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Archive for the ‘social media marketing’ Category

I’m Planning a Jailbreak

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My social media marketing class is writing about what it’s like to reach across our borders and boundaries, at guided-by-voices.com.

Please Say More.

Don’t look for the file in the cake

I’ve been watching the guards’ patterns and taking measurements and laying plans. I’ve made contact with the getaway vehicle and the man driving it.

untitled503976052902.jpg Don’t be your own jailer.

I’m just not sure who’s in jail: me or my friend.

In our Social Media Marketing class, we talked about a Jesus story where he asked a question that crossed at least three boundaries: racial, religious, and gender. Crossing those three boundaries surprised nearly everyone in the story because none of those boundaries was proper to cross.

  • In asking that question. Jesus’s crew saw a despised person in a very different light.
  • With that question, the despised person saw she wasn’t despised and in fact was welcomed as an insider.
  • With that question, a village dropped their spite and stepped forward alongside the outcast

All because of a short Q & A that…

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Must Your Story Always Be About You?

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Content today: Your story in context.

“Here’s where we show we care about what they care about,” I said. “For sure you get to tell your story. But 75-90% of the time your eye is on what your audience cares about. With social media we take off the loud salesman jacket and relax in an easy chair, ready to talk.”

For years I’ve talked with clients about teeing up conversations rather than selling copy. It’s a matter of committing to topics and copy that meets an audience need, day after day. Only my most forward-thinking clients listened without a glaze covering their eyes.

That’s changing.

One reason is organization-specific content has become a more easily-definable task. Buying content is becoming a bit more like buying advertising—though with a few key differences. You bought advertising with parameters and metrics in place: Buy your media and Bam! Targeted eyeballs and open pocketbooks follow.

At least that’s how we told the old advertising story.

Now we see that advertising model was all about interrupting, catching attention with brand hyperbole and hypnotizing dumb viewers to buy. And pronto.

Which hasn’t really worked for years.

What my clients now see is they can stay in touch with old and new and potential customers by telling what they know in a whimsical way. Not browbeating, but inviting them to think together about a shared interest. Staying in touch means many touch points along the marketing funnel, none of which are a salesman’s pointed jab. This means knowing what customers care about, what their problems are, and naming potential solutions to those problems.Marketing funnel-20160808

Creating content will seem circuitous to the hard-boiled marketing manager in her late 50s. And it is. But it isn’t. Creating content shows leadership and care as it sweeps up the concerns of our target audience and addresses them one by one, parsing out that copy over time so that we seem like we care.

And here’s the crazy thing—by creating content, we find ourselves actually caring.

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Dumb Sketch: Kirk Livingston

On Writing: Is This Where The Magic Happens?

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“…and then a cascade of miracles occurs…”

Yesterday I heard myself spinning a tall-tale to a quiet cluster of skeptical students.

as if

as if

I told them of a magical place they can go were writing connects the dots in a mysterious and inexplicable fashion. It is a place you arrive mostly clueless about what will happen next. But then you begin marking a blank page and words form into sentences and dots arrive and connect. The not-knowing of this place takes a bit of courage to sit with, but the payoff of processing your not-knowing is immense.

These were writing students, so many regularly visit this place. Some nodded in agreement. Some stared back blankly, though I suspect this tall-tale was their own experience as well. Some stared blankly refusing to participate no matter what—which is, of course, that great student default-setting.

John Cleese spends his retirement talking about this place (try here or here. And especially here). He characterizes it as more of a time than a place—which I completely agree with. A time away, which becomes a space bordered by time limits. I use timers to get to that place. This place where the magic happens is also called “flow” or “in the zone.” I’m certain you’ve experienced it as well.

For the working writer, I’m convinced that this place is bordered on one side by strategy and analysis and research.  And on the other side is marketing or talking to an editor or pushing “Send.” But in between: this magic layer where creation happens. It’s a place equally daunting and exhilarating.

Is there really such a place?

I believe so—see for yourself.

 

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Is it Better to Sound Smart or to Communicate?

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Please stop me before I commit an act of literature.

We had this discussion in class. A literature student was talking about how writing for social media was different than, say, literature. Popular writing—so our discussion went—is aimed at a different audience (here we picked our way around classist terms), and is not as, well, interesting, as literature. All her other classes required a compacting of ideas into sentences that grew rather long. Sentences that required a fair amount of attention. Sentences that required grappling with theologically heavy terms, or the whimsy of philosophers who felt compelled to make up words for their new ideas. Or writers who committed acts of literature in the most tortured fashion.

BridgeBuild-20160210

 

I maintain that writing for social media requires that we let go of jargon and the complex sentences that shout “College!” or “Graduate School!” At our best, our writing is nearly transparent: leading right into the topic without stopping to say “Look at me.” Does that mean we use dumbed down ideas and language? I’ve said no to this several times. Erasing our jargon so smart people from different disciplines can understand us is not the same as dumbing down. And, in fact, when we do the work of translating our tribe’s jargon into regular English, we are poised to find a certain elegance and cadence that sounds more human, more fresh and less like the forced and predictable tribal language.

