Looking for the company Steady CRM? We have our own web site now at www.SteadyCRM.com.

How the professionals find blogging topics, from Katy Katz at Search Engine Journal

I highly recommend this entire article if you do anything type of topic-oriented writing. It will take me days to chew through all the ideas I found for "loyalty." She mentions BuzzSumo, which is great, but the biggest find for me was "Answer the Public." 

Search Engine Journal: How to Spy on Your Customers to Get Blog Ideas, 2017-Dec-12 by Katy Katz 

There quite a few tools that do a great job of collecting disparate contextual information from across the web and condensing it into bite-size chunks of information that marketers can use to supplement their keyword research.

Some are paid, and some are free, and they all offer their own benefits and drawbacks.

Here are a few of my favorite tools: Answer the Public (https://answerthepublic.com)

This was one of the original long-tail research tools, and it’s entirely free!

One of the really cool things about this tool is the data visualization that it produces around your keyword....

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Seth Godin's 4 elements of entrepreneurship

Hmm, there's my weak spot... Number 3

Blog: The four elements of entrepreneurship, 2018-Jan-16 by Seth Godin

And what do people do when they’re acting like entrepreneurs?

1. They make decisions.

2. They invest in activities and assets that aren’t a sure thing.

3. They persuade others to support a mission with a non-guaranteed outcome.

4. This one is the most amorphous, the most difficult to pin down and thus the juiciest: They embrace (instead of run from) the work of doing things that might not work.

As far as I can tell, that’s it. Everything else you can hire.

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Learning about productivity from Cory Doctorow

I completely understand Cory's problems in managing multiple projects. I don't agree about the limits he finds, though. I'm always on the lookout for new projects and friends that offer a fresh angle on stuff I'm already doing, like growing a new root. 

I also find Facebook very problematic but I have to keep looking over the wall because so many of my friends are sharing there. I wonder how to get more people to at least copy and keep some of their writing and sharing separate from Facebook and Instagram. 

Locus Magazine: How to Do Everything (Lifehacking Considered Harmful), 2017-Nov-6 by Cory Doctorow 

...after getting rid of the empty calories in my activity diet, I had to start making hard choices.

In retrospect, I observe that the biggest predictor of whether an activity surviving winnowing is whether it paid off in two or more of the aspects of my life and career. If something made me a better blogger – but not a bet­ter novelist and activist – it went. The more parts of my life were implicated in an activity, the more likely I was to keep the activity in my daily round.

Some of these choices were tough. I have all but given up on re-reading books... 

Some social media tools – like Facebook – make for fun (if problematic) socializing, and all social media pays some dividend to authors who are hoping to sell books and activists who are hoping to win support, but Twitter also teaches me to be a better writer by making me think about brevity and sentence structure in very rigorous ways (and from an activist perspective, Twitter is a better choice because it, unlike Facebook, doesn’t want the web to die and be replaced by its walled garden) – so Twitter is in, and Facebook is out....

...the only activities left in my day serve double- and triple-duty. There is virtually no moment in my working day that can cleanly be billed to only one ledger.

The corollary of this is that it gets much, much harder to winnow out activities over time. Anything I remove from the Jenga stack of my day disturbs the whole tower.

And that means that undertaking new things, speculative things that have no proven value to any of the domains where I work (let alone all of them) has gotten progressively harder, even as I’ve grown more productive. Optimization is a form of calcification. 

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Purpose = behavior, as David Allen and Neil Perkin remind us

Articulating a company's purpose may or not be a good idea. What's essential is acting with purpose. One of the things I like about David Allen's Natural Planning Model, which I keep in my notebook at all times, is the first point: 

"Why is this being done? What would "on purpose" really mean?"

Only Dead Fish: Personalising Purpose, 2017-Dec-1 by Neil Perkin

A powerful purpose can be a hugely motivating call to arms for staff and create exceptional competitive advantage, but this only really happens when employees don't just see the words on the walls of the company reception, but see it in the actions of the people and leaders around them and actually feel connected to it. The real value comes from connecting with hearts rather than minds. ... 

One of the simplest ways to do this is to put your people in front of customers and for them to actually talk to them rather than read about them in research reports or observe them remotely from behind a screen in a focus group lab. That opportunity to hear directly about the impact (good and bad) of what you're doing creates the kind of unique connection with the work that can't come from anywhere else.

So many businesses talk about being customer-centric, so few leaders actually get out of the office and meet with real customers.


Why you should pay attention to the byline on all the news articles you read

Several years ago I became aware that Forbes.com included a lot of content which has nothing to do with journalism, submitted by consultants, entrepreneurs and business owners. Forbes disclaims it with "Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own." When the Huffington Post launched, they made a big deal about recruiting people to write, and it was pretty well known that material would be lightly edited and unpaid. These writers are labeled Contributors, but Huffington Post doesn't point out the material may be biased. 

