Category Archives: Words Matter

The Digital Marketing Dilemma: content, immersion or entertainment?

AKA the hunt for content that makes me content?

From a young age, I have always loved reading, getting completely absorbed by the world of the book, whether Mallory Towers, Hogwarts or Thornfield Hall. Even now, as an adult, my capacity to lose days and nights to books is a pleasant reminder that I’m not jaded and numb in this adult world – I can still get lost!

It is hard to predict what will get me, but now this desire reveals itself when I’m browsing online episode reviews, fan videos (love me some fan art) and twitter. The internet is the home for fan devotion, it’s amateur in nature and charmingly sincere. This is content that makes me content. It goes someway to indulging my curiosity about the story, be it Lost theories, love triangles or Sherlock tumblrs.

Content of this ilk absorbs me and has my attention.

Do you know how hard it is to generate that sort of reaction?

In my marketing day job I harp on about the importance of making good, high-quality content, but am I setting up my clients (and myself) for failure with the bar set so high?

Let’s be honest, the absorbing potential of a story about stationery supplies is low. You might get the odd hit and generate some positive buzz but beyond that, it is unlikely that people will get too caught up in Stapler-gate: who used the last staple?

I’ve been reading @Sree, @LesHinton and @SuperWuster’s work, the TL;DR of which is human attention is the scarcest resource. With this in mind, where does this leave me? What can I recommend to clients?

Here we are now, entertain us

Here’s a novel idea, instead of making people work when reading your beautifully-crafted content, why not focus on entertaining them instead? Short videos instead of lengthy blog posts. Give them less to do but more to enjoy.

Perhaps we should leave immersion to the creative writers and storytellers and instead, focus on FUN? Less is more, when it comes to content. Save your users some time.

Unbelievably simple way to prioritise projects…


Everyone talks about this, this urgency to take the wheat and let the chaf be still. To butcher Chaucer. Consultants are defined by their ability to do this, but it’s very hard to make someone understand how to do this sort of thinking for themselves.

I certainly struggled with it, finding it difficult to prioritise projects as a result. Not to mention producing results that would keep the client fitter, happier and more productive. After all, it’s all well and good getting more traffic to the site but if none of that traffic signs up, tunes in or buys something, it’s just not going to impress The Boss. I don’t mean Bruce Springsteen. I doubt he’d be impressed with anything in the realm of Digital Marketing. Not that he has anything against it, forcibly, I’d imagine, but, you know, it’s just not his thing.


That magic, clarity-inducing solution to project overload? The simple binary test as to whether something is worth doing. Or not?

Vitamin or Aspirin?

That’s it.

Just ask yourself if i’s a vitamin or an aspirin for this particular problem.

To put it another way, is it a ‘nice to have’ or will it solve something? Will it help your client make more money?

I’m not the first person to use this analogy, just chiming in as  I hope it brings clarity to anyone struggling with how to schedule projects. I cannot explain why this wording worked for me, but lo, I share the knowledge.

Pass it on, or let me know if this helps you with project planning.

Words Matter: 60 words that define US foreign policy (via Radiolab)

Radiolab’s recent podcast examine 60 words, one sentence, written on 14th September 2001 that have been the basis for America’s foreign policy ever since. Extraordinary rendition, Guantanomo, drone strikes: everything has been hung on this one sentence, a rather vague, dry sentence at that. As ever, with anything fiercely controversial, the language is deliberately muted and legal, to mitigate the drama that lies just beneath the surface.

This one sentence, signed into law by Bush called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Continue reading Words Matter: 60 words that define US foreign policy (via Radiolab)

Words Matter: Huffington Post’s poor word choice.

Today I was surprised by a crass gaffe courtesy of the Huffinton Post.
As a user, I expect content to be edited, researched, thought-out and interesting. I like to stick to trusted sources for this reason, so there’s a fair chance that what I’m reading is at least factually correct.

I received an email from the Technology editor of the Huffington Post with the juicy, irresistible article title, If You Have A Mac, Memorize These 13 Keyboard Tricks. Eager for more mac keyboard MAGIC, I did what was expected of me, what any rational person would do in this instance, I clicked the link and started reading.

Continue reading Words Matter: Huffington Post’s poor word choice.