You probably shouldn’t try to boil down everything in life to a checklist. But checklists are comforting. They answer the question, “what are the essential things I must do?”. Last week at an event in New York City, I gave a talk that ended up, ultimately, being a checklist – a checklist for how to […]
Have you ever wondered while reading something, “Who wrote this, anyway”? Well, Google is wondering the same thing. And they want an answer. So, while the battle between literate, well-written web copy and SEO rages on, just a word of advice: associate yourself with your content as its author. Writing compelling, detailed content without cultivating equally […]
Click on the link below to get the World’s Shortest Guide to US Business Email. Reading this guide will help you will help you write perfect replies to important business emails, especially from people from other countries and cultures. Please send me a question at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions at all. Yours, – Rowan […]
Google wins again. First, it told us to write blog posts every day, or almost every day. And to optimize each one for a single keyword. That created the most godawful avalanche of mindless blabber in the history of humankind. 2.7 million blog posts per day is the metric that gets tossed around. And about […]
Is it normal to automate the words you choose? For humans, I mean? I saw these robots pictured above many years ago at the 2002 Whitney Biennial, but I never thought I’d be writing a blog post about them 16 years later. I guess artists (Ken Feingold) have a funny way of predicting the future, […]
A while back, I wrote that copywriting is 20% UX design. (By the way, UX design is a fancy way of saying “layout for digital interfaces.)” Benjamin Franklin knew this and co-wrote and designed a Declaration of Independence with – for his day – ample whitespace. His declaration was not just a transactional document; it was meant […]
When you enter a group of people unknown to you, do you introduce yourself, or wait to be approached? Unless one of you is Barack Obama is subscribed to my email list under a pseudonym, you probably introduce yourself. Because who are you, Barack Obama? By that I mean – who are you, someone well […]
Can I become a successful artist by delegating content creation? Is your art itself not content? Would you delegate the creation of the art, like the old Masters did, and Jeff Koons does now? Maybe so, but you would set the strategic direction, and decide when the work is finished, otherwise the whole thing is […]
Five things on my mind this week: 1. Book I’m reading Principles, by Ray Dalio, which I touched on briefly the other day. His approach to life and business, which has led to the creation of the world’s largest hedge fund, is “a game”. The game consists of failing repeatedly, then being presented with a […]
When does “first sight” happen in business? Sometimes it happens we “do” outbound lead generation. Sometimes it happens naturally in the context of inbound marketing. There’s lead generation and there’s lead generation. In fact, there are dozens of methods of lead generation, for thousands of business models. I don’t know about all of them. I […]
First of all, let’s get something clear: I’m a “dumb shit”. These words of modesty come from Ray Dalio, self-made (unlike Trump) billionaire hedge fund entrepreneur. They are the opening lines of his the dual-volume Principles (of Life and of Work), which I am reading this week and finding fascinating. Despite his modesty, Ray is […]
Five things on my mind this week: 1. Insight I’m agreeing with I watched a talk that cold email expert Alex Berman gave last year. When asked about the success factors of cold email outreach, Alex said: The biggest factor I’ve found is your website. It’s not even the content of your email, it’s not […]
This article is about the importance of positioning to business development, especially for digital agencies. Whatever the hell that is. More on that below. Someone recently asked this question on Quora: What has been the best B2B marketing tactic to convert cold sales leads to warm ones? One of the best answers”: “There is […]
Being charming in business, specifically in marketing, and super-specifically, in copywriting, confers an advantage. So what is charm and how can you cultivate it?
Contents Why confidence matters Who uses confidence to generate demand and sell? What determines your ability to sell? How to develop confidence in the value of the services you sell Conclusion: business confidence cultivation is an essential practice I wanted to atone for the article I wrote earlier this summer on the psychodynamics of selling […]
A few days ago, I wrote about hybrid expertise firms, where I argued that small firms need to acquire, contract, or hire talent in multiple expertise areas even while they offer a narrow range of services to a narrow range of clients. That got me thinking about blending not just expertise areas but services, too. […]
Is yours a complex services business? It could be if your firm is one of these: Design agency Marketing firm Advertising agency Software/data service company Sofware publishing company PR firm Web agency Digital marketing firm Management consulting firm If you’re one of these, you may have some things in common with the rest of the […]
Page One Score for big creative & digital agencies. If you could write (and design) results someone gets when they type your name into the first page of Google, what would the results be? What’s your Page One Score?
I bet you’ve heard this one before: “Word-of-mouth and referrals are the best possible leads”. Or how about “Word-of-mouth and referrals are problematic”. These are true statements, but there’s something missing, something very important about these two best kinds of leads. Tell me if you agree.
