Interview with Kiss eBook Author Chris Epting

eBook "All I Need to Know I Learned from KISS"

eBook “All I Need to Know I Learned from KISS”

Chris Epting is an author after my own heart. As a lifelong fan of the rock band Kiss, Chris published an ebook titled “All I Need to Know I Learned from KISS: Life Lessons from the Hottest Band in the Land” – available on Amazon.

Kiss is, of course, one of my all-time favorite bands. I rock and roll all night to their music, shout it out loud at their concerts, and pay cash for their merchandising. Kiss has touched my life in many meaningful ways.

That’s why when I heard about this ebook, I downloaded it immediately. The title alone grabbed me, but the crisp writing is what kept me reading. As a writer, Epting is a man at the top of his craft. He knows how to weave a compelling narrative that grabs you and never lets you go. I wanted the best and Epting delivered the best.

The ebook is, for lack of a better description, a long, personal love letter to Kiss. Because of his background, Epting delivers the letter from the unique perspective of an informed insider…not as someone with an ax to grind. Continue reading

Dad’s Tech Quest – Introduction

TechQuest LogoWhen my kids were born, I decided that they would have access to technology. Real tech, not just games.

So before they could speak, their hands were slapping and clacking on the keyboard. This isn’t so unusual these days, as many modern American families have access to similar technology.

But I wanted to go one step further.

I believe my career in technology is due primarily to my early exposure to computers. My high school exposed us early in the 1980s to simple programming using the Commodore 64, a machine that was a gateway for thousands of tech-curious minds.

Then, in a move that would prove formative, my father bought me a used Apple IIc computer. It was a basic machine, but it was mine. I could tinker and explore at home, rather than in a computer lab. I used it primarily as a word processor, but it gave me the confidence to use technology as a tool.

And, like many before me, I was completely and utterly blown away the first time I saw my first classic Macintosh computer. Unlike many of my fellow students who walked past, I couldn’t wait to put my hands on it. Continue reading

Speaking at Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in February

See Buddy Speak at Intelligent Content Conference 2013

See Buddy Speak at Intelligent Content Conference 2013

West Coast! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, maybe too long.

Let’s get together at the Intelligent Content Conference 2013 in San Francisco on February 7-8, 2013. I’m packing now to bring some East Coast fun to the City by the Bay.

If you’re a content marketer, this is one of the big conferences you should attend. I’ll be there to deliver my presentation on Feb 8th at 2:00. Here’s the description:

Channel-Agnostic Content Strategy for Happy Marketers
Learn why “intelligent content” is an inevitable future for multi-channel marketing. Developing channel-agnostic content is rapidly becoming the only way to address the proliferation of emerging channels and new devices. Brands are publishers and content is liquid. Marketing teams need to consider how to share messages across the platforms that their customers are using. Intelligent, channel-agnostic content development, governance, and maintenance will ensure that your marketing team is happy (i.e., employed) and prepared for the future.

You’ll see a lot of the stuff you’ve come to know and love including my sparking personality, these rock-hard abs, and some amazing comic book art. Continue reading

5 Great Reasons Your Marketing Strategy Works

Marketing strategy. Yours is working.

Look, I’m going to run through a few things with you, since you already know all of this. You’re a marketing pro, so this is just a quick review of your talking points with your boss.

A good marketer like you knows that you can’t just check boxes and expect to deliver remarkable results. You are already working hard to make sure your strategies and tactics are effective.

Let’s review five reasons your campaign will succeed, so you can discuss it during your next performance review:

1. You have a strong content strategy.
Last quarter you rocked it with a smart strategy, fantastic branding, and a super message. It took some time, but you managed to deliver an equally amazing content strategy. You know (because you read Content Strategy for the Web and The Elements of Content Strategy) that content strategy includes a plan for ongoing content creation, management, and governance. That’s why your website isn’t still in Phase 1/Launch. You’ve had a content strategist focused on all aspects of content, so that the message stays fresh for your target audience. It’s not just the copy on your website either. It’s mobile, social, video, graphics, and everything in between. This, above all, is why you are succeeding where others have failed. You know that content strategy is the foundation of content marketing. Continue reading

How Apps Are Ruining the World

Tesla: Master of Lightning. That would look cool on a business card.

Between our iPad, iPhone, and three iPod Touches, my family has over 100 installed apps. Amazing utilities, clever social apps, and plain old silly stuff.

I love my apps, but they are ruining the world. Sad, really.

Here’s the thing. Programming something for iOS isn’t exactly easy. There are some tools that cut your time, but if you want to maximize your app, you’ll have to put in the time or pay someone to do it. Someone smart and patient.

I’m all for creative entrepreneurs generating a profit from their hard work. I’ve certainly done it myself, so I wouldn’t begrudge someone else the opportunity to earn money. Unfortunately….

Unfortunately, some of the smartest people in the room aren’t solving problems anymore. They’re not figuring out the kinds of things that need figuring. They’re not inventing or improving inventions. They’re not even experimenting.

Nope, they’re coding apps that they’ll sell for 99 cents. And if they’re lucky (because luck is part of success), they’ll make some money. If not, they’ll just make another app. That’s where the gold seems to be. Continue reading

The “Idea Etherverse” (or How to Be More Creative at Work)

Idea lightbulb

Did that lightbulb in your head just go on? Maybe it’s coming from the Idea Etherverse.

