Happy, happy, joy, joy, it’s time for the Friday Fix! Today’s collection of this week’s posts include tips for shooting video on your smartphone, using video to tell your brand’s story, how to tell a story that’s more vivid than verbose, and whether or not humans are good or evil (finally!). We also dig into some other interesting stuff, which is why we love that it’s not only Friday but that it’s also Friday Fix time!
Jacqui Frasca focuses much of this interesting piece on differentiating between showing and telling, which is easier said than done for some writers; however, the payoff in showing versus telling is usually something more emotionally memorable and engaging for the audience. Of course, not all words are created equally, so even if you know how to show, you may not be as effective as you thought. After all, as Jacqui notes, not all words are created equally. She references Hemingway’s six-word story to drive this point home; you must make choices and emphasize details that strengthen the story versus burden it.
I love the line, “What’s your story?” because it’s like a speakeasy pick-up line. Like, I’d like to think in the un-shown scene of Casablanca where Rick originally met Ilsa, he looked at her with those heavy-lidded peepers of his and said, “What’s your story, kid?” And then Ilsa would whip out her iPhone and show him a great video that told the story of her brand. In this article, Erika Trautman talks about brand story and how interactive video storytelling is the best way to tell that story.
In case you read this headline and wondered what “real-time” storytelling is, worry not…Keith Richey sets the record straight by first explaining what it isn’t. Real-time storytelling requires brands to seek inspiration from what’s relevant to the audience and then structuring the narrative around that. Think Charles Dickens’ writings based on social issues pertinent to the Industrial Revolution, and you’re getting the idea. Now, all you have to do is crank it up a notch. See Keith’s piece on how to get your stories out the past and into the present.
So, in recent weeks we’ve dug into virtual reality and its looming presence / prevalence. In this article, Katie Benner and Emily Steel explore how media companies are embracing the immersive technology that is VR. Specifically, they dig into HBO’s Otoy (online toy) that allows folks to capture VR video and distribute it to viewers. They also look at other ways companies are looking at VR for thinking outside of the proverbial box.
For those who don’t know, Facebook Lite is a trimmer version of the popular social media platform that runs faster and better and all of that yaddi-yaddi because of less ad content (thanks for the run-down, John Montesi). Though not available in the U.S., the lite platform already has 100 million users. While it’s not necessary to start creating minimalist ad campaigns yet, John explores the lite phenomenon as well as broader implications to be mindful of.
So, Molly Berry’s article really does have a lot of valuable nuggets on what freelance writers should be doing to get buy-in to their brand (i.e., themselves). From the “about me” section of a writer’s personal and professional blog and website to figuring out how to standout to keeping it real, the tips run the gamut of what any freelancer on top of his or her game should do to get noticed. So, while you may not be trying to pursue a career as a freelance writer, guess what, all of the things a freelancer should do to get noticed and hired are kind of the same things your brand needs to do to engage an audience; there’s no one who won’t benefit from Molly’s article.
So, I’d like to believe that we’re fundamentally good because how much would the alternative put a damper on your day (I mean, wouldn’t that just slay your caffeine buzz and not in a good way?). Thankfully, it turns out that we’re generally altruistic (phew). What does that mean for content marking? It means that we have to be able to tap into people’s sense of empathy, which like most things is easier said than done. Read Nicola Brown’s article for full details and for insight on how to get folks to empathize.
If you, like pundit Lacy Boggs, has had negative experience with the whole marketing through e-mail business, then this article will make you think twice about your e-mail’s potential. After many failed experiences, Lucy regrouped and found success in an e-mail that implemented storytelling, contrarianism, “open loops” and curiosity, and authentic scarcity. In this article, Lacy explains the strategy as well as how she crafted that first e-mail that the audience read word-for-word and that worked.
So, if you don’t take it from us, take it from Matt Brennan that website conversions are necessary for your business’ digital health, and take it from Matt (and us) that overly-salesy spam-esque content isn’t going to do the job; only stories with emotional appeals are going to take the cake (or gain those conversions, but still, have cake). In addition to telling compelling stories and using emotional appeal, Matt details some other tips for gaining those oh-so-glorious website conversions.
Taylor Mallory Holland strikes a chord with any creative mind and / or storyteller with this piece as she discusses three creative barriers that detail decision-making. In analyzing the juxtaposition between procrastination and productivity, she not only gives us three (accurate) characters that dwell in the bodies of all “master procrastinators”, she also explains that sometimes procrastination has a (good) place, which is that while we’re say, going for a jog, taking our kids to the park, and spending $5 on a blended coffee drink we could’ve made at home, we’re also being intellectually productive in our thoughts and observations (which is good…does this mean I can write the coffee off as a business expense?). She also analyzes perfectionism versus progress, and collaboration versus accountability.
This may be my favorite post by Kathryn Jones ever because her guidance for shooting better video on your smartphone is easy to understand and to apply. Not only that, it’s applicable to shooting content video as well as to shooting video of your kids (or pets). Kathryn’s tips include gems like always shooting horizontally, know how to recognize and to create good lighting, and avoid digital zoom when possible among other things.
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.
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