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This came from a conversation that I had with our curation team about content marketing strategy and how to do it right. We have a considerable amount of experience in learning from our clients as well as our own faux pas in marketing. Learning from from the past, we’ve realized that there are two main components of content marketing: developing content on a consistent basis and developing the distribution method for the content. Too many times managers fall into the trap of working on the distribution methods before working on the content creation strategy.
Content is having good useful, relevant, and important things to say for each of the different audiences that your company is trying to reach. It’s also not a 1-time thing, it’s an ongoing flow or cadence of content that you will have to create and put out there. Distribution methods (or whatever you want to call it) are the various channels in which you distribute the content: websites, blogs, marketing materials, newsletters, social media, the list goes on.
In content marketing, you must first figure out how you are going to create content for your audiences over and over again. There are multiple ways to do this, which is probably another post at another time. Nonetheless, you must do this planning before launching the distribution methods. Too many times companies setup blogs and social sites, without having a steady flow of content to fill it. This just looks unprofessional and unplanned (present company included).
So the next time someone wants to talk to you about setting up a blog, Twitter, or Facebook page, ask about or think about how you will create an ongoing stream of content that will be useful and relevant for your audiences. Otherwise, be ready to play catch up or explain to someone why your last blog post was from 2009.
Thank you, let me know what you think or are interested in hearing more about how we do it in the comments below.
I just fell upon an interesting tid-bit today. As marketers, we’ve been all a buzz with Pinterest the image sharing social network. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Here’s how you can easily tell whether people have been pinning images from your website.
Simply type in this URL into your browser:
http://www.pinterest.com/source/[your website url here]
For [your website url here], there is no need for the “http://” or “www”.
For example, if your website was www.localwisdom.com then you would use the URL:
Hope this helps and happing pinning!
Conducting company meetings can be costly and eat up valuable time, which is why it’s important to make sure they are as productive as possible. Check out the meeting cost calculator that Mike found a few months ago. Here at Local Wisdom, we try to keep our meetings efficient and enjoyable. There are a few things we do before, during and after the meeting to make sure that we accomplish our goals. We’ve outlined some guidelines below to help you.
First of all, it’s important to have fun throughout the day. Creativity emerges when people in the room are enjoying themselves and engaging in conversation, so it’s important to laugh often.
Every meeting should have a facilitator who enforces the ground rules and keeps everything running smoothly. The leader is responsible for creating the schedule and agenda. Overall, it is this person’s job to focus all of the people in the room so that they are able to stay on task and move forward.
Who to Invite
Be careful about who you invite and always make sure to do your homework first. Those who are involved with the projects that are going to be discussed should definitely be invited. However, it might be beneficial to also include people who can provide input on the topic or gain knowledge about what is being discussed.
Provide as much advanced notice as possible. When meetings are planned ahead of time it is more likely that people will have clear calendars and be able to attend. Scheduling a meeting early also gives you a deadline to have certain work completed before the start of the meeting. Waiting until work is completed before scheduling the meeting can cause delays and missed opportunities.
Set up recurring meetings if you find you need to talk about the same topics or projects with the same group. For example, we began scheduling “scrum” times for reviewing work and answering questions. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning we meet to review architecture and design at a standing time. We no longer have to juggle times and locations for meetings and reviews. It may take a week or two to get this rolling but everyone’s schedule will eventually adjust around it.
State the Objective and Agenda
Whether the meeting is scheduled or standing, it’s important to state the objectives and agenda to ensure everyone is on the same page from the start. The objective should define what should be accomplished by the end of the meeting. The agenda could include a list of topics, activities, or discussions that will help us to achieve our meeting objectives. The goals and agenda should also be written somewhere for everyone to see. We keep a standard area of the whiteboard dedicated to writing these out. Following an agenda will help keep the meeting organized and productive.
Once the objectives and agenda are reiterated, introduce everyone in the room quickly and explain why they’re there. Sometimes not everyone is required to be there the whole time, especially during reoccurring meetings. As certain topics become irrelevant to people, they should be free to go if they wish.
It’s not uncommon for discussions to go into tangents. Identifying topics that are not specifically aimed at key points, but may be important later, are called our parking lot items. We take note of these topics and come back to them at a later time or maybe even a different meeting. This approach keeps the focus on the topic at hand and helps us achieve our meeting objectives.
