RedShift Writers and January Advisors Invite You to the First Ever #ContentHOU

Calling all Houstonians in the business of crafting, amplifying, or tracking content: Let’s meet up and trade notes! RedShift Writers and January Advisors are hosting a small content writing meetup Wednesday, July 12, 6-8 PM at Mercantile Cafe on 3321 Stanford Street in Montrose.

Much like other industries in the Houston area, the Houston writing and content marketing scene boasts of a robust arrangement of talent unafraid to take to the page with the right preposition, data visualization, or dashboard as circumstances see fit. Let’s take a few sips of coffee or tea and trade notes on something you’ve learned.

Here’s the gist of the event:

1) Think of something you have learned about content that you are willing to share;

2) Show up and mingle to make a few new content buddies;

3) Share your lesson with the crowd in two minutes or less;

4) Pinpoint one lesson to learn from;

5) Have fun!

We’re keeping this casual with juuuuust enough structure (read: a super official Facebook invite and mild meeting structure) to be productive.

Kids are allowed. It’s a coffee house, but we’ll bring crayons and coloring books.

RSVP today.

Hope to see you there!

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Daniel J. CohenRedShift Writers and January Advisors Invite You to the First Ever #ContentHOU

Five Ways Content Writers Can Create a Better Client Relationship

The content writer’s job is to create language that compels others to act. No matter what medium or what purpose the content has, good content maintains that characteristic and leverages the power of words to reinforce a particular mindset or action.

However, not all copy ends up as powerful as it should be. While the writer in the process often tussles with editors, creative directors, strategists, the legal department and a bevy of others in the organization to word content just right, it seldom hits the presses (or internet) completely in tact.

On the other hand, writers are perfectly capable of guiding clients in the right direction and ending up with the content that will best represents the company or cause. Sometimes, it just takes a little creative flair in your client-content writer relationship to sharpen your language to its very best.
Here are five tactics writers can use to help clients get the very best results.

1) Encourage a push-pull relationship.
Your job as a writer or marketing consultant is to make sure clients are able to make fully informed decisions. While one decision may be superior to another, knowing the right decision in the moment isn’t always possible without an iterative process involving both sides of the fence: the experts and the creatives.

Involving clients deeply in the messaging process will not only create better results but also improve your overall client relationships.

2) Train the team to let their hands go.
Much of the push back content writers get is a result of a client balancing interests in the copy. However, a smart content writer can pave the way for approval early on by explaining the power of precision copy that takes a strong position rather than balancing opinions or voice to the point that it becomes sanitized and plain.

Teach the power of taking a sharp, clear position and staking a claim rather than balancing the message for all involved.

3) Set the expectations early.
Develop an understanding with clients regarding your process as well as what can be expected from a first draft. If you have done a good job developing your discovery process, most clients will find what you do valuable and take pleasure in getting involved in your discovery process.

An involved client is more likely to approve your copy- hands down.

4) Keep your eye on the prize.
In the end, the client and the content writer want the same thing: well-conceived copy that will get the job done. Keep in mind the harmonious, win-win nature of the task at hand and everyone will prosper.

5) Give clients homework.
Not busy work, mind you. Your clients are busy. They have a business to run.

Yet a certain degree of homework is the sign of an involved writer as well as a solid content process.  Offer clients a step by step path that goes beyond the standard sit=down to indicate true commitment.

Want more tips for free lancers that go beyond the standard client assistance? Check out 50 Rules for Renegade Free Lance Writers.

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Daniel J. CohenFive Ways Content Writers Can Create a Better Client Relationship

RedShift Writers Shift Ahead Presser 2-17 – Houston Writeathon Ready for Liftoff

RedShift Writers prides itself not just on providing you with incredible content and thoughts about how to craft better writing for business and personal pleasures, but also on what is to come, where resources lie in the City of Houston, and how you can get involved in the business community.

On that note, we present the first ever weekly Shift Ahead presser from RedShift Writers. Here’s what happening with our city, our clients and our projects.

