Optimistic is a nonessential valve used for progress to evolve or engage.
Optimistic is a nonessential valve used for progress to evolve or engage.
You want to write about what your audience wants to read. Writing for magazines is the best mindset to deliver the kind of content you would likely enjoy reading on someone else’s blog or website. If you’re writing for business or marketing, all of this is for recipient recall.
Blogs used to be for journal or diary entries but they transformed into publishing platforms more like with magazine publishing or websites. In the same era blog platforms added options, Facebook minimized options by turning simple weblog diary entries into a thread of conversations easily accessible for members to comment and share. Now blogs are about publishing, broadcasting multimedia, selling and cataloging.
‘Writing for magazines’ is the editorial skill bloggers have learned or found to work best. Almost every type of blog post is similar to a magazine story or article, especially if they give you something to remember. If you want people to read more of your blog content, study or hire a magazine writer.
Magazine articles can persuade about a particular viewpoint. They can help you to solve a problem. They could contribute to your knowledge about a subject. They are entertaining and can make you laugh. Some articles likely share more than one of these examples.
Think about structure driving to an important point, throughout the article, like a verbal highway. You’re telling a story to your readers with a beginning, a middle and an end. It also means you need to think about where you’re taking them and create a logical path to that conclusion. First get people to read your article. Find a way to grab them and get their attention. Sometimes all it takes is a great headline connecting to the beginning segment. In the first draft, make a promise to your readers to solve a mystery or educate them by the end of the article.
People like reading about what other people say, so if your interviewee says something good, use a quote in the article. The simplest skill is to take your favorite magazine or writer and deconstruct some of their articles, label the parts of the story and identify the path of information. Once you learn how to deliver essential information in labeled parts, the article easily pieces together. Finally, end with a bang. This could be an important point, a revelation, or another anecdote or quote. Satisfy your reader’s needs and get them interested in your other writings. If you kept your promise from the beginning and headline, readers will show approval by social sharing and or commenting on your article.
When you research an article, you often have information left over that didn’t make it into the main piece. Don’t get rid of this. Use it to create a sidebar or table (editors will love this), or as the starting point for another article. Online you can make a link to another page explaining the back story, references and explanations. The best tool is for writers to own a personal wiki page set up to archive all their writings, references and side story links.
Some ‘labels’ to deconstruct and then build up your structure include the Invitation: lead or the initial tease; it should even hook the reluctant reader. The Thesis: telling the reader what the article is all about, sort of an early summary or a response to the readers expectations. The Purpose: the why it is for me? It is an extended explanation of the purpose of the piece. The purpose must be made evident (sales pitch). The Direction: you must have a sense of clear direction. Every point along the ‘verbal highway’ must set the crystal clear viewable course. Propulsion: a sense of motion, going forward. Your writing must have actual movement with pulse and progress.
The Memory: pleasure of reading should be followed by a sense of recalling. Good writing should give me ‘something to remember.’ I would say ‘recipient recall’ is the most important result of all media. When your done writing an article, read it out loud as a reader with intent to find problem spots to edit. Keep reading until it flows so tight an award is merited. It’s easy to find good posts about writing skills for article writing if you look for websites or blogs of professional writers, editors marketers and public relations professionals. If you’re interested, the best online school for writing is MediaBistro.com where I learned from industry leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble and Kelly Winters at Facebook.
Last year I was all excited about 3D printers and now I can’t stop thinking about Wireless Sensor Networks in smart objects. People are calling it the Internet of Things.
Wireless sensor networks, like ANT, consists of spatially distributed autonomous sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions such as temperature, sound, pressure, etc. to cooperatively pass the data through the network to a main location for archive and study. The development of wireless sensor networks was motivated by military applications such as battlefield surveillance; today such networks are used in many industrial and consumer applications, such as industrial process monitoring and health monitoring.
ANT+ is an interoperability function that can be added to the base ANT protocol. This standardization allows for the networking of nearby ANT+ devices to facilitate the collection and interpretation of sensor data. For example, ANT+ enabled fitness monitoring devices such as heart rate monitors, pedometers, speed monitors, and weight scales can all work together to assemble and track performance metrics.
I think it would be fun to use this technology in a kit of small cubes or boxes with a mothership switch box for various hack experiments. I can envision using TinyOS and Raspberry Pi for project applications. Program ideas include simple remote control hacks for iTunes, Smart tv dashboard controls, weather station response switches and exercise data without needing a Nike+ fuel bracelet or the like.
