SO13_cvrDon’t you want to grab one of the crisp red apples that grace the cover of the September/October issue of American Spirit*? Our feature takes readers through the history of how apples became “our democratic fruit.” Just as they set down their own roots on American soil, settlers bringing seeds to the New World in 1620 carefully nurtured the fruit-bearing trees, and it wasn’t long before apples became a staple of the nation’s diet. Today they’re a unique symbol of our cultural heritage.

Revolutionary spirit (often aided by a “flagon,” or pitcher, of apple cider) certainly was fomented in Colonial taverns. We talk with members of Flagon and Trencher, a lineage society that celebrates tavern keepers licensed prior to 1776 and honors their spicy ancestors’ unique contributions to the Revolution.

CoverMJ13In our May/June issue of American Spirit, the national magazine of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)*, we remember an often-unsung branch of our Armed Forces: The United States Coast Guard. In our cover feature we detail the wide-ranging history of Coast Guard, which was originally created in 1790 to raise revenues and pull the nation out of debt. It has evolved into a guardian of our shores, a protector of our borders and an “Always Ready” life-saving service. As president George H.W. Bush said, “No branch of service has been in the business of saving lives longer than the Coast Guard. … No other branch does more to protect our environment. Few do as much to defend our homeland against the shadowy threats of illegal drugs and, now, terrorism. … This remarkable institution … is so clearly indispensable to America’s future.”

Even with today’s high-tech weather radars and forecasting tools, extreme weather can uproot thousands of people, destroy homes and buildings and wreak havoc, as proven by the recent devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma and Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. But what if such a storm came with absolutely no warning? That’s what happened in 1635,when a massive hurricane hit the coast of New England with winds estimated at 130 miles an hour, making it possibly the strongest hurricane ever to hit the region. Our feature shows how early Americans dealt with such severe weather events — and tried to make sense of the natural world.

brain line military, raising awareness of injured warriors Helping Wounded Warriors heal is a major concern of our client The Marine Corps League.

Recently, an article in Semper Fi, the League’s member magazine we assist them in publishing, reported on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. These often invisible wounds are what many call the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We keep learning all the time, in many different ways: The key to success for any collaborative project is to start out with a clear understanding of the objectives.
And the more complex or important a project is, having a common understanding of what the objectives are and knowing the hierarchy of those objectives (from “most important” to “least”), is the best way to help make sure you get it done.

New ABM CEO Clark Pettit

[Cross-posted on]
For the past several months, I’ve served on the search committee to find a new president and CEO of the business-to-business media association, American Business Media. Today that committee disbanded as the Board of Directors of ABM made official the hiring of Clark Pettit as President and CEO, succeeding Gordon T. Hughes II. (I’ve included the press release at the bottom of this post.)

“I want a magazine.” “I want a blog.” “I want a newsletter.” Those are some of the most common needs expressed to us by new clients. More often than not, clients come to us with the media they want already in mind.
Rather than immediately moving forward, we prefer to start the process with a conversation about a client’s content marketing goals, then let those goals guide a custom media platform selection. We’re looking for the platforms that will work most efficiently, rather than the trendiest or flashiest. We won’t recommend a client invest in a custom magazine, for example, until we are clear about what he or she wants the magazine to do. With such an array of media choices to choose from, we realize the decision can be difficult. That’s why we draw on our years of experience—and tons of research—to craft the most appropriate media for each client.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an outfit more devoted to tradition than the United States Marine Corps, but on the other hand, they didn’t get through almost 235 years of existence by failing to innovate.
In that spirit, the 87-year-old Marine Corps League, the nation’s only federally chartered Marine Corps-related veterans organization, came to Hammock Inc. four years ago seeking to reinvigorate their member magazine as part of a campaign to increase recruitment and retention.
As we reported a couple years ago, Semper Fi, the magazine of the Marine Corps League™, has been an essential tool for that campaign. It’s also proved to be a versatile tool for Marine Corps League programs, and a casebook example of objective-based content. Here is how we’ve done it:

This film nerd always gets super-excited around Oscar time. Just for fun, I’ve checked out the content available on, sponsored by ABC, the home of this year’s Academy Awards broadcast, and, the official site of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). These two sites have different strengths, but both add valuable content for their audiences.

How do you view your newsletter—whether e-mail or print? Do you see it as separate from your website? If so, you’re potentially overlooking a huge opportunity to maximize your content marketing impact, says Newt Barrett on
In his post, Barrett shares seven ways to get more for your newsletter buck. Depending on your business, all seven of his ideas might not apply, but on his list are a few must-dos to make your newsletter work harder for you:

  • Link each newsletter story to a page on your website. “You want your readers to find their way easily to your online home so they can discover lots more about your company, its products and its people,” he says.
  • Be sure to make RSS feeds available for your newsletter and for all of your web content. “This is an easy and free way of syndicating your news stories that will extend your newsletter subscriber base dramatically,” Newt says.
  • Be sure each article integrates social media sharing capabilities. “If you’re lucky, a great article may go viral and be spread across the web by enthusiasts who value and want to share your content,” he says.”

Still relying on old forms of media to get the word out about your business? If so, your content marketing strategy needs an update.
The mindset of prospective customers and buyers is evolving, says content marketing blogger Bernie Borges. An integrated approach of old and new is needed to get this audience to fully connect with your brand.
So, what exactly would such an approach look like? It could mean forging ahead with a brick-and-mortar trade show, while using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube to engage an audience before, during and after the event. (Hammock managed a similar old/new media blending with Association Media & Publishing last year.)
For more practical ways to take these old media formats–phone, print ad, tradeshows and direct mail–and convert them to new media marketing, read more of Borges’ article here.