Stop Blogging: Best Practices and Witchcraft for Compelling Articles (Part 2)

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NOW YOU MUST SUMMON THE VOICE!

When we read something, we cast a voice in our head that reads it to us. THAT'S WHY ALL CAPS READS SO LOUD! Therefore, ensure that the emotional, educational, or narrative voice you're using fits the content.

Use a supporting image for your post. Not only will this amp up the personalization of an article, but if you set it up properly, it will also become the preview that shows in social posts. Images are a MUST. Better than that? Videos. If you have a video that supports your content, you've done half the heavy lifting. In fact, if you've done a great video, I often recommend a minimal amount of copy after the video.

BLOGGER TIP: Gauge your audience type – professional publications serve up stock photos all the time, they're almost a gross prerequisite of professionalism (like a tie, or expensive purse). But if you're conveying a cool, trending product or service, the expectation is that those visuals will be both original and interestingly related to the content.

Size Matters

When it comes to the length of an article, you can shoot the moon. But remember that different lengths are good for different purposes. #TWSS

100-300 words:

Super-short posts are best for generating discussion, or as a social media post. Regardless of how long your blog post is, you'll be using your social media channels to share it. Therefore, if your post is SO short that it doesn't pay itself off when your audience clicks-through to read it, then it might be a letdown. Therefore, short posts rarely get many shares on social media, and they’re horrible for SEO. But if you want a lot of comments, then write short posts.

300-500 words:

This is pretty standard blogging and email length, and it's often recommended by many “expert” bloggers. Take that for what it's worth. Don’t forget to link to sources, alt-tag your images, and end with a question to start engagement.

BLOGGER TIP: You should know the age of your readers. On average, the younger your audience is, the shorter the content.

750 words:

If “School House Rock” had a song called "Groovin' to Blog Town," it would use this as the magic number for professional journalism — especially online magazines, and newspapers.

1,000-1,500 words:

From this point forward, you might get fewer comments at this length. Why? Because people are lazy and that's a lot of words read. BUT — you’ll get a lot more shares. Why? Because when you share longer articles, you look smarter. (I never said this was sexy.) You'll also find that longer articles are better at solving problems simply because the author has taken more time to be granular about the subject matter.

2,500+ words:

The highest-ranking SEO ranked articles on Google are 2,500 words or more. This is often because you justify, analyze, or debate your subject matter to the point that the search engine perceives you as having more authority on the subject compared a brief post.

Posted on December 12, 2018 and filed under Advertising, Blogging, Process.

Stop Blogging: Best Practices and Witchcraft for Compelling Articles (Part 1)

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First — if you're creating a growing business, stop calling your ongoing collection of articles a "BLOG" unless you want to create a small, personal approach. Think of the term “blog” as an analogy to "country kitchen" vs. “articles" being an analogy to "branded business." For this reason, I can't recall the last time I advised a client to use  “blog.”

When you create inbound marketing for a client, you are crafting perception for the buyer to feel and experience. Much like Obi-Wan Kenobi – "these aren't the droids you're looking for," then you do the hoodoo voodoo and go, "those are the droids you're looking for over there! And they're two for one on Black Friday!"

It's like witchcraft, without all the demons and angels fighting.

What makes for a great online article?

A sexy-ass, non-phishing title:

  • Create a sense of what the article will contain

  • Cater to the given demographic, location, or desires of the audience

  • Create a sense of importance

  • Give a sense of relevance, or timelessness

  • Establish the problem the article will solve

  • Start by creating a cool story

Keys within that title:

  • Keep it short and sweet

  • Don't make false statements or "phishing" claims

  • Create a sense of activity with action-oriented verbs

  • DON'T USE ALL CAPS!

Marketing Essentials Every Podcaster Should Know

Starting a podcast is fun, exciting and bit daunting at times as you wade through all the education on the “How To’s.” The not-so-fun part of it is the marketing portion as to how actually grow your audience base. Here’s a presentation I recently did on behalf of Magruder Laser Vision regarding both QueensCast.com and marketing your podcast in general.

Posted on November 7, 2018 and filed under Blogging, Business, Process.

The Care & Feeding of Creative Professionals – Part 3

What are some of the common mistakes that you see people who seek a career in any of these fields make as they pursue that career?

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  • IMPORTANT: Young creatives think they understand the client and the agency. They think they could do 'all of this' better and will often not stick around long as they seek to emerge from this boring chrysalis of doom and make the coolest agency ever — and it will have a beer tap in the kitchen (and a foosball table). 

  • If in the rarest of circumstances you find someone that believes in your clients, is great at what they do, is well liked by the clients and can show a consistent effort – place golden-handcuffs on them ASAP and bring them up in the org chart. NOTE: this person is usually a woman.

  • We hate revisions. Client: "Well, what do you think of this design?" Us: <thinking> I think it's fucking brilliant bitch, that's why I'm presenting it. </thinking>


"As I’ve moderated ideation sessions over the past two decades, I’ve noticed one shocking point about creatives. They tend to come up with far fewer ideas than everyone else. 

It’s not because they can’t; it’s because they become too attached to every idea. Rather than jot it down and move to the next, creatives keep working on and rereading their own ideas. 

You know which discipline consistently comes up with the most ideas? Developers."Dave Linabury

This point is well suited for this conversation. Creatives (as outlined above) often get too attached to a concept. Therefore, external (of the creative department) concept sessions are not only valuable, but they're also essential.

ANY PERSON can make an idea great. It could be the front desk guy, the janitor or CFO. Create a think tank session, even if it's just one time, where anyone can participate. 

EXAMPLE: I was working a project for the US Navy, we were to create an immersive experiential training simulation for them. We emailed everyone and asked if anyone in the office had any insight into training, past or current. Turns out that friend of the agency had a family member that had a lifetime career of creating these types of scenarios. We brought them in and the project rapidly took off from there. Had that room been simply creatives folks with no real-world experience, I believe our results would have been a failure.


You might ask yourself at this point "how is this helping me avoiding mistakes?" It usually takes years for people to come to the understanding that most mistakes 'take a village' to create. The better you understand yourself, and those around you, the better you can apply your skills to actual work.


Lastly, I think it's important to add that this is not a list of deficiencies, or short-comings – it's who we are as a people. Creatives are a very special breed of people, we create emotion, education, allow others to journey through our visions to unexplored destinations.