Is There a "Content Pattern" That Builds a Brand?

By Mark Schaefer Everybody wants their content to go viral.But if you have ever been lucky enough to have something rise up the charts for a day or two, you will attest to the fact that after a short spike in traffic, viral content rarely has a long-term effect on your business.Instead, you need something more robust, more consistent, to build a real business around your content and YouTube revealed a plan that just might be the answer.YouTube has been promoting a “3H” video brand strategy and revealed a content pattern that seemed to be the most successful in building an engaged audience for the long-term. The more I have thought about this and studied it, the more I think it is right; I am starting to build this idea into some of my classes.Can this idea be applied to a business of ANY size? Even an individual blogger?Let’s look at the 3 H content pattern and how it relates to audience-building.1. Hygiene ContentIt’s kind of a weird designation, but this is the content that serves the daily health of your audience. This is content that gets people involved and helps them connect to you and your company when they need you most. This is the content that might most likely turn up in organic search results, so it is great for building awareness.In our book Born to Blog, Stanford Smith and I call this your “bread and butter” content. For my audience, this might be how-to articles like “25 ideas for your social media network strategy.”Here is a great example from a big brand like Home Depot.In this content series, the company teaches techniques that will help a customer use its products better.Hygiene content usually serves a short-term purpose, answers an immediate problem.2. Hub contentSo Hygiene content might get somebody to your site and Hub content is meant to keep them there. This could be a series of articles about a more in-depth topic or perhaps a serialized story that makes people want to stay on your site.In my world, this would be “evergreen” content that people seem to love and read month after month. My Hub content offers insights into how I view the world, opinions on marketing and strategy, and perhaps even something provocative that creates a discussion.Every time I create a great piece of Hub content I see a lift in subscriptions. This is timeless content that builds interest and even loyalty. An example of this would be A Rant: In Praise of the Unremarkable, which had more than 250 comments and still receives steady page views a year after I wrote it.In this Hub example from Adidas, young rock climber Sacha DiGiulian tells her story and sets a record for the most difficult rock climb (Grade 9A) achieved by a woman. By the end of this video she is ripping bandages off her hands to make it up the last segment and achieve her dream. It is a gripping drama that can easily lead you down the rabbit hole to spend more time with this brand and its athletes.Hub content like this video creates connection and is the most important type of content for building subscribers … and building subscribers builds your business.Hero ContentHero content is something brilliant, dramatic, and bold that transcends the normal day-to-day Internet offerings. This is the content that goes viral and demands attention.Perhaps the most famous example from 2014 is the “Winner Stays” video from Nike. The video playfully captures the schoolyard fantasy of young soccer players who morph into their favorite global stars. Launched before the World Cup, the video has received more than 95 million views:Can a little guy like me produce Hero Content? Certainly not on the scale of Nike, but occasionally I write a post that gets more than 3,000 social shares and exceeds 10,000 page views. Perhaps that is “heroic” in our little world of digital marketing? In 2014 here are three different pieces of content that did heroically well:Content Shock – Nearly 5,000 shares. More than 30,000 views. Over 600 blog posts have linked back to this one blog post with commentary on the ideas I presented. Despite the rampage from this post, it resulted in no distinguishable increase in blog subscriptions. In fact, it was a rather normal month. But it did establish my voice on the blogosphere.6 Questions to Drive Your Social Media Strategy — I think this Slideshare presentation has been viewed more than any other content I have created — 73,000 views, may of them from people who had never heard of me before.Social Media Explained – Released in March, this has already emerged as the best-selling social media book of 2014. That’s heroic, right?But did all these views make a difference to my business? Did Nike’s video sell more athletic gear?Nike KNEW it was creating Hero Content when it spent millions on its video. I don’t have those resources and can’t predict when something will take off, but whether you are a small company or a large one, your goals are the same — create awareness and relationships that lead to loyalty.Content marketing is a long-term game. All of this effort adds up to a general increase in awareness, and more important, authority, over time. This is how I build my business. There is no shortcut.So the “3 H’s” seem to make sense. Each type of content plays a role. And you need a balance. I think bloggers who fall into the trap of creating nothing but how-to hygiene content, for example, never rise above to get people coming back or creating a voice of authority.That’s my take on it any way. What are your thoughts?Disclosures: Adidas is a client. Book links are affiliate links.Illustration courtesy of Flickr CC and Faisal Hamadah …read more

Source: Social Media Today

    

