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Naming a Tech Business? Read This First.

February 8, 2017

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The ad tech space is notoriously crowded, which makes finding a good name particularly challenging, as well as important. JR Lisk, Inc. partnered with the naming experts at River + Wolf, a NY-based brand naming and writing agency, to write this piece for Medium on ad tech naming trends and tips. The article discusses three of the biggest trends in start-up naming and provides tips for entrepreneurs looking to snag a name that “satisfies board members, entices investors, attracts customers and maybe, just maybe, sounds like something destined for an IPO.”

We are also pleased to announce we’ve partnered with River + Wolf on a series of naming projects, including a high-profile assignment for a massive retailer.

Photo cred: HBO

 

Measuring a Year in Words (infographic)

January 4, 2017

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2016 was good to us. We partnered with more than 20 clients, from big names like Twitter and The Hartford, to innovative digital start-ups.

We wrote pieces for Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur, AdAge, AdExchanger, MediaPost, Today’s Parent, and many a company blog. Granted, we usually didn’t write under our real names, but hey, that’s just a day in the life of a ghostwriter.

We helped businesses re-brand and/or launch content strategies for the first time. We wrote press releases, web copy, video scripts, marketing collateral, proposals, white papers, eBooks, even a book chapter.

Our days were varied. We wrote most frequently about adtech, digital advertising trends, mobile, small business, cybersecurity, medical topics, and travel. And we truly loved every minute of it.

So thank you. Thank you for letting us do what we love and love what we do, and cheers to more effective and fun collaborations in the new year.

Should you need a talented writer or content strategist, please give us a shout.

2016-recap

JR Lisk 2016 Recap

What Small Businesses Need to Know about Influencer Marketing

December 20, 2016

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Photo Cred: 42 Works

Rather than convincing all of your prospects to do business with you, what if you just had to convince a few of them? Then, those new clients could tell the rest of your potential customers about how great you are. Of course, this only works if you focus on the right new clients, folks with influence–the kind of people the rest of your prospects respect, trust, and turn to for input. That is influencer marketing in a nutshell.

Sociologists proposed the hypothesis that the majority of people are influenced by a small number of opinion leaders during a study in 1944 about the process of decision-making during the presidential election. The translation for marketers is that if we can successfully find and engage opinion leaders, they can help us connect “with the masses.” This can be done organically, or by paying the influencers for their help.

Social media has given the whole things new legs since it makes it easier than ever to 1.) identify influencers and 2.) become an influencer in the first place.

Platforms like SnapChat, YouTube and Vine (RIP!) have enabled a generation of personalities to cultivate enormous followings by creating and sharing unique, and often silly, content. These channels, and their superstars, are most popular with millennials, and marketers have been salivating over the new opportunity to connect with this high-value audience.

But influencer marketing isn’t just about this wave of new content creators.  According to one study, 84 percent of global marketers planned to launch at least one influencer campaign. Small businesses need to focus on finding the influencers that matter to their audience, and remember the following:

  1. An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity. They just need to matter to your customer base.
  2. An influencer doesn’t have to have a huge following. Sometimes people with smaller fan bases actually have better engagement stats.
  3. An influencer doesn’t even have to be a person. An organization, such as a non-profit, can make an excellent partner.

When you find the right influencer, someone (or something) who is trusted by your clients and prospects, they can help you create content that resonates with your target audience. They can also help you distribute that content by sharing it on their own social media channels. Influencer marketing is not as new as it seems. For small businesses, it is another tactic for reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time.

Want to chat about what influencer marketing can do for your small business? Contact JR Lisk today.

 

 

Confessions of a Ghostwriter

July 26, 2016

jrlisk

Ghostwriter

Photo Credit: Allegra Laboratory

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of ghostwriting. I pen thought leadership pieces for execs, and they run in major media outlets and industry trade pubs like AdExchanger, MediaPost, and TechCrunch. I also write articles for business leaders to share on LinkedIn, Medium, and company blogs. I love what I do, and I don’t do it “for the glory.” I like helping people convey their unique viewpoints. I like trying to capture their personality and cadence with my word choices. I genuinely enjoy working together to build on their ideas and to find examples to illustrate their points.

