Blake Cormier

IT Nerd Turned Content Writer

Joined July 2020

About

Hi there! I'm Blake, and I'm the content manager for E-N Computers. We're a regional IT service provider serving Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. I used to be an IT guy, but I decided that writing about it was more fun. So here we are!
I've found making templates for folders in Finder, and Premiere/AE templates have saved me a lot of set up time.

I have a template folder that has all the parts of post production I need, along with a premiere file already loaded with commonly used assets.

Do you guys have any other tricks for templates/repetitive tasks for post-production? See More
Blake Cormier
Similar idea... In DaVinci Resolve, I set up a Power Bin with our slidein, title card, lower third, logo, and other reusable assets. This shows up across all projects for easy drag n' drop onto the timeline.
Hey everyone! In our last Content Manager Mastermind, I mentioned that I'm getting buy-in around conducting monthly interviews with our (regional MSP) service team of about 13 engineers and technicians to drum up some more content ideas. I took Liz's excellent content brainstorm cheat sheet and adapted some of the questions to try to pull some ideas out of those in a more customer service and technical role. I'll be trying it out soon, but I'd love any feedback you have before then!

What are we looking for? Anything that will make our jobs easier in the short- or long-term. Common questions, tech tips, cybersecurity awareness, etc. Goal: More educated leads, clients, and world. Big Question:
What questions have you been asked recently... See More
Do you love the way your Cost article reads for your business? Would you mind sharing?
Looking for some great examples to inspire our article as we finish ours off.
Thanks in advance!
Jen See More
Blake Cormier
Sure thing! Love talking about pricing... we've received many comments about our pricing page and how uncommon that is in our industry: www.encomputers.com

This was one of the first TAYA articles I ever wrote. It was designed to be a comparison between a DIY or "status quo" approach to IT vs. hiring us: www.encomputers.com

This one was written in response to some prospects questioning the price or trying to "talk us down" by removing certain features of the managed services package. It explains exactly what you're paying for when you buy managed services from us: www.encomputers.com

And this one is specific to our VoIP phone service -- it currently has the Featured Snippet spot on Google for several "VoIP pricing" queries: www.encomputers.com

I also try to include a ballpark cost in other types of articles. For example: www.encomputers.com
Hey there Content peeps!

I'm excited to show off our brand-new Learning Center at E-N Computers:

www.encomputers.com

We've had a "learning center" button on our menu bar since our website relaunch last year, but it was pretty terrible - basically just links to our blog archive and some other random pages. Our category/tag structure was a mess too, with tons of duplicates, meaningless categories, and everything else you'd expect from 10 years of Wordpress.

So I spent the last few weeks rebuilding our taxonomy structure so that it (hopefully) makes more sense to our target audience. I added Industry and Persona groupings, and broke everything out by content type. Then I put it all together with a fancy AJAX search & filter plugin... et... See More
Good morning Content Community!

I've been noticing lately that my low-tier wireless keyboard has been letting me down lately.

It's been missing keystrokes, keys sticking (so if I'm backspacing I lose whole chunks of sentences ) , and other deal-breaking "features" especially when writing content.

I've done all I can from a software perspective so I think it's time for an upgrade.

So, what are you all using? Have you found that certain types of keyboards or certain features tend to work better than others?

Wired vs. wireless?
Standard keyboard vs. gaming keyboard?
Mechanical vs. optical switches?

Thanks! See More
Blake Cormier
Since the Cherry MX mechanical switch patents expired, there have been a ton of mechanical keyboards flooding the market - though you can still find (and pay for) genuine Cherry switches if you want to. But now there are lots of options of wireless vs. wired, different switch types, and even keyboards with hot-swappable switches so you can mix and match types. Ultimately it's going to come down to how much you want to spend, and what features are important to you. Good news is you can experiment for a lot cheaper than it used to be -- plenty of decent KB's to be had for under $100 nowadays.
I picked up a Keychron K2 on Prime Day and I'm very happy with it so far. It has replica MX Brown switches, so it's tactile but not super loud. Plus it comes pre-configured with Mac shortcut keys, which is a big plus! It works well via Bluetooth or wired, though I leave it plugged in most of the time.
Before that I had a Unicomp Customizer, which is a replica of the IBM Model M -- now that thing was clicky and loud!
WOW! Talk about a shift in industries. I know with They Ask, You Answer in place we preach taking work in-house but it's fascinating how quickly things have shifted over the last calendar year or so.

A couple of quotes that stood out to me (and Liz Moorehead ) -

“‘Albeit a small dip from 23.7% in 2020 to 23% in 2021, this continual change indicates significant in-housing activity, as CMOs reimagine the capabilities that can be supported by their internal teams,’ added [Ewan McIntyre, co-chief of research and vice president analyst in the Gartner for Marketers practice].

“CMOs report that 29% of work previously carried out by agencies has moved in-house in just the last 12-months alone. The focus of in-housing is changing as well –... See More
Blake Cormier
I think it reflects the broader trend toward inbound marketing as the norm. Big B2B brands, or those with big aspirations, are expected to be thought leaders and educators in their space, especially in the tech market. These CMOs are probably figuring out that TAYA-esque insourcing produces more genuine content more economically than outsourcing :)
Hey everyone!

We've started using ClickUp here at IMPACT, and we're also fans of Trello. What do you use to get your work done and make sure nothing falls through the cracks?