Consumer product brands could differentiate themselves by adding hackable components to their range. I would advice clients to sponsor a contest for hackers to write open source projects using the product and give the winner $5,000.00 Launch the contest online with updates and praise for participant’s progress.
You would do this because the activity creates a story worth sharing in the press and the entire campaign should cost less than general advertising and marketing. Creating attention and trust for your business is important and this example can keep your company top of mind with customers.
Most marketing messages, copy and brand announcements should start with magazine articles that lead people into conversations about the brand or specific product benefits. I believe great bloggers should have these writing jobs because great blog posts read like magazine articles. Writing magazine articles and marketing messages often have the same intended reader response. They want the information to be remembered and shared.
Everything memorable needs response or retention intentions like a novel or movie. Have you ever listened to a filmmaker talk about what they wanted the audience to feel during a specific plot point in their movie? The filmmaker wants the audience to respond to the experience for remembering the story. Writers want readers to respond to the experience for the same retention.
After the first draft you can start scanning the structure for reader response points and rewrite it to follow 1 or more types of these retention intentions, memorable as R.E.S.T.
Remarkable articles include surprising data or circumstances, one could equally say it’s amazing and memorable.
Emotional articles would make someone laugh out loud or feel personally connected to the events in the article making it memorable.
Shocking articles deliver unexpected insights that people wish they never knew but they can’t forget, it’s memorable.
Triggers have influence for further action steps or activity and a reader’s participation or desire to participate makes it memorable.
Most magazine articles and marketing messages follow the same reader responses or retention intentions. Using these 4 options can lead readers to the retention you want them to experience from your story. Unrelated, please click on the above image for a great story about water, today is Earthday.
In the case of old media leaders maybe reading my blog. Newspapers are dead because access to NEWS is abundant and websites like craigslist stole local newspaper’s revenue a long time ago. I believe people will still buy a paper to read that zooms into their needs and wants. Reading printed paper still fits into many circumstances of necessity or environment.
The only newspapers dying are the ones that refuse to restructure, downsize and re-invent local relevance. Newspapers can still sell paper to anyone born before 1990 if they follow my 3 simple rules: keep the name, drop the payroll and help define the new local community. Improved relationships with local radio and local television content creation could be a 4th rule, because a local journalist, with respected newspaper credentials, makes a great reporter on radio or television. Consider it free advertising for new subscribers.
The new structure should hub stories about local education, local groups, local religions, youth recreation, activities and citizenship in the community. I would consider a strict policy to cover zero out of town, State, National or Global news. If at all, from a local citizen’s point of view, local group reactions or opinions with summary references from the Associated Press. Your editorial staff and company, can be managed online with tools like Basecamp.
Most local or regional newspapers own the building, which could be sub-leased using strict occupancy rules about mentoring new businesses and have anchor tenants involved with the local economy in construction, real estate, insurance, etc. If possible, a competent restaurant or coffee house should be given a sweetheart lease so locals visit more often and keep the newspaper brand name top of mind. If your newspaper doesn’t own the building, then pitch this idea to a real estate developer for branding a new project with the recognition and heritage of the local newspaper. Further outside of the box thinking for very small town newspapers, consider leasing office space to run the paper from inside the chamber of commerce building.
Your new paper should have a digital app version and paywall special edition stories, otherwise available to everyone on any device. Newspapers are dead, maybe more like a Phoenix. Remember the local voice is muted online because of endless distraction and variety. Members of the local community will have the loudest voice in print.
There are plenty of marketing campaigns that would love to deliver local messages in print. There are plenty of writers interested in having their short story or long copy article published in the local paper, in exchange for writing other articles for the paper. Local news editors and journalists should be given the opportunity to publish a themed series or given the opportunity to design and theme a new section of the newspaper more like a weekly magazine. Don’t be against larger photos or poster pages and don’t be against printing web references for everything because the truth is that everyone is online anyway.
Remember: This is about producing a readable, informative and entertaining paper for locals only. Ink still has a lasting impression. You should also believe that people read more than ever before, maybe because they produce more content than ever before, ref. super bonus!
I sought 2 examples of transparency in business to explain their marketing value and made up SOT for retention purposes. Enjoy!
