Posted By Emily Warn on March 5, 2014Imagine if Costco went Vegan with half its free food samples. Something like that happened to the sampling of books in the New York Times Book Review (NYTBR) and many other prominent American literary magazines. In 2010, the NYTBR overall featured or published roughly 67% men to 33% women. In 2013, the numbers evened to roughly fifty-fifty. Wow!
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on February 24, 2014
In this week’s video, Cynthia Hartwig, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Two Pens, talks about her favorite writing prompt designed to help business people develop an authentic and personal brand. The trick is to figure out what you are most passionate about–whether you’re working for someone else or building your own company. If you can identify what you care deeply about and create a brand around that passion, you will be able to find a following of like-minded people.
In Two Pens classes, we use this writing prompt to help business people figure out an authentic and personal brand. We only write for three minutes but you’ll need to write more if you want to get to the heart.
Posted By Emily Warn on February 18, 2014I, too, have the compressed-disc badge of honor earned from working 12 hours a day in a cubicle to meet one launch deadline after another. So of course I liked it when a VP called out my team’s good work when the company rolled out a product. Back-slapping, though, is a snooze. Instead of bragging, because it makes you look good, boast about what’s in it for your customers.
A customer-focused announcement about your product launch will earn their interest and so get the product rolling in the marketplace.
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on February 10, 2014
Back in 1958, according to Pew Research, 73% of Americans said they believed most of what their government told them. In 2014, only 19% do. This pervasive distrust hurts more than the politicians, It has a truly negative effect on businesses trying to sell products and services. And naturally, it hurts people who want to make a blog that attracts a following.
So what’s a business to do in the face of consumer cynicism and mistrust at “being sold?”
Posted By Emily Warn on February 4, 2014
Executive blogs can be as entertaining and informative to read as Lifehacker. Honest. That’s because CEOs and other C-knighted business people have a lot to share. They know their companies inside and out, and their industry in general. Then there’s the fact that most of them are characters.
Posted By Emily Warn on January 28, 2014
Way, way, way back, I coded the Internet Explorer 2.0 site and was also its editor. I always think that gives me impressive bragging rights. But to be honest, in 1996, coding consisted of mostly applying HTML bold and italic tags, and being an editor meant filling a page with a bunch of words.
Content strategy, design and UX have come a long way since then—that’s obvious if you just take a look at screenshots of the Internet Explorer site in 1998 (Courtesy of the Internet Archive WayBack Machine) and its current incarnation.
Internet Explorer Site
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on January 21, 2014
If you’re a regular business blogger, chances are you will be assigned to write a story about a great group of people. You’ll craft your draft and then realize–whack-on-the-forehead!–there are no good group photos of these folks. What to do in a word where stellar visuals make the difference between posts that are shared and ones that aren’t? Try these group photo tips I’ve learned by trial and many errors. (more…)
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on January 14, 2014
Emily and I are often called on to provide brand audits for clients. We’re amazed at how often companies who have spent big money to develop their brands fall prey over time to what we call “brand creep.” That’s when communications that started out with a consistent look, feel and message fall apart into chaos. The easy solution for good brand management is to define what your brand is–and isn’t–with a Brand Expressions Guide (sometimes called a Style Guide). (more…)
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on January 8, 2014
I’ll explain my blunder, but first a little background, which I’ve generalized for client privacy.
The Assignment: Developing a Content Strategy for a Worldwide Sales Organization
The client is a sales team within a global corporation. Almost 80% of the people are deployed worldwide with the remaining 20% working at headquarters. The people in the field depend on the people at headquarters to deliver the right content at the right time. This busy sales force has no time to search for a presentation or anything else when racing off to a pitch meeting. (more…)
Posted By Emily Warn on December 24, 2013
Right about now my blogger brain is groggy from having cranked out content for the past 51 weeks (Ok, Cynthia posts more than I do). To prevent further dopiness, I’m turning to an easy topic (I thought) that all media outlets pull out this time of year–the best XXX of 2013. But I’m going meta. I’ve curated a list of the lists-—the round-up posts that proclaim the best 2013 content strategies, blogs, content marketing themes, etc.
Get out your reading glasses for top content strategy trends.