Liz Murphy

Liz Murphy

As Quintain’s resident content manager and AP Stylebook devotee, I spend most of my days crafting engaging content, helping clients develop style guides for their brands and wrangling wayward commas. I originally joined as a marketing manager back in the summer of 2014. And a few months later, I was promoted to senior marketing manager.

Over time, however, the undeniable relationship between Quintain’s goal to become an industry leader in content creation and my extensive editorial and inbound marketing background manifested itself. And thus my charge as our content manager was born. Before hopping onboard the Quintain train, I worked for over 10 years in various editorial, marketing and client relations roles for brands including LivingSocial, CQ Press, MultiView and myTaxi.

I’m a Washington, D.C., native, but I currently live in Annapolis with my husband, Patrick, and our two dogs, Horatio and Nugget. When I’m not at the office, I’m writing the beer column for the Capital Gazette (owned by the Baltimore Sun), running my personal beer blog and studying for the Certified Cicerone exam – the beer equivalent of a sommelier. I am also an enthusiastic, albiet unbalanced, yoga nerd, and I consider myself emotionally allergic to olives.

P.S. Since my two favorite words are “challenge” and “accepted,” I hold six of the seven HubSpot certifications; that is until they add new certifications. Sigh.

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Recent Posts

We've talked about the importance of style in your content before - on this very podcast, on our blog and in one of our webinars from last year.

But this week, I came to the proverbial podcast mic with something specific on my mind: the importance of tone in your content.

You see, early last week, I was having a discussion with an account manager about a case study. We had received some feedback from a client regarding the potential inclusion of an element that, in my mind, would have dimished the power of the final product. 

Why?

Unlike a blog post, an eBook or a webinar, case studies are supposed to be results-focused, because readers don't want to be burdened by mounds of editorializing and exposition. In fact, the more fluff you try to put into a case study - no matter how noble your intent - the more you may undermine or water down the actual point of your success story.

This is just one example of how tone and message choices matter, when you're creating content for your business. So, that's what we're talking about this week.

Because, as we all know, often it's not just what you say, but also how you say it.

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Last fall, as I was perusing the lineup for speakers for #INBOUND16 and assembling my schedule, there was one session that immediately caught my attention:

"Could a Robot Create Your Content?"

Within seconds of mentally processing the title, I knew I was registering for it. I also muttered in a rage to myself that if the presentation was anything other the phrase "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" projected onto a screen for 45 minutes straight, I was going to completely freak out.

Because I'm a rational adult and a professional who never overreacts about anything, ever.

Of course, there was much more to the presentation than that. (In fact, it wasn't even close to my anti-robot vision.) And, as you might have guessed, the answer to that loaded question has many layers to it. 

That's why this week, after forcing Shelby to watch the recording of the session I attended (linked above), we're talking about robots. Are they nefarious, dark overlords who will ruin my life, as well as content and marketing forever? Or, are they like automation, where there may be a time and a place? 

One thing we know for sure is that we're in a new era of rapidly-evolving technology; that means it's time to start tackling these questions before the 'bots take over. So, grab your tin foil hat and listen in on our discussion... 

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Trade shows are a lot of work. It’s not enough to have an engaging booth and giveaway strategy; you need to have a strong action plan that extends from before you arrive at the event to when you return home with pockets full of business cards.

Whew. As an inherently lazy person, just reading that last paragraph made me tired, and I’m sure I’m not alone. But before you crawl to your couch to try to recuperate from the exhaustion of thinking about planning your next trade show with 11 seasons of Forensic Files on Netflix, we need to talk about content.

More specifically, we need to talk about how if you don’t have a clear trade show content strategy for your next event, you’re going to be putting in a lot of literal and mental elbow grease with little to show for it.

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This week, we're taking a break from debating content and design to talk about something we think everyone can relate to - whether you own your own business, or you're a marketer just getting started: 

The challenges of networking.

For so many, networking events (trade shows, conferences, happy hours, industry meetups) are considered a necessary evil. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you're getting out there to mingle with prospects or to connect with other professionals in your field, knowing how to work a room effectively can make or break you in those situations.

