Archive for the ‘online’ tag
Content strategists from all over the world gathered for two frosty March days in London to learn from some of the brightest minds in the content universe. I was delighted to be part of the enthusiastic crowd.
I’ll dig more deeply into individual presentation content soon. But for now, here are some of my favorite takeaways from the many awesome presenters on the first day of Confab 2013. Content strategy may still be hard to do. But, the presenters made it easy to understand the what, why, and how of implementation.
Kristina Halvorson, Founder, Brain Traffic
- As content strategists, we have the power to change the way our companies treat content.
- Everybody is finding their own way so fake it till you make it.
- Your top job is to facilitate conversations.
Kate Kiefer Lee, Content Curator, MailChimp
- It’s vital to find your voice so that your content genuinely reflects the true nature of you and your organization. Write from the heart.
- Empathy is critical in order to create content that really resonates with your readers.
- Read your content out loud as if you were reading to your intended target.
- Be honest. Honesty always pays and your customers will know when you are lying.
- People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.
- Understand and care about where money comes in and goes out. Think in terms of customer-centric accounting.
- Show. Don’t tell. Prototypes are persuasive. Use prototyping so that your internal and external customers can visualize your content strategy.
- Don’t work alone. Include key team members from the very beginning as you develop your content strategy and execution.
- Slow content can be a very good thing. As long as your readers are willingly and actively engaged with your content, they won’t mind taking a lot of time to consume it. Disney, Patagonia, Ikea, and REI are brilliant at this.
- Patagonia is a wonderful example of slow content online. They encourage people to read long form copy that reflects what’s truly important to them–that is, genuinely caring about the quality of our environment. Their products match that worldview beautifully
Kerry-Anne Gillowey, Content Strategy Consultant, August Sun Projects
- Customer surveys are inferior to in person interviews. Why? Because you will never get to the in-depth insights into your customers attitudes, beliefs, and feelings, in a survey. Only by engaging them in a one on one personal interview will you be able to draw out what they really, really think.
Max Greenhut, User Experience Director, Disney
- Disney’s goal is “to bring dreams to life and to create lifetime memories.” What a beautiful sentiment!
- Determine exactly what guests need to know so that they can have that very enchanting Disney experience.
- Their content strategy is all about storytelling and involves telling different stories for different audiences.
Melissa Rach, Partner, Dialog Studios
- You must realize that content strategy requires diverting resources from current projects. Therefore, you must demonstrate tangible value that justifies that resource shift.
- Use a simple formula to estimate value and ROI: Value = Benefits – Costs.
- Demonstrate that, with a high degree of success probability, savings will follow from the use of content is a product, as a service, as in efficiency tool.
- Always make your presentation of the numbers in person–or, at worst, over the phone. Never via email.
Karen McGrane, Managing Partner, Bond Art + Science
- Although there is a digital divide globally among those with computer-based Internet access and those without, that divide is erased by the consumption of content on mobile devices.
- All content must be created so that it can be readily consumed on PCs, tablets, or smartphones.
- There is no such thing as good writing for mobile. There is just good writing.
Action-oriented Website Transforms Visitors into Buyers.
We’ve long been impressed with Constant Contact. Almost 5 years ago, we wrote about their excellent eNewsletter as an example of effective content marketing–that even small companies with low budgets could emulate. They have grown from 25,000 customers in 2004 to 250,000 customers in 2008 and more than 500,000 customers in the third quarter 2012. A combination of great content and great products has empowered that growth.
Now more than ever, they not only provide terrific content, but they make it easy for buyers to take action.
Their impressive growth stems directly from their ability to help their customers grow
Because Constant Contact’s success is directly tied to the success of its customers, it must provide relevant and valuable content in order to empower their customers to succeed. I have been a fan and a user of their email marketing and research products for many years. They do an exceptional job of online marketing, of course. Impressively, they are also experts at in-person content marketing via their regional reps who teach business owners and managers how to market effectively.
When we first wrote about Constant Contact, they were doing a great job with their eNewsletter which provided customers with lots of useful tips on successful email marketing.
As we noted in our 2007 article:
Content rich eNewsletters are one of the most effective marketing tools in the Internet age. But they won’t work unless you carefully target the most pressing information needs of your prospective customers.
