WordCamp 2013 Live: Bringing Craft Back to Content with Adam McLane

WordCamp 2013 Live: Bringing Craft Back to Content with Adam McLane

Word Camp San Diego 2013Speaker: Adam McLane, Principal of McLane Creative

Covering Bringing Craft Back to Content at WordCamp San Diego. Adam has that rare combination of talent of being both a talented writer/content creator and a techie who can build WordPress websites with his own two hands. On one of his recent projects he worked with World Vision in Zimbabwe where he used photography story telling. The organization helps bring work, health, and more to the economically depressed, and repressed, area. The photo Adam shot below on his last day in Zimbabwe shows a proud mother with a healthy baby on her back, working in the field they helped developed. The story it tells, “We are winning.” And that they were.

adam mclane we are winning

Photo credit: Adam McLane








Here are highlights from Adam’s session about the art of content marketing.

Content is King. Craft is Aces.

Create content that tells a story like a journalist. It’s more than delivering in an SEO focused format. Content crafted for the perfect SEO, or approached as just another content creation task, ends up in content that sucks.

Hello Darth effect. “WordPress can become the dark” side when publishers build a WordPress site that works (e.g. subscribe to content) but then deliver content that sucks.

Bring craft to the content. If you don’t drive your content through craft, you won’t get far.

Today Planify

Have a plan, develop a white paper for your plan and shop it around for feedback. When you get six months down the line and you get lost, you can go back to your white paper to get back on track. Stick to your own rules.

When you make your own plan, you can start turning your art into money.

Sketch It Out

Constantly ideate and keep a list of ideas and content. Have a sketch book and use tools like Evernote. Consider how creativity works for you. The most creative companies allow employees to move around and get creative. Creativity happens when you start connecting ideas together and it can happen in the most random ways. Like, walking the dog.

Get sketchy.

Channel Ernie

Ernest Hemingway had an amazing life and story. His creative process was inspiring.

Collaborate to Win

Collaborate with others on ideas and content to get ideas and feedback on how to improve it. Google Docs (Drive) is a great tool for collaborating on a document.

In art everyone brings their own emotion to it.


“When I have a serious thing and I want to communicate cleverness, I link to goofy places.”

Have fun with stuff and make up words, like “cleveriffic”. Example, Mailchimp has great 404 pages with clever copy and creative.

Hype Type

Tip for blog typeface, make it bigger than it actually has to be. On the Internet, 16 point font is more acceptable rather than the 12 point font used in office documents. Serif fonts help your eye. Although sans serif is very popular with designers.

Typeface is important… because it looks like you actually care.


“What is the emotions you bring out of your reader when they read content on your site? Make it savory.”

When you write a blog or article, are you eliciting a memory that person is going to think about all day? A lot of blogs say nothing. Be bold. Throw something out there that is worthy of a remark.

Savory content takes me somewhere, eliciting a memory.

Just Beat It

How can I make content where people know what to expect? Michael Jackson repeated beats over and over again. Write something that creates an expectation so that your readers know the beat.

Give them something to dance to.

Bad Timing

Bad timing sometimes works best. People want to be on the Internet when they are not busy. Example, posting a blog on a Saturday morning. Sometimes you can say the wrong thing at the right time to be memorable.

Sometimes bad timing is helpful.


Everyone wants to be appreciated. Vincent Van Gough worked all the time and was not always appreciated. You have to grind it out like the rest of us… and you’re not going to be appreciated all the time.

Hopefully you’ll be appreciated before you die.

Flip Through the Presentation

Read Adam’s notes from this session.


Live blog coverage by: Melonie Gallegos

Event: WordCamp San Diego 2013

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