Thursday, July 5, 2018

12 Uncommon Literary Devices to Give Your Writing Irresistible Style

So I bummed this book from a neighbor. It’s a book on classic English rhetoric. Or verbal style.

She initially pulled it off her shelf to show me because of the name of the author: Ward Farnsworth.

Not an exact rendering of my last name (it’s Farnworth, no “s”). And that’s not pretentious posturing on my part — it has been that way for generations.

But it didn’t really matter who wrote the book. I fell in love with it on the spot.

12 Uncommon Literary Devices to Give Your Writing Irresistible Style

Each chapter is devoted to a literary device like anaphora, chiasmus, and litotes That may sound like nonsense to you, but they’re just fancy words for rhetorical devices you’ll quickly recognize.

Furthermore, each device is broken down into subspecies, complete with examples from notable sources like Shakespeare, Churchill, Chesterton, and the Bible (and I threw in a few by Tupac Shukar, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Bob Dylan).

What is a literary device?

Before diving into these uncommon literary devices, let’s take a quick detour.

Talking about literary devices, figures of speech and writing style can be intimidating for many.

After scouring the web and referring to a few additional books, I didn’t come across an agreed upon definition of literary devices. So here’s my take:

A literary device is a technique you can use to create a special effect on your writing.

Think about it this way.

When writing a story or making a point, you can just use the facts, which is totally fine for in some cases like journalism, or you can liven things up a bit with a literary device.

Here’s an example of a literary device to illustrate what I’m talking about:

  • “The rain was heavy this afternoon as I walked to my car.”
  • “The rain played tag with me as I ran to my car to get shelter.”

The first sentence is just a statement about the rain. It is what it is. It’s like a reporter sharing her observation about today’s weather, and it doesn’t lead the reader to think anything specific about the rain.

The second sentence basically says the same thing. To make the rain come alive (“The rain played tag”), I used a literary device known as personification to create an image in the mind of the reader. I mean, who hasn’t tried to run away from the rain?

Literary devices are tools writers can use that are similar to tactics producers can use in film, television, or theater. By adding makeup, using costumes, or utilizing computer graphics, producers can create special effects to convey a specific visual.

Here’s one example of before-and-after scenes using special effects:

12 Uncommon Literary Devices to Give Your Writing Irresistible Style

Sure, the producer could have asked the actor to wear a costume or put on makeup. But you have to admit; the computer graphics really takes the look of this character to the next level.

This is really how literary devices work in their basic form. They can add special effects to your writing and transform the experience of your readers.

Why literary devices are essential to web writing

There’s a lot of good substance out there. Hardly any style, though. This isn’t an accident.

Most people who peddle content are tradespeople first, writers second. In other words, their authority rests in a discipline other than writing.

Sometimes their content feels as if it’s meant to feed a machine when the creator will tell you plainly that is not the case. They are writing for people, which is one key to writing a blog post people will actually read.

Fair enough. But technical writers also write for people.

A list of literary devices to add style to your content

I look at some pieces, though, and I think the designer probably got paid really good money. The writer, not so much.

This is not to say style should be a pretentious exercise in drawing attention to itself. It should not be a navel-gazing sentence by James Joyce or a long-winded, baroque one from Faulkner (whom I adore).

Great web writing demands the plainness of Hemingway and the clarity of Orwell and the playfulness of E. E. Cummings. And you can do it while honoring the simplicity of Strunk.

And mastering these 12 uncommon literary devices from Mr. Farnsworth’s book is a great place to start if you are a greenhorn … a great place to beef up your skill set if you are a veteran. Enjoy.

1. Epizeuxis

Epizeuxis is a simple repetition of words and phrases. This literary device is often used for emphasis, and oftentimes, there are no additional words in between. The quick repetition of words or phrases will arrest the attention of your readers.

Epizeuxis examples:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

Isaiah 6:3

“Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Winston Churchill

“But you never know now do you now do you now do you.”

David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

2. Anaphora

Anaphora is repetition at the beginning of successive statements. In writing or speeches, you can use this literary device to create an artistic effect, or you can repeat one phrase to weave together several points together.

Anaphora examples:

Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!

William Shakespeare, King John, II

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

Matthew 23:13-16

3. Epistrophe

Epistrophe is similar to anaphora, but with a twist—this literary device uses repetition of words or phrases at the end.

Epistrophe examples:

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (King James Translation)

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.”

Lyndon B. Johnson in “We Shall Overcome”

4. Anadiplosis

Abnadiplosis is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning and end of a sentence. This literary device creates a sweet flow in certain forms of writing.

Abnadiplosis examples:

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Yoda, Star Wars

“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.”

Romans 5:3–5

“The frog was a prince / The prince was a brick / The brick was an egg / The egg was a bird”

Genesis, “Supper’s Ready”

5. Polyptoton

Polyptoton is unique in that it’s a repetition of the root word. For example, you can use similar words like “strength” and “strong” instead of just repeating the same word.

Polyptoton examples:

“It is the same with all the powerful of to-day; it is the same, for instance, with the high-placed and high-paid official. Not only is the judge not judicial, but the arbiter is not even arbitrary.”

— G.K. Chesterton, The Man on Top

Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Matthew 7:1

“Not as a call to battle, though embattled we are.”

John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Lord Acton

6. Isocolon

Isocolon is a literary device you can use to create parallel structures in your length and rhythm.

Isocolon examples:

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.”

M&Ms

“With malice toward none, with charity toward all, with firmness in the right…”

Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address

“I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper, she’s a Pepper, we’re a Pepper — Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too? Dr. Pepper!”

Dr. Pepper advertising jingle

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”

Matthew 10:8

7. Chiasmus

Chiasmus is a reversal structure used for artistic effect. With this literary device, you basically criss-cross phrases to convey a similar—not identical—meaning.

Chiasmus examples:

“Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”

John F. Kennedy

“Woe unto that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Isaiah 5:20

“They say money don’t make the man but man, I’m makin’ money.”

Tupac Shakur, “Thug Passion”

8. Anastrophe

Anastrope refers to an inversion of words, which will make perfect sense in a moment (assuming your a fan of Star Wars). You can use this literary device to emphasize a word or phrase.

Anastrope examples:

” Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing.”

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”

“Joined the Dark Side, Dooku has. Lies, deceit, creating mistrust are his ways now.”

Yoda

“I sing of arms and the man, who first from the shores of Troy.”