The 2 types of ‘Spirit Of Transparency’ are Implied SOT and Actual SOT. Implied SOT is about creating a ‘behind the scenes’ opportunity in a marketing campaign that helps customers feel like an informed insider trusting the business from their participation experience. Actual SOT is more direct and widely debated as dangerous for businesses because it could mean providing proprietary information to competitors. Actual SOT gives intelligent managers an opportunity to publicly share islands of data without giving away the farm in a public relations environment. Both types have value points and will contribute to customer attention and trust that builds your competitive advantage.
The Implied Type
John Battelle of Federated Media fame, is planning OpenCoNY, originally conceived to discuss an open internet, now it’s about business networking, entertainment and American Express card membership. The new event is being publicized by raising funds on Indigogo.com, which is brilliant marketing, primarily for those who don’t need it, and potentially helpful to projects at different levels of attention capacity. Anyway, I’m distracted, sorry I get emotionally opinionated about the kickstarter model.
The point is to note how OpenCo is using a fund-raising platform to pre-sell event tickets instead of just selling tickets to another event on their website. This campaign on Indigogo.com creates a warm grassroots illusion about participating ‘spending money’ while building trust in a new event. GENIUS!
The Actual Type
In a recent article in TechCrunch about the teen exodus trend from facebook and social media, a curious social media alternative was mentioned as popular among teens called WANELO. I visited the WANELO business blog to see what they post about and was happy to find a good example of the Spirit Of Transparency.
View this example for what your business blog should be posting. The WANELO post is titled “The case for vertical sharing.” It explains private data charts about a problem and the process to their solution. Readers don’t need to understand the technical language or even the point of the post in order to observe and remember that they exposed private data to the public in the Spirit Of Transparency which provides the trust everyone is looking for in a buying decision. SMART!
These references were found because I subscribe to John Battell’s newsletter.
Ask me any questions or say hey.
I’m deleting loads today and found something I forgot to share back in July 2012.
Last summer I was researching advertising and marketing agency websites to find good leadership and direction. The search was so disappointing that I had to therapeutically create this letter to sum up what I found.
I believe measuring data is best used to understand what is going on and not to decide what to do next. If decisions are just numerical, it’s more economical to program robots to do the same job. When sales are down, often the solution becomes to sell more and/or its the sales team’s fault instead of discovering and solving why customers don’t want to buy more.
Have a great weekend!
Content Marketing is about having information available when the customer chooses to investigate your brands value and reputation. Organizing this information into a sales path is what we call your ‘digital strategy’ and it requires many campaigns managed to attract customers from multiple touch points.
It is never about asking customers to click a ‘like’ button. People don’t want to buddy with brands! Instead it is about your informative and trust worthy history that respectfully leads to a buying decision or valued subscription commitment.
Most marketers can’t stop talking about the importance of story telling as the marketing message, which is true. However, business owners need to understand their not talking about the brand narrative as the primary story. Other people’s stories, unrelated to the brand, are more important for readers and customers to associate with goodwill or support by the brand. It works because of a sponsor’s association with memorable entertainment and leisure enthusiasm.
The informed customer will buy your product because you sponsor the right events, participate in related campaigns and fund engaging content to introduce the brand at locations your customers enjoy attending, subscribing to and talking about.
Context is King because any result or expectation depends on the industry and the changing environment of the customer’s personal life. People might by a product for the first time, absent from your new advertising and marketing campaign, because it was recommended by a trusted long term association or friend. Success depends on the context from which the customer arrives into a buying decision. All a company or brand can do is be prepared for customer curiosity and provide a trusted message the customer can easily confirm.
When was the last time you read a printed trade magazine? Do you still subscribe to any print consumer magazines?
I quit subscribing to ‘Wired’ this year and I don’t miss it. I do miss the way the magazine held my attention in the early years of the publication. I still read print trade magazines like Streaming Media magazine, Folio and Chief Content Officer magazine. They hold my attention as I bounce from the paper articles to my laptop for website references from their articles and stories.
Why not just read all of it online? Because stepping away from technology multitasking is important to me. Yes, looking up website references is still multitasking, but minimized to feel more unplugged. When I sit and read these magazines, I can think differently about content marketing, social media and technology. Not by the content in their pages, but the activity of sitting in a warm puffy chair and moving slowly.
This is hybrid multitasking. Its a bit of web browsing and a bit of moving slowly in a puffy chair. A tablet device makes the paper obsolete in this situation, but anyone will sit with paper if it follows the 4 experiences people must crave. Everything we read on a website used to be published in print with varied degrees of shelf life. Any web content with a long shelf life is considered evergreen content and it could merit curation in print form.
