Archive for the ‘curating’ tag
- Facebook Stories – People using Facebook in extraordinary ways
A Facebook-owned site about “people using facebook in extraordinary ways”
A Tumblr site curating, well, tumbles
Replace baby pics with cats and “awesome stuff”
- BPS Research Digest
Great blog (hat tip: Dan Pink): The British Psychological Society’s award-winning Research Digest blog provides original, authoritative reports on the latest psychology research papers. Plus we publish a few other fun features too.
Patricia Handschiegel, who founded fashion media company StyleDiary (and eventually sold it to StyleHive) is back with a new startup bringing together lifestyle content and commerce.
Handschiegel says she’s been interested in that combination since her time at StyleDiary, but thanks to the acquisition, she didn’t really pursue it. Nowadays you hear a lot more about bringing content and commerce together, but Handschiegel says that for the most part, it an area being tackled by e-commerce companies who start posting articles or other kinds of content featuring their products. With her new site Condiment, she’s taking the opposite approach, focusing on content first and then building the store.
Condiment had a quiet launch in January. Handschiegel says she’s trying to create a digital magazine focused on “life’s little extras” (hence the name, which she credits to Laurie Percival). For example, this week’s issue includes a spread of fashion, furniture, and accessories for the fall, and another on art and home decor picks.
Today, Handschiegel also launched the other big piece of the business, the market. She says she’s curating a small collection of products from “startups” in industries like food, fashion, and home. There’s a separate market page on the Condiment website, but naturally, if one of the products for sale is featured in a Condiment article, there’s a “buy this in the market!” link too.
“These product companies are squarely focused on the offline retail channel, which is their key target market,” Handshciegel tells me via email. “While there are plenty of inexpensive means to sell online, they are often too small in size to invest the human/financial capital to create, manage and grow that presence. Condiment does the work for them.”
Since the market just launched, you can expect the product lineup to grow over time. Handschiegel is hoping to expand the editorial side too — she says she wanted to get some of the experimenting out of the way before investing heavily on the tech side, but now she’s hoping to get on-board with one of the digital magazine publishing platforms. That would also allow her to publish more frequently — although she still wants to take a slower-paced, magazine-style approach. Handschiegel already writes a blog, and she says the her aims with Condiment are very different.
“With a digital magazine, when it’s about making pudding and buying laptop bags, it’s a little less time sensitive,” she says.
Condiment is self-funded.
Every year, Social Media Week draws participants from around the world to discover new trends in mobile and social media. If you’d like a free vacation out of the deal, get out your smartphone. Social Media Week is celebrating its sixth anniversary this fall with a photography contest to highlight this year’s trend of sharing and curating photos.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Ever amassed a collection of Web bookmarks on a particular subject and then wanted to search through their contents? Delicious users will be familiar with link curating and sharing, but there’s no ability to actually search the contents of the bookmarked pages and sites. A few Florentines,…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Mitch Joel tagged me in a meme. I know. How very MySpace of him. Heh.
Last week he wrote a neat post over at Six Pixels of Separation in an answer to a commentor who wanted to know more about how he, Mitch Joel, blogs. It’s always neat to peek behind the curtains a bit and see what others use or do to spur their creative process, so I read the post (as I do with most of Mitch’s).
Much to my surprise, after explaining how he blogs, Mitch tagged a number of friends, including me, asking us to pen a similar post. To my knowledge, Chris Penn and Mark Schaefer are the only other to take him up on the challenge thus far. So, I figured I’d answer the call. Maybe it will give you some ideas on how to better attack your blog, whether from process or product.
I’ll follow Mitch’s general outline.
My Blogging Philosophy
- SME has obviously grown into a group blog. I am the editor, but still provide anywhere from one to five posts per week, depending upon the number of ideas and time I have to write each week. The other posts, I edit for content. Our philosophy has always been that our content should try to push the thinking.
- We post at least one (hopefully thought-provoking) piece every weekday. But if our content is not good enough, we’ll just take a day off.
- For me personally, and like Mitch, it’s visceral and one shot. I sit down to write, write and post (or cue for posting later). I don’t save drafts and I don’t write one post over several sittings. Fortunately, I write very fast (years of writing sports stories on a deadline will help you hone that skill) and seldom have to put a post down and pick it up later.
- When I promote something on the blog, whether through our advertisements or reviews within the content, I make sure it’s something I would use or recommend to a client to use. We call it “curating for quality and relevancy.” We believe this is part of the reason you trust us. Unless you tell us otherwise, that won’t change.
- Likewise, when reviewing a product or service, I try to be as fair and balanced as possible. I attempt to take an analyst’s approach and enumerate strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.
- If there are ever biases present (clients, sponsors, payment, etc.) they will be disclosed.
