279 Days to Overnight Success eBook Review

Chris Guilllebeau’s story is truly inspiring. I remember first reading about him in a La Presse article from a few years’ back. At the time, they were covering Chris’ around-the-world on a budget adventure for the paper. I recall thinking how great it would be to live this sort of life and wondered how he managed to do that.

Well, my curiosity is now satisfied since Chris Guillebeau has bared it all in his great 279 Days to Overnight Success eBook! Indeed, this document is unusually practical, useful and inspiring to anyone wanting to start their own professional blog. The author managed to become successful in less than a year and shares his process with you. Here’s what I liked:

  1. There are tons of detailsIf you’ve never written a blog before, but desire to make a living out of one, this eBook will tell you how to get started – right from the beginning (observing, monitoring, planning) up to monetizing your project. It covers technical aspects, posting schedules, finding inspiration and a voice, successes and mistakes, examples from other bloggers, etc. The author even shares his 2009 annual revenue! In short, here’s what Guillebeau thinks you need to get your professional blog started:
    • Create a Compelling Story and Be Remarkable
    • Clearly Answer the “Reason Why”
    • Prioritize Writing and Marketing Over Everything Else
    • Be Bigger than I Really Am
    • Build Long-Lasting Relationships
    • Carefully Introduce Products and Services

     

  2. Chris talks about his own experience

Chris Guillebeau is using his personal story and experience to guide his readers on their journey. Though this is common practice on blogs, I’ve seen few eBooks written in this fashion. This style of writing is great to engage your readers and give them a sense of belonging. This is a fun, entertaining and enlightening document which I truly enjoyed reading.

  1. The design and layout is gorgeousI truly believe that form and function go hand in hand. You won’t notice much the layout of a well-designed document, but you will definitely notice one that isn’t. The latter are difficult to read, bland and look unprofessional. If you want to go viral and be taken seriously, your work should reflect this, both inside and out.
  2. Blog monetization is coveredEven though monetization is definitely a hot topic, few documents tackle it clearly and with pragmatism. Do you want to go beyond Adsense? Do you wonder what your other options might be? 279 Days might give you the answers you’re looking for. I especially like the portraits of bloggers he presents near the end of the eBook – each comes from a specific background and managed to become successful through social media efforts. Quite inspiring.

Kudos to Chris Guillebeau (which is not an unusual surname in my part of the world, Chris!) for putting together such a great eBook. Make sure you get your own copy here. You can also check out other articles he’s written right here.

Tips on how to use social media marketing for promoting white papers

Social Media Marketing is now getting a lot of interest not only from cutting edge startups but also from mainstream brands. How can White Paper writers and marketers leverage social media marketing? We have invited White Paper Experts to shed light on the following question: How to use social media marketing for promoting white papers?

How Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes Can Help You Find Inspiration

Cooking duchess Martha Stewart is releasing a new book today called 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat. It got our attention since, well, we do have a (major) weakness for these devilish cakes, but also because it hints at our thematic of today’s post: inspiration.

Indeed, coming up with 175 variations of one simple treat is no easy task – it asks for a lot of trial and errors, incessant baking and, best of all, endless cupcake tasting. Ultimately though, you need to be inspired to make it work. Inspiration comes and goes, which is often inconvenient when you need to come up with interesting ideas on a regular basis (if you’re writing a blog, you know what we’re talking about.) So how can you find inspiration when it feels like your head is empty?

How to Find Inspiration

There is no fool’s proof method to gain inspiration, but there are definitely actions you can undertake to help jumpstart your brain. Here’s a simple list to get you started:

Get Away from the Problem

You don’t know how to get started on that cloud computing essay? You feel like you’ve explored every facets of social media on your blog? Your problem might be that you need a fresh perspective. When immersed into a subject matter for a long period of time, it gets difficult to pull yourself back and get an outsider’s perspective on your work. Being able to examine your work through different lenses is important as it can help you find new details and ideas. If you feel you need a new perspective on your work, then get away from it for a little while. Explore other subject matters outside your usual field. The cloud computing expert could have a look into photography or football. The social media expert would benefit from discovering the pleasures of design and architecture. Opening up your mind to other disciplines can help you gain the necessary distance for fresh ideas to blossom in your mind.

