Productivity Killers of a Writer

We writers are a blessed breed as not many other people get to sit around doing nothing all day long. We get to go to the beach whenever we feel like it, go to the pub for lunch and choose to stay there for the rest of the day, or just watch mindless rubbish on TV all day long. For some people, spending the entire time watching Jeremy Kyle and home shopping channels on TV while drinking endless cups of tea is a dream come true and writers get to live that dream, or at least that’s what some people seem to think. The reality, of course, is that watching TV doesn’t pay the rent and we do actually have to get some work done from time to time, although even well-disciplined workers can still find their productivity suffering if they are not careful. However by simply keeping away from some of the biggest productivity killers you will be well on the way to actually getting something done.

Don’t Be a Twit

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook will destroy your productivity levels if you allow them to. What’s more is that it is not as though you are spending your time doing something constructive because playing bubble blast or reading what your friends have had for breakfast today contributes absolutely nothing towards getting your jobs done. The best way to avoid the output sapping platforms from resulting in you making no money is to not turn them on in the first place. Keep your tabs open only to the web pages that you really do need and once you have finished all of your tasks, you are then free to watch videos of funny animals on Facebook at your leisure.

Just One More Game

copywritingStart up the PS3 to finally beat that level on Black Ops and you had might as well say goodbye to the chances of getting a single word written. Once you have started playing, getting separated from the console becomes more difficult than splitting the atom and the concept of time becomes lost in the challenge of hitting the triangle and circle buttons at exactly the right moments. If you are thinking to yourself: “I’ll turn it off after just one game”, then think again. Keep well away from the machine; don’t even look at it and you might stand a chance of getting those blogs written after all.

Checking Up On the News

No you’re not. You’re not checking up on the news at all, you’re just making an excuse to do something other than working and you know it. You only checked 30 minutes ago anyway so what do you suppose has happened within that half an hour that so urgently requires your attention? Besides, even if something tragic has happened why does it require your attention at all? A huge earthquake in some part of the world for example, is a tragedy indeed but how does you reading about it make the slightest bit of difference to anything? You can still read the news later once you have completed your work so just keep focused on completing your tasks and you can give the news all of your attention later.

It can be all too easy to make excuses or to get lost in something else and before you know it, the working day is over and you have managed to do nothing. Remember to keep your discipline, recognise and keep away from those things that are a distraction to you getting things done and you should find that you are productive and soon delivering quality pieces well within deadlines.

Ian Arnison-Phillips is a copywriter for Apple Copywriters. If you are still struggling to find the motivation and discipline to get your guest blogging finished, we have professional writers who are ready and waiting to help you out.

Digital Media and Business: The Case for Regulation

(be warned this is not a short read and the good stuff is at the bottom)

Digital Media Social Media Regulation and CertificationIf you follow anything just about anywhere the subject somehow always turns to the economy, and it should. Money makes the world go around and it’s the basis for our capitalist society. The confusion comes in when we try to figure out what has happened or is happening. It’s simple: the everyday individual has become as powerful as major media, has found ways to be as influential as any politician, can walk away from most jobs and compete with their former employer in many cases with better customer service at a far lower cost.

Unemployment in the United States is around 8% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but many argue that the number could be closer to 30% because it doesn’t take into account those that are underemployed, or are no longer reporting looking for employment or their benefits expired.

What Happened?

The Digital Age arguably has a much longer history then the .com revolution, but this was the turning point that corporations and leadership in the United States missed, or just underestimated. The introduction of the web into the homes of American consumers began the shift in how we consume content. The development of search engines like Google redefined how we learn, in fact Education institutions at all levels still struggle with combating things like plagiarism and balancing the traditional book i.e. encyclopedia vs. the web i.e. Wikipedia. The Social Media revolution changed how we communicate and the mobile rush changed the speed at which we access and share content.

Digital Media’s Effect on the Business and the Economy

There is a battle going on between wisdom and knowledge and the business is coming out as the loser. There are a lot of reasons one can point to the current economic crisis, and the effect it has had on business in the United States. While some point to the greed on Wall Street from Home Loans, or Student Loans, they may not be why we can’t recover.

Education & Digital Media

Today’s youth faces an interesting choice, go to college and spend $40k – $120k and then learn how to use Digital Communications, or start as an intern for a digital company or startup and give 4 years of ups and downs and come out with a skill set that is more attractive than a college degree. In fact in many cases it will flat out provide the knowledge, skills and ability to put another agency or business out of business.