I agree wholeheartedly with a professional’s decision to hire someone like me, not just because it pays the bills, but because it’s a smart example of time management. People hire ghostwriters because they 1.) Don’t have the time to produce content themselves and/or 2.) Don’t have professional writing skills and understand that partnering with a pro will improve quality and, in turn, results.

But if I am honest, I sometimes wish I could share clips I’m particularly proud of, and I wonder how I can best showcase this type of writing, which has become a sizeable part of my business, on my social media channels and in my portfolio. Although many people enlist the help of a ghostwriter, it’s not usually something they want to advertise. I liked a solution proposed in Lauren Ingram’s article for Contently’s The Content Strategist, “Is it Morally Okay to Ghostwrite Thought Leadership.” She writes, “When some celebrities sign book deals for memoirs, co-writers are included in the byline, just in a smaller font. It might seem strange at first, but why couldn’t bloggers use this same system? Or at the very least, put some sort of disclosure at the bottom of the story to acknowledge the name of the person who actually wrote the post.” This solution would allow ghostwriters to share their work and help get their names out to potential new clients.

For the record, I have no moral qualms about what I do, or with the folks who ask me to do it. I work with clients who want my writing to sound like them. I take time to understand their position and personality. We communicate as often as necessary to make sure I am presenting their ideas and vision. Sure, I elaborate and improve as needed, but I don’t think there is anything unethical about that. (But I sure am glad I am not Tony Schwartz.)

This is a little cheesy, but I think it is an honor to have someone choose you for something so personal. Plus, I get to learn a lot about a ton of different industries and issues by speaking firsthand to industry leaders in ad tech, travel, and health care. It satisfies my innate curiosity and propensity for boredom in a way that other careers could not. I am proud of my ghostwriting. It’s not just about being a good writer, it’s about understanding your client and capturing his or her voice. I like the challenge. I like the work. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a byline here or there, but that (kinda vain) longing isn’t enough to take away from my love of the job or my appreciation for my clients.

By Jacqueline Lisk

What you don’t know about ad blocking

March 24, 2016

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I can see all sides of the ad blocking conundrum. On one hand, we are fed up with obtrusive, irrelevant ads that interrupt our online experience. But then again, advertising subsidizes publishing. We need ads to monetize digital journalism. Plus, when used correctly, ads are a powerful marketing tool for raising brand awareness and driving conversions. But what I hadn’t thought about are the people and businesses behind the ad blocking solutions. Turns out, their mission isn’t always noble. It’s not just about protecting the user—it’s about profiting.

An increasing number of users are downloading tools that allow them to filter out ads. There are now more than 198 million people using ad blockers worldwide, and it cost the publishing industry nearly $22 billion in 2015, according to PageFair’s recent research. They are using this software because they’re concerned about privacy or security, or frankly, because ads can be annoying (enough with the pop-ups and auto-plays, people). I assumed the creators of ad blocking tools were akin to the protagonists in Mr. Robot—brilliant antiheroes brave enough to challenge the establishment. But at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) annual leadership meeting earlier this year, IAB President Randall Rothenberg explained that many of these ad blocking creators are for-profit companies that are using nefarious tactics to make a buck. They’ll actually allow publishers to pay a fee to circumvent ad blocking software, but if a digital site doesn’t have the means to “pay the toll,” they are out of luck! Rothenberg claims that this is actually a threat to freedom of speech and diversity. Slowly but surely, smaller, independent publications will be forced to close their doors (or laptops, if you will), and the only news sources remaining will be those with deep pockets. (Click here to read more about his speech.)

That there is a market for ad blockers speaks volumes about our industry, regardless of the intent of the software’s creators. (And hey, maybe there are some guys who are in this to improve and preserve the user experience. I can’t pretend to know everybody’s motives, but Rothenberg’s words resonated with me.) Marketers and publishers should see this as a wake-up call. We have to respect the user. We have to use the tools available to us (and believe me, there are plenty) to create relevant creative and to effectively target audiences so the right messages are reaching the right people at the right time.

By Jacqueline Lisk

 

A look ahead, a look back: Content marketing trends and predictions

January 14, 2016

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2015’s word of the year? Content marketing. If you don’t believe me, ask the Association of National Advertisers. Thus, it’s no surprise there’s a surfeit of articles analyzing the content marketing developments that defined the past 12 months, and countless pieces that make predictions about what’s to come. I rounded up some of the best in content marketing, digital and tech news to help inform your 2016 marketing strategy.

