Content Marketing

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So, have you seen Facebook Stories yet? I know you've probably heard about it, but have you actually bothered to look at it? No? Let me tell you all about it.It's a fascinating display of the power of social media on people's lives and, to some extent, on journalism. But it's also sort of a genius marketing tool.

Posted Oct 30, 2012

When most people (or businesses) start a blog they continue posting regularly, sometimes for years, and eventually develop a large body of work. The trouble is that despite their usefulness, very few readers will use the links or buttons at the end of a post to see what came before or after the one they are reading. If a reader does use these buttons he will probably only read one or two more posts before leaving the blog. Even when similar posts are recommended the likelihood that anyone will go on to read any of them is slim.

Posted Oct 26, 2012

Five years ago nobody talked about content marketing - today, everybody does. But lots of conversation doesn't necessarily produce understanding. When it comes to marketing content, many firms gravitate to extremes; between chasing their tails publishing over-optimized but meaningless content, and pursuing the Holy Grail of "quality content," there is a middle ground that these firms completely miss. So let's talk about how a company can go about producing content that serves a genuine business purpose.

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Branded entertainment is back with a vengeance. Companies across multiple consumer verticals have been creating engaging long-form digital video content and harnessing the power of social media on PCs and mobile devices to engage consumers and reach mass audiences. Some examples of the current trend from this past Summer alone include campaigns from Ford ("Random Acts of Fusion") Intel and Toshiba ("The Beauty Inside"), Subway ("The 4 to 9ers" and IKEA ("Easy to Assemble"). Moreover it's becoming clear that these aren't one-time efforts. IKEA, for example, has reported that it currently dedicates 2% to 3% of its global marketing budget on branded entertainment and a former Procter & Gamble executive reported to The Wall Street Journal that the brand-marketing giant is now spending 5% of its marketing budget in this area.

Posted Sep 27, 2012

Kenny Powers is a champion athlete, famous shoe endorser, and thanks to a brilliantly orchestrated hostile takeover, the MFCEO of K-SWISS, Inc. He's bigger than cable television and/or drugs. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, try tuning into the smartest marketing move in the history of mankind.The idea to "hire" Kenny Powers as a spokesman came from Matt Murphy and Glenn Cole of brand agency 72andSunny. I don't know who green-lighted the idea at K-SWISS, but I commend his or her phenomenal cojones.

Posted Sep 25, 2012

The content marketing industry is moving faster than I ever anticipated. Back in the early 2000s, the major goal was only to get senior marketing professionals to start thinking about and integrating the importance of storytelling into their overall marketing programs. Today, we see content marketing at the center of everything we do in marketing.

Posted Aug 30, 2012

The internet has blurred the line between medium and message but it hasn't changed the need for reliable, essential information. People are exposed to more content than ever before. On tablets, smart phones, television, radio and paper, consumers are presented with headlines, articles, infographics, videos, and commentary from friends and experts -- and most consider all of it to be news.

Posted Jul 20, 2012

I teach workshops on digital strategy and web writing, and the first rule I teach is "Know Thy User." I talk about different methods for understanding your audience, including user personas. User personas are a user experience design tool-your team brainstorms and creates three to five different archetypes that describe the users of your website. In marketing, we refer to it as audience-or customer-segmentation. Yet so many executives have resistance to using this tool. They would prefer to shoot in the dark or to pretend that their audience is just like them.

Posted Jun 26, 2012

Social media agency Affinitive has been acquired by global marketing company Project: WorldWide. Affinitive had run over 200 online marketing campaigns, were a Preferred Marketing Developer for Facebook and were a founding member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

Posted Jun 12, 2012

As Cooking.com acquired more and more properties, it became more and more difficult to manage its email marketing and to deploy as many emails as it needed to in an efficient manner. Emails were sent using an in-house email system that was just not scalable to the growth of the company. "There was the need [for] an enterprise email system that could handle not only the volume, but also the multiple organizations," says Matt Bunn, director of email marketing for Cooking.com.

Posted Jun 08, 2012

It's time to put a stop to the content marketing amateur hour on Facebook. Seriously. It's really embarrassing. Begging people to "like" your Facebook page is not only pathetic, it's a waste of time and money.It's also unprofessional. Who cares if 1,563 people clicked the "like" button on your Facebook page? Seriously. What does that mean, exactly? Come on, I challenge you to translate "likes" into something meaningful -- sales, leads, something tangible.You can't. Can you?

Posted Jun 07, 2012

Why are we leveraging that particular channel? Why are we developing the content in the first place? What are the informational pain points of our customers? How will helping customers with these challenges help our business (do we have a higher purpose)? What are reasonable expectations? What behaviors are we wishing to maintain or change? What metrics can we assign to those behaviors?Successful content marketing programs focus on creating a thoughtful strategy that answers these exact questions.

Posted May 31, 2012

Online publisher Examiner.com has launched OnTopic, which the company says is a comprehensive service that provides topic and location specific content at scale for publishers, agencies and brand marketers. OnTopic will individually match each content request with a qualified contributor that will deliver consumer-based media across a variety of categories and locations.