Constant Contact obviously understands that its customers need to communicate effectively electronically in order to drive business growth. They also understand that most of their customers are not sophisticated marketing experts–and almost certainly are not e-mail marketing experts. Therefore, they provide very practical, nuts and bolts advice on how to communicate effectively via e-mail and eNewsletters.
Today, Constant has a much more extensive range of content and services to help businesses grow:
- email marketing
- research tools
- event marketing
- social media campaigns
- local marketing
- industry-specific templates
- in-person local seminars
In addition to their action-orient homepage, they make it simple and appealing for visitors to move from prospect to customers for all of their products and services.
For example, their Social Campaigns landing page explains what the product does, how it will help, and how to take the next step in a very visual, uncluttered way. How could you not be motivated to give it a test run?
AND, THEY ACTUALLY USE WHAT THEY SELL!
Of course, Constant Contact eats its own dog food and uses the software that selling to small business executives to demonstrate how to connect effectively via e-mail, eNewsletters, research and social media tools.
Even better for marketers, emulating their action-oriented website will help you convert more visitors to buyers once you drive them to your site.
And that sounds an awful lot like social media in a definition that I saved and have embraced from Wikipedia several years ago:
Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.
YOUR BLOG IS YOUR SECRET SOCIAL MEDIA WEAPON
Thanks to free or inexpensive blogging tools, any individual can be on the same technological footing as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. That may seem relatively obvious to many of you. What I think is less obvious is that your blog is every bit as much a social media tool as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. In fact, I believe that a blog is the most important social media weapon in your arsenal.
HERE ARE THE 6 REASONS THAT YOUR BLOG MUST BE THE CORE OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY:
- To have meaningful social media impact, you must provide a critical mass of content that will position you and your organization as thought leaders within your market niche. Nothing works better than a blog to achieve that objective. Over time, your blog will contain an increasingly rich and relevant reservoir of information that serves as a Google magnet. Thus, you will become more and more findable by those customers you need to attract. You are hidden away on Facebook and scattered all over the place on Twitter.
- You can provide an unlimited amount of vital information in a single location. Because Web visitors are desperately seeking answers to their most pressing questions, you have the opportunity to provide just the right answers for your ideal target customers. The best blogs can provide the vast majority of targeted information that there ideal visitors require in their search for solutions.
- Content aside, the structure of a blog enables you to organize your information almost effortlessly to the benefit of your visitors. By defining the most important areas of information that you will cover and translating them into ‘categories,’ you enable your visitors to find exactly what they want with minimal effort. You can’t do that on Facebook and only with difficulty on Twitter.
- Unlike other social media tools, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, your blog is open to the entire world. This enables you to achieve potentially infinite reach for your critical mass of content. Although you may request visitors to register and offer them enticements such as a free e-book or eNewsletter, they don’t have to join a special club to benefit from your information.
- You can be both timely and comprehensive. Although Twitter couldn’t be more timely, the information, opinions, and advice you tweet can never be comprehensive. Your blog can be just as timely as Twitter because you can post information instantaneously. But you can also make each post as comprehensive as necessary and integrate that post with lots of other relevant information on your blog. Of course, you can send folks to your blog via a timely tweet.
- Your blog posts, far from being isolated from other social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter, can be automatically pulled into each one. Thus, those 4 powerhouses can enhance your online presence every time you post an article on your blog. That’s 4 for the price of one. Not bad.
The bottom line: Start your blog today. It’s that important.
Written by Brian Adams. Via SocialMediaToday.com
Winnie the Pooh and his friends had wonderful opinions about the world around them but who knew they shared such insight into social media and modern communications technology. Here are a few of their thoughts penned by A.
Winnie the Pooh and his friends had wonderful opinions about the world around them but who knew they shared such insight into social media and modern communications technology. Here are a few of their thoughts penned by A. A. Milne:
On Content Creation
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
Building a Following
“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
On Personal Facebook Posts
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
On Apple’s iOS6 Maps
“I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.”
Get the full story on SocialMediaToday.com
HuffPost Live is now. . . Live!
And with that, online news guru Arianna Huffington ushered in a new era of citizen journalism that could change how news networks conduct themselves going forward.
HuffPost Live is a daily news, live webcast that relies heavily on social media engagement. Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 10 pm, Huff’s news correspondents take turns manning the anchor desk, to chat about what’s happening in the world. To keep the conversation going, they’re pulling in comments and Tweets from the scrolling chat box to the right of the video. Then, they mix it up by inviting viewers to join them as guests.
