1. Avitage Master Content Publishing Briefing

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    Through our consulting projects and content workshops, many people have asked us for copies of our content publishing briefing to share with colleagues and executives. Taking a page from Tom Peters, we’ve published our Master Content Publishing Briefing on our SlideShare channel, and it is available to download. You can share this page link, or links to the Slideshare PowerPoint version or the video version below. Segments in this show address: Why Content Publishing Content Requirements and Challenges marketer face Publishing Process versus the traditional Production process A Specific Content Project Example A Model for Applying the Process to All Content Projects   Avitage Master Content Publishing Briefing — Video Versions (18 minutes) Avitage Master Content Publishing Briefing — SlideShare Version (Slide version of the video) Avitage is a content operations services firm. We help B2B enterprise marketing and selling organizations execute content strategy through operations design and management. We are not an agency, or creative...
  2. Business Video — it doesn’t have to be this way

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    Your colleague walks through your office door and announces, “let’s make a video!” Quick, what images come to mind? What feelings hit your gut? “We need: cameras, lights, production people, someone to shoot, where, when is it needed, how long will it take, what will it cost, how will we use it, …? This feels daunting, are we up to this, can we succeed, is it worth it, does this even make sense …? It would be nice, but ….” Now ask yourself: what if it doesn’t have to be this way? Video is one of the fastest growing content formats that interest both audiences and marketers. So a lot is at stake to figuring this out. Change Your Mindset Paul Ritter of Interactive Media Strategies is a seasoned analyst of the video marketplace. I asked him what he thought was holding people back from making greater use of video....
  3. I Need A Plan for 200 Videos for the Channel, Chapter Five

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    Collaborating with the Channel    Max Wilson, Director of Marketing at WE-CAN Technologies,  has been asked by his executive team, (Chapter One), to develop an execution plan for delivering 200 videos for use in the channel.  He has responded with an email validating that 200 videos is approximately what is needed, (Chapter Two), and an email outlining a pragmatic production approach, (Chapter Three).   Max followed up with a recommended approach for evaluating the initiative investment, (Chapter Four).  In the evaluation he identified a potential channel partner adoption risk to be managed. Max sent the following email about a collaborative approach to channel partner adoption to his boss, Jim Everett, VP of Marketing. Jim, Our belief that the use of videos by the channel will be a great help is tempered by the pragmatic reality that it is likely to be received with a mixed level of enthusiasm.  All change efforts are.  We know that...
  4. I Need 200 Videos for the Channel, Chapter Four

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          Investment Decision for Video Initiative The executive team at WE-CAN Technologies is considering investing in the development of videos to drive growth through its channel partners. They asked Max Wilson, Director of Marketing, at WE-CAN Technologies, to develop an execution plan, (Chapter One). Max has already sent an email that validates the number of videos that would have to be developed, (Chapter Two), and an email that outlines a pragmatic approach to developing the videos, (Chapter Three). The executive team knows that not all good ideas are worth doing.  They asked Max to recommend decision criteria for evaluating the investment.  Getting alignment on the decision criteria sets baseline expectations that the execution plan must meet.  These inputs are important to the design of the final execution plan and operating budget. Max sent the following email with his recommendations to his boss, Jim Everett VP of Marketing at WE-CAN...
  5. I Need a Plan for 200 Videos for the Channel, Chapter Three

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    How to Produce 200 Videos For the Channel Chapter Three Max Wilson, Director of Marketing at WE-CAN Technologies, is responding to a request by the executive team to develop a plan to make 200 videos to use with the channel, (Chapter One). They had five questions for Max to answer. What is the right number of videos and why? Knowing that we need volume production, how do we do it? How do we make decisions about the value versus the cost of 200 videos? How will we collaborate with our channel partners to use the videos? What does an operating plan look like, including a budget? Max already sent an email explaining the logical volume drivers, (Chapter Two), and how he estimated that 200 videos is pretty close to the right number. Max sent the following email to Jim Everett, VP of Marketing at WE-CAN to explain how volume production will work....
  6. I Need 200 Videos for the Channel, Chapter Two

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    How Many Videos Do We Really Need? Max Wilson, Director of Marketing at WE-CAN Technologies sent the following email to Jim Everett, VP of Marketing at WE-CAN. Jim, This is my first follow up to your previous email outlining the executive teams request for 200 videos, (Chapter One), to support our channel partners.  Their strategy for using videos to leverage our channel partners had eight objectives but also came with five questions.  The first question I will answer in this email.  It addresses the realistic number of videos required to support the channel program objectives.  I will send answers to the other four questions as soon as they are developed.  They include: How will we produce the videos? How will we make decisions about what to spend to meet our goals? How will our partners engage with us on this? What would a start-up operating plan look like for creating this...
  7. I Need a Plan for 200 Videos for the Channel

