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The Friday Fix - December 18, 2015

It’s Friday! The Fix awakens! (Or is that The Force Awakens?) I’m sure we’re all aware that the latest Star Wars film premiers today, and I for one am glowing like a lightsaber with excitement. Apparently others are, too, because this week, one of our pundits writes about the content marketing lessons we can learn from Star Wars.  What else do we have this week?  We look at 2016 forecasts, discuss the brands that had the best year ever in 2015, and talk interactive storytelling. It’s a great day for the Friday Fix, so read on (and may the Force be with you)!

Harnessing the Force: Marketing Lessons from ‘Star Wars’

Is everyone else as “shut the front door” excited about the new Star Wars as I am? As we all know, Star Wars: The Force Awakens starts today, which marks the moment a new generation of fans gets indoctrinated and that Christmas comes a week early for lifelong fans (hello!). I digress. So, in this piece, Mandeep Grover explores the content marketing lessons we can learn from Star Wars (I prefer to think of it as we’re learning to use the Force). But seriously, check out Mandeep’s article to see what the 40 year-old story franchise is doing that we can learn from.

How Content Marketers Can Tell Better Stories with Data

Rhetoric of late has been favorable to the idea that data and storytelling are a match made in content marketing heaven. Of course, anything that sounds like putting math and fun together makes me skeptical (like when mom would put cheese sauce on steamed Brussels sprouts skeptical). Well, I now eat Brussels sprouts (with the right recipe, they’re fabulous), and as it turns out, data and storytelling are the same way. Alexandra Samuel explains that to tell a story with data, you must first find your data and then let the story develop around that; however, data can’t overwhelm the story; rather, it should direct it. Check out Alexandra’s article as it also covers data and storytelling on multiple platforms (like Pinterest) and mediums (with visuals).  

2016: The Year Brands Take Control in Content Marketing

I for one am thrilled to read Avi Zimak’s article and to learn that brands are about to be large and in charge of their own destinies.  So, what’s going to happen in 2016? According to Avi, more agencies are going to take greater control over their content distribution and will likely do so via story sequencing and audience shaping, which Avi says is ironically similar to traditional advertising (but you know, with content).

5 Brands that Got Social Media Right in 2015

nike.com

nike.com

Jerry Daykin starts this piece by saying that this (2015) is the year social media marketing started to grow up (which kind of reminds me of those Cheez-It commercials).  What does he mean?  He means that investments on social media channels were on the uptick, but he also says that paid advertisement via social media didn’t resonate nearly as powerfully as the handful of brands that “stopped chasing engagement” and went with fewer stories of greater quality and meaning instead. Jerry’s picks for brands that “won” in 2015 are: Lexus, Nike Women, Coke’s Clash of Clans: Revenge, John Lewis’ Man on the Moon Christmas ad, and Oreo. What do you think? Anyone else who should make the winner’s circle?

Success in 2016: Suki Thompson Predicts Five Themes

In the interest of preserving her business for yet another year (and beyond) chief executive and founding partner of Oystercatchers Suki Thompson examines what’s going to have the biggest impact in 2016. For starters, she says marketing will rise in the boardroom noting that in 2011, only 11% of chief executives had marketing backgrounds; in 2015, that number was 25%. Customers will be at the heart of business (something we’ve been waxing on for the past year), and diversity will deepen across the marketing industry.  Check out the article as Suki explores all of these in depth and reveals a couple of other savvy predictions.

Will AI Take Writing Jobs Away from Content Marketers?

thinkaha.com

thinkaha.com

I’m probably the only one here who remembers the episode of Clarissa Explains it All where Clarissa’s computer wrote a poem that she got a lot of recognition for, and I was relieved that while computers were super savvy, they weren’t particularly brilliant writers. Cut to 2015 and Taylor Mallory Holland’s article in which we learn that most people “can’t distinguish between news reports written by journalists and those generated by sophisticated humans.” (Obviously, this makes me nervous as my only fall back is 20 years of tap and obsolete jazz training; I say ‘obsolete’ because I’m pretty sure we’re past the “jazz hands” of the 90s.) Thankfully, Taylor says that we (writers) aren’t going to be replaced, but there’s a contingency there. What? Read Taylor’s article and find out.

