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How to Always Have Something Interesting to Write About

how to write something interesting

Common question: “What should I write about?”

Common answer: “I don’t know. I guess whatever.”

Grammar problems within our minds aside, the answer to this ubiquitous question about content choice is incredibly…under-answered.

You want to be able to deliver interesting and compelling content for your blog or publication on a regular basis, but eventually, you hit a snag. You run out of things to say and give up, mostly because you don’t want to deliver anything short of your best work.

It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s also misguided. There is always something of value to say. You’re just not asking the right questions.

Go on…How to Always Have Something Interesting to Write About

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How to Create Your Content Machine

Content Machine

“Whoa Jon! What’s a content machine?” Great question, voice in my head. Your content machine is how you take in content across multiple channels daily.

It’s simply a collection of all of the news, blog articles, tweets, and one-offs that are being put in front of you by way of Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or even Reddit.

We often don’t put much thought into our content machines and how we’re setting up channels for consumption. Most of us just go to our favorite sites and happen upon stories we find interesting.

That said, creating your content machine is essential to ensuring that the stories you happen upon are the best in your network, and setting up your channels to do this isn’t very complicated.

The first step is recognizing what your content machine already looks like.

Ask yourself, “What do I find myself reading a lot? Newspapers? Whatever randomly pops up on my Facebook?”Which bookmarks am I actually checking?”

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge what sources influence you the most. From there, you can fine-tune these channels to supplying you with great content whenever you need it.

Next, let’s go through some of the more common channels and see how we can make them work for our content machine more effectively.

1. Email. 

I put this at the top because this is the apex of my own content machine, and probably yours as well. It’s a given that your email is where most of your subscriptions funnel in, so I would recommend starring the websites you find most useful.

Or you can be more proactive and research some great news aggregation sites that will send you great links to explore every morning. I rely a lot on PRSA for example, since I am a member and receive great stories from them. (Subscribing to jonnegroni.com can’t hurt either)

2. Twitter.

Yes, there is more to Twitter than just gaining followers and playing with hashtags. Making Twitter work for your content machine is a little trickier than email, because it requires a little more work than just subscribing to great stuff.

You want your news feed to be filled with great content you can access on the go, so I recommend following the followers of your passions. I love to blog, so I follow a lot of bloggers. The payoff is that my news feed is full of great stories that are relevant to me and whoever I share them with.

If you have a cluttered feed beyond repair, remember that you can always create lists and bookmark them for daily use!

If you want to use Twitter for fun and professional networking, consider making two separate accounts.

3. LinkedIn.

Similar to Twitter, your updates feed on LinkedIn can work wonders for your content machine. Thankfully, LinkedIn is a little easier for sorting good content from sillier updates, and you can always customize what shows up in your feed.

Be sure to also join a lot of groups with like-minded people, as this will give you great updates and content to digest and share. Oh, and PLEASE check out LinkedIn Today. 

4. Google+.

I’ve spoken on this recently, but Google+ boasts a very content-rich community that is active and engaging. Because there are less active users, there are more meaningful interactions, and the service does a great job of simplifying how you get great content.

I find myself searching for what’s trending a lot on Google+, which lets you use the search bar at the top to discover great content from people you don’t follow (yet).

5. Facebook.

I say this tongue-in-cheek, but there are very useful ways to make Facebook an asset for your content machine. While I mostly prefer to use the site for recreational use (unless it’s for work), I can’t deny how Facebook’s massive network works well to deliver new content.

Okay, there are certainly many reasons why your news feed is filled with mundane information, but utilizing Facebook’s “list” function can allow you to filter posts from friends that do like to share interesting, useful content from the rest.

Conclusion.

Now, these are just some of the ways you can get to work on your content machine. Whatever network or platform you’re using, remember to always set time aside in your day to read and follow-up with as much content as you can. It’s a great habit, and it will no doubt grow your skills and awareness of whatever industry you commit to.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out New Professional News, a list of headlines essential for any new professional, updated daily at 8am.

The Key To Everything That’s Great Right Now

Image Courtesy of gothamist.com

It’s pretty simple really. Everything good we’ve been getting our hands on lately boils down to one concept, whether we’re talking about the social media boom, the advent of streaming television, or even the gaming revolution.

The key to the evolution of entertainment and connectivity?

User-generated content. Self-publishing. The impact of the individual.

This concept of the individual being empowered by the marketplace is the reason we have authors publishing their e-books without major publishers tampering with their work. Two guys can get together with some engineers and create something like “Words With Friends.” I can watch an incredibly entertaining show like House of Cards on Netflix with no commercials.

When content creators like you or me have the power to set the rules, the best work comes out. It’s the reason why us iPhone users are obsessed with iFunny. It’s the reason why I find myself obsessed with discovering new music with Spotify. It’s even why something as ludicrous as Snapchat is becoming an obsession for many people (like myself.)

Put simply, user-generated content is the key to a good experience. Luckily, groups of resourceful people across the globe are exploiting this beautifully.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

A Simple Way to Boost Your Online Influence

If you’re like me, you hate seeing your Klout score drop. It happens, however, and is pretty much unavoidable that your influence online is either going to plateau or decline. The law of entropy and all that.

It seems like some people don’t have a hard time with this. They share and post content daily that is absorbed by a loyal network, and they make it look like a breeze. A lot of factors go into why some people are more influential than others, but it usually comes down to how valuable your content is.

Increasing your content’s readability and value is, in fact, the simplest way to become more influential, as long as you’re sharing it effectively. So, how do you become better at producing valuable content?

One way is to narrow your focus. You’ll hear this everywhere. People say that the more specific your message is, the more people will respond to it. That’s definitely true, but it’s only half the battle. What you really want to do is become an expert in that category (we love to skip that part).

We need to be absorbing valuable content from other people constantly in order for us to become real opinion leaders. The reason is because people will see through you if you post a bunch of articles about cooking when you know nothing about it or even if you don’t even make an effort to making your cooking unique and remarkable.

Opinion leaders become what they are because they pick a topic they love, learn everything they can about it, and share their unique perspective on it to a correct audience. This is an intricate, yet overall simple way to look at it.

Let’s say you are doing a music blog like I have in the past. You’ve picked music because you’ve loved music all of your life and you want to share your tastes with others. Maybe your mission is to help people discover new music that is hard to find. Another mission could be to show off how good you are at predicting what songs will become hits (that’s a fun exercise). You then attend concerts, watch tons of music videos online, and have frequent discussions with likeminded colleagues. You’ve then created a network of people you have interacted with online to attain your goal of learning about your topic. You then have the resources you need to launch your full-scale music blog and the followers will flock to you.

The best part is that picking a topic you are passionate about propels you to maintain and keep your blog up-to-date, mostly because by then, this has really become a part of your lifestyle.

JN

A Different Way to Approach Feedback and Criticism

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Too often we fall into the trap of measuring the value of what we create based on others’ perceptions. I do this when I write a blog post and eagerly wait to read the feedback and see what people think. I consider it success when something I create is popular and accepted.

That’s doing it backwards.

If I am creating content that is inherently mine, then I shouldn’t be terribly disappointed if someone else doesn’t value something that isn’t inherently theirs. That means I can celebrate doubly when something I write or create has been accepted and shared by someone else.

It means that I’m becoming more insightful, gaining more empathy, and learning from what I’ve done correctly.

Once you’ve made something to the best of your ability, you’ve created good content. Use feedback  to measure how influential and insightful you are, not how good you are at what you love to do. That’s what criticism is for.

Of course, your content connecting with someone else is a huge indicator of how valuable it is, but at the same time, something superficial and soulless can do the exact same thing.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

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