Monday, August 27, 2012

If you're not marketing content, you're not marketing.

Content Marketing builds brands. Here's how to master the Content Loop - in 7 steps:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, 
Blogger, Foursquare, Quora, Spotify, Tumblr, Path, Slideshare, Yammer...

Social Media is in the air and it's crystal-clear Content Marketing is where the action is now. Digital marketers worldwide strive hard to keep up with the cyclical demand for quality content.

Most social media-savvy marketing managers recognize quality content as a web traffic (and business) driver, and content marketing as digital innovation (and ultimately, revenue generation).

However, despite its vital importance, when I read about content, it’s mostly the same old stuff:

Content is King… (so? what’s new?)
In these days of user-generated content, everyone’s a content producer… (oh! really?)
Content is not about quantity, it’s about quality… (anything else?)

And then, right amid the haze of cliché-geddon, I spotted... a fresh, new thought. A-ha!
“Marketing is not everything today. But… everything is marketing.”

That made me stop and go hmmm! On the same line of thought, my take is:

“Content Marketing is not everything today. But, everything is Content Marketing.”

  • Like when you uploaded the office party photos on Facebook and got 84 comments and 103 Likes!
  • Noticed how the London 2012 Games were aptly called the world’s first mobile-social-online Olympics
  • Or how every big news event (entertainment, political, cultural) also gets relayed in a multi-screen environment (PC, smartphone, tablet, TV), or
  • How most ads now end on www, facebook, @, youtube, blog, AR, or a QR code

The above may seem disparate but from a brand marketer’s outlook, it is all content marketing WIP. The term ‘content’ seems a bit of a broad stroke owing to its multi-dimensional nature.

Simply put, if you’re promoting your business via any media - offline or online - you’re creating branded content.

Life itself is a great source of stories. Owing to easy access and all-pervasive nature of social media, we are constantly creating content by expressing our like (and dislike) for everything happening to or around us.

And if that sounds too much like a Forrest Gump quote, here’s a more formal definition:

Content Marketing is the process of generating marketing and communication material, identifying target markets, and transmitting the material to specific audiences via paid, owned or earned media.

The Creative Objective is to regularly come up with material in context which the audience finds relevant enough to opt-in to receive, compelling enough to share with friends, and engaging enough to demand and come back for more - thus building a community around content.

The Marketing Objective is to amplify reach for all content i.e. make it go viral. Long term, create positive experiences via content association, to increase brand engagement, advocacy and loyalty.

Golden 2-way Principle:
Add value to your community. Harness collective intelligence to your brand.

Master the Content Marketing Loop - in 7 Steps

  1. Create
    Always craft content with your audience in mind. Be consistent. Create a rhythm.
    Keep it easy-to-digest. Packaging and presentation matter. Build your creative skills.
  2. Curate
    Excite, engage, educate, entertain your audience with fresh content to avoid fatigue.
    It’s not feasible to create content all the time. Identify and Organize quality sources.
  3. Integrate
    Synergized brand content across all channels increases impact, reach and response.
    Today's fragmented media landscape calls for integration across multiple touch-points.
  4. Socialize
    The 4 S's of Content Distribution and Delivery: Searchable. Shareable. Social. Simple.
    Listen, Interact and Engage with your audience. Learn and Respect their preferences.
  5. Analyse
    4 M's of Data Analytics: Measure. Monitor. Moderate. Modify. Decide your KPIs first.
    Build a feedback channel. Focus on insights. Select tech/ tools that work best for you.
  6. Optimize
    Unify links and organic keyword-based SEO with social search, content and offline SEO
    Optimize content for people, not search spiders. Think mobile-friendly games, apps...
  7. Monetize
    Define ROI metrics - eyeballs, brand engagement, retail sales, customer acquisition
    Evolve into a social business model - align content marketing with your sales funnel

Holistic Content Management - Working the Content Loop

Holistic Content Management is the way forward. It’d serve your business well to go about it systematically, and implement these 7 steps to manage a branded content marketing strategy. 

Working the Content Loop effectively takes multi-disciplinary skills, and calls for cross-functional teams to come together.

For best results, social collaboration is a pre-requisite. Internally at first, between marketing and tech; then across the company; and finally, externally across the business!

Point worth noting: Social change occurs gradually as it involves a cultural paradigm shift.

Three organisations achieving rock-star results via the Content Marketing Loop are IBM with their Smarter Planet initiative, Coca-Cola (Liquid and Linked Content), and (TED Talk Videos).

And where there’s content, there’s data. Given the sheer scale of content out there, it generates mind-boggling stats which make perfect fodder for number freaks and data geeks to use in their presentations - making audiences pop their eyes and drop their jaws.

Be aware! The numbers in themselves are static snapshots. The gold lies in key consumer insights, buying patterns and market findings from real-time data mining & analytics. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome… Big Data.

In today’s content-hungry, data-driven ecosystem, digital marketing operates on two dimensions:
Social Collaboration: the new world of work from enterprise collaboration to social business
Information Management: making sense of the resultant wave of big data being generated

At a time when businesses worldwide are going from social media best practice to social business transformation, content marketing is a forward step in the evolution of the enterprise of the future.

