writing and editing

Many years ago, I served on focus groups evaluating everything from knee braces and showerheads to ice cream and pasta sauce. It was clear during introductions that we each represented a different consumer. No surprise, we produced a wide range of responses. Sometimes the room remained divided; other instances, a consensus formed as we collectively considered all factors. I thought of those sessions when reading about the latest PR debacle at Google. The search giant...

Who’s Providing Feedback on Your Content Marketing?

Most of us juggle multiple projects or manage many people in a day’s work. As a result, some projects fall by the wayside to make more room to complete others. Priorities may be based on deadlines or impact. Eventually, though, older must-do projects move back to the forefront. How, though, do you muster the enthusiasm, energy and effort to awaken dormant ideas and turn cold notes into hot copy or imagery? I should politely nod...

8 Tips to Warm Up a Cold Project

I still recall that long weekend in San Francisco when the parking gods smiled down on me. With one exception, great, free, relatively spacious spots (for easier parallel parking) materialized right when I needed them. An empty parking space appeared in front of our Noe Valley AirBnB on an 8% graded hill; then upon visiting Golden Gate Park on a busy weekend; and later, across from my daughter’s apartment in the crowded Richmond District. Even...

Park Yourself Here: What to Read, Listen to and Watch

Everyone working in custom content creation is aware of AI infiltrating the industry. We now have machines that report news and design web sites using algorithms, templates and artificial intelligence (AI) software tools. AI is a way for writers, editors and designers to reduce production costs while raising productivity. It can speed up research, improve accuracy, and refine and track target audiences. But this approach still has its limits. The above paragraph earned high marks...

Creating Custom Content Using AI

Over the years I’ve had quite a few occasions to tell someone about a strange, silly or special moment of mine, to which they frequently comment that I certainly have an interesting life. I always respond, “So do you. I’m just maybe a bit better at telling my story.” It’s true. Every one of us is full of great stories that either we witness or experience directly. That’s why one of the favorite parts of...

The Art and Science of Storytelling

Yesterday was National Punctuation Day. As our company’s head scribe and longtime editor, I am taking this opportunity to call out some of the most common errors we all make in applying commas, apostrophes, colons, semi-colons and a certain end mark to written content. Why bother? Because those who fail to follow the rules, or break them intelligently, lose credibility when they misuse punctuation. Just as spelling and grammar say something about a person’s proficiency...

5 Punctuation Peeves to Avoid

  Some people believe great content marketing originates in literary or artistic talent, but it’s actually based on good interviews. The quality of those information-gathering conversations is what eventually elevates custom content from amusing to amazing. So, what constitutes a “good interview”? It depends. What they all have in common though is a lot of positive energy that lasts well beyond the call or in-person talk. I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews as a journalist, corporate...

5 Tips for Conducting Good Interviews