October 14, 2002

RSS Advertising

Interesting discussion going on at Kottke about incorporating advertising into RSS feeds. I'm a bit skeptical, but I like what Chris Willis has to say:

One of the great advantages of RSS is that it can provide specific information to be integrated and used any way you like. Diluting it with content that makes it less effective for your special use seems inconsistent with this.

I'd suggest a service that creates just the advertising feed you want. Go to Banana Republic, enter your sizes and wait for the right piece of apparel to scroll your way. That would be useful. Sign me up

I still don't entirely understand RSS, how you can incorporate the feeds into your site, how it relates to XML .... ahhh the trials and tribulations of being a non-techie. Anyone care to email me and explain?

[later: I've since done some diggin around on Chris Willis' blog and he has some great basic stuff for anyone who's in the same boat as me. Check out this, this and this .... and this.]

Good Marketing Defined

John at Iluminent eloquently defines good marketing on his blog:

I'd agree with this argument that text advertising does a good job of 'selling stuff' online, but would argue that 'selling stuff' isn't everything that marketing is about.

I buy crap all the time, but that doesn't mean I'll buy the same crap again... that's what marketing is all about. Getting people to buy crap over and over. (okay, that didn't come out how I meant it to, but it works to get across the point.)

Back to the basics.

October 06, 2002

Nick Usborne: Copywriting and Technology

As you can tell, it's been pretty slow around here lately. Traveling just comes in spurts with me and this is a big one. Was in Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago most of last week and I'm off to Colorado Springs tomorrow. At least I'm going to some fun places. But in my free time Nick Usborne's latest Excessive Voice caught my eye ....

Nick Usborne has a great email newsletter, Excessive Voice, he sends out every now and again (I highly recommend you sign up here). Nick is the web's premier copywriter and truly gets "it." The first profession in advertising I was attracted to was copywriting ... and part of me still wants to tackle it, so I have a bit of a passion for it. Nick shows us how valuable(and how often that value under-stated) copywriting is to businesses online.

In Nick's previous Excessive Voice he asked his readers "about the impact of technology on the quality of our writing. Did we write better when we had to write slowly with a pen and paper, or clunky typewriter? Has the ease of writing with word processing software made us lazy, and reduced the quality of our copy?"

This is an interesting question. I think the availability of technology has its advantages and disadvantages to writing. I often find, if I really want to tackle anything I write (or create for that matter) I need to start off with a blank sheet of paper and a pen that flows (literally, I love how Uni-Bal pens allows my ideas to flow on paper). Because feewriting is so important to starting the writing process, I find the computer has limitations. I can jot arrows across the page and link things together in a flash. But once I've jotted out my initial thoughts, even a rough draft, I think the computer is invaluable. Not only can you make quicker edits and print out drafts to edit by hand with greater ease, but you can picture your copy in its graphical format ... which can have an incredible impact on how those well-crafted words are perceived.

Nick published Maggie Ball's response to his question ... which I find good enough to put down here too:

Couldn't resist this one Nick (and writing it quickly). While I find that my own writing quality works better on computer than with pen and paper, simply because I've grown accustomed to working this way, I do tend to agree with the great writer Julian Barnes. Producing something with your computer makes it look too professional too quickly. I can knock up a great set up book covers, professional TOC and index before I even start my book. By the time I've begun the difficult composition process, I'm itching to send off my professional looking novel to publishers simply because it "looks" so ready. It would take many drafts to get it looking as physically neat if I were using a quill (or even a typewriter). The re-writing in those drafts would be significant. I don't think I'll ever go back to pen and paper for composition, but I do think it helps to remind ourselves that good writing takes time, many iterations, and usually some peer and professional input (a point that you make very well in Networds). Just because it looks clean, and is well formatted doesn't mean it is ready for the world. In our fast pace world where we are continually encouraged to write quickly and get our work "out there", we mustn't forget the crucial editing steps. Editors (including that internal self-editor) are more important to good words than ever.