Blog


This is my personal blog. I write most often about marketing, technology, fundraising, and publishing. These are my thoughts, observations, rants, and opinions. If they frustrate you, confuse you, excite you, bore you, or compel you, know I feel the same things most of the time. If you prefer, you can subscribe via email or RSS to be alerted when new content is posted.

Why should I give to your church?

Why should I give to your church?

If you can't answer that question ... neither can the PERSON in the PEW.

That's a BIG problem. And a proven strategy to NOT FUND your organization.

This is your most important asset. Focus on it. Lose sleep over it. Write it over and over until you get it right.

THEN ... practice saying to yourself.

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What I wish every church planter knew about funding ministry

What I wish every church planter knew about funding ministry

I love talking to church planters. Their dreams are big, their commitment is unwavering, and their courage is remarkable. I’m not sure there is anything harder to do than start a church. I admire church planters for so many reasons.

Any yet, I’m also consistently surprised that few have a comprehensive funding plan or even financial projections. You wouldn’t build a house without first talking to an architect, builder, and banker. You wouldn’t start a business without a clear path to break-even and eventually profitability. And you wouldn’t invest in a company that didn’t have a strategy, action plan, and financial models to ensure your capital is multiplied many times overs.

Endurance in ministry requires more than grit and personal resolve. It must be supported by a documented plan and strategy (which includes financial projections).

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7 epic fails for church giving this Easter

7 epic fails for church giving this Easter

Easter is an important time in the Christian church. It is one of two of the most recognized holidays by believers and non-believers alike.

It is also a time when a tremendous amount of people who don’t attend church regularly (or even at all) will walk through the doors of churches all around the world. That means what you do related to giving is worthy of a little thought and planning to ensure you maximize the giving and engagement potential of this medium.

Here are 7 epic fails you should avoid this Easter ... 

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Vanco study reveals most engaged church members want e-giving

Vanco study reveals most engaged church members want e-giving

There are a lot of assumptions leveled from the pulpit to the pew about church giving. One very important one is the ongoing debate around electronic giving and whether or not it has a place in the life of the local church and the discipline of worship and generosity.

Seriously. It’s 2016. Can’t we just agree that e-giving is here to stay?

It is astonishing to me that we are still talking about why “we should” or “should not” offer e-giving options to church members and visitors who would like to financially contribute to the work and ministry of a particular local church. Yet that very conversation is still alive and well in many churches today.

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What's wrong with the "F" word?

What's wrong with the "F" word?

Not that "F" word! 

That's another post for another time. I'm talking about F-O-C-U-S in your content and messaging strategy. The ability to stay on target until you determine the campaign is a horrible failure or a raging success.

Too many give up before they give an idea the chance to succeed.

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How to generate leads with compelling content

How to generate leads with compelling content

Every business, brand, or cause is interested in generating more leads. Whether it's building a donor list, attracting new leads from a targeted audience, moving people through a buying cycle, or increasing the service level of existing clients, organizations are only interested in content marketing (or any content marketing for that matter) if it ...

  • Finds new prospects.
  • Increases the number of qualified leads.
  • And helps close more deals.

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7 ways your sales team can use downloadable content

7 ways your sales team can use downloadable content

I experienced marketing first from the outside. As an account executive for a software company, I depended on marketing to help me generate leads, provide the materials I needed to move the prospect through the buying cycle, and to create a general awareness about the company and product before I ever engaged the lead. 

I've also experienced marketing as the one responsible for doing the things that sales expects marketing to do.

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 Brand Journalism lets your biggest fans brag on you

Brand Journalism lets your biggest fans brag on you

Brand Journalism is a vehicle to let your biggest fans talk about the impact you've had on their business, brand, or cause. And it spreads that message through one of the oldest forms of communication ... storytelling. Too many times we undervalue what can be transferred between people when the message is couched inside a story.

Stories still matter. No matter what you're selling.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to write a book about incredible people doing amazing things.

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4 characteristics of inbound marketing

4 characteristics of inbound marketing

Marketing has changed. You know that. I know that. Unfortunately, many who sit in executive level, decision-making positions still believe the marketing strategies they "cut their teeth" on 30 years ago still dominate the way consumers buy whatever it is you're selling. 

Until a new generation of marketing professionals move into senior level roles, this tension will continue to exist. 

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6 steps to better digital writing

6 steps to better digital writing

The biggest mistake copywriters make is they assume the same copy can work in different channels. The default is to work toward efficiency. Write it once and then let design craft it for the desired distribution channel. Only it's not that simple.