Posted May 17, 2012

It's a crisp, chilly evening in October. The sun has just set over the mountains in the distance and long, blue shadows are filling the park beside the white gazebo. A few warm street lamps dot the park in Jonesborough, TN, annual home of the International Storytelling Festival. As the last warm colors disappear into the distance, a lone figure steps onto the stage of the gazebo and begins to spin a yarn. I pull the blanket around me a little tighter. From the railroad tracks to the creek, the audience falls silent as the storyteller kicks off the ghost story portion of the festival.

Posted May 10, 2012

The Martha Stewart Show needed to prepare for an upcoming fall season and wished to reengage viewers lost during the summer season reruns. So, The Martha Stewart Show turned to Facebook to reach out to its existing fans. In addition to reinvigorating and expanding the fan base, it sought to expand its mailing lists to promote the show as well as cross-promote its other diverse offerings. However, the company felt it needed more social marketing expertise and started looking outside of its offices for help.

Posted May 09, 2012

InboundWriter has unveiled a new system targeted at writers called Topic Buzz. This system is designed to help content marketers locate social media activity on Twitter for topics or events they typically write about. The overall goal for writers using this system will be to expand their reach to those outside of their followers.

Posted Apr 30, 2012

Content is often thought of as a business expense; a necessary evil, produced because we must, most often without any clear understanding of the value it provides. This makes absolutely no business sense, of course. If we pay to produce something, we should derive value in excess of its production cost. In other words, you company should receive a positive return on investment from its content.It's actually quite difficult to measure the cost of producing many types of content for a variety of reasons too challenging to explain here. Suffice it to say that if you can't measure the cost, you can't calculate actual value.

Posted Apr 05, 2012

According to a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, although 90% of all companies employ some form of content marketing, the majority are still struggling with creating content that truly engages their customers and delivers results for the company. So, what separates the good from the great when it comes to content marketing? Well, that's not an easy question to answer. That said, through all the research (both quantitative and qualitative), there are six differences that are separating the Have's from the Have Not's.

Posted Mar 29, 2012

I think my email box might be even more fascinating than my Twitter feed right now. Every day there is a new article declaring a post-apocalyptic social media landscape."No ROI in Social Media Marketing," "Is Social Media Marketing Worth It?" and "Marketers Can't Gauge ROI on Social Media." Any minute I expect to see, "Zombies Attack Twitter, Proving That Social Media Is Dead."

Posted Mar 20, 2012

Sometimes it may seem like everyone has a blog, but a new study from Percussion Software says that isn't quite true. "The Paradox of Blogging and Content Marketing," focuses on the rise of content marketing as a discipline and the use of blogging as an engagement platform, and its finding suggest that while many companies know blogging is an important marketing tool, they just aren't on board.

Posted Mar 07, 2012

In the information circulating about digital natives, there are many references to the idea that older generations always think the upcoming generation is different from previous ones, but that this generation of digital natives really is different. They have more communication devices at their disposal. They are much more comfortable with them and much more adept at using them. Having grown up in a tech-heavy environment, they are quick to pick up on new technology and expect improvements or new offerings to come rapidly.

Posted Feb 20, 2012

Millennials are a driving force for mobile services and will increasingly be so as they move into the world and take on more responsibility for their own lives. According to Nielsen's 2009 "How Teens Use Media" report, 77 percent of teens in the U.S. already have a mobile phone. Wireless communication, a constantly evolving space, presents a big opportunity for companies. Mobile marketing and its promise has been hyped for a number of years, but only recently has it shown signs of delivering on that promise. There have been a number of hurdles holding back mobile as an effective channel: privacy concerns, the expense of data plans, ease of use, speed, and consumers' not wanting spam on their mobile devices, to name but a few.

Posted Feb 13, 2012

Coca-Cola and Google are both making big commitments to content marketing, and are marking a new era in the way global brands advertise.

Posted Jan 24, 2012

A global study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), titled "Maturing with the Millenials," claimed that more than half of the executives polled had not yet developed a way to target, attract, or retain Millennials as customers. This is a significant insight, since this generation is and will continue to be a formidable purchasing body. They are just beginning to graduate from college, enter the work force, and establish lives of their own. With those life steps comes the need to make purchases, including the most basic ones such as a car, furniture, and food. Digital natives didn't just appear on the horizon, and it is surprising to see that companies are, to a great extent, still up in the air about how to go after this audience.

Posted Jan 23, 2012

Despite always having a strong consumer following, in 2009, Kirkland's found that the traditional marketing techniques it had always relied on to engage customers were no longer producing the same positive results they once were. Instead of sinking more money into mail flyers and promotional postcards, Kirkland's decided on a new approach, jumping into the social media and e-marketing sphere with hopes of attracting new shoppers, boosting sales, and further strengthening their relationship with their existing customer base.

Posted Nov 18, 2011

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