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    Chapter One Max Wilson, Director of Marketing for WE-CAN Technologies, received the following email from his boss on Monday morning. October 1, 2012 Max, Our executive team has been visiting customers and partners for the past two weeks to identify sources for our next phase of growth.  The consensus is we need to redouble our efforts to support our channel partners.  Our efforts to enhance their capabilities to sell WE-CAN solutions will be a win/win scenario.  Our executive team believes our partners can outsell the competition with our help.  They also believe, with our partners, we can lower the total cost of sales.  The executive team wants to leverage your experience and knowledge with emerging trends in content marketing, social media, and especially the use of video in revenue generation.  They have asked for a plan on how we can support the channel with an estimated 200 high impact, co-branded...
  8. New Thinking About Video Opens New Video Usecases

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    Demand by your audiences for video formats is escalating precipitously. Social and mobile marketing favor video content. The high desire for video by selling organizations has never been well fulfilled. Video is a critical content format for marketers to leverage. But video has been inherently difficult to produce. It requires expertise, time and costs that have limited when and where it could be used, as well as the volume of productions. If these factors are keeping you from pursuing an aggressive video strategy, this post will challenge your current thinking and provide an alternative perspective. New Technology Lifecycle When new technology arrives it has typically been applied to common use cases and methods. The technology provided value through marginal improvements. In his classic book Brain of the Firm, Stafford Beer made the observation (paraphrasing): “the question that asks, given my business, how can I use this new technology?” is fundamentally...
  9. Rethinking Video

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    When you think about video, do you consider it predominately a visual or audio medium? I suspect most people would say visual. When we think video, we think camera. We think motion (video). But I have come to think of it as predominately an audio medium, albeit with important visual support. Indeed it is the effective combination of pictures and words together that create interesting and persuasive messages. Many years ago Al Ries and Jack Trout, acknowledged experts at the art of persuasion, wrote an article in Ad Age titled A Picture is NOT Worth a Thousand Words (sorry, no link, way before digital and web content.) In it, they debunked the myth. Historically, the written word developed because pictures could not tell the full story. A richer way of communicating was needed. Audio is the verbal delivery of words. Ries suggested a simple test. When you view television advertisements,...
  10. Talking head video

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    Talking head video is the lowest form of video. It should be minimized as much as possible. It is certainly boring, and generally not very effective. It’s also a poor use of the video medium. Let’s look at why. Talking head is completely dependent on the attractiveness and delivery expertise of the talking head. Television news professionals, arguably some of the best on camera talent that exists, long ago learned the importance of “b-roll” because of the difficulty of on camera delivery. They know talking head loses attention somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds. Most business people barely communicate effectively in live conversations. On camera, amateurs really struggle to combine an effective on camera presence, a non-irritating narrative delivery, and interesting content. We have learned talking head video adds very little substantive, or even credibility value. The interest in, and credential of the speaker can be accomplished in simple ways...
  11. To lower video costs while volume grows, change your process

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    Over the past year we have had the privilege of working with two large software companies: SAP and PTC. I’ve heard a common refrain from each that is applicable to organizations that want to lower their cost of video, even as their requirements scale. The refrain is: true value and productivity gains come from redesigning the workflow processes that software enables. Consider the alphabet soup of video assembly and production tools available to us all: Adobe, Brainshark, Camtasia, KnowledgeVision, Visible Gains and many, many others. We’ve realized value and some productivity gains from applying these software tools. Yet, we still haven’t solved the cost/volume dilemma. For this, we’ll need process change. Traditional Video Production Process So let’s look at the underlying process of traditional video production. Say to anyone, “we need to make a video,” and what images come to mind? Cameras (of course), lights, video editing software, maybe a...
  12. Video — the second best way to create for content marketing

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    Content marketing has created a content conundrum. Content marketing is fundamentally about creating buyer relevant, education oriented content, that supports the buying team as they progress through a buying journey. With this shift from vendor to buyer orientation comes great pressure on traditional content production methods and costs. Blogs have emerged as the best way to create for content marketing. They are foundational to this endeavor.  We know from blog work this content must be created consistently. One customer commented, “I need a constant stream of fresh content.” This implies not only frequency but scale.  Of course, this has huge implications on resources, development times, content quality and costs. But what do you do next? White papers, webinars, or any other of the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing Playbook that lists 42 ways to connect with customers? Where do you focus? Where do you invest your scarce time, effort and...
  13. Create (More) Video Without A Camera

