Archive | May, 2011

The Journey to Creative Brief Tweets

31 May

My creative brief writing skills are comparable to the Energizer Bunny. I keep going and going and working and working but I rarely reach a destination. I’m a constant work in progress. Lately though, some recent creative brief webinars, seminars and communication campaigns have been at my heels. I need to land somewhere. And soon.

I know I’ll never perfect it. Much like cooking a good meal, perfection is impossible and the experience is ever changing. But I’m not looking for that when I (rarely) cook nor am I looking for impeccability when I write a brief. A brief is about inspiring. It’s concise and clear. It’s delicious. Can I make it happen?

In my recent journey through the thick forest of creative brief triumph, I kept going back to one word: Brief. I believe that’s the hardest part of writing this document. Once the key takeaways, messaging, audience, goals, tone and other good stuff are determined, it’s crucial to keep it concise in order to clearly deliver these nuggets. It’s like a tweet. If a brief can be as boiled down as a tweet, then we can package our stories in tight, little, effective bundles.

I’ve started thinking this way as I work to pull the batteries of out that Energizer Bunny. I will land somewhere and it will be synoptic and motivating.

Here we go.

Share your tricks to writing successful creative briefs.

Breaking Through in Traditional Form

14 May

As the continent of Facebook gets more crowded with bustling inhabitants and Twitter’s constant hum of blasts grow deafeningly loud, breaking through as an individual is tough. That is, unless you’re James Tate and you want to go to prom.

My father, a non-member of Tate’s 200,000 Facebook fans, is an on-the-cusp Baby Boomer from NY who works 60+ hours a week as a lawyer. He wanted to break through recently. He had a reason to. A local NY gas station charged him $4.25 per gallon when the sign clearly said $4.19. When he approached the manager, he got nowhere. The manager said the signs were in the process of changing to $4.25. This was irrelevant – when my father started pumping gas, the sign read $4.19. The manager did not budge. Big mistake. A Jewish lawyer from New York is not going to swallow that sour taste. He’s going to talk about it.

The most interesting part of this story (to me, anyway) is what happened next. In the minds of 600+ million Facebook users, the consideration of ranting on Facebook is quite probable. Twitter is another quick-decision outlet, if you can sum up your story in 140 characters or less. Then of course, you can blog about it, text about it, email about it…and on and on.

In this multiple choice arena, my father chose “none of the above.”

He called the local paper.

As a committee member of a non-profit, I clearly remember the days of contacting the papers with my press releases. I would want volunteers or attendees to my events or donations. With over 200 members of my non-profit’s Facebook group, I don’t even recall the papers’ contact information. In fact, I think their reporters may be fans of our Facebook page. I solely use that outlet and it works.

So why did he call the paper?

Perhaps it’s because he doesn’t use social media. He recently graduated texting 101 and as of 2009, his emails are incorporating full sentences. He recognizes his discomfort with the digital space and tends to lean where he’s comfortable. Or perhaps he’s smart. He knew where he has to go make a change and he reached his target directly to initiate more than just reaction.

From my perspective, his rationale is irrelevant because it all boils down to one thing – breaking through.

The local paper sent reporters to the gas station and questioned the manager. My father was interviewed. A complaint was filed with the local department of consumer protection. Action was taken. Real action.

While social media is a great communication tool, it is not the only outlet. Hone in on your situation and find the best medium to adequately reach your audience and your goal.

My Dad’s goal? Reduce fraudulent activity one gallon of gas at a time.

Inspirations of the World

11 May

By now, we’ve established that I’m a nerd, especially when it comes to media and advertising. No shame in calling that one out. So when I was thinking about the inspirations that gas up my nerd brain, one site in particular has recently served as my routine station of nerd-enriched supply.

Ads of the World is a search engine of advertising bliss. Not only is the search functionality intuitive and opportunity-rich (search by industry, media, region, etc.) but the creative is beyond creative. It’s an awe-inspiring sight (and site).

As advertisers, it’s crucial to look side to side at Client competition, but moreover, we need to dedicate ourselves to viewing the amazing work that’s out there in order to exhilarate our team and Client. Looking forward at opportunities is invigorating.

Utilize tools like Ads of the World and you’ll be well-packed for the journey of forward-focused travels. And the journey toward great ads, of course.

Blogging about Blogs

8 May

When I got a gig to guest blog for a local Connecticut website,  East Haddam-Haddam Patch, I was buzzing. Now I had a unique opportunity to write about my state of choice from my perspective. I would be among friends in this credible, news-worthy, niche space.