  • At 10 AM this Saturday 2/22, something very special is happening in the Montrose Public Library. It’s an event that indicates the true power of writers. It’s an event that unifies creatives to solve everyday problems for Houstonians.

It’s the Houston Writeathon!

The Houston Writeathon will feature some of the leading civic innovation thinkers in the city and gather dozens of the city’s best writers, designers and stakeholders, all for one beautiful, engaging and civic-minded cause: improving the communication of important information to Houstonians. Co-organized by some of Houston’s leading writers and startup leaders, the Houston Writeathon will offer citizens of all varieties a chance to unify, make a difference, network, drink cocktails and write (of course!).

For more information, check out www.HoustonWriteathon.com.

Tune in to FM 92.1 Saturday at 2 PM, or see www.eehour.com for more details on how to download the app, listen online or watch live on UStream.

  • Artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, musicians, event planners, club owners and anyone else with an interest in attention for events, keep your ears open: Whispers suggest That Video Magazine is on the verge of releasing a HUGE event sponsorship budget. The package is still in early formation, but we can guarantee you there will be enough support in the package to make major waves in the events scene in Houston and have an impact in its genesis town, New York City. TVM has a knack for blowing up events and getting the word out with killer video content. Expect big things and be ready to bid for huge sponsorship dollars.
  • Michele Price’s #BREAKTHROUGH #BBSRadio episode this Monday features a discussion on 26 Ironclad Relationship Laws Driving Business Success. Awesome host and sure to be an awesome show. Check out the landing page.
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Daniel J. CohenRedShift Writers Shift Ahead Presser 2-17 – Houston Writeathon Ready for Liftoff

What is the best time to publish a blog post?

Whenever you want!

Think about it. Why do you publish a blog post in the first place? Blogging can certainly lead to sales. It can be a great way to talk to your audience. And it doesn’t hurt you in the search rankings, either.

But different companies seek to accomplish different objectives with a blog. Dino Dogan of Triberr says that your blog should be thought of “as a magazine” or “like a water cooler”. Some of my clients use their blogs to feature specific products or services. Still others simply aim to keep their sites relevant with their customers. I blog for a combination of purposes.

In theory, you should publish in the morning. When you publish a blog post in the morning, you supposedly drive more traffic, particularly if you do so between 8 and 11 AM. You also get more traffic on Monday, but more comments on Saturday.

This all assumes your audience is the average audience though, when in reality, your audience is your own. Your customers (or readers, if you don’t sell things to them directly) may prefer to wake up at 2 PM, roll over, eat some cheese balls, drink a soda from the night before and get online at 3 PM, then pound the keyboards on all of their favorite blogs for three hours with cheese-covered fingers (comic blogs, I’m looking in your direction). In that case you should publish your blog post at either 3:30 PM (their “morning”) or 4 AM, right before they go to bed after a long night of either Halo or World of Warcraft.

There is also one key factor that trumps any consideration you may have given when you should publish your blog post: What you publish. If your content isn’t strong, there’s no point in putting it out there for the world to see. A good blog post should draw the reader in and convince the audience to read it in its entirety (here’s an example our audience really liked). It’s hard enough to stand out in the digital world- so hard that people are manipulating every variable (such as when you should publish your blog post, whether or not you use pictures, different social media post promotion patterns and more). It’s even harder when you have nothing to say.

So while “social media scientists” may tell you they know the exact measurable pattern that makes the most sense for when you should publish a blog post, take that analysis with a grain of salt. Timing and testing of all content marketing variables is important, but trust your intuition to determine whether or not you are an average business or if you should post outside of the traditional “best period of the day”. And NEVER sacrifice the quality of your content for the quantity of posts on your blog.

This blog is being published on a Monday morning in an effort to see if you, our reader, is an average blog reader, or if you have other business to attend to right now. If you think we’re on the right track, tell us in the comments.

Or if you think we are plum crazy and totally missed the mark, you can tell us that, too.

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Daniel J. CohenWhat is the best time to publish a blog post?