So, you should write video scripts.

SFSlogo

Companies and marketers are spending more on online video. Which makes sense. Motion attracts attention. Part of our lizard hindbrain perks up and says, “Hey. That thing. It’s moving. Can it eat me? Oh! Can I eat it?” Instincts like that make for receptivity, if only at first.

The key is “at first.” Even with that advantage, you have to keep viewers engaged. And let’s be honest, y’all — a lot of videos suck.

Continue reading

So, let’s talk about video

SFSlogo

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, I have a new hero. And so should you.

 

SFSlogo

If you’ve been playing along at home, you know that lateral thinking is sort of my thing. Why? Dozens of reasons. Because it leads to creative solutions. Because mental play strengthens thinking skills. Because it can introduce new life into existing narratives…

Because sometimes, it’s hilarious.

Don’t believe me? I have a wonderful new example. Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, to the fine and ancient city of Manchester in the northwest of England.

But first, a quick heads up. This story is slightly off-color. And deeply immature. Which is exactly why it made me laugh.   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, what do you do when you really screw up?

 

SFSlogo

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?

SFSlogo

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.

ComixShelf

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, your free content: Use it or…um, don’t? I guess?

SFSlogo
My hiatus is about to come to an end. But before I return to serious social media-ing and bloggonating (Blogg O’Nating, by the way, is the worst leprechaun name ever), I thought I’d muse at you a little. Inspired by NASA.

Because seriously, this is beyond fantastic.

“But Steph,” you protest. “What does that disarmingly catchy parody have to do with my business? I’m not an astronaut!” You don’t have to be. You have content for days. Just gotta use what you’ve got.  Continue reading

So, what are your competitors doing right?

 

SFSlogo

I know, pumpkin. I know. You don’t want to think about those big meanies. Or hey, maybe you work in one of those cool market segments where friendly competition is the norm, and you don’t need to dwell on those folks. But on the off chance you have competitors, and you want to make sure you’re meeting or exceeding their efforts, how do you do that voodoo you need to do so well?

I think it is time, padawan. I think you are ready. This is an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. This…is close reading.   Continue reading