Quite fittingly, the Content Loop is now the quintessential multi-tool in every digital marketer’s kit. Because if you’re not marketing content…

- Amar Trivedi | @Mr_Madness

Download your free copy of an eBook on Content Marketing:
How to Feed the Content Beast (without getting eaten alive!)

(Article originally published in AdMedia, August 2012 - Branded Content)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Master the Content Marketing Loop in 7 steps

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, 
Blogger, Foursquare, Quora, Spotify, Tumblr, Path, Slideshare, Yammer...

Social Media is in the air and it's crystal-clear Content Marketing is where the action is now. Digital marketers worldwide strive hard to keep up with the cyclical demand for quality content.

I've put down a few points in AdMedia to help businesses leverage maximum benefit from branded content. If you use digital technology to promote your brand, I hope you find value in this article:

Holistic Content Management: Mastering the Content Marketing Loop - in 7 Steps

Here's your FREE eBook: How to Feed the Content Beast created by the amazing Curata.

As a content marketer, you know that having, fresh, relevant content is the key to your success. Marketers now have to think like publishers - we have shifted our thinking from outbound to inbound but GOOD content takes time.

In this ebook, you'll learn how to balance and blend the two halves of content marketing - creation and curation (with a foreword by Ann Handley.) - Download free ebook here. And if you're still curious about Content Curation, here are some more free eBooks.

Well... now you know all about Content Marketing, here's what not to do:

Success is always a team effort. For this Content Marketing article, I owe Many Thanks to:

Links to my previous articles:

Notes: The business logic behind Content Marketing (CM):

  1. Quality Content > creates Brand Engagement > leads to Consumer Intent to buy/ recommend. Think Content before Intent > Creative Expressions before Online Impressions.
  2. My CM Mantra: Create with passion. Market strong. Add value to others. Can't go wrong!
    Excerpts from my Q&A with Jeff Bullas in Sydney - Top Tips on Content Creation

Updated Content: I'd like to share some of the better articles I've come across on CM:

  • An authoritative and informative presentation from Lee Odden

Cutest [Infographic] by Iain Calvert on Google Panda & Penguin updates to their search algorithm:

The difference between Google Panda & Penguin Infographic
Reload Media

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Cream of Content - Best of the Web 2012 [Presentations, Videos, Blogs, Links]

Cream of Content Soup - made from the finest ingredients curated online. Bon Appetit!

Presentations are back. Slideshares are hot again! Here's a serving of the very best of web content from Jan to July 2012. Loaded with insights and rich with nourishing learning value.
1) KPCB Internet Trends 2012 - Mary Meeker's presentation at AllThingsD's D10 Conference - has become a much-awaited annual event now!

View more presentations from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

KPCB’s Mary Meeker & Liang Wu: 1) review Internet stats and notes that Internet growth remains robust and rapid mobile adoption is still in early stages; 2) run through a number of examples of business models that are being re-imagined and re-invented thanks to mobile and social; 3) highlight mixed economic trends and 4) observe that while there’s a lot to excited about in technology, there are things to be worried about regarding America’s financial situation.

2) The State of Social Media & Social Media Marketing in 2H 2012.
An excellent compilation by Esteban Contreras, Social Media Marketing Manager, Samsung USA

3) The Social Media ROI CookBook... by Jeremiah Owyang of The Altimeter Group.

There's a treasure of value in them Slideshares. If time permits, also see his other presentations:
  • The Converged Media Imperative
  • The State and Future of Social Business

4) Understanding Social Business Excellence - A classic! IBM Social Business Strategist, Rawn Shah's in-depth presentation:

While on Social Business, I'd also recommend:

5) Mobile Marketing: Here are the links to two [SLIDE DECKs] - the best on the future of mobile - from the Business Intelligence Team at Business Insider:

For more quality content on mobile (apps, M-Com, tablets, mobile web), click here.

6) Big Data

The better informed we are, the better equipped we are to face the future. On that premise, this video shows how data positively impacts everything - society, government, business, game plans...

Here's a website full of insights on the subject:

However, the simplest explanation on Big Data is by IBM's Chief Scientist of Data Analytics, Jeff Jonas. A 10-step Q&A style innovation explanation. Read it here.

7) This eMarketer presentation stands out because it sees Social Media Marketing not as a homogenous service, but as an expert, bespoke solution for key industry verticals. When it comes to social media, it's different feeds for different folks! This webinar deck exemplifies it.

Social Media Marketing for Verticals—What Works for Key Industries from eMarketer

Mum was right. Soup is good for you. Drink and drive... your brand and business :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sydney Coffee Mornings - Getting Social in Surry Hills

A highpoint of our Sydney trip was meeting with our good friend, Markus Hafner in Surry Hills.

Markus is a Board Member at VibeWire - an organisation that exists to make sure that young people are included (and able to participate) in conversations that matter - a noble mission!