Pre-show (what happens before I blog):
- I’m really bad about capturing my blog ideas. If I don’t sent myself an email or throw a quick note into Evernote, it gets lost in the ether and forgotten about. I’ve probably lost as many ideas as I’ve written over the years. Sadly, even when I capture the note, it often sits in Evernote or my inbox for months.
- Most of my really good posts — or at least the ones that take a lot of thought — I actually chew on for several days. I’ll get a faint notion (like, I should tell everyone that even the top brands in social media still suck at being social) and mull it over for several days when I have time to think. When I get a general gist of what that post might look like in my head, I sit down and make the donuts. (And yes, that example above is what I’m currently chewing on.)
- Typically, I have the idea and immediately sit and write the majority of the post. Depending upon where I am and how much time I have, I may spit out as much as I can then come back later that night to finish it off. More often than not, however, I start and finish in one sitting.
- I seldom edit what I write, other than one or two read throughs. That’s not because I’m an idiot … or a cocky writer. It’s because I wrote sports game stories on deadline for 12 years. You learn to self-edit while you write when you learn to write on deadline. So when I’m done … I’m done.
Writing the blog post:
- I write better in coffee shops with The Black Keys or My Morning Jacket blasting in my headphones on my 15-inch MacBook Pro. The single screen keeps me focused and I like to people watch while I’m writing. Just helps the neurons fire. If I’m in my office, I look out the window and imagine the people.
- More often these days, and because I have to edit other people’s posts here, too, I write on Sunday nights at home after my kids have gone to bed. Sometimes it’s in my home office in relative silence. Sometimes, it’s in the same room with my wife as she watches whatever crime show is on at the moment. Sometimes its even after she’s gone to sleep, I’ve poured myself a bourbon and Tosh.0 is on Comedy Central.
- I use Ecto for Mac. Largely because it’s simple and allegedly posts straight to your WordPress blog. But it eats my blog posts from time to time. Despite my pleas to the company to fix the bug, they won’t, I paid $27 for it and am philosophically opposed to changing to something else as a result. If you know of a better one, let me know.
- I’m a WordPress guy. I use Posterous for my personal blog, but just because it’s easy and I don’t care about the design there. Here, I’ve had designers hack Thesis and create something I think is pretty hip. If you don’t like my fonts, the RSS feed comes through in whatever font your browser has set for default. Or you can deal with it. Heh.
- My blog posts take anywhere from five minutes to an hour to write. The more in-depth posts (product reviews, lengthy debates over an issue, etc.) will take longer. Most of my stuff is written, self-edited and cued in less than 30 minutes.
After the post:
- I’m probably one of the few folks out there that still manually promotes his blog posts. I do it as part of my morning sharing routine where I find and share content from around the web. SME posts are included in that round of sharing and treated like any other piece of content I find share worthy. I typically only promote each blog post once on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If I remember to, I’ll promote it on Google+. People who promote the same post multiple times get on my nerves a little. I understand why, but it just doesn’t feel right to me.
- I try to respond to comments that seem to warrant a response on posts written by me. I expect my authors to respond to the posts they write. But I’m very protective of the civil discourse in the comments here, so I watch for commentors that are overly critical, argumentative and the like and chime in where I deem appropriate. (We’re all for discussion and even disagreement, but I don’t tolerate mean-spiritedness or criticism that isn’t constructive. If you want that, go to anonymous comment sections of newspaper websites.) Disqus allows me to read and respond to comments right from email, so it’s easy to do it, even from my phone.
- Also on Sunday nights (or sometimes Monday mornings) I prepare my weekly newsletter, The Navigator. That includes a recap of the SME posts of the previous week amid the thoughts I share with the subscribers.
That’s it. There’s no magic, other than many years of writing and editing as practice. In addition to the aforementioned years of writing sports, I’ve blogged since 1998. My personal blog started as a newspaper column that I wanted to publish online since, at the time, the newspaper it was for didn’t have a website. Over the 14 years of blogging, I’ve used the medium to publish narrative non-fiction, fiction, comedy material and silly man-on-the-street interviews. So when I started SME in 2007 to focus on the emerging world of social media marketing, I kind of knew what I was doing.
Blogging is a habit and a passion for me. I enjoy the creative process, the fact I have the power to publish anything whenever I want and there’s a bit of an audience there to see it and the fact that it can have immediate and long-term impact on my bottom line. It saddens me to see businesses who forego or forget their blogs and focus on micro-exchange platforms like Facebook or Twitter as their primary online marketing or social media marketing vehicle. If I sold Social Media Explorer and retired to a beach tomorrow, I’d still blog over at Falls, off the Rocker, just for fun. Or, I could create a different business blog and build something a little different.
Most of my blogging now is so much of that habit and passion that I don’t even think about how I do it. I’m sure I could do it better, easier, more efficiently, but this is what works for me.
