Deborah Kaplan is a journalist and content marketing writer for Kaplan Ink.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
I started off in traditional journalism and publishing – magazines and newspapers. Writing for online and digital publications is a natural extension, given how the industry is changing! I cover a lot of ground with my writing, but lately, it’s been in medical/health writing, supply chain management, and personal finance/insurance. Different niches come from different parts of my professional background. I investigated medical malpractice claims for seven years and am comfortable interviewing doctors and reading medical documents. I now write for both doctor and patient publications online, ranging from medical journals to university hospital websites. That medical malpractice job was in the insurance industry, also giving me a leg up in that area. Personal finance has always been interesting to me and something I read a lot about. And with supply chain, my main editor was interested in working with me because I can write about complex topics that span several industries, which supply chain management does. I love publishing, though, because you can write about anything, and I’ve done extensive travel writing as well. You can read some of my work at Kaplanink.com.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I usually start out the day checking email, which some productivity gurus say not to do, as it can be a time waster. But I need to know if there are any fires or any changes to my schedule before I get started, especially with my clients and sources in different time zones. I try to estimate how much time my main tasks will take, like specific assignments due or the interviews I’m conducting. I keep a list of what I need to accomplish. When I finish a project, I’ll take a break and check Facebook and email. I try to lump together groups of emails I need to reply to, so I can get those done at the same time. I save my late afternoons and evenings to work on my blogs, do volunteer work, and catch up on emails (and family, of course!). That’s the time when I’m less productive, and my kids are home from school by then.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
I have a Varidesk, an adjustable height standing desk that I love. It goes up and down in seconds, so I can stand or sit depending on how I feel. I work on a laptop with a separate monitor and keyboard. I use several apps or sites regularly. One is MyHours to track my work on every project, so I know how long each one takes me. That helps me to accurately bid on new work, and also understand how much time each type of project and each client’s work takes me. I use the OneTab extension on Chrome, to save tabs when I shut my computer down or when I no longer need a site active but still want to easily find the URL. For large projects requiring a lot of research, I use Scrivener. I use Excel to track my assignments, status, and pay information. When I’m traveling, I take notes on my iPad using Evernote and a travel keyboard.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
I stay curious. I read a lot, from newspapers and magazines to websites and books (old fashioned paper books). I click on links my friends post on Facebook and LinkedIn. I read magazines I find when I’m out, whether that’s a specialty store or the doctor’s office. I talk to people – including strangers – and ask a lot of questions.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
I love when “Harry Met Sally.” Smart writing with so many classic lines.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
That’s a pretty big question! I’ll give props to the Google doodles. I often learn something new and if not, I can just appreciate the graphics (and some of the games). I’m a writer, but I love good graphics and art. They’re great not only on their own, but they can elevate writing as well.
WHAT’S THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Actually I just finished writing our family holiday letter. Our family philosophy is that if we can’t make people laugh, we’re not sending a letter. If we’re going to kill a tree to send a letter, it better be good. We’ve been told by many people that our letter is a holiday highlight, and highly anticipated. People do family readings of the letter over dinner. If people quote lines back to us, we know we rocked it.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
With new publishing models, the internet and expanding social media sites, there’s room for everyone.