What’s Up Bloggers! Roundup #15 with Marcie Hill

Continuing our “What’s Up Bloggers! Roundup” series, we are introducing you to Marcie Hill in our feature today.

To view the list of all of the featured bloggers on Famous Bloggers, visit our Roundup Index!

As you know, the purpose of this series is to “introduce bloggers to their peers in the blogosphere and offer new opportunities to make friends, build collaborations, and get more traffic for your own blog.” Famous Bloggers Roundup #14 continues that “What’s Up, Bloggers!” series by featuring Ms. Marcie Hill.

Introducing Marcie Hill

Marcie describes herself when she says, “I am a freelance writer, blogger, trainer, and author. I own and manage three blogs; have self-published seven books (including 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block linked below) and have been published on world-renowned sites around the globe.”

Marcie Hill

Suggested Tool Idea for Bloggers

We interrupt this interview to share a few blogger tools, services, ideas, etc. with our famous bloggers. (And, if you are not famous yet, maybe one of these tools or ideas will help you get there!)

Sign up to be considered for a Famous Bloggers feature and a free interview video featuring YOU. The sign-up form is here.

Marcie talks about some of her future aspirations and some of those include coaching techniques. Fortunately, we live in a world where we can coach and consult without even stepping out our front door!

webinar convenience

In order to do so (coaching and/or consulting from your home), you need to have two things (for starters):

  • A strategy plan (that includes your curriculum or planned presentation);
  • webinar tools that will enable you to connect with your client.

As a part of the webinar tools, you will need to be sure that you know how to use the tool. This serves two purposes. It creates a smoother, more professional environment for your clients, so that they are not waiting while you are fiddling with something on your end. Also, it means that you are on hand to help your clients if they should have any questions on how to use the software. Two things that may help you in this endeavor are:

  • Hiring a professional for the webinar tool – you could hire someone to train you if you are not technically-minded and have that person on hand for your clients during the webinar, to answer any technical questions.
  • Choose a webinar tool that is so easy that you do not need a technology expert. Personally, I would opt for this choice because it is easier for everyone involved.

Now that you have your presentation in hand and your chosen webinar tool, it is a matter of event planning. There are several tools available for that, as well, but if it is your first time you may consider hiring someone who specializes in marketing your webinar. That way, the next time that you present a webinar, it is a matter of rinse and repeat and you can do what the professional event planner did to promote your first webinar. And, if this isn’t your first webinar? All that much easier, eh?


Also, don’t forget to take advantage of deals that our Famous Bloggers Proprietor, Hesham Zebida, brings your way, with his wonderful schema software!


Back to our Famous Blogger, Marcie Hill…

Some of Marcie Hill’s Accomplishments

Marcie Hill has some memorable and impressive moments to share with us. As she puts it, “My interview with Dr. Maya Angelou in 2012 is my proudest freelance writing success. Being published in Forbes is my 2nd greatest moment.” I daresay that an interview with Dr. Maya Angelous is definitely a memorable moment that is almost without description! Be sure to check out that interview, along with the Forbes article.

Featured Content from Marcie Hill

The links for the memorable moments, along with Ms. Hill’s impressive book and companion guide are shown here:

Marcie Hill’s Aspirations (and some Inspiration!)

When asked about her aspirations, Marcie says, “Currently, I’m developing online courses on freelance writing, blogging, and content marketing. I’m also researching business writing with a mission of teaching this to corporate employees. My “fun” project is researching Chicago’s roller skating history for a soon-to-be-published book.”

Finding Marcie Hill on the Internet and Social Networks

Wrapping Up the RoundUp/Feature

There you have it, another “episode” in our What’s Up, Bloggers! series. It’s been an opportunity to introduce you to another blogger you haven’t met before whose articles, research, experiments, advice, and opinions may give you new opportunities to make friends, build collaborations, and get more traffic for your own blog. Don’t forget to go introduce yourself to Marcie Hill, and say hello from all of us here at Famous Bloggers!

Thanks for reading (and sharing)!

The post What’s Up Bloggers! Roundup #15 with Marcie Hill appeared first on Famous Bloggers.

Getting Along With Difficult People in Online Business

It isn’t always easy to reach the goal of getting along with difficult people, is it? This is especially true when you don’t feel like getting along with them! 🙂

Let’s face it. There are difficult people in the world. And, they don’t only exist in families or other social groups. They exist online, too! They exist within the framework of content marketing, too! Sometimes (probably most of the time) when you least expect it. Like, what did you do, right? And, we know how important content marketing is, so we hope to get along with everyone, don’t we?

Etiquette, Ethics, and Different Perspectives

Ok, maybe the thought of etiquette and ethics makes you cringe. Like, why should we care and especially online?

Actually, online is a good reason to care about etiquette and ethics. It is also a great reason to be cognizant of the different perspectives that may exist, for many different reasons. And, no, I’m not just saying that because my Ph.D. dissertation is about ethics and I study things like employee and employer dynamics and operations. But, that has helped because I spend my nose in the books, on that very topic, for many hours of each week and it has been enlightening. Ok, not books, but a Kindle 🙂 and online scientific journals.

So, if we have a difficult person in our lives, one thing that may help is to practice that “please” and “thank you” routine while attempting to assess the situation, yes, even online. Now, that doesn’t work with everyone and honestly, it doesn’t tend to work with difficult people, but it doesn’t hurt to try it and thereby rule it out if it doesn’t work.