So now it’s your turn. How do you blog? What works for you? Tell us about your blogging habits in the comments.
And thanks, Mitch.
Have You Registered For Explore Nashville?
Don’t miss a day of intensive learning with some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the digital marketing and social media marketing space. H&R Block’s Scott Gulbransen, The Now Revolution co-author Amber Naslund, Edison Research’s Tom Webster, Return on Influence author Mark Schaefer, Edelman Digital’s Zena Weist and more headline one of the leading digital and social media marketing events of 2012, Friday, April 13 in Nashville, Tennessee! DON’T WAIT TO REGISTER! Seats are filling fast! Reserve yours today!
Email marketing plays a whole different role when we’re looking to “engage” Jasmine.
Remember, Jasmine’s persona is somewhere around twenty-seven years old. This means that Jasmine has been raised in the age of “The Great Recession”. Jasmine doesn’t have the money that prior generations enjoyed at her age.
Email marketing needs to reflect this in three important ways.
- Great quality product at low prices. Jasmine is not going to pay $399 for a handbag, so don’t bother trying to get her to “aspire” to purchase something she can’t afford. Focus the merchandise assortment around what Jasmine can buy, not what you want her to buy.
- Curation. Put an assortment together for Jasmine, have a point of view! Jasmine uses external sources like blogs to understand what might work for her … that means that we as marketers are doing a poor job of curating for her.
- Sharable. Jasmine trusts her friends. Make all content easily sharable, and let Jasmine help do the marketing for you. This is very different than Judy and Jennifer, they aren’t going to do the marketing for you!
Kate Niederhofer via Social Abacus
I’ve blogged before about Wegner’s notion of the transactive memory, a concept I love about how we get information into our heads (encode), arrange and add context (store), and eventually access when needed (retrieve) *as a group*. In my mind, this is underpinning of the success that Twitter is. It also helps explain this tendency we have to read-and-share as a means to coordinate our social network. That is, by sharing certain content with specific people, we more effectively encode, store, and retrieve information as a social network. Think of it like really effective curating. Simply by sharing links, we’re making sense out of our expanding networks.
But something else happens when we read-and-share. We create virtual spaces. As the great sociologist Ray Oldenburg might say, we create “a third place.” Places, really. Salons. Sharing links creates places for us to meet and talk about our shared interests. Traditionally a “third place” is a place of refuge. It’s not your home, not your job. So these virtual salons we create let us escape— or augment our reality— while performing social network maintenance: clustering and categorizing our network.
Yes, I believe that by curating we are sharing more than links, although it’s not a space that we define, but a way to share time: to still the time we are in, and share it with others, who experience it themselves.
We are sharing experience: Time is the new space.
“Obviously it’s been a big subject of discussion over the last week, but we think there’s something bigger and more important about curation. It’s a way to create content in a very lightweight way and start to hone a voice and understand what works and what doesn’t. In hearing from these folks you get the real sense that most of them started doing what they do to satisfy their own curiosity. For most of them that curiosity transformed into full-fledged publishing as their simple act of sharing morphed into a hybrid publishing model: Combining third party content with their own original thinking to create something bigger.”
It follows hot on the heels of another smart post by Percolate founder James Gross on the stock and flow of content, building on a theme originated by Robin Sloan, and expounded upon before by Noah. James describes ‘stock’ content as that which is timeless, durable, has a long shelf-life, is more expensive to create and is based on slow moving trends. Channels that lend themselves to publishing original stock content might be owned media assets such as a brand domain, YouTube channel or Instagram. ‘Flow’ content on the other hand lives in the moment, is inexpensive to produce, and is (to quote Robin Sloan) the “stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist”, suited to channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest that can curate content that lives somewhere else.
Regular readers will know that I am a fan of this view on the world. James goes on to make some interesting points. First about how Tumblr is a channel that facilitates both stock content (own domain, permalinks to house content) and the flow of curating 1st and 3rd party content. And then about the positioning of content beyond reverse chronology and how if Facebook focused on creating value through permalinks it could get interesting.
For me, the big challenge that sits within this is the shift from embedded processes, thinking and resources that are established firmly around campaigning, towards the kind of always-on strategies that capitalise on both stock and flow content, as James describes. This requires different skills, different processes, different approaches. Not least of these is brands getting their heads around the idea of properly curating third party content, and managing the compex relationship between content which potentially has huge longevity, and the kind that exists in continously updated streams.
I’d usually tweet something like this, as it’s worth no more than 140 characters or less. But it went long and I decided not to take the time to write it short (it’s so much harder to write short, than long).
It’s a response to several things I’ve seen in the past 24 hours about attributing credit to others and aggregating, curating and re-tweeting and the correct use of the term “via,” and, frankly, so much inside baseball, that even I’m confused.
