Over at MarTech, there is a post giving additional info on the FTC's recent enforcement action concerning influencer marketing. It's a great follow-on to the piece I wrote on September 10, 2017 about how to make sure you are in compliance with FTC regulations about influencer marketing.
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enacted its first enforcement action against businesses using influencer marketing in ways that violate its regulations against deceptive business practices. (The first crackdown occurred in April 2017, when the FTC sent “reminder letters” to influencers and businesses.) Companies realize that, while influencer marketing is an incredibly effective method of small business marketing, it must comply with FTC and global trade regulations.
I just wrapped up some volunteer work with Team Rubicon, an organization composed of veterans, like me, who feel compelled to serve even after we left the military. For a lot of veterans, it can be challenging to leave the military and not feel that sense of purpose that comes with helping others or responding to a crisis. For me, I felt a great sense of restlessness when I got out of the military, like I was always forgetting to do something, that seemed to abate only when I was able to do something that helped someone else.
Many people struggle to come up with ideas for content marketing, which is perfectly understandable. Aside from doing HR tasks, payroll, bookkeeping, and, well, the actual business of selling their product or service, small business owners barely have time to brainstorm blog ideas. There are a number of different ways to come up with blog post ideas that we can use from our everyday lives. This post talks about how we can come up with content marketing blog posts from the business networking and professional meetings we all attend.
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath–a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.
LTC Dave Grossman, US Army (Ret.), in the essay “Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs,” from the book On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace (2004).
In any discussion of everyday carry, of being prepared for contingencies (actual contingencies, not the doomsday fantasies of survivalists), and law enforcement, David Grossman casts a long shadow. Grossman, a retired US Army Ranger, professor at the United States Military Academy (West Point), and psychologist, first coined this analogy in his 2004 book On Combat. (As an aside, On Combat and its predecessor, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society are brilliant books, and worth reading.) This article talks about how Grossman came up with his theory of what I will call the sheepdog mindset.
Grossman’s work in On Killing and On Combat came as a reaction to the work of Brigadier General S.L.A. “Slam” Marshall, who claimed to have studied the ratio of fire of combat soldiers in a work entitled Men Against Fire (Marshall’s truthfulness in this study and others has been questioned by many historians and combat veterans, including journalist and retired Colonel David Hackworth, who said Marshall “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”). Marshall asserted that 75% of combat soldiers failed to shoot at the enemy while taking fire.
Later historians debunked Marshall’s claim (PDF), arguing that he never did the underlying research he claimed to have done. Grossman did not address the allegation but instead looked at what was the sort of mental preparation required to get a soldier, Marine, law enforcement officer, or citizen to defend the lives of others in a crisis.
By all accounts, March 1836 was a dreary, rainy month, with a coastal storm that might have made the streets of London cleaner than usual. Perhaps the people of London considered it the right time to find something to read, to take shelter from the cold gray skies above them. An escapist laugh to get them through the transition from the chill of winter to the sunshine of spring.
Publisher Edward Chapman felt he could provide just the sort of entertainment that would fit the bill, at a shilling an installment. He had been approached by illustrator Robert Seymour with a series of lighthearted images of a sporting club in the countryside that he felt could be a successful serial novel. Chapman, the artistic half of the publishing duo of Chapman & Hall sought out a young content creator who had recent success with a collection of short stories about Londoners to provide the text to accompany Seymour’s images.
Although it got off to a shaky start, Charles Dickens’ The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club or The Pickwick Papers, as it is known today, was a success by the tenth “episode” of the novel.
Today, serialization most brings to mind podcasts or blog posts, where writers are paid to create content to market brands through either search engine optimization or by creating content that is generally informative to the reader. Commercial content marketing tends to run along the following lines:
Ten ways to start your day productively;
The five best home cleaning solutions you’ve been neglecting; and
Find out what these child actors look like today.
There are exceptions, of course. The BMW Films series surrounding the enigmatic driver is perhaps the best example of creating content that is (1) exceedingly expensive and (2) well-written. Sponsors such as Audible, Stamps.com, and Squarespace use narratives like the podcasts Lore and Welcome to Night Vale to promote their brands.
However common it may be for brands to support narrative writing when it comes to podcasts, it appears to be an unusual idea when it comes to actual text.