Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Eating my own dog food -- 7 ways to post to your blog more often than once every two years.

"It only takes 5 minutes." "Just make it a permanent part of your schedule or to-do list." "Use a tool that delivers outside, relevant content automatically." "Assign the task to someone who (still) wakes up enthusiastic every day." "Make a post out of what you did today." "No dessert until you eat your brussels sprouts." "Do what I say, not what I do." Do any of those ideas work for you? I've recommended them all to clients, with varying success -- from "kill the blog" to multiple times a day. And do you have to guess which end of the spectrum has the most positive effect on profit? Even as the early ripples of content marketing turned into an overwhelming tsunami that no one can swallow, the tactic continues to work -- because the people most interested in a topic do continue to respond to information that arrives in a timely fashion (when they're interested), in a form that is appropriate to the medium (generally, but surprisingly not always short), and with just the right action step indicated. (Usually not "buy now" but "learn more" or "see a case study" or "get a free analysis", etc.) So I'm back on the case.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Finally! Good Google news for small local businesses

Or so reports former Wall St. Journal reporter and current writer/editor/content strategist Kelly Spors, from Minneapolis, drawing our attention to a Search Engine Journal story:
Before Pigeon, there was a strong chance that searching for pizza restaurants in Boise will return listings for major brands such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut towards the top of the [search engine results page or SERP]. In the post-Pigeon era, search results that are authoritatively local will be more prominently featured … and they will be enhanced with relevant content. Pizza restaurants in Boise that have a verified presence on Google’s own social network, Google Plus (G+), will benefit from having their menus, reviews and photographs shown on the SERP. To this end, local business owners will definitely want to ensure that they are doing their share of content marketing and social media engagement on G+.
(Pigeon is the nickname given to the latest Google update of its search algorithm.) This welcome change supports the business case for services such as Yext and boomtime (the one I endorse and represent), that help local businesses with so-called identity marketing.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How are YOU doin'?

Yes, that's me quoting Joey from the long-gone show "Friends" -- and as revived more recently in a very funny cable show called "Episodes," where Matt LeBlanc plays himself, more or less -- and can't get any of the "Friends" to take his calls. And just why am I quoting him? Well, we all want to know how we're doing, and online, swimming in the foggy soup of things that can be tweaked and measured, it's easy to lose sight of goals. But it's not enough simply to look for more sales or even profit, because it takes doing all the steps of the process well, to achieve the end result. Hence, milestones, and measuring tools. Here's a list from one of the providers of their own, and many other free tools to see how well you rank against others as well as how well you're progressing against your own goals:

Friday, February 28, 2014

Have you filled this position in your startup: "Full-stack marketer"?

Just as you likely have (if it isn't you) a full-stack developer, who can set up a server, plan the database, write the code, link the APIs, integrate a shopping cart and sketch out the HTML, Wilson Peng argues that you need one person on your startup team who can do everything required on the marketing (and sales) side: A/B tests, publicity, SEO, blog content, email copy and maybe even lay out a brochure: Oh, by the way, I'm that guy, if you're ready to hire!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

4 Big Reasons to Overhaul Your Social-Media Marketing in 2014 |

Overhaul...or (the shame!) start. Excellent quick review of the case for small businesses to pay attention to social media this year.

4 Big Reasons to Overhaul Your Social-Media Marketing in 2014 |

'via Blog this'

Monday, February 10, 2014

Why is Facebook giving away its new Interaction Design tool?

Fast Company's decision to focus on design as a fundamental of modern business has led to some fascinating insights into business practices. I particularly recommend this piece by Mark Wilson, about the elegant and easy tool Facebook first designed for itself. The reason for giving it away, of course, is to encourage the creation of ever more engaging content by its billion-plus users.

Facebook Develops A Photoshop For Interaction Design, And It's Free For Anyone To Use | Co.Design | business + design:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What types of content does your website need?

 "Content marketing," whether you view it as a powerful new approach to marketing or the latest fad, is a redundant phrase. All marketing tactics consist of "content"-- if you realize that headlines, recommendations, jingles, TV commercials, logos and other graphic designs are all content. What's good about the phrase, paradoxically, however, is exactly that it draws attention to the almost infinite variety of types of content that a marketer can use -- and that's the value of Hannah Smith's post and excellent infographic published yesterday on the Distilled blog: 4 Types of Content Every Site Needs | Distilled:

That said, the value of the post and infographic, IMHO, is decidedly not in her four specific categories, nor in the assignment of specific types to those categories, nor, finally, in the assignment to the scales of emotional to rational and awareness to purchase. In other words, the value of her content is not in the content itself!

Okay, maybe I go too far. For example, Hannah assigns "Events & Conferences" to the quadrant "Entertainment," high on the Emotional scale and close to the middle of the Awareness to Purchase scale. I would put them closer to the Rational end of the scale, and closer to Awareness than Purchase.

So maybe that specific assignment is a judgement call and a quibble, possibly related to our different experiences of the content type.

One more point: the linear model of the sales funnel Hannah uses is out of date.

Nevertheless, the post is valuable because it forces one to consider a much wider range of content types.

Most important point of all, Hannah starts by reminding her readers the point of their content choices: to achieve specific business goals.  And that reminds me of one more note: I'm betting that "content marketing" will fade in 2014, to be replaced by "utility marketing."