The ability to understand how to build a user, social and search – friendly website is already a major advantage, and take into account that using tools like WordPress and CopyBlogger could help you launch the framework you’ll need to get started for less than a week’s work and a few hundred dollars, it’s no wonder self-employment is on the rise (according to U.S. SBA). Take that to the next level and think about professional development, as a solopreneur you need to learn, set a pattern or “Read, Write and Share” and now you have a learning plan that can in many ways be more effective than traditional education. This also becomes the content, or story of you and your business, arguably the key component to marketing and business in the Digital Age.

Wisdom vs. Knowledge

Wisdom is a process, it takes experience and relationships to really acquire the skill set that gives you the ability to make long-term decisions. Wisdom is the value  that seasoned professionals and some corporations bring to the table, they tend to provide stable long-term solutions through an understanding of the bigger picture.

Knowledge is simply information, it has become nearly limitless and requires little effort to acquire, in many cases provided simply through a solution phrase “Google It”. Knowledge allows many to know more than the individual or corporation next to them by simply spending time to consume content.

A traditional corporation still moves like an iceberg, even if they bring in young talent, that individual is shaped and conforms to the hierarchy and becomes developmentally limited because of the structure they must adhere to. While in many cases they provide long-term solutions that are time-tested and proven, they also suffer for that practice. Time-Tested and Proven is the practice of pre-Digital Age business and is the reason why newspapers nearly went extinct. Once you consider the traditional models overhead for their employees, it’s no wonder you shake your head and try to figure out why their profits are down and their prices are up.

The solopreneur was stuck having to decide, work 9-5 for $60k a year (before taxes) likely with a commute or work at your own pace in a manner that fits you for $40 – $120k with taxes subject to your expenses (S Corp). The solopreneur lives in their community, can operate with significantly less overhead and pivots to solutions as they are introduced to the market. This means the business owner can get the website that was presented to him for $10k for $2k and in many cases will have someone who has a stronger relationship and understanding of that business and the community it serves. After all, why would they work for you, if they can work for themselves and do it for less with more freedom.

Starting to understand the wisdom vs. knowledge analogy?

This is at the heart of the current issue facing the United States economy, the balance between the two is swinging at the far ends of both, after all the best talent isn’t going to come to work for a corporation for less than what they can make for themselves and that’s not even giving consideration to the ego and freedom of being an independent business owner. The issue they face of “lack of corporate support” is vanishing in some industries like marketing as companies like Google and Constant Contact have now built entire service systems around training independent agencies and consultants, in many cases better than larger agencies can. This is nothing new to companies like AVON, Amway and Lia Sophia who have built their entire business model on helping independent business owners be the best trained service agents the world has to offer in their industry.   

How can the United States fix the economy is they don’t understand the change Digital has had on business? Policies that have been initiated by traditional models don’t fit when the middle market talent is rewarded by competing with the corporations they would have gone to work for. Now take into account laws and restrictions for some industries that just don’t fit into things like mobile and social marketing and you have a big issue facing the future of business in the United States, who regulates this?

The Case for Regulation

I hate to say it, but business is suffering from the two extremes; First there is the inflated expenses from a corporation product or service that is caused by unorganized management, poor execution and in most cases unneeded overhead. It doesn’t seem to get better when that product or service comes from an independent consultants who in many cases means well but can’t provide the actual solution their offering.

What’s worse? Is it the $10k for a website that really should be priced at $2k – $5k that prevents a business from spending money in other ways to make use of that tool to generate new business, made even worse by the those that can’t come up with that investment. Perhaps it’s a website at $2k – $5k that doesn’t have the branding and structure to build new business, missing the simple basics like digital call to actions, social and search integration and other data and lead capture features. In either case the business on the purchasing side is facing an issue that prevents their business from seeing digital success.

It leaves the digital industry in flux as corporations and agencies have been as guilty for selling junk solutions to offset their losses on traditional products as those overnight solopreneurs and consultants that are offering budget solutions that don’t work either.

In the end, digital media is a necessity of business. If business owners don’t find ways to incorporate digital strategies into their product offerings, services and brand story they’re not going to be in business for long. In many cases, without a digital strategy most businesses will never reach their full potential. If these business owners don’t know how to tell a legitimate provider from a scarlet corporation or consultant it too will destroy their business. It’s not just consultants and agencies either, it can be a standalone service, something like say Groupon?

We have regulations and oversight for Insurance, Healthcare, Telecommunications, Banking and so on. It’s time someone stepped in and set a standard for the bare minimum before you can represent the service for sale to a business or a consumer. It shouldn’t restrict competition and creativity, but it should set a standard for minimum practices to represent yourself as a provider in the industry and to think I haven’t even touched the issue of individuals or companies teaching or offering training in it. It’s scary when in most cases they themselves clearly don’t know what they are doing with it and have no professional development experience or training with education learning objectives or adult learning practices.


