writing

Two Ladies Lead #Demand13

Elisabeth-Moss-Demand13

As one of my projects, Vocus asked me to program the Demand Success 2013 conference (6/20-21), their first marketing conference open to the general public. Last week we announced our second major keynote, Elisabeth Moss, who plays Peggy Olsen on Mad Men. I was tickled that the buzz revolved around Mad Men, and not the presence of two strong ladies Moss and Arianna Huffington as the leading voices of Demand Success 2013.

To me, that’s remarkable because for once female speakers at an Internet marketing conference are a non-issue.

Our two primary keynotes are women, and no one cares. Why? Because they are qualified, relevant, and obvious.
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Google Author Rank and the Have Nots

Image by Mukumbura

Image by Mukumbura

The rush to become officially integrated into the Google Author Rank system or has begun. It’s unfortunate, because Google Authorship forces weighted search rankings that favor popularity and SEO skills over substance.

If content creators want to optimize our chances of being read, what choice do we have but to implement the system? Our search results depend on it.

There have been many blogs about how to implement Google’s Author Rank system, but this isn’t one of them.

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Marketing Writers Face Dramatic Shift

Bon Jovi at the Verizon Center

Current content conversations focus on the written word as conveyed via interactive or print. That’s about to shift toward more immersive media experiences, forcing marketers to write and design for live environments. Immersive media creates a new demand for dramatic writing skills, usually the domain of more artistic forms such as plays, films and broadcast.

The crossroads is here.

While most content marketers focus on blogs, newsletters, white papers and guides, the need to develop visual and audio centric media increases.

In discussing the Google Glass Project/augmented reality session for next week’s xPotomac conference with Patrick Ashamalla, we focused on these challenges. In many ways, interactive designers and writers know this shift is caused by the untethered internet.

Today, most companies create a flat experience filled with text on a digital canvas, e.g. a website, document, infographic, or the like. These forms of content require a stakeholder to invest time reading, in essence a distraction from their real personal or business life.

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Dwindling Paragraphs

Image by Manchester Monkey

Image by Manchester Monkey

Today’s digital web threatens the very existence of expository style. Consider the plight of the traditional paragraph.

What makes a good paragraph? The expression of a complete idea.

Though writing experts acknowledge that new media cause the ever diminishing paragraph, they still recommended writers communicate one idea per block of sentences.

However, the destruction of parenthetical form continues, pushed forward by the increasing presence of smaller mobile screens and blogs.
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Why I Don’t Blog About Social Tools

John Wall's Sweet J Filtered
I re-edited this John Wall jumper photo with Snapseed, one of my favorite social tools for photo sharing.

People frequently ask my opinion about social networks and applications. While I oblige requests individually, generally I don’t proactively seek to give advice or blog about tools unless the discussion revolves around a macro trend or impacts strategy.

It comes down to positioning, long term viability and personal interest.

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Activate Run-Ons with WIFM

red pen
Image by Mad African!

The best way to spruce up boring business writing? Activate verb tense, parse run-ons into multiple sentences, and add the what’s in it for me (WIFM) factor.

Yes, some colleagues focus on grammar, but when I edit business text these are the first three things my red pen seeks out.

Inevitably business text crams an overt amount amount of jargon and hyperbole into copy to ensure that it stays “on message” and achieves branding goals.

Business writing seeks to market and inform stakeholders. Over-focus on messaging and positioning hurts that goal, instead fulfilling an internal need to appease executives.

An editor should punch up copy to resonate with stakeholders.
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