So, inspired by a recent talk I attended, I decided to go digging for some of my favorite tips and tricks to help others feel more confident in networking situations. And, of course, Shelby brought in her own unique perspective, as well as a few things I hadn't even thought of...

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The Guide to Creating Mind Blowing Content

Let's face it, there is a lot of content out there. How do you get yours to stand out? Simple, make it mind blowing.

42 pages full of ideas for creating awesome content that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers!

As Quintain's dedicated content manager, I spend as much time creating content as I do reviewing content created by others. That means I have a front row seat to all of the editorial quirks and idiosyncracies of my fellow Quintain team members, our clients and... well, myself. (Alas, I am not perfect.)

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed something that almost everyone was doing - once again, including yours truly.

Most content creators - whether you're a marketer, or you're burning the midnight content oil for your own business - make wimpy word choices when framing their ideas or offering advice based on what is often years of experience. They play it safe and use apologetic language that undermines their authority and the power of their content. 

For those of you sitting there saying, "I'm not 100 percent sure what you mean, but I am not the kind of person to be a wimp about anything," I get it. In person, you stand behind your ideas. In meetings, you speak with conviction and confidence. But who are you once you get behind a keyboard?

You'd be surprised by how many seasoned industry pros succumb to apologetic writing, no matter how much of a rockstar they are face-to-face. What's worse, they don't even realize they're doing it. 

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We are no stranger to talking about blogging on the Creator's Block podcast. (We've talked about why people hate it so much, as well as three quick strategies for writing killer blog introductions.) Why do we talk about it so much? Because while we can all agree that blogging is an essential part of any successful inbound marketing strategy, it's also the marketing activity people tend to complain about the most. 

Specifically, there are two excuses that crop up in conversations both internally at Quintain and with our own clients time and time again. First, "I don't know what to write about." Second, "But I don't have any time to write a blog - I am so busy!"

So, on today's episode of Creator's Block, Shelby and I aren't just complaining and commiserating - we're providing you with tested strategies and tips for picking great topics and finding the time to blog. (Spoiler alert: You have more to say than you think, and guess what? We're all busy.) Enjoy!

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I'm a bit of a junkie when it comes to NPR podcasts - especially since a lot of their best radio content airs when I'm busy here at the Quintain office, working on content for our clients. So the fact that I can catch up on what I missed on live radio after it airs makes me happy. 

But I'm not here to wax poetic about podcasts or NPR. Instead, I want to share a specific episode of Fresh Air, during which Craig Silverman of Buzzfeed Media was interviewed regarding what he learned about the fake news that plagued the recent election. (It's approximately 36 minutes long, but there is a transcript at the link.)

I tuned in as a politics nerd. But to my surprise, I found myself riveted as a marketer

By the conclusion of the interview, I had to admit that while I find the idea of fake news utterly repugnant, those behind it weren't successful by accident. In fact, when you push the heaping mess of politics aside, there is a lot us marketers can glean from what they were able to accomplish. 

So in this week's episode of Creator's Block, Shelby (in her first week as my full-time co-host!) and I talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of fake news. Because while you may want to roll your eyes and dismiss fake news, there is plenty to be learned.

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Welcome to the first episode of Creator's Block of 2017! To kick off the new year, we brought Shelby Clarke (our amazing graphic designer) back to the recording studio to discuss a blog post she wrote some time ago: "7 Things a Graphic Designer Isn't." 

Not only does she make a lot of great points in the original article - seriously, go read it, if you haven't already - this post opens up a much larger discussion around the unspoken friction that often exists between marketers and the creatives that work with them. 

On the one hand, marketers have a clear vision or idea that they want to execute - but then a project they thought would be "simple" turns into something needlessly complex. Or the final product delivered is nowhere near what they wanted, and they don't know why or where things went wrong.

On the other hand, designers and content creators want to deliver the best product possible for those marketers - whether that be a logo or a blog post - but sometimes feel willfully misunderstood or treated like order takers, instead of the creative problem solvers they are.

So this week, we made it our mission to answer three questions: Why does this kind of dysfunction happen? What can you do to fix it? And finally, what big changes lay on the horizon for Creator's Block? Enjoy!

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