Google’s Panda 4.1 Update Will Change Your Content Marketing Strategy

By Warren Knight Google loves change probably more than any other company in the world and that’s noticeable in their algorithms, especially Panda and more specifically, a new iteration in the form of Panda 4.1. With this new update, it has been reported by BrightEdge that brands saw an astounding 90% loss in their organic search footprint when Panda 4.1 hit the web late September. So, what does Panda 4.1 mean to your content marketing strategy? Keep reading.Whats new?It is hard to find exactly what Google’s secrets are behind their algorithms however, here are a few things you need to know about Panda 4.1.Panda targets duplicated contentWill help small businesses do better in Google search resultsPanda targets sites with a general lack of contentPanda targets machine generated contentWho has been impacted?With the new Panda 4.1, Affiliate, Informational, Local Business Sites, Government and Educational websites have all been affected (some for the good, some for the bad).How Panda 4.1 changes your content performance strategyHere are a few points you need to consider with Google’s new Panda 4.1 algorithm.QualityTo be able to successfully generate high traffic to your website, you need high quality web pages and to achieve this, you need to evaluate your site against some of Panda’s expectations in Google search quality guide.User ExperienceUser experience is so important to Google and you need to make sure you are putting your customer first. Using Google Analytics will help you decide on your next steps to improve your website but you also need to create a strategic approach that will benefit what the user wants.Page OptimisationEvery single page on your website needs to be optimised in an extensive way which will include action points for each page ranked on importance. To do this, you will need an SEO experts help.How do you feel about Panda 4.1? …read more

Source: Social Media Today

    

The Surprising Spooky Secret to Enduring Success Habits

By Sonia Simone

Are you addicted to productivity advice?

I was, for a long time. I bought every system, book, and blueprint out there.

I had a very spiffy David Allen-inspired GTD process that was only 642 steps long and took a mere 3 hours a day to implement (during which time I wasn’t actually, you know, getting anything done).

That wasn’t David Allen’s fault, by the way, it was mine. But I don’t think I was alone.

Every person who has a long to-do list also has a desire to do more.

And most of us are quite good at doing certain things. We don’t have a problem getting out of bed every day (even if we grumble), brushing our teeth, driving to work, or finding some lunch. As Seth Godin likes to say, “No one ever gets Talker’s Block.”

Why? Because those things are just ingrained habits. We don’t think about doing them, or need to find motivation to do them … we just do them.

Where we do tend to procrastinate and stumble is on the activities that we feel resistance around. Anything creative is a major one. Writing, in particular, is one of the few forms of procrastination that has its own name: Writer’s Block.

You might have made a million resolutions to write every day, or publish two blog posts a week, or finally get your damned autoresponder up and running. And a million times, you might have failed.

Today, I’d like to let you know what works for me. Because I believe it will work for you, too.

First things first.

Big resolutions don’t work

We all know it, and I don’t know why we keep doing it. Resolutions for massive, sweeping habit change just don’t work.

(They probably work for a few people. But those people aren’t reading this post, because they’re too busy climbing Everest while writing their best-selling memoir and running their four-hour-workweek business. Bless their hearts.)

Everyone I know who believes that sugar is a deadly poison is also stuffing donuts into their face every time I see them.

Everyone I know who absolutely, positively is going to have their novel done in 30 days has been working on that novel for 25 years.

Big change is scary, and we avoid it. With all the creativity and energy we can muster.

Maybe I just know more than my share of flakes, but I don’t think so. I think that massive change sounds like a good idea while we’re making those impassioned vows to ourselves. But once the real world hits, the part of our brains that actually does things wants nothing to do with it.

What works better

There’s an intriguing (and increasing) body of work that suggests that instead, itsy bitsy habit change is the thing that works.

There’s Robert Maurer’s excellent book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, which everyone should go read right now.

There’s BJ Fogg’s well-known Tiny Habits site, and accompanying TED talk.

There’s Stephen Guise’s book on Mini Habits, which lays out a stupidly easy plan to develop these stupidly easy small habit tweaks. You should go read that one right now if you’re not picking up the Maurer, or even if you are.

So if you want to get your book written? Commit to a ridiculously tiny habit of writing 50 words on it a day. Once the micro habit is in place, it’s funny how often you find yourself sticking around for a lot more than those 50 words. And on the days that you only do 50 — you still win.

