Linda Zetlin – Taking Risks
Linda Zetlin is a business technology writer for Inc.com, author and risk taker. She recently moved cross country after 22 years in Woodstock, NY in a van and trailer with her husband and cats to Snohomish, WA to begin a new chapter in her life. Linda takes us through her insight from good content and what it means to take risks and why they are so important for successful marketing.
Minda Zetlin on Content
Search engines like Google reward fresh content with higher rankings. Minda explains your content must not only be fresh, it should be relevant, useful and immediately engaging to the reader. The first few lines of content are just as important as an effective, attention grabbing title. A writer’s goal is to keep the reader engaged from beginning to end. Knowing your audience is important too. Negative headlines might go viral on Facebook and twitter but for business it’s the positives that stand out.
Inc.com does all sorts of analysis for what is good content and what to include in your title. The current trend is numbers and “listicles”. 7 Ways to Up Your Social Marketing Gain. Within that title should be a “need” and a “how”. 7 “Ways” works better than 7 “Reasons” to Up Your Social Marketing Gain.
Minor changes can make all the difference for a successful article. For instance, three Steps to a Successful Blog would be more powerful than How to Write a Successful Blog. Readers want to know how to improve not why and a “number” of steps or actions is what they are searching for. These numbered blogs are known as listicles. They are articles that have numbers in the title but the content is also in number or bullet point format. These articles are easier to write for the writer and easier to absorb for the reader.
At Inc.com, longer lists and offbeat numbered lists have been successful. A list of 9 steps as opposed to 10 tells the reader you did your research and didn’t simply pick a number. Minda says having the numbers fit the content is more important than the content fitting the numbers. Don’t be afraid of a list of 2 if that fits your content.
Sacrificing good for great is one of the wonderful things we can do. -Minda Zetlin
Minda Zetlin Talks Risk
We all struggle a lot with risk and fear and it’s difficult to have a rational view of these. Everyone has a different notion of what they perceive as risk. Minda had an engaging conversation with an acquaintance who proclaimed the health dangers of microwave ovens yet at the same time he was a chain smoker. This is a great example of perceived risk.
It’s human nature to perceive some things as more dangerous than others. Inherently it’s hard to have an objective view on risks. Fear is a perceived notion as well. Threats to self-esteem seem to have the highest level of fear. Public speaking creates a tremendous amount of fear and is the most common fear among people. But Minda has yet to see anyone die of public speaking.
Entrepreneurship has a high level of perceived risk. Especially if you are the family’s bread winner. There are continual risks and those you must find. do you know where your next challenge coming from? There is risk knowing you usually have to give up something secure to find and take on that next challenge. Risk is a necessary part of growth. Minda is always looking for the next challenge and doesn’t always get it right. Can she get the readership month after month?
Today is a great time for taking risks. Failure is fashionable and it’s better to try and fail than to never try. Right now trying something new and “harebrained” is acceptable and considered successful. Not so in the past. Risks are more acceptable today because the business world is more open minded than ever.
Minda Zetlin’s – Writing to Your Audience
While Minda was attending the University of Iowa there was no internet and the university’s morning paper was the city’s only morning paper. She knew immediately that she wanted to write and work for the paper and landed a job writing editorials; a position usually reserved for veteran writers. She had never had her writing edited and the experience prompted defensiveness because she felt she had lost ownership of her words. That difficult experience as a young sophomore writer taught her to embrace criticism and realize you are always better off for being edited.
Remember to write to your audience. If it’s a technical piece for a general audience, make sure it can be understood by the entire world. Terms and concepts that are second nature to you may not be to the general public. That second set of eyes whether an editor or spouse can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful article.
Minda Zetlin – Words of Wisdom
There is risk and fear and failure and trying. Minda cautions not to take every risk you come across but only those that take you in the direction you want to go. As a daily reminder, Minda has a sign advertising her daily ambition: “Have you done something scary today?”
If you want to learn more about or connect with Minda Zetlin, check out her links below:
Minda Zetlin Website
Minda Zetlin on InnovateThink.com
Minda Zetlin on Facebook
Send Minda Zetlin a Tweet – @iamjankoch
Connect with Minda Zetlin on LinkedIn
Join Minda Zetlin on Google Plus
Join Minda Zetlin on YouTube
Here are the highlights of my awesome conversation with Minda Zetlin if you are in a hurry:
- Who is Minda Zetlin? ([2:04] Mark)
- How to grab your readers attention? ([8:57] Mark) AWESOME SEGMENT
- What are listicle articles? ([14:35] mark)
- Minda talks about risk and fear or mastering fear/risk? ([19:47] mark)
- What is Minda’s take on risk associated with her position? ([27:27] Mark)
- What should you do if your WordPress website gets hacked? ([27:28] mark)
- What was Minda’s break away moment? ([32:29] Mark)
- Minda’s words of wisdom? ([42:46] Mark)
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