Virgil, the first line of Aeneid

“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance”

Eugene Smith

“Her mother is the lady of the house, And a good lady, and wise and virtuous. I nursed her daughter that you talked withal. I tell you, he that can lay hold of her, Shall have the chinks.”

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

9. Polysyndeton

Polysyndeto is a literary device where you use extra conjunctions (e.g., and, but)—frequently in quick succession—to create a stylistic effect.

Polysyndeton examples:

And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.”

Genesis 7:3

“If there be cords, or knives, or poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, I’ll not endure it”

Shakespeare, Othello

“And St. Attila raised his hand grenade up on high saying ‘O Lord bless this thy hand grenade that with it thou mayest blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy. ‘and the Lord did grin and people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and …'”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

“I said, ‘Who killed him?’ and he said ‘I don’t know who killed him, but he’s dead all right,’ and it was dark and there was water standing in the street and no lights or windows broke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and everything all blown and I got a skiff and went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Key and she was right only she was full of water.”

Ernest Hemingway, “After the Storm.”

10. Asyndeton

Asyndeton is a writing style where you leave out conjunctions to write direct statements for effect. If used correctly, this literary device can create a beautiful, memorable rhythm in your writing.

Asyndeton examples:

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. . .”

Winston Churchill, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”

“…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

“That we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

“And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.”

Ecclesiastes 2:10

11. Litotes

Litotes is a figure of speech you can use to affirm something positive by making an understatement. After you take a gander at the examples below, you’ll see that this literary device is commonly used in everyday conversations and popular literature.

Litotes examples:

“Not bad” (to say something is good)

“He’s not as young as he used to be” (meaning “he’s old”)

“Keep an eye on your mother whom we both know doesn’t have both oars in the water.”

Jim Harrison, The Road Home

“I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.”

Jeremiah 30:19

“Are you also aware, Mrs. Bueller, that Ferris does not have what we consider to be an exemplary attendance record?”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

12. Hypophora

In short, hypophora is when you ask a question and then answer the question you just asked. Unlike a rhetorical question, to use this literary device, you’ll need to answer the question you pose immediately.

Hypophora examples:

“What made me take this trip to Africa? There is no quick explanation. Things got worse and worse and worse and pretty soon they were too complicated.”

Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

1 Corinthians 11:21-22

“Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?

I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it

I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,

I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’,

I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’,

I saw a white ladder all covered with water,

I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,

Bob Dylan, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”

Another warning literary devices and style

I admit.

This could be an exercise in dilettantism. An argument for fashion over function. In the hard and fast competition found on a search results page, most people just want answers to their questions. They want substance over style. Function over fashion.

Fair enough.

That, however, is only true in a market that is not saturated. If you hobnob in an industry drowning in competitors, on the other hand, then substance alone is not enough. You need style — among other things — to stand out.

So, bookmark this post, then carve out some time to study these devices.

Question: How many of these devices did I use in this article?

The post 12 Uncommon Literary Devices to Give Your Writing Irresistible Style appeared first on Copybot.



source https://thecopybot.com/literary-devices-web-style/

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Interactive CTAs: An Introduction

Using video is a great way to engage your customers and prospects—but how do you channel engagement into action? Interactive CTAs (calls-to-action) or ‘events’ are one great way to drive specific, desired outcomes from your viewers and encourage them to step further down the funnel.

What are interactive events and why should I care?

“In a nutshell, interactive events are areas of the player that have been created specifically to actively engage your viewers,” says Stephanie Yi, Solutions Consultant at Vidyard. “They are meant to drive a specific desired action from the viewer while they are watching your videos.”

Instead of passively consuming your video content, interactive events allow you to point your viewers to a specific action you’d like them to take. This action could be filling out a form, visiting a specific webpage, watching another video, or even requesting a demo. This video provides a brief overview of what interactive events are and how they work in the Vidyard platform. 

Certain kinds of events work best with certain types of content—let’s have a look at how you can determine what kind of interactive event is right for your video.

How to leverage interactivity in your video marketing strategy

There are three main pieces you have to consider when creating an interactive video strategy:

  • The nature of your content
  • Your viewer’s ideal next step
  • The kinds of interactive events that are going to drive the best-desired outcomes

We’ll tackle each of these questions in turn. Let’s dive in.

What is the nature of your content?

Think about your video content. What audience is it meant to reach? What role does it play in your funnel?

Here’s a quick primer on how different kinds of videos might fit into your buyer’s journey:

1. Awareness Stage (Top of Funnel) Videos

Videos in the awareness stage are designed to generate just that—awareness. Think of things like company overview videos, thought leadership content, or any kind of short “info bite”-style videos.

2. Consideration Stage (Middle of Funnel) Videos

Videos in the consideration stage can be a little more in-depth. Here’s where product overview videos can come into play, as well as how-to videos and solution-based webinars.  

3. Decision Stage (Bottom of Funnel) Videos

Videos in the decision stage help your buyer take the final leap and make a purchase. These can include things like customer testimonial videos, along with in-depth product demos.

Once you’ve determined the nature of your content, you can start thinking about the kind of action you want to use it to drive. And that takes us to our next question:

What are your viewers’ ideal next steps?

Do you want to encourage them to consume more content? Identify themselves to you through a form? Initiate an opportunity? Consider the stage of your videos and how you can nudge your viewers closer to the next stage—or closer to a purchasing decision. Which leads us to our final consideration:

Which interactive events are going to drive the best outcomes?

1. Awareness Stage

In this awareness stage, you want to focus on softer CTAs that will encourage your viewer to explore more of your content and product offerings. Some examples might be links to other pieces of content, newsletter subscription forms, or links to learn more about your products.

2. Consideration Stage

In the consideration stage, you can start using more in-depth lead capture forms to profile your buyer. Here you can also use multiple links on a “choose-your-own-adventure” event to allow buyers to identify their intention or persona.

3. Decision Stage

The decision stage is the point at which you want to encourage your viewer to initiate an opportunity—so make it easy for them! Here’s where you can use forms that allow them to reach out to you. Think demo requests, links to pricing information, or CTAs that allow them to book a meeting with an expert on your team.

