3 quick thoughts on memetic warfare, persuasion and influence

Times Square persuasion advertising

James, our business development lead, is what Darryl Kerrigan from The Castle would call an ideas man. He's a big thinker. And a big reader. If you've connected with James on LinkedIn, you've probably seen several updates about his latest obsessions: content mindset, branding and persuasion. 

We've compiled James' best April LinkedIn posts relevant to our line of work, and listed them below. Want regular esoteric content mindset updates? Connect with James on LinkedIn.

Over to James...

Memetic warfare is the new frontier of information war, propaganda and cyberwar (which is not just about hacking computers / infrastructure). 

Conceptually, memes are perfectly engineered for non-hierarchical, decentralised independent operators, open-source insurgencies, and fourth generation warfare campaigns. 

Q: What is the non-warfare (business) equivalent of memetic warfare?
A: Branding

Anyway, for those interested, this two minute video is a great introduction. The accompanying white paper written by a NATO think tank is even better.


NSW police force are using a popular meme construct to send a message. Very cool (and quite funny!). Interesting how this meme structure keeps evolving to create new messages. 

Memes are finally getting recognition as a powerful next generation communication and influence technique. Memes are probably the most post-modern form of content in existence today. 

People use memes to rapidly spread ideas and leverage the network effect to their advantage. It's no wonder NATO and the CIA have commissioned think-tank pieces to explore its application to ideological, cyber and fourth generation warfare. 

Advanced practitioners of memetic war can propagate their message quickly though a social media network, leverage organically trending hashtags, fight MSM narratives, hijack brands, and influence and persuade on a massive scale.

Should we add meme development to Mint Content's services catalogue?

Meme social media


In probably the most ruthless slugfest since Ali v Frazier 3, I made almost 25K gambling on Donald Trump in 2016. First the GOP primaries, then the US election. Massive odds against = massive profit. It was a really fun year (for me). 

Blind luck? Reckless betting? 


But if you'd like to learn one element of my rationale behind my speculative bet cough investment in a Trump victory, I suggest you check out the work of Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) and his Master Persuader Filter. A series of ideas and mental models that I use to help me better understand the world.

In a nutshell: humans have NOT evolved to perceive or understand an objective reality (if one even exists - the jury's out: quantum mechanics, hard problem of consciousness, etc). We all fall victim to various perception fallacies, cognitive dissonance and other cognitive biases. 

Some people have a skill-set that purposefully uses this understanding of human nature and the UI of the human mind, to great advantage. They are master persuaders.

Adams's new book is out in October. Check it out!


Want more great content like this? Connect with James on LinkedIn.

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What we've been reading

How Merriam-Webster made dictionaries fun by building a powerful brand voice – Lauren Naturale – Buffer
Who would have thought that a dictionary could be interesting and fun? With good content marketing, anything is possible. By developing a personality for the brand, and channeling this through social media, Merriam Webster built a large and loyal social media following. Buffer interviews Merriam Webster’s Lauren Naturale, who shares how brands can develop their own unique voice.

6 brand certifications to make you a better social media marketer - HootSuite
Keeping up with changing technology is a difficult task, but one that is expected of most marketers today. Knowing how to use the newest marketing software and apply the right strategies can set you and your company apart. HootSuite shares six of the best online courses to boost your skills, from SEO to advanced social media.

The 6 most important social media trends of 2017 - Contently
Contently break down eMarketers US Social StatPack, to outline the six important social media trends for 2017. Some highlights from the article include:

  • The age groups of social media users has widened - 53 percent of US Facebook users are now 35  or older, while 69 percent of Instagram users are over 35.
  • Growing average revenue per user has taken over user growth as the most valued metric to measure social media success.
  • Social media networks are putting video first, with Facebook’s introduction of live videos, Twitter’s native video publisher, and Pinterest and LinkedIn’s new video features.

6 how-to strategies for content promotion – The Content Marketing Institute
Having amazing content is crucial, but if it's not reaching your audience you won’t receive the returns you expected. Knowing how to promote your content is almost as important as being able to create it. Here are six of the best ways to promote your content, including: sharing with communities, buying cheap ads, and link building.

Thinking outside the blog: how content can power omnichannel marketing efforts - News Cred
News Cred’s article describes how marketers should aim for a seamless and personalised interaction with the consumer across channels, with their content hub at the centre. “The brands succeeding at omnichannel marketing are the ones that are placing the customer at the center of their marketing efforts and using content to architect and measure their journeys effectively.”

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Spellcheck isn't enough: Why the best writers use human proofreaders
Ever feel like you do your best proofreading after hitting the send button? We've been there too. But is there really a difference between using Microsoft Word's spellcheck and engaging a professional proofreader?

As an agency that offers free proofreading of all final approved client documents, our answer is a resounding yes. So, we asked our go-to proofreader, Lisa Teasdale, to explain why behind every great writer, is a brilliant proofreader. 

Copywriting tip of the week

Copywriting tip

It sounds simple and it IS. Write it DOWN. Granted, your first attempt may not be your final draft but just getting the 'guts' of the piece down is a great start.

For daily copywriting insights and tips, follow Mint Content on Facebook.

Spellcheck isn't enough: Why the best writers use human proofreaders

lisa teasdale proofreader

Ever feel like you do your best proofreading after hitting the send button? We've been there too. But is there really a difference between using Microsoft Word's spellcheck and engaging a professional proofreader?

