Reading is Candy for the Mind

To inspire and to be inspired, to learn and to teach, to surprise and to be surprised, to broaden one’s mind and to gain that sparkling new energy for our upcoming adventures in the Business LaLa Wonderland.

Based on the most photographed slide of my keynotes: the inspirational booklist, frequently asked and even more often shared. Alternating between business and inspirational motivational titles.

Books appear in random order.

  • ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek
  • ‘Get Your Sh*t Together’ by Sarah Knight
  • ‘How not to Plan: 66 ways to screw it up’ by Les Binet and Sarah Carter
  • ‘Copywriting Secrets’ by Alan Sharpe
  • ‘Eat your Greens’ by Wiemer Snijders
  • ‘Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day’ by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky
  • “The ONE Thing” by Gary Kelly and Jay Papasan
  • ‘Let my people go surfing’ by Yvon Chouinard
  • ‘Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes’ by Ben Bergeron
  • ‘Life Scale’ by Brian Solis
  • ‘Thrive’ by Arianna Huffington
  • ‘TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks’ by Akash Karia 
  • ‘Good Strategy, bad strategy’ by Richard P. Rumelt
  • ‘Everybody writes’ by Ann Handley
  • ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie
  • ‘Epic Content Marketing’ by Joe Pulizzi
  • ‘If I Could Tell You Just One Thing…: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice’ by Richard Reed
  • ‘Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People: Living the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Every Day’ by Stephen R. Covey
  • ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson
  • ‘The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues’ by Patrick M. Lencioni 
  • ‘Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs’ by John Doerr
  • ‘The Infinite Game’ by Simon Sinek

In addition to the books, check out my list of best apps

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Writing Tips

Overcome your fear of numbers, source:

  1. Turn numbers into people
    ORIGINAL: Over 80% of dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum.
    REVISED: Four of five dentists recommend sugarless gum.
    WHY: Translating percentages into numbers of people (or things) allows the reader to better visualize who or what is being counted or affected.
  2. Use percentages to show pervasiveness or lack of pervasiveness
    ORIGINAL: About 8 million American workers use public transportation to travel to their workplace.
    REVISED: About 5% of American workers use public transportation to travel to their workplace.
    WHY: If you want to show how common or uncommon something is, citing a percentage can be more effective. In this example, 8 million people sounds like a lot. A reader could be impressed by the number. But when the 5% is used, the reader realizes that relatively few workers use public transportation.
    If you want to show commonality (or lack thereof), use a percent figure.
  3. Count down
    WHAT CHANGED: The original piece from CBS News counted in sequential order, while the version from Vanity Fair started with the highest number and counted down to No. 1.
    WHY: If you reveal the best right away, readers don’t need to continue reading to see the payoff – what is No. 1 on the list.
  4. Count up
    ORIGINAL: Building a new home is an exciting opportunity. To get it in move-in condition, you must pick your interior paint colors, buy the roofing materials, get it framed, and build a strong foundation.
    REVISED: Building a new home is an exciting opportunity. To get it in move-in condition, you must:
    1. Build a strong foundation
    2. Get it framed
    3. Buy the roofing materials
    4. Pick your interior paint colors
    WHAT CHANGED: The to-do list mirrors the order in which they need to be completed – they’re in sequential order.
    WHY: By incorporating the 1, 2, 3, your readers can easily see how the big picture comes together and/or follow it themselves.
  5. Sell the story in 150 to 160 characters
    ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Dressing up in costumes and trick or treating are popular Halloween activities, but few probably associate these lighthearted fall traditions with their origins.
    REVISED META FOR SEARCH: Few probably associate the lighthearted traditions of Halloween with their origins in Samhain, an ancient Celtic pagan festival.
    WHAT CHANGED: In the original, the lede became the de-facto meta description. In the revision, a meta description tailored for search was written.
    WHY: The intent of a searcher often is different than the intent of the on-page visitor. While the lede should be written to grab the attention of a reader, a meta description should be written to capture the attention of a searcher.

More tips

Exercise 1: Limit “I” and “we”
ORIGINAL: In this article, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, but I will detail how to build a content marketing program that I know will produce great results.

REVISED: Without reinventing the wheel, I will detail how to build a content marketing program that will produce great results.

What changed? The revised sentence includes only one first-person reference rather than the original three. Yet, the revision still reflects the author’s opinion.

Why? Studies show that people are more likely to perceive people who use multiple first-person references as less confident and less assured, or worse, suffering and self-conscious.

Exercise 3: Resist qualifiers and intensifiers
ORIGINAL: Subject matter experts generally are rather excellent resources for content. Talk to them before writing as they can be particularly helpful in identifying very relevant topics.

REVISED: Subject matter experts are excellent resources for content. Talk to them before writing as they can be helpful in identifying relevant topics.