We hope this post has been helpful and has inspired you to delve into your own interactive events strategy! If you’re ready to start setting up your own interactive events, check out our guide to events in our knowledge center that will help you get started. You can also check out our handy SlideShare presentation for additional information:

Are you already using interactive CTAs? Excited to get started? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Interactive CTAs: An Introduction appeared first on Vidyard.



source http://www.vidyard.com/blog/interactive-ctas/

Friday, May 18, 2018

Why Top EMEA Marketers Are Ready To Adopt Marketing Automation

Demand creation budgets shrank in 2017, but SiriusDecisions made an interesting discovery: The highest performers beat the competition by spending that limited budget very differently. While average performers bought ads, high-performers leveraged white papers, trade shows, and interactive assets in new and interesting ways. Based on the findings of this report we have some EMEA Marketing Recommendations to help you continue to spend your limited budgets wisely while still beating the competition.

EMEA Marketing Recommendations

#1 – MAP’s

Many EMEA marketers are planning to integrate with a MAP (Marketing Automation Platform) in the next 24 months. MAPs are quickly becoming the cornerstone of the modern B2B marketing technology stack because they are more efficient, more powerful, and more cost-effective than using a diverse set of point tools.

Used well, marketing automation can tell the story of how your customers interact with your brand, your content, and the people in your company, throughout the entire customer journey.

Why add marketing automation to your stack?

A MAP can help you organize and manage those complex and time-consuming tasks that need to be coordinated with each other, including:

  1. Social media marketing and other early-funnel tactics to attract leads
  2. Content marketing that helps leads progress along the funnel and convert to sales
  3. Email campaigns to generate engagement, nurture prospects, and onboard new customers
  4. Asset creation, such as email and landing page templates
  5. Forms and landing pages to capture lead data
  6. Automated lead management, including qualification and hand-off to sales
  7. List and data management, including segmentation for target marketing
  8. Website analytics that reveals what people are interested in, and how they engage with your site
  9. Campaign analytics that shows which campaigns really work and which channels deliver
  10. Coordination with sales, including sharing customer relationship management (CRM) data in marketing campaigns

Efficient alignment of your inbound and outbound marketing strategies, multiple platforms and channels, and programs and processes, is a monumental, manual, tedious, nearly impossible job without using a MAP.

Implementing marketing automation can effectively bridge the gap between the various technologies, and empower marketing and sales to work closely together.

#2 – Lead Scoring

Many EMEA marketers are passing leads over to sales as soon as they get, vs implementing lead scoring but they are not alone.

79% of B2B marketers have not established a lead scoring model.

If you don’t know where to start with lead scoring, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn: companies that excel at lead nurturing have 9% more sales reps making quotas.

Lead scoring is a method for identifying sales-ready leads by assigning values (points) based on predetermined criteria, e.g., industry and job title, website visits, video views, webinar attendance, and form completions. The sum of the points is the lead’s score.

Companies that excel at scoring and nurturing leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. – Forrester

Lead scoring offers a lot of value to your business, including:

  1. Efficiency: Decrease the volume of sales-ready leads, so you aren’t focusing on the wrong leads
  2. Marketing measurement: Assess campaign effectiveness, and potential worth of opportunities
  3. Operational excellence: Align organizational resources for more efficient conversion

Here’s an example of what lead scores could look like for some individuals based on their behavior and engagement with common marketing and sales activities:

Behavior Visitor 1 Visitor 2
Visited Landing Page (+3 Points) 3 3
Watched Explainer Video (+8 Points) 8
Viewed Case Studies (+5 Points Each) 10 20
Viewed Pricing Page (+5 Points) 5 5
Opened Drip Email (+3 Points Each) 3 6
Attended Webinar (+10 Points) 10 10
Total Score 31 52

In this example, Visitor 1 would fall under the interested category and would be funneled into a nurturing campaign of drip emails and marketing outreach, while Visitor 2 is qualified as a lead, and would be moved over to the sales team.

Dive deeper into how top European demand creators are spending their shrinking budgets with the SiriusDecisions Report on European Demand Creation Budgets and Tactics. In the report you’ll learn things like:

  1. Which assets high-performers spent more on
  2. Which delivery mechanisms worked best for high-performers
  3. Why interactive content (like video!) was 2017’s big winner

The post Why Top EMEA Marketers Are Ready To Adopt Marketing Automation appeared first on Vidyard.



source http://www.vidyard.com/blog/emea-marketing-recommendations/

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Stop Selling, Start Educating: How to Reach Today’s B2B Buyers

You don’t shop the way you did five years ago—so why are you still selling that way? Today’s B2B buyers are more empowered than ever before. They do their own research. They read reviews. They price compare online. In comparison, we know from the B2C world, 90% of the buying decision is made before a potential customer even walks into a storefront.

Which means we need to be fluid. What worked 24 or even 12 months ago is now outdated. It simply won’t work anymore. Consumers don’t want to deal with some pushy, charismatic wheeler and dealer. They want the best solution.

But don’t start contemplating your next big career move or planning an early retirement party just yet—buyers still need salespeople, just not in the ways that might immediately come to mind. Buying behavior has changed, with consumers showing much more hunger for information than for amazing deals.

So how can salespeople adapt to B2B buyers’ changing needs?

I want to share what’s been working for me and my team over the last little while in the hopes that it will help you be more effective in your role and add more value to your buyers.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:

1. Take on the role of an educator

Consumers are curious. They want to know more about your product so they can make the best possible decision for their business. And lucky for them, you’re the expert!

Rather than selling, seek to inspire. Show your B2B buyers what their business could look like if they decided to implement your solution. Provide resources and make yourself available for their questions, but don’t push it. By positioning yourself as a resource, you can educate your prospect on the value of your product without coming off as overbearing—and chances are, your customers will trust you more for it.  

2. Show value and inspire

Your success doesn’t happen during the sales call. It happens afterward when your prospect is lying awake at night, thinking about the potential gain of implementing your solution or potential loss of not. It’s your job to inspire that kind of reaction by helping them imagine a future using your product—and by showing your prospect what they’d be missing out on by passing up this opportunity for their business.

I recently listened in on a successful cold call between our sales dev rep, Chris Wu, and one of the biggest global financial service firms. Looking to book a meeting, Chris cut to the chase saying, “if you spend the time researching this, one of two things will happen. One, you will be confident continuing on this year with XYZ Competitor, or two, it will become clear that you need to change and change quickly.”

Showing value in sales is nothing new. However, finding new ways to inspire and create opportunities to share value is something we can always work on. Even if you’re working the biggest, most traditional prospects, there’s still a need to innovate. Maybe even more of a need.