In my line of work, people talk a lot about creativity. As a content strategist and copywriter at a marketing agency, people look to my creative services team for fresh ideas.

They appreciate unique angles, bursts of inspiration, and the proverbial lightbulb-over-the-head.

Yet, that creativity doesn’t just come from “the creatives.” Not at all.

Ideas can come from anyone in any role, if you encourage people to express their own ideas. Account managers, project managers, quality assurance testers, proofreaders, and traffic coordinators have come up with ideas that rival the best copywriters, art directors, and other people typically associated with “ideas.”

The problem? Most “non creative” people feel boxed in by the words printed on their business cards. They incorrectly assume they are less qualified to share new ideas or whatever. It’s really just “whatever.”

 

The Big Secret Revealed: Where Creativity Comes From

For a few years, I worked as a professional comic book writer (which was outstanding training for new media). At comic book conventions, fans and aspiring creators would sometimes ask where I got my ideas. Continue reading

Write a Website, Not a Novel

Stack of keyboards

Write less. Write better.

Never use ten words, when you can say it in five. Never use a ten-buck word, when a five-buck word will do.

These are old phrases that I remember from my days working as a journalist. The idea was not to dazzle people with your thesaurus, but to communicate and report your story. Save the flowery language, they used to say, for your novel.

If you’re developing your content strategy for your new brand website, be sure to include a section in the style guide about writing. Let your whole team know that the purpose of your website is to serve the needs of your users. It’s not an opportunity to stretch your legs as a writer and express yourself with brilliant prose. Continue reading

Why Marketers Should Drive a Badass Car

Steve McQueen movie poster from Bullitt. He drove a Mustang and he was very, very cool.

If you work in Marketing, Advertising, or some kind or related field, you are probably familiar with the concept of personal branding. Or “Brand You” as it is sometimes referred to.

Your Brand You is something you live every day. It’s the job you do and how you do it. It’s also your clothing, your blog, your online footprint. It’s a little bit of everything that supports the brand that is you. It requires care and feeding.

For example, I was talking with a colleague, who is in a new-business development job. It’s part account manger, part business development, and all relationships. Anyway, he was lamenting the vehicle he drove, which is a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

I asked him what was wrong with his Jeep. He told me that he felt strange picking up corporate clients in a Jeep, which he keeps immaculately clean because of his training in the military.  He motioned to the parking lot, which was a sea of cars from Audi, BMW, Infinity, Lexus, Acura, and Nissan. Those are the cars sales guys drive, he told me.

Yeah, I said, that’s is what they drive. And what you drive is different because you are different. Your brand is different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Picture this: you’re a client. The sales guy has offered to take you out to lunch and for some reason, he actually has two cars with him. He says, “we can take the Audi or we can take the ’69 Corvette.” Which would you choose to go to lunch in?

My completely unscientific poll of industry colleagues and friends suggests that most people would go to lunch in the ‘Vette. Why? Because it’s a unique experience. It gives you something to talk about. The Audi is nice (which is why you buy one), but it’s not remarkable (unless it’s a performance model).

You want to be remarkable.
Continue reading

5 Tips for Professional Networking on LinkedIn

Square version of LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn Logo

Because of the rapid growth of social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, many people are unsure of how they should draw the line between professional and personal communications. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but if you follow a few rules of thumb, you’ll do a better job of managing your professional brand.

First off, if you aren’t yet familiar with it yet, LinkedIn has become the hot destination for professional networking. It’s the ultimate social and professional mixer that helps people connect through career experiences.

Essentially, you go to LinkedIn to create a living resume. It may help you get discovered by HR recruiters or former co-workers. So it is essential for you to market yourself properly. Here are five easy tips for making the most of LinkedIn.

1. Be professional.
It’s strange to even say this, but you need to treat LinkedIn as you would any other workplace. Consider LinkedIn just another extension of your career, because for now, it kind of is. There are enough working professionals on LinkedIn that you must assume that everything you write is going to be seen and interpreted by some of your co-workers.

Separate your personal online life (e.g., Facebook) with your professional online life (i.e., LinkedIn). There is the “work you” and the “home you.” LinkedIn is the place for the work version of yourself. Continue reading

Defending Your Creative Ideas

Defending Ideas Sketch

Defending Your Ideas - A little sketch from the corner of my notebook, as we were brainstorming new ideas.

If you want to get into the business of marketing, you’re going to need to develop (a) a thick skin and (b) a strategy for sharing your ideas. Neither of these tasks are easy, but trust me when I tell you, they are necessary.

Many people think that marketing is easy, since just about anyone can come up with one good marketing or advertising idea. The real challenge, of course, is to come up with multiple ideas. Ideas that adapt to evolving strategic direction and new media channels. That’s not quite as easy.

In a brainstorm, there are some good ideas that everyone agrees is on target and makes sense. If there’s a whiteboard, it gets written in big bold letters as “an idea.” Kudos to you if you were part of that brainstorm session.

If you’ve ever been part of a brainstorm session, it can be fun and exhilarating, but it is also a little scary. Why scary? Well, if all of the ideas are safe, the group may not be trying hard enough. There may be fear in the room. Nobody wants to share their best idea, only to be rejected by the whole room. Making it to the whiteboard builds confidence. Not making it to the board is depressing. Continue reading