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Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 | 0 comments

10 Reviews of Spin Sucks, the Book

10 Reviews of Spin Sucks, the Book

I hold a particular admiration for books whose titles encapsulate the substance between the covers in one pithy and pointedly self-evident phrase. Spin Sucks, by Gini Dietrich, is an excellent case in point. If you have any affection for the truth, or at least an aversion to being lied to, spin does suck, and in a big way (I’ve written about this multiple times, including in a guest post on the blog that shares the book’s title). After all, the truth is powerful, but altogether in too short supply within the marketing communications business, be it advertising, PR, digital or whatever one calls an agency in the converged marketing mess, ‘er, golden age we find ourselves in today. It should be no surprise, then, that I follow the Spin Sucks blog and recently purchased and read the new book, which carries the full title  Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age (the title really doesn’t do it justice, however).  But I am not going to review...

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Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 | 0 comments

Blogging Tips to Ignore: Yoast Says 10 Best Sentences are Toast

Blogging Tips to Ignore: Yoast Says 10 Best Sentences are Toast

    When it comes to blogging tips, here’s my least favorite, grossly paraphrased:  Dumb it down. Make it easy enough for anybody to read.  Good advice, no? No – not if it comes at the expense of creating an engaging, unique voice for yourself, and a thought-provoking read for those who care to read it. An extreme case in point:   I use the Yoast SEO Plug-in for WordPress, a plug-in I really like, appreciate and recommend, even though it forever attempts to shame me into convention with analysis like this: “The copy scores 54.8 in the Flesch Reading Ease test, which is considered fairly difficult to read. Try to make shorter sentences to improve readability.” The above reflects the score for this post which, hereafter, includes all of the 10 Best Sentences in American Fiction as recently anointed by The American Scholar.  If taken literally (gotta go by the numbers, Jack, this is the science of content marketing!), this score potentially dictates that the most beautiful, insightful, original and,...

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Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 | 0 comments

3 Ways Brand Storytelling is Like Doing Drugs (the Good Kind)

3 Ways Brand Storytelling is Like Doing Drugs (the Good Kind)

            I was working on a post about how there are way too many similar posts about brand storytelling (mine of course was going to be very different, but I’m sure you already assumed that), when I got waylaid by a particular reference in a Harvard Business Review Blog post to the neuroscience behind our brains’ response to stories. Ah, neuroscience.  Neuromarketing.  The perfect buzzwords for our neurotic business world.  While they may not yet convincingly relieve our anxieties about not understanding or keeping up with the incomprehensible pace of change, they are attractive if only for the purpose of CYA trend-dropping at marketing meetings. But I dismissively digress… I was about to mention one Paul Zak, PhD, from The Center for Neuroeconomic Studies at Claremont University.  As the HBR post points out (not to mention his TED talk and a host of other references that pop up with the most cursory bit of Googling), his research indicates that there is chemical power activated...

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 | 0 comments

3 Things Copywriters and Content Writers Can Teach Each Other

3 Things Copywriters and Content Writers Can Teach Each Other

  Ad copy is bad.  Content creation is good.  Advertising copywriters are hipper-than-thou hypemiesters. Content writers are earnest brand storytellers. So goes the professional profiling game, at least as I often observe it in the content marketing community, and  it comes mostly at the expense of effective overall integrated marketing. I submit that ad copy expertise not only can forward the cause of brand storytelling, but it needs to, particularly as content marketing becomes more and more involved with the “paid game (as alluded to by, among others, David Armano of Edelman Digital when I interviewed him for Branding Magazine, and which is also part of the mushrooming “content shock” conversation incited recently by Mark Schaefer.) Hospitals need brand storytellers more than most Case in point: some new ads, which serve as the leading edge of a content-campaign for Northwestern Medicine. (Yes, I was the copywriter for many of the ads, though I am not the campaign’s originator.) I still need to ask the good folks at Northwestern just...

