or launch. Just like a retail store is planning fall sales in the summer, you should be planning in advance for each season too.

Survey Your Audience – Just that because you’ve studied your audience once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t survey them occasionally to ensure you’re still delivering to them the information that they need and want. Try a quarterly survey so that you can find out what’s on their mind, and get a deeper insight into their problems.

Research Your Niche – Keeping up to date on the niche you’ve aligned yourself with is imperative if you want to stay ahead of the curve. Read industry news and study regular news for clues to the state of your niche. Look ahead for killer technologies that might turn your niche on its head.

Check Out the Competition – You should always be aware of what your competition is doing… not to copy them, but to stay one step ahead on whichever way you want to compete with them. For example if you offer higher quality, test their merchandise to ensure that your quality is better.

Know What’s Coming – Not all businesses are seasonal, but all of your audience is. They think of things in terms of certain seasons depending on where they are in their life. For example, if they have school-age children they are thinking differently during back to school time than summertime. Plus, if you have a product or service launch or other event coming up, you should be planning it in the quarter before the event.

Know Your Realistic Schedule – If you have a regular job, or children at home, or other responsibilities that will get into the way of your blogging duties, be honest about that as you create a schedule for yourself. If you have a lot to do, set a realistic blogging schedule around these other responsibilities.

Brainstorm Topics – Once you have some of this other information set up, it’s important to take some time to brainstorm topics based on the information you’ve gathered above, plus the events you know that are coming. At this point nothing is wrong; just write it down.

Organize Your Topics – Take the brainstormed topics and categorize them for your blog. Throw out anything that doesn’t fit. Then organize them and match them with the seasons, events and products that you want to promote.

Create a Publication Calendar – Add everything to a publication calendar. If you use WordPress, there are numerous plugins that you can use to help create editorial and publication calendars. Here you enter the information so that during the times you’ve set aside for writing and producing content, you can get right to work.

Set Aside the Time to Create – Now that you have everything ready for you, each time you have the time to work you can get the information from the publication calendar and get going. You can also look ahead easily so you can know whether some of the content needs to be outsourced.

Planning in advance will actually end up saving time and ensuring your success. Working off the cuff will rarely work when it comes to building a successful blog. What will work is planning, knowing what is coming up, knowing what products you want to promote, and relating the seasons and current events to your blog posts.

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Seven Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

When it comes to being in business for yourself, there are two realities you can testify to be true. It is easier than ever to become an entrepreneur and it is harder than ever to become an entrepreneur.

The former is correct because the world is your oyster, thanks to the myriad of platforms, services and tools available at your disposal to sell a product, offer a service or market a product. However, the same is also true with the latter, for the simple reason the competition is smarter, making it harder (but not impossible) to stand out from the crowd.

With this in mind, the following ten tips are practicable insights that can not only improve your operation, but are ones you can immediately implement into your own daily business practices.

1. Get Your Finances in Order

Once you go into business for yourself, you can no longer be as carefree with your finances as many are when you are working for someone else and can rely on a steady paycheck.
Unless you are one of the very few who has received a large prelaunch injection of funding, you will be tapping into your savings in order to help you to launch, maintain and when the time is right – expand your enterprise.
Subsequently, the key in all this is proper business financing.

So, prior to launching your small business, be sure you:

  • Start a budget and stick to it.
  • Pay off all your debts.
  • Cut back on your spending.
  • Determine how much you need to get by.
  • Calculate how much you can spend and use to maintain your start-up venture.

2. Operate within Your Means

Whether you have taken out a small business loan or have received financial backing from a family member or friend, it can be tempting to splurge and spend every available cent on your business. But, don’t do it, and here’s why not.

Even though you may be thinking that the more you spend on your company, the more successful it will be, that’s incorrect.

It’s because a successful business does not, and will not generate sales, boost clientele and potentially win awards by spending all of its capital on operations.
Instead, if you’re a start-up mode, best to operate within your available means.

In other words, don’t…

  • Take out enormous loans.
  • Work in luxurious settings.
  • Unnecessarily expand into foreign markets.
  • Add a family relative to the payroll just to be nice.