3. A sales call by any other name…

…is dishonest and unhelpful to your prospects. If it’s a sales call, say it’s a sales call.

By being straightforward, you build trust with your prospect. More than that, you’ll find that people are more willing to agree to talk to you when they know what they’re getting into.

Do away with any vagueness. If you only need three minutes of their time, say it. Set a timer and hold yourself to those three minutes. Give them the opportunity to arrange a follow-up or keep chatting if they’re still interested, but make them aware of when the three minutes has elapsed.

By showing that you’re respectful of their time, you demonstrate that you’re trustworthy and dependable.

 

4. Be human

There is one part of the salesperson of yesteryear that isn’t obsolete: the human connection. It sounds cheesy, but the truth is, we all have a little Cosmo Kramer in us.

via GIPHY

Buyers want an expert in their corner, someone to say: When you go down there talk to my guy Bob Sacamano. Mention my name & he’ll take 30% off. We like to be recognized and feel special. It’s just human nature.

I hope these lessons have been helpful and inspired you to think about your sales role in a new light. What are you doing to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of sales? Let me know in the comments below!

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse. 

The post Stop Selling, Start Educating: How to Reach Today’s B2B Buyers appeared first on Vidyard.



source http://www.vidyard.com/blog/start-educating-b2b-buyers/

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Before You Add Another Piece of Sales Tech to Your Stack—Read This

The sales tech landscape is overwhelming. With more than 700 sales tech vendors and countless tools, it’s enough to make any sales leader’s head spin. How do you decide which tools are worth your while and which ones are just bright shiny objects that will distract—or worse, detract—from your selling goals?

Never fear, intrepid leaders! Jill Rowley, CMO at Marketo, has the inside scoop on how to get the best value out of your sales technology. As an expert on marketing automation and a self-described “salesperson trapped in a marketer’s body” (she spent a decade building the marketing automation space as a sales leader at Eloqua) she’s uniquely qualified to comment on how to make the best use of the seemingly boundless sales tools at your disposal. Here’s her advice:

You need a sales tech strategy

As a team—and ideally, as an organization—you need to have a unified tech strategy. This means understanding your individual business needs: the goals you have and the kinds of tools you need to achieve them. Jill recommends thinking about “the pains and the challenges that our organizations are having that can be solved, in part, by leveraging technology.”

Additionally, she warns that what works great for a small business might be disastrous for an enterprise company, and vice versa. Even if something is a great piece of tech, if it’s not aligned with your business goals it’s going to be ineffective and costly.

Less is more

Think about it: for every new piece of tech you add, that’s another tool that salespeople have to get trained on, remember their login for, and remember to check. It’s better to have a few, carefully curated tools that work well together than all the latest shiny toys and a sales team that isn’t able to leverage all of them effectively. Save your tech investments for tools that are aligned with your specific business goals and that work well with your existing technology.

Sales tech evaluation checklist

So what should you look for in new technology to avoid the pitfalls of bright shiny object syndrome?

via GIPHY

1. What is the problem or pain point that this technology will solve?

As Cogsworth says in my favorite punny Beauty and the Beast one-liner, “if it’s not baroque, don’t fix it!” You should have a well-defined purpose for each piece of tech before deciding to add it to your stack. Does it solve a particular pain point? Allow your salespeople to reach goals you haven’t yet been able to achieve? Think about how it will help serve your team and how it will, in turn, help them serve the customer.

And it if doesn’t fit into your strategy? Save your budget for something else.

2. Does it integrate with your existing systems?

Next, consider your existing sales tech stack. How will this new piece of technology integrate with your existing systems? You want to make it as easy as possible for your salespeople to use so they’ll be happy to adopt it. That also means thinking about their existing processes and workflows—how will this fit in? Will it make their lives easier or add additional complications?

3. How will we implement it?

Finally, think about training and enablement. Who in your organization might be best suited to help you launch this new tool? Contemplating how to get the tool up and running before you even make your purchase decision will not only make your team’s adoption much smoother if you decide to buy the tool, it will also help you decide whether the investment of time and training is worth it.

I hope this article has been helpful and inspired you to think critically about your next tech evaluation. Want to find out how we evaluate sales tech at Vidyard? Check out Business Development Director Dan Wardle’s post Evaluating Sales Technology: An Insider’s Look.

What criteria do you use to evaluate new sales tech? Sound off in the comments below!

The post Before You Add Another Piece of Sales Tech to Your Stack—Read This appeared first on Vidyard.



source http://www.vidyard.com/blog/add-sales-tech-to-your-stack/

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Find Your Wow—Or Risk Being Ignored

Good enough is no longer good enough. Those are the words I now live by as a B2B marketing and sales leader. To truly stand out in today’s marketplace your messaging needs to be brilliant, your communications and content need to be remarkable, and your sales reps need to be memorable. Maintaining a competitive edge means you not only need to find your why (thank you Simon Sinek!), it means you need to find your wow.

May I have your attention?

Getting attention is hard. Keeping that attention is even harder. Forget the goldfish analogy, the simple truth is that the Internet has taught people how to avoid unwanted interruptions and to quickly self-select which content and messages they choose to engage with. Looks like an advertisement? No thanks. Smells a bit salesy? Next please. A spray-and-pray templated email? Oh please. Now wait, this one looks interesting, and what’s with that crazy hat she’s wearing? Okay, I gotta check this one out.

The most reliable way to stand out and get the attention you deserve is with content and messaging that holds the promise of delivering a “wow” moment for your audience. The type of content that turns a simple message or idea into a remarkable and memorable story that sparks an emotional response. Like Game of Thrones or Westworld, but on a slightly smaller scale. And the fact of that matter is, every message you want to deliver as an individual, or as a business, has a remarkable story hidden inside just waiting to burst out. You just need to put your message, content and delivery method through a different lens to find your wow.

This Guy Replaced his Cover Letter with a Rap Video. Wow.

Chase Zreet

This story is a perfect example of finding your wow. Chase Zreet is a copywriter that wanted to land a job with the agency responsible for Sprite’s creative. The traditional approach would have been to submit a resume with a cover letter, but let’s be honest, there’s no wow in that. He could step it up a notch and maybe do a video-based cover letter to let his personality, character and passion show through. Seems likely that this would help him stand out, but would it really wow? Then it dawns on him: tell his story through a ridiculous (and very cleverly written) rap video. Wow. Just watch and judge for yourself whether he found the wow in his cover letter. And yes, he landed the job.

