Digital natives love YouTube, devouring hours of video daily. It’s even making them better at what they do. Take the story of 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.
Marketers know all-too-well that a successful content strategy requires the ability to engage a target audience. Engaging a single audience is challenging enough, but brands often target markets in multiple verticals. As a result, Marketers commonly grapple with greater challenges.
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 meaning 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 are some issues to consider.
The Danger of SEO as “SEO”
In the content marketing biz, one tends to get a lot of questions about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Certainly, concerns about enhancing SEO make sense. After all, publishing content on a company blog site will not generate business growth if prospects can’t find that content when searching the web.