Friday, December 23, 2011

Content Marketing

I've been a copywriter for the last 15 years, creating ads, radio spots, newsletters, advertorial, articles, tv commercials, power points, web sites, blogs, brochures, white papers and even annual reports. I just found out there's now a term for everything I've written in the past: Content Marketing.
According to Wikipedia:

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.[1]
So, here's 5 rules that I've had for "Content Marketing" even before there was a Content Marketing.
1. Keep writing. Even if you can't think of anything. Keep writing until something comes.
2. Speak in the voice of the Brand. When I taught copywriting at The Portfolio Center and Creative Circus, the first mistake beginners had to learn to avoid was only writing in one voice.
3. You get points off for gammer, I mean grammer, and spelling. I hate it, but it's true.
4. Even if your audience are only tax attorney's, try to make it understandable for everyone. It widens your audience and even the tax attorney's appreciate it. Trust me.
5. Rewrite. You may think it's brilliant after you've stopped typing, but give it a second or day and then reread it. You'll end up rewriting as well.

Friday, April 29, 2011

PetSmart's Facebook Photo Contest

Photo and video contests were popular on our roundup of featured Facebook campaigns this week. Virgin America, PetSmart and Tourism New Zealand each used a variation on that theme. Meanwhile, film director Peter Jackson used his official Facebook Page to promote a film not due out until next year, Warner Music is set to create a virtual world for one of its featured artists and a Tblisi, Georgia-based bank is using Facebook to engage its customers when they’re out of the store.

Below is a recap of PetSmart's campaign:

PetSmart’s Just Doggin’ Around Photo Contest and Sweepstakes
Goal: Engagement, Network Exposure, Page Growth, Product Purchase, Brand Loyalty

Core Mechanic: The Just Doggin’ Around Photo Contest and Sweepstakes allows users to submit photos of their dogs, use their networks to get friends to vote for their photo, and have a chance to win prizes.

Method: The contest is Like-gated, so users first must Like the PetSmart Page, then submit photos of their dogs caught “doggin’ around”, with a brief description to enter the contest. Entrants may win a daily drawing, one of 9 runner-up prizes or the grand prize. The runner-up prizes include gift cards, pet apparel or a dog makeover, the grand prize is a four day, three night trip to Miami, Florida where your dog can stay at a per spa, plus a cash prize and more merchandise. Daily winners win $50 gift cards to PetSmart.

Perhaps one of the best things about this campaign is that the branding is wound through and through the contest. Not only with the prizes, the Like-gating of the promotion, but also the promotion directs users back to PetSmart services, such as providing grooming tips for your dogs (PetSmart provides this service. When a user participates in the promotion a feed story with a thumbnail is published to the stream.

Impact: The Votigo-powered promotion ran from March 28 through April 24, the Page’s total Likes recently numbered 245,6500 and entries total about 10,100. Multiply that 10,100 by the network exposure every time someone voted or uploaded a photo and PetSmart likely received a lot of exposure for their money on this particular promotion.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Here's a topic I know we all need.  How do we get more done with what seems to be less time.  I know that almost everyone I know says they are twice as busy as they were two years ago.  Why is that?  Here's Sean Malarkey's solution.
In the last few months I have been using Google docs to make my todo lists. It is awesome tool to keep all of your to-do lists in one place and also to delegate tasks to other team members.
If you like simple solutions – you’ll like my method.
This short video shows you exactly how I do it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Facebook Fan Page tips for business users. Or the Fan Page cheat sheet.

Remem­ber main goal of the page and ask your­self before post­ing if the post is on topic.

Leave a lit­tle room for fun. Your fans will enjoy it if it doesn’t over­whelm the rea­son they fanned you in the first place.

Del­e­gate a project own­er­ship, if you don’t have time to post continuously.

Give the page a user­name for unique and mem­o­rable Face­book URL (“brandname”). Go to – select your page from “My Pages” and then apply for user­name. MAKE SURE YOU’RE NOT SELECTING FOR YOUR PERSONAL PAGE. Then dou­ble check, because you can’t change it. Maybe even have some­one watch you do it, really.

Don’t for­get there may be a larger com­mu­nity dis­cussing your cat­e­gory, you can join and post there, too. Feel free to post respectfully.

Mon­i­tor daily at best. Weekly at worst. Set alerts so you know when some­one has writ­ten on your wall.

Face­book should only part of your online pres­ence. Use it to cap­ture fans and then drive them to deeper con­tent on a blog, con­nect on Twit­ter, and pro­mote video on YouTube. But, most impor­tantly, they need to be mov­ing toward busi­ness goals.

Use other online vehi­cles to recruit Face­book fans includ­ing links on your home­page, ads, pro­mo­tions and other social media sites.

You are only a small rea­son your fans are on Face­book. Be respect­ful and don’t over-promote or you risk los­ing them.