No one needs printed paper or film or vinyl records. The smallest market of engaged subscribers, loyalists and ambassadors could love a printed version of evergreen content, before it’s on the company’s website. It would be a small magazine of product information, to make an informed buying decision, plus some exclusive interviews, profiles, special reports, friendship endorsements and quality entertainment.
I believe the future of print media is a hybrid of activity and access. The new content model will be a hybrid of trade and consumer publications.
(leaves out the back must reference organic and clean?)
I really don’t care if news exists that’s not already on the sites I currently read and follow.
The amount of online entertainment, education and discovery people can absorb is only limited by the amount of time people are willing to stare at their computer screen, tablet or smart phone. No one cares about your little blog so don’t over use blogging. Identify other touch points with specialized value or opportunity and use your blog to blog.
Never forget anyone reading your posts have infinite options to be somewhere else. Think of it as Saturday night party competition. You want everyone to stay at your party so you better keep the conversation on topics they want to have, be a good host and listen to deliver relevant responses.
The more specific you define the conversation on your blog, the closer customers or readers, will want to be with you. Many people also need entertainment to stay, so don’t be boring.
Consider curating other people’s relevant stories and write new stories that laser beam the core or obscure necessity from those stories. Post links to the other people’s stories once a week and post your original story every 2 weeks or once a month.
If you have 2 or more profiles online, you have a personal brand to manage. These points are for people who already know why you should manage your personal brand with structure. I filtered marketing advice, that I studied and practiced last year, to create this concentrated list from my notes.
New technology has made this possible with blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the cloud. Your results from new technology will likely depend on familiar usability. The adoption of smart phones has speed the cycle, as long as you use mobile apps.
I intend to write a paper on all of these points by the end of the year. If you know something essential missing from this list, please call me out on it.
2012 was the year I pressed my digital marketing education and creative vision into malleable dough that was challenging for many observers to follow or understand. Experimentation can be confusing. Sorry about that.
This year I spent more time reading online and writing off line than ever before, to pin point a futurist theme in business for the present. My futurist theme in business has a white hot center of marketing. Formed by the two most critical elements, 1) Collaborations 2 ) Subscriptions. Together they bond as like minded customers in a Community, unique in their shared experiences and desires.
“Technology has released us from the limitations of the physical world to experience as much from an illuminated screen with button selections.”
If you choose to agree with this statement then hopefully you will also agree that the best way forward, in business, is to embrace online publishing so your customers in the physical world are entertained and informed by you in the digital world better than your competitors.
For 2013, I expect to find that all good marketing can be slotted into one of these two columns and merge in the center as a Community. The parts represent Attention, the center represents Trust and the whole represents demand for your business.
Happy New Year!
I wear gold toe socks for comfort and longevity. The gold toe socks I’m wearing now are about 4 years old and still fit great. Now you can get them for half the usual MSRP at Target, but the Target ‘gold toe’ is just a colored thread stripe for some ‘branding illusion’ of a quality product and they will fall loose in about 7 months. I don’t like wearing and replacing saggy loose socks that often.
What’s better for consumers and the environment?
I don’t know where this rant is going…. Merry Christmas!
Joseph Pine talks about what consumers want.
Joseph Pine’s career as a business coach began at IBM when he did something truly unorthodox: he brought business partners and customers into the development process of a new computer. Taking from this the lesson that every customer is unique, he wrote a book called Mass Customization on businesses that serve customers’ unique needs. Later he discovered what he would coin the “Experience Economy” — consumers buying experiences rather than goods or commodities — and wrote a book of the same name.
For Business Owners: Don’t say you’re authentic unless you’re really authentic. It’s easier to be authentic if you don’t say you’re authentic. If you say you’re authentic you better be authentic
For Consumers: What will make us happy is spending our time and our money satisfying our desire for authenticity.
Conclusion: Create a place for consumers to experience who you are. I believe a great place is publishing online. When you create your own Sunset Magazine online, you can cultivate a culture of brand ambassadors for your business and products by providing information and entertainment that they want to spend their time experiencing.
I believe technology has transformed marketing, advertising and sales from a ‘Right Place, Right Time’ idea into a ‘Right Habit, Right Content’ idea.
The right habit is about a customer’s relationship with the devices they use for information and entertainment. Questions to ask could include do they use Facebook daily and on their smartphone, tablet or laptop? Do they have a blog on WordPress or Tumblr? How often to they make purchases online, not including Amazon, and do they use a paypal account. Do they know what Google Wallet or what Apple Passbook is used for?