At the end of the day, if you for example only had $23,000 to work with every year, then that is what you must do – stay within your budget.

Work smart. If there’s one single bit of self-fulfilling advice failed business owners wish they had been given it would be that, in hindsight, they wished they would have managed the money they had at the time of start-up… better and made wiser choices.

3. Save on Marketing Dollars

Thanks to the proven effectiveness of digital marketing, you don’t need six-figure promotional campaigns to get noticed. Instead, with a free Twitter account, a strong Facebook acumen and a small $100 Google advertising budget, you can market your brand without having to claim bankruptcy.

On the list below you will see there’s a lot more you can do that requires very little capital, and will help you promote your business. Incorporate and apply these tips into your daily business regimen:

  • Engage with your audience and thank them for any and all kind words they post about you and your business.
  • SEO your posts. Search engine optimization (SEO) is still key.
  • Supplement your social media marketing with email marketing
  • Be active, not passive, on social media. Concentrate on only a couple of platforms.
  • Website design is still one of the most important investments you can make.

4. Work with Experts

Many people have the notion that entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades.
This may be true at the earliest stages of a start-up, but eventually business owners will add and grow their talent pool. It is important to remember, however, that when you do hire professionals to join your small firm, you need to do your best to locate and attract experts.

5. Treat Your Customers Right

Have you heard of customer relationship management (CRM)? This is a method of assisting and supporting existing customers and prospects which uses data, analytics, and automation to reach out and interact with them on your behalf. It’s an effective technique that squarely positions your customers and prospects front and center in your business, with the intent and purpose of making them feel important (which in fact they are) to you.

Food for thought: Your company will only generate the kind of profits you desire, if and when you treat customers the right way on a consistent basis.

Amazon is a perfect example of a company that not only understands, and pays attention to customer satisfaction, but they wholeheartedly practice what they preach. You only need to look at their self-serve grocery stores that use the honor system for products. If you were charged for an item you did not buy, you are able to get an immediate refund.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what industry you are in, or how popular your products are. Your clients are your ticket to the winner’s circle in the business owner’s game of success. Whether it is abiding by the motto of “the customer is always right” or offering easy refunds, there is always something a little extra you can do to attract and keep the support and trust of consumers.

6. Listen to Client Feedback

How do you know if you’re doing great or failing miserably? Of course, it’s only natural to refer to and use your generated revenue and bottom line as a measuring stick. But, it’s not the most telling. The number #1 indicator is client feedback, which can be priceless. FACT: Feedback from your customers will be a direct reflection, and in proportion to how you treat your customers.

Since they are the ones who do not have any skin in the game and interact with you or your business, they have an in-depth understanding of what is right or wrong with your operation. It may be an unpleasant user experience on your website, or it might even be your mobile applications that are too slow.

There are a good many business owners who tend to despise negative feedback but devour and love it when it’s sugary and sweet. Never forget, feedback is an important tool that can help you grow your business.

7. Always Deliver More Than Expected

There is a well-worn saying in the business world: “Under-promise and over-deliver.” It might come across to you as being nothing more than a relic from the past, but rest assured, it remains one of the very best ways to win the hearts and trust of your audience and customers as well as, investors, and partners.

Think about this: If your company says it will take three weeks to get something done, but you complete it in one week. Wouldn’t you be satisfied? You bet.

It’s been estimated that more than 500,000 people become entrepreneurs every single month. It would be awesome if all of them were successful, but unfortunately, they’re not.

Other studies have revealed that 30% of these businesses shut their doors within the first two years of opening. Unfortunately, that number surges to 66% within 10 years. But clearly, you do not have to be one of these statistics. Not with the right attitude, strategy and know-how you’ve received here!

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How to Write an Autoresponder Series

An autoresponder series is one of the best ways to connect with your target audience and build a relationship with them. It can seem a daunting prospect, but here are the essentials for success.

1. The Ethical Bribe

One of the best ways to get people onto your email marketing list is to offer them what is commonly referred to as an ethical bribe. Enticing items that encourage sign-ups include a free special report or eBook, or a free eCourse. Your eCourse will be the autoresponder series.

