Signals in the Noise – Issue 52

For two and a half years, every two weeks I sifted through over 140 blog posts and podcasts that talk about how to build successful online businesses. I found the best content, summarized it, added a bit of my commentary, and delivered it to the inboxes of entrepreneurs around the world…for free. I’m no longer writing Signals in the Noise issues (because my business partners and I are focusing on other parts of Clarity Lab), but please enjoy these archived issues. There’s a ton of useful information in them!


Donald Thump’s silver lining playbook.

“Trump has advocated lowering the income tax on all companies to 15 percent. Business groups want to see benefits as well for sole proprietors, partners and corporate shareholders whose business income is reported on their personal returns. They can be taxed at rates up to nearly 40 percent under current law. Corporate tax rates range from 15 percent to 35 percent.” Joyce Rosenberg, from, explains what small businesses can expect from a Trump presidency. Your Facebook feed and daily rounds to the major news sites are full of enough potentially emotionally triggering news about Trump that I thought I’d start today’s issue with a possible silver lining.

+ Trump will be a disaster for online privacy. Here’s how to protect yours before it’s too late. Sorry. I didn’t mean to ruin your moment of enjoying a possible silver lining. I think we should all try turning off America and turning it back on again.

Category: federal government effects on business

Podcastio ergo sum.

If you love great podcasts like I do, and you’re looking for some new ones to add into your collection, here’s a great list of the top 20 podcasts for marketers (and if you have an online business you are, ipso facto, a marketer…or, you at least have an employee who is.) Fun tip of the day: if you sprinkle Latin phrases thoughtfully in your writing, it increases your perceived intelligence by a factor of four. However, it’s important to keep in mind that barba non facit philosophum (a beard doesn’t make one a philosopher.)

Category: podcasting

What’s black and white and read all over?

“Your email is only as effective as its formatting. Screwing up this basic element of a marketing email could spell the difference between high conversions and low conversions. It may sound silly, but people care about the formatting of an email.” That’s Neil Patel, with the psychology behind a perfectly formatted email newsletter. When I first started marketing via email about 10 years ago, I was obsessed with fancy looking, pretty email templates with lots of graphics and colors. And then I kept seeing split test experiments that showed plain old black text with a white background caused much higher click through rates in emails. This saved me a lot of wasted time, because all of my early readers were dogs.

Category: email marketing

The bigger they come, the harder they call.

“‘How do you find your life’s calling?’ I asked him. ‘What did you love doing when you were 6, 8, 10 years old,’ he said. ‘Like I had one friend who even at 6 was making mud pies as if they were real pies. Then she became a lawyer but was always unhappy. So she quit being a lawyer and is now one of the biggest pastry chefs in the world.’” That’s James Altucher, interviewing Chip Conley, head of hospitality at AirBnb, on the topic of how to find your calling.
Chip died eight times (I’m not kidding), and had a huge reality check after it happened. He knew he had to get back to his calling in his work life. So he sold all the hotels he owned and then this happened.

When I was eight years old, I was infatuated with inventing new ways to launch my toy parachute guy as high into the air as possible before his chute would deploy. The last contraption involved laying a shovel over a log: the metal part on the ground and the handle on the log, pointing upward at a 35 degree angle.

I rolled up parachute guy’s parachute with precision and set him in the concave shape of the metal end of the shovel. I counted down from 3 and jumped as high as I could, landing on the handle side of the shovel, which was a couple feet off the ground, with the intention of the high speed cantilever action launching parachute guy high into the air. With a tremendous THUD, the business end of the shovel whacked me square in the head, knocking me to the ground. Parachute guy sailed only inches above my head. His chute didn’t even deploy. It was a rapid, unscheduled launch failure. I’ve never been able to figure out how to turn that into a business.

Category: purpose and passion

It’s your turn.

Seth Godin. The man is, without a doubt, my favorite marketer and business teacher. If you ever have a chance to see him speak live, do not pass it up. He is a genius of great proportion, and his sharp intellect is as impactful as his humility is inspiring. Seth travels and speaks often, but if you can’t catch him live anytime soon, here’s the next best thing: a wonderful, recent interview that Marie Forleo did with him, about why you should stop waiting for the right moment. Go. Now. It’s your turn.

Category: inspiration

The exception that Groove’s the rule.

“And right away, things were different. Within 24 hours, the blog had 1,000 email subscribers. And of course, we wrote about that. Within a month, we had 5,000. People were engaging with our content. They were commenting and sharing at a level we’d never seen before. We finally had the early traction that we ached to see—but never got—with our earlier efforts. And most importantly, after a little while, people began to sign up to use Groove.” That’s Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove (a company with a simple helpdesk app for small business entrepreneurs), on how they used content marketing to not only save their dying business, but kick their revenue up to more than $400,000 per month.

The Groove blog has some of the best content around, and although it’s focused on helping software startups, a lot of it can be highly useful for other types of businesses, like yours. There’s a lot of blogs writing about how to use content marketing to grow your business, but none take the narrative driven, transparent storytelling approach that Groove takes.

Category: content marketing

The dog ate my deepwork.

“If I have Facebook, slack, TweetDeck or email open when I’m editing an episode of The Unmistakable Creative, it takes more than an hour. If I have nothing open, I can usually finish everything in under 30 minutes.” Srinavas Rao, on why deep work helps you get more done in less time. If I have an espresso, a Red Bull, and a shot of 5-hour Energy, I could edit his episode in 15 minutes.

Category: productivity

Follow the trello brick road.

“Trello is a flexible collaboration tool used by over 17 million people in a multitude of ways. Marketers, project managers, software developers, high school teachers, human resources managers, wedding planners, stay-at-home parents, and travel planners, among others, have customized the visual tool to fit their needs. But how does the 100-person team behind Trello put the tool to use itself?” That’s Carlin Sack, from Zapier, on how the Trello team uses their own project management software. With 17 million users, it is, by far, one of the most popular apps for managing projects, and even one’s life. I’ve used it, and have to say, it’s pretty amazing. Definitely worth taking it for a test drive.

Category: software

Zero sum fame.

“Featured snippets are the name of the rankings game. Often eclipsing organic results at the top of the SERPs, “ranking zero” or capturing an answer box in Google can mean increased clicks and traffic to your site. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains the three types of featured snippets and how you can best position yourself to grab those coveted spots in the SERPs.” Here’s a fascinating, advanced lesson on how to rank in position zero of Google’s search results with featured snippets. Position zero is above the #1 search engine result, but below the Google ads, in search engine result listings. (It is not, despite appearances, a tantric sex position. But it should be.)

Category: search engine optimization

Thank you for spending a little time with me today in this issue of Signals in the Noise. Sure hope you enjoyed it.

If you did, I’d love it if you share this issue with a friend. Here’s some links to make that easy, or, you can copy the link to this issue and email it to someone you think would benefit from reading it. I’d be much obliged if you shared.

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Keep pedaling. The top of the mountain is closer than you think…

All the best,

~Forest Linden

Editor-in-briefs @ Signals in the Noise
Co-founder @ Clarity Lab

p.s. You can find the archive of past issues right here.

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