Looking back: Content marketing in 2015

Native advertising 101: The Good, the bad and the ugly, ClickZ
A useful overview of one of the year’s hottest marketing trends.

2015 retrospective: 8 major developments to note, The MediaBriefing
A thoughtful, global examination of the year’s most significant media and tech happenings.

The best native ads of 2015, Outbrain
The 7 best native ads of 2015, HubSpot
The Best Content Marketing of 2015, Contently
Examples of native advertising done right. Use these to inspire your next campaign.

7 of the industry’s biggest stats in 2015, ClickZ
Important data pertaining to ad spending, social media, e-commerce and more.

F.T.C. Guidelines on Native Ads Aim to Prevent Deception, The New York Times
This isn’t a Year in Review piece, but the industry is a buzz about the F.T.C’s recently released guide on native ads. Its goal is to protect consumers from deception, which shouldn’t be a bad thing for those advertisers producing content that is truly high quality and useful.

Looking ahead: Content marketing predictions

5 Big Ways Content Marketing Will Change in 2016, Contently
A must-read! Contently’s editor in chief calls out the “sweeping trends” likely to affect our industry. My favorites? Marketing won’t be the only department investing in content, and media budgets will start to flow into content marketing initiatives.

The top marketing trends to watch for in 2016, Hubspot
“Marketing is becoming more localized and more personalized. Snapchat has exceeded many marketers’ expectations…We’re seeing a rise in wearable tech, which is giving marketers a ton more consumer data to work with.” This infographic provides a closer (visual) look at these trends.

35 content marketing statistics you need to know in 2016, Forbes
Making the case for a larger B2B content marketing budget? Bookmark this article for ammunition.

A Look Ahead: Content Marketing in 2016, The Content Council
Industry leaders share their predictions in this quick read. Don’t expect any earth-shattering revelations, but it’s worth a gander.

10 content marketing game changers to look for in 2016, Mashable
NewsCred CEO Shafqat Islam shares his predictions, which include the rise of “living” content, virtual reality and messaging platforms, such as WeChat and Live.

Prediction rankings: The most likely media and tech developments in 2016, The MediaBriefing
An in-depth look at some of the changes in store for the media industry.

15 crucial web design trends for 2016 and beyond, eConsultancy
A credible look at budding design trends. Keep this in mind so you can present your quality content in the best way possible.

Trends for 2016: Five Predictions for What Won’t Happen, eMarketer
eMarketer calls out often-cited predictions that probably won’t come to fruition (at least not yet), such as young people abandoning Facebook in droves.

Have I missed something? Let me know! Tweet @jlisk1 or drop me a line at info@jrlisk.com
 

Image: http://cdn.diginomica.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Crystal-ball-currency-money-price-business-predict-future.jpg

3 tips for getting the most from your ghostwriter

October 28, 2015

jrlisk

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Most brands and industry influencers realize that penning thought leadership pieces for publication on relevant media sites and owned channels, such as blogs and LinkedIn pages, is an effective way to establish credibility, connect with an audience and increase traffic to your website. But finding the time to write these pieces can be challenging. That’s why companies rely on the expertise of a ghostwriter – a seasoned journalist who can help a subject matter expert articulately share his or her unique perspective.

We’ve written articles for execs in the digital media, tech, business, health, travel and start-up space. It’s certainly our job to deliver a high quality piece, but there are steps you, the client, can take to make sure you get the most from the collaboration.

1. Share your perspective

Simply telling your writer you want an article about a particular topic isn’t enough. Let’s pretend you would like to do a piece on Snapchat’s marketing potential for brands. It’s great that you’ve identified the subject matter, but if you don’t share your distinct viewpoints, the resulting piece will likely be a boring regurgitation of facts, figures and what we already know. Yes, the writer is a skilled researcher, but the best thought leadership pieces actually say something – they take a stance or make a prediction. We always ask our clients to jump on a quick phone call or answer some questions via email so we can extract their knowledge, identify the most interest elements and craft a story that actually shows some perspective. Trust us, it’s worth the 15 minutes of your time.

