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SHARE: Radian6 Webinar: How to Make Your Content Rule

In Business & Marketing on June 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Radian6 Webinar: From Boring to Story: How to Make Your Content Rule with Ann Handley

Fast-Forward to 8:20, to avoid microphone difficulties.

Partner: Radian6
Location: The Internet
Event Date: 11 June 2012
Speakers: Ann Handley

Ann Handley offers professional insight into the content marketing realm, focusing on the art of storytelling as a concept, to create change within your organization. #GoodEnoughSucks. It’s time to rise up and brand your business! Below you will find key points to the webinar.

Content is the New Black

  • Creating content that will resonate with the audience.
  • Content Marketing spending over the next 12 months (infograph) illustrates 60% of companies are looking to increase B2B spending
  • Strategies: Articles – 79% | Social Media – 74%
  • Produce content that is sustainable and repeatable
  • 41% of companies are struggling to produce content that engages their audience
  • Content is not new, but the social tools and platforms are new
  • 13 strategies you can use to jump-start your content

For the full story visit Radian6 at Webinar Recap

How To Invest in Your Brand, Wherever You Go

In Business & Marketing on June 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I announced on Twitter that I went to a job fair. (Exciting, right?) There were employers like Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and Civil Service tests there which aren’t in my career goals. But I learned a valuable lesson there: create opportunity at every turn and take action because there is something to be gained or something to be lost.

I collected four business contacts as freelance leads, which I will be pursuing privately. Aside from the potential for more business, I gained valuable insight into execution strategies. Particularly:

  1. How to engage prospective clients and business partners
  2. Establishing your brand and services through clear communication and voice
  3. Pitching or making your value known to organizations
  4. Find their needs, if you don’t know them already.

Points of Success

  1. Your success begins with identifying your goal. Going into this job fair I had no intention to pass out business cards or resumes. I was gathering information to research and connect, as potential freelance work. What are your objectives and intentions when you engaging your target market?
  2. Be knowledgeable about your environment and the people you talk with. In this case: Recruiters at job fairs are very excited to talk to you about your pursuits. They are there to promote their business and see how you might fit into their work culture (or bottom line). Knowing your environment and audience will ease you into a comfort zone for talking about yourself and what you want to pursue. Remember: communicate directly.
  3. You can learn to put the “useless” to use. Clear, commanding, and incisive communication is privy to business applications that numbers cannot achieve. Communication creates or accesses the numbers.

  4. Remember to shine. The professionals who were representing large companies that day were captivated by my ambition. Sometimes being young and hungry is the only advantage you need. I felt like I was pitching them. Know what you are looking for and be able to elaborate. If the employer cannot figure out what you are after, how can they help? The basics are important too (e.g. body language, smiling). Note: this isn’t something to be gained overnight. You’ll need to develop insight into your niche and field.

Here’s the twist.

I did not see one person there who was dressed casually. Everyone was suited-up! And that’s great for them. I was wearing quarter length black Nike socks, beige cargo shorts, a white Detroit Red Wings t-shirt (with Hebrew writing) and a bright red Valet Services windbreaker. I don’t suggest walking into your next board meeting wearing a Hawaiian shirt. (This goes back to knowing your environment.) Job fairs attract the full spectrum of income and social class. I just bent the rules, here. Know what is flexible and what is not.

I gathered that most of the job-seekers looked at me and laughed. But I was making advancements and creating valuable connections. Make yourself memorable and create a separate identity from everyone who shovels their resume on to every table. My information and what’s more my time is valuable.

Here’s a question I hope will be thought provoking, not discouraging:

If you will work for anyone and perform any task, what is your worth? Where are your values?

There are qualities and talents specific to you, which nobody else has. Never forget this, and make them work for you. This I’ll take the next thing that comes my way mentality is endemic to today’s job seekers. It’s sad. It’s time to find happiness in your work and produce great work, which happens when you’re doing it for more than a paycheck. I’m interested to see what correlation this has to the growth of service economies in the United States. It’s OK to be hungry—even starving. But be smart about how and what you consume. (And excrete?)

Moving Forward…
Time to begin cross-training. The job fair diversified my workout and exercised my muscles differently—making for a healthy day of spring training, leading up to the season. (I have interviews and applications that I’m very excited about.) What is your opening day? Do you have one scheduled yet? Get off of waivers, today!

5 Digital Communities To Join and Begin Your Research

In Business & Marketing on June 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Yesterday I posted an article, #MakeItCount: How You Can Change The Digital Landscape, which highlighted (1) participation, (2) workflow analysis, and (3) observation as key roles to changing digital culture, while promoting your brand. Remember: the focus here is development in digital. If you would like help researching a different field, please contact me.

