The anti-ick guide to building your brand as a writer

What I really, really want this year is admittedly huge and will have the longest-lasting impact on my writing life: I want to define my writing brand and orient my work toward that end.

Before you ick out over the word "brand" when it's applied to a creative craft, let me share how I'm defining this: I want to figure out who I am as a writer, what my voice sounds like, the type of stories I want to tell, the messages I want to impart. Phew, that's a big one. But I think it's time.

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The differences between writing to sell & writing to build community

Selling a product no longer looks like pushing out ad after ad. Instead, it's about building relationships, even friendships, with your consumers -- relating to them and reminding them that you aren't just a company but real people and personalities who exist behind the company and relate to their customers.

This is why, as writers, we need to know the difference between writing to sell and writing to build community -- and the benefits to prioritizing the latter.

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The complete guide to outsourcing your content marketing

Consumers are looking to build relationships with brands they trust, and that requires an ongoing conversation -- one that continues on your company blog, in your social feed, over email and beyond.

Many businesses and marketers struggle to keep up with the demand for new content. Outsourcing that content's creation is one solution to continue building customer relationships while keeping your wits about you.

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How to have positive client relationships: 5 tips the experts swear by

While most of my clients are pinch-myself-fantastic, I've had my share of unpleasant collaborations. Rather than grumbling on sites where others share the dumb, rude, thoughtless sentences their know-nothing clients have uttered, I've tried to make it a learning opportunity to help attract well-meaning, knowledgeable clients moving forward.

That's why I reached out to five established writers and marketers to get their take on what makes for a positive client relationship.

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The #1 stumbling block in creative non-fiction

Journalists know the most important part of their writing process -- which is separate from finding subjects, scheduling interviews, asking the hard questions and researching -- is crafting a gripping lead. The beginning of a creative non-fiction piece should be enticing, provocative, a teaser, a foreshadowing and, so importantly, able to be supported by what's to come in your piece.

Once the lead is discovered, the rest of the story writes itself.

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What's the difference between ghostwriting and lying?

Part of the work I do to pay the bills (gasp, creative writing pays peanuts?!) is content marketing. This is when I craft website content, blog posts, marketing emails and advertising copy for another company. It's fascinating to tell a brand's story in their own voice, much like we creative writers develop our characters' unique voices.

What I won't do, though, is stick someone else's name onto my product.

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Remove weak words to strengthen your writing

Scientists have debunked the widely touted theory that 10,000 hours of practice make you an expert in a skill. Experienced writers everywhere sighed in relief because we continue finding ourselves boxed in by the passive voice and sapped by anemic vocabulary.

Let's talk about those weak words that pepper our writing when we aren't confident and make us doubt our creative aptitude.

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