Posted by: txtincorporated | August 5, 2011

I Gotcher Trendy Hotspot Right Here, Manhattan!

Among New York City’s wealth of well-known tics is the dread fear with which Manhattanites seem to regard a journey anywhere beyond the security of their island—particularly if the destination involves anyplace beginning with the word “Brook” and ending with the name “Lyn”.

O.K., I don’t really know anyone named Lyn.  Anyway, in my little corner of the Fuggedaboudit borough, we’ve lately begun to notice increasing numbers not only of big, red tour buses loaded with midwesterners in search of Spike Lee, but, popping up from our subway exits with equally bewildered looks, Manhattanites seeking, of all things, the latest hot spot.  I recently had the opportunity to write up one such locale for Travel + Leisure.

Read all about it here.

Posted by: txtincorporated | February 28, 2011

Skip Lunch! Mine Your Content

I recently edited an e-book for someone I’ve long known and respected as a fount of wisdom for entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Leigh Beckett’s e-book is free, and I’ll let my forward speak to what it covers.

©Leigh Beckett, 2010

Get ready…

In an age when the platitude “Content is King” has become universal, it always amazes me how few businesses actually put it to work.  Just in the course of a business day many entrepreneurs generate more content than they could ever publish.  Yet they seem oblivious to it.

Thus, when it comes to taking just a half hour to showcase their mastery in a newsletter article, blog post or industry-specific Tweet, the few who consider it demur “If only I had the time!”  The rest never even suspect how powerfully genuine content draws an audience for the exact same message their costly advertising strains so hard to make heard.

Leigh Beckett, on the other hand, gets it.  The proof is the book you have in your hand (O.K., on your screen).  Better yet, Skip Lunch—Build a Website itself arises out of the very realization that one content strategy does the work of ten ad campaigns, often for less than the price of one.

Read Leigh’s introduction to learn how he realized his consulting services could make him money in his sleep by being turned into often free information products—and attract new clients for him to serve upon waking.  This book is one result.

Read it, and then navigate to to experience more of Leigh’s strategy in action.  And once you’ve read your Ten Killer Tips put them together with what you’re now about to learn; mastermind a content strategy for your own product or service.

Happy low-cost, high yield marketing!

Nathan Keene

Posted by: txtincorporated | May 18, 2010

The Dark Art of Version Control

The Web designer was being as polite as she could.

“A word of advice,” she urged.  “You need to use spell check before you send your clients a final draft!”

I asked her to send me what she had, and spelling was far from its worst problem.  I hardly even recognized the piece.  Seemingly parts of my work had been cut and pasted into my client’s original rough notes and then overlaid with changes I had never seen, to nobody’s credit.  After a few deep, centering breaths I called the client.

He protested “I just gave her what you sent me!”

In a way he had.  Just not the way I’d intended.  This wasn’t my first lesson in version control, only my most painful.

You may not know what that is if you haven’t written much.  Even if you have you may not always bother; either way you risk damage to your image, if not your ego.

Each time anyone working on a document changes it, it must be renamed sequentially to show the version and who changed it.  All versions should be synchronized to the same folder on everyone’s hard drive so people can see the most recent one last.  Ideally, everyone shares the same folder via the Web or an office network.

Complicated?  Yep!  That’s why so many people just let their writer handle it all.  I now send those clients drafts in .pdf form to discourage free style “tinkering” until I’ve distributed a file clearly marked “FINAL”.  For the others, I ask the designer to use final versions only from me.  Even the most hands-on clients like smooth sailing.

Posted by: txtincorporated | November 8, 2009

For What (and Whom) Are You Thankful?

Heading into the Holidays, it’s good to remember everything we’re thankful for—and everyone to thank.  Few things communicate gratitude like a hand written note, and my client Marco Larsen of publicity firm PUBLIC nyc has some excellent advice on composing one.  He focuses on press contacts who cover his clients, but we can all take heed.  Here’s an excerpt from Marco’s recently-released DON’T, the Essential Guide to Publicity in New York City (and Any Other City That Matters):

©Marco Larsen, 2009

A call that achieves tangible results (read: press) for you represents a favor from your media contact.  Your contacts realize this fact no matter how graciously they may feign to overlook it.  A call followed up only by the next pitch resembles a Saturday night date followed up only with another Thursday afternoon query.  The timing is somehow suspect.