The right content is about a customer’s desire to select an activity that holds their attention. Questions to ask could include do they comment on company posts with brands they follow? Do they subscribe to company email newsletters and actually read them? If they have a choice to read a story or watch a video, are they more likely to read a post with attractive photos, because videos take so long to load on their wifi connection?
Your business still needs to engage with customers in the right place at the right time. The difference now is customers control the place and time. You can be prepared by better understanding the habits and content customers want to engage.
I hope this makes sense. I’m working on a story about why Pinterest is worthless and this post/idea is the start of one on my points.
Everything online is Publishing. Some people on Facebook write about “eating tacos at the beach right now,” and some people on YouTube post videos of their cat jumping out of a big brown bag. Maybe they also have Twitter, a blog, Pinterest or IFTTT. All of it is publishing.
Everyone is online to share, learn and enjoy entertaining distractions. Your website is a business destination publishing content about products, announcements and new releases, but so is your competition.
To hold peoples attention long enough and explain why they should trust your business, you need to publish interesting content they want to read about. I believe it’s a good idea to be known as an informative and entertaining destination to compete for their attention and trust. Don’t you?
Having a remarkable product is equally important, but the multitude of distractions online require you to be more interesting, engaging, entertaining and different. Content Marketing is the process of publishing what customers want to see, know and talk about with you and their personal clusters of online connections.
Content Marketing is the medium to become a path to a sale when the customer is ready to buy your product. It works with publishing content that offers a solution to a problem your target audience is interested in learning about. It works when you build a relationship with your subscribers as an approachable human with resolutions, opinions and personality. It works when the content builds desire for your product over time.
Content Marketing also works because you publish content with a call to action, opt-in lead generation, utilize landing pages, email newsletters, social media sharing and special consideration for loyal customers or brand ambassadors.
I believe a focus on publishing quality content, that your customers want to read, creates Attention traffic that will lead to Trust traffic for a sale or action. It’s overwhelming to read about new tools, social networks and the most recent b2b service to help your website. So I made this crude drawing to help focus on the reason your business has a website. Sales are the white hot center of your business and web content is your digital strategy.
Home site: Your home site is a long form advertisement for your company woven with a path to a sale or action. Traffic should arrive on specific pages from social sharing links and deliberate publishing channels. Visitors need to see simple navigation options to explore your site on their own terms. Read more
Email newsletter: Your email newsletter should publish content for your “insiders” and not just a repackaged list of blog posts. Every conversation and announcement should start with informing your email subscribers. Always give these readers an opportunity to become brand ambassadors. Read more
Social media: Your social media is important because all of your customers use it. Find the right balance of updates to publish, avoid burnout saturation and sometimes select reader’s updates to mention with #XYZfriends only if you feel it to be relevant for the brand or Brand ambassador loyalty. Read more
Brand ambassadors: They will be the press journalism you need to sell more products if you can provide them reasons to care about the brand. Make products they want and love. Give them personal attention for word-of-mouth marketing and special features to have credit for using or owning your products. Read more
Summary: Only growing targeted traffic sounds obvious, but it takes longer to accomplish and many businesses are in a hurry to make a quick sale from purchased lists or other shortcut products. Attention Traffic is from readers enjoying what they see on your Home site, Email newsletter, sharing on Social media sites and Brand ambassadors recommending you. Trust Traffic is what closes the sale using the Sales Trigger event.
Branding is just another name for creating a perception. Branding isn’t your company name. It’s not a tag line. It’s not a logo. When marketers ask, “How do we want to brand this product?” what they’re really asking is how they want their audience to think about that product once it comes to market.
A brand is a promise. It’s an expectation of an experience. The company and tag line and logo and brand colors only exist to call that experience to mind. Brands can meet that expectation, exceed that expectation … or in the worst cases, fall short of that expectation.
The Rise of user-generated content
Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, is now famous for having said,
“Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.”
As marketers, we try to convince customers and prospects to generate content about our brands. In other words, to talk about us. How do we inspire people to generate content? To talk about us on Facebook and Twitter, to increase our audience? Increasingly, we inspire our customers with brand experiences and by publishing own content.
Content is currency
“Today’s web is an endless 27/7 cycle fed by content and social actions In this cycle, brands are realizing that content is currency” ~ Bryan Rhoads, global content strategy, Intel
Content is currency — something we trade for our audience’s attention. That currency becomes more valuable every time it’s shared by someone other than ourselves. It’s our job to create content worth sharing. How it’s shared isn’t up to us.
