Can you change your Uncle Fred’s (or any American’s) mind about climate change? A study published in late 2015 in the journal Topics in Cognitive Sciences does not leave cause for optimism. Photo credit: Alex Gindin | Unsplash
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I got my first writing job out of the University of Oregon in 1981. Since then, I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, a corporate communicator and, for the past 20 years, a freelance writer. I've completed one (unpublished) novel and am working on another. I’m still learning, but here are 10 things I figured out in that time.
If you’re like most marketing managers at small- to medium-sized B2B firms, you’re expected to deliver a constant stream of quality content on a shoestring budget.
That often means you must rely on internal subject matter experts to produce your content. Internal people whose top priorities don’t always match yours. Who are not writers. And who don’t always come through, despite their best intentions.
When I worked in corporate communications for an electric utility, I edited several publications. Even though I wrote a lot of the articles myself, I couldn’t do it all. I had to rely on staffers. In the process, I learned a few tricks to get people to contribute quality content on time.
Here are 10 ways to get internal content producers to deliver.
Does your website’s Our Story page (or sub-section of your About page) tell a story? Or does it act more like an About page, telling us what you do, what you make, who you serve and why that’s unique?
Not that there’s anything wrong with an About page. In fact, it’s really important to have one. Sometimes your prospects just want a stripped-down, plain-English description of who you are. They don’t want to wade through a bunch of hifalutin language to get there. So give them an About page.
But don’t get your About and Our Story pages mixed up. There’s a big difference.
It’s not easy being a green marketing manager. If you’re tasked with attracting potential customers to your socially and environmentally responsible company’s website, what do you call your product or service? Green? Sustainable? Eco-friendly?
More to the point, how do you grab the prospect’s attention and interest when putting together your organization’s search engine advertising, organic keyword strategy and content for inbound marketing?
Thinking about brand makes me think about surfing.
And that got me thinking about brand and story. Because, at the heart of a powerful brand is a powerful story. A real, flesh-and-blood story about a real person who wants something and is willing to suffer and strive to achieve it.
The headlamps from Jim’s old pickup flashed the glassy sheen of ice on the dark two-lane. Janice clamped down on his forearm as another contraction gripped her body.
“Faster,” she said. “This baby’s coming."
My father was in some ways a typical Irish-American New Yorker. The son of Irish immigrants, he was tough, black-Irish handsome and garrulous. Where he came from, then an Irish enclave on Amsterdam Avenue and West 101st Street in Manhattan, he joked that you had three career choices: cop, priest or con.
Stories are not just powerful – they’re what make us human. That’s the thesis of Jonathan Gottschall’s 2012 book, The Storytelling Animal.
The final chapter of Gottschall’s book, though, isn’t so sanguine. Titled “The Future of Story,” it says the outlook for story is so bright, in fact, that it could prove deadly – in the way Coleman lanterns attract suicidal moths.
If you’re a “just the facts” kind of a presenter, you’re missing the chance to influence not just people’s minds but their hearts. And the heart is where change happens.
In Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, How to use your own stories to communicate with power and impact, Annette Simmons aims that message at leaders who have learned to mistrust emotions and cultivate a data-driven communication style.
“Facts matter,” she says, “but if you want to motivate people to change, feelings come first.”