SAAS with pizzazz

At Page 17, we've done extensive B2C and B2B writing (like decades' worth), always making sure to build everything on a solid H2H (human-to-human) foundation.

One example: our work for Custom Safety Products, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that's changing (for the better) the customization process for getting your logo on a hard hat, safety vest, whatever. What we did feels less like traditional B2B marketing and more like something you'd actually want to buy. 

We did more than just the words, too. We also ran point on overall branding and logo development, video production and PR. Efficiently. Pizzazzedly.  Successfully. 

The five words I'm most proud to have written. Ever.

Each rare disease, by definition, affects only a very few. When Nicole Boice and several others had a vision for how a single organization could unite and support everyone impacted by the many rare diseases out there, they needed a rallying cry that would inspire and empower. "Hope. It's in our genes" did just that, helping to turn their shared vision into Global Genes, one of the leading rare disease patient advocacy organizations in the world. So humbling. So cool.

hope-its-in-our-jeans-web.jpg

3 reasons to think thrice before writing your next “3 reasons” headline

Using numbers in headlines: we’ve all done it, we’ll all do it again and we should all ask ourselves three questions (I know, I know) before we enumerate our next posts.

  1. Is this a gimmick for gimmick’s sake? Creating content should be about R-E-S-P-E-C-T for readers (see the Queen of Soul for details). Delight yours by insisting on gimmick-less content.
  2. Is each point simply restating the obvious? Readers don’t need us to bait-and-bore them into learning what they already know. Delight yours with new insights.
  3. Are we rewarding readers for their time and attention? When click-through becomes trick-through, everyone loses. Delight your readers by omitting needless words and including stylistic essentials. 

A sucker may be born every minute, but so is an intelligent reader who wants to engage with a compelling story. Who would we rather have reading our content?

The boy who cried purple prose and exclamation marks: a fable for writers

There once was a writer who tricked the global villagers into reading his uninteresting content by using purple prose ("unsurpassed," "one-of-a-kind," "like never before") and multiple exclamation marks!!!  At first the villagers came clicking but when they found nothing of value in his stories they scurried back to better writing that respected their time and rewarded their attention.  One day, the writer stumbled upon a truly compelling narrative and he screamed using the same cheap writing and punctuation tricks. No one clicked and his copy died without ever getting read.

There once was a writer who tricked the global villagers into reading his uninteresting content by using purple prose ("unsurpassed," "one-of-a-kind," "like never before") and multiple exclamation marks!!!

At first the villagers came clicking but when they found nothing of value in his stories they scurried back to better writing that respected their time and rewarded their attention.

One day, the writer stumbled upon a truly compelling narrative and he screamed using the same cheap writing and punctuation tricks. No one clicked and his copy died without ever getting read.

Applying Randy Olson's And-But-Therefore template to a famous #sixwordmemoir

Often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, the six-word story, "for sale: baby shoes, never worn," has merited its own Wikipedia entry and started the #sixwordmemoir trend.

It also subtly (but masterfully) adheres to a storytelling template popularized by Randy Olson in his excellent book, Houston, We Have a Narrative (and elsewhere).

Olson contends the best stories follow a simple, yet brilliant, three-part structure:

  1. And: "A typical story begins with what is called exposition, meaning a laying out of a few facts. The simplest and most common connector is the agreement word and."
  2. But: "Then it comes time for the story to start (a story begins when something happens). This is where the word but comes in.
  3. Therefore: "Once we have established the problem, which points to a question, then we want to head off on our journey in search of an answer to the question, which we do with therefore, a consequence word.

And that’s what makes those six words, "for sale, baby shoes, never worn," such a complete, albeit emotionally wrenching, story. Our minds only require those six thoughtfully selected words to intuit a story that might sound something like this with all the blanks filled in:

"We learned we were expecting a child and we joyously started getting ready for the blessed event by preparing the nursery, finding cute clothes and buying baby shoes, but something went terribly wrong and we lost the child. Therefore, our only recourse is bravely to move on with our lives after this loss."

Amazing, right? The genres of twitterature, drabble and other forms of flash fiction exist because brilliant stories can be told quickly and well. Yours should be one of them.