Four rules for your child athlete

I am not an athlete. Remember that scene from Eastbound and Down, where Kenny Powers tells the principal that he’s not trying to be the best at exercising? I’m the principal. But without the triathlons.


Our children, like many others, love playing sports. So far, they’ve played baseball, soccer, basketball and football. At the beginning, I struggled with how to help them between practices and games. What should I say before a game or practice? How about after? I knew that I didn’t want to convey that winning is everything. I also didn’t want to make it seem like sports should be all about having fun. It’s still a commitment, especially to your team.

After a few years, I settled on four rules. Or guidelines. Whatever. We go over these before any game or practice. I have no quantitative data to claim any success, but it sure feels like we are on the right track.

On to the rules… Continue reading


Traveling, apps, and what if?


I have to travel now and again for work, and I’ve noticed over the years how new media has changed the way we get from one place to another. This year, I was away from home for about 70 days, and passed through 20 states (maybe more, I can’t remember). The use of mobile technology has made traveling much more convenient, from using navigation apps for driving, to airline and parking apps when flying.

So what? Maybe it would be better to ask “what if?” Continue reading

3 easy ways to improve your video content marketing

A few weeks ago, I wrote about live streaming. That is but one tiny part of the major role video is playing in content marketing. According to Cisco, “video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.” Where I work, we’ve had great success with videos, especially on Facebook. The question we’re always asking ourselves is how we can take it to the next level.

Some things we’ve come up with include: Continue reading

Characters make the story

What makes fiction so compelling and immersive? It’s the elements of a story: character, setting, conflict, plot and theme. How can we use this to tell a story with our marketing?

More than anything, we should make an effort to focus on characters. People are most often the backbone of any brand or company, so it makes sense to focus on those people. When focusing on these characters, every element of storytelling that you add will make your content captivating. Where did they start and where are they now (plot)? Did they overcome any hardships (conflict)? Where does their story take place (setting)? What does it mean and how does it relate to us (theme)? Continue reading

The 2 things you’ll need for your next website

About six years ago we decided our website at work needed a major overhaul. We did what I imagine a lot of small companies do, we took the information from the old website and basically repackaged it. And it was fine. The website looked great. Everyone was happy. The real question should have been, is this website accomplishing what we need it to accomplish?

Here we are, six years later, and a website redesign is pending. How are we going to go about this? First, we’re going to need better research about how our current website is functioning. How many people are visiting the site? How long are they staying? What are they visiting? Continue reading

3 easy steps to social media success


I don’t have one of these. Do you?

Most of us are not large resource-rich marketing departments or advertising firms with social media command centers. A quick search on how to succeed at social media will quickly throw you in the weeds for any individual social network. Let’s make this easy. There are three things you need to do to thrive in the social space. Continue reading

Tracking all of me, all of you


UA knows when, where, how fast, and how far I’m running. Creepy or awesome?

Under Armour, the sports apparel brand headquartered in Baltimore, acquired fitness tracking app MapMyFitness in late 2013. In 2015, UA bought nutrition and diet app MyFitnessPal and personal trainer app Endomondo. This means that that UA could potentially have access to a variety of health and fitness related data, like your height, weight, diet, activity levels, types of activities, and more. What can the company do with this information?

First, I read over the UA-MapMyFitness Terms and Conditions of Use, then checked out UA’s Security and Privacy Policy. I should note that I am not a lawyer, and a lot of this was more than a little confusing. UA is pretty explicit in noting that it will use your personal information for a number of things, but two of those really jumped out to me: Continue reading

Four things you didn’t know about the Facebook “like”

  1. Facebook_like_thumb green

    Disclaimer: I took the Facebook “like” button and made it green. For illustrative purposes.

    The like button was originally going to be called the “awesome” button, but Mark Zuckerberg didn’t like it. As a matter of fact, it took two years to convince Zuckerberg that a like button was a good idea.

  2. The like button earns Facebook billions of dollars. Those likes help Facebook target ads for companies trying to reach specific audiences.
  3. Facebook’s like button launched Feb. 9, 2009, but it wasn’t the first network to do so. FriendFeed, which shut down earlier this year, had a like feature as early as October 2007.
  4. The like button was almost green. According to Facebook product designer Soleio Cuervo, the team explored a number of different design options for the like, including a green thumbs up, a heart, and a star.

Continue reading

No thanks, I’ll watch it later

The marketing world is latching on to the likes of Periscope and Meerkat as the “next big thing,” They are, but not in the way that you think.

This is what I saw when I opened up Periscope this morning.

This is what I saw when I opened up Periscope this morning.

If you don’t know, Periscope and Meerkat are apps where users can live stream video directly from their mobile device. Like any good social medium, it’s interactive. Viewers can ask questions and make comments while the video is live.

Wired’s David Pierce describes it as “consensual voyeurism.” That’s not far off the mark though, to be fair, that’s not far off the mark for most social media. In a world of time-shifting on-demand viewing, watching something live seems quaint and old-fashioned. Some things are suited to live viewing, like sports, awards shows, or the last episode of the Sopranos. For the most part, live programming isn’t the future.

Until you add interactivity. This interactivity is the selling point for Periscope and Meerkat. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to build a sustainable and sizable community. Instagram did it with photos, but photos are much different. You can breeze through scores of photos with the flick of a finger. Videos take time to watch. Continue reading

Emerging media: It’s new and it’s spectacular

The Awakening

Sometimes when I think of emerging media, I think of “The Awakening,” a sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, located right outside Washington, D.C.

At some point, all media is new and considered emerging. When we speak of emerging media in the year 2015, we’re most often referring to social media, and any other medium that is interactive and collaborative in nature.

Over the next nine weeks, I’m going to explore trends in emerging media, discuss the use of emerging media in integrated marketing communication, and figure out what works and what is on its way out. Hopefully we can even start some great conversations. Continue reading