Digital natives love YouTube, devouring hours of video daily. It’s even making them better at what they do. Take the story of 20-year-old Jayson Tatum, star of the Boston Celtics, featured in the Wall Street Journal. While his youth certainly has a lot to do with his ability on the court, his age also gives him different tools than those of the generations before him. He grew up watching YouTube videos. To be more precise, he didn’t just watch them. He studied them. That’s how people learn today. If you want to know how to do something or become better at it, there’s bound to be thousands, if not millions, of videos to help you.
Somehow, the vast variety and scope of information created and published online has been condemned to reductive summary in the vacuous designation "content." We may be stuck with the word. Ubiquitous usage of the term has too deeply embedded itself into the culture and practices surrounding the production and consumption of online work.
Excessive Exclamation Points?!!! Who? Me?
I recently received a note expressing concern over my “overuse” of exclamation points: “You might want to reconsider your tendency to overuse exclamation points.” Overuse? Overly emphatic? Me? OK. Fair enough. Still, I requested an explanation. I wasn’t offended by the feedback. I was just curious about the commentary. I sensed a big discussion behind the advice. Alas, I received no reply.
So I began to think about the meaining of my reader’s feedback. I "might" want to reconsider my overuse of exclamation points? Was this a complaint? A soft recommendation? Sarcastic criticism?
At the end of the day, the use of exclamation points is about communicating tone. And tone is largely a matter of taste—as in “there is no accounting for…”
Still, tone is hard to determine in online communication. But then that's the whole point: Communicating tone in digital media requires content writers rethink the traditional rules and tools of style--including the use punctuation to project meaning and tone. Effective brand writing across digital channels is a complex issue, one that requires more than placing a ban on multiple exclamation points. Here's some issues to consider...
Small is Tall: Marketing in a Nutshell
Yeah yeah--small, tall, whatever. Just give me the caffeine.
We all know that clever little "disruptor": Some sneaky marketing genius at Starbucks decided that their small coffee would be known as a "tall"--a shift in diction that happens to earn about twice as much for the comparably sized "small" cup of coffee at McDonalds.
Words matter. What's the difference between a hotel and a motel? Sometimes--maybe often--just a letter and about $50 a night. And there you have it: Marketing in a nutshell.
How to Differentiate Your Brand Voice: Some Essential Tips
When it comes to authentic branding, whatever else you do, I highly recommend NOT referring to your brand’s “value proposition” as a “quality solution.”
Stressed by the Demand to Create all that Content?
If the answer is "yes," you're not alone. Studies show that marketers are undergoing increased job stress. And it's no wonder, given the increased complexity of the work. Marketers face many challenges today: High growth expectations, hyper competition in crowded market places, and the digital and social-media revolution. What’s more, growing pressure from the C-suite to implement marketing return on investment measures as a way to track and evaluate marketing success is increasing the marketer’s workload. Studies show that stress rates for marketers are on the rise.
In an interview for The Guardian, Steven Johnson describes his notion of the "adjacent possible" as a vision of cultural history in which innovation develops as a collective process, like "one door leading to another, exploring the palace one room at a time."
Making the Abstract Concrete: The Challenge of Content Writing in Niche B2B Markets
One of the most challenging aspects of developing effective B2B content involves the need to produce writing that speaks on two levels: On one level, content must engage the highly specialized language, or “jargon” (to risk an unnecessarily pejorative term) of professional audiences in niche markets; on another level, target audiences are often diverse, and content must consequently present material with the clarity necessary to remain accessible to a broader range of stakeholders.