Bob Wright Creative is proud to announce that it has become a member of the Drupal Association.
We joined because the Drupal Association is the main organization dedicated to the support and growth of Drupal. The more we have been integrating Drupal into our web development offering the more important it is for us to get involved with the Drupal community. With thousands of members from all over the world we felt this is the place to be.
Drupal founder, Dries Buytaert, offered his view on future business models for Drupal in a recent blog post. He says he's seeing more Joomla theme developers starting to offer Drupal themes, creating new ways of monetizing Drupal other than custom enterprise deployments and Drupal training.
From his post:
In the Drupal community, today's business-model of choice seems to be providing implementation services for medium to large websites. The Joomla community, it seems, is very focused on the low-end of the market and most people make money by selling subscription services, usually either by selling commercial support for their GPL extensions or by selling access to template clubs
Dries thinks theme development for Drupal is a good thing and will only help it expand into more of the market.
We've used Media Temple's Grid Server (GS) product for years now to host our web site. They've been great. The cost has been reasonable and their customer service has been really good.
But, ever since we started using Drupal more we've noticed that their GS really struggles. I think it has to do with the MySQL database and the way it's stored remotely from the site, etc. Anyway, after doing some research for a better option we decided to stay with Media Temple, but to upgrade to their Dedicated Virtual (DV) server.
At 6 PM EST, Jon Daggar made the switch. It looks like everything went perfectly except for a minor email hic-up, which was my fault, and we lost one post: today's Monday Favorites. The email is sorted and we're working on getting that post back up. (It's up now!)
One thing I can say, the site works so much better on the DV! Drupal is running smoothly and loading much much quicker than it was before. Visitors should notice a big increase in speed and a decrease in load time. Thanks for hanging in there until we got this sorted out!
Welcome to Monday Favorites, a quasi-regular feature to help you make the transition from weekend to work, because nobody but the boss likes Monday.
Today's favorite: Books on Writing
If you're a marketer you are responsible for creating content. It's likely that you're creating web site copy, press releases, articles, case studies and white papers on a regular basis. But, take a quick survey of corporate writing and one sees a landscape littered with jargon, cliches, and really bad writing.
Writing well is critical and it's what separates you from the pack because good writing supports your company's brand by giving it voice and style.
The following is a list of my favorite writing-related books.
On Writing Well
Author: William Zinser
First Edition: 1976
Zinsser is a prince among men. He's accomplished, cultured, gracious and modest. In On Writing Well, he drives home the necessity of rigorous editing as the key to great writing. I'd never been one for editing. I thought great writing came from being talented so I subscribed to the first draft club—one and done. Zinsser changed all that for me with this book. He claims that he's had a successful career not because he's a great writer but because he's a great editor. He is clearly both.
Whereas On Writing Well is about the 'how' of great writing, Writing to Learn is about the 'why' of writing. Namely, we write nonfiction so that we can learn and so we can help others to learn. Zinsser shows that all subjects are worthy of great writing; mathematics, physics, chemistry, music and art. This book is perfect if you have to cover arcane, technical or esoteric subjects, because it will help you create great, well written information that's engaging to read.
Okay. What does writing a dissertation have to do with marketing? A lot. If you're like any other person who has tried to put pen to paper you've dealt with writer's block. Bolker has spent decades guiding highly educated experts through the process of writing their dissertations. Dissertations are typically focused, technical and go deep in a given subject area, as the writer is trying to communicate their expertise. Sound familiar?
Bolker has developed an approach that helps the writer overcome writer's block and get the job done by eliminating the pressure to write perfectly. This book helped me overcome writer's block and my anxieties to write a 60,000 word book in three months.
Jack Hart is editor at large and writing coach at the award-winning newspaper, The Oregonian. He works with journalists to make their writing sparkle. In this book he deals with writing method, process, structure, force, brevity, clarity, rhythm, humanity, color, voice, mechanics and mastery. This book is a great resource if you write a good deal, but want to get better. Hart has great insight for every aspect of writing.
The Elements of Style
Author: William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White
First Edition: 1918 (w/ many revisions)
What list would be complete without the famous Strunk and White style guide? We still refer to it when there's a question that our resident usage experts can't answer. Our favorite maxim? Omit needless words.