Convergent and Divergent Thinking
Use convergent and divergent thinking in order to stay organized during ideation meetings. Convergent thinking encourages participants to think out loud and speak their ideas without any parameters. Ideas, good, bad, or irrelevant, are all accepted. Divergent thinking brings everything together and identifies which ideas are pertinent and can be made actionable. Splitting the two ways of thinking provides time for imagination while keeping a realistic mindset.
Who’s Doing What and When
At the end of the meeting, review who is doing what and by when. Make sure everyone is clear on what they should be doing next. Give people time to ask questions and get clarity. A follow up email of the meeting minutes should be sent to the attendees.
Following these guidelines has helped Local Wisdom stay efficient while not being stuffy and boring. There are hundreds of other meeting tips and tricks, what are some ways that your company conducts effective meetings and how have they been beneficial?
I’ve had multiple people, including a VP of Sales for a major CPG company, ask me recently, “Don’t you think QR codes are just a trend?” Perhaps he was not so much asking but more shedding his thoughts, which I’m always keen to hear. I find casual conversations derive some of the best insight one could ever have on this ever-changing digital space that we’re in. Nevertheless, I have to politely disagree with him and here’s why…
When Facebook first came out my sophomore year in college, EVERYone was saying it was just a fad. They were quick to join but equally as quick to join some of the first groups touting Facebook’s destiny for a quick fail. I never “joined” those groups (these days I wouldn’t hit the “like” button) and I’ll tell you why: I found Facebook fascinating. I enjoyed seeing friends’ pictures and having instant access to their personal info. It was entertaining to say the least.
What does this have to do with QR Codes? Well, I think there’s something fascinating about them, and it goes back to that thought on instant access. If I’m reading a flyer for a local retailer and there’s a QR code related to a product I’m interested in, I’m likely to scan the code because I want that product and the destination of that code is going to give me all of the info I want, possibly more. Will everyone scan it, no? But shouldn’t we (as marketers) be going after the quality of our audience and not the quantity?
QR codes won’t be used by everyone. But for the select group that chooses to use them, I think you’re bound to reach the goals you’re looking to achieve, even it’s simply to share more information to your target audience. They’ll be grateful for that instant access, trust me.
I would love to ask all of those early Facebookers if they regret joining that group declaring Facebook’s fall years ago. In a few years, I wonder if I’ll be asking my sales-focused colleague if he changed his mind about QR codes. What do you think?
Gilang Chandrasa posted an article on komunitasweb.com housing a collection of 9 very nice presentations on User Experience. Very good read for beginners to get a foothold or experts to take a step back.
SMI provides social media intelligence, insight and news for business executives. Case studies, opinion and best practice research. This is a great little presentation on social media blunders in the past few years.
The other day I was talking to a friend who is in the process of starting up a business. It is an event-production business, and, from the brief conversation we had, was primarily going to be referral-based. She wanted a website, and found someone who was willing to give her something for free or cheap.
The problem is, she didn’t like their work! So she asked me if I would be willing to change and tweak it once it was finished. I thought for a second, and then told her bluntly: “You are heading down a bad path.”
Why? Because she would be putting a great deal of time into getting a product out there that wouldn’t be the best it could (and should) be. Because the money and time she does have should be spent on getting referrals and business going. Because what’s the point of making a website that won’t be updated and will have to be redone in a year?
So I told her a radical idea: “You don’t need a website right now. Use free services to promote your business. They are out there. The web is a different place than it was just a few years ago.” For a referral-based business on a shoestring budget, I gave her the following suggestion:
So that’s that….you can use all these free services to get started and turn your business idea into a perfectly humming machine, where you are connecting with people via Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook until the time, and money, is right for a custom website. Then we’ll talk…. ;)
A recent New York Times article about how Vice, a hipster media company / magazine is partnering with Dell and Intel, two large tech companies, got me thinking I haven’t given much thought to in a while: content.
I know, I know…we are inundated with tweets and Facebook statuses all day long, and news is just a click away on Google Reader or Google News. So content is readily (and freely) available. What’s interesting to me is how Dell and Intel are both trusting Vice (a brand known for controversial imagery and content) to curate two microsites for them, and…this is the great part, that aren’t pushing Dell or Intel products!