I’ve assembled an ordered list of 5 communities and networks for you to begin your research and observation, all of which I use. I will have specific activities you can take to join the conversation tomorrow. Check back with us.

  1. HBR Blog Network. I discussed the benefits of HBR Blogs on May 19th 2012. Why this network will help you succeed: personal development, strategy, insight from people who have been there.
  2. Radian6. I don’t own a business but I am in the business of the self. Stay tuned with Radian6 for their Webinars, which focus on social media, digital, sales, marketing, and customer engagement. From Boring to Story: How to Make Your Content Rule is coming up on June 7th. (Click the link above for more information.) Why this service will help you succeed: strategy, hone in on your craft.
  3. W3 Schools. If you plan on working in digital, especially blogging and editing, it’s a great idea to have a background in some coding. They offer tutorials that are straight-forward and information that is simple to digest. Why these tutorials will help you succeed: foundations in understanding how digital operates.
  4. Wired | Mashable | Gizmodo | Tech Crunch If these were people, they would be a great golf foursome. Developing a regular news diet tailored to your interests is paramount when pursuing digital careers. These are my personal favorites. Find what yours are with Google. I will discuss how to get deeper into their culture later in the week. Why this information will help you succeed: strategy, keeping current with your industry, learning from the pros.
  5. Copyblogger. These guys (and gals!) are the bomb! They offer tutorials in copywriting, content marketing, SEO copywriting, email marketing, keyword research, landing pages, and internet marketing. Many claim to be the Bible when it comes to these topics, with catchy slogans like The all-in-one to becoming a marketing guru! Just …. Don’t. Copyblogger doesn’t claim to be a Marketing Bible because they don’t need to create hype. Why this site will help you succeed: their content speaks for itself.

Summary of the content featured above:
(1) blog network, (2) industry service: webinars, (3) code tutorials, (4) stay current: develop a news diet, and (5) building skill sets. There are plenty of other great sources to explore by way of performing Google searches. Add your favorites to this list in the comment section below.

Update: 06/06/2012 9:44 a.m.
As promised: 5 Methods To Participate In Digital That Lead To Personal Growth.

#MakeItCount: How You Can Change The Digital Landscape

In Business & Marketing on June 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I ate breakfast on my balcony today and saw the “double-yellow” lines on my street had been redone. (And the street recently paved!) I noticed, however, that these lines did not meet at the white crosswalk lane. And I thought: huh, that’s funny. The next question is fairly easy to think of, but not obvious to address: why didn’t they draw the double-yellow to the white crosswalk?

Answer: because they aren’t finished yet. They will be touching up the white crosswalks as well, which are currently cracked–prime for development and change.

The same can be said for social media and the Internet, but we’re not always as conscious about these things as we are in real life. The information pool and wealth of knowledge is much greater and more subtle. It’s not as simple to identify the “pothole” (keep thinking: social). Staring at the computer screen won’t give you answer, like observing the road does. So how can we “predict” change and see what’s coming next? (On the horizon.)

Participation in Digital
To “understand” the digital frontier, you must participate. An interactive experience gives you the opportunity to explore the current landscape and discover other users’ passions, thoughts, and desires in digital [to promote your own]. Blogs, webinars, conversations, posting—as stated: participation, first. To be knowledgeable is to marshal potential resources in your favor to push digital culture forward. And to innovate, it’s important to develop strong creative and strategic thinking. This is seldom learned by following a rigid set of instructions, like a technical manual. So enjoy drafting your own syllabus.

Example:
I am a writer seeking introductions in content management to promote a brand, mission or company. I attend @Radian6 webinars regularly, and connect with people like @ginidietrich, founder and CEO at Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. I will be guest blogging for them in July! (I am very excited.)

Wrestling with Uncertainty
Discovering outlets I’m interested in has proven to be a great tool in directing my attention and how I can get there—to apply my skills and expertise to new media. Your passion and development is to be determined along the way. Don’t let this uncertainty intimidate you. Or if you already know exactly what you wish to do, your execution should be that much easier.

The beauty of innovation is: you don’t have to do it alone. We need a lot of fingers and toes to count the number of people looking for what’s next in digital. And the big guys at corporations don’t even know.

Developing Valuable Connections, with Mutual Interest
Find like-minded people and groups to learn and develop with, together. Organizations like Radian6 and Arment Dietrich are two of many places I look for quality information. Don’t be afraid to make leaps and connect with people. A beautiful network of connections awaits you. Consider Twitter, Facebook, Quora, niche forums and threads, etc. You just have to get out there and go.

