Monday Spark: You’ll feel better as a freelancer when you see the difference you can make.

small business clientsI was asked recently to identify my most memorable job from the last 30 years as a freelance writer and copywriter.

The interviewer was probably expecting me to come up with a job I did for one of my big-name clients from the past, like Apple, Yahoo! or Chrysler.

But I didn’t. My most memorable job is one I did for a friend about 25 years ago. I wrote a direct mail letter to help him grow his one-man business. And it worked gangbusters. In fact, a week after the mailing was sent out he had to hire three more people to keep up with demand.

Why was that job more satisfying than some huge project I did for a much bigger company?

It was satisfying because I could clearly see the results. I could see by how much I had helped my friend and his company.

In other words, I had made a difference and could see it.

With much of our work, we never really get to know if our contribution made any significant difference…

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My favorite way to make money as a writer [VIDEO]

money-making website videoFor most of the last 30 years I have earned my living by writing for clients, as a freelancer. And I have no complaints about that. I wrote promotional materials to help companies sell more of their products and services and, in return, they paid me for my time.

But over the last decade I have branched out a little, using my writing skills, and my love of writing, to make some money in a few different ways. I have written books, ebooks, courses and programs.

But my favorite way to make money as a writer is to generate passive income from the websites I create for myself.

The most successful of these sites, so far, is my site about coffee –

As you`ll see from this video…

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Monday Spark: Find your own 2:57 Moment.

2:57 momentIn my first Monday Spark post, a few weeks ago, I showed a video of Jeb Corliss jumping off a cliff.

That video inspired me to make some changes to a presentation I gave several weeks ago at the AWAI Bootcamp at Delray Beach in Florida.

I showed the video and, since then, I have seen a few mentions on Facebook and on blogs of what I described in my presentation as the “2:57 moment”.

So I thought I had better explain what that’s all about.

First off, here is that video again. Watch it now, and pause it at 2 minutes and 57 seconds.

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My interview on writing killer headlines for web content [VIDEO]

Wordtracker interview with Nick Usborne about web content headlinesRecently Ken McGaffin of Wordtracker interviewed me about the craft and art of writing great headlines for web content.

As always, I spoke for too long, so we had to divide the interview into two separate videos. In addition, these aren’t the most finely produced of our videos. I think I sat way too close to the camera!

That aside, we covered some interesting ground.

Too many web content writers pay scant attention to writing a great headline. This is a problem, because headlines have a huge impact both on how many people actually read your content pages, and on how widely shared those pages are through social media.

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Monday Spark: Giving military wives a voice by teaching them to sing together.

singing for inspirationI’m in the U.K. at the moment, and watched a remarkable program on the television here.

Gareth Malone is a choirmaster. I understand he’s in his forties, but he looks more twenty. Anyway, he is a professional and has worked with some of the leading choirs in the country.

But recently, instead of working at some high-brow opera house, he is driving around the country to military bases. When he gets there, he organises the military wives into choirs and teaches them to sing.

Military wives are the women left behind when their husbands are deployed overseas, principally to Afghanistan. They are isolated and live under a shadow of fear, hoping and praying their husbands come home.

Gareth Malone creates a remarkable bond with these women, and tutors even the most timid of them until they find their voice.

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Is your content created simply to market your site, or to actually inform your readers?

books in libraryAll too often we create content simply for the purpose of marketing our website or blog.

We are driven by the knowledge that the creation of content is a powerful means to attract new visitors.

In other words, we use content as bait.

But when we do this, are we really giving our readers what they really want?

Another way to look at it would be to view your website or blog as a library.

For a moment, imagine your site as a physical library, built with bricks and mortar, and stocked with hardbound volumes.

Now think about what kinds of books you would buy for your library.

In the real world of bricks and mortar you would buy and display books according to what the public wanted to find there. You would cater to their tastes, and have yards of reference books on the shelves that might be rather mundane in their subject matter, but are nevertheless what your readers want to find.

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