You’ve Got Comments. Now What?

Blog CommentsA client of mine asked a question the other day that got me thinking – “What should I do with all the comments on my blog and Facebook page?”  It was a question that required deeper understanding of their meaning, and when I inquired, she told me quite clearly, “We get so many comments that we don’t reply to them all.”

WOW.  That is a very important statement.  You have so many comments that you just don’t reply to them all???  After you give a presentation, do you answer questions?  If someone calls, do you not answer?

Most people are blogging to encourage participation.  I know this particular client certainly is.  She wants to be seen as an expert within her field, and often ends blog posts with questions encouraging responses.

So why, then, wouldn’t they answer each comment?  The easy answer is that they should, and for three main reasons:  comments build community, comments shows that you appreciate the readers time and effort in responding, and they encourage discussion among your readers.

But, there are more subtle ways that comments and your replies will help your blog.  Your answers may encourage more people to comment and weigh in on the discussion.  After all, people aren’t commenting just to hear themselves type.   Comments will also help with search engine optimization (SEO) since it is likely that comments will be re-iterating keywords used within your blog post making you more likely to rank for those keywords.  In addition, comments may use additional keywords that you hadn’t used, thereby helping you rank for those, as well.

In addition, your responses to blog comments help you build credibility and authority, which is most likely one of the reasons that you are blogging in the first place.  By responding to comments, you will be seen as the go-to expert in your specific topic.  It also shows a willingness to debate and learn from your readers.

There are some reasons why replying to all comments is not feasible or necessary, however.  There are some comments that just don’t require a response.  They are those comments like, “I agree!”, “Thanks.”, “Great Job!”  However, I believe any other comments, including ones that are discussing the merits of the blogs, should be addressed.  If you’ve asked for a response, don’t ignore them.

What do you think?  Should all comments be addressed?  What do you do with your own blogs?  How do you handle comments?  Let’s discuss it in the comments, and I’ll make sure to answer!



To Reply or Not to Reply to Blog Comments – That is the Question

Responding (Or Not) to Blog Comments

Should I reply to every blog comment?

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment

3 Things You Can Do To Avoid Having Your Online Marketing Emails Marked As Spam

email_marketingWhen you decide to go into online marketing, you will find that there are many ways of going about it. One of the most effective of these is through the use of email marketing. This is a form of marketing that has been around for quite some time, so most people do not think of it as particularly innovative. However, if used properly, it can become an effective and yet cheap method of getting your products known by other people and increasing your sales.

But for it to work for you, you would need to ensure that you go about such a campaign by understanding how to avoid pitfalls. This is because it is very easy for most people to misconstrue your marketing as spam, which means that you may end up having your domain blacklisted as a spam site. To avoid this, you would need to consider the following:

Be careful about how you generate your mailing list

How you come up with addresses for your mailing list is one of the most difficult parts of doing online marketing through email. The reason for this is that getting prime emails is something that needs people to willingly submit their addresses to your organization, something that most of them may not be willing to do.

That said, however, you should make sure that how you get such addresses is as transparent as possible. For instance, when you are using a signup form to do this, you need to give the users an option to decline having emails sent to their addresses, so that they are not forced to accept them.

Make it easy for your users to opt out

Another way to avoid having your email marketing process to be marked as spam is by making sure that you give your users an easy way to opt out of the mailing list. For instance, you can add a link at the bottom of each email to make it much easier for them to simply click it to avoid receiving any more promotional emails. If you do not provide such a link or make the process of opting out to be overly complicated, they are simply going to mark your domain as spam, since this is much easier to do.

Be careful about the wording of your emails

When you are doing online marketing through email, you also need to pay attention to how your emails are worded. These days, most email programs can read the content of such emails, and then try to figure out the probability of them being spam. If you use words or phrases that are associated with spam, they are going to automatically be marked as such, which means that your readers may not get to read them in the first place. Some of the mistakes that you may make include the use of too many exclamation marks or frequent use of words such as “free”, “amazing” and “offer”, most of which are considered to be the hallmarks of spam.

Holly Sanders is an internet savvy person. She owns a blog where she gives useful and effective online marketing tips. She is one of the leading experts on internet marketing in Nashville.