Do Research

Another great way to gain inspiration is by having a look at the work of other people. Start by browsing del.icio.us for subject matters that interests you. Whenever you find some links that are of interest to you, look up whoever provided the links and explore their profile. This can open doors to new correlations you never thought of before. You can use the same process with Reddit or any other bookmarking sites. Flickr is a fine website to get inspired. Check out their stream of most interesting pics, or perform some queries on your subject matter and see what shows up. You’d be surprised to see how other people visually approach your choice of semantics. Remember though that there is a fine line between gaining inspiration and stealing other people’s ideas!

We believe books remain a great way to gain inspiration. First, their nature encourage immersion – when you read a book, you forget about what surrounds you. They have a calming effect, which is perfect to generate new thoughts. Also, books (fiction or not) tend to thread a deep web of ideas and concepts. Blogs and white papers are great at communicating ideas quickly and efficiently, but their short, scannable nature remains a far stretch from the deepness books can achieve. Taking time to read books is a great way to gain inspiration.

Brainstorm and Keep a Journal

We find that brainstorming sessions work best in groups. Indeed, bouncing ideas off with other people can enable new connections or perspectives you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. But don’t stop there. Sorry, that’s not true – do stop there. Once you have brainstormed, take a break – a few hours, or if you can afford it, a few days – before getting back to that session. Again, removing yourself from the problem can help gain a new perspective. Also, while you’re away from your blockage, your mind is still processing that information, creating new links and bridges. When you’re ready to explore your brainstorming session once more, new concepts and ideas could make their way to the top.

Another way to brainstorm regularly is to keep a journal at hand. Make sure you can access it easily as you never know when your brain will come up with some brilliant thoughts. Fill it with quotes you loved from blogs, magazines, billboards, etc. Put in thoughts you’re having – it doesn’t matter if they’re boring or utterly crazy. Don’t censor yourself, be as open as possible. That journal will come handy when you’re looking for ideas or when you’re having those brainstorming sessions. Remember, there is no such thing as a bad idea when you are brainstorming.

Change your Environment

An easy trick to stimulate your writing process is to write in a different environment. Leave your desk or wherever you’re used to write and change location: try your local café, the library, a bookstore or some other public place. This change in external stimulations might be the push your brain needs to come up with a wealth of inspiration.

Bake Cupcakes

Finally, if you feel totally uninspired, stop and do something completely different. Try baking cupcakes, go for a bicycle ride, have a pic-nic, visit your friends and family. Sometimes all your brain needs is a little break!

How do you fight a writing block? Let us know what your secret is!

Upcoming Marketing Conferences

Conferences are a great way to remain connected with your industry’s latest developments. It is also a fantastic opportunity to grow your network and score some valuable leads. We’ve gathered for you a list of the best upcoming marketing conferences that will happen in June 09.

SMX Advanced

June 2-3 2009
Seattle, USA
From $1495 to $1595 depending on when you purchase the ticket.

The Search Marketing Expos are a great place to connect with like-minded individuals while perfecting your skills through advanced workshops and conferences. Note that Google’s Matt Cutt and Microsoft’s Qi Lu will both present a keynote at the event. The conference will take place in Toronto.

For more details on the SMX Advanced conference click here.

Mobile Marketing Forum

June 2-3 2009
Grand Hyatt NYC, NYC, USA
From $1195 to $2010 depending on ticket type.

Some people say that mobile marketing will be a vital milestone for marketers in the near future. If you’d like to get familiarize with this fairly new field, this conference would be a great entryway!

For more details on the Mobile Marketing Forum click here.

Velocity, Web Performance and Operations Conference

June 22-24, 2009
Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, USA
From $395 to $1395 depending on ticket type.

If you want to improve your website building skills while also meeting experts in your field, the O’Reilly conference is the place to be.

For more details on the Velocity Conference click here.