If you take a look at this infographic, created by PRWeb, you’ll see an array of content marketing options — each with its own balance of difficulty and value.
Click here for the full-sized infographic.
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.
You already make a great product people like. Some of these people will embrace your social community, if not with you then maybe with your competitor. Even if customers don’t want to engage with your social community, they still value seeing others participating as a sign of Attention and Trust.
Publish what they say and your response.
I believe personal attention is a simple luxury that works when you publish examples of that personal attention to engage and respond into a favorable opinion about the brand. The responses will be connected to customer’s conversational influence that leads to sales.
I’m not saying this is the only thing you would do to improve sales, just a piece of good marketing. A good Digital Strategy will address each of these opportunities, for example, with an email newsletter and guest writer program that evolves customer engagement for trust, respect and competitive attention.
Google is doing everything it can to encourage personalized search based on social shares. Important because now Google ranks your likes, +1s, tweets and social shares as indicators of content quality and trustworthiness.
When readers are logged into Google with personalized search turned on, they will see SERPs that include results based on their web browsing history and content written or endorsed by their social connections. Personalization can radically change what readers see in regular searches and image searches.
As personalized search gains traction with users, content publishers will gain new visibility in three ways:
Customers might not completely understand Google+ yet, but the fact that Google wants to help new people find you, should be reason enough to adopt their innovations before everyone else sees the value and starts to compete in the same space.
note: Google directions are written assuming you browse in Chrome.
Scenario One: Your brand has made a considerable investment in developing a great product but the marketing campaign is not hitting target. How can you compete with the other distractions and interruptions online to give your product the attention it deserves?
Scenario Two: Your brand has made a considerable investment in developing a great product that hits target, but now it needs to be replaces with next year’s range. How can you squeeze more points from the discontinued item?
I believe the attention you want can happen from selecting an artist or designer to share in choosing a simple variation of your product then build the marketing campaign about the collaboration. Using a sticky narrative will often become viral if you know what your customers want to read about. Connecting a sticky narrative to a variation on an existing product could also produce a positive result on your balance sheet.
The collaboration creates an opportunity to tell a sticky narrative about the people involved, the design process, how it relates to your brand identity and it creates a different kind of story for the press to run about you.
Your customers will equally desire to run the story on blogs and their social media because the story is about people first. Telling a people focused story creates an emotional trigger for readers to better recall the campaign and your brand when they share the story with friends.
You have the option to produce an existing product that can be altered without much retooling or you can collaborate on a new product for the next season. Your success story about supporting fresh talent in art & design could become a quarterly program, a new USP for your brand and grow community stewardship.
If you would enjoy talking more about how collaborations can improve your Digital Strategy, click the say hello button or leave a comment on this post. Read more about sticky writing and sticky story telling in the book “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath.
Happy Birthday! Email Turns 30, read about it on AllThingsD
Thirty years of experimentation, business books, training, hacks and experts have lead us to know exactly what to do with email marketing and how it’s different for everyone depending on your agenda and Digital Strategy.
I believe good email marketing starts with people opting in to your email list. The email message is a weekly or monthly newsletter of 3-5 good stories and announcements about your brand. Do not email a list of published blog post links and call it a newsletter.
Your email newsletter is written for customers and loyal brand ambassadors to read and share. Your company blog posts can be the same content, but written differently for the public audience to read and share.
Each newsletter story or announcement is a photo and summary linking to the full story on your site, presented on a single landing page with social sharing buttons. The page ends with a “soft sell” product or service offer. The only link off the story landing page is to a specific product or service landing page. The only link off that page is to a shopping cart page. It’s ok to have an understated link to your “home” page in the footer on all pages.
The stories can be about customers using the product or service, Q&A inspired information about using the product or service, explaining new products or updates and feature employee stories. Sometimes the story can be about industry related news or something loosely related, fun, entertaining or cultural.
The 5 C’s of story writing for the business newsletter.
If you would like to talk more about email marketing, say hello or write a comment on this post.
All you want is more sales. The problem is keeping people’s attention long enough to educate them with enough product information to decide to buy from you. Many businesses over value the single sales trigger to represent the action or event that closed the sale, but it’s unlikely the customer made the decision without first experiencing more content and informative stories connected to your product.
I believe the whole experience of a qualified lead becoming a customer should be considered a single event. You have limited control over the customer’s navigation or timeline, but you do have control over what you want them to see or do. Creating these event opportunities builds value, thought presents and industry leadership.
