Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Blogging Topics: Dad’s blog aims to be resource for others

I first ran into Christian Toto of when we first spoke at WordCamp Denver in 2013. He’s sharing some of his insights here. Question: How did you decide to blog about this topic? Christian: I work as a full-time editor at covering entertainment issues, but I still wanted a blog to call my own. I […]

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What’s the ROI of all this content?

We’ve heard the question, right? What’s the ROI (the return on investment) for creating all of this content? Content marketing should be measurable, right? Every story out the door should bring in $253 per reader. Things on the web are easy to measure. So, what’s the ROI? Some people have Tweeted, blogged and Facebooked responses like […]

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Workout Tricks: Getting our minds to increase and improve our workouts


February 7, 2014

My Fitness Tips

Part of working out is more mental than physical. Our minds – well, at least mine – get tired way before our bodies. I’ve used several workout tricks to keep my mind occupied while allowing my body to get a good workout in. Let’s see… It can be easier to work out when we aren’t […]

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PODCAST: Audience Feedback is Important and Helpful

This podcast talks about the importance of audience feedback in storytelling, content marketing and social media. Audio not playing or can’t listen to it right now? Try the transcript below: Hi there, Christoph Trappe here and today I like to talk about how important it is to get feedback from the audience as they’re seeing […]

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Blogging Topics: Eastern Iowa Comedian Travels World, Blogs, Facebooks


February 4, 2014


Nathan Timmel is an Eastern Iowa comedian who travels all over the world from his Eastern Iowa home. He also shares his thoughts on his blog and on his Facebook wall. Whether it’s during stand-up routines or on his digital stories, he shares stories in way that’s making people laugh. I chatted with him in […]

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Blogging Topics: Finding your blogging passion – align it with audience interest

Everyone can start a blog. Go to, sign up, start writing. Ta-da, you are now a blogger. But what are you going to write about that others actually want to read? What’s your blogging passion and does it align with something others are actually interested in reading about? Of course, every site starts with […]

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Sharing the community’s stories for current and future generations

I’ve been  thinking about how we can share the community’s stories and preserve them for future generations. Some organizations are certainly doing some of this for their networks. did some of this in 2009 but its database of 2,700 stories is no longer publicly available. I know other community members are interested in the topic, but how […]

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Blogging Topics: A Women’s Lifestyle Blog


January 28, 2014


Dr. Tania Howard Pritz, from Maryland, runs, a Women’s Lifestyle Blog. This Spotlight Q&A is with her to share insights that could help you start blogging and sharing your own authentic stories. Thanks, Dr. Tania. Question: I love why you started the blog: In response to patients mentioning that the information you shared one […]

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Blogging: Where to write that first draft … and then what to do with it

The programs where we could write our first draft of that new blog post are endless – from the programs on your Windows or Mac or the various options available for mobile devices and tablets. It’s easy to write it off as a force of habit to write in whatever program we have used for […]

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Franchise MBA” Worth a Read for Aspiring Business Owners


January 25, 2014

Books, Product reviews

One way of running your own business is buying a franchise and owning the rights to it in a specific geographic area. Whether that’s the way to go or not is clearly an individual decision. One resource to get started on answering that question is Nick Neonakis’ book The Franchise MBA: Mastering the 4 Essential […]

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Every place has a story – Sharing it on the right channels is important

Every place has a story. Probably more than one even. How we share them and how we assure people know about them is up to us, of course. On a 2014 trip to the Techatticup Mine in Eldorado Canyon several storytelling elements came to mind. Element 1: Have an updated website with the correct keywords […]

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PODCAST: Stories are everywhere – Example: Inspired somebody to take the stairs today

Let me tell you a story. I’ll promise it will be authentic. 🙂 The podcast below explains how stories are everywhere around us. Audio not playing? Here’s a transcript: Hi there, Christoph Trappe here and I like to talk about how stories are everywhere today, everywhere. One example has been my daily moments project. Every […]

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Blogging Topics: Parenting with a Humorous Twist

Lyz Lenz is an Eastern-Iowa based writer who often writes about parenting with a humorous twist for several sites, including her own. She’s also spoken to civic clubs and media companies about online strategies. Question: How did you know you wanted to be a blogger? Lyz: I don’t think people want to be bloggers when […]

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Putting taglines or scripts in your own words helps authenticity

Using our own words in our own voice helps authenticity. Here’s an example: I called customer support to get help with a product I was using (and still use) inside my home. The customer service rep who answered had a sense of humor and definitely did not stick with the company script. Now, that can […]

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Scheduling content on blogs, social media and other channels without driving yourself crazy

Audiences on social media networks, your blogs and other channels all appreciate meaningful, timely and relevant content. Some communication strategists have said that all channels should get unique content, but with the number of channels, we’ve found that this isn’t the most effective strategy. For smaller organizations it would be nearly impossible. We are advocates […]

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Book review: “Why employees are always a bad idea”

AUDIO EXTRA: A discussion with the author (Recorded with Google Voice) I would recommend Chuck Blakeman’s new business book “Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea” to leaders and others in Iowa’s Creative Corridor and beyond. Mr. Blakeman says that the concept of employees is an outdated model that is hanging around from the Industrial […]

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Blogging Topics: Gardening, local food and the environment

Finding the best fitting blogging topics for yourself, your organization or business is one of the first step in building your audience and sharing relevant content on a continuous basis. From time to time we would like to share stories of those who have picked their blogging topic end Heber started sharing content and stories. […]

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WORDS MATTER: Words to avoid online and how to share an authentic story