So, anyway, it all made me think of a previous blogging code of conduct controversy that took place in 2007 that led me to write a post about that code, one focused on “civility,” that inspired the subject line, “Just who are the #x!!ing idiots who suggest X#@!ing codes of conduct?“
The need to produce content in marketing has grown so foundational that you can’t really get through a day without hearing about it, reading about it and perhaps stressing out about it.
Marketers are beginning to think and act more like publishers and are producing, curating and repurposing content like never before. Really smart marketers are snapping up journalists as key members of their marketing teams.
But, if marketing content is to become the essential element that it must become in your business, you need to view its production from a strategic point of view.
You may indeed need more content, but you certainly need content that addresses every one of your base business objectives and you need to view the editorial calendar of sorts in this strategic light.
In other words, you need content for every aspect of the customer life-cycle and you need to stage that content in something I call the Marketing HourglassTM.
The hourglass acknowledges the fact that your job as a marketer is to get someone with a need to know, like and trust you and that you then need to plan to turn that know, like and trust into try, buy, repeat and refer – and that each of these stages must address a prospect’s evolving relationship with your organization.
In other words, you need to plan to walk with someone that comes to know about your business all the way down the path to where they become a fan and volunteer member of your sales team.
One of the best tools in the hourglass arsenal is content.
One of the best ways to employ content in a strategic manner is to match different kinds of content with the stages of the hourglass and customer life cycle.
So, your content hourglass might look something like this:
The key element here is blog content created on a narrowly defined set of keyword phrases and topics. One of the best ways to become known is through organic search. This phase would also include advertising that draws awareness to other, more advanced forms of content such as eBooks and seminars.
In many businesses a referral introduction is the first exposure that someone gains to an organization. This calls for content that is geared towards this type of exposure and specifically acknowledges your referral process.
An eNewsletter can be a tremendous content tool for nurturing during the like and trust building phases as it allows you to demonstrate expertise, knowledge, resources, and experience over time.
A series of blog posts around a specific topic turned into an eBook or email series is another great content play that helps tell your story.
Once you’ve gained attention you must move towards that all-important next step. We will buy products we simply like, but we’ll rarely commit to organizations unless we trust them.
Your customer generated videos, case studies and stories make great content here. Your SEO efforts (others trusting and linking to your content) and Social Media participation comes into play in the trust phase.
Getting your customers involved in the content creation game is an essential element and one that many are happy to be involved in.
The ability to tell why your organization does what it does in stories that illustrate purpose in action is perhaps the key trust building content piece of the puzzle.
Try is a phase that many people skip, but I think it’s the easiest way to move people to buy, particularly in highly competitive and highly priced situations.
Here the content needs to represent a sample of the end result. This is where eBooks, online and offline seminars and evaluation type processes in the form of content shine.
Many people miss this point but this is an audition and it’s where you need to deliver more than anyone could possibly consider doing for a free or low cost version of what you sell. This is one of the first places where you plant the seed for a referral as well as a sale.
By producing content in the try phase that clearly demonstrates how much better your paid product or service is than most, you can differentiate your business and create evangelists out of those that don’t ever buy.
How to content in the form of videos, workbooks, examples, cheat sheets and checklists – the kind of stuff your competitors are charging real money for – is the stuff that the try phase in built on.
Content that converts consists of proof. You must be able to show real results, customer stories and clearly cast your buyer into the future receiving the promised results.
Many people miss the idea of content during just after the buy phase because the thinking is that the person has already made a decision and the product or service will speak for itself.
The total customer experience is measured by the end result, not the build up to the sale. In order to deliver a remarkable customer experience you’ve got to continue to educate with content.
Creating content that acts as a new customer kit or orientation to your business or product is the first step.
Most businesses should also consider quick start guides, in-depth user manuals and customer support communities. You can easily build this kind of content with your customers using services such as Get Satisfaction or Zendesk.
Don’t wait for your customer to call you when they need something, stay top of mind through content that educates at a higher lever.
Use email and print to start to share how others have gotten more advanced results with your products or services. Create customer events that have a content sharing component.
Create a results review process where you help your client measure the results they are actually getting by working with your firm and use this process to capture content in the form of success stories.
Start this phase by documenting your referral process. Create tools that make it easy for you to teach your rabid customers and strategic partners how to refer you.
Create eBooks, videos and teaching events and offer them to your strategic partners to cobrand and present to their clients.
Work with a team of best of class providers (the folks that can help your clients get everything they need) and create a team blog. Create and acquire content that makes it easy for you to introduce your partners and gives them plenty of incentive to do likewise.
You don’t have to do all of your content creation from scratch either – there are many ways to effectively use other people’s content as part of the overall picture.
Content creation is the hardest job of a marketer these days but when you plan your content with your hourglass in mind it may well be the highest payoff work your can do.