2. Get personal

Effective thought leadership pieces often rely on personal anecdotes or real business examples to make their points. Don’t be afraid to show your personality or reveal aspects of your life. This helps the reader feel closer to you and the brand you represent. Isn’t that one of the reasons you decided to invest in thought leadership in the first place?

3. Have a target publication in mind

Are you planning to run your article on LinkedIn or pitch it to trade press? If you share your goals, a skilled journalist can help you meet them by writing with your desired audience in mind. If you’re not sure about the distribution plan, partner with a writer or company that can help with that, too. Remember, the most amazing content is for naught if nobody sees it.

In need of a professional ghostwriter? Drop us a note at info@jrlisk.com.

Photo credit: Darren Pullman via Shutterstock/Salon

6 company blogs that inspire us

September 28, 2015

jrlisk

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When our clients ask about company blogging best practice, we direct them to the sites below for inspiration. These businesses routinely produce high quality content that conveys their expertise without being “salesy.” They effectively identify the topics that matter most to their audience while aligning with their company marketing objectives. Whether you’re launching a blog for the first time or looking to take your current efforts to the next level, check out:

Hubspot

Chances are that if you work in marketing, you’re already using Hubspot as an educational resource and an example of inbound marketing best practices. We’re impressed by the volume and quality of content they produce, by how effectively they drive traffic to their articles and infographics, and by their clear understanding of the role their blogs play in lead generation.

Ethan Allen

Fashion and design businesses have an enormous opportunity to create beautiful, inspiring blogs that showcase their expertise and products without reading like a catalog. We love how the iconic design brand publishes a mix of stories about their team’s international travels, company news and entertaining and decorating tips. Articles are clearly categorized which makes site navigation simple. The stories are fun, quick reads and bolstered by large, enticing visuals.

The Accomplished Traveler

Okay, we’re throwing in one of our own. We’re the content creators behind this luxury travel concierge’s blog. We help turn the team’s travels into inspiring stories that showcase destinations and the company’s expertise and unique personality. (These guys have been EVERYWHERE.) Since we started sharing the articles routinely on Facebook, their fan base has grown exponentially. Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you, guys!

GE

GE has become a publisher in its own right. Its skilled storytelling makes science cool. We love the site design, and we’re impressed by the smart, engaging stories. We interviewed Linda Boff, GE’s executive director of global brand marketing, for a piece we wrote about social media marketing. She urges businesses to find their genuine voice and to partner with relevant content creators and influencers to elevate their content and improve their distribution strategy.

Crayola

Maybe “blog” isn’t the right word for what Crayola is doing, but whatever it is, we like it. They feature cool craft ideas for kids of all ages, as well as lesson plans for teachers. It’s a creative, useful way to highlight their brand voice and their products while providing value for their readers.

Regions Bank

Full disclosure, we help these guys with content ideation and creation via our partnership with Inc. magazine’s custom content division. It’s a great example of B2B content marketing, and we love how they (we) use a variety of in-house and external experts to provide content that’s truly useful for their audience of small business owners.

Want to chat about your company blog approach? Drop us a line at info@jrlisk.com

Photo: http://www.ethanallen.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-ethanallen-us-Site/en_US/Blog-Home

Content roundup: Mobile ad spending on the rise

August 31, 2015

jrlisk

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An increasing number of advertisers are spending more of their ad budgets on mobile marketing tactics. This trend is a logical result of changing user behaviors. As marketers, it’s our job to be where the people are, and more people are spending more time on their mobile devices. In January 2014, for the first time, Americans used smartphones and tablets more often than desktops to connect to the Internet, according to comScore. Here are some useful articles to help you understand the future of mobile advertising.

1. Mobile to account for more than half of digital ad spending in 2015, eMarketer

This year, mobile spending will surpass desktop spending for the first time. eMarketer shares its recent research on the shift. Read it here.

2. Programmatic and RTB

Programmatic ad buying affords its adopters a host of benefits, including increased efficiency, cost savings, transparency and targeting abilities. It has implications beyond mobile, but it’s particularly interesting to watch these trends converge.

  • Digiday explains programmatic in layman’s terms. Read it here.
  • Acquity’s blog post breaks down RTB in a way that’s easy to understand. Read it here.
  • Business Insider summarizes its comprehensive report on programmatic buying. Read it here.