Interactive Storytelling 101: User Experience & Information Architecture

Surely many who pursued business marketing degrees and career paths 5, 10, or more years ago never envisioned the extent to which they’d need to rely on storytellers or storytelling. If you’re one of those for whom storytelling is, well, not your forte, Ashley Taylor Anderson comes to the rescue with a little higher education in the form of interactive storytelling 101 (after all, today’s most compelling stories are interactive). I should add that even as one who majored in storytelling, I found this article to be smartly written and packed with useful tips and insights.

7 Steps to Visual Content Marketing Productivity

the-seen.com

the-seen.com

Visual content creation is a veritable must-do at this stage; if you’re not visual, chances are, you’re missing out on connecting with your audience.  In this article, Ann Smarty provides seven steps to get your content from being “invisible” to visual. Like all good content marketing, you have to start with a plan. Once you have a plan, your ideation can start to take shape. Thankfully, if the creation part is something that’s held you back from going visual in the past, Ann shares several resources to help you show and tell your story.

Good Stories Make for Great Memories – Create Memorable Brand Experiences through Storytelling

Chris Gillespie is preaching to the choir on this one.  I –for one—remember things infinitely better when they’re shared through story; not only that, I feel a greater connection to those things. For example, I’m a mom, and those Luvs commercials…yep, they’re not only 100% accurate, but they’re hilarious. My kid licked a post while waiting to see Santa the other day. I wasn’t nearly as grossed out as I should’ve been because well, once you’ve seen what I’ve seen, pole licking isn’t pretty tame. Anyway, I connect with that diaper brand (even though I buy a different brand for other reasons…sorry, Luvs). That’s what Chris is getting at in this piece. If you tell a story that has sequencing, characters, conflict, and conclusion, you’re going to make an impact.

Has ‘Advertising’ Swerved Toward Bad Word Territory?

We’ve dropped the ‘A-word’ a few times in this week’s Fix, so David Kirkpatrick’s article is ultra-timely. Per David, advertising isn’t going anywhere, and at the end of the day, all of our efforts that we don’t call advertising (including storytelling) but that have the same end-of-the-road goal as advertising may as well be thusly titled (well, sort of).  He explores audiences who consume content, what they put their faith in, and the fine line we need to use when it comes to the A-word.

New Year, New Reach: Tips for Improving Your Organic Reach in 2016

storytelleragency.com

storytelleragency.com

In two weeks, the year will officially be 2016, the proverbial slate will be blank, and it will be time to reinvent a few things. Start 2016 with a renewed effort at improving your organic reach. Thanks to constantly changing algorithms, organically reaching audiences via social media platforms has become a bit more challenging (kind of the way losing weight in your 30s is much harder than it was in your 20s). While we don’t have any weight loss tips (other than keep sticking to that resolution…it will eventually pay off), we do have tips for improving your organic reach in 2016, which is much better than any kale and stem cell smoothie recipe we could throw at you.


Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect. 

Connect with Amy:  LinkedIn

 

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The Friday Fix - July 31, 2015

Greetings on this beautiful Friday Fix day!  I just had the weirdest revelation –it’s five months until New Year’s Eve.  Let that sink it.  We’re closer to 2016 than we are the beginning of year…how’s your content doing?  Even if you’re not having the best year yet, it’s not too late to turn it around.  This week, we talk about giving video a heart, fitting storytelling into your content, who in content marketing to stalk on social media, and the summer’s three hottest summer content marketing trends among other awesome things.  So, take a few hours to yourself (you’ve earned them!), kick back, and enjoy the Friday Fix! TGIFFD!  

The Art of Storytelling in 6 Content Marketing Context Questions

As J-P De Clerck explains it, storytelling is both an art and a science, a claim that might throw some truly artsy storytellers; however, particularly in the context of content marketing, it’s true.  Sure, there’s the creative part that involves crafting an emotionally transformative story that is memorable and compelling, but there’s also the part where you have to figure out its placement within your brand.  There’s also a science to telling the story itself, as evidenced by the Periodic Table of Storytelling featured at the end of the piece, which I have a copy of framed and (soon to be) hanging in my home office. 

Storytelling Can Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy [According to the Fresh Prince]

huffingtonpost.com

huffingtonpost.com

It seems that content marketing pundits can’t get enough of referencing The Fresh Prince, which is cool because neither can I.  In this article, Tony Adranga starts by reciting the first few words of the memorable theme song (“West Philadelphia born and raised”).  He points out that people can sing the whole blasted thing without trying (it’s stuck in your head now, too, isn’t it?) because it tells a great story.  While you hum the rest of the song, read this article about establishing your identity and telling your story from introduction to climax to resolution.

