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Crave content? This infographic knows what you want

We love this cracking infographic - no, hang on, list, of the most seductive types of content. The fact that it's pointlessly rendered as an infographic says more about our current obsession with infographics, but that doesn't detract from the quality of the list itself... Enjoy.

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You are not your ideal customer

This fabulous article was prompted by the (hugely expected) to-and-fro of the tech commentariat about Apple's launch of their Watch. It's an excellent object lesson in understanding the product landscape, and its fundamental lesson is: you are not - or certainly unlikely to be - the ideal customer for your own product or service. Even if you are the ideal customer (after all, plenty of people start a business to create things that they themselves like), you're certainly not the only demographic or customer. This is important for communicators and copywriters too. We don't write and produce for CEOs, founders or boards. We produce for customers and slices of the market - slices which are becoming ever thinner. It's never been more important to know who you're talking to.

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Fabulous critique of ghostwriting

CEOs shouldn't write. Not because they're useless at it, but because their time is better spent elsewhere. CEOs should be leading and doing, not researching and writing. But they should still (often) be the public face of the business; which is why ghostwriting has become commonplace. That's fine (writers have made a good living from ghosting for decades). But the vast throughput of content required for a well-rounded content marketing campaign means that ill-qualified writers are often being forced into creating second-rate content which neither serves the writer, the CEO or the brand. It's a big problem, it's one which only clarity and bespoke creation will solve, and it's one beautifully articulated in this piece from TechCrunch.  

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Awards go a long way

Many congratulations to my clients, A2B Excellence, on winning an Employee Engagement award! ...And, ahem, congratulations to Wells Park Communications for writing the successful award entry. In a world where marketing is multi-layered and it's a challenge to shout above the noise, awards are a remarkably low-cost opportunity to gain traction. Better still, the benefit grows for smaller businesses. Awards (so long as they're recognised and suitably substantial) yield a year or so of instant credibility, a stack of good photos, the chance to take clients on a jolly and a good excuse to email everyone in your contact book with the good news. Yet the cost of entry is often zero; and even if there is a fee, it's much less than the cost of, say, entry to a second-rate conference; o

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The report that reminds us what ‘social’ means

Once again, the big hitters of social media are getting a good kicking. A Forrester report into social media is questioning the value of marketing spend on social - particularly focusing bile on Facebook and Twitter. The challenge seems to me to be not one of "To Social or Not To Social". Rather, it is the ludicrous differential between organic social activity and paid social activity. Consumers rarely love brands. Usually they have a fleeting, ephemeral relationship with brands based on how much they need the product. Many of our largest brands are positively loathed (which is why when energy companies delve into social, they get burned. Again and again). So when such brands pay to inveigle their way into a community's consciousness, particularly when this wheedling is acceler

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Is there room for comedy in B2B?

A cracking piece from VentureBeat entitled 'Is there room for comedy in B2B?' http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/05/is-there-room-for-comedy-in-b2b/ To which the answer is, of course, a resounding yes - but the author's point is that even in a B2B context, we speak to each other as people first and business owners/buyers second. The age of corporate posturing is long gone and most people - even at the top - primarily consider themselves to be a Department of One. We contribute individually to our businesses, and we want to be spoken to as individuals. Comedy is just one of the tools in the communicator's armoury - and marketers now need to be communicators first.

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A brand for $50? Great! Except for the weak link… me.

I was really excited to have a little play with the latest automation tool for business branding - Tailor. It's not a completely new idea; Justin Champney has been running Buildabrand for quite some time. But each new execution sees improvements in the process, and nobody can deny that one of the most fun (and necessary) parts of starting and marketing a new business is engaging in a bit of branding. So I had a play with Tailor...   ...and it asked me some questions. Nothing too demanding. No more than five minutes effort. And because we do words for a living, I didn't hold back.   I added some brand values (Authoritative, credible, capable, trustworthy, businesslike, go the extra mile) and explained when my business was founded. Then we went through

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Good enough v brilliant – the changing roles of content delivery

With bags of experience as a jobbing journalist, I have been through the fear factor of technological change before. When I was in my 20s, at the vanguard of online writing, I laughed in my youthful way at how people like me were supplanting much more experienced journalists. It's not really funny (people's livelihoods never are). The fundamental difference for my generation is not that I was a better writer. I was just a better all-rounder. In 1990, a good journalist could rely on an editor to polish up their text, research pictures, run a spellcheck and liaise with clients. By 2005, that was the preserve of a select few lucky dinosaurs. I was used to doing it all myself. And I wrote a mental note: don't get lazy. The tech trend is inexorable. Don't think writing is a given living.

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A living style guide for corporate writing – it’s about ‘feel’, not rules.

Corporate journalism style is a living and evolving beast. When I began writing, over twenty years ago (eek!), many businesses spent months putting together lengthy droning white papers; today, nobody has time to read them. Yet, before we dismiss them with a laugh, it's worth remembering that in those days there was a different subtext. These documents would stand in stone for a year as the foundation of a company's product positioning. They were rich in careful research and evidence. They weren't fundamentally useless, they just applied to a different sales and engagement process. Today, engagement has changed, and so has the writing. The style is conversational; and storytelling - painting pictures of human experience - carries more weight than a bunch of percentages. That co

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