"A man of genius is privileged only as far as he is genius. His dullness is as insupportable as any other dullness. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Content #ftw - Vol. 1, No. 1

1 April 2012

Welcome to Content For The Win.

No, you did not sign up for this brand new email newsletter. I did the terrible deed of signing you up myself. If you think that’s a bad move on my part and don’t want periodic updates from me about content’s role in the marketing mix, I understand. Please remove yourself from this list, and please accept my apology. If, on the other hand, you want to receive this and future updates from me, I thank you for your kindness and attention. 

What Is Your Basis for Conversation?

Julie Fleischer, Director of Content Strategy & Integration at Kraft Foods, knows her stuff. In an interview with Forbes, she explains in crystalline terms what it takes to be a successful content marketer.

"The most important question to answer is 'what is your basis of conversation?' What do you as a brand have to offer that matters to consumers? What are you going to provide to make them want to come back to you again and again? It’s not as simple as finding a point of difference and a creative hook and trumpeting it across paid media. To be successful in Content Marketing, you have to take the time to get to know your consumers, what s/he needs, and how you can serve that need uniquely and authentically. Once you understand the role you play, all of the other elements – the channel mix and the role of channels, the creation/curation of content, etc – can follow."

Not only does she nail what content marketing is, she exposes why it is an exciting sandbox to play in.

“American Hipster” Is Here 

Hooray, “American Hipster” is here. I say this with no mockery in my voice, for as much as I enjoy Portlandia’s pointy skewers of the self-important, the show lost some of its bite in season two. Ergo, we must seek out other commentaries on the vacuousness of our time. By the way, “American Hipster,” from San Francisco-based Seedwell, is part of YouTube’s new $100 mil. original programming venture.

RFPs Blow

Bonehook is listed on Portland Creative List, a directory of local communications resources. This listing generates a fair bit of traffic to Bonehook.com, but it also nets a ton of sloppily constructed job inquiries, and some incredibly demanding Requests for Proposal, where a stranger writes and asks that you jump through any number of flaming hoops.

For example, here's some language from a recent blind request: “Describe how your agency defines client service and satisfaction, and how you would achieve both for ______; Please also provide an alternative solution to the traditional agency compensation model, specifically based on a “pay-for-performance” model.” Great, I’ll whip that right up for you dearest. Right after, I take care of all my paying clients, make some updates to Twitter and Facebook, post a new piece to the blog, walk the dog, eat lunch, talk on the phone, and do every other imaginable task under the sun to avoid sitting down with a laundry list of requests from a client I’ve never even heard of before.

Of course, this is how the business works, and I know my peers are filing their own straight-faced replies to RFPs right now. But is this any way for a client and agent to get to know one another? Reverse the order of things for a minute. Imagine, if I contacted a prospective client and the first thing I did was fire off a brief asking tough questions about their operating procedures. Not the friendliest approach, is it? 

Interior Design Is Set Design, And Every “Story” Needs A Proper Setting

Brands are the amalgamation of all the experiences customers, prospects and staff have with a company. Naturally, one of the most important experiences is the first one. What is this place? Who are these people? What are their values and how are they expressing them? We run through this auto-generated checklist every time we walk into a new restaurant, hotel, retail store or business of any kind.

Darby and I had the pleasure of walking into Woodsman Tavern on SE Division Street for the first time last week, and it’s clear the restaurant owners went to extraordinary lengths to get their lighting and seating just right. One whole wall of the restaurant is also covered in antique paintings of Mt. Hood and the Cascades. I love that wall, and the entire feel of Woodsman Tavern. The service, drinks and food are also great, but it is the setting that spoke to me loudest. Someday, I’d love to greet Bonehook clients and staff in an equally evocative setting.  

Woodsman Tavern postcard delivered with the check.

A Man With Incredible Vision
In 1974. Arthur C. Clarke told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that every household by 2001 would have a computer and be connected to others all over the world. Crazy.

Recommended Reading

BrainPickings, daily explorations by cultural curator, Maria Popova.

Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns, a business development consultant to creative firms worldwide.

Five Faces of Genius: Creative Thinking Styles To Succeed at Work by Annette Moser-Wellman.

Words That Mean Something
“People who believe that social media is a low-cost highway to marketing success are living in a digital dream world. They are either too naive to know, or too deceitful to tell their bosses, that with few exceptions there is a high cost to social media success. It's called traditional advertising.” -Bob Hoffman, a.k.a. The Ad Contrarian 
6906 Range Oak Circle
Austin, Texas 78749

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