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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A few months ago, I posted a question to Inbound.org, asking users to tell me how they would rate their own company's logo, on a scale of one to 10, and why. The responses were all very positive, each a rating of nine or even 10, and I enjoyed reading the reasons behind the ratings, all of which were varied and completely subjective. 

But it got us thinking. What is it that really makes a logo so great?

How can you, someone in charge of your company's branding, make sure that your logo and other brand elements aren't outdated or missing the mark?

In this week's episode, Liz and I explore the way people critique their own brands, and how they reach out to others for feedback as well. Ultimately, we find there is a balance between you taking charge of your brand, as someone who truly knows their own business, versus bringing other knowledgeable stakeholders into the discussion to really make sure your logo and brand are achieving the goals they were designed for.

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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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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!

The topic of cheap logo design, or low-cost design work in general, is one that quickly causes riots to break out in the design community. Keyboards sailing through the air, potted succulents shattered on the floor. Designer anarchy.

Or, at the very least, passive-aggressive comment chains on social media.

But what are the reasons business owners turn to cheaper design options in the first place? More importantly, what do you stand to lose by going with a cheap design, and what might you gain?

I will always be an advocate for good, labor-intensive creative work, but the prevalence of cheap, quick design work can't be denied.

In this episode of the Creator's Block podcast, Liz and I walk the line between these two extremes and dive into the positives and negatives of "low-rent" logo design, and what they mean for the people who write the checks.

We also talk about what business owners truly miss out on by not being involved enough in the logo design process, or by overlooking what is essentially the cornerstone of their entire visual brand.

In the end we came to a similar, simple conclusion: You get what you pay for.

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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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It seems like we blinked and another fruitful, exciting year at Quintain flashed before our eyes - and as we shared in the past, we had a lot to be thankful for in 2016. However, as we look ahead to 2017, we find ourselves prepping for the embrace of new ideas, strategies and opportunies.

(And we all know the best way to figure out where you want to go is to first reflect on where you've been.)

So, before we say goodbye to this year, we're taking this moment to share with you what our professional resolutions are for ourselves, as well as our advice to others looking to make the most of their upcoming marketing and sales goals in the coming year. Enjoy! 

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