Getting started on anything new or uncomfortable — writing, working out, improving your website — is always the hardest part. But once you’re in motion, you’ll tend to stay in motion. And once you have a solid habit formed, you’ll think of yourself as “the kind of person who” does that thing. You’ll be surprised at how much productivity that will spur.

Here are a few of my thoughts on how to get a micro habit started, how to best benefit from it, and some ideas about productive micro habits you might want to get rolling for yourself.

Getting started

I’ve read a few books on this (apparently I’m still addicted to productivity advice), and Stephen Guise’s Mini Habits is the best one I’ve found to just get you going. It’s a quick, easy read that lays out the process, as well as the benefits, succinctly.

Or if you’d rather start right now (an excellent idea), just pick one of the habits I’ve listed in this post. Do it every day. If you aren’t doing it every day, try my advice below.

One nice thing about these teeny habit changes is that you can do more than one at a time, if you like. I’m currently doing four, and will add a fifth in the next day or two. But start with just one for at least a week, to get yourself used to the new plan.

Plan for your crazy days

Your micro habit needs to work on your absolutely most insane days.

Think about your nuttiest day of the week — when you work late, your dog has swim practice, and your kid has obedience lessons. Or think about what your day looks like when you’re traveling for business. Or family. Or anything else that tends to be disruptive.

These little habits need to be so little that they’ll fit into your day, even when things are a zoo. Don’t be tempted to skip your micro habits on zoo days — that’s just when you most need them.

(If you or a loved person goes to the hospital for something serious, …read more

Source: Copy Blogger

    

How Social Data Powers Customer Experience

By Paul Dunay This week I moderated another Social Media Today webinar as part of their Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of How Social Data Powers Customer Experience. We assembled a panel of experts to give us their perspective on this topic: Adam Oberweiser, the Associate Manager of Consumer Affairs at The Clorox Company; Seth Grimes, a Data Analytics Strategist for Alta Plana Corporation; and Fabrice Martin, the Vice President of Product Marketing for Clarabridge. This webinar was also sponsored by Clarabridge.Seth got us started with a discussion on why text analytics is an essential technology in pursuit of the customer experience. He showed some stats from a market study they did which is available for free at altaplana.com/TA2014. This study has run for the last three years and shows some significant growth in the amount and number of different textual sources that companies are analyzing now.Fabrice took over after Seth to give us some real world stories of how social media has powered the customer experience. My favorite example was a back to school twitter exchange with a frantic mom looking for a white shirt for her son. Several retailers saw the tweet and responded with a number of options for her. What I really liked about this example was the very clear ROI from this one tweet – who says there no ROI in social media!Adam then finished off the presentations with a deep dive on how The Clorox Company has used social data to power its customer experience. He talked about his team’s 3 objectives: Listen, Engage, and Influence. He focused on the Engage part for the balance of his presentation and how they find “meaningful” conversations across all the social media sources that track. Out of 250,000 social posts for Clorox they use NLP to identify the posts they want to engage in and its working!Now, if you have ever been on a Social Media Today webinar before, you know they are very “participant-driven” and we love to ask your questions of our panelists. Some of the questions we covered in this webinar were: How many social media sources should a company be analyzing? What’s the future of Image Analytics? What do you do with bad information?If that piqued your interest, you will want to hear the replay of this webinar or review the slides from this webinar. Otherwise we hope you will join us on another Social Media Today webinar! The next one is on Unleash Your Advocates: Nestlé Purina Shares the Secrets to Training Employee Advocates; sign up for it or view the schedule of upcoming webinars here.Also to follow the play-by-play Twitter action, just read the following Storify: …read more

Source: Social Media Today

    