Wow, Did You Just Write my Name in the Clouds?

During the holiday season, my team is always looking for a clever way to stand out from all those predictable “Season’s Greetings” holiday cards. We try to find the wow in the way we wish our customers a happy holiday. The safe and predictable route is a signed card or a templated email. Not so wow. You can send out a holiday video with your team wishing everyone a season’s greetings – a little more personal and authentic. But what about showing them how much you care by writing their name in the clouds, spray-painting their name on your office walls, and ringing an appreciation bell just for them?

Thanks Claudia

Watch for yourself to see if this campaign was wow-worthy (tip: for the full experience, create a personalized version for yourself by entering your own name and email address in the “re-gifting” form…it’s a special moment when you see yourself in the story). The responses we got from people were incredible, from “OMG this is the greatest email I’ve ever received” to “I heart you, thank you for putting a smile on my face, happy holidays!”. Responses like these made me truly appreciate the power of wow. And yes, this “brand” campaign became one of our top 3 pipeline influencers of the year.

How I Wowed to Win an Award

Marketo was running a contest to identify the top 50 “fearless marketers.” To be considered, you had to share a 60-second video on social media explaining why you deserve this recognition. I watched a number of the submissions online and there were lots of incredible stories, but none of them really seemed to stand out. Partly inspired by Chase Zreet’s rap video, I decided to go a different route and create a short “music video” with original lyrics to the tune of Imagine Dragon’s “Whatever it Takes” (luckily, this song had been in my head and it was a natural message for being fearless). And to be clear, I can NOT sing, but I do know the basics of video recording and editing in iMovie. My gut told me that this approach would stand out for people, hopefully make them laugh, and maybe even deliver a wow-worthy moment.

Mic Drops

Here’s the full post with the video if you’d like to watch. I like to think that I found the wowin my fearless marketer submission. Thankfully, Marketo agreed and I made the list, despite saying very little about why I am actually fearless. The power of wow unleashed!

Find Your Wow in the Sales Pitch

Admittedly, marketers have an unfair advantage. We’re often immersed in creative projects that force us to think about these types of experiences, and sometimes we have discretionary budget to use. But neither of those things are pre-requisites to be able to find your wow. Take my friend Morgan Gillespie from Terminus, a Sales Development Rep who spends her days reaching out to prospective customers to engage them in conversations. She doesn’t view her role as “selling”, she’s all about connecting in a meaningful way and helping people understand how her company’s ABM technology can help them solve real problems. That’s her why, but how does she unlock the wow in her message? She does it with hyper-personalized GoVideo messages that infuse the right mix of authenticity, personality, humour and humanity.

 

Morgan Gillespie

Yes, her videos are educational and get the core message across (“based on what you do, I think we can help you with x, y and z”), but the wow-factor comes from her unexpected delivery style (video message) and the way she connects in a more personal and empathetic way. She’s done more than 3,000 of these custom videos and her results are off the charts. She recently recorded a podcast to talk about her approach, or you can check out the story of her entire team’s use of wow-worthy videos to accelerate sales.

How Do I Find My Own Wow?

Everyone’s wow is unique to their personality, their approach, and/or their company’s brand identity. But what I can say is that you need to be willing to put yourself out there, to take risks, and to be intentionally different from those who are vying for the same eyeballs. Using text, templates and inside-out language (telling them what you want to say, rather than what they need to hear) are surefire ways to blend into the crowd and leave your audience less-than-impressed. Try video, audio, music and imagery to bring your story and personality to life. Make your audience the hero, rather than yourself (remember—they are the hero and you are the guide), and try making them laugh or feel genuinely appreciated. Get creative, take cues from pop culture, and above all else, be human!

Whether you’re a marketer working on that next campaign, a sales rep trying to find that next deal, a CEO trying to build an engaging company culture, or a finance professional trying to get your employees to get those expense reports right for once—remember that good enough is no longer good enough. If you want to stand out, be heard and inspire those around you, find your wow to deliver a truly memorable message that will make them take notice.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

The post Find Your Wow—Or Risk Being Ignored appeared first on Vidyard.



source http://www.vidyard.com/blog/find-your-wow/

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Video Pitching: Making Media Relations Human Again

Journalists are inundated with a constant flood of pitches and press releases—and, as the Hustle’s Kendall Baker writes in his open letter to PR professionals, “they all suck.”

“Well, not all of them,” he concedes. “Some are fine. But the majority of the time, the pitches I get from you guys are downright awful.”

Ouch! What’s a savvy PR person to do?

The truth is, Kendall is right to give comms people a little tough love. Journalists are busy people and they’re sick of reading through copy-and-pasted messages or emails that have been blasted to hundreds of others. They don’t have time to read through all the links you just sent them on the off chance that it might result in an interesting article or drive traffic to their website. You need to give them a compelling reason why your story would add value to their publication, otherwise, they’re going to lose interest—fast, and you’re done

The good news is, I’d like to share my secret hack with you, and I can guarantee that it will help you “unsuck” your pitches. Welcome to video pitching.

Take your pitches from zero to hero with video

Video pitching cures what so often ails the kinds of generic and impersonal messages that journalists like Kendall are so tired of getting. By nature, video is attention-grabbing and personal. In fact, when I first gave video pitching a trial run, my pitches received nearly 50% higher engagement than my text-based attempts Not only will you leave an impression, but allowing a reporter to “meet” you over video can open up opportunities for an ongoing relationship down the line.

(Speaking of leaving an impression, I may have given P.J. Bednarski, former Editor of Online Video Daily and VidBlog, a bit of a shock when he received one of my first video pitches. You can read all about it in my how-to post on video pitching.)

That’s not to say that video pitching alone is a catch-all. Just because you’re able to capture someone’s attention with video doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to adding value to their day. Your pitch should still demonstrate that you’ve done your research on the publication and show how your piece would be of interest to their audience (or open them up to new readership). Combine thoughtful outreach with the power of video and wait for the editors’ responses to come rolling in.

How to craft a great video pitch

If you’re convinced that it’s time to give video pitching a shot—great! I have some tips and best practices that I’ve learned over the past year of experimenting with video pitching that I’m happy to share with you.

(Psst, if you don’t already have a screen-recording tool, now’s the time to download one. I love my company’s free Chrome extension, Vidyard GoVideo, for this!)