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    The traditional video production process and techniques have a clear role for many video purposes. This approach requires specific skills and tends to be inherently expensive, time consuming, and doesn’t scale efficiently. When you shift the purpose for video from entertaining or promoting to explaining, proving and educating, different criteria should dominate. To address these new criteria for video a different approach that leverages a different process and technique is required. The driving principle of the new approach should be to leverage every project, subject expert, previous asset and resource to create content extensions and re-usable assets. This is in service of the ultimate objectives of quality video with lower costs. A key technique is to create core, re-usable assets. This starts with images, animations, audio, video, but also includes modules of communication elements that are capable of being re-configured into new content programs. Plan for content extensions. Extensions are...
  14. New Criteria for Video

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    Let’s make a video! What images immediately come to mind? Gotta get a camera, lights, green screen, Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, etc.? What about skepticism? Is it worth it? Will it work? Will the useful life be longer than 4 months? What distractions and un-intended costs will you face? And, what are the true costs? Traditional Video Thinking I’d like to introduce you to a different way of thinking about video. Most people think: Duration — videos should be short, people’s attention is very limited Style —  videos must be flashy, high impact, people want to be entertained Resources — video requires someone who knows how to do this, and is willing to do the “non-linear” (whatever that means) editing Website — we’ll put videos on our website Video quality is always a factor in people’s thinking and expectations. We find it useful to think in three broad...
  15. Second Voice Vignettes for Telesales and Prospecting

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    As a sales professional, telephone selling is a key element of my sales job, especially in the critical, initial stages of prospecting and engaging new customers. For many sales people this is a frustrating, time consuming, low probability of success activity. Here’s an approach that significantly improves your odds, provides value to your prospects, gives you important feedback and, for now, will clearly differentiate you from other sales people. I’ve been thinking about the binary nature of sales prospecting and cultivating initial customer relationships. Consider, with most sales calls: We either connect, or don’t Leave a voicemail, or not Send an email, or not The prospect answers, or doesn’t Is willing to talk, or not Is interested, or not Is willing to meet, or not Is the right person or not, etc. Of course, the odds of a favorable outcome for each option don’t favor us. But what if there...
  16. Risk of User-Generated Video Content

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    I’m really interested in John Jantsch’s new book The Referral Engine. But I’m not sure I’ll be reading it. I have a full reading list and limited time. I primarily read material referred to me from a trusted source. It’s a new book, so I’m waiting for reviews to emerge. That’s why today I jumped on the Twitter link to this “review” by Jim Kukral. Warning: there is some negativity in this blog, delivered in the spirit of feedback and insight, born of disappointment and frustration. A Review IS a Referral Think about it. A “review” is a referral. I would hope that a book about referrals would teach someone how to provide a referral. This glaring omission in this particular review has me questioning whether it’s missing from the book as well. I’m making these criticism because we’re dealing with professionals here. Not some geek … oops, after writing...
  17. Create Content Like a Publisher when Creating Webinars – Two Customer Examples

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    Over a year ago in this space we outlined “7 ways to take your webinars to the next level,” which was so well received it led to an interview for Blog Talk Radio and multiple guest blog posts. Over the past several years we have been applying this create like a publisher approach to webinars, and the impact for our customers has been significant. The two customer examples show how changing the way you execute webinars can have a substantial impact on the results you get from lead generation webinars as well as fuel content creation for multiple purposes including lead generation, lead nurturing, sales enablement and thought leadership. Anthelio: “A Physician Portal Approach to Patient Information Access” How Anthelio created content like a publisher: Anthelio’s audience is difficult to get to committ the 45 to 60 minutes during the work day for a live webinar, so an on-demand microsite with short video segments is a more effective...
  18. Applying a publishing process to training content

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    At Marketo University yesterday I presented a training program around how companies can apply Marketo’s recently released program management functionality to get more out of their events. My recommended approach to program management entails creating a “master event program template” which contains all of the rules and data-driven email and landing page templates. This saves time and operationalizes best practices around events, while creating a program performance report that measures event success. The original request from Marketo was to create materials for Marketo University – a training point production. Our “Create Like a Publisher” process says, however, that content creation should follow a programmatic approach, and consider multiple purposes when making the time and resource investment to create content. Said another way — rather than repurpose content after the fact, which is inefficient, create it right the first time. So in following this create like a publisher process, we created: a 30-minute on-demand...
  19. “The How” – More effective execution around webinars and event marketing