Susan Chun, who recently announced her own blog’s obituary, Smudged Text, writes: “Twitter is like a virtual water cooler where you can share interesting links with interesting people.” (Twitter is the reason I am blogging less.) I’m discussing collaboration with Sue, now, which I am very excited about. Remember: Information exchange is at an all-time high. It’s important to choose wisely, as not to spread your jam too thin, but also Make It Count:

Don’t forget the Medium
The digital landscape’s workflow must also be considered. Humans are not the only members in the process. Workflow systems now incorporate man and machine, as I like to call it “manchine”. Knowing how these devices work is also a must. I am currently learning HTML, CSS, and Google Webmaster Tools to name a few. A carpenter can’t build something great or discover use without insight into how their trade and resources operate. Observation is paramount.

Summary

  • Participate, to gain knowledge and insight into the user experience and collaborate with current professionals.
  • Workflow analysis, to facilitate the growth of new ideas and create a strategy. Remember: it’s not concrete; you may need to adjust along the way.
  • Observation, to identify existing structures and resources.

Above all:

#MAKE IT COUNT

Are you pursuing a career in new media or involving the Internet? What are you looking for? If you have insight into strategies or inspiration, share your ways! How do you spend your time online? What’s worked for you and what has not?

Stay hungry, and you will make sure you get fed.

Why E-Book Readers Need Great Engagement & Copywriting to Succeed in the Marketplace

In Business & Marketing on June 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I’m currently sitting in a Long Island Barnes & Noble and noticed they have their “New! NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight” posters decking the halls and customer service posts. The green tag draping over the corner of the NOOK, as if it was gift wrapped, captured my curiosity. It says: “Sold Out! Reserve Yours Now.”

  • Was this product in high demand?
  • Was there a production shortage?
  • What per cent of the market share belonged to B&N?

I searched Google for an answer and I first came across Christopher P.N. Maselli’s Ebooks, Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad Statistics. This was a good place to start my research and collect statistical information on the general tablet/e-book reader marketplace. But I wanted more focused statistics, rather than a conglomeration—insight into the e-book reader market.

This led me to The Pew Internet & American Life Project, of the Pew Research Center. The rise of e-reading was released on 4 April 2012. I discovered that between smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, and computers the total sum of e-book reading exceeds 100%. The market is expanding.

  • Kindle, the top dog in e-book readers: 62% market share.
  • Nook, my focus in this post: 22% market share.

I also spoke with the B&N store manager in Stony Brook, NY who told me the Sold Out sign was a slip cover for the original advertisement, which didn’t feature the green tag.

The e-book reader market is a tight field. It’s almost about who can get there first–to you, the buyer. Where our attention is (in store and online) is a great start.

Closing Remarks
This goes to show you that even smaller market shares and niches require strong[er] marketing planning to compete. And excellent copywriting is even more important when you’re jostling for position against a thoroughbred like Amazon (Kindle). Nice work, Barnes & Noble.

The mixture of the field team (on the ground campaigning) and copywriting was a great experience (nice engagement) and is one of my favorite forms of reaching your customer (combination). Just don’t forget the research.

Brief Apology to Barnes & Noble
I’m sorry I recently unsubscribed from your email updates. My inbox was being inundated by too many nifty gadgets and things I can’t afford right now.

For you
Do you use e-book readers? If so, which one(s)? What’s your favorite way to learn about a product? Via magazine, online, word of mouth?

Business Aside, Everyone Should Read HBR Blogs

In Business & Marketing on May 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I follow @HarvardBiz for the diversity. It’s simple: Harvard Business Review attracts smart people across the entire spectrum of the human experience. (Note: they don’t have an “About” page to tell you this. And that’s cool.) Their mission, it seems, is to garner unique perspectives and paths traveled to help you get there.

And the result is? Valuable insight with style and form that’s useful to the reader. Harvard Business Review is “A to Z” (sorry Amazon), not just B (for business). They know that insight comes from all directions, and business is almost happenstance, because a business background isn’t the only shtick worth wielding. Business does not have to be your thing or interest, HBR has something to offer you. Don’t be foolish: visit HBR.org the next chance you have. (Which is right now, if you’re reading this.) I can only tell you to go there, you must see it for yourself.

What blogs do you follow? Have you visited The HBR Blog Network?

OMFG! Why You Should Erase Draw Something

In Business & Marketing on May 19, 2012 at 8:39 am

One of the rules for getting more email subscribers, which I recently discovered from Copyblogger, is: face objections head-on. In this inspection, CB suggests not to over-update. Updating too much can create the “Oh shit!” response and ruin any chance of keeping your subscribers. I think the same can be said for the App market.

