Squarely Digital Email Newsletter #4

Hi {"ANONYMIZED":"2022-09-05"},

My favorite hour of television during the 1980s and early ‘90s was 12:30 to 1:30 a.m. on weeknights: Late Night with David Letterman on NBC.

The show loved to puncture television’s pretensions. It made a point of reminding you that the slick, produced shows the networks fed us were pretty dumb and mostly fake.

Dave always enjoyed taking the viewer backstage, behind the camera, into the control room — anywhere behind the scenes, where you could see how television was made. There, it was clear that television wasn’t glamorous, and shows made it to air thanks to normal, goofy workers like Biff the Stage Manager, Hal the Director and Kevin the Cue Card Guy.

(Dave also liked to remind us that shows got on the air despite the dopey executives at networks and big companies like General Electric that were buying television networks back then. But that’s a different story.)

Some of the best parts of a Letterman show happened when the camera was not pointed at the host’s desk, when you could see the scaffolding, teleprompters and tape.

This is a long way of saying that like Dave, I’m also going to take you behind the scenes today.

As I prepared to write this newsletter, I knew I wanted to highlight my latest blog post, Squarely Digital’s Top 20 Content Marketing Tips. But I knew that simply sending out the link and saying, essentially, “Here, read this!” was not good enough for my valued email subscribers.

So I brainstormed. My solution: Provide a deeper dive into that blog post.

All of the tips in the post should help you become a better writer and content marketer. But to be honest, some of the tips are more important than others.

You might not be able to follow all 20 tips every time you sit down to write. But I think you really need to follow the five listed below. Three focus on the writing itself; the other two are more marketing-centric.

So, without further ado, from the home office in Alexandria, Va., here are the Top 5 Entries From My Top 20 Writing Tips List:

5. Focus: The great thing about this tip (if I do say so myself) is that if you follow it, your content will be better, and you’ll save good ideas for later instead of using two or more up at once.

4. Spend a Lot of Time on Your First Paragraph: Writing a good lead is difficult. One reason I know this is that there are so many bad ones sitting atop marketing pieces online. Spending the time to craft an attention-grabbing, well-written, concise lead will ensure that you stand out.

3. It Can Always Be Shorter: As I review that entry, I wonder if I should have headlined it “Make It Shorter.” That would have saved two words. Bottom line: There is so much fluff and cruft in our writing. When you take the time to edit it out, people will read more of your piece, and your message will land more effectively.

2. Stop Talking About Yourself: Following this tip requires a mind shift — thinking like a buyer instead of a seller. The better you understand your ideal customer, and the more you listen to why they buy from you (and why others don’t), the better you’ll be able to write from this perspective.

1. Write the Way You Talk: Any tip you can credit to your mother has to be No. 1, right? It gives me great pleasure to say that advice my mom gave me 40 or so years ago still stands up and informs part of my professional life. What else can I say?

So there’s the Top 5. Read the entire post here:

Squarely Digital’s Top 20 Content Marketing Tips

Good Content Marketing for Business Coaches: An Update

In the last newsletter, I linked to my piece on good content marketing for business coaches. A cool thing happened afterward: I heard from one of the coaches whose blog post was highlighted.

I had suggested that Russell Heath include a specific call to action at the end of his otherwise excellent post, What Happens In a Coaching Session, and I emailed him to let him know I had written this.

Here’s what I got back:


“Thanks for your good words. I blog in a vacuum and don't have a good idea of how they are received. That said, I will confound your readers as I've taken your advice and put a [call to action] button in.”

Russell had updated his post, meaning I had to update mine, too. But that’s fine. I’m happy he found some value in my suggestion.

Upcoming Workshops

Here’s the lineup of workshops I have planned for July and August. If you’re interested, know someone who might be, or just have questions, let me know:

• Wednesday, July 7: Content Marketing Tune-Up (1 hour, free)

• Thursdays, July 15-Aug. 5: Content Marketing Workshop for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (four sessions, $199)

• Mondays, Aug. 9-30: Content Marketing for Business & Executive Coaches (four sessions, $199)

Off-Topic, but …

If you’re in a historical mood this summer, here’s a recommendation: Yale professor David Blight’s HIST 119 course: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877.

All 27 lectures from the course are available in this podcast, and trust me, you’ll enjoy listening to Blight hold forth. He goes well beyond the politics and battlefield maneuvers of the Civil War — in fact, 19 of the episodes are about the periods before and after the war itself.

For me, the course is also a reminder that historical research is an ongoing process. The things we learned about the Civil War in school — the “truth” — is not necessarily what most historians believe today.
Have a great week,


5137 Brawner Pl • Alexandria, VA 22304 • United States • Click here to unsubscribe.