Tag Archives: improv

Work as a Creative? Make Sure to Use Your Timer

We creatives really don’t like clocks. They often cause stress and make us feel like we are not accomplishing anything when we have actually done bucketloads of work.

So, why is this creative writer and marketer telling other creatives to use a timer at their work?

Why You Should Use Your Timer

This is specifically for people who work as creatives. If you are taking an evening to paint for yourself, ditch any semblance of a time-tracker before heading to the studio. But, when we work, we always need to mix up the fun stuff, the creativity and the engagement of our emotions with the mundane.

If I never send invoices, I don’t get paid.

That emotion is worse than any clock.

Seriously. Because we would rather be writing, creating a world in our favorite digital sandbox, or modeling real clay on a wheel, we need to use timers to ensure that we have full creative license for a period of time.

For this article, I am writing it in 15 minutes.

Why?

Partly because of the challenge the clock gives me. But, the bigger reason is I am tutoring a student on SAT prep in one hour. I have to finish discussions with a potential client, and attempt to do several other creative things in the meantime.

Do Everything, So You Can Stop Everything But

If we do not give ourselves breaks and PAT time (look it up if you want a study in classroom management), then we either never create (tolling the death knell for a creative) or never get clients to pay us (a death knell for anyone).

So, whether you write for yourself or for someone else, get comfortable with creating the time for you to create. And if that really stresses you out, make certain you take time during the day to stop everything but ….

If you love reading, get your work done for the day and then stop everything but reading.

If you are a game designer or tester, get your work done for the day, take some time to engage with physical people, and then… stop everything but the game you have been wanting to play.

During your required work, give yourself time for creative tasks by using a timer. Look up the urgent/important quadrant for a good idea of what is required if you work for yourself.

I had 15 minutes to write this blog, and did it in 12. Now I will edit, publish, and have a 3 minute celebration that I beat the clock!

Now, go write, paint, draw, create something.

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The Art of Marketing: Long Form Content vs Short Form Content

Content Marketing is like Dance

I love being married to this beautiful dancer (Follow her choreography at FRAME). She inspires so much of my marketing and content writing; I am spoiled.

Also, she’s beautiful, but sorry, where was I?

Long-Form Content vs Short-Form Content

I know many people discuss how long-form content is better. Long blogs get shared more, more traction, do better on search engines, and what not. On the other hand, I read a blog by Niel Patel the other day that showed some of the first page ranked sites for “content marketing” had around 500 words. It goes to show, the length of your content does not matter as much as your quality (that could be said about other things, too. Annyywaaayy, where was I?)

Creating Content. You need to have quality content if you want people to engage with it, respond to it, and share it. But, as my talented other half reminded me yesterday, long-form content takes a different attitude to create than short-form content.

She was talking about the difference between creating location-specific improv pieces and filming them, but it applies equally to blogging.

Creating Short-Form Content

Creating a short piece is relatively easy: you get inspiration, you define what you want, and you sit down and write it.

I can write a short article in under 15 minutes if I am in the zone, have a well-defined subject, and limit my points to 3.

Creating Long-Form Content

On the other hand, long-form content takes development of a creative habit. You must set aside space to create, space to warm up, space to just think, and space to do all of those at the same time.

My wife was speaking about the fact that some longer pieces she was working on this semester made her feel like she wasn’t getting as much done as when she was able to create small, short pieces every few weeks. But, then she reasoned through the fact that creating a longer piece requires more time, energy, and creative effort.

  • Developing an idea – Longer content has to have themes and development. You may be able to get away with a 15 point or more listicle once or twice, but if you want to develop really engaging long content, you have to think through your target market’s pain points and really explore them.
  • Crafting Edits –  Editing a short piece is easy: you look over it once for its flow and then you read it out loud (or in my case, you subvocalize it quickly). A longer marketing piece requires looking at it multiple times: does it come to a point, is the point well supported, are there enough breaks in the text, do the pictures and infographics argue the point on their own merits, does your individual voice come through, etc. Each of these questions could require a full edit, making your editing time increase dramatically.
  • Researching your point – I usually write a short, high-level blog with limited research. If it is a topic I am well-versed in, I won’t research it at all. On the other hand, if a long blog or whitepaper is going to be worth someone’s time to write or read, it requires original research.
  • Understanding your audience – A short article that misses its audience is a minor nuisance. A longer webpage or marketing brochure that misses its audience is evil. Don’t be evil. If you are going to write longer articles, take the time to understand who you are writing to.

These are just some of the issues you will face in creating a great long-form article, webpage, or landing page. If you want to get a complete checklist of what you need to create a long-form blog or article, please sign up for my weekly email coaching tips below, and I will send one to you stat!

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Improv in Marketing #1: Listen and Act

Here is a quick update on learning improvisation in The Art of Marketing. Enjoy.

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