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    I have been asked to instruct an upcoming Marketo University course on event management as part of Marketo’s Revenue Rockstar Roadshow in Boston. The course will cover how to leverage Marketo’s programs & “my tokens” functionality to best manage lead generation events, both offline and online/webinars. By using a set of database-driven templates to manage all event web pages, emails and rules, you (marketers) can spend less time on event setup and operations, and more time focused on event promotion  — and therefore, getting more out of your events.  And this return on event investments (success rates and new lead acquisition) is rolled up into a single, management report compiled in real-time. Moreover, this approach means you can more easily incorporate best practices into your event and webinar programs.  When it comes to marketing, most of us know what we should be doing, but effectively operationalizing it (and ensuring it sticks) is where most companies fall short...
  20. Pre-produce content so it’s there when you need it (like when the Earth shakes)

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    Yesterday’s earthquake presented one of our customers with an example of the importance and impact of creating and managing modular video assets. We work with our customers to help them create content like publishers in order to accelerate their customers’ buying process, and one of the key fundamentals is pre-producing content across a variety of topics (not to mention – roles, buying stages, industry and other factors), so that “it’s ready when you need it.” Our customer Building Engines is a software-as-a-service for managing real estate operations. Natural disasters such as an earthquake have significant ramifications for a building manager including the need to notify and update tenants across multiple communications channels, track and manage these communications, and for operations staff to file incident reports. With the news of the earthquake reverberating on Tuesday, Building Engines was able to leverage their content to contribute to the conversation, share and generate attention. As background, we...
  21. 5 Things You Must Consider Before Purchasing Marketing Automation Executive Summary

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    As part of a recent Focus Webinar, David Raab — Principal of Raab Associates Inc — presented a webinar entitled “5 Things You Must Consider Before Purchasing Marketing Automation.” Several factors (including the relatively low cost of the software itself) have caused marketing automation to reach a stage where many companies make the decision to buy marketing automation without really knowing why. The purpose of the webinar was to raise certain questions that should be answered before purchasing a marketing automation system. These questions include: 1) What programs will achieve my specific business goals? 2) What do I need to run those programs? 3) How will the programs happen? 4) What can I do already? 5) How do I fill the gaps? This is an executive summary of the webinar and the insights shared by David Raab.  And as Avitage specializes in helping companies take ideas such as these to...
  22. From No-Budget to Signed Deal Using Provocation-Based Selling – Webinar Executive Summary

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    As part of the Marketo Revenue Masters Webinar Series, Principal Consultant for TrellisOne Consulting, Kathleen Schaub and Senior Vice President of Sales for Marketo, Bill Binch, co-presented a webinar entitled “From No Budget to Signed Deal.” The purpose of the webinar was to explain the concept behind provocation based selling and how it can reach high level executives. The webinar covered 3 key questions: 1)What does is mean when a lead says they “have no budget” for you? 2)What provokes an executive to spend their budget on your product or service? 3) How do I get the attention of executives looking to spend their budget on my product or service? This is an executive summary of the presentation. What does “No Budget” Really Mean? There is no such thing as having no budget. Everyone has a budget. When a prospect says they have “no budget,” what they usually mean is...
  23. Perspectives on Marketo’s Product Release – Event Management and Webinar Integration

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    I attended the Marketo product release webinar introducing Marketo’s new event management functionality as part of Marketo’s new pioneer program, for early adopters of the latest Marketo functionality. Marketo’s event management allows users to set up templated event sequences for events such as webinars, and greatly reduces the amount of steps required to re-use assets from event to event. In addition, the first iteration supports direct API access with WebEx, with other integrations planned for the future. The functionality is a good start and part of an overall development plan from Marketo to better automate event management tied to marketing automation. It’s too early for me to review the functionality based on a brief introductory webinar – but it did get me thinking about some of the key drivers as to why Marketo has invested their product development team’s valuable time into this new set of features. Two key reasons stand out:...
  24. 7 Ways to Generate More Sales Revenue with Marketing Automation – Webinar Executive Summary