Now, the different perspective thing? That is a helpful one. Let me use an offline example to explain how understanding differences is helpful.

I used to work for a Jewish gentleman in the financial industry. One day, his secretary pulled me aside to let me know that the Rabbi was coming to visit that day and that he was not allowed to shake my hand because I was a woman. Had she not told me that, I would have been likely to have extended my hand and may have caused an embarrassing situation for my boss. By knowing that, I was able to understand the different perspective. And, no, the Rabbi was not a difficult person and nor was my boss but it is an example of how understanding differences helps in many situations and especially in business and now online situations like content marketing.

Knowing When to Walk Away from the Situation

Are you the type of person who always needs to win the argument? I’m not going to have an argument with you online to try to prove or disprove that. Neither am I here to judge you.

Just keep this in mind…

In the case of a nasty situation, especially involving a difficult person, do you sometimes want the situation to just go away entirely? Have you heard the phrase “bite your tongue?” That phrase came into being, most likely, for situations like this.

It isn’t about being right and it certainly is not about everyone knowing that you are right, when dealing with a difficult person. Oh, true, it is nice if everyone knows that you are right and that everyone is there to pat you on the back but ask yourself which of these is the better situation for you:

  • The entire world knows you are right but the difficult person continues to bully and bash you online, via your online social profiles (where everyone can read the remarks and they start to wonder about you as well).
  • You say nothing (i.e. bite your tongue) and a few people think that the bully has won the argument but the bully is over telling him/herself how wonderful he or she is and decides to leave you alone. After all, he or she has gotten what he or she wanted and no longer has any need to harass you. The result, hopefully, is a bit of peace at the cost of a few people thinking that maybe the difficult person was the one who was right (but likely very few people care WHO was right).


Personally, I would opt for the second option. And, I have had cases where someone has literally said something 100% untrue about me and yes, I was tempted to respond and let them know that. However, biting the tongue proved to be the more peaceful solution and I was able to sleep well and enjoy time with family and friends, something that would have been unlikely had I chosen to engage with the individual who liked to make up stories. (Besides, that particular person ended up being caught by the S.E.C. as the West Coast Madoff, so it was a matter of what? What comes around goes around, even without any contribution on my end.)

Bribery Still Works (But Let’s Not Call It Bribery)

Yes, incentives still work. Granted, this is not a likely solution for every client that you may have as you may go broke if you do so. But, if you have a disgruntled employee, even one who probably has some basis for being disgruntled, and you have overlooked a couple of raises or bonuses, it might not be a bad idea to make up for that now. For example, giving them a gift card out of the blue (unexpected) is a great way to cause a sort of dropping of the jaw (virtually) and that feeling of “Hey, that is a pretty cool boss!” And, it has been used successfully in that capacity in other cases of employers offering gift cards. If you are lucky, they may not even remember why it is that they were disgruntled in the first place. And, if you are really lucky, they may change from a not nice person to a nice person! Either way, you are the hero.

And, it may even work on family members, too J

Leaving the Grudges Undeveloped

It is easy to have a grudge. Sometimes I think we are wired to have grudges. We become irritated by some behavior and decide to rehash it over and over, much to the chagrin of those around us and especially those loved ones who are not being difficult.

Now, you wouldn’t want to become one of those difficult people just because you can’t stop thinking about the difficult person that messed up your life, would you?

Yeah, there are those people who love to hear a good story rehashed. They maybe love to add to it and spread it around a bit (generally called gossip). But, similar to the point above, ask yourself what makes YOU happy.

If you are truly happy holding a grudge and you can honestly say that that grudge makes you want to jump for joy, then who am I to say you shouldn’t have one? Go enjoy! But, in all of my psychology studies and research, often times it is the anger that accompanies the grudge that people enjoy. Yes, studies have shown that people actually enjoy being angry and especially being angry with a particular person. After all, doesn’t that difficult person deserve it?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But, the person paying for that grudge is more likely to be the person who has the grudge and those who care about that person. The difficult person is not likely to be suffering from someone else having a grudge against them and if they are truly the difficult type, they likely don’t care. So, think about that in deciding whether you want to have a grudge, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I enjoy the feeling of having a grudge?
  • Does having a grudge help me to be happier as a person?
  • Does having a grudge serve any other purpose or help me in any other way?
  • Does having this grudge adversely affect anyone in my life for whom I really care (i.e. spouse, family member, friend)?

Then, you decide.

Looking Toward a Positive Future

There may not be a resolution to every situation with a difficult person. But, if you have done your best to behave kindly to the difficult person, in spite of the situation, shake it off and look toward a bright future. After all, somewhere in there you learned something and you can probably apply that to a future situation (like learning how to identify difficult people and maybe avoiding them in the future?). And, besides, there is still room for you in Content Marketing in spite of crossing paths with a difficult person, eh?

The Streamlining Strategy for Eye-Opening Productivity

Streamlining Strategy

It seems that as time passes, costs increase and profits decrease. Content marketing is no exception, with costs for services increasing and subsequent profits being affected.

Granted, even if that were not the case, I’m not sure how many of us would say “No” to some method of increasing time or money in our personal and/or business lives. Nor are we likely to say “No” to getting more in return for the time and money that we do spend.

