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Why I'm still blogging

Back in 1996, no one was talking about the topics that interested me. At least, no one who I knew personally. Going out on the internet, I could find people covering the topics... customer community, data integrity, thoughtful consumption. And I could engage with those people--sometimes. But no one wanted to WORK with me. 

Over the following ten years I occasionally worked on building a community. FastHouston, Creative Houston, CUCSTX. Nothing cohered. A few people would gather, and when pressure came, they fell apart again. 

I love to work on ideas. On making them concrete. Most people want their reality unimpeded with ideas. Ideas make you question reality. Is this the best we can have? The best we can do? Are we being true to ourselves? Does what we do match what we say?

Blogging gives me a space to provide my ideas and to test them against observations. I don't have to depend on some other person being interested. Sharing my ideas would be pretty worthless if I couldn't observe places and instances where they seem to manifest. I ask that you compare my ideas with your own observations.

If I have helped another person find insight or meaning, I'll have accomplished something. I hope that's you.

Gaining trust by writing newsletters in a specific way... advice from Michael Katz

In the years I've been reading Michael Katz's newsletters on newsletters, I've laughed and learned a great deal. His chatty style is always leading to a easy-to-remember point. I certainly feel that I know him well. 

When we write in concrete, relatable details, then we create a connection.

Blue Penguin Development: Do Your Prospects Trust You? Try This, 2016-Sep-23 by Michael Katz

The best advice I could ever give you about writing in a more authentic way is simply this: Write to readers as if you already know them well.

When you include specific references to recent events, they’ll feel like you actually do.


Measuring the impact of 'tone of voice' in interactive marketing

Over the years, I've spent a lot of time arguing with clients about the tone of voice in their communications, and in the end, I decided not to pursue work as a copywriter. I'm not a playful writer but I'm committed to being accessible, using down-to-earth and conversational language. Clients seem to think I was devaluing their products and services by not being serious enough. And I just hated writing boring, pompous stuff. 

Now the Nielsen Norman Group has produced some research over the tone of voice used on web sites, finding that casual, conversational tones performed best most of the time. (Of course, casual is wrong in some cases but conversational is almost always good.) 

Nielsen Norman Group: The Impact of Tone of Voice on Users' Brand Perception, 2016-Aug-7 by Kate Meyer

In a two-part study, we tested pairs of nearly identical website content. In each pair, the only aspect that we varied was the tone of voice used. We found that there are indeed measurable effects of tone of voice on users, specifically on users’ impressions of an organization’s friendliness, trustworthiness, and desirability. We also found that a user’s impression of an organization’s trustworthiness is a strong predictor of their willingness to recommend that brand... 

Across all of the tone samples tested, we saw that casual, conversational, and moderately enthusiastic tones performed best, though they do not necessarily need to be combined. ...[A] conversational but serious tone can be successful for a bank.

Choosing a tone of voice is a tricky game of balancing your brand’s personality and priorities. There’s no one solution for every situation.... [I]t’s possible to choose a tone that makes your brand seem friendly, but still doesn’t make your potential customers more likely to choose you.


Trying to keep trying harder

Feeling stalled is a dangerous perspective. We have to see the possibilities and not the obstacles. Or see the obstacles as possibilities.

Seth's Blog: Effort, 2016-Jul-12 by Seth Godin

Usually, what we do is, "try our best under the circumstances."

So, you're getting good service, but if the CEO's daughter was here, you can bet she'd be getting better service.

So, you're running hard as you train, but you can bet that if you were approaching the finish line at the Olympics, you'd be running harder.

The trick: don't redefine trying. Redefine the circumstances.