Justin Handley on Digital Business Hour

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Justin Handley

Justin Handley founded the Narasopa Media in 2000, and has steadily built it over the last 12 years. The first five years were spent experimenting and learning, doing everything from web design to ghost writing books on marketing. Working behind the scenes for some of the world’s top marketers Justin gained a solid foundation in the essentials of online marketing and project management, and was a project manager on things as varied as Virtual Family Kingdom, a virtual world that went to 200,000 users in 30 days, Cisco’s AS3 reseller management application, the online multi-player version of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

In the last five years just has completely built four online businesses from the ground up.  Every one has hit 1 million dollars in less than 12 months.

An Introduction To Content Marketing

How does content marketing work anyway? If you have been asking yourself this question, then you have come to the right place. Content marketing is done by creating and sharing quality information for free. The content can be in form of articles, videos, newsletters or eBooks. The content that you create should be related to your blog’s niche or the product you are promoting.

Content marketing works in various ways including increasing traffic to your blog and in building trust with your visitors. If you use it effectively, then you will generate traffic from other sites and also the search engines. You will know how this will happen by reading this article.

  1. Promoting Your Blog: You can easily use content marketing to promote your blog. The first thing that you need to do is write quality content and then submit them to various websites. There are some sites that will accept your content and when you submit the content, you will be allowed to insert your blog’s URL. The person who will read your content will visit your blog by clicking the link on your article.
  2. Search Engine Rankings: Writing quality content will help your blog in ranking higher in the search engines. Search engines have started using content to rank websites and blogs. Therefore, with a good content marketing strategy, your blog’s page rank will increase. You will start getting free organic traffic and this is one of the good ways of how content marketing works.
  3. Increase the number of Return Visitors: The other way is that content marketing helps in providing valuable information to the visitor. Several bloggers use content to provide free information to their blog visitors. Therefore, the visitor will always come back for more information. This is good because the blogger will never lose most of their visitors because most of these visitors will join their email list so that they can get updates from the blogger.
  4. Building Customer’s Trust: Content marketing also works by building the customer’s trust. When you providing quality content to your visitors, they will trust you and they will buy your products or the products you recommend. The customer sees that you are providing high quality information, therefore they will know that your products contain more quality information.
  5. Readers Get Information they needed: Your blog visitors will get the information that they were looking for. When you use advertisements to promote your products, the reader will not learn anything. When you are using content marketing, then you will take your time to create the content and you will produce useful information. Your readers will read them and learn something. If you are using videos, then your readers will be entertained and you can easily convert them into buyers.

These are the best ways of how content marketing works. If you want to be successful with content marketing, then you need to learn how to do it effectively. Empower Network has all the training and tools that you can use to take your content marketing skills to the next level. You can also use this marketing strategy to promote their products and earn 100% commissions.

Eric Welke is an online entrepreneur and internet marketer.  His blog can be found by going to

“How to Be Awesome” – Scott Stratten of Unmarketing

“How to Be Awesome” – Scott Stratten of Unmarketing on Marketing Made Simple TV

In this show (Maximize the view for optimal viewing), with a great white paper offer from Find New Customers ( Scott Stratten of Unmarketing, ( shares key tips from his Book of Business Awesome.

Here’s what you will learn in this show.

  1. Why companies aren’t awesome – people are.
  2. A great example of awesomeness.
  3. Common mistakes made by companies in social media.

We thank Scott for appearing on the show. Check out Scott’s new book, The Book of Business Awesome/The Book of Business UnAwesome. Amazon has an unbelievably low price on this great book!

Marketing Made Simple TV premieres every Thursday at noon ET at Marketing Made Simple TV ( and at many syndication sites, including Digital Ethos, Social Media Today, Business2Community, and This enables the show to reach a potential audience of over 1,000,000 people each week. Companies who wish to reach this massive audience should visit Sponsorship/Advertising Opportunities on Marketing Made Simple TV or just send an email to host at

Constant Contact: eMail Marketing [INTERNSHIP]

Constant contact is an online marketing company that allows you to stay connected with your customers all around the world. With the world rapidly moving their marketing towards the web, constant contact is a great way to anticipate new customers. They offer their services primarily to small businesses, membership associations, and nonprofit organizations. Constant contact is known for their dependable email marketing. Their main goal is to help their customers find new customers, drive repeat business, and generate referrals.

Email marketing is basically sending email messages with a purpose of attracting new customers, or enhancing the relationships with current customers. Email marketing through constant contact is a great reliable way for your company to grow. With features that allow you to have a professional look, constant contact’s email marketing is more effective than regular email. No technical skills are required to create a professional looking email because constant contact offers over 400 templates to choose from. Creating newsletters are simple and fast so you can send them much more frequently than paper ones.

