Writing to Impress: Content Marketing Twitter Chat with Don Sturgill @DonSturgill #VCBuzz

Writing to Impress: Content Marketing Twitter Chat with @DonSturgill #VCBuzzCreating great content is something we’ll never stop talking about. There’s never enough to be said about writing content that works.

Today we are lucky to have one of the most talented writers and editors I know. Please meet @DonSturgill

***Add #VCBuzz chats to your calendar here.

***Please sign in here to follow the chat -> twchat.com/hashtag/vcbuzz

About Don

@DonSturgill is a “writer, dreamer and believer”

Don is a professional writer and editor having three decades of experience in helping entrepreneurs and corporations write ebooks, newsletters, articles, white papers, marketing copy, and use content to build revenue…

Connect to Don via his site DonSturgill.com

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become digital writer and editor? Please tell your story!

Digital was a natural progression from print. I began with newspaper articles and features. I went on to write ads and marketing materials for small biz, then to corporate & government writing. “Going digital” first meant a computerized typewriter, but the real digital advantage is research.

My story is one of struggling to keep the Dream alive. I wanted to make my living by writing since I was a boy. Nobody believed my Dream was possible. It’s a long shot. Few make it. Be sensible. Get real. I always held on to a day job. Afraid to dive in DEEP. Folks like @seosmarty helped me develop the confidence to go for it.

I work from home. I work when I choose. I pick my own jobs. I love what I do, and I thank God every day. Still, there are transitions and challenges, but I’ve tasted enough of the possibilities to never give up.

By writing and writing some more. get your work out there.

Q2 What was your online writing career turning point? Are there articles (or other online achievements) you are particularly proud of?

Examples of non-ghost-written articles are here.  Life is a series of turning points – “Roadturns,” I call them. Getting published. Writing a book. Finishing grad school.

3 big ones for me: Meeting a Navajo mechanic with a dream. Meeting a billionaire in the desert, and meeting Ann Smarty.

  • The Navajo story here
  • The billionaire’s story is here
  • My Ann story is here (but more needs written)

My biggest turning point, was designing and using the DEEP for a business incubator in Navajo Territory.  Practicing The DEEP set me off in a whole new direction within 30 days. By 60 days, I was amazed at the difference. By 90 days doing The DEEP, I was beginning to live my Dream. True story. You can get an audio version of The DEEP by registering here.

The DEEP tells you how to defeat your biggest enemy: the inner critic.

Q3 You were editing some great blogs (including @PostPlanner)… As an editor, what would be your advice to writers willing to contribute to high-profile outlets? How to get your pitch excepted? How to impress an editor?

I also edited the elite gallery for MyBlogGuest. I loved working with the talented writers there. Successful pitching consists of “What’s in it for them?” … NOT “What’s in it for me?”

Know the publisher you want to approach: Their style, their people, and their needs.

Look for writer guidelines via site search. Example: site postplanner.com  “guest blogger”

Ann @seosmarty has an excellent Udemy course on using search. If you can’t find guidelines, contact the website and ASK.  Just be sure your proposal fits the theme and will add to the content there. Again WIIFT, not WIIFM.

If you know the needs of the site and write quality material, you WILL get the editor’s attention. Here’s the way to get work: Be helpful. WIIFT

Q4 What makes a great article that gets shared and provokes action? Any solid examples for us to earn from?

Example: How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers

Example: 8 Strategies That Will Help You Reduce Cart Abandonment

Example: 3 Tips to Improve the Search Ranking for Your Blog Posts

My pet peeve is flashy titles that don’t deliver. What’s your pet content peeve?

Many people have great ideas, but it’s tough to write in English. I always feel for them. You should see my Ukraine writing 🙂 But great articles don’t get read without promotion. You need people and tools for that.

Always do your research and know what you want to say. Then say it concisely. Cut the clutter. Don’t just regurgitate what others have said. Think about your topic. Own it.

Q5 What are your favorite blogging and writing tools?

I’m a tool minimalist, but there are a few go-to tools I depend on.

  • StudioPress is a trusted #WordPress theme package @studiopress
  • Adobe Photoshop helps me edit impactful photos and logos @Adobe
  • I use this title capitalization tool DAILY.
  • You can get quick promotional help with Viral Content Buzz
  • I keep leaving @Hootsuite for social management, but always go back. Hootsuite rocks!
  • You can find exceptional folks to interview at @MyBlogU
  • I use Scrivener @ScrivenerApp, OneNote @msonenote and @Trello. @Toggl is the best time tracker anywhere
  • Here’s an excellent SERP tracking tool – WhatsMySerp

I could get lost in tools. I love them. The important thing is to find a tool that suits your purpose and use it. Don’t chase your tail. Hard work, supportive people, and the right tools … those are the components of exceptional writing.

And never, ever let your Dream die. Never.

There is never enough time for everything and everyone, Sana. Never. Life is a series of choices. How will I invest this precious moment, this precious hour, this precious day? I use the DEEP for focus. Part of the system maps out my day.

Really important is to separate what I would like to do and what I am GOING to do. Distractions abound. Staying focused and completing a task can be difficult. I must commit to you and to me. I must do what I say I will do. Every day.

Our previous writing chats:

 

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