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    As part of the Marketo Revenue Masters Series, Mac McIntosh, Founding Partner of AcquireB2B and Jep Castelein, Founder of LeadSloth co-presented “7 Ways to Generate More Sales Revenue with Marketing Automation.” This is an executive summary of the 7 ways. Nurture your leads to get 3 out of 4 sales opportunities that come from prospects with longer-term needs Marketing automation can help drive sales revenue by nurturing leads so that sales opportunities come from customers with the right level of needs. Research conducted by Founding Partner of AcquireB2B Mac MacIntosh, has shown that approximately ¾ of sales revenue comes from long term opportunities over six months. The purpose of these lead nurturing campaigns is to move buyers from awareness, to inquiry, to consideration and finally to purchase by appealing to different audiences in different stages of the buying process. Those customers in the beginning stages of the buying process require...
  25. Why Consistency and Standards are So Important – Production and Program Management

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    I recently reviewed with our production team the importance of why we have consistency and standards around the practices and processes of our business. By way of background, some of the areas for which we have developed and manage standards include processes to: Create content like a publisher – creating content for multiple purposes and audiences through a single process (e.g. content for lead generation, lead nurturing & sales enablement) Produce webinars and all the various forms of content that results from it Produce vignettes – video-like content easily tailored for multiple audience Produce software demos – so that they are much more engaging and re-purposable than most Outsource automated lead management programs – Design, implement, on-board customers and operate the program Conduct content inventories & assessments – to align content to buyer roles, interest and stage; and identify content gaps and priorities Now to “the Why” – why standards and consistency are important. For...
  26. Applying Digital Body Language to Webinars

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    Digital Body Language (the phrase coined by Steve Woods of Eloqua) has become a key principle of B2B Digital Sales & Marketing. This involves using web behavior around content consumption to learn more about customers – their issues, interests, stage of the buying process and more. With automated lead management programs, it is used to score prospects and to deliver relevant content based on their interests and stage in their buying process. Webinars are a key component of nearly all B2B sales & marketing organizations’ lead generation programs. But companies are missing a significant opportunity to learn more about their audiences when they employ the generally practiced webinar format. When you conduct a webinar, what do you really know about your audience? Hopefully, you know their name, email address, perhaps organization and maybe role. You know they have a general interest in the topic, but not much more. How can we apply...
  27. How I Created Content Like a Publisher When Speaking at Bentley University

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    This coming week I have two presentations at Bentley University – first, guest lecturing at Terry Skelton’s class Fundamentals of Content Development as part of the Information Design & Corporate Communication department, and then speaking to Marketing and IDCC majors as part of a spotlight for careers in digital content marketing, hosted by Alyssa Hammond. To prepare, I followed a process that we use with our customers to ensure that both speakers and audience get the most out of an event experience, by creating content like a publisher. My presentation includes an overview of B2B Sales & Marketing today – concepts such as inbound marketing, content marketing, digital body language, marketing automation, lead management and the revenue engine. Then I explain how Avitage takes the concepts and puts them into practice through a specific approach and set of processes. Finally I review customer examples and recent case studies with BNA...
  28. Rethinking “Why do you do webinars?”

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    In our recent blog post “7 ways to take your webinars to the next level”, we discussed some specific techniques that can help you get more out of your webinars. The blog post was well received with engagement through our inbox, blog comments, LinkedIn, Twitter and was requested as a guest blog post by Shari Weiss (@sharisax). As we engaged in this dialog, it occurred to us that if you are running a webinar program or thinking about doing so, there is a fundamental “step forward” that you can take to best leverage the medium for your organization. Several years ago, if you asked a marketer why they run webinars, 10 times out of 10 the answer would be for two reasons – “one, to get our message out” and “two, to generate leads”. Today, while these are still important outcomes from a webinar program, we believe that they are trumped...
  29. 7 ways to take your webinars to the next level

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    Webinars are a key component in generating compelling and relevant content to feed your lead generation, lead nurturing and content marketing programs. We see all too often however that companies take a “show up and throw up” approach to webinars, and therefore are only scratching the surface in terms of capitalizing on the opportunity. Webinars should not be a random act of marketing or a point production, but rather fall within a webinar strategy with consistent execution and production. These are seven things you can do right now to take your webinars to the next level, and increase your ROW (Return on Webinars, of course). 1. Pre-produce the webinar Pre-producing the webinar greatly improves the webinar experience for both viewers and presenters. When pre-producing the webinar, the webinar will still be presented as if it’s live (it has just been pre-recorded and edited), followed by a live Q&A.  The pre-production...

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