In other words, I’m all for a better return on investment (ROI). How about you?

That said, what is the solution? How do we go about getting a better ROI?


We want (and maybe need) to be able to get more for less if we want to manage the situation. That includes accomplishing more with less time and/or less money, which is the essence of increased productivity.

Part One: Borrowing from the Geeks – For Productivity in Content Marketing

I confess. I have an information technology background (experience and education). As a result, I sometimes say (write) geeky things. Fortunately, I can avoid some of that tendency and spare you… to a certain level.

Seriously, though, I am only going to mention something that is common to us geeks from the aspect that the concept itself may help you in various aspects of productivity, which is the original point of what I am about to share, yes, even from an IT point of view.

Garbled yet? Ok, let’s just jump in and then I will walk you through the quick definition and we will set aside all the geekiness for the more interesting aspect of the application to content marketing, ok? Here we go…

A Quickie Definition of Database Normalization

Don’t worry. I’m not expecting you to become I.T. experts. My husband’s eyes already rolled back when I mentioned this phrase. I think that is a clue.

And, if you are an I.T. expert, beware… I’m not going to dig deep into this topic, out of respect for our readers. So, if you are not reading about all of the levels of database normalization, that is to be expected. Let’s hit a happy medium and only discuss what is necessary for the concept related to content marketing, eh?

A couple of the reasons (loosely put) for the use of database normalization, in the I.T. world, is to reduce the unnecessary redundancy (or repetition that has no use) and a more logical structure of data (think “easy to locate”).

Oh, but wait, what about the definition? The definition has to do with removing the redundant unused data and in so doing, it is called normalizing the data (database normalization).

I know, that made about as much sense as it did to my husband when he rolled his eyes back and told me I had to be kidding to write about it. So, let’s use some examples, instead. I think that will help it to make a bit more sense so that we can move on to what I have termed the Streamlining Strategy which is database normalization in action but without all this weirdness. (In other words, it should make more sense to content marketing.)

Example 1: The Misuse of Space (Unnecessary Redundancy)

Picture this. If you have a file that is even 150 megabytes and it is uploaded 15 times to a website running WordPress, you are using 2250 megabytes of space on the database that WordPress uses to run the site.

Note: Uploaded is loosely put because it is more than likely that you would have to use an FTP program to upload a file of that size. Also, it is not necessary that this be a WordPress site for this example to make sense but many of us use WordPress and hence we are using that example.

Back to our example…

Why use 2250 megabytes (the total amount of space used for the 150 meg file times 15 occurrences) when you could get by with the original 150 megabytes? (Granted, maybe some optimization may allow you to get by with less space than the 150 megabytes, but that is a topic for another time and out of scope for this example.)

Maybe 2250 megabytes doesn’t sound like that much, especially if you are used to terabytes of space on your desktop computer, but it adds up over time. And, when talking about web hosting, that is actually quite a bit of space! When using quite a bit of hosting space, it can add up, money-wise. And why would you want to pay for 2100 megabytes of space that you don’t need? Remember, the file size is 150 meg and it has been uploaded 15 times but wouldn’t it be safe to say that it may only be needed one time in which case there is a 150 meg file that has been uploaded 14 times more than it needs to be uploaded and using 2100 meg of space that doesn’t necessarily need to be used? And, do you even have 2100 meg of space, total, in your hosting plan?

The idea behind database normalization is to only use what is needed. So, in our example, we may be able to upload the file once and then link to it in the other 14 cases, saving 2100 meg of space (or I should say not unnecessarily using 2100 meg of space).

In our world of streamlining, we are streamlining the use of the file to ONE time and accessing it a total of fifteen times. Therefore, we are increasing our productivity out of that one file upload, by using it fifteen times with only one upload.

Example 2: WordPress Optimization (Structure, Loading, and Resultant Efficiency)

For those of you who love and use WordPress, you may have heard of plugins that help you to optimize your database, or simply optimize WordPress. Even if you do not know what a database is or what a plugin is, if you use WordPress it is not unlikely (double negative intended) that you have heard of a task such as WordPress optimization. It is also not unlikely that you have heard of WordPress post revisions. Now, to explain what both of those phrases have to do with our topic.

Note: Similar to Example 1, the purpose for the mention and use of WordPress examples is because it is a common platform and there is a better chance that you have heard of aspects of what we are using for our example.

One of the aspects covered in the WordPress optimization task(s) or any plugins that perform something called anything like the optimizing of WordPress is that of the removal of post revisions. Before understanding that specific task, it is helpful to understand what a WordPress post revision is. It is also helpful to understand that when a plugin performs the task of optimizing WordPress that that may be a bundle of tasks or actions and that the removal of the post revisions is only (or may be only) one task in that bundle.

If this example is too geeky, please feel free to skip ahead to the more relevant part of this article… the part(s) that addresses content marketing. 😉

So, on the topic of WordPress revisions, what are we talking about and why does it matter?

Depending on how you have your WordPress set up, you may have it saving revisions of your posts (a.k.a. post revisions). Personally, I find it helpful because that way, if you make changes to your post and later wish you hadn’t made those changes (or you are curious about earlier versions, or your cat walked across the keyboard making undesired changes, or a myriad of other possibilities), you can review what was written previously. By being able to review the earlier revisions you can make the desired changes to your WordPress post, or even revert to an earlier version (revision) in its entirety.

