So, how about that Roanoke Writer’s Conference?

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Y’all, the Roanoke Writers’ Conference was so great. This was their fourth year, and I can only imagine the total global domination they’re heading for. Get in there next year so you can be all hipster and say, “Yeah, I was going there way back in 2019 before it blew up and sold out.”

I met some fantastic people, reconnected with others, and got asked some very clever questions by folks looking to up their marketing game. As promised, here’s a link to the deck and my notes for their reading pleasure. But first, a couple of the resources I mentioned. Continue reading

So, this will totally be unbiased, right?

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Look, I love Coke. I used to cram my dorm room mini-fridge with the 12-packs, and hoarded those precious, precious buy-one-get-one-free coupons like Smaug hoarded gold. I mean, me ‘n Coca-Cola go way, way back.

But I haven’t been drinking as much of it lately. Because…calories. And high-fructose corn syrup. And beer. Look, you live in the same town as Cobra Brewing and try not to enjoy that deliciousness, ok?

Turns out, I’m not alone in cutting back on the soda. In the U.S., consumption is down for the tenth straight year, with more folks drinking water, even sugary water-type beverages, than diet pop.

But hey! No worries! Sure, we’ve all been told both diet and exercise contribute to health and well-being, but there are some researchers out there saying that what you eat and drink really isn’t that big a deal!   Continue reading

So, let’s talk about video

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Well, cats and kittens, I’ve had video on the brain for a while. It started with the tiny camera of tininess. The Japanese-only instructions are slowing me down, can’t lie, but I have figured out how to shoot stills. (They’re gorgeous, but they don’t move.)

DFWSEM’s speaker for May 13 is a factor, too. You haven’t heard? Casey Henry. Wistia wiz. Video marketing guy. He’ll be presenting on how to use video to up your marketing mojo.

And of course there were the roughly 197268345716234 articles about 2015 being the Year of Video in Marketing. Hey, they weren’t wrong. We got Periscope and Meerkat just this year, after all, making web streaming practical just about anywhere with WiFi. And we even got free apps to shoot and quick-edit right from your phone.   Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #12

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

In previous Thought Experiments, I’ve asked you about everything from coffee to evil. But as a card-carrying nerd (No, really — I have a S.H.I.E.L.D Agent ID I got from the Marvel Experience, and if that isn’t a nerd card I don’t know what is), I think it’s time we got down to the good stuff.

Comic books.

Oh, comics. How I love you. From the goofiness of the Golden Age to the grittier-than-thou late 80s and 90s, that four-color art form warms my heart. Cliche monthly titles or sprawling graphic novels that challenge the form. Sophisticated storytelling like Neil Gaiman’s epic Sandman. Insightful coming-of-age work like Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin. Inspiring brilliance like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel. And I can’t forget artists and inkers…

I’m going to stop before I start babbling.

Comics are having a serious pop culture moment, and they owe a lot of that success to the idea of the superhero. There are all sorts of other stories, of course, but when we think of comic books, we think of fluttering capes and quips made under pressure and feats of superhuman coolness.

So here’s the experiment: If your brand was a superhero, who would s/he be? What sort of costume, powers, and backstory would set him or her apart from the others? Maybe your brand is a driven anti-hero detective. Or a conflicted beacon of righteousness. Or a compassionate, regal visitor to the world of men.

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, ought to be thinking about what makes your brand unique.

Go ahead. Give it a think. See what you get.

So, ready to get your graphics on?

 

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As anyone who’s ever seen me try to decorate a cake will tell you, I am not a graphic designer. At all. And if you’re wearing a lot of hats in your small- or medium-sized biz, I’m guessing you’re not a designer either (unless you run a design firm, in which case you don’t need this post). But not being a graphic guru is bad news for both of us, buddy, and I’ll tell you why.

Gmail grid view.

Now, I’m not saying that those three words should cause you a bowelquake of panic. But I am saying you should check it out.  Continue reading

So, what do you do when you really screw up?

 

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In my last couple of pieces, I’ve pointed out some examples of what not to do. Like, ever. Under any circumstances. There was a key and creepy difference between these two examples, though.

Both started out as honest, if incredibly short-sighted, mistakes. But one screw up was followed by a sincere apology. The other? Not so much.

It might be instructive to talk about how to say you’re sorry. Like all forms of communication, that’s storytelling. And because it deals with emotions and disappointment, it’s important that it be respectful storytelling.   Continue reading

So, why do we keep having this problem?

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Confession time, my little chinchillas. I’m a nerd. No. I mean, I’m a nerd. A D&D playing, glasses wearing, bad-horror-movie-quoting nerd. Need proof? Here’s one of my four embarrassingly overburdened comic book shelves.

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See? Nerd.

Which means, of course, I love Superman in any and all forms. Even the old TV show the Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. But something has always bothered me about the show.

It’s the criminals. They’re stupid.   Continue reading

So, again with the creepy, Facebook?

 

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Facebook. Sweetie. Boychik. Come here. We have to have another chat. About the creepy.

You’re doing it again.

I know that you want to be all things to all people, and that now you have stockholders to earn for. And hey, new features build buzz and keep folks in the app, rather than zipping over to Yelp to find restaurants and reviews.

But you could maybe be not so stalker-y?  Continue reading