"Content Tips, Apps & Inspirations I'm Thankful for" (Content Lab, Ep. 17)
By Liz Murphy
Good morning, everyone! It's the day before Thanksgiving, and thank goodness, I remembered to pull out the turkeys last night to start thawing. (No repeat of the great turkey crisis of 2016 at the Murphy household this year!)
I had originally planned to take today off, but I’ll admit I’m not as salty about working this morning as I normally would be.
That's because Thanksgiving kicks off a time of year that warms my heart.
Yes, the holiday season is clearly underscored in Sharpie by commercialism, but we’re now about to spend the next month or so pretending Uncle Frank’s political rants at the dinner table aren’t terrible. Instead, we'll focus on ways to bring joy to our friends, family, and other loved ones.
Probably by way of quality time, gifts, or cranberry-laden baked goods.
So, it is with this thankful spirit and grateful heart that I’m setting aside my usual interview format for this week. Next week, I’ll return with a fantastic interview about the importance of data in the art of content creation.
But for now, I want to share with you all of the tips, tricks, applications, inspirations, and people I’m thankful for today.
Listen to the Episode
What I'm Thankful for
I'm thankful for Noisli, the free ambient noise soundboard. It has saved me from myself and made me infinitely more productive. I know, I know, listening to ambient noise instead of music while working sounds crazy. But trust me, you have to try it!
I’m thankful for finally understanding how to use Evernote. I’ve spent years listening to people preach the gospel of Evernote, just to roll my eyes, because I never got into a groove with it. Now, I stand before you (metaphorically speaking, of course) a changed woman and an Evernote evangelist.
I use it to write podcast notes, create checklists for IMPACT’s brand team sprint planning, brainstorming ideas, building shopping lists for Thanksgiving dinner and Football Sundays, pillar strategy session brain dumps, and everything else you can think of.
(And to all of my friends out there reading this, now is your time to say, “I told you so.” Enjoy it. This one time. I’ll be right about something again soon.)
I’m also thankful for SEMRush’s SEO Content Template. It has radically changed how I put together individual pillar content strategies. If you have SEMRush, simply click on “SEO Content Template” in the menu on the left near the bottom and enter the keyword you want to base a piece of content around.
It will spit out recommendations on everything -- target length of your content, links and semantic keywords you should include, and much, much more.
I’m thankful for Franco Valentino of Narrative SEO. I recently had the pleasure of collaborating with him on a long-form comprehensive analysis for digital marketers called Is SEO Dead in 2019?
Not only is it such a joy to collaborate with an enthusiastic partner, who also happens to be a great writer, I learned so much about technical SEO and the history of organic search through helping him shape his strategy and editing his work.
Check it out -- it's a fun read, and you'll learn a lot.
I'm also thankful for another man, whom I have never met, named Myk Pono.
He wrote an article recently entitled Read This Before You Hire a VP of Anything which is the third article in a series of articles on why every company is a media company today and what that means for organizations.
Here's the opening passage, which will give you an idea why I love it so much:
"Today, every company is a media company. A media company requires a new set of skills from its directors and VPs. While domain expertise is critical, it's not enough. The most effective leaders and executives in the media economy must have at least one media-related superpower.
What is a media-related superpower? Well, the successful VPs are strong writers who regularly publish articles or blog posts. Or they are prolific speakers who present at industry conferences. Or they host a podcast, or acquired an active following on social media, or create a following by publishing video content. It doesn't mean that your VP should be a writer or talk show host or a YouTuber.
But your VP or director should regularly communicate and share their expertise with your company’s target audience. This not only enhances your corporate brand, it also attracts top talent to your company."
This is a MUST-READ article for you all over turkey day break. And then, when you get back to the office, send it to everyone in your organization.
(Special shout out to Kathleen Booth, our VP of Marketing and one of my favorite humans, for sending this to me, because it's magical.)
OK, what else am I thankful for?
Oh, of course -- I’m thankful for my team at IMPACT:
I’m thankful for great craft beer -- because yes, I’m that happy craft drinking hipster who listens to NPR.
I’m thankful for my husband who lets me ramble to him about content ideas, when he lives in the IT world and has no idea what a buyer persona is:
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I’m thankful for our two dogs, Horatio and Nugget, and our James Bond villain cuddle monster cat, Pumpkin.
I’m thankful for Ernest Hemingway, Christopher Buckley, and Agatha Christie -- my three favorite authors -- who transformed me from a middle schooler who hated writing and got regular Cs in my English classes to someone who loves words.
Oh, I’m also thankful to one of our lead strategists, David Little, who just taught me the most amazing Slack hack for vacation ever.
He changed his username from David Little to "@Drinking Guinness in Ireland until the 27th!”
So, whenever you try to message him on Slack while he is on vacation, that’s what is going to come up. It’s brilliant and perfect, and I’m doing that whenever I go on vacation now.
And finally, I’m thankful for all of you.
Each week, I hop on my microphone with a brain scrambled full of ideas and a passion for creating amazing, super helpful content that I hope some of you share.
I rant. I rave.
I speak at length about dumb things that are bothering me -- like hot weather, or the fact that my beloved Washington Redskins are going to get demolished because our quarterback Alex Smith broke his leg in two places last week, because we aren’t allowed be happy as Washington sports fans EVER -- for no reason at all.
Yet, once a week, I get a note from at least one of you telling me how much you enjoy this. How much this podcast helps you do your jobs better. And that’s why I do this. For all of you.
So, thank you. You make this all possible.
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