3. The future of digital advertising: Mobile, programmatic and native

MoPub’s guest blog for Audience Science explains how these tactics come together to offer superior results for advertisers. (In full disclosure, JR Lisk helped MoPub with this piece!) Read it here.

Have an article recommendation? Let us know on Twitter @jlisk1

Photo Source: Union Square Media

Why being a mom makes me a better  businesswoman

July 31, 2015

jrlisk

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Like many new mothers, I was nervous about reconciling my career aspirations with my determination to be a hands-on “supermom.” But it was actually my daughter who gave me the courage to launch my own business; and in many ways, I feel more capable, confident and creative than ever before. Here are five reasons why being a mom makes me a better businesswoman.

Confidence

That we have the power to bring life into this world still boggles my mind. My daughter was born in August, 2013. Afterwards, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment transcending anything I had ever felt in the past. I know this is in no way a novel achievement. People give birth every single day. Nonetheless, I often find myself rationalizing: “If I can handle motherhood, I can handle this.”

Decisiveness

As parents, we navigate countless challenges, both big and small, every single day. We are forced to make decisions with consequences—say, about the health or education of our children—as well as countless small choices, like what brand of diapers to buy or whether or not sunscreen needs to be organic. Even when you’re contemplating something trivial, the stakes seem high. I’m not utterly confident in every choice I make, but I am confident in my ability to make a decision. I’ve found this has had pleasant ramifications for my professional life. I make decisions. I make them all the time. Some are right, some are wrong, but gosh dang it, you can count on me to make a choice!

Purpose

When Juliette was born, I held a senior management position at a global content marketing company. I loved my work and my colleagues. My job allowed me to travel the world, to see places I’d probably never have seen otherwise, and to face, and collaboratively solve, complex, global business challenges. I always knew I wanted to launch my own business, but it was hard to justify leaving a financially-secure role that I truly enjoyed. After Jules was born, I felt more motivated (which is saying something—I was already pretty driven). I wanted to do something that would make her proud. I felt like if I worked for myself, I’d also be working for her.

Admittedly, I was also attracted to the idea of setting my own hours and working from home so I could have more time with her. After she was born, traveling and commuting became tougher. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how motivated I’ve been. I felt, and still feel, a sense of purpose every morning as I switch on my laptop. I know why I’m working. I know what I’m working towards.

Perspective

I’ve observed that the most effective employees tend to be those who have well-rounded, happy lives. It’s important to have something, or someone, to go home to after a long, stressful day. It’s paramount that you turn off, unplug, sleep, have fun—whatever. The challenges will be waiting for you tomorrow, and you’ll be better equipped to solve them with a clear mind. Even before motherhood, I was blessed with a happy, busy life—a wonderful husband, a large, loving family and a robust social network. I always took pains to balance my professional obligations and aspirations with my personal relationships and hobbies. But since Jules’s arrival, I’ve become even better at prioritizing and keeping things in perspective. Time has become, unequivocally, my most valuable resource. I’ve learned to quickly identify what’s worth expending emotional energy on. I find I can shrug off small business hiccups that, pre-motherhood, would have derailed my mood and affected my psyche. I no longer have time to “sweat the small stuff.” The upshot: I’m more productive, effective and calm in a crisis.

Creativity

One of the coolest things about becoming a parent is that you get to be a child again. You watch the wonder with which your toddler approaches each new experience, and it gives you pause, too. The ocean is really damn cool. That bunny in our yard is pretty special. And that airplane overhead? Wow.

This may provoke a few eye rolls, but Juliette’s marvel and boundless energy inspire me. I love her curiosity. I admire it, even! I want to see the world as she does—as a magical place chock full of new things to discover. She also forces me to continuously flex my creative muscles. I’m required to make up stories, songs and games daily—and I love it. It’s helped me become a more imaginative thinker and storyteller.

Yes, I’ve left out the hard parts. The balancing act is tough. My most common insecurity stems from the fear that I’m not giving enough to anyone, or anything—that I’m spread too thin. I also realize I’m lucky to have a skill set and work in an industry that allow me to run my business from home. But, in all sincerity, having a child has made me a more confident, effective and creative businesswoman.

By Jacqueline Lisk