The Corporate Muse
Happy New Year! Welcome to the January issue of The Corporate Muse. This
month, we discuss the many ways we lose time and how to get a handle on it; networking through forums and how to
create keyword rich copy. We also introduce you to another one of our subscribers. As always, we welcome suggestions and/or questions.
the Tyranny of the Urgent
Back in the 80's, I heard Charles
Swindoll, the renowned evangelist and Christian teacher, talk about what he called the "tyranny of the urgent." The expression
came from an article written by Charles E. Hummel, published in 1967.
That phrase stuck with me all these
years. Whenever those insistent little demons start whispering in my ear, vying for my thoughts above all else, I remember that
We all have so many things
clamoring for our attention. They press down upon us pushing us to act. Too often what wins out are the more persistent and noisy
of the cacophony. But are they the most important?
Of course, the diaper has to be
changed, even if you're waiting for a critical call and the phone's ringing off the hook. A hungry child needs to be fed. A
year-end report needs to be filed. An unreasonable client needs to be mollified.
I'm not referring to these kinds of
urgencies. What I'm addressing are those impulses that give the air of importance, but when it comes right down to it, could wait
another day, week, or maybe even year.
As Hummel said, "We live in a
constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today, or even
this week...A man's home is no longer his castle; it is no longer a place away from urgent tasks because the telephone breaches
the walls with imperious demands. The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible and important, and they devour our
energy. But in light of time's perspective their deceptive prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the important tasks
pushed aside. We realize we've become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent."
Today, email and instant messaging
have partially replaced the telephone. That little ding announcing, "You've got mail," prompts normally task-oriented humans to
click their email icons just to see what's there. The sheer immediacy of electronic mail not only tempts us, but almost dares us
not to open it.
But the biggest culprit of them all
may be the cell phone. The go-anywhere phone has engendered a kind of dependency that resembles addictive behavior. (See:
Many people refuse to leave home without their cell phones, and not answering them, for most, is out of the
Staying connected is essential for
human health, but what if our need to be in the know jeopardizes our health. How do we separate the important from the urgent?
How do we maintain balance, while conducting our everyday business and lives?
Let me say right off the bat-I'm
not a goal setter. I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. In fact, whenever I'm instructed to sit down and take assessment of
my situation, I resist. But in order to conquer the tyranny of the urgent, that's exactly what has to be done.
Having a clear picture of your
objectives can be big step toward defeating the time stealers in your life. While taking stock won't make the tyrannies
disappear, it can remind you of your priorities. Writing down your goals, ambitions, or whatever you want to call them, will
solidify them in your mind and embolden you with a weapon the next time the tyranny of the urgent rears its ugly head.
The more technology driven our
society becomes, the greater the demands for our time. Deciding what's necessary and what's not won't ever be easy. But gaining
freedom from the tyranny of the urgent-if only for a minute or two-makes the effort worthwhile.
© QuickSilver Copywriters 2007 -- Andy & Shawn Catsimanes; http://www.quicksilvercopywriters.com/; mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:
The Best Reason to Join a Forum
Not all networking is person-to-person. Actually, some of the most important connecting you do might just be with
people you'll never meet.
I'm talking about participating on forums. A year ago, I would have said the idea was nuts. In fact, I have to
confess, when we first started our business, I complained about how much time my husband spent on the forums. I've since
changed my tune.
Forums offer a wealth of information for just about any industry. For those who
work at home, it provides a community of like-minded people. Newbies benefit from the
wisdom of experienced entrepreneurs. Businesses that operate primarily offline can gain an understanding of what it takes to
become an online presence.
Finding a forum is easy. Just Google it (i.e., I would type "copywriter forum" into the search box to locate
forums in my field.)
Let me go back for a minute and tell you a little story. I mentioned my discontent with Andy's involvement on the
forums. But I can honestly say, our business wouldn't be where it is today without it.
His ability to express himself and willingness to share his thoughts and ideas helped boost our visibility and
credibility. Important Internet marketers-gurus, if you will-now know who we are, mainly because of Andy's contributions on
the forums. And that exposure has elevated our little business to heights we couldn't have imagined a year
"When I first began participating in forums, I had no idea how valuable they'd be to our business. It didn't
take long to realize that forums were a great place to get valuable information and hang out with people who shared our
interest in marketing and copywriting-while at the same time helping folks with their questions and forming important
business relationships." (Andy Catsimanes)
Once you've decided a forum is a good place for you to be, it's important to develop the proper outlook. Forum
members warn that you must read the rules and follow proper forum etiquette. Failure to do so can result in reprimands or
worse-being kicked off or banned from the forum.
You want to enter with a mind-set of giving. Alice Seba of http://www.aliceseba.com/ says you need to join without any expectations. "Start thinking what you can do for the community and it all comes
back to you."