Put fans first. Con­sider what is valu­able to them and link to it or post about it.

Con­sider pro­mot­ing oth­ers on your page who have done some­thing sig­nif­i­cant in your area.

Lis­ten, con­verse, ener­gize, help, sup­port, or embrace are six things you should ask if your post do.

Keep things as pos­i­tive as possible.

Pro­mote offline and inte­grate with other mar­ket­ing mate­ri­als. (Exam­ple: Put that unique URL on your ads.)

Respond to comments.

Thank peo­ple for becom­ing fans.

Ask peo­ple to use the “share” but­ton if it’s a par­tic­u­larly impor­tant post.

Ask fans what they think about a sub­ject or post, when appropriate.

Con­sider using apps to give your fans some­thing inter­est­ing to do.

Pro­mote real-world events. This con­nects online and offline.

Face­book isn’t just for kids any­more – con­sider that FB is get­ting more mature, less edgy. Don’t treat fans like kids.

Put a fan box on blog and site.

Take notes. Make an Excel spread­sheet with stats. (Don’t rely on Face­book to store your data.)

Occa­sion­ally use Fan Page as focus group and con­sider giv­ing a prize for participation.

Track fans. See if you have peo­ple leav­ing or com­ing. Try to fig­ure out why.

Fre­quency is key. You can’t ignore fans and expect them to stay interested.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Window Into Your Company

My grandmother and I used to tour the department store windows on Madison Avenue. We'd love to look at the elegant displays and the glamorous products they were selling. They had style. They also told you everything you needed to know about the company without having to say a word.

Your website is a window into your company. Just like the displays on Madison Avenue, before a client or customer reads a word, they tell that person who you are. 

Whether it's as spare as Google's landing page, as busy as, the look tells the vistor whether you are easy to use (like Google) or full of information (like CNBC). It gives a personality and intangible qualities to your company. Look at and  What do these sites tell you about their company and what they stand for? These companies have windows in New York and on the net.  It's just how they use them that's different.

What this means to you is look at your site and think about the messages you're getting just through the design and headlines. Most people spend less than 10 seconds per site.  So what's the takeaway in three blinks of the eye?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Social Media Factoids of the Week


1. The average Facebook user has 130 friends.

2. More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) is shared each month.

3. Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application.

4. More than 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month.

5. Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have integrated with Facebook.

6. There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.

7. People that access Facebook via mobile are twice as active than non-mobile users (think about that when designing your Facebook page).

8. The average Facebook user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events.

9. People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

10. There are more than 1 million entrepreneurs and developers from 180 countries on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What Social Media Rarely Does

Social Media will not lead to instant clients.  If you are looking to put up a Facebook page and get instant clients, well good luck.

There is an old marketing adage that says a consumer must come into contact with your brand seven times before he of she will make a purchase. That’s what your social media CAN do.

As Shama Hyder Kabani says in her book “The Zen of Social Media Marketing,”

Ideally the formula works like this:

Time is a variable.  Some people may buy right after sampling your product or service.  Others may need much longer. 

Newsletters, calls, webinars, emails, ads and websites are all influencers for that first purchase decision.  Once they have made that move, it’s your offering that will make them clients.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Webinars, Webexes and other Webbed Presentations

In the last few weeks I've decided to jump into the deepend of the webinar pool. I've helped produce three webinars now.  The one on H1N1 was particularly fun.  At first, I found that it was a really cool, new media that plays to a very diverse audience.  This week, however, I realized that the "new" word doesn't apply.

There are dozens upon dozens of companies doing webinars.  For those of you who haven't gotten your webinar doctorate yet, a webinar, Webex or online presentation is basically a PowerPoint presentation given over the computer. It can be on any subject and there is a webinar on just about everything out there, from rocket science to science fiction. What's great is that it has an unfettered potential for reach.

Here are some of the traits the best webinars have in common:
1. They don't just  read the slide (this one applies to any presentation).
2. They use fun graphics, humor and charts to make it as visual as possible.
3. They have a theme and an outline.  Nobody likes to listen to someone rambling.
4. They give critical information and not just a sales pitch of where to pay for critical information.
5. Most important, there is call to action and follow-up. 

Here are some of the worst traits of webinars I've seen:
1. They start slowly.  Start with a bang or else your audience is already checking their inbox.
2. The speaker isn't flexible enough to make it interactive.  Don't just answer questions at the end, use questions.
3. Roll with it.  If a slide doesn't advance or if there's an issue, just keep going.  If you spend a whole minute stopped, trying to figure out the program, you've lost your audience.
4. Practice. Show the presentation to an internal audience so if you stumble it's not in front of possible clients.
5. Energy, energy, energy.  Your audience can't see you.  The only way for them to stay engaged is through your energy and passion.