Wham, bam, thank you, Ma’am is never a shrewd approach to a (long term) relationship.

Saying thank you with another call might be awkward.  E-mail says, “Your gracious assistance is this important to me: CLICK-CLICK.”  It places you comfortably among the legion of hacks styling themselves publicists.  Place yourself among gracious professionals, instead.

Have you ever received a proper thank you note?  Written on quality stationery with a postmark and everything?  It made you feel special, did it not?  People genuinely enjoy being noted for their efforts.

In business, there are myriad reasons to send a thank you note:  for a good professional turn, in response to a referral, after a job interview, or when you have been treated to lunch by a contact or similarly entertained by your boss.  Less and less common in our manic age of email, texting, BlackBerries and mobile phones, it’s a classically courteous and nearly effortless way to define yourself as considerate and well mannered.

Above all, never type a thank you note:  it is not “more business-like”, it’s just “less charming”.  The recipient will assume you lack either legible penmanship or simple grace.  Use company letterhead and a matching envelope, and they’ll suppose you lack either taste or proper stationery.

Invest in quality 5 x 7 correspondence cards or fold-over notes in a style that balances classicism with modern simplicity.  Tasteful personal touches—your name, initials, an elegant border—are never out of place.  Sidestep anything florid, homespun, metallic, overly personalized, or with the words ‘thank you’ printed on it.

Your message should be simple, succinct and forward-looking.  Punctuation is important. Don’t begin with ‘thank you’, but rather, what you most appreciate about the person’s having taken the time to work with you and how you look forward to future endeavors.  Then thank them and close, on a new line, with “Best”, “Best regards” or “Sincerely”.  Sign your name in a confident hand and, if necessary, toss in your business card.  Always use the honorific when addressing an envelope—Mr. John Smith, not John Smith—and post within 5 days of the event.

A gracious gesture of appreciation, your thoughtfulness will set you apart, accrue good will and aid in your success.  In writing thank-you notes to others for their efforts, you are recognized for your own.  It’s win-win.

And since we seem to be on the subject of writing…

For the rest of Marco’s thoughts on publicity in NYC, and his general advice on business relationships, point your browser to the DON’T Web site to place your order.  …and don’t forget copies for those who’ve earned more than just a note.

Posted by: txtincorporated | September 27, 2009

DON’T is Out!

Anyone who’s looked at my Samples page has probably noticed my work on a book project called DON’T, whose author, Marco Larsen, heads the boutique publicity firm PUBLIC nyc.  The book’s full title states its purpose nicely:  DON’T, the Essential Guide to Publicity in New York City (and Any Other City That Matters).Marco calls DON’T“a distillation of my own, my clients’ and contacts’ experience on the hard, bright streets of the World’s Greatest City,” and as you might imagine, throughout the book his wisdom is laced with sardonic—often hilarious—observation.If you’ve ever considered a career in publicity, have an interest in how the professionals do it, or just enjoy an occasional peek into the bowels of New York City’s 24-hour media machine, DON’T will be an entertaining read.  If you’re in any business that demands contact with clients or the public, any number of Marco’s pithy “Don’ts” will prove invaluable.

And after a final flurry of editorial polishing and a gala release party earlier this summer, I can now happily announce that DON’T is officially complete!  You can purchase it on Amazon, of course, or you can order from the book’s Web site, where you can also browse headings for a few choice “Don’ts” (“DON’T Commute in Running Shoes”, for example, or “DON’T Order Vile Hooch”).

Additionally, watch this space over the next few weeks for excerpts on writing, which Marco has generously agreed to let me quote here.

And don’t forget to enjoy the party snaps!

All slides ©PUBLIC nyc 2009

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