Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

First Name:
Last Name:
Tipsheet Archive
Randall's Resources
Whenever I speak or write, I often prepare extra "bonus" materials.
Enter the Resource Code to access this special content:
Resource Code:
Try this example Resource Code: eventplanning


Insight: Improving Creative Potential

by Randall Craig on April 7, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Content, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: ,


What is the one rubbish statement that single-handedly limits our creative potential?

“Some people are incredibly creative, and others are not.  I am more analytical than creative.”  Rubbish!

Creativity is a skill to be mastered – not an endpoint of a so-called creative-analytical continuum.

In the interest of providing practical ideas to improve creative performance, here are five “creative” insights that can help:

1) Your Environment: Where do you actually do your work?  Your surroundings have both a direct and indirect impact on how your mind works.  Recently I saw the home office of a marketing and PR professional.  It was a small office, but the wall in front of the desk was painted with special blackboard paint.  On the blackboard were inspirational messages.  And attached to the wall were several candleholders.  For her, this was an inspiring place to work.  While candles aren’t my thing, and they may not be yours, but what is?  How might you change your usual environment to be more inspiring to you?

2) Environmental Change:  Even if you have a “perfect” place to be creative, the sameness of it all doesn’t always inspire.  Try changing to a different desk.  Or change the artwork.  Or put some music on.  Going to a completely different location can give you that new perspective that you need to come up with new ideas.  (In my case, I wrote several of my books this way: One in the public library, one in a hotel in Phoenix by the pool.)

3) Input Change – Knowledge:  Knowledge is nutrition for the mind, and is acquired through experiences:  at work, at school, on not-for-profit boards, and through what you read and watch.  Without new knowledge, thinking patterns will never change – you may be creative, but you only will be tapping a small portion of your potential.  Athletes pay attention to their nutrition… and so should you.

  • What challenging non-fiction books have you recently read?  Which are on your to-be-read list?
  • What “new” professional development have you signed up for?  And what’s on your list?
  • What are you doing “new” on the job?  How many special projects have you solicited?

The more knowledge you have, the more raw material you are working with.

Articles like this are designed to stimulate both of these dimensions.  Effectively, you are procuring for yourself a different knowledge base – mine – and as you read other tipsheets, you are able to use the knowledge profitably.  In other words, you are learning to think differently.

4) Reframing:  Reframing means to look at the challenge from a different perspective: take the challenge, and swap industries, swap roles, swap genders, swap anything.  For example, if you are trying to sell cars, a traditional marketing and sales brainstorm would yield traditional marketing and sales ideas.  But consider the ideas that might come from reframing:

  • How would cell phone companies sell cars?  (Monthly fees, free mileage, local driving zones, bundle with a free phone.)
  • How would Apple sell cars?  (Redesign the car itself, with simple controls, a touch interface, and only available in three colors.  And no negotiating at the dealer – just order online.)
  • How would Gillette, the razor blade company, sell cars?  (Cars would be free… but gas would cost four times what we now pay.)
  • How would a mechanic sell cars?  (Free maintenance forever – a worry-free experience.)

Reframing can also apply to your own problem solving techniques – even for writing tipsheets such as this.  Start with the conclusion, and reverse engineer your ideas.  Use pictures and diagrams.  Write instead of type.  Use a problem-solving framework that you’ve never tried before.  All of these approaches provide different outputs, which can spark even more valuable ideas when shared with others.

5) Remove constraints.  Often the constraints to creativity are in people’s heads – and not in reality.  Removing limiting factors can spark ideas that may have always been discarded “because.”  Some constraints that can be removed:  If budget were no object.  If there were no existing solutions or legacy issues.  If it could be done without a deadline.  If no warranty were required.  And so on.

This week’s action plan: Next time you need to spend time thinking by yourself, change your environment, change your inputs, reframe, and remove constraints.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders



Have you ever seen a mistake in someone else’s blog or social media post?  Or maybe you’ve been a victim of this yourself?  It could be a simple typographical or grammatical error, a case of misattribution, or a more serious case of factual error.

