Archives for February 2013

Tracking Videos with GLT

Dan is asking us to answer two questions about videos:

  • Are we making the most of the investment we are making in videos?
  • Are we making the right level of investment in videos?

Based on the way we’ve been tracking videos we can’t answer either of these questions. Going forward we have a plan for analyzing videos. To do this, we need you to do the following.

When requesting, or project managing, a video from design you need to provide them:

A name for the video.

  • Be as specific as possible
  • We will use this name to track ROI and analyze results

A pretty URL that will go in the video. The GLT in the pretty URL need to be tagged:

  • Source: video
  • Medium: video
  • Content: video-[videoname]_[promotionname]
  • Campaign: just the business unit. You don’t need to add the year or the quarter

A pretty URL that will go on YouTube in the description text below the video. The GLT in this pretty URL needs to be tagged:

  • Source: YouTube.com
  • Medium: Social
  • Content: video-[videoname]_[promotionname]
  • Campaign: just the business unit. You don’t need to add the year or the quarter

Note: if you need a pretty URL for a non-Logos brand, submit your request to MarTech.

 When the video is finished, the video team will provide you with three different links to the same video/cut:

1)      A link to the video on YouTube.

2)      A link to the video in Wistia with a CTA button at the end of the video that viewers can click to go to the pretty URL.

  • Use this link when the video will live on a website/blog that is on a different domain than where the pretty URL will direct (i.e. when posting a video on blog.logos.com who’s pretty URL directs to logos.com OR when posting a video on Faithlife.com that directs people to FaithlifeStudyBible.com)

3)      A link to the video in Wistia without the button

  • Use this link when the video goes on the site where the pretty URL directs (i.e. a video posted on a product page on Logos.com)

For links that are on the same page/blog as videos OR that are part of a call to go watch a video (social post, email, etc.)

  • Use the normal GLT naming convention for source, medium and campaign
  • Add “video-[videoname]” to whatever else you want to put in the content portion of the GLT
  • NOTE: do not do this on pages that live on the same site that your link is directing to

Here is a set of examples.

For the sake of this example, assume that all of these videos direct to Logos.com as the CTA/Pretty URL at the end of the video are GLT:

http://www.logos.com/5/family?utm_source=video&utm_medium=video&utm_content=video-familyvideo_logos5launch&utm_campaign=logos

Landing Page with Video GLT Example

Landing Page with Video GLT Example

You Tube Video GLT Example

You Tube Video GLT Example

Logos Blog with Video GLT Example

Logos Blog with Video GLT Example

Facebook post with video GLT example

Facebook post with video GLT example

Email with Video GLT Example

Email with Video GLT Example

To Learn More Check Out:

4 literary tips for better copywriting

From: David Davidson
To: Marketing Dept

Hi there, marketers,

One of my favorite novels is Don DeLillo’s White Noise, a deeply tongue-in-cheek story couched in some beautiful prose. DeLillo’s no copywriter, but many of the techniques that he uses make marketing copy stronger.

What can we learn from him?

1. Use long sentences to set up your short ones. Most of DeLillo’s sentences are lean: one subject, one verb, often no introductory clause. We already know this is good. But DeLillo also writes some really long sentences, and those long ones make the short ones stronger. In the following passage, the contrast between the second-to-last and last sentences reinforces the tension and resolution.

What time was it when I opened my eyes, sensing something or something nearby? Was it an odd-numbered hour? . . . Was it dawn already? Were those crows I heard screaming in the trees?

There was someone sitting in the backyard. A white-haired man sitting erect in the old wicker chair, a figure of eerie stillness and composure. At first, dazed and sleepy, I didn’t know what to make of the sight . . . I felt cold, white. I worked my way back to the window, gripping a doorknob, a handrail, as if to remind myself of the nature and being of real things. He was still out there, gazing into the hedges. I saw him in profile in the uncertain light, motionless and knowing. Was he as old as I’d first thought—or was the white hair purely emblematic, part of his allegorical force? That was it, of course. He would be Death, or Death’s errand-runner, a hollow-eyed technician from the plague era, from the era of inquisitions, endless wars, of bedlams and leprosariums. He would be an aphorist of last things, giving me the barest glance—civilized, ironic—as he spoke his deft and stylish line about my journey out. . . . When the storm door banged shut, the man’s head jerked and his legs came uncrossed. He got to his feet and turned in my direction. The sense of eerie and invincible stillness washed off, the aura of knowingness, the feeling he conveyed of an ancient and terrible secret. A second figure began to emerge from the numinous ruins of the first, began to assume effective form, develop in the crisp light as a set of movements, lines and features, a contour, a living person whose distinctive physical traits seemed more and more familiar as I watched them come into existence, a little amazed. It was not Death that stood before me but only Vernon Dickey, my father-in law.