1. Do your homework

Each video pitch should be custom-tailored to its recipient, so be sure to do your due diligence. What types of articles does the publication you’re pitching to typically publish? What makes your idea a good fit? Why will their audience be interested?

2. Skip the script

You want to your pitch to engage your audience, but you don’t want to sound forced. I would recommend jotting down a few points ahead of time so you’re sure to hit on your key ideas, but otherwise, don’t plan what you’re going to say. Your message will seem that much more personal and genuine if it’s unrehearsed. If a fire truck drives by in the middle of your video, add a little joke in there like I did below. You’re real, and life around you is too.

3. Keep it concise

I always aim for 30 seconds max, but I also always tend to go over! 30 seconds seems like it would be short enough to hold the attention of a busy reporter, but long enough to show how you would add value to their publication. If they want more, they’ll ask for it.

4. If at first you don’t succeed…try again!

You might feel a little awkward on camera at first and that’s perfectly normal. Give yourself a few no-pressure trial runs to experiment and I guarantee you’ll loosen up. When I first started video-pitching, I’d take 5-10 (sometimes more…) videos before I was happy with the final result. Today, I do it all in one shot.

That’s great in theory but what about in practice? I’ve rounded up a series of examples from past pitches I’ve done that you can use as inspiration. Check them out below:

1. Pitching a speaker

My first example comes from when I pitched our CEO for a big speaking engagement. And I didn’t hold back on this one—I went right to the CEO and co-founder of VentureBeat, Matt Marshall. For a guy who must get pitched ALL the time, he sure got back to me pretty quickly with a note that he loved my personalized video, too, followed by an intro to his speaker lead.

Sandy video pitch message

Sandy video pitch email response

2. Making introductions to fellow panelists

In this next instance, I was about to go speak on a panel for Young Women in Business, and I didn’t know any of my fellow panelists. I don’t know about you, but I always find it awkward walking onto a stage without having any idea who else is up there with me. I made this video to say hello to them and break the ice in advance. It was received with very warm responses!

In this subsequent example, I tried pitching the Twitter and LinkedIn universes on a recent product update, just to see what would happen. What happened, you might ask? Well, 6 favs, and 1 RT, that’s what. I think video is a great way to engage on big announcement days and I’ll definitely be using this tactic in the future!

3. Responding to a reporter request

Reporter requests have always been an area of struggle for me, but when I add video pitches to my replies, my odds go up two-fold. In this example, Ashley wrote me back right away, offered me the spot, and ended up publishing my opinions in this piece and gave me a complete author profile too. I’ve used video-pitching ever since!

4. Connecting with conference attendees

In this following instance, I wanted everyone to know that I was heading to the Unbounce Call to Action Conference—including a number of reporters who had pinged me that they’d be on site. I made this video and pushed it all across my Twitter and LinkedIn. I had a ton of engagement: 4RTs, a load of comments, and 15 Favs! In addition, people who I had never seen or met before came up to me at the event and told me that they had watched my “video.” Woohoo!

 

In fact, my first video was so successful, that I decided to do a few follow-up videos from the Call to Action conference, too. I’ve included one below:

5. Follow-up messages and building rapport

Have you already pitched a reporter? In this next example, the reporter wrote back, requesting more information on the pitch. I decided to make them a video to let them know that I was on it while also introducing myself to them. Video is a great way to build common ground and tighten up a relationship.

Bonus: (Another) speaking engagement pitch

I know I already gave an example of pitching a speaker, but this one was too good not to share! In this final example, I was pitching our CEO, Michael Litt, to speak at an upcoming, high-end tech conference called Fortune Brainstorm Tech. Given that Adam Lashinsky probably receives hundreds of emails per day, I didn’t expect a reply. Video clearly worked though; I was happy to see his response shortly after. He even introduced me to his colleague, Marlene, to pick up the conversation.

I hope this post has been helpful and that you’re excited to experiment with video pitching. Let me know how it goes in the comments below—I would love to hear how people respond to you when they find a video pitch in their inbox! Connect with me on Twitter @SandyCanvas.

This piece originally appeared on SpinSucks.

The post Video Pitching: Making Media Relations Human Again appeared first on Vidyard.



source http://www.vidyard.com/blog/video-pitching/

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source https://firststopimhq.blogspot.com/2018/05/convertri-review-exclusive-discount.html

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hyper-Targeted Prospecting: Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

“Nobody cares about your email,” David Dulany, Founder & CEO of Tenbound says. People are so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of communications they receive on a daily basis that generic, blast sends just aren’t going to cut it anymore. His solution? Hyper-targeted prospecting.

The idea of hyper-targeted prospecting is simple: carefully select your target accounts and then create relevant, personal outreach tailored precisely to them. It’s a dramatic shift from the kind of mass, irrelevant messaging that consumers are so tired of getting. David compares this approach to fishing with a spear instead of casting a wide net. (Note: do not actually attempt to spear your prospects.)

Want to try out hyper-targeted prospecting for yourself? Here’s how:

1. Compile your list of key accounts

“In most B2B environments, especially most companies selling to enterprise customers, we know who the customers are, we know who the prospects are, we have the leads already,” says Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing.

Chances are, even if you don’t already have a list of companies who would benefit from your solution, you have an idea of your ideal customer. The first, and arguably most important, step in hyper-targeted prospecting is doing your research and creating a shortlist of key accounts who would be the best possible fit for your solution: think in terms of company size, industry, and challenges they might be facing that your product can solve.

2. Narrow your outreach to a single persona

Once you’ve compiled your list, it’s time to pare it down even further—this is hyper-targeted prospecting, after all. Look into the companies on your shortlist and determine which persona would be most interested in the challenges your solution can solve. Definitely think about decision-makers, but also consider who would see the most impact from using your solution day-to-day. Even if they don’t own the budget they may be able to champion your product to their management.

3. Target your messaging precisely to that person

Here’s your opportunity to add value—or as comedian Steve Martin once put it, “be so good they can’t ignore you.”

via GIPHY

Even though he was offering career advice, I think his words apply to salespeople: if you’re truly providing something of high value to your customer, they won’t be able to ignore your outreach.

On a more practical level, this means putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. What are their pain points? How will your solution help? What kind of communication would you like to receive if you were in their position?

There you have it: three steps to getting started with hyper-targeted prospecting. We hope this article has been helpful and inspired you to take a ‘spear-fishing’ approach to your prospecting efforts. Interested in hearing about how David Dulany used hyper-targeted prospecting to crack into his key accounts? Check out his webinar below!

