Sword and the Script

Tapping White Space for Creative Blog Ideas


creative blog ideas

A handful of the audio books that are often the catalyst for creative ideas.

Everyone has their methods for coming up with blogging ideas — or in screwing up their blog strategy.

Some prefer a strict enforcement of an editorial calendar, while some prefer to simply wing it.  There’s a good case to be made on either side, but for me, what works best is a little of both:  dance like nobody’s watching and keep a running list of creative ideas.

That’s all fine and well, but the key is getting those ideas and the secret to that is to expose yourself to ideas:  reading, or better yet, listening.


A Shift in Information Consumption

There was a time when I devoured books…the printed kind. While I still keep many of them as references, my reading habits have largely shifted online.  Books are hard for me to get through these days, but I’ve discovered a little secret:  audio books and podcasts. Read More…

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The End of Free


The End of Free

The End of Free

by Frank Strong

Free.

It was a model championed by websites, let alone social networks, for nearly a decade. Offer a service for free, build the user base and then sell ads on the platform.

With the possibilities of the Net, Free was a disruptive model, that worked a bit like a forest fire:  it ignited, burned fast, but ultimately died of natural causes while also leaving fertile ground for new growth.

Napster arguablly set the conditions for .99 cent download on  iTunes. It costs us a $1.29 today. Perhaps $1.99 tomorrow.

“Ideas are the ultimate abundance commodity, which propagates at zero marginal cost,” wrote Chris Anderson in his book Free. Anderson was right.  But he was also wrong.  Free is a lifecycle. Read More…

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Spam Two Saturday: Louis Vuitton and What?


Spam Two Saturday

You will die if you try to consume spam like this. Photo credit: Flickr

I’m starting a new series about spam comments.  As this blog has grown, the bad PR pitches — from my peers I might add — has grown exponentially.  So too have the spam comments.

The difference? Spam emails are a hot button but spam comments are humor. Because spam comments are captured in Akismet I can review them at my leisure…when I need a chuckle.

Here’s the Spam Two Saturday: Read More…

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Autotweets Are Not Comparable to TV or Radio Ads


autotweets, schedule tweets

Photo credit: Flickr

There’s a debate over autotweets, or scheduled tweets during times of tragedy

This post kicked it off: Guy Kawasaki is too ‘popular’ to stop autotweets during Boston bombings. This post reinforced the point, with kinder language, but with words that bite: A Letter To Those Of You With 1,500 Twitter Followers Or Fewer.

And we’re off.  Knock down.  Drag out.  Online scrap.  It’s not productive.

The point of the post?

While the news about the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon was just being broken, and for several hours afterwards, most companies shut down their promotional efforts on Twitter and other social media.

Most people and organizations rightly came to the conclusion that to continue to hawk their wares while a national tragedy was unfolding (and people were using Twitter to get and exchange news) was a little insensitive, to say the least.

Most brands stopped. And while I generally dislike the term “personal branding” because I believe within a company — that is a team environment — it is divisive  some people have become brands. In a company, this means there’s an inverse correlation between productivity and ego.   Read More…

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Three Observations the Morning After Tragedy


Thinking of Boston.

Thinking of Boston.

by Frank Strong

I first heard about it on Facebook.  A friend had posted this link to The Atlantic. Initially, the article simply had a couple lines of text and a few screenshots of tweets.  The site has since updated it to provide more complete coverage.

Senseless killing. Tragic. Incomprehensible.

My first reaction was: this is terrorism.  The last time we had a terrorist attack we went to war for a decade. In fact, we are still fighting it.  However, it’s worth noting, before 9/11, the predominant form of terrorism was from domestic lunatics, like the duo from Oklahoma City.

As of the time of this writing, no suspects have been identified and officials have simply said, they currently do not know. Read More…

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Six Creative Ideas for Blog Posts


Six creative blog posts ideas

The world is brimming with creative ideas.

by Frank Strong

The only thing boring about content may well be the creator.