As I started to write there, I realized something. Just like an advertising campaign delivers a specific message to a certain audience, each blog has its own target. Creating a blog that’s multi-pronged, widespread or diverse will ultimately result in a confused and somewhat distance audience.

Think about it. You go to ESPN for sports, right? The same rule applies here – you go to a blog for specific content. The best blogs are the focused blogs. It doesn’t mean posts can’t borderline your theme at times. That adds character. As long as you stay within the confines of this invisible fence, you can welcome an appealing blog (and avoid being zapped).

If you’re like me, sticking to one spot is tough. I want to graze around my field of interests. That’s when multiple blogs come into play. Defining each one creates an outlet for each topic. You are a Crayola box with unique, organized colors within. However, the more blogs you own, the more you juggle. And that’s where there’s a greater chance for one to drop. Imagine managing multiple blogs like you do your social networks. It gets crazy checking Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. So while the need to specification is crucial for a righteous audience, segmenting too much will be completely unmanageable (unless you’re doing this for a living or you have nothing better to do, or both).

Here are some ways I’m making it work.

  • Have a personal blog but also guest blog. In addition to your own space, write for another website’s blog. You may need to beef up your own blogger stature before you venture out, but once you do, you’ll be enveloped in another site for some great writing and exploring opportunities.
  • Have a personal blog and also ghost blog. Here, you’re writing under someone else so your identity is not exposed. That may sound a little discrete, but it’s a good place for novices to dip a toe in the sea of social writing.
  • Consider a blogging tool like WordPress to help you manage multiple blogs from one place (their iPhone app is great for this).

Ready to get out there and write? After all, you can even blog about blogs.

A Blog Post All About Facebook

1 May

I’ve been on Facebook for two years now (a newbie in my generation’s terms) and have yet to demonstrate my insights here. How could I not write about a site that I share with more than 500 million people, that has more than 30 billion pieces of content shared (links, notes, photos, etc.) and 700 billion minutes of time spent per month? (Here’s the source of these ridiculous statistics.) Well that’s about to change.

Facebook is so large it could be its own continent. It has more users than the entire world population in 1600AD. Check this chart out to put it into context.

This article in Web Pro News goes into a great analysis about the size of Facebook, if you’re nerdy like me and dig this stuff.

So what do you write about when a site is nearly the size of Asia? The opportunities are endless. They say to write what you know. So let’s talk about my generation.

Increasingly, Facebook is seen as a personal haven for life’s little nuances on all ranges of the adorable to absurd spectrum. Networking tends to be minimal as people find places like Twitter and LinkedIn to be more appropriate. When networking, the sharing of Twitter handles and iPhone bumping with LinkedIn connections tends to be the norm. If you ask someone to friend you on Facebook, you are (or you’re ready to be) “friends.” For real.

With so many social networks buzzing about the world wide web like bees on my tulip-filled garden, it’s key to differentiate their purposes. (Yes, my garden is finally experiencing life, and if you don’t know what I’m referring to, check out my self-help garden post.) Otherwise, they can each become dying breeds fending for their lives via user interaction. My takeaway to date is this:

The Social Diva Facebook is the perfect place for sharing photos and stories, links that demonstrate personal interests, making plans, wishing each other happy birthday, etc. To sum it up, it’s a great place to chat. Consider it the world’s largest Starbucks with cushy couches, yummy drinks and the ability to converse as loud and as long as you want as long as you’re drinking the Kool Aid. Or the Mocha Frappuccino.

The Vested Extravert This is a place for those that speak their mind. It gives them a platform to be empowered. Often times these users are vested in something important to them and they’re not afraid to share information (links mainly), experiences (b0th complaints and compliments) and hastags about these topics. While social opportunities are abound, the business hat is peeking its brim as users tout their professional opinions and network. All in 140 characters or less. A true differentiation.

Workaholic. Period. LinkedIn is more of a place to work than play, however, it does add Twitter feeds, photos and forums to the mix, so anything goes, really. Predominately, it’s a networker’s haven and can really start new business relationships, recruiting opportunities as well as showcase organization’s amazing cast of employees. Call it business casual with a side of buttoned up.

There are dying breeds out there. The reason is simple: their mantras are outperformed. Take these guys for example:

And while I admit to using Dogster, I can certainly attest to its demise (remind me to write about that sometime soon). To put it simply, Facebook services the needs of their clientele better than MySpace or Dogster. And when you’re going for the same citizens as Facebook, you better have a unique differentiator. Otherwise, you’ll get booted off the island. Or continent. We are living a reality show of social networks and Facebook is winning the amazing race.


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