We’re curious to know—are you already using hyper-targeted prospecting (or a similar approach)? Excited to get started? Share your experiences in the comments!

The post Hyper-Targeted Prospecting: <br> Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You appeared first on Vidyard.



source http://www.vidyard.com/blog/hyper-targeted-prospecting/

Friday, May 4, 2018

How to Speed Read a 240-Page Book in 2 Hours

Reading is the best thing I’ve done to help me progress professionally.

From working as a retail store manager and in a call center, to working as a senior marketing manager for one of the world’s largest publishing companies to a senior content marketer for an online and mobile giving provider, reading has been the most influential catalyst in my professional development.

But trying to read more books can be frustrating.

Work.

Family.

Demands.

Lack of time.

BIG books.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

How to Read a 240-Page Book in 2 Hours

Like most professionals and students, you have a list of books you want to read the length of your arm. A list of books you’d like to finish by the end of this year.

Here’s the deal:

You can read more books without learning how to speed read.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to read more books in less time.

We’re going to cover the following topics:

  • What is the average reading speed?
  • How do I test my reading speed?
  • How long does it take to read 100 pages?
  • How long does it take to read 200 pages?
  • How long does it take to read 300 pages?
  • What you need to know before reading a book
  • 4 steps to reading a 240-page book in two hours
  • Why you should pace your reading
  • When not to read this way

Alright, happy reading!

What is the average reading speed?

Based on a speed-reading survey by Staples, the average adult reading speed is 300 words per minute (wpm).

In this study, the team also observed these different reading speeds based on someone’s level of education:

  • Average college student = 450
  • Average “high-level executive” = 575
  • Average college professor = 675
  • Speed readers = 1,500
  • World speed reading champion = 4,700 (yikes!)

I understand these numbers may feel vague to you, so let’s take a look at the length of some books to help you see how fast you can read a book.

For starters, the average count for a page in a book is 250–300 depending upon its trim size, margins, and font size. If you read 300 words per minute, then you will able to read one page in 49–60 seconds.

These numbers may encourage or discourage you but hang tight. Help is on the way.

How do I test my reading speed?

“How fast can I read?”

After seeing the average reading speeds above, you’d probably like to know how fast you can read.

Well, if you have a few minutes, here are 4-steps you can take to test your reading speed:

Step 1: Set a timer

For this exercise, you’re going to read for one minute.

Before you start, set a timer for 1 minute on your phone, watch, or online.

It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you’re ready to time your reading.

Step 2: Pick a regular book

For this test, you don’t want to read a dictionary or a book with small font and margins. You want to pick a book you usually read. This way your reading test will be as accurate as possible.

Step 3: Read, read, and read

Alright, now it’s time to read!

Hit the start button on your timer and read until the time expires.

As you read, keep these three tips in mind:

  • Don’t look at the time as you read
  • Don’t try to read faster than normal
  • Just read at your average pace

If you follow these three-pointers, then you won’t throw off the results of your test.

Step 4: Stop and count

It’s team to test your results.

Here are the four steps you’ll need to take to figure out how fast you can read:

  1. Count the number of words per line for four lines
  2. Divide this number by four
  3. Count the number of lines you read during your 1-minute test
  4. Multiply the number from step 2 by the number in step 4 to get your average reading speed per minute

Let me show you how!

#1. Count the number of words per line for four lines

In this example, I’m reading Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins.

How to Read a 240-Page Book in 2 Hours

On this page, there are 44 words in the first four lines.

#2. Divide this number by 4

Alright, 44 words divided by 4 equals 11 words per line.

44 ÷ 4 = 11

If you come up with an uneven number, then round up or down to the closest number. As a way of example, you would round up 12.6 to 13, or you would round down 12.4 to 12.

#3. Count the number of lines you read during your 1-minute test

In this test, let’s say I read 44 lines in one minute.

#4. Multiply the number from step 2 by the number in step 4 to get your average reading speed per minute

Okay, so I read 44 lines in one minute, and the average words per line are 11, so this means I read 484 words.

44 lines x 11 words per line = 484

How many words do you read per minute?

Depending on how much time you have, it’s best to take the test above 3–5 times and average your results from every test. This will give you a pretty good idea of your reading speed.

Not happy with your reading speed?

Don’t worry if your reading speed doesn’t compare well to the averages shared above. Learning how to read faster is not about where you start. It’s about where you’re going. And you can significantly increase your reading speed at any age.

Now that you know your reading speed, let’s take a look at how long it will take you to read average book lengths.

To figure out how long it will take to read a book that is 100, 200, or 300 pages long, let’s assume the average word count per page is 250–300 and that your reading speed is 300 words per minute.

How long does it take to read 100 pages?

If the average page has 250–300 words, then the word count for a 100-page book totals 25,000–30,000.

By reading 300 words per minute, it will take you 83–100 minutes to read this book.

How long does it take to read 200 pages?

At 200 pages, the total word count for this book equals 50,000–60,000.

If you read 300 words per minute, then it will take you 166–200 minutes to read this book.

How long does it take to read 300 pages?

If the book you want to read is 300 pages, then the word count for this book is between 75,000–90,000.

If you read 300 words per minute, then it will take you 250–300 minutes to read this book.

Hate doing math? Or don’t have time to run the numbers?

Join the club.

To help you see how long it will take to read some of the most popular books, NPR’s Fresh Air created this nifty infographic:

How to Read a 240-Page Book in 2 Hours

Is the book you need to read not in the list above?

To find out how long it will take you to read whatever book is on your list, check out How Long to Read. On this site, you can search over 12 million books to see how long it will take you to read if your average reading speed is 300 words per minute.

Recently, I read The Stand by Stephen King, so I was curious to learn how long it should have taken me to read it. I read the complete and uncut version, which comes in at a whopping—yet enjoyable—1,439 pages.

Honestly, I don’t remember how long it took me to read this book. I read it at night before going to bed, read several hundred pages, took a break, and picked it back up a few months later to finish.

Based on How Long to Read, it should have taken me at least 17 hours:

How to Read a 240-Page Book in 2 Hours

Since I read this at night to relax, I imagine it took me every bit of 17 hours to complete.

Ready to read? Start here

To help you read non-fiction books faster, you’ll need to know the pattern that most of them follow. Understanding this pattern ahead of time will help you read faster and retain what you read.