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Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 | 2 comments

12 Articles on Native Advertising, and One Sad Song

12 Articles on Native Advertising, and One Sad Song

  This didn’t start off as a post on the many different perspectives on native advertising; my intention was simply to feature the always interesting, insightful and blessedly reasonable Lou Hoffman as the subject of this month’s #SocialSong (please see last month’s post for an explanation of the new format for what was formerly called #SocialSong Saturday).  However, in following Lou more closely this month, I was particularly taken by his comments on the promise and perils of native advertising, especially within the context of a torrent of other commentary – and even potential regulatory activity – swirling about sponsored content or native advertising or whatever you prefer to call it. Pros and cons (pros as cons?) of native advertising As a result, I decided to do two things Research, and offer up, a variety of articles on the pros and cons of native advertising Respond to my own rather emotional reaction to the topic in my favorite fashion – with a song You’ll find the list of articles at...

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Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 | 6 comments

How To Improve Your Blog by Dreaming a Little Bigger

How To Improve Your Blog by Dreaming a Little Bigger

 Or… #SocialSong Saturday Changes its Tune Conventional wisdom holds that improving your blog starts with improving your writing.  Unfortunately, the more conventional the business wisdom is, the more conventional the results tend to be. We all need to stretch beyond what everyone else is doing if we ever hope to stand out as our true selves, or help a brand communicate what I like to call it’s own “simple truth,” and thereby serve up unique, helpful content from something other than a me-too perspective. For a little more than a year now my principal approach to “stretching beyond” has been #SocialSong Saturday, the weekly Twitter Love Song in which I literally sing the praises of people I find worth following on Twitter.   It’s been fun, and to me at least a more meaningful recommendation than a facile #FF, but by trying to feature four people a week I find that I’m barely skimming the surface of what they have to offer. With that in mind, I’ve decided to switch...

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 | 3 comments

The Future of “The Future of Content Marketing” Posts

The Future of “The Future of Content Marketing” Posts

  Or… Prognostication never takes a vacation.   My prediction for the near future – say, between now and the end of the first quarter of next year – is that we will be treated to an endless stream of “Future of…” blog posts, videos,  (toomuch)INFO(notenough)GRAPHICS, conference keynotes, etc.  Which is not to say that many of them won’t be insightful and helpful, but it does remind one of how much we like the same old same old in content marketing (full disclosure: I’ve already posted something akin to this “coming attractions” genre myself, with “Content Marketing in 2014: 3 Things You Need to Prepare for NOW”). To make things easier for those uneasy about the future, here’s a list of just such forward-looking posts from a variety of content soothsayers (rank ordered by the one company that actually controls the future of content marketing, Google): KISSMetrics “The Future of Content Marketing:  Trends and Predictions for 2014” MarketingLand  “What is the Future of Content Marketing? 9 Experts Weigh In” Idio  “Why...

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Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 | 0 comments

A Tweet from a Global Creative Guru Makes A Content Writer Rethink His Brand

A Tweet from a Global Creative Guru Makes A Content Writer Rethink His Brand

You may know me as a content writer… or a copywriter… or a brand strategist. Those are the things people most often pay me for. You may also know me from my unpaid weekly (weakly?) singing gig on #SocialSong Saturday.  The latter is the only way that Jonathan Mildenhall, Global Creative Director for Coca-Cola knows me… and as a result, he appears to think I am “totally cute”    (or at least my work is). Is this a good thing?  In an industry built on youthful cool, on the edgy, snarky and sexy, does a writer ever want to be thought of as “cute?”  At the risk of revealing how little I care about being cool, I have to say “yes,  I’ll take cute” and here are three reasons why: Content writers should write from the heart. I do subscribe to Jay Baer’s whole Youtility vibe – of providing content that first seeks to help rather than mere pump out hype – and I can best achieve that if I...

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Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 | 0 comments

Content Marketing in 2014: 3 Things You Need to Prepare for NOW

Content Marketing in 2014: 3 Things You Need to Prepare for NOW

  Why The High Quality Content Everyone is Yammering About Requires a New Creative Approach   If you take a close look at full version of my recent Branding Magazine interview with David Armano, the newly elevated global strategy guru at Edelman Digital, I believe you’ll see and hear fair warning as to why content marketing in 2014 – your content-centered marketing – could get left behind for lack of the right content strategy and creativity team. Digital marketing must dare to be more traditional First, Armano said something that both warmed my traditional marketing heart and also made me shake my head in disbelief as I tried to imagine it being implemented beyond a few visionary firms:  “We are adding traditional skills like traditional planning or traditional creative, and I feel like the future model is … where on the content side it’s been the creative director and the copywriter and maybe a planner, for us the… trio is the creative director, a planner and a really savvy social...

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