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Effective communication isn’t just about what you say; it’s also about how you say it. That’s called “tone of voice” — and getting it right can be the difference between success and failure. Whether you sound formal or casual, humorous or serious, respectful, enthusiastic or irreverent — the words you choose, the order you put them in, the way you structure your sentences — al ...
Not all headlines are created equal. Newspaper editors have known this for years. Now, with the internet and social media, the art of headline writing is no longer the province of a few clever sub-editors, it’s a skill individuals, brands, writers, freelancers, bloggers — practically everyone — is learning. It’s also no longer just an art. Writing headlines that win is now a science, too.
It’s easy to suck. Getting that first sentence right — finding the perfect words to capture the reader’s attention and hold it — can be tricky. For some of us, it’s a delicious challenge. Do I paint a picture or hit them with the facts? Do I metaphorically punch the reader in the gut? Or do I woo them into the story gently? For others, finding the right words to start an art ...
When I was a cadet reporter things were still distinctly analogue, so my editorial calendar was kept on a notepad, a week to a page. It was crude, but efficient. I had planned out in front of me, for as many weeks ahead as practical, precisely what I needed to write for each week’s newspaper. I knew who was being interviewed, what photos were needed, what my deadlines were — everything.
It breaks my heart, every single time. The public perception of journalism is often a poor one. People tend to think of pushy foot-in-the-door TV reporters berating dole bludgers and dodgy builders or tacky magazines making up stories about royal babies or fat-shaming celebrities. People don’t tend to think about Woodward and Bernstein exposing Watergate, or Boston Globe repor ...
Today, James and Sarah discuss how to get one of your most important business service provider decisions right — choosing a marketing agency. Whether it’s a PR firm, an advertising company, a content marketing agency or any other communications supplier, what questions should you ask before you sign on the bottom line? Here are some key take-outs: • Not all agencies do everything.
TrackMaven has released its latest Marketing Leadership Survey and, worryingly, it suggests brands and their marketers are still hung up on vanity metrics, rather than metrics linked to a return on investment. More than 70 per cent of marketers said attributing social and content activity to revenue was one of the top marketing challenges they faced.
So I tried Snapchat. It was a bit like that time I tried snails in a fancy French restaurant – a fiddly, awkward and wholly unpleasant experience that left me wondering how on earth so many people could be raving about it. Now, I’m the first to admit I’m a bit of a social media addict. I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Some people court controversy. It’s how they make their living. They like upsetting people, stirring up trouble and making headlines. And good luck to them; at least if it all goes wrong they generally experience the consequences directly and personally. But when you’re a brand — whether you’re a corporate entity or a charity — finding yourself embroiled in controversy can cos ...
It’s a simple truth: Blogging, and blogging regularly, still works for business. It’s easy to get distracted by social media channels, apps, and whatever concept is the centre of the latest marketing buzz — virtual reality, perhaps. But when it comes to engagement, sometimes keeping it simple provides the best results.
Writing is one of those tasks a lot of people hate to do. They sit there staring at the blank page, unable to start, knowing what they want to say but unable to put it in words, finding ways to distract themselves, and getting themselves into a muddle. If that’s you, I have a neat trick to help you get started more confidently.
Where you advertise says a lot about your brand. It speaks to your geographic location and your target market, for example. But it also tells the public about your brand values. So, what does it say when your advertisement turns up on a fake news site? Or on a hyperpartisan site that espouses extremist views? The damage is potentially enormous.
There’s something intimate about listening in to a conversation between a good interviewer and a fascinating subject. It’s why radio is still such a fabulous medium and, I believe, it’s why podcasts have proven to be so successful, too. They stimulate the imagination in a way that more visual media, like television, does not. It is a brilliant medium for excellent storytelling.
In his newsletter last week one of the godfathers of content marketing, Robert Rose, mentioned a statistic in a report from Orbit Media he’d stumbled across. The average time it takes to write a blog post, according to the report, is 3.5 hours. Three-and-a-half hours! And that’s the average so, presumably, some writers are taking much longer than that.
No one becomes a champion by accident. OK, so there was that Steven Bradbury guy at the 2002 Winter Olympics, but how often do we really win in life because all our competitors have stacked it onto the ice? People only become champions in their field because they’ve found something they love and they’ve stuck with it.
Which brands are you loyal to? I mean properly loyal. The ones where, even if they’re more expensive, even if you have to drive across town to get to them, you’ll stick with them. The brands you’ll not only recommend, but go to bat for if someone’s criticising them. Now ask yourself, “why?” Why are you so loyal? I asked this question of some Twitter followers recently.
Here’s something I believe to be an absolute truth: Producing higher quality content is guaranteed to increase the success of your content marketing. Now I’m a journalist by profession, so I have a bias towards high-quality content. And obviously other factors are important, too, like a good strategy for amplification and distribution. But it’s the quality of the content I really believe in.
The moderator in the third US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had a surprise for the candidates. While both had declined to prepare a closing statement ahead of the debate, he asked them to deliver one anyway. What followed was a lesson in the importance of having an ‘elevator pitch’.
A little while back I wrote an article reassuring journalists — more and more of whom are being made redundant from shrinking newsrooms — that there really was life after journalism. In it I recommended a career in content marketing, explaining that our skills as journalists are very much in demand.
Copyright laws weren’t created for the digital age. Technology and internet connectivity have radically changed the production of cultural material — and it is easier than ever for an individual to have an idea, record it in words, images or sound and then release it to the world. Did you like that intro? I was pretty pleased with it. It’s beautifully crafted.