Training Management: Blogging in Marketing

Traditional communication, especially in the latest formats, comes from traditional management
A typical blog post with no comments and little useful information: Traditional communication, not using current formats, comes from traditional management – how can a small group “modernize” traditional management practices?

In most companies, management usually decides what will be written, the format and sometimes even the writing style. Management in most organizations today management also wants to control, or at least approve, social media messages and replies on blog posts. This type of policy control comes from traditionally trained executives. Ones who worked with print and sometimes email campaign channels. I have met countless senior managers, some with responsibility over hundreds of people and millions of dollars in sales. Many expressed desire to “modernize” their marketing with blogging (my experience goes back ten years). Today most want to “update” their blogging with social media promotions. What they could not do with blogging (essentially create a community with informative and attractive writing which leads to comments) they want to do now with Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading

Blogger’s Advantage in Old School Pre-Sales

Keith Haring's fresh & creative drawings are analog to blogging for pre-sales © D-A-V 2015
Keith Haring’s fresh & creative drawings are analog to blogging for pre-sales © D-A-V 2015

A few days ago I visited a small company in the FinTech sector. The company has weathered the first wave in the binary options world. If you are not familiar with new waves in the internet space, hold on tight. The first wave of competing with dozens of small new companies is a rough ride. In some sectors, like the binary options about five years ago (2008 to 2010) the attrition rate is phenomenal. Just keeping alive is hard. Exiting with an acquisition is fairly rare (maybe one out of twenty) and going public is even more impressive. So a company which goes public, then changes ownership, and keeps on going, has something to be proud of. This is the case of this start-up. But success in this case came at a cost. While other companies were creating content, affiliate programs or developing platforms to market as “white label” products, this one focused on direct sales. Not just direct sales with email campaigns, but good old phone banks. They have about 100 sales agents going at it twelve to sixteen hours a day. Continue reading

Effective Content Marketing: No “One Size Fits All”

Marketing methods vary depending on many factors. How do you make your content effective? ©  2007 D-A Vider
Marketing methods vary depending on many factors. How do you make your content effective? © 2007 D-A Vider

There are so many marketing methods out there, sometimes it’s hard to know what works. More precisely, what will work for you. I have seen countless “experts” and “advisers” selling landing pages, e-mail lists, optimization (search, Amazon rank, ebay price adjustment) it’s endless. A few years ago (i.e. 2009-2010), most internet marketers assumed somehow a quieter “wild wild west” era in the near future (essentially today, 2015). But the nature of marketing combined with the faster growth of Internet (now mobile & social) is actually giving more experts a ready market. With this growing need and supply comes the problem of choosing the right technique. Using a technique designed for consumer products (B2C) will usually not work for business products (B2B). Using a technique useful with retail goods, usually will not work with corporate technology products (in retail consumer electronics you may be able to get away with it). Continue reading

Content Creation: A Bigger Change Than Anticipated

Content marketing has not taken it's equal role everywhere in the business world - advertising is still in demand
Content marketing has not taken it’s equal role everywhere in the business world – advertising is still in demand

A few years ago, the idea of a product or corporate blog was all the rage (2009 – 2011). Using social media sites (then Linked-In and Facebook) was even more compelling. You get your message out in the open. You can write in detail exactly to your readers. You get feedback quickly and answer questions right away. All the benefits of the internet (web) without the work of building a site by hand. We were suppose to be in content marketing heaven by now (2015). For some of us we are more productive and our messages are going more easily. Some are actually running not only campaigns, but real social media groups (lists, pages) which were hard to do in the pre social-media days and before the smart phone use. But, it looks like this is the exception not the norm. There are still many companies who struggle. Many blogger writing the same type of posts and getting no comments and probably very few readers. Even more so, there are people who are actually “going backward”. Giving up on blogs and social media work. Spending more effort and money on advertising and direct mail (landing pages, affiliates, link building, SEO, etc.) Is this the end of the “content marketing” era? Continue reading

The Content Marketing Divide: Have and Have Not (Judging a Company’s Home Page)

The Swedish Academy's reason for awarding the prize to John Steinbeck reads, "for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humour and a keen social perception."
The Swedish Academy’s reason for awarding the prize to John Steinbeck reads, “for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humour and a keen social perception.”