4 Twitter Cross-Promotion Errors

By Jennifer Baker This past month I began working with a client who asked me to create a Twitter list of relevant users. The list, as provided by the client, included the business’ website, a good starting point in search of Twitter accounts.However, it was not as cut-and-dry as first thought. During the research period I noticed a number of interesting scenarios when it came to the cross-promotion of Twitter accounts on websites.These are the top 4 Twitter cross-promotion errors:1. No Social Media LinkThere were many websites that did not include links to the Twitter account; however, a Twitter search revealed an active and engaging account. In this instance, it could potentially be a missed opportunity to engage with their audience.If your business is on Twitter, or any other social media platform, it is recommended to include a link to that social media site via your website. This link will ensure that visitors to your website have the opportunity to connect with you on the social media account of their choosing, be it Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.Another scenario that I noticed was websites that included a graphic that read: “Find us on Facebook” or “Find us on Twitter.” I dislike these statements. It is not a treasure hunt to locate you on social media. You would never include: “Find us on the Internet” or “Find us in the phone book.” People are busy. If you do not include the link, you will lose the opportunity to engage.2. Burying It on your WebsiteIn many instances businesses included links to their social media profiles, but the links were hidden at the bottom of the page, in a corner, in size 6pt font. This made it tough to find. It is essential to include the links to your social media profiles in a highly visible location on your website. While there are varying opinions from website designers, social links should be included either in the top banner or the contact page. There are also applications that allow social media icons to be visible on all pages. Again, it is not a treasure hunt; display your business’ social media accounts.3. Wrong LinkWhile several businesses made the attempt to include a link to their Twitter and Facebook pages, in many cases the link was wrong. More often than not, the link would bring users to the main page (twitter.com), rather than the business’ account. Sometimes the Twitter link would bring users to a completely unrelated Twitter user. Take a moment to visit your website, and click on the links to ensure they are connected to your business’ account. Take note of any social media links that need updating and make that change.4. Wrong LogoI was shocked to find the number of businesses using old versions of the Twitter logo, including the square ‘t’ and the originally cartoon Larry bird. When your business is displaying its Twitter account on your website, there are usage guidelines from Twitter to which your business needs to adhere. Not sure if you’re using the right version of the logo, visit Twitter’s Brand Asset page for details and to download the most up-to-date logo. Take a moment to visit your business’ website and check to ensure that all social media accounts, are prominently and accurately displayed. This action will ensure that you gain more fans and followers, as well as increase engagement. …read more

Source: Social Media Today

    

Evergreen Content: Why You Need It

By Tatiana Ceresa So many of us struggle to balance our to-do lists and stick to our editorial calendars. While new and fresh content is crucial to your blogs success, so is evergreen content. What is evergreen content, you ask? Well, it is simply refers to content that will always be useful to your target audience whether you published it two weeks ago, today, and even if you publish it next year. It is always relevant and useful to your customers. Here is an example:Evergreen content: Basics of marketing automation?NOT evergreen content: What are the current trends in marketing automation?Do you see the difference between these two pieces of content? People will always be searching for the basics of marketing automation because everyone starts somewhere. However, the ‘current trends’ in the latter example refer to a specific point in time. Thus, Google crawlers will recognize it and it will become outdated relatively quickly.What are the benefits of evergreen content?Reduces time spent creating new blog contentWrite it once and useful for a long time (i.e. it’s sustainable)Provides basic, informative content that provides your readers with a foundation for future content​Types of evergreen content:Basic information surrounding your industryFrequently asked questions (this will change periodically, but the majority of this content should stay the same)How-to’s (I don’t include tutorials in this because companies are becoming increasingly agile, thus services and products are constantly changing).Videos (obviously)Stock photos (including testimonials) ​ You should be re-running your evergreen content periodically (especially the textual content) so they don’t get buried in your archives. Also, remember that this type of content is extremely useful to your new leads, so think about creating a category or section for ‘top posts’ or ‘understand the basics’ in your blog.I suggest sitting down with your team to either create a list of potential evergreen content or pinpoint the evergreen content you already have. In such a fast-paced marketing world, it’s better to work smart. …read more

Source: Social Media Today

    

Favorite Tools for an Organized Salesperson

By Amanda Marquez

Throughout my time working with the Distilled team, leads and clients, I have picked up a few favorite tools that have saved me time, kept me on track, and organized my work life. I thought I would share a few with our community in the hope that some of these tools can help your sales team work more efficiently.

Photo credit: Mene Tekel, Flickr

1. Cirrus Insights for Gmail: If Salesforce and Gmail had a baby

For quickly adding and updating leads in our Salesforce records, I use Cirrus Insight for Gmail. The Gmail plugin integrates Salesforce with my inbox and allows me to add new leads or update any existing accounts directly through Gmail. In addition, the tool gives me the ability to track/save emails to Salesforce leads or accounts in a few simple clicks.

This little gem has been a lifesaver for me! Since adding it to my Gmail account, I always know that my leads and accounts are up to date with all of the information my team would want to know.

2. Boomerang: My inbox’s best friend

Working in sales, I always have a large number of unread messages when I come into the office each morning. To help organize the messages and make sure my leads/clients are receiving the attention they need, I use the Gmail plugin Boomerang.