MAD in Sydney = Markus, Amar and Dee

Markus and Me - looking dapper :-) outside Lion Cafe, Surry Hills

Markus' good mate, Gavin Heaton hosts Sydney Coffee Mornings - a gig I'm looking forward to attending. (Check out the slideshare below for a sneak preview.) Gavin, a well-known member of the digital and social media marketing community keeps a cool blog at Servant of Chaos. See it.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Top Tips on Content Creation - Q&A with Jeff Bullas

Getting Social in Sydney with... a world-class Social Media Blogger

The awe-inspiring, iconic Sydney Opera House - clicked from the ferry to Manly

Two world-famous icons in one shot: Sydney Harbour Bridge + Opera House

(L-R) Jeff Bullas, Me and Dee at Rossini Cafe, Circular Quay, Sydney, June 2012

One of the fortunate highlights of our recent trip to Sydney was our coffee catch-up with Jeff Bullas.

For those who don't know, Jeff Bullas is a Top 10 social media blogger, Top 50 AdAge blogger, international conference speaker, Forbes Top 50 Power Influencer, and a Twitter phenomenon!

Jeff Bullas used to be a teacher. His passion for technology and writing led him to blogging. Now, he's a digital marketing expert and a personal brand famed across Australia, NZ and worldwide.

Here are some excerpts from our meeting:

Q: What is your take on Social Media? How has it changed the world of work?

JB: Social Media is this big new wave, a new phenomenon that gives businesses and individuals alike unprecedented leverage. It's almost like magic and it's still being discovered. Then he quoted Arthur C. Clarke:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Q: You are prolific on social media. How do you go about creating quality content? 
(For easy recall, I've coined an acronym to capture Jeff's response)

JB: Content is best when it is PUREST :

assion - Great content is a result of genuine passion.
biquitous - Be everywhere! Use automation to distribute content across many platforms.
elentless - Be relentless. (This has Jeff Bullas written all over it. He should trademark it!)
vergreen - Good content is evergreen i.e. it lasts over time. Need to update stats though.
imple - Don't use big words. No long windy statements. Keep it simple. Explain concepts.
rue - You have to offer the real deal. Readers are quick to spot a fake, or lack of substance.

Right then, in mid-conversation, Jeff dropped a gem that impressed me deeply. It gave us an insight into the real person behind the blogger and social media expert. A glimpse of greatness:

"I didn't set out to create a tribe or to build a personal brand... or to create trust or influence. I genuinely wanted to make a difference. I just wanted to help people." - Jeff Bullas

Q: Any Tips or Words of Wisdom for bloggers, content creators, digital marketers?

  1. Humility. Help others. 
  2. Add value through your blog.
  3. Keep it human. Respond to every comment.
  4. Craft your content - that's the secret to be found online. Use keywords. Avoid jargon.
  5. Wake up early. Discipline yourself. No substitute for hard work. No short cut to success.
  6. Read a lot. Read books. It's the best way to learn new stuff. 
Jeff's always reading eBooks on his iPad. While recommending Stephen King's book, On Writing, he shared a memorable anecdote: Someone once asked Stephen King how he writes so much. Pat came the reply... "One word at a time." (King has authored 50 books in 40 years!)

Your business blog is your content marketing hub

UPDATE: (Aug 9, 2012):

Jeff's New eBook is out now! Blogging the Smart Way: How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media. Read all about it on his blog here. Get your eCopy available on Amazon digital.

From Jeff's several blogposts, here are just 3 great examples You can easily see the amount of content (and learning value) each carries. I must say - gratefully - I've learnt a lot from Jeff's blog.

<> Winning with the Fantastic Four of Digital Marketing (Blog + Slide Presentation)

<> 20 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Likes and Engagement

His blog also features some amazing Guest Blogs:

<> How Search and Online Reputation Management impacts your Brand - Anindita Debnath

In Dee's words: "It was indeed a pleasure meeting a man with "relentless" passion that speaks for itself through his engaging blogs and expertise in all things Social Media / Online Marketing. Jeff Bullas is one man who can teach you how to be "HEARD" in a chaotic and constantly evolving digital ecosystem."

[Many Thanks, Jeff for your time, advice and down-to-earth, friendly nature. Wish you Good Luck for the future... and for your new book. Best Wishes and Kind Regards, A&D]

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Nike - Find Your Greatness - Simple ad. Great message!

Nike's new ad series - "Find Your Greatness" by Wieden + Kennedy. Great advertising. Memorable creative.

This is Nathan. He is 12 years old. He's from London, Ohio. Greatness is not beyond his reach, nor is it for any of us. The simplicity of the ad - shot in a single take - is strikingly appealing. What stands out in the stark treatment of the film is the strong, powerful message.

Point of Interest: As at FIFA 2010, Nike is not a sponsor at London 2012 Olympic Games.

However, the line of communications in these commercials draws on the spirit of the Olympics. Hope. Confidence. Determination. The amazing potential and power of Self-belief.

Read more about this ad in the Business Insider article here.
See more Find our Greatness spots on Nike's Official YouTube Channel.