2. Why an eCourse?

A free special report is exciting for your site visitors, but the danger is that they sign up, download the free report, and unsubscribe. An eCourse (for example, a 7-day eCourse) will give you a better chance of building a relationship with them. It also gives you seven chances to sell your products and services.

3. Planning Your Series

Here are a few things to think about:

  • How many days do you wish it to run?
  • What will the series be about?
  • Where will you get the content?

Duration – Five to seven days should be plenty. After that, they will receive your email newsletter.

Topic – Keep your audience in mind. What would be of broad appeal to the people in your niche? Think of your products. What topics would lead naturally to the items you are trying to sell? Plan a series of lessons or informative content in relation to a hot topic in your niche.

Getting the Content – This may sound difficult, but the truth is you can get it from almost anywhere. If you are a talented writer, by all means create it from scratch. Otherwise, you have several options:

  • Use your old posts – Choose your top posts about that topic and organize them into a series.
  • Split up a special report – Instead of giving them one PDF download they can grab and run, split it up into lessons.

Article directory content like that found at EzineArticles.com and similar sites were used to help market business in the days when Google awarded sites that had many link-backs to them. Today, these sites are not highly valued, but some content there is good. You can copy and paste several articles about your topic that you have organized into a course. All you have to do is include a link to the original and a credit for the author.

Private Label Rights (PLR) Content – PLR content is pre-written. You buy a license to it and use it as needed. Buy articles, emails or a special report to turn into a series.

4. Create an Outline – Draw up an outline of what you want in each email.

5. Write a Great Subject Line – It should entice and make them eager to read more.

6. Add Your Sales Links – Check the URLs to make sure they lead to the products you want to sell.

7. Upload everything into your autoresponder.

Copy and paste your subject lines and content, one to each email. Then you will have a great series you can market to your target audience.

 

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How to Move Forward When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

As a creative, focusing on one niche or genre feels confining. After all, you have interests and ideas for all kinds of writing in every genre from romance to sci-fi to business books. Should you pursue several of them at the same time? Probably not.

When you are first starting out, it’s not a good idea to jump from niche to niche, genre to genre or even brand to brand. You end up spreading yourself too thin as well as you don’t stick around long enough to make a name for yourself. People won’t remember you or recognize you if you’re jumping all over the place.

You won’t be able to monetize or make consistent money when you’re all over the place. Your readership can’t grow since people don’t know what to expect when you jump from finance writing to romance writing to lifestyle.

Focusing your efforts on one niche helps you get better results. You want to stay consistent in one area until you’ve succeeded. Then you can expand into other areas. This is true in not only writing a book, but in blogging, business or any other endeavor.

Begin by asking what niche you want to follow. Then focus solely on it. Get crystal clear on what niche you want to focus on and then stick to it. Be consistently producing content in that niche, publishing new books and building a rapport with your readers to become successful at it.

The quickest way to selling a lot of books or achieving anything really, is to have laser focus. Success will come easier when you write and market five thriller novels than if you write one romance novel, one book on finance, on sci-fi book, a book on self-care and a guide on how to crochet afghans.

It’s doubtful anyone will want to read your finance book and your book on crocheting. This is because your message isn’t focused and you’re going after different markets with different messages.

People will be confused. Are you a romance author or a crochet expert or a finance wizard? You’re trying to talk to too many audiences. Focus on one key audience and create great content for them. That’s the fastest path to succeeding.

Don’t worry that you will be stuck in that niche or genre the rest of your career. You can dip your toes into other niches after you get the ball rolling full steam in one area. Just remember it’s hard enough to sell in one niche; when you start spreading your marketing time and budget among many it gets even harder.

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Choose Your Focus and Stick to It

As a creative, focusing on one niche or genre feels confining. After all, you have interests and ideas for all kinds of writing in every genre from romance to sci-fi to business books. Should you pursue several of them at the same time? Probably not.

When you are first starting out, it’s not a good idea to jump from niche to niche, genre to genre or even brand to brand. You end up spreading yourself too thin as well as you don’t stick around long enough to make a name for yourself. People won’t remember you or recognize you if you’re jumping all over the place.