Motherboard, the Dell side of the partnership, is little more than an aggregation of short posts and snippets about cool and quirky left-of-center technology trends both new and old. Resting alongside posts about Chinese hackers turning their laptops into touch phones and old Demoscene 3D Graphics are some genuinely interesting trends and cultural detritus that are worth perusing for a bit, even just as a distraction while at work.
The Creators Project strives to be “a new network dedicated to the celebration of creativity and culture across media, and around the world.” It highlights individuals who are pushing culture and technology forward, and has video interviews with the creators featured, like Joachim Sauter from ART+COM.
What’s interesting for me isn’t the success or failure of the individual sites – both, actually, deviate from the User-generated carnival that are Facebook and Twitter. Instead, we find large, well-known brands trying to connect with large segments of clued-in consumers they otherwise might not be able to reach through traditional advertising. Can better content drive through the advertising noise and be better heard? Are creating these networks the best way to do it? I’m not so sure, but it’s an interesting experiment.
The other aspect that resonates with me is the process of curation in digital culture – large brands turning to smaller, ‘with-it’ digital agencies and culture studios to not just create another broadcast spot or Facebook fan page, but instead create a longer, sustained endeavor – a network in-and-of-itself that, ironically, isn’t selling Netbooks, but is promoting the people that (might) use them. This will resonate more with some people than trashing the other guy or rattling off tech specs to get their attention.
If anyone has read Daemon and FreedomTM by Daniel Suarez you’re now thinking of a new world order where the constant real-time voting, interactions, and contributions into a virtual social network govern the way a real life society functions. A new world where power is truly in the hands of the people and not the “ambiguous few”. If you haven’t read these books and enjoy true sci-fi that imparts your sense of philosophy, ethics, and society, I highly recommend it.
In this adaptation of the near future, people have a “social score” based on their trade, the level they have achieved in their trade, and rating by others. For example, in this world I’d be: a level 22 information architect with a 4 out of 5 rating from a base of 143 (totally made up example). It’s my social circle itself that gives me raises and praises.
Your probably reading this thinking of all the lawsuits and litigations that might ensue from the principles of defaming. You might get uneasy thinking that anyone can anonymously give you a rating that anyone (including your mother) can see. You could think of those who would game the system by cheating to give themselves an advantage and their competitors disadvantage.
I for one, am intrigued.
First, I’ve always been fascinated by what people think of my actions. Am I really the good guy that I think I am? I might be surprised.
Secondly, we all grow and adapt from feedback from our surroundings. If I did something that might have hurt someone else, I’d like to know so that I could try not to do the same in the future. It doesn’t help me if no one tells me how I just made them feel uncomfortable. Similar systems are already in place in company’s HR departments with 360 feedbacks and performance evaluations.
Finally, if I am doing something questionable and know that anyone can make public, I might be quicker to give apologies and also be more aware of my actions overall. There are a few people I can think of who should be more aware of their actions.
Where it stands today. I believe society has to be weened into this way of thinking. In fact we are being weened into it. There are a few sites that are introducing the concept (maybe you’ve heard of them):
On LinkedIn you can give “recommendations” to others. This is like a letter of reference. Useful and powerful, but ultimately you can only say good things. You can also “like” people’s comments and follow people and you can “pass” or degrade the comment.
On Facebook you can “like” artifacts that people post such as photos, comments, or objects that exist.
Twitter is a social rating system whereas the more people who follow you the more useful your twits are perceived to be.
eBay sellers have a rating system that increases or decreases their trust from buyers. This way you won’t pay someone who has been rated poorly in the past.
Ratemyprofessor.com does just that. Students can give college and university professors a review. This can potentially help students pick and choose classes. I wonder if administrative staff put any weight to this “user feedback”.
Unvarnished is in public beta and is seemingly the closest thing so far to the world Daniel Suarez created. It uses Facebook connect to rate people over a variety of categories. There’s been many controversy over this one: MSNBC, SMSEO, LATimes. The funny thing is all these sites are criticizing a rating site by giving it a poor rating.
It seems that the world is not be ready for something like this at the moment. I’d like to believe it’s a tool that would slowly help us create a better society. It will cause more contention in the beginning just as most new ideas do. I am curious to see the implications and hear the thoughts of people as me move forward into this area. Especially since we are all rating each other in more ambiguous ways.
Feel free to comment.
Photo credited to ~Milk-Cream