I recently watched the 1988 Joseph Campbell-Bill Moyers PBS series, The Power of Myth. Campbell explores the themes that have shaped our human narrative -- and how the same stories seem to pop up in vastly different corners of the world. In the month since finishing the six-episode series (conveniently available at the local library!),… Continue reading The Shapes of Our Stories
2020! Oh, what a year. After a crushing 2019, I had grand travel plans for the year. But instead of Greece and "wherever the winds take us," we finally escaped in October to southwest Michigan for a socially distant AirBnB stay, fueled by takeout and long, restorative hikes. The daily newspaper that landed on my… Continue reading The 10 Best Books I Read in 2020
This week: industrial musicals (e-i-e-i-o), the shift in influencer marketing, why "caterwauling" is a thing, and Lego-ized 1870s plays. Oh, and LBJ buys pants.
What happens when we put smart speakers in every room? Are crossword puzzles outdated? A goodbye to Mary Oliver. And cats swinging from a chandelier.
Part of an occasional series on the oddities of the English language Lately I’ve been struck by the phase “to strike out.” I recently struck out on my own to start the writing business I’ve dreamed of for a decade. But in doing so, I wondered whether I struck out at my old agency job,… Continue reading Striking Out
Josh Noel’s new book, Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business, is more than a history of Goose Island Beer Co. Rather, this goes far beyond the sales itself and presents one of the best, most interesting marketing case studies I’ve read. Noel, the Chicago Tribune’s beer… Continue reading Review: Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out
WordStream conducted a very interesting analysis of the top-performing AdWords ads. The study looked at nine months of US-based, English, non-branded ads. They ran textual analysis on the ads that performed best (based on impressions, clicks, and CTR) to suss out which words truly work best. A few findings: 1) Make it about audience —… Continue reading Smart Ads: Lexical Diversity, Active Words, Punctuation!
Headlines and subject lines are tricky. And asking a question in a headline poses extra special challenges. Namely, if your question can be answered by a simple, “No,” they have no reason to click through or open. “Is your refrigerator running?” “Nope!” This little edict actually has a name. Betteridge’s Law of Headlines states: “Any… Continue reading No Questions: Writing Headlines that Deserve a Click
Reaching the right audience with the right message takes a village. A content village. Every member of your content team can do their job, to the letter. But if everyone’s operating independently, the message can be disjointed or misdirected. Maybe the message is right for the target, but not for the people actually reading. Perhaps… Continue reading Build a Content Village
Here's what's been on my nightstand and in my backpack lately: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination - Elizabeth McCracken McCracken gets it. I wanted to highlight entire pages. As the cover pull quote says, “This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending.” Beautifully written, haunting, and nakedly… Continue reading Reading Roundup