2. Repeat phrases, not words. Overusing any individual word—“Bible,” say—feels sloppy, but repeating entire chunks of syntax lends your writing a sense of rhythm, a forward momentum. This technique is especially useful in rising action—the body of an email leading up to a CTA, for example. Here’s DeLillo using it:

I tell my students not to look for apocalypse in [car crashes in commercial films]. I see those car crashes as part of a long tradition of American optimism. They are positive events, full of the old ‘can-do’ spirit. Each car crash is meant to be better than the last. . . . I tell my students if they want to bring technology into it, they have to take this into account, this tendency toward grandiose deeds, toward pursuing a dream.

I tell them it’s not decay they’re seeing but innocence. The movie breaks away from complicated human passions to show us something elemental, something fiery and loud and head-on. It’s a conservative wish-fulfillment, a yearning for naïveté. We want to be artless again. We want to reverse the flow of experience, of worldliness and its responsibilities.

I tell them they can’t think of a car crash in a movie as a violent act. It’s a celebration. A reaffirmation of traditional values and beliefs. I connect car crashes to holidays like Thanksgiving and the Fourth. We don’t mourn the dead or rejoice in miracles. These are days of secular optimism, of self-celebration. We will improve, prosper, perfect ourselves. Watch any car crash in any American movie. It is a high-spirited moment like old-fashioned stunt flying, walking on wings. The people who stage those crashes are able to capture a lightheartedness, a carefree enjoyment that car crashes in foreign films can never approach.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s because we do the same thing with “You’ll . . .”: “With the FSB, you’ll share notes and prayer requests. You’ll explore insights from today’s top scholars. You’ll dig deeper, together.”

3.    Avoid clichés. It’s hard to find a set phrase in DeLillo’s work. Where other writers might choose “ghost” or “grim reaper,” DeLillo talks about an “aphorist of last things” and Death’s “hollow-eyed technician” (see #1). It’s not that the constituent words are fancy or rare—it’s that I pay attention because I’m not used to hearing them combined like that. Next time you start to write “scholarly yet accessible,” remember that such phrases wither through overuse.

4.    Cut unnecessary exclamation marks. Compare the following two speakers—who’s more powerful?

The plane had lost power in all three engines, dropped from thirty-four thousand feet to twelve thousand feet. Something like four miles. When the steep glide began, people rose, fell, collided, swam in their seats. Then the serious screaming and moaning began. Almost immediately a voice from the flight deck was heard on the intercom: ‘We’re falling out of the sky! We’re going down! We’re a silver gleaming death machine!’ This outburst struck the passengers as an all but total breakdown of authority, competence and command presence, and it brought on a round of fresh and desperate wailing.

Then there was a second male voice from the flight deck, this one remarkably calm and precise, making the passengers believe there was someone in charge after all, an element of hope: ‘This is American two-one-three to the cockpit voice recorder. Now we know what it’s like. It is worse than we’d ever imagined. They didn’t prepare us for this at the death simulator in Denver.’

In general, try to avoid using more than one exclamation mark per paragraph. Multiple exclamation marks back to back, as used by the first speaker, don’t really sound exciting; they sound sort of hysterical. And when you do use an exclamation mark, ask yourself, “Is this really exciting?—from the reader’s point of view?” If you can get away with not using exclamation marks, you’ll let the ones you really need convey more excitement.

As always, thanks for reading!

DD

What in the world is MarCom?

From: Jayson Bradley
To: Marketing Dept

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to clarify what MarCom is, and what you can expect from us.

We’re watching our marketing channels so you don’t have to

MarCom’s primary objective is to maximize the channels we use to communicate with our customers. We do this by creating quality content, and developing strategies for extending our reach. These channels include:

  • Blog(s): We are currently working on a plan to bring many (not all) of the channel blogs under our area of responsibility.
    • Logos Talk
    • Vyrso Voice
    • Faithlife Women
    • More to come
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • The forums

Shouldn’t email be one of those channels?