This is a lovely and entertaining look at punctuation. Lynne Truss is a punctuation fanatic and she wages a one-woman war against the misuses that are so prevalent in writing, be they on billboards, brochures or banners. This book is enjoyable and easy to read, but it will make you aware of your punctuation sins. I love a good em dash just like the next guy—Truss helps us to understand how and when to use it properly.
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Pocket Books
First Paperback Edition: 2002
This has nothing to do with publishing your corporate blog or writing white papers, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? On Writing is about one man's life of writing. Of course, it's not just any man, it's Stephen King! I'm recommending this because it's a wonderful look at a famous writer's life of writing. It's real, honest and inspiring. Give it a read this summer if for no other reason than to be entertained. I promise you'll get more out of it. You probably should not expense it, though.
It's time for the Marketing Tip of the Week, a feature dedicated to helping marketers get that extra edge.
This week's tip: Think like an executive editor.
Executive editors are publishing's heavy-hitters. They have a lot of responsibility, but one of their main roles has to do with content. It's the executive editor who decides what's worthy of publishing and what's not.
This week's tip is based on their selection criteria; namely, editors only publish content that their audience is interested in. The really good ones are maniacal about this. They know their audience and will move heaven and earth to publish great content. Conversely, they don't worry about whose feelings get hurt when they have to kill weak stories or misguided pieces.
It sounds pretty obvious. But, think for a minute about your publishing platforms: your web site, sales literature and other marketing collateral. Ask yourself, are they full of content that your readers want to read? Be honest.
When a prospect lands on your web site they should feel like they've found a gold mine, like they've just found a rich resource that will help them do the things that matter to them. That's what an executive editor aims to do. She wants you to engage her publication and feel like you just found your soul mate. She wants you to think of her publication as the best resource and she wants you to keep coming back, day after day, year after year.
When creating your next communication piece, be it a pamphlet, video or case study, create it with the executive editor's mindset. Create something that gives your audience what they want and something that will keep them coming back for more.
Note: Post illustration created by Bob Wright Creative illustrator, Ken Townsend
Honestly, kudos to the Ad Council team. Jon will be a fascinating speaker and the opportunity to hear how Dunkin' refreshed its brand and performed a spectacular turn-around will be awesome! Nice job, Ad Council.
Welcome to Monday Favorites, a quasi-regular feature to help you make the transition from weekend to work, because nobody but the boss likes Monday.
Today's favorite: typography
The following is a list of all kinds of typography-related resources. There's a metric ton of font related stuff on the web, but here are some of the best.
I Love Typography - Yes he does! John Boardley is a British designer and writer living in Japan. ILT is about fonts, typefaces and all things typographical. It features excellent articles, great writing and lovely type. Also, look for his Twitter handle below.
The Ministry of Type - I really love this one! It's published by Aegir Hallmundur, a British designer, and is about type, typography, lettering, calligraphy and other related things that inspire him. He does an awesome job putting out interesting and beautiful posts on a regular basis.
Spiekerblog - The personal blog of Eric Spiekermann. Eric is one of type and design's heavy hitters and he always speaks his mind. His blog on type is a great read.
The Cary Collection - This is one of the country's premier resources on anything to do with the history of printing. Housed at the Rochester Institute of Technology, it has rich resources on book design, type design, printing and publishing. If you need to do research the folks at the Cary Collection want to help.
This morning I discovered, to my utter joy, that my company is listed number one in a Google Search result. That's right, kids. We've obtained the Holy Grail of search engine optimization, online marketing and social marketing. We're number one, baby!
So, now, whenever anyone searches for a certain string of words, the Bob Wright Creative blog will come up number one out of 265,000 search results! Think about that. Out of a possible quarter of a million options, our company will be number one. Can you imagine all the revenues that will pour in from that free advertising? People all over the world will find Bob Wright Creative and will want to do business with us!
Maybe it's time to start hiring more staff.
