Buzzwords Suck

Businessman running away from angry bees
Run, run as fast as you can from buzzwords — and those who use them to bullshit you.

I like words. A lot. Probably more than the next guy. But I like my words to add clarity, not confusion.

That’s one of the reasons why I HATE buzzwords.

I have to be careful here because not all buzzwords are bullshit. New stuff happens all the time. Sometimes we need a word or phrase to describe this new concept. I’m good with that. Take content/inbound marketing; not entirely a buzzword. However, it’s a concept I now make a living making reality for our clients so’s I could be slightly biased here. It’s not new, but “inbound” is a good enough phrase to describe a break – well, a shift – in marketing focus. Not a huge fan of the phrase, but it works.
Continue reading Buzzwords Suck

Fear of Writing – The Typo and the Typo Pointer-Outer

typo-assholesTypos (and grammar concerns) terrify folks into paralysis when it comes to writing. What if I make a mistake? Use the wrong word? I don’t know where the commas go. Semi-colons?!?!? OMFG, kill me.

This fear keeps many folks who would otherwise be fantastic contributors to blogs, social media sites, and elsewhere from sharing insights and knowledge that others would find useful. I’ve seen people who successfully started and then ran large IT implementations run in fear from the idea of writing a 500 word blog post about their experience.

In so far as you only get better writing by writing (a lesson I’ve lived this past 18 months), fear of making a mistake is bad enough.

Worse is some pedantic ass munch pointing it out to you. Continue reading Fear of Writing – The Typo and the Typo Pointer-Outer

The Problem With Great Content

Nearly every piece of advice you read about content and inbound marketing includes the words “great” and “content” in sequence or at least in close proximity. I am all for great content – great content whether whimsical or serious or funny or informative or entertaining or whatever is, well, great.

And great is good. It’s the goal. Right?

Well, I’m starting to think maybe not entirely.

Here’s the problem as I see it. Continue reading The Problem With Great Content

Keep Swimming Towards Content Marketing

Keep swimming towards content marketingOne of my favorite parts of Finding Nemo is when Dory and Marlin have to swim down into the dark of the trench to find the dive mask and Dory starts humming, “Keep swimming, keep swimming.” Coming from a cartoon fish with memory issues, that’s pretty damn good advice. I know I’ve hummed it to myself (along with running cadences picked up from various war movies) on long runs.

Recently, I’ve found myself humming “keep writing” as I freeze up (again!) trying to get the words out. I had half-watched Finding Nemo a few months ago and when I re-read Stephen King’s On Writing, advice from Dory and King melded.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Continue reading Keep Swimming Towards Content Marketing

Embrace White Space to Improve Your Content Marketing

Spikey Katfish

Or How I learned to stop worrying and love the empty, white spaces in between.

I edited a print magazine for a decade. During that time, I drove our various designers slightly bonkers with my desire to cram words into every available nook and cranny of a page. “What do you mean, 800 words on a page is too many? Just make it fit.” There was some, let’s say, creative tension between cramming in a lot of information in a limited number of pages and their desire to exercise some design ethos.

I generally won the arguments. After all, they were contracting for us. Though, over time, I came to see their point and even admit that I had been wrong.

White space can be your friend, in a number of ways. Continue reading Embrace White Space to Improve Your Content Marketing

Content – A Little Respect

rodney-dangerfield-norespectR-E-S-P-E-C-T

What you want
Baby, I got
What you need,
Do you know I got it?
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you get home

Preach, Aretha!

A rant, if you will.

Start respecting content.

Content marketing centers around the concept of providing “something” that your potential audience will like/find useful to nudge them closer to buying something from you. Of course, it’s more complicated than that, but content (of whatever kind) is central.

So if content is central to the success of a content marketing effort, why do so many people treat it like a commodity? Like anyone can do it?

I’m biased, but creating good content is hard. But, because ANYONE can write a blog post, there are (too) many folks out there who think it’s easy. That’s like saying that because I can drive my car to the mall I could compete in NASCAR.

Content is coal in the way that it’s fuel for your marketing. But, content isn’t coal – you can’t just dig some up, throw it in your marketing machine maw, and expect it to burn. You’ve got to tweak it. Spend time with it. Target it. Shape it. Craft it. Touch it. Caress it . . .

. . . wait . . .

where was I?

Oh, yeah, you’ve got to spend some time loving it.

You ain’t gonna get that at 5 bucks a blog post.

Since I was let go from my job in September, I’ve spend time on various freelance writing and editing sites. Now, I knew that when I embarked down the editing/writing path that I wasn’t going to become filthy stinking rich (dammit), but, fucking hell — $8 for a 500 word post (to just pick a random example)?!? I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up some freelance work with companies that believe in investing in good content, but I can’t imagine trying to cobble together a living with some of the rates out there.

If you’re expecting someone to craft something great for you at that rate . . . well, good luck to you. And, no, I don’t care that they’re in India (or wherever) and speak English well.

I think that because content is everywhere, we all are sometimes guilty of a cavalier attitude towards it.  It is like air, and like air, it’s just all around us and we don’t even really notice.

Before Pudding Pops (and the latest round of accusations for deplorable behavior), Bill Cosby was a great standup comedian. In one of his many bits about fatherhood, Cosby’s father tells him, “I brought you into this world. I’ll take you out. Doesn’t matter to me, I’ll make another one looks just like you.”

With the easy ability to create, recreate, combine content; it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “I’ll just make more.”

More isn’t always better – much less good.

Image from Quotesfish.

Continue reading Content – A Little Respect

Tweets of the Week – My Favs on Content Marketing

Tweets-Worth-ReadingIn no particular order, my favorite tweets from the past week. Curation. Community. Writing tips. And some stuff about content marketing.

heidicohen

Want to improve your #contentmarketing? See what @jaybaer & @TheSalesLion have to say=> 5 tips. heidicohen.com/pro-content-ma… #cmworld

Never a bad idea to learn from the best.


  Sitecore
3 out of 4 feel frustrated by irrelevant web content. Learn how to provide relevant content. bit.ly/1nSRVwq #CustomerExperience

Even though this paper is written by a vendor, it still has some good pointers if you’re starting to think about your customers’ Web experience.

Continue reading Tweets of the Week – My Favs on Content Marketing