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Sol Orwell is an entrepreneur, author, writer, public speaker, and cookie aficionado. He’s been building websites since 1997, and he sold a number of them fresh out of university to set himself up for a “semi-retirement,” during which time he traveled throughout the United States and Argentina for five years. Eventually he returned to Toronto, Canada, where he bought the domain Examine.com, and began building out what has become one of the most respected health and nutrition information sites on the internet — all from spending time on Reddit chatting with others about his own quest to get healthier and lose weight.
Though he’s now quite fit, he’s not obsessive about it, as evidenced by his retired #cookie-life fun and current Cookie-Off Fundraisers, the most recent of which raised over $100K for charity. When he isn’t building empires or stuffing friends’ faces with delicious chocolate chip cookies, he writes short blasts regularly on his Facebook profile and 2 – 4 times a month on his own website, making observations on the worlds of entrepreneurship and digital technology and the many biases that infiltrate these spaces.
What You’ll Learn About Writing This Week:
- How important it is to build something you think is cool, but that others will be interested in as well
- Why you can’t complain about something but not be willing to be a part of the solution
- When to stick to what you know and not pretending to know what you don’t
- How to confidently generate a story from an everyday experience
- Learn from past SEO updates to help in the short-term, but remember that well-written, authoritative content will always be key
- Build relationships with others, so you’ll be able to establish authority and trust (not just get a “return” on a relationship)
Mentioned in This Episode (Links and Resources!):
You Can Find More of Sol and His Writing On:
Tweetable Quotes From This Episode:
- “Am I the solution? God no, in no way am I. But can I be a little voice, a little impact on a subset of people? Absolutely.” – @sol_orwell
- “At the end of the day, all that’s necessary for good SEO is write content that’s useful to the user, build relationships so you can generate links to said content, and disclose who is writing the content so readers can know if they should listen to you.” – @sol_orwell
- “I hate the idea that ‘build great content and it will come to you,’ because really, you NEED to build relationships.” – @sol_orwell
- “That’s the real benefit of building these relationships: It’s not just, ‘Hey, you’re going to link to my shit,’ it’s really about how we can commiserate, we can talk, we can chit chat, or we can talk shop.” – @sol_orwell
- “Writing is not only just the art of practicing writing, but there’s this beauty in seeing other good written stuff, and not necessarily mimicking, but definitely keeping the best parts.” – @sol_orwell
- “Deconstructing actual expertise and beauty, and being able to reconstruct it in your own manner, that’s the way to make [writing] work.” – @sol_orwell
Thanks to our Season 3 sponsor: Coworker.com
Elisa Doucette is a writer and editor who works with professional writers, entrepreneurs, and brands that want to make their own words even better. She is the Founder of Craft Your Content, and oversees Client Strategy and Writing Coaching. Her own writing has been featured in places like Forbes, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Yahoo! Small Business, and The Huffington Post, among others. She also hosts the Writers' Rough Drafts podcast here on CYC. When she isn't writing, editing, or reading words, she can usually be found at a local pub quiz, deep in a sun salutation, or binging TV shows for concept ideas and laughs.