Thanks Copyblogger! – but you missed a step…

Step 0:  [Note to self:] Admit it…you’re not that great of a writer… you could always be better.

now move to step 1.

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

When blogging, go beyond just clicking “Publish”

In my last post, I wrote about search and the importance of priority, plan, and purpose to how we use the social platforms available to us. That thinking too me back to step one in this effort to better understand content marketing – the content itself.

I will be the first to admit that I am as guilty as the next in worrying more about blog post frequency and substance than the nuts and bolts of optimizationsyndication, and communication.

Thanks to Brody of DivvyIQ for sharing this extremely helpful infographic that break down exactly what one should do beyond creating content.

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t rush to publish – take the time to optimize for search.
  • Tweak and “tweet” more often because one size does not fit all when it comes to status updates.
  • Get outside and play –  Break away from the walls of WordPress or Blogger and ask for feedback, comments, retweets, and always return the favor.

Don’t promote to promote – my 5 content “musts”

“Informative, non-promotional content in the form of webinars, white papers, videos, blogs and peer recommendations on social networks and forums can attract prospects,” said eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher, author of the new report, “B2B Lead Generation: Using Content to Acquire Customers.” Read the complete article.

non-promotional?

I thought content marketing was all about promoting the company, the product, the brand?

Okay, I really don’t think that, but others might, or at least have in the past before “control” was passed to the customer…thanks to the internet and social media. How you approach content and the “marketing or promotion” of that content ultimately impacts its effectiveness in making a connection with the customer.

All of this reading and learning about content marketing has drastically altered my approach to the old editorial calendar and what content I fill it with. There will always be the tried and true pieces of collateral that are “givens” like spec sheets, for example.  But beyond that, looking back at my content history, my approach has drastically changed. If I had to sum up my approach then and now, it would look something like:

  • Then: Serious, Now: Lighthearted
  • Then: One-dimensional, Now: Non-dimensional
  • Then: Product, Now: Solution
  • Then: Long, Now: Short
  • Then: Complex, Now: Simple
Based on this introspection, I would sum up my approach to content with these 5 “musts”:
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  1. Never be overly serious. Write conversationally because, ultimately, that is what you want to start…a conversation.
  2. Create once, publish many.  Look to re-purpose your content into at least 5 different pieces.
  3. Answer: why do I care? Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Connect the dots on what it (the product) means for them professionally, personally, emotionally, etc.
  4. Time to consume matters. The best content is the stuff that inspires in seconds, minutes, not hours.
  5. Avoid TMI (too much info). The simpler the layout the better. Use bullets, lists, simple charts and graphs to effectively tell the story.
What rules do you always stick by when creating your content?
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Lessons from a 6th grade assignment

Each week my 11 year daughter has to write a paragraph on a topic provided by the teacher. This week her topic was “silence” and the assignment was to include the use of similes in her writing. How does she define silence? What does silence mean to her? What is it “like”?

What a great exercise for not only a 6th grader, but for each and every one of us, especially marketers. Some may equate this sort of assignment as blogging, and in many cases, it is. It provides a means for us to freestyle, to write whatever pops in our heads, to expand on points and think through ideas, concepts, and proof points to the opinions we have.

It can be a powerful tool for marketers as a creative outlet, providing alternative ways of looking at things. Perhaps marketing departments, no companies, could deploy the same assignment to employees. Don’t ask a question, or pose an opinion or strategy to expound on. Simply provide the word.

Allow employees from sales, marketing, IT, any department to share their definitions, provide their perspective. It may prove to be a valuable exercise in developing new messaging, products, strategies, while providing employees with a way to express their creativity.

And we could all use some of that every day.

Historically bad ideas to keep out of my locker

Okay – I just posted about wanting to share some of my own ideas, but sometimes before one is ready to share ideas, one must recognize historically bad ideas. Note to self: before posting ideation, do some research to see if the idea was and always will be a bad idea.

myNotes: Influencing B2B Buying Decisions Through Social Media

I sat through a great webinar today put on by Corporate Executive Board’s Marketing Leadership Council titled: Influencing B2B Buying Decisions Through Social Media.

MLC together with Toolbox.com talked about the power of social media in the buying process. That marketing has truly become relationship based, that the days of using the web to push content is over.  This decade is all about how well companies/brands can leverage the web to build closer relationships with customers and leverage such customers to evangelize the brand, the message.

Key Takeaways:

Today’s B2B buyer is

  • independent
  • social
  • empowered
  • always plugged in

Social media allows

  • consumption of content to scale
  • increase relevance of user generated content

Also in the webinar, Anne (didn’t catch the last name)  from Cisco’s marketing team talked about using social media to engage with customers. She talked about steps to follow to create customer advocates…thereby leveraging the ability for social media to scale and increase relevance.

  • Step1:  Find the best watering holes (where your target audience hangs out – communities, forums, blogs, etc)
  • Step2: Look at the threads and conversations and code them red, yellow, green
  • Step3: Focus on the yellow and green threads – most likely to find and influence advocates
  • Step4: Engage in the conversations. Add color and insight by incorporating blogs, content, etc.
  • Step5: Extend the conversations….give them scale.

I like this thinking in that you can pick and choose what waterholes are the most influential, engage, and leverage the power of the user, the customer, to help spread your message.  Anne had some great points and insights to those of us that want to incorporate social media more in our marketing mix.

Key Takeaways:

  • Company/Brand Voice: Use the executive team as a communication channel (e.g. blogs)
  • Arm the Advocates: Empower your customer advocates socialize your content, message, etc.
  • Marketing Mix: Don’t treat social media as separate from traditional marketing mix – should be integrated
  • Metric = Cost Avoidance: Avoid spending money on whitepapers and research papers…use blogs to engage with communities, with the audience.
  • Metric =  Demonstrate % increase in audience influencers. How many advocates are now talking about your company, your solution vs. before social media engagement?

I’m a big believer in social media being an integrated part of your overall marketing strategy…especially leveraging blogs to make content more social/share-able, easily digestible, and personal.

More to come…

Related Posts:
Inside the mind of the B2B Tech Buyer
Content is king, but blogs still rule