Random marketing related stories and sound bites

It’s time for another round-up of random copywriting and marketing related stories.

Brighton SEO take-aways

Thanks to the dynamic Kelvin from Site Visibility and everyone else involved with this autumn’s Brighton SEO conference, a blinder of an event. A far cry from the first one, held upstairs in the Quadrant pub and attended by about fifteen of us. Ah, the olden days.

If you missed the conference’s shit hot digital marketing gurus, with their wisdom-drenched insights into an uncertain yet thrilling future, bung it in your diary for next spring. It’s so worth it. And it’s free.

The April 2013 event concentrated on the future in an SEO landscape that had changed beyond belief in the previous 12 months. This time around the dust had settled. Here are my top 3 take-aways.

  1. Does your content ‘deserve’ backlinks? if you want to generate backlinks you need to create content that ‘deserves’ them. You shouldn’t even have to ask for links. A little like Field of Dreams, if your stuff is good enough, ‘they will come’
  2. Black hats can still win. Bought, exchanged and otherwise unnaturally acquired links still work, and can win great SERPs positions. But they’re more risky than ever. If you want to build a proper brand, something people trust, it’s best to play nice instead of having to change your url every time you get burned and lose valuable brand equity
  3. Social – if you’re not in it, you can’t win it. But just being in it isn’t enough. You need to measure the effectiveness – or not – of your social channels in the same way as you measure cost per response, cost per conversion, creative versus creative, ROI and so on for any other medium, online or offline

Cold callers get a taste of their own medicine

As a human being, I hate telesales calls. As an ex-marketer I once project managed large scale inbound campaigns tied into direct response TV ads, which was such fun. We made a fortune. I also arranged outbound campaigns, a lot less enjoyable for the operators, marketers and punters. They also worked a treat. But, cold or warm, outbound B2C teleselling is rarely good karma. It’s invasive, time consuming and irritating. Which is why I love this little story.

Leeds man Lee Beaumont was being plagued by cold calls. So he set up his own 0871 number at a cost of twelve quid. Everyone who tried to sell him something ended up paying for the privilege, and he has made more than £300 profit so far. Nice.

Facebook addicts given electric shock treatment

Hooked on Facebook? Help is at hand in the shape of Pavlov Poke, a system that gives addicts a short, sharp electric shock through their keyboard once they exceed a pre-set time limit on the network.

It won’t kill you. But apparently it hurts enough to act as a deterrent. If that doesn’t curb your social excesses, you can use the system to recruit a crowd worker on Mechanical Turk, who will phone up and yell at you every time you weaken.

Spooky time travel in the tube

New scientist magazine, my favourite weekly geek read, reports a sign in London’s tube network offering ‘real time travel updates’. They wonder where the missing hyphen should go. Should it be:

  1. real-time travel updates
  2. or real time-travel updates

I vote for number two. It sounds much more exciting.

No issues with the Big Issue

Brighton is full of Big Issue sellers. I buy a copy every week. With at least one book permanently on the go and New Scientist to digest, I rarely get round to reading The Issue. But whenever I do I’m impressed all over again with the quality of the journalism, the warm tone and refreshingly human outlook. A splendid read and, for anyone who wants to absorb the fine art of elegant, plain English communications, excellent reference material.

A simple copywriting tip for the perfect article structure

If you’re struggling to structure an article and you’ve been to sixth form college or uni, the answer is at your fingertips. Structure your article in exactly the same way you’d create an essay and you’re more or less there.

TK Maxx logic fail

Observant (aka pernickerty)  bargain hunters are lost in space trying to decode TK Maxx’s latest price promise: always up to 60% less. How does that work, then?!

Crazy mis-types

My new keyboard means mis-types are mostly a thing of the past. I kind of miss them. But here are five that slipped through.

  • house pants (plants)
  • pertnership (partnership)
  • sosmelly pirates (Somali)
  • communters (commuters)
  • open and shit case (open and shut!)

Absolutely enormous

This one has bugger all to do with marketing or copywriting. But it’s such a remarkable thing I can’t resist including it. Apparently the very clever Jonathan Bamber and colleagues at the University of Bristol have discovered a huge canyon under the ice smothering Greenland… and it’s bigger than the Grand Canyon.

The feature measures an astounding 750km,compared to the US offering’s comparatively farty 446km. And it plunges as deep as 800m. Now that’s what I call large.

Better still, it’s entirely possible there’s something equally huge, another hidden mega-landscape, under the Antarctic’s southern ice cap, with hints of an unfeasibly massive mountain range.

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