While email is an increasingly important communication channel, its scope is much too large for MarCom. So it falls under the responsibility of the amazing Laura Converse and her team.

That said, MarCom is doing a lot to make sure the emails we send are error free.

Think of it this way: When it comes to spreading Logos’ message, my team is doing more carpet bombing. Our channels aren’t able to pinpoint who we’re communicating with. Laura’s team, on the other hand, are snipers. They know, with great accuracy, who they’re aiming at.

We’re helping you craft the best message possible

 While we don’t have the numbers we need to write all the copy, we want to help you craft your message. And then, when it’s finished, we want to help ensure that it’s elegant.

If you’re working on a promotion and you need some help finding your message’s voice and gist, come talk with us.

For some larger scale promotions and products, we’ll probably be writing the lion’s share of the communication.

Like MarTech, MarCom is a ragtag group of specialists who exist to make your promotions pop. Have any questions? Come on up to the Annex and visit us!

Jayson

Rules engine training video available

From: Jonathan Watson
To: Marketing Dept

For anyone who wasn’t able to attend the Rules Training last month, or if you need a refresher, the video from that training is available.

LRSMktgProfessional DevelopmentVideos of Internal Trainings

There is also a codec in there that you will have to install in order to view the video.

This training is not completely comprehensive, so if you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask me.

 

Thanks,

Jonathan Watson

Top 5 mistakes from hypercorrection

From: David Davidson
To: Marketing Dept

Sometimes the desire for perfection trips us up. Hypercorrection is what happens when we set out to follow even the strictest rules and, in doing so, fall into error. Here are the top five slipups:

1.    Adverbs wrongly used in place of adjectives

A linking verb connects a descriptive word with a subject. “To be” is the most common, of course—in “I am hungry,” “hungry” describes “I,” not “am.” But sometimes we interpret the descriptive word as an adverb, not an adjective, writing “open widely” instead of “open wide” or “feel badly” instead of “feel bad.” Be careful with “be,” “feel,” “look,” “seem,” “appear,” and other linking verbs—if an adverb follows, there’s a good chance it’s wrong. In such cases, ask yourself, “Do I mean that I feel in a bad manner, or that what I feel is bad?”

2.    False or pretentious Latin plurals

Latin plurals have long been associated with correctness, but not every -us word in English should, when pluralized, end in -i. “Octopus” is a good example—though we often say “octopi,” “octopus” comes from Greek; it entered New Latin as a loanword. The classical plural, then, is “octopodes,” not “octopi”—shoutout to marketing assistant and hairless-cat enthusiast Amanda Olson for already knowing this—but you should write “octopuses,” the anglicized plural. Likewise, “ignorami,” “apparati,” and “prospecti” are incorrect for “ignoramuses,” “apparatuses,” and “prospectuses.” “Indices” and “appendices” aren’t outright errors for “indexes” and “appendixes,” but outside scientific and mathematical contexts, the native-English forms are preferred. Your best bet? Double-check Merriam-Webster whenever you pluralize such words, and use the first plural form listed.

3.    Prepositions inelegantly moved from sentence ends

Lots of us were taught never to end sentences with prepositions. That “rule,” arbitrary in the first place, is long defunct; good luck finding a contemporary usage authority who’ll back it up. But there are two reasons it’s still worth keeping in mind: (1) We deal with readers who understand themselves as academics, and the traditionalists among them might (wrongly) look down on our “incorrect” usage. If it’s just as elegant to move the preposition elsewhere, might as well—that way we keep all readers happy. (2) A sentence’s “punch word” comes at the very end: for example, Be ready when people ask, “Why?” is much stronger than Be ready for the “why” questions. Prepositions are pretty much never punchy, so if you’re ending a sentence with one, it’s worth asking if it’s really the word you want to emphasize.

4.    “I,” “myself,” “whom” wrongly used

This is probably a topic worth treating on its own, but—in short—“I” and “who” are for people who do verbs, “me” and “whom” are for people whom things are done to (or who are the object of prepositions, as in the previous phrase), and “myself” is for people who are simultaneously the doers and the ones being acted on. So “Between you and I, this email’s too long” isn’t right: “I” isn’t doing anything. “Get in touch with Jayson or myself” isn’t right: “myself” doesn’t point back to the doer, as it does in “I feed myself.” (The implicit actor in imperatives is “you.”) But what about a sentence like “Voters whom politicians think are underinformed”? “Whom” sounds right because the voters are the object of the politicians’ thought, but “voters” is the subject (the doer) of “are.” In such cases, “who,” not “whom,” is correct. This may be old news to many of you; the tricky part is remembering it every time “I,” “myself,” or “whom” just sounds right.