Respecting the reader is central to this project of communication—this bridge-building activity. If you think the reader is an arse, that comes through in your word choice. If you think the reader cannot be trusted, that shows. If you think the reader is intelligent and can handle the topic in words any human would understand, your reader will know.

One irony of the discussion is that many of the writers we celebrate as having written literature were themselves seeking for the simplest way to say things. Countless writers talk about kill your darlings and omit needless words and how nearly anyone can write to confuse. But the real artist takes a meaningful notion and makes it clear to someone else. And this: we are more likely to say something memorable and possibly even elegant the farther we get from our tribe’s insider language.

Will you commit an act of communication today?

 

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Stuck and Reframe

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Just How Real is Our Imagined Beginning?

I’m stuck on a client project. Late in 2015 I devised a social media communication strategy that calls for weekly themes. But one of my weekly themes provides very little fodder for producing content. And so I’ve been spinning my wheels and getting exactly nowhere.

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Maybe it’s a good time to be stuck, because this is the season of reframing. Old things ended as 2015 shuffled out and new things began with the calendar change. Everything outside my window looks the same, but we’ve all group-thinked (group-thunk?) ourselves into what we call a new year. Is it an imagined new beginning? Of course. But that doesn’t make it any less real. Somehow that calendar change gives a bit of courage to consider releasing the strategies that don’t work.

Reframing—trying to see a problem or need differently—is a way out of stuckness. My tools for building a new frame around a client need or personal problem include words on pages and dumb sketches and mind-maps and fartleks and conversations. You already know that conversations hold quite a bit of promise: telling someone else about your stuckness has the effect of bringing to light a problem and beginning to find your way through it.

If you are of the tribe that makes resolutions, you also know that telling your resolution to someone can have a positive effect on keeping those resolutions. And you may even have someone who holds you accountable.

I’m stuck on a client project.

I’m going to talk with my client.

Staying stuck is not an option

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Burning Down the House: Stop. Drop & Adopt.

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How social greases the gears of change

One way we begin to dispose of our sheltered and separatist clubs and churches and work is to talk about them out loud. When we start to tell a stranger about a sacred ritual inside the walls of our church, we stop and realize, “Wait—this probably sounds like nonsense.” And so we back up to start earlier with the “Why?” and “What for?” And then we drop the insider words and adopt common words.

Same with our work: when someone asks how we spend our day, we don’t use our office or shop-talk words. Most people don’t understand lingo of the workplace (especially folks in the workplace). So we stop. We drop the shortcut words in favor of the basic words used by the rest of the humans that speak our language.

And then we paint that ritual or work or favored topic in the best possible light. It’s a little rhetorical flourish we do without realizing. I want you to be excited by what excites me, so I talk it up. I punch it with bits of enthusiasm and look for ways and words that help you get the same vision I have.

Do what you must to pull in the stranger.

Do what you must to pull in the stranger.

Getting others interested by telling the juicy bits of what interests us is one of the basic ingredients of any social media. It also happens to be a basic expectation of story-telling.

What’s that?

You don’t have contact with strangers?

You only talk with other insiders?

Is it time to reconsider your circle of friends to pull in outsiders? There’s much to be gained from relating your passion to someone who has no clue what you are about.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

November 3, 2014 at 9:09 am

Are Doctors “Ethically Obligated” to Tweet?

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No.

Although Wendy Sue Swanson, MD (@SeattleMamaDoc) feels that way about her social media presence (as demonstrated in this clip).

There is one piece of the Hippocratic Oath that calls for casting a wider net in “all my acquirements, instructions, and whatever I know” to those within the physician’s circle. The original oath also called all gods and goddesses to witness and observe, but these days the NSA serves that function (despite HIPAA).

PrivelegeSpokenBegin-12022013

Yesterday’s MedAxiom post by Ginger Biesbrock (“Has anyone seen my Dictaphone?”) makes the excellent point that any new technology adopted should make taking care of patients easier. New technology should not get in the way of treatment, it should not be another hurdle to jump. Instead, technology should simplify meeting the patient’s need. That’s why I’m pleased with the movement to hire medical scribes to complete the electronic medical records in the moment—freeing doctors to treat patients versus keyboarding.

Dr. Swanson’s strong feeling about casting a wider net is likely shared by many if not most physicians. And it just so happens that putting correct information out where regular folks might read it may also be a way to grow your practice—which has been the capitalistic promise of social media from day one.

Sure: doctors are busy. But I cannot help but wonder if more and more physicians will make outward communication (blogging, tweeting, connecting) a priority as they work to free themselves from some routine tasks.

Many already are.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

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