Basic analytics will track engagement but to better understand the event ROI you need to go upstream to see the content combination that lead to the sale. It could be from a blog post with a shopping cart link or it could be from a friend’s retweet, that lead them to a Facebook page, that lead them to your blog, that they read on and off for 9 months from your targeted monthly newsletter, before they place an order on a landing page link.
This combination should map out as loosely clustered events gravitating at different rates to a sale in the center of your Digital Strategy. Just clone whichever clusters gravitate faster to a sale and nurture the slower clusters to join the path of the faster clusters. It’s so easy! lol
The event pattern is important but the ability to repeat the content style or theme in that pattern will add value to your sales pipeline and publishing more customer centric content is continuously essential for this to happen. A good starting point is publishing information with The Conversion Funnel in mind.
A sticky story is simple, memorable and interesting. If you want customers to buy your product, they need to trust you first. Publishing sticky stories gets attention, gives them time to trust the brand and commit to your relevance in their busy life.
Getting a customer’s attention is the most difficult part of marketing because advertising is an interruption. There’s big money in selling products that help people avoid interruptions. Read Forbes story about Apples’s Secret Weapon To Kill Ads And Dominate TV. All advertising is being squeezed out because “distraction variety” is empowering people with options to do something else if not instantly stimulated by your media publishing.
So the question is how do we get attention without advertising or paid media?
The simple answer is owned media. American Express OPEN Forum uses it to attract small business owners to their products. It’s true they also use paid media to sell membership, but only as part of their converged media strategy of owned, earned and paid media.
Publishing as “owned media” is an old idea. Popular lifestyle magazine Sunset, began in 1898 as a promotional magazine for the Southern Pacific Railroad, designed to combat the negative “WildWest” stereotypes about California. They wanted to sell more tickets so they published stories about the experience, destinations, local events and the excitement of visiting California cities and parks.
You work hard to sell a good product people want to have and you don’t care to also be a good publisher, but you don’t have a choice anymore. If your social media, search optimized blog and email newsletter is not leading to more sales, it’s because your Digital Strategy and Public Relations needs work. Having sticky stories that your customers want to read is easy. You just need to think like a publisher or hire someone to do it for you.
People constantly use social media to talk and share with their connected relationships. It’s unlikely they will spend this time sharing about brands they love. Your business needs to get their attention, gain their trust and hope they love you enough to share your information with the other things they want to talk about.
Having a labeled agenda about what you intend people to do with your media can help organize what to write, publish and promote. Here are 3 sample Intended Actions that could work alone sometimes but they should be connected or overlap. When you apply Intended Actions to Business Objectives, an agenda will develop for each story with purpose and value.
Intended Action: What exactly do you want them to do?
Apply to Business Objective: What should be the business result?
Map Your Strategy: How will a story be written to include a clear agenda?
Grid Action Topics – Write Intended Actions across the top and make a list of story subjects down the side column. Match each story subject to the best Intended Action choice(s). Write the story using words that lead or imply the Action Topic.
Create Publishing Schedule – Use an editorial calendar to develop your Action Topic stories to be completed before deadline. Invent smart headlines for each story, write unique bulletins to be used for each social media channel and get feedback from networked influencers before publishing.
Test and Adapt – Play with the analytics and try new things. Publish each story with easy share buttons, link to a landing page offer, start the conversation with a comment as footnote. If you’re not happy with the long term results find someone new to help Map Your Strategy.
There are 3 separate types of traditional media that Altimeter has reported to begin overlapping into a new cross-channel integration or Converged Media. Content Marketing is Owned Media, Public Relations builds Earned Media and the overlap is Converged Media with or without Advertising as Paid Media.
“Converged Media utilizes two or more channels of paid, earned, and owned media. It is characterized by a consistent storyline, look, and feel. We foresee that to achieve cross-channel integration in a consistent way there will be considerable changes inside of the marketing org chart, and a clear strategy on getting agencies to collaborate, and intensive system integration of vendors.” – Altimeter Report
I believe Owned Media is about publishing a brand narrative customers should enjoy reading. Publicity for these stories need to be properly managed so they can compete with interruptions customers have from all the other brands they love. The new Public Relations responsibility is to build Earned Media and motivate subscribers to read and share Owned Media.
