The Portent Blog

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Random

17 May, 2011

3 rules of great copywriting, taught by Vogon poetry

By Ian Lurie

Caution: Lots of ‘inside joke’ humor for Hitchhiker’s Guide readers in this post. If you haven’t read the books, consider moving on quietly while avoiding eye contact. Or, read it and see what you’ve been missing. Vogon Poetry, described in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as “The third-worst poetry in the Universe”, is a… Read More

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12 May, 2011

Stop crying, start writing: The Awl, The Atlantic, and Web Headlines

By Ian Lurie

OK, everyone take a step back. Go to your corners. Breathe. Yesterday, David Wheeler published an article about web copywriting, SEO, and headlines: ‘Google Doesn’t Laugh’: Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO is a great piece, and not just because he quotes me in paragraph 14. Then The Awl wrote this amusing little… Read More

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11 May, 2011

How to write a smart social media policy

By Ian Lurie

First things first: I have law degree. I’m not a practicing lawyer. I am not giving legal advice. Nor can I. This is, instead, common-sense advice as a social media nerd. Your staff are all over the internet. You know that, right? They’re writing stuff on Facebook. And on Twitter. They’re blogging, too. Best case?… Read More

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3 May, 2011

Problem solving 101: 7 signs it’s time to stop what you’re doing

By Ian Lurie

A big part of problem solving is stepping away from the problem. Whether you’re writing code, writing a book or trying to figure out why a web site isn’t generating sales, there comes a point where your brain over-saturates and needs a good wringing out. Here are some common signs you need a break: You… Read More

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2 May, 2011

What the US Marines and Ender’s Game teach about professional growth

By Ian Lurie

Never underestimate the Marine Corps. Here’s one of their reading lists: Yep. Ender’s Game. One of the greatest pieces of science fiction ever written. On the US Marine Corps. reading list. That is awesome. The Marines do more with less than any other branch of the military. They do it, in part, by encouraging creativity… Read More

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20 Apr, 2011

1 tip for faster blogging: Use Textile

By Ian Lurie

This is a tip that’ll either: Save you 20 minutes per blog post; or Lead to much better-looking blog posts. I write all of my blog posts using Textmate, a text editor for the Mac. I write them all using a very simple text formatting language called Textile. I recommend E-Text Editor for the same… Read More

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14 Apr, 2011

Portent’s new hoodies have arrived

By Ian Lurie

…and I’m damned excited. Our first legit logowear: I don’t know why I’m so excited, but somehow it makes me feel so… grown up. Gang pose courtesy of one of Portent’s fine SEO team.

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13 Apr, 2011

A great response, and a lesson in social media

By Ian Lurie

Something a bit unusual today. On Monday I wrote 20 reasons you shouldn’t listen to a word I say. Today, I was delighted to receive a 20-item response to my 20 items from Angela Hansen. I liked it so much I asked her for permission to publish it here. And no, Angela is not giving… Read More

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13 Apr, 2011

Movies Every Internet Marketer Should See

By Jarrod Medrano

There are some films you can go your entire life without seeing. These are not those films. If you don’t know your A,B,S from your A,B,Cs, I am here to help. Many of these movies are available on the Netflix Instant Watch, so you can pump this steaming hot knowledge directly into your nucleus accumbens.… Read More

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7 Apr, 2011

The Potential Misery Index: Ranking potential clients

By Ian Lurie

I love my clients. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, I know. But once Portent signs on to work with someone, we’ve got one job: Help the client kick ass. We’re committed. That means we need to be pretty picky about clients and contracts. I use a special scale called the Potential Misery Index (PMI). You… Read More

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6 Apr, 2011

25 cringe- or shrug-worth headlines

By Ian Lurie

I tell you to write clear headlines, and you don’t listen. I tell you to try the blank sheet of paper test, and you ignore me. I suggest that you write fully descriptive headlines, and you snort. Well, now you can see what happens. 25 truly screwed up, hideous headlines written by folks who didn’t… Read More

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1 Apr, 2011

New Google Ranking Factor: Site Owner Attractiveness

By Doug Antkowiak

It’s well known that attractive people are thought to be smarter and nicer, but it doesn’t stop there. Today the Portent Interactive SEO team discovered a new search engine ranking factor: site owner attractiveness. “We’ve been noticing some strange movements in the rankings recently.”  Said Portent SEO Specialist Matthew Gratt, “We couldn’t figure out what… Read More

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30 Mar, 2011

Google ‘guru’ lives up to its name, is pretty dumb

By Ian Lurie

Quick update: If you type in ‘2*4′ it will actually do the math for you. However, typing in ‘pointless’ still returns no results. I’ve long assumed that most folks who call themselves ‘gurus’ are pretty deficient in the guru-ness department. Turns out, the same is true of automated chat bots. Google just launched Google Talk… Read More

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29 Mar, 2011

The agency employees’ guide to bosses

By Ian Lurie

You knew this was coming after yesterday’s post, right? Seems only fair that, after providing agency bosses a guide to employees, I now provide marketing agency employees a guide to bosses. Unfortunately, this is really only a guide to me. I can’t see inside other boss’s heads. And they can’t see inside mine, I hope.… Read More

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28 Mar, 2011

A marketing agency boss’s guide to employees

By Ian Lurie

Important note! I should point out that these lessons had nothing to do the crapstorm that was my Monday. In fact, my employees probably kept me from flinging myself, clothed in raccoon pelts and howling with laughter, into the Green River. No one at Portent is in trouble! Except me, maybe. Yesterday, I finished some… Read More

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