Believe me, if you find yourself writing in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping, only to wake up and ask yourself what you were thinking (or not thinking) when you wrote what you wrote… Well, those revisions come in handy!

Let’s jump ahead to the point where you have published your post (the post we are discussing in our example, that is)…

At the point where you have decided what you are going to publish enough to publish it, you are pretty much done with the revisions, aren’t you? I mean, unless the revisions are basically another post in and of themselves, what good are they? If you published one of those post revisions, you are publishing a slight variation of what you just published, as in duplicate content. So, it is likely safe to say that you are done with those post revisions, eh?

I am not saying you are done with all post revisions ever invented, just the post revisions connected to the post you just published. Quite simply, you don’t need them anymore and all they are doing is taking up space.

This is why your wonderful WordPress optimization plugin may offer to delete the post revisions for you when it goes through the process of optimizing WordPress. This (optimization) not only cleans up the space usage but by doing so it also helps the database to run more efficiently, which helps your WordPress to run better (and hopefully faster). Think of it as similar to removing the trash in your car off the floor of your car. I know, you don’t have trash there, right? Well, if you did, removing it may help you to get into the car faster and more safely because you would not be tripping over the trash in your car. Similarly, for our purposes, removing the post revisions not only helps with space but also helps your WordPress to not “trip” over itself so to speak, in loading. Please don’t quote me on that, as that is a stretch but we are using it as a sort of loose example to help illustrate the importance and how helpful these tasks are.

Whew! Time for a quick sip of water or your favorite drink or afternoon snack and let’s get to the real meat of this post! We’ll talk about how all of this applies and hopefully helps us in content marketing!

The Streamlining Strategy as a Way of Thinking

Part Two: The Streamlining Strategy as a Way of Thinking

Now it is time for my Streamlining Strategy. You are probably thankful that we are past the geeky part, eh? But, I wanted to give credit where credit was due, that the concept for this strategy originated out of that geek world (database normalization) and also explain some of the purposes so that we could understand how to apply that to our content marketing. Interestingly, it can also apply to life in general, which is where we will start.

In review (using what we learned about database normalization) we are looking at:

  • Removing unnecessary redundancy (because of waste and potentially increased expense); and
  • Structuring our world in a way that it runs more smoothly (i.e. logical enough that we can more easily and efficiently find our way).

As we mentioned, this is not limited to only content marketing. And, in fact, it is helpful if we understand how to apply it to life, as a way of thinking, because by doing so it is easier to apply it to content marketing.

Three Key Questions of the Streamlining Strategy

We are looking at streamlining by removing waste and being more efficient (to put it simply). In order to take a quick study of the process of streamlining, it is helpful if we create a procedure.

Let’s keep it simple, ok? We will do that by creating three questions that we can use when evaluating tasks/activities or even files/resources. Here they are:

  1. Has this task been done elsewhere or could it be done elsewhere? Does this file exist elsewhere?
  2. Does the duplicate existence of this task or file serve any purpose (or is it absolutely necessary to exist more than once)? Note: Existing more than once is not the same as being performed more than once, as in a daily task.
  3. Is there a way to utilize one task performance or one file to serve multiple purposes, even if it is by way of reference or aliasing? Example: Upload the file once and link to it for the other cases.

Benefits of the Streamlining Strategy as a Way of Thinking

Here are some examples of how practicing the thought and application of streamlining could help in other areas of life and business:

  • Business organization.
  • Home organization.
  • Life organization.
  • Business strategies beyond content marketing.
  • Human resources and employee management.
  • Project management.
  • Meeting organization and presentation (as well as adhering to time constraints).
  • Many more applications. Why? Because it is a process of streamlining!

The Streamlining Strategy as a way of thinking has to do with understanding the questions and asking oneself those questions when it is appropriate. It takes a bit of practice to learn how to adapt the questions to different situations and also to get to a point of it being as natural as breathing so that you do not have to think about it.

As with any habit, maybe it is helpful to tape a reminder to your wall, by way of a 3×5 index card. Or, maybe you want to put a sticky note on the edge of your monitor, to help remind yourself to ask how you can streamline a given situation (i.e. the questions to ask yourself).

Example 3: A Streamlining Example Using Your Computer’s Organization

Here is an example that can give you real-life assistance (possibly even today!). Remember how we talked about logic and structure? This example uses a computer and how it is organized, in understanding the streamlining of a structure.

When it comes to your computer, whether it is your personal computer, your laptop, your business computer, or even a computer at the office where you work, ask yourself whether a particular file is located in multiple places. So, if we start with that question, and follow it up with related questions inspired by that question, as well as the process of this streamlining strategy, we may come up with something like this list:

  1. Is a particular file located in multiple places on one computer hard drive (the exact same version of the exact same file until one of those versions is changed)?
  2. How about the idea of a reason for a particular file to be located in multiple places?  And, if so, does that affect the versioning adversely (knowing which version is the most recent version of the file)?
  3. Is there a way to create shortcuts (Windows) or aliases (Mac) or symlinks (*nix) to access the original file from various places on the hard drive/computer?
  4. Is there a purpose that is better served (especially in light of potential confusion) by multiple versions of the exact same file than using the method described in #3?
  5. What process is used to find the correct copy of the exact same file, in cases of multiple copies of the exact version and how is versioning handled thereafter?