Each channel has characteristics that make them distinct and different from the others. 

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Professional writers don't have literary orgasms

Professional writers don't have literary orgasms

I know a lot of writing hobbyists who are in love with the words and sentences they put on a page. You know who they are. They admire the work of people who have been dead of a few hundred years and lament the decline of true litrery genius in our culture. Personally, I don't think literary genius is extinct anymore than I believe the best writers are found in history books. Either way, that conversation misses the point completely.

The truth is professional writers make a living writing words for others—whether it is for an individual or business.

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5 new realities of marketing you can't ignore

5 new realities of marketing you can't ignore

Marketing will never be the same.

There was a time when desktop computing skills (remember that phrase?) moved from optional to required. Then, employees had to understand the Web. Now, no organization can afford to hire people in their marketing department who don't understand social networking and mobile engagement. My prediction is that every new hire for any professional position will one day have to demonstrate a proficiency in social and digital media.

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Starving writers don't understand their value

Starving writers don't understand their value

Somewhere along the way, the idea was introduced that true artists are willing to starve to make their craft. I've met too many writers, painters, photographers, etc. who are willing to sell their talent for the lowest dollar without ever considering the value they bring to the table. If I must starve to be a "real" writer, then I'm out. The good news is there is a way to create a financially sustainable path to being a professional writer.

People are willing to pay for services that relieve their "pain."

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10 ways to improve your content marketing stamina

10 ways to improve your content marketing stamina

Content marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Those who win stay in the game long enough to outlast—or out-create—everyone else ultimately achieves their goals. Just like training for an athletic event, there are certain habits you can build into your workflow to help you improve your content marketing stamina.

Consider these 10 suggestions ...

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Content marketing and the 12 days of Christmas

Content marketing and the 12 days of Christmas

Content marketing is about building trust and value with those we want to connect with more than just when we need to “make a sale.” We want an ongoing relationship that creates community or a tribe. And community is formed around shared meaning—that which is meaningful to us and to others.

The 12 days of Christmas is more than a funny song that talks about a really unusual sequence of gifts. It reminds us that we must see life—even business—as an opportunity to give unusual and unexpected gifts. Those are the ones people remember ... and write songs about.

We should always value human relationships more than transactions.

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Integrated predictive search will make or break you

Integrated predictive search will make or break you

The discipline of content marketing is forcing businesses to become publishers and publishers to become businesses. The person who wins in this equation is ... EVERYONE.

People win because they feel empowered through knowledge to make better decisions, whether that's a local contractor for home improvement or deciding on the next ERP system to purchase and implement for your growing business. Inbound marketing changes the game in that it reverses roles. Instead of the business or vendor finding the customer, the customer finds the business or vendor.

Google is a verb you can't afford not to use.

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Google Trends will inform search and content strategy

Google Trends will inform search and content strategy

Google Trends measures search volume of keywords or phrases. If Google is the number one search engine and the first place most people go to find the information they need, then indexing search volume and our ability to quickly compare different words or phrases are vital to successfully and consistently being found online.

Essentially, our ability to identify the words other people are using to find—or not find—you or your service, brand, or company is the difference between being found organically within searches or being buried deep within the Google ecosystem forever.

If you’re new to the marketing world, this type of functionality is EPIC. It used to only be available to big companies who could afford to staff people who loved doing things like polynomial regression analysis and interpretive analytics. 

But now this keyword research tool is now available to you ... today ... and at no cost.

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9 reasons I might drop Evernote for OneNote

9 reasons I might drop Evernote for OneNote

I never thought I would say this, but I am quickly approaching the point of dropping Evernote for OneNote.

I have been an avid Evernote evangelist for years. I have more than 7,300 hundred notes in my Evernote account. It has been an integral part of my digital experience for a long time. If I do decide to break up with Evernote, it will be painful to unencumber myself for good.

Bottom line, Evernote has stopped developing and innovating at the rate that it was. Since Microsoft finally released a version of OneNote for Mac about a year ago, it has been a legitimate contender in the digital note-taking space. Given my relentless curiosity about productivity tools, I decided to give it a try.

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5 reasons why deadlines matter

5 reasons why deadlines matter

Every client wants to know three things when they hire freelance or contract creatives: 

  1. Will he or she accomplish what I need him to do?
  2. Will he or she deliver it in the form that I need it delivered?
  3. Will he or she meet my deadline?

I live on both sides of the table. I sometimes set deadlines. Other times, I am given deadlines. Either way, there is purpose and function behind every production schedule.

I have to admit I'm a litte crazy about dates.

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