Hashtags: Stop the Insanity!


Several years ago when people started using hashtags on Twitter, one of the problems that rose to the surface was that people weren’t using them well—or enough.  Fashionistas were tweeting about shoes, but the only hashtag they were using in their posts was #shoes. It really would have been effective if they had thought to include tags for the actual brands they were discussing, like #jimmychoo, #louboutin, or even #nike.

Fast-forward several years, and the pendulum has swung violently in the opposite direction. Now that people are also tagging on Instagram, Facebook, and any number of other social platforms, people are going crazy with it:






They key here, people, is TARGETING. Don’t overwhelm your posts with irrelevant hashtags. At best, it makes you look rabid; at worst, you look clueless and unprofessional.


Sometimes when you’re sick. . .

. . .you don’t have to do a blog post that week.

Bulldog with an icepack on head


Your database vs. social media: Who’s the big winner?

Mixed race woman refusing donuts

Facebook! You’ve got 72,000 Likes—congrats! Everyone is reading your posts, adding comments, and enjoying your fabulous corporate brand! Woo-hoo!

But how valuable are your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers, really?

  • Do you know who they are?
  • Are they in your target audience?
  • Can you easily reach them with campaigns if you want to?
  • Are they buying, browsing, or just curious?


The key to success with social media isn’t in the GETTING of the followers; it’s in the CONVERTING of the followers. That guy sitting on his couch in Wisconsin just Liked your page, now what? He’s not going to contribute to your bottom line unless you can target him directly, make a sale, and get him into your database for relationship-building and future marketing purposes.

Think about it: When assigning a value to a company, assessors don’t just look at you sales numbers; they also consider your customer database to be an asset.

And this is where size DOES matter.


Going missing. . .


Vacation. Holiday. Mini-break. Getaway. Whatever you call it, I’m taking one next week, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s more than just downtime–it’s an investment in my business.

Whenever I’ve been away from the “day-to-day,” I always come back stronger, smarter, and more creative. My sanity remains intact, and my clients reap the business benefits. The kid stays in the picture, and on her game.

And the snap up top? Yeah, that’s actually where I’m headed. Suck it, winter!


Famous last words

Last sign

Today I want to talk to you about last words. There are a lot of them, including “I now pronounce you man and wife, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” and many others.

But in marketing, your last words take on a whole new meaning. They usually involve a call-to-action of some sort, trying to get customers to click, call, subscribe, register, or whatever.

Unfortunately, they often get tossed off with an uninspired “Click here!,” “Hurry, which supplies last!,” or “Spaces are limited–sign up today!”


The husband of an old friend died suddenly and very young earlier this week from a massive heart attack. He must have known what was happening to him, because the last thing he did was look into his wife’s eyes and say, “I love you.” Because they were heartfelt and personal, she will carry those last words with her forever, and they will comfort, inspire, and energize her in the decades to come.

Last words matter.

Which brings me to my point: In business, the last words of any email, post, or website can’t just be a throwaway, a handy verbal bow with which to tie up the content so you can get out of the office on time. They need to resonate personally with the audience, and comfort, inspire, or energize–just as those three last words, spoken in the early hours of Monday morning, did for my friend.


K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short, Stupid)

Last week, I brought up the subject of long- vs. short-form copy, and which might be preferable. Which of course begs the question, “Just what makes good short-form copy, anyway?”

Well, I’m here to give you some insight.

Depending on the product, the audience, price point, and the objective of a campaign, crisp, spare copy can be the way to go. Here are some examples:

  • “Think Small” (Volkswagen)
  • “It’s the real thing.” (Coke)
  • “I want YOU” (U.S. Army)
  • “Where’s the beef?” (Wendy’s)

Now, these were all used as headlines/taglines, but any one of them could easily stand alone. Why? Because they all had standout visuals associated with them: cute little car, frosty bottle of sugary goodness, grumpy old man, grumpy old lady.

Yes, the true magic of short-form copy can really only be unlocked with a killer visual.

Are there exceptions? Of course. Check this:



Size Matters—But Does Length?



Can’t get much more direct and actionable than that. But in marketing, is short-form copy the way to go in 2014, or not? There are good thoughts on both sides of that issue.

Those who favor long-form copy will tell you that it better qualifies prospects because it answers more of their questions and addresses more of their roadblocks to purchase upfront. It can also be seeded with keywords so that it’s much more discoverable in a web search.

Short-form advocates believe that customers get bored or overwhelmed when faced with a waterfall of copy, and will click away to find something more scannable and digestible. They’ll also tell you that short-form copy can provide a successful “hook” that will lead readers to links for further information if desired. Shorter copy can also be perceived as friendlier and less threatening and heavy-handed than copy that approximates a novel.

So where do you fall in the copy length debate? Are you a shortie, or a long-john?


If it ain’t broke. . .

Close up of businessman with pigs head with megaphone in office against grey background

The industry expectation that all marketing content must continually be updated/improved/refreshed is really pissing me off. In the past year, I have done no fewer than 5 updates to a perfectly good marketing piece, simply because the client’s marketing team wants to look like it’s “adding value.”

It makes you wonder what percentage of the marketing content you see every day is more about marketing the MARKETER and not the OFFERING, doesn’t it?

New or updated product? Yes, you absolutely need new content.

Bored or desperate marketing department? No, you probably don’t.

Instead, marketers should really be spending more time on the customer, learning everything they can from a “front lines” perspective, rather than industry research. I think that if more companies were better versed in the actual needs of their real-world customers, much of the silly wheel-spinning would stop.

(Oh, and please don’t expect any kind of rational expectation for the image above, because there isn’t one.)


Happy Holidays from Poppermost

We’ll be taking a bit of time off to enjoy the holidays, but please feel free to watch this over and over and over again if you miss us between now and the beginning of January. ;)


“We don’t need no STINKING copywriter!”