The streamlining (i.e. one version of the file and then linked from various folders or directories on the computer) could simply be called responsible organization.  At the same time, it is a great way to illustrate what happens when the same file is uploaded to a website multiple times and we lose track of where the files are and which ones are supposed to be used. This can happen with a site, a blog, or Web 2.0 site like

The Streamlining Strategy for Content Marketing

Part Three: The Streamlining Strategy Applied to our Content Marketing Approach

Some of this streamlining is pretty obvious. In fact, I daresay you are likely already doing it or have done it more times than you can count.

But, unless we can identify it (and define it) we are not likely reaching our full potential when it comes to content marketing productivity. And, even if that is difficult to believe, what does it hurt to give it a try (improving that productivity)? I mean, learning the strategy and consciously applying it shouldn’t move us backward but may simply not move us forward as much as we would like, leaving room for improvement.

How-To: Streamline Content Marketing Tasks and Activities

Here is an idea for your next steps in content marketing and applying the Streamlining Strategy. Make a list of the tasks that you currently perform in your content marketing. That may be a matter of evaluating your official content marketing plan or strategy. If you have one, maybe you want to print it out, grab a highlighter, and make a note of some of the tasks that you perform. Specifically, you are looking for the tasks that are repetitious. Highlight them and come back to them after all the highlighting is done and see if there is a way that you can combine the tasks for that double duty effect (removing the unnecessary redundancy).

For example, if you are going to spend five minutes, do you want to spend it doing something that gives you a result of five social shares or would you rather spend time performing a task that results in one thousand shares? How can we streamline the task? Is there an opportunity for the use of such things as automation?

How-To: Streamline Content Marketing with Tools/Resources

Another streamlining aspect in the Streamlining Strategy is the particular tool or resource that is used. This can also include a tool that allows automation, as we mentioned in the previous section.

That selection (tool or resource) may make the difference between a result of say, five eyes on the content, and possibly one thousand eyeballs on the content. If you consider that the same amount of time was used in both example fictional scenarios, with drastic differences in outcomes, you are looking at productivity differences and since the amount of time is the same, it is a case of a streamlining that involves the selection of tool (or approach; resource access; etc.).

What is the difference between two How-To sections? Figure that the one mentioning the tasks specifically has to do with streamlining or combining the tasks whereas this how-to example is everything else, which is why it mentions tools and resources. There is a crossover between the two, as in our example of automation that may affect how tasks are accomplished and yet also be classified as a tool.

At the end of the day, we are only talking about a couple of examples and the real deal is getting the job done and getting it done in a way that maximizes our resources, no matter how you look at the definition of tasks and resources, right?

The only reason these are separated into two sections is to help make the point that there are no real limits in how we look at streamlining and to open the floodgates on possibilities for productivity and effectiveness enhancements in our content marketing.

In this second How-To, we can make a list of tools and resources that we may use or want to use. Then, use a similar process to the first How-To (tasks/activities) and see where we can combine (a.k.a. streamline).

An example of streamlining a tool would be a social sharing tool, such as Hootsuite. I use this example because so many people are already using it or have at least heard of it. Possibly, there is a content marketing tool that you can use where the social media message is the same and all you need to do is swap out the image for an image that is appropriately sized for the social networking site.

Doing it Manually

Granted, you could accomplish something similar by opening up Facebook in one tab of your browser, Pinterest in another tab of your browser, and Twitter in a third tab of your browser. Then, you could copy and paste the same social media message in all three sites, in their respective social sharing spots, and go back and add the relevant image, sized for the social network. But, if you can accomplish the same thing, only typing (pasting) the message one time, using one tool, you have streamlined using the tool (and likely the tasks, too).

There are even tools the help streamline the image selection for you so that you do not have to do that and can literally streamline task(s) and tool and allowing the automation portion to handle that social image size selection for you.

Your Streamlining Call-to-Action (CTA)

First, let’s breathe. Ok, got that? Next step…

I can keep this simple for you. Get more done with less effort (productivity) and identify ways to do that (streamlining).

I’m not going to promise that you will figure it out overnight, but give it some time (and maybe that sticky note on the side of your monitor) and I’m convinced that you will figure out how to get more productive with your effective content marketing and without killing yourself doing it!

What was the point of this article? Here it is:

  1. Understanding the basis of streamlining.
  2. Practicing the process of streamlining.
  3. Improving as we continue with our content marketing efforts.
  4. Rinse and repeat without forgetting to breathe.

Image Source 1 Image Source 2 Image Source 3

Converting Data Files for SPSS

You can also see this video on our video portal at Converting a .dat file into a .sav file format for SPSS along with other helpful videos (and more as we grow the library).

Hopefully, this video will help you to be able to convert a .dat file to a .sav file for use in the IBM SPSS software. When does this apply? Often times, the professors in statistics courses in college provide students with the .dat file (data file) that contains the data that they want the students to use for the course (especially when it changes for each quarter or semester). In that case, the students need to know how to import/convert it so that it can be used in the SPSS software.

That is why I created this video, to help all you fellow students out with this task. And, in case anyone asks, I created it on my own time and not as any sort of work for hire… just because I am a nerd and like to be helpful ?