If you own a web site, blog or even a social media account, you quickly realize the need for “content”. The word itself reflects an early technologists view of how to move forward. Once a site created a “framework”, it needed “content”. Sites like Ebay, Amazon and Craig’s List (and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), created a platform for people to “publish” their “content”. For site owners buying a domain and installing WordPress or Joomla is the same. Very quickly you realize, content is what makes a site. Like a book, you can have a great cover, but what is the story? Who reads the book? What do you say (is there a moral)? What style do you write? What competing books do you sit next on the book store shelf? How much do you charge for your book? This analogy is a way to explain an attribute of content most people understand. Yet they seem to either ignore or leave as a low priority. Continue reading

Fifth Step: Developing a Workflow (Linear Process)

Up to this point, the work consisted of tasks in defining and explaining the content creation work. This step will move from essentially “meta” work to working on the actual content. This step bridges the two type of tasks. Using a workflow essentially divides most of the casual content creators from the steady, more serious ones.

Tracking changes in docoments if a simple form of standardized formal methodology (work flow)
Tracking changes in documents if a simple form of standardized formal methodology (workflow)

This step may seem to many as “too formal” or “just for big organizations”. Yet, my experience is different. Large organizations, or large projects (in medium size organizations), seem not to have a problem in creating a flow of fresh content. The problem is usually in what to write, what to select from a large pool of material. Large organizations also don’t have a problem with brainstorming for new topic ideas, or finding new sources of ideas. Actually, small organizations and individuals tend to have a problem in keeping a fresh flow at a steady rate. After new ideas, comes the task of turning them into written content. Here a workflow system is extremely useful for individuals and small projects. Finally, keeping the momentum going over a long period of time, while the writing and creative quality is at top level is even harder. A process of creating content from idea to promotion and then maintenance does not have to be complex. But it does help in starting projects quickly and making the product manager aware of what can be done. First a workflow process enables one to judge quickly how much work is done and how quickly it gets results. In the mid-term, statistics on the work done versus the results gives everyone the idea on how to navigate in the market. Finally, when a project is going at a steady rate, a real ROI (Return On Investment) can be gathered and comparison to other forms of marketing (PPC, direct email campaigns) can be used to verify expectations and set overall business strategies. All this may sound complicated, especially for the single contributor. Yet, without clear statistics and results, especially in small projects, the content creator is doomed. I have seen countless cases where working “free form”  and just rely on energy, confidence, experience in a field, or another form of self drive does not work. Remember, content creation is nothing much more than a great deal of work in a new medium. Usually in a new format (blog, wiki, newsletter), and with great deal of exposure and almost unlimited competition.  Continue reading

Fourth Step: Solution Diagram, Content Plan, or Project Description

Ableton, an electronic music software company, chose to present cubes with articles similar to picture blogs. A nice design that may be useful with quirky, funky, electronic music world
Ableton, an electronic music software company, chose to present cubes with articles similar to picture blogs. A nice design that may be useful with quirky, funky, electronic music world

At this point in time, you are ready to describe, develop a plan, or diagram the actual content to be written. Describing in more detail usually looks like a business or project plan. Graphic diagrams are also useful. Diagramming the process of writing, editing, publishing, promoting, and improving the content is also useful. Diagramming with names for each step, step length (how long does it take), which step is necessary to complete before another is started, etc. Diagrams seem to make people not only think clearly, but also simplify the process of explaining. Usually you can come up with a linear “flow” to some steps. Ideas and plans presented in graphics are also much easier to discuss and improve. Going one step further, a series of graphics, even in a short video clip, is probably the most useful format in today’s YouTube centric world. Continue reading