What's the search string, you ask? Well ... okay, I'll tell you. A while back I posted this. It seems that due to this post and my clever use of SEO, tags, key words, punchy writing and crafty (the haters say unethical) use of someone else's content, we now own the following terms:
"Helvetica on dollar"
Read it and weep, competitors! Bob Wright Creative now dominates the helvetica on dollar market. So, if you have a client that needs "helvetica on dollar" you can forget it, because everybody in the world now knows that our company is the worldwide expert. You might as well pack up shop and find a new profession.
Competitors, we'll be accepting the terms of your surrender on Monday.
Really, it's no surprise to us. Financial Institutions is a great company to work with. The many years working together—designing annual reports or redesigning their corporate identity—have been filled with great collaboration and respect. Congratulations!
A few years ago a vendor approached us with an opportunity. They’re a large printer in town and their customer base stretches well beyond our local market. They had a customer in New England, a national financial company, that wanted to redesign a magazine. A great opportunity.
The idea was that we would go to New England with our vendor. Together we’d pitch their customer on using Bob Wright Creative to do the redesign and creative and our vendor would print the mag.
Simple enough, right?
We like to be prepared. We do presentations and pitches all the time and we win a lot. The reason we win is we come prepared. We take time to learn what problem our client or prospect is facing and we develop real solutions. It may sound simple but you’d be amazed at how many times our competitors have not done their homework and don’t correctly understand the problem.
I met with my contact at our vendor to talk about the opportunity and to begin to prepare how to approach our joint pitch.
“Oh, I can’t help you. Our owner is going to handle this one and he’s in NYC and is going to meet you at the customer’s HQ. Just go do your thing and it’ll be fine,” I was told.
A sense of dread mixed with panic started to set in, followed by a flurry of phone calls and emails on my part trying to get this thing nailed down, all to no avail. “Just do your thing.”
Like any smart business owner, I decided to take both my creative director and my senior project manager with me. If this baby was going south I was going to be flanked by the best. Of course, a smart business owner would have bailed and told our vendor “good luck.” Believe me, I thought about it, but felt like I was already committed and had to see it through, even if our partner was unresponsive.
So, my creative director, project manager and I drove eight hours to the hotel ready to ‘do our thing’ in the morning, whatever that meant. When we got to the hotel there was no sign of our vendor, so we went out and found a BBQ joint and had dinner. When we got back our vendor and his team of five employees were waiting for us, perturbed.
They were upset that we were not there to show them the presentation we had prepared for tomorrow.
Presentation? You’re kidding, right? We’re just going to wing it and “do our thing” like you told us. Besides, this is your customer and your presentation right? No, it’s all riding on me and my guys. Nice.
Back in my room I felt despair. What are we even doing here? We’re getting an attitude from the vendor who refused to give us any direction and now they want to know where our presentation is? Well, I was ready to go to bed, wake up the next day, skip the meeting and head home.
Fortunately, my creative director and project manager jumped in. We pulled an all-nighter and put a smashing presentation together. We had it nailed and ready to go. We crashed for a couple hours and then got ready for the day.
We met with the client and their team, about six women, and got to work. We put our presentation on and hit a home run. Lots of great dialog, great questions and thoughts from the client on how we would work together. It felt like we were winning the job. I was ready to close and ask for their business; get it done.
Then the owner of our vendor jumped in and shot it all to hell.
He said our two companies, Bob Wright Creative and his company, were like two fighter jets in a war, fighting on the same side. The Iraqi War had just begun. I knew at that moment we were doomed. But, just to make sure, the owner continued. He told all the women there to think of this as our first date. We would spend some time to get to know each other—over a figurative dinner. And then … then we could get more intimate, figuratively, of course. I was horrified.
I looked at my guys and I looked at the faces of the women in the room. We were going to bomb their village, my vendor and I, and we were going to make off with the women and have our way with them, after a nice dinner. It was stunning.
20 hours in a car, hundreds of dollars in hotel rooms, meals, fuel and tons of lost revenues for my top guys to be involved and this man was killing it all with just a few words. He was the Anti-Midas, turning everything he touched to turds.
We didn’t get the job but a legend was born that day. I can laugh about it now, but that printer doesn’t get our work anymore for fear that they might have another great opportunity for us.
Note: This story was originally published on www.mikegastin.com