As storytelling and authenticity in public communications becomes more and more important for companies I keep stumbling across words that just don’t seem to work anymore – if they ever did. There are definitely words to avoid online. At least when blogging or writing on behalf of a brand. Let’s start with some items that […]

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Online communication: When to respond and when not to

Online communication includes emails, social media and other digital tools where we don’t see each other face to face and are typically through the written word. Responding appropriately can help us build connections and grow as authentic storytellers. The best stories come out of relationships and that includes online and offline. Online Communication: Email Over […]

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Content strategy: How to write and share accurate stories

Everything on the Internet is accurate. No doubt: Accurate stories all around. Right. If I’d actually stand behind that statement my credibility – if I had any with you to begin with – would have taken a plunge. As brands (people, organizations, businesses, etc.) are trying to connect online by sharing accurate stories, inaccuracies won’t […]

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Closed captions as a content delivery channel

Sometimes I say that I’m obsessed with connecting people to content that is meaningful to them through whatever channel they prefer. There are many channels, of course: Online (desktop, mobile, tablets, RSS, email, etc.), print, word of mouth and, of course, TV. (There are others, too, I’m sure.) As I was watching the Mike and […]

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New Year’s Resolution: Keeping Track of Content

Keeping track of content that we’ve consumed can be a challenge. Who said what … and where? And how reliable is it? How do they know something or is it their opinion? How can we remember everything that was said? And how do we decide what we’ll repeat? Keeping track of content: Where to stop? […]

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Words Matter: “This Will be Complicated”

This is one of the things not to say when giving a presentation, setting up a discussion on a topic or trying to get somebody’s input. Or in a blog post. Why? It can set people up to not listen fully to what the message will be. In the case of a blog post, they […]

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Offer content and options to users on all devices


December 22, 2013

Content distribution

While I was surfing the web on my iPhone I stumbled across this note on a site: To comment please visit the full site. I appreciate the honesty and even the difficulty of offering all services on all devices. But will anyone actually do this to comment? Why isn’t that function available on mobile? So […]

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STORYTELLING: Finding your blogging niche

Everyone can start blogging in minutes nowadays. It’s easy to start a blog either through or through self-hosted WordPress sites using services like, for example. (Other options exist, too.) But once you are set up, what should you blog about? What’s your blogging niche? There are plenty of options. Perhaps these ideas can […]

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Writing a good headline for your blog post


December 17, 2013

Content distribution

Writing a good headline for a web post is crucial to get an audience’s attention – the humans and the search engines, which bring more humans. If the headline doesn’t get somebody’s attention in the first few seconds the person might move on to read something else … not necessarily because they wouldn’t have cared […]

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Another Way to Share Your Presentation: Live Tweet it Yourself

We believe in multi-channel content distribution here with the website as the hub. Everything is on the website and then reformatted and distributed on other channels, including social, offline and other channels. Sometimes it can be difficult to send content to all relevant channels at the same time, including social media during a presentation. Obviously […]

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Writing Relevant Timeless Content For The Web

Every once in a while an expert in one thing or another will Tweet a link to an older blog post that’s relevant to a current topic. It’s timeless content for the web. A lot of times others who are mentioning it on their streams mention that it’s from a year or two or whatever […]

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LINK STRATEGIES: Include hyperlinks when relevant

We still read online articles that refer to other sites and sources and don’t link to them. Sometimes, they spell out the other domain name, but don’t link through a hyperlink. What’s the user to do? Copy and paste the text into their browser to check out the site? What if the referenced article can’t […]

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Defining Your Value Proposition


November 29, 2013


Defining your value proposition can help staff be on the same page and help your business be even more customer-focused. After all, you have to have customers to be a business. A business without customers is a hobby. What’s a value proposition? A value equation specifies the value your business brings to the customer. Value […]

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WordPress Login Tip: Make sure to delete the Admin account on older installs


November 28, 2013


If you have had a WordPress-powered site for a while, chances are that you are using an account that has the “admin” WordPress login name. It used to come by default for the first account of a new site unless you changed it. We have had a few sites that have run/are running on WordPress […]

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Storytelling with just a Smartphone


November 21, 2013

Content gathering

A smartphone is one of the most accessible tools nowadays and it can help us document stories that are worth sharing with our networks or audiences. Fifty-six percent of Americans carry one – a number that’s likely to increase. One way people are collecting and documenting stories is through video. One hundred hours of video […]

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Social media strategy: Sharing content relevant to your organization

It’s easy to be promotional, oversharing and irrelevant today when it comes to social media strategy. It’s so easy to promote my product every thirty minutes or so on Twitter. “Please RT. Product XYZ, which is the best, can be bought right now by clicking on this link: (Here’s the link. I hope it works.)” […]

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Device independent: Words to avoid online

With responsive design, RSS, mobile and direct traffic to websites, there are some words to avoid when writing for online audiences. Let’s take this site for example. Depending on how you are viewing it, the pictures might appear on the right or on the top of the content. The sidebar might be below all the […]

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Why some people post content about other’s products

I watched somebody’s YouTube video where he reviewed a product I was interested in. “Why make this video?” he asked. Because review videos by others have helped his decisions to buy items in the past, he said. He wanted to participate in this exchange of ideas.

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How to converse online


November 2, 2013

Social media

When communication publicly it’s important to remember the human! You are communicating with other people. Understanding and practicing some basic netiquette will help you leave a positive impression on others. And why is that important? People connect with those who leave a positive and relevant impression. Remember when we communicate publicly on the Internet what […]

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