You won’t be able to monetize or make consistent money when you’re all over the place. Your readership can’t grow since people don’t know what to expect when you jump from finance writing to romance writing to lifestyle.

Focusing your efforts on one niche helps you get better results. You want to stay consistent in one area until you’ve succeeded. Then you can expand into other areas. This is true in not only writing a book, but in blogging, business or any other endeavor.

Begin by asking what niche you want to follow. Then focus solely on it. Get crystal clear on what niche you want to focus on and then stick to it. Be consistently producing content in that niche, publishing new books and building a rapport with your readers to become successful at it.

The quickest way to selling a lot of books or achieving anything really, is to have laser focus. Success will come easier when you write and market five thriller novels than if you write one romance novel, one book on finance, on sci-fi book, a book on self-care and a guide on how to crochet afghans.

It’s doubtful anyone will want to read your finance book and your book on crocheting. This is because your message isn’t focused and you’re going after different markets with different messages.

People will be confused. Are you a romance author or a crochet expert or a finance wizard? You’re trying to talk to too many audiences. Focus on one key audience and create great content for them. That’s the fastest path to succeeding.

Don’t worry that you will be stuck in that niche or genre the rest of your career. You can dip your toes into other niches after you get the ball rolling full steam in one area. Just remember it’s hard enough to sell in one niche; when you start spreading your marketing time and budget among many it gets even harder.

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How Often Should You Review Your Content Plan and Analytics?

There are a number of different schools of thought regarding how often a business owner with a website or blog should review their content plan and their analytics. The truth is, you need to do it every time you publish something new. The biggest mistakes new small business owners make are:

a) They don’t have a content plan
b) They don’t track and test their results

A Content Plan

All marketing on the internet is content marketing. No matter what you are trying to sell, you need traffic. And you can only get traffic if you have a web page with content of some type on it. It could be a post, top tips, embedded video, graphic, PowerPoint presentation and so on. Your content should be based on what you know your target audience struggles with and needs more information about.

In addition, it should be keyworded. If it is written content on the page, important keywords and phrases the people in your niche would be likely to search for should be in the title, description, on the page itself, and in the tags. If it is a graphical item, name the file using keywords. Then use keywords in the title, description and so on. This process is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

These keywords can also help with search engine marketing (SEM) – in particular pay per click (PPC) marketing. With PPC, you run content ads based on keywords to drive traffic to your best content. Top places to run PPC ads include Google AdWords, Bing/Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter. All of these networks match your content to the right people interested in your niche, so you can get traffic very quickly.

With Google and Bing, you will get qualified traffic which has been selected through the keywords they type in, resulting in your ad being shown and them clicking on it. With Facebook and Twitter, they will have already indicated their interests, so all you have to do is create your ad and set your audience.

Running ads can start to become expensive if you don’t track your results, which brings us to the importance of analytics.

Analytics

Once you have published any piece of content, it is important to look at:

  • How much traffic it has received
  • How much of that traffic has obeyed your call to action (CTA)

Your traffic can come from SEO, PPC and also social media. But how many obey your CTA? Imagine you create a 7-part ecourse on SEO. You would create a sign-up page and tell people about it. Then you would track the traffic and number of subscribers. You would also check the social media response, such as likes, shares and comments.

You would then look at the traffic logs of your site, such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics is free. Register for an account and add a small amount of tracking code to your site or blog. You will start to see traffic reports for your site. The Audience tab will tell you how many visitors you had, as well as age, gender and so on. The Acquisitions tab will show you where they came from – Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Keeping a close eye on the success (or not) of the content you publish is one of the best ways to keep on creating exactly the kind of information that your target audience is most interested in, which should lead to more traffic and greater profits.

 

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How to Encourage Earned Media

Most bloggers and online business owners miss golden opportunities to promote their brand and business by not having a media outreach program or focusing on earned media. Yet encouraging earned media can be one of the best ways to achieve your goals.

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media is when discussions about your brand, products and/or services are generated by people outside your company – such as journalists, editors, internet users, and so on. Think of it as word-of-mouth marketing in which people write about or discuss your brand and convey why you are worthy of attention.

Why Focus on Earned Media?