In order to worm your way into the broadcast, you need to click the Join This Segment bar, promise that you’re over 18, then convince them that you’re worthy with your background and take on the issue. It looks like you can volunteer for upcoming segments as well, just scroll across the topics in the top bar and choose your issue.
If having a live conversation scares you, you can leave a video comment down in the old school comment box.
Location doesn’t matter. Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can instantly join us live. Picture a conversation about parenting with mothers in Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Kentucky, talking to us and to each other and to our users live via Skype or Google Hangout.
There’s not a news channel on the tube or the web that doesn’t use viewer comments, video and even Tweets. HuffPost is just taking that to the next level and it’s pretty smart. Some people are going to tune in to hear a variety of real-life opinions on an important topic. Others are going to tune in to see real people embarrass themselves in public (it’s going to happen, you know it is.) Either way, HuffPost wins.
Right now, the site is designed to discuss a range of topics over the course of the day including entertainment, tech, business and sports. Today’s lineup includes “Keeping Rich Kids Real,” “What Drag Queens Teach Us About Gender” and a piece on Mitt Romney’s appeal with minority voters.
It will be interesting to see how they handle a hard news day when we’re dealing with a major disaster or crime story. Makes me wonder how much control they’re planning to exert over their guests? Do they have a delay for foul language? What about false information or pranksters looking for their 15 minutes of fame?
Anytime you open up your microphone to the world, you’re bound to have both moments of brilliance and moments you wish you could take back. If HuffPost Live is lucky, they’ll get a little of each every week and that will keep viewers tuning in on a regular basis.
What do you think of HuffPost’s new take on citizen journalism? Power to the people or better left in the hands of the experts?
A guest post by Jared Fabac of Idea Bright Marketing.
Our culture no longer has patience for commercials. We fast-forward through them. We do anything we can to avoid them. We endure them only when we have to.
That same mentality is taking place whenever a sales message is presented. We are slightly distrustful of what a company has to say about itself, whether the message reaches us through a traditional salesperson, traditional media, or even online media.
The Web has created in us an expectation to be able to evaluate a sales message. Somebody says to us, “We have great stuff.” You say nothing to them in return but make a mental note of “We’ll see…” And we then storm the search engines to avail ourselves to the vast amount of information available to us to review those claims. When you are pouring your heart into how much your product will do for your clients, they are reacting with the same apprehension. You are subtly saying, “Our stuff is cool,” and prospects are subtly saying, “I don’t trust you yet.”
Count Your Blessings… and Your Curses
Marketing on the Web is blessing and curse. It is a blessing because of the tremendous reach we have in communicating our message; it is a curse in that the mentality of a prospect is to hold up the process buying process until they have had time to review your claims. If there was ever any emotive function in the buying process, it is dissipating as the Internet evolves. Prospects and clients want the entire truth—and they want it to be verified. They neither need nor want hype.
All in How You Look at It
Savvy companies and marketers can use the both the Web and customers’ desire for verification to their advantage by engaging in content marketing. Content marketing can be a subjective term, but in its simplest definition, content marketing is making facts about your products available and discoverable to lead prospects into your marketing funnel. Content marketing takes advantage of an aspect of human nature that makes us more trusting to solutions that we discover ourselves over those that are presented to us.
What Makes Content Marketing So Effective
What makes content marketing so effective is that it uses Internet channels, such as the search engines, video marketing, and social media, to provide solutions to problems that exist in the everyday lives of prospects. Content marketers make solutions available for clients and prospects to find. Of course, marketers who do content marketing well conduct research on where those problems are being discussed and pondered.
Are these problems being discussed in an industry-related forum? Are they being discussed in a social media group on Facebook or LinkedIn? Are they being queried on search engines (such as Google and Bing) or video-sharing sites like YouTube? A needed skill in content marketing is finding out what the key questions are and where they are being asked.
The Home Improvement Companies Get It
Home improvement companies, such as Lowes and Home Depot, are light years ahead of other industries in doing this. A simple Internet search for problems, such as “how to fix a leaky faucet,” will present to searchers myriad instructional videos on how a customer can undertake that venture.
A careful screening of the videos provides a couple of clues on the nature of content marketing.
- The basis for the video is solving a problem—not to selling their products.