This means that Draw Something (free) is dead to me. I’m reminded, in what feels like every 15 minutes, to draw my friends. This is an update. And it happens too frequently for my taste. I know Frank, Tina, Marie, Roxanne, and a slew of others are waiting for me.

This is (was) the beauty of Draw Something, being able to play multiple friends at once. I know the app is there and I know what to do with it and I know how to get there. I don’t need to be interrupted, reminding me to play. The costs outweigh the benefits here. (“Free” isn’t always free.) So it’s gone.

It never used to be like this, until I recently updated their App. (Funny, I know.) Before, it was streamline: download and play. No pesky updates. Someone should draw up a new strategy over at OMGPOP. It makes me wonder: did they have the user’s experience in mind with this? The updates I receive could be from my Draw Something friends nudging me, repeatedly. But still. Even if it’s an update generated by fellow users, shouldn’t OMGPOP do something to curb this feature? For me, it’s time to erase this app and move on.

After you uninstall Draw Something, please check out Copyblogger. There’s tons and tons and tons of great reads for you to explore in the content marketing realm. Make sure it’s a good look. CB deserves it.

Are you a yellow jacket or a human? Most are yellow jackets.

In Business & Marketing on May 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

How often do we see someone take a swing at a yellow jacket? (When it’s warm, pretty frequently.) And either they succeed in killing it or get stung because they made a slight miscalculation. Most people will tell you they don’t like bees and their behavior changes if one gets too close. The bottom-line value being protected here is safety. We, as the human, want to feel secure and have peace of mind.

An analogy for the big business/start-up can be seen in nature versus nurture. Imagine big business is the human, and the start-up is the yellow jacket. The human innately possesses more resources and abilities than the yellow jacket, making it a near immovable force and frequent “winner.”

But the human fears the yellow jacket, because of its agility and potential. Big business also doesn’t understand the start-up, which can be a huge advantage. The yellow jacket is predictably irrational and the human will attempt to control its movement, so keep buzzing. As a start-up, be careful not to overextend yourself too—or you’ll have the whole tribe beating your hive like a piñata.

The Convenience Effect, or Making Yourself too Accessible

In Business & Marketing on May 17, 2012 at 7:41 am

Have you ever heard of the choice effect? The choice effect suggests that when one is faced with an overwhelming total sum of choices the final decision is less likely to fulfill the expectations of your desires (the reason for this choice to begin with). The convenience effect is similar. Broadly stated, the convenience effect suggests that when ‘X’ is too convenient, ‘X’ provides diminishing returns.

I live with four guys and it’s easy for things to messy. Here’s a simple exercise I carried out in my apartment: after a cleaning binge, I moved the microwave from the kitchen counter to a shelf that is higher up (requiring a chair to use). My housemates don’t use it as much because it is more difficult to reach (cost). This means that those who do use the microwave get more out of it (returns); particularly a cleaner experience, but the time is always reset and all of the working parts (tray, door, etc.) are accounted for too. These are small differences, but they matter. The choice effect doesn’t work in this case because it’s not a matter of choice but accessibility.

One example in business is monster.com and theladders.com. Monster.com provides services for all job seekers and employers and theladders.com provides services for 100K+ jobs and 100K+ people. The difference here is a simple barrier to entry, or participation. It’s important to find the right barrier to entry for yourself or your business to get results. Higheredjobs.com is another market that exercises this strategy.

There are some examples that defy the convenience effect, like Wikipedia where anyone can contribute content. But other measures are taken to keep the convenience effect in check, like moderators. Craigslist is a good counterargument: high accessibility and ease of use, with few controls in place to manage content. This comes at expense to the user who must filter search results and posts to find value. (A bad experience.)

Finding the right level of convenience can make or break the glass ceiling. I’m not suggesting your business should move its microwave but it’s an analogy for the way you should be thinking about your business. How is your business “accessible” to the target market? How is your business “accessible” to employees? Each analysis will be different depending on the resources available and results that are desired. Think of how you can manage barriers to entry and accessibility—to create quality returns—and you will master the convenience effect.

Why Chopin Vodka is the World’s Finest Single Ingredient Vodka

In Business & Marketing on February 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Chopin Vodka Screenshot

It’s clean and they don’t care about data mining. (Or at least make this known.) It’s chic. This isn’t Svedka. Chopin isn’t concerned with collecting your age because age doesn’t matter. A modern day marketer might say: that’s part of their “brand”. It’s common knowledge that you are of drinking age exclusively because you drink this brand of vodka. It’s a type of person that drinks Chopin, not a target market age bracket.

Image property of Chopin Vodka.
The World’s Finest Single Ingredient Vodkas.