In order to effectively get your prospectors to respond, differentiate your data base and create smaller customer lists based on their shared interests. After you’ve done that, send them relevant information that pertains to them. This will get more of a chance for them to actually act upon your emails. The emails you send are easy to forward so if you target your audience and their interested, there’s no doubt they’ll click the forward button. This will get you referrals much more easily and allow your company to grow.

A cool feature constant contact’s email marketing offers is tracking and reporting. After you send an email you are able to see who read, clicked, or forwarded your email. This allows you to understand what the people you’re trying to contact are really interested about. You can then go back and tailor your content the best possible way for your targeted audience.

Besides the email templates constant contact offers, they also offer list management and free coaching. List management is a tool that allows you to organize and grow your contact list by combing multiple lists and segmenting them based on an audience with common interests. This is a much easier way to send out a mass email because the lists are already narrowed down to a targeted audience. If you’re having trouble with email marketing through constant contact, they offer free personal coaching and support at anytime. They present webinars, guides, and podcasts to go further in detail about email marketing and how it can boost your businesses customer service.

Constant contact is the new marketing success formula that helps create and grow customer relationships in today’s socially connected world. It’s an easy reliable way for your business to keep a strong communication line. If you use constant contact’s email marketing the right way, your customers will share your emails with their networks therefore making your business grow.


The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.

Benefits of Adding a Subscription Component to Your Website

Advantages for Vendors

Building a subscription website or adding a subscription component to an existing website is a rapidly growing trend, offering vendors a host of benefits, including the opportunity to increase revenues exponentially. Subscription models allow you to establish long-term relationships with customers as opposed to settling for a one-time purchase. They offer predictable monthly or periodic revenue with the ability to add new goods or services to an existing plan. Moreover, online subscription models build brand loyalty, the type of commitment made possible by solid customer relationships.

Advantages for Customers

Online subscriptions offer customers the opportunity to receive ongoing content or promotions from your company and to subscribe to a service rather than buying outright. Typically subscribers have a clear understanding of or interest in the goods, services, or support services you are offering. Accordingly, they often prefer thelow up-front and more manageable costs inherent in monthly or periodic payments (as well as the ability to renew, upgrade, or cancel their subscription).

Any Business Can Profit from a Subscription Model

The recurring revenue stream provided by online subscription models benefits small and large businesses alike. In fact, startups in the software-as-a-service (Saas) segment of the industry are seeing profits increase at an up-to 6x growth rate. As a result, more and more businesses are adding a subscription component to their website or even changing from a single point-of-sale model to a subscription model, with the goal of capitalizing on a sustained and long-term predictable income.

Types of Website Subscription Models

Nowadays, everyone seems to be subscribing to something. The notion of receiving services or content one enjoys (or depends upon) on regular basis is highly appealing. In general, there are two ‘archetypes’ of subscription models – those which are used primarily for monetization and those which drive traffic. If you are thinking of introducing a subscription component ton your website, consider the following types of online subscription models:

  • Freemium Model: Websites offer free content but add a “subscribers-only” link, providing paying subscribers exclusive access to premium features (such as archives or special promotions).
  • Newsletter Model: Access to a digital or print newsletter is provided to subscribers only.
  • Membership Model: A user-driven, content-based model wherein paid members enjoy access to a library of information on topics related to your business. Membershipsubscriptions create an online community of users who share a common interest or passion.
  • Magazine Model: Subscribers gain access to issues of a print or digital magazine related to your website (the magazine should be issued with regular frequency and be easily downloadable as a PDF, viewed in HTML, or stored in a closed document format).
  • Blog Model: Readers who subscribe become part of a community and are welcome to post comments. While originating as ‘personal soapboxes,’ blogs are increasingly being used by businesses as part of their online strategies. Blogs can introduce a new product, announce upcoming events, get news out publicly and quickly, or share company news/information. Many bloggers also use their blog to boost visibility by announcing speaking engagements, books deals, work in other publications, and more.

To capitalize fully on a subscription model for your website, consider investing in subscription management software, designed to help you manage all aspects of the platform – including billing, managing recurring payments, providing multiple credit card payment options, and canceling/upgrading/changing plans.

Businesses are increasingly adding a subscription component to their existing monetization strategies.

Eldad Ben Tora has Over 12 years of experience in the strategy and development of products for social and commercial platforms with strong emphasis on product positioning, strategy and design. Our great eCommerce Service can provide all the subscription services tools you need, allowing you to capitalize on the technology and enjoy the expected increment in revenue.

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