Posts

Product Hunt, PR tools and my advice for startups

Young companies that aren’t eager to spend thousands on a retainer still realise they need to get their story out to the people who count. But, based on the selection of tools showing up on ProductHunt, you’d think the future of PR was press releases and spamming media lists.

To anyone who actually has experience with PR, we know it doesn’t work like this.

Read the rest at Econsultancy

Death to content: long live the editor

In the effort to rule their industry, almost every player has ended up churning out the same old slurry by neglecting a key element of creating great stories.

It comes down to this: the world doesn’t need more content, it needs better editors.

A good editor establishes a fair, consistent point of view. They bring priorities, standards. They understand when to say no — and why.

It’s a concept that (forgive me) Steve Jobs brought to Apple, and rings through its most heartfelt advertising.

Leave it out

It’s not an instinct that everyone has. And marketers need to get a grip on this fact.

Too many marketing teams are kidding themselves that they can write, interview, or unlock the extra essence that takes the finished product to the next level.

And that word: ‘content’. It’s like calling a beautiful crafted cup of coffee a beverage. It misses what the substance is all about.

That’s not to say these teams are all awful, but look at it this way. While they trudge our generic slurry, there’s a huge crowd of talented, struggling, born creators that basically can’t manage to monetise their passion for what they love.

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And what about form? Great editors know form and content are two sides of the same coin. In publishing, we’re seeing a grand resurgence of open-minded experimentation with how you present a story.

Forget Snow Fall, it doesn’t have to be anything so grand. Just presenting material in the way it’s going to be useful is improvement enough. And no, that doesn’t mean an infographic.

It means questions like: Why would you launch a blog with ‘tags’ or ‘archive’ in the sidebar? Why would you call it a blog, what does that mean in 2014? What could it mean?

What should it mean strategically for your business and what does it need to mean to stand out to readers and keep them coming back for more?

The real measure

Finally, good editors know how to measure progress and success. But they don’t just enslave themselves to making arbitrary numbers bigger.

They find a balance between instinct and iteration, confident enough to take chances and walk a more irrational path where their intuition dictates. But cautious enough never to lead everyone off the cliff.

Some of that comes with experience. Experience you won’t get by simply sitting your junior marketing person down in front of WordPress. The world of telling great stories that generate value for your business deserves a more dignified and confident approach. But the first step is admitting you have a problem

Forget content, find yourself a real editor.

(Originally published as a guest post for Econsultancy.)

“The internet is like an endless gong show for advertisers, with consumers only too willing and able to kill your interruption with a quick click of a red cross. This isn’t a “threat”, it’s a return to a more natural balance.”

Read the full post: Marketers and Time

The people who ruined search are coming to ruin content

Search has changed. It’s becoming so hard to just play the game that you end up with half the discussion revolving around really sensible smart strategy, things like using content to gain attention and stand out online or semantic markup and metadata to genuinely clarify the definition of your entities.

The downside of this is that it potentially disenfranchises and creates a fleet of ex-”search experts” whose previous toolkit is no longer fit for purpose, and they’re prepping up to turn their questionable intentions and gaze this way.

Read the rest at Econsultancy

Twitter Cards: in the right place at the right time to create a new kind of web

What’s the difference between a tweet and a blog post? What about a collection of tweets and a website?

You may start with a description of 140 characters, but while this famous limit still applies, it’s hardly the point anymore.

Twitter Cards (RIP ‘tweets’), are best thought of as ‘action+caption’ and may quickly become the smallest meaningful and shareable unit of the web.

Read the rest at Econsultancy