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Publishing

Say Hard Things with Data Visualization

No one wants you to tell them their baby is ugly. Even you.

It’s easy to be a critic of everyone else’s work, but what about your own? How can you be sure the efforts and resources you are investing for some expected outcome are actually going to deliver that outcome? And how many times do you invest months of time, effort, energy, and budget dollars only to come out on the other end completed dumbfounded it didn’t work out as intended?

In today’s business climate, you can’t afford to be wrong for very long.

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What's wrong with the "F" word?

What's wrong with the "F" word?

Not that "F" word! 

That's another post for another time. I'm talking about F-O-C-U-S in your content and messaging strategy. The ability to stay on target until you determine the campaign is a horrible failure or a raging success.

Too many give up before they give an idea the chance to succeed.

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6 steps to better digital writing

6 steps to better digital writing

The biggest mistake copywriters make is they assume the same copy can work in different channels. The default is to work toward efficiency. Write it once and then let design craft it for the desired distribution channel. Only it's not that simple.

Each channel has characteristics that make them distinct and different from the others. 

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Professional writers don't have literary orgasms

Professional writers don't have literary orgasms

I know a lot of writing hobbyists who are in love with the words and sentences they put on a page. You know who they are. They admire the work of people who have been dead of a few hundred years and lament the decline of true litrery genius in our culture. Personally, I don't think literary genius is extinct anymore than I believe the best writers are found in history books. Either way, that conversation misses the point completely.

The truth is professional writers make a living writing words for others—whether it is for an individual or business.

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5 new realities of marketing you can't ignore

5 new realities of marketing you can't ignore

Marketing will never be the same.

There was a time when desktop computing skills (remember that phrase?) moved from optional to required. Then, employees had to understand the Web. Now, no organization can afford to hire people in their marketing department who don't understand social networking and mobile engagement. My prediction is that every new hire for any professional position will one day have to demonstrate a proficiency in social and digital media.

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Integrated predictive search will make or break you

Integrated predictive search will make or break you

The discipline of content marketing is forcing businesses to become publishers and publishers to become businesses. The person who wins in this equation is ... EVERYONE.

People win because they feel empowered through knowledge to make better decisions, whether that's a local contractor for home improvement or deciding on the next ERP system to purchase and implement for your growing business. Inbound marketing changes the game in that it reverses roles. Instead of the business or vendor finding the customer, the customer finds the business or vendor.

Google is a verb you can't afford not to use.

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5 reasons why deadlines matter

5 reasons why deadlines matter

Every client wants to know three things when they hire freelance or contract creatives: 

  1. Will he or she accomplish what I need him to do?
  2. Will he or she deliver it in the form that I need it delivered?
  3. Will he or she meet my deadline?

I live on both sides of the table. I sometimes set deadlines. Other times, I am given deadlines. Either way, there is purpose and function behind every production schedule.

I have to admit I'm a litte crazy about dates.

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Better conversations begin with analytics

Better conversations begin with analytics

Analytics, when spoken, is a word that can divide a room of people. It will intrigue some and send others mentally and emotionally somewhere else believing that it is "someone else's" responsibility or simply unethical and irresponsible.

Yet every person interested in engaging others in meaningful conversations should pay attention to analytics. Every communicator wants to make the most of the opportunities he or she is presented with. But too often our game plan is based on a whim, grounded in the success of others, and left to intuition.  As is often said, "Hope is not a strategy."

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What a social media policy won’t do

What a social media policy won’t do

You can't fix stupid. Sorry. This is my fundamental skepticism of depending on corporate policies to control [sic] behavior on social media.

I'm not a huge fan of rules of any kind but especially when it comes to social media. That being said,  I'm beginning to develop an appreciation for social media policies as a way to help businesses, brands, and causes focus their work in the age of influence through digital communications. 

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Fewer messages, More distribution channels

Fewer messages, More distribution channels

I find myself saying this over and over again. The temptation for organizations is to just keep creating more and more messages while sending them across the most efficient and established models for the organization. The fatal flaw is in that logic is that the consumer controls the conversation now, not the organization. That means I can "mute" you, and you can't do anything about it. 

The lies that organizations buy into is that ...

  • They constantly need to have something new to say.
  • They intuitively know the communication preferences of others.
  • They believe everyone likes to be reached in the same way.

None of these are true.

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