Earned media has been shown to generate far more trust than any marketing material a company issues. High trust value means more willingness to engage with you and your content, and what you sell. Therefore, it also means increased sales and profits.

What Are the Best Ways to Encourage Earned Media?

1. Set goals for earned media.

Your goals can be more:

  • Traffic
  • Subscribers
  • Sales
  • Brand recognition

Set a goal for each press release you issue and each piece of content you create. Then measure your success in relation to your goal.

2. Create content for each goal.

If you want more traffic, publishing a great article or video can help.

Want more subscribers? Create a free special report or ecourse. Set up a new list in your email marketing platform. Create a sign-up form and copy and paste it to a landing page with your free offer. Then track the number of people who sign up.

Every time you launch a new product, announce it and track sales. Create special sales and offers from time to time, related to current events, special dates, holidays and so on. Then track your results.

Use social media to increase the reach of your brand. Every time you publish new content, promote it using social media linking buttons and/or announce it at your social media accounts. Include a call to action that encourages them to like or share the information.

3. Set up a great media center at your site.

Make it easy for media representatives such as reporters or top bloggers to work with you by having a media center that includes all the information they need to know about your company, without them having to hunt all over the place for it. Include links to every press release you publish.

4. Use a press release distribution service.

This will help you spread the word about your business quickly and easily, and could result in media pickups in top publications. Journalists are always looking for great content of real value to their readership.

5. Pitch to the media.

If you have an important breaking story, pitch it directly to media representatives who are interested in your niche. Getting their contact information will take some research, and constructing a good pitch will take some time and effort as you approach each journalist one at a time. However, the rewards can be well worth it in terms of all your business goals.

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How to Build Suspense in Your Content

A lot of content on the internet just seems to be the same old thing, with nothing new, exciting or noteworthy that deserves being paid attention to. One of the best ways to stand out from this is to create suspense. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways.

Journalistic Writing versus Blogging

Journalistic writing is the kind of writing used by newspaper and magazine writers. It centers around the six Ws in order to report the facts:

  •  Who 
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • hoW

Journalistic writing is also an “inverted pyramid” style of writing, with all of the meaty information in the first paragraph or two, tapering down to less and less important information until the article finally concludes.

With this style of writing, there is very little suspense or a “twist in the tale” at the end of it. About the only place you ever see suspense consciously being used is in the headline. A good headline is designed to lure those skimming a paper into reading the entire article.

Studies have shown that 100% of readers will read a headline, but only 70% will ever read the first paragraph, and 50% the second paragraph. That is a steep falling off of readership you really can’t afford as a professional content creator trying to make money from your site or blog.

Therefore, you need to master more than journalistic writing if your content is ever going to get read.

Marketing as Storytelling

All content online is marketing. And one of the hottest trends in online marketing is storytelling.

Storytelling is as old as time itself, and one of the earliest activities we engage in as a child. “Once upon a time, there was a…” is a common storytelling formula because it works.

The most successful stories have a beginning, middle and end. They don’t even have to be very long. Think of Aesop’s Fables. What the best stories have is a twist in the tale – that is, a surprise ending. Or they might end with a special point that was intended to be made via the story, such as, “the moral of the story.”

Adding Suspense

Every good story has some element of suspense. Even though in most cases, we love a happy ending, it is thrilling to be kept on edge, not knowing if things were going to turn out for the best. Stories like “The Three Little Pigs” or “Little Red Riding Hood” keep you guessing until the end. We move from an unhappy situation to a happy one where everything has been solved.

This formula works well with content too. Think of the problems the people in your niche have, and how they can be solved. What solutions have you discovered along the way? What has really worked for you? What setbacks did you have? Was it a straight progression from A to B, or did you have to take a more winding route around the scary woods to find what you needed? What lessons can you offer your readers as the moral of your story?

This type of content will not only be more vivid and suspenseful, it will also help position you as an expert in your niche worth paying attention to. This can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to your content marketing efforts.

 

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You’ll also have access to a huge library of other expert interviews, courses and resources for turning your writing skills into a living.  You’ll love our Quick Start Success Kit that will you publish and market your first book or information product quickly!