Thanks! See More
Blake Cormier
We're on Office 365, so I use the Planner app. It's basically a Trello clone, but we can use it without needing to juggle more accounts/passwords.
I use it for my content calendar. Everything starts in the Ideas column and then moves through the planning/writing/editing/approval stages until complete. It also supports due dates, assigning tasks, priorities, and tags to further refine our workflow.
Holy moly there's a new HubSpot hub! A few things I'm excited about: Custom coded workflow actions (if you know JS, you could pretty much make HubSpot doanything) Better data syncing to other platforms Check it out here.

What do you all think?? Is this something you think you'll use? See More
Blake Cormier
I'm excited! We used PieSync to move our contact data over from ConnectWise when we first started with HubSpot. We were trying to make do without a continuous sync, but the rest of the company basically lives in ConnectWise, so there really does need to be a sync there. Going to give this a try ASAP!
Hi everyone!

I posted recently about expanding our in-house marketing team. As part of that, it looks like we'll have the opportunity to add a part-time graphic designer sooner rather than later -- which is great news for our content marketing efforts. My plan is to have her work on layouts and designs for premium content, as well as things like infographics for blog articles and web pages. I'm sure having better visuals will help our content to have a bigger impact on our prospects.

Because this is going to be a big part of our inbound and TAYA strategy, I'd like to make sure she has a solid foundation in both of those concepts as soon as possible. I'm going to send her some articles from IMPACT and HubSpot about inbound and TAYA, and... See More
Hi IMPACTers!

I'm looking for some ideas or information on where to start with hiring some additional help for the marketing team.

The Background: I work for a regional IT company (managed service provider) based in Virginia. My title is "content manager", but I'm more of a one-man marketing department at this point. I work closely with the CEO to develop content and execute our inbound + TAYA strategy. Right now I do nearly all of the content writing, plus a lot of other tasks like updating the website, tweaking HubSpot, developing lead magnets, etc. I enjoy the work but the "one man circus" thing is limiting our publishing cadence for strictly TAYA content -- which I know is going to hurt us in the long run.

We also have an outside... See More
Good morning everyone,

I was hoping you could provide some insight on a blog we recently wrote. We caught backlash from the competitor featured in the article, which made my shareholders nervous about the entire strategy. HELP!

Can you provide your honest feedback about how well the comparison is written and whether the concern is warranted? Thank you in advance!

https://blog.bazookafarmstar.com/puck-enterprises-lightspeed-pro-vs.-bazooka-farmstars-nexus

Kendra See More
Blake Cormier
That does sound a bit more serious than just sparking some controversy.

Not a lawyer, but this gets into issues of copyright and fair use -- not to mention the patent and trade secret issue. These are three different areas of intellectual property law, and are just as messy as you think they are.

The long story short long is that you may have violated their copyright by posting a screenshot of their product, as both the screen output of the software program [ref] and the YouTube video would be copyrighted works. But... under the doctrine of fair use, your use of the screenshot might be OK, since the law specifically allows "purposes such as criticism, comment..." and so on. BUT it could be argued that since your use was commercial (marketing material), it's not fair use.

That being said, merely writing about their product and even using their trademarks does not generally constitute any kind of IP violation -- no matter how much they huff and puff about it. Which can and will happen, especially for critical reviews.

Hey, I said it was messy... and that's before we even got any real lawyers involved.

The potentially bigger problem is the way they responded. Just like Mom taught us, two wrongs don't make a right.

The remedy for a potential copyright violation is usually to get a lawyer to send a strongly worded letter, at which point your company (or their lawyers) would decide whether the claim has merit (aka, not worth fighting) and tell you to take down the picture. Or your company could send a strongly worded reply explaining that you believe it to be fair use and you're not taking it down. At which point the other company, if they wanted to keep pursuing it, would at some point have to take it to court. Now we're really getting messy!

What they shouldn't have done is commit their own IP infringement by leaking your unreleased product photos. Whether your company has any recourse for that will depend on lots more lawyer-y things -- for example, how did they get the photos in the first place? Were they covered by an NDA or other binding contract?

So, to wrap this up before it gets any longer: How to handle the situation is ultimately a business decision for company leadership. As you can see, it gets messy fast and they'll have to decide what's worth fighting or not, and how they'll handle future upset competitors. But I don't think it's your fault or a reason to not pursue TAYA as a strategy.

(Again, I'm not a lawyer. I just read too many Slashdot articles and Cory Doctorow essays during my formative years.)
Hey content writers!

I imagine some of us out here are armies of one — serving as both writer and editor in our organizations

What are your tips for editing your own work? How do you bring a fresh set of eyes to something you yourself have written?

Liz Moorehead ? Adam Stahl ? Ramona Sukhraj ? Jennifer Barrell ? Stephanie Hurd ? A penny for your thoughts. See More
Blake Cormier
Hey! "Army of one" content manager here too. I've done a couple of things to try to get a fresh look at the content that I write.

One is to wait at least 24 hours after I'm done writing before reading it again -- there's been plenty of times where some clunky phrasing or other problem jumps out at me.

I also like to re-read the content after it has been formatted and put into its final form. So for a blog post, I'll put it into WordPress and open it up in preview mode before hitting "publish". Something about the change in font, colors, and background tricks my brain into thinking I'm reading something totally new. It's also a good opportunity to make sure I didn't miss any links or images that I should have included.

Finally, if a piece of content was requested or suggested by another member of our team, or I used them as a SME resource, I'll have them read it over before publishing. I'll ask them if it makes sense, if I hit all of the important points, and that I didn't take (too many) creative liberties with the facts of the subject. I mostly work with tech people who don't fancy themselves writers, so usually I get a "Yep looks good!", but it's a good sanity check before publishing. (Bonus hint: make sure to get them to use the Track Changes or Comments feature in Word or Google Docs to specify exactly what needs to be changed or re-worked. Saves lots of back and forth.)