As an agency that offers free proofreading of all final approved client documents, our answer is a resounding yes. So, we asked our go-to proofreader, Lisa Teasdale, to explain why behind every great writer, is a brilliant proofreader. 

What does a proofreader actually do? 

What I love about working with Mint Content is that I have the opportunity to be a proof-editor rather than solely a proofreader. This enables me to comment on the flow of the work, pick up any grammatical or design errors as well as checking for consistency and tidy up to ensure the quality of the product.

Officially, editing and proofreading are different jobs and are designed for different stages of the revision process. Editing provides an opportunity to make your writing better, whilst proofreading is usually the final check to ensure perfection before publication.

In my role as a proof-editor I am able to offer both services to ensure the document maximises its potential. My goal is to provide a polished clean copy that has the correct grammar, punctuation and spelling incorporated into a smooth flowing document.

As a proof-editor I work on a document and ensure it is ready for publication. I look for consistency in usage and presentation, and accuracy in every aspect – text, images and layout.

When I receive a document, an article, a blog, or advertorial, I firstly read it through to gain a sense of the content, then I re-read it to check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.

I ensure the words flow, the appropriate tone and vocabulary are used, and the meaning is clear. I also ensure that the hyperlinks work. I then review it again, making sure that after editing the publication flows smoothly.

For jobs where I am solely engaged as a proofreader, I only look at the material ready for publication and have no opportunity to add comment or suggest editorial changes to improve the document as it has already been copy-edited and typeset.

As solely a proofreader, I ensure the quality of the product, look for consistency in wording and typesetting, and tidy up but I don’t make any editorial changes or suggestions.

If English is your second language, the English language can be even more complex and frustrating. A good proof-editor can take away some of that angst and help you produce a well written document that still conveys your style and meaning. The work always remains yours, I just offer suggestions to improve it. Remember, a mistake in your manual or article or an error on your website could lose you visitors and clients.

The importance of using a proof-editor is that I can improve your original content, ensure it flows well, is consistent with your style guide, and is delivered on time and on budget. A properly proofed document can be a great marketing tool.

What are the benefits of working with a proofreader, compared to relying on online proofreading tools? 

Although proofreading tools, whether available freely or for a charge, are constantly being improved, there is nothing like human eyes and knowledge to pick up the nuances in a document.

Many of you know that the spellcheck on your computer only manages to pick up some errors and often if a word is spelt right the computer doesn’t always pick up that it is wrong in the context of the article.

As a human proofreader I can pick up the nuances and ensure the document fits with your publisher’s preferred style or your university lecturer’s requirements.

Another good example of complexities is the use of the words ‘their, they’re and there’. The computer doesn’t always pick up if you are using the right word for the right sentence. While writing this piece, my spell/grammar checker suggested using ‘there’ in the beginning of my list as that would seem grammatically correct, but it would have been wrong.

Another example is using the right regional English – whether it be British or American English – there is a difference and generally in Australian writing we use British English. This can be seen in common words such as ‘honour’ – British English, or ‘honor’ – American English. Most computers are set to the standard American English and do not consider the context of the document.

Online tools use systematic and formal rules but they cannot concentrate on a context issue and solve ambiguity nor can it make use of experience or mental outlook that a human proof-editor can. This takes knowledge of the language, patience and a good eye for detail.

Using a human editor or proofreader can help to increase your standard of communication. In business your communication style can define the identity of your business, with quality writing signifying competence and professionalism. If the author of a document is not a confident writer, or there are multiple authors with multiple styles, then human editing is very useful.

Although a tool can give you the gist of the document, they tend to only do word to word translations, while a human proofreader/editor will ensure the document uses the right phrases and flows to enhance your document.

What are the common misconceptions people have about working with proofreaders?

I must admit, before I trained to be an editor/proofreader I wasn’t sure what a proofreader did, nor what the difference was between a proofreader and an editor. Having now completed my Certificate IV in Professional Editing and Proofreading, I have clearer understanding.

What are the common misconceptions? Well I think a lot of people consider proofreaders just check for spelling mistakes.

Yet being a proofreader involves much more than that. A proofreader will examine a document after it has been edited to ensure it is free from any error. A proofreader will review for spelling, punctuation, typos and ensure you use the right style or format.

Likewise, often when people think ‘editor’ they imagine someone behind a magazine, sending and identifying articles for the magazine. That is one type of editor, but the other type is someone who can help people improve their writing.

A good editor can help find the right words, improve the structure, clear up problems with spelling, punctuation and grammar, and help prepare a document for publication. An editor can also help you work with designers, indexers and printers. Editors work in a wide range of fields. Some specialise while others work in multiple disciplines such as fiction, government reports, academic publications, children’s books, poetry, newspaper and magazine articles, and more.

How can people find out more about your proofreading services?

I can be contacted directly via Facebook at Lisa Teasdale or email at ljtfreelancer@gmail.com or just call me on 0404 023 876. I’m always happy to have a chat, provide an overview of my services, and see where we go from there. 

I currently work with a number of freelance copywriters and have received great feedback from them on my work. I really enjoy what I’m doing, I enjoy the variety of the work and I love the fact that I can work from home or anywhere I can take my computer. I also love networking, sourcing new areas of work and taking time to further develop my skills. I am an associate member of the Canberra Society of Editors and intend to continue learning what being an Editor/Proofreader is all about.

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