Note: in blog posts and emails, you’re not obligated to use “whom” even when it is correct. “Who” is often more idiomatic, and we aim for a colloquial (if polished) style in most of our messaging.

5.    “A number of people was there,” “A handful of mistakes arises,” etc.

Makes sense, right? “Number” is singular, so “was” should be too. But that flouts well-established idiom: the sense of “number” is obviously plural, and we’re used to hearing “number . . . were.” In that sentence, meaning, not syntax, should govern the subject-verb agreement. (Meaning overriding syntax is called “synesis.”) Unless you’re dealing with “amount,” “class,” or “group,” if your noun denotes multiple people or things, you’re probably safe with a plural verb. “A couple of cats are napping.” “Of the world’s many cats, a number are self-styled ‘ca$h cats,’ flaunting their wealth on the internet.” “A host of kittens are pouncing nearby.” “Percentage,” though, complicates things. When it’s used with “of” and precedes both a plural noun and a verb, it—like the other nouns of multitude—usually takes a plural verb: “A low percentage of email readers click through.” But when the verb precedes “percentage,” the verb should be singular: “There is a low percentage of clickthroughs.”

Did I any miss any major hypercorrect mistakes? Make any? Let me know in the comments by replying!

Thanks for reading,

DD

P.S. Want more usage advice? You’ll find it in the style guide.

Test Phone Numbers and Email Addresses

From: Heather Kvidahl
To: Marketing Dept

Before we push anything with our phone number or email live, all phone numbers and emails addresses need to be tested. This means that you’re required to physically pick up the phone and dial the number. You’re also expected to send a test email. This ensures the information is correct and everything is functioning properly.

If you have questions about this, please feel free to ask me or your team lead.

Thank you!

Heather Kvidahl

User Rules Engine: Base Package Filter clarification

From: Krista Veteto
To: Promotion Team; Email Marketing Team; Products Team; Ivan Leon; Alex Renn

Hi team,

In the last few days I’ve answered some questions related to Base Package rules and I think it will be helpful to clarify the different Base Package filters and what they should be used for. I’ve bolded the 2 that are the primary filters you will use to identify base package owners.

1)      Base Package Filter

  1. Why you would use this filter: if you want to find all users who own a specific base package (i.e. L5 Silver) OR if you want to find all users who own Spanish/Verbum/English base packages.
  2. How this filter works: it searches by the precedent number assigned to each base package. The precedent number basically puts all the base packages in price point order (i.e. Starter, Silver, Portfolio).
  3. To make this easier to use: here’s a list of all the base packages with their corresponding precedent #s: http://wiki/Business_Desk_Rules_Base_Package_Precedence. I’ve already created Snippets for Spanish, English and Verbum Base Packages

2)      Owned Resources

  1. How this filter works: every resource we offer has a resource ID. A resource ID can be assigned to multiple different SKUs. Doing a search for an owned resource means identifying anyone that owns a specific resource/book regardless of how they got it (i.e. did they get it as part of a collection or individually) and whether or not they paid for it.
  2. Why you would use this filter: You should use this if you want to identify people that own a specific resource that is included in multiple different SKUs and if you don’t care whether or not they purchased the product. NOTE: There are almost no instances where it makes sense to use the Owned Resource filter to identify base package ownership.

3)      SKU Filter

  1. This filter identifies anyone who purchased a specific SKU.
  2. The same base package has multiple SKUs that identify whether it was an upgrade or a new purchase or if the delivery was a download or a DVD. There a very few cases where you’d want to use the SKU filter for identifying Base Package Users. If you keep running into situations where you need to do this, let me know and I can track down a list of all the SKUs associated with current and old base packages.

4)      User Attributes

  • Base Package Client: This filter assigns every base package owner to one of 5 buckets: L5, L4, L3, L2, L1.
  • Current Base Package Family: This filter identifies users based on the base package family (i.e. any version of Scholars, or any version of Bronze)
  • Current Base Package Version: This filter identifies users based on the iteration of a base package (kf, jg, le, etc.)

If you have questions about how base package SKUs, resource IDs, or versions work, please check with Kent. If you have questions about building rules please check with Jon Watson.

Krista Veteto