Thursday, September 25, 2014

Samsung 'Intersection' ad

Falling beautifully into the category of: Damn! I wish I'd wrote that, this ad is a fantastic interplay of simple words, vibrant graphics and a powerful message.

It's no wonder this creation by Leo Burnett Sydney has been shortlisted at the Spikes Asia Awards.

If you like this you also might like:

Monday, September 22, 2014

What your website needs

Here's an eye catching image I can relate to adding value by adding content

Regularly updating your website with fresh, relevant information is one of the best ways to keep visitors interested in what you have to show and tell. And sell.

It’s not as difficult as you may think. Don’t worry if you’re not a literary genius. I mean, get your spelling and grammar in check but so long as your content highlights your expertise don’t let the idea of sharing it freak you out.

  • Post helpful content that is going to inform your clients and prospective clients and pick topics that will keep you all interested.
  • Start by putting together one post for every common question you get asked by your clients.
  • Answer each one helpfully and simply.
  • Throw in a couple of asides or brief personal stories that help illustrate your point.
  • Don’t forget an eye-catching image and at least one link to another part or page of your website (a product or another blog post) to boost SEO. 
  • Keep things interesting by adding videos, asking questions, responding to comments or even conduct an online survey.

·       If you’re really not up for writing your own blog posts – or you don’t have time – you might be surprised how affordable it is to pay a copywriter to do it for you. I write blog posts and social media content for a number of companies and it is easy and fast - not to mention one less thing for them to do (and everybody aspires to having one less thing to do AMIRITE!)

     It has to be easy and fast otherwise the process will get in the way of regularity and defeat the purpose of getting someone else to do it for you. Keep the posts short and don’t get bogged down in writing the brief. Appoint a small number of employees (1-3) to come up with the topics and angles on a regular basis and they should be able to communicate freely with your copywriter without having to secure sign off from the Blog Topic Committee beforehand.

I’ve found a good way to work is:

Step 1:  my client will brief me on the topic via either a word doc with a few paragraphs; an email with some bullet points and a link or two to related news stories; or a 15 minute phone call.

Step 2 – I convert their ideas into an easy to read, compelling post with links and keywords where appropriate. Posts are usually no more than a page long.

Step 3  - I send it back to them to edit as they see fit, if at all, and post.

Step 4 – repeat two weeks later

What could be easier?

Stay tuned for ideas on promoting your posts.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Writers are a loved-up bunch

image source
I think writing is one of the only professions where competitors - for want of a better word (ironically) -  actively praise and promote one another. I would like to take full credit for this revelation but I'm pretty sure I read it somewhere recently. Maybe it was on Seth's blog? Not sure. Ironically (again), in the same paragraph as I pontificate about how great writers are I am ripping off someone's idea and not attributing credit. Which is nice.

But you see it all the time; writers loving on other writers. The Sun Herald has a double page spread every week dedicated to authors sharing the BEST BOOKS EVA!!! that weren't written by them. Journalists can't stop themselves from quoting and heaping praise on other hacks and bloggers are always listing and linking to blogs that they themselves j'adore.

When you are paid to thump out copy onto a screen, you're constantly given other people's paragraphs to edit, to work with, or - as one of my clients was oft fond of directing me - to 'fluff and finesse'. And much of the time you are editing you can't help but think of the text before you, "this is shit" before weaving your own brand of word nerd magic over it.

Please don't take this as a sign of mal-informed egomania dear reader. Not at all. No one notices just how lacking a piece of writing is, more than the person who spewed it out. No page is ever perfect or ever will be, and the balancing act of the writing profession entails getting it good enough to be enjoyed and effective and for you to get paid but not to spend so much time going over it again and again and again and again that the value of your time decreases.

Furthermore, there is nothing more bittersweet for a writer than reading someone else's masterfully crafted script and thinking, "Damn! I wish I wrote that."

And in that spirit, let me share with you 5 items I wish I'd penned:

  1. Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
  2. Notes from the Chairman by Bono for the New York Times
  3. This ad
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  5. This song:

If you like this you're probably best advised to click on this little beauty from the archives:
With all due respect, Stephen King was dead wrong

Monday, September 15, 2014

Margaret and David leave businesses with 10 valuable lessons

The credits are set to roll on the finale of At the Movies. That show has been such an outstanding success in Australia thanks mostly to an inimitable partnership between Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton. 

ABC aren't going to bother even grasping at a single straw and weaving that straw into a new set for a couple of potential Margie and Dave replacements.

No point.

The very definition of that adjective I used above - inimitable  - is "so good or unusual as to be impossible to copy". The ABC is smart enough to know that and Aunty is probably just saving the budget to invest in another fabulous Claudia Karvan series.

Still, while the curtain is lowering on At the Movies and we will no longer have any clue as to whether it will be worth forking out $150 to go to the movies this weekend, the dynamic duo still have one parting gift for us.

10 lessons the Margaret and David partnership can teach businesses:

  1. Two capable entities can unite to deliver more as a whole than separately.
  2. Be pompous enough to seem authoritative but no so much that people didn't want to listen.
  3. Be passionate.
  4. When one door closes in your face (SBS), if you're good enough, another door (ABC) will open to let you in.
  5. Great partnerships can form when an employee (Margaret) backs herself as a valuable contributor and a boss (David) is smart enough to hear her out.
  6. Employees over 50 can still be valuable as hell.
  7. Heated debate in the workplace can be respectful and productive.
  8. It's fine to enjoy the Sex & the City movie even if it isn't a masterpiece (ok, this isn't a business lesson but I wanted to make the point)
  9. “Self indulgent clap trap.” Is a great put-down in any decade.
  10. Never write off the promise of success because of a weak start.

It's hard to make film review video snippets interesting for a blog post, but David's impression of the Rage scream is pretty entertaining:

And, even better, here's Margaret:

See also:
Things I'm pretty sure I know. Yeah no. I do. Know ...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Prada retail art installation in the middle of the desert

Little Prada in the desert

This got my attention. It's a "permanent art installation" by Scandinavian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Located just off U.S. Route 90 in West Texas, about 60 km northwest of the city of Marfa, parched shopaholics may be excused for mistaking this for a mirage, but essentially, it is a window display of Prada shoes and handbags (there's no door to let you in).


You can read more about it here.