Gary Glasscock of http://www.gc-copywriting.com/ agrees. "Giving back-not necessarily to the universe-but just giving back-sharing your knowledge and helping other
people out. When you go to the forums with that kind of attitude, I believe, in the end, you will get that
Forums present a multitude of opportunities to anyone willing to learn and willing to give. There's no cost, so
it's a fantastic way to introduce yourself to a community of people in your field. For exploring a niche you can't beat a
forum. It's also a great way to learn what your clients really want.
But the biggest reward of forums is the ability to build lasting relationships. Like Alice Seba says, "One sale
today is one sale today, but a friend is a lifetime partner-a teacher, a referrer and a cheerleader for your business-and
that's just so much more valuable."
You've probably heard to you need to make your Internet
copy "keyword rich" or add "keyword density." But what does that really mean?
Appropriately using keywords in your text helps the major search engines find your site and rank it. The density
and relevancy of each of your keywords determines how high in the search engines you'll climb. The higher you're ranked,
especially with Google and Yahoo, the more visitors you're likely to receive. That's what Search Engine Optimization is all
about. (See: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/30892/seo_keyword_basics.html.)
As Wendy Boswell of About.com says, "Lack of well-chosen keywords and phrases on your Web site is a truly terrible
mistake to make, as search engine spiders depend on these to find your site; as well as search engine users. If you have
not targeted specific and precise keywords for your website, then you will not be easily found. Period."
To start with, you need to determine how people are finding your site. What are the exact words or phrases they
use to search for your kind of business? This will help you decide what keywords to use in your meta tags when setting up
your sites. But that's just the first step.
In order to make your website keyword rich, you need to insert search words and phrases into your copy a number of
times. The trick here is balance. How much and how many? SEO experts differ in their opinions on this. Some say 1-4% of
your article should be keyword dense. Others claim 3-5% is best.
All agree, the fewer keywords per page the better. If you have other pertinent words or phrases you want to
utilize, apply them to several different pages. This is a double bonus. The more content you have on your site, the more
the search engines will like you.
To put this into practice: Let's say you're a chiropractor and you want to use, "spinal alignment," as your
main keyword. That means in a 200-word article, you would need to include the phrase two (1%) to ten (5%) times. Overdoing
it will cause the spiders (or bots) to feel you're "stuffing" your content and your ratings will drop.
In the above example, "spinal alignment" directly relates to chiropractic practices, which means it also passes
the test for relevancy. (For more information, see Jennifer Clason's article at: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/37366/how_to_write_keyword_rich_website_text.html.)
Though it may sound simple, your copy still needs to flow. Injecting keywords all willy-nilly will make your text
sound choppy and unprofessional and send your readers scurrying to other websites.
Finding and applying the right keywords and keyword phrases will strengthen your content and raise your ranking
with the search engines. Not making use of this powerful tool will maroon you in the ever-changing world of the
Cory Fossum of Fossum Creative, a Marketing and Communications Firm based in San Jose,
When the boom in Silicon Valley faded in 2002, Cory found himself out of a job. Realizing he had a
marketable skill, he decided to go into business for himself.
His experience producing a weekly newsletter for a financial publishing company, and later as head writer
of web copy and direct mail campaigns, prepared him for his copywriting career.
At first, he didn't know how to execute a freelance writing business. He spent a lot of time in the
library, learning from the greats, like Bob Bly. Discovering there was money to be made, he hung his shingle out on Craig's list
and landed his first corporate client.
Today, 4 1/2 years later, he writes for everyone from Apple and Tivo to small businesses like his own. He's
particularly fond of writing for consumer electronics and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Understanding what he does isn't easy for everyone. Cory explains it this way, "Everything we
read-billboards, advertisements, brochures, websites-all of that has to be written by somebody. That's what I do. I write
One of the biggest challenges he faces is an over-saturated market, especially online. "Everyone is
so bombarded with auto-responders and ezines and info-overwhelm-you could make a full-time career out of being a consumer-how do
you get their attention in a respectful manner? And how do you compete with all the gurus and big names?" Cory doesn't take this
challenge lightly and works hard to find ways to help his clients stand out in the marketplace.
He also struggles with juggling his time. It's tough keeping up with projects and marketing oneself, while
maintaining a balanced home life. As he puts it, "The great irony is that we do this for the freedom."
He believes you're never too old to become an entrepreneur. But the time to start is now. Be persistent. Be
patient. Surround yourself with good people. And just get out there and own your dream.
You can learn more about Cory at: http://www.fossumcreative.com/.
Thanks for reading. See you next month! And check us out on the Copywriters Blog (http://www.copywritersblog.com/).
Andy & Shawn Catsimanes
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