Category Archives: Web/Tech

How to learn content marketing best practices

The Content Marketing Strategies Conference is happening in Berkeley May 8 and 9. If you want to get a quick but deep immersion into the topic of content marketing, this is the place for you.

Digital and social tools are changing the way companies of all sizes position themselves to customers.  That’s why there are a lot of clichés getting thrown around in the branding/marketing sphere.  Content marketing simply means using your company’s facts to connect with your markets online.  For the purpose of doing business.

To market your content via all the channels available to you, there are three things you need to understand.  And this conference will help you with that, through case studies from companies like SAS, Dell, Ogilvy PR, Kelly Services, HiveFire, and Altimeter Group.

  1. How your customers and fans gather information about you and your products – so you can share the content they want on their terms
  2. How your customers use content about your products and services to make a buying decision – so you can engage your customers more effectively
  3. How to integrate online content marketing practices with your offline sales and marketing activities – so you are delivering a consistent message and leveraging your entire marketing spend

I’m really pleased to have been asked to serve as a media sponsor of this gathering – and I’m even more pleased to be able to share with you a discount opportunity.  Just click on the image below to learn more about the Content Marketing Strategies Conference and register using the discount.

The Content Marketing Strategies Conference

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The next generation of Internet startups

In March 2012, I read about a new startup called BrandYourself and signed up.  Inspired by one of its founder’s negative search engine results — he was being confused with a drug dealer — BrandYourself is nonetheless about much more than deleting bad search results.  The company is one of several new startups that enable regular people to optimize their online activities and/or make their lives easier.  I am so impressed with BrandYourself that I talked with CBS Interactive about it.

There are plenty of so-called reputation management plays out there, well-funded, in fact, but BrandYourself represents a super-important shift in technology — what I see as the next generation of startups.  It is one of a bunch of companies that were born where their customers live, and they enable customers to manage and optimize their content — giving them a bit of control they did not have.  In BrandYourself’s case, you tell them what you want turning up in a search, so the Internet is not just happening to you.

Another new generation startup, Citrus Lane [my client], packages and delivers products for babies and their parents monthly, saving them time and money.  This is great, but Citrus Lane also invites customers into a community of parents who share their experiences and wisdom.  The so-called mommy bloggers are running with it, taking to their sites and YouTube to talk about their experiences with the brands that Citrus Lane packs — and talking about how Citrus Lane covers all their bases:  monthly surprises, good things for their babies, product research.

Wix.com [I use it for my consulting practice], makes it possible for anyone to create  a beautiful, compelling, differentiated website for a small business.  Their designers and programmers work on the art and the underlying engine, giving you templates to follow that extract the content that makes for a good story.  At the same time, you have a creative outlet that gives the world a picture of the real you.  This is essential to strong marketing [something I always tell my clients].

These startups use technology to pull ideas from you to shape your presence and your circles online.  And while BrandYourself and companies like it do have the luxury of following the quirky programming geniuses who perfected web platforms, they are very wisely taking those innovations a step further, not copying them.  They are addressing what regular people need, now that we have Facebook, LinkedIn, et al,  and providing services on top of those platforms that meet real expectations.

The creative class: Networked, high performing and disillusioned

Not surprisingly, employee morale and
commitment has worsened during the recession — and in response to
company actions to cope with the downturn. A recent survey finds that
high-performing employees have been substantially more affected than
the rank-and-file.

                                                                                    Lin Grensing-Pophal

                                         Human Resource Executive Online, October 2009

… the creative class: a fast-growing, highly educated, and well-paid
segment of the workforce on whose efforts corporate profits and
economic growth increasingly depend. Members of the creative class do a
wide variety of work in a wide variety of industries—from technology
to entertainment, journalism to finance, high-end manufacturing to the
arts. They do not consciously think of themselves as a class. Yet they
share a common ethos that values creativity, individuality, difference,
and merit.

                                                                                           Richard Florida

                                                                   Washington Monthly, May 2002

Watson Wyatt and WorldatWork just released a survey that tracks, among other things, employee engagement, and Lin Grensing-Pophal explains how companies can do a better job of engagement in a recent article.  But that may not be enough, going forward out of the recession.  The survey's results inspire a look back to an issue economist Richard Florida raised several years ago:  how the drivers of employee performance are changing.  

Today, the combination of networking tools, with a power burst from social technology, and a recession that now appears to be the result of an infrastructure crashing under its own incongruities — foreseen by folks like Florida — is forcing companies to look not just at compensation methods but at how they categorize employee positions from the get-go.  It's no longer the distinction between management and rank-and-file that makes sense in a service-dominated economy, if it ever did in a manufacturing dominated world, but the quality of performance along the scale of creativity and actual contribution.  We're in the midst of another major industrial shift that is exciting at the same time it is mind boggling.  And its impact will be felt not just inside corporations but around the cities and towns they populate. 

… the economy is different now. It no longer revolves around simply
making and moving things. Instead, it depends on generating and
transporting ideas. The places that thrive today are those with the
highest velocity of ideas, the highest density of talented and creative
people, the highest rate of metabolism.

                                                                                           Richard Florida

                                                                                       The Atlantic, March 2009     

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