With this tool, you can write an email and schedule a time for it to be automatically sent out, or take out messages from your inbox and have them sent to you at a later time. This latter feature is also very useful as you can have messages sent back to you only if the other party doesn’t reply, ensuring I don’t miss or forget to come back to anything. This super useful tool helps me to my prioritize messages and prepare follow up messages with our clients/leads in my downtime.

3. Rapportive: My mini detective

With each lead that comes into the Seattle office, I like to conduct some quick preliminary research to understand a bit more about our points of contact, where they are located, and their background. Typically, this process would take some time digging through LinkedIn and other sources. However, with the Gmail plugin, Rapportive, I am able to easily obtain an interactive social media profile for the contact on the sidebar of my inbox. I love this tool because it is quick, effective and does not slow down my email.

4. Join.me: The conference line of my dreams

In my time working for agencies, I have used my fair share of screen sharing conference lines for calls with clients and team members. I have seen how a bad conference line can disrupt productivity and considerably slow momentum. One of my favorite conference line / screen sharing providers is Join.me. Unlike other tools, Join.me has created an easy to use platform for both the presenter and viewer with no confusing downloads or pins. In pitches, it is easy for my team to open new sessions, switch presenters and share screen access – all of which allows for a seamless presentation.

5. EchoSign: Sign here, please

I hate fax machines and scanners. The less paper I have to use, the better! So naturally, when I was told that we were moving onto an electronic signature software, I was overjoyed! Once the EchoSign software was synced with my Gmail account, I quickly caught onto its easy to use interface. I have seen business close at a faster rate than before as we are able to get our contracts into the final decision maker’s hands immediately after contracts are drafted.

6. Conspire: My networking assistant

Is your sales team interested in working with a particular company? Are you looking to get an introduction? Conspire may be able to help you leverage your business connections through your email to get that ‘in’ you’ve been looking for! Conspire is a powerful email app that analyzes your email data to recognize the strongest path of connection in your extended network to any person or company you may be interested in speaking with.

Not only has this tool been used for lead generation and business development at Distilled, but it can be used for outreach teams to make new blogger and public relations connections for clients.

7. Munchery or Postmates: For when my tummy is grumbling, but I’m in the middle of a project

When deadlines need to be met and I’ve already had pizza two nights in a row, I turn to one of my many food delivery apps for something new. Two of my favorite apps to use in Seattle include Munchery and Postmates. Munchery allows customers to pick from a small menu of meals created by local chefs. The meals are delivered to your door chilled with simple heating instructions. Postmates gives you the ability to connect with couriers around town. These couriers can pick up orders from any restaurant with pick up service and have the food delivered to your door hot. These apps can be used to buy a meal for yourself, or for a team when they are working hard to help you finish up a proposal.

So, what about you? Got any tools or tricks you’d care to share with us? Please do so in the comments below.

…read more

Source: Distilled

    

3 Ways to Leverage an Influential Customer [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Zach Taiji As a business, one of the most effective ways to gain traction and visibility is through a strategically planned marketing and/or public relations campaign. But did you know that your customers can be just as effective?Customers can be more influential than ever these days, thanks to social networks and the internet. In fact, the average customer has a reach of 42 people for each positive experience or engagement with your company online. That means if you have only 200 customers who are brand advocates, you have a potential customer reach of 8,400!Each time a customer talks about or engages with your company among their peers, their social value and influence rises, and some of these customers have more influence than others. The customers who play, spend and engage with your company the most are called your “social whales”, and their influence can increase your total revenue by 20-40%.The key to leveraging your social whales and influential customers is first finding out who they are. Thankfully, customer data is easy to manage these days with big data analytics platforms, giving you an overview of who your customers are and what they’re doing. Some big data solutions even offer real-time customer data and predictive analytics so that you can gauge potential sales and revenue. Companies who use a big data analytics platform can gain 23 times more customers than those who don’t.Once you’ve determined who your influential customers are, it’s time to start targeting and integrating them into your overall marketing strategy. The possibilities here are endless: mobile-focused ads, visual social media marketing campaigns, email marketing and so on. Staying within current marketing trends and your targeted audience is key to increasing overall engagement.Take a look at the Infographic below, created by predictive-analytics and big data platform Ninja Metrics, highlighting what and who influential customers are, and more tips to increase customer influence. Who are your most influential customers? …read more

Source: Social Media Today