Unfortunately, it happens far too often, for some very obvious reasons:

  1. Some content is dictated and the speech-t0-text software sometimes gets it wrong.
  2. Editing is done in a cursory fashion, or sometimes, not at all.
  3. Fact-checking, a staple of traditional publications, is rarely done for online content.  (And it is rarely done for traditionally published content either.)
  4. A post relies on a third party for facts, when, in fact, the third-party’s content may not be correct, or worse, the third party site may have relied on yet a different non-corroborated third-party source.

A few examples:

  • In a post entitled Six Top Thought Leadership Articles, there was some text that incorrectly said, “Here are sex posts that explore these concepts.”  The feedback was instantaneous (and a bit embarrassing).
  • In a recent Facebook post, I “quoted” the very prolific Albert Einstein, who said “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”  Unfortunately, Einstein actually never said this.  (Hat tip to Larry Goldberg and others who pointed this out.)  In this case, we relied on third-party sites, who relied on other third-party sites within the world web web echo chamber.

Mistake repair strategy:

  1. When quoting a person, whether they are alive or dead, double-check the accuracy beforehand. is a great place to start.
  2. Edit the post if possible.  If not, add a comment acknowledging the error.
  3. If the post is of lower value, and there are no comments attached to it, delete it entirely.
  4. As a courtesy, circle back to the source of the error and advise them of any necessary changes.

This week’s action plan:  The fact that errors do creep in begs the question of the quality of your content editing and review process.  This week, consider whether any of your errors were random or can be traced back to a systemic issue:  is it time to upgrade your editing process? Or add some fact-checking?

Can you find the error in this post?  Yes, there is an error in this post – did you happen to see it? Look for “speech-t0-text” within the post: the word “to” is spelled with a zero instead of an “o”.

Finally, a hat tip to the talented Daniel Wolgelerenter, a professional editor and copywriter, for going through earlier versions of this post.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Becoming an Efficient Thought Leader

by Randall Craig February 24, 2017

One of the more popular thought leadership “strategies” is to create relevant, provoking, leading-edge content.  Not only does this provide evidence of the thought leader’s special knowledge, but it also helps attract new followers, through sharing (social and real-world), and through discovery (Google, conference speeches, and publicity.) The most successful thought leaders recognize that this […]

Read More

How journalists improve reader engagement

by Randall Craig October 21, 2016

What is the one lesson that appears in every newspaper article, every magazine article, and for that matter, every bestselling book?  Journalists and editors realize that they have to work exceptionally hard to get people to actually read what they write. And unless you actually do so, their work has no value – so they have become experts […]

Read More

Is Content Dead? (Yes… and No)

by Randall Craig June 3, 2016

Many marketers have recently “discovered” content marketing.  The theory is that if you put more content out there, prospects (clients, job candidates, members, etc) will find it, self-identify, and then beat a path to your doorstep. The benefits of investing in content are legion: an easier education and sales process, better quality leads, better conversion rates, reduced cost of […]

Read More

Monetizing IP: Implementing an eLearning program

by Randall Craig January 31, 2016

Do you generate content (or training materials) for staff, prospects, clients, and other third parties?  If so, you probably know that doing it right is not easy-  and often is hit or miss.  In a previous post, we explored the business rationale and the alternatives for monetizing this knowledge via eLearning; in this post, we describe how it can […]

Read More

Link Bait Headlines

by Randall Craig December 4, 2015

Have you ever been “gulled” into reading an article, blog post, or viewing a video because of the headline?  Not the descriptive type of headline (such as Link Bait Headlines), but the kind that reels you in, like a helpless fish on a line.  If you’re not sure you’ve seen this type of approach, some […]

Read More

Three keys for a website that converts

by Randall Craig August 7, 2015

What makes a web site great? What might come to mind is great design, easy-to-find information, and intuitive functionality. These may have made the top of the list in 2003 (or even 2013) , but are, at best, merely sufficient today. Many professional marketers now understand where the web fits into the mix: it is […]