- The companies (Lowes and Home Depot) are transparent in their presentation. They are not holding themselves out as the only place to solve the problem.
The home improvement companies have successfully mapped the pain points of their target customers. They have provided information to help them solve perplexing issues—instead of selling them on how wonderful their store is. Helpful information is strategically placed; people who have problems can find solutions. The information is formatted, so it can be shared easily online.
When considering content marketing, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is there a better way to build a brand than to truly help a prospect—instead to selling them on how helpful you are?
- Can you associate your brand or your company as a solution-oriented partner at the point at which a prospect’s problems are most mystifying to them?
- Can you use the power of the Internet to be present when the most common problems are being discussed? (If you can, you can overcome the human element of a prospect to distrust you when you need state your call to action for them to buy. You can also build stronger relationships for the longer term.)
Companies can focus on marketing buzzwords, such as SEO, social media, and inbound marketing, and all those are necessary to undertake. It is pretty easy to get a YouTube channel, a Facebook Fan page or even to pay someone to make you visible in the search engines. But are you willing to use these channels to be customer-oriented before a sale is made? Are you willing to use those channels to position yourself as a problem solver? If you are, you will successfully embrace all the power that the Internet has to help you to market your business.
Jared Fabac is the director of Strategy at Idea Bright Marketing, an industrial marketing agency focusing primarily on Web-based strategy.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Business Colleagues)
Four billion people across the globe are expected to watch the Olympics this year. As a brand marketer, this is a massive opportunity. But the Olympics only last for little more than two weeks. How do marketers capture the Olympics spirit, go for the gold (so to speak), and stretch this unique opportunity as far as they can?
P&G seems to have found a formula for success. The CPG giant started its Olympic campaign, “Proud Sponsor of Moms” early, launching it in January of this year, more than seven months before the games began. Since then, it’s added multiple new creatives and has surged with the opening ceremonies in London. The result is a massive campaign that’s driven more than 37 million views to date, with more than 5.1 million views in July alone — enough to give P&G its debut on the Top Brands in Video chart.
Start with your audience
Like any good campaign, P&G started with its core audience: moms. “Proud Sponsor of Moms” is a celebration of mothers across the globe. It shows the love and support they pour into their kids’ dreams, whether their dream is to become the next Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas, or simply enjoy competing and playing with other kids.
All of the content centers on this simple idea of celebrating moms. The main creative for the campaign, called “Best Job,” is a relatively straightforward yet poignant execution. It shows moms across the world waking their kids up at the crack of dawn, giving them breakfast, waiting for the bus in the rain, all to make sure they get to practice. It subtly highlights the everyday sacrifices moms make to ensure their kids reach their potential.
Is “Best Job” traditional viral content? No. But it’s solid content that resonates with P&G’s core audience. More than 14.4 million views to date for “Best Job” — that number speaks for itself.
Other creative executions for “Proud Sponsor of Moms” include “Raising an Olympian,” which features interviews with moms of Olympians, a “Momifesto” in which Olympians thank their moms for all they do, and more.
Online video site My Damn Channel is in the midst of rolling out a whole slew of new original comedy series. Among them are two series that take on social media and, of course, we couldn’t resist sharing them with you.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
On July 21, 2012, I married my best friend. And, while life on the home front has been pure newlywed bliss, marriage comes with its own set of hurdles in the online world. Take, for example, this conversation I had with the hubby prior to the nuptials:
- Me: How much are you against me keeping my maiden name?
- Hubby: Why would you want to do that?
- Me: If I change it, I don’t know what to do with my Twitter handle!
Maybe I’m a bit extreme, but changing my name online scared me—especially since I’d been building my online brand under my maiden name. I was stepping into uncharted territory as Mrs. Tracy Lewis (instead of Ms. Tracy DiMarino).
I found myself asking: How do you change your name online seamlessly, while preserving the brand you’ve created around your maiden name? Well, this post has the answers. In it, I provide a step-by-step process for changing your name on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, based on my own experiences.
After logging in, click on “account settings” in the upper right-hand corner, and then “edit” next to the name field. Update your last name and username (which changes your Facebook profile’s URL).
If you would like to still be found in search for your maiden name, enter it into the alternate name field. Save your changes. Note: It’s may be good to put your maiden name on your profile for starters (even if you don’t want it there permanently) to help your friends get accustomed to the change.