What changed? The qualifiers (generally, rather) and intensifiers (particularly, very) were deleted.

Why? “A qualifier weakens or lessens the impact of a word or phrase … while an intensifier strengthens or emphasizes the importance of a word or phrase,” according to K.L. Wightman’s grammar guide.

Exercise 1: Show, don’t tell
ORIGINAL: The day began with nice weather.

REVISED: Temperatures hovered in the 70s as the sun rose. Fluffy clouds dotted the ocean-blue sky.

What changed: The revised text describes what nice weather feels and looks like. It also defines what “nice weather” means from the writer’s perspective.

Why: Readers benefit when they can visualize what the text conveys. Don’t settle for telling readers something when you can show them with words. Use descriptive words and avoid vague words. Set the scene, describe your source, show how the product works in real life – the options to show are almost endless.

Exercise 5: Use repetition purposely (and avoid it otherwise)
ORIGINAL: The CMO attended a board meeting with the CEO. At the meeting, they discussed the marketing strategy for the coming year.

REVISED: The CMO attended a board meeting with the CEO to discuss the marketing strategy for the coming year.

What changed: The revision contains a single use of “meeting,” but conveys the same meaning as the first.

Why: Efficient writing is easier for the audience to consume. Revise your content to eliminate unnecessary repetition and don’t think keyword stuffing will make your content more attractive to search engines.

History of PurpleCow

The origine of Purple Cow, with the homage to a Parisian baker.

“Ideas, bread, and books are all the same–they’re better when they’re shared. The posture of generosity and connection replaces a mindset of scarcity, and Lionel modeled this philosophy every day.”

Adidas brand building

Great read! why adidas shifts its digital comms strategy… “4 yrs ago its #attribution modeling was based on last-click and it didn’t do any #brandtracking. It also focused on #efficiency over #effectiveness, leading it to look at specific KPIs and how to reduce their cost rather than what was in the best interests of its brands.”

“Adidas introduced a new campaign framework with emotional, brand-driving activity at the centre. This was an attempt to connect with consumers around major campaigns three or four times a year, while at the same time Adidas ran advertising with a rational message.”

YT ad tips and tricks

The tips and tricks for best YouTube ads and creatives, by Google.

Help Content for video

How Samsung set up ‘Android and you’ to produce and distribute help content on the Android operating system. Using Google Search Query data to discover the needs of the audience to set up the topic lists.

Platform distribution via YT >> display, social, etc. 138 videos and counting.

Credits to Wayne Parker Kent

More on Help content

Social data for TVC

How the election teams in the USA are using social data to determine what to do on TV later on in the campaign. Credits to Digiday.

Trump is already doing some A/B testing on twitter…

The agile production model by Facebook explains the setup. Setup integrated production with all assets, test on social what works best, roll out on TV or hero campaign.

1.01 Content example

Great example of 1.01 help content by FashionUnited on Denim. Distribution in a sequence, sent out by email newsletter.

Electric by VW

Quoted: “VW’s $50 Billion Moonshot Bet on an Electric Hatchback. The ID.3, slated to hit streets in 2020, is the first in the company’s huge pipeline of e-vehicles.”

“The ID.3, scheduled to hit the streets by midyear, is the first of at least 70 electric cars in VW’s pipeline. It will begin rolling off German assembly lines in November, and in 2020 two factories in China will start production, allowing VW to build more cars annually than Tesla Inc. has sold in its entire history. By 2022 the company expects to have eight facilities around the globe making battery-powered vehicles, from the ID.3 to cargo vans to Porsche’s four-door Taycan.”

“VW built its global brand after World War II with the Beetle. Then with sales of the Beetle tapering off, in 1974 the company introduced the Golf, which catapulted it to the top of the European industry. By applying that same sort of focus to its e-car push, “VW could wind up coming through the CO2 challenge as a winner,” says Tom Narayan, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets. “The ID.3 is the cornerstone of the whole thing.”

SEO organic ranking

Key takeaways:

“Most of our content wasn’t really helping us reach the goals we wanted to achieve. We analyzed 70 pieces of content over the span of two years and discovered that only about 16% of those articles were responsible for generating 84% of our leads. Not great.”

Organic search presented the best long-term opportunity for growth. Our sales from organic search traffic were three times higher than the previous year, and we weren’t even applying an SEO strategy. “

  1. We developed pillar pages.
    Pillar pages are pages on your site that serve as a content hub for a particular topic (or keyword) that you want your company to rank for in search engines. Instead of churning out a ton of content, we opted for quality over quantity.
  2. We optimized our existing on-site content.
    We identified other pages on our site that contained content that was similar to or overlapped with our pillar pages and redirected them to the relevant pillar page so that they didn’t compete with one another for rankings. Also, we took a hard look at our other pieces of blog content to determine whether we should update them.