The following link is for Deborah’s consultation services, but she also coaches, and especially with her favored statistics! Feel free to find a time to chat with her about signing up for paid tutorial sessions one-on-one to help you get through your statistics course! Click around the site and you will see some awesome testimonials to her success, and more precisely, her students’ success as a result of her tutoring!

Have you been a bit lost in your business (or personal life)? Fortunately, Deborah is an I/O Psychology Expert (soon to have her doctorate in the same field!).

So, with that in mind, go sign up for the no-obligation 15 min consultation to get the ball rolling today!

Author information



Deborah has experienced many adventures in life, including teaching research statistics to university students seeking their doctorates. Out of her love for statistics (and teaching), she comes to you with this site. But first, go ahead and download the “Boost Your Energy” ebook (absolutely free!).

Understanding How Tools Help with Keyword Research

Another wonderful tutorial by my Marketing Momentum co-host Charles Terrence Harper. This one can help us in our SEO (search engine optimization) endeavors, as well as social media marketing hashtags and even tags in your blog posts.

Abstract Photography to Stir Our Emotions and Express Our Art

With all of the tools available, including post-production enhancements, the sky is now the limit for the photographer. What once belonged to the painters, now is shared with the photographers and the photographic designers.

Abstract Photography: First Definition

As is the case where beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is the definition of abstract photography.

To some it is a case of the definition of what someone is viewing, in the photograph, has no words to describe it. It is probably fair to say that if it cannot be defined or described, it is abstract. The picture, below, is closer to fitting that description.

If you want to stare at the picture for a while to see if you can come up with words to describe (or define) it, I suggest clicking on the image and it will open in another tab (presumably) so that you have the time to do that, without the spoiler alert that follows this.

Abstract Photography Eye Test

Ok, are you ready for the Spoiler Alert or answer? It is a bunch of guitars in a guitar store. How many of you figured that out already? If so, this image isn’t really classified as abstract because it is definable and can include a definition. But, we are on the prowl for a better example of abstract photography, according to the first definition 😉

Abstract Photography: Second Definition

You can see a sepia version of what we are about to describe, at the top of this post. Here is the same image, in a color version:


If you would like the sepia version of this photo, for your own collection, you can click on the link provided. Or, if you would like the colorful version for your collection, you can visit here. And, a darker (emotionally)
version here

For this definition of abstract, it is the converse. Rather than looking at a photo and asking ourselves whether we can define it or describe it, we ask if it is in the most natural form. In this case, are these sheep looking as they would look in a normal field of sheep or a pen of sheep? No, they are quite abnormal, or as some would say, abstract.

That said, there are definitely varying degrees to which one could take this and most of those degrees are much further than the sheep photographs. But, I love these photos (and not just because I included an affiliate link and my husband Michael took them 🙂 ) and so I just had to include them.

Truth be told, the photographer (a.k.a.. Michael) does not agree with my definition of abstract when it comes to the sheep photos. But, in all fairness, I think we need to include different definitions.

After all, art is about the beholder and art does not know boundaries and now photography has entered into that realm, along with the more traditional art. Am I right?

Learn how to get those views to your YouTube channel - only $20 and presented by expert Ileane Smith (affiliate link, but the course is that good that I recommend it!).


Why Abstract Photography

If you think about it, especially in a historical context, photography was meant to replicate the facts of what was seen (no pun intended).

So, if a news reporter was trying to report on a crime scene (and the police allowed it), the photographer would want to capture the scene in the most accurate means possible. At that point, you don’t want post-production efforts (even though the most rudimentary methods did exist “back then”) and you wanted the photo to represent exactly what it was supposed to represent.

We have come along way since then, especially with digital photography. Add software like Photoshop into the mix, and the sky seems to float a little higher yet, allowing even more opportunities for art.

So, it makes sense that abstract photography was born, whether that was ever the intention or not.

Now we are allowed to bring emotion and expression into our photographic work and post-production work.

How Does Abstract Photography Compare to Abstract Art?

Well, we have already highlighted a couple of things, like no longer needed to represent things exactly as they are and the expression and emotion of the photograph.

But if you think about it, photography has had a chance to go through a bit of a metamorphic progression, in the same way that art did. Granted, it was probably faster, in comparison, and has a lot to do with the digital photography movement, but still, there is a progression.

Let’s take art, as an example, looking at a sort of historical timeline:

  1. Starting in the 19th century, moving toward the 20th and beyond, we had impressionists;
  2. cubists;
  3. expressionists;
  4. minamilists
  5. and much more…

I’m not an expert on the timing or anything related to the art, but I know that there was a progression as we appreciated the different types of art. I am a connoisseur of art when it comes to the admiration in museums and the occasional acquisition myself.

In Summary

Through this beautiful thing called abstract photography, we have the opportunity to experience so much more, no matter how we define it. And, who wants to sit and figure out a definition when one is already enthralled with what they see and enjoying it?

For me, the photograph of the sheep enthralled me and I would stand speechless before it. For me, that represented the emotion and expressed the feelings that I desired to have. That was enough, no matter how one wants to define it.