6 Simple Ways to Fit Storytelling into Your Content

So, as we all know, storytelling –like the Internet—is here to stay and for a darn good reason.  Stories are the memorable, emotionally compelling component that gives you and your brand an identity and that make your audience want to be your BFF.  Naturally, like all things that are incredibly awesome, good, effective storytelling is much, much easier said than done, which is why Dan Brotzel brings these six smart tips for fitting storytelling into your content.

The Tin Man: Video Marketing Needs a Heart

genius.com

genius.com

It must be song week because Steph Ferrell launches this article with the Tin Man’s memorable Wizard of Oz lyrics, “Just to register emotion, jealousy, devotion—and really feel the part…If I only had a heart.”  She ties it into her article to explain that without heart, video is just…eh…video.  She talks about videos that have both heart and memorable story (like the Jake from State Farm videos) and then shares how best to give video heart.

Meet 3 of the Summer’s Hottest Content Marketing Trends

Consequently, complaining about the thermonuclear heat isn’t one of the top three content marketing trends Austin Talbert covers; however, I think it is a trend generally speaking because I start sweating just looking outside now like Pavlov’s lesser-known dog.   I digress, Austin’s article talks about hot trends like capturing audiences with stunning cinemagraphs, partnering with SnapChat stars for sponsored stories, and partnering with YouTube channels for sponsored content.  I should mention there’s a clip of a guy in panda suit on a motorbike, so if the article itself isn’t incentivizing enough (it is), you should check it out just for that.

Hate Writing?  How to Still Leverage Content Marketing

theservicecoach.com

theservicecoach.com

Melinda Emerson’s article addresses a very real group of people who I seriously don’t understand: people who hate writing.  Of course, most of them are doctors, so they probably feel the same way when I say I hate math (and then they think it’s cute that I still call it “math”) or blood and guts.  Anyway, we live in such a culture that nowadays, even if writing isn’t your forte, you still need to be able to communicate in content.  Thank goodness for Instagram and Pinterest and other resources suggested by Melinda in this piece, am I right?

How to Find Budget for Content Marketing

Though I’m a dunderhead at most math, I can say with confidence that good content marketing creates money; the more money you have, the more you have in your budget.  Therefore, you need content marketing in your life.  Even if you don’t have the excess funds laying around, you still need to scrape them together to make content marketing happen for you; however, don’t fire Pam the receptionist just yet!  Read Liz Bedor’s article to find a content marketing budget In your existing infrastructure.

What to do When Content Marketing Fails to Improve SEO Performance

netsuiteblogs.com

netsuiteblogs.com

I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I didn’t tell you that yes –your content marketing efforts can fail; however, it’s not content marketing’s fault, and it may not be your fault per say; though, if things aren’t going the way you anticipated or you’re falling into the red, chances are, there’s a kink in the operations somewhere, which is why Derek Edmond’s article on assessing your content marketing to find and fix the problems is a must-read.

7 Content Marketing Buzzwords Explained

Have you ever been somewhere and someone says something that you should know what it means, but you have no idea; however, since you should know, there’s no way you’re going to ask anybody so you discretely grab you phone and Google search the word, but by then, you’ve lost the conversation and you look like a jerk for getting on your phone in the middle of a conversation?  Or am I the only one?  In this article, Mary Ellen Ellis defines things like inbound marketing, digital marketing, storytelling/storyscaping, and snackable content, a word that –until now—has only served to make me crave mini Babybel snackable cheeses.

15 Marketing Experts to Follow on Social Media

think-katink.com

think-katink.com

You probably are already following a lot of people on your Twiter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media accounts; however, Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is adding a few more to the pot in case you’re not already following them.  These folks specialize in things like search engine marketing, social media tips, and digital marketing trends, which definitely makes them worth social stalking.

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Company (and Why You Need One)

If you like making to-do lists and feeling in control of your life, then you’re going to love editorial calendars.  Even if you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants, you still need an editorial calendar.  An editorial content calendar essentially helps you plan ahead.  It forces you to consider your audience and purpose for your content and plan your blogs and publishing efforts accordingly.  What will you post on social media?  When?  This added level of deliberation adds consistently to when you produce content, and it gives you time to evaluate it for quality.  The positive impacts an editorial calendar has on your business will be obvious when you measure your ROI. 


Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect. 

Connect with Amy:  LinkedIn

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