We don't have to think hard to realize that these Contributors are getting paid by someone, often themselves (when promoting their own business or consulting practice), but probably sometimes by a client. 

Now evidence is growing that more online publications are more susceptible to using biased articles to build traffic. (What a surprise.) 

The best remedy is to pay attention to your news sources and remember where you find the most consistently reliable information. And give your favorite journalists lots of likes and retweets. 

The Outline: How Brands Secretly Buy Their Way Into Forbes, Fast Company, And Huffpost Stories, 2017-Dec-5 by Jon Christian 

The Fast Company writer also defended the practice by arguing that it’s enabled by editors who are hungry for cheap or unpaid blog content. Many high-volume sites, including the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes, maintain networks of unpaid contributors who publish large amounts of material. Forbes, for instance, marks articles by contributors with a small disclaimer, but the Columbia Journalism Review has pointed out that those dubiously sourced articles are often cited as though they were normal stories written by Forbes staff. In reality, the editorial process that leads to those articles being published is opaque — a Forbes spokesperson declined to answer questions about how many contributors the site has, whether they’re ever paid, or whether an editor reviews their work before publication. One former Forbes contributor, Josh Steimle, has even offered a “masterclass” on how to get published on the site, an accomplishment he described as “rewarding for both my personal brand and my digital marketing agency.”

For writers willing to accept payments in exchange for coverage, that’s an opportunity.

“They're getting tons of free content from guys like us,” said the Fast Company writer of his editors, though he declined to say whether he was paid by Fast Company for his work or if he’d ever explicitly discussed the arrangement with any of his editors. “I would be shocked to find out that this was any sort of secret.”...

But Forbes seems to be a prime target for offers like Satyam’s, perhaps because of the high volume of stories it runs by members of its “contributor network.” The site publishes dozens of stories per day, many of them by contributors who, like Chong, are themselves publicists. A program called CommunityVoice, described in an editors’ note on certain articles, invites “senior-level technology executives” to pay an annual fee in exchange for being allowed to publish to the site. 


Insecurity kills innovation

I appreciate that the researchers at the Equality of Opportunity Project are sticking to the facts, but I can't help wishing they speculate a little about why children from low-income families don't become inventors. In order to risk innovation, people have to feel confident they can take risks without losing their way of life. We can find plenty of research on the stress of being poor

Vox: Groundbreaking empirical research shows where innovation really comes from, 2017-Dec-5 by Matthew Yglesias

Rather than cutting taxes on financially successful adults, we ought to think about how to improve what Chetty calls our “capacity to tap into currently underused potential.” He and his colleague calculate that if women, minorities, and children from low- and middle-income families invented at the same rate as white men from high-income (top 20%) families, there would 4 times as many inventors in America as there are today.

While Congress prepares to pass a tax bill that pushes the old conventional wisdom about bolstering financial incentives, empirical research suggests that starving the government of funds could be counterproductive. Ensuring that all children who show a talent for math and science are encouraged to innovate, provided with role models, and shown paths forward would cost money. But making sure that poor, female, black, and Latino kids aren’t locked out of innovation isn’t just a crucial matter of fairness; it’s quite literally the most important thing we can do for the future of humanity.

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It's hard enough to figure out what role we want to play in life. We shouldn't have to fight for the right to play it.

Life in my thirties was miserable because I realized that I didn't understand what I need from life. A misguided professional therapist compounded the problem, and I wasted my best income-earning years. These days I just want to help people operate from their strengths and find what they need to sustain themselves. One of the ways to do this is to figure out where we want to invest our loyalty. We get to choose. 

An open letter to everyone who is concerned about the wage gap, 2017-Dec-2 by Penelope Trunk

It happens that women choose to spend more time parenting than men. It doesn’t mean men are lame for not spending more time with kids. Remember feminism? It’s about everyone getting to choose. It’s not about belittling people’s choices or saying it’s not really their choice but rather a result of societal pressure. In fact that line of thinking undermines feminism because it says there can be no genuine choices because all societies have societal expectations.

A fresh view of feminism for 2015, 2015-Jan-12 by Penelope Trunk

I realized there’s positively no way to keep things equal, and everyone suffers from trying to establish equality. People can only give what they are good at giving. And people can’t stop needing what they need. It’s what they need.

Too little too late: Sheryl Sandberg apologizes for Lean In, 2016-May-11 by Penelope Trunk

We don’t need a role model. We need a role. Each of us wants to feel like we found our spot, what’s right for us. And it’s not helping to have to justify our choices to anyone but ourselves.

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