Example set up:
How changes look on profile:
Note: While an exact number is not provided, Facebook does limit the number of times you can change your name.
Oh, and while you’re in there editing, be sure to make it Facebook-official and update your relationship status to “married.”
To change your display name (the real name associated with your account), simply click on “profile” in the “settings” section, and update.
Your actual Twitter username is a bit trickier. In updating your username, you can retain all your followers, tweets, lists, etc. However, you lose your original URL and username completely. In fact, your username becomes available for someone else to acquire immediately after you drop it.
If you have a large online presence, this could be a problem. In my case, @TracyDiMarino has been linked to in numerous blog posts, guest posts and even mentioned in Paul Roetzer’s The Marketing Agency Blueprint. In changing my username, I essentially lose all the SEO and branding power associated with these mentions.
To minimize the impact of this, I:
- Sent out a warning tweet to my followers that I was about to update my Twitter handle.
- Changed my username under “account” in the “settings” section, releasing my old username.
- Created a second Twitter account to re-claim my original username. (And had a minor panic attack in the interim.)
- Sent a tweet from my original handle, explaining that I changed my username and encouraging people to follow me at @Tracy_J_Lewis. Included a similar message in the profile bio. Note: This way, if someone lands on my old account, they’ll still be able to find me. It also gives me access to @messages and DMs to my old username in case people don’t realize the transition right away.
- Updated as many of the old links and references to my Twitter handle as possible.
In the “settings” section, click on “edit your name, location and industry.” Update the last name and maiden name fields. By including your maiden name, you still show up in LinkedIn searches for it.
Example set up:
Note: Unfortunately, public profiles do not display the maiden name field, so you may not appear if someone searches on Google, Bing or other search engines. For this reason, I kept my maiden name in my public profile URL to help with search rankings.
To update your public profile URL, click on “edit profile” on the profile tab in the main navigation, and then “edit” next to the public profile field. Change your URL as relevant.
Here’s how my profile now looks to LinkedIn users:
On the “view profile” screen, select “edit profile.” Click on the name field, and then “more options.” Update your last name. If you would like your maiden name displayed on your profile and to appear in searches, list it in the nickname field. Select how you would like your name displayed on your profile, and hit “save.”
This is what the updates will look like:
Note: Google+ limits name changes to three times every two years.
Select “settings” in the right-hand corner. Then, in the profile section, update your last name and username. Hit “save.”
Tips For Social Newlyweds
In going through the name-change experience, here are some other pointers:
- Don’t forget about changing your name on email accounts, email signatures, and other web pages where your name is listed. (For instance, I had to update my PR 20/20 bio page.) Tip: Do a quick search in Google for your maiden name to make sure you don’t miss any main mentions or accounts.
- If possible, keep your maiden name associated with accounts and content for search purposes—at least until your new name catches on. For example, I changed my blog bios to Tracy (DiMarino) Lewis, since I’m better known by my maiden name.
- If you change any URLs, be sure to update them across the web. For example, I changed my LinkedIn public profile URL, which was linked to from my Twitter page and the PR 20/20 site, among other places. I also had to update my email signature. Most social sites do not put redirects in place for you, so you’ll need to manually change links.
- Don’t change your avatar (profile picture) at the same time you change your name. Your name and avatar are the two most recognizable aspects of your social profiles. Updating both at the same time makes it harder for people (particularly social acquaintances) to make the connection that you’re still the same person.
- When it makes sense, warn your network that a name change is about to take place. For example, I sent out a tweet before I switched my Twitter handle as a heads up.
- Lastly, don’t marry someone with a common last name. Okay, so this is a joke (sort of). In all seriousness though, if your new last name is common, be sure to reserve usernames as soon as possible, as they go quick. In many cases, I found that my preferred names and URLs had already been taken.
Advice for the Blushing Bride
Have you recently been married? How did you handle the whole online name change? I’d love to hear your tips and experiences.
Or, if you just want to share with me marriage advice, honeymoon stories or whatever else married people talk about, I’ll take that as well!
Comments are yours.
CloudPlay Is a Menu Bar Music Player That Pulls Songs from iTunes, SoundCloud, YouTube, and More [Mac Downloads]
Mac: You have a ton of different options for pulling songs from the internet and creating playlists. CloudPlay is a Mac app currently in beta that lets you create playlists based on sources ranging from iTunes, SoundCloud, YouTube, and online radio. More »