The Attention Connection is my formula to avoid audience burn out and help motivate customer engagement. Your Attention Connection will begin with Content Marketing a set of short informative posts that build your Owned Media. Next a feature story is produced to focus on a community narrative involving the recent set of short informative posts. This process becomes a monthly or quarterly publishing cycle.
Simply stated, The Attention Connection is when you first publish relevant short stories publicized with message placement on your social media channels. Then you publish feature stories linking to the short stories and continue to build social media sharing of your brand message as a part of the Conversion Funnel.
Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
The primary goal is to obtain opt-in permission to deliver content over time, preferably by email. Repeated and regular exposure builds a relevant relationship that provides multiple opportunities for conversion, rather than a “one-shot” all-or-nothing sales approach.
Good examples of Content Marketing would include 3 holistic elements:
The best presentation in the world using Content Marketing is copyblogger. They publish stories about Content Marketing best practices with interviews, guest writers, a free email course to “get started,” tutorials and about 5 or more links to related content in every story.
All of this writing and publishing exists to assist and educate the potential customers and sales of publishing software. They use copyblogger.com to sell the Genesis Framework for WordPress publishers, Website Hosting made for WordPress sites, SEO tools for publishers and landing page management software. They pitch the product line at the end of every post and readers are cool with it.
I believe Content Marketing is the best way to earn attention and build trust with the right customer because it becomes a journey people want to have and provides a volunteer path to a sale without upsetting them with advertising. If you would like to know more about how Content Marketing can work with your Digital Strategy and Public Relations, email me and say hello.
You want people to buy something from your business or contribute to your charity or participate in your community. The problem is that you can’t just knock on doors asking people to invest their limited time with you.
I believe the solution is to invite select people into a conversation and spend more time with anyone asking questions that lead to their confirmation of your relevance in their life. There are 4 narrowing focus themes in the conversion funnel that work like a soft sale or social dating when you publish trackable stories that entertain and educate your audience.
The wide mouth of the conversion funnel is themed 1)Awareness Campaign.
Anyone asking questions is themed 2)Interest Campaign.
Anyone still listening is themed 3)Desire Campaign.
Anyone giving you money or subscribing with engagement is themed 4)Action Campaign.
Having a Digital Strategy can empower a small business to build, track and document their ROI using the DS&PR process. After publishing each campaign on their website with supporting stories, social reposts, comment threads and social bulletins, they are ready to database a new publishing process called the Ambassador Funnel exclusively for returning customers.
I believe in marketing moments. This is a series light weight interactions over time with compelling content and stories that empower customers to absorb or return to the experience on their own terms. The job of Public Relations is to craft activities and messages in bite size moments on channels that keep a client top of mind with customers.
Marketing is not advertising anymore. Today marketing is the art of telling a story that resonated with your audience and then spreads. All marketing messages are an interruption in a customer’s mind. When a company Earns Attention and Builds Trust over time, customers don’t mind their marketing messages as much as the competition. That’s just how simple and transparent I believe the agenda should be.
Google wants people to find search results that are helpful. This sounds obvious, but the internet is full of web code that forces less than helpful results.
Most of the web code is not bad, just over used by SEO experts to game the system to the advantage of their clients more than people’s search inquires. Google’s solution is to change how they rank sites for search placement, now with their Penguin and Panda release.
Read a great article about this change at Forbes.com by Ken Krogue.
This change is a happy coincidence for me because I’ve been studying social media, PR, and content marketing for years. My SEO is about labeling content to be properly indexed for my archiving and Google’s search results.
I believe SEO is great for random prospects to discover your website. I just don’t spend very much time thinking about how to attract random people. My SEO Digital Strategy is about attracting friend of friends and managing simple navigation for them on my sites.
Traditional Public Relations used company announcements to formulate a Press Release for print publishers, radio and television editors to report company news in a way that the media’s readers/audience would appreciate. Today the company needs to be their own media publisher reporting and distributing news to the many channels customers use every day.
I believe Public Relations is used to lead public conversations into the conversion funnel. This process includes managing message placement, schedule timing, copywriting, article writing, interview coaching, content marketing management and long term campaigns. The process also includes strong relationships with market influencers and pitching stories to traditional media editors and community bloggers or media websites.
1) Attention is scarce.
2) Earning Attention and Trust takes time.
3) An interruption works until your interruption is interrupted.
4) The person who owns Attention has built a valuable asset.
5) Earning Attention is about being relevant to your audience on their terms.
6) You will only build good Connections from earned Attention.
7) Anyone willing to connect, comment or share your content has likely decided they Trust you.