I wrap up each year with the most popular posts I’ve written for any site without a paywall.
My Two Favorites
My favorite post of the year was actually a slideshow I put together for TakePart.com on seven healthcare innovations saving lives in the developing world. It was just such a treat to research and report on, especially a riveting 2AM Skype call with a source in Lahore, Pakistan. I was thrilled to draw attention to some of these technologies, and I got to work with Paul Tullis, who is a fantastic editor.
Another favorite post was a piece for Slate’s Future Tense blog called FileVault 2: Mac Users’ Unsaved Files and Screenshots are Automatically Stored on iCloud. I came across the idea for this post after seeing technologists wondering on Twitter why there wasn’t more coverage on it. One of them, cryptographer Matthew Green, was the expert I interviewed. I never did get in touch with Apple, but it did speak with Business Insider’s Sam Colt.
There’s a third piece I really love, but it hasn’t been published yet, so mum’s the word…
The Best Video
This has nothing to do with content, but I just had to throw it in! My video of the year is one I took after some guy harassed me on the street on the way to my bachelorette party. His friend had a few things to say to him, and I managed to get it on video.
Writing About Content Marketing
I love linking to posts on Contently sites, because their editors I feel bring out the best in me and the topics I cover are interesting. ‘Growth is Not a Hack': 7 Strategies for Building a Loyal Audience (Content Strategist) was one of Buffer’s top picks and did really well. It’s actually a panel from a Contently Summit I attended. Other Contently posts that spring to mind include the 7 Deadly Sins of Content Marketing, a piece on ways newsrooms can catch up with digital-savvy competitors (based on a report called “The Goat Must Be Fed,” coming out of Duke Reporters’ Lab), and an interview with Brian Clark.
I got to write about BP’s op-ed in Politico , and explained why I thought Patch 2.0 will fail again (both for The Content Strategist). For Ad Week, I profiled Peggy Conlon, and wrote about how some filmmakers and producers are fighting back against Latino stereotypes through stories.
I penned some posts for Copyblogger, including one on why too much emotional appeal in your copy can harm your credibility, one on how demonstrating authority can be a disaster, an admonition against sacrificing trust for short-term sales, and strategies for simplifying complex content while maintaining sophistication and nuance.
I also wrote a piece for the Content Strategist called Serious About Brand Publishing? Don’t Send a Copywriter to do a Trained Journalist’s Job, which inspired all sorts of heated reaction, including a nuanced post by Joel Klettke and a more abrasive rant (which was a very defensive strawman argument written by someone who I don’t think actually understood the original piece).
Last but not least, I wrote The Distance, Basecamp’s online magazine, for the Content Strategist, in a post titled Why Basecamp Just Launched an Online Magazine that Shuns Technology.
You’ll have to forgive me for summarizing my year in inane quizzes. I actually learned quite a bit about myself in quizzes this year. I learned that my plant personality is dandelion passionflower slippery elm, and that if I were a mythical creature, I’d be an elf. My dream career, according to quizzes, is a writer (imagine that), and the classic author that is my soulmate is Anton Chekhov. In a past life, I hear, I was Emma Goldman. If I were a Star Wars character, I’d be Yoda. In Harry Potter, I’d be Dumbledore. In Game of Thrones, I’d be Arya and would die in a sword fight. I should live in Portland, and if I were an alcoholic beverage, I’d be a fine glass of wine. My 90s one-hit wonder is One of Us. Were I elected president, I’d be going to Mt. Rushmore. Good to know, ey? Well, now that you know all there is to know about me, we’ll move on to more links.
Freelance Writing about Freelance Writing
So meta. A few that stood out for me include 8 Jedi Mind Tricks for Freelancers (and Star Wars Nerds), some tips for creating videos that don’t put people to sleep, an interview with Dan Levitin, author of The Organized Mind, and reviewed the book itself. And for freelancers who are often quitting jobs, I wrote a guest blog post about dramatic emotional exits and destroyed reputations for crisis management consultant Melissa Agnes’ blog. Finally, I wrote about Beacon and crowdfunded journalism for Ebyline. I taught freelancers how to find sources and break stories using LinkedIn, and how to protect their sources in the age of surveillance (both for The Freelancer).
Apps and Tools and Tech and..
I love covering emerging tech. My favorite posts this past year included a piece on tech trends that will change content creation (based on Amy Webb’s talk at the ONA conference), an interview with Robert Hernandez about wearable tech and augmented reality (he almost makes Google Glass sound cool), a roundup of time-saving apps (and more time-saving tools) for VerticalResponse,and a list of apps and gadgets for journalists on the go for the Content Strategist. I also listed apps for collaborative editing for Ebyline, looked at the Copyblogger editorial team’s favorite apps and tools, and wrote a roundup of health and fitness apps for Men’s Journal.
I got to write about matcha and put together a slide show about hot dog variations for Made Man. The site also ran my interview with Shane Snow. And if you’re looking to improve your golf swing, look no further than my article for Experience Life.
And that’s that!