I Can Adjust My Sails to Reach My Destination

I Can Adjust My Sails to Reach My Destination via @5hugsaday |

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”Jimmy Dean

Play Music by Ear: You are Never Too Old or Incapable

It doesn’t matter what type of music a musician plays, whether it is rock, jazz, bluegrass, or country music. Even if they have learned to play music by reading music, they have still listened to music and plucked it out on their instrument.

Hey, I am an accomplished piano player who plays the piano (keyboard, for you modern listeners). And, even though my mother handed me a program to learn how to play by ear, written by an accomplished professor of music and a college known for their music program, it was not the zing that put the learning in my soul. Instead, it was getting down to business and simply tinkering with the piano and playing what I heard. There was really no “program” that did it. Instead, doing it did it! Does that make sense?

You may be afraid that you are too old to play music by ear. But you are not! You can do it!

Where to Start

The key to where to start involves listening.

Even though there are no methods per se that work as well as just doing it, there are tips that may help you on your way.

Practice the Basics

Even though you are going through the process of learning to play by ear, don’t discontinue the basics, the foundation. Keep practicing your chords and challenging yourself of your progress with mastering the instrument.

All of this will help you in the long run when it comes to playing by ear. Also, it helps to make you a great musician.

Method 1: Slowing Down the Music

For example, one tip is to slow down the music so that you can hear it slowly and apply it to your playing on the instrument.

In some cases, you probably don’t have to slow down the music. For example, there are ballads that are already quite slow and you may be able to pick up the tune just by listening to it at normal speed. But, if you cannot, and need to slow down the song, don’t worry. You are still normal and possibly exceptional 😉

It used to be a lot easier years ago when slowing down the music. For example with reel-to-reel, you could just use half the speed of the normal speed. Of course, reel-to-reel is basically ancient these days.

reel-to-reel recording

Some of us may have had the privilege to use reel-to-reel when being trained as a sound engineer, but there are so many digital options that it is not often used these days.

The challenge, when using the reel-to-reel back in the old days was that slowing it down affected the pitch as well. So, it was not necessarily a perfect solution.

And, even with the slowing down that the reel-to-reel provided, at, say, half-speed, it was often too fast for some to catch the music by ear. It has been said that a one-tenth speed is a better speed for most people to learn to play by ear.

The Migration to Digital Recording

While reel-to-reel was convenient, like a flip of the switch, we are actually fortunate that we have moved into the digital age. Fortunate for the reasons listed above, but also because we are more likely to be able to reach the goal of one-tenth the speed or whatever speed we want.

And, you can slow down the music without affecting the pitch! That is huge! I mean, what are you learning to play be ear (notice the “ear” and hearing part of that) when the pitch isn’t right? Are you learning to play something incorrectly?

With digital recording technology, you don’t have to worry about it as much. But, the scope of the how-to is a bit beyond the scope of this article. Usually, it is a slider in the software, where you can use your mouse to change the speed. Of course, it depends on the software, but it is usually fairly easy to find, especially with the user guide that comes with the software.

And, with digital music, it is often fairly easy to import the music into your software. Again, be sure to consult your user guide.


Method 2: Humming the Music Back to Yourself

It is also normal to be confused when listening to a whole band (or orchestra). It can be confusing when you are hearing several notes. If you find yourself drawn to a particular aspect of the song, feel free to go with it. You may be learning the harmony part, but that is ok. It is still complementary to the song and will work for that role. In the case of trying to separate out the different instruments and harmonies and melodies, the “humming” method (below) may help.

Also, slowing down the music may help you to separate out these different parts.

But, another method is to use the humming method. That is where you listen to the music, pick out the melody, and then hum it. You can keep humming as you find the notes on your instrument. The advantage is that you can manage the replay with minimal effort. You can slow down your humming back or speed it up again.

You can also use this method while you are doing something else (like cooking 🙂 ). And, if you have the words typed out and printed, you can stop to write in the chord (note) as you figure it out, but of course that is easier with your instrument than with a pot full of spaghetti, eh?

Do you need some help in reaching your goals for home-cooked meals? Check out the once-a-month meal-planning for 30 days that is done for you! (This is an affiliate link, but love it because it helps me with my once-a-month cooking.)


Why Don’t I Just Buy the Songbook

Surely you could buy the songbook if you like. But, will that make you happy? There is a certain satisfaction that accompanies playing something by ear. Instead of giving credit to those who transcribed the music into a readable sheet music form or included in a songbook, you have cracked the code yourself! You have accomplished it all yourself!

There is some pride in learning to play music by ear!

Granted, if you learned how to play music from a songbook, like I did, as a child (three years old or so), then playing music from something printed in front of me can be relaxing and enjoying. It is like sitting next to a comforting, peaceful stream.

You may also listen at Deborah E, Jazz Singer


If that describes you, then sure, play music with the songbook or sheet music. But, then likely you are not reading this article because you already have it all figured out, playing music by the book or playing it by ear, or any combination thereof, as you please.

But, this article is about the process of learning (or acquiring the ability) to play music by ear.

Method 3: Combination Approach

If you are able to read music, you can use that skill, in combination with your music by ear skill. Use the songbook or sheet music as a quick look to see what the notes are. You can also use it confirm that what you have been coming up with is right on target.

Don’t feel like you are cheating. You are still accomplishing your goal of the ability to play music by ear, but you are using the resources available to you. That is a good thing!

