Archives for category: Expertise

The Subject Line is: “What a Lemonade Stand Taught Me About Storytelling” – – the email starts like this: “I was on my way to play golf this past weekend when I drove by a young girl selling lemonade on the sidewalk in front of her house….

I know the source, so in two seconds, I’m drawn in.

In 5 more, I see video clips from Seth Godin and Rolf Jensen – business storytelling legends – that support the premise that a little girl’s lemonade stand is relevant to my brand. Great communication about communication.

~ Christopher Smith


Some days, I think I could get all my news from GOOD. Which is why I get their daily blast – it’s well designed, uplifting and stimulating.

For example, this story about HCD Connect, a new platform designed by and (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) to design solutions for people in extreme poverty.

Sharing stories with your global peers in order to help those critically in need of design solutions?

Has storytelling ever been more important?

~ Christopher Smith

Every two months, Expert Blogger Kaihan Krippendorff pulls together a community of innovators. They meet somewhere in New York City, usually a boardroom overlooking a park or cityscape. But last month they all found our way into an acting studio operated by The TAI Group to learn about storytelling…

Read more on Fast Company

Nike+ (version1.0) was a jump shot in a set shot world – – a platform-sized idea that has engaged over 6,000,000 users since its launch in 2006. Nike Fuel takes it up a notch and the next generation of Nike+ falls right in sync

Stefan Olander and Mark Parker are on a roll.

NYTimes article lays out the challenges and opportunities in “Big Data

OK, so now that we know what it is (and why it’s never going to be “Little Data”), the question becomes: How can you capture opportunity in this space, even if you’re not a geek?

And then, what’s your story – the one that will demonstrate that you understand the problem, and are part of the solution?


~ Christopher Smith

“Back in the day” I taught a copywriting course at the University of Oregon. I was teaching there at the same time as the inimitable Jelly Helm, and hope none of my students were not too disappointed when they found out the real genius was just down the hall. In any case, one of my favorite texts was Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan. As those with pants below their butts say, Luke is the sh*t.

I might delete that.

Point is, studying Whipple and following Luke, I got the students to understand a little about the CRAFT of writing. Because, as Luke describes himself, he’s a writer by trade.

What’s by trade got to do with it? Well, writing consistently well is not magic, it’s hard work. Luke is a singularly talented writer who, by his own admission, sucked in the beginning.

How did he overcome his suckitude? Like any artist, he listened, he learned, he paid his dues and wrote until the garbage was flushed out.

Read Luke here:

  1. “Study the masters. Immerse yourself in their work over and over again until you have it memorized.
  2. Surround yourself with people who are better than you are.
  3. Don’t waste time defending your early efforts. Just shut up and listen to your teachers.
  4. Stay humble.
  5. Stay hungry.

Sooner or later you’ll produce something that looks like the work you’ve been studying and admiring. Like Ray Bradbury, one day you’ll lean back and realize, wow, all that work, it’s starting to pay off.” (Luke wrote this as a paragraph, you’ll see).


~Christopher Smith


Despite all the posts here about the importance of copywriting, I appreciate a good infographic as much as the next person. Here’s one that is cute – fairly lightweight, but fun, from the site Information is Beautiful.

Click on the “Select Visualization” drop down menu (just above and to the right of the chart name “A Taxonomy of Ideas”), and take a look at some of the more serious info-graphics about radiation, overfishing, and my peeve, since I live on the West Side of LA and hear idle chatter about food and diet on a daily basis: “Snake Oil – Scientific evidence of popular dietary supplements” – – ~Christopher Smith

Snake oil? Scientific evidence for health supplements

A few years back I had passed the audition (done successful freelance work and been hired full time) at a startup financing firm in Portland, Oregon called Portland Family of Funds. My first assignment: write a speech for the Mayor to deliver about a project that was intended to define green building, historic rehabilitation and support of the arts through innovative financing.

Simple enough?

Wish this TED talk had been available at the time – – check out the brilliant Nancy Duarte
 (perhaps I should revisit the speech and see how I fared?)

~ Christopher Smith

Check out this Infographic – – stunning!

The U.S. Housing Crisis – How the Housing Bubble Burst.

– Christopher Smith

Following the Long and Winding Road through Twitterland recently, and I happened on the page of a Registered Nurse for Seniors, who had posted “Where and When Your Keywords Really Matter for Content Marketing and SEO”.

(If you were an RN for Seniors, you’d post links to SEO sites, too. You know you would – consider the alternatives.)

…and discovered herein another reason why a skilled and precise copywriter can be your greatest marketing asset these days: Search Engine Optimization is all about keywords. Or put another way, keyWORDS. ‘Nuff said.

For example (quoting the article):

2. Description meta tags

Despite a very common misconception, description meta tags do not actually impact rankings anymore. Meta descriptions are what search engines typically (but not always) display in your page’s search results snippet under the title tag, which you can see in the screen shot below.  But just because they don’t impact rankings,  it doesn’t mean they’re not important.

Your description meta tag is essentially your 160-character pitch to entice a web searcher to click on your page instead of the results above or below it in a search. Using keywords in your meta description can be a smart move because it can make your page look more attractive to click on in a search. The key is to be completely natural and convey precisely what searchers can expect to find if they click on your page.”

(Bolded text mine, to emphasize the point).

So, not only is the copywriter key in communicating with your audience directly, he or she is also key in bringing your audience to your (virtual) door.

~ Christopher Smith