Here’s the format most non-fiction books follow:

#1. Introduction of the chapter

The introduction of a chapter will provide you with the point an author is trying to make.

In the introduction, an author’s goal is to entice you to read the rest of the chapter. To do this, they’re going to talk about their thesis—the point they want to make—in such a compelling way that you’ll be interested in moving on.

You can also expedite this step by reading the last paragraph of the introductory remarks.

Looking again at Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins, you can see the message he wants to convey in the last paragraph of his introduction:

How to Read a 240-Page Book in 2 Hours

#2. Sections

After the introduction and before the conclusion, the individual chapters are broken down into multiple sub-sections. In the image above, you can see the title of one sub-section: The Rule of Ownership.

In the first sentence or toward the beginning of each section, the author will share the point he or she wants to make. Within each section, the individual paragraphs will provide supporting information and illustrations to prove their point.

For most non-fiction books, you can read the first paragraph and last paragraph to learn the point of the sub-section you’re reading.

#3. Conclusion

When I preached on occasions for a local church I once served, a standard principle I learned in public communications was to tell people what you’re going to say, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. The same principle is a good one to follow for non-fiction books, too.

The concluding remarks of a chapter should reiterate the author’s main point from the introduction. If the conclusion is written well, then the author will not present new ideas. But they will share a cliffhanger to entice you to turn the page to the next chapter.

Now that you know how the average non-fiction book is laid out, you are ready to move forward with learning how to increase your reading speed.

4 steps to reading a 240-page book in two hours

There will be times when you need to read a book quickly.

Whether you’re cramming for a presentation, preparing for an exam, or writing a research paper or blog post, you’ll need to know how to devour a book as quickly as possible.

To learn how to read a 240-page book, let’s imagine you’re reading Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins (no surprises here, right?).

#1. Read the book description

Well written book descriptions will tell you in a few hundred words or less what the book is about, the benefits you’ll receive, and a cliffhanger to compel you to purchase the book.

Here’s the description of Real Artists Don’t Starve:

Bestselling author and creativity expert Jeff Goins dismantles the myth that being creative is a hindrance to success by revealing how an artistic temperament is in fact a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

For centuries, the myth of the starving artist has dominated our culture, seeping into the minds of creative people and stifling their pursuits. But the truth is that the world’s most successful artists did not starve. In fact, they capitalized on the power of their creative strength.

In Real Artists Don’t Starve, Jeff Goins debunks the myth of the starving artist by unveiling the ideas that created it and replacing them with timeless strategies for thriving, includingsteal from your influences (don’t wait for inspiration), collaborate with others (working alone is a surefire way to starve), take strategic risks (instead of reckless ones), make money in order to make more art (it’s not selling out), and apprentice under a master (a “lone genius” can never reach full potential).

Through inspiring anecdotes of successful creatives both past and present, Goins shows that living by these rules is not only doable but it’s also a fulfilling way to thrive. From graphic designers and writers to artists and business professionals, creatives already know that no one is born an artist.

Goins’ revolutionary rules celebrate the process of becoming an artist, a person who utilizes the imagination in fundamental ways. He reminds creatives that business and art are not mutually exclusive pursuits. In fact, success in business and in life flow from a healthy exercise of creativity.

You’ll be well on your way to understanding how you’ll benefit from Jeff’s book after reading this description.

#2. Determine your reading goal

From what you know about the book from the description, what do you need to learn? What is the purpose of the book? What benefits do you expect you receive?

In How to Read a Book, author Mortimer Adler identifies four-levels of reading:

  • Elementary
  • Inspectional
  • Analytical
  • Synoptical

Based on your reading goals, will you need to take a superficial approach and get the high-level ideas? Or do you need to mine the depths of the book you’re reading by unearthing everything you can?

I highly recommend How to Read a Book, but, if you don’t have the time to read this classic, then check out this post from Brian Clark on Copyblogger: How to Read. Brian shares everything with you that you’ll need to know.

Before moving forward, determine your reading goal.

#3. Skim the table of contents

How is the book broken down?

Did the author provide different sections?

Are there loosely tied together chapters?

Is there an introduction, acknowledgments, and epilogue?

After reading the table of contents, select the chapters you need to read to accomplish your goal.

But keep this mind:

What you need to read may change after you start reading.

So, be open to reading different or additional chapters.

#4. Break the chapters down into time blocks

When you give yourself two hours to read a book, you have to pace yourself.

In other words, you have to set a limit on how long you’ll spend reading each chapter.

For the sake of this exercise, say you read 300 words per minute.

Now, how many pages does the chapter you need to read have?

Based on the numbers above, if it’s 20 pages or less, then you’ll be able to finish it in the time you have.

For Real Artists Don’t Starve, there are twelve chapters you can read (not including the epilogue). This means you will have 10 minutes at most to read every chapter.

If you’re pressed for time and choose to read every chapter, then you may need to only read the introduction and conclusion, and then read the first and last sentence of every paragraph. This will help you to grasp the main point the author is trying to make.

For the record, when I use this approach, I’m typically pressed for time or attempting to read a wide variety of books for something I’m writing. But more on this in a minute.

Why pace your reading?

Setting your pace is essential to reading a book in two hours or less.

If you don’t pace yourself, then you’ll end up sending 1 hour and 45 minutes absorbing a few chapters but blaze through the rest of the book.

The result: An imbalance understanding of the book.

Pacing yourself eliminates this problem.

Why?

It allows you to give the essential topics equal attention.

More importantly, when you spend less time on scannable books, you have more time to crawl through the heavier ones.

When not to read this way

This method is not intended for every book. Use this only when you need to read something quickly.

Many books you read require a slow, careful reading—not a high-level overview. These are classics like War and Peace, contemporary novels, or religious texts like the Bible.

However, many contemporary business books are heavy on ideas and light on content. This doesn’t mean these books lack depth—far from it.

What I’m saying is that these books have been written in such a way to convey an idea in a clear, concise, and compelling way, as are many of the five usability books every web writer must read, except for Morville and Rosenfeld’s.

Your turn

I’ll repeat it: You don’t want to read every book this way.

In the words of Francis Bacon, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Whenever you approach a new book, determine your reading goals ahead of time. Then plan your reading accordingly.

This way you can comprehend more in less time. And stockpile in your brain only the essential and vital ideas.

What do you think about chapter pacing? Do you have any speed reading tips you can share? Drop a line in the comments below!

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