The “Fun Factor”

Part of the reason that it is good to learn how to play music by ear is that it is fun! Just think of the blast you can have at parties. Someone pulls out a guitar and you join right in on the musical fun.

If playing an instrument isn’t your thing, you can practice singing. Sure, it may seem easier but in this case, you can learn how to replicate the tonal aspect of the singing and the little tricks of the voice 😉

Afterall, the voice is an instrument as well!

Of course, as with everything, the more time you spend working on your skill, the better you will get and the faster you will get there!


So, in summary, here are some tips for learning how to play music by ear…

  • Slow down the music so that it is easier to break down the music.
  • Hum the music back to yourself and continue to do so as you repeat that on your instrument.
  • Use a combination method of learning to play by ear and confirming it with a songbook, if that is something you are comfrotable doing.

Stay Positive and Happy

Stay Positive and Happy via @5hugsaday |

“Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm, and genuine people.”Shiv Khera

10 Tips for Stunning Photographs

Here are some quick tips to help you with your photography success.

Tip 1 – Use All Your Available Space

Don’t be afraid to use all of the space in your photo. If you want to take a picture of something, it’s ok for it to take up the whole shot with very little background showing.

The key is to keep the photo free from distractions. So, if you have half a plant in the corner of your background, that is what people will be looking at rather than the primary subject of your photo. In that case, remove the plant prior to taking the photo.

Tip 2 – Study Forms

This is a vital aspect of photography. Understand the form in your photography. Rather than seeing objects, see the form and the angles of your subject. This is art. Photography is art. It is an opportunity to express yourself in your art.

Tip 3 – Motion In Your Photos

You do not want motion in your photographs. If you do, you end up with blur. This is not ideal. In a perfect world, you want stationary subjects. Also, learn patience. For example, if you are taking a picture of a chihuahua sleeping, you want to have the patience to wait for him and ensure that he is not disturbed from his sleeping position.

With all that said, there are times to use motion. In that case, the motion is sometimes used for an artistic flair but should only be used with an understanding of how to use it for that purpose. Sometimes, this skill can be acquired through a trial and error practice process.

Tip 4 – Understanding How to Maximize the Use (or Non-Use) of Color

The use of extreme color or black and white can be used to grab attention. The key thing is to understand the project. Understand what the goal or objective is with the final outcome of the photograph. For example, if the objective is NOT to grab attention, but to make more of a subtle or gentle artistic impression, then this is not what you would want (extreme color or black and white).

Tip 5 – Get Closer To Your Subject

Do not be afraid to get up close to your subject. It is probably kind if you let them know that this may be the case so that you do not scare him or her by getting within their personal space.

Some of the most stunning photos can be taken by getting candid shots up close.

Remember, as well, that you do have post-production available to make any needed edits to the photo.

Tip 6 – Shutter Lag

Many times, you can get the correct shutter lag by turning off the auto-focus. This issue really only existed in the past. It is a bogus issue, now that we have more professional cameras, even available in the affordable range for the novice photographer. But, if you are curious about historical tips, this would be one of them.

Tip 7 – Shutter (and capturing images from video)

For the action shots, you want the highest shutter speed possible so that you can capture that instead of the blur.

One of the questions that comes up is if video could be used to capture the “action shot” for a photographic output. The reason that this question is asked is that in this age of video, one technique is to capture the action using video and then pull snaps from the video, for the photography output.

This technique is used by quite a few web novice photographers. However, the resolution is only 25% of what could be captured with a quality camera by a professional photographer. This is why Michael doesn’t even care to suggest this technique, even though it is used by many web professionals (but not necessarily photography professionals).

Tip 8 – Continuous Shots (Shutter)

To use a pan method, you would need to be able to capture shots continuously. It helps if you have a digital camera that can do that.

This step is a bit of a continuation of Tip 7. A high shutter speed can be used and this will give you the ability to capture some high quality (high resolution) action shots, but fewer of them than what may be expected (an opportunity to practice the skill of managing expectations).

Tip 9 – Taking Stunning Nighttime Shots

It is important if you are taking nighttime shots, to do it right.
Otherwise, you have not-so-great photos. Or, a black photo with no subject.

Nighttime shots take knowing how to use light or the lack thereof in order to capture the magic. In addition it takes the patience of Job and practice, practice, practice.

Maybe one out of 1000 nighttime shots will be magical while one out of 100 regular daytime shots could be spectacular. One needs to know how to position whatever light is used (referencing artificial light) in order to capture what is needed or desired and even then, there is the element of surprise and capturing the magic when least expected and not capturing the magic after one has expended an exceeding quantity of time and effort. This is where the patience is needed.

Tip 10 – Know Your Stuff (Use the Manual)

While it is great to read the manual that comes with your digital camera, a more up-to-date method is to find an online version of your manual (most vendors keep an online version available and update it). Download that version, print it, and take it with you in the field to practice the techniques (and develop your own and then blog about it to the world!).

We don’t want to waste paper, but there is no loss if your printed out version gets lost in the field. And, you can make notes (save them on the computer, too) that will help you in the field. You can probably make the notations on the digital version on your computer, but you can definitely write in the notes on your printed version, as well. See the benefits?

In Summary

Now, with all of these tips, you are armed to create fabuous and stunning photographs and you have moved a few steps forward in your own skill set, eh?