That was the message in a post on Copyblogger with a subtitle that read, “There are no boring topics, only boring content creators.” Author Pratik Dholakiya next tackles the challenge of making coffee cups interesting.

It’s an idea reflective of Malcom Gladwell’s work, who is a prolific writer with the hairstyle of a genius. In his book, What the Dog Saw, Gladwell says the role of a gifted writer, or more specifically, a journalist, is to breath life into a topic and in essence  make the uninteresting…interesting. Read More…

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Triberr: Blog Building for the Magic Middle


triberr, magic middle, blogging

Image credit: Triberr

by Frank Strong

Twitter and Facebook killed blogging because it took the conversation out of blogosphere and moved it to social networks. That’s Dino Dogan‘s thesis — and it is a founding thesis for Triberr.

He’s not alone in his thinking — it was an often repeated refrain a few years ago — and the demise of Google Reader has resurrected the “end of blogs” discussion.

Google Reader’s shut down is not the end of blogs — there are plenty of RSS alternatives caught the news tail. There’s nearly a dozen good alternatives and at least one, Feedly has scored nearly one-half million new users as a result.  That’s 500,000 vocal power users and Google’s golden opportunity to earn good will walking out the door. Read More…

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Marketing Ideas: A Different Approach to Social Advertising


Facebook Ads

Image: Screenshot of current Facebook Ads on the side of my stream.

by Frank Strong

Rants about Facebook advertisements are a dime a dozen  and Facebook might be introducing a way for users to pay to have them removed.  I’ve seen a lot of comments in social media flatly saying they’d never give Facebook money to remove ads — it does seem a bit like holding people hostage — but clearly there’s also a market for it.

“I understand the company needs to make money (and I WANT them to make money) but why not at least honor your customers by providing an option that allows us to stop being annoyed?” wrote Mark Schaefer in a post titled pointedly, Dear Facebook. Please let me pay you.  “Let us give you a few bucks a month to end the insanity.”

The image Mark used in his post suggests a subscription fee of $20 a month as a fair price. If even a fraction of Facebook’s billion users subscribed, it’s stock price just might get back to that $38 per share mark it had for a fleeting moment at its debut.  As for the possible push back from users, Facebook has the unenviable position of a double edged sword:  no matter what they do, somebody is going to get angry. Read More…

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Wear Sunscreen When Social Media Sites Die


posterous closing

Screenshot: Google Image search for “Posterous closing.”

by Frank Strong

If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be this: don’t bet your egg-nest on any one social media site. 

Social media may never sleep, but it also won’t live forever.  At least not in its current form.

A former colleague once relayed a story about MySpace. They’d met with an advertising team and signed a big contract to spend a boatload on paid media on the site when the unexpected happened.

The next day MySpace filed for bankruptcy.

There’s an old saying about eggs and baskets which needless to say means if we have more than one of the former, we certainly need more than one of the latter.

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Google+ Authorship is a Game Changer


Photo credit:  Google+

Photo credit: Google+

by Frank Strong

On the modern day battlefield there are three kinds of people:  those on our side of the fence, those on the other side of the fence and those sitting on the fence.

Stay with me, I’ll link this to Google+.

War used to be won by seizing terrain and holding it, but opposing sides also used to wear uniforms that distinguished one from the other:  you could easily tell friend from foe.  Today they blend in, because arguably, there isn’t a military force in the world that can go toe-to-toe with the United States in a conventional war.

The way to beat America is to trade space for time — and after paying a heavy price, we’ve grown wise to that.

To the American Soldier, that blend means a culture we don’t understand, using a language we don’t speak and making decisions based on values that are different from our own. We need more people on our side of the fence to win.  It’s the only way; brute force will only secure temporary gains.

To that end, the way to win isn’t to seize and hold new ground, rather it’s to win over those fencesitters.  Those on our side of the fence will deny safe haven and identify those attempting to blend with the mix.

This is how I view the digital media landscape shaping and Google+’s role in it. Read More…

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