Ah, jargon. The business writer’s bane. (And, let’s be honest here, very occasionally the business writer’s savior. It’s late. You’re on deadline. You need to shoehorn a 50-word description into a 30-word elevator pitch. It happens. But we aspire to better things.) If you’ve ever struggled with the lure of business/marcomm/tech jargon—or laughed at its […]
Earlier this month, the big night finally arrived. My eight-year-old daughter Mila, a budding ballerina, made her latest stage appearance. The show was a ballet version of The Wizard of Oz. Mila and her cohorts from Friday morning ballet class played the field mice who rescue the unconscious Cowardly Lion from the deadly poppy field. […]
In today’s post, the serial comma—also known as the Oxford comma. For those of us who may become rather focused on such things, the debate about “serial comma, yes or no?” can be serious business. Commas are wonderful tools. They convey changes of direction, clarify sentences, indicate pauses, and flag upcoming dialogue. In marketing communications, […]
Your Highness: I’m clued in enough to laugh at those parodies of over-the-top business jargon that periodically make the rounds… but I’m also quite aware of the need to keep my job fit in by embracing the specialized language of my professional peers. What’s an English major turned midlevel marketing manager to do? My dear […]
You’ve started a customer reference program, and found the perfect customer to feature. The draft has been through all your organization’s approval layers. After the customer approves the draft, it’s ready for publication. Approval should be a breeze. A day or two seems reasonable, doesn’t it? After all, the customer did agree to participate. Actually, […]
Every brand makes a promise to customers. For Apple, the promise is elegantly designed, easy-to-use products. For Starbucks, it’s that customers will receive the same high-quality products and service every time they interact with the brand, around the world. For FedEx, it’s that packages will reach their destination absolutely, positively overnight. Authentic brands are those […]
Surprise! You’ve just received an email saying that you have a credit with the Content Bureau. It’s a nice problem to have, n’est-ce pas? Except that you are now wracked by guilt. When you opened the PO for that project that went under budget, and for which you now have a credit, you were in […]
Today’s online marketing campaigns are often forced into the small smartphone viewing area, where everything that can be “above the fold” must be “above the fold.” The name of the game is still the same, however: Getting consumers’ attention and holding it long enough to create an impression that leads to action. Animated videos can […]
Work in marketing long enough and you’ll feel it: the pit in your stomach when you and your creative team start talking past each other. “The creative team isn’t giving us what we want,” you assert. “Marketing doesn’t know what it wants,” the creative team counters. There’s an easy way to avoid this too-common marketing […]
They’re everywhere. Book jackets, of course, and ads for movies—but also, unlikely places, such as cereal boxes and sides of buses. Twitter is essentially built on them. Yes, we are surrounded by blurbs—short (usually), glowing reviews or micro-stories lauding this, that, or the other. When flooded with this many “inputs,” as a tech-y friend of […]
When clients hire the Content Bureau to manage their massive, multi-asset marcom projects, it’s their ongoing engagement that plays a key role in the project’s success. In this post, one of the Content Bureau’s beloved clients, Kerry Anne Rothe, Senior Manager of Communications at PayPal, shares tips for how clients should partner with their copywriting […]
I just received an unintentionally hilarious piece of mail. It’s a letter from one of my many credit card providers, telling me I’m “approved” for a free 2013 appointment book and pocket organizer set. I am to pay just $4.95 for shipping and handling. It was a nice gesture, and I should probably reciprocate by […]
Once upon a time, it was a Mad Men world. Marketers worked by instinct, making enormous up-front investments with no clue whether campaigns would succeed or fail. Agencies grew more based on the thickness of their Rolodexes and their persuasiveness in pitch meetings than on their ability to drive clients’ bottom lines. Today, by contrast, […]
Starting (or reviving) a B2B customer case study program is often easier than keeping one going. You know two or three perfect customers, and they’re eager to help. You and your case study writing team breeze through the interview, drafts, and approval process. It’s awesome. The boss is thrilled. Your new BFFs in the field […]
What can you do with 25 words? Write a note to your kids about how to reheat dinner. Make a grocery list. How about tell a complete, compelling story? It’s possible to finesse about two dozen words into a product description that’s not so high-level it glosses over everything, but also not so detailed it […]
What you business types have always secretly suspected about writers and designers is true: We sit around in cafés all day, peering into our laptops and muttering to ourselves. Sometimes we take breaks to play Words With Friends, or to drink coffee and mutter to each other. All that muttering? Sometimes it’s about the joys […]
Blech. It’s already late-mid-January and you still haven’t made a New Year’s resolution. I think I know why: if you’re older than, say, 25, it’s probably impossible to think of a single personal flaw you haven’t already overcome by way of a previous New Year’s resolution. But if you work in marcomm, you can always […]
A PowerPoint presentation ultimately requires two things: powerful messaging and impactful graphic design. Achieving both requires careful preparation, but the results are so worth it.
Your Highness: I hold a job that requires I write articles, press releases, and similar pieces in which I quote others. You’d think I’d have such matters down by now, but I’ll come clean: I never really learned the rules for using quotation marks. To complicate matters further, I’m a bit of an Anglophile—only the […]
If you’re reading this blog, you probably work in marketing communications. Have you ever stopped and wondered what separates you from the spammers? When I say “spammers,” I’m not talking about well-meaning folks who may have once violated some technicality in the CAN-SPAM Act, purely by accident. I’m talking about the shady, deceptive, get-something-for-nothing crowd. […]
Practice and patience are required to get the most from yoga training—and when integrating sales feedback and processes into a marketing plan. The end result for committing fully to both: Healthier mind and body, and healthier sales and marketing results.
Business-speak seems to spawn imaginative metaphorical meanings for compound words. We have turnkey solutions to bandwidth issues and roadmaps to implementing backend gateways; we have sales pipelines and streamlined workflows and software toolkits and downstream upsells. Lately, we have been seeing some compound word metaphors that leave even Content Bureau eggheads with a bit of a headache…
Many marcomm professionals will feel compelled to grab the latest business gospel as vacation reading this summer. But as passionate, creative thinkers, they also should consider dropping a few of these titles into their beach bags.
Is it a stretch to see parallels between shingling a wall and writing copy? You be the judge.
A recent B2B copywriting project began with our client sending me an array of white papers, case studies, and brochures as background material. She called particular attention to one white paper as a great benefits overview. Indeed, the paper does provide a very clear explanation of the value of a complex product. As the copywriters, […]
Word lovers from various fields–marcomm, design, philanthropy, venture capital, and entertainment PR–tell us about the overused words they can’t live without, no matter how much they’d like to.
Whether you love them or hate them, multiday conferences present a huge array of competing opportunities. You can attend interesting sessions all day, fill your schedule with private client meetings, or focus on building stronger ties with marcomm colleagues you rarely see. Or you can just wander around making new connections with people. That’s what I usually do. In fact, that’s why I go to conferences.
Back in the 90s, it was my voice that told you the Cellular One number you called was out of service. Sorry about that. I was a professional voiceover actor. You may have heard me on radio commercials for Spiegel, the San Francisco Ballet, Brita Water Filters, and Union Bank, and on computer games, including […]
White papers get a bad rap. Dull. Long. Overly-complicated. Anything but sexy. But they’re still one of the highest-impact marcomm assets you can create. Give your customers what they yearn for—variety, visual interest, and bold content—and they’ll fall in love with white papers (and your company) all over again.
What does the field marketing team really want from great marcomm? Compelling offers that can help hook prospective customers.
Terry is the consummate interviewer. As marcomm professionals, I think we can all take a page from Terry’s book to help us conduct great interviews.