Read More

Viewpoint: Expert-writers and Writer-experts

by Randall Craig June 19, 2015

While the internet has changed the world of publishing fundamentally, the world of writing has been fundamentally shifted as well. Consider who is actually doing the writing: Professional writers are educated in the craft of investigation and written expression, and spend an entire career learning how to convey complex concepts to their audiences. Over time, […]

Read More

Nurture Marketing: No or “Not Yet”

by Randall Craig March 20, 2015

Have you ever put in a proposal, or answered an enquiry about your products or services, and then waited patiently for their answer about the next step? While images of pulling petals off a daisy might come to mind (“He loves me, he loves me not”) the words that ultimate come back are either yes […]

Read More

Spam Rescue and Type I Errors

by Randall Craig March 6, 2015

Consider this scenario: you get a phone call from a key client or a distraught family member: “didn’t you get my email?”  They are clearly upset that you “ignored” them: they see evidence that they are not your priority. You are not unresponsive.  You don’t care.   Or maybe, your spam filter was doing just a […]

Read More

Momentum Marketing

by Randall Craig February 6, 2015

What is the difference between a successful marketing campaign and an unsuccessful one?  Yes, ROI is certainly the standard answer, but it is also completely insufficient. A single marketing campaign is not very different than a car going uphill, battling gravity, with a driver giving a single pump of the gas pedal. The largest sport-utility […]

Read More

Three types of emails

by Randall Craig January 30, 2015

Look into your inbox, and you’ll see emails that others have sent to you.  Look more closely though, and you’ll see three types.  From a marketer’s perspective, each has its own place, and each has its own purpose. Used incorrectly, they often will have the opposite impact: annoyance, disengagement, unsubscribes, and complaints. Three types of […]

Read More

Finding the Social Media Tipping Point

by Randall Craig January 23, 2015

How do you know the “right” amount of Social Media? Too little Social Media is like spitting into the wind: no traction and no impact.  It also leads to discouragement: if the efforts are not making a difference, then why bother at all? On the other hand, too much Social Media is an obvious waste […]

Read More

Top 10 Content Marketing Posts

by Randall Craig January 16, 2015

How is your content planning for the year coming along?  Or, perhaps the plan is in place, but you are now looking at a blank page, with an old-fashioned case of writer’s block. Fear not, as we have collected the top ten posts on content creation and inbound marketing. Blog Content Creation: Idea seeding:  How […]

Read More

Consuming Content and Scanning Video

by Randall Craig January 9, 2015

How fast can you “consume” content? Or better yet, how quickly can you scan it?  Likely pretty quickly, if you are reading. Since most people consume by scanning – not reading – experienced bloggers (and website writers) understand the need to chunk content into smaller bits: Headings and subheadings Short paragraphs Bullets and lists Judicial […]

Read More

15 factors for creating great videos (Part 2)

by Randall Craig December 12, 2014

Last week’s Tipsheet focused on the top eight factors in creating a great video.  This week’s Tipsheet takes it home, with practical advice gleaned from hosting 180 hours of Professionally Speaking TV, being interviewed hundreds of times in media, and filming 100s of short promo videos for clients.  I only wish I knew then what […]

Read More

15 factors for creating great videos (Part 1)

by Randall Craig December 5, 2014

When it comes to video, it is better to be late to the game, than be an earlier adopter.  The reason why? We are no longer in the age of expensive experimentation: you can learn from the experience of others – and their mistakes. Here are 15 factors that can improve both the production and […]

Read More

24 Branded Content Ideas

by Randall Craig October 17, 2014

Branded content can be loosely defined as content produced by an organization with two discrete (and overlapping) goals: to engage the ultimate content consumer, and to drive an organizational goal – often brand-building, competitive differentiation, or sales. Done well, branded content is an important engagement tool. Done poorly, it looks clumsy and self-serving. Here are […]

Read More

Insight: Objectivity or the Information Bubble

by Randall Craig August 1, 2014

In the 1930s, there were two primary news sources:  radio and the newspaper.  They sent their correspondents around the world to gather news.  These journalists would see and hear, verify and corroborate, investigate, and then expertly and objectively file their reports. The reader (or listener) would know that an editor provided oversight, and the publication […]

Read More