What’s the difference, between the difference, between a UX consultancy, a digital ad agency, and a tech consulting firm? In my opinion, less than we think. All digital services firms should offer a hybrid mix of creative, technological, and marketing expertise. Lemme know what you think.
This article examines Harry Browne’s definition of profit as selling happiness, in his book Secret of Selling Anything, in the light of what Cialdini teaches us about persuasion in his book Influence. Dive in!
Do you know what the problem is? The problem is that content isn’t copy. Content is what you put in a jar or a box. Copy is messaging that inspires action. All good marketing strategies balance content with copy. This is why most services firms’ websites end up being a waste of space/money. They operate […]
This is a long one, so feel free to skip ahead Content marketing is taking took over the world Don’t take this advice (without carefully considering it) Paper-napkin cost of blogging How to tell a good blog from a waste of time Content vs Insight Is thought leadership contagious? Caculating return on investment My first attempt […]
Michelangelo’s statue of David is not the real David Let’s think about that for a moment. Who was the real David? Who created him? And was he copied by Michelangelo to create his famous statue – or was there more to it than that? You may be in a hurry, so I’ll sum up this […]
Copywriting is a form of “strategy ghostwriting”, coupled with angst and pity for your customer that they are unable to put their own strategy into words, thereby improving their ability to talk about it – and understand it. #OneSentence
Even wholesalers embrace embrace value-based sales and marketing, so why can’t a B2B services provider?
Inspired by David Baker’s expertise evaluation method which asks you to name and explain at least 20 marketing insight for those you serve.
One of the exercises advocated by management consultant David C Baker is “Drop and Give Me 20”. Here are 20 ideas about marketing that I obsess over. Tell me yours.
“Once properly positioned, building your target list of prospects to whom you will be most compelling and relevant should be easy. ~Blair Enns I couldn’t believe my ears a few years ago when I first heard this concept floated by David C Baker and Blair Enns. Build a list? Why? To ask strangers […]
I love the word facilitate; it reminds of a care-free youth where student co-op meetings were “facilitated” (not run or managed) by an equal among equals. Now set that image in your mind next to that of a sales conversation between a professional services provider and a business owner and you have an amusing juxtaposition united […]
Most providers of B2B products and services think they should adopt a light sell for their service. They don’t like the hard sell because it feels bossy and demanding. Hard sell B2B marketing makes them feel uncomfortable. In fact, Ford made a killing in the 80s and 90s by introducing a car line whose entire […]
I do brand messaging, which is the expression in writing of positioning and brand identity. On the most basic level that means writing compelling words, which applies to every kind of sales and marketing. Sometimes it’s useful to refer to this as just key copy, or key messages. But to really understand how brand messages […]
UX (user experience) design is a fancy word for the age-old practice of layout, meaning how you present written content visually. And no one – certainly not designers – understands the value of layout as well as a copywriter. And whenever you make statements like this, it’s never a bad idea to cite Ben Franklin. […]
A commission-based compensation arrangement is not a good idea when it comes to B2B marketing and business development. At least not when the sale of complex and consultive services is at stake. Not good for the business owner, not good for the sales and marketing consultant, and not good for the client. Lose-lose-lose. That said, […]
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Standards, regulations, and rules. These are always problematic, right — really? Well, I’m not sure that’s true of the new Google Ad Grants rules that went into place on January 1st of 2018. Here’s a fact: Ad Grants–holders must now maintain an AdWords CTR (click-through-rate) of 5% or else their accounts will be suspended. There […]
This is a short story about digital marketing and cold calling. Fresh out of school, I got a paid internship in San Mateo, CA. It was in the heart of Silicon Valley, during the dotcom boom, with “NewMedia”, a print and online magazine right in the middle of the digital world — exciting, I know, […]
Printed copy has an interesting characteristic. It never changes. I once checked out a copy of “Scientific Advertising”, by Claude Hopkins from the local college library. Of course, it’s got exactly the same content now as when I first checked it out – and as when it was first published close to a century ago. […]
Just a collection of notes about my experience with digital platforms centered on CRM. As we move into a focus on 360-degree “Digital Experience”, CRM-as-the-hub still makes sense to me.
Meetings are for making decisions. No one should (have to) participate in a meeting if they don’t contribute to making decisions. And other reflections on how to tame the beast that is a business meeting.
Back in the Clinton years, I interned at a publishing company in New Orleans and read “queries”, synopses of manuscripts that long-haul truckers, crawfish farmers, and microwave-oven chefs wanted to publish. That made me ask myself: what’s the value of writing about your work– does it make you think differently about it?