We all speak English. I just happen to do it for a living.

Facebook as Your Company Intranet

Posted: October 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: management, social media | No Comments »

A year or two ago, I did a newsletter for my then-employer, Webtrends. I took all our news and put it into a Facebook-like format then emailed it out. Several people asked, “Is this our new intranet? What’s my login?” I laughed at them until a few months ago.

My unofficial bike team (the Muddy Iguanas) talks on Facebook. A LOT. And since our wives and girlfriends sometimes also see that stuff, we took the conversation into a “group,” and we made it “secret” so that it doesn’t clog up other people’s notifications and emails. But since then, it’s become a little bit of a clubhouse where we can talk about spending stupid amounts of money on hand-made sew-up tires, sharing videos of awful crashes, linking to photos from the previous night’s race, and sharing how-to articles. The Muddy Iguanas are now fully 90% of my Facebook experience.

So it occurs to me that if I needed a company intranet, I would use a “secret” Facebook group. You get all the power of Facebook — it’s in your feed, photos, videos, status updates, links, commenting, updating via email — except it’s kept away from everyone else’s Facebook stream.

I’m sure that someone nefarious could hack it. Or someone wily could figure out what you’re doing by targeting ads at you or something. But is it any less secure than whatever other cloud-based intranet tool you’re using? Plus, it dumps any work posts into your normal Facebook stream, so you see work-stuff while you’re screwing around on Facebook!

I dunno. Seems like the perfect tool to me. And honestly, having used Jive and 37 Signals, they’re pale imitations on the social level. (Basecamp is still awesome for project mgmt, though.)


Analytics are Cruel

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, interactive marketing, online copywriting, portfolio | 1 Comment »

So I was talking to this agency for a copywriting gig and didn’t get it. No biggie — there’s always opportunities here and there. So the creative director wrote me back saying that there was some “good stuff” in my portfolio, but blah blah blah. Except the “blah blah blah” bit was basically that they were looking for more than just a headline writer. They wanted someone who thinks strategically about the business and across new platforms.

I thought to myself, “Odd. I must’ve really fucked up my portfolio if he didn’t pick that up. I mean, that’s a pretty accurate description of me.”

Analytics are cruel because Read the rest of this entry »

WebVisionary Awards, 2010

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: interactive marketing, online copywriting, portfolio, webvisionary awards | No Comments »

One of my favorite projects ever, and I spent maybe 2 hours on the whole thing.

Just click through and read. It pretty much explains itself.

Click to get krunk, meatsack!

Click to laugh. Well, first the image will get bigger, and then you'll read the copy. But then you'll laugh, I promise.

Webtrends: The Great Bike Fiasco of 2009 Research Report

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: editing, interactive marketing, management, online copywriting, portfolio, social media, webtrends | No Comments »

In a way, I started on this project before I even joined Webtrends, when I wrote a blog post titled: “Portland Bike and Marketing Freak Out.” It’s a good description of what happened when Webtrends bought an ad on the side of a TriMet train asking, “should cyclists pay a road tax?”  I stand by that analysis of the campaign today — a near miss. Read the rest of this entry »

Webtrends: A Facebook Contest for Nerds

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, facebook, interactive marketing, management, online copywriting, portfolio, social media, webtrends | No Comments »

Click to giganticize the Webtrends Great Data Giveaway screenshot

Early on at Webtrends, we decided to run a Facebook contest. That was pretty much the direction: let’s run a contest to see how it works.

So we wondered: what would make Webtrends’ faithful excited? And I came up with this idea of embracing the data nerd element. “Fly your nerd flag high” was an ad headline I remember.

Read the rest of this entry »

Making Webtrends Mobile Analytics Relevant

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: interactive marketing, online copywriting, portfolio, webtrends | No Comments »
"Compare Apples to Apples..."

Click to embiggen.

Webtrends is best known for their web analytics software. When they came out with an analytics offering for mobile apps and mobile sites, we wanted to inject some personality and life into the launch.

What I love most about this headline is that, in hindsight, it seems completely obvious. The software lets you compare the performance of all your apps — regardless of platform — in one place. It lets you compare mobile to web. It lets you see app usage and adoption, rather than just how many downloads. Read the rest of this entry »

Bernbach’s Law and Family Ties

Posted: November 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, editing, interactive marketing, management | No Comments »

Go read this first. Or just read my blockquote below:

At my company Fight, we call this “the 80% rule.” It goes like this:

When you convey a difficult concept, you’re better off being 80% right and simple, than 100% right and complex. Read the rest of this entry »

Rant: The Marketing You Deserve

Posted: September 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, management | No Comments »

Q: How many copywriters does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None, because we’re not changing anything!

I love that joke because, frankly, most copywriters are all sharp elbows and big egos. They’ve sweated through it, considered the angles, and now you want to change it? Are you crazy?

Writing isn’t easy. Staring at your screen until your fingertips bleed isn’t easy. But after a few days Read the rest of this entry »

I Swore I Would Never Write about Mad Men.

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: interactive marketing, management, social media | No Comments »

It burns me to write this, but dammit, this Mad Men scene is such an epic argument about data vs. creativity. Data that looks backwards vs. ideas that lean forward. “You can’t tell how people are going to behave based on how they have behaved.”

As a marketer and a company, you sometimes have to decide that the data won’t guide you. Today, it’s both easier and harder to take a creative leap.

Testing an idea — creating an ad, buying some targeted placements, measuring the results — is relatively easy. It’s never been easier to produce amazing, compelling stories. It’s easy to test them in a controlled metro area.

However, when you make a really big creative leap, it IS harder than ever to keep them quiet. Especially if you’re a big brand. Social media, YouTube, email, whatever. We’re connected like never before. The new NIKE World Cup video got a few hundred thousand hits on YouTube before NIKE launched any other support for it. People found it and shared it.

Turn a Perceived Weakness Into a Strength

Posted: July 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips | No Comments »

I’d been thinking of the Avis Rent-a-Car tagline from the 60’s: “We’re No. 2, so We Try Harder.” So later, I was IM’ing with a co-worker about a campaign idea where we would take a perceived weakness of one of our products — that it’s a “black box” solution for paid search — and turn it into a strength. For example:

“It’s the sweaty socks and dudes hitting on me at the gym that I really love about working out. I mean, it’s great to look nice, but it’s really the EXPERIENCE that I’m after.”

And I pointed out that: